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ABF Friday:  Music and Detention edition!

All right, time for yet another blog experiment.

I’m curious as to how identifiable this song is by the drum part alone.  I deliberately chose (what I think of as) an easy one, but I stayed away from the Very Famous Drum Openings genre, like “This Year’s Model” or “New Lace Sleeves” from the Declan McManus songbook.  Instead, I chose a drum part that has, in places, its own kind of melody—which is why I think it’s pretty easily identifiable.

And yes, I’m a bit rusty.  What do you want?  The last time I played in public was quite some time ago, and even then I wasn’t playing on my own kit.  Speaking of which: the thin crash on my right, your left, is about to fall apart.  And I really don’t like the way this ride cymbal sounds here—way too bright and tinny and overtoney.  I’m thinking of replacing it with the glorious old 22-inch thing I bought used from a midtown NYC studio for all of $18 in 1981.  Eighteen dollars!  Of course, back then we had to say “dickety” because the Kaiser stole our word “eighteen.”

So, here’s Song in 100 Seconds (apologies to Josh Marshall):

And also apologies to Jim Gordon.

Oh yes, about that Obama fellow.  You know, I’d almost forgotten all about him!  Yes, that was a pretty good speech he gave yesterday.  He seems to be quite talented at that sort of thing.  I don’t have anything to add that Greenwald and Digby haven’t said already (apologies to Greenwald and Digby!  Also, read Greenwald’s Fifth Update to today’s post).  Am I disappointed in the guy generally?  Well, yes and no.  No, because I expected to be disappointed, which kind of throws the whole category of “disappointment” into epistemological crisis.  Yes, because “preventative detention” goes way beyond anything I’d expected to be disappointed by, and I think he’s already (and quite needlessly) blown a couple of much easier opportunities to restore the principles to which he’s appealing, like lifting the Bush-Cheney ban on Very Dangerous Furren Scholars like Scary Tariq Ramadan.  (Yes, I know the professional bedwetters at Fox would scream bloody murder at the idea that Scary Tariq Ramadan might come to a college in your neighborhood.  But that’s nothing compared to the bloody murder they’re screaming at Obama’s seekrit Muslim plan to give everyone in Gitmo a weekend furlough to your house.  The political fallout for reversing the Dangerous Furren Scholars ban would last maybe twenty seconds.) Anyway, probably the best that can be said for yesterday’s speech is that its best passages set a standard by which Obama’s actual policies can be weighed in the scales and found wanting, beginning with the “preventative detention” outrage.  But after hearing that other fellow’s speech yesterday, do I have any regrets about supporting B. Hussein?  Nope, not a one.

Posted by on 05/22 at 04:11 PM
  1. I’m still not sure, but the Jim Gordon clue got me to Steely Dan, which got me to “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number”.

    Posted by fsg  on  05/22  at  05:33 PM
  2. Stixman on FZ’s Apostrophe? Cool.  Alas, he offed his mama a few years later.

    Play the openin’ to Hawaii 5-O, yr in.

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/22  at  05:58 PM
  3. Dum dum da dum dum. Dum dum. Diddle diddle doo doo diddle diddle do do. It has something to do with that,right?
    You have “covered” the Obama situation well. I am off to cultivate my garden.

    Posted by Hattie  on  05/22  at  06:06 PM
  4. The antithesis of “Moby Dick”

    Posted by Pinko Punko  on  05/22  at  06:13 PM
  5. Pinko said a bad word!

    Posted by ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©  on  05/22  at  06:41 PM
  6. Geez, I know Moby is all passé and all, but I wouldn’t say his name is a bad word…

    Posted by  on  05/22  at  07:09 PM
  7. Nice drumming. Can’t think of the song though. I don’t know if I agree with the too bright and tinny and overtoney part. It would sound different with a whole band there. They usually EQ out the low and mid fequencies from the rides when they’re mixing tracks together. (So that guitars and basses and stuff have more room.) (From what I understand anyway.)

    Posted by  on  05/22  at  07:32 PM
  8. Sounds like it could fit Wild Cherry.

    Posted by  on  05/22  at  07:33 PM
  9. Sometime in the early 1970s my ability to identify specific new songs by title started to atrophy. My peers and I started talking about jobs and kids and leaves in the gutters to the exclusion of (pop) cultural events. Pressed, I’d use the insistent beat to finger Talking Heads, The. Even though I’m wrong I’ve no problem picturing D Byrne’s dance interpretation of this rhythm.

    Posted by  on  05/22  at  07:42 PM
  10. It is The Alleluia Tabernacle Choir singing, “You’re Having Our Baby.”

    Posted by  on  05/22  at  07:48 PM
  11. And the Staal brothers faceoff.

    Posted by  on  05/22  at  07:51 PM
  12. 11: “Song 2” by Blur I mean. (Credit to Stormcrow Lifenoobs #1 & #2 if that is correct.)

    Posted by  on  05/22  at  07:56 PM
  13. Insert drummer joke here.

    Posted by M. Bouffant  on  05/22  at  08:00 PM
  14. Zulu as Kono.

    Posted by  on  05/22  at  08:37 PM
  15. I’m a bassist. No clue. Do drummers usually put in all those fiddly bits? I simply must play closer attention to Bob.

    Like fsg @1, Steely-Dan-ish was my first impression.

