The Sideshow

Archive for March 2006

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Friday, 31 March 2006

Some bloggy stuff

LiberalOasis discusses the disgusting behavior of the right-wing in reaction to Jill Carroll's release. (The wingers really deserve getting TBogged, too.) Bill also links to Max's post "FBI As Gestapo: Oppressing The Kurds Of Harrisonburg, Virginia."

Lance Mannion watches Law & Order and explains why you can never permit torture.

The Brad Blog: "New Electronic Voter Registration Database Rejects 43% of New Los Angeles Voter Applications! 26% Rejected State-Wide in California! Applications That Don't Match EXACTLY With DMV Records are Automatically Dumped by New System!" I can't even keep up with it all, there is just so much of it.

Charles at Mercury Rising looks at the media coverage of McKinney's little dust-up and the frothing attention it's getting from the right-wingers.


23:40 BST

What's on

Today's the day when Russ Feingold's censure motion is to be introduced. Have you told your Senators you want them to support this motion? (Also: Read his article, The GOP's Stake In Checking The President.)

The big news item yesterday was Murray Waas' "Insulating Bush", with more evidence that the White House knew perfectly well they were lying about their reasons for invading Iraq: Karl Rove, President Bush's chief political adviser, cautioned other White House aides in the summer of 2003 that Bush's 2004 re-election prospects would be severely damaged if it was publicly disclosed that he had been personally warned that a key rationale for going to war had been challenged within the administration. And Foreign Policy has Joseph Cirincione's piece, Fool Me Twice, saying it looks like they are repeating the pattern with Iran. (Thanks for the tip to Val of Nthposition, where there's more.) Booman Tribune (via) has a bit of history on this.

God, I wish Bush would just keep his mouth shut.

Lots of good stuff up at Epicycle (as always, if you're looking for geeky stuff and UK politics). On the latter subject, Dominic's thoughts on the Lords' cave-in on ID cards. There's also a pointer to a T-shirt we all must wear, parodying the old Home Taping is Killing Music campaign from the British Phonographic Industry. Dom also tells me you can get a free download of Billy Bragg's brand-new version of "Bourgeois Blues", recorded only last week when Bragg noticed, during his current tour, that things were not so good in America. Also, mix your own David Byrne/Brian Eno track.

16:58 BST

Think about it

Garance Franke-Ruta follows-up her article on the lack of women's voices on the NYT op-eds on abortion: The further absence of women's advocates from the conversation means that broad factual distortions and questionable assumptions about our political life have flourished and become conventional wisdom. How many times in recent years have we heard calls for pro-choice advocates to work with pro-life ones to reduce abortion? I too thought it might be possible, until I read Cristina Page's recently published "How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America," where she reports that "there is not one pro-life group in the United States that supports the use of birth control." Via a big-fat round-up post at Alas, a blog.

Kevin Drum has a very pretty pie chart showing that Howard Kaloogian is just one of a whole passel of Republicans who all together add up to being neck-in-neck with Francine Busby, the Democrat in the race for a "heavily Republican district." (Also, I see Kevin and Ezra are both on board with me on immigration.)

I'm so excited! The General has written a letter to my hero, Judith Reisman!!!*

Gods in Chains

11:53 BST

I close my eyes, every day

Riverbend faces Uncertainty:

We sat drinking tea, mulling over the possibilities. It confirmed what has been obvious to Iraqis since the beginning - the Iraqi security forces are actually militias allied to religious and political parties.

But it also brings to light other worrisome issues. The situation is so bad on the security front that the top two ministries in charge of protecting Iraqi civilians cannot trust each other. The Ministry of Defense can't even trust its own personnel, unless they are "accompanied by American coalition forces".
All of this directly contradicts claims by Bush and other American politicians that Iraqi troops and security forces are in control of the situation. Or maybe they are in control - just not in a good way.

03:24 BST

You're not from around here, are ya?

Just in case you forgot that George F. Will hates America, just wait 'til you see his latest column advising that we take a page from a foreign country:

America, the only developed nation that shares a long -- 2,000-mile -- border with a Third World nation, could seal that border. East Germany showed how: walls, barbed wire, machine gun-toting border guards in towers, mine fields, large, irritable dogs. And we have modern technologies that East Germany never had: sophisticated sensors, unmanned surveillance drones, etc.
Ah, I guess that's okay, because it isn't France. Gideon Starorzewski's reaction to this was much the same as mine.

See, this is pretty simple stuff. American companies relocate just south of the border, where they can pay people $60 a week instead of $60 a day. Mexicans move north to work in those places, where $60 a week is pretty good money. But it's still not so good, and if they just move north of the border, they can make a lot more - although, as illegals, they don't make as much as American workers make. Except when employers north of the border know they can pay illegals crap and treat them like dirt, Americans no longer get those jobs. Not that they could afford to take them at those low rates. To add insult to injury, this also means that people who still try to hire workers at a decent wage find they can't compete with the criminals who illegally hire this cheap labor, so wages get driven down inside the US. The corporatists love it, and the rest of us see our communities and our lives and our futures being destroyed. The way to stop all this is to go after the employers, not the immigrants. (Dumping NAFTA and CAFTA would also be a good start.) But you won't see that happening while these goniffs are in charge.

I wonder if Will could learn anything from reading this site - but I doubt it.

01:05 BST

Thursday, 30 March 2006

Lost and found

Via Firedoglake, Keith C. Burris in the Journal Inquirer on why Connecticut is turning against Joe Lieberman and embracing Ned Lamont, This is about war and democracy: Joe Lieberman keeps saying that his position has been misrepresented and he has been misquoted by his critics. But I have combed the coverage of the campaign, thus far, and cannot find a single example of his views being distorted or his quotes taken out of context. As I read him, what Lieberman has said, all along, is that we should accept this war and what our president tells us. Suspend citizenship. Ask the questions when the war is over. And that is what gives Lamont his issue.

Another Republican with credibility problems - Charles Taylor of North Carolina.

It seems we let this anniversary go by unnoticed, but let's try and correct that: Most of the Scottsboro Boys eventually were sentenced to death. What followed was a series of reversals, retrials, recanted witnesses, new judges, and on and on and on. Even after death sentences were thrown out, it took years, and in some cases decades, for all of the Scottsboro Boys to gain their freedom; many went on to broken lives -- and eventually, death -- due to their experiences. 75 years later, we should remember.

Ansel Adams' Lost Los Angeles Found: I thought I would see if I could see for myself. I learned that the stunning and invaluable Seattle Public Library's Main Branch kept hard copies of Forbes going back into the 1930s. In a highly unusual move for the Internet age, I got in the car and found my way to the seventh floor of what is called "The Spiral" -- probably because it disorients patrons more quickly than any other shelving system ever invented. Nearly 200 forgotten pictures, recovered at last. (via)

Weblog to enjoy today: Eccentricity.

17:31 BST


The other night I linked to this item (crossposted to HuffPo from Raw Story) about the Associated Press swiping a story without credit from RS. Josh Marshall now reports that four similar instances have shown up when stories by Paul Kiel and Justin Rood from came out from AP, again uncredited.

As expected, Atrios saw the irony of the situation, but I couldn't help but wonder why it is that when right-wing blogs "break" a story, they seem to get credit a lot more routinely. This rankles especially because we know that it is almost guaranteed that whatever is on the right-wing blogs was really fed to them by Republican operatives. Raw Story and TPM, by contrast, are really doing their own original reporting. Josh says:

Conventional news outlets frequently chide blogs for not doing any original reporting but rather feeding off the original reporting of the mainstream media. In many cases, the criticism is true. But if that is the criticism it behooves every mainstream media outlet to enforce their own standing policies and not allow reporters to rip off blog writers who are doing original reporting.
I think this is way too kind. Most blogs aren't claiming to do original reporting - rather, we tend to provide a table of contents to other articles, mixed with commentary, which is something else; we tend to act largely as editors and opinionators rather than reporters. What original reporting we do is usually separate and marked as such, and most of it is personal journalism rather than what we would call "reporting".

In most cases, the only time we are doing "reporting" in ways similar to what corporate journalists do is when we discuss public documents. Since even the best newspapers have taken to quoting directly from press releases, the fact that they may actually have visited the White House for the related event doesn't really make it much different; I can read the site as well as anyone else can. Although some of us are primary sources on our specialist issues and do provide important analysis that should be, but isn't, available from Big Media (Max, for example), most of us acknowledge that what we are doing is providing pointers to other work rather than originating information ourselves. (No good professional journalist should be complaining about that. If you're writing good or important articles, you should be glad that more people are seeing your work. It also means your work stays current longer - how can that be bad?)

(Additionally, we let you know what was in our hometown paper that wasn't in yours, which means you get more news. We also do a lot of meta-analysis of the media itself - something that can be mere navel-gazing when paid journalists do it, but makes a real difference coming from experienced consumers of news.)

But TPM and RS actually provide the real thing - they make the phone calls and burn the pavement. Josh Marshall is a part of the professional DC media - there is no reason to distinguish original reporting from his site from reporting in The Washington Post - except maybe that it's better. Professional jealousy is one thing (and who could blame you?), but giving credit where it's due is a professional requirement, too.

16:20 BST


Christian Science Monitor reporter Jill Carroll released: BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Kidnapped U.S. reporter Jill Carroll has been released after nearly three months in captivity, Iraq police and the leader of the Islamic Party said Thursday. Her editor said she was in good condition. This is a story I haven't said anything about because, basically, I'm superstitious. There were signs that her captors might not make good on their threats to kill her, and I've kind of been holding my breath. I guess humanity won out.

A Capitol cop is claiming that Cynthia McKinney punched him when he grabbed her as she walked into the Longworth House Office Building. McKinney wasn't doing anything wrong - he just didn't recognize her. Given the state of paranoia that seems to be maintained on the Hill these days, I guess I might reflexively punch someone who grabbed me, too.

13:17 BST

A buncha more links

Skimble is still keeping up with the Enron story, which is rife with irresponsibility, criminality, and a look inside the class war.

I didn't realize Oliver Willis had a radio blog with some Armenian guy. (via) (That's two new Armenians in one day! Him and the one who can't tell Turkey and Iraq apart. Which, you must admit, is a very odd blind spot for an Armenian.)

Crooks and Liars has video of four Congressional Democrats protesting the Rubber Stamp Republicans on the House floor - very neat. (And half of them are actually white!)

No wonder the Republicans are so certain of voter fraud.

Afghanistan: The night fairies - yet more signs that Bush has tossed away what might have been a successful mission as the Taliban rises again.

"It's too bad Americans have to read the truth about the United States from an Israeli newspaper."

This article at SCOTUSblog gives a pretty interesting analysis of Tuesday's Supreme Court proceedings in the Hamdan case. They also have a pointer to audio of the oral arguments. (I love the Internet!)

The New York Times says FISA judges urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to enforce the law, but The Washington Times says they said Bush wasn't breaking the law. I'm so confused!

I actually love the idea of women walking around red states wearing a red burka. Trouble is, you'd have to make them yourself, since they don't generally come in bright colors. However, you can buy the T-shirt.

Monday's 60 Second Interview was with Sara Paretsky.

03:40 BST

Wednesday, 29 March 2006

Assorted stuff

Chris Bowers explains why the activist base, rather than swing voters, should be the focus for the next election:

This is why the conventional wisdom narrative on 2006 is out of date. To argue that Democrats are not properly taking advantage of the situation, and that they have not developed a message to appeal to swing voters, ignores both the enormous leads that Democrats have held in generic congressional ballots for nearly a full year, and that these leads have come almost entirely from their strength among swing voters, i.e. independents. The issue at hand is no longer "in the face of Republican collapse, why aren't Democrats doing better?" Democrats are doing better. They have huge leads, and have had them for several months. In contrast to the current conventional wisdom narrative, the actual issue at hand is whether or not Democrats have the electoral and activist recourses to deliver this new potential governing majority to the polls on Election Day. In other words, the issue is not whether or not Democrats can appeal to swing voters, because they have done that. The issue is whether or not the progressive activist base is excited enough to provide Democrats with the resources to win the 2006 election.
Feingold or Gore, could do it. Hillary? No way.

The Founders Never Imagined a Bush Administration - Joyce Appleby and Gary Hart discover that Hari Seldon didn't plan for the emergence of the Mule.

Some idiot at The New York Times Magazine actually repeated that stupid Oreo story the other day. Sheesh!

"May I take your order?" - and I thought I'd seen some good Chinese menus. Via Biomes Blog, naturally.

That's what I want to hear - if you were wrong, admit it, with none of this pretend stuff about how you were more right than the people who were right all along.

Stanislaw Lem has died in Krakow at the age of 84.

18:50 BST

News and muse

I'm sorry, but headlines like "Card's Departure Seen as a Sign President Hears Words of Critics" just make me laugh. Shouldn't it be, "Jim VandeHei See's Card's Departure as a Sign President Hears Words of Critics"? Or "Jim VandeHei Wants You to See Card's Departure as a Sign President Hears Words of Critics"? I mean, who do you think you're foolin'? The problem is the policies, and Card didn't set those. No one was calling for Andy Card's head. Rumsfeld's, sure. Cheney's - oh, yeah. Rice's - yes, and well before she got her new job. Karl "Security Breach" Rove's? Uh huh. And Bush's, f'sure. But Card? Please. Card is only as good as his boss, and probably saner than most of them. Whoever Bush is listening to, it's not his critics.

Declan gives a pretty weak cheer for the new FEC 'net regulations, and worries that this just opens the door for more.

Happy 3rd Blogiversary to the very useful Confined Space, which invites you to help out.

RU486 used in new pill: The new pill cuts the risk of breast cancer, thrombosis and heart disease, and stops periods altogether.

Lance Mannion looks at the question of electability.

Christopher Allbritton filed a Freedom of Information request and, having seen the result, wonders: Seriously, how common is it for a journalist to have a document about him that can't be released for "national security reasons"? (via)

Not bloody likely: Will Bunch has the best copy of the photo, which seems to have disappeared from right-wing Republican candidate Howard Kaloogian's site. It used to be there claiming to be a picture of peaceful downtown Baghdad. At a glance, I'd say not. Josh Marshall, here and here, explains why he thinks it was more likely taken in Turkey.

