Friday, April 07, 2006


Friday Fragments

I’m limping across the finish line of this week, so a few thoughts that aren’t really full postings unto themselves:

Just for a hoot, try this: transfer the audio CD of Sarah Vowell’s Assassination Vacation to your mp3 player. Then, set it on ‘random.’

I did that, without knowing I had set it on random. Despite switching tracks about every three minutes, a half hour went by before I realized anything was amiss. And I’ve read the book!

I just didn’t remember it being quite that…experimental.


Is anyone else completely creeped out by that Burger King guy in the unmoving mask?


This week a student told me he had to cut back to part-time school so he could keep his
full-time job to pay for his methadone. As excuses go, that ain’t bad.


It’s a measure of how degraded our political culture has become that we devote more coverage to Katie Couric and Meredith Vieira than to the revelation that Bush actually ordered the leak of a CIA agent’s name to punish a political opponent.

I predict the usual conservative trolls will work their usual echo-chamber magic, and within a few days we’ll be heaping scorn on anybody who suggests that Bush doesn’t have the right, nay, the duty, to blow agents’ cover to protect his own approval ratings.

Nothing against Meredith Vieira, but I was rooting for Natalie Morales. Sigh.


It’s a good thing we have Homeland Security protecting us from the likes of the deputy of Homeland Security who just got busted for soliciting a 14 year old girl.


I saw a poet speak on campus yesterday, which was a terrible idea. She was able to switch voices, narrative speeds, whenever it suited her purposes. That has never been one of my skills. It made me insanely jealous. There are topics I’d love to address, if I had the writerly chops to do them justice, but nooo. This must be how the guy who made “Logan’s Run” felt after seeing “Star Wars” for the first time. “Humbling” doesn’t quite capture it. Sometimes being completely outclassed is more incapacitating than inspiring.


The rubber-chicken circuit is starting again. For the next few weeks, it’s all end-of-year functions, all the time. Better stock up on coffee and Diet Coke while I still can…

Burger King guy, totally freaky.

I have no idea who any of those people you're talking about as Katie Couric's replacement are. I'm barely cognizant of Katie. She's the one having Tom Cruise's baby, right?

Logan's Run: I think that you and I both are due for Carousel right about now. Check your palm.
Vito, no, that's Katie Holmes.

DD, your crack about "Logan's Run" versus "Star Wars" hits me right there. I, too, feel like a hack writer or teacher when I come up against a fluid professional. But, then, I think of the fourth Star Wars movie with Jar-Jar and I feel muuuuuch better.

Also, your comment about the start-up of the rubber chicken circuit made me think of your Tuesday requisition post. Scaaary!
Hmmm... I often wondered at how otherwise fine poets sounded ridicuolously flat when interviewed on, say, NPR. I normally prefer my own imagined readings to their performances. But it sounds like this poet was in a different league.

By the way... my palm is clear, and there are cats everywhere.

Oh... and let's hope there is no spinning Bush this time!
The Burger King guy totally freaks me out. Every time I see the commerical where he's in the guy's window during sunrise, I think about how I would probably crap my pants if I saw him at my window when I woke up.
Burger King guy: I thought it was just me!
He's supposed to be freaky. Speaking as a member of the leading edge of Gen Y, I find him gloriously and riotously funny, due to his creepiness. I think it's aimed at me.
"the revelation that Bush actually ordered the leak of a CIA agent’s name to punish a political opponent."

You are asserting a fact not yet in evidence, though it has become apparent that many already believe as you do. The fact is that Bush authorized Libby to release material that was in a classified intelligence document about Iraq. The proper liberal spin is that, at the same moment Bush was deploring leaks he was himself ordering them. (That was NPR's take yesterday.) The proper conservative spin is that when the President orders that information be released from a classified document, the document has become declassified by operation of law--and by definition is no longer a leak after all.

No one has said that this information, whether "leaked" or not, had anything at all to do with Plame. Or let me amend--the Times and the WSJournal and NPR have made it clear that the Plame identity is not part of this alleged leak, and I would take them at their word.

Please note also that Libby is not alleged to be the person who told Robert Novack of Plame's identity, that Fitzgerald apparently knows that identity, and Libby's lawyers are trying to pry that information out of him. They need it to prepare Libby's defense, they say, but Fitzgerald is resising, I don't know why.

When the story gets this complicated, over such a trivial matter, I actually don't blame the public for being more interested in Katie Couric. (I say it's trivial because I believe that Plame was not a covert agent at the time her identity was revealed within the meaning of the relevant statute. Plus I think the whole thing is essentially a Krugman fantasy.)
Burger king guy is soooo scary. The one where he is on top of a construction site always gets me. I would fall off if I saw him up there.

Good to know there is a demographic for him, though!
EQ7, the scandal with the Plame affair was that Plam was a recruiter of assets in sub-saharan Africa. She wasn't a covert agent--she recruited agents. Naming her compromises everyone she brought in.

To settle a political score, Libby intentionally sacrificed American intelligence capabilities in a volatile region where intelligence is hard to get.

That's incredibly irresponsible, at best. If you care about national security, how could you not be horrified by it?
Also, the release of classified information was most definately a leak. Secretly handing it to reporters...not admitting where it came from...passing out information that's not supposed to be public, since it wasn't declassified...

Sounds like a textbook leak to me.

It could be legal, as you point out. But it's amusing that a President who's railed against the evils of leaks throughout his time in office decides to leak very sensitive himself when it suits his purposes.

That's classic hypocrisy. Leaking is evil, unless I do it?

my point was, the leak which libby is now alleging was not in fact about plame, contrary to DD's original assertion. that appears conceded.

my additional point is that libby is not accused of giving Plame's name to robert novak, which was the original leak that started the investigation, and I take we all can agree on that?

BDD, you are alleging that libby's actions compromised national security, and that would be a bad thing. libby has asked the government to supply its assessment of that damage, which they are refusing to do. so i'm not clear on just how much damage was done, and why i should think that.

do i like the secretive relationships between the press and top government officials, and the ways they pass and manipulate information? i do not. but of all the gross errors the bush administration has committed, the plame affair and now this allegation of "leaking" seem like awfully small things to waste time on.

final note. the burger king marketing has been odd for years, it's just crossed the line into incomprehensible.
Hey, man, if you can't trust King George to tell us what we are and are not allowed to know, who can we trust?
Burger King guy freaks me right out. Especially the "King Kong" type commercial.
And I thought Libby leaked the information to Judith Miller? and Robert Novack was her husband?? And no it's not Bush's biggest illegal excercise but it's one that left a "paper trail" of sorts. After he leaked a CIA agent, Fitzgerald is oh so brave to try this investigation. I mean if a President outs an agent of his government after her husband criticizes his administration, what could he possibly do to an investigator? A lot!
And I couldn't be more tickled pink I won't ever have to watch Katie Couric in the morning again. Starbucks must inject her with an espresso IV every morning or something.
And DD his methadone habit? 0_o you just amde me thank my lucky stars my parents are former hippies who told me their "stories".
Assassination Vacation doesn't seem as random as that, but I'd happily listen to it again on shuffle.
Agh, it turns out that the confirmed leak was actually the fraudulent claim about yellowcake from Niger. Silly me.

This administration's MO is to run so many scandals at once that the public actually can't even keep track. There's a demented genius to that.

Does the Burger King guy appeal to Gen Y? I'll have to ask those younger than me. To my mind, it's just a staggeringly ill-conceived ad, but I may be showing my fuddy-duddy stripes.
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