Seven Degrees from Normal

Two people, eighteen years of marriage, seven college degrees.

Monday, August 28, 2006


Privately, Republican congressional leaders are bracing to lose 20 to 30 House seats - more than the net 15 gain that Democrats need to take control of that chamber - and to barely hold on to their Senate majority.


Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Better late than never

Wow, reality is catching up:

The poll found that 51 percent of those surveyed saw no link between the war in Iraq and the broader antiterror effort, a jump of 10 percentage points since June.

Sometime before November, they are going to have to smuggle bin Laden into Baghdad, so they can "catch" him there.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Thanks, mom

Of all the polling data emerging (and there's something new every thirty minutes, it seems), this strikes me as the most significant so far:

CLINTONVILLE, Ohio, Aug. 17 -- Married women with children, the "security moms" whose concerns about terrorism made them an essential part of Republican victories in 2002 and 2004, are taking flight from GOP politicians this year in ways that appear likely to provide a major boost for Democrats in the midterm elections, according to polls and interviews.
And this part is fascinating: can it be that reality is finally getting through to some people?

In its latest poll of the general public, conducted after the news from London broke, Pew found a majority voicing concerns that Democrats were too weak on terrorism, the precise charge Republicans have made over the past 10 days. Yet an even larger majority said they fear Republicans would involve the United States in too many military operations.
. . . .
Moreover, terrorism does not have the salience as a political issue it did two years ago. In the latest Pew survey, only 2 percent of respondents cited it as the top issue they want to hear candidates discuss -- and that was after the news from London. Voters are less moved by sudden scares like that episode than they might have been two years ago, Kohut said.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Llamas supplied by Halliburton

Here's one small humiliation the U.S. armed forces haven't undergone in Iraq--yet:

Channel 2 in Israel disclosed that several top military commanders wrote a letter to Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, the chief of staff, criticizing the war planning as chaotic and out of line with the combat training of the soldiers and officers. [Washington Post, Aug. 12, 2006]

One Israeli plan to use llamas to deliver supplies in the rugged terrain of south Lebanon turned into an embarrassment when the animals simply sat down.

The rest of this piece at Consortium News is a good blow-by-blow of what happens to international leaders who are still stupid enough to do what George Bush tells them to do.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Can we do anything at all right?

Evidently not:

LONDON - NBC News has learned that U.S. and British authorities had a significant disagreement over when to move in on the suspects in the alleged plot to bring down trans-Atlantic airliners bound for the United States.

A senior British official knowledgeable about the case said British police were planning to continue to run surveillance for at least another week to try to obtain more evidence, while American officials pressured them to arrest the suspects sooner. The official spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the case.

In contrast to previous reports, the official suggested an attack was not imminent, saying the suspects had not yet purchased any airline tickets. In fact, some did not even have passports.

"Obtain more evidence"? Why would we want to do that? Indeed, why bother with any evidence at all?

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Things stupidity has taught me

I get these electronic newsletters from Lion Brand Yarn, which are sort of depressing because most of the projects they are shilling are stupid and ugly, but they also have a section where readers share tips. Some of these are pretty depressing too (take your knitting everywhere, and people will talk to you about it!), but some are useful.

In that spirit, two things I've learned, the hard way, about knitting:

1) When the pattern tells you to change needle sizes, make sure you change BOTH needles. I know, you do one at a time, but if they are both bamboo needles (same color) and similar in size, you can, like me, forget to swap out the second one and knit merrily along for a good 16 rows with one needle of each size. Oops.

2) When the pattern tells you to increase (or decrease) once each side every third row four times, and once each side every seventh row five times, they mean to do the four sets of three rows FIRST, and THEN the five sets of seven rows. They DON'T mean you should work increases in the third and seventh row, simultaneously. I can't believe I didn't figure that out the first time through. I felt like Nigel Tufnel puzzling over chord charts. Still, you'd think they could add the word "then" in the pattern, couldn't they?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The numbers

Charlie Cook has had some really interesting analysis of the polling data lately. And I can't remember which pollster recently pointed out that the tepid "Bush Bounce" (up from 28-30%-range to low- or mid-30's, depending on which poll you look at) is due almost entirely to Republicans who had been inclined to disown him coming back to the fold. In other words, the Indiependents he's lost over the last year are not coming back to him. These are fascinating trends and bode well for November. I have been worried about Democratic ineptitude and entrenched privilege spoiling their chances, but with Hillary Clinton's disavowal of Lieberman and her staged grilling of Rumsfeld, I'm starting to think they are getting the message: anti-war sentiment is the mainstream, especially in the Democratic party.

That just leaves voter fraud.

Saturday, August 05, 2006


We are back in Lloyd's district.

And Tom Delay's stuck on the ballot in Sugarland, unless the Supremes sink to the level of helping him.

And Leiberman is 10 points behind Lamont in Connecticut.

November is going to be interesting.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Are you ready?

Post-vacation decompression + Blogger snittiness + single-parenting a toddler while the rest of the family vacations = not much blogging. Having the rest of the family away gave this video special poignance for me, so you get to watch it too: