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World War III: Never Mind


Apparently World War III isn't going to be necessary in the near future. Iran doesn't have a bomb, or a program to build a bomb, and in fact the next National Intelligence Estimate will show that Iran wants to model itself after countries like Holland and Sweden and become known for quaint windmills and saunas. Here's a slogan the ayatollahs should consider when they market the country for tourist boards: "Iran: Your New Best Friend!"

But I still think we ought to take dramatic pre-emptive action against Iran on the off chance that it decides someday to start thinking again about reconstituting its plans to refer to America negatively (that whole business about "the Great Satan" really hurt my feelings). Also we should take out France for the same reason. And Cambridge, Mass. This list could get long.


Meanwhile here's the president explaining himself this morning as best he can:

'I think it is very important for the international community to recognize the fact that if Iran were to develop the knowledge that they could transfer to a clandestine program it would create a danger for the world. And so I view this report as a warning signal that they had the program, they halted the program. And the reason why it's a warning signal is that they could restart it. And the thing that would make a restarted program effective and dangerous is the ability to enrich uranium, the knowledge of which could be passed on to a hidden program.

And so it's a -- to me, the NIE provides an opportunity for us to rally the international community -- continue to rally the community to pressure the Iranian regime to suspend its program.

You know, the NIE also said that such pressure was effective, and that's what our government has been explaining to other partners in keeping the international pressure on Iran. The best diplomacy, effective diplomacy, is one of which all options are on the table.'

[The entire transcript is worth a read.]


Washington has been named the most walkable metropolitan area in America.

I agree that it's a great walking city, and used to walk from Cleveland Park to the Post building downtown, via Woodley Park and the Taft Bridge and Kalorama and Dupont Circle. But there's a rather huge catch in the assessment. The study counts walkable areas in a metropolitan area without taking into account how large each area is.

"For example, midtown Manhattan is given the same weight as Reston Town Center, a lifestyle center outside Washington, even though the latter has only a tiny fraction of the office and retail space, residential units, and hotel rooms of midtown."

Yeah, I'd still have to vote for Manhattan over Washington.


Did you see this story on the Waldseemuller map of 1507?

' Why did the mapmaker name the territory America and then change his mind later? How was he able to draw South America so accurately? Why did he put a huge ocean west of America years before European explorers discovered the Pacific?

'"That's the kind of conundrum, the question, that is still out there," said John Hebert, chief of the geography and map division of the Library of Congress.'

The answer's obvious: Ancient astronauts!


This ISU poll shows Romney and Clinton with leads in Iowa, but note that it's based on interviews from Nov. 6 to 18 -- which is like a hundred years ago. Sorry, it's old news.

By Joel Achenbach  |  December 4, 2007; 8:42 AM ET
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: The Gibbs Gaffe
Next: Huckabee's Big Whiff; Plus, Luckiest Man Alive?


Whoa, dude! Kurosawachick lives in Cambridge, Mass. Them's fightin' words. And if bloodshed means nothing to you, think of the many fine used book stores that would be destroyed.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 4, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Was just reading a transcript of an interview Jimmy Carter had with the CBC on Sunday, he has some interesting comments on a wide variety of topics, including Iran - relevant with todays news stories.

Posted by: dmd | December 4, 2007 10:54 AM | Report abuse

I was going to post on the joys of a night time walk through downtown Ottawa during a heavy snowfall but thought we Canukians were boodle hogging.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 4, 2007 11:07 AM | Report abuse

From Eugene Robinson's column- "The fastest-growing segment of kidney transplant recipients, Scheper-Hughes said, consists of patients over 70; when they can't get a needed organ from the transplant registry, she said, they often ask a healthy child or grandchild to donate." I don't have any grandchildren, but this strikes me as a sort of biological deficit spending, taking an organ from the future generation to ease the burden of the present. Count me out on that one.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 4, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

In light of "The answer's obvious: Ancient astronauts!", I hereby recommend this here place be renamed Achenblog von Daniken.

Posted by: byoolin | December 4, 2007 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Anyone over seventy asking anyone, relation or not, to donate a kidney should be ashamed of themselves. We evolved two kidneys for a reason. Until you can say with near certainty that the procedure won't shorten the life of the donor, buying a few more years for the recipient is a price too high.
Have these transplants been going on long enough for a thorough study of the lifetime effects on the donors?

I'd gladly give up a kidney for my sister but if my grandfather (it wouldn't have occurred to him, war hero) asked me I'd have told him to go pogo.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 4, 2007 11:38 AM | Report abuse

re: Iran report. Well, that's some good news - probably the best news of the year. Assuming that it's true, of course. I think I need to read more about nuclear science, or have someone with some knowledge set me straight. I thought there was no good (ie non-weapon related) reason for all the enrichment activities Iran has been doing and that the "known" nuclear program was inconsistent with a peaceful nuclear program.

Posted by: SonofCarl | December 4, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Joel writes:
"Also we should take out France for the same reason. And Cambridge, Mass. This list could get long."

I saw these video clips the other day. The second is just weird for the morphing; the third has Mudge's name written all over it! ;-) *l*

Posted by: Loomis | December 4, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

SCC, sorta. change "shorten the life" back to "negatively impact the life."

Posted by: Boko999 | December 4, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

"...wants to model itself after contries like Holland and Sweden..."

Yeah, and go over to your favourite revolutionaries house to play a friendly match of Husker Du over a mug of hot chocolate.

Posted by: jack | December 4, 2007 11:55 AM | Report abuse

So how is it the Post got the story about Iran,and the White House did not?

K-guy, I read that too about grandparents asking for their children or grandchildren's kidneys. It sounds creepy to me. And it not that I don't have sympathy for those suffering from kidney disorders(that what most of my family die from), but to ask your grandchildren seems just a tad too much.

I had an uncle that suffered from kidney disease, and he came home to ask my mother(his sister) for a kidney, and if she couldn't donate, he wanted to ask me and my sisters for one of ours. My mother told him she could not donate because she suffered from the same ailment he had, but she did allow him to ask each one of us. We were too young to understand the concept of organ transplant, so we said no. We thought we would die too. He did get a donor, not family, but when time came for the surgery he was in such terrible shape they could not do it. He died in the supermarket while buying grocery.

JA, I hope I don't offend by always talking about Eugene Robinson's work here at your space? I don't mean to, because I think your kits are incredible. They always make me laugh even when I'm down lower than you know what. And as I said when I first arrived, it is a learning experience.

Posted by: Cassandra S | December 4, 2007 11:58 AM | Report abuse

There are parallels to the Obama/Hillary race. The tactic of the lesser is to induce a conspicuous over-reaction. The Iran mistake of the USA was to express its thinking in public, as things seemed to be working in 2003 before that point.

Posted by: On the plantation | December 4, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Joel quotes, "That's the kind of conundrum, the question, that is still out there," said John Hebert, chief of the geography and map division of the Library of Congress.

The answer's obvious: Ancient astronauts!

Astronauts, smastronauts. To me, it's obvious that Mr. Hebert has never heard of Mudge.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 4, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Reposted from previous Boodling:

"Good morning, all.
Thanks for the good wishes re. my daughter, she's doing much better now.

That Gene Robinson piece was good, but made me wonder how much of the problem with Americans is that we expect to be able to know so much about what's going on around us. Having gates may help make us feel secure in the knowledge that we *can* have the appropriate information - and some degree of control should we choose to exercise it - regarding who's coming and going in our chosen community, whether that's accurate or not.

Americans have learned the value of security through preventative maintenance and information in our lives.

Interestingly, the universe remains undeterred in its occasionally spectacular unpredictability.

Loomis, thanks for your continued efforts to answer the question: 'What's so great about Texas?'


Posted by: bc | December 4, 2007 12:09 PM | Report abuse

Good Mornin All
Whew what a game last night, I thnk my face has finally thawed out.I had a blast with a good friend watching MNF in Balwmer. I was dressed to the hilt in so many layers, but still there were times when I would say damn it is cold. Wind gusting and snow flying and it was still very loud.

What a great game and although there were some questionable calls at the end,I was really satisfied with our performance.

Well Scotty, your boys unbeaten record is still intact,bbbbaaarrreeelllyyy.

I just wanted to check in and let yall know I have thawed out.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 4, 2007 12:10 PM | Report abuse

Wow! I coulda had a V8!!! It makes perfect sense that 'Mudge was commisioned surreptisiously by King Ferdinand's bro, Duke Fredinand and mapped the world under the radar, smuggling his discovery to the monastery where Waldseemuller served. Of course our Shop Steward's sense of modesty keeps him from admitting that any of this transpired.

Posted by: jack | December 4, 2007 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Good morning! I am so pleased to hear the news about Iran and its burgeoning tourist industry. Building on its local advantages, it can tout the pleasures of windmills and sand dunes, sand castles, oases, and the madcap antics of spies and nuclear energy inspectors.

Actually, I was delighted to see this report released and taken seriously even though it (face it, Arbusto, spin as you might) contradicts the administration's strongly voiced beliefs and casts into doubt their insistence that we must prepare for some sort of fight with Iran (diplomatic, military, whatever). I can't help but think this is a further sign of the administration's relative political weakness. Part of me believes that a couple of years ago they never would have let this out, and would have had the power to stop it.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 4, 2007 12:19 PM | Report abuse

Hey bc, I'm glad your daughter is better.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 4, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

The author of the study, Christopher B. Leinberger, a real estate developer and visiting fellow at Brookings Institute, counted only places where significant subsidies are no longer required to spur development.
My antennae are way up. It may just be the words 'real estate developer' and 'Brookings Institution.'
I'd like to know the reason for his ommission.
Are parks and public spaces contructed to spur development or are they an example of a market failure corrected by evil socialistic governmental meddling?

Posted by: Boko999 | December 4, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

As for the Waldseemuller map--in all probability the Portuguese search for the Christian monarch Prester John plays into the story. And perhaps, too, Venetian mapmaker Andrea Bianco--although his 1436 map doesn't show the Pacific Ocean.

About 1505 Waldseemüller moved to France, to the town of St. Dié in the Vosges mountains, and the site of a Benedictine monastery. About this same time a printing press was set up in the town, under the patronage of René II, Duke of Lorraine. Waldseemüller soon became active in the Gymnasium Vosagense, a society for the arts and sciences which also enjoyed the duke's patronage. The duke encouraged the collecting of foreign books and maps -- including maps from Spain, Portugual, and Italy -- for the society and its bookshop. Duke René was especially interested in geography.

Prester John:

Throughout the Middle Ages, the legend of Prester John sparked geographic exploration across Asia and Africa. ...

When the kingdom moved to Abyssinia after a 1340 edition of the letter, expeditions and voyages began to head to Africa to rescue the kingdom. Portugal sent expeditions to find Prester John throughout the fifteenth century. The legend lived on as cartographers continued to include the kingdom of Prester John on maps through the seventeenth century.

Posted by: Loomis | December 4, 2007 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Bush said he still sees a danger in Iran.
Stephan Hadley said yesterday that is a matter of intention.

Bush has as much reason to invade Iran as he had to go into Iraq. The people who run them are not nice.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 4, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Off to the airport. Great news about Iran. And I just wanted to point out that the timing of the reported dismantling corresponds precisely with my decision to join the government.


Well, yeah....

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 4, 2007 1:15 PM | Report abuse

"Look, Iran was dangerous," Bush said. "Iran is dangerous. And Iran will be dangerous if they have the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon."

You mean they don't have the knowledge? They've just been guessing all this time?

Posted by: Sorry999 | December 4, 2007 1:21 PM | Report abuse

Holiday BPH anyone?

All boodlers, near and far, let's gather at McCormick & Schmick's, 1652 K St, NW, Washington DC on Wednesday, December 12, at 5 pm.

We can celebrate any and all holidays that may or may not be occurring any time soon.

See you there!

Posted by: TBG | December 4, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

The knowledge is a usual red herring for W. Fission bombs are easy. The "knowledge" is out there. Getting your hands on high-grade U235 or, better yet, Pu239 is the hard part.
I don't think they are shooting for a fancy compact thermonuclear device. That one requires knowledge. And it's probably out there as well in great part.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | December 4, 2007 1:34 PM | Report abuse

By the end of our first year in graduate school, every physics grad student knew at least where to look for guidance on how to do the necessary neutron-diffusion calculations to design a nuclear weapon. The information required to brute-force your way to a nuclear weapon is in textbooks the world over. Slick, sophisticated devices are more difficult, but Fat Man and Little Boy are perfectly suitable for scaring the snot out of Americans and for devastating a major population center, and they are quite buildable without tremendous sophistication. Fuel-enrichment technology is much more difficult, but still -- we did it with the technology and technical sophistication of the 1940's (ably assisted by several space aliens, aka, "Hungarians"). I don't know the quality of Iran's current education system, but I'm sure that they still have plenty of guys who were educated before the science curriculum became a matter of religious dogma. They must have, at least, hundreds of people with "the knowledge" of how to build a nuclear weapon. Knowledge of how to do it, and ability to do it, are very different things. We can use surveillance technology to discern whether they have the ability. Only a crazy person could think we could wipe out the knowledge.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 4, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

shrieking denizen: "...fancy compact thermonuclear device. That one requires knowledge. And it's probably out there as well in great part."

Yep. Public knowledge since about 1978. I could tell you, but I worry what you might do with this knowledge.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 4, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Well said, ScienceTim. That's the reason the First Emperor in China tried burning books and killed intellectuals. The same reason to go through cultural revolutions in the 60's.
Hi, Martooni, snow on the front door? Good to hear from you, Cassandra.

Posted by: daiwanlan | December 4, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I'll tell you what is the hard part: the so-called "nuclear trigger" (I do not recall the proper technical term). It sounds like it's just a very high-quality switch, but it's not. From what I can deduce, it is a tiny and efficient particle accelerator that emits a beam of thermalized neutrons. It is used to ignite a sudden burst of fission within a compressed mass of sub-critical-mass fissile material (typically Pu239). Nuclear ignition takes two steps that require microsecond timing accuracy or better (I am really just waving my hand at the actual timing tolerance): (1) Chemical high explosives detonate to drive an implosive shockwave, forcing a collection of sub-critical-mass puzzle pieces together to form a high-density mass that is, still, sub-critical; (2) Then one or more triggers fires a beam of neutrons into the sub-critical mass, dramatically enhancing the population of neutrons that are of sufficiently low energy that they can be captured by nuclei, entering an unstable state from which fission is the natural product, releasing a cascade of waste neutrons that drive a chain reaction of fissions. The trigger has to do its job instantly, before the out-going portion of the high-explosive shockwave arrives and destroys it.

The trigger device permits constructing a very efficient weapon that uses the smallest possible amount of fissile material, and persuading it to fission with the greatest efficiency. However, it can be done in much more sloppy fashion, but still effectively, by using much more fissile material. All you need is for the implosion phase to assemble a mass that is substantially above the critical mass for a fission chain reaction. It will have a greater chance for accidental detonation, it will leave more unfissioned radioactive waste, and will require much more investment in fuel enrichment to get enough material. These limitations did not stop us back in the 40's, and neither will they stop a fanatical leadership that is not interested in the material well-being of its citizenry.

There are others in this Boodle who probably could correct my mistakes, but are obligated to stand silent. Oh, well. I think I have it pretty much correct.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 4, 2007 2:01 PM | Report abuse

The rhetorical bashing of Iran was just a political strategy to change the focus from Iraq and to fine tune the Bush/Cheney Fascist Fear Machine directed at the American people and turn them into Pavlovian dogs. It's Iraq, stupid!

Posted by: ghostcommander | December 4, 2007 2:08 PM | Report abuse

Tim, Ha! I wouln't know what to do with it. Doing a quick "extraction" of the Albertan tar sands maybe.

Even Canukstanis helped. I worked for a man who was on the U metallurgy study team back in the days. And a lot of the U used in the project came from Canada as well. The U concentrate was a waste stream coming off the extraction of Ra out of the ore mined at Port Radium, on the shore of Great Bear Lake in the NWT.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | December 4, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm finding Padouk's sudden disappearance a little unsettling.

Posted by: Boo999 | December 4, 2007 2:17 PM | Report abuse

I agree, *Tim, the combination of very precisely shaped charges and trigger timing would seem to be very tricky.

Fortunately, this is not something I'm planning on doing.

I'm purely a hobbyist.


Posted by: bc | December 4, 2007 2:21 PM | Report abuse

It's agood thing that it is tricky. Denver would have been vapourized otherwise, instead of only suffering a low yield explosion.
Oh, I remember now, it was a book. Sorry.

The man working with metallic U238 (you get lots of it on the other end of the gas diffusion/centrifuge strem) started hurling chunks of it at great speed toward military equipment. It turned out to be a durn good penetrator. Specially in the long rod configuration.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | December 4, 2007 2:36 PM | Report abuse

I hear that waste U238 also sees a lot of use as elevator counterweights.

No, I am not kidding, although I concede that my information probably is a couple decades obsolete. But so are many elevators.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 4, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

I don't know anything about the neutron beam trigger whatchamajiggy, Tim, but from Rhodes' "The Making of the Atomic Bomb" such a trigger wasn't necessary and wasn't used in the A-bombs. Maybe the H-bombs which came later used, it, I dunno. But "Little Boy" just fired a piece of enriched uranium down a gun barrel into another piece, creating critical mass. "Fat Man" used shaped charges around spheres to compress the stuff into a uniform ball of critical mass. I'm about 99% sure no neutron beams where involved. Whether they might be now I have no clue.

The whole point of Leo Szilard's insight in 1933 was that a critical mass would self-ignite. The reason the shaped charges had to be so precisely placed and calculated and fired was that if the (conventional) explosive went off in an irregular fashion, it would blow apart the nuclear material before it had achieved fission--it would just be a dirty bomb, in other words, that scattered uranium around, rather than detonating it. So this was why the explosive (which IIRC was more or less ordinary cordite) had to be placed and fired so it crushed the sphere into a smaller ball.