    Being honest here: sounds infectious all by itself. You a cat! I say get an agent, hit the road, call yourself White, or Stripe.

    Posted by David J Swift  on  05/22  at  08:47 PM
  16. It is The Alleluia Tabernacle Choir singing, “You’re Having Our Baby.”

    Okay, for the last time, I am not the Alleluia Tabernacle Choir.

    You a cat!  I say get an agent, hit the road, call yourself White, or Stripe.

    Why not break new ground, and go with Danger Cat?

    Oh, and yes, yes, very well-rendered rhythm from some song.  Color me unsurprised that a cultural studies professor would be so heavy on the cymbalism.

    Posted by  on  05/22  at  08:56 PM
  17. Dang, fsg got this right away?  Because of the Jim Gordon clue?  Good lord, Gordon played on every record recorded in North America between 1970 and 1974, including Layla etc. and Diamonds and Rust.  How could Jim Gordon be the giveaway?  Besides, when I think of Steely Dan I think of Jeff Porcaro, PBUH.  I was going to play “Doctor Wu” today b/c it’s another good warmup song, but it was mysteriously deleted from my iPod.

    Anyway, I thought the crash-then-stop-then-back-to-the-ride sequence at :50-:52 was the giveaway.  Maybe next week I’ll put up an entire song instead of a snippet.

    386sx @ 7:  thanks!  I made two little mistakes, and you can see me wincing each time.  But those, like the overtones from the ride, would very likely have disappeared in the mix if I’d had a band in front of me.  Which brings me to

    David Swift @ 15:  I knew it!  I knew it!  I knew bassists weren’t really listening to us all this time.  Anyway, yes, we always put in those little fiddly bits, and nobody ever hears them except for other drummers. It’s the secret code by which we speak to each other, exchange recipes, and evaluate the legal status of detainees in Gitmo.

    Posted by Michael  on  05/22  at  09:27 PM
  18. “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number”? No way they’d ever play that at a hockey game. Sheesh.

    Posted by  on  05/22  at  09:40 PM
  19. Actually, I’m a bassist too, so maybe a few of us are actually listening to the drummers.  I tend to listen to the bass drum for all sorts of rhythmic cues.

    As for the Jim Gordon clue, it was that the list of albums (obviously an abbreviated selection) on his Wikipedia page triggered an association I was already vaguely aware of when I saw Pretzel Logic.  What threw me off was not realizing initially that the clip didn’t start at the beginning of the song, so you seemed to be playing a little too aggressively at what I was presuming was the start.

    Posted by fsg  on  05/22  at  10:23 PM
  20. Drummers moms hear all those little fiddly bits, I promise.

    Posted by  on  05/22  at  10:26 PM
  21. No clue as to the song title, but, apologies to Potter Stewart, I’ll know it when I hear it.  “Doctor Wu”: best Steely Dan song ever (except when “Rose Darling” is).

    Posted by Russell60  on  05/22  at  10:45 PM
  22. I’m the bassist. Was going to say Ho. Silver’s Song for my Father, but figured it’d be a bit obscure for berubeans, and anyway Becker-Fagen lifted it from Silver, or most of it (including that simple but copacetic root/5 bass line).

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/22  at  10:47 PM
  23. Not to start an argument or anything, but I’ve got to disagree vehemently with Russell60 @21.  Best Steely Dan song ever is “My Old School”, which still sounds unbelievably fresh to my ears.  How can this song possibly be 36 years old?

    Posted by fsg  on  05/22  at  11:15 PM
  24. Nah.  Josie (and even sorta liter-rary, iddn’t it).  Or Boddhisattva.  Maybe Caves of Altamira.  Or last few minutes of Haitian Divorce........

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/22  at  11:49 PM
  25. Reminds me of my fave Steely Dan discussion, at least that of which I have taken part.  God, Steely Dan.  Good ol’ Steely Dan.  Though when they got covered by Yacht Rock was the win of the decade.

    Posted by Pinko Punko  on  05/23  at  12:30 AM
  26. What threw me off was not realizing initially that the clip didn’t start at the beginning of the song, so you seemed to be playing a little too aggressively at what I was presuming was the start.

    I wondered about that when I was editing the thing—at first I thought I should just put up the whole song, but it’s four minutes long, so I decided to take the end of the second verse, second chorus, solo, back to chorus.  Most of all, I wanted to see if this little experiment would work, and what it would sound like.

    And since this is, after all, an ABF Friday, of course “Doctor Wu” is the best Steely Dan song.  Though I’m also partial, in an A kind of way, to “Brooklyn.” Lovely pedal steel on that one.

    Posted by Michael  on  05/23  at  12:48 AM
  27. Bonham is turning in his grave!  tongue laugh

    And, yes, that fifth update was a humdinger!  I was hopping up and down, yelling my head off… foul, foul, foul epithets… about if it’s so “healthy and useful”, why the blankity blank blank blank doesn’t Mr. Presidential Eloquence get some healthy use from it?  Is it useful only insofar as it aids in formulating persuasive EXCUSES?

    And that is NOT healthy.

    I’m beside myself angry, and I say THANK GOODNESS FOR GLENN GREENWALD or the only input from me would be too cherce to print.

    Posted by 99  on  05/23  at  02:06 AM
  28. Speaking as a some-time jazz trumpeter, I always listen for the fiddly bits because they are cues to the form and so tell me where I am and where I’m going next. Assuming, of course, that the drummer puts the fiddly bits in the correct places, which they mostly do.

