The Sideshow

Archive for February 2006

Check box to open new browser windows for links.

Tuesday, 28 February 2006

Sweet Blogistan

MSJ at CorrenteWire met up with a Democratic Talking Point - one that should be heard a lot more often. Here are some things the Democratic Talking Point said:

What strikes me as a mistake is for Democrats to allow the discussion to continue to be framed by conservatives. "Pro-Life" is only pro-life for a fetus, not the mother, and not the grown child, who can be shipped off to kill people without so-called "Pro-Life" supporters batting an eyelid. Call them "Pro-War on Women."
Do not refer to those who wish the government to control women's reproductive organs as "Right-to-Life" people. They're not. They are something else, so call them something else, not to be didactic, but to be precise. Do you understand what I'm saying by calling legislators who are working to make abortion illegal "Pro War on Women?" Describe, in graphic detail, what is meant by those who would outlaw legal, safe abortions.
Be graphic in your discussion of the issue, i.e. our wives' vaginas are to be managed by the state, our daughters' vaginas are to be run by the state, congress is taking over the role of qualified doctors when it comes to the health of females in the United States. Be graphic in your descriptions: female citizens of the United States do not have sovereignty over their uteruses, their fallopian tubes, their vaginal canals, because each one is connected to the other.

MJS: Many people don't like explanations that take too long.

SDV: Precisely: make them take too long. If a progressive goes on the radio suggest that he or she talk about vaginas, vaginal canals, fallopian tubes, uterine wall, eggs; talk about penises and sperm and DNA and testes and so forth. The same people who are uncomfortable with their own bodies are the ones who want to run yours: get it? Make them face what they are trying to do, make them talk about it in as unfettered, non-euphemistic fashion as possible. Make them face The Elephant in the Room.

The Peking Duck has Krugman on "Graduates Versus Oligarchs": Should we be worried about the increasingly oligarchic nature of American society? Yes, and not just because a rising economic tide has failed to lift most boats. Both history and modern experience tell us that highly unequal societies also tend to be highly corrupt. There's an arrow of causation that runs from diverging income trends to Jack Abramoff and the K Street project.

Mark Adams in comments below points to Think Progress with more details from that poll of our soldiers, "72% of U.S. Troops Want Out of Iraq Within One Year." Mark also has a longer piece up at Dispassionate Liberalism, with a link to the actual (Zogby) poll, which shows that the troops hold this view despite still being confused about the relationship between Saddam and 9/11. (Mark, would you consider renovating your site? It takes forever to load properly. Maybe it's just the background .gif, I dunno, but it's awful.)

You've all seen the story about the Texas GOP abusing the power of the IRS to retaliate against a nonprofit that blew the whistle on Tom DeLay, right? Is it big news where you are? It was a headline story on AAR yesterday, but apparently nowhere else.

Pima County, Arizona's Election Director Brad Nelson went a little whacky when he was asked a question about the voting machines. The Brad Blog (no relation) has video.

22:48 GMT

About that river in Egypt...

Peter Soby at The Huffington Post has what should be a pretty big story:

Whistleblower Charged With Three Felonies for Exposing Diebold's Crimes

A whistleblower in Los Angeles is in legal trouble and needs our help. Stephen Heller is alleged to have exposed documents in Jan. & Feb. 2004 which provided smoking gun evidence that Diebold was using illegal, uncertified software in California voting machines. The docs also showed that Diebold's California attorneys (the powerful international law firm Jones Day) had told them they were in breach of the law for using uncertified software, but Diebold continued to use the uncertified software anyway.

Heller is alleged to have come across these docs while temping as a word processor at Jones Day, and he is further alleged to have taken the docs and exposed them to the bright light of day. Now, after sitting on this for 2 years, the Los Angeles District Attorney, under pressure from Jones Day, is going after this whistleblower with 3 felony charges, each of which carries the potential of time in state prison.

I say this should be a big story, but we all know it won't be. It's not just that the Corporate media won't make a big deal of it, it's that, for the most part, the blogosphere won't, either. (With the usual honorable exceptions that, alas, just aren't big enough to get a buzz going by themselves.) We'll have lots of talking about clever campaign strategies and framing, and afterwards we'll have hand-wringing about how the Democrats failed to do this and that and the other thing. And the fact that the results on election day don't seem to reflect the work that has been done, the results of opinion polls and exit polls, and all the other indicators, will just be waved away with the standard recriminations and navel-gazing and a hundred "What went wrong?" articles that don't even mention the machines (or even the voter-suppression). And the people who do care about this will be told to keep our eyes on the prize, stop concentrating on "the past", just work harder and give more and go "forward" and blah blah blah. Maybe someone should take a poll on how many elections we have to mysteriously "lose" in spite of the evidence before Kos finally thinks it's a serious problem.

(Via Fact-esque.)

15:38 GMT

Support our troops, they want to come home

Since I don't get NYT Select, I can't see the rest of Kristof's "The Soldiers Speak. Will President Bush Listen?" until I get my hands on the dead tree version of the IHT from a friend who subscribes to this amazingly overpriced paper, but the first sentence is all you need:

A new poll to be released today shows that U.S. soldiers overwhelmingly want out of Iraq - and soon.
If the poll itself is online, I'm having my usual problem with finding the right key words, but what I heard on the radio is that American troops believe we should get out within a year, by more than 70% (or was it 75%? This stuff goes by so fast and I'm doing too many other things at the time and if I don't write it down the numbers get vague really fast).

Now, this poll of world opinion shows that, outside of the United States, just about everyone thinks something similar, but if these two polls are in any way comparable, the troops are much more strongly opposed to continued occupation than even all those "America-haters" abroad.

But the main thing is that the troops say we should get out. Them and Jack Murtha. So as soon as you see the rest of the details of this poll, for dog's sake fax it to your reps ASAP.

[Update here.]

13:49 GMT

Links to watch out for

How Joe Lieberman severed the link between the youth vote and the Democratic Party in one fell swoop.

34%. That's pretty abysmal for a prez who, only a few years ago, was presented with the opportunity to be a hero to the world. My God did he blow it. (And now, it's Back To Plan B.)

Impure thoughts

RIP Darren McGavin, perhaps best known for his role as Kolchak, who died Saturday at 83, of natural causes. Via Biomes Blog (where it's albino Monday again, and a great photo).

12:03 GMT

Stuff I was too lazy to post earlier

You Passed 8th Grade Math
Congratulations, you got 10/10 correct!

Could You Pass 8th Grade Math?

Via Atrios, who also has a timely warning about the dangers of McCain. Bookmark it, and whenever you see a Democrat sucking up to him or saying nice things about him, send it to them.

Atrios also linked to Hoffmania and an item saying right-wing radio is isn't doing so well in LA, but AAR's numbers are picking up.

I've fixed the link to the whale that blows bubbles, but just in case, here it is again.

Magpie on Bill Moyers, via Bad Attitudes.

Eric Weiner says The SEC Chairman Must Be Fired, but given the way this administration works, he'll probably get a promotion instead.

Last summer Bush was over for the G8 summit and he fell off his bike. No big deal, we were told. Actually, perhaps a slightly bigger deal than that. Anyone else would have been arrested, of course. Man, it's not that he can't walk and chew gum at the same time, it's that he can't do one thing at the same time.

01:12 GMT

Monday, 27 February 2006

Check it out

"Touching Innocence" and "Obliviousness" - Maha on the healthcare debate and the fantasy world that defenders of the US system indulge about its superiority.

And via Maha, Bob Herbert's "Ike Saw It Coming" at True Blue Liberal, and Michael Tomasky has a reminder of what Ike did prior to making that famous farewell address.

Here's the clip of the beluga whale that blows bubbles. You really oughta see this.

It's a nice surprise to learn that Duncan shares my unhappiness at Octavia's death and posted a link to a post about her.

Evano has snow.

20:40 GMT

Media news

The interesting thing about this story isn't so much that we're seeing more of the usual theft and fraud by Halliburton and the administration:

Army to Pay Halliburton Unit Most Costs Disputed by Audit:

The Army has decided to reimburse a Halliburton subsidiary for nearly all of its disputed costs on a $2.41 billion no-bid contract to deliver fuel and repair oil equipment in Iraq, even though the Pentagon's own auditors had identified more than $250 million in charges as potentially excessive or unjustified.

The interesting thing about this story isn't even that it was released in the Friday news dump so it would appear in the Saturday papers where it would likely fade from view.

The interesting thing about this story is that The New York Times held it and it was published instead in today's paper (and is a top headline on their home page, which suggests it appears on the paper's front page). I guess the NYT thought this one was important for people to know about.

Reclaim the Media has a call to action in the Pacific Northwest:

The Seattle City Council is beginning its consideration of the Mayor's proposed new cable agreement with Comcast. The proposal includes a negotiated franchise, but also a number of unusual side agreements apparently intended to bypass public scrutiny. Considered as a whole, the proposal pays lip service to local arts and cultural programming while dramatically undermining support for community TV channel SCAN.

The proposed franchise ignores community recommendations regarding consumer rights, accountability and worker protections. It calls for the city to give away cable channels reserved for local, noncommercial programming. A side agreement will add Comcast-branded sponsorship to arts and cultural programming on the Seattle Channel.

Click here for our ongoing analysis and comments on the franchise proposal - both good and bad. Then take action.. The City Council is required to hold public hearings before voting whether to approve, reject or alter this franchise agreement. These hearings are expected to begin next month. Please email the council today and urge them to hold at least four hearings around the city, so that our whole community has the chance to weigh in on this decision that will impact what we can see on TV for the next decade. No rubber stamp for Comcast!

Will Bunch says the follow-up story in the Inky about Santorum's improper mortgage is another exercise in false equivalence, apparently suggesting that because Santorum's potential Democratic challenger also got a mortgage, it's the same thing - only it's not.

Unseen. Unforgotten - Someone at The Birmingham News unearthed five thousand pieces of unpublished history in a box no one had seen in decades. It contained photographs of the civil rights movement as it happened that the paper was afraid to publish at the time. It was only because The New York Times began to push the issue in its own pages that some local coverage began to evolve, but much of it has never been seen. So someone went back and interviewed people who were named in the stories from that coverage, and published a story with many of the unpublished photos. (And a lot of those photos are of white people covering their faces so they won't be photographed - because they were supporters of the unseen knights of the Klan.) It's worth it to take the cookie to see these pictures.

14:28 GMT

Open windows

The Democratic Nomination Competition is down to the championship between the two favorites - Vote now!

Steve Clemons says Bush's "Unitary Executive" Notion Must be Obliterated: Cheney's team have been the architects of both a kind of Presidency that is exactly what the Roman "dictatorships" were defined as -- a temporary provision of unchecked executive power to a ruler -- as well as the mercurial rise in power of the Office of the Vice President. And Cheney's team is the scary sort of lot that is hell-bent on establishing a kind of permanence to their power that threatens in very, very real terms the genuineness of our democracy. He says his inspiration for taking a stronger position on this issue is Sidney Blumenthal's piece in Salon (which you can read in the Guardian here).

Doug Thompson at Capitol Hill Blue responds to critics after his latest scoop - on Cheney being drunk during his little hunting trip - is questioned by readers.

You can now download the Mike Malloy movie, Angry Voice in the Wilderness, at The Homo Agenda, or at Protean Media, free.

It looks like the IRS wasted a lot of time investigating a lot of churches that didn't do anything wrong. Gosh, I wonder how that happened?

Nice round-up at Media Matters for America of this week's spin on the port issue. (And hope springs eternal at the NYT.)

A photo cartoon.

TV's Aryan Sisterhood.

11:55 GMT

Sunday, 26 February 2006

Some things

Let Weird Al Read Your Mind (via)

Nick Rose is Against "Us" and "Them": It seems that the script was written well before the cartoons were drawn. Via Inkbluesky

Why's a Retired Army Lieutenant Colonel on the "No-Fly" List? Via Maru.

She's searching for understanding, but ReddHedd called this post "Winds of Change".

Octavia Butler, 1947-2006 - Steve Barnes says that Octavia died yesterday after a fall. This is horrible news - and a terrible loss.

22:40 GMT


Wacoal Finer Things Seamless Underwire BraBra of the Week - The photo isn't as nice as I would like, but I actually faunch after this bra. However, I haven't seen it in any UK catalogues, and if I did, it would be £55, which is really going overboard. I guess I could get someone in the US to buy it for me, but I can't pick it up for another few months, and having it shipped here just puts the price into the ridiculous bracket again. (Not that $55 isn't getting fairly ridiculous, but these are nice bras, dammit.)

Kathryn Cramer came back from Boskone with a sudden interest in all the secrecy surrounding VEIL Technology - which a current bill in the House would make mandatory to "plug the analog hole" in rights management. Kathryn says it sounds like a scam, and I believe her.

Dahlia Lithwick has an article in today's WaPo on matters of medical conscience, whether it's the death penalty or birth control. (Hey, I have an idea - let's insist that any pharmacist who refuses to dispense birth control has to prove a long-standing objection to the death penalty, too.)

Deborah Howell managed to get readers to write her column this week by posting the responses to her earlier column asking for comments about local coverage. I wouldn't mind, but there's no response from the paper to complaints about desultory coverage of some parts of the area. It's nice that some readers like certain parts of the paper, but the ombudsman isn't supposed to be running a PR operation.

Henley on confirmation that the administration response to 9/11 was not about protecting America: "It can't be stressed enough: the Pentagon was aflame; there was smoke pouring from a hole in the Pennsylvania fields and the World Trade Center complex was belching its ghastly cloud, and already our rulers were thinking not, who is to blame? but what can we get away with? What will the still-bubbling fat of the murdered serve to cook?" (And does the bombing of the Samarra Shrine have the look of a set up?) And why it's hard not to be bitter.

"Should Republicans be allowed to adopt?" State Sen. Robert Hagan's threatened legislation may be tongue in cheek, but a case could be made.... (via)

Roxanne reads a right-wing site's Straussian discussion of why it was okay to lie us into invasion and asks, "So What are the Real Reasons for Iraq?" (That one always makes me want to hit something.) And she points us to Kruschev's speech on the cult of Bush personality.

Download Roger McGuinn's version of St. James Infirmary. (Thanks to Dominic (of) for the tip.)

15:05 GMT

Last night's notes

What a surprise - who'da thunk that in all this corruption, the name of Katherine Harris would come up?

There's more on Harris at Think Progress, which also has another fine example of pro-occupation logic from CNN. (I can't say I ever for a minute imagined that the administration was really killing the Big Brother program, of course.) Also, TP provides a link to an item at The Daily DeLay alerting us that Citgo is in the sights of the oil men because they have been giving low-cost heating oil to people who actually need it.

An article in USA Today says that the new usury law "isn't working" as planned, although I think that depends on what you think it was planned to do. If it was meant to meant to make life harder for people who already had it too hard, I would guess it's working just fine. The National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, which released its study Wednesday, said forcing consumers into credit counseling - a key provision of the reforms that took effect Oct. 17 - was a waste of money and did little to weed out deadbeats trying to use bankruptcy to avoid debts. Because the people in question aren't deadbeats, they're people who were, "people pushed to the brink of financial collapse by circumstances over which they had no control."

Carolyn Kay got a letter in the Financial Times defending blogs. (I won't say it's her best piece of writing, though.)

Free speech solidarity

11:31 GMT

Saturday, 25 February 2006

Found 'em

Been a bit busy today, but here are those hidden op-eds:

Bob Herbert's No Justice, No Peace: If you talk to Maher Arar long enough, even on the telephone, you'll get the disturbing sense that you are speaking with someone whose life has been shattered like a pane of glass.

Krugman's "Osama, Saddam and the Ports" can be seen about halfway down this page. (I don't know how long that will be true, but that's where it is right now.) But more to the point, after years of systematically suggesting that Arabs who didn't attack us are the same as Arabs who did, the administration can't suddenly turn around and say, "But these are good Arabs."

23:26 GMT

Soup to nuts

E.J. Dionne has a good question this morning: Republicans and conservatives would be aghast at the idea of our government owning a company that operated so many of our ports. That would be -- just imagine! -- socialism. But Dubai Ports World is, well, a socialist operation, a state-owned company in the United Arab Emirates. Why is it bad for the federal government to own our port operations, but okay for a foreign government?

Kinsley on Republicans and the prescription drug plan: Thus Bush's only major domestic accomplishment in six years as president has not achieved its intended purpose of cementing the affection of senior citizens for the Republican Party. Many Republicans are sobbing with frustration, too. It is one thing to put aside your principles and spend hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars on the largest expansion of the welfare state since the Great Society if it is going to help you win elections (so you can pursue your dream of smaller government). It is another to sell your soul and not get anything for it. No one looks more foolish than a failed cynic.

If you want a brief and fair encapsulation of why Larry Summers was forced to resign his post at Harvard, Eugene Robinson's "The Subject Larry Summers Failed" is sympathetic to him without cutting him slack on the fact that he really was just plain wrong in those inflammatory steps he took.

It's not just the poor who are missing from Mardi Gras: "The impression is that just poor people were displaced, but Katrina has had a devastating effect on the black middle class, too," said Willard Dumas, a dentist who serves as the Bunch Club's recording secretary and now lives in Baton Rouge. "You spend 45 years building a life and then it's gone. Your home was flooded; your business was flooded. And this happened not only to you but to practically everyone you know, so your patients or clients are gone, your friends are scattered, and your relatives are somewhere else."

Teresa: The Arizona Senate's Committee on Higher Education has voted to let university and community-college students opt out of required reading assignments they consider personally offensive or pornographic. This is of course a stunningly stupid thing for them to do. The reason they've done it is even dumber.

Simbaud says: California State Senator Deborah Bowen, who chairs the Elections, Reapproprionment & Constitutional Amendments Committee, is running for Secretary of State in 2006, and she damned tootin' has our vote. From her blistering letter demanding that current SoS Bruce McPherson reverse his (apparently illegal) certification of Diebold machines. (And, you know, it often looks like this, lately.)

Oyster, this was just cruel.

Lego Aztec Gods (via)

12:17 GMT

Friday, 24 February 2006

News, views, and entertainment

Kirstie just did a nice interview with George Clooney on Newsnight. You can watch it for the next 24 hours - click the link on their homepage.

Madman of Chu is Reading Signs in the Rubble in Iraq: The destruction Wednesday of the Golden Mosque in Samarra gives the lie to myths from both "the left" and "the right" (of the US political field) concerning the war in Iraq. The complete devastation of not only a Shi'ite holy site but an architectural work of art presents an unequivocal message to anyone who is paying the slightest attention. Like the destruction of the ancient Buddhist collosi by the Taliban or the felling of the Twin Towers by Al Qaeda, this crime was the work of those who will accord no dignity or value to any human achievement that does not square precisely with their very narrow theological vision.

Alice Marshall notes that a Virginia state senator introduced a sensible bill to keep "youthful indiscretions" in the form of a first offense for marijuana from being made permanent on a person's record. Good idea, but, alas, voted down.

