A Quagmire for a New Generation

Old metaphors are new again.

McClatchy reports that Barack Obama will announce next Tuesday his plans to send 34,000 additional troops to Afghanistan:

The plan adopted by Obama would fall well short of the 80,000 troops McChrystal suggested in August as a “low-risk option” that would offer the best chance to contain the Taliban-led insurgency and stabilize Afghanistan.

It splits the difference between two other McChrystal options: a “high-risk” approach that called for 20,000 additional troops and a “medium-risk” option that would add 40,000 to 45,000 troops.

If you haven’t been keeping score, “40,000” is the magic number cited by Republicans (on top of 68,000 American troops already in-country) as the minimum needed to prevent incessant whining disaster — even though that’s only half of McChrystal’s slam-dunk estimate. But not even America’s most prominent National Guard deserter dares broach the full 80, so we’re left with what’s guaranteed to be a roaring debate about how six thousand troops means all the difference in the world.

Obama plans to send 34,000 more troops to Afghanistan [McClatchy]

Of course, this would have been a lot more helpful in say 2002.

I would just like to say that I am thankful for… wait. Whut?

But now look at our congress. Do we really think he could have done it different? Really?

I think the best we can Hope for is an earlier withdrawal. But let’s not forget who got us there and why. My fingers are crossed for a great steaming pile of shit to fall on Tone’s bonce before the year is out. He’s already NOT EU presnident since they don’t look on ‘sniffing Yaqui bum’ as a plus on the old CV. And he so had his heart set on being presnident like his BFF bunnypants.

I’m tired. I hate the news. I hate everything. Only noje keeps me going.

And the occasional glass of this year’s nouveau.

Who comes up with these numbers and how?

@Jamie Sommers:
Somewhere the Pentagon has complicated formulas based on logistics and assumed kill/loss rates which they use calculate how many troops (including support) they need to achieve their goals.

Obama stole the script for LBJ II: The Thunder Down Under.

I can’t cope with the news either. I choose to focus on something more cheerful, like the utterly fabulous dress Michelle O wore for the State Dinner tonight in honor of the Prime Minister of India. Girlfriend hit it out of the park.

@Mistress Cynica: Oh Thank FSM, I was about to post here to see what the fashionistas thought.

HuffPo has photos

I love the subtle Indian influence on her dress design.

ADD: Oh dear God, check out the photo of her from behind. Those shoulder muscles are to die for.

@Mistress Cynica: OMFG I just saw the picture and came running to find you and SFL!!!!!! She looks fucking fantastic. Thank you sleeveless STRAPLESS in November. My cup runneth over.

@homofascist: All of the fugly belts over the cardigans are forgiven!

@Mistress Cynica and homofascist: Naturally, in Cynica’s article, Hal Rubenstein from In Style has to be the underminer with the backhanded compliments:

Of Mrs. Obama, Rubenstein said: “She looks like she’s worth her weight in solid gold. What I love about her is that it’s a pleasure to watch a woman of size and stature not apologize for her height and know how to stand tall.”

President Barack Obama also drew Rubenstein’s praise in his classic-style tuxedo. “I often feel Obama’s suits are too big on him, but I think he got a new tux.”

Bitchy queen. Don’t talk about Shelley Oh! like she’s Precious.

Look, David Geffen came with his grandson! That is so sweet.

@SanFranLefty: Love the earrings!

As for the rest, I must say I’m thoroughly disappointed in Jennifer Granholm. That outfit is far and away the “WTF was she thinking?” of the night.

@homofascist: Let us be grateful it wasn’t Tom Cruise. And we must embrace our queer nation in all its myriad hues.

@SanFranLefty: Women must be rail thin and falling over, of course. Thank God she looks like she could chuck Barry out the bathroom window should the need arise.

And now, have we yet seen Valentino? If not perhaps get it for TG. Instead of the four pounds of chockies you might be tempted to eat. You will see the 18th cent die before your eyes. Trust me. You will see what clothes mean.

@homofascist: Family values!!