    Of course, if the tune doesn’t have a set form, then the drummer can take fiddly bits to The Next Level.

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  05/23  at  07:26 AM
  29. I am ze songwriter. I outrank you.

    Posted by  on  05/23  at  10:17 AM
  30. Sorry to say I’m stumped.  Perhaps that’s why they used to say on that game show, “I can name that tune in three notes,” not beats.

    I think the most obvious drum beats to guess would be Ringo’s brilliant backbeats in “Come Together,” IMHO, of course...grin

    Posted by Mitchell Freedman  on  05/23  at  10:32 AM
  31. Rikki don’t be losin’ that CDC Number.  Nice tune rilly, and Role Model Walt Becker noodles nicely. Solo by Skunk (uh oh, non-PC alerts). Omartian, not Fagen on keys. 

    [Let’s hear yr take on Gadd’s stix on Aja, Maestro MB!  Another tasty cut: Home at Last, with Purdie on drums]

    Bonham actually quite a dread powerful drummer, and JP Jones fender bass not half bad.  Alas the Valkyrie-on-meth vocals, and fairly bombastic bland blues-rock gtar render the Zep mostly unlistenable.....

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/23  at  10:46 AM
  32. Dang, can’t believe I totally agree with Ezra on Led Zep.  Bonham gets extra extra bonus points for being subtle in places, in a band and a genre that doesn’t exactly prize subtlety.  Gadd’s solo on “Aja” is deservedly famous (including that stix-clack!), but I have to say the song is Late Decadent Dan at their worst (see also “Royal Scam").  Whereas “Home at Last,” although much too clever structurally, is a challenging little thing that I love practicing to, with a couple of, how you say, funky breaks.

    99 @ 27, I think the point is that Obama is actually listening to pressure from his left, whereas a year ago Human Rights Watch wasn’t allowed anywhere within a five-mile radius of the White House.  And he’s got to keep hearing it, as Greenwald says.  Because the pressure from the military brass and intelligence agencies has got to be unimaginable right now.  Seriously, these must be very interesting times for high-ranking cloak-and-dagger officials.

    Captcha:  very.

    Posted by Michael  on  05/23  at  11:26 AM
  33. I may have worn out the welcome, but must say
    au contraire to yr points on Aja. That decadent west-LA-studio late-night on coke vibe defines their sound: c’est Le Dan, man.  Josie IZZ Fagen, the sound he wanted: sort of complex jazz-fusion with mondo back beat, great session cats, and kafkaesque lyrics.  A bit unnerving, noirish, even sort of Postmod. The earlier stuff while charming (though at times a bit zucker-y) sounds fairly tame compared to Aja.

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/23  at  11:36 AM
  34. Good times. Indefinite detention, more civilians murdered in Afghanistan (sorry, I meant, Pakistan still being stabilized by the good war), no health care reform worth the name and giving away trillions to the rich. Core liberal policies, in other words.  At least they can’t pass NAFTA ‘cause it already exists. That’s a relief!

    Anyway, Greenwald’s advice is correct on all those topics, and it doesn’t even matter if you think you do it to help Obama do the right thing or force him to do so.

    Posted by  on  05/23  at  11:40 AM
  35. Nice video Michael, but I have to ask: Are you wearing pants? I’m assuming you are because this is a family blog and all.

    As I screamed to the horizon in the past, we make a big mistake regarding Obama a progressive. The one feature of his Administration and personality that gives me hope is his willingness to listen to those that disagree with him. Acting on dissenting opinions is an entirely different thing, however.

    Posted by  on  05/23  at  11:40 AM
  36. And lest we forget the derivation of Le Nom, “Steely Dan”:

    Since both of them were avid readers of 1950’s “Beat” literature, they decided to name the band “Steely Dan” after a dildo in William Burroughs’ “Naked Lunch.”

    Dang, a decadent dildo from a Burroughs novel (a giant steam-powered jap dildo methinx, and more than one in the novel). The name and context, as y’all say, not exactly too conducive to revival tent meetings, Brrutthhrr MB.

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/23  at  12:18 PM
  37. The horizon heard you, Chris, and has long considered Obama a centrist-liberal.  So we take our victories where we get them, and don’t pretend we didn’t get ‘em—w/r/t executive orders permitting funds for family planning and contraception provided by international aid groups, say, stem-cell research, and closing black sites and reasserting Geneva Common Article 3.

    As for that good war, christian, I don’t think it’s possible to overstate the degree of Pakistan/Afghanistan mess handed off by Bush-Cheney.  The situation there seems to be what we nonspecialists call “really very bad.” Obama had it right the first time, of course:  flying Predator drones around and bombing civilians isn’t change we can believe in.  But I retain some shred of hope that he’s listening to Steven Coll.

    Posted by  on  05/23  at  12:28 PM
  38. And no, I’m not wearing pants in that clip—just pink boxers and flip-flops.

    Posted by  on  05/23  at  12:29 PM
  39. Pink boxers and flip-flops! That will teach the Taliban and Dick Cheney not to screw with you.

    Posted by  on  05/23  at  12:56 PM
  40. Ah nearly Jim Gordon-like apparel--Vacaville chic!  They might even allow band-time for the boys--at least ones not on heavy meds. Not quite westside Dan style, though. Gordie also had sufficient chops to make it on FZ’s Wazoo. Cool.

