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2005 Q4

December 30, 2005

Hrm. Is Fallujah still the safest city in Iraq?


Juan Cole pretty well sums up the outcome (so far) of Shrub's Iraq Adventure:

Washington's interventions in the Middle East have created a failed state in Iraq that has no military power to speak of, has threatened the Oil Gulf with destabilization, and has in various ways contributed to the ascension of political Islam. Shiite fundamentalist parties rule Iraq. The Islamist warlords are back in the Afghan parliament. Hardliners have been strengthened in Iran, and are creating a Tehran-Baghdad alliance. Sunni Arab Iraqis are turning to fundamentalist Islam in large numbers, forsaking secular Arab nationalism. Some are growing close to al-Qaeda-type organizations. The Lebanese Hizbullah has rich and powerful new allies. Lebanon is free of foreign military forces, but is threatened with renewed sectarian conflict. And the Muslim Brotherhood is emerging as a possible successor to the long-lived secular military regime in Egypt.

The entire, long post is a great read. This shit is going to blowback on us.

December 29, 2005

In a couple of weeks I'll be taking an 8.5 hour flight on a DC-10. The last DC-10 rolled off the assembly line in 1988.

A couple of days ago I was flipping the TV and something caught my eye on the History Channel: The Crash of Flight 191. I should've kept on flippin', because the aircraft for Flight 191 -- which crashed and burned upon takeoff, May 25, 1979, killing 275 people when one of the goddamn engines fell off -- was a DC-10.

Flight 191 goes down.

Bad combo: 112 vertical bank and a missing left engine.


Yes, my thoughts exactly, over a week ago. From Robert Scheer:

'Dr. Germ' and 'Mrs. Anthrax' on the loose

Why is it not bigger news that those infamous Iraqi female scientists once routinely referred to in the media as "Dr. Germ" and "Mrs. Anthrax" have been quietly released from imprisonment in Iraq without any charges being brought by their U.S. captors? Don't the newspapers and TV networks that all but pre-convicted them of crimes against humanity owe them -- and us -- the courtesy of an explanation for the sudden presumption of their innocence?
December 27, 2005

You wanna know the pain of fatherhood? I mean real, excruciating fucking birth-like pain? Try assembling a 200-piece Playmobil Knights Rock Castle and a Jeep Fire Rescue ride-on toy while you're 7 sheets to the wind, deep into a 1.5L bottle of cheap French chardonnay at 1AM on Christmas morning.

In My Son's Bag:

Playmobil Knights Rock Castle, via playmobil.com. $79.99.


Jeep Fire Rescue ride-on toy, via Costco. $175. Let's hope the wheels stay on!

December 22, 2005

Extreme Schadenfreude for Thursday, December 22:

Scott McClellan

Holy Shit! Learned from today's Post feature on him, this guy is only 37 years old! Dude could pass for 57 easy.


Under Heavy Consideration:

Obey Wallpaper tee

Obey Wallpaper Tee, via Urban Outfitters. $28.


Visualize: Scott McClellan in an Obey Wallpaper Tee.

December 20, 2005

Thank God! Some sanity in a Pennsylvania court.

With a little Extreme Schadenfreude thrown in for good measure:

In the meantime, all eight of the school board incumbents who favored teaching intelligent design were defeated in an election in November by candidates who opposed including it in the curriculum.


More ES. You know those elections they had in Iraq last week?

  • The big winner was a Shiite religious group, the United Iraqi Alliance.
  • The largest vote-getting Sunni group was another religious coalition "whose leaders have advocated resistance to the American military and have demanded that President Bush set a timetable for withdrawing the American military from Iraq."
  • Ahmad Chalabi, former Pentagon and Cheney favorite and a special guest at the 2004 State of the Union "won less than a half of 1 percent of the vote in Baghdad..."
December 19, 2005

Dr. Germ Remember the heady days of the Iraq war when everyone thought it was a good idea and the U.S. was handing out playing cards and catching bad girls with scary Bond-movie names like "Dr. Germ" (pictured) and "Mrs. Anthrax"? Well, Dr. Germ and Mrs. Anthrax are free today, along with 22 other former officials in Saddam Hussein's regime. Released without charge as far as I can tell.

