Today's Blogs

Faint Patrick’s Day

Bloggers react to the latest knight errant of Camelot, and to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi’s embarrassing home movies. They also scrutinize the vice president’s unfriendly words for Moscow.

Faint Patrick’s Day:Rhode Island Rep. Patrick Kennedy (son of Sen. Ted) crashed his car early Thursday morning into a Capitol Hill barrier, the result, he says, of a volatile mixture of the Ambien and nausea medication Phenergan. Kennedy announced late Friday that he is entering rehab for addiction to painkillers, but online patrolmen demand the old breathalyzer.

D.C. gossip blog Wonkette floats in like soothing, serialized sheep: “Patrick Kennedy has chosen the “I was tripping balls” defense. But they were DOCTOR-PRESCRIBED BALLS. … We’re conflicted here. We can’t figure out if it’s funnier for Kennedy to have been drunk or ‘in a state of total unreality’ when he crashed.” War on terror humorist Gina Cobb raises an eyebrow about these Kennedy boys and their car trouble, which can now evidently be forgiven in the mad rush to pass legislation at 3 a.m.: “[I]t appears that he obtained special treatment  – exemption from sobriety tests – by claiming that he was late for a vote in Congress. The last vote in Congress had occurred six hours earlier, according to reports.”

Minnesotan Sue Vigilante at Desperate Irish Housewife is buying little of the drowsy-eyed innocence plea: “The claim that he had consumed no alcohol is pretty preposterous, since a waitress at the Hawk & Dove, on Pennsylvania Ave. a few blocks away from the Capitol, reported seeing him there having a few drinks earlier. This being a Kennedy case, I think we can safely assumed the waitress in question will shortly have a lapse of memory. Right before she goes out and buys a Ferrari.” Republican Kevin Aylward at Wizbang! doesn’t see where painkillers come in, given that other meds are ostensibly behind the wreck: “What makes this interesting is that he never said he took pain killers yesterday morning. He took Phenergan and Ambien.” Aylard adds that, according to Fox News, the Rx shuffle might just be a ploy to engender “public sympathy.”

However, willing to take Kennedy’s prescription drug-induced crumple at face value is liberal Josh Micah Marshall at Talking Points Memo. He links to a March 8 New YorkTimes article on “how people taking Ambien have been known to sleep-walk, sleep-drive and sleep-a-lot-of-other-things. Presumably, Kennedy can document that he had the stuff in his system. And that makes his claim at least plausible.”

Jimmy K. at But That’s Just My Opinion observes:“This story should give the Senate Republicans and the White House enough time to end the war in Iraq, fix the border problem and pay off the national debt. That is, if they can keep it in the news long enough. Talk about a Culture of Corruption, it’s the Kennedy clan.”

Read more about Kennedy’s smash-up. Also, Slate’s Will Saletan weighs the likelihood of the official explanation.

Keystone Qaida: The Defense Department has released captured footage of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi participating in training exercises, which the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq had probably not deemed ready for prime time. Consisting of jihadist bloopers, the video shows Zarqawi awkwardly trying to figure out how to operate an assault rifle, trundling around in New Balance sneakers, and otherwise appearing less than wrath-of-God-like. The question in cyberspace seems to be when he’ll neglect to calculate for daylight-saving time on the next clocked explosive and do the world, and the Darwin Awards, a big favor.

DC at the conservative Daisy Cutter starts off the snark chorus: “First Zarqawi holds the weapon like he’s a kid in the backyard playing cowboys and Indians. Then he can’t clear the weapon when it jams. Then some one apparently clues him in that he’s supposed to put the stock in his shoulder. So, then he kills some sand.” Tim at right-of-center Opinionbug wonders whether friendly fire might be the new counterinsurgency: “His comrade clears the dud for him and al-Zarqawi finishes the magazine off. I really loved how he was swinging the gun around when he finished shooting. One pull of the trigger and comrade X would have been history.”

“You don’t really want to use the ‘cutting room floor’ metaphor in reference to a man who became a visceral presence in America’s collective imagination by personally beheading hostages,” says journalist Tony Karon at his personal blog Rootless Cosmopolitan. “Nonetheless, you have to hand it to the U.S. military for coming up with a far more effective way of countering the impact of Musab al-Zarqawi on the Iraqi political landscape than flattening whole cities like Fallujah.”

Read more about Zarqawi’s candid camera, and watch the video. In Slate, Fred Kaplan illustrates the problem with the military’s release of the tape.

The veep who came in from the cold: In a speech delivered to Eastern European leaders Thursday, Vice President Dick Cheney excoriated the regime of Russian premier Vladimir Putin as “unfairly and improperly restrict[ing]” popular rights, and using energy resources as “tools of intimidation or blackmail.” Some bloggers admire the tough talk; others think it’s ‘80s brinksmanship all over again.

Raymond at rails against Cheney’s truculence, begging, “Can someone please tell the Vice president that the cold war ended and that things have lightened up in the region? He can lose the tude and relax a little bit.” And Steve Soto of The Left Coaster offers this back-atcha: “The man who is the primary mover behind the imperial presidency, unencumbered executive powers over individuals and their rights, and an aggressive prosecutorial posture against the free press actually criticized Vladimir Putin today for the same things.”

But some nonfans of the vice president are finding it difficult to loathe his notorious bluntness on this issue. Gara LaMarche at GaraLog writes: “Hurray for Dick Cheney—words you are not likely ever to see in this space again—for telling off the Putin regime for its steady drive to turn Russia back into a police state with its curbs on the press and civil society groups. This time he aimed well.”

Read more about Cheney’s speech.