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July 29, 2005

Tom Tomorrow:
Fox News explains it all to you

Apparently a guest on Fox News has suggested that the innocent man shot by London police may have been an al Qaeda decoy:

IT WOULDN'T BE OUT OF THE QUESTION FOR THEM TO PICK ON SOMEONE WHO MAY NOT BE MIDDLE EASTERN BUT WHO MAY LOOK MIDDLE EASTERN. SAY, SOMEONE WHO IS FROM SOUTH AMERICA, SOMEONE WHO IS FROM CENTRAL AMERICA, AND, SAY, YOU KNOW, WE KNOW THEY'RE RACIAL PROFILING US, SO WE'RE GOING TO TRY TO GET SOME PUBLIC OPINION ON OUR SIDE. LET'S DRESS THIS GUY UP, TELL HIM TO ACT SUSPICIOUS, AND IF THE POLICE APPROACH HIM, TELL HIM TO RUN AWAY, AND WHEN THE POLICE CATCH HIM, THEN HE APPEARS TO BE INNOCENT, SO, YOU KNOW, IN ESSENCE, THEY START SENDING OUT DECOYS. THEY CAN DO ALL KIND OF THINGS WHEN THEY KNOW THAT YOUR NET -- THAT YOU HAVE CAST A NET THAT'S THAT NARROW.

(Via Atrios.) There are times when I really don't know whether to laugh or cry. Maybe next someone will suggest that the taxi driver known only as Dilawar tortured himself to death, to make the U.S. look bad.

Tom Tomorrow:
Further perversity

In response to my call below for peculiar and perverse products, several readers have suggested the forthcoming comic--and guaranteed instant camp classic--Liberality:

It is 2021, tomorrow is the 20th anniversary of 9/11 It is up to an underground group of bio-mechanically enhanced conservatives led by Sean Hannity, G. Gordon Liddy and Oliver North to thwart Ambassador Usama Bin Laden's plans to nuke New York City ...And wake the world from an Orwellian nightmare of United Nations- dominated ultra-liberalism.

Don't miss the complete synopsis, which reads like Jonah Goldberg channelling Ed Wood. Coulter laws! Vice President Michael Moore! The Department of Political Correctness! Oh, the hilarity!

I myself can hardly wait.

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July 28, 2005

Tom Tomorrow:
Bob Herbert points out the obvious

Occasionally someone needs to:

You can run through all the wildly varying rationales for this war: the weapons of mass destruction (that were never found), the need to remove the unmitigated evil of Saddam (whom we had once cozied up to), the connection to Al Qaeda (which was bogus), and one of President Bush's favorites, the need to fight the terrorists "over there" so we won't have to fight them here at home.

All the rationales have to genuflect before "The Prize," which was the title of Mr. Yergin's Pulitzer-Prize-winning book.

It's the oil, stupid.

What has so often gotten lost in all the talk about terror and weapons of mass destruction is the fact that for so many of the most influential members of the Bush administration, the obsessive desire to invade Iraq preceded the Sept. 11 attacks. It preceded the Bush administration. The neoconservatives were beating the war drums on Iraq as far back as the late 1990's.

Iraq was supposed to be a first step. Iran was also in the neoconservatives' sights. The neocons envisaged U.S. control of the region (and its oil), to be followed inevitably by the realization of their ultimate dream, a global American empire. Of course it sounds like madness, which is why we should have been paying closer attention from the beginning.

You'd think it would be difficult to argue with the paper trail the neo's themselves left behind, pre-9/11, but the pro-war types always have a thoughtful rejoinder at hand--i.e., typing the word "oil" in all caps, repeating each letter multiple times. It's one of the automatic reflexes that passes for thought on that side of the ideological divide.

Tom Tomorrow:
Perverse product of the week

Remember the end of the movie "Titanic," where the ship upended in the water and the passengers slid down the length of the deck to an icy death in the water below?

Well now you can relive the fun and excitement with your very own Titanic water slide!

(Photo via spam from a Chinese manufacturer of inflatable kiddy rides.)

* * *

I'm thinking that this should be a regular feature, so feel free to submit your own perverse products...

Update: apparently the Titanic water slide is old news to a lot of people. What can I say? Until last year, I was living in Brooklyn--didn't make it to a lot of water parks or state fairs...

