The World O' Crap Archive

Welcome to the Collected World O' Crap, a comprehensive library of posts from the original Salon Blog, and our successor site, (2006 to 2010).

Current posts can be found here.

Friday, January 7, 2011

March 12, 2004 by s.z.

"The rabbits in Parisland"

As always,TBOGG will be bringing you the official, licensed, and 100% certified funny translation of the story.  I am here with the REST of the story. 

In today's adventure of America's Worst Mother® (registered trademark of Tbogg Products), we've become unstuck in time, and careen wildly between past, present, and future.  Plus. Meghan gives us enough childish whimsy to rival the entire works of Jean Kerr.  We call the result Please Don't Eat the Slaughterhouse-Five.

Page one:

Little Cupid has been stealing material from Gnat, and says she wants a "wock."  Stupid Meghan thinks the child wants a "walk," but we all know that what the tot desires is a "rock," and a gween, bwack, and yewwow tottle. 

Anyway, frustrated that nobody but her reads Lileks, Cupid becomes goatish.  Meghan chides her for joining the culture of complaint, and for failing to lisp anything else suitable for the column. 

Meghan demands that son Comet say something in adorably precious baby talk.  
"Phe-be, I get you wock lata, okay?"
It's not Gnat, but it's good enough for government work.

Page two
Outside, it is pouring with rain. Inside, the children and I are grouped at the dining-room table in a golden halo of Victorian industry:
Yes, Comet is sweeping chimneys, Prancer is a chambermaid, and Vixen and Nixon are working the power loom.  Oh, and Meghan is finishing up her report to the FBI about the slutty teacher who kissed her fiance at last night's PTA Gala Dinner.

Page Three

We now flashback to the preparations for the Gala Dinner, which, as "Swamp readers know," was the grandest dinner ever to be held in Washington, D.C. 

And as WO'C readers know, Mary asked the question we've all been wondering: why didn't the sensible-shoe wearing PTA mothers kick Meghan's ass to the curb for all the crap she said about them last week?  I suppose they might not read NRO, being Commies and all, but you'd think at least one of them would check out Meghan's column, if just to sneer about how Meghan thinks she's the thinking man's crumpet.

But maybe the PTA Horde's cunning plan is to let Meghan stay in the group, but give her lots of tedious and meaningless work to do, as a way to either teach her humility or drive her crazy. 

And they have been laying on the labor.  Per Meghan, "for weeks and weeks" she painfully collated the menu choices, arranged table partner requests, and tallied dibs on spouses for the after-dinner gala wife-swapping.  Meghan also "sat for excruciating hours in dour company composing place cards, lists for the caterer, and a seating plan."  Yeah, those PTA Nazis were a sullen, frumpy, cheerless bunch -- and always whining for scissors and electric lights!  How dowdy and mean-spirited they seem when compared to Meghan, whose two youngest children have now been sold to a family of migrant workers, and are working the berry harvest.

Page Four
"We are picking blueberries and raspberries and strawberries," Violet narrates quietly, tapping a plastic triceratops on the table. Phoebe's dog bounces in response. "And blueberries, and strawberries, and blueberries," says the younger party.
Page Five

The PTA Nazis seem to have gotten their revenge: all through the preparations they kept Meghan ignorant of a "central fact": that the Gala Dinner was NOT a PTA fundraiser, but instead just a party, for, you know fun.  And the NEA-supporting, lower-middle class, non-charmingly scatterbrained, non-fabulous teachers got to come too!
Which means I spent countless hours of irreplaceable time carved off from my other responsibilities to facilitate an expensive, vinous gathering of people who see each other every day!
Yup.  You were their bitch, Meghan.

Page Six

Comet notes: "Twitchy can't do anything really cool, like breathe fire."  But wouldn't it great if he could!  Comet wishes really hard, and . . . Twitchy is a fire-breathing rabbit!  Yes, Comet has developed the power to wish things into existence, just like young Billy Mumy in that "Twilight Zone" ep.  Comet concentrates and . .. 
A flock of flying scissors cuts through the sky over a smudgy terrain dotted with serpents and lions and "six types of electric mole."
He gets into an argument with Vixen about whether the triceratops is a dog, and poof!, Vixen is a blueberry. 
Turning to her little sister, she says confidingly, "The wine cellar is where the blueberries go to warm up."
Page Seven
Meanwhile, my husband is upstairs, showering off last night's Gala atmosphere.
Well, some guy whom Meghan brought home from the Gala is upstairs showering off the odor of cheap booze, osso busco n' cheese, and tawdry, meaningless sex.