"Little Boy" bypassed this problem by firing a "bullet" of material down the gun barrel into a ball of more nuclear material (I can't remember if they used uranium or plutonium for this one). This time the challenge was to mathematical predict the proper speed of that "bullet" so that it hit the target sphere at just the right speed. Too fast and it would blow through the sphere before critical mass ignition. Too slow and the thing would have a small explosion and blow the sphere apart before the reaction got fully inder way. Then they had to make sure the explosive propelling the bullet down the barrel was enough to get that correct speed. All very complex and tricky ballistics and explosion (actually, implosion, but that's sort of quibbling) shock wave stuff for that day and age. (And of course they had to produce the nuclear material in sufficient quality and of known, measurable purity that the calculations were correct.)

Now, over the years I'm sure there's been lots of refinements and new, different techniques I know nothing about, and maybe the neutron gun is one of them. These are probably necessary to get the bomb down to "suitcase" size, which is what everybody is afraid of.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 4, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I remember watching a newscast when some country was caught smuggling the micro-switches necessary to set off the 'compression' type of nuclear weapon. The expert they had on illustrated his point by cupping his hands and pretending to crush something. He then made a rude gesture to demonstrate the 'cannon' type of bomb.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 4, 2007 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Little Boy used uranium-235 and Fat Man used plutonium-239

Posted by: Anonymous | December 4, 2007 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Why can't Norman Podhoretz just come out and say he was wrong:

Posted by: Achenbach | December 4, 2007 3:22 PM | Report abuse

Boko, is the story to which you refer--relatively recent, happening only a couple of weeks ago?:,,2-7-1442_2217867,00.html

Cape Town - A mother has appeared in Cape Town Magistrate's Court on charges of helping to smuggle parts used in manufacturing nuclear weapons from the United States to South Africa.

Marisa Sketo, 46, who sometimes uses the surname Kirsh, allegedly also helped to "export" the nuclear weapon parts illegally from South Africa to Pakistan.

She is facing charges under the Weapons of Mass Destruction Act. The trial has been rescheduled for January 23, according to a court official.

A US source said the parts she allegedly helped to smuggle to Pakistan were "rapid high-voltage electric switches".

A nuclear weapons expert, who did not want to be named, said these switches "were lethal when used in nuclear weapons". ...

Beeld newspaper's source in the US said the medical use was allegedly how the US manufacturers, Perkin Elmer Opto-electricians and Giza Technologies, had been persuaded to export the switches to South Africa.

They were imported on the pretext that they were for Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Johannesburg.

The law prescribes a maximum sentence of 15 years, with or without a fine, for the illegal import and export of the switches.

The source said: "Sketo's appearance follows the trial of her former employer, Ashir Karni, an Israeli citizen, who already has been sentenced in the US to three years' imprisonment for allowing the switches to be sent from America to South Africa.

He has been released since then and has returned to Israel," said the source.

According to testimony in Karni's trial, the switches would never have been provided if Perkin and Giza knew they were destined for Pakistan.

Karni, and allegedly Sketo, exported the switches to a Humayun Khan in Pakistan.

During the same week in South Africa (the Sketo story also here):

"On the same night last week that four robbers shot an emergency officer at Pelindaba" -- South Africa's most important atomic facility -- "another attempt was made to bypass the nuclear site's security," according to The Sowetan.

Posted by: Loomis | December 4, 2007 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Gee Whiz, its been such a busy day, I plumb forgot about this! A train derailed on the mail line this monring just down the road from my house.

Posted by: dr | December 4, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Is it safe?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 4, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

I added a link to Bush's news conference to the kit, fyi...and a photo of Slim Pickens from "Dr. Strangelove"...

Posted by: Achenbach | December 4, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Mudge, the explosive in Fat Man was comp B for the most part with a weird concoction called Baratol as the slow explosive (the one insuring a steady progression of the pressure wave).
Comp B is RDX/cyclonite 60% with 40% TNT, common bomb, mine and other fine exploding rocketry stuff.
Baratol is TNT 40% slowed down by Ba nitrate. I know of no other use. Looks like a designer explosive.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | December 4, 2007 3:44 PM | Report abuse

The image that accompanies this Kit is of course the iconic closing sequence from "Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb" wherein Slim Pickens as USAF Major T.J. "King" Kong rides the bomb down onto the Soviet ICBM site and triggers the Doomsday Machine and, um, bad stuff happens. What many people do not know is that Pickens was brought in halfway through the production because Peter Sellers, who was originally slated to play the Kong character (along with three others), had fallen off the bomb in rehearsal and hurt his foot. This was also first screen appearance for James Earl Jones as the bombardier Lt. Zogg. As an Air Force brat, I was always especially amused by the dialog between the folksy Kong and the deadpan Zogg as the B-52 approaches the target and the bombay doors refuse to open. Oh, and Norman Podhoretz is a putz.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 4, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I have read this paragraph many times today, and each time I just end up shaking my head.

'I think it is very important for the international community to recognize the fact that if Iran were to develop the knowledge that they could transfer to a clandestine program it would create a danger for the world. And so I view this report as a warning signal that they had the program, they halted the program. And the reason why it's a warning signal is that they could restart it. And the thing that would make a restarted program effective and dangerous is the ability to enrich uranium, the knowledge of which could be passed on to a hidden program

Posted by: dmd | December 4, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

"Welcome to the UN. It's your world." This is how the United Nations' website welcomes the visitors. But for Iranians, it is not their world. It is a world that has been discriminating against them for years. It is a world that has depicted Iran as the devil and has denied its rights.

The world has been convinced that Iran is a threat for its neighbours. This is while for the last 250 years Iran has not attacked any country but has been attacked in many occasions. Most recently, Iran was a victim of chemical weapons supplied by the western powers. More than 100,000 Iranians were killed in those chemical attacks. Not only the world and the United Nations did not come into rescue, an Iranian complaint to the United Nations Security Council was vetoed by the United States . Where was the conscience of the world at that time?

Iranians have been depicted as terrorists. It is a very confusing world for an Iranian. There has been no Iranian involved in any terrorist attacks in the past. Iran does support Hizbollah, but Hizbollah only and only fights inside the borders of his country against foreign military personnel and never against civilians. For an Iranian, it is mind baffling to call that terrorism. In contrast, the United States has shot an Iranian passenger plane over the Persian Gulf , has supplied chemical weapons to Saddam Hussein to be used against Iranians, and has bombed and tortured civilians across the world over the past years. For Iranians, it is a mystery why the United Nations does not consider the US a terror state.

It is advertised that Iran does not agree to suspend uranium enrichment under any condition. Iran did agree to suspend uranium enrichment. The Iranian conditions included disarming the entire Middle East region from nuclear and chemical weapons and giving Iran security guarantee against foreign invasion and foreign attempts for regime change. The US did not agree these conditions. What did Iranians think when these two conditions were denied? How did Iranians feel when, knowing that these two conditions have been denied, the United Nations went on to pose sanctions against them? The United Nations denied Iran a security guarantee against invasion, bombs, killing and torture of another country. The United Nations denied Iran sovereignty. Is Iranian blood any different from that of the other nations?

Iranians are not building an arsenal to threaten their neighbours or any other country. For the last 250 years, Iran has not attacked any country. While the majority of Iranians, including the writers, denounce and condemn president Ahmadinejad's comments on Israel and the holocaust, his remarks did not contain a military threat to Israel . He called for the day that "the Zionist regime" (intentionally mistranslated to " Israel " by the western media) is wiped off the map. He continued to explain that by "the Zionist regime" he means a regime that discriminates against non-Jews and is, therefore, racist. He concluded his remarks with wishing for the day that Jews and non-Jews live in peace and harmony in that region. This is not a military threat, and most definitely not a threat against Jews. In the past, Iran has denounced the apartheid regime of South Africa . However, Iran has become one of South Africa 's closest allies as soon as the racist practices have been abandoned there. What makes other nations believe the same will not happen this time?

Iranians feel that the United Nations is paving the way for the US to destroy another nation, to kill and to torture Iranians. This is not the first time the US has committed such crime. At this critical time, there is nothing left for Iranians but to hope that some day the conscious of the world will awaken and regret these actions.

Posted by: anaverageiranian | December 4, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

No Loomis. It was years ago. I like yours though.

"No word yet on why Cheney wasn't able to edit, squelch or at least further delay today's release of the national intelligence estimate that Iran is not currently moving towards a nuclear capability."- Froomkin


And I like the photo, Joel.
Joel, could you ask WaPo to provide a transcript for the videos it posts? I can't watch the interview with Bishop Tutu because I've only got dail-up. Lots of sites proivide them and you'd think a newspaper could scare up a transcript.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 4, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

...Sending this comment only to find out if WaPo has blackballed me...

Posted by: Anonymous | December 4, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Shriek. I looked it up and Wiki--and there's all the general plans and and "knowledge" Bush is all worried about, explained so that any ordinary layman (except, perhaps, him), can get the "knowledge" he's so afraid of spreading.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 4, 2007 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Well, they probably would if they knew who you were. But apparently they haven't.

N'est-ce pas?

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 4, 2007 4:26 PM | Report abuse

anaverageiranian has a lot to say, and some of it is quite persuasive. There have definitely been double standards at work in Iran's relations with the rest of the world, and he has some very good points. There are, of course, some significant "howevers" and "buts."

The U.S. has had sore feelings over Iran ever since they held a bunch of our people hostage for a year or so. We're petty that way. Although it was reported at the time, there was little U.S. acceptance of evidence supporting the Iranian view that this was legitimate payback for U.S. efforts to keep the Iranian people saddled with the Shah. Iranian resentment could have been understood; capturing and threatening the lives of innocents was a tougher proposition. I suspect the Iranian view was an expectation that only hostages/human shields would stave off a U.S. reprisal to reinstall our puppet Shah. I don't think Carter would have done that, but I can intellectually understand why the Iranians might not have had much faith in the U.S.

On the other hand, anaverageiranian's view of Hezbollah is whitewashed, at least. They have not been so ethical and noble as this poster claims. They have not peaceably sat behind "their" own borders and acted only in self-defense. They have been willing puppets of outside forces, and they have most definitely not been peace-loving soldiers-by-necessity.

The U.S. shooting down a passenger aircraft was a shameful incident. There should be no surprise that fatal accidents will happen in the vicinity of large quantities of lethal weapons held ready for immediate action. It's amazing that there are not more accidents. However, the evidence supports the contention that it really was an accident, not an act of terrorism, as described by anaverageiranian.

The claim that it was perfectly reasonable to ask, as a precondition, that the entire Middle East disarm from nuclear armaments was obviously intended to be appear rational and peace-loving, while being utterly ludicrous. Israel has nukes precisely because it is surrounded by overtly hostile nations that have more than once demonstrated willingness to wage war in order to eliminate the nation. Whether or not you consider this legitimate, it is clearly foolish and irrelevant to demand a reversal of the *fait accompli* of Israel becoming a nuclear power. It won't happen any time soon.

To western ears, "Zionist regime" is a more offensive term than just calling it "Israel," because it is an insult toward a cohesive ethnic identity rather than a reference to a nation as a fellow actor on the international stage. It was hardly obfuscation to translate it thusly. It actually makes Ahmedinejad sound more sane, instead of like a crazy reactionary.

Posted by: Tim | December 4, 2007 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Well, you know, that Wiki thingy, that's on one of the Internets that Arbusto doesn't know. He knows the Google, but not the Wiki.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 4, 2007 4:36 PM | Report abuse

What Tim said.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 4, 2007 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to boodle hog but I think Podhoretz asks a good question.
Which NIE is skewed and why?

I'd like to know who has power to influence the reports of 16 different intelligence agencies.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 4, 2007 4:41 PM | Report abuse

We know exactly who has the power to skew the reports of 16 different intelligence agencies.

Posted by: ScienceTim | December 4, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

An Average Iranian, I actually agree with many of your points.

However, you're overlooking the Iranian hostage crisis of 1980, which soured relations between the U.S. and Iran, and was perceived as a direct attack. That this was caused by ignorance of the actual policies of the Shah of Iran and conditions for average Iranians cannot be denied.
I further agree that the actions of the Reagan Administration in the Iran-Contra scandal made the Mideastern crisis worse rather than better, in fact fueled the exact problem in Iraq today.

I am actually appreciative that diplomatic relations have been resumed with Iran, even if there is a lot of hostility on both sides. I have grown up with wonderful Iran-american acquaintances.

However, remember, in the last 250 years you cite, the last 27 years has been a government that we know very little about other than their anti-American stand.

And while Iran may not have attacked anybody in the last 250 years, neither did it participate in WWII to help topple dangerous regimes. The U.S. and most of Europe have been in N.A.T.O. for over 50 years to protect against nuclear attack.

The cold war mentality has not quite vanished, especially among certain politicans in power.

Where is the open Iranian pledge of support for its neighbors' stability? When will Iran say to the U.N. "We can and will help stablize the Mideast?"

There is nothing more that I would like to see than a peaceful, strong Iran willing to stablize the Middle east by using its clout, rather than funding underground terrorist countries inside other countries' borders. But others don't want that, and my opinions in the end count for very little politically.

Too bad, eh? International Politics is like herding cats. You're lucky if, after all that effort and energy that you get them to go in one direction. Any direction.

And today I watched a bit of Bush's speech, and it is nonsense, like so much of his speeches since he was first elected.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 4, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

SCC influence or over ride

Posted by: Boko999 | December 4, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Amen, Tim. And excuse my SCCs. It's not being a good language day for me.

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 4, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

This is the next to last graph of the Podhoretz piece-

"But I entertain an even darker suspicion. It is that the intelligence community, which has for some years now been leaking material calculated to undermine George W. Bush, is doing it again. This time the purpose is to head off the possibility that the President may order air strikes on the Iranian nuclear installations. As the intelligence community must know, if he were to do so, it would be as a last resort, only after it had become undeniable that neither negotiations nor sanctions could prevent Iran from getting the bomb, and only after being convinced that it was very close to succeeding."

I find the use of terms like "last resort' and "undeniable" in the context of GWB's use of military force prima facie evidence of putzdom. In answer to Boko999's question, no one but Lord Cheney has that kind of power.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 4, 2007 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Just to be a Mr. Smartguy here... Eratosthenes of Cyrene calculated the circumference of the earth ~200 BCE. This was known by many people of that time. Columbus took the smallest estimate (smaller than Eratosthenes's estimate) and the largest estimate of the size of Eurasia to con the Queen of Spain to give him some ships. Finding out the Americas weren't actually Asia, one would have to assume that they would go with the larger earth size. Thus, they would need a big splash of water in there. Or, ancient astronauts...

Posted by: DouglasG | December 4, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

What anaverageiranian said. And Tim, also.

I have known two Iranians well, and both were and are among my best remembrances. Of all people from that "general area" I have met, I liked the Iranians the best. Generally good folks, I think. I do find it necessary to remind people that they have Ahmadinijad, and well, we have a guy who can't pronounce nuclear in his own native language. I am about sick of all the angry posing tough-talking types. And I remember the Iranian elections of 2003, I believe it was, when, to me anyway, it seemed the American aggression in the region dispirited the people from voting out the old hardliners, and the conservatives carried the election. People need hope. George Bush & Co. offers viciousness.

Which leads me to my suggested debate question for the Republicans. The question is simply this: Can you say nuclear?
is a good place to review the Waldseemuller map. I noticed they had some vague knowledge of Alaska. This may be an important clue. And the entire north coast of Siberia is mapped.

Posted by: Jumper | December 4, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Or am I being too subtle? It's the same guy who induced them to cherry-pick data to support conclusions contrary to the best estimates of the time, and contrary to what has turned out to be the truth. The problem always was: "If you act on intelligence in order to avert a problem, you will never have any data to show that the problem really would have occurred. Therefore, you can never have any evidence that intelligence estimates are valuable, because they always predict things that don't happen." Mr. Bush has given us an experiment to show that if you act opposite to the predictions of reasonable analysis, then the problems predicted by the reasonable analysis *do* come true. Thank you, sir, may I have another?

Posted by: Tim | December 4, 2007 5:09 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: TBG | December 4, 2007 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Very nice picture, Joel, and thank you for giving us some of Arbusto's explanation. His non-scripted remarks always fascinate me because he clearly knows words in English, he can string them into sentences, more or less, but he appears to have little or no idea what all those words mean in combination.

Thank you, Tim.

As I understand him, Podhoretz seems to be suspicious of the NIE and intelligence agencies. They lied at the behest of the Administration to support its theories and desires, then were so ashamed they've been sneaking little bits of the truth out for the last few years, then decided to finallty just tell the whole truth in public rather than leaking it. And they're doing this in order to prevent the administration from acting precipitately based on false knowledge. Clearly, that must be a bad thing.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 4, 2007 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Oh, and that map? Occam's razor dictates the simplest solution is the most likely.

One, that the map is misdated.
Two, it was not actually produced where and by the people it is supposed to be produced by.

Unless I am satisfied that the two above points are in fact impossible, I will not speculate on how those mapmakers could have done such a good job and then gone back to being piss-poor map makers.

Unless... of course, they were acting on early data collected by a satellite-mounted camera designed by Da Vinci. The map was made and then promptly suppressed for national interests as part of an interstellar treaty with alien astronauts.

Just like what would happen at Roswell 450 years later. Woo!

Posted by: Wilbrod | December 4, 2007 5:16 PM | Report abuse

I should have said, to prevent the administration from acting precipitately based on false knowledge as it did with the lies delivered by the intelligence community the first time around. Such transparency can't be good for the country.

Posted by: Ivansmom | December 4, 2007 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Wilbrod... my first thoughts exactly, but I don't know enough about the map or the circumstances surrounding how everyone KNOWS it's what every says it is and was created when they say it was. My first thought was that of course it was misdated. Duh.

And Ivansmom... not sure if the intelligence community actually supplied the administration with lies so much as the truths were thrown out. I'd like to give our fine men and women in the intel community the benefit of my doubt.

Posted by: TBG | December 4, 2007 5:45 PM | Report abuse

As Glen Greenwald points out, the International Atomic Energy Agency has been saying for years that Iran has been in compliance with the non-proliferation treaty.
You remember the IAEA? They were the guys who said Saddam wasn't developing nuclear WMD.

Unlike Bush who is going to supply India with fuel while India won't even sign it.

You remember the IAEA? There the guys who said Saddam wasn't developing nuclear WMD.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 4, 2007 5:57 PM | Report abuse

Greetings from an undisclosed location.

A few comments on the Podhoretz article.