Deborah has posted MoDo's column from yesterday, G.O.P. to W.: You're Nuts!

Teresa explains what's wrong with perpetual copyright.

A capsule of news about Iraq from Cernig is like having your head pounded against a brick wall, until you get the hopeful thought that if Bill O'Reilly is suddenly advocating withdrawal from Iraq (and who cares why?), it may portent an increase in such calls from the right.

And speaking of right-wing epiphany, boy, how 'bout that port deal, eh?

So far, studies purporting to show that homosexuality has a genetic source has been pretty unconvincing, but this one looks like it has real possibilities, so far. Via Peevish.

Mark Kleiman responds to Max on the identification of real think tanks.

A useful reminder, illustrated by the ever-helpful Quiddity.

H&R Block Messes Up Its Own Taxes. So, it's not just you. (via) (Also: Blogs Howard Fineman reads. That should tell you something.)

Don't forget to check out Chris Floyd today, especially on Blair's Dark Kingdom. And then there's his little alternative history sf story.

Lou Dobbs explains the difference between the United Arab Emirates and Britain to little George.

Trailer for A Scanner Darkly, via Epicycle.

23:42 GMT

Current events

I've been taking a lot of shots of the Royal Courts of Justice lately. It's a wonderful building and I wish I had some way to get far enough back to really get a good shot of the whole thing; good angles are a serious challenge. I'm working on a series but I just happened to like this shot of the top against the sky. (Larger version here.)

At least this whole port deal has put the question of Bush's ties to terrorists into the public discourse. Finally.

Antonin Scalia vs. the Lyndon Larouche youth movement. Also, Scalia explains how to interpret the Constitution.

Oh, dear, Ken Livingstone used the other "N" word and got a spanking.

Deanna Zandt is looking for a better term for late-term abortion.

More reasons to support Ned Lamont.

The Kansas project is targetting newspapers in Senator Pat Roberts' state to get them to publish op-ed articles encouraging an investigation of the illegal NSA program. This will be worth watching. If you're in Kansas, you might even want to submit an op-ed yourself.

Faith and Policy has the story on the apology by church leaders in America to the ecumenical community for failing to speak out against the invasion of Iraq. (via)

Steve Soto on Scooter Libby's chutzpa in presenting the argument that Fitzgerald's role in his prosecution is "unconstitutional". In case anyone's interested, it's rubbish.

Decent article on how Bush made such a mess of Iraq - though, like Kevin, I believe it was more than just incompetence at work - it was policy. Yes, it was stupid policy. It was even evil policy. But there's a reason why they had to lie. (Kevin also has a round-up on why Larry Summers was forced to resign as president of Harvard.)

Max explains how to tell the difference between real think tanks and fake think tanks.

15:53 GMT

Uh oh

So, Dick Morris is saying, "Look out, here comes Al." He says the biggest reason is the weather:

And Gore may be a man whose time has come in his party. It was he who warned of climate change and predicted its consequences. Hurricane Katrina was just a fulfillment of the prophesies Gore wrote about in his late-1980s book Earth in the Balance.
I do not, of course, trust anything Morris says, because he's usually a major source of bad advice to Dems, but who knows, maybe he figures it's better to leave the Democrats to clean up the mess Bush has made rather than put in another Republican from the Bizarro World. Via Taegan Goddard's Political Wire.

04:35 GMT

On the blog

I tried to read this but my head exploded. First of all, there is the fact that it is co-authored by William Bennett and Alan Dershowitz. Secondly, I don't believe for a minute that William Bennett believes in freedom of speech for anyone except conservatives who profess to believe in Christianity; if he did, he'd have been saying, "Where's the outrage?" over all those free speech zones, Ari Fleischer's and John Ashcroft's attempts to intimidate the press into silence, and the entire right-wing's attacks on dissent for the last four years - and yet he's been remarkably silent on all that. (And how often has he complained that the networks don't put progressives on television talk shows? How often has he complained about the silencing of atheists?) That's leaving aside the point that I don't see why it's necessary to print the damned cartoons, anyway. Glenn Greenwald disagrees with me on that last point, but as to the rest, well, he's right.

King of Zembla explains who is with us or against us and names some flip-floppers. Oh, and why torture makes bad policy.

MahaBarb follows up her post on "Patriotism v. Nationalism" with "Patriotism v. Paranoia," "Patriotism v. Francis Fukuyama", "Patriotism v. Hate Speech" (and "Hate Speech and its Consequences"), and "It's Us, Too".

Digby has a pretty good couple of posts about how our government is even protecting bin Laden in order to stay cool with the United Arab Emirates, and why the port issue is blowing a hole in Bush's 9/11 strategy.

This is now, but again I remember the first time I heard the phrase "premature anti-fascist" and how startling it seemed. Then.

2005 Koufax Awards: Best Blog, Professional/Sponsored Division.


03:12 GMT

Thursday, 23 February 2006

Good stuff

On the way to asking us to vote for him as America's Worst Professor in the FrontPageMag poll, Michael Bérubé reminds us that it's a sign of the raging success of the liberal blogosphere that the Koufax Awards have been overwhelmed by a job that was once a lot easier to do. Back in the days when Dwight Meredith started the awards back at his old blog, any list of the most important blogs was topped mostly by what purported to be libertarians, but look at the BlogStreet Most Important Blogs list now! Instapundit has been kicked down to the number two spot by Eschaton, and there are only three blogs that aren't unabashedly liberal/progressive in the entire top 20. In fact, the top 100 of BlogStreet's most influential blogs are mostly liberal and you wouldn't have to do much editing to get a pretty good left-wing blogroll out of it. I guess there aren't that many people who want to read a lot of far-right Bush-lovin', liberal-bashin' anti-Americanism when offered the choice of something else.

And speaking of that, Mary at Pacific Views picks up on the discussion of Bush-deranged "conservatives". (Also: The Sanctity of Life.)

At The Left Coaster, eriposte continues to examine what the Niger forgeries really mean. It's a sure bet that someone in the administration was not merely believing what they wanted to believe, but deliberately manipulating the evidence to get the invasion going. (Also: Democrats Need a Media Attack Team, from paradox, and What The Dubai Deal Is Really About: The Next War from Steve Soto, pointing to Digby and Jane Hamsher on the subject.)

Josh Marshall on Cheney: It's all of a piece with the man's record. He's afraid of accountability. That's why he's such a fan of self-protecting secrecy. That's why he's big on smearing government whistle-blowers. It's really just two sides of the same coin. He's afraid of accountability. It's the same reason why he's such a notorious prevaricator -- lies to avoid accountability. These are all the hallmarks of a moral coward.

Bob Somerby says that on the Cheney story, Krauthammer went feudal but Scarborough got it right.

Pam Spaulding finds Lego Brokeback Mountain and an interesting hard drive. (Also: Ohio creep Blackwell is burning down the house and New York gays are fed up with Hillary.)

Skippy reports that CBS failed to be fair and balanced about global warming!

Take the NYT's marriage quiz with Susie Bright.

Doc Searls took a drive from Santa Barbara to Marin and brought his camera - here and here.

12:35 GMT

Places to go

Riverbend says "Things are not good in Baghdad."

Bill Scher says making the case about putting our ports into the hands of foreign governments isn't enough - we need to make the case that this is emblematic of the Republicans' approach to government.

Orrin Hatch was caught lying the other day but someone pointed it out, he has "clarified" his earlier statement by, in essence, claiming he said something completely different. Man, I never liked this guy, but he's really proving himself, isn't he?

Eric at Is That Legal? recommends They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45 by Milton Mayer.

Ron Williams got a little tutorial on AM radio and the creation of Rush Limbaugh when he wrote a column about right-wing talk: The former radio executive disagreed with me that conservative talk radio was a "political awakening" sparked by Newt Gingrich's Contract With America. "The rise of Limbaugh and company was more an 'engineered' event," he said. Limbaugh was plucked from obscurity in southern California by Roger Ailes, George Bush 1's media guru, to help counteract Bush's lack of media savvy.

Melinda Barton at Liberals in Exile on anonymous sources.

I've given Gene Lyons' article about Deadeye Dick, "Vice president shoots himself in the foot", a permanent home at my other weblog. After all, the guy not only shoots, but he's had an actual hunting accident.

The Manchurian Candidate as illustrated by TBogg.

You are .pdf  No matter where you go you look the same.  You are an acrobat.  Nothing is more important to you than the printed word.
Which File Extension are You?

Well, at least this one didn't ask me my favorite color. Via Biomes Blog.

02:19 GMT

Wednesday, 22 February 2006

Cold cuts

GOP women: Taylor Marsh on the world's most embarrassing female.
The Poor Man says: "I just can't take the stupid anymore."

Dahlia Lithwick thinks the Supreme Court hasn't quite settled into its new formation, but the new changes we all expect are not yet visible.

It just doesn't seem to me that this much work should have to go into pointing out the need for anonymous whistle-blowers and the equally great need to put government officials on the record when they speak openly to the press while doing their jobs (allegedly). Nor should we need to tell the press that "stories" that are just off-the-record gossip aren't really such great stories after all. And if politicians want to spread their PR in the newspapers, they should be willing to stand behind it; if they're not, reporters should seriously question the value of putting it into print. (I particularly find it offensive when an "unnamed" aide is sent out to put forward a position allegedly held by the boss. If the boss can't say it up front, maybe it shouldn't be said.)

Ruth Marcus had a good piece yesterday on The White House's Chilling Effect that was almost good enough to be written by a blogger: The Bush administration is constantly telling us that it can't tell us too much, for fear of chilling debate among the president and his top advisers. This argument would be a lot more persuasive if -- on the rare occasions the public is permitted a peak behind the White House curtain -- there were more evidence of something to chill.

Peter Daou has more on Bush cultism. (For those who are unfamiliar with the genesis of the phrase "Bush Derangement Syndrome, go here.)

Toles on the prescription drug plan.

19:20 GMT

Makes ya think

Nobody likes the deal to sell off the ports to the United Arab Emirates, except Joe Lieberman, who can always be counted on these days to put Bush first. Although we were told that the decision to make the transfer was "unanimous", Rumsfeld claims he didn't even know about it until now. So George Bush is now threatening to veto any legislation that would put a stop to the deal. Since Bush has never exercised his veto power, perhaps it's time to have a nice loud discussion about the things Bush actually believes it's worth threatening his first veto over.

The execution of Michael Morales, now indefinitely postponed, could have a dramatic effect on how the death penalty is meted out in California - if at all. I believe I've mentioned before my concern that the three-part process involved in (supposedly humane) lethal injection seems to be designed to torture people to death without anyone noticing it, and a recent study by Dr. Leonidas Koniaris of the University of Miami indicates that torture is very much the likely fact of these executions. But right now a combination of refusal by physicians to participate in killing someone and the judge's objection to the conviction now that he knows that a key witness lied during the trial (claiming the defendant had made a jailhouse confession in Spanish, although the accused doesn't speak Spanish), has brought the whole process to a halt for the moment.

It's kind of odd that no one's been talking about the rise to power of Moqtada al Sadr. (Also: I'd almost forgotten that people used to think the Economist was really cool, because it has been so lame lately that hardly anyone bothers to quote it anymore. I didn't notice when Brad DeLong said a couple of weeks ago that, "Now it looks like it may have its snark back." But, apparently, that situation may not last long enough for anyone to start paying attention to them again.)

Arianna on her experience of appearing on Insanity & Colmes asks, "Is Sean Hannity Addicted to Coulter Crack?" Personally, I'm disturbed that during the show, Arianna did not respond to Coulter's suggestion that liberals like Saddam by pointing out that liberals were decrying America's friendly relationship with Saddam back when conservatives were all telling us we were unrealistic bleeding hearts. The correct answer to such charges is, "What took you so long?"

14:48 GMT


E.J. Dionne reminds us in "Creating Wealth for the Poor" that liberal programs are about investing in an economically healthier future for the country and its people. The Republicans, until now, have been committed to penny-wise and pound-foolish policies that prevent such investment. The conservative movement claims liberalism is "just" about redistributing wealth, or about big government, or about wanting to spend a lot of money - actions that seem to have no goals beyond them, as it if is some sort of weird, ritualistic fetish. But we'd rather spend the money to create the wealth of the nation than throw it away as the Bushistas are doing. And, by the way, when we say "the poor", we're not just talking about the black poor - although Dionne mostly does in this article; most of the poor people in America are still white, and they will benefit, as they always do, from keeping the money moving through society rather than just accumulating at the top.

Skippy has the phone numbers for Californians who would like to see their votes get counted. (Meanwhile, it looks like there may be democracy in PA, but not in Georgia.)

Julia remembers the wonder that is Okrent.

Charles Lane's profile of Supreme Court Justice Stevens reminds me that I meant to look for the song that was written in honor of Ann Coulter's suggestion that, "We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' creme brulee." So go here and get the tune.

And speaking of that, I sure hope the Supremes decide to stick to precedent and decide it's a bad idea to try to activist-judge away a procedure that saves lives. (And no thanks to NARAL.)

And speaking of Coulter, how come Arianna didn't jump in with both feet?

A free look at Dan Shea's article on the tax on veterans' widows.

I see Republicans still can't get laid....

Lego Shotgun Cheney

03:54 GMT

Every day is Opposite Day

By now it should pretty much go without saying that if Bush or the GOP and their little minions say something, you can take it as read that the opposite is true. As noted earlier, this was becoming clear during the 2000 campaign when Bush claimed his tax shift wouldn't interfere with the solvency of Social Security or other aspects of US budgeting, even if there were an emergency of some kind. Then there was the spectacular moment when Bush actually stated during the debates with Gore that Gore had raised twice as much in funds as Bush had. Then there was the "election" itself, when the RNC happily told us that hand-counting the ballots was less reliable than machine-counting. Since then, we have spent years watching one photo-op after another in which Bush vows his support for some program - whether it be post-9/11 aid to New York or improved funding for education - before breaking that vow or simply doing the opposite of what he has promised.

GOP claims about being better for national security than Democrats provide perhaps the most outrageous examples of this phenomenon. Recently, when Bush produced a straw-man claim that critics of the illegal NSA spying program didn't think our government should eavesdrop on Al Qaeda, I noted that the only people in America who had ever appeared to feel that way were in the White House: Bush got into office and promptly told our intelligence services to quit spying on bin Laden and Al Qaeda. And that's leaving aside the fact that, as far as we can tell, the White House has completely failed to take up any significant recommendations for improving our "Homeland" security, while doing many other things that directly jeopardize us.

And here, Jeff Hauser presents us with yet another example of people with ties to Islamist terrorism associating not with John Kerry or the other Democrats right-wingers have claimed such an association with, but with the White House itself. But then, we knew all along that the family that's in business with the bin Laden family is the one called Bush. (via)

00:15 GMT

Tuesday, 21 February 2006

In a poisonous stew

Does anyone remember being stunned when Paul Krugman, who up until that moment had seemed relatively conservative in his willingness to go along with the prevailing "wisdom", suddenly produced an article that stated outright that the Republican presidential candidate was not telling the truth, and the publication we sometimes refer to as The New Republican had a picture of the governor of Texas and the words, "He's Lying!" big and bold on the cover? This later article refers to that issue of TNR and the articles by Jonathan Chait and Krugman that inspired that cover. Krugman said in The New York Times:

Dishonesty in the pursuit of tax cuts is no vice. That, in the end, will be the only way to defend George W. Bush's deceptions.
It soon became obvious that dishonesty in the pursuit of whatever they want is not a vice for the conservative movement. Only outsiders are sinners. And the media, then and now, behaves as if there is nothing wrong with that.

Robert Parry says in "An Upside-Down Media":

The gravest indictment of the American news media is that George W. Bush has gutted the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Geneva Conventions and the United Nations Charter - yet this extraordinary story does not lead the nation's newspapers and the evening news every day.
Just how much worse can it really get? With an unprovoked invasion, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and the Padilla and Arar cases, we've pretty much got the ground covered in historic horribles. Yes, we've missed a few of the flourishes, but once you start holding people indefinitely without trial and torturing them to death, matters of style and fashion don't really matter that much, do they? You might start by singling out a group based on their religious and ethnic ties and demonize other minorities as well, cry treason against those who criticize these policies, retaliate against, and fire, those in government who refuse to lie about programs that are both illegal and repugnant, claim the mantel of religion to defend such immorality, smear others who represent more traditional values (while falsely claiming your less popular values are those of the majority), allow corruption to flourish (always while falsely claiming that your critics are at least as corrupt), place corrupt officials above the law, and so on, and so on....

Well, when do you become victim to the same system?

For example, what about "Bush's Mysterious 'New Programs'"?

But recent developments suggest that the Bush administration may already be contemplating what to do with Americans who are deemed insufficiently loyal or who disseminate information that may be considered helpful to the enemy.
Recommending those two Consortium News pieces in "Look Back in Panic: Tyranny in Seed and Full Flower", Chris Floyd reminds us that he has been covering this story since it started, when he wrote of Congress' earliest cave-ins:
Never has a president been given such sweeping authority. It's true that some have taken it: most notably Abraham Lincoln, who used what he called his "inherent powers" to quash civil liberties, jail dissidents, even suspend the writ of habeas corpus, the cornerstone of 800 years of Anglo-American jurisprudence. But these draconian measures - imposed, after all, when the Union was under sustained assault by a million homegrown rebels, not 19 God-maddened criminals on a suicide run - were met with violent protests, Congressional investigations, bitter partisan invective and court challenges.

Yet there was nary a peep out of the modern guardians of the Republic in the Senate as they voted Caesar this dictatorial power. For note carefully that it is Bush alone who decides who is a terrorist; it is Bush alone who decides what constitutes the "aiding" of terrorism.

The Congressional lambkins of course believe that Bush will not abuse these powers. And no doubt he and his Praetorians will show the same tender concern for liberty, legality and constitutional authority they displayed last year when they sent hired thugs to break up the vote recount in Miami, then successfully urged the Supreme Court to strip Congress of its clearly defined constitutional responsibility to resolve disputed elections, thereby shutting down the vote and transforming callow Octavian into the manly Augustus who rules today.

Poor lambkins, so trusting. But what else can they do? What can any of us do? We must all now trust that this man who can't hold his liquor will be able to hold near-absolute power without getting drunk on it....

There was never a prayer of that.

19:44 GMT

As the frog boils

Kevin Drum recommends Jane Mayer's New Yorker article on Alberto Mora and the attempts from within government to present the legal case against torture: Without Mora's knowledge, the Pentagon had pursued a secret detention policy. There was one version, enunciated in Haynes's letter to Leahy, aimed at critics. And there was another, giving the operations officers legal indemnity to engage in cruel interrogations, and, when the Commander-in-Chief deemed it necessary, in torture. Legal critics within the Administration had been allowed to think that they were engaged in a meaningful process; but their deliberations appeared to have been largely an academic exercise, or, worse, a charade.