I have no idea what you're talking about...

14:20 BST

What's cookin'

Ginger Mayerson (of Hackenblog) and Kathy Flake (of What Do I Know?) and a whole bunch of other bloggers would like you to click on that picture and do a little something for your taste buds and a really good cause. (You be the judge of whether the graphic suggested by Sadly, No! improves on this one and the other choice on offer.)

President of the Oglala Sioux Tribe on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Cecilia Fire Thunder, has announced the intention to set up a Planned Parenthood clinic on Oglala territory, where the anti-abortion law of South Dakota does not apply. Monkeyfister reminds us of George Bush's deep understanding of tribal sovereignty and points out that this issue is now a hot topic for the right-wingers, asking, "Did you ever, in a Brazillion years, ever imagine that the Abortion Issue would become a debate on Tribal Sovereign Status?"

So, why does Delta Force hate America?

There are lots of articles at Consortium News that I haven't gotten around to linking, lately, but really, you should take a look at the current contents page - you might especially be interested in "State after State Repudiates Bush", and "Time to Talk War Crimes".

Sauce for the Gander - Ain't it funny which drugs are "too dangerous" for the FDA - and the media?

So it turns out that, in addition to their other offenses, AP swipes stories from blogs and doesn't give them credit. I bet Atrios will get a good laugh out of that one.

Bush Speak #649

An Open Letter to Straights, via Kung Fu Monkey.

03:32 BST

Border skirmishes

Quiddity (here and here, with some help from Krugman) and Kash here and here), with some help from the Simpsons, take on the immigration issue. And Bill O'Reilly attacks!

Politics TV - the latest is Jerome Armstrong and Kos talking about their book, and why DC consultants are no use. (via)

Roxanne (via) directs our attention to this very good letter to the media about the stupid way they talk about the immigration issue. Or is it the illegal alien issue? Or is it the Hispanic issue? Or is it the Latino issue? Maybe the media don't know.

Mobjectivist finds the right blogger for the WaPo. And reading what he says about what his political beliefs are, I gotta say he is as middle-of-the-road and mainstream as you can get. Guy name of Chomsky.

I still have the capacity to be shocked, I see, even though it's a comparatively small thing in context, but now they're filing amicus briefs making up legislative history that doesn't exist for interpretations of bills - in the Supreme Court! Wow.

00:35 BST

Tuesday, 28 March 2006


The Juicy Fruit Ant (via).

Teresa, inspired by Jane Smiley: Bush is to public discourse as Three Card Monte is to card game.

Buck Batard is always asking for frugality - so, I guess you can't get more frugal than free.

In comments, HP points to more sources for antique music. (And you might want to have a look at Thump Thump, "A Weblog to Read in the Dark," too.)

And in UK news, the Lords and MPs just can't agree on ID cards. (via)

13:09 BST

Monday, 27 March 2006

Royalty and religion

Alterman has a whole passel of links up today, and quotes from Damon Linker's report on a somewhat horrifying conference of anti-constitutional loonies with such luminaries as Robert Bork himself: All of which should serve as a potent reminder--as if, in an age marked by the bloody rise of theologically inspired politics in the Islamic world, we needed a reminder--that the strict separation of politics and religion is a rare, precious, and fragile achievement, one of America's most sublime achievements, and we should do everything in our power to preserve it. It is a large part of what makes America worth living in. He's also got a link up to Molly Ivins on Newspaper suicide and to Jonathan Chait on the administration's criminal negligence on homeland security. (And, no, I don't know why Eric thinks Michael Kinsley is brilliant, either.) And his own sum-up of that little red blogger embarrassment at the WaPo.


Prairie Weather presents some conversation about Bush's over-reach.

At Unclaimed Territory, a guest post from Hypatia on that other massive tragedy, the War on (Some) Drugs.

This morning's New York Times has even more proof that Bush and Blair knowingly lied us into unnecessary war, and Digby looks to be in sorrow and anger both at one more reminder of what has been done by these Small Stupid Men.

Bill Moyers on A Time for Heresy: This is the heresy of our time - to wrestle with the gods who guard the boundaries of this great nation's promise, and to confront the medicine men in the woods, twirling their bullroarers to keep us in fear and trembling. For the greatest heretic of all is Jesus of Nazareth, who drove the money changers from the temple in Jerusalem as we must now drive the money changers from the temples of democracy.

Russ Baker on Ganging Up On Feingold: Only a conscienceless bully-like the one dissected in the movie "Good Night, and Good Luck," about Edward R. Murrow's television crusade against McCarthy's serial abuse of the public trust-could have come up with the disgustingly misleading radio ads now attacking Sen. Russ Feingold. And only the chickenhearted-or those henpecked by consultants-would fail to back up this courageous figure.

At Through the Looking Glass: While I was away, George W. Bush proclaimed himself dictator. That's not a joke, and it's not an exaggeration. Or maybe he crowned himself king.

West Wing Story - the Heretik dances us through the play.

Mike the Corpuscle writes a letter to God.

22:34 BST

Where is the news?

Okay, so I didn't give Deborah Howell my traditional ombudslashing yesterday. This is partly because most of us had already given a good going-over to the same GOP talking point before Howell got around to it, and partly because someone else already did it for me - only I got distracted and forgot to post it. That would be Elton Beard, who did not stop with his Shorter Deborah Howell, but went on to say:

Think about that.

A reader accuses Washington Post journalists of siding with Goldstein - er, terrorists - and Deborah Howell doesn't think, this man is either demented or trying to manipulate me. She doesn't crumple up and toss the letter and she doesn't add it to her loony folder, already overflowing with missives from crazed liberals. She does not take offense at the slur on her colleagues. Quite the opposite. She takes the complaint seriously.

Think about that again.

That's what they've been doing all along, isn't it? They say things that fly completely in the face of stark reality and expect to see it treated seriously, and then the press actually treats it seriously so they won't be accused of bias. I think I first noticed it when The Bell Curve came out and all sorts of publications were treating it like it was not just a bunch of old-line crackpot racism. And then I was running into perfectly intelligent people who obviously believed that it was just common sense that Social Security was going to run out before we were old enough to retire. Man, I thought everyone knew better than that. And then, of course, there was that incredible, incredible moment when we were informed that there was something wrong with actually counting the ballots in an election - and the media just treated it like it was, you know, a perfectly legitimate take on the subject. It just kept happening. And then, and then....

Well. I'm grateful to Elton for reminding me once again that it really should be surprising that complete loonies aren't having their crank letters tossed in the Idiot File. But it's not new. Dammit.

On the other hand, where the real news media is concerned, there is some good news via the BBC:

Blogger up for non-fiction award

An anonymous blog by a young woman in war-torn Iraq has been longlisted for BBC Four's Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction.

Baghdad Burning, a first-hand account written under the pseudonym Riverbend, is one of 19 books in contention.

As you know, she deserves it. She is the eyewitness we have wanted, needed, to the day to day life that goes on in the midst of our great folly.

And, finally, more expert reportage from Atrios on whether we will be able to keep delivering the news this way, at least for the moment, as the FEC decides not to pretend that different rules should apply to the Internet than apply to political speech elsewhere.

17:58 BST

Does anybody really know what time it is?

Well, yes, my body clock does rather object to the switch to British Summer Time, but the real problem is that it may have been a mistake to actually go back and look at that thread with Teresa's post from back in 2000 about the election/selection. For those who don't click links, that's the post that says:

From: T Nielsen Hayden
Date: Wed, Dec 13 2000 5:37 am
Groups: rec.arts.sf.fandom

I've been calling this an attempted coup since a few days after the election. Hell, I've been calling it that since the days of the hoked-up impeachment case against Clinton. No more. Now it's a successful coup.

There are only two real reasons to choose GWB as a candidate. One is his insubstantiality: it's hard to argue against what isn't there. The other is his passivity: he won't get in the way. I will assume that there's a pending agenda. The people who funded this campaign spent their money for a reason. We'll shortly be finding out about it in more detail.

The Republicans' use of fraud and force has been shocking. Let's go beyond that shock for the moment. What's truly troubling is that their tactics have been so blatant -- for example, the organized mob attack on the vote counting operation in Miami by a gang of out-of-state Republican operatives, including known staff members employed by highly placed officials. They didn't bother to conduct that as a covert operation. They didn't even hide the cashflow that paid for it.

Such an approach is not sustainable long-term under our present system of law and government. But there's no use in seizing power just long enough to get inaugurated if all you do is spend the next four years pinned down in a hopeless tangle of legal actions and political countermeasures. Therefore, we have to assume that they are planning to consolidate their power shortly after Bush is inaugurated.

If you're not following me: This is the equivalent of that moment in the plot where the guy who's being held captive by the bad guys realizes they're planning to kill him because they're letting him see their faces and hear their names spoken. They're not worried about the consequences.

The Republicans are not worried about the consequences of their blatant abuses. The logical conclusion is that once they've consolidated their power, things are going to get a lot worse.

How much worse? Bad enough that staffers employed by the ruling party don't anticipate having to worry about being identified as participants in an illegal attack on election workers who were then engaged in counting votes. It doesn't worry them that they crossed state lines to participate in it, engaged in conspiracy to commit various crimes, and for all I know are vulnerable under the RICO statutes as well. That means they don't expect that those who would normally oppose them are going to be in any position to do so effectively.

This is bad.

If you read further on in the thread, you'll see that people of various political tendencies thought this was a bit a alarmist. They were, unfortunately, wrong. (Most have since said they know it. It's a measure of how far gone some people are that they still don't.)

Yes, Teresa was right; this is bad. And there's not much reason to think it will get better any time soon. I really, really wish people would take this stuff seriously, while there's at least a glimmer of hope. At least, I think there is. I hope. On the good days.

16:22 BST

Where it is

Chantelle: Chantilly half cup braBra of the Week- because I need something pretty to cheer me up.

Yes, that's right, there was so much good stuff to read that I didn't have time left to write anything. A lot of it as at The Mahablog, where I learned that Sherrod Brown has received no finer endorsement than to be slammed by George F. Will, who is afraid of him, saying, "For the first time in living memory, one of the major parties -- Brown's -- will be essentially hostile to free trade, the foundation of today's prosperity." (Whose prosperity, George?) A few days earlier, Susie Madrak notes, Will was lying again about the 2000 election.

And Susie and Atrios have been wondering how you wake the slumbering press. Me too.

And then there's Glenn Greenwald driving the point home that Bush really thinks he's above the law, followed-up by Digby's "Outlaw Party" and more from Anonymous Liberal, and more from MahaBarb. At the prospect that the case would come before Supremes, an anonymous commenter to Glenn's post said: Wouldn't that be an interesting situation.... A president that was appointed by the supreme court in a corrupt election where he lost the popular vote and stole the election in FL and used non-verifiable voting machines to claim majority support that exit polls demonstrate he did not win, then claims that because of "presidential power" (that he never actually won) he is no longer accountable to constitutional oversight... WOW, you couldn't have made this up...

Yep, it always goes back to that, doesn't it?

02:47 BST

Sunday, 26 March 2006

Media & etc.

Peter Daou has a piece up on the White House offensive against the media for not reporting the "good news" about Iraq. I don't often disagree with Peter, but I'm not sure he's right when he says:

Democrats can learn a lesson from this new rightwing anti-media salvo.
I don't see anything new, here - just the usual "blame the 'liberal' media" nonsense from the right. The White House is being more clear and overt in its participation, but there is no new message here.

There's been a lot to learn from right-wing attacks on the media all along, and to me there's nothing special about this tactic at this late date. Democrats should have seen this coming at least 15 years ago. Didn't they notice that the whole Whitewater coverage should not have happened the way it did? Weren't they aware that "even the liberal" New York Times was giving more space, even then, to the faked-up conservative arguments than they were to the liberal rebuttal?

Moreover, critiquing the media does hurt Democrats in ways it doesn't hurt Republicans, in part because conservatives own so much of the media. And unless a major network makes a conscious decision to provide us with an overt counterpart to the Fox-NBC axis, I'm not sure this can easily be changed. But I wouldn't recommend a presidential candidate attack the media. I think it was Tim Russert who asked Howard Dean if he wanted to see changes in the media, and when Dean said yes, I knew they'd be after him soon, and they were. So, while yes, Democrats should be taking a lesson from all of this, I don't see why they are any more likely to now than they did 15 years ago.

I'd like to see some serious bite-back over that theme, though. The media doesn't report the "good news" from Iraq? Did they ever? The right-wing was pretty scathing about the fact that there is actually a scene in Fahrenheit 9/11 showing a pleasant, peaceful day in pre-invasion Iraq, as if it was totally dishonest for Michael Moore to portray a place that wasn't at war looking like it wasn't at war.

You could say the same thing about any right-wing target: Is our public school system portrayed as the major success that it is, or is it depicted as a dismal failure? And how about universal healthcare in other countries - how often does the media tell us how much better those systems are than what the US has? There is plenty of good news from the NHS happening every day, so why do we get all this nit-picking about waiting lists and, often, problems that don't actually exist? (Crooks and Liars has a video of Peter making the related point about non-news on BSNBC.)

* * * * *

Bill Scher points out that the best way to protect the rights of Christians in Afghanistan is international law, but the administration is against that sort of thing.

Ha ha ha. Katherine Harris did that big display about using her inheritance from Daddy to finance her campaign, but this appears not to be the case. Oh, dear. (via)

Huh. I guess right-wingers are the same everywhere.

15:13 BST

Saturday, 25 March 2006

Leftover links

It's been a bit of a tech day, so I haven't had time to post. At least I have a more promising back-up drive, now. Anyway, here's a few things I hadn't gotten around to, yet:

Doug Ireland reports on more freedom on the march with "Shia Death Squads Target Iraqi Gays -- U.S. Indifferent": Following a death-to-gays fatwa issued last October by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani (left), death squads of the Badr Corps have been systematically targeting gay Iraqis for persecution and execution, gay Iraqis say. But when they ask for help and protection from U.S. occupying authorities in the "Green Zone," gay Iraqis are met with indifference and derision.

Just in case you were wondering, even some Muslim nations can argue about the wisdom of anti-pornography legislation. I find all of this kind of, I dunno, nostalgic.