@Benedick: That’s what equality is all about—now we can mock older gay men for dating boys young enough to be their sons or grandsons just like we mock the straights for dating barely legal girls.
Also, Valentino was amazing. To quote Edina Monsoor, “Couture, darling, COUTURE!!!” I saw the Balenciaga exhibit at the Louvre Musés de la Mode and spent a couple of hours staring, entranced by the construction of a jacket. It is art, pure and simple. Thanks so much for the recommendation.

@Jamie Sommers: Earrings are also amazing.

Jon Favreau didn’t have a date! FSM bless Huff Po for telling us what we really want to know.

@Mistress Cynica: The older man/younger man means a different thing in the gay world. I see you screw up your face. Has meant. Sometimes. And will change. Is changing.

I’m glad you liked the movie. I found it engrossing right up to the end when all his taste and rigor evaporates into that Eurovision spectacle at the colosseum. But he always said he knew nothing but how to make frocks. I thought the Yanqui Voguerator was so interesting when she said that there is no one working now who learned from the women who made the clothes for the couturiers in the 50s who learned from those in the 20s. So there can be no more couture.

Balenciaga: gunmetal silk like battleships. I’m always fascinated by artists who make ephemera. I know a wigmaker who had a small roll of lace (a mesh at the front of a wig to give the illusion of a natural hairline. See anything starring John Malkovitch) woven out of human hair with which to front wigs. It needed no glue, just a faint pressure to make it vanish into the skin. Of course the obvious question he never asked was – where did the hair come from?

But if you like Valentino I would urge you to read Marlene, Maria Riva’s account of her mother, Dietrich’s, life. Apart from anything else the book is about: vanity, despair, clutch handbags, it is the single most informative account I’ve ever read of clothes and a woman. For example: Dietrich went to Paris every year for 6 weeks to be dressed by Balmain. You will learn what a great designer can achieve on a great model. And why the fitters despised her.

Hey now, for the last 5 years of W, I and many liberals criticized him for diverting resources away from afghanistan, and al queada, and towards Iraq, a diversion with no relevance whatsoever to the 9-11 attacks.

I frankly, even as a liberal pacifist, can’t fault him too much for this. As long as their is some defineable goal.

Creating a stable afghan state can’t be the goal, that would be an unwinnable quagmire (giggedy giggedy). Propping up the corrupt Unocal-CIA asset Karzai would be an immoral goal.

But if the intent is defined as going after the Taliban-Al Queada strongholds that Bush neglected and which the Pakistanis tolerate and/or assist, along the pakistan-afghan border, and if the goal is simply negating the status of this area as a safe haven for those al queada who are the ones who attacked us, this is not, to me, an ignoble decision.

Devil is always in the details.

@redmanlaw: No, the cardboard-cutout-of-Hillary-fondling Obama speechwriter.

@Promnight: I don’t see how he can do anything else. I think he’s sending the smallest amount possible without releasing a shitstorm over his head. Whatever he does, the manic Right will be manic. But this way he can have cover to do what he wants to do. I know that pedo feels a deep sense of disappointment but look at what’s gone on with the most rational of reforms -health insurance, banking, credit cards – and then think how it would have been if this administration had prosecuted any of the Bush crew.

I think they have their priorities. They may not be blue birds over Dover but they know what they want to get done.

@Jamie Sommers: My West Wing friend who has met DOTUS apparently went, per FB report from a mutual friend, but I did not see her name on the List.

The IronMan guy should totally get an invite for bringing such awesomeness to the big screen. Watching it again this weekend, probably after the Broncos collectively go into paralysis v. the Giants halfway through the 3rd quarter Thursday night.

@redmanlaw: He would have, but casting Fishsticks Paltrow in that otherwise fine, fine movie was the dealbreaker.

@Promnight: We certainly can’t blame Barry for following through on a campaign promise, for once. I’ll also grant that there are no good alternative, and that we have to wait until next week to hear the reasoning.


America doesn’t do long hot wars very well. Our window of opportunity shut years ago. And the “resources” we’re moving to Afghanistan are human lives.