First of all, A NIE is just that, an estimate. Much like a weather forecast, it reflects the learned opinions of experts at a particular moment in time. There is always a certain degree on inherent uncertainty. Just as it would be foolish to start a war based on a NIE, it would be foolish to accept Iran into the good neighbor club just yet.

What I take great umbrage with is the implication that the Intelligence Community has manipulated this NIE for its own selfish ends. This is insulting to the extremely patriotic professionals who do this for a living. (I hear *they* get free coffee.) Further it reflects the common misperception that the IC is some kind of monolithic entity capable of plotting and executing treasonous deceit without detection. Given that the community is not exactly a hotbed of leftist ideology, this assertion is especially absurd. Not only is the IC unwilling to create any kind of conspiracy against the President, such a conspiracy would be a pragmatic impossibility.

This NIE might be wrong, but it is honest.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 4, 2007 6:10 PM | Report abuse

This is a good one.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 4, 2007 6:27 PM | Report abuse

Probably the A-blog needs to spend more time posting kits about (and photos of) Debra Lafave.

Posted by: Achenbach | December 4, 2007 6:29 PM | Report abuse

TBG - There certainly have been lies reported, but they aren't lies told by the IC, rather there were lies told *to* the IC and accepted as truth.

In the past the IC has certainly been duped. The fault is that the IC has traditionally had a hard time accepting notions that violate the "rational actor" model. For example, that Saddam Hussein and his underlings would deliberately engage in some kind of mutual delusion that they had a WMD program, when they really didn't, seemed totally unbelievable to many in the IC. Even though that's actually what happened.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 4, 2007 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Okay, I clicked on the link, Boss. Why should we discuss this woman's moral turpitude just because she's beautiful?

Posted by: Slyness | December 4, 2007 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Or not, Joel.

I suppose the things the CIA gets right may not be as obvious as the things they get wrong. Or maybe it's the enormity of the things they get wrong that skews their record, at least for me. I realize it's terribly difficult to figure out what's going on in closed societies - heck, it's hard enough in open societies. Maybe they need to use more weasel words - probably, possibly, if I can believe what this perhaps crazy lying guy told me...I've got Legacy of Ashes in my library - I could probably make a more coherent contribution after reading it.

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 4, 2007 6:44 PM | Report abuse

SCC - that would be in my library pile - waiting to be read

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 4, 2007 6:45 PM | Report abuse

I would have liked to respond to anaverageiranian, particularly on Hezbollah, but I felt sure the boodle would be able to say it so much better than I. And you did.

Welcome averageiranian.

Posted by: dr | December 4, 2007 6:53 PM | Report abuse

mostlylurking... hope you're doing OK out there.

Posted by: TBG | December 4, 2007 6:53 PM | Report abuse

Canada was duped good and proper by those rascally Indians when used our technology to build their bomb. Or maybe we thought they meant nucular balm.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 4, 2007 6:59 PM | Report abuse

Big day tomorrow so just one more comment.

Mostlylurking, "Legacy of Ashes" is a significant book because it is one of the first times that the CIA has actually responded to one of these books. Traditionally the response was to simply ignore such things. But then Hayden showed up, and I hear he's a fighter.

Posted by: RD Padouk | December 4, 2007 7:06 PM | Report abuse

One good thing about having a 3 to 10 in. snowfall everyday is that you know what you are going to do at night. Shovel snow. So that I will not lost my soul surfing the tubes of the internets for p0rn and bomb recipes. Keeps the hold triceps well toned up too.
averageiranian was everything but. Young US educated son of 1980's immigrant most likely. They see the old country with rose-tinted glasses. I know a few Iranians. They make great salted cucumber&yogurt with garlic and oregano and they don't speak so fondly of the politics of the the current crew that has been in charge those last 20 years. More than half the currant population of Iran wasn't born yet in 1980. They don't dig the ayatollas and the revolutionary guards.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | December 4, 2007 7:16 PM | Report abuse

scc Who knew that Iran had a currant population but me?

Posted by: shrieking denizen | December 4, 2007 7:17 PM | Report abuse

This moment of candidate integrity brought to you by a string of valiant knitty-peeps. DR sent me to earlier today. Posted at YH and linked is this great story about a knitting gal who at a campaign event for Obama, handed said Candidate her knitting-in-progress so that she could take a picture of Obama.

Obama, with casual aplomb, HELD THE SOCK and the needles. Note: no security detail keffluffle at all.

Details and pictures here:

Posted by: College Parkian | December 4, 2007 7:37 PM | Report abuse

Slyness, the honest answer would be "to increase page views." You know, go tabloid. More sleaze, less of the high-brow and the science and the "important stuff." Take the whole thing down a few notches, to the very edge of the gutter.

Back to politics (and straying for a second to something mentioned in the kit): It seems that the presidential election is now all about Iowa. I don't read as much about New Hampshire, much less the later states. But I wonder if it's really going to come down to Florida, a big state that's holding early voting. And no one's really scoured that turf. That might be a good place for me to go when I'm finished with my current writing project which is driving me slightly batty.

As for Bush and his news conference: I think it's interesting that the White House is never wrong about anything. This was a golden opportunity to say, "We overestimated this" or "We didn't get that quite right" or somesuch. Instead, the president has the gift of finding confirmation in situations that others would interpret as repudiation.

Posted by: Achenbach | December 4, 2007 7:40 PM | Report abuse

Well, those rice and currant pilaf dishes are excellent, shrieking.

Posted by: TBG | December 4, 2007 7:45 PM | Report abuse

The boss has a currant writing project? Any currant field in Tennessee?

TBG, I had a great Iranian treat once (eaten with the right hand's fingers and fresh pita bread, no less) It was a layered dish. First crumbled dried pita bread. Then a stew of tomato and herbs. Then seasoned ground beef. Then pureed eggplant (not quite babaghanouj but close). Then pressed yogurt topped with grilled spices. The company was pleasant and that stuff was heavenly.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | December 4, 2007 7:55 PM | Report abuse

I'm fine, TBG, thanks for asking. The actual flooding, mudsliding, and road closings are to the east and north of me. When I saw the sideways rain early this morning, I decided to work from home today.

Froomkin called Bush's response a "neck snap", I believe. I wouldn't call it a gift, either, more like a flaw.

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 4, 2007 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Joel, excellent thought, to go to Florida to visit the 'rents and incidentally to check out the state of the body politic.

I'll take the page view explanation, but I'm not going to check on the links, unless I have to.

Posted by: Slyness | December 4, 2007 7:59 PM | Report abuse

SCC - I mean, the devastation and destruction is to the west and north - and south, too - not so much to the east. I always get tripped up by directions here - something about the ocean being on the wrong side for my orientation, so to speak...

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 4, 2007 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Joel, are you just envying that Debra Lafave article item because of all the comments? It is pretty amazing. Right now, as I type this, the comment count is increasing faster than 1 per second over there. (I stayed on the site and hit F5 once a second for six seconds, that's my scientific method...) I don't know if it's because of her--maybe it's because the commenters get *ICONS* - anyway, what do you want, quality or quantity (oh, right, you don't want readers or commenters at all. We are grateful that you allow us to visit your blog.)

And not to sway your decision about Florida, but the weather continues to be perfect--bright sunshine, cool ocean breezes, and so on. Come on down.

(In the time it took to type this comment, they got 200 more comments on the AOL site...)

Posted by: Anonymous | December 4, 2007 8:12 PM | Report abuse

uh, yeah, that was mine...

Posted by: kbertocci | December 4, 2007 8:13 PM | Report abuse

Hmmm.... let's see... a picture of Slim Pickens or a picture of Debra Lafave?

Hmmm.... pageviews you say?

Posted by: TBG | December 4, 2007 8:17 PM | Report abuse

"(and straying for a second to something mentioned in the kit):"

Almost every comment was about the NIE, Iran, the map, or the walking space story. I believe this is one of the most on kit boodles I've read.
The only distraction I recall was a blatant appeal to my baser instincts (not that I'm complaining.) and now we're veering back into primary politics.
Oh yeah. CP managed to get knitting into an Obama story, or visa versa.
I'm just sayin'. I love a roller-coaster.
Florida sounds like a good idea, it's hard to scour turf under all that snow in Iowa and NH.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 4, 2007 8:19 PM | Report abuse

Cooking from the axis of evil.
I learned this recipe from a pair of guys fleeing the Iranian's revolution in 1978. Most likely rich people's sons. We made that snack many times over in the kitchen of the summer camp I was working in during the summer of 1979. The cook, a Benedictan Brother, never objected.
Iranian cucumbers (TBG will claim it is tzaziki in about 2 seconds)
2 large cucumbers, small seeded or seedless
About one cup of pressed yogurt (could be 8-10% fat Balkan style yogurt, any yogurt with more than 5% fat really. My local Libanese shop cutely labels its pressed yogurt >
"ship" $4.99 or « cow » $3.99. The low fat stuff will deconstruct instantly into a soup, don't even try.)
Crush a couple of garlic cloves and a teaspoon 0f dried oregano in the yogurt. Maybe some pepper.
Apply a couple of tablespoon of coarse (kosher!) salt to the peeled and sliced cukes and mix well. Llike tosing them in the air using a strainer. The ayatollas may lauch a fatwa against you for using kosher saly but it works. Let it rest a few minutes.
Rinse off the salt.
Mix the cukes and yogurt mix.
Wait a few minutes then enjoy.