Here's the article about it, and here's where you can listen to old wax cylinders.

20:33 GMT

Friday, 24 March 2006

I fell asleep at my desk

So, reports the, Ben Domenech has resigned after the whole plagiarism thing got too embarrassing. Not for the racist suggestion that poor criminals are black, and not for the Mcarthyite red-baiting or any of the other general crackpottery that appeared on his page from the very beginning, but for the plagiary. But, really, the damage is done, and has shown itself to be unprofessional, lazy, and blinkered enough to get them good jobs at the top of this administration.

See, the thing is, the Post has no choice - if it is going to hire people for being movement conservatives who are regarded as such by other movement conservatives, this is what they are going to get, because the right-wing has no standards other than loyalty to their cause, and their cause has contempt for real professional integrity in any event. And especially they have contempt for facts, since the facts are, as you know, biased. Matt Stoller says the lesson is: Stop appeasing the right-wing. It's bad for you.

In other news:

Billmon explains why John Snow is Trusting the Marketplace. (via)

Thomas Nephew has a reminder of why the Dixie Chicks story has important meaning for us all. (And it's a good song, too, so click on it this time.)

At Best of the Blogs, the students are showing signs of a political spring.

Anyone who has been paying even peripheral attention to the Iraq reconstruction knows it has to be the biggest scandal in history, but suddenly a lot of people who were on the ground are coming out of the woodwork to say so. Kevin Drum says: It's not censure or impeachment that Republicans are really worried about if they lose control of Congress. It's subpoenas. If they lose the ability to block Democrats from conducting genuine investigations backed by the subpoena power of Congress, the jig is up. And they know it.

And Scaramouche worries about Bush's plan to rule the world, and shows us some different bras.

23:46 GMT

The hot stuff

I hate to be alarmist, but even James Wolcott is talking about the disaster that's in front of us, now. I don't usually go to Wolcott's site expecting to find nightmares, and I especially don't expect to find him saying that a multi-billionnaire is starting to warn people about things I was hoping were just my nightmares, but that whole "total global collapse" thing is looking more and more solid every day. And it's not exactly reassuring to know that, as with 9/11 and Katrina, George Bush has been told - and doesn't seem to care. Via Firedoglake, where "ReddHedd" seems to be using her real name, now, and also wants to take the fight to Barney Fife, because there are so many ways in which this administration and its enablers have not done anything for national security. (And let's not forget the fabulous reportage in the NYT that doesn't even rise to the level of stenography.)

Ah, hell, read all the rest of FDL if you haven't been there in the last couple of days. Jane is all over the astonishing background of Red State Ben, the WaPo blogger from the conservative mad scientist's laboratory, who turns out to be a rather impressive plagiarist as well as a racist. Naturally, Paul Lukasiak is also on the case.

Jane also directs us to the C&L link for the video of Spinegold on The Daily Show (which, for my money answers the "electability" question on Feingold with a great big "YES!"), and says: I spent the day with my mom, a lifelong Republican who said today that "my party has abandoned me." She doesn't like the Democrats either because she doesn't see them fighting for people like her. She thought Feingold's courage to buck the party dons and stand up to George Bush was inspirational. If people like my mom are ready to listen the whole political landscape could soon be shifting.

And Digby is saying that the hiring of Right-Wing Ben signals what could really be the death knell of the mainstream media - not because it is so offensive, but because it shows how clueless these people really are about what's really going on. It does rather seem amazing that journalists move father and farther to the right, and farther and farther from telling the truth, and then write alarmist articles about the decline in readership without ever making the connection between these things. Why is that?

14:45 GMT

Grab bag

It's funny, in all the years I knew Chris Tame, and in all the discussions we had about politics, I never asked him for a specific outline of his own views. I knew that, although Chris and I obviously disagreed on libertarianism, we agreed on a great deal more than I expected. I always meant to ask him why his libertarianism was so different from the crackpot rubbish of the American libertarian movement (which is usually just a thinly disguised rationalization of some very non-libertarian right-wing views). But Sean Gabb's obituary for Chris in the Indy provides a taste of that conversation we never had.

Amy Traub's "The Guest Worker Gamble" explains the proposed bill and what's right - and wrong - about it. But I'm not sure that it's worth supporting any bill the Republicans agree to, since by the time they get it out of conference it usually loses whatever was good about it. And anything short of forcing employers inside the United States to treat immigrant workers as they must treat full citizens - and treating full citizens well - degrades employment, and thus the entire economy, for virtually all of us.

The most optimistic post I've read lately comes from, of all people, pessimist, at The Left Coaster.

Elton Beard invites Jonah Goldberg to play poker.

Man, this song seems so ironic in a time of chickenhawks. Maybe that explains the lack of good anti-war songs this time around - the only people left cheering for this one aren't in uniform.

04:15 GMT

Thursday, 23 March 2006


Ampersand has created a chart comparing the public positions of the anti-abortion movement on relevant issues to any actual belief that what they are doing is about preventing murder and saving lives. There are some unusually polite anti-abortion people contributing to the ensuing thread, and they are for the most part respectful of those they are debating with, but as nice and thoughtful as they are, I didn't see anything there that really contradicted Amp's points. They can say it very, very nicely, but they're still willing to fell a tree to save an acorn because they just don't care enough about the tree.

Zachary Roth has an important warning about the rhetorical device conservatives are using to explain away the failure of their conservative movement as a failure of "big government liberalism". As I've noted before, conservatives persistently represent liberalism as being a kind of mindless support for "big government", despite the fact that no liberal has ever claimed to believe in 'big government'. One point that should be added to this package is that a current "moderate" meme is something like: "This is a failure of one-party government; the Democrats would have done the same thing, but right now they are out of power." In other words, the corruption and incompetence of this government is something the Democrats would have done if it were they who had total control of all four branches. This neatly ignores the fact that in modern history there have been moments in time when both houses and the executive were led by Democrats and we still did not ever reach the levels of negligence and corruption that were evident within the first six months of Bush's presidency, let alone what came later. I specify the first six months because 9/11 happened because of it, despite the fact that the Republicans' control of Congress was not yet absolute, and 9/11, not having yet happened, can not account for it. The simple fact is that virtually the entire GOP made cronyism, negligence, and corruption central to their methods immediately; it just took a few months for us to begin to see the evidence. Unfortunately, they also controlled the media, so the American public didn't really get the message until they saw Bush slacking off while an American city was lost. But it isn't just Bush that did this - it took a lot of people to make this happen, and those people were able to do so because they believe in conservatism.

Scott Lemieux discusses the Supremes' decision in Georgia v. Randolph finding that the police can't be given permission to search your home by someone else who lives there - if you happen to be there, too. In a highly unsurprising development, Chief Justice Roberts signed on to the current belief of far too many federal judges that the War on (Some Classes of People Who Use Some) Drugs should act as a sort of solvent that dissolves any Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights that might be inconvenient to the state's power. Scott has also found "the most unintentionally hilarious piece of unreconstructed dumbass wingnuttery" from Ben Domenech.

(It's really frustrating when you blog an interesting post, then go on to the next blog and blog an interesting post you found there, and then notice that there's a nearby post about the post you just blogged. And then you go to another blog and the same thing happens. And you can't help but think, "Gee, it looks like I got all of my stuff from just reading the one blog, and didn't even give credit." But that's actually what happened here. Suffice to say that if you find any of the subjects above compelling, you can probably find more discussion of it on one of the other named blogs, because they thought it was interesting, too.)

Thanks to Monkyfister for the tip that you can listen to the Dixie Chicks sing "Not Ready to Make Nice", streaming at their site now. Or at least read the lyrics, y'all.

15:16 GMT

Reporting from the Big War

I saw Bush on TV saying his job was tell people what was on his mind. What, does he think he's a blogger or something, then? I keep thinking he's supposed to have some other job.

The question is whether the WaPo is run by idiots, or they just think we are idiots. I don't know how else you could explain this editorial which praises the masterful way Bush explained "his commitment to the war" at the press conference where he didn't answer any real questions. No one needs him to chant "9/11" more times - he knows perfectly well Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11, and he knew it in September of 2001, too. (via)

Salon has a meaty article on The battle to ban birth control that makes it worth your while to watch the ad and get the day pass so you can read it. Via Twistedchick, from a post that has all the links you could ever need!

And the wonderful Jane Smiley presents some Notes for Converts like "Bruce Bartlett, The Cato Institute, Andrew Sullivan, George Packer, William F. Buckley, Sandra Day O'Connor, Republican voters in Indiana and all the rest of you newly-minted dissenters from Bush's faith-based reality": Now you are fleeing him, but it's only because he's got the earmarks of a loser. Your problem is that you don't know why he's losing. You think he's made mistakes. But no. He's losing because the ideas that you taught him and demonstrated for him are bad ideas, self-destructive ideas, and even suicidal ideas. And they are immoral ideas. You should be ashamed of yourselves because not only have your ideas not worked to make the world a better place, they were inhumane and cruel to begin with, and they have served to cultivate and excuse the inhumane and cruel character traits of those who profess them. Amen, sister! (via)

A piece at Raw Story has the look of a Mark of the Beast item, Editor forced out of job after running Democrat's column: The longtime chief correspondent for The Associated Press in Vermont has been forced out of his job, stunning the state's journalists and politicians, after he ran a column by Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) on the wire, the New York Times reports Wednesday.

Some neat photos.

02:23 GMT

Wednesday, 22 March 2006

Open windows

Radley Balko is doing some good original reporting on the Corey Maye story, and he's gone down and talked to lots of people personally, now, finding a pattern of "aggressive" drug squad tactics that make Maye's story even more believable. Also, complaining that the only pictures of Maye around the net are of him in the orange jump-suit, he supplies a better one. Press attention to this stories, and those like it, could be the only hope of justice being served, so it would be nice if more people would talk it up and hector the media to shine a spotlight on it. (Via a really link-rich post at Riba Rambles.)

I've complained before about how the supposedly liberal New York Times never does anything to make a real case in support of its professed liberal positions (freedom of speech, abortion, opposition to the death penalty, etc.), and it's nice to see someone else taking notice. But Garance (and Amy Sullivan) should both bear this in mind the next time they want to castigate liberals for not talking about birth control (or faith, or anything else): Liberals aren't usually asked to present the liberal view of anything in the major media - they leave it to conservatives to tell the public what liberals supposedly say and think.

And speaking of The New York Times, more confirmation that they aren't interested in legitimate criticism, either. Like the WaPo, they will add increasing numbers of right-wingers who bleat about how liberal it is to their staff, but not someone who might have a professor who criticizes them in Editor & Publisher.

R.J. Eskow says "Finally! A White Guy Teaches Black Folk How to 'Rap About Race'" - a look at the pseudo-anti-racism of the right-wing.

I just don't understand why this stuff comes out of Bush's mouth. Is he trying to tell us something?

Considering what a big deal the Iran hostage crisis was at the time, not to mention the fact that they are now part of the "Axis of Evil" and etc., you'd really think the administration would be embarrassed to be on the wrong side of this.

Feingold brings inspiration to MadKane.

19:44 GMT

All about the blogs

So, the WaPo website has added a conservative blog. Yes, you're waiting to hear that they also added a liberal blog, right? Well, they didn't.

Of course, they claim the addition of this little creep has nothing to do with being a sop to the right (they're lying) and that it's all about livening up their pages with good writers. The fact that Ben Domenech is just a mindless right-wing hack gives the lie to that one. I agree with Garance that, while the left doesn't have an equivalent in lying hackery (nor do we want one), a nice way to balance this out would be the addition of John Aravosis, who would elevate the quality of the site dramatically. Because, as Josh says, they've really been played and dragged it way, way down.

This guy is still claiming that the far-right loonies he works for are mainstream. I can't wait for him to explain when "the far left" was repudiated at the ballot box, personally. Oh, yeah, I remember all those referenda on whether to go from a mixed economy to a communist state, you bet! (And the only socialist who ever gets tested at the ballot box is Bernie, and he always wins. And Gore won. Even if you won't listen to all the stuff about Florida, you can't deny that Gore won the popular vote after he alienated the DLC and "veered left".)

But this is all part of what Chris Bowers is talking about when he says there's no right-wing blogosphere anymore. They've all been absorbed into their hated "MSM". The right wing makes sure that their cranks get paid - and The Washington Post is there to help.

Maybe that's why AT&T Wants to Reach Out and Control You - just in case the Internet really does make any difference. (via)

And, while it does, the full shortlist of Koufax Award nominees is now up at Wampum.

15:49 GMT

The big heist

We were all stunned that Bush actually took a question from Helen Thomas today. "You're going to be sorry," she said, before asking the question everyone in Washington should have been asking for the last three years:

I'd like to ask you, Mr. President, your decision to invade Iraq has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans and Iraqis, wounds of Americans and Iraqis for a lifetime. Every reason given, publicly at least, has turned out not to be true. My question is, why did you really want to go to war? From the moment you stepped into the White House, from your Cabinet -- your Cabinet officers, intelligence people, and so forth -- what was your real reason? You have said it wasn't oil -- quest for oil, it hasn't been Israel, or anything else. What was it?
In response, Bush trotted out familiar lies, starting with the claim that he didn't want to go to war, and of course following up with his big favorite:
My attitude about the defense of this country changed on September the 11th. We -- when we got attacked, I vowed then and there to use every asset at my disposal to protect the American people.
Damn, I thought protecting the American people was what all that "oath of office" stuff more than seven months earlier had been about. Oh, no, wait - that was the Constitution he was sworn to protect. Hm, I wonder what could happen to make him start doing that.

Well, in other words, Bush didn't answer the question. So maybe someone else can....

"Clear and Present Dangers", Alan Brinkley's review of American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century by Kevin Phillips, is scary and contains some important warnings, but also this:

Less widely reported, but to Phillips far more meaningful, was the immediate posting of troops around the Iraqi Oil Ministry, which held the maps and charts that were the key to effective oil production. Phillips fully supports an explanation of the Iraq war that the Bush administration dismisses as conspiracy theory that its principal purpose was to secure vast oil reserves that would enable the United States to control production and to lower prices.
But Greg Palast, who agrees that oil is central to the reason for the invasion, has a somewhat different view of the goal:
Bush Didn't Bungle Iraq, You Fools: The Mission Was Indeed Accomplished

"It's about oil," Robert Ebel told me. Who is Ebel? Formerly the CIA's top oil analyst, he was sent by the Pentagon, about a month before the invasion, to a secret confab in London with Saddam's former oil minister to finalize the plans for "liberating" Iraq's oil industry. In London, Bush's emissary Ebel also instructed Ibrahim Bahr al-Ulum, the man the Pentagon would choose as post-OIF oil minister for Iraq, on the correct method of disposing Iraq's crude.

