As President Bush arrives in Saudi Arabia today, America's Arab and Israeli allies have been buzzing about the recent sea change in Washington's perception of Iran. The December report by the U.S.'s top spy office stating Iran had abandoned its effort to build nuclear weapons was one of the biggest U-turns in the recent history of U.S. intelligence.
Behind the scenes in Washington, it marked a reversal of a different sort: After years in which Bush appointees and White House staff won out on foreign-policy matters, career staffers in the intelligence world had scored a big victory…
In the case of the Iran report, the about-face was made possible in part by a 2004 restructuring that gave intelligence chiefs more autonomy. New procedures for vetting and authenticating reports also helped insulate analysts from White House involvement.
"White House involvement" is, of course, a common journalistic term of art for "fucking it up" or "getting it wrong".
Really. That's what it means.
Mr. Fingar was tasked with implementing many of the reforms called for by Congress. This included putting new safeguards into the system to authenticate reports' sources and to prevent intelligence being cherry-picked to support previously developed theories…
The result was that the White House was essentially locked out of the process. This marked a big change from the years leading up to the Iraq war…
See? I told you.
We, Americans, are going to spend billions of dollars and maybe dozens of years erasing each and every awful stain The Accidental President has left upon us--fiscally, socially, morally, institutionally, Constitutionally and internationally.
It's so awful what this guy did to our country.
On the other hand, it's good to see some people have already started.
Will leave their yellow stripes at home, and sadly buzz in black.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand - Sir Edmund Hillary, the unassuming beekeeper who conquered Mount Everest to win renown as one of the 20th century's greatest adventurers, has died, New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark announced Friday. He was 88.
WEST HOLLYWOOD, California (AP) -- Richard Jeni, a standup
comedian who played to sold-out crowds, was a regular on the "Tonight
Show" and appeared in movies, died of a gunshot wound in an apparent
suicide, police said Sunday.
It's been a long time since I've seen it, but I remember "Platypus Man" to be about the funniest thing, after "No Cure For Cancer", I've seen a comedian do.
AUSTIN, Texas -- Best-selling author and columnist Molly Ivins, the sharp-witted liberal who skewered the political establishment and referred to President Bush as "Shrub," died Wednesday after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 62.
And, yet, David Broder will live to be, like, a hundred and fifty years old.
The right thinking people of the world are all whomper-jawed tonight.
Gerald Ford struggling to overcome the unfunny perception that he was a stumbler.
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - His deliberate manner of speaking, some highly publicized mishaps and a recurring Chevy Chase bit in the early days of "Saturday Night Live" helped advance the notion that Gerald R. Ford was a bit of a klutz. In fact, Ford was one of the nation's fittest and most athletic presidents…
Journalists also reported when Ford tumbled while skiing, when he slipped and fell on some metal steps while getting off Air Force One in the rain in Austria and when he bumped his head on an airplane doorway…
In Ford's memoir, "A Time to Heal: The Autobiography of Gerald R. Ford," he bitterly recounted how a brief stumble recorded by a television camera turned into a national story.
"There was no doubt in my mind that I was the most athletic president to occupy the White House in years ... (but) from that moment on, every time I stumbled or bumped my head or fell in the snow, reporters zeroed in on that to the exclusion of almost everything else. ... (This) helped create the public perception of me as a stumbler. And that wasn't funny."
Well, it was pretty funny.
But, no, Ford was not a stumbler. He was not a clutz.
He was drunk.
Aside from the "long national nightmare" thing, the most memorable thing Ford ever said was:
The three-martini lunch is the epitome of American efficiency. Where else can you get an earful, a bellyful and a snootful at the same time?
And he said it during a Presidential election. That he was a candidate in.
The guy wasn't clumsy. He was bombed. In the early afternoon. In the White House.
KING: So [Betty] was drinking in the White House, and you had enabled that. You didn't -- weren't aware of a problem?
FORD: But we were not what I would call drinkers. Her problem was a combination of prescribed medication by doctors in the White House and elsewhere, plus a few martinis or a bourbon and water during the afternoon or evening.
No, he and Betty were not what he would call "drinkers". He would have an efficient three martini lunch and Betty might have a "few" martinis in during the afternoon, but they were not what he, the President of the United States, would call "drinkers".
I mean, just because both he and his wife would throw down eighteen or twenty four ounces of gin in the afternoon is no reason to call them "drinkers"! Just because Jerry considered sucking down the equivalent of a case of beer over lunch "efficient", just because the guy fell off of chairs, podiums, and airplanes is no reason to call him a "drinker"!
