Saturday, September 06, 2008

Links For The Weekend

If you're going to read just one story this weekend, please, please, please make it this one. Please. (Courtesy Nikhil)

Jon Stewart takes on the despicable, mean and mocking speeches on the third day of the RNC by Romney, Giuliani and Palin. Eight great minutes.

Hamid Mir with another ridiculous piece, this time claiming that Bakhtawar Bhutto found her mother's master plan written on a piece of paper, conveniently located in her purse. Bakhtawar "accidently" happened to discover this piece of paper after the assassination. "Removal of Musharraf was the first point in the plan," we are told. "There are many more." I guess BB is kind of like Machiavelli and Tupac that way, in that her best works will be published posthumously.

John Dickerson very usefully synopsizes the Presidential race:
Here's where things stand: If you look at the latest national polling, Obama is up by an average of about five points. That gap may shrink if McCain gets a bounce from his convention, but with each passing day, national numbers are increasingly meaningless. What's most important now is how things are going in the battleground states. In those states, things look much better for Obama than they do nationally. If you look at the map of state polling, Obama has 260 of the 270 electoral votes he needs. John McCain has 186.

If current trends hold, Obama needs only to pick up Virginia and Colorado, two states where he's ahead, where trends favor him, and where he won in the primaries. Obama is not only ahead in all the states John Kerry won, he's virtually locked down Iowa, a state George Bush won. (He's ahead by 15 in the latest CNN poll.)

McCain's best chances to pick up states John Kerry won in 2004 are New Hampshire, where he is tied with Obama, and Michigan and Pennsylvania, where Obama is ahead just outside the margin of error. Yet even if McCain can reverse the trends in those states, he's still only at 241 electoral votes. So he also needs to keep Ohio and Florida in the GOP column (polls are even there) and not give up any of the other states, like North Carolina.

You know, we may bitch and moan about Zardari, but can you imagine having a ruler who has scores of beautiful wives (more than a dozen, generally picked out from a parade of bare-breasted young girls), builds them each a palace, demands the construction of a 15000-seat stadium for the sole purpose of celebrating his 40th birthday, and orders BMWs for each of the visiting dignatries for their "comfort" - all in a country where the average life expectancy is around thirty and two thirds of the population lives in poverty?

A fascinating account of a meeting between Rupert Murdoch, Roger Ailes and Barack Obama (via Andrew Sullivan):

Murdoch has traditionally liked politicians to come to him. His historic shift in the 1990s to Tony Blair came after Blair made a pilgrimage to Australia.

Obama, on the other hand, was snubbing Murdoch. Every time he reached out (Murdoch executives tried to get the Kennedys to help smooth the way to an introduction), nothing. The Fox stain was on Murdoch.

It wasn’t until early in the summer that Obama relented and a secret courtesy meeting was arranged. The meeting began with Murdoch sitting down, knee to knee with Obama, at the Waldorf-Astoria. The younger man was deferential—and interested in his story. Obama pursued: What was Murdoch’s relationship with his father? How had he gotten from Adelaide to the top of the world?

Murdoch, for his part, had a simple thought to share with Obama. He had known possibly as many heads of state as anyone living today—had met every American president from Harry Truman on—and this is what he understood: nobody got much time to make an impression. Leadership was about what you did in the first six months.

Then, after he said his piece, Murdoch switched places and let his special guest, Roger Ailes, sit knee to knee with Obama.

Obama lit into Ailes. He said that he didn’t want to waste his time talking to Ailes if Fox was just going to continue to abuse him and his wife, that Fox had relentlessly portrayed him as suspicious, foreign, fearsome—just short of a terrorist.

Ailes, unruffled, said it might not have been this way if Obama had more willingly come on the air instead of so often giving Fox the back of his hand.

A tentative truce, which may or may not have vast historical significance, was at that moment agreed upon.

That might explain Obama agreeing to go on Bill O'Reilly's show on Faux Noise for an interview.

Finally, Husain Haqqani tells the U.S. cross-border raids aren't helping. The U.S. reaction is something approximating "whatever, dude".


Anonymous said...

The following article might explain why US officials say cross-border raids are necessary.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure someone was going to act smart and point out the typing error in the heading; might as well be me.

Anonymous said...

Haqqani is making sense. Too bad no one's listening now.