Meghan reminisces about the Gala some more.  Sure, the drinks and dinner were fun, since Meghan had used her control over the place cards to stock her "table with the most sharp-witted and amusing of parents."  But then, in a decidedly down-market moment, the "DJ warmed up his sound system, flicked on his set of whirling multicolored lights, and love-struck teachers hit the floor."  Is there anything less appealing than teachers insisting on having love lives?

Thank God the principal broke up that moment by thanking the lovely mothers who made the night possible.  The first bouquet went to Mrs. X, who chaired the lovely event.  Curse that Mrs. X  --  she thinks she's just as good as a name brand, and she's so damned CAPABLE. 

The modest and retiring Meghan tried to hang back, but her husband for the evening forcibly peeled her off the wall and made her accept her bouquet, even if it was only for doing "so much to organize this lovely event."  He predicted that Meghan would be the chairwoman next year -- a prophecy Meghan helped ensure would come true by "accidentally" running down Mrs. X and all the other PTA Nazis while exiting the parking lot.
All you really need to know about the Gala Dinner, and all, I am sure, that I will remember, is that the third song the DJ played was Chris de Burgh's "Lady in Red," and that the song was requested by a teacher, and that this particular teacher was clad from shoulder to shin in skin-skimming red leather and that during the song, the teacher's mouth was clamped against that of her fiancee's, working meaningfully. I feel about that song the way Pauline Kael did about Nixon: I don't know anyone who doesn't hate it.
If that was all we needed to know, why did Meghan insist on telling us all that boring stuff about the place cards -- not to mention, all that stuff about the other PTA mothers being dowdy, humorless, unsophisticated lumps?

And why do we need to know about the red-leather wearing teacher kissing her fiance during her special song?  Is it going to be on the test or what?  Personally, I think I'll instead remember how Cupid stole change out of the PTA Bitches purses to buy cigarettes; and the time when Twitchy went for Mrs. X's jugular when she tried to pet him, and she had to get a series of painful rabies injections; and how, when Mrs. Y asked to use the bathroom, Vixen gave her a copy of The Mill on the Floss and told her that until the septic tank was pumped out, Mummy said they couldn't use the toilet. 

But that's probably just me.

Page Eight

Gala Night Daddy finally sobers up enough to make it down stairs, and is ambushed by the hungry Gurdon children.  It's pretty horrible -- I imagine Tbogg will tell you more about it -- I just don't have the stomach for it.

Page Nine

Nixon is supporting the family with her cake-making business.  As somebody (I think it was Mary again) commented, doesn't one need some kind of license from the Board of Health to run a home bakery.  And if so, how ever an 11-year-old girl living in the slovenly, run-down, unhygienic Gurdon house get such a license?  Is Nixon's cake business really a communist front organization?

Page Ten

Demon child Comet has made a basilisk. 

Everyone thinks happy thoughts, and immediately obeys Comet's bidding as he orders them to come see it.
But forget Comet and his ability to wish you into the corn field; for even more horrible than the fire-breathing, two headed Twitchy is what Meghan finds in the nursery . . . piles of wrinkly clothes. 
Next week: Meghan makes jam out of Vixen.

9:33:30 AM    

FileGate Update: Won't Somebody PLEASE Think of Manuel Miranda's Children?

