It was a bittersweet Father's Day, what with the untimely death of Tim Russert, who always reminded me of my own dad, who incidentally attended the War College, where one John McCain penned a thesis in 1974 that was just unearthed and scrutinized by the New York Times to remind us how this rabid ideologue once had some interesting ideas, if the tendency to mess with the facts, and in that vein Barack Obama told black men of the world to stop watching SportsCenter since the games are all fixed anyway, and the Saudis agreed to do a little more to ease mass starvation and global chaos and George Bush promised he would get that Bin Laden guy for finally. But if seven years of waterboarding and sham trials and upending the justice department didn't do it, what will??? That and Condi in Israel with me and Megan and my hangover after the jump.
MEGAN: Hey, there, how is London-Town.
MOE: Hey I just wrote something about being here. It is dumb. Mostly it has that European problem where nothing is open when you want it to be open because you have insomnia or your period or whatever
MOE: In my case, both.
MOE: They are really really really into the environment here.
MEGAN: Does that mean no tampons or something?
MEGAN: Also, yes, I hate stupid laws in Europe where everything closes down and nothing is open on Sundays and crap.
MOE: No I mean, apparently there are organic tampons or whatever. No what it means is just that it seems to be all you read about, or like, I'm at this pub, and it's a stupid pub, like it seems very chain-y and airport-y, like the British version of ... what's a chain pub? Elephant & Castle or something. Only, you know, really stunningly horrible food, like you hear about. Anyway apparently the fish and chips are made with SUSTAINABLE COD. Like, good grief. And yeah I'm sure that makes sense. And I hate those laws too. I like the laws that say you can't have as many sales as you can in America, because I think price differentiation run amok is a big problem there, but there should be a law here that SOMETHING in every neighborhood should be open 24 hours, just to keep transplanted Americans sane.
MOE: Did you ever see that abortion movie? 4 Months 3 Weeks 2 Days?
MEGAN: No, I'm bad about seeing movies. I go through spurts where I see a bunch and then I go without for a really long time. It was around in my chaste period, so to speak. Also, I hate chain pubs and try not to go to chain restaurants, but, um, the homemade potato chips at Elephant and Castle have called to me, I won't deny.
MOE: It's about Romania and it's supposedly very depressing, even though I didn't really find it that depressing, except to the extent that the protagonist's boyfriend shared that very common boyfriend problem where he is totally clueless and that was depressing, but really the most depressing part was just how DARK EVERYTHING WAS and how night is dark and eerie in Europe in a lot of places.
MEGAN: I think that's more of a film meme than a reality. I never found Germany particularly eerie at night.
MOE: Yeah I'm trying to think of the name of the Irish pub chain in Philly at 15th and Locust or thereabouts. I can't believe I can't remember the name of this place. God I shouldn't have had white wine. And I found Vienna dark. Not eerie, just lifeless.
MOE: And then there's all those places with their communism etc. etc.
MEGAN: I believe you are thinking of Fado. There's one in DC, too, by the Verizon Center.
MOE: I'm intrigued by Frank Rich's use of an emoticon in his headline. Ah yes! Fado. God the food there is some fucking masterful cuisine compared to the meal I just had.
MEGAN: Oh, Frank Rich, angry women do not use emoticons.
MOE: ok so…what I was going to say before my fucking Wi-fi which I paid ten pounds for crapped out is that I guess we should discuss McCain's War College thesis.
MOE: Also: Condi chastising Israelis for all their ugly settlements, which is the topic of a new and good-sounding book called Palestinean Walks …and speaking of which a Palestinian birthday party was ruined by some Israeli soldiers recently and so there's that.
MEGAN: Ah, ok, well, so, John McCain's thesis. I read the whole thing. It's kind of interesting on its face, but the fact that he doesn't acknowledge in it having been one of the tortured men about which he's talking makes its central conceit a bit, um, torturous.
MOE: HA. You read the whole thesis? Seriously?
MEGAN: Yes. I, um, didn't have much to do yesterday.