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/23  at  01:09 PM
  41. Yeah well, let’s just blame bad execution for the mess we created in Afghanistan. After all, there’s just a huge number of examples of successful colonial wars civilizing the brutes. Or was that exterminating? Whatever.

    I’m glad to see Obama wants to uphold the 3rd Geneva Convention. I guess the 4th will have to wait, wouldn’t want to put his Secretary of State’s husband in the clink, no would he?

    Posted by  on  05/23  at  01:20 PM
  42. Well, as late as 2005, 83 percent of those Afghan brutes had a favorable opinion of the U.S. and favored the overthrow of the Taliban.  Not that their opinion matters to the debate, of course, or that we should take that level of support into consideration when we think of what we’ve squandered.

    Posted by Michael  on  05/23  at  01:27 PM
  43. So I guess if they now don’t want us there, you favor immediate withdrawal? Did you, by the way, favor asking Afghan opinion before the invasion, too? Do you, moreover, believe that any kind of continued occupation would not have squandered that goodwill (which was real, I agree)? Is it possible that the Afghan people may have had a good opinion of the US and the overthrow of the Taliban in 2005, but nevertheless favored an end to the occupation?

    Posted by  on  05/23  at  01:45 PM
  44. What’s another word for endless strings of hypothetical questions about world affairs?  ?  _________

    [mo’ jazz; less normativity. Besides, War brings in the beer drinkers and bimbos, as old jazzbo’s realized, after a vichy gig or two.C’est Le Guerre, and break out the hardware letz do it raht.  Free Jim Gordie!].

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/23  at  01:55 PM
  45. What’s interesting to me is the rhetorical battle over the signified and signifier - oh yes I did just type that - of torture. Cheney and his cohorts refuse to call it torture and say “enhanced techniques” work. I’ve been impressed that Obama has taken on this argument in a couple of public appearances.

    As everybody’s favorite Bobo David Brooks said Cheney basically lost the argument in the Bush administration. Obama mentioned this fact in his Newsweek interview too.

    In Iraq during the Bush administration the FBI-CIA-Special Ops task force to interrogate Muslim radicals did it without torture and they got results and Bush knew about it. It was real time evidence against the Cheney view. And Special Ops general in charge of that program has now been put in charge of Afghanistan, so Obama obviously knew about it.

    You would think they would have had the whole “how to handle a captured terrorist within the law” thing figure out by the early 21st Century, but I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise that they haven’t and everything is ad hoc.

    Go Hawks!!!

    Posted by Peter K.  on  05/23  at  01:55 PM
  46. In this case, Ezra, the other word is “Mr. Hound doesn’t know the meaning of ‘hypothetical’”. Oh, I guess that’s more than one word. Oh well.

    Peter, agreed on the Hawks. And I am quite certain Cheney and friends knew full well what torture does and doesn’t do. It makes people admit to lies - quite useful if you want to sell an invasion of Iraq based on lies.

    Posted by  on  05/23  at  02:08 PM
  47. Care to wager on that, fraud? Those be hypothetical questions: the proverbial what if’s. (Not about yr little set theory BS either). Google ‘er, when like you take the pocket protector off.  Why not go back to yr fave NASA site, Xtian.  Or, say let’s discuss Hume on the fact-value distinction, moralists: I’m not so down with Hitchens like RealPolitik but at least CH doesn’t rely on some naive sunday schooler moralism that was like kaput say 1917 or so. 

    (and for that matter, most leading Demos, including that visionary Ms Pelosi signed off on the enhanced interrogation tech. cheney’s merely the scapegoat for the demopublicans).

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/23  at  02:13 PM
  48. Well see Ezra, it’s a fact that the Afghan people no longer approve of the US occupation. There’s nothing hypothetical about it. Although I did indeed use the word “if” - sue me. And I should have known that somebody overly literal would also complain about set theory. Oh dear. Next you’ll point out that the “contradictions” in dialectics aren’t really contradictions in the sense of formal logic, proving that Hegel was full of shit. 

    As for Democrats and torture, I don’t think you’ll find anyone here defend them, hypothetically or otherwise.

    Posted by  on  05/23  at  02:51 PM
  49. Merely say “the people of Whateverstan don’t approve”, and you’re in the Fallacy zone. Many may not. Some might.  You have a sample? Just poor writing, generalized, and for that matter, not that relevant. BushCo did not take a poll (that said, I support an investigation into possible misrep, and war crimes on the part of Bush-GOP and the pro-war Dems. ).

    At least your first and last questions in #43 do not concern questions of fact, but assumptions, conditionals based on certain events being true or not (you haven’t shown they are), Which is to say, hypotheticals, aka Fluff. And all rather conjectural.  Now back to Stixman: the Jim Gordon case.

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/23  at  03:04 PM
  50. There was a good piece recently in the Asia Times about the real reason why we’re dicking around in Afghanistan (first word, three letters that starts with “o”, second word is “pipeline").

    Michael: “Because the pressure from the military brass and intelligence agencies has got to be unimaginable right now.  Seriously, these must be very interesting times for high-ranking cloak-and-dagger officials.” Who owns who? If you look to see who keeps folding you can see the hierarchy in D.C.

    I thought the drumming was a cross between “Rikki Don’t Lose That Number” and “Push It” by Salt ‘N’ Peppa. Which might make for a good medley. “You tell yourself you’re not my kind, so push it… push it real good...”