Hamid Mir obviously has a thing for Bakhtwar. Bakhtawar has Benazir's face (rougher & with a unibrow that is basically Zardari's mustache, but above the eyes) and a Punjabi man's body.

I found a letter in Hamid's wallet that said he likes butches. He has a master plan to marry Bakhtawar and take over the PPP. Their baby will be named: Mullah Omar Bhutto Zardari Mir.

Did you notice how many times Hamid repeated that there were many points in the letter and only mentioned one? This master plan was miraculously in Benazir's purse. Probably got stuck to her dry cleaning receipts.

Next article from Hamid Mir: A previously unnoticed Hadith that foretold the presidential election of Asif Zardari.

Anonymous said...

anonymous 1, i mean

Ahsan said...


Thanks for the link. It's a very interesting piece, and I have a number of thoughts about it. Unfortunately I don't have the time right now to post on this; hopefully in a couple of days I will.


Taken care of. Thanks for pointing it out.


ABSOLUTELY NO personal insults against fellow commenters will be tolerated. I have deleted your comment.

In general:

Please stop posting comments as "anonymous". If you wish to remain anonymous, please use a pseudonym.

Wasiq said...

Guys! Bakhtawar is still underage and, therefore, not fair game.

Be anti-Bhutto/Zardari as much as you like but remain decent.

And to Anonymous/ Haqqani Watch/ etc. who is Haqqani obsessed and thinks I am Haqqani, please post your phone No online. If you're in the U.S. I will call and arrange to meet up (as long as I dont have to travel to Alaska) and prove that I am who I say I am.

Ahsan can be there too to make sure you do not get molested or indecently assaulted by me or me by you.

naqiya said...


what if ahsan molests you both??

NAA said...

This probably doesnt belong here but I love the sub-title on the main page "Waking up to a new don"

Ahsan said...


I unfortunately do not have as much spare time as you. You are free to meet and molest whoever you want, but please don't expect me to bear witness to any of this.


You're right; two people standing on top of one another might reach a higher plane.


All credit to regular reader Muna for coming up with it.

Wasiq Haqqani said...

Wasiq: I'll call ur bluff. My digits: (415) 621-4854

Rabia said...

anonymous #1: thanks for the link to the nyt report. But I am curious as to why you say that it supports an argument for such isolated cross-border incidents? The article, and in general all reports about the situation in the tribal areas, makes a much stronger case for a more comprehensive counter-terrorism policy which these cross-border attacks are more likely to derail than anything else.

Rabia said...

anyway, we should seriously get samsung to make some of these robots for us to deploy on the Durand line!

anonymous #1 said...

Rabia: I agree the NYT report does not make that claim but what I was trying to get at was that IF (i) the Pakistani military keeps on playing this “game” that they’ve played for 20+ years, and (ii) the FC guards remain untrained, ill-equipped, and extremely low on morale and (iii) the federal government does not take this issue seriously (which I believe neither the current nor the previous government has done) THEN the US will continue with these cross-border incidents. I also agree that this will make the situation even worse but I just don’t see a comprehensive counter-terrorism policy being formulated and implemented in the short term (next 6-12 months).Who knows what happens after that? (Apologies for not being very optimistic about this whole situation, but that’s just my take on this).

Rabia said...

anonymous #1
yeah, I see what you're saying, but it seems like a strange time for the US to make this point so forcefully considering that the army has until very recently been in the middle of a pretty large-scale anti-militant operation.

bubs said...

"Guys! Bakhtawar is still underage and, therefore, not fair game."

I don't think an 18-year-old should qualify as underage. If think someone comes of age at 21, then the PPP desperately needs a new co-chairman. I would have agreed that she's not fair game until she gave an interview to Hamid Mir of all people and talked politics.

Also, I really hope you're Husain Haqqani. Nothing would be cooler than to have an ambassador to the US who, after meeting Condi, decides to get into a pissing match on a relatively obscure blog (no offence to Ahsan, NB and AKS).

Ahsan said...


Why are you so sure Bakhtawar actually spoke to Hamid Mir? He could have simply made it ALL up, you know?

Also, I can't speak of Wasiq Haqqani, but Husain Haqqani has dropped by and had a conversation before. Read the following post from April, 07:

bubs said...


It was a televised interview.

Ahsan said...

Ah, I see. Well, that makes Bakhtawar more idiotic than Hamid Mir, which is quite a feat.