December 16, 2005

In the hopes of sharing some of my experience and learning from others, I put together a short "making of" page taking a behind-the-scenes look at the happy santa shoot.


Report: Bush, Pro-War Congressfolk Full of Shit. Sorry, that's just a wild fantasy headline in another wild fantasyland where the mainstream media calls a spade a spade. The real headline: Report: Bush Had More Prewar Intelligence Than Congress. And for Pete's sake, does it have to appear on page 23?

December 15, 2005

King KongWith all the Oscar buzz about Brokeback Mountain and Munich, I feel like I've got sufficient Oscar wardrobe coverage with this Autumn Cashmere 'Wyoming' intarsia sweater (the all-time best bluefly.com purchase) and this vintage Adidas "Europa TT" track jacket. All I need now is a giant gorilla suit.


Is it normal for your neighbor's 30-something wife to wear a thong on a routine trip to Target with her kids? Really, I just want to know. Is it All Thong All The Time nowadays? Has the Abercrobie and Fitch generation made its way up to suburban moms? Just wondering.


If I Were A Little More Flush With Cash This Would Be So IN THE BAG It Would Make Your Head Spin:

Vintage Packers helmet

Riddell Classic RK Throwback Helmet. Via espnshop.com. $289.99.



No dreaming about a white Christmas this year.

4614 Arden

For real: the pre-shoveled Ragus/Klise residence. December 14, 2005. Oh, my back!

December 13, 2005

After spending many hours building a set, building a couple of flying rigs, taking hundreds of pictures, choosing sound effects, and putting it all together, I ended up with a 50-second stop-motion animation movie called happy santa. Check it out. If you dig it, share with your friends and especially, your family.

It's my second stop-motion animation movie (the first one -- disco -- will be re-released soon), and I think next time I get the urge to make one I'm going to have someone punch me in the face, and deliver a hard kick to the groin, to remind me of the pain involved.

December 7, 2005

Boy, pretty lame updates lately. I've been busy working on a Christmas-related stop-motion animation movie. It's a sort of Playmobil meets Bad Santa.


Huh. According to the Times many Europeans don't believe Condi when she says the U.S. doesn't condone torture.


I'm still on the hunt for that elusive snorkel parka (Barney's Co-op might have the one, and it's just $250), but in the meantime I'm going to check out this nifty Spiewak jacket from coolestshop.com, though it looks maybe a shade thin to deal with Minneapolis winters. We'll see because the price is right. In the Bag:


Spiewak "Bellamy" jacket. Via coolestshop.com. On sale for $69.

December 2, 2005

Merry Mixmasdack.com album rating (0-10):


If you're at all tired with Andy Williams and Perry Como and Bing Crosby singing your Christmas tunes (I love all those guys, just that they get a little old after a while), then definitely check out Merry Mixmas for yourself or as a stocking stuffer. Not that Ella or Dean-o need a whole lot of help with cool, but throughout it's precisely the right amount of funkiness you want added to your traditional holiday music, like someone tossing a flaskfull of Makers Mark into the egg nog. Highly recommended.

December 1, 2005

A reality check from Doug Struck:

On the same day Bush spoke, nine farmworkers were killed when gunmen opened fire on a bus near Baqubah, snipers fired on the office of a National Assembly member in the capital, and three Iraqi army officers were wounded when a bomb went off near their patrol. In Fallujah, 20,000 people marched in a funeral for a Sunni cleric shot while leaving prayers.

For Iraq, that was a quiet day.
November 30, 2005

U.S. Good. Insurgents Bad.

U.S. Military Covertly Pays to Run Stories in Iraqi Press

As part of an information offensive in Iraq, the U.S. military is secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops in an effort to burnish the image of the U.S. mission in Iraq. [...]

Many of the articles are presented in the Iraqi press as unbiased news accounts written and reported by independent journalists. The stories trumpet the work of U.S. and Iraqi troops, denounce insurgents and tout U.S.-led efforts to rebuild the country.