And what did the USA want Iraq to do with Iraq's oil? The answer will surprise many of you: and it is uglier, more twisted, devilish and devious than anything imagined by the most conspiracy-addicted blogger. The answer can be found in a 323-page plan for Iraq's oil secretly drafted by the State Department. Our team got a hold of a copy; how, doesn't matter. The key thing is what's inside this thick Bush diktat: a directive to Iraqis to maintain a state oil company that will "enhance its relationship with OPEC."

Enhance its relationship with OPEC??? How strange: the government of the United States ordering Iraq to support the very OPEC oil cartel which is strangling our nation with outrageously high prices for crude.

Specifically, the system ordered up by the Bush cabal would keep a lid on Iraq's oil production -- limiting Iraq's oil pumping to the tight quota set by Saudi Arabia and the OPEC cartel.

There you have it. Yes, Bush went in for the oil -- not to get more of Iraq's oil, but to prevent Iraq producing too much of it.

This actually makes more sense to me in terms of the way the oilcrats think. They want to get rid of the middle class, and cheap oil wouldn't suit their purposes, would it? But I'm sure they want to hoard a bit for themselves, too.

00:29 GMT

Tuesday, 21 March 2006

Crawlin' the web

Last night's topic: Is Bush the worst president ever - or at least worse than Reagan? Mark Schmitt, Josh Marshall, Atrios, and Tom (of CorrenteWire) all kick it around.

Another interview from your Talking Dog: On March 11, 2006, an explosive letter appeared in Britain's prestigious medical journal, The Lancet, decrying the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, and in particular, the practice of force-feeding hunger-striking detainees. Dr. David Nicholl, a neurologist based in Birmingham, England, and a human rights activist, was the lead signatory to that letter, which was signed by over 250 physicians from throughout the world. Subsequently, Dr. Nicholl was interviewed by the BBC, by Britain's Channel 4, and by CNN.

Terry Jones says that God has lost faith in Blair.

Dkos poll - vote for "Other" so they know you mean Gore.

The ages of the victims are in Arabic numerals.

Garden gnomes on the run from tax assessor.

Architecture by Mixmaster

15:23 GMT

It must be spring!

Get a load of the cover for the April issue of The American Prospect. Yep, Ezra gets the cover story with his name on the front and everything.

I'm not sure I approve of this title, though; I don't recall an old new Gore, so I don't get the point of having two "new"s there - it was different when it was "the new new Nixon", since he was new more than once. So even if you believe that there was an old Gore who was boring and stiff and this passionate guy is a new thing, I think "The New Al Gore" would have been a more accurate title.

But never mind that, let's get on down to it:

The New New Gore

Here's the scenario: Hillary Clinton continues rolling forward, amassing establishment support and locking down the large donors. Anti-Hillary voters prove unable to coalesce around a single champion, so Clinton is able to suck up all the oxygen but, as with most faits accomplis, attracts little genuine enthusiasm. At the same time, her hawkishness and ostentatious moderation sparks widespread disillusionment among the online activist community. Inevitably, the liberal wing of the party begins calling for a Bigfoot of its own to enter the primary, and the obvious prospect is Gore., which already exists, amplifies the drumbeat, collecting pledges and holding events. The press corps, sensing a Godzilla vs. King Kong battle, begins covering the events. As Marty Peretz, publisher of The New Republic and a longtime friend of Gore, says, "if he were to find that there was some groundswell for him, I think it would be hard to resist."

But not impossible. Long-standing associates of Gore's say his appetite for a second campaign seems to depend, at least partially, on whether he judges it an issue-based endeavor that allows him to continue speaking out on matters of substance or just another round of dodging media-narratives and churlish characterizations. If Gore's experiments in disintermediation pan out, the 2008 campaign may prove a very different undertaking from 2000's.

Whatever Al Gore does, I think he's still the closest thing we have to a leader. Remember, Feingold's censure motion came after Gore's speech at Constitution Hall.

(Whether he runs or not, I still want to talk to Al Gore. I want to talk to him about global warming. I want him to convince me that there is anything to be done. Because right now I'm just hoping I'll die before we're all submerged. And, frankly, I expect it to look a lot more like the Somersea than like New Galveston.)

02:59 GMT

Monday, 20 March 2006

Chris Tame

Chris Tame died around three this afternoon, surrounded by friends. We will all miss his enormous energy, his willingness to help wherever necessary, and his ability to make it easy to join in with the work.

And I will miss his friendship and having him to argue politics with. His death is an enormous loss to the entire civil liberties community.

21:24 GMT

Watching the defectives

Economist's View has Krugman - last week's piece on John McCain, "The Right's Man", and today's "Bogus Bush Bashing": So what's left? Well, it's safe for conservatives to criticize Mr. Bush for presiding over runaway growth in domestic spending, because that implies that he betrayed his conservative supporters. There's only one problem ... it's not true. No, it's Bush's tax cuts for the rich and his insane invasion of Iraq that have made all the difference. That and the incredible corruption that goes with it all.

"How to spot a baby conservative" - a longitudinal study shows that the "whiny, insecure kid in nursery school, the one who always thought everyone was out to get him, and was always running to the teacher with complaints" grew up to be a conservative," while "confident kids turned out liberal and were still hanging loose, turning into bright, non-conforming adults with wide interests," confirming similar results from another study a few years ago. Via Suburban Guerrilla.

Right-wing values - way out of the mainstream.

Next time some right-wing jerk tries to mau-mau you about the "corruption" of Kofi Anan in the Oil For Food scandal, remind him that since the "grown-ups" have been in charge, what we've had is a Free Fraud Zone. And not just in Iraq - take a look at the Katrina clean-up (via).

18:41 GMT

Today's reminders

Happy Nowruz - the Zorastrian holiday of the spring equinox also marks the start of the Persian new year.

Do remember you can get permanently blog-friendly links to articles in the NYT at the NYT Link Generator. If you click on a decayed link at the NYT and it tells you it wants money to access the article, just patch into the link generator to get a useable link. If you're blogging an NYT article, use the link from the generator instead of the regular link.

Why you drive me crazy: "Faze" doesn't mean "phase", "mute" doesn't mean "moot", "tact" doesn't mean "tack" (and it's "intact", not "in tact"). Add your favorites.

17:10 GMT

Better late than never

Playtex: Enchant balconette bra D+ Bra of the Week

Isn't it funny that wherever Bush goes, there seem to be fake Secret Service agents? This is completely illegal, but Lambert notes that it seems to be people who are actually part of the Bush operation.

Another great post from Digby, called, appropriately, "Don't Make Trouble. (You know the old joke, right?) Eleanor Clift has penned a column that she clearly wrote while half in the bag after playing spin the Jameson's with Chris Matthews and John McLaughlin at Bob Shrum's St Paddy's Day bash. A bigger puddle of misguided conventional wisdom I have not seen in quite some time. So, I guess Clift isn't watching The Daily Show. (Maybe you could write and beg them to watch that video. Or at least read this. Pelosi certainly needs some remedial help. And more here.)

Watch the video of ReddHedd from Firedoglake in her appearance on Washington Journal.

I see from comments and mail (Hi, Neil) that people want the point stressed that Tokyo Rose was not a traitor, so here are your TY links:
Who was Tokyo Rose?
Wikipedia - Tokyo Rose
Iva Ikuko Toguri D'Aquino
How did WWII propaganda broadcaster Tokyo Rose get info on Allied ship movements?

Silly Season quiz, via Biomes Blog, where we also find all these cool mazes in the maize. And a test to find out how fast you read.

13:16 GMT

Sunday, 19 March 2006


Rittenhouse Review alerts us that Arlen Specter has declared his priorities in a letter to The Philadelphia Enquirer: Sen. Santorum's reelection is my top priority in 2006. Nice to know he's not letting, oh, the future of our nation or anything trivial like that cloud his vision.

17:17 GMT

What the papers say

We're torturers, on purpose. Okay, you already know that, but let's not forget that the United States of America, under the Bush administration, has been doing this - and that all those conservatives have been defending him. And, um, why was it, again, that it was so important to get rid of Saddam Hussein?

Unsurprisingly, the legislative feint at repairing the damaged pension system is failing, for all the reasons we've come to expect in the last five years: As a result, the bill now being completed in a House-Senate conference committee, rather than strengthening the pension system, would actually weaken it, according to a little-noticed analysis by the government's pension agency. The agency's report projects that the House and Senate bills would lower corporate contributions to the already underfinanced pension system by $140 billion to $160 billion in the next three years.

I seem to have missed that story in The Washington Post, so let's return to our tradition:

Today's OmbudsHowl is really kind of hilarious, in a grim and dismal kind of way. There's no indication it came from reader complaints, being yet more navel-gazing about the decline of newspaper readership - and yet, that could hardly be more of a reader complaint. And there are some good quotes from people explaining the obvious reason that people have stopped reading: because the paper doesn't actually address readers' concerns, being mostly addressed to other journalists. Alas, we end up with a lot of market-speak that jumps past the rather significant issue of whether the papers really report the news.

You Call This a Protest? WaPo readers smartly spank the paper in letters complaining about coverage for a paltry protest of 17 women who responded to Ann Coulter's call for a demonstration against The Vagina Monologues.

The Washington Times, Sun Myung Moon's money-losing cheat-sheet, says that Democrats are planning to campaign. Really, it doesn't say much more than that. I hope it's true, though.

Hm, someone at AP noticed that Bush uses straw-man arguments when he says things like, "There are some really decent people who believe that the federal government ought to be the decider of health care ... for all people." Welcome to the world, guys.

The Observer reports that head cop Sir Ian Blair has been cleared over the murder of Jean Charles de Menezes on the grounds that he didn't know what he should have known. Is that it? Are we ever going to talk about why the killing never should have happened?

In the Telegraph, more corruption at No. 10: Evidence linking Tony Blair personally to the £14 million "loans for peerages" scandal engulfing Labour can be revealed today.

14:47 GMT


Those of you who can be in Hartford today are planning to demonstrate at Lieberman's office today, yeah?

Boing Boing reports that Marvel and DC Comics are filing for joint ownership of the term "super-hero". Just leaving aside the fact that the term has been in common usage since I was a little girl (before you were born, kiddies), I'm boggled at the very idea that two separate, competing companies can both own the same trademark. Cory Doctorow's recommendation: from now on, let's never use the term "super-hero" to describe a Marvel character. Let's call them "underwear perverts" -- as Warren Ellis is wont to -- or vigilantes, or mutants. Let's reserve the term "super-hero" exclusively to describe the heros of comics published by companies that aren't crooked word-thieves.. (Thanks to Dominic (of) for the tip.)

From Ostroy, Novak Sees Gore as the Only Threat to Hillary, and "cites Democratic insiders who say Al Gore is likely to make another run for the White House in 2008, saying the former veep's online fundraising power could amass a greater warchest than that of the Sen. Hillary Clinton, the party's presumptive front-runner."

Christianist painter Kinkade urinates on Winnie the Pooh figure while drunk. (I'd have posted it earlier, but I think it got lost in a browser-crash.)

I forgot to include the wonderful quote about Jane Fonda in the Stupid News. Never forget that Republicans aren't just dumb enough to say things this stupid, they're even dumb enough to elect people who say things this stupid: "She is as guilty of treason as Benedict Arnold and Tokyo Rose." And a quick google shows that they are even dumb enough to blog that quote approvingly.

12:10 GMT

Stupid news

From Thursday's Metro:

Support for road tolls 'is declining'

The number of motorists willing to pay to travel on Britain's roads is falling, a survey out today reveals. More than one in four drivers were willing to pay to use city centre roads in 2002, but that figure fell to just 36 per cent in 2005, a study for the RAC said.

So, I guess numeracy really isn't necessary anymore.

From the back page of the Sat-Sun edition of the IHT, in its entirety:

Dublin: Millions around the globe celebrated St. Patrick's Day on Friday. (AFP)
And they had to get a French report to find that out?

02:43 GMT


Jane Hamsher has a nicely wrapped package of reasons to get rid of Joe Lieberman - and vote for Ned Lamont. And on this Sunday, the third anniversary of the horrendous war Joe Lieberman got us into, there will be a demonstration outside of Lieberman's office.

Mike's Round Up at C&L has a good set of links.

Faith-Based Idiocy

Republicans are actually trying to make some amends on the drug benefit bill. Dems should be sure and remind people who voted for it and how it passed.

38 years after My Lai, what are the Lessons Learned?

00:52 GMT

Saturday, 18 March 2006


Think Progress: Among the most vocal supporters of the FOIA bill in 1966? Freshman congressman Donald Rumsfeld of Illinois, an original co-sponsor of the legislation. [...] Somewhere along the line, Rumsfeld became what he fought against in 1966: a government official with "a vested interest in the machinery of their agencies and bureaus" who resent "any attempt to oversee their activities, either by the public, the Congress or appointed department heads."

At The Reaction, The (liberal) Girl Next Door wonders, "When is it time to panic?"

Yeah, I just can't get enough of all that good news about Iraq. You say they painted a school? Well, that makes up for everything!

Greg at The Talent Show points out that more Americans agree with us wild-eyed bloggers than with the fog-headed cowards inside the Beltway, and has a good wail about how DC Dems need to get some 'nads. (And, my, that's an interesting ad.)

Quick! Vote while the black people are gone.

Lance Mannion dissects some Right to Life tropes.

Shakespeare's Sister reports on The War Against Christians conference - no, really.

The difference between them.