Whatever the merits of an invasion in 2001, we can’t just “finish the job” we started then, since the circumstances have changed so much. (Whether that was even the right job to undertake is another debate.) The real risk we face today from the region is not Al Qaeda, but all those Pakistani nukes falling into the wrong hands. (Or wronger hands — again, another debate.)

So: What’s the strategy for getting the fuck out of Afghanistan without the entire region blowing up behind us? (Tonight’s dinner guests have an interest in the question.) That’s what I’m waiting to hear.

@Benedick: look at what’s gone on with the most rational of reforms — health insurance, banking, credit cards — and then think how it would have been if this administration had prosecuted any of the Bush crew.

Since we’re getting shafted by health insurance, banking and credit cards either way, can we hang the war criminals as a consolation prize?

Jon Favreau? Pfft. Hack. Speak to his editor about the movie. That’s who ‘directed’ it.

One wonders, was Tony Kushner there? Or Harold Prince? Or Jeffrey Stock? Or Andrei Gregory? Hm? No? Or anyone else from the theatre? (Sidebar: American playwrights are produced all over the world and receive many awards and honors they are denied here in their own country). No? No one?

Then fuck you. You big-eared asshole.

@nojo: I don’t mean that. I think they knew right off the bat they’d bring down the house about their ears had they tried to prosecute Bush. I think they wanted to get big things done and I think the virulence of the opposition – and the betrayal among their own ranks – took them by surprise. I still think he’s a decent and brilliant politician and I think we should try to remember where we are now in, say 6 years’ time.

You saw the piece in NYRB by Garry Wills?

@Benedick: Movie people, Bobby Jundal and that CNN doc.

@Benedick: But is knowing that a reason not to pursue justice? Or were they more concerned about hoarding the executive privileges Bush collected for them?

Simply put, I think the Bushies should be prosecuted because the evidence shows they committed world-historical war crimes. If the politics of the situation makes that risky, fuck the politics. I get very simplistic when it comes to justice and civil rights.

@Benedick: Benedick, I know that in your soul you hurt as much as anyone to see the waste and injustice that practical politics causes, that you also, like me, want so much more, but your statement there, about the practicialities, and what would have happened had he prosecuted the Bushies, its just so true, and sadly practical, but true. Its my birthday, I am acutely aware tonight of what I would have wished from my life so far, and the practicalities that made my life what it has been.

You can never know peace in life unless you can accept that some things however desireable, are impossible. That ideals are fictions towards which we must strive, but we must also know that achieving the perfect ideal is never, never, possible.

Art, literature, drama, are they all not all about this one thing? The impossible chasm that divides what we wish, from the best and most pure of intentions, and what is, despite all our struggle and pain?

Are the heroes those who perish in the impossible pursuit of impossible ideals, or those who simply find the strength to prevail and continue in the face of inevitable disappointment, and find meaning in having added one small weight to the good side of the scale?

@Benedick: You saw the piece in NYRB by Garry Wills?

You mean “One-Term President”?

Wills is mistaken. If it happens, it won’t be the wars. It’ll be the economy.

@nojo: I think there will never be justice in the world until everyone has lost the desire to prevail, win, conquer, and punish.

Just to do rightly is all that is necesary. Walk justly and provide an example.

The people of Afghanistan have been given a million reasons to hate, and to yearn for retribution, and their desire will never be slated, and will go on for generations, thats the evil of what Bush did, prosecuting him and the others will not satisify those he harmed.

Only doing right by them could ever slake the fire we set in their hearts.

Simply to stop doing wrong, and to start doing right, is not merely more important than going through the ceremonies we have for formally attributing blame, its the only thing that matters.

Just to stop doing wrong, would be a more meaningful act than making a show of retribution against Bush.

@Promnight: True. We fucked up hearts & minds a long time ago.

Will prosecuting Bushies change their minds? I’m sure they have much more immediate things to worry about. Will prosecuting Bushies give pause to future lawless administrations? Who knows? But I’m with the economists: I wouldn’t mind introducing a little moral hazard into their calculations.