I'm Not Ready To Turn This Into A Western Shirt Blog. Yet.

7 Western Shirt

I've long admired this 7 for all mankind western shirt from afar ($143, via Neiman Marcus), but a western shirt without snap buttons -- such as this one -- is like a hamburger without meat.


Intolerable Cruelty From the Department of Corrections: this site originally scored Intolerable Cruelty a mere 6 on the cin-o-matic 0-10 scale, and now that I've re-watched it a few times on HBO recently, I was so, so wrong. It's up there with some of their best stuff, though nowhere near the greatest movie in the history of film.


In the Bag:

IC Soundtrack

Intolerable Cruelty soundrack. $18.98, via amazon.com. Sometimes the Coen brothers' soundtracks are better than their movies.

November 29, 2005

ShrubYou won't even begin to believe what you're about to read. Larry Wilkerson, besides suggesting Cheney is a war criminal, says Shrub was "too aloof, too distant from the details" of post-Iraq war planning.


Today in the mainstream media it's "Holy shit! Shiites are taking revenge on the Sunnis!" Like no one could've predicted it before this stupid fucking war was started.

  • Knight Ridder: Abuse of prisoners in Iraq widespread, officials say
    ... evidence of widespread abuse of prisoners, especially a pattern of Shiite Muslim troops abusing Sunni captives - would raise new questions about whether Iraq's U.S.-backed government seeks to end the abuses of Saddam Hussein's regime or to exact revenge for them.
  • Los Angeles Times: Killings Linked to Shiite Squads in Iraqi Police Force
    Shiite Muslim militia members have infiltrated Iraq's police force and are carrying out sectarian killings under the color of law, according to documents and scores of interviews.
  • New York Times: Sunnis Accuse Iraqi Military of Kidnappings and Slayings
    As the American military pushes the largely Shiite Iraqi security services into a larger role in combating the insurgency, evidence has begun to mount suggesting that the Iraqi forces are carrying out executions in predominantly Sunni neighborhoods.
November 23, 2005

Keep On Lookin', Bub

Simultaneously evoking emotions of pity and rage:

"Morale is a roller coaster," said Lt. Rusten Currie, who has spent 10 months in Iraq. "We were all idealistic to begin with, wanting to find Osama bin Laden and [Abu Musab] Zarqawi, and bring them to justice -- whatever that means. Now we just want to go home."
November 22, 2005

Confessions on a Dance Floordack.com album rating (0-10):


Back in high school, when my friends were all listening to Metallica and the Scorpions, I was bobbing my head to "Holiday" and "Lucky Star" (along with gobs of MJ). In other words, I think I've got some pretty legitimate Material Girl cred. So it's with deep regret that Madonna's latest, Confessions on a Dance Floor -- which is being billed as her return to the dance floor -- is a big disappoinment.

"Get Together" is the only solid club tune on the album. It's very good, though not a timeless classic. "Hung Up" is OK, "Future Lovers" is decent, but the album has two unlistenable tracks, "I Love New York" (I like New York/ Other places make me feel like a dork. WTF?) and "Isaac," which sticks out like a 6-minute sore thumb. The other 7 tracks just take up space.

Anyone want to buy a used copy? Listened to only 5 times.

November 20, 2005

It's a look that was always out, but the November issue of Cargo hopefully makes it official. The untucked striped shirt:

Shirts = Bad

Also out: Waxed brows, Rock tees under a blazer, and Traumatized denim.


Just an FYI for anyone planning a Vegas trip, according to some guy at Esquire.

Esquire Vegas Guide

I can vouch for Lotus of Siam and the Peppermill as being worthy of a visit.

November 18, 2005

For more than a year now I've been on a search for the perfect snorkel parka, and I'm still coming up empty. My requirements are so simple: (1.) short (i.e. no longer than hip-length), and (2.) quilted (i.e. "puffy"). Well, it's 21 degrees in Minneapolis as I type this, so I need a snorkel parka now. If these two jackets had babies, that'd be what I'm looking for:

Snorkel Parkas

So, those dozen or so in readerland, can you lend a hand to a guy dumb enough to live in Minneapolis who's also freezing his balls off? Seen anything like this in your shopping travels?