Tom Tomorrow:
Judy, Judy, Judy

Arianna has a theory:

Not everyone in the Times building is on the same page when it comes to Judy Miller. The official story the paper is sticking to is that Miller is a heroic martyr, sacrificing her freedom in the name of journalistic integrity.

But a very different scenario is being floated in the halls. Here it is: It's July 6, 2003, and Joe Wilson's now famous op-ed piece appears in the Times, raising the idea that the Bush administration has "manipulate[d]" and "twisted" intelligence "to exaggerate the Iraqi threat." Miller, who has been pushing this manipulated, twisted, and exaggerated intel in the Times for months, goes ballistic. Someone is using the pages of her own paper to call into question the justification for the war -- and, indirectly, much of her reporting. The idea that intelligence was being fixed goes to the heart of Miller's credibility. So she calls her friends in the intelligence community and asks, Who is this guy? She finds out he's married to a CIA agent. She then passes on the info about Mrs. Wilson to Scooter Libby (Newsday has identified a meeting Miller had on July 8 in Washington with an "unnamed government official"). Maybe Miller tells Rove too -- or Libby does. The White House hatchet men turn around and tell Novak and Cooper. The story gets out.

This is why Miller doesn't want to reveal her "source" at the White House -- because she was the source. Sure, she first got the info from someone else, and the odds are she wasn't the only one who clued in Libby and/or Rove (the State Dept. memo likely played a role too) but, in this scenario, Miller certainly wasn't an innocent writer caught up in the whirl of history. She had a starring role in it. This also explains why Miller never wrote a story about Plame, because her goal wasn't to write a story, but to get out the story that cast doubts on Wilson's motives. Which Novak did.

Tangentially related cartoon here.

--------------------

July 26, 2005

Tom Tomorrow:
Journalism at its finest

Ice cream is apparently a popular treat in hot weather.

(Hat tip: August.)

...tangentially related cartoon here.

Tom Tomorrow:
A note about Glox News

The point of the alien gibberish in the "crawl" was simply to capture the look of a newscast in a cartoon featuring two multi-tentacled alien creatures. I used what I thought would be an unreadable font which was, it turns out, not so unreadable. I confess to having typed in some stream of consciousness riff about Hannity and O'Reilly being morons and liars--but I wasn't really trying to pass along a secret message to the select few, I was just trying to come up with a plausible-looking string of alien word-shapes.

So to answer the two most common questions I'm receiving right now:

(1) The news logo behind the aliens translates as gibberish because it is gibberish; and

(2) Yes, apparently if you translate the crawl, I mistyped the word "moron" as "morpon."

And while I'm flattered that so many of you would take the time to figure that one out, I have to say, you're scaring me a little bit here, people.

--------------------

July 25, 2005

Tom Tomorrow:
Supporting the troops
The Bush administration's rallying call that America is a nation at war is increasingly ringing hollow to men and women in uniform, who argue in frustration that America is not a nation at war, but a nation with only its military at war.

From bases in Iraq and across the United States to the Pentagon and the military's war colleges, officers and enlisted personnel quietly raise a question for political leaders: if America is truly on a war footing, why is so little sacrifice asked of the nation at large?

There is no serious talk of a draft to share the burden of fighting across the broad citizenry, and neither Republicans nor Democrats are pressing for a tax increase to force Americans to cover the $5 billion a month in costs from Iraq, Afghanistan and new counterterrorism missions.

There are not even concerted efforts like the savings-bond drives or gasoline rationing that helped to unite the country behind its fighting forces in wars past.

"Nobody in America is asked to sacrifice, except us," said one officer just back from a yearlong tour in Iraq, voicing a frustration now drawing the attention of academic specialists in military sociology.

More.

...and then there's this:

In an interview, Douglas J. Feith, the under secretary of defense for policy, said that discussions had begun on a program to seek commitments from bankers, lawyers, doctors, engineers, electricians, plumbers and solid-waste disposal experts to deploy to conflict zones for months at a time on reconstruction assignments, to relieve pressure on the military.

I believe there are representatives of at least a few of those professions among the war's more prominent online advocates. And what good news for them--finally, they'll be able to really contribute something to the war effort!


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