@nojo: noje, I don’t know. That’s not my trade. What I do know is that nothing that is ever reported in the papers is accurate. (I beg cub’s pardon but that’s been my experience. If he’d like to come here and discuss it over, maybe, a backrub and hot cocoa, I could be persuaded) I also do believe we can’t know what their intentions are. I couldn’t agree more about prosecuting those evil killing fucktards. But the most we might be able to achieve is to make them international pariahs. Is that enough? No. It will never be enough. And I can never forget the account on Inside Iraq of a mother going to a makeshift morgue to reclaim the body of her son and being shown a room piled high with bits of bodies. And she went in there to try to find the bits of her son so she might bury them.

How can Bush et al ever pay for what they did? To say nothing of bankrupting the country and leaving us with an opposition party given over to ravening loons? Would we be better off to try them at the Hague? Think of Scaife et al behind the tea-baggers. War crimes can only really be prosecuted by the victor when the loser is crushed.

@Promnight: Honeybun, art is about making something delicious for people you love. Sometimes you might have to add a hint of asafetida for their own good, or whisk in the butter at the last minute to mount the sauce to anoint the turbot, but in the final analysis it’s all about making the best thing you can whether or not people like it. Oh. And plus. It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing.

Doo wah de wah doo wah de wah!

@Promnight: “Just to do rightly is all that is necesary. Walk justly and provide an example.”

Did I tell you that I cribbed extensively from a post you wrote recently – one of the most moving things I’ve ever read, when JNOV was at the depths of her despair – and I turned it into a speech I gave to 250 people? Well I did. And it appeared that it was a hit. Several adorable 20-somethings told me they found it inspiring. And the 40-something bartender who was an immigrant from Honduras made me cry when he told me what he thought about it.

You did good, Prommie. I was just your microphone that night.

@nojo: I thirst for justice as much as you do, Nojo, for me, its not something I talk about in the political sphere. Its a spiritual thing for me, its for me, what would I suppose be “faith” or “worship” to the religious. I feel bound to quest for justice, to seek it, value it, to try to be mindful enough to do justice when I can.

But for me, a person of the modern age, an empiricist, grounded in what is, what is observable, what has practical impact, I feel that my reverence for the ideal of justice is a religious impulse, one that I cannot impose on others, all I can do is make my own moral judgments comport with my beliefs about what is just and right and moral. I also believe that there is a real world practical result which comes from the mass of individual actions which comport with justice and good, and that there is, in the end, no other way, but to be good, and try to let the lesson of good send a message that makes a real impact on the world. But I just don’t think I can impose my ideal of the good, I have to simply do it and act it, and believe it will somehow inspire and cause more good, and less, evil, less hate, less desire for revenge.

Grievance is a prison.

@Benedick: You said something I say often. I love music, Benedick, good music and bad music, I love music, it inspires me, soothes me, excites me, My memories of my life and the biggest events in my life, are so inexctricably bound to the music in my mind when the events occurred, I have an internal soundtrack to my life, I cannot say it, its byond words, how much I am moved by music and rythm and sounds.

And when I am talking about music, with my wife, my few friends who share my passion, the thing I say, all the time, to explain why one piece of music moves me, and another does not, I say “it don’t mean a thing if it don’t got that swing.” I get into long debates over what has that swing, and what doesn’t. “That swing,” to me, is the spirit of dionysius, the primal urge to dance around the campfire, some music has it, and some does not. But its all the difference.

And that is why, tonight, and every night, my idea of nirvana, my idea of the most beautiful and enjoyable night, the most joyous thing I can even imagine, is a convocation of us, we people here, outdoors somewhere, around a roaring fire, with some kind of magic jukebox, with everything in it, and we would engage in uproarious conversation and debate, and put together a playlist that combines all the greatest examples of the music we all love, and we would dance into a trance, around a blazing fire, under a desert sky, I imagine this takes place under RML’s auspices, and we dance, we dance, and howl and sing badly, and dance, and dance, into exhaustion, and sleep out under a desert sky. And there will be crying and confessions and professions of undying freindship and arguments and soulful communions, and people will bond and feel part of a tribe, as we were meant to be, part of a tribe, a group, bound by respect and love, and we could leave that magic night with memories that would make the horrors of day to day life bearable, until the next time we gather to howl at the moon.