I'm boodling because I shamelessly employed child labour to clear ou some of the snow.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | December 4, 2007 8:32 PM | Report abuse

scc launch, salt and out, for starter.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | December 4, 2007 8:39 PM | Report abuse

scc llike tosing is the neutral non-judgemental version of like tossing

Posted by: shrieking denizen | December 4, 2007 8:49 PM | Report abuse

shrieking... mint or dill, but not oregano. And drizzle in a little olive oil and lemon juice.

If you don't have the really thick "Greek Yogurt" (they sell it at Trader Joe's), you can hang 4% whole milk yogurt in a cheesecloth bag for a couple of hours to thicken it up a bit.

Cucumbers and garlic. This was the smell of the house in my childhood. We had tzaziki on the table with every dinner. I recently made a batch of this myself and my daughter put it on everything she ate.

Posted by: TBG | December 4, 2007 9:01 PM | Report abuse

Sorry... that sounded so like a reprimand or something. I meant, "I use mint or dill, but not oregano."

We're expecting a dusting of snow tomorrow. Life will be at a standstill.

Posted by: TBG | December 4, 2007 9:02 PM | Report abuse

Slyness... one word for you and Mr. T: biscuits.

Posted by: TBG | December 4, 2007 9:05 PM | Report abuse

So you are making your own pressed yogurt then TBG. Lemon sounds like a good idea.

My bus parked itself for about 20 minutes tonight, most likely for some snow related problem in the street ahead of us. I had a good book with me so it wasn't such an ordeal.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | December 4, 2007 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Boko writes at 4 p.m.:
No Loomis. It was years ago. I like yours though.

Boko, how many years? A decade? Or less? The Asher Karni story goes back to 2003. The federal judge in his case issued a gag order in Sept. 2004--irritating several investigative journalists no end [Who is the judge?]. PBS and Mother Jones did major pieces on the story in 2005. The U.S. State Department was involved.

The links I provided today show the most recent arrest in South Africa in November. The woman, I assume, was some type of mule (as in drug mule, but in this case, it would be a nuclear parts mule) for Karni? It will be interesting to see if she goes to the slammer after her trial, given that the primarly characters Khan and Asher have had, respectively, no and little jail time.

Posted by: Loomis | December 4, 2007 9:14 PM | Report abuse

TBG: yes, dear? Do you need my recipe?

Posted by: Slyness | December 4, 2007 9:18 PM | Report abuse

If you're only using a small container of yogurt (8 oz), you can put it in a coffee filter in a large strainer. Set it over a bowl and you'll be amazed at the amount of liquid that drips out.

And I'll tell you my dirty little secret: instead of lemon juice, I used lime juice. I love lime juice. :-) But I'm afraid the Greeks'll kick me out of the club if I tell anyone.


Posted by: TBG | December 4, 2007 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Did you see the game, Slyness? UNC 106-71 over Penn.

(Scoring at least 100 points means biscuit discounts at Bojangles.)

Posted by: TBG | December 4, 2007 9:26 PM | Report abuse

TBG, lime juice is great again scurvy. Rum, lime juice, sugar and lots of crushed ice makes an acceptable drink too. Draining half the mass in water brings the fat content of 4% fat yogurt within an acceptable standard.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | December 4, 2007 9:27 PM | Report abuse

Oh, okay, gotcha, TBG! Yes, Mr. T had the game on. Not much of a contest, I'd say...not like the game with Davidson that we saw...

Posted by: Slyness | December 4, 2007 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Again the Greek in me says to add mint to that drink, shrieking. Except that it's a Cuban drink, isn't it? A Mojito?

Posted by: TBG | December 4, 2007 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Just when W was getting the slightest semblance of credibility back.

I can't wait for Krauthammer Friday to rejoice that the true threat of Iran can now be exposed. They were just tricking us with the nuclear card. Those clever fellows.

Posted by: bill everything | December 4, 2007 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Anybody just watch that Bob Dylan show on PBS? They ran clips of his 1963, 1964, and the now legendary/historic 1965 Newport Folk Festival concerts--that was the one where he went electric and got booed. Pretty fascinating to watch the transition over the course of those three years.

And now PBS is re-running the great Roy Orbison Concert in Black and White for the 8th time, and for the 8th time I'm sucked in and lovin' it.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 4, 2007 9:35 PM | Report abuse

Mint MAKES it a mojito TBG. It's too sweet for me (heavy diabetic tendencies) but it does sound like good drink.

On the other hand we (the canuckstani gummint) keep refusing Iranian ambassador nominations. Iran keeps nominating guys involved in the 1980 hostage situation, the real revolutionary guards. They are caught in the classical Mao's long walk-cuban revolution conundrum, they can't trust people who weren't there. Thankfully, time is taking its toll on those guys.

Posted by: shrieking denizen | December 4, 2007 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Is this a new PBS thing or the Martin Scorcese thi

Posted by: bill everything | December 4, 2007 9:52 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, I am on my old 1998 computer in the basement. I think my truncated message still is understandable though SCC worthy.

Posted by: bill everything | December 4, 2007 9:55 PM | Report abuse

No, it's "new," Bill, not the Scorsese "No Directions Home" film. This was the documentary Murray Lerner made, The Other Side of the Mirror: Bob Dylan Live At the Newport Folk Festival, 1963-5." It appears to be the first time it's ever been shown on PBS (or anywhere else) in something like 30 or 40 years. I've heard about it for years but never seen it before.

Of course, they just had to separate the three years with those interminable pledge drives.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 4, 2007 9:59 PM | Report abuse

Apparently, there is a Texas connection to the woman recently charged in South Africa, Marisa Sketo, with smuggling nuclear devices--a case of a missing child, Zackary Lamar Kirsh.

According to this website, the investigating agency is the Texas Department of Public Safety.

A picture of Marisa Kirsh, also known as Marisa Sketo, here:

How did this woman come to work for Karni, I wonder? And what is her deeper connection to the Lone Star State, since the missing child disappeared from South Carolina?

Posted by: Loomis | December 4, 2007 10:02 PM | Report abuse

I think it's a "new" Dylan thing, bill. It was on Saturday night here, but I was deep into Six Feet Under, so I missed it. Did you see Maggie in the Newport crowd, Mudge? Maggie, what were you wearing?

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 4, 2007 10:03 PM | Report abuse

I am majorly bummed. Damned family life. They will pay for my missing important personal things they don't understand. By gum.

Posted by: bill e | December 4, 2007 10:07 PM | Report abuse

Kate Blanchet plays Bob Dylan?

Posted by: Anonymous | December 4, 2007 10:18 PM | Report abuse

Hey, anon, I was going to ask if anyone's seen "I'm Not There" yet - I want to, but hoping it will come to a theater closer to me, and that the weather will be more conducive to being out and about. It sounds like an interesting concept - a movie about Dylan, but with a bunch of actors, including Cate Blanchett, portraying him (or not, I guess).

I'm looking forward to Atonement, too.

Posted by: mostlylurking | December 4, 2007 10:22 PM | Report abuse

I honestly don't remember what I was wearing, but since I remember it was daytime*, I'm sure I was wearing shorts and a tee shirt with cobbler-made sandals.

I saw the first part tonight, but taped the second and third because of House and Boston Legal. House turned into a repeat. Bummer. I forgot about the writer's strike.

*I *think* it was daytime, but I'll have to go to the film to be sure. You know what they say about the '60s: If you remember....

Posted by: Maggie O'D | December 4, 2007 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Rats. I caught the first two segments of the Dylan thing on PBS and missed the electric segment because the Danes were whining for their evening feed and exercise. You might have been in pictures, Maggie. I had the good fortune of seeing Dylan on stage, a couple of years apart, at the Ovens Auditorium in Charlotte. Great shows.

Posted by: jack | December 4, 2007 11:05 PM | Report abuse

Great late night lyrics:

"Ain't it just like the night to play tricks when you're tryin' to be so quiet?
We sit here stranded, though we're all doin' our best to deny it
And Louise holds a handful of rain, temptin' you to defy it
Lights flicker from the opposite loft
In this room the heat pipes just cough
The country music station plays soft
But there's nothing, really nothing to turn off
Just Louise and her lover so entwined
And these visions of Johanna that conquer my mind"

Night all.

Posted by: bill e | December 4, 2007 11:08 PM | Report abuse

Martooni, the weatherman is saying there's a fast-moving Alberta clipper right over your house about now, but it's heading this way. The predicted snowfall area encompasses DC and areas north--and stops just a few miles up the road from me. So there's a good chance I'll get on the bus in snow-free conditions, and commute my way into the flurries. And as TBG said, in this area snow = panic.

I hate winter.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 4, 2007 11:10 PM | Report abuse

A couple of quick items:

I think that one of the reasons that there hasn't been further proliferation of nuclear weapons is the precision machine work required to produce weapons. Back in the day, this machine work needed to be done by hand, on huge precision machines that required a lot of experienced care and feeding as well as specialized knowledge. CNC machine equipment is becoming less expensive and easy to operate, which makes the issue more of money and materials rather than knowledge. No doubt this keeps some people up at night.