A lawyer for Manuel Miranda has sent Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee a lengthy, point-by-point rebuttal of a recent report by the Senate sergeant at arms detailing how GOP aides obtained internal Democratic Judiciary memorandums.
In the letter to Republican senators, Miranda’s lawyer, Adam Augustine Carter, urged the senators to end the inquiries into how the Democratic memos became public and not to refer the matter to a prosecutor for a criminal investigation.
“I do so on behalf of Mr. Miranda, not for fear that he would not be fully vindicated, but for the sake of his family,” wrote Carter.
Please spare his family the ordeal of learning how the Democratic memos became public -- not that Miranda had anything to do with that, but it would break the hearts of his family to learn that somebody on the Republican side could have behaved so ungentlemanly.
Members of the Judiciary Committee will meet in executive session today to decide how to handle the report. Democrats on the committee are seeking a criminal prosecution, and several key lawmakers, such as Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), have called for the matter to be entrusted to a special prosecutor.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a Republican member of the committee, said Tuesday that he would push for the Pickle report to be referred to a professional prosecutor for a possible criminal investigation.
Unless Republicans can convince a Democrat to vote with them, Graham’s switch would give Democrats a majority in a vote on the issue.
So, it's Lindsey Graham to whom the plea to think of Miranda's family is addressed.  I hope he can stand all the pathos.

5:09:28 AM    

Iraqi Spy Was a Liberal/Democrat!

Well, that's apparently the headline that the Corner and Glenn Reynolds think the story of Susan Lindauer warrants.

First, here's Insty:
She worked for four Democratic members of Congress but what does the headline in the Seattle Post Intelligencer say about the accused Iraqi spy?
Accused spy is cousin of Bush staffer
Yep, that's the headline. Absolutely shameless.
UPDATE: Reader Jon Henke emails:
They didn't happen to mention that she'd also worked for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer until the second paragraph. Presumably, her distant relation to a guy who works for Bush is more important than what she's actually dirtied her hands at.
Dirtied, indeed.
ANOTHER UPDATE: More here: "Card turns in someone who is remotely related to him; the press reports the relationship but downplays the fact that he helped catch her."
MORE: Alternative headline here. I'm guessing we won't be seeing that one much.
Okay, a few points (taken from stories from The Washington PostBaltimore SunMSNBC, and A.P.):
1.  Lindauer is not an "accused spy."  Per MSNBC, she was "charged with conspiring to act as an unregistered agent of the Iraqi Intelligence Service and with engaging in prohibited financial transactions with the Iraqi government."  She has not been charged with espionage, and has apparently never had access to classified information. The indictment said she accepted $10,000 for working for the intelligence service from 1999 to 2002, apparently seving as an "agent of influence, " that is, somebody who could persuade people on the hill to look more favorably towards Iraq.

2.  Yes, Lindauer did work for four Democratic members of Congress.  Among the many, many jobs she's held over a twenty-year work history, she worked for a Democratic Congressmen for a total of less than two years (the last time being an eight-week stint as a press secretary to California Rep. Zoe Lofren in 2002 -- with that position being the only one of her Hill jobs held during the time period she was reportedly working for Iraqi intelligence). 

Anyway, her Hill employment is just background, while her relationship with Andrew Card is directly relevent to her arrest, because central to her indictment is a letter she wrote to him, "trying to influence U.S. policy."  That, along with  the $10,000 she received for her services, seem to be the basis of the charge that she "acted as an unregistered agent of Iraq." 

On Jan. 8, 2003, prosecutors said, Lindauer tried to influence U.S. foreign policy by delivering to the home of a U.S. government official a letter in which she conveyed her access to and contacts with members of Saddam’s regime.
Card is that official.  He turned her into the FBI.  She tried to use him to influence U.S. policy, he reported it -- that's most of the story right there.  So, the Card connection is much more relevant to the story than the Democratic employment -- and the papers noting that isn't evidence of a liberal bias, but pundits claiming that it is, is evidence of poor reading and reasoning skills on the part of some conservatives.

Oh, and the fact that Lindauer worked for the Seattle Post Intelligencer for three months in the 1987, while no doubt of interest to local readers (and morons trying to make stupid political points), is not relevant at all to the actual story.

3.  Card is Lindauer's second cousin -- not all that "remote" or "distant" of family relationship, as these things go.  While Card said he hadn't had contact with her the "January 2001 inaugural events," I think it's significiant that he DID have contact with her at the inaugural events, because it means that he knew who she was, and that she could brag to Iraqi Intelligence that she had a cousin working for the White House whom she'd seen at the inauguration. 