I was curious to see what the Bull Moose had to say about the Jihad Against Liberalism until I realized that, as usual, he'd missed the mote in his own eye. (via)

11:51 GMT

Stops on the Infobahn

In The American Prospect, Michael Tomasky interviews Sherrod Brown: I will run a race that you will know from the moment you cover it is a progressive campaign. I never run from the term liberal, but I look at it. To me, there's a major distinction between the terms liberal and progressive and that's why I call myself a progressive. A liberal is someone who supports LIHEAP programs because indigent seniors need help with their home heating bills. A progressive is someone who supports LIHEAP programs to challenge the power companies, and who thinks that sometimes the energy companies are price gouging. A liberal is someone who wants a good Medicare prescription drug benefit, better than the one we have, that really helps seniors and subsidizes seniors' prescription drugs, but a progressive is someone who supports those same programs but also wants to challenge the power of the drug and insurance industries. And that's how you will see my campaign this year as it unfolds -- a very populist kind of campaign.

46 Republicans just voted to privatize Social Security - and every single Democrat, with seven Republicans, voted against it, thank goodness.

Ah, this is more like the Evan Bayh I know and loathe: How exactly does Bayh plan to be the big national security badass? By changing the law so that the President's illegal actions are made legal? Wow you are one tough hombre, Evan.

It still really ticks me off that someone tried to assassinate two US Senators and nothing has really happened. Never been sure about this theory, but every now and then I like to remind people that while this was happening, John Ashcroft was out chasing hookers and pot-smokers. (via)

If you haven't listened to "Habeas Schmabeas" yet, go over to This American Life and take the time to hear it out. You'll even learn a few things you didn't know.

What is Michael Kinsley smoking? How many times does he have to be told that single-payer doesn't prohibit private health care? Neither did "Hillarycare". Hell, even I have been to Harley Street, and we have fully "socialized" healthcare over here, not even single-payer.

Is there really anyone left who thinks we're being paranoid when we say the Republicans want to ban birth control? In Missouri, they're working on it: Yesterday, during debate on HB1010, the budget for the Departments of Health and Mental Health, House Republicans voted to ban county health clinics from providing family planning services.

Let me get this straight - right wingers think "the left" should praise Bush for being a big-spending mismanager so that the right-wingers will see how wrong they are to like Bush? That's a good one.

They ask, we ask: was it worse under Saddam? Kidnappings, power cuts, sectarian hatred, medical shortages, petrol queues, intimidation of women and a mass exodus of talent: all part of life in the new Iraq.

Via Mia Culpa, one of my favorite bits from SNL when it was good - Lily Tomlin as Ernestine.

00:17 GMT

Friday, 17 March 2006

On the field

We've been watching the reviews for V for Vendetta with interest. They've been pretty mixed, so we were particularly alert when Jonathan Ross gave his verdict. Ross likes science fiction and reads comics - and is a big fan of Alan Moore - so when he gives an sf-related movie the thumbs-down, it's not the usual confusion reviewers who don't understand the genre suffer from. And he hated the movie. Then again, Rachel Maddow loved it, but then I don't suppose she's ever read the comic, so I assume it's the politics that made her love it. There are other people who hate the movie on political grounds, and Atrios has some words for them. (Disclosure: We used to hang out at the pub with Alan. And I have an original V for Vendetta T-shirt, ordered from the original black & white comic when it first came out.)

I was just jumping from link to link earlier and ran into this 1999 wedding announcement: Emma Gilbey, an author and journalist, was married yesterday to Bill Keller, the managing editor of The New York Times. The Rev. Robert J. Kennedy performed the ceremony at the Holy Name of Jesus Roman Catholic Church in Manhattan. [...] Mr. Keller, 50, graduated from Pomona College. He is the son of Adelaide and George M. Keller of San Mateo, Calif. The bridegroom's father retired as the chairman and chief executive of the Chevron Corporation in San Francisco. Oh, I see!

Even Andrew Sullivan is now acknowledging that all that's left of "conservatism" is hatred of the left - and he thinks Bush's low poll numbers are only going to make it worse: My gut predicts a huge swing against the GOP this fall. So watch out for the anti-left hate and hysteria from Republicans. It's coming. It's all they've got left. We saw this going all the way back to the Selection in 2000, with even the threat/fear that if Democrats stand up for the law, the right-wing will present us with armed insurrection. Sullivan thinks Feingold's censure motion is a gift to the right, of course (he still has Inside-the-Beltway Disease), but at least now he's seeing what "conservatism" is all about, these days. (Although I would argue that that's really all conservatives ever really had. Even the whole anti-tax thing is about not being able to fund liberal programs. They never objected to taxation per se. After all, how are you going to pay for all those cops and wars?)

Brad DeLong (via) has a fascinating post on how even Peggy Noonan has started to realize Bush has been lying not just to us, but to them. Of course, Noonan can't escape the silly habit of assuming that over-spending is some sort of "liberalism", but I suppose that's to be expected - "liberal" is the epithet that conservatives use for anyone they don't like.

Did George Clooney blog? I don't think so, and neither does Elayne.

Right now I'm a bit distracted because my friend Chris, after about a year of doing everything he could think of to fight the fastest case of bone cancer I've ever heard of, finally gave up the other day and agreed to take the heroin. I expect he'll be gone by tonight or some time tomorrow. In honor of the occasion: It's Not Gonna Be OK. (via)

15:16 GMT

Thursday, 16 March 2006

Lows and highs

What the hell is this? The NYT has a headline: Call for Censure Is Rallying Cry to Bush's Base. Is it? Who knows? And who cares? I mean, Bush's base is getting mighty small these days. And why wasn't this the sort of headline we got during the Clinton impeachment, when people who didn't even like the President (i.e., me) felt compelled to defend him against the onslaught of phony charges? In those days, only the people who are now called "Bush's Base" were interested in impeaching Clinton, while two-thirds of Americans opposed it. Right now a significant majority of Americans think Bush's illegal activities (as well as his manifest failures) should be investigated, and I see that is not a headline in The New York Times. Mary at The Left Coaster, Digby, and John Aravosis at Americablog all have comments on that. Meanwhile, isn't it interesting that the press has worked so hard to downplay the fact that Feingold is not all on his own and that he does have some Democratic support.

Subject: "Call for Censure Is Rallying Cry to Bush's Base"


I note with interest David D. Kirkpatrick's article warning that Senator Russ Feingold's motion for censure of George W. Bush's illegal activities is rallying hard-core Bush supporters. But with Mr. Bush's popularity now at 33%, surely this is not the real story.

I look forward to the headline that reflects the views of a majority of Americans - perhaps, "Most want investigations of administration law-breaking, incompetence."

In other news: Atrios says Hillary & Friends have offered up a "We're moderate on abortion" amendment that is, in fact, moderate (that is, liberal, pro-choice, etc.), and will have no impact whatsoever.

More White House law-breaking at Raw Story: Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) has alleged in a letter to White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card that President Bush signed a version of the Budget Reconciliation Act that, in effect, did not pass the House of Representatives. Further, Waxman says there is reason to believe that the Speaker of the House called President Bush before he signed the law, and alerted him that the version he was about to sign differed from the one that actually passed the House. If true, this would put the President in willful violation of the U.S. Constitution.

The Mule visited some old people in Silver Spring yesterday to tell them how wonderful his Medicare program is. Apparently, some video clips have been withheld from the public, but they're still in the transcripts. But, I gather, it kind of loses a lot in the text - all the fumbling when he got hit with smarter questions than his usual audience supplies.

Some real video gems from Crooks and Liars (of course): Paul Hackett's wonderful bit on The Daily Show - If the Democrats get their act together, this'll be why. James Spader's courtroom speech from Boston Legal is kind of gratifying, too. And Keith Olbermann turns out to be even quicker than you thought during his interview on The Colbert Report.

13:31 GMT

From the Bizarro Bible

Nice one from Whistler Blue in comments:

All you need to know about the Pharisee wing of the religious right came between the fall of 2004 and the spring of 2005. They came out in droves to "vote their faith" against gays (something Christ never got around to addressing, and that is arguably absent from the entire New Testament).

But when that abomination of a bankruptcy bill came along a few months later, they happily sat on their hands so as not to disturb it -- despite a far more important biblical precedent, historical church bans on usury, and the fact that bankruptcy destroys more families than any "activist judge" in Massachusetts could dream of.

It's as if they think Christ went into the Temple and angrily preached "personal responsibility" to the moneyborrowers.

11:30 GMT

Wednesday, 15 March 2006

A whole buncha links

"Al Gore Still the Most Electable Democrat" - There's only one candidate who has the political capital and overall gravitas to not only win a showdown with Clinton, but to win the big prize as well.

George's excellent sleepover.

"Oh Lord! Osama In Lodi, Again."

David Horowitz answers Roy's question: "Instead of trying to legislate conservative quotas at colleges, why don't rightwing critics of socialist Harvard, Yale, Columbia etc. just build their new Jerusalem at existing Bible schools like Bob Jones and Liberty University?"

Have you ever seen Robocop? It's one of my favorite movies. This is how it starts. (via)

Everything you needed to know about what people mean by "religious sensitivity" is right here - sure, when it's your religion. (Jeez, does Hayes think the rest of us never got our oxes gored by those guys? They blew up Janeane's head!)

And Steve Gilliard has a really really really good point about this religious stuff.

What I wanna know is, who puts these crackpots on TV? It's one thing when they have their own TV stations, but that's really no finer credential than, say, having your own blog. And most bloggers aren't as crazy as they are.

Skippy has some verbal karate, and a suggestion. (And you can read this, just in case I haven't mentioned it enough. And Bill Scher says it's not enough to only pick on Feinstein. Hmph, I see that even one of my Senators is on the list. So is Ted Kennedy. Tsk!)

The antidote to networking (Thanks to Neil Rest for the tip.)

Someone posted the clever little Simpson's promo up at YouTube. Via Epicycle, where I also learned of EFF's help page for people who were victims of the evil Sony root-kit CDs, and a resource for debugging your TV or VCR. Oh, and the Top 10 Strangest Lego Creations!

19:59 GMT


Digby has a great piece on Feingold's censure motion and the news that Donna Brazile actually has said in Roll Call, "Don't Ignore the Feingold Resolution. Embrace It." Now that is a sea-change.

At Daily Kos, mcjoan has put it all together for your Dem reps - now all you have to do is send it to them. (via)

You might also want to tell news organizations that it's time to do censure polls - just like they did with Clinton.

And another thing - Can it really be true that the Senate Democrats actually approve of Bush more than the American public does? Maybe we should take a poll!

Meanwhile, do thank Senator Feingold, won't you?

I can't watch The Sopranos anymore, it's too much like real life.

14:17 GMT

The Afterlife Insurance thread (cont'd)

I am entertained by the fact that atheists yell at me for being a goddamn Christian and Christians yell at me for being a goddamn atheist, despite the fact that in "Faithless" the only time I referred to "we" I specified in that group unbelievers, Christian believers, and unspecified believers.

I don't usually talk about what I believe, or if I believe, because I don't actually think it matters. There've been times in my life when I believed and times when I didn't, and no matter whether or not I believed in the irrational (yes, of course it's irrational - that's why they call it "faith"), I always had the same values. And, basically, I am happy to respect your beliefs if they are consistent with my values, and I am just as comfortable with sneering at you and Viewing With Alarm if you have values that I think are scummy.

In case anyone's wondering where all this sudden stuff on religion started, it's about the amazing Brownback, a politician from Hell itself.

Note to The Green Knight: I wasn't replying to Atrios (who I agree with); I was responding to Waldman, whose statement offended me. (More from Shakespeare's Sister on liberals and religion.)

03:11 GMT

Tuesday, 14 March 2006

Have a cuppa

Boy, I'm getting really sick of dentistry.

Mr. Sideshow was just on the phone with Roz Kaveney and he says they were talking about a Batman story that everyone thought had just too ludicrous a premise at the time it came out - No Man's Land, about what happens to Gotham after a major disaster hits it and the government just doesn't bother with rescue operations, and people with guns stand on the bridges preventing folks from evacuating. Readers just couldn't accept the premise - no one believed the United States government would ever abandon an American city to lawlessness.

Note: The "Duncan" who posts comments here is not Atrios (Duncan Black). He doesn't write like Atrios, and Atrios already has a Haloscan identity as "Atrios".

Chris Bowers is good on the "electability" issue - just don't engage it. Via The Liquid List.

A couple of good recommendations from Scott Lemieux:
- Why The Health Exemption Matters: As I discussed last week, most "centrist" discussion of abortion regulation ignores the complex legal issues involved. Roe v. Wade, after all, allows the state to proscribe post-viability abortions; it simply requires the state to allow doctors to perform abortions in cases where a woman's health is at risk. Mary Beth Williams explains why this is important (indeed, in many ways the more important issue that the lack of a rape/incest exemption).
- Destroying the "But Everyone Thought Saddam Had WMDs, So the War Was Justified" Argument: Sick of arguments to the effect that anyone claiming that Bush was less than fully candid in making the case for a disastrous war must be arguing in bad faith? It's your lucky day, because Matthew Bargainer has the antidote.

The Brad Blog has clips from the ACLU's movie on disenfranchisement. And it's good to know Bill Richardson has signed a new voting bill in New Mexico, given what we saw last time.

Yeah, I've always wondered myself about whatever happened to those tons of explosives that disappeared because, "Free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things."

21:02 GMT

Morning notes

Atrios recommends this "righteous rant" from Matt Stoller on Lieberman, abortion, and Beltway insiders - and so do I. For more, Atrios offers an old-fashioned computer game. (But also, read Matt on Hillary Clinton.)

Al Gore spoke at the scene of a crime Sunday, and warned us not to take anything for granted. That's not enough for pessimist at The Left Coaster, though.

Also at TLC, Duckman is pretty disgusted with Lieberman (well, who isn't?), especially after this look at the company he keeps. Oh, and Zell Miller and Donna Brazile, too! Explains a lot.

And more from Steve Soto on Democratic presidential positioning, with a surprising thing about the guy who has previously shown no sign of being a real successor to Birch Bayh: Indiana Senator Evan Bayh will be speaking to Georgia Democrats this week on how the party can win national elections in red states, namely by holding onto its base and reaching out to independent voters and "reasonable Republicans", instead of the DLC method of basing your campaign on the independents and assuming the support of your base because they have nowhere else to go. Bayh will also be advising against appearing to speak down to people and looking elitist, while speaking credibly on national security and being sensitive to moral issues. Well, that sounds downright sensible. And I'm with Steve, of course, on thinking Gore/Clark doesn't sound too bad at all.