I guess you could say I'm a little bitter about the weather in Minneapolis because I just returned from a 3-day jaunt to South Beach. This was the view from the Ritz-Carlton:

Ritz Carlton

We got off the plane last night and shared a baggage carousel with about 60 U.S. Army troops just back from 15 months in Iraq. It seemed a little weird that the guy next to me had just seen his 1-year-old daughter for only the second time, while I waited for my golf clubs to arrive in the oversized luggage area.

It made what John Murtha said yesterday seem all the more relevant:

I voted against every tax cut. Every tax cut I voted against. My wife says, "You shouldn't say that." I believed that when we voted for these tax cuts you can't have a war and you can't have a tragedy like we had, the hurricanes, and then not have a huge deficit, which is going to increase interest rates and could cause a real problem.

This is the first prolonged war we've ever fought with three years of tax cuts without full mobilization of American industry and without a draft.

And the college campuses always ask me about a draft. "Are you for a draft?" I say, "Yes, there's only two of us who voted for it, so you don't have to worry too much about it."

The burden of this war has not been shared equally. The military and their families are shouldering the burden.
November 16, 2005

Thank you Chuck Hagel:

To question your government is not unpatriotic -- to not question your government is unpatriotic.
November 12, 2005

Gah! "Asterisks Dot White House's Iraq Argument"? "Asterisks Dot White House's Iraq Argument"?! Are they kidding? Why couldn't the Post just call a spade a spade?

"Bush and Hadley Full of Shit"

Is that too much to ask?

This just jarred from my memory banks...

The Post's headline writer had a similar lack of, shall we say, forthrightness the day before the war began on another Walter Pincus and Dana Milbank article, this one exposing Bush's case for war against Iraq as horseshit. The headline was a fucking wimp-out: "Bush Clings To Dubious Allegations About Iraq."

November 10, 2005

Judy MillerSo the fucking whore Judy Miller finally got axed from the Times. Shoulda happenend about 3 years ago, and maybe we wouldn't have had this asinine war. Now unemployed, apparently she's a hot commodity:

She said that in the few hours since her departure had been made public, she had received several offers "of all kinds" for future employment, which she declined to specify.
Just a few of the most likely ones:
  • weapons inspector
  • Media relations manager for Big Time
  • Media relations manager for Iraqi prime minister in-waiting Ahmed Chalabi
  • With Laurie Mylroie, author of a new book about worldwide terrorism sponsored by Iran, and how president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is Osama bin Laden's gay lover.
  • Hit the female mudwrestling circuit with Maureen Dowd
  • A $2 hooker. Specializing in blowjobs.

November 9, 2005

JarheadI got a mention in the New York Times today. Kinda. I am the "friend" who author Joel Turnipseed turned to and said, "I have always wanted to see my book on the big screen and there it is; I just didn't get credit for it."

You can read the Times article about Turnipseed's complaint here. Both the screenwriter (William Broyles Jr.) and the book's author (Tony Swofford) are essentially giving my buddy Joel the big FU.

By the way, the movie sucked.

November 8, 2005

What kind of coconut-sized balls does it take to pull this off:

Juicy Couture kilt. Via Neiman Marcus. $395.


A while back I thought I'd found the WSEAWS (that's the Western Shirt to End All Western Shirts to the uninitiated), but this one's even cooler. Normally I think Polo stuff sucks pretty hard, but not this. At all. In The Bag:

Polo Ralph Lauren Western Shirt. Via Neiman Marcus. $125.

November 4, 2005

While we like a strong daily dose of ES here at dack.com -- it's the home of ES after all -- it's kind of a bummer when Americans realize their president is dishonest and dragged their country to a dumb war on a pack of lies.

Bush's Popularity Reaches New Low

On almost every key measure of presidential character and performance, the survey found that Bush has never been less popular with the American people.


The survey found that 40 percent now view him as honest and trustworthy -- a 13 percentage point drop in the past 18 months. Nearly 6 in 10 -- 58 percent -- said they have doubts about Bush's honesty, the first time in his presidency that more than half the country has questioned his personal integrity.