@Jamie Sommers: Ahh, shit, I knew you’d ask that. What happened to the search function on this website?

@SanFranLefty: You mean the one I never programmed? Might get to it over the weekend — I’m getting tired of using “site:stinque.com” in Google…

hi kids, just checked in specifically to dish with you about that magnifent dress. a wower. i want it. just to put on and slowly walk down the stairs informing mr. deMille i’m ready……

i am going to address every lobster i encounter from now til forever: aileen.

this older/younger business: the one jdater i can’t shake loose is a 31 year old. please, i have dresses older than that. it’s all about points of reference. he would not know what noje is talking about when he says, forget it jake….
or have any idea who maynard g. crebbs is, a dealbreaker for me.
what do these may/december goofs have to talk about?

i’m missing the cage match thursday night in new york. feeling a little lonely this thanksgiving. can’t wait for tuesday…going to miami to see my perfect grandson. thanksgiving will be next week for me.

wishing prommie a happy bday, a good year and a good turkey to all of you. i love you all.

Speaking of May-December, who was Katie Couric’s date to the State Dinner? Unlike Geffen’s date, he did look old enough to drink.

HuffPo’s slideshow of arrivals is awesome. Sanjay Gupta’s wife is wearing a sari that appears to have been made out of a red checked tablecloth.

@baked: “…what do these may/december goofs have to talk about?”

Darling, you don’t really want to know that do you?

BTW: I have no clue about “Forget it, Jake” or the Crebbs person.

well then i won’t be able to consider you …damn.

forget it jake is from the movie “chinatown” noje will explain…

and maynard is a character from “the dobie gillis show” even though i was a tot, i was a precocious tot and enjoyed the show. maynard had a lot of things to say i still remember.
“oh joy oh joy!”
“work? WORK?”

you had to be there.

every day, i mean every single goddamn day, i walk into a room and forgot what the fuck i went in there for, but can quote dialogue from the dobie gillis show. is this early onset alzheimer’s? or is my brain so crushed with stupid shit there isn’t an inch left to remind me to eat lunch?

i want to publicly and formally THANK NOJO for removing my camel. i don’t know why he hates me, i love him so for the ridiculously obscure references he makes that i believe no one else in the world could possibly get but me. he needs to be in my pocket for the rest of my life, as do the rest of you.

lets drink to obscurity! irreverence! information! politics! comedy! tragedy! humanity! compassion! immaturity! religion! sex! law! philosophy!
to NOJO!!!!!!

oh, and musical theater, dresses, and nervous breakdowns.
STINQUE: where “that lady with the scales? she got eyes, man, she got eyes”

c’mon noje, what’s the movie?

@baked: I know someone who supposedly is an almond heiress who was married to Bob Denver. Oh, and have a drink for Prommie’s BD today.

@SanFranLefty: You can go to the WH office of the press secretary to get the guest list for last night’s state dinner. Search for Couric’s name and her date’s name will be directly below hers. My friend’s name wasn’t on there so she either didn’t go or was a last minute replacement for someone. NM Gov Bill Richardson was there. I guess they thought he knew something about Indians. Ahahahahahahaha.

@SanFranLefty: Except for Ms Gupta’s table cloth, I was pleasantly surprised with how nice everyone looked. Katie looked better and happier than she has in a long time, and the arm candy was the perfect accessory. See, baked, I much prefer younger men. They had moms who worked and don’t expect to be waited on like those entitled boomers, and they’re much more accepting of strong women. I say this as someone about to marry a man 11 yrs younger, who was born the year Watergate happened.
@redmanlaw: Fun fact for Mad Men fans: The actress who plays the Draper’s maid, Carla, did research for the role by consulting her mother, who worked as Bob Denver’s maid in the 60s.

This stupid fucking kid, he is fucking insane. You can send all 330 million Americans to fucking Afghanistan and they’ll still end up having their faces eaten by crazy fucking tribesmen who live to murder the assholes who try to tame the place. Ombamatard needs to kick McChrystal’s legs out from underneath him, take a savage shit on his face and tell him the kids are coming the fuck home.