    Posted by Bob In Pacifca  on  05/23  at  04:08 PM
  51. Michael

    I’m certainly glad we have people, you, who are inclined to be as carefully grateful for what we get, while not denying the big trouble at hand, because I obviously get too angry and only make most people want to close their ears, but I also have vast experience of how the powerful flatter their opposition into putty.  Some of them even form completely impotent oversight committees with fancy titles for their members as they proceed in whatever manner they had planned to begin with anyway.  So when I see Obama doing that to people like Krugman and Greenwald, it just hits a raw nerve and I shoot out of my seat and start bellowing at my monitor.

    Not useful, I know.

    I do not think we can feel in any way comfortable about Obama and torture.  I think Scahill’s piece on the Gitmo Black Shirts and a careful listen to this Axelrod snippet, beside our careful attention to Obama’s speech, are enough to make us as wary of his word as we ever were of *’s or Fudd’s.

    This indeed merits our closest scrutiny and I am grateful these voices are reaching the president at all, but skeptical that he is listening for the right reasons, and afraid that those supposedly being heard will be lulled somehow.  I feel it vital they not be lulled by our very portrait of charm president.  I too cannot be sorry I voted for him, in the primary and in the general, even as I admit I am sorry I was forced to vote for him.  I too can claim prior knowledge of disappointment to come, but must say I am devastated by the extent of it, which I did not expect.

    Anyway, I’m very glad you bang away on drums.  It seems like a great idea for keeping up one’s mental poise in this day and age.

    Posted by 99  on  05/23  at  04:09 PM
  52. Warning: people are arguing on the Internet.

    And I should have known that somebody overly literal would also complain about set theory.

    Hey, now!  Just because a fellow prefers type theory is no reason to get all snarky.

    So I guess if they now don’t want us there, you favor immediate withdrawal?

    Not daring speak for the Professor here, but yep.

    Did you, by the way, favor asking Afghan opinion before the invasion, too?

    Nope.  Would have been anticlimactic after the government of Afghanistan asked our opinion about providing safe harbor for al Qaeda.  (Unfortunately, hardly any Americans speak Dari.) And the relevant opinion poll at the UN provided at least a fig leaf of legitimacy.  It would certainly have been far preferable to cut a deal of some sort, perhaps using existing UN sanctions as leverage, but an American opinion poll had already decided 5-4 that serious attempts at diplomacy were off the table.

    As I screamed to the horizon in the past, we make a big mistake regarding Obama a progressive.

    What do you mean “we,” Kemosabe*?  And the alternative was...?  As christian h. points out, it’s not like one degree of separation from war crimes is an improvement on two.  And Mike Gravel** was pretty much a non-starter.

    Hmm, I wonder if the “and Detention” part pretty much guaranteed canceling out the “F” from ABF.  So here it comes, the sound of drums.

    *Yes, yes, this is basically an endorsement of distributing smallpox-laden blankets.  Forgive me, Professor Carby.

    **Ahh, the Pentagon Papers and giving the middle finger to abuse of “state secrets.” It’s like a Tolkienesque mythic age of the world.

    Posted by  on  05/23  at  05:12 PM
  53. And the Staal brothers faceoff.

    Only 24 hours and 20 minutes early…

    Posted by Nell  on  05/23  at  05:28 PM
  54. Whatever, Ezra. You can peruse the same polls (ABC/BBC/ARD, but 2009 version) Michael used for his 84% number and see that even in those a majority of respondents want withdrawal either now, within a year, or within 1-2 years (which for practical purposes is all the same, as you can’t just pack up and leave by tomorrow anyway).

    I say “even in those [polls]” because the pollster doesn’t explain methodology (clearly, it’s not a phone poll, in Afghanistan), and there are numerous fishy results in all iterations of the poll (eg, approval of the US role in Afghanistan is much higher than approval of UK role, even though they are essentially interchangeable) suggesting there are, in fact, methodological problems.

    In particular, while the breakdown of respondents by ethnicity, province, rural-city and several other sociological categories seems to correspond well to the distributions of those factors within Afghan society (as far as those are known), this is meaningless without information about the selection process. I could easily construct a polling sample in the US conforming to any number of socio-economic and geographical distributions separately whilst being not in the least representative. This would be especially easy if there were areas, even small and scattered, of the country I had to exclude for security reasons.  (To be fair, I don’t know if any districts were excluded in the Afghanistan polls - because the polling report doesn’t tell us.)

    Posted by  on  05/23  at  05:30 PM
  55. And I’ll shut up now because of the “F” in “ABF”. Thanks for gently pointing it out, mds.

    Captacha: “George”. Seriously. Talk about taking the “F” out.

    Posted by  on  05/23  at  05:33 PM
  56. I’ve got company coming over (actually, they’re here), so can’t keep up my end right now, but I just wanted to note quickly that (a) Christian hasn’t weighed in on the Aja controversy of comments 31-33, and (b) the fact that I think a military strike against al-Qaeda’s base of operations and the removal of the rogue government known as the Taliban (recognized by almost nobody on the planet as legit) constituted an appropriate response to 9/11 (for which we could’ve gotten UN support with ease if not for the fact that Bush-Cheney relished the opportunity to spit at the UN) doesn’t mean I support everything that followed.  And yes, the US presence is now pretty clearly counterproductive, and we’re all (globally) in a terrible mess.  So I welcome any and all suggestions on how to keep al-Qaeda and the Taliban at bay while withdrawing US troops and insuring that Pakistan (and its arsenal) doesn’t fall into the hands of radical Islamists.