Just in case anyone wanted to see what was in Kristof's fantasy linked by Atrios last night, you can find Time for an Extreme Makeover at the White House courtesy of Tennessee Guerilla Women. And let me pass on Duncan's recommendations in They Hate you for Matt Stoller's piece and, as always, Arthur Silber on what it means when The Torturers Win: This is the "democracy" and "freedom" that the United States seeks to impose on other nations by means of military force, bombing, death and devastation, even on nations that represent no threat to us. Pogo was never so right.

Will Bunch, here and here, with more on Rick Santorum's corruption.

What can we do about it? Don't kid yourself that it'll all come out in the wash. While everyone politely engages in the fiction that all we have to do is get good candidates and campaign really well, Diebold gets California: On Friday night, after the close of business hours, at the start of a 3-day weekend, Schwarzenegger's unelected right-wing scumbag of a Secretary of State (who, of course, makes a point of portraying himself as a "moderate") certified easily hackable-- and widely discredited--Diebold voting machines for California elections. This could be the end of democracy in our state. Really. There's now no way to know if a vote was counted fairly and every time that happens... Republicans get "elected." I've tried to keep an eye on this story but with so few others doing so it's been hard to get details. But it's been obvious that this is where Schwarzenegger was going and without a harsh light shining on it full-time it's just happening under our noses. How stupid do you have to be to think this is innocent? (And is RJ Eskow suggesting that deliberately skewing the polls is part of the process of hiding the real intent of voters? Hm, I do think that is the case.)

13:11 GMT

Eyeball News

Crooks and Liars has video (and a truly lovely introduction from Sunday's talkshow coverage at Driftglass) of Katrina Vanden Heuvel giving it to George Will and Cokie Roberts on This Week. Yum!

Oh, good, I've been looking forward to Arianna's response to Mad Mary Matalin, and it has arrived!

On Current TV: This kid gets a letter from the military and learns all about No Child Left Behind, and another goes to New Orleans to help rebuild the Homeland.

10:30 GMT

Monday, 20 February 2006

Blogitty blog

Screwy Hoolie of Scrutiny Hooligans answered my invitation below with a call to action:

The Bush administration plans to sell off 300,000 acres of National Forests to make up for underfunding rural schools.

Scrutiny Hooligans has info here, here, and here.

We can stop this. There will be a 30-day public comment period starting next week or early March. We're going to jam phone lines, email boxes, and faxes at the US Forest Service.

Buck Batard at Bad Attitudes was interested in the appearance of Woodward & Bernstein on Larry King's show the other night, in which Bernstein was "one pissed off fellow": Woodward kept trying to backpedal, but Bernstein kept pushing and even Woodward was forced to agree with a great deal of Bernstein's comments.

Now, here's a guy you probably wouldn't want for your representative in Congress....

At Ahistoricality, Utopian v. Utopian: Fukuyama Speaks: Francis Fukuyama, author of the Republican supremacist tract The End of History doesn't like the neo-conservatives, at least not now that they've failed.

At NewsHog, Fixing The Facts Around The Policy: If you only read one thing this weekend, make sure it is "Intelligence, Policy, and the War in Iraq" by Paul R. Pillar.

A note to readers: If I link to something you have to pay to see, I'll say so, but that's not something I generally do. The New York Times links I use are all to things that are available for free - most are the blogger-friendly links provided here. (But just in case I forgot or it's an old link, go to the Genlink page and paste the URL in to see if you can get an open link.) I don't subscribe to NYT Select so if I provide a link to Krugman, Herbert, or Dowd, it'll be to some other site that's published it for free.

22:16 GMT

Isn't it news?

So, why isn't a case of "unparalleled corruption" and a "stunning betrayal of the public trust" on the front page of every national paper? And that's how the court describes the activities of Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-For Sale). Perhaps we could ask the Ombudsfolk at the WaPo and the NYT.

Via Kevin Drum, Tom Dispatch asks, "Can You Say "Permanent Bases"?" and wonders why the American press can't. In fact, all we're hearing about is "draw-downs" and timing of withdrawal from Iraq, as if no permanent bases were being built there.

The Era has Paul Krugman's "The Mensch Gap": "Be a mensch," my parents told me. Literally, a mensch is a person. But by implication, a mensch is an upstanding person who takes responsibility for his actions. The people now running America aren't mensches. OK, that's not news; I've been saying it for years.

Simply Left Behind celebrates President's Day.

Feel free to link-whore, I'll be a little busy for the next couple of hours.

13:41 GMT

The wisdom of the web

Via Tristero, Hugh Hewitt's bizarre idea of an interview - with Helen Thomas and with Lawrence O'Donnell. Tristero asks us to look at the Thomas interview as a teaching aid for responding to moronic questions from right-wing nuts with an agenda to evade the truth. Did Helen miss a bet? Yes, I think she did when she concentrated on accountability to the press above Cheney's responsibility to submit to immediate police investigation so they could establish whether there had been any criminal or negligent activity. To me, Hewitt's questions would have been an opportunity to talk about accountability to the law and why we should demand it from our leaders even more than we demand it from low-rent nobodies (who happen to be funny-colored). My answers about Iraq would have been a bit different, too, and I would have pushed Hewitt to explain how an "unbiased" reporter would determine whether Iraq was a mistake, and at what point we could know whether invading Iraq was worse than leaving Saddam Hussein in power. And I would have pointed out that conservatives and liberals alike have questioned the wisdom of the invasion, so it might just be that it is defenders of the invasion who are demonstrating "bias" that goes beyond reason. (The comment thread to Tristero's post is worth reading, too.)

Ex-ombudsman Okrent: Blogs will overcome mainstream media as a source of news unless traditional media organizations successfully transfer the integrity of their brands onto the Internet, the former ombudsman of The New York Times says. [...] In his a 38-minute talk and almost a half hour of questions-and-answers in Griffin Hall, Okrent talked mostly about his experiences at The Times, and a bit about the future of newspapers. He said poor press coverage lead to the Iraq war, because "in a time of war, editors being to wear epaulettes on their shoulder" and The Times were not exceptional in jumping on the bandwagon. Okrent does not appear to have said that the "integrity" of the brand can only "transfer" if it makes integrity a true hallmark of its performance.

The Anonymous Liberal has a good response to the recent sliming of Al Gore for his speech in Jeddah: More importantly, though, how in the world does Gore's speech harm American interests? Are people really more likely to hate America because Al Gore mentioned something they already knew and then apologized for it? Hardly. If his speech has any effect at all, it will be to reduce anti-American sentiment. (via)

Iraqi women denied visas: "It's appalling that the US military killed these women's families and then the US government rejects their visas on the grounds that they have no family to return to in Iraq," Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin said. "These women have no desire to stay in the United States. We had a very hard time convincing them to come, but we told them how important it would be for their stories to be heard by Americans."

The Mahablog on Patriotism v. Nationalism: I'm sure by now you see where I'm going with this: Righties are not patriots, but nationalists. And I'm arguing that one of the basic differences between a patriot and a nationalist is that patriots value responsibility.

Digby on Paul Gigot and our declining standards for scandals.

Man, this kind of thing could give perversion a bad name. (via)

12:06 GMT

It's that time again

Charnos: Cherub non padded braBra of the Week

My, what an ugly baby you've got!

Wave Cloud Iridescence

The Whirlpool Galaxy in Dust and Stars

David Neiwert is writing about The Conservative faith and Bush's place in it.

The Ballad of Dick Cheney by TBogg, Faking Contrition by MadKane, and Dickfest at Firedoglake.

And via FDL, thank goodness I didn't have to miss Crazy Mary's piece of theater on Press the Meat (or Wolcott's response.) And why was that thing exploding on her shoulder? Meanwhile, just about everyone at The Huffington Post had a field day with the shooting.

Wow, Laura Rozen is right about the eye-opening nature of the profile on Cheney in Newsweek: ... Around 9:35 on the morning of 9/11, Cheney was lifted off his feet by the Secret Service and hustled into the White House bunker. Cheney testified to the 9/11 Commission that he spoke with President Bush before giving an order to shoot down a hijacked civilian airliner that appeared headed toward Washington. (The plane was United Flight 93, which crashed in a Pennsylvania field after a brave revolt by the passengers.) But a source close to the commission, who declined to be identified revealing sensitive information, says that none of the staffers who worked on this aspect of the investigation believed Cheney's version of events. (via)

The Liquid List: It's hard to differentiate between classified and unclassified information when you're focusing on listening in on citizen conversations and blocking prosecution of civil rights violators and the like. At least, that's the only explanation I can think of for the accidental release by federal officials of delicate information about counterterrorism efforts.

I want some Shreddies.

00:27 GMT

Sunday, 19 February 2006

News stuff

Promise to Shore Up Ethics Loses Speed - Oh, now, did anyone ever expect anything else?

Howell's column is up now, making a wardrobe criticism of Dana Milbank. I must say I find Milbank's attire surprising, but then, I've thought of him as a clown ever since he made those bizarre remarks about why reporters hated Al Gore.

He didn't actually use the L-Word, but even David Broder is now writing about the candor of this administration.

I guess you already know how effective the air security measures are, right?

Robin Toner is writing about how Bush's alleged prescription benefit is losing the support of older voters for the GOP, but offers this unclear sentence: President Bush's failed effort to create private accounts in Social Security last year was also unpopular with many older Americans. That isn't explained in the article, and it could easily be read to mean that Bush's failure to institute cat-food accounts, rather than his attempt to do it in the first place, was what aggravated older voters. I wish people wouldn't do that....

Readers of The New York Times are smarter than Stanley Fish.

Voice of America: George Clooney's study of McCarthyism fully deserves its Oscar nominations, says Philip French.

Pound foolish: CCTV systems record on to DVD - but courts and prosecutors only have video players. Delays in transferring evidence from the digital discs to VHS tapes have led to cases being dropped or dismissed, government auditors said.

That's about the size of it.

15:05 GMT

Food for thought

I was over at The Corpuscle looking at the post on online values ("Lots of discussion lately about how big multinational corporations have to cave in to local ordinances in order to do business inside repressive regimes"), and I keep wondering why big multinational corporations don't have to cave in to local ordinances in order to do business inside places that don't like pollution, corruption, and fraud.

Another thing I wonder about is how someone who "came up behind" Cheney managed to surprise him by suddenly being 30 yards in front of him. I am still confused about this even if it was only 15 yards. This guy is pushin' 80 and unless he's Wally West that seems like a speedy move even if it was only 15 feet. But I don't have to tell you that everything about this story sounds pretty hinky. The newspapers are full of stories about drunks who get into some stupid argument and one guy kills the other, and, frankly, that's the Occam's Razor on this story, friends.

The Alternative Hippopotamus reminds us that blogging isn't just writing about what the paid media prints - because there really are people who are making their own phone calls and doing their own interviews. And, in this case, reporting on candidates that "real" journalists have decided aren't important - and discovering which candidate thinks he's too good to answer your call.

13:06 GMT

Saturday, 18 February 2006

Post-it notes

The is back up, and Brad DeLong (of) and others have weighed in. Several people have simply pasted-in the famous deleted post from the heroic Paul Lukasiak asking for the evidence that Jack Abramoff "directed" his tribal clients to donate to "both parties". Paul is, of course, absolutely correct that there is no evidence of such, and if the Post had documentation of the claim it would surely have appeared in a news story by now and not be broken in the Ombudsman column or the solely as a response to demands for a correction. (Wingers have also jumped in to say, "Get over it! Let's move on!" as well as, "Reid and Pelosi are going down!", but never mind.) I also posted a comment:

Actually, I am no longer interested in the answer to Paul's question, because it's normal for lobbyists to suggest to clients that they hedge their bets by giving money to both parties.

What really does interest me, and what should be precisely the kind of question that would interest an ombudsman, is:

1. Why did a column in The Washington Post ever contain the suggestion that Abramoff was equally entangled with both parties? And

2. When the error was pointed out, why did the same columnist continue to inappropriately drag Democrats into the scandal by bringing up the irrelevant point about Abramoff supposedly "directing" money to both parties?

The story is about illegal and unethical behavior by Abramoff and Republicans, not about routine - and legal - campaign support of Democrats by the tribes (which has always existed). Democrats have nothing to do with Abramoff's illegal and unethical activities on behalf of the GOP. If stories about the scandal mention Democrats, it should only be to clarify the fact that this is part of a Republican program and has nothing to do with Democrats.

Yet, a column appears to be trying to cover up the story by falsely stating that Abramoff personally gave money to Democrats.

When the columnist is called on the error, she tries to "correct" it by continuing to inappropriately bring the Democrats into the story although in fact they have nothing to do with the story.

What, then, is the source of these two pieces of GOP spin, and how did they work their way into the paper's Ombudsman column?

I believe that the Post needs to carefully consider the fact that there is at least one conduit that seems to be able to funnel misinformation directly onto the paper's pages - misinformation which, by an amazing coincidence, is exactly the same as GOP talking points. It should be of grave concern to the Post that some facility is at work that directly sabotages the Post's stated goal of fairness and accuracy.

Isn't this exactly the sort of thing an ombudsman should be investigating?

Jane Hamsher has more, of course (and also a lovely Big Time T-shirt.)

Meanwhile, Dana Milbank found the perfect opportunity for unloading a whole bunch of "The Dems are jerks" stuff with Precriminations, an article that purports to handicap the Dems - "Convinced they will face another disappointment in November, Democrats are already busy figuring out who among them should be blamed for the inevitable defeat." Vocabulary note: If you think the DLC is the center, you're either right-of-center or ignorant. Or both.

E.J. Dionne had a good op-ed yesterday about the administration's phony populism that spelled out my immediate reaction to hearing the surreal news that Bush had given a speech at Wendy's. Of course, knowing he was selling another one of his pie-in-the-sky plans to destroy America just put me in mind of the same phony populism that was so blatant during the 2000 campaign when he announced that he wanted to give "you" a "tax cut" because, "It's your money," and you should get to decide how to spend it - and you couldn't possibly want to spend it on the continued health of the best damned insurance program ever created. So now he wants to create a medical "insurance" plan that pretty much just ensures that more people won't be able to afford medical insurance. Lovely. And, meanwhile, Dick Cheney is pretending that media interest in the way he has been trying to cover up his negligence after a hunting accident is just resentment from The New York Times that they didn't get to scoop some small-town newspaper. Sure, because no one could possibly be interested in the fact that the Vice President of the United States shot a man in the face and then refused to allow local police to investigate, or even tell the President, until he'd had time to sleep it off - and then provided a fake eye-witness. And ordinary working Americans (who have made CSI such a popular show) wouldn't be the least bit interested in knowing why the Vice President shot a man and held himself unaccountable even for that. Yes, that's Dick Cheney, ever the champion of spunky little small-town newspapers.

Hm, I don't see an ombudsman's column this week. Wonder what causes that?

14:50 GMT

Snakes and ladders

At Truthout, Jason Leopold, Gonzales Withholding Plame Emails: Sources close to the investigation into the leak of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson have revealed this week that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has not turned over emails to the special prosecutor's office that may incriminate Vice President Dick Cheney, his aides, and other White House officials who allegedly played an active role in unmasking Plame Wilson's identity to reporters. So he's obstructing justice, and Dems want him out but he won't go.

Arthur Silber on The Freedom to Foster Hatred.

No Checks, Many Imbalances - Looks like the annual "George Will says something I agree with" moment has arrived: But, then, perhaps no future president will ask for such congressional involvement in the gravest decision government makes -- going to war. Why would future presidents ask, if the present administration successfully asserts its current doctrine?

Horns and Halos is the story of Fortunate Son, Now out now on DVD.

Lot's of retorts in the comment thread to A Challenge to Rightwing Bloggers Who Blame the Media for the Cheney Mess: Prove it. But, once again, much of it just proves there ain't no liberal bias. Meanwhile, Peter Daou's list gets longer and longer, and the wingers got nothin'.

I love this CT polling: So Lieberman is under 50 amongst Democrats, just 11 points ahead, against a candidate no one has ever heard of. That's absolutely insane. Gosh, wait 'til Lamont actually gets his campaign going. (Have you signed on yet?)

Mickey Kaus now calls them Firedoglake: CSI - and that was before they noticed that Cheney's so-called eye-witness couldn't have seen what happened.

Al Franken has started a new organization, Midwest Values PAC.

RIAA Says Ripping CDs to Your iPod is NOT Fair Use. Bastards. (via)

11:53 GMT

Friday, 17 February 2006

I saw this

I missed the follow-up post to Glenn Greenwald's earlier post in which he wrote that "conservatives" seemed to have abandoned their conservative principles in order to be Bush cultists. In that follow-up, Glenn notes that a number of right-wing nuts have "refuted" him by proving his point. (Glenn also has a heartening post noting that the illegal spying story is actually farther along than Watergate was after only two months and that we needn't despair.)

At The Smirking Chimp, Chris Christensen: 'Liberals as conservatives, conservatives as vandals': They have twisted its tenets into ugly, unrecognizable rationales for the abuse of power, while trampling on the grave of Edmund Burke, conservatism's founding father. Via Farm Runoff, via a link-rich post from Elayne Riggs.

Farber has those links I couldn't find: Maher Arar lawsuit dismissed. Judge David Trager's decision (I've not yet read this). More. A Canadian account. Maher Bad, though not surprising, which is Bad.

I've been waiting to hear about the death squads ever since I found out Otto Reich was being added to the administration, so I won't profess surprise. Horror, but not surprise.

You can see a little movie of Django Reinhardt here. Via Boing Boing. (Thanks to Dominic (of) for the tip.)

I was hoping I could find this guy's website or something but I didn't - but scroll down to the picture by Chris Anthony from "Red White Black and Blue" on this page.

23:56 GMT

Depressing stuff

No accountability:

  • Cheney case closed, and I guess that really sends a message to anyone who wants to stand up to these people: We can get away with this, too, so don't get out of line.
  • Breaking the law is okay, too - The Senate decided not to bother investigating Bush, and to just change the law to accommodate the criminal, instead. (To remove all accountability? I don't know about anyone else, but even if it were legal, I still object furiously to the idea of spying on people without any warrant.) Oh, and only three Senators are still trying to stand in the way of renewing the Patriot act - Feingold, Byrd, and Jeffords. (via)
  • And I can't find a link yet, but apparently Maher Ahar has been told by the court that it's too bad that he was kidnapped from an American airport by the US government and taken to a country where he could be - and was - tortured, but it's not something the US Courts have jurisdiction over because the torture happened someplace else. Talk about "no controlling authority"!

We're all going to drown: Greenland's vast glaciers are dumping ice into the ocean three times faster than they did 10 years ago because of increasing temperatures, suggesting that sea level could rise even more quickly than current projections.

Robert Scheer: Condoleezza Rice is someone I knew to be a very bright scholar when we were both fellows in Stanford University's arms-control seminar. Yes, we differed on occasion, but I never had cause to doubt her ability to reason. Now, I do. And jeez are we losing in Iraq.

