Nota Bene #38

Links of the Week (as opposed to the Weakest Link):

Interview with Middle-East expert Joshua Landis at Right Web: “For instance, we just had a Syrian delegation that came to Washington. … For reasons that remain a little murky to me, that fell through. A friend in the State Department told me that part of the reason was that it was just too much for the Bush administration to absorb. Washington had just announced that it was going to meet with the Iranians in Geneva … and they could deal with only one meeting with one ‘axis of evil’ power at the same time.”

George Monbiot on the administration’s anti-WMD proliferation strategy: “You could sketch it out as a Venn diagram. If you have oil and aren’t developing a bomb (Iraq) you get invaded. If you have oil and are developing a bomb (Iran) you get threatened with invasion, but it probably won’t happen. If you don’t have oil, but have the bomb, the US representative will fly to your country and open negotiations.”

Senator John Kerry, in his smashing convention speech, addressing John McCain’s flip-flopping: “Let me tell you, before he ever debates Barack Obama, John McCain should finish the debate with himself.”

Patrick Healy at the New York Times after Hillary’s speech at the convention: “When Kelly Friendly, a Clinton supporter from Wellesley, Mass., was asked if she would vote for Mr. Obama, she said, referring to Mrs. Clinton: ‘Absolutely. She just told us to, didn’t she?'”

Billmon on the McCain camps attempts to resuscitate the Bill Ayers-Weathermen bogeyman: “Unless the McCaniacs are going to spend a LOT of time filling in the back story, I wouldn’t be surprised if voters think the message is that meteorologists, like hot chicks, dig Obama.”

Craig Crawford at Congressional Quarterly on Hillary’s speech: “What Obama most needed was Clinton’s help in persuading voters that he has the personal character, judgment and skill to actually achieve the programmatic goals that the two Democrats share. There was not even a hint of that. Clinton almost seemed to be saying that Obama is worth supporting only because he isn’t a Republican.”

The new Teddy Kennedy? Peggy Noonan at the Wall Street Journal: “I also believe she has come to appreciate both emotionally and intellectually The Importance of Being Teddy. She will not be the president of the United States the next four years, but she can ease herself into the role of Teddy Kennedy-esque fighter for her issues in the Senate.” Who? Why, Hillary.

Dave Barry can still bring it. “One highlight of Wednesday’s roll call was when John Knutson, chairperson of the Maine Democratic Party, said — and I am not making this quote up — ‘The sun comes up in Maine first in the nation. And we feel very honored to be … to have that as our singular … whatever. Privilege.’ Maine: The Whatever State.”

Roger Simon at Politico: “But wasn’t it, to use one of Obama’s favorite words, a little audacious for him to run with so little national experience? … Maybe. ‘But very few candidates suffer for having run too soon,’ Axelrod said. ‘Many suffer from running too late and waiting. This was the year that matched up with what he was.'”

Steve Benen at the Washington Monthly is devastating on Palin: “I’d love to hear some enterprising political reporter who travels with the McCain campaign to ask the senator, ‘In the event of a tragedy or national calamity, and a President McCain were unable to carry out his duties, who does John McCain believe is the single best, most trustworthy, most capable, most reliable person in the entire United States to lead the free world?’ Joe Lieberman? Tom Ridge? Lindsey Graham? Dick Lugar? John Warner? No, it’s Sarah Palin. I just want to see McCain or one of his top aides say this with a straight face. Just once.”

Andy Borowitz on Sarah Palin: “Elsewhere, Gov. Palin said she was looking forward to the vice-presidential debate, or as she called it, ‘the talent competition’.”

As if oil shortages weren’t bad enough, writes Michael Kosares at USA Gold, gold shortages loom: “Newmont Mining’s Pierre Lassonde, who is generally considered one of the more savvy mining executives, explains why the mines have failed to increase production even with prices at record levels: ‘When is the last time we had a 30 million ounce discovery in the world? … It’s a long time ago. Look at exploration expenditures ­they are going up, but we are not getting the discoveries. And not only are we not finding them, but the ones we do find, they take forever to put into production.” Sound familiar? Gold, black gold — same difference.

Chrysler plans to offer Wi-Fi in cars for passengers. The New York Times reports: “Tom Vanderbilt, the author of ‘Traffic,’ a best-selling book about our driving habits, said last week: ‘We’ve already seen fatalities from people looking at their laptops while driving. It seems absolutely surprising that Chrysler would open the door for a full-blown distraction like Internet access.'”


Loren Estleman, premier author of detective novels: “I’ve always been reticent about getting Walker laid. It’s such a cliché in this form, and writing sex scenes is almost as boring as reading them. Every now and then — say, every third or fourth book — he gets lucky; it’s the law of averages. But I’m not his pimp.”

Beloved American poet and former poet laureate Billy Collins in the current Poets & Writers (not online) on poetry readings: “To a trained ear, there is a lot more going on in the air of an auditorium than the obvious laughter or applause. For one thing, there are about nineteen kinds of audience silence, ranging from really good to really bad. In fact the very best audience reaction and the very worst are both silence.”


Manny Being Manny Department

John Donovan for Sports Illustrated: “For all the fuss we made over Manny’s move to L.A. … the Dodgers are now just 11-11 since the trade. Manny has one home run in his last 44 at-bats. The Dodgers have lost six of their last eight. And did I mention Manny’s play in extra innings Sunday night? … Manny loped over to a ball hit to him in left field in extra innings, instead of charging it, then flipped it casually into second base instead of firing it in. The Phillies Shane Victorino beat out the throw, and the Phils won a few batters later.” So much for the Manny-moon.


Commenter Doubtful responding to a Steve Benen post at Washington Monthly about McCain’s flip-flopping: “And who is to blame for the American public not knowing this? The American public.”

2 replies »

  1. John Stewart’s take on the Kerry speech was a great, basically asking “where was this John Kerry in ’04?”

    Perhaps, just maybe, one day the American automakers will realize that producing a quality vehicle that runs well for 200,000 miles is more important to market share than climate controlled drink-holders and Wi-fi access. My inside scoop (prototype parts tester at a Ford facility) tells me that the newest Ford models do match Toyota for quality, but that the new VP in charge of testing wants to cut the budget by 60% next year to make the quarterlies read better.

    Meh, the Dodgers didn’t really think that they were getting Charlie Hustle, did they?