    Posted by Michael  on  05/23  at  05:40 PM
  57. christian h: I’m glad to see Obama wants to uphold the 3rd Geneva Convention.

    He doesn’t, actually; there’s a suit going on now, al-Falesteny v. Obama, about that very issue.

    What Obama’s upholding, and what Michael said, is ‘common article 3’.  But that’s rock-bottom “humane” treatment. 

    Prisoners not in the most unrestricted two camps at Guantanamo are being denied the ability to worship communally, are being held separately for 22 hours a day and can only communicate by shouting through an opening in their doors, don’t have representatives recognized by the prison authorities, on and on and on and on and on.

    Hunger-striking prisoners are still being force fed, some in the torturous “restraint chair”, and the hunger strike has to do with the complete lack of communication about what’s going to happen and on what timetable.

    It’s unclear that the legal dispute will conclude before the prisoners are relocated…

    Posted by Nell  on  05/23  at  05:50 PM
  58. Sorry for the un-fun-ness.

    Go ‘Canes!

    Posted by Nell  on  05/23  at  05:58 PM
  59. 58: No need to proactively apologize for your unfortunate proclivities.

    Posted by  on  05/23  at  06:19 PM
  60. Yeah, I’m having a major not-just-disagreeing, actively-disappointed-in-Obama moment. “Get disappointed by someone new!” as the Edge of the West people were saying. What I don’t get is that this seems like his first moment of major cognitive dissonance, and it’s happening right smack bang in the middle of his own field of professional and academic experience.

    I mean: an otherwise sensible-seeming teacher of constitutional law is arguing that we should reinstate habeas corpus by making habeas corpus subject to arbitrary, discretionary power. This warrants something rather of a WTF?

    As for drums, I’m a bassist too (are all bass-players interested in comp.lit and politics?) and I used to have a problem with the fact that I was ONLY listening to the drums and trying to interact with the fiddly bits. Then afterwards, people would go “great guitar solo” and I would go “there was a guitar solo?”

    Of course, then I started playing jazz and I quickly realised that all those other people standing around with musical instruments were ALSO doing stuff that I could interact with. Good times. Of course, then I left university and had to work for a living.

    Posted by Martin G.  on  05/23  at  06:43 PM
  61. Oh, btw: I kept thinking “whoever this is completely stole the beat from Horace Silver”. I haven’t really listened to Steely Dan - I never really got into them - so it was very satisfying to roll it up on Spotify only to hear the opening quote from “Song for my Father”.

    Posted by Martin G.  on  05/23  at  06:45 PM
  62. Well, Michael, this here converstion over at bloggingheads.tv was pretty interesting on the Pakistan-Afghanistan-India mess. Robert Wright talks with one Nicholas Schmidle, who spent 2 years in Pakistan. No suggestions of an easy out, or even an out, but some real insight. I think.

    Posted by Bill Benzon  on  05/23  at  07:13 PM
  63. Oh, not to heap more on Michael’s post-company catch-up, but it seems that not only are we still following the last administration’s policy, but we’re even mentioning that we might have been just kidding about stopping extraordinary renditions.  So I’m really wondering, all things considered, if Obama has done anything more substantive than SAY we’re not torturing anymore.

    Posted by 99  on  05/23  at  07:43 PM
  64. In many instances now, allies are using information provided by the United States to pick up terrorism suspects on their own territory — including the two suspects seized in Pakistan this year…

    The Pakistani official said that he would remain in Pakistani hands, but that it would be difficult to try him because the evidence against him came from informers.

    Talk about your pretzel logic.

    Posted by  on  05/23  at  08:35 PM
  65. You’ve got me hypnotized, MB.

    Posted by  on  05/24  at  04:49 AM
  66. The GITMOjo stories, at least in the MSM, shockingly fail to mention that there is a lonely little jail in CA that has housed a couple of happy, jolly, plain-ol’-criminal types for 40 years without any fuss or trouble (except for when the guards there decided to operate a prisoner fight club for betting purposes).  One of these boys is a massacree mastermind, and the otha one’s ada more eminent political assasseeens.

    Posted by  on  05/24  at  04:52 AM
  67. One of these boys is a massacree mastermind, and the otha one’s ada more eminent political assasseeens.

    Yeah, but inexplicably-charismatic Muslim terrorists would recruit others into their murderous cult, and compel them to perform heinous acts on their behalf.  So the cases aren’t at all comparable.

    Posted by  on  05/24  at  09:02 AM
  68. 59: Yeah. {Sigh.} Unfortunate proclivities.

    Just took an instant dislike to Sidney Crosby, what can I say?  This:

    Go Wings!!

    Posted by Nell  on  05/24  at  09:16 AM
  69. Ponder the ticking bomb case, outlined by Sammy Harris, which suggests that in some contexts torture might be justifiable (on rather utilitarian grounds, it appears). 

    “"""Imagine that a known terrorist has planted a bomb in the heart of a nearby city. He now sits in your custody. Rather than conceal his guilt, he gloats about the forthcoming explosion and the magnitude of human suffering it will cause. Given this state of affairs—in particular, given that there is still time to prevent an imminent atrocity—it seems that subjecting this unpleasant fellow to torture may be justifiable. For those who make it their business to debate the ethics of torture this is known as the “ticking-bomb” case."""”