@baked: If that’s from Wanda, well, I’m not the Wanda expert here.

And Dobie? Don’t think I’ve ever seen an episode. Gilligan is another highly embarrassing matter entirely, but I learned to my existential dread ten years ago that it’s lost on the small fry.

Lesson: You have to start culling your references past 40. Although I think someone here dropped The Mothers-in-Law some time back, which makes two Kaye & Eve fans in this joint.

@nojo: It’s not Wanda. If it is, then my memory has gone to hell since at one point I had almost all of the dialogue memorized from watching it so many times.

it’s from a book really, with a decent movie treatment.
(robert deniro, a priest, perjures himself for the young ruffians in his hells kitchen parish who got sent up as kids, become murders, and stand trial for the murder of the evil evil kevin bacon, the juvy guard who abused them. brad pitt plays the prosecutor who is really trying to get his friends off. the defence attorney is the alcoholic addlebrained dustin hoffman) i recommend a netflix.

@nojo: Three. Eve Arden was a profound influence on the young Cynica.

@Mistress Cynica:
so you’re saying i should go to hawaii with him in 2 weeks?
one of my husbands was 9 years younger, he was given to tantrums.
and only one of us can have tantrums.
but i’m sure my next one will be younger. as cher answered when asked why she always dated younger men: “that’s who asks me out.”

@baked: Did you ever see the home furnishings catalog that Cher put out? At least, it came under her name and she modeled quite a lot of chain-mail and helmetry in it. I kick myself now for not having kept it. It was like Sunset Boulvd meets Pier One.

never did, sounds frightening, yet hilarious.
one of the charms of this island is no mail delivery. houses don’t even have addresses, they have names. (WE get to name them!) there is a post office, where they do not put your mail into the boxes. fed ex and ups are us.
so i skip the bales of catalogues that used to bury me daily.

the name of my house? RIDE THE WIND
my old house? SANDY PAWS
my house in jerusalem? I MUST CONVERT

@baked: Four husbands or four years younger? I forget whether RB is #3 or #4.

@SanFranLefty: I think that’s four fans of The Mothers-in Law.

ADD: @baked: Obviously, I’m the only one who gets to throw tantrums. It’s in my contract.

@Mistress Cynica: Oh. Right. My bad. Wasn’t the woman who played Eve the principal in Grease?

/I could have learned Mandarin or been a brain surgeon if my brain weren’t filled with this type of bullshit trivia.

@SanFranLefty: According to imdb, Eve Arden did play the principal in Grease. I loved her best for her trademark roles as the wise-cracking best friend to the heroine in movies from the ’40s, the one who was too smart, funny, and outspoken to catch a man herself.

lefty, i know “wanda” verbatim too. something i say all the time, i’ve made it my own:

” dis-a-POIN-ted !!!!!!!!” no one gets it, they think it’s MY saying.

fun fact: kevin kline in wanda is the only actor to win an oscar for a comedic role. though i thought he deserved one for “in and out”
(woody allen was nominated)

people, please, if you have not seen “in and out” you must, i insist, watch it THIS WEEKEND!!

i lose track too…..RB is #4…call me zsa zsa

@baked: Make it a Kevin Kline weekend and watch “Love you to death” or whatever the title of the one where he plays the philandering Italian pizza guy. HEE-larious.

I’m trying to ‘ready up’ (as my ‘burgher mother always said) my bachelor pad before the biscuits arrive; who knew you needed to vacuum more than once a week month???

@Just Nabisco:
try living with a borzoi…vacuum twice a DAY. i love my swiffer!

a great one too! “i love you to death” with tracey ullman? and keanu reeves and william hurt? terrific! did you know that is a true story?!
have a great one beesco!

@baked: Yes, “DIS-a-POINTED!” is a phrase I often use. “In and Out” was hilarious.

Not many women win Oscars for comedic roles either, Penelope Cruz last year for “Vicky Christina Barcelona” (speaking of Woody Allen) is the first one in a while. I first watched that movie on my little personal screen on a flight and was laughing so hard I was shusshed by those sitting around me AND a flight attendant. Get it if you haven’t seen it yet.

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