14:00 GMT

Teh funny

I know, I know, you want real news, but Farber linked to The Dance of Warren Ellis and Joss Whedon (Ellis was leading) and I had a good time 'cause I get all the jokes, even though I only got 58% in the "How Geeky are you?" quiz which no I'm not going to retrieve the link go find it yourself. (For something more serious, Farber is also really pissed at the WaPo over the recently leaked Abu Ghraib photos.)

Wolcott has a new nominee for stupidest guy on the planet. Okay, it's not really that funny, but at least it's not as depressing as the real news I saw this morning.

Battle-Action Bush and the Keyboard Commandos, Episode 12: A SHOT OF TREASON!!!!

12:56 GMT

Campaign for a progressive Senator

Fact-esque has linked to a Zogby poll result that did an interesting thing. First they asked people how they'd vote in head-to-head races between Man-on-Dog Santorum and Bob Casey, Jr. and between MoD Santorum and Chuck Pennacchio. Casey came out well ahead of Santorum (50.5 to 38.7), and Pennacchio was neck-in-neck with MoD (40.3 to 41.1).

Here we see that if voters know nothing else about Chuck, he is still competitive with Rick Santorum. This is significant in light of the fact that Chuck Pennacchio's campaign has not placed a single television or radio ad on the airwaves, nor have any supporters. The numbers speak to Rick Santorum's inherent weakness: when a multi-term incumbent Republican is faced with a relatively unknown Democrat, he still finds himself in a close race. Imagine what will happen once people learn more about Chuck.
So then they provided respondents with an outline of the positions of the three candidates and asked them who they'd prefer, and though Casey still beats Santorum, his relative support goes down (40.1 to 38.3), but Pennacchio's goes up to 45.4 and Santorum goes up to 43.5, with Pennacchio now ahead.

So Casey, the conservative Democrat, benefits from not letting anyone know where he stands, whereas Pennacchio does better if makes his views known.

If I were in PA, I'd be printing out that list of the candidates' positions and passing it out everywhere. If I were actually on his campaign, I'd do a mailshot to make sure every household in the state got a copy. It'll easily fit on a single page.

02:39 GMT

Thursday, 16 February 2006

Open windows

At Consortium News, Restoring Constitutional Government by Ivan Eland:

It took only minor concessions by the Bush administration to convince enough Democrats to support the renewal of the USA PATRIOT Act and end a Senate filibuster blocking the bill's passage. In fact on both the renewal of the PATRIOT Act and warrantless domestic spying by the National Security Agency (NSA), the Democrats have recently caved in or are signaling that they soon will.

In contrast, only a more militant approach-the repeal of the PATRIOT Act, the ending of warrantless domestic spying, and the opening of the process by which national security warrants are approved-will adequately preserve the liberties that the nation's founders enshrined in the Constitution's Bill of Rights.

The concessions the Democrats agreed to include a change in the National Security Letters, a form of secret subpoena, which could not now be used on libraries (but still can be used everywhere else). Also, recipients of "Section 215" subpoenas, issued by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court, could now eventually challenge the prohibition on telling anyone they received one.

But the vast majority of the PATRIOT Act's draconian provisions increasing the authority of federal authorities to tap phones, obtain personal records, and search homes will probably be renewed.

By now everyone who has been paying attention knows that, in all probability, the 9/11 attacks could have been stopped, and all without the Patriot Act. We don't need it. In fact, it's just another threat to our national security. So why did the filibuster crumble? And why isn't there a full-on campaign to investigate and stop the illegal spying program?

Since Paul Hackett resigned from the Ohio Senate race, die-hard progressives have by and large expressed sorrow that Hackett did not chose to try again for the Congressional seat he almost won last time but also pointed out that Sherrod Brown is a real progressive who stood up against power before there was a blogosphere to support principled liberals. But they've been vilified for saying so. Take a look at David Sirota's article on the subject and then look at the responses he got. I'm not talking about the kind of disagreement with Sirota's view that Robert Parry expressed here, but some pretty heavy invective. I got a slight taste of it when I posted in a thread elsewhere pointing out that Brown is progressive and this certainly has nothing to do with the establishment wanting to smash a progressive in favor of someone more compliant with the corporatist formula. I'm not crazy about Chuck Schumer and I suspect that he didn't help matters with his meddling, but that doesn't change the fact that a lot of good, solid, non-establishment progressives have supported Brown all along for good reason, and there's no reason to stop supporting him now.

I guess it's lucky for Bush that his VP shot a guy in the face in time to provide a lot of distraction from the Katrina report, just when we could have had a discussion of how it shows "the inevitable result of reckless, callous conservative philosophy of governance, fundamentally disdaining the concept of government that truly serves the public," as Bill Scher put it.

A small question about political speeches at funerals, and a politician held to account.

I guess this is how the party is being more centrist. *sigh*

Your weblog to read this afternoon: Factesque.

Vote! The 2005 Koufax Awards: Best Writing nominations. Well, damn, I didn't even make the long-list. What the hell, they're all good. Don't forget to hit the tip-jar if you've got it.

David Horsey

Sometimes I am just amazed at how good this sounds, it just empties my mind when I hear it.

14:40 GMT

What they say

Chris Bowers says that Hackett's bowing out from the political season exposes a class war among progressive activists: The anger is also coming from being taken for granted. The activist working class is not employed in the world of politics. They do not derive their income form politics, but they do spend their income and their free time on politics. When people who re running the show keep losing, the activist working class sees its hard earned money and precious little free time go to waste. The anger comes form people growing tired of offering their resources to leaders who seem to be making nothing but bad decisions that lead to defeat. They feel as though they are expected to keep giving, as though the resources they are offering aren't precious to them.

Have bloggers bought into Joementum thinking on the Pennacchio vs. Casey primary race in PA? Thomas Nephew suggests it might be so - Casey seems to be getting the "he's electable" support but Pennacchio is surely the real progressive. And there are good arguments that he's the more electable, as well. Casey is very much a "moderate" type, which means he's really to the right of most Americans. And how well we remember his whining about how he wasn't allowed to speak at the Democratic convention; his claim is that it was because he was anti-choice, but the truth is that he refused to support the nominee, Bill Clinton. In fact, other anti-choice speakers have been permitted at the conventions, so it looks like he's already started Zelling himself. It is also claimed that he's good on other progressive issues, particularly as regards union-related issues, but a closer look at his voting record doesn't really support that view. (In fact, the good Casey was his father.) Thomas wants a blogswarm for Chuck Pennacchio, and quotes from his campaign: Everyone agrees that defeating Rick Santorum is a top priority for 2006, but to win we must provide a sharp contrast to his right wing agenda. Chuck's clear and unwavering positions, grassroots organization skills, and winning track record give us the best chance to win. We will get the Democratic Party and the country we're willing to work for.

While I was at Nephew's Newsrack, I also noticed his comment about recent events: I've always believed Justice Scalia should recuse himself from cases involving his hunting buddy Dick Cheney. Thinking about it some more today, I do want to clarify that I have no objection whatsoever to the two of them hunting together -- in fact, they should make the time to do it more often. Times like those are so rare, so precious. It's just how I feel. Oooh.

Caro sends a reminder of this interview with Vincent Bugliosi in which it is noted that Scalia flip-flopped on the issue of whether the Constitution is a living document and the precedent-setting nature of Supreme Court decisions - and he did this, of course, for the case of Bush v. Gore.

Buck Batard notes that a top counter-terrorism official was fired from the CIA last week because he opposed the illegal detentions, torture, and rendering of Al Qaeda suspects, and is somehow reminded of a mean person from his own past. (via)

00:16 GMT

Wednesday, 15 February 2006

Stuff from around

Chris Cillizza has a discussion of the pros and cons of a Gore candidacy, and today it's 2008: The Case for Al Gore. The thread is already fat with GOP talking points, but feel free to put your oar in. Don't forget to go there tomorrow when it's the case against Gore. Thanks for the tip to Gary Farber, who has been posting like mad on how the Republicans are making us safe and how Cheney shoots people and a lot of other things.

It's one thing when dyed-in-the-wool racists hold elective office as Republicans, since we know that's the GOP's real ace in the hole, but it's about 35 years late to still see people like this in the Democratic Party. How do they get there? Well, when we see them kissin' and huggin' with Bush on TV, we can guess. No wonder, then, that the creepy racist "Democrat" can be found walking in lockstep with hate-mongering Republicans.

GOTV has a bunch of links if you want to do something on the illegal spying scandal.

The GOP seems to have forgotten where Bush was while we were losing an American city. (Meanwhile... sheesh.)

Spooky weapons tech

No wonder Republicans are so sure there's so much voter fraud.

Looks like Calvin went to Moscow.

19:55 GMT

News and analysis

Via Atrios, the unsurprising news that yet another accountability moment may not happen: Congress appeared ready to launch an investigation into the Bush administration's warrantless domestic surveillance program last week, but an all-out White House lobbying campaign has dramatically slowed the effort and may kill it, key Republican and Democratic sources said yesterday. Atrios is right - failure to even investigate this thing is pretty much ratification of America as a dictatorship.

Peter David reports (via Bill Mumy) that Andreas Katsulas, who played G'Kar on Babylon 5, has died of cancer. (I hadn't known that he played the one-armed man in the movie of The Fugitive.)

First read Glenn Greenwald on Why Ann Coulter matters (and the lively thread that follows, for more entertainment), and then read Matthew Yglesias on The Most Dangerous Game. Then, of course, read Digby on Journalistic Venereal Disease.

I think it was stupid for the Dem leadership to keep Hackett from challenging Brown in the primary, but I sure wish he hadn't let it turn into a media whine. I understand (from Charles in comments) that Hackett later appeared on the Ed Schultz show and was, "Calm, didn't blame anyone, didn't give rumors any further credence." That's good. Charles also says, "He'll be back." I hope he does it after he's figured out what the real "illegal alien" problem is, and that it's neither porous borders nor the foreign workers themselves. [Update: Lance Mannion's take.]

Simbaud at King of Zembla provides us with Three or Four Things We Know About Torture. We know that if the US does it, it's all someone else's fault anyway, right?

Richest post of the morning was last night's round-up from Jane Hamsher, complete with some free quotes from MoDo's column on Shooter Cheney and news about the next black member of the Senate.

14:15 GMT


I have done my best not to see all these images of kids with their limbs blown off and torture and such, but you can't always avoid it.

I know some people think it's our civic duty to look at the torture pictures, and I understand that feeling, but I just can't bring myself to look. The outrage and horror I feel at these things - no matter who does them or what their excuse is - is not a new thing, not something I never thought about before. I already know what it means. I thought everyone else did, too, and that no one could ever make excuses for it.

But if you think - even a little - that maybe torture is not so bad, bear in mind that there were some pictures that the public was refused access to because they were so repellant. But they have now come to light - in the Australian media. The Sydney Morning Herald has the story:

Some of the photos are similar to those published in 2004, others are different. They include photographs of six corpses, although the circumstances of their deaths are not clear. There are also pictures of what appear to be burns and wounds from shotgun pellets.
I'm sure that, like me, the American media feels that extra roiling of the stomach at the thought that this is us, that we are doing these things, and perhaps that explains their reluctance to release these images that surely were leaked to them, too.

But to me, the words are enough: We torture. We have broken our covenant with the people, with the world, with civilization. We are the barbarians. I know what it means.

12:51 GMT

Love letters

These are a few of my favorite things....

Janis Ian has a new album out, Folk is the New Black, produced independently. As you know, we're big supporter's of Janis' project to break away from the industry pirates by doing things like this, including providing free downloads. If you don't know about her article from a few years ago, "The Internet Debacle", you should give it a read. Janis found that sales of her music increased by 300% once she made music available for free on her site, thus disproving the RIAA's claim that free music on the net hurts sales. You can download "The Great Divide" and "Folk is the New Black" from the new album from her site for free - or throw her some bucks to say thanks.

Digby is, as always, inspiring, especially now when we need to keep our energy up: It's a new day. We angry denizens of the fever swamps have emerged from the slime to fight back. We couldn't wait any longer for the professionals to get the job done. At the rate they're going we'd be extinct within the decade.

TBogg, who unleashes his inner freeper on the story of Cheney's hunting accident.

Firedoglake, where Jane has some smart questions about the whole unlikely story of how Dick Cheney shot a guy in the face, and ReddHedd has a good round-up generated by Peter Daou's piece on the value of progressive blogs (and a neat graphic).

01:15 GMT

Tuesday, 14 February 2006

Classic corruption

You gotta love the headline, though:

U.S. Royalty Plan to Give Windfall to Oil Companies

The federal government is on the verge of one of the biggest giveaways of oil and gas in American history, worth an estimated $7 billion over five years.

New projections, buried in the Interior Department's just-published budget plan, anticipate that the government will let companies pump about $65 billion worth of oil and natural gas from federal territory over the next five years without paying any royalties to the government.

New projections, buried in the Interior Department's just-published budget plan, anticipate that the government will let companies pump about $65 billion worth of oil and natural gas from federal territory over the next five years without paying any royalties to the government.

When I wondered where these people plan to live after they've finished destroying our country, a lot of people said, "Gated communities." But I don't think that will be good enough. I think they are going to move to another country. It won't matter which one, although China looks a likely prospect.

13:50 GMT

Tripping down the alleyways

Paul Begala is a hunter, and he says VP Cheney, You're Lucky Those Reporters Aren't Hunters.

Rachel wants to know why everyone else was restricted to black and white but Time got to print the photograph in color.

Sidney Blumenthal on The President, the Stripper and the Attorney General - Torture Guy has a long history of making up excuses for Caligula. (Did anyone but me notice that Bush told the truth about why he wanted Harriet Miers on the Supreme Court - 'cause she's a fixer?)

Test your quail-shooting skills - see if you can beat Cheney's skill level.

Cat's Bra Resource Page, via Wapsi Square. (Thanks to Neil Rest for the tip.)

Crop circle

11:18 GMT

Monday, 13 February 2006


Via Atrios, a fairly straightforward analysis of how Cheney was at fault, from Josh Marshall with the help of readers who hunt. Frankly, if it were me, I wouldn't have had to wait for this incident to know I don't want to be anywhere near Cheney when he's got a gun in his hand - it's not like he hasn't got a track record. But ReddHedd's readers are far less forgiving, and point out that Cheney's behavior was even more odd than Josh's post suggests.

Ten ways Dick Cheney can kill you. (Thanks to Dominic (of) for the tip.)

23:45 GMT

Stuff to read

Raw Story has another hot headline: Outed CIA officer was working on Iran, intelligence sources say: The unmasking of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame Wilson by White House officials in 2003 caused significant damage to U.S. national security and its ability to counter nuclear proliferation abroad, RAW STORY has learned.

Jim Henley with a Cheap Metaphor Alert Cheap Metaphor Alert! The hunt itself is clearly American national security policy. Dick Cheney is Dick Cheney. The ranch spokeswoman immediately implying that the accident was the victim's responsibility is the right wing punditsphere. The quail don't make very imposing "monsters to destroy," but neither do Hugo Chavez or Al-Jazeera. As for Cheney's fellow hunter . . . Red State America? The US military? American civil liberties? The best symbols admit multiplex interpretation.

At The Left Coaster, pessimist asks: Why Do GOPpers Hate America? An illuminating comment thread follows.

18:34 GMT

Sometimes a great nation

Molly Ivins on The destruction of the Constitution:

AUSTIN, Texas -- Once upon a time, in the middle of a nasty constitutional crisis in Washington, a most unlikely hero emerged -- a Texas lawyer from one of our state's notoriously discriminated-against racial minorities. Think how lucky we were.

It is one of the most famous sentences in all of American rhetoric: "My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total." But what catches the eye today is the sentence that followed that famous declaration, the sentence that makes one so ashamed for Al Gonzales. Barbara Jordan's great, deep voice brought the impeachment hearings against Richard Nixon to an awed silence when she vowed, "And I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution."

Thirty years ago, this state could produce Barbara Jordan -- and now we send that pathetic pipsqueak Al Gonzales. Enough to provoke a wailing cry of "O tempera, O mores!" even from the depths of Lubbock.

Al Gore speaks for me: Former Vice President Al Gore told a mainly Saudi audience on Sunday that the U.S. government committed "terrible abuses" against Arabs after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and that most Americans did not support such treatment.

17:03 GMT

Assorted fruit and nuts

Let's just hand them the whole country: A company in the United Arab Emirates is poised to take over significant operations at six American ports as part of a corporate sale, leaving a country with ties to the Sept. 11 hijackers with influence over a maritime industry considered vulnerable to terrorism. (via)

Bill Scher says Condi went on the Sunday talk shows to exploit the cartoon controversy and tell stories she didn't back up.

The evils of aspartame are being further investigated at NIH. As you may know, a lot of people think there may have been some funny business when the FDA finally let it shimmy through the process: Others have also challenged Searle's studies. Documents from the F.D.A. and records from the Federal Register indicate that, in the years before the F.D.A. approved aspartame, the agency had serious concerns about the accuracy and credibility of Searle's aspartame studies. From 1977 to 1985 - during much of the approval process - Searle was headed by Donald H. Rumsfeld, who is now the secretary of defense [...] And in a move that fueled the conspiracy theories, Mr. Hayes left the F.D.A. a little more than a year after approving aspartame and took a job as a consultant to Burson-Marsteller, which at the time was Searle's public relations agency. Mr. Hayes did not return calls seeking comment. [...] Of the 92 independently funded articles, 84 identified adverse health effects. "Whenever you have studies that were not funded by the industry, some sort of problem is identified," said Dr. Walton, adding that he has not looked at studies performed since 1985. "It's far too much for it to be a coincidence." There's lots more. (See: Regulatory capture.)

It's nothing special when Chuck Hagel says things are going badly in Iraq, but it's news when George Allen (R-VA) suggests Cheney should be investigated.

Dean calls Cheney "Aaron Burr" on Face The Nation: Elizabeth Bumiller and Bob Shieffer both seemed taken aback by Mr. Dean's forthright acknowledgement of the elephant in the room (no pun intended), but rather than challenging his presumption, they both asked simply whether the VP should step down or be impeached. Dean kept his cool and insisted that it was too soon to say what the proper course of action would be in response to an unproved allegation. The transcript isn't up yet, but this is the first time I've heard reporters accept without skepticism the notion that Cheney may have committed treason.

I share your feeling, PZ. (I also always thought it was really thoughtful of the Gideons to make sure every hotel room had a large supply of rolling paper.) And same to you, sugar. Via Making Light, which has snow. (Point and click, you bastards, you know I wanna see those snow pictures.)

Listen to Whispering Bob Harris' BBC show from 2002 Wish You'd Been Here - The History Of Pink Floyd.

12:57 GMT

And now it's time for...

Huit: Oh La La! full cup bra The Bra of the Week!

Medium Lobster reports on the Retroactive Terror Alert.

Berlusconi: I'm Christ of politics. (Thanks to Steve for the tip.)

It's cabbage time again at The Mahablog.

Digby compares mad bloggers to responsible journalists.

New site: Al Gore for President.