    That’s not to justify Gitmo--or BushCheney, or like DiDI Feinstein, who has agreed to every security/FISA BS bill that GOPers have--but the argument for some limited uses of torture in extreme situations should be considered.  Make friends with yr inner Dungeon-master, like

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/24  at  09:58 AM
  70. I’m sorry Ezra, didn’t you just complain about hypotheticals a few comments ago?

    Posted by  on  05/24  at  10:36 AM
  71. but the argument for some limited uses of torture in extreme situations should be considered*

    And considered it has been, ad nauseum in the freaking media. My stock response is that if such an extraordinary situation arises (and it most assuredly did not in this instance), have at it if you feel you must and throw yourself on the mercy of the freaking court for judgment after the fact. As if the country in its defense has never asked for a sacrifice greater than a politician’s reputation or someone spending a few years in the pokey. Ask any cop who was judged to have gone to far in his use of deadly force in the heat of the moment--actions have consequences. (And even my argument misses the point because the whole “24” thing is not even offered in good faith. Freaking Harris invokes KSM in that article for God’s sake.)

    I’ll turn it over to The Editors:

    What if ‘24′ is FOR REALS?!?  These are the sorts of questions which need to be shrugged at for 50 billion news cycles before we can even think about OH MY GOD A SHARK ATE A WHITE LADY AT HER WEDDING!!!!!  We’ve got what amounts to a reverse Nuremberg defense, where Bush administration officials are let off the hook because they were only giving orders.

    *And I must say, EH, this rather smacks of boorjwa frat-boyism. My faith is shattered.

    Posted by  on  05/24  at  11:04 AM
  72. Nyet. I pointed out your poorly-phrased quasi-hypothetical questions, which you tried to pass off as statements of facts, sort of a prosecutor- like manipulation.  This is an entirely different speculative matter, which yes, does make use of real hypothetical reasoning. Try it! (I’m not suggesting we necessarily agree with Harris, either).

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/24  at  11:05 AM
  73. Re #71.  Harris’ essay was a topic for a few months, but I don’t think his secular pragmatism had much of an effect on the fratboy lib-rawl moralists and the PC soccer mommies who make up the ranks of the big mommycrat sites like KOS, Salon, DU, Unfogged, CT, so forth.

    They’re still invoking their righteous indignation over torture, 24/7 and still forgetting that their Demo heroes all waved the flags along with GOP yokels until about 2005, when it appeared the herd no longer backed the IWE. 

    (Editing? This ain’t the copy desk, JP)

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/24  at  11:16 AM
  74. OK, here’s a hypothetical for you all. 

    What if a ticking time bomb were about to blow up because the LCD thing was down to, like, 0:04 or 0:03 or 0:02, when one of our black-site detainees was just about to make up some shit in order to get us to stop torturing him, and the made-up shit in question suggested that 9/11 really was an Iraqi plot all along, just like Laurie Mylroie told Dick Cheney?  Then what, huh?  Wouldn’t we be justified in using extra extra enhanced interrogation techniques to make sure the detainee told us what we wanted to hear before the bomb went off?

    Posted by Michael  on  05/24  at  11:39 AM
  75. Harris’ essay was a topic for a few months

    And the hypothetical it raised subsequently relegated to the dustbins of media and popular discourse ...

    And I keep forgetting it’s the lib-rawl fratboys. I’ll get it right some day.

    Posted by  on  05/24  at  11:40 AM
  76. But Michael, wouldn’t it be easier just to cut the blue wire? Then we could use only moderately enhanced techniques at our leisure.

    Posted by  on  05/24  at  11:43 AM
  77. because the LCD thing was down to, like, 0:04 or 0:03 or 0:02

    Your Boer-schwa imagination is revealed, MB. All the with-it ticking bomb scenarioists have gone steampunk. Think of this, or this, beauty clicking down the seconds—much more fraught and evocative of a time when people wore glass onions on their belts. That’s a torture scenario you can believe in my friend.

    Posted by  on  05/24  at  11:55 AM
  78. I need to jump in. Not because I have anything particularly cogent or origninal to say but simply because the capcha word is “justice”. Perhaps it’s time for someone like Mr. Kristofferson to write a song which goes something like: “Justice is just another word for nothing left to lose”.

    Way back in the 20th century when I was in law school, a professor of mine was Tom Wills. He thought that laws, court precedents, etc. often interfered with justice and each case should be decided on the facts alone. It was always an interesting view in my mind.

    However I earnestly hope more folks will read Rawls and see how this issue fits with his, IMHO, brilliant articulation(s) about what justice is/should be.

    “I don’t care what’s right or wrong
    Help me make it through the night”

    2 x apologies to KK.


    Posted by  on  05/24  at  11:55 AM
  79. But Michael, wouldn’t it be easier just to cut the blue wire? Then we could use only moderately enhanced techniques at our leisure.

    Right, right, except if the wire-cutting guy was colorblind and couldn’t distinguish the blue wire from the green wire!  And that’s why we need extra extra enhanced techniques.

    Posted by  on  05/24  at  11:58 AM
  80. the LCD thing was down to, like, 0:04 or 0:03 or 0:02, when one of our black-site detainees was just about to make up some shit...