Per the A.P story, "Card told the FBI that Lindauer had tried to contact him on behalf of the former regime several times" -- so, it seems to me that the Iraqis were paying her to use her reported influence with her cousin Card to change U.S. policy towards Iraq, and that it didn't work.   On a completely unrelated topic, I wonder what the Chinese paid Neil Bush for? 

Now, let's turn to the Corner:
I don't know anything more than 
what's in the AP story, and I'd be more than stunned if anybody on the Hill or in Democratic circles knew what this woman was allegedly up to. But, congressional offices are not huge sprawling places for the most part. People go out to lunch with each other. They go to each other's homes. They gossip and chat and, most of all, talk about politics. I think it says something pretty damning that there's a woman willing to take Saddam's blood money who in all likelihood spouted her politics often and was still welcomed in those circles. I'm not talking about guilt-by-association, I don't think anybody else but her should get tarred with her crimes, but that such a person is socially acceptable -- never mind hirable -- in these circles is really amazing.
Posted at 02:42 PM
So, Jonah is saying that while he'd be "stunned" if anyone on the Hill or in Democratic circles knew what Susan was up to, it's still "pretty damning" that she "in all likelihood spouted her politics often and was still welcomed in those circles."  His point seems to be that she was telling all her co-workers how cool Saddam was, but was still befriended by Democrats, proving that they are just one-step removed from being spies themselves.

My points about Jonah's points:

1.  In all likelihood, Susan wasn't part of any circles that went to each others houses, to lunch, or chatted.  First, because she wasn't in any one job for very long -- the 1993 one for Ron Wyden, which lasted about a year, in the only one where she might have been around long enough to get to know anybody.  But of course, she wasn't associated with Iraqi Intelligence then, and her "politics" were probably totally legal and protected by the First Ammendment, so what were her coworkers supposed to have done differently, assuming that she did talk to them at work?

2.  Lindauer probably wasn't part of any Congressional social circles or after-work coffee klatches while she was "accepting Saddam's blood money" because she's CRAZY!  Seriously, it's obvious that Ms. Lindauer is mentally ill.  The grandiosity, the paranoia, the delusions, the fact that the judge ordered a psychiatric evaluation all point to somthing very wrong with her thought processes (my guess: schizophrenia).  So, even if she did "spout her politics often," her coworkers probably smiled blankly and tried to walk away before they had to hear more about Susan's crazy conspiracy theories.  The mentally ill are rarely welcomed into Capitol Hill social circles -- at least, the Democratic ones.  

And as why she was deemed "hireable," I doubt she told prospective employers in her job interviews that her hobbies included working to help Saddam stay in power.  Hey, she was a Smith College graduate with a master's in public policy from the London School of Economics, and reportedly "brilliant but erratic."   Employers might have known of her anti-war views when they hired her, but presumably it wasn't until after she was hired that she told them her theory her belief that Libya was framed for the Lockerbie bombing -- and since she never lasted in any job more than a few months, Jonah should consider the possibility that once Lindauer's "politics" were known, she was let go. 

[Note: while most of this information might not have been available to Jonah when he posted, that's the danger of posting about what  that something says "pretty damning" things about Democratic circle before you have the facts.]

Now, here's Kathryn Jean, with basically the same accusation as Glenn about that darned liberal media making the Card connection appear in the story before the fact that Lindauer worked for Democrats!
HER SECOND COUSIN IS ANDY CARD [KJL]MSNBC highlights that the alleged spy woman is Andy Card's second cousin, but you have to go in the story six graphs before you find out she made a career out of working for Democrats. The Card relation certainly makes it all the more disturbing--that she was "that" close to the halls of power. That said, I don't know the names of most of my second cousins, but I do have some influence (good or bad--verdict is out) over some of the people I spend my work hours with. Anyway, seems like the former Democratic presidential candidate is worth noting a little earlier in the story.
Posted at 05:21 PM
Well, I might not have close relationships with most of my second cousins, but I would remember any of them whom I saw at the Presidential Inaugeration.  And it is good to know that if any of the NRO Corner gang go bad, we can hold Kathryn partially responsible.  Anyway, the very first paragraph of the story says that  the women was CHARGED with trying to influence Card on policy matters -- so, again, it's important to know her connection with him at the first, not where she worked eight years ago.