Finally, I'm tempted to ask if anyone's drawn a map for Presidente Arbusto to direct him to... oh, never mind. Suffice it to say that even if he found it with both hands, I don't think he'd say so unless was felt suitable to someone's ends...


Posted by: bc | December 4, 2007 11:26 PM | Report abuse

No worries, 'Mudge. Just pack that recipe you gave me for deodorizing the tree in your Thermos. You're bound to have a snow day. The Thermos will be your rider for the trip home.

Posted by: jack | December 4, 2007 11:29 PM | Report abuse

Yes! Exactly as I remember it! It WAS daytime, as evidenced by the film showing the Butterfield Band tuning up. The film of the actual event, though, looks like nightime, due I guess to stage light conditions.

The ratios of boos to cheers in the film, I guess because of the location of the mics, looks like about even, though I remember it as boos in the front, cheers in the back.

Posted by: Maggie O'D | December 4, 2007 11:46 PM | Report abuse

Re the Iran NIE:

Thank goodness that this intelligence estimate only considers Iraq's nuclear arms program. We need to make sure we keep Intelligence estimates pointed away from the President, so he's not hurt by them.
Or that he does not accidentally hurt himself with one; those things can get very sharp and pointy, and you wouldn't want him to go running off with one he happens to like for some reason. No telling what could happen.


Posted by: bc | December 5, 2007 12:12 AM | Report abuse

Not that I know a great deal about the practicalities of building a nuclear bomb, but what I always say is that after all, basically it's 1940's technology. Any country I can imagine building a few cars, I can imagine building a few bombs.

Posted by: Woofin | December 5, 2007 12:32 AM | Report abuse

As a physicist, I can say building a bomb isn't too difficult a task in terms of technology- the specifics of it are well-documented. It does, however, require a lot of money. So any country who wanted to throw the money at it could, in theory, build a bomb pretty easily.

And as a denizen of the less politically active university in Cambridge (besides, you know, Chomsky), I ask that you spare our half of the city!

Posted by: Ben | December 5, 2007 3:06 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra - I certainly can't speak for Sr. Achenbach, but I doubt that many of the regulars here are unfamiliar with (or unappreciative of) Gene Robinson's work, or uncomfortable with your praise. I've written/e-mailed him [Mr. Robinson] to let him know how much I appreciate his work, and he's been gracious enough to respond, letting me know that he appreciates the feedback. He's one of Washington's (and specifically the Post's) treasures!

Posted by: Bob S. | December 5, 2007 3:16 AM | Report abuse

Cassandra - Just in case you don't already read her, I imagine that you might also enjoy Cynthia Tucker with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She's been there for quite a few years now. It's probably fair to say that (among other things) she's a sharp black lady who casts a jaundiced eye upon fools who don't know a bird doot when it hits them on the head!

Posted by: Bob S. | December 5, 2007 3:29 AM | Report abuse

Mornin' all...

Looks like I beat Scotty to the keyboard again. ;-)

I wonder if I can get away with running power tools at 4:30am?

Peace (because that's what we need).

Posted by: martooni | December 5, 2007 4:27 AM | Report abuse

Mornin Martooni
Yes go ahead and run your power tools, but only after you get something warm in you.
We are expecting our first snow here today, hopefully i can get off work, make it home ok and then back to work at 3 today.Thank goodness I have all wheel drive.

Posted by: greenwithenvy | December 5, 2007 5:52 AM | Report abuse

'Morning, Boodle, Cassandra, Scotty, Martooni and GWE. We're starting to get our own little pre-dawn group here. Nothing much outrageous to report in the world or among the savage punditry, just a small bit of the usual campaign-as-horserace stuff. And not even interesting stuff at that.

Time to jump in the shower.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 5, 2007 6:00 AM | Report abuse

Hey Martooni, I get away with playing my guitar at 4 in the morning. but then again, nobody in my house wakes up when I set the fire alarm off from the steam from my morning shower at 5:30 am either. Worries me a bit.

Posted by: Pat | December 5, 2007 6:38 AM | Report abuse

A semi-squishy factoid heard last night: Idaho, S. Carolina, and New Hampshire Republicans have some of the highest Bush-approval numbers in the country. Interesting.

Posted by: Jumper | December 5, 2007 7:08 AM | Report abuse

*back-on-the-road-and-hoping-to-be-home-soon Grover waves*


Posted by: Scottynuke | December 5, 2007 7:22 AM | Report abuse

G'morning, everybody. I slept in late, and had one of those weird dreams: I was getting on an airplane to fly to Minneapolis, but to get on it we had to go across water on a bridge without handrails. I don't remember why I was going there, but it was important. Never did get on the plane and in the air. Oh well, at least I woke up!

Posted by: Slyness | December 5, 2007 7:23 AM | Report abuse

Grumbly, just two sips into my 1st cup of coffee, good morning boodle. Very long day yesterday and several more ahead.

After watching my 4-6th graders doing robotics I am thinking that 1940s technology would not be too hard for a motivated country to duplicate. A couple guys up the road bought a CNC machine via e-bay. A farmer and a resort owner, with zero experience and no operator's manuals, were able to get it going and start making parts for vintage tractors that they now sell world wide. Their biggest expense was having the machine shipped from Seattle where it had once belonged to Boeing.

Posted by: frostbitten | December 5, 2007 8:18 AM | Report abuse

Good morning all. Totally off-topic, and I know to some here, this is preaching to the choir, so feel free just to skip over this.

The dumbing-down of recipes has reached a new height. I was okay when 'dredge' becamse 'coat with flour mixture', but would shake my head whenever 'saute onions' was changed to 'cook onions in butter or oil until translucent.' But the one I saw yesterday takes the cake (actually it's from a pie recipe). 'Separate the eggs into yolks and whites.' As opposed to what? Shells and eggs?
How long until we as a society can't feed ourselves without a drive-through window?
Rant over. Time to get DC off to school. Have a good morning all.

Posted by: LostInThought | December 5, 2007 8:25 AM | Report abuse

A couple of us seem a bit peevish this morning (I know I am, but that's no surprise). Case in point: look at the WaPo homepage and look at the young woman in the "On Being" promo. Slightly bored? Somewhat insolent? Does this look like someone about whom you're dying to read her innermost thoughts? Are you interested in "exploring her musings, passions, histories and quirks" -- or do you just want to ask her not to supersize the fries, please, and make it snappy?

OK, that's it for me for now.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 5, 2007 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Mudge I believe her first comment would be "whatever".

I am not peevish at all this morning, had a very nice dinner with Yoki last night.

Morning all

Posted by: dmd | December 5, 2007 9:05 AM | Report abuse

The only candidate who's been visiting Florida is the Republican one whose name nobody can remember. The others abide by their parties' bans on campaigning in states whose primaries are too early. Not to mention that Florida won't be allowed to send delegates to the Democratic convention. The Party didn't even reserve hotel rooms for the delegates, who will presumably picket the convention hall from a barbed-wire-enclosed "free speech zone", expecting to be tasered if they so much as yell too loud.

Posted by: Dave of the Coonties | December 5, 2007 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Lat night there was an add on TV for a new product that makes 'hommade meals' possible in just minutes. It flashed the product, which is packaged in one of those new fangled ice cream containers (rectangle shape with round corners, holds a couple of litres of product). Apparently you dump the frozen contants into your slow cooker in the morning, turn it on, and voila when you get home, its dinner waiting for you.

We are now to dumb to peel some veggies and cut some meat to toss into our slow cookers.

Posted by: dr | December 5, 2007 9:34 AM | Report abuse

If I could only spell. Sigh.

Posted by: dr | December 5, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Lostin, my personal favorite is the instruction printed on shampoo bottles which says "Use as you would ordinary shampoo."

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 5, 2007 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Good morning, my dear, dear, friends. My,my, we do sound a little ill this morning. I hope that mellows out as the day moves forward. I'm good this morning. It's the busy day, Bible studies and the Center.

lostinthought, I really laughed from the bottom of my stomach at your comment. It was really funny.

Mudge, the person on the front page of the Post where we are invited to partake of her musings seems a little not there. I don't know if I want to share that space. Your comment was funny too.

Slyness, that dream, and I don't know dreams, seems like some distance might be coming up in your life. I hope it's all good.

Martooni, Scotty, and all, morning *waving*.

The g-girl was her perky self as usual this morning. And boy is it cold, but one couldn't tell that from watching the g-girl. All over the place.

Thanks, Bob for the answer to my question. And yes, I read Cynthia Tucker all the time. Love her work. And yes, she doesn't have much patience with off the wall folks. Speaks her mind on all issues. Down to earth. I try to cover a variety of issues by reading different people.

Got to go, time to begin the day.

Bless each and every one of you, and bless your wonderful loving families also. May this holiday season be the best and the brightest and in being that, may the spirit and love of God through Christ shine brightly in your hearts.

God loves us so much more than we can imagine through Him that died for all, Jesus Christ.