    Yeah, that’s an issue. At that point you just cap the mutha-f-er.  Regardless Sammy raised a legitimate point about proximity.

    Randy Kraft, ‘Quentin Death row (and down the road a piece on from Jimmy Gordon), offed at least 30 or 40 males, and most sane humans would probably agree he’s a monster (which he is, and should be sent to never neverland, ASAP). Yet the average bombadier--say a Nam vet (or IWE vet)-- probably killed a few thousand innocent villagers, men women children by releasing bombs: the Kraftsman, cubed (or manson family, yr fave serial murderer).  Similarly, why should say the torture of a dozen detainees/POWs bother us any more than a bomb drop killing a thousand bothers us??  Sorta conceptual for a mommycrat, but yll get it, ah jus’ knows it.

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/24  at  12:07 PM
  81. But actually all of this torture talk is yesterday’s news; the frontier of protecting America has now moved on to rooting out dangers to America from within by offering money and drugs to desperately down-and-out men in the Liberty City neighborhood of Miami and Newburgh, New York. “If we don’t tempt them, how will we really ever know if they’re loyal to the United States?” Deeply, deeply dishonorable behavior on our behalf.

    Posted by  on  05/24  at  12:43 PM
  82. What would Rawls say?  Though Rawls was not a utilitarian, he was concerned about equality-- at least in theory--and would probably have agreed with Harris’s point, in principle, that collateral damage due to torture is no difference than collateral damage due to bombs, invasions, battles, so forth.

    Justice would be better served by torturing a few POWs in situations where that torture could prevent the deaths of thousands of innocents by bombs, invasions, battles, etc.---assuming that torture “works” (an issue which Harris doesn’t really address in much depth).

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/24  at  12:48 PM
  83. JP brings up a good point about the LCD thing. Personally, I prefer kitchen timers to serve the same purpose (captcha). LCD thingies are so Mission Impossible (Tom Cruise - ruined version).

    Posted by  on  05/24  at  01:14 PM
  84. Does that suffice for your counter-argument to Harris, xtian h.?  That would not likely even fly in UC ebonics courses.  The analogy--or hypothetical if you will--is not that far-fetched: many types of terrorist/hostage situations (including right wing ones) might involve a ticking-bomb scenario akin to the one Harris envisions. 

    Let’s put it this way: those who object to Harris’s points--a fairly sound consequentialist sort of viewpoint--seem to suggest some vague moral realist position, whether religious, or Kantian, SallyFieldsian, etc. as an alternative.  So, like the burden’s on them to establish that moral realm holds.

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/24  at  01:33 PM
  85. Okay, how about this scenario then: guy from Oregon, a boor-shwa (dad’s a bookkeeper, say), holed up someplace with a case of dynamite, wherein he can hold out indefinitely, or at least all night anyway, and he insists that we not take him alive.  What then, my friends, what then?

    In other news, the best (okay, my fave) Steely Dan album is The Royal Scam.  I understand the gripes about Aja, I think, but that’s a great disc too.

    capcha: mother, as in that Becker dude is one cool mother.

    Posted by Dave Maier  on  05/24  at  01:34 PM
  86. But dynamite’s merely phenomena, dude, and you can’t really prove something “external” exists behind it, right, dude? At least necessarily. 

    The Dan gang are no moral realists or Kantians either. The Bookkeeper’s Son of DTMA hisself might be said to have some intuitive grasp of Harris’s point. One could take a moral realist or Kantian view: Cheney and torturers across the world are doing Lucifer’s handiwork! The usual emotional anti-torture rant on KOS about equal to that.

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/24  at  02:41 PM
  87. In other words, the torture issue concerns legal problems, not moral ones (putting Harris aside). The Cheney-as-Hermann Goering meme obfuscates the issues, and was trite a few years ago:  Any real torture or violations of Article 3 at Gitmo or Abu Gharib, other places, involves soldiers and their COs (though ALL politicians, GOP and Dem, who agreed to enhanced interrogation tech. are suspect. Bully for War crimes tribunal, but charge..... the US Govt).

    The gonzo-democrat of KOS and related sites doesn’t know jack about what really went down: he simply repeats what Seymour Hersh (documented prevaricator), Greenwald, or Amy Goodman and palsies claim what went down.

    Posted by Ezra Hound  on  05/24  at  03:15 PM
  88. EH @ 84—The analogy--or hypothetical if you will--is not that far-fetched: many types of terrorist/hostage situations (including right wing ones) might involve a ticking-bomb scenario akin to the one Harris envisions.

    Actually I prefer “culturally induced delusion” as an apt description of the ticking bomb line of argument. As a general rule I’d like to see our collective safety resources applied to real problems with real solutions (hypothetically). The ticking time bomb is so specific and so dependent on extremely unlikely precursor events that it can only happen in a work of fiction. And if it were to come up in real life an on-the-spot decision to beat the code out of the perp is not hard to find.

    Posted by  on  05/24  at  06:11 PM
  89. Torture is Sadism!  And no matter what you desire to call it to make it appear to be something other than what it really is, torture is torture and sadism.  Now of course you can be free to debate whether sadism is legal and/or moral. 

    Certainly some results in the outcome of NHL hockey games are more masochistic than others; as are some of the output of pop drummers.

    Posted by  on  05/24  at  07:22 PM
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