Bloggers are torn over the Democrats' suggestion that the United States pull out of Iraq next year, giggling over lawsuits against Kazakhstan's "star journalist," and scowling over Elton John's comments on organized religion.
Premature withdrawal?: Hitting the first Sunday talk-show rounds since their electoral victory, beaming Democrats discussed their hopes for withdrawal from Iraq. Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan was particularly vocal and for a "phased redeployment" in less than half a year.
Many conservatives, such as Minnesota Republican Andy Aplikowski of Residual Forces, view this both as cutting and running and letting the terrorists win. "They will definitely get us killed before they tax us to death. That's right Democrats, you have just waived the white flag in the battle for America's security," he writes. Bulldog Pundit at conservative group blog Ankle Biting Pundits sees disaster: "President Bush needs to resist the calls of these armchair generals. … [M]ajor decisions about national security and the future of the Middle East cannot be based on election results. Sorry, but what happens in Iraq if we leave has an effect on us for decades to come," he writes.
Writing at his eponymous blog, Good Richard's Almanac, conservative Richard compares leaving Iraq to not occupying Germany at the end of World War II: "Stalin would've marched his troops across Europe and filled the vacuum of power left by absence of Nazi's. … If we leave Iraq, we are giving Islamo-fascism the breathing room it needs to grow stronger."
Liberals seem torn on the issue of leaving. Self-dubbed "recovering lawyer" and anti-war, liberal Washingtonian Nancy Jane Moore at In This Moment is unsettled by the thought of leaving. "I can't get past the idea that our country has an obligation to make things right—only I don't know how the hell we do that," she writes. Gordo at The Liberal Avenger, however, is heartened by the prospect of withdrawal: "Would we prevent a civil war? There is already civil war. Would we win the hearts and minds of Iraqis? At this point, that's simply not possible. They want us out, the American congress wants us out, and the American people want us out. So let's go, before we make things even worse."
Popular liberal Atrios insists that some pro-war senators will use the Democrat's victory as a scapegoat for the failure in Iraq. "McCain and his ventriloquist's dummy, Joe Lieberman, will whine that if only we'd sent MORE troops we would have found the pony. Of course, the president has had the option to send more troops forever and hasn't done so," he writes.
Andrew Olmsted, a major in the United States Army Reserve, calls for a studied approach to the problem. "The Democrats have rightly pointed out that Republicans acted without gathering all appropriate data, leading to problems like Iraq. Yet now they're poised to do precisely the same thing. … A Democratic Congress needs to hold hearings that delve into those questions thoroughly and honestly,"
Read more about the potential withdrawal.
Make lawsuit for glorious benefit of pocketbook: While Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan has picked up a cool $70 million in two weeks, two frat boys from South Carolina filed a lawsuit in a Los Angeles court last Thursday, claiming that they signed the consent form to appear in the film while under the influence. Some Romanian villagers from Glod, portrayed as backward Kazakhs in the opening of the film, are also miffed.
Kaimipono D. Wenger at Concurring Opinions takes a moment to compare Borat with Girls Gone Wild (from a legal perspective, that is). "In a lot of ways, this story echoes the complaints made about … Girls Gone Wild. It's widely known that that dubious company makes its products by paying minor compensation to inebriated women in exchange for permission to photograph them in various states of undress."
Los Angeles-based gossip-monger Defamer ponders why one frat brother did not join the lawsuit, since all three were told "that any uncharitable remarks regarding minorities they might make during the shoot would only be seen on a public access broadcast whose only viewers are a flock of goats somewhere in Central Asia."
Andy at Towleroad, a "blog with homosexual tendencies," is amused that so many people "want to make lawsuit" against Borat. "Who's next? Elderly Jewish bed and breakfast owners, homophobic cowboys, portly men with hairy bottoms, or gay pride revelers?"
Legal blogger extraordinaire Ann Althouse chronicles another Borat antic that did not end so well: "It's dangerous to just say things like that to people on the street, even if you're playing an evil-but-lovable fictional character. Some guys will beat you up. But we don't feel sorry for Sacha Baron Cohen. Not only is he making a fortune with his Borat persona, but he also got rescued by Hugh Laurie."
What Would Elton Do?: In an interview with the Observer's music magazine, Elton John said he would like to ban organized religion, which he believes helps to foment hatred against gays.
Lisa at Dust my Broom derides Elton for being "[y]et another celebrity who feels entitled to make *moral* demands on the rest of humanity because a bunch of people bought his records:"
Amit Varma at India Uncut finds that Elton captures his thoughts on organized religion quite succinctly. "The organised-religion kind of lemmings, of course, want to take everyone else over the same cliff. We atheist bandicoots will fight," he writes.
Read more about Elton John's comments about religion.