Hm, the latest Zogby poll has a new question: "Are you proud or ashamed to have George W. Bush as President of the United States?"

11:42 GMT

Choice cuts

Don't forget to call your Senators and ask them if they plan to support Russ Feingold's motion to censure Bush. If their offices say anything but, "Yes," encourage them to do so.

And Dianne Feinstein - where is she now? A good question from Busy, Busy, Busy, which also has a Shorter Amy Sullivan

Part I and Part II of the Truthdig interview with Gore Vidal: I wish the word terrorist would be erased from our language. All meaning has been pumped out of it by our rulers and their media, who wish to demonize everyone or -thing they dislike starting with Us The People.

Chris Floyd explains how it works when the gloves come off.

I just got spam from "Orwellian F. Fruits."

02:36 GMT

Monday, 13 March 2006

Weblog sampler

Via Lis Riba, who has a bunch of 'em.

The perfect GOP logo (via)

I was hoping Crooks and Liars would come up with a clip of Sandra Day O'Connor's speech, but no luck there - though there is a clip from Olbermann's show about it, and a transcription. (I haven't said much about it myself because my principle reaction to this apparent buyer's remorse involves a lot of spluttering and screeching and What the hell did you think it was about when this guy went to court to stop the votes from being counted, you idiot?!?!?!?!)

Josh Marshall is reminded that, with this crowd, you have to be careful about using "killed" metaphorically.

Jim Macdonald is finding our government a bit bizarre. John M. Ford is in space.

Gosh, a a whole blog about the Enron case. Via Skimble, natch.

So, now we know: Jerome Doolittle tells us what kind of people are left in Cheney's 18%.

"Uncaged Heat" - a news item from The Daily Show that really makes ya think.

I like the Google logo today. I clicked and found this.

22:01 GMT



I'm so sick of this crap. Is there a Republican talking point that our notional allies won't perpetuate without evidence?
He's referring to this at Political Animal:
I had been making a narrower point - that many liberals carry an elitist attitude toward evangelical Christians. Lerner's indictment is far more sweeping. Is he being unfair? I think a distinction should be made between the elites and the rank and file on this. The fact is that most Democrats are religious. But secular liberals, who made up about 16% of the Kerry vote (more stats here) seem to have a disproportionate impact on the party's image and approach.
Of course they do; conservatives have worked since time immemorial to cast those to their left as "godless". First we were godless commies, and now we're more recent variations on godlessness, but of course this is bollocks, as anyone with even a vague memory of the civil rights movement can still recall. You remember? Rev. Martin Luther King? The radical Jesuits? Meetings in Churches? (And not just black churches, I'll remind you.)

The fact is that for a while there the religiosity of the left, and the moral high-ground that came with it, so overwhelmed the right wing that they obviously had to grab it back, and they've done so with a vengeance.

But yes, of course the left - and the Democratic Party - is the territory that's safe for unbelievers and for those who don't believe in the iconic Baby Jesus (the one who is a content-free symbol), or who do believe in the (fairly socialistic) teachings of Jesus in the Gospels. The right wing is hostile territory for such people, so why wouldn't we inhabit the left instead?

The right-wingers want you to forget that the '60s they hate so much were very much a time of spirituality and that our political leadership was full of religious leaders.

But most of all they want you to forget that "secularism" as a feature of the political landscape isn't about spirituality - religion - at all, it's about the construction of law, and mixing overt religious demands and law easily becomes one of the most anti-spiritual and downright evil forces you can impose on the polity.

The "religious" right (which contains a hefty percentage of atheists, too, but they won't admit it) isn't interested in freedom to believe at all, they just want to impose their own disgusting and perverted exploitation of "Christianity" on the rest of us, which means they want to stamp out a lot of honest Christian believers who just don't happen to share their version of "Christianity". The loaves-and-fishes types just don't get a terribly warm reception from folks whose favorite parts of the Bible are those little-known verses about birth control and abortion.

Liberals aren't hostile to Evangelical Christians, we're hostile to evangelical dirtbags who spread hate and division. "Secular liberal" doesn't mean "atheist", and the opposite of "secular liberal" is not "religious", let alone "Evangelical Christian"; the opposite of "secular liberal" is "theocrat", and that's a very different thing.

But then, conservatives always lie about what they stand for. They aren't fiscally conservative or Constitutionalists, and they aren't for limited government, either. Nor are they for free trade (in fact, with the tiny exception of a few libertarians who haven't figured it out, yet, no one is really for free trade), and they are absolutely not pro-life. They're about material power for themselves; they don't care about your soul.

Update: Digby and tristero for more.

16:51 GMT

Open windows

Lepel: Primrose full cupBra of the Week - Not the sort of thing I'd buy, but it is remarkably sheer (which is kind of undercut by all those seams) and comparatively inexpensive, and it comes in some unusual sizes, which is nice for the people in those sizes.

300,000 Marched in Chicago Friday. Why Doesn't Anyone Know? (via)

Roger Ailes (the good one) is shocked! shocked! to find bigots at The Washington Times.

Maybe national security would be better if you couldn't track CIA operatives on the Internet. Oh, but maybe you can't, and maybe it would just be better if the White House didn't blow their cover. (via)

The World's Angriest Hummingbird

Dan Gillmor points out that AT&T has a monopoly on pay phones at PXs in Iraq and Afghanistan and they are price-gouging the troops as a result.

James Wolcott blames John Boorman for frightening right-wing hacks into embracing misogyny.

Cernig plays Spot The Pentagon Story Plant.

Thomas Nephew notes that Jim Hoagland wrote a column with "one of the most damaging quotes I've ever seen out of a White House" - almost a direct translation from the original German.

An hour of radio to commemorate the 30th anniversary of Patti Smith's Horses (Thanks to Karen Babbitch for the tip.)

03:20 GMT

Sunday, 12 March 2006

Assorted news, opinion, and entertainment

Believe it or not, this is really the cover of this week's issue of The Economist.

In comments, D. Potter supplies the link to the NYT article "The Vendetta Behind 'V for Vendetta'" (which comes with trailer and clips).

The NYT also has a piece by Adam Cohen on Jerome and Kos' book, Crashing the Gate, about the Democratic Party and political organizing on the 'net, "Bloggers at the Gates: What Was Good for EBay Should Be Good for Politics": Much of the authors' criticism of the party establishment is dead-on. They rail against political consultants who take 15 percent commissions on media buys while giving bad advice. Via And, yes, I DO take it personally.

Molly Ivins has also had Enough of the D.C. Dems: I don't know about you, but I have had it with the D.C. Democrats, had it with the DLC Democrats, had it with every calculating, equivocating, triangulating, straddling, hair-splitting son of a bitch up there, and that includes Hillary Rodham Clinton. I will not be supporting Senator Clinton because: a) she has no clear stand on the war and b) Terri Schiavo and flag-burning are not issues where you reach out to the other side and try to split the difference. You want to talk about lowering abortion rates through cooperation on sex education and contraception, fine, but don't jack with stuff that is pure rightwing firewater. Sing it, Molly! This is another one of those articles that people should fax to their Dem reps with a note that says: "She speaks for me." (via)

Across the Great Divide finds a tricky bit of phraseology in an article about selective abortion in China.

The WaPo has Dahlia Lithwick on Why Courts Are Adopting Gay Parenting: These legislative bans fly in the face of both necessity and truth. There are 119,000 children waiting to be adopted in this country, about half of them racial and ethnic minorities. There are about 588,000 children in foster care. Legislators -- like a clutch of Ohio Republicans -- pushing bans on gay adoption and fostering must argue that it's better for these children to languish in state custody, or bounce from foster home to foster home, than be raised by gay parents.

If you go here and do a "find" on "Krugman" you can read his "The Conservative Epiphany".

13:22 GMT

Saturday, 11 March 2006

As the frog boils

Just one of an obscene number of things, but so sad: As a young man I was honored to serve our nation as a commissioned officer and helicopter pilot in the U. S. Navy. Before me in WWII, my father defended the country spending two years in the Pacific aboard the U.S.S. Hornet (CV-14). We were patriots sworn "to protect and defend". Today I conclude that you have dishonored our service and the Constitution and principles of our oath. My dad was buried with full military honors so I cannot act for him. But for myself, I return enclosed the symbols of my years of service: the shoulder boards of my rank and my Naval Aviator's wings.

I wish I could feel glee at Bush's political sinkhole, but it's only the result of an endless succession of failures that have been not just his, but ours; he is only here because he has already hurt us so badly. [I agree with the impeachment movement that we need to formally repudiate Bush and Cheney (and Cheney - that part is important, dammit!) for the sake of the country, and we should push the idea as hard as we can even though it is politically infeasible at this time.]

Just when you think things couldn't get stupider, someone comes up with another stupid idea: Put a Pahlavi in charge.

Quiddity wants to know if abortion clinics on reservations is a possibility. I don't know, either, but I would have thought so. (Also: A warning to the missing demographic.)

Oversight by Capitulation by Robert Parry: Despite a dip in his opinion polls, George W. Bush's transformation of the United States into an authoritarian society continues apace, with new "compromises" with Congress actually consolidating his claims to virtually unlimited executive power.

These arguments are always phrased as if they are about the poor, but when you remove the safety nets, almost everyone falls through.

William Howard Taft, Sandra Day O'Conner, and the Grateful Dead on Tom DeLay. OK, not exactly. (Also: local literature at the public convenience, via The Rittenhouse Review.)

15:36 GMT

In one eye

Click on this lovely fridge magnet and you can win one if you show Susie some well-deserved love.

Five towns seek Bush impeachment: Voters in this postcard-perfect town didn't like the resolution asking Rep. Bernie Sanders to start impeachment proceedings against Pres. George Bush. So they made it broader. Via VLWC, where I also found a post about scandalitos.

Colors of Comet Pojmanski

Barry L. Ritholtz has yet more news and data for our collection on how Music Labels Continue to Ignore Basic Economics by pricing themselves out of the market.

Watch the interview with Alan Moore on BBC2's The Culture Show.

Thom Hartmann reviews Stephen Breyers' Active Liberty: Interpreting Our Democratic Constitution.

See the trailer for Robert Greenwald's movie, The Big Buy: How Tom DeLay Stole Congress, or buy the movie, here.

Take action: Demand Better Iraq War Coverage

Building Doc Ock. (Thanks to Dominic (of) for the tip.)

Complaint Department

12:22 GMT

Friday, 10 March 2006


If you thought about skipping Firedoglake today, change your mind, the place is hoppin'. There's the one on the liberal agenda; the one on building the grassroots network; more advice for Jay Rockefeller; focusing on abortion; and a spectacular appearance of the race card - and lazy shif'less welfare cheats.

By the way, guess which Rolls-Royce Republican is the head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee that's responsible for that racist "Fancy-Ford" campaign. And, in related news: Some of our readers from the 51st state may wonder what an IRS tax form actually looks like. Well, it looks remarkably like Liddy Dole's fundraising form! Hey, they really do think people who vote for them are stupid, don't they? (And maybe they're right.)

21:55 GMT


Hm, Swatch It says the Financial Times is doing a free week, and also recommends the delightfully educational Pirates and Emperors. Actually, there's lots of good stuff there; go read.

Hey, I really am black. (via)

Maurinsky's Modest Proposal for the anti-choicers.

Atrios and Alterman both have some good points to make about once and future New Republic on the occasion of its change in editorship. (And Eric recommends Tom Engelhardt's article, "Shark and Awe".)

The Heretik and Lance Mannion both do some important art appreciation. [And now that I think of it, I see no reason why I shouldn't win this award. I mean, who else gives you the Bra of the Week and reminds you that to "conspire" means to breathe together (yes, you, Janeane) and writes all this good stuff and gives you all those links, too? Vote for me! You know it makes sense.]

And speaking of blog-whoring type stuff, if you'd like an idea of the difference between a second-tier blog and a really, really popular blog, take at look at my current hit rate after getting linked last night by both Digby and Atrios (for something, alas, that I only cut-and-pasted rather than wrote) by clicking here and looking at my eXtreme stats (scroll to "Last 20 days"), or here for my Sitemeter stats. (Those are dynamic, so for people finding this post weeks from now, suffice it to say that I'm already three or four times over my normal daily averages - depending on which stat you use - and I'm only about halfway through the day.)

18:47 GMT

"I said, 'Live it, or live with it!'"

People who might be found hanging out with Kevin Drum at Political Animal, like Amy Sullivan, really ought to read Digby's reminder that, "They Mean It" - which is rich enough that I want to quote every word, but I'll just give you a bit of it in hopes that it will force everyone to click on that link, because in truth, everyone needs to absorb this stuff in self-defense:

This development is very interesting in light of the new emphasis on birth control among strategists in the Democratic party. The next battle is already being fought out on the edges of the abortion debate. If this goes the way of Democrats' previous brilliant strategies in the culture wars, within five years we'll have jettisoned our argument about Roe altogether and will be fighting with all our might to preserve Griswold, which the other side will be arguing is a matter of states' rights just like Roe. (No "streamlining" necessary.)
The Republicans and the NRA wore their opposition down over the course of many, many years and they are doing the same thing with abortion. So far, it's working pretty much the same way. And the icing on the cake from the perspective of the Republicans is that every time they wear the Democrats down on these contentious issues, it makes their "Democratic weakness" argument more believable. It's the gift that keeps on giving.

Michael Bérubé discusses this today by reflecting on the wide-spread belief among certain liberals that the anti-abortion people don't really mean it:

My point is that Nader, like all too many men on the left, doesn't believe that the right-wing culture warriors really mean it. They think it's all shadow-boxing, a distraction, a sop thrown to the radical fringe. That same attitude can be found, as I've noted before, in Tom Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas?, where Frank writes, "Values may 'matter most' to voters, but they always take a backseat to the needs of money once the elections are won. This is a basic earmark of the phenomenon, absolutely consistent in across its decades-long history. Abortion is never halted. Affirmative action is never abolished. The culture industry is never forced to clean up its act."