Oh, and since Lindauer only worked for Carol Moseley-Braun for "a short period in 1996," just how soon in the story should that have been mentioned? (Answer: per The Chicago Sun Times, the headline: Ex-Braun aide allegedly was Iraq agent)

Kathryn follows up with an admission that she didn't even read the article to the end, and somehow THAT is the fault of the liberal media too.
I didnt even get to the end of the MSNBC piece: a reader points out: "You neglected to post perhaps the biggest evidence of MSNBC's bias... Andrew Card is reported as being the person who turned her in to authorities, but not until the end of the piece." Bet I'm not the only person to not make the end of the piece.
Posted at 05:50 PM
Actually, it's first mentioned in the 8th paragraph (at least, in the current version of the story, updated at 7:19 p.m), which is BEFORE the part about Lindauer's job history -- you have to pay attention to the fact that she was turned in by a U.S. official, and that Card is that U.S. officials, but it's there.  In any case, if Kathryn isn't the only one who spouting off about the case before reading to the end of the news story, they're idiots too.

In conclusion, while there may or may not be a liberal bias to the media, if the conservative pundits can't do better than when they attempt to demonstrate it, they are just going to look stupid. 

Oh, and my guess is that Lindauer will be found mentally ill, and she will never serve jail time. 
In a completely unrelated matter, it seems that the heralded Muslim Chaplain may get adminstrative punishment for adultery and downloading porn, and is offering to resign from the military for having mishandled classified information.  Spy cases sure aren't what they used to be!

2:32:56 AM    

Vanity of Vanities, Saith the Preacher

From Andrew Sullivan we learn:
WOLCOTT ON BLOGS: The dyspeptic critic, Jim Wolcott, celebrates blogs in the current Vanity Fair. Since it's Vanity Fair, it must include the usual smears against anyone not in the anti-war left. Wolcott duly obliges. Jeff Jarvis has the goods. - 1:16:05 AM
Hmm, what blogger non in the anti-war left might Wolcott have smeared, we wonder.  Let's go to Jarvis's site and find out:
Wolcott does an on-the-one-hand-on-the-other about anonymous and pseudonymous blogging and the cloak for attack it can provide and then says:
And I would add, based on my own subjective impressions, the reason Andrew Sullivan attracts so many personal attacks isn't that he's recognizable and his attackers aren't, but that he makes it so easy and fun. He's like a bad tenor begging to be pelted with fresh product.
Good one, dyspeptic critic, Jim Wolcott!  We just might have to buy this issue of Vanity Fair.
Jarvis reports more from Wolcott:
On the surface, the battle between Andy and Atrios is a minor spat between a drama queen and a shrinking violet, but it has deeper rippes. That Sullivan, a well-known byliner, television pundit, and former Gap model, felt impelled to pick a fight with a lesser-known blogger was a sign of insecurity -- shaky status. It signifies the shift of influence and punch-power in the blogosphere from the right to the left. It is Atrios, not Andrew Sullivan, who is in ascendance in the blogosphere. Only a few years ago, the energy and passion were largely the property of the right hemisphere, where Sullivan, Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds, and N.R.O.'s Victor Davis Hanson fired up the neurons against defeatism, anti-Americanism, and death's-head specter of Islamic terrorism billowing from the ruins of Ground Zero...
When I stray into these sites now, it's like entering the visitor's center of a historical landmark. The rhododentrons need dusting, and the tour guide isn't listening to himself, having done his spiel endless times before.Liberal blogs are now where the bonfires blaze.
Poor Andrew -- but like his mother told him, Wolcott is just saying these things because he's jealous of your manly pro-war blogging, 

Anyway, per Jarvis, Wolcott also mentions many other good sites (as well as some other has-beens like Mickey Kaus, and Jonah Goldberg).  But chief among the good blogs (at least, that's the way it appeared to us) appeared our role model and idol,  TBOGG!  Way to go, Tom!

1:22:27 AM

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