They won! They won!

I am a bad person I laughed. (Nice photo.)

The History of Nipper and His Master's Voice

I have snow envy.

02:48 GMT

Sunday, 12 February 2006

Stops on the Infobahn

Peter Daou, Scandal Fatigue, Catnip & The 'Angry' Left: A few months ago, Steve Benen, Carpetbagger and DR guest-poster, wrote a fascinating blog entry that chronicled a series of Bush-related scandals .... all of which had occurred in the space of a week. In that regard, glance around this site today. You'll find an over-abundance of stories that undermine the credibility and integrity of our current administration and of the party in power. This coincides with a recent wave of references to the "angry" left, as though anger at the apathy of the media, the political establishment and much of the public in the face of this cavalcade of scandals is somehow in bad taste.

Matter and anti-matter asks the question, "What the hell is the matter with the Republicans?" It is, of course, a very good question, but it made me think (tangentially) that I should write a piece called "What's the matter with framing?" Well, I'm too lazy to write it, but it goes back to what we've all been saying forever (and no one better than Digby, of course), about how the Democrats should stop worrying about all the wonkery and just say it. You don't need to "frame" the idea that we're not supposed to have a king, you just explain it outright. We don't want despots running our country, dammit.

ReddHedd found a little conflict of interest when Barbara Comstock left the DoJ to work for Scooter: Doesn't the public have a right to know if the DoJ gave consent for an employee who worked on a substantial matter of public interest -- the investigation of the outing of a covert CIA agent -- to work for a man who lied to investigators to obstruct that very investigation?

Today is a good day to read Alternative Hippopotamus, who brings our attention to Big Brother in schools and shines the light on The Bull Moose: One of the most pointless blogs has to be Marshall Wittman's Bull Moose blog. Habitually, Wittman tells liberals why they should be less liberal, and democrats that they should abandon their positions in favor of a neo-Regan platform. Kos, and I'm sure a pantheon of lefty bloggers, barely have a right to exist in Wittmania.

Lambert, Crooks and Liars, and Matt Stoller respond to Jim Brady's stupid whine in the WaPo.

Death of the Internet - read that, then take the poll.

A bust of a Guardsman - commemorating an outstanding failure. (Maybe it doesn't look like him because no one ever saw him while they were there.)

NYT editorials worth a glimpse:
Rich people can't even pay for the luxuries they get - oh, no, we have to do that for them, too.

The Trust Gap: We can't think of a president who has gone to the American people more often than George W. Bush has to ask them to forget about things like democracy, judicial process and the balance of powers - and just trust him. We also can't think of a president who has deserved that trust less.

19:10 GMT

Mark of the Beast

Jeralyn found this one:

Two employees have been injected with RFID chips this week as part of a new requirement to access their company's datacenter.

Jeralyn also has a theory about why Bush inappropriately brought up the Library Tower plot (which we didn't foil because the pilot backed out, anyway).

14:13 GMT

They're at it again

I actually agree with Deborah Howell for a change. I don't see any reason why the WaPo or anyone else should have published the dopey cartoons that were clearly meant to be insulting to Muslims; freedom of speech does not require one to make bad editorial decisions. (And shame on people who thought that publishing the Toles cartoon that was critical of Rumsfeld is in any way equivalent. It's not Toles who is treating our wounded troops like dirt, it's the administration, and they deserve all the opprobrium we can throw at them for it.)

On the other hand, Jim Brady's attempt to throw more fuel on the fire over the ombud column that muddled the details of the Abramoff scandal is simply reprehensible. Entitled Blog Rage (via), it not only misses the point that it is reader rage, it repeats the same error Howell made in the first place and also repeats the unsupported claim that comments from the WaPo blog were shut down because they were so vituperative and obscene:

My career as a nitwitted, emasculated fascist began the afternoon of Jan. 19 when, as executive editor of the Post's Web site,, I closed down the comments area of one of our many blogs, one called Created primarily to announce new features on the Web site, the blog had become ground zero for angry readers complaining about a column by Post ombudsman Deborah Howell on the newspaper's coverage of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal. If I had let them, they would have obliterated any semblance of civil, genuine discussion.

As it was, things got pretty ugly, and it's worth figuring out why. In her Jan. 15 column, Howell erred in saying that Abramoff gave campaign donations to Democrats as well as Republicans. In fact, Abramoff directed clients to give to members of both parties, but he had donated his own personal funds only to Republicans.

Howell's inadvertent error prompted a handful of bloggers to urge their readers to go to to vent their discontent, and in the subsequent four days we received more than a thousand comments in our public forum. Only, the word "comments" doesn't convey the obscene, vituperative tone of a lot of the postings, which were the sort of things you might find carved on the door of a public toilet stall. About a hundred of them had to be removed for violating the Post site's standards, which don't allow profanity or personal attacks.

To my dismay, matters only got worse on Jan. 19 after Howell posted a clarification on Instead of mollifying angry readers, the clarification prompted more than 400 additional comments over the next five hours, many of them so crude as to be unprintable in a family newspaper. Soon the number of comments that violated our standards of Web civility overwhelmed our ability to get rid of them; only then did we decide to shut down comments on the blog.

Let's be clear that those of us who were watching the blog never saw the deluge of obscenity Brady has claimed as his reason for shutting comments down. While some were certainly insulting, nearly all of them were making substantive points. During discussions of this over the weeks, we were told that an automatic filter removed any actual obscenities, so that's why we never saw them. But if this was the case, there was no need to shut the blog comments down to prevent them from overwhelming the discussion. (That'd be like shutting down my entire mail system because I get a lot of spam, even though I have a spam filter.) It seems clear that Brady had a case of Wilting Flower syndrome not because of obscenities, but because he simply didn't get why readers were so enraged - or that they had a right to be.

It was that blockheadedness that really got to readers. Trying to explain the point to Howell and her defenders was like talking to a pile of bricks - info in, nothing out. Why was the Post repeating RNC smears? "Because they're true!" was supposed to be good enough, but there was nothing to establish that they were true - and, more importantly, no reason to think they were relevant. No doubt Democratic and Republican legislators alike also drank milk as children, but it doesn't mean they were both equally involved in corruption in office. Supposedly neutral newspapers that claim an interest in "fairness and accuracy" should not engage in the false equivalence game, which is counterproductive to that purpose.

We don't know that Abramoff "directed" his clients to give money to both parties - and he didn't need to direct them to give money to Democrats, since they were already doing so. We do know that, having become Abramoff's clients, their donations favored Democrats less than they had before. All this means is that while ripping off the Amerinds, Abramoff was also getting them to withdraw some of their support from Democrats to curry more favor with Republicans; it doesn't implicate Democratic legislators in any way.

How do we explain this to Howell and Brady? Even the most polite commenters were unable to get through to them. The simple, obvious point is that unless you are talking about the fact that Abramoff directed money away from Democrats and to Republicans, there is no reason to bring this aspect of the issue up at all. Unless, that is, you are trying to tar Democrats unfairly with the scandal brush.

This all raises a question: Why are people so angry? It was a mistake, it was corrected. Part of the explanation may be the extremely partisan times we live in. For all the good things it has brought our society, the Web has also fostered ideological hermits, who only talk to folks who believe exactly what they do. This creates an echo chamber that only further convinces people that they are right, and everyone else is not only wrong, but an idiot or worse. So when an incident like this one arises, it's not enough to point out an error; they must prove that the error had nefarious origins. In some places on the Web, everything happens on a grassy knoll.
It was a mistake, and it was not corrected so much as compounded. The idea that Democrats are involved in the scandal was not refuted, it was just adjusted a little to keep Democrats in the frame while pretending to clarify. The clarification was not helpful, it was just RNC spin.

And this is a story in itself - perhaps one that belongs on the front page: that irrelevant and unsupported claims emanating straight from the GOP spin machine keep working their way into stories in such a way that the information that gets to the reader is muddied rather than clarified.

The claim that this is caused by "the extremely partisan times we live in" is correct only if you bear in mind that the demand from liberals for accuracy is a direct reaction to seeing extremely partisan (and usually false) claims treated as fact in the most important news organs in the nation. There was never an explanation for how Howell made her original mistake and claimed that Abramoff gave money to Democrats when it was already well known that he did not. Nor has there been an explanation for the "correction" merely replacing one piece of RNC spin with another. Why not let the facts stand on their own? Why drag in these red-herrings when they are simply not germane?

It may be true that the right-wing blogosphere is mostly full of people who cocoon themselves in GOP spin and only talk to each other, but the people who were complaining about Howell's contribution to this discourse were obviously knowledgeable about this case and were aggravated by the fact that someone who is paid to know these things appeared to think that GOP talking points were enough.

And the overwhelming problem remains that this is the ombudsman's column we're talking about. The whole point of the ombudsman's column, you may remember, is to hold the newspaper to account and respond to reader complaints. Today's column from Howell is actually a rare one that responded to reader complaints. But the column that started this tiff wasn't a response to reader complaints, it was, for unknown reasons, an article praising Susan Schmidt, and it contained this paragraph:

Schmidt quickly found that Abramoff was getting 10 to 20 times as much from Indian tribes as they had paid other lobbyists. And he had made substantial campaign contributions to both major parties.
Why did she even write this column? What reader complaints generated it? And why does it falsely state that Abramoff "had made substantial campaign contributions to both major parties"? That's a hell of a "mistake".

Bear in mind, too, that this column appeared at a time when readers were still reeling over this one, which appeared to be a vehicle for whinging by the Post's national political editor, who we are forced to infer wanted to undermine Dan Froomkin. We are also forced to infer that this has something to do with the fact that Froomkin, unlike John Harris, doesn't seem to think he works for the Bush administration.

We like it that Froomkin seems to be trying to serve the public rather than the GOP. We don't like it that Deborah Howell writes columns that seem to have a much less attractive agenda. We're not terribly interested in Brady's hurt feelings over the fact that Howell has been called on it. We also wonder why we never saw all this whinging and whining about the mean old partisans when they were GOP shills working the refs over their nonexistent "liberal bias". Instead, we got articles praising their clever networking and blast-faxing.

Feh. After all that you probably need something to wash your brain out with. Try The Big Finale, which is utterly fab gear. (Thanks to Patrick for the tip.)

12:58 GMT

Saturday, 11 February 2006

A few more things

Robert Parry on The Democrats' Tiny Megaphone: Indeed, the Right's subsidizing of media may be the most under-reported money-in-politics story in modern American history. Many good-government organizations track the millions of dollars contributed to candidates, but much less attention is paid to the billions of unregulated dollars poured into media.

William Pfaff in the IHT, A 'long war' designed to perpetuate itself: Al Qaeda and individual international terrorists are the object of worldwide intelligence and police operations. They are a marginal phenomenon. The Bush administration's conflation of them with the social upheaval in their world is exploited to perpetuate changes in American society that provide a much more sinister threat to democracy than anything ever dreamed by Osama bin Laden. The radical threat to the United States is at home.

Mike's Blog Round Up.

Lego Han Solo in carbonite. Life-sized, only smaller. (via)

23:51 GMT

Something for the weekend

Atrios exposes the real reason why Republicans have to keep invoking 9/11 - because if they don't, the obvious questions - and answers - keep rising up to bite you in the nose. Who told our intelligence services not to investigate Al Qaeda in early 2001? Who was asleep at the switch when an entire city drowned? Who filtered out the good intelligence that told us not to invade Iraq, and then took us to a war that has dramatically weakened our national security? And Who let all of this happen and has yet to hold anyone to account for it? The Bush administration and the GOP, who have never protected our national security and apparently don't intend to try. Do they really want to talk about national security? About our nation's safety? Because on that score, the simple fact is that the reason to elect Democrats in 2000, 2002, 2004, and now in 2006 can most succinctly be summed up as: "9/11".

John Conyers' letter to Bush and Cheney on "authorized" leaks of sensitive classified information.

A Journalism Manifesto by G. Pascal Zachary - A Time Inc. and Wall St. Journal vet says it's time to admit to biases, dump the 'objectivity' and start getting it right.

Stupidest Man Alive vs. Marshall McLuhan Moment.

It's that time of year, again. (Alternatively, there's this.)

14:30 GMT

State of play

Earlier, I saw Jon Snow (on Channel 4 News) interviewing a "top State Department lawyer" who says that WoT "detainees" have no rights. He seems to have imagined that it's okay to alienate those inalienable rights if you're a foreigner who isn't wearing the uniform of an enemy army. He pretends he has a real legal basis for this fantasy. You can watch it here. Of course, if they did have rights, imagine the lawsuits.

Faithful Progressive wonders, Will Katrina Revelations Revive Questions About Bush Vacations at Times of National Crisis? Do you see the pattern? At two key moments of crisis for his country, just before the Sept. 11th attacks and just before Katrina slammed the Gulf Coast, the President of the United States was on vacation, wrapped up in his own little world of brush clearing and country music. See another pattern? He and his team lied about what the President knew and when.

Funnily enough, despite the fact that no significant concessions were brought about by the filibuster of Patriot Act reauthorization, the Republicans who were holding it up decided to cave in. I gather they have been joined by Dianne Feinstein in this, as well. So, just giving more and more power to the guy who Americans trust less than they do Jack Abramoff.

Lucy's got a camera.

02:18 GMT

Friday, 10 February 2006

Beatles-related stuff

Thursday's IHT had a feature on the John Lennon exhibit in Paris, John Lennon: Unfinished Music. There's also an accompanying web-only guide.

A little window pops up from Patrick saying, "holy crap, play this video," so I do, and wow. George Harrison was inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. His son (Dhani) and members of The Traveling Wilburys covered 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps'. Prince just stopped by to shred your face off. Oh, yeah.

18:41 GMT

A little bit of exciting news

Josh Marshall has tons of scandal news:
The story, such as it is, is that Harry Reid's position on a minimum wage for the Marianas Islands was so well known that Abramoff's contact man didn't even try to talk him out of it. And, of course, that support never wavered. Now look at how the Associated Press headlined it. (And AP didn't even bother to contact Abramoff's man for the story, either.) So the "ties" between Abramoff and Reid are not a story at all. The real story is that AP apparently decided to pretty much create a story out of nothing just so they could use a headline that appeared to implicate the Senate Minority Leader in the Abramoff scandal. (More from Scott Shields.)
Frist and Hastert - Josh quotes Gannett: "Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Speaker Dennis Hastert engineered a backroom legislative maneuver to protect pharmaceutical companies from lawsuits, say witnesses to the pre-Christmas power play. The language was tucked into a Defense Department appropriations bill at the last minute without the approval of members of a House-Senate conference committee, say several witnesses, including a top Republican staff member."
Brownie does heckuva job: White House said it didn't know about key levee break in New Orleans when Katrina hit; records now show they did. Michael Brown, former FEMA Director, personally notified the White House of the news that night. See the details in this piece in tomorrow's Times. "There is no question in my mind, that at the highest levels of the White House they understood how grave the situation was," Brown tells the Times.
Let's see, the guy who heads the subcommittee that "controls the DOJ purse stings" is forced out because he's corrupt. Who do you replace him with? Why, Tom DeLay!

You always hear about how Hillary Clinton tops the polls for Dem presidential candidate, but no one mentions who comes in second, which is pretty interesting when you consider that only three people are into double digits.

16:15 GMT

It's still morning in my brain

I love a real fire. (I'd love it even more if there were real logs instead of coals.) So that's my favorite table in winter.

Yesterday's hot link was to Murray Waas in National Journal with Cheney 'Authorized' Libby to Leak Classified Information. You know it's good when your "defense" amounts to a fairly strong admission that you conspired to jeopardize national security for political purposes: Beyond what was stated in the court paper, say people with firsthand knowledge of the matter, Libby also indicated what he will offer as a broad defense during his upcoming criminal trial: that Vice President Cheney and other senior Bush administration officials had earlier encouraged and authorized him to share classified information with journalists to build public support for going to war. Oh, that makes it all right, then. [Multiple exclamation points withheld.] It's an interesting variation on "just following orders".

Spacecrab picks up the Burglar Alarm! on Social Security.

Arianna and Lance both have more advice for the Democrats that they won't get from their usual Republican sources. I would add: Domestic issues are national security issues, and you should be smart enough to weave them together.

Don Boy has a learned take on Life on Mars - learned because he was here in the '70s, and I wasn't, but he also shares with me the experience of going to the UK and feeling like you've gone back in time.

The Super Bowl Commercial you're not allowed to see.

13:09 GMT

Thursday, 09 February 2006

This is important

Josh Marshall is marshalling phone calls again to get people to act against the budget - you know, the one that Bush slipped his whole Social Security cat-food plan into.

Yes, next year's budget. I'm not making this up, this is the very "vision" that even Republicans felt forced to reject last time around, and he just slipped it in without mentioning it to anyone. Call these Republicans and tell them you don't want Social Security phased out by this creepy plan.

(Of course, call or fax your own reps, too, and let them know you aren't fooled and don't expect them to be, either.)

17:35 GMT

Check it out

David Podvin's "It only hurts when you breathe" mentions something I missed:

In keeping with America's continuing political narrative, the confirmation of Samuel Alito resembled a reactionary chainsaw ripping through liberal chickenshit. Russ Feingold foreshadowed the outcome when the Wisconsin Democrat revealed that his caucus had decided to de-emphasize social issues. Democratic senators knew that polls showed the Alito nomination would become unpopular if the judge's anti-Roe views were emphasized, but their priority was to avoid antagonizing fundamentalist voters whom they perceive as having given the GOP its majority. The champions of the underdog took a dive, and so the Supreme Court is now controlled by Federalist Society members who despise the liberal rank and file.
You know what? I think this, right there, shows why you're nuts if you think Feingold should be the Democratic candidate for the presidency.

Alternet has a new project, Alternet Audits, in concert with the MIT Center for International Studies, "to challenge many of the foreign-policy shibboleths that pass for wisdom in Washington, based on the belief that the ideas and policies that become unshakeable truths should be carefully examined in any capital." Especially since so much of the conventional wisdom is, y'know, wrong.

David from A Level Gaze and Scott Lemieux from Lawyers, Guns and Money are pinch-hitting for Julia at Sisyphus Shrugged. Check out David on Tough Love at Guantanamo and Scott on conflating weight and health. Kip of Long story; short pier also has a post up (and may or may not do more) about appropriate speech. (I'd just like to say for the record that I find it interesting that the so-called "Christians" on the right don't recognize messages of peace and justice from, y'know, church, where such subjects aren't terribly controversial.) Julia also called my attention to Coretta Scott King's address to the Circles Of Hope Dinner -Metropolitan Community Foundation, for anyone who doubts that she stood for something better than what these right-wingers understand.

Jim Henley says the Blasters have a website, where they've got seven songs available for free download. And he also gives a rave review to the Whisperado CD - with PNH on guitar! (They have a website, too, and there's a track up you can listen to. Every time I hear that lick I think of snooker.) He also says the good news from Iraq is not so good.