The idea is that an actual abortion ban would go too far: the first back alley death, and the Republican Party is in deep trouble. Well, maybe and maybe not, folks. You might think, along similar lines, "the first hideous death by torture in the War on Terror, and the Republican Party is in deep trouble," or "the first unconstitutional power grab by the executive branch, and the Republican Party is in deep trouble," or "the first data-mining program of domestic spying, and the Republican Party is in deep trouble," or "the first systemic corruption scandal involving Jack Abramoff and Duke Cunningham and Tom DeLay, and the Republican Party is in deep trouble," and you'd be, ah, wrong, you know. Besides, there's a nasty time lag between that first back-alley death and the repeal (if any) of a state's draconian abortion law, and in that time-lag, that state's Republican Party might or might not be in deep trouble. It's hard to unseat incumbents in this jerry-built and gerrymandered system, after all. So there's no guarantee that popular outrage against back-alley deaths would jeopardize a state's elected GOP officials en masse. But we can be pretty sure that women with unwanted pregnancies would be . . . how shall we say? in deep trouble.

They really mean it. This is no bullshit. There is no downside to overturning Roe for them --- and if there is, they don't care. If they want to overturn Griswald, they'll do that too. They fought the gun control fight when people were freaking out over crime in the streets and political assassinations. Conservative absolutists don't give up just because liberals get up-in-arms. They certainly don't care if we think they are shrill.
(And it's worth remembering that they now have some new wedge issues just in case they win - or even lose - on abortion, so they don't have to keep losing on abortion. Like the whole "gay marriage" thing. And, anyway, there's always Diebold. They really only need the religious right to give the appearance of strong support in order to explain away their inexplicable wins at the polls. Look at the way the mass media comfortably assured us that these "values voters" magically appeared to overcome the exit polls themselves, despite the fact that the public still overwhelmingly supports liberal, rather than conservative, values.)

The Democratic Leadership Council theme seems to be that the way to win these fights is to not fight them. Who could come up with such a strategy? Probably people who don't want us to win.

14:57 GMT

Why I love the internet

Atrios has a link up to a good one up at Back to Iraq 3.0 from a real reporter:

Its more than a little churlish to say, We'll take you anywhere, as long as you're not too liberal/French/whatever and then turn around and criticize those you refuse to take with you as cowards. If the situation is so rosy, Mr. Peters, why on earth do I need to embed in the first place? Believe me, Id much rather travel around without a military entourage. You tend to get more truthful answers from Iraqis when they're not surrounded by soldiers with big guns, after all.
It's an important point the right-wingers do seem to miss: If things were really all that good in Iraq, you wouldn't need to be taken anywhere, you could just walk around safely by yourself. But you can't. That's why Peters and all those other good news reporters never tell stories about just casually strolling around Iraq, popping into the markets, stumbling upon a new coffeehouse, etc.

Sitting in at Firedoglake, Scott Lemieux shreds the phony argument that Roe v. Wade was bad jurisprudence. (And don't forget, you can download "Hang on Stevens", the song written in honor of one of our favorite Supreme Court justices, in the fervent hope that he does indeed hang on.)

"If You Lose Music Row, You Lose the South," says Eric Boehlert, noting that the queen and king of Nashville recently slammed Bush for incompetence: Worse for Bush, the McGraw-Hill public flogging comes just days after a Elon University poll revealed a clear majority of voters in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida disapprove or strongly disapprove of Bush's performance in office. Two days later came the stunning poll results published in the Indianapolis Star that showed Hoosiers statewide giving Bush just a 37 job approval rating, down 18 points in one year. In 2004, Bush won Indiana, a longtime Republican bastion akin to the Deep South, by 21 points over John Kerry. (And no, I was not aware that there was a country music couple whose names could be confused with a publishing company.)

Taylor Marsh is also sitting in at Firedoglake at the moment, and has a fun post on the food fight of the right-wing Christianists, as well as something back at her own site on fair and balanced Chris Matthews.

A threat from Kung Fu Monkey. And a link to something from Warren Ellis.

02:45 GMT

Things that wreck my stomach lining

I just watched The Road to Guantanamo. It was harrowing and infuriating. You can click the link and watch it yourself. I'm told people have complained that it "doesn't show both sides." Apparently, the "other side" is 9/11. Somehow, there are those who imagine that invoking 9/11 makes it all okay. Well, it doesn't. 9/11 explains none of this. None of it.

Glenn Greenwald: No matter how strong of an immunity one thinks one has constructed against being shocked and disgusted by the acts of national Democrats, it always turns out that it's never actually strong enough. Angelica at Battle Panda provides A Cheat Sheet for Sen. Rockefeller (via).

The Talking Dog interviews Rick Wilson, "one of the civilian attorneys representing Omar Khadr, a 19-year old Canadian national now detained at Camp 4, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Mr. Khadr was first detained a few months before his 16th birthday, and transferred to Guantanamo Bay shortly after his 16th birthday, and is, as far as anyone is aware, currently the youngest detainee still held there."

Civil discussion of the occupation.

01:19 GMT

Thursday, 09 March 2006

You might want to know

Blogcritics: Despite the efforts of public-health organizations, environmental groups and activist, by a vote of 283 to 139, the US House of Representatives last night passed HR 4167, the National Uniformity for Food Act of 2005. If the measure wins Senate approval and is signed by George Bush, it will in effect nullify any local or state food-safety law that is more stringent than federal regulations. (Teresa: The effect would be to lower the bar on food safety. Federal laws enforcing shellfish safety in Iowa and Arizona are no match for the shellfish safety laws of Maryland.) Might be a good idea to call your Senators' offices about now.

Why is this not being treated as a terrorist event?: It has been pretty widely reported, at this point, that a warehouse associated with The Holocaust History Project (THHP) was deliberately firebombed a few days ago. This is just the latest, if you'll pardon the term, salvo in a pattern of harassment towards THHP and its supporters which includes cyber-attacks via virus/worm/zombie and personal harassment and cyberstalking. (And more from Orcinus.)

Cowboy Kahlil wants some help and advice. Personally, I want to see The American Street continue, but I have no idea what could be causing the technical problems.

23:25 GMT

Freedom on the march

Mark of the Beast news: Woman sues for alleged firing over talk show bumper sticker: A San Diego County woman is suing her former employer, accusing her manager of firing her on the spot when she saw the woman's car had a bumper sticker advertising a progressive talk radio station. The suit also alleges that, after seeing the sticker, the employer commented that the woman could be a member of al-Qaida. [...] The California labor code prohibits employers from controlling or directing the political activities of employees. [...] According to Laroca's suit, the bumper sticker in question read only: "1360 Air America Progressive Talk Radio."

If you own this watch, you are a terrorist. Really, there are people incarcerated at Guantanamo solely because someone decided this ordinary casio LED watch was "an Al Qaeda watch". Of course, many of their jailers wear the same cheap watch.

You know, Olympia Snowe would really deserve it if her constituents started sending her a copy of this article from The Rude Pundit.

From Firedoglake, The Republican Revolution in a Nutshell.

17:53 GMT

Please, not this again

I think it's nice that some Democrats have finally come out and admitted that supporting the invasion of Iraq was a mistake, even though we all know that was obvious a good long time before the invasion actually took place.

But how can you account for some Democrats already falling in line for what looks to be a planned repeat performance in Iran? There's no room for the "We didn't realize how badly they'd screw it up" defense here - if you don't know by now, you shouldn't be allowed out.

And with that fact in mind - not to mention the fact that our troops are now so severely strained that only an idiot can imagine we can afford a war on a third front, well, I sure hope that this time no one will pretend this can be good for Israel.

So, God only knows what possesses Hillary Clinton. Hasn't she seen all this before?

13:45 GMT

Seen on the web

"The Health Care Crisis and What to Do About It" by Paul Krugman and Robin Wells in the NYRB: A Canadian-style single-payer system, in which the government directly provides insurance, would almost surely be both cheaper and more effective than what we now have. And we could do even better if we learned from "integrated" systems, like the Veterans Administration, that directly provide some health care as well as medical insurance.

Strange.... Kevin Drum knows that universal healthcare is a good idea, but he still doesn't get it that the UK's system is actually pretty good, despite being underfunded. Hm.

Roz Kaveney's done a review of George Packer's The Assassins' Gate.

The family of the Colorado teacher who compared some elements in Bush's speeches to Hitler's rhetoric is now receiving death threats. Via The Dees Diversion.

I meant to link to Charles Pierce's article on Joe Klein, "Just Shoot Me", when it first appeared. One of my favorite writers trashing one of my favorite targets - who could ask for more?

"He speaks to the audience as if they're idiots. I think the reason he does that is because that's the way these issues were explained to him." - Graydon Carter (Quoted at Bill Maher's site, via Bartcop. And a nice little poster.)

Save Air America Phoenix.

12:06 GMT

Wednesday, 08 March 2006

A bit of stuff

Ezra says that, for reasons that are obvious in retrospect (and should have been obvious before), charter schools haven't worked out quite the way everyone predicted. It seems that kids who are dong well in public school don't bother to transfer out, and it's actually inferior performers who are voting with their feet. Fancy that.

White person too stupid to apply for absentee ballot, charges taxpayers a helluva lot of money to fly him to his district to vote on election day. I'm sure we'd all like to have that service.

The liberal media responds to annoying people like Tom Paine, Sam Adams, and that Declaration of Independence thing, in "The nattering nabobs of ... patriotism?": Pat Buchanan: John, it's the same mean-spirited attack we've been hearing for decades from places like Boston and Richmond. How much easier it is to call the King's appointees "vain and aspiring" than it is to advance a positive agenda. (via)

Sorry, been a bit under the weather the last couple of days.

23:51 GMT

Open windows

I don't think there's any comparison between the cocooning on the right-wing and the rest of us who are critical of Bush. Right-wingers really do manage to wrap themselves up in totally right-wing media and just plain don't pay attention to anything else. As far as they're concerned, everyone else who loses faith in Bush's program can be dismissed as some kind of loony; no criticism is of legitimate provenance.

From georgia10 at Daily Kos on the decision not to investigate Bush's crimes: "The administration is threatening members of Congress, it is strong-arming them like never before--in short, like a cornered animal it has pulled out every last stop, every last fang and growl to dissuade Congress from investigating this matter. The inference is obvious: the more fervent the desire to cover up, the more heinous the crime."

Responsibility is for later.

South Dakota and Libya: Blood Brothers in Misogyny

The dark side of Barney Fife

11:59 GMT

Tuesday, 07 March 2006


Cursor: The ports issue is called an "out-of-control political problem" for Republicans, but Mike Whitney follows Napoleon's injunction to "look at the map" for "the reason that President Bush continues to force the Dubai port plan."

Oh, god, the drugs have worn off.

19:55 GMT

Notes on a dying republic

Bruce Schneier on "Your vanishing privacy": More and more, we leave a trail of electronic footprints as we go through our daily lives.

Jonathan Dresner sent along a link to The Disgruntled Chemist, who attended a meeting of the Hitler Jungen College Republicans. Scary stuff.

Maybe you've heard some stories about nuclear materials and Iran. Maybe some of what you've heard isn't quite the full story.

You did nothing wrong, you weren't even there, they invaded your home and kidnapped you, and you will be in Guantanamo forever.

It's not like "states' rights" wasn't a sham from the very beginning....

What does "Three 6 Mafia, one" mean? I don't get it.

13:18 GMT

Better late than never

Andres Sarda: Loving Embroidery underwired braMy apologies for the delay in presenting The Bra of the Week. It's way too pricey, but it does look tasty. (Only in the too-small sizes, of course. *sigh*)

Slaktivist get's an education about Filtered Camels: Tony laughed. "Always, always Americans are asking to see this Eye of the Needle gate. There is no such gate. I do not know where this idea comes from."

In comments, Joe Vecchio (of) quotes a Bill Moyers speech from a couple of years ago, This is Your Story - The Progressive Story of America. Pass It On. I think I linked to it at the time, but it's always worth seeing again: In one way or another, this is the oldest story in America: the struggle to determine whether "we, the people" is a spiritual idea embedded in a political reality one nation, indivisible or merely a charade masquerading as piety and manipulated by the powerful and privileged to sustain their own way of life at the expense of others.

Take the Pledge?

George F. Will is lying about poverty programs, I see. Republicans are always pretending that Lyndon Johnson's programs didn't work. That's a lie, of course. Conservatives hated the Great Society programs precisely because they did work - that's why they got rid of them as fast as they could. Now they pretend that those defunct programs are responsible for the poverty we have today. No, they're not. (Digby went after this same meme in a different context earlier.) The invisible subtext of Will's "paradigm shift" is this: Poor people were "just like us" when they were the white people who were victims of the '29 crash; today it's black people, who are born to be poor, and they are not "like us".

Ehrlich proves to be even more of a piece of crap than I guessed, every single day - and my expectations were not high to start with. Katherine Harris - well, she was always a criminal, and does not disappoint in that regard.

I don't suppose we could agree that it's going too far to execute someone for a crime he did not commit. Either that, or we should execute the other people who also knew about 9/11 in perhaps far more detail than Zacarias Moussaoui did - the Bush administration.

Does Numbers 5:23-28 mean what I think it means?

02:33 GMT

Monday, 06 March 2006

Food for thought

Tennessee Guerrilla Women is fast becoming essential. Not only is it a source for those NYT op-eds that are otherwise hidden behind the wall - like Bob Herbert's latest, Nuclear Madness, but there's some local activism, like this call to action on a new piece of anti-choice legislation, and local news on The Dire Problem of Dildos in Tennessee - which was obviously an inspiration to The General himself (and doesn't he have a lovely title strip these days?). And don't miss the whole Case for Impeachment thing, either.

Amanda has another good post on abortion, this time on Saletan's latest attempt to find some aspect of abortion rights that it's okay to give away to placate, um, whoever is supposed to be placated by these giveaways. (That trick never works!) A healthy thread ensues, and I quite liked this comment from Kyra. (via)

I'd say the Indians are just as crazy as we are except that at least with Kali it makes a bizarre sort of sense. Well, at least more sense than killing for Jesus.

