Monthly Archives: September 2010

If You Want Something Done, You Do It Yourself.

Obama also kept asking his generals for more options to consider. They were playing the old trick of giving the president three pseudo-options—two that were clearly unacceptable (in this case, 80,000 more troops for full counterinsurgency and 10,000 troops just to train Afghan soldiers) and the one in the middle that they wanted (40,000 more troops). They never gave him another option. When Gen. James “Hoss” Cartwright, the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, drew up a compromise plan involving 20,000 troops (believing the president had a right to see a wide span of options, even if the military didn’t agree with them), Mullen forbade him from taking it outside the Pentagon. Obama never saw it.

In the end, Woodward reveals, Obama devised his own alternative strategy and personally wrote out its terms in a six-page, single-spaced memo that he made his top civilian and military advisers read and sign on to.

This is classic Obama — if you can’t give him what he wants, he’s just going to sit down and do it himself. I don’t think you can underestimate the guts of this move. Whether his strategy will actually work, well, remains to be seen.


“Basically, this is a brief soundbite,” the scientist will say, from a department and university that I will give brief credit to. “The existing science is a bit dodgy, whereas my conclusion seems bang on,” she or he will continue.

Nerd Attention Deficit Disorder

Stop reading right now and take a look at your desktop. How many things are you doing right now in addition to reading this column? Me, I’ve got a terminal session open to a chat room, I’m listening to music, I’ve got Safari open with three tabs open where I’m watching Blogshares, tinkering with a web site, and looking at weekend movie returns. Not done yet. I’ve got iChat open, ESPN.COM is downloading sports new trailers in the background, and I’ve got two notepads open where I’m capturing random thoughts for later integration into various to do lists. Oh yeah, I’m writing this column, as well.

Folks, this isn’t multi-tasking. This is advanced case of Nerd Attention Deficiency Disorder. I am unable to function at my desktop unless I’ve got, at least, five things going on at the same time. If your count came close, you’re probably afflicted, as well. Most excellent.

This is definitely an accurate depiction of my work habits, but I’m not sure if celebrating it isn’t just an excuse-making mechanism.

Like A G6 screw/ Far East Movement featuring The Cataracts.
Promethazine rap, y’all.
Via Brady.


A must-watch.

I saw Pavement last night for my first, and likely only, time.

  • Steve Malkmus seems as cool as you’d hope, and is still a really talented guitar player.
  • Bob Nastanovich also met crazy/wild expectations. Charlie from Always Sunny owes him 10% of all income from the show.
  • Really satisfying stage banter. Does it really take 20+ years as a band to get your live show chat to be non-irritating?
  • When I first started at the Prospect, I frequently titled posts with Pavement lyrics, until I was told that being obscure is terrible for traffic.

Annals of the Senate

All of a sudden it became a deadly serious matter, and the two Senators, both 61, peeled off their coats, handed them to aides, and huffed and puffed their way into what turned out to be a ten-minute rasslin’ match.

Thurmond had all the best of it: a trim, 170-pounder, he is the Senate’s No. 1 physical fitness bug, does not smoke or drink (not even carbonated beverages), just that morning had done 59 push-ups on his office carpet. Yarborough is a fairly flabby 200-pounder.

Grunt, groan, wheeze—and down went Yarborough, with Thurmond atop him. “Tell me to release you, Ralph, and I will,” said Thurmond. Yarborough looked bravely up from his position on the terrazzo floor and averred: “I’m waiting for my second wind.”

Ohio’s Democratic Senator Frank Lausche came rushing up, warned both rasslers that they were running the risk of heart attacks. Said Thurmond: “I’ll release him if he wants to be released.” Yarborough allowed as how he was still waiting for that second wind.

Finally, Washington’s Democratic Senator Warren Magnuson, the Commerce Committee chairman, heard of what was happening and hurried out of the committee room. Cried he: “Let’s break this up.” At that point Thurmond, apparently tired of sitting on Yarborough, said with characteristic gallantry: “I will have to yield to the order of my chairman.”

Thereupon he arose, and all the Senators went into the committee room to vote, 16 to 1, for confirming Collins. The lone dissenter was—guess who?