Posted by: Cassandra S | December 5, 2007 9:40 AM | Report abuse

Urim and Thummim
Nephi, Sam, Jacob, and Joseph--Nephites
Laman and Lemuel--Lamanites
Oliver Cowdery
Moroni, the angel
Mormon, the military figure
Kolob, the star
The Dispensation of the Fullness of the Times
United Order of Enoch
Sons of Dan--Danites, also "Avenging Angels"
Palmyra, Kirtland, Far West, Nauvoo

Just helping y'all get ready for Romney's speech tomorrow.

Interesting op-ed at the NYT today, "Mitt Romney Is No Jack Kennedy":

Mr. Romney, on the other hand, has been a Mormon pastor and the equivalent of a Catholic bishop. Moreover, he is campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination at a time when candidates from both parties are expected to detail how their religion informs their politics -- and answer to the news media if they refuse. Kennedy was spared having to explain Catholic doctrines that never mattered much to him. Mr. Romney's challenge is to avoid talking about controversial Mormon doctrines that to him matter very much indeed.

Instead, Mr. Romney is likely to stress how his Mormon upbringing will make him a good president. And how those values are fully within the American grain. If he succeeds, there will be one less religious test for the American presidency.

But there is still one other difference between the two speeches. Kennedy engaged a live audience of doubters and bearded lions in their own den. It was high noon drama. Mr. Romney will speak in protected Republican surroundings, unable to engage a pair of adversarial eyes or read a single hostile face.

Posted by: Loomis | December 5, 2007 9:46 AM | Report abuse

If only we would take the time, and the many blessings that God has bestowed on us, and give them back to the One that gives all good gifts. Give them back in the form of love, kindness, patience, compassion, to our fellowman. On our own we don't seem to have that ability, yet there is hope. Christ is our hope and the answer to our lack, and we celebrate his birth this month. We hail Christ as King, Lord and Saviour, we honor and praise Him with our very lives. Thank you, Sweet Jesus for your gift of love, and help us to love. Merry Christmas and a Happy and Joyous New Year to all.

Posted by: Cassandra S | December 5, 2007 9:51 AM | Report abuse

I bet Romney's speech omits reference to the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Just a guess.

Dr, instead of "peel" don't you think it should read: "Remove skin of vegetable using a sharp paring knife and/or special skin-removing instrument (a.k.a. "peeler"), remembering always to cut away from you (unless you are much older, such as my mother or grandmother, who often cut toward themselves, contrary to sound peeling practice)." Thank you. This important safety message has been brought to you by KOSHER, the Kitchen Occupational Safety Hazard Elimination Repository.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 5, 2007 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Or "Big Love."

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 5, 2007 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Which, contrary to a rumor I started several years ago, was NOT, repeat, NOT, my high school nickname.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 5, 2007 10:10 AM | Report abuse

You're right, Mudge. I'm actually finding myself avoiding the WaPo home page so I don't have to look at that sullen face.

Posted by: TBG | December 5, 2007 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Morning again, all...

Just got back from that evil store that sells everything cheap and rhymes with Skull Mart.

Our TV pooped out, which makes for a very grumpy Mrs. M. and Little Bean, so I had to buy a new one or World War III would not be a "never mind". A 27" screen might not be big by Boodle (or otherwise civilized) standards, but this is the biggest TV I've ever owned. And for just $200 (plus tax).

Off to the shop to make more sawdust to pay for our early Christmas gift to ourselves...

Peace out :-)

Posted by: martooni | December 5, 2007 10:16 AM | Report abuse

Do you remember some time ago when the Boodle (Mudge led the charge, IIRC...)thought it unfair that columnist Robert D. Novak would use the Mormon Mountain Meadows tragedy to assail Mitt Romney? I agreed.

However, that said, I have recently picked up Sally Denton's book about the incident, to discover, toward the end, that the University of Utah's forensic anthropologist studying the remains is Shannon Novak--same name as columnist Novak, but I'm unaware of any relatedness. The section in the book on her is interesting, but this link also tells her story, including investigation of the Donner Party (much closer to my old home, and lover of the CBS crime drama, CSI, that I am).

Shannon A. Novak (Ph.D., University of Utah) is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. Trained in skeletal biology at the Smithsonian Institution, she has extensive experience in the analysis of skeletal remains from prehistoric, historic, and forensic contexts. Her field experience includes archaeological research in Jordan (1990) and osteological studies in England [examination of bones of soldiers on the most savage battlefield of Britain's 15th century War of the Roses] (1996, 1999), Croatia (1997, 2001), the United States (1990-2004), and Guatemala (2005).

In 1999 she analyzed skeletal remains from the 1857 Mountain Meadows massacre. Her research on the massacre continues through the study of oral and written traditions in both southern Utah and northwestern Arkansas.

In 2004, she conducted field research at the site of the Donner Party camp in the Sierra Nevada. Novak's recent research has focused on the anthropology of violence in an evolutionary perspective, including the political and symbolic use of dead bodies. Her publications include "Battle Related Trauma," in The Battle of Towton AD 1461: Archaeology of Medieval Warfare (Oxbow, 2001); "To Feed a Tree in Zion: Osteological Analysis of the 1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre" (Historical Archaeology, 2003); "Beneath the Facade: A Skeletal Model of Domestic Violence," forthcoming in the Social Archaeology of Human Remains (Oxbow, 2006); and "Remembering Mountain Meadows: Collective Violence and the Manipulation of Social Boundaries," forthcoming in the Journal of Anthropological Research (Spring, 2006).

The grafs in this article are taken directly from different parts of Denton's book. Interesting bits about Presidents Taylor and Fillmore:

Posted by: Loomis | December 5, 2007 10:17 AM | Report abuse

Good morning.
Loomis. I'm not sure when I saw that segment but it didn't concern the story you linked to (Wow. the things people get up to.) I may have confused different events I do remember laughing when the 'oh so serious expert made the universal gesture for the bad thing.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 5, 2007 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Loomis, was it you who linked to something Romney yesterday? Anyway I went and had a quick look. It reminded me of something I thought after the Wapo pictures the other day from Joel's Two Cents column.

What is with Mr. Romney's hair? Seriously. In the photo, the hair came across not the candidate.
My first thought was Maggie Thatcher, and her big 1980's do.

I've mentioned my aversion to the 'too perfect' look of Clinton earlier, and maybe Romney needs some of the same. He needs to learn to outrun his handlers.

I wonder at the wisdom of voting for people who have to have a person who tells them how to dress and how to comb their hair. Perhaps it says a lot about who they listen too.

They should aim for sartorial blandness.

Posted by: dr | December 5, 2007 10:22 AM | Report abuse

dmd... I'm so jealous you got to have dinner with Yoki! I was hoping that would work out when she said she was traveling to your neck o' the woods.

Posted by: TBG | December 5, 2007 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Slaps self on forehead.

What was I thinking. Thank's for catching that Mudge.

Posted by: dr | December 5, 2007 10:30 AM | Report abuse

Yes we had a lovely time TBG, great food and managed to solve most of the worlds problems at the same time :-)

Posted by: dmd | December 5, 2007 10:33 AM | Report abuse

I remember the Novak/Mountain Meadows discussion a while back, LindaLoo, but I don't think I even participated in it, much less led the charge. Although I do of course think Novak is a maroon, as is well known.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | December 5, 2007 10:36 AM | Report abuse

I'd vote for a candidate with fly-away hair.

Romney looks like he came out of a plaster mold -- and sounds like it, too. Perfect hair with a manufactured smile. He's like the villainous class president type character in Animal House and numerous other "college coming of age" movies. Anybody that clean cannot be trusted.

What gets me is that these guys (the Republican candidates) had the nerve to call John Kerry a flip-flopper. These guys flip and flop like fish on a hot boat deck.

Attention pots of America: it is now okay to call kettles black without fear of repurcussions (if you're a Republican pot).

btw... "Smug" is another word that comes to mind when I see Romney.

Now I'm really off to get some work done. We're up to 23F so maybe my paints have thawed (if not my bum).

Peace out...

Posted by: martooni | December 5, 2007 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Enjoy the new TV, martooni!

Has anybody taken the choose your candidate quiz on the WaPo front page? My picks were Obama and Edwards. Way kewl.

Maybe I should try the Repub side, just for grins and giggles.

Posted by: Slyness | December 5, 2007 10:46 AM | Report abuse

OH MY GAWD...It's snowing on Dec.'s just like that movie 'The Day After Tomorrow'.....AaAAaAHHHhh....RUN FOR THE HILLS...IT'S A NEW ICE AGE...slip...bump...crack...OUCH.

Posted by: omni | December 5, 2007 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Martooni mentions "Animal House" and the Greg Marmalard character and I immediately flash on Greg and his best girl Mandy parked in lover's lane. She snaps off a pair of latex gloves after giving him a ... smile. IIRC in the "postscript" reveal we learn that Mandy married (future Senator) Blutarsky and Greg was involved in Watergate and subsequently raped in prison. Perhaps the Mittster will be spared such indignities.

Posted by: kurosawaguy | December 5, 2007 10:59 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Boko999 | December 5, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

New Kit!

Posted by: shrieking denizen | December 5, 2007 11:03 AM | Report abuse

Please disregard my last advice. I've just looked at the satelite image of the snowstorm headed for DC.
Panic is not unreasonable as long as you panic in the direction of home.

Please leave now.

Posted by: Boko999 | December 5, 2007 11:12 AM | Report abuse

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