17:05 GMT

Bytes to watch out for

Lots of great stuff at The Left Coaster:
pessimist: You have abused and neglected our armed forces to the point that unorganized irregulars can stand up to them, sending a message to other nations around the world that the US is a paper tiger led by a wimp. Yes - wimp. The Chinese alone have backed George down several times without firing a shot!
More from eriposte's King George series, quoting an article by James Bovard in the LAT: A close look suggests that the feds' definition of a "suspected terrorist" may not meet the laugh test. [...] When Americans hear Bush say "terrorism surveillance program," they should recognize that the crosshairs may very well be on them.
And Steve Soto on how the Bush administration decided safety procedures in mines were too expensive - until their recent flip-flop.

Why I ignored all that bird flu hysteria (Thanks to Lenny for the tip.)

Watch the Reverend Dr. Lowry embarrass Bush again. And then hear Robert Cray sing "Eyes Wide Open", from the album Twenty (and see some boots on the ground). When you're used up, where do you go, soldier?

15:00 GMT

Data control, IBM, science is mankind's brother

I will never get over that moment as I watched the numbers change and the sudden disappearance of those 16,022 votes - or the fact that the media instantly shrugged it off:

"DELAND, Fla., Nov. 11 - Something very strange happened on election night to Deborah Tannenbaum, a Democratic Party official in Volusia County. At 10 p.m., she called the county elections department and learned that Al Gore was leading George W. Bush 83,000 votes to 62,000. But when she checked the county's Web site for an update half an hour later, she found a startling development: Gore's count had dropped by 16,000 votes, while an obscure Socialist candidate had picked up 10,000--all because of a single precinct with only 600 voters."
- Dana Milbank, "Tragicomedy of Errors Fuels Volusia Recount" in The Washington Post, 12 November 2000 (pA22)
Nothing to see here, move along. But now:
What we know from the memos can be summarised as follows:

- Two memory cards were uploaded from Volusia County's precinct 216, the second one was loaded sometime close to 2am in the morning. It automatically replaced the first card's results and reduced Gore's total by 16,022 votes and added several thousand votes to Bush plus a variety of minor candidates;
- Both memory cards loaded into the system clean and without errors, indicating (contrary to the official line) that they were not faulty;
- After the error was noticed the original card was reloaded and the mistake was rectified; - The error was introduced in such a way that the total number of votes remained unchanged (again something that could not happen by chance.);
- According to the technical boffins, the chance of the memory card being corrupted and still passing the checksum error test are less than 60,000 to 1;
- The technical managers at Diebold Election Systems considered it a reasonable possibility that the second card was part of deliberate conspiracy to rig the election results.

The list of the ways they cheated in Florida (and other places) is long, even if you don't count the media's contribution (and especially Tim Russert's), but that was 16,000 votes that would by itself have overcome all the rest. And they just disappeared, and everyone acted like nothing had happened. That's when I really started to get scared.

* * *

Meanwhile, at Carpe Datum, another graph, inspired by BTC's analysis, to look just at domestic terrorism incidents since 1998.

02:30 GMT

Get it while you can

I was just watching Newsnight a little while ago and heard this story about the US declaring some charities in the UK as terrorist groups or funders. These seem to be anti-Qadaffy groups, at least one of which goes back to the days when it was Qadaffy who was regarded as a terrorist by most of the world, including the UK and US. I found it odd enough that I looked it up on the web but the stories that have made it into print so far don't have some of the interesting details that the show had. The video is available for 24 hours after the show, here. (The page text gives some of the headline stories, but not this one - you have to watch the video to see it.) It starts around 17:45, maybe you can tell me if it sounds as strange to you as it did to me.

The latest deep analysis of the MyDD poll once again makes me think "everything you know is wrong". I've had a lot of questions about the corporate media's claims about why people voted the way they did in 2004, but I'm beginning to think that all those people who said national security was an important motivation for the way they voted were not the people who voted for Bush.

Robert Parry, Yet Another Bush Lie: George W. Bush has assured Americans that they can relax about his warrantless wiretapping because the program is reviewed by lots of lawyers and intelligence professionals. What he doesn't say is that officials who object too much find themselves isolated, ridiculed and pushed out of their jobs.

The Talking Dog: Let's not mince words: there is now no doubt that the President and his minions have decided to spy on a massive number of Americans in a program that is almost designed to be ineffective at intercepting actual terrorists, certainly when viewed in the context of this WaPo report noting that of an estimated 5,000 Americans spied on, "the program" yielded less than ten suspects; for you sticklers, that's around 2/10 of one per cent, a return that would fail the definition of "probable cause."

The Mahablog reviews right-wing reaction to the NSA hearings, in Yeah, I Gotta Problem With That.

Sidney Blumenthal in the Grauniad, The president, the stripper and the attorney general - The extraordinary legal defence of George Bush's domestic spying reads like a blend of Kafka, Le Carré and Mel Brooks.

As you know, one of the top ten things I despise about this administration is the way they support the troops.

01:21 GMT

Wednesday, 08 February 2006

Watching the fall

There are days when I wonder whether David Icke claims giant lizards are running things not because he believes this, but in order to protect himself from the real giant lizards who are running things. Maybe he hopes that people will decode his message that by "giant lizards" he actually means "Bush, Cheney, and their little friends". And as long as the BFE doesn't realize this, he won't be found in his back garden, the victim of an apparent suicide.

Or maybe not. It does seem, though, that the real tin-foil hatters end up no worse off than people who say things that are obviously true but inconvenient to the people who are really running things. Maureen Farrell notes that some "conspiracy theories" seem to have more veracity than others, but are still treated rather, um, unseriously, in Top 10 'Conspiracy Theories' about George W. Bush, Part 1:

Initially, there were vague murmurings over foreign airways. "There is a hidden agenda at the very highest levels of our government," a mysterious American told the BBC in Nov. 2001, regarding allegations that the FBI was told to "back off" the bin Ladens. "Unnamed sources" eventually morphed into real people, however, and by the time Pentagon insider Karen Kwiatkowski came forward with revelations about what she called "a coup, a hijacking of the Pentagon," and respected journalist Seymour Hersh proclaimed that "cultists" had "taken the government over," this theory gained traction.
(Part II is here.)

Paul Craig Roberts, connecting similar dots, wonders Who will save America?:

The United States is undergoing a coup against the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, civil liberties, and democracy itself. The "liberal press" has been co-opted. As everyone must know by now, the New York Times has totally failed its First Amendment obligations, allowing Judith Miller to make war propaganda for the Bush administration, suppressing for an entire year the news that the Bush administration was illegally spying on American citizens, and denying coverage to Al Gore's speech that challenged the criminal deeds of the Bush administration.
Homeland Security and the Patriot Act are not our protectors. They undermine our protection by trashing the Constitution and the civil liberties it guarantees. Those with a tyrannical turn of mind have always used fear and hysteria to overcome obstacles to their power and to gain new means of silencing opposition.

Consider the no-fly list. This list has no purpose whatsoever but to harass and disrupt the livelihoods of Bush's critics. If a known terrorist were to show up at check-in, he would be arrested and taken into custody, not told that he could not fly. What sense does it make to tell someone who is not subject to arrest and who has cleared screening that he or she cannot fly? How is this person any more dangerous than any other passenger?

If Senator Ted Kennedy, a famous senator with two martyred brothers, can be put on a no-fly list, as he was for several weeks, anyone can be put on the list. The list has no accountability. People on the list cannot even find out why they are on the list. There is no recourse, no procedure for correcting mistakes.

I am certain that there are more Bush critics on the list than there are terrorists. According to reports, the list now comprises 80,000 names! This number must greatly dwarf the total number of terrorists in the world and certainly the number of known terrorists.

How long before members of the opposition party, should there be one, find that they cannot return to Washington for important votes, because they have been placed on the no-fly list? What oversight does Congress or a panel of federal judges exercise over the list to make sure there are valid reasons for placing people on the list?

If the government can have a no-fly list, it can have a no-drive list. The Iraqi resistance has demonstrated the destructive potential of car bombs. If we are to believe the government's story about the Murrah Federal Office Building in Oklahoma City, Timothy McVeigh showed that a rental truck bomb could destroy a large office building. Indeed, what is to prevent the government from having a list of people who are not allowed to leave their homes? If the Bush administration can continue its policy of picking up people anywhere in the world and detaining them indefinitely without having to show any evidence for their detention, it can do whatever it wishes.

There is nothing paranoid about this speculation - it is already happening. We have even watched the Attorney General of the United States try to tell us it's all okay. But it's not okay.

I don't care what party your representatives belong to. You need to let them know that this situation is unacceptable, that Gonzales' answers at the hearings should get him fired, that there is no excuse for allowing this overthrow of our Constitutional government to continue. Demand accountability.

14:27 GMT

Hit and run

Swopa wants a Democratic Senator to make this point on TV: On one hand, we have whistleblowers who are risking their careers to tell us the truth about these illegal programs. On the other, we have what seem to be scare tactics from the same people who told us Iraq was chock full of weapons of mass destruction. On behalf of myself and party, we're not going to make the mistake of falling for that trick again."

God, McCain is a creep. Really, don't kid yourself. Ask his constituents.

I just linked to all those other people's nice, temperate responses to Bush's State of the Union speech because what I really wanted to say was something like this.

You just never know what's more bizarre, the absurdity of the crap they say or the ease with which it can be demonstrated that it's not true. (And when Bush says crap like "I've seen no evidence today that said this country could have prevented the attack," the response should be: "Then you should fire your staff for preventing you from seeing what the rest of the world already knows.")

John Conyers on Coretta Scott King.

Mr. Conflato Head: Expuditious.

13:15 GMT

A few things

Stuart Taylor, Jr.: Bush has also pledged that the Guantanamo detainees are treated "humanely." At the same time, he has stressed, "I know for certain ... that these are bad people" -- all of them, he has implied. If the president believes either of these assertions, he is a fool. If he does not, choose your own word for him. (via)

Right-wingers hold big event! (I like the commenter who says we now know the real reason Jonah can't get into the military.)

Stupid libertarian arguments. (If I've got so much choice, how come I can't find chewing gum with no artificial sweeteners anymore?)

The innocent have nothing to hide - The penguin wins another one! Tom Tomorrow must be in a good mood these days.

00:05 GMT

Tuesday, 07 February 2006

Going through all of these things twice

Helen Thomas goes after Scotty, says the "N" word - which is, of course, "Nixon":

MR. MCCLELLAN: And we're going to continue doing everything we can --

Q You know what happened to Nixon when he broke the law.

MR. MCCLELLAN: -- within our power to protect the American people.

This is a very different circumstance, and you know that.

Q No, I don't.

Robert Grenier, the head of CIA counter-terrorism, is another one of those career officials who actually tries to do his job right and therefore isn't singing from the same hymnal as the current political regime. He's just been forced out.

Yet another Dem who's hustling for the presidency instead of doing the job he was elected to do engages in another destructive exercise in publicly advising the Democrats (in the third person, as if he is not one of them), and Digby observes that this is another maddening "process" statement: A process answer is saying what "we should say" instead of just saying it. Nothing drives me more nuts than a politician who talks process instead of engaging voters directly. Not only does it waste valuable moments when they could be broadening the debate, but it does something else, too: It delivers the message that all we are interested in is how to win rather than how to serve the people. It's a vital part of the GOP message, in fact.

And a nice catch from Tristero - one of those little quotes that went unnoticed in a long, much-linked article - "I believe that the Judiciary Committee will find, if it is willing to persist, that within the large pointless program there exists a small, sharply focused program that delivers something the White House really wants."

Rachel's Inspector General round-up - Some are patsies, but some find exciting news of soap dishes at the ATF.

The real Worst Person in America. Yes, even worse than Cheney, Feith, Frist, and Fallwell.

17:08 GMT

Blogger's notes

I really hate it when someone suddenly moves me on their blogroll from the regular liberal blog listings to a new category (usually way down at the bottom) called "Expats". I don't think of myself as an "expat blogger", I think of myself as blogging from the suburbs of DC. Even after 20 years, I still catch myself writing "this country" when I mean the United States.

Cartoon riots - Who ginned up outrage over cartoons that had caused no riots when they first came out? And why did it take so long? (Also: Suppose it's true that "the mobile phones of the country's entire political and military elite were tapped ahead of the Olympic Games in Athens two years ago" by Vodaphone, and it wasn't the US government that was responsible....)

From Bill Scher's Sunday Talkshow Breakdown: Just as he leveraged his pro-choice status to quiz Sam Alito on abortion, and then quickly endorse him, Specter could well be positioning himself to deem the Administration's answer satisfactory after the hearings are completed.

First they came for the drug addicts....

Because they have to lie: The only "good" Republicans you'll find are those that are trying to get elected and they promptly change the day after they win.

Coming soon! Mike Malloy, the movie! Angry Voice In The Wilderness

Buzzflash: We had to laugh through our tears for democracy when Arlen Specter boasted that he was the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and no Attorney General was going to decide for himself to testify under oath, as Gonzales pretended that he wanted to be sworn in (but, of course, knew in advance that it would never happen, so he could lie with impunity). Oh, my Lord, you couldn't get hack Hollywood scriptwriters to do a better job!


13:39 GMT

And I awoke and found me here on the cold hillside

BTC News reports:

Nobody paid any attention a couple of weeks ago when I reported last year's rather startling increase in worldwide terrorism. The data, compiled by the RAND Corporation and available to the public at, showed that, worldwide, the sum of "international" and "domestic" terrorist attacks increased by more than 50% between 2004 and 2005. So, I went to the White House today and asked Scott McClellan for his take. This was my question:
According to data currently available at the Department of Homeland Security-funded Terrorism Knowledge Base, the incidence of terrorism increased markedly in 2005. Worldwide, attacks were up 51% from the year before, and the number of people killed in those attacks was up 36%. Since the year 2000, attacks are up 250% and deaths are up 550%.

How do you reconcile those numbers with your claim that you are winning the war on terrorism and putting terrorists out of business?

Scott's reply:
Well, just look at the facts, Eric. If you look at the facts, many of al-Qaeda's known leadership have been put out of business. They've been brought to justice. They've either been captured or killed. No longer is America waiting and responding. We are on the offense; we are taking the fight to the enemy. We are engaged in a war on terrorism. The enemies recognize how high the stakes are, and one of the things that the President will talk about, will continue to talk about in the coming weeks, is that we continue to face a serious threat. This is a deadly and determined enemy. The difference is, now, that we've got them on the run. [...]
Atrios noted Gonzales' statement last night that "President Washington, President Lincoln, President Wilson, President Roosevelt have all authorized electronic surveillance on a far broader scale," and later provided a classified NSA photo.

ReddHedd's NSA hearings liveblogging.

American Blackout - the film that follows Cynthia McKinney's investigation of the disenfranchisement of many Americans in 2000 and 2004, and "the contemporary tactics used to control our democratic process and silence political dissent."

Fred Clark explains why Bad bankers lose money. (And Part II.)

This .pdf from the BBC is the DOD's Information Operations Roadmap.

Trailer for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

11:27 GMT

It's hard livin' with the law

Natasha: If you were concerned about the War on Terra continuing indefinitely, thereby giving the US government an ongoing excuse to pretend that the republic is in more danger than it was in before 1776, well, the probability is rapidly approaching 1. Rumsfeld has proudly announced the plans for a 20 year war on terror. (Also, Iraq: The Musical.)

Glenn Greenwald has been liveblogging the hearings: I understood that Gonzales was going to be sworn in. Apparently, Specter decided that he did not want him to be. I think that's a good debate to begin with -- why are Republicans so eager to avoid putting Gonzales under oath? He's testifying as a fact witness, and his prior statements at issue -- including his false assuarances to Sen. Feingold at his confirmation hearings -- were under oath, so this testimony should be, too.

Wait a minute, are Jim Angle and Mad Doctor Krauthammer claiming the Democrats flip-flopped on their reasons for objecting to illegal spying without a warrant?

Find Bob Herbert's excellent column on illegal spying at Tennessee Guerilla Women. Herbert has a number of questions that should be asked - and answered - including the one that's been of deepest interest to me: What has been the nature and the extent of the objections from people inside the government to the warrantless spying?

From Raw Story, Powell's former chief of staff on Iraq intel: 'I participated in a hoax': He said, "My participation in that presentation at the UN constitutes the lowest point in my professional life. I participated in a hoax on the American people, the international community and the United Nations Security Council."

Good news at Eccentricity - That idiot who wanted to peer at minors' clinic records was turned down by the court.

Shattering the myth of white supremacy

Hm, we live between Brian Eno and Radiohead (.pdf). From this article, via Epicycle, where I also learned of Cthulego.

01:54 GMT

Monday, 06 February 2006

Watchin' TV

Just in case anyone's wondering, we've been enjoying the series Life on Mars from Auntie Beeb. Aside from anything else, it's got some good music. I recommend a visit to the pages for interviews with the two leading men and clips from each episode, along with the track lists.

23:54 GMT

Places to be

Dave Johnson at Seeing the Forest: I'm watching the NSA spying hearings. Senator Feinstein just asked Attorney General Gonzales if the President has authorized the use of covert domestic propaganda intended to influence domestic politics. Gonzales refused to answer. Said he is not comfortable answering that. Then he went on to say that the President has inherent constitutional authority... (Also: If Iran is a threat to world peace, and Bush's credibility is the obstacle to dealing with the threat, Bush should show his sincerity and concern for world peace by stepping aside.)

Mahabarb on Taking the Bait: According to this blogger, the cartoon controversy erupted because of a classic rightie-style misdirection campaign perpetrated by the Saudis. The plan was to get people worked up about the cartoons to take public attention away from the deaths of 350 pilgrims at the Hajj.

Down in comments, Bruce A. refers us to this article on suspicious doings in Arizona: Claiming to be acting at the request of the U.S. Department of Defense, Secretary of State Jan Brewer is seeking unprecedented authority from the state Legislature to postpone elections for a wide range of nebulous reasons.

Blue Collar Politics Blog is disturbed that the administration now seems to be claiming the right for the prez to order hits in the US: Bush "Kills Them" In The US!

Good news: Britain to defy US global gag rule: The British government will today publicly defy the United States by giving money for safe abortion services in developing countries to organisations that have been cut off from American funding. Via Mia Culpa. (Also, these two images.)

Nico Pitney has posted a video of Glenn Greenwald discussing illegal spying, on C-SPAN.

Music teacher "devil worshipper" for screening Faust. Placed on administrative leave, she is now planning to take legal action. Via a very link-rich post at Twistedchick's Free Speech Zone.

Wildlife of London's suburbs. Also, some erotic chess. And it had to happen - the RIAA is suing a woman who has never used a computer. (I was also interested in the fact that people who complained about RFID had their addresses listed on the gov's website.

18:52 GMT


New Ohio law to suppress voting, prevent ballot oversight:

Called HB3, the law now demands discriminatory voter ID, severely cripples the possibility of statewide recounts and actually ends the process of state-based challenges to federal elections -- most importantly for president -- held within the state.