The war has taken a toll on the administration's credibility: A clear majority -- 55 percent -- now says the administration deliberately misled the country in making its case for war with Iraq -- a conflict that an even larger majority say is not worth the cost.
November 3, 2005

Fashion God


bush poll

Just when you think Extreme Schadenfreude can't get any more schadenfreudey, it does.

The only bummer is that it sets up the "Shrub Comeback" narrative we'll be seeing sometime in the next three years.

November 2, 2005

Today's ES is sweet:

Trial Could Pit Libby's Interests Against Bush's

Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, is expected to plead not guilty to charges that he lied and obstructed justice in the CIA leak probe when he is arraigned Thursday, setting the stage for a possible courtroom fight in which Libby's interests could collide with those of the Bush White House, according to several Republican officials.
October 31, 2005

They could be complete bowzers for all I know, but I am madly in love with both Jane Hamsher and some woman by the name of "ReddHedd" over at firedoglake. They're both smart as whips, have mouths like sailors, and currently provide the best Cheney-gate analysis on the whole triple-dub.


ES for Halloween: "By a ratio of 3 to 1, those surveyed said the level of honesty in government has declined during Bush's tenure."

Restoring honor and integrity to the White House...


If you read a single article on the Cheney-gate, make sure it's this Barton Gellman article from Sunday's WaPo. See also: Indictment doesn't clear up mystery at heart of CIA leak probe


Wow. The 2000th US soldier died in Iraq last Tuesday. Less than a week later there are 25 26 more dead. October the 2nd-deadliest month in 2005. Insurgency in last throes.

October 27, 2005

wilkersonFolks on the Left are really excited about what Powell's former chief of staff Lawrence Wilkerson had to say in his New America Foundation speech, and his LA Times editorial, describing the "Cheney-Rumsfeld Cabal" that hijacked US foreign policy and got us into the Iraq quagmire. Part of his speech even made tonight's Daily Show.

Anyone who read my warlog (the forerunner to The Rational Enquirer), or read news at all during the Iraq War Sales Pitch could clearly see the Bush Administration's case was a great big huge steaming pile of bullshit. Had Mr. Wilkerson spoken up back in the winter of 2002-03 maybe this whole mistake could've been avoided.

I rarely watch the Daily Show, but as I type this Jon Stewart is stealing my punch line: Lawrence Wilkerson, where the fuck were you three years ago?

October 26, 2005

The ES hits just keep on coming:

Senators in G.O.P. Voice New Doubt on Court Choice

The drumbeat of doubt from Republican senators over the Supreme Court nomination of Harriet E. Miers grew louder Tuesday as several lawmakers, including a pivotal conservative on the Judiciary Committee, joined those expressing concerns about her selection.
October 25, 2005

Honestly, this level of Extreme Schadenfreude just cannot be healthy.


George Galloway Rocks!


"I am demanding prosecution, I am begging for prosecution," Mr Galloway told Sky News. "I am saying if I have lied under oath in front of the senate, that's a criminal offence. Charge me and I will head for the airport right now and face them down in court as I faced them down in the senate room.

"Because I publicly humiliated this lickspittle senator Norman Coleman - one of [George] Bush's righthand men - in the US senate in May, this sneak revenge attack has been launched over the past 24 hours."
October 24, 2005

The blog's been a little slack lately, but not to worry. I've been consuming my balls off, and that cuts into blogging time.


For about the past two months I've been in search of the Western Shirt to End All Western Shirts (WSEAWS), and I think I may have found it at Clark's Register:

killer western shirt

Novara Western Shirt, via Clark's Register. $178.


Also at Clark's is a cool hat, also under consideration:

block scully

Block scully in boiled wool. Denim. Via Clark's Register. $35.


I've also been on the hunt for the perfect pair of black boots, and I think I found them at zappos. In The Bag:

bally edmond

Bally Edmond black boot, via zappos. Price: I'd really rather not say.