MEGAN: It was interesting, it's basically trying to get at a manner for training troops to survive being POWs. The New York Times piece you linked to points out some factual inaccuracies, the most egregious of which is that McCain thinks that the men that "broke" the easiest were the ones that joined the war after the country turned against it but he's not correct on his timing.
MOE: Also, oh god, there's Obama's Fathers Day speech on absentee dads, and one noted absentee dad being Tim Russert, who like I told you yesterday reminds me of my own dad, ABSENT the ridiculous tie which is his signature. I thought Pareene's obit was sweet, but moving back to my dad he actually attended the War College, and moving back to the War College that is where John McCain wrote this thing
MEGAN: Oh, God, Russert, dude, on MTP yesterday, Carville and Matalin and Brokaw were crying, and then his producer started and they had to run the tribute video two minutes early because no one could hold it together any longer.
MOE: Oh man, that is so fucking sad. Is there a clip?
MEGAN: Here's the end, as he struggled to keep it really together, but he literally broke down a little earlier.
MOE: Oh god I can't watch that. I'm already dehydrated. Jesus.
MEGAN: The whole thing was really, really sad. Anyway, so, John McCain's thesis. Less sad than that.
MOE: Yeah I'm amusing myself now with stop sitting in the house watching SportsCenter and "Don't get carried away with that eighth-grade graduation." Yeah, don't pat yourself on the back till your super sweet 16.
MEGAN: I mean, I think McCain has an interesting point about the need for better training, I think it's absolutely prescient when it comes to the idea that there were around 550 POWs and that the public's outcry about that small number of people allowed the North Vietnamese to hijack peace negotiations and the like.
MOE: Yeah, that was a very good point I hadn't considered as much, because I never even really knew the number. What was the breakdown between resisters and "collaborators"?
MEGAN: Many more resisters than collaborators.
MEGAN: But my most favorite part, buried in the text, is this:
Many ex-POWs have stated that due to the length and divisiveness of the Vietnam conflict, if the policy of the North Vietnamese towards the captured Americans had been of strict adherence to the Geneva Convention the North Vietnamese might have returned a group of men who would have been grateful and sympathetic to their problems in that part of the world. Instead, a dedicated group of anti-communists have emerged from that ordeal.
But maybe I'm just influenced by the whole Gitmo ruling last week.
MEGAN: I guess, however, that the intervening years have changed John's mind.
"These are people who are not citizens; they do not and never have been given the rights that citizens of this country have," McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, said at a town hall meeting in Pemberton, New Jersey, yesterday. "There are some bad people down there."
MOE: Yeah that's what I'm reading now. So he doesn't think they should be tortured, because he was tortured, but the Gitmo ruling was "one of the worst decisions in the history of this country" because he…doesn't love democracy so much he wants to extend its rights to terror suspects…? What blows my mind about this shit is that the guys in Guantanamo are such a collection of clueless moderate bystandery wrong-place-wrong-time types. And which commenter pointed out OBL's driver's sixth grade education, not to bring it back to Obama's speech… anyway… it's just like, has he looked at the charges against these guys? I mean, McCain is a senator, he probably has access to the ACTUAL evidence against these guys.
MOE: He like knows how shit it is.
MOE: Oh also in the wake of massive protests the Saudis have finally agreed to produce more oil but they're telling Europe to lower their gas taxes. Which I guess have something to do with the $40 cab ride I took back to my hotel yesterday? Anyway, not bitter here. But anyway economists think if it weren't for speculators and the natural inclination of markets to hyperbolize these things oil would be $80 to $100 a barrel but what can you do.
MEGAN: Or he doesn't care because he's running for President and the far right hates the ruling so why not compromise his supposed principles yet again and say what he's supposed to say?
MEGAN: I love how the Saudis are all like, lower your taxes but you know they ain't lowering the royalties they get (aka, taxes) from foreign oil companies. Mmmm, hypocrisy smells soooo carbon-y.
MOE: Issue 1. But why? The only way he can win is by appealing to moderates who probably believe on some level this terror war thing was, as Frank Fukuyama pointed out, a bad idea, right? Or do feminists want Supreme Court Justices to the right of John Roberts? (Who btw did not take part in the case I guess?) (anyway) I have a headache and I need to post this.