In other words, the type of legal challenge mounted to the theft of Ohio's electoral votes in the 2004 election will now be all but impossible in the future.

Section 35-05.18 of HB3 requires restrictive identification requirements for anyone trying to vote in an Ohio election. Photo ID, a utility bill, a bank statement, a government check or other government document showing the name and current address of the voter will be required.

This requirement is perfectly designed to slow down the voting process in inner city precincts. It allows Republican "challengers" to intimidate anyone who turns up to vote in heavily Democratic precincts. It virtually eliminates the homeless, elderly and impoverished from the voting rolls. Election protection advocates estimate this requirement will erase 100,000 to 200,000 voters in a typical statewide election. By way of reference, George W. Bush allegedly carried Ohio -- and the presidency -- by less than 119,000 votes in 2004.

The ID requirement is the direct result of intervention by two high-powered Republican attorneys with ties to the White House and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.). Congressman Bob Ney allowed the Bush-Cheney re-election national counsel Mark "Thor" Hearne to testify last March as a so-called "voting rights advocate." Hearne, whose resume shows no connection to voting rights organizations, was responsible for advising the Bush-Cheney campaign on national litigation and election law strategy during the 2004 election.

Hearne, with the help of Republican attorney Alex Vogel, concocted a story that the problem with the 2004 elections in Ohio was the NAACP paying people with crack cocaine to register voters. Vogel's front group, the Free Enterprise Coalition, even indemnified a local Republican operative, Mark Rubrick, to file an Ohio corrupt practices act suit against the NAACP, the AFL-CIO, ACT-Ohio and ACORN, The suit was later quietly withdrawn after discovery showed that the operatives behind it were linked to the top levels of the Republican Party.
HB3 also ends the ability of the public to conduct meaningful audits of voting machines. Election protection activists recently forced the adoption of an auditable paper trail into the Ohio election process. In a state where virtually all ballots are cast and/or counted on electronic equipment, this cuts to the core of the ability to monitor an election's outcome. The new provision in HB3 will make the paper trail virtually meaningless.

HB3 further imposes a huge jump in the cost of forcing a recount. In 2004, the charge was $10 per precinct, with some 11,366 precincts in the state. Thus the Green and Libertarian Parties, which paid for it, had to pay somewhat more than $113,660. Now the charge will be $50 per precinct, jumping the charge to some $568,300.

Finally, and perhaps most astonishingly, HB3 eliminates the state statutes that have allowed citizens to challenge the outcome of federal elections within the state. After the 2004 election, election protection advocates filed a challenge to Bush's victory. Their attorneys were attacked with an official attempt to levy sanctions, and then were thwarted from an effective suit when GOP Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell locked up the state's voter records.

But HB3 would now entirely eliminate any possibility of a state-based legal challenge. The only alleged recourse for those wishing to officially question the vote count in a presidential, US Senate or US House race in Ohio would be at the United States Congress. There is now no recourse whatsoever on the state level.

There can be absolutely no justification for laws like this. Every single one of them is meant to steal voting rights from non-elite voters and prevent any means of ensuring that the remaining ballots have been counted correctly. There is no other purpose to them. It's no wonder Fitrakis wonders whether the NSA helped Bush hack the vote. There is no reason to think they wouldn't if they could - and we know they can.

But it's not just Ohio that's doing these things. The other day,

...Demos, a national election reform and voting rights organization, issued the following statement condemning the passage of new restrictive voter ID requirements in New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Georgia. Ohio Gov. Bob Taft and Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue have already signed the bills, while the bills in New Hampshire and Pennsylvania will arrive at their governors' desks next week.

"The movement of voter ID legislation through state legislatures this year shows that all of the gains we have made in advancing voting rights and fair elections are under threat from regressive election law. Not only do these bills impede access to the voting booth, but they also distract lawmakers from focusing on real improvements to elections, such as enacting Election Day registration, restoring voting rights to the formerly incarcerated, and investing more in hiring and recruiting trained election officials and poll workers.

"The state legislatures that have recently passed restrictive voter ID bills, including those in Georgia, Indiana and Wisconsin, were largely fueled by allegations of 'rampant voter fraud' despite research and testimony from experts that shows there is little evidence of fraud that would be prevented by requiring restrictive ID at the polls. Significant evidence does demonstrate, however, that the elderly, people with disabilities, students, low-income people and people of color are far less likely to have a state-issued voter ID than other Americans.

"Although Gov. Taft and Gov. Perdue have already signed the voter ID legislation, Pennsylvania's Gov. Rendell is expected to veto it, and New Hampshire's Gov. John Lynch should do the same. Pennsylvania's bill, while less restrictive than either Georgia or New Hampshire's bills, is particularly egregious because it rolls back voting rights restoration for the formerly incarcerated by making parolees ineligible to vote.

"Concerned citizens in Pennsylvania and New Hampshire should contact their governor's offices and let them know that voter ID is a rollback in voting rights, and that the veto pen should be used swiftly. And other states contemplating similar legislation will see restrictive voter ID for what it really is--an impediment to exercising one of the most fundamental rights in our democracy."

More still, of course, at The Brad Blog.

15:46 GMT

Useful links

Jazz at Running Scared with The Shackleford Manifesto: Even though I disagree with the core premise, I would encourage you to read a very long, analogy packed treatise by Rusty Shackleford at The Jawa Report for a deep, telling look inside the mindset of the more distant fringes of the Right wing. The title, "Marx, Communism, Totalitarianism; Muhammed, Islam, Terrorism" will give you a hint as to where the discussion is heading, but it's well written and may still give you something to think about.

In The Nation, Jeff Chester, The End of the Internet? The nation's largest telephone and cable companies are crafting an alarming set of strategies that would transform the free, open and nondiscriminatory Internet of today to a privately run and branded service that would charge a fee for virtually everything we do online.

Surveillance Net Yields Few Suspects. You already knew this, but it's spelled out by Barton Gellman, Dafna Linzer and Carol D. Leonnig at the WaPo.

What Does 'Boys Will Be Boys' Really Mean? It means we assume boys are creeps, and we act like it's okay for them to be creeps.

An article about the sort-of emergence of Harper Lee from her quiet existence in the shadows. (via)

Is Alito a member of Opus Dei?

12:43 GMT

Open windows

Lejaby: Dentelle de Nymphe full cup bra

Bra of the Week

I Wish THIS Was In "Why We Fight": (1) To put it concretely, they sat in their offices and figured out the best way to fool a retired New York City policeman gutted by grief for his dead son. (2) They were so proud of their cleverness they couldn't help bragging about it to a reporter.

Demonstrators complain about police tactics - but these demonstrators were the police.

Iran amok: Atrios continues, with help from Arthur, to point out the weakness of the next-Iraq arguments. There is, of course, no change in my position from the last time we went around this: When they have the delivery systems and have tested a nuclear bomb, you might be able to think of them as a potential nuclear power (though not necessarily a threat). Until then, when you blither about how this is the biggest threat in the world, you earn yourself the Official Idiot badge.

I realize Arlen Specter's words don't generally translate into any kind of action, but just for the record, he admitted to Russert that Bush's rationalization for taking imperial power doesn't pass muster.

Nice letter in the WaPo asking whether people other than pharmacists will also be protected if they refuse to fulfill their professional duties in the name of "conscience".

More disgusting news on the reservation as the Department of the Interior finds the money to pay lawyers' fees to Amerinds by cutting their programs.

Why waste time reading the NRO's blog when you can read the version supplied by The Poor Man Institute? Yes, I must agree with Scaramouche - he gets it just right.

Sidney Blumenthal, George W. Bush: Running on empty: The most significant and memorable statements in President Bush's lacklustre State of the Union address, the phrases that most clearly and succinctly captured the state of his presidency after five years, were his heartfelt and hostile admonishments: "Hindsight alone is not wisdom. And second-guessing is not a strategy."

03:13 GMT

Sunday, 05 February 2006

Strange doings at my hometown paper

Well, what an odd little turn of events this is. Steven Luxenberg, who is moving on from being the editor of the Post's Outlook section, has written a long farewell that feels a lot like an ombudsman's column:

For example, an outraged reader e-mailed at 11:31 a.m. one Saturday to accuse us of crafting a biographical line that hid the author's Democratic ties. He knew because he had Googled her and discovered -- gotcha! -- that she had been Democratic counsel on a House committee. "Tsk, tsk," he scolded. "Caught again trying to hide blatant partisanship. If your organization had any shame they'd be ashamed of themselves. But, of course (*wink*) both of us know they're not."

It was an unfair accusation to start -- the author had worked for both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill and in the executive branch. But worse than that, she had stated her work history in the fourth paragraph of the story. (That's why the bio didn't repeat the information.) But the e-mailer apparently hadn't bothered to read the article itself. He came to it with a bias, and then went on the Web to prove what he already believed. If he had looked past the first entry on the Google search, he would have found the author's full bio and saved himself the embarrassment.

Tsk! Those pesky readers, eh?

Happily, we learn that the WaPo is staffed with people who can find a mistake and correct it themselves:

Then there was the headline that never appeared. During the 2000 campaign, an errant typing finger rendered the Republican candidate's name as "Bish." Fortunately, that was in the days before The Post started its early Sunday edition, which goes to press in the early hours of Saturday morning. So when an editor took a final look at page proofs on Saturday afternoon, she saved us from a mortifying correction -- and, undoubtedly, many e-mails from Bish's supporters saying that we had done it on purpose. For a few weeks that summer, thanks to my editor's handiwork and a stealthy late-night visit, my car sported a homemade bumper sticker that read, "Bish for President."
Ho, ho, ho, the hijinks these editors get up to!

And then We have Fred Hiatt himself with a column explaining his vision of what the editorial pages are for, and strangely, it reads just like... an ombudsman's column:

Last week the editorial page received hundreds of letters and e-mails suggesting that The Post's opinion pages had crossed a line, not once but twice.
Interesting, eh? But wait - doesn't the post already have an ombud? Why, yes, I think they do! But... what's this she's talking about?
This column is an initial effort to solicit comment from readers about local news. Is The Post covering the kind of local news that is relevant to your life as a citizen, shopper, homeowner, apartment dweller, parent or commuter? Are there some stories that The Post is missing?
Local news? Should that be the focus of what purports to be a national paper, the big cheese of the nation's capitol and all that?

Could it be that there's been a sort of silent demotion, here? And are we going to get a new ombud?

* * *

This isn't the Toles cartoon that's been the source of such controversy (that'd be this one) - but I thought it was spot on.

23:40 GMT


Paul Krugman on State of Delusion: But what did you expect? After five years in power, the Bush administration is still - perhaps more than ever - run by Mayberry Machiavellis, who don't take the business of governing seriously. (via)

Shakespeare's Sister finds another result for the anti-life forces of the right wing. And braves a look into Bill O'Reilly's mind.

Outstanding episode of The Word from Colbert (at C&L).

Curious George Tells a Lie (or two): At first George was bored being Preznit. There wasn't much to do, except take vacations, play golf, and ignore the Presidential Daily Briefing which the nice Black Lady said was "historical." George didn't like history. (via)

Alterman's piece in The Nation, much linked already this weekend, about the press and why it's been so useless lately, Lies About Blowjobs, Bad. Wars? Not So Much.

As usual, I agree with Atrios (here and here): Even if they did develop nukes, Iran and North Korea are unlikely to use them against us because they probably don't want their countries to become sheets of glass. It may make us nervous if they have the power to drop a bomb on a US city, but the Soviet Union didn't do it and there was a reason for that. Iran and North Korea have an even better reason.

Kung Fu Monkey read a really lame "let's bash liberal Hollywood" article in which someone who may be the stupidest person on earth pontificates on perceived Academy Awards trends. KFM goes to town: How in the name of Pauline Kael's Haunted Panties do you critically analyze cinema? By film stock? By the number of tracking shots? By counting the number of words in the script without the letter "e"?! HOW? (via)

Weblog to go read all of today: King of Zembla, because it's good and has lots of stuff I meant to get around to linking myself, but didn't.

16:40 GMT

Betty Friedan, 85

Shulamith Firestone, writing about what she called "the Fifty-Year Ridicule," noted that what we had been raised to believe was a brief moment in history when little old ladies rattled their umbrellas and were given the vote had in fact involved what Carrie Chapman Catt described as "52 years of pauseless campaign" with hundreds of different actions before women won the franchise. But from then on, the very idea of the women's movement and even the fight to participate in the democratic process was no more than the subject of jokes.

If one person can be said to have been responsible for reviving the spirit of women's liberation, it was Betty Friedan, whose The Feminine Mystique brought "the problem that has no name" to crystallization for millions of women.

We may or may not have a copy of that book, but for most of us, she is not merely the mother of that revival, but a legend. She died on her birthday.

In The Los Angeles Times, Elaine Woo, Catalyst of Feminist Revolution: Melding sociology and humanistic psychology, the book became the cornerstone of one of the 20th century's most profound movements, unleashing the first full flowering of American feminism since the mid-1800s. (photos)

Hillel Italie (AP), Feminism Pioneer Betty Friedan Dies at 85: Few books have so profoundly changed so many lives as did Friedan's 1963 best seller. Her assertion that a woman needed more than a husband and children was a radical break from the Eisenhower era, when the very idea of a wife doing any work outside of house work was fodder for gag writers, like an episode out of "I Love Lucy."

Patricia Sullivan in The Washington Post, Voice of Feminism's 'Second Wave': "She's leaving a legacy that's living beyond even her wildest dreams in the '60s," Smeal said. "She wanted to change the world, and she did."

Kathleen Reardon in The Huffington Post: Thank You Betty.

Taylor Marsh: Who says God doesn't have a sense of irony? She had the same birthday as Rosa Parks. Every progressive on the planet owes her a debt of gratitude, including the men who love the women she changed forever. God bless this fearless feline, and though I came after she'd set off the latest charge that would change our modern culture, every moment of my life was made possible through her efforts. She joins a long line of women who have fought for our equality. There is nothing I can write that hasn't already been written about her. God rest her indomitable soul.

12:16 GMT

It's a free country

It's worrying enough that the hearings generated things like this:

In a pointed exchange, Senator Russell D. Feingold, Democrat of Wisconsin, asked Mr. Negroponte whether there were any other "intelligence collection" programs that had not been revealed to the full Intelligence Committees.

Mr. Negroponte replied, "Senator, I don't know if I can comment on that in open session."

It sure sounds like Mr. Death Squads is in essence saying that yes, there are things he has illegally kept from Congress. (Not that I believe for a minute that they're data-mining for legitimate security reasons; I'm pretty sure this is a cover for something unjustifiable.)

But then, there's this:

In the latest twist in the debate over presidential powers, a Justice Department official suggested that in certain circumstances, the president might have the power to order the killing of terrorist suspects inside the United States. Steven Bradbury, acting head of the department's Office of Legal Counsel, went to a closed-door Senate intelligence committee meeting last week to defend President George W. Bush's surveillance program. During the briefing, said administration and Capitol Hill officials (who declined to be identified because the session was private), California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein asked Bradbury questions about the extent of presidential powers to fight Al Qaeda; could Bush, for instance, order the killing of a Qaeda suspect known to be on U.S. soil? Bradbury replied that he believed Bush could indeed do this, at least in certain circumstances.
Of course, that would be a really stupid idea, since you learn so much more from living people than you do from dead ones. And again:
At a public intel-committee hearing, Feinstein was told by intel czar John Negroponte and FBI chief Robert Mueller that they were unaware of any case in which a U.S. agency was authorized to kill a Qaeda-linked per-son on U.S. soil.
It's better if you hear the clip (anyone have it?) with that measured pause after the question.

Six years ago no one would have argued this was legitimate. The Constitution applies to everyone, not just certain approved groups - whether they are American citizens, or terrorists, or anything else. Same as it has always applied to white "Christian" terrorists who lynch black people or blow up women's health clinics or shoot doctors.

It's terrifying that we even have people in government who think this way. But then, it's unsurprising from the people who have already given us Camp X-Ray and Abu Ghraib.

11:10 GMT

Saturday, 04 February 2006

Pravda on the Potomac says

There's a shameful editorial in The Washington Post today praising the worst members of the Senate for "bipartisanship" in failing to filibuster a Supreme Court nominee who opposes the very foundations of our nation:

Yet the partisan nature of the vote should not obscure the important bipartisan vote that took place the previous day, in which 19 Democratic senators joined every Republican in rejecting a filibuster. While the parties may split on whether Justice Alito belongs on the high court, in other words, the Senate stood strongly behind the principle that a nominee -- in the absence of the most unusual of circumstances -- is entitled to a vote. Republicans should keep that in mind the next time a Democratic president makes a nomination.
If a Democratic president ever nominates someone who hates America as much as Alito's record suggests he does, I would hope Republicans and Democrats alike would remember that, despite the right-wing partisan rhetoric in this editorial, rejecting such a nominee is the only patriotic thing to do. It is unfortunate that, this time, we have a government that is overwhelmingly dominated by people who wish to overturn the Constitution.

20:10 GMT


Thanks to Ahistoricality for pointing out that Anne Zook did lots of good Friday posting, and especially don't miss this and this and this and this.

Toast went out and met Ned Lamont, and found him "credible".

Over at Kevin Drum's joint, Christina Larson notes that a Knight Ridder reporter is the guy who wrote: One day after President Bush vowed to reduce America's dependence on Middle East oil by cutting imports from there 75 percent by 2025, his energy secretary and national economic adviser said Wednesday that the president didn't mean it literally. And then she wrote: "Cross your fingers that Knight Ridder's Washington bureau survives its own corporate storm. This isn't the first bluff their reporters have called. (See also: WMDs)"

"It's the Credibility, Stupid," says Froomkin: President Bush's fundamental challenge as he tries to regain his political footing is that most Americans don't trust him anymore.

Some good news: Bid in Md. House to Save Gay Marriage Ban Fails.

14:16 GMT

Deluxe assortment

You almost think he's trying to parody himself. Yes, it's Joe Klein (R-DLC):

People like me who favor this program don't yet know enough about it yet," he says, "Those opposed to it know even less -- and certainly less than I do."
Well, you already know how I feel about him, but if Digby and everyone else is piling on, I don't want to be left out. The quote above, on the subject of the NSA wiretapping program, comes as part of a retort to Eric Alterman's criticism, and includes a lot of rubbish about how he, Klein, is a reporter, unlike Alterman, who is a mere columnist. His excuse for why he can't explain why Bush's illegal spy program is so peachy is that he "doesn't know enough about it," and yet he does know that it's A-OK. The rest of us must disagree because we know even less than he does - it never crosses his mind that we might actually know more. He still thinks Echelon-style data-mining is a really cool, high-tech, efficient way to obtain intelligence, despite the fact that the FBI itself has said that casting a wide net like this is worse than useless. Nor has he picked up on the fact that much of what we're talking about is relatively low-tech spying. (Just not low-tech enough to actually be reliable.) Man, I wish I had that great clip of Jon Stewart explaining all about connecting those dots.