October 19, 2005

I'm beginning to worry that all this Extreme Schadenfreude might have some kind of bad side effect. Nothing that feels this good goes without a price. I've already got issues with colon tumors, a family history of prostate cancer, an unhealthy appreciation for spirits, and emotional scarring from the Packers' 1-4 start. I just don't need anything else piled on right now.

October 18, 2005

Extreme Schadenfreude, baby!

Bush's job rating continues to drop

President Bush's job approval rating continues to plummet, with 39 percent of Americans surveyed in the latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll supporting his performance, compared to 58 percent expressing disapproval.
October 12, 2005

This would qualify as the Mother of all Extreme Schadenfreude (MES):

The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg are working on stories that point to Vice President Dick Cheney as the target of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into the leaking of CIA operative Valerie Plame's name.
October 11, 2005

In The Bag:

packers helmet

NFL Old School Helmet Head, via nflshop.com. $31.99.


ES for Tuesday:

Poll: Fading Support For Iraq War

Public opinion is now fairly solidly against the war in Iraq. More than half of Americans . 55% - think the U.S. should have stayed out of Iraq (the highest figure to date), while 41% think taking military action there was the right thing to do. As the war began, Americans overwhelmingly approved of U.S. action against Iraq; 69% said the U.S. did the right thing in taking military action (the highest level of support in our polls for the war).

An even higher percentage -- 59% -- say "US troops should leave Iraq as soon as possible, even if the country is not completely stable." I remember not too long ago when it was like being a radical America-hater for suggesting the same thing.

October 7, 2005

There is so much Extreme Schadenfreude these days, where does one start? Well:

Poll: Bush Ratings Hit New Low

President George W. Bush's overall job approval rating has reached the lowest ever measured in this poll, and evaluations of his handling of Iraq, the economy and even his signature issue, terrorism, are also at all-time lows. More Americans than at any time since he took office think he does not share their priorities.

Or how about:

Rove Ordered to Talk Again in Leak Inquiry

The special prosecutor in the C.I.A. leak case has summoned Karl Rove, the senior White House adviser, to return next week to testify to a federal grand jury in a step that could mean charges will be filed in the case, lawyers in the case said Thursday.
October 6, 2005

Astute long-time reader Thomas Anthony picks up on Gillette's announcement of a new 5-blade razor (called the Fusion), and remembers an old Onion article, mentioned here a while back:

Fuck Everything, We're Doing Five Blades

We were the fucking vanguard of shaving in this country. The Gillette Mach3 was the razor to own. Then the other guy came out with a three-blade razor. Were we scared? Hell, no. Because we hit back with a little thing called the Mach3Turbo. That's three blades and an aloe strip. For moisture. But you know what happened next? Shut up, I'm telling you what happened - the bastards went to four blades. Now we're standing around with our cocks in our hands, selling three blades and a strip. Moisture or no, suddenly we're the chumps. Well, fuck it. We're going to five blades.


Other long-time readers will remember this post noting how Saddam Hussein was already ahead of the "bold frames" fashion curve by wearing these dandies while in American custody:

stylish saddam

Well, Scott over at the fucking awesome eyewear shop allyn scura had a pair. They are US military issue, and they are In The Bag:

saddam frames

"Saddam" frames, via allyn scura. $85.


Also In The Bag:

simple shuf

Simple Shuf, via simpleshoes.com. $80.

The Simple site is even cooler than their shoes. A perfect brand transformation to the Web, as easy and simple and clean as it gets.


And last but not least, a good, solid dose of your daily Extreme Schadenfreude:

Conservatives Confront Bush Aides

The tenor of the two meetings suggested that Bush has yet to rally his own party behind Miers and underscores that he risks the biggest rupture with the Republican base of his presidency. While conservatives at times have assailed some Bush policy decisions, rarely have they been so openly distrustful of the president himself.
October 5, 2005


A military tactician I am not, but it doesn't seem like a very wise tactic to fight an guerilla insurgency with howitzers. It might just piss off the locals.

October 3, 2005

Lady, Halloween isn't for another 4 weeks.

Witch Justice

Looks like Lynne Cheney with a rubber witch mask.

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