I've got nothing against the guy, aside from him being a lifelong bag man for defense contractors who rewarded him with seats on about a thousand different boards in exchange for selling out his constituents, or for undermining our democracy by selling the Presidential pardon in exchange for the Presidency and lying to Congress about it, or for, with his stupid Whip Inflation Now buttons, trying to convince The People that public relations was actually policy.
Also, I kind of didn't like him for establishing the precedent of pardoning government criminals before they were even indicted or tried so that: a) the American People never even know the truth about Their government; and b) criminals, who should be in prison, are, instead, every four or eight years are right back in their old jobs.
If Lou Reed is the godfather of punk, Gerald Ford is the godfather of the Bush administration.
But the guy died today. And so nobody should say anything bad about him. Because it's a tragedy. He only lived to be ninety three. And he was fabulously wealthy. Without having ever done anything for the benefit of anyone other than Gerald Ford or people like him, who work so little that they can drink eighteen ounces of gin in the early afternoon.
The liberal media, the guard-dogs of your democracy, can't say enough nice things about the guy--he wasn't clumsy! He healed the nation! Americans approved much more of his presidency than his approval ratings might suggest! He was probably the Greatest President who was never elected, even if he was the only one.
And we should all lament his passing so young.
Me? My soul must have died with him. Because honestly? I just can't feel bad for making fun of the guy.
I'm not glad he's dead. I don't wish he died younger. I hope his death was painless and as pleasant as it could be.
But the guy was kind of a jerk.
His drinking was well known among the "liberal" Washington press corps while he was a Congressman and while he was in the White House, and they're still pretending he just slipped a couple of times and Chevy Chase confused us all into thinking Ford was clumsy.
When he really was an exceptional athlete with cat like reflexes.
And bombed by two thirty in the afternoon every day of the week.
It's nothing against Gerald Ford--except for all that other stuff I have against Gerald Ford--it's that creepy feeling that the American People are either being treated like little children who are too young to hear the true facts of life or that our "liberal" media, which went to extraordinary lengths to delve into Clinton's personal life but seems to go out of its way to respect the personal lives of Republican Presidents, might not actually be "liberal".
I go to lunch today. I go to this Subway store a couple of miles from where I work. I go there once or twice a week. And there's this young woman who works there. She's probably 19 or 20. I mean, she can't be much older because she looks like she's in highschool and she obviously isn't in highschool because she's working at Subway at noon on a Monday.
And she's pretty cute. And she completely digs me. Everytime I get anywhere near the counter, she gets a little bit louder and a little bit more dramatic about making the subs and she gets a whole lot more clumbsy--BMTs wind up toasted to a crisp; footlongs get sliced in half; those little plastic gloves are flying around like confetti on New Year's Eve.
And she's better than that. I've seen her work when she doesn't know I'm in line.
It's cute. I make her nervous.
But we've never really talked. Not beyond, "Lettuce, tomatoes, onions? Salt, pepper, oregeno? Oil and vinegar?"
So today, I'm there. And she's getting clumbsy and dramatic, and she keeps looking up at me, even though she's busy destroying some guy's Sweet Onion Chicken Teriyaki. And I'm feeling particularly good, in a wicked kind of way, just knowing I've just ruined some guy's lunch because of the love of a young woman.
I'm humming a little Chris Isaak to myself...what a wicked thing to do...
I get to the counter, and this young woman, while distractedly firing some provolone into the soft drink cooler, finally works up the nerve to make small talk with me.
"Do you know anyone named Buchanan?" she asks me.
It's the first time she's ever said anything to me of a non-sandwich type nature, so I pass on the pre-civil war, only other gay president besides Bush thing that immediately pops into my head.
"No," I say, totally being incredibly James Bond like in my suaveness and, now, almost uncontrollable sexiness. Subs all around me are getting lightly toasted just from the heat I'm giving off.
"Because you look like this guy I know, named Buchanan," the young woman says, putting a knife through the sneeze-guard.
"No relation," I say. Cherry vanilla Cokes explode from the heat! Fucking regular turkey is now smoked!
"I thought you might be related to him," she says. "He's a lot younger than you--like in his twenties. But you two could be brothers."
"Cut the chatter," I say. "And pay attention to what you're doing, for God's sake. You just wrapped and bagged your left hand."