Political Animal


FRIDAY SHOULD BE INTERESTING….Hans Blix’s folks have confirmed that missiles currently in Iraq’s arsenal exceed UN limits (they have a range of 114 miles instead of the allowed 90 miles). In the great scheme of things this probably wouldn’t matter much except for this:

Council diplomats said Mr. Blix seemed to be moving toward demanding that Iraq turn over the missiles to the inspectors for destruction, a concession many diplomats expect that Mr. Hussein will be unwilling to make as the prospect of an American-led attack grows imminent.

A small material breach is one thing, and probably wouldn’t change anyone’s opinions. But if Saddam refuses to turn them over, then what? It hardly seems likely that even the French could defend the inspections regime at that point.

UPDATE: Kevin Batcho asks the equally interesting but opposite question: what if the Iraqis agree to destroy the missiles? After all, they did declare them voluntarily. Can Bush and Blair still justify an attack?

GENEALOGY UPDATE….One of the great

GENEALOGY UPDATE….One of the great services that the Mormon church provides to the world is its enormous collection of genealogical information. They have been collecting and microfilming anything they can get their hands on for over a century, and they are a tremendous resource for researchers.

That’s where I was this afternoon: at my local LDS Family History Center looking through old English parish records with my mother. Mostly it was a bust, and we turned up virtually nothing new. But not completely a bust: we did find the original marriage record for my great-great-great-great-grandparents, Joseph Membry and Mary Ann Lavinder, in Bath Abbey on September 11, 1814. Pretty exciting, eh?

But jeez, they sure did pick a bad day to get married on, didn’t they? It reminds me of a guy I read about who was born on September 11 ? as about 1 million Americans are ? who complained that he would never again be able to celebrate his birthday on its real day. Some people just have no foresight, do they?

THE RIGHT WING….Patrick Ruffini thinks

THE RIGHT WING….Patrick Ruffini thinks there ought to be a conservative version of The West Wing and has posted a bunch of episode summaries at his site. It’s pretty amusing, but this episode caught my eye:

1.05. No Private Company. [President] Prescott travels to Chicago for a HUD event and is confronted by angry public housing residents. Despite the protestations of the local Congressman, the President asks to be shown the rat-infested areas residents are complaining about. He later yells at his Chief of Staff, ?No private company could ever get away with this!? and, in his best muckraking pen, drafts a speech calling for the privatization of HUD.

Huh? No private individual would ever run a rat-infested slum? You, uh, don’t get out much, do you Patrick?

But I admit that this one is pretty funny, in an inside-bloggerish kind of way:

1.13. Blood on His Hands. The President confronts Robert Fisk at a reception for foreign journalists.

Newly engaged as you are, though, you are planning to hold on to your day job, aren’t you….?

ET TU, COLIN?….Mark Kleiman notes

ET TU, COLIN?….Mark Kleiman notes that we now know Colin Powell was, um, stretching the truth when he claimed that Osama bin Laden said he was “in partnership with Iraq” in his taped message. His comment:

A note to the warhawks: This sort of stuff makes it really, really hard for those of us who are trying our best to support your cause but who don’t like being bullshat.

That’s a very pithy way of putting it. And I’d like to say that, quite aside from endorsing Mark’s enchanting use of the past tense here, I completely agree with his post. Like him, I’m also having a very hard time staying on board given the Bush administration’s escalating (!) fondness for (a) lying and (b) striving with almost lunatic intensity to destroy every international alliance we have.

As Mark said, it’s getting really, really, hard.

UPDATE: On a similar note, Josh Marshall has a very good post up today that says this about Bush’s attempts at working with the rest of the world:

It’s always someone else’s fault. The South Koreans are lame. The Europeans are lame. Our Arab allies are lame. Everybody is lame. We’re given excuse after excuse. But at the end of the day the result seems to be our historic alliances, if not in shambles, then at least thoroughly beat-up.