In Rolling Stone, Matt Taibbi with The Harder They Fall: Just consider: At this critical moment in the party's history, when survival required some kind of dramatic public gesture toward self-policing, the GOP needed an innocent, someone with clean hands, to lead the "anti-corruption" drive. The Democrats, who a day later would announce their own reform bill, would do just that -- elevating relative political virgins Rep. Louise Slaughter and Sen. Barack Obama to starring roles in their own "Clean House" movement. But the Republicans who ran this town like a dictatorship for most of the past five years apparently looked around and could not find a single plausible virgin for the part of their Mr. Clean.

A great little ad from, George Bush is Breaking the Law.

Watch Simon & Garfunkel sing "America" (and brief interview with Letterman).

03:58 GMT

Friday, 03 February 2006


Verbatim: Search firms surveyed on privacy by Declan McCullagh and Elinor Mills: To find out what kind of information the four major search companies retain about their users, CNET surveyed America Online, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo. And Michael Stickings discusses Google and their decision to agree to go along with filtering in China. (And a commenter notes that Chinese Googlers have a backdoor option.

Two stories via Carolyn Kay (of): Voting system examiners blocked from telling what they know? and Voting Systems Lawsuit Reaches U.S. Supreme Court.

Here's an idea for a subtle, "low-cost, grass roots campaign" action, although I recommend correcting the punctuation.

36 Senators Urge Gonzales To Appoint Special Counsel to Lead Abramoff Scandal Case

Susie Bright received a SOTU response in the mail that entertained her, and wonders who the source is.

23:53 GMT

Good stuff

Digby: It's so much a part of their make-up that it's hardly even remarked upon. Their friends in the media don't seem to find it worthy of mention either. Republicans believe that stealing elections is perfectly moral and right. They do not believe in democracy. That's why they talk about it all the time. (And more on Chafee and NARAL, among other things. And Tristero on Chavez and Venezuela. And then read this post by Mark Weisbrot from last December for the answers to Tristero's questions.)

TBogg: In case this comes up in Jeopardy, and for those keeping score at home, they are the legislative, judicial, executive, and the "Who you lookin' at? What?" branches of the government.

Crooks and Liars has video of the Dem standing ovationfor Bush's failure on Social Security and Murtha's on-air response from the SOTU.

21:47 GMT

Accoustic Avenue

Atrios provides the funniest news I saw last night: House Republicans are taking a mulligan on the first ballot for Majority Leader. The first count showed more votes cast than Republicans present at the Conference meeting. Stay with for updates. But, but, but - the Republicans would never try to steal an election, would they?

And I just want to say I agree completely with Atrios on this whole modulated abortion bull. If you think abortion is icky, you should try having the fluid in your eye replaced with a gas bubble some time. Now that is icky. But I'm glad I had the choice to save my ability to read with my right eye - and I'm glad if women have the choice to have an abortion when they need the procedure. I hope they keep having that choice. (And this bit, too, and the rest. Good on Katha Pollitt for digging into this.)

If you haven't been following Mary Beth's posts at Wampum that supply the deeper background on Abramoff's scam with the tribes, she's condensed it into a single post at DKos that should give you the outlines. There is so much more to it than you might have imagined from just reading about the charges against Abramoff, and it involves Gale Norton, her predecessors at the Department of the Interior, and of course the oil companies. Oh, and $150bn.

Meanwhile, GrannyInsanity found yet another media stooge trying to tie Abramoff to yet another Democrat he didn't give any money to, and Max Blumenthal says Dobson is in it, too.

I'm as amused as anyone at the amazing coincidence of e-mail in the Office of the Vice President that just happens to have been sent/received at the very time that the Plame leak occurred and that just happens to have been, um, accidentally deleted, both from the primary records and the archive! Gosh, what are the chances? But you know, I am not at all surprised that, once again, my reaction to it all ends up being, "Can you imagine how the press would have responded if this had happened in the Clinton White House?" Why, they would have been screaming foul in...well, in 18 minutes. But they're not.

12:10 GMT

Thursday, 02 February 2006

You should see this

Watch this: The Battle for America has begun, at Current TV. We have never surrendered.

From an interview with Norman Solomon: Frequently we'll see statements in a reportorial voice, without attribution, just matter-of-factly on the front pages, that go something like this: "In its effort to promote democracy in the Middle East, the Bush Administration.." You know, fill in the blank. Well, if we accept the premise, there's not much left to talk about except the tactics. Any untoward or ugly motivation is filtered out; since the desire, we're told, is to fulfill that mission, as a fair and noble superpower. What could be more noble than trying to create democracy in the Middle East? And this is a very common thread of news coverage, more effective probably than the Op-Ed pages-how the front pages convey a framework through which we're encouraged to see the world. Via Cursor. (Also, Tom Tomorrow lets the penguin win one.)

Chris Bowers has posted the sixth release of analysis of responses to the MyDD poll, and it raises the issue of how to get more information to the lowest income groups.

Anne Zook knows how to title a post: Stuff I Demand That You Care About. Why can't I ever come up with one like that? Anyway, one of those things is this post at An Old Soul about how the Norquist types are trying to take over a public school system.

I keep meaning to do this every time I hear the word "Lieberman" (R-DLC), but Atrios reminded me this morning to get around to it: Ned Lamont. With enough activism, it's just possible that by the time the primaries come around there will be enough energy around to kick Lieberman out and put a real person in the Senate in his place. Send money, send yourself, be ready to do what you can. It'll be worth it.

James Capozzola decides not to read a book I am also not reading. (My own book recommendation is Terry Pratchett's Going Postal, which gives you everything you need to know about the Bush administration: They're pirates, and they even tell you they're pirates.)

17:11 GMT

The highlights of my morning

Alito splits with right-wingers on first divided vote: Supreme Court Justice Samuel A. Alito, Jr., one day after joining the Court, cast his first significant vote on Wednesday evening, and in the process split with the Court's other conservatives: Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. The question was whether to void a stay of execution granted by a lower court. Via Everything Between.

The FBI has subpoenaed ballots from the 2004 Republican primary, saying it's the only way to explain the mysterious appearance of 439 ballots that changed the results.

I missed this when I looked at that poll before: Asked which goal they'd pick if America could achieve just one thing in the coming year, 35 percent said they'd choose bringing most of the American forces home from Iraq... Only 7 percent chose reducing taxes as their No. 1 goal. Gideon made the catch.

The other day, the WaPo ran an article suggesting that racists are more likely to be racist, and then Michelle Malkin responded with post that proved it.

I am now in a permanent state of confusion over the current status of Arthur Silber's blogging, the name of his blog, and everything else about him, but I do know he's one of the great writers and thinkers in the 'sphere and I love him dearly, and when a subject is at once too simple and obvious and yet too deep and complex for me to deal with, I know that Arthur can be relied on to give it the attention it needs. In this case, Bob Woodruff and Doug Vogt.

13:03 GMT

More mixed links

John Aravosis now has found confirmation that the Pentagon is leaning on the WaPo about a Toles cartoon. Editor & Publisher has the details, and there's a .pdf of the threatening letter from the Joint Chiefs.

Jane Hamsher doesn't see any reason why NARAL should continue to endorse Lincoln Chafee. Neither do I. Give her article a good read.

Josh Marshall suggests that DeLay may be hoist with his own petard when all those Democrats who got moved into his district when he eliminated their Democratic districts go to the polls this time.

PSoTD thinks Jon Stewart should start giving awards.

02:51 GMT

Wednesday, 01 February 2006

Some links

I just heard someone on the radio pronounce hijab as "high-jab".

Some folks have gotten together to post a petition on behalf of Cory Maye, who is on death row for shooting an unidentified stranger who broke into his home in the middle of the night.

As Predicted, It's Depression Time!

Gore Vidal Delivers State of the Union: "Let the Powers That Be Know There is Something Called We the People of the U.S. and all Sovereignty Rests in Us."

Popular President watch: Bush's poll numbers could make you laugh out loud. (And somebody give me a heads-up if John gets confirmation for this.)

How a Real Alito Campaign Should've Gone, by Matt Stoller. (I haven't finished reading this yet, but it looks like it could be one of those things you might want to think about.)

Dana Milbank doesn't get it.

Monkey Media Report finds an interview with a blogger from Iran who says we should just ignore their loudmouth leader, who speaks bollocks.

Michael Bérubé has a serious post about academic freedom. (Note: Just because people don't self-identify as "liberal", it doesn't mean they aren't liberal. They just don't know what it's called.)

Charles Kuffner is trying to help us keep up with the Enron trial. This could be fun. Or hugely disappointing. Really, these guys so deserve to lose every penny.

23:35 GMT

I've got some real estate here in my bag

Mary at Pacific Views alerts me to the fact that Reed Hundt caught MoDo dissing Al Gore last week, and explained why she's wrong: Somehow, she apparently blames Gore for not overcoming her contribution toward delivering the election to the wrong person.

Bill Scher wonders if Bush is Ducking Another Fight or Just Going Under The Radar? - because last time, Bush announced his attack on Social Security and it was like a call to arms to progressives to fight back. And we won. So is it that this time he didn't have any "bold" tries in him, or is it that he's just going to try to do it all on the sly while no one is looking? (Bill also has more good lessons the Democrats in Congress will ignore in light of the Alito vote.)

Julia at Sisyphus Shrugged noticed a profile of Alito that exposes the exquisite class consciousness of the New York Times. (The poor, disadvantaged guy had to go to Princeton! Oh, the indignity!)

Barbara O'Brien, Freedom Is Slavery, and Other Republicanisms - I particularly liked this one: Phrases like "Article II authority," "separation of powers" and "right to privacy" are code words for paralyzing self-doubt. We no long stand on constitutional principles in the face of events; rather, we allow events to dictate our constitutional principles. Anyone with any resolve at all knows this. (Also: Rightie Hypocrisy Watch and No Mars? No mas!)

Don't miss Keith Olbermann's Ted Baxter impression as he gives it to O'Reilly for his pompous, phony attack on MSNBC (which was, of course, really an attack on Olbermann for making O'Reilly Worst Person of the Week a few times recently).

Glenn Greenwald has another example of how fine conservative legal minds just say whatever they feel like and pull it out of their ass. This time it's Posner. Again.

Pro-Bush Media Bias Blowing Rightwing Minds - Peter Daou responds to a right-winger who just can't understand what Peter means about rightward-slant of the media. He also provides more examples of the right-wing storyline in mass media as shown in the coverage of the State of the Union speech.

Also via Peter (via Hit and Run), Iowa House File 2163:

                                    A BILL FOR  

  1 An Act restricting the exhibition or dissemination of certain
  2    sexual devices to minors and providing a penalty.

19:56 GMT

American landscape

We should be absolutely clear that Bush did the only thing he could do if he wants to try to get his numbers back up: try to sound like a liberal. It's what he did when he was running for office in 2000 and it's what he has to go back to if he wants to cloud people's minds - just as he did after Katrina. The whole education scam again, getting off of our "addiction" to oil and finding alternative sources, etc. - why, he's even more liberal than usual! He tells you he's putting more money into science but doesn't tell you that when you look at the numbers he's really only claiming he'll keep up with inflation. (And can we even believe he's telling the truth about that? It'd be a first.) The only real response to Bush is to point this out - he lies about having liberal policies and goals, and then he does the opposite of what he has tried to claim he is doing. He has always done this. He lied about his tax cuts from the very beginning, he lied about trying to improve education, he lies persistently, continuously, about trying to make America - and Americans - more secure. So let's have no rubbish about how scientists should be glad to hear this, or how bold Bush is for proposing to pursue renewable energy and how he cares about healthcare, of any of that. He's not doing anything we need, and he's doing things that harm us, and that's it. That's all there is. As Dave Johnson so often reminds us, watch what they do.

MSGOP's story on the arrest of Cindy Sheehan has a poll - take it, please. Sheehan's first person account is up at DKos: I was never told that I couldn't wear that shirt into the Congress. I was never asked to take it off or zip my jacket back up. If I had been asked to do any of those things...I would have, and written about the suppression of my freedom of speech later. I was immediately, and roughly (I have the bruises and muscle spasms to prove it) hauled off and arrested for "unlawful conduct."

Will Bunch: Did you know that in 1971, the Supreme Court said it was unconstitutional to arrest a man who wore a "F--- the Draft" T-shirt into the courthouse? (Cohen v. California, you can look it up.) So now Alito's on the court for 45 minutes and your civil liberties are already going down the toilet. You were warned.

Read The Rude Pundit on why two "No" votes equal less than zero: The vote was 58 to 42. Enough to have sustained a filibuster even without Chafee if 16 Senators believed in more than empty gestures. And Olympia Snowe voted for Alito. There is no middle in the Republican Party. There is only Democratic capitulation masking as moderation.

Mark Kleinman says it's time to decriminalize the cultivation, possession, and use of marijuana - but not sales. (via)

Gary Farber on Criminalizing Sex Under 16, a subject that fills me with fury; and linking to Pam Noles on the whitewashing of Earthsea, Shame. (And yet, I couldn't help thinking that 30 years ago, a young black neofan asked me if Samuel R. Delany was black, and when I said he was, the kid said, "I knew it! I read his description of Kid and thought, 'This cat knows his niggas!'" The other author I used to get that question about was John Brunner, who was doing it even earlier than Kid came to wound the autumnal city, though not before Rydra Wong was immersed in an alien language. I thought they deserved a bit of credit for that.)

15:54 GMT

Blogging for voting integrity

This is a call to action, folks, and we'd really rather you didn't wait - you know what to do.

Thomas Nephew:

The Help America Vote Act (HAVA), passed in 2002, was ostensibly intended to avoid Florida 2000 election-like voting fiascos in the future. Focusing on the notorious "hanging chad" problem with many paper ballots in that election, the bill's authors provided funds for upgrading voting equipment, and decreed that state and county officials would have to use those funds to upgrade their voting equipment by 2006 or face penalties.

But HAVA is threatening to be a cure that's worse than the disease. In urging a headlong rush to electronic voting, the act ignores the problems presented by many electronic voting systems, including the potential to be hacked and the lack of hardcopy, voter-verified output to compare to the electronic record of a vote. Yet because of the deadline, state and local officials are subject to intense pressure by electronic voting systems companies like Diebold and ESS to buy new voting equipment.

And it's equipment that is proving to be highly suspect. In the 2004 Maryland elections, the "TrueVoteMD" organization was able to document 531 incidents in the 6% of precincts it was able to monitor; in Montgomery County, 12% of machines failed, "some of which appear to have lost votes in significant numbers."

Even more worrying, Finnish security expert Harry Hursti demonstrated last November how Diebold machinery could be hacked by card swipe to produce vote totals opposite to those intended. The demonstration led Leon County, Florida election supervisor Ion Sancho to fire Diebold and seek alternative equipment.

Factesque said the other day: Tomorrow, Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08) will be introducing legislation initiated by the Coalition for Voting Integrity to push back the HAVA deadline past the 2006 primary season. This is legislation that counties all over the country have been begging for. This is legislation that helps the cases of Connecticut and New York, both of which have announced that they will not be HAVA-compliant anywhere near the deadline of the 2006 primaries.

Join the blogswarm.

Remember, kids, crooked vote-counting is their only hope!

13:26 GMT

After the SOTU, I see these

The Left Coaster, as always, is full of good stuff. And I see Marie has a little series on reading Bush's "tells" for his secrets and lies - Part I, Part II, and Part III. Before the SOTU, Steve Soto said The Pusher Will Tell Us We're Addicted To Oil. In the evening, pessimist said the "willing" are Deserting The War On Terror and was Praising Kaine, and Steve said After Five Years, The Mayberry Machiavellis Are In Total Control.

A Level Gaze: The assertion that even so much as a Congressional investigation into whether we were misled into war would meaningfully detract from our efforts in Iraq is absurd. It is more absurd coming from the head of an administration that insists that our armed forces and intelligence services are more than equal to the challenge in Iraq. It is still more absurd coming from the head of an administration that insists that the war does not meaningfully impair our ability to respond to serious security threats elsewhere in the world. It is especially absurd coming from a man who promised to bring accountability back to the executive branch on the back of the movement that impeached his predecessor over a blowjob.

Josh Marshall: Okay, a small twinge of regret. TPM emailers tell me that the best moment of the speech came when the president said that last year Congress 'failed' to act on his plan to phase out Social Security. Dems cheered; Republicans sat with stony silence. I would like to have seen that. (Also: They're some of those basic questions young children learn to ask in civics class. Who represents me in Congress? And when do they go on trial?)

The Bradblog has all the dope on the arrest of Cindy Sheehan. The T-shirt said: "2,245 Dead - How Many More??"

12:21 GMT


Think Progress just liveblogged their fact-checking on the State of the Union speech as it happened. There's just post after post of debunking his lies. (Well, actually, they just ignored the embargo on the pre-released text, but they did it while he was speaking, which was kinda neat.)

Did Mary Landrieu ask Bush for his autograph, or what?

Cindy Sheehan got arrested at the speech for wearing an anti-war T-shirt.

Boy, I hope Fafnir and Giblets are gonna be on this story....

03:15 GMT

Ya don't miss your water

Mark of the Beast: COLUMBUS, Ohio - Two Republican lawyers say their firms lost much of their legal work for the state because they refused to donate to Attorney General Jim Petro's campaign, a newspaper reported. Via Suburban Guerrilla.

At The American Conservative, Come Home, America, subheaded "Liberals need another George McGovern-and perhaps conservatives do too." (via)

TruthAndPolitics is looking for reference material for white papers on historical comparison of US military spending to other nations', trends in income inequality in the US, the Social Security reform debate, and the history of major changes in the federal tax code. If you remember any interesting articles, posts, etc., you might want to send them a tip.

...or is it Memorex? - The Washington Post is saying Attorney General Alberto Gonzales (I keep wanting to just write "AG AG", but will anyone know who I mean?) committed perjury in testimony last year, but Kevin Drum says he's just a weasel: The real lesson here is that everything these guys say has to be deconstructed word by painstaking word to find out what it really means. Gonzales never said flatly that the president wouldn't violate the law, and that's exactly what he meant. Hell, Feingold even recognized that at the time.

Digby says that Chris Matthews' lustful adoration of Tom DeLay on the air might just be explained by his own ties to...Jack Abramoff!

Dept. of "Thank God the Libertarians Protected Our Civil Liberties from Bill Clinton's Fascist Dictatorship!" I'm not sure I'd say it's surprising that a Republican has slipped this little humdinger into the Hatriot Act, but I didn't expect it to be Arlen Specter: A new provision tucked into the Patriot Act bill now before Congress would allow authorities to haul demonstrators at any "special event of national significance" away to jail on felony charges if they are caught breaching a security perimeter.

Nominees for Best Post are up now at Wampum. You better start reading now, it's a long one.

01:38 GMT

Avedon Carol at The Sideshow, February 2006

January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
Is the media in denial?
Back to front page

And, no, it's not named after the book or the movie. It's just another sideshow.

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by