There's that scene in Fahrenheit 911 that shows Iraq before the invasion started, happy children and all that, just a nice day in Iraq. And the wingers decried that scene as some sort of dishonest portrayal, some attempt to suggest that life under Saddam was peachy. It wasn't, of course, though it did try to show that there was more than one picture in the story. Isn't it funny how the tables have turned?

23:38 GMT

In the mix

If you must read about the Oscars, read Digby and Wolcott. (Of course, some of us just want to see Clooney's acceptance speech.)

Atrios makes a good contribution to the debates about abortion, birth control, and sex education, but I want to add one thing: I'm not a single-issue voter in the sense that I would vote against someone solely because of their position on abortion even though I thought they were wonderful on every other issue. I've just noticed that people who are anti-abortion aren't very good on other issues. Abortion-as-litmus-test isn't about abortion, it's about everything.

Echidne has also jumped into the abortion snake-pit.

When I first started seeing stuff like this, I pretty much dismissed it all as paranoia, occasionally posting a link for amusement purposes rather than out of any serious disbelief in the official storyline. Now, I just don't know.

I see that in comments, CrazySoph provided a direct link for that Chappatte cartoon I wanted to link to, and it still seems to work.

18:47 GMT

Better than you

CrazySoph directs my attention to "'The Only Moral Abortion is My Abortion': When the Anti-Choice Choose" by Joyce Arthur, which contains stories like this one:

"In 1990, in the Boston area, Operation Rescue and other groups were regularly blockading the clinics, and many of us went every Saturday morning for months to help women and staff get in. As a result, we knew many of the 'antis' by face. One morning, a woman who had been a regular 'sidewalk counselor' went into the clinic with a young woman who looked like she was 16-17, and obviously her daughter. When the mother came out about an hour later, I had to go up and ask her if her daughter's situation had caused her to change her mind. 'I don't expect you to understand my daughter's situation!' she angrily replied. The following Saturday, she was back, pleading with women entering the clinic not to 'murder their babies.'" (Clinic escort, Massachusetts)
And this one:
"We too have seen our share of anti-choice women, ones the counselors usually grit their teeth over. Just last week a woman announced loudly enough for all to hear in the recovery room, that she thought abortion should be illegal. Amazingly, this was her second abortion within the last few months, having gotten pregnant again within a month of the first abortion. The nurse handled it by talking about all the carnage that went on before abortion was legalized and how fortunate she was to be receiving safe, professional care. However, this young woman continued to insist it was wrong and should be made illegal. Finally the nurse said, 'Well, I guess we won't be seeing you here again, not that you're not welcome.' Later on, another patient who had overheard this exchange thanked the nurse for her remarks." (Clinic Administrator, Alberta)
And this one:
"My first encounter with this phenomenon came when I was doing a 2-week follow-up at a family planning clinic. The woman's anti-choice values spoke indirectly through her expression and body language. She told me that she had been offended by the other women in the abortion clinic waiting room because they were using abortion as a form of birth control, but her condom had broken so she had no choice! I had real difficulty not pointing out that she did have a choice, and she had made it! Just like the other women in the waiting room." (Physician, Ontario)
And this:
"I had a 37 year old woman just yesterday who was 13 weeks. She said she and her husband had been discussing this pregnancy for 2-3 months. She was strongly opposed to abortion, 'but my husband is forcing me to do it.' Naturally, I told her that no one could force her into an abortion, and that she had to choose whether the pregnancy or her husband were more important. I told her I only wanted what was best for her, and I would not do the abortion unless she agreed that it was in her best interest. Once she was faced with actually having to voice her own choice, she said 'Well, I made the appointment and I came here, so go ahead and do it. It's what's best.' At last I think she came to grips with the fact that it really was her decision after all." (Physician, Nevada)
There are a lot more. Says Arthur:
Many anti-choice women are convinced that their need for abortion is unique -- not like those "other" women -- even though they have abortions for the same sorts of reasons. Anti-choice women often expect special treatment from clinic staff. Some demand an abortion immediately, wanting to skip important preliminaries such as taking a history or waiting for blood test results. Frequently, anti-abortion women will refuse counseling (such women are generally turned away or referred to an outside counselor because counseling at clinics is mandatory). Some women insist on sneaking in the back door and hiding in a room away from other patients. Others refuse to sit in the waiting room with women they call "sluts" and "trash." Or if they do, they get angry when other patients in the waiting room talk or laugh, because it proves to them that women get abortions casually, for "convenience".
I had clients confess to having marched against abortion, but the women I talked to had had their epiphany before they walked through our doors; they did not come in still thinking they were better than all the other women who had been in their situation. Maybe I was lucky in working in a local community where women were highly-educated, or maybe things have just gotten a lot uglier in the interim. My anti-choice clients obviously thought they were somehow more virtuous than other women before they found themselves making an appointment for the pregnancy test, but they learned quickly enough that the distinction they thought they had from those other women had been an illusion. I guess conservatives are people who can hold on to that illusion long after the evidence proves otherwise.

13:37 GMT

Sunday, 05 March 2006

A few links

"Sex: Evil or just merely wicked?" - Amanda Marcotte returns to Digby's post and the subject of abortion.

Star A. Decise on reasons the local Dems in Connecticut are in a state of ambivalence over the Lieberman problem. I think they're wrong, though. It seems to me that an energetic campaign for Ned Lamont might even bring him coattails.

Still treating the troops like mushrooms. All that, and Rush Limbaugh, too.

Al Gore asks the media industry a favor (via).

Tin-foil hat stuff: chemtrails, taking the fun out of watching the sky.

Toles sums up the Bush administration.

23:31 GMT

Right-wing love and peace

I've gone whole days without linking to Digby, despite the fact that those days have not gone by without numerous wonderful posts. But you really shouldn't miss this one, which quotes from some anti-choice person who thinks it's perfectly clear that poor people just shouldn't be allowed to have sex. See, sex has consequences, like pregnancy, and pregnancy makes babies - which cost money to take care of - and it's selfish to want to have sex but not have babies. So, if you have sex when you don't have money, you deserve to be punished with the misery of an unwanted pregnancy.

I've had a lot of arguments with people who support legal bans on abortion, and I have yet to meet one who feels an ounce of human compassion for women who have unwanted pregnancies. They can start off talking about protecting "innocent babies", but you really don't have to scratch very far before you get to the heartless, judgmental core of their real position, and it has nothing to do with protecting innocent life. It usually takes less than three minutes to get them to start using phrases like "these people" and talking about the way "they live". It's about passing judgment on the parents, not about babies at all.

Tena at First Draft sees right through them, too:

These people want to take every bit of joy and hold it captive for themselves. They actually believe they are entitled to it and that no one else is. And especially not those disgusting poor people and those brown and black people. Icky! You can read that in every goddamn line: They Are Icky and They Should Pay for It.

Digby is polite in his reply to this woman. I don't feel that need at this remove. This uptight bitch is not the slightest bit interested in babies. No. What she's all about is keeping those poor people in line. No cigarettes for them. No beer. And by god, they better not be caught fucking. They are poor and they have got to be reminded of that every goddamned second of their lives.

One more thing - I don't think this little bitch has ever been in heat in her life. I don't think she ever will be, either.

That a complete lack of understanding of the emotions that motivate sexual contact is absent from the lives of these people is clear, of course. But I wouldn't be so sure that they will never feel the heat. Many of them will. And when they do, they'll be phoning Planned Parenthood to find out what to do about something they never realized could happen to them. They certainly think they're too good, but they very often find out the hard way that they are not.

(And kudos to Tena for recognizing the relationship between this issue and the no-beer-no-cigarettes attitude. A lot of this class-war stuff is barely visible to most people - and it doesn't all come from the right-wing, either.)

Not being able to put yourself in someone else's shoes extends far beyond the abortion debate into other matters of life and death, as we know. It's abundantly visible in the inability of right-wingers even to see that poverty is not mere individual failure. It's equally manifest in the breath-taking double-standards of those who freely condemned Saddam for killing and torturing people and yet defend going to Iraq to kill and torture people. It's amazing how many "pro-life" people think the death penalty is so wonderful that it justifies getting rid of the safeguards against executing the innocent.

I saw a good editorial cartoon in the IHT that summed it up for me, but I can't find a way to link to it directly, so go to Chappatte's page and click back to the March 1st plate for another example of the logic in the politics of spite and malice.

13:15 GMT

Saturday, 04 March 2006

It's busting out all over

Some days I expect I'll soon wake up and discover that the only democracies left are in Latin America. Like when I see articles like David Howarth's Who wants the Abolition of Parliament Bill?:

LAST WEEK all eyes were on the House of Commons as it debated identity cards, smoking and terrorism. The media reported both what MPs said and how they voted. For one week at least, the Commons mattered.

All the more peculiar then that the previous Thursday, in an almost deserted chamber, the Government proposed an extraordinary Bill that will drastically reduce parliamentary discussion of future laws, a Bill some constitutional experts are already calling the Abolition of Parliament Bill.
The boring title of the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill hides an astonishing proposal. It gives ministers power to alter any law passed by Parliament. The only limitations are that new crimes cannot be created if the penalty is greater than two years in prison and that it cannot increase taxation. But any other law can be changed, no matter how important. All ministers will have to do is propose an order, wait a few weeks and, voilà, the law is changed.

For ministers the advantages are obvious: no more tedious debates in which they have to answer awkward questions. Instead of a full days debate on the principle of the proposal, detailed line-by-line examination in committee, a second chance at specific amendment in the Commons and a final debate and vote, ministers will have to face at most a short debate in a committee and a one-and-a-half hour debate on the floor. Frequently the Government will face less than that. No amendments will be allowed. The legislative process will be reduced to a game of take-it-or-leave-it.

The Bill replaces an existing law that allows ministers to relieve regulatory burdens. Business was enthusiastic about that principle and the Government seems to have convinced the business lobby that the latest Bill is just a new, improved version. What makes the new law different, however, is not only that it allows the Government to create extra regulation, including new crimes, but also that it allows ministers to change the structure of government itself. There might be business people so attached to the notion of efficiency and so ignorant or scornful of the principles of democracy that they find such a proposition attractive. Ordinary citizens should find it alarming.

Well, I certainly do. Blimey.

23:38 GMT

On the blog

Despite already having gutted just about every measure that exists to protect the public's business, the Republicans still don't have total control. Glenn Greenwald has the story on Bill Frist's threat to re-structure the Intelligence Committee in order to block NSA hearings: These are truly desperate and extreme measures to block an investigation of the President's conduct. Sen. First is literally threatening the Committee not to exercise oversight over the President's warrantless eavesdropping on Americans. Naturally, the corporate media is failing to offer much more than GOP talking points on this one.

Tom Burka is back in action at Opinions You Should Have after a pretty quiet February (although you probably want to catch Cheney "Inadvertently" Caused Death of Man He Stabbed On Previous Hunting Trip, Says White House if you missed it). Earlier in the week he posted Dubai to Run United States, and yesterday he gave us When the Levee Breaks - which, unusually, is not funny. It is, however, economically informative and brief. Read it.

Echidne is succinct on What The Wingnuttia Blogs Worry About. They really do mire themselves in trivia, don't they? It's always weird looking at Memorandum and seeing how much energy the right-wing blogosphere is devoting to things that have no impact on anything. And taking it seriously. You know, like some unheard of college professor is the greatest threat to America or something.

Charles mentions in comments that, "the latest Republican attempt to deflect blame from Bush has apparently been to bully AP into retracting the statement that Bush was told that the levees could 'breach'." More here.

A little reminder: "Last resort" my ass.

2005 Koufax Awards --- Best Blog (Non-Professional) - Plenty of good stuff up there, including some I'd never even heard of. I see I made the long-list - but then, so did... David Brin? Honestly, though, I really do mean it that being in such good company is an honor, and it won't break my heart to lose to, well, most of them. (On the other hand, I'd love to make the short-list, of course.) But take special note of what Dwight says at the top about all the women bloggers. (Hi, Kevin!) I went to the first unfamiliar name on the list and found a post with which I heartily concur on the conspiracy of woman-haters. One thing, though: They will look you in the eye and tell you they are absolutely right and you are absolutely wrong. That's because they are not in agreement with you on what it's important to be absolutely right about. Taking away your freedom is the point. It has nothing to do with saving lives, for them.

Crooks and Liars has the video up now of Keith Olberman discussing Bill O'Reilly's insane threats to people who phone in and mention Keith Olberman. Even for a right-wing whack-job, this stuff is pretty far off the rails. If O'Reilly were even marginally a sympathetic character, you'd feel sorry for him - but he isn't, so it's just a good laugh.

NTodd on Stupid Music Industry Tricks (collusion to keep the price of digital music artificially high, thus driving consumers back to illegal downloading): It's rather simple, really: don't turn your customers into criminals. But when your very business model is based on greed, nothing will end well for you.

Ed Cone on arguing with phantoms. (Nothing new there, I just liked reading it.)

The Final Days of Art Buchwald: A Visit: MILTON, Mass. Renowned columnist Art Buchwald has refused dialysis, and it's only a matter of time, maybe a short time, before he dies. For a man awaiting The Reaper, he's in unusually fine fettle. Via Suburban Guerrilla, where I also learned that Malcolm Gladwell has changed his mind about universal health care coverage. He talks about that on his new blog. (Also: Bob Casey's worst nightmare: Kate Michaelman.)

19:34 GMT

It caught my eye

The education of the Mule: "I believe that a prosperous, democratic Pakistan will be a steadfast partner for America, a peaceful neighbor for India and a force for freedom and moderation in the Arab world," the president added." Jeez, don't they even make him look at a map during those briefings?

I should probably fax Steve Soto's post, "Does The Cunningham Bribery Case Reach Into The CIA And Porter Goss?" to Henry Waxman, but it'd be better if one of his constituents did it. (And get lots more background news digested fast in this post from Steve. Plus, eriposte looks at when the CIA first started getting Niger forgeries, and what they did about it, and why. Oh, yeah, and Bush lied, and the SOTU is the same as being under oath. Not that Bush's lies can ever be expected to get any traction with the press.)

Republican Congressman Predicts Bush Impeachment: Republican Congressman Ron Paul has gone on record with his prediction that the impeachment of George W. Bush is right around the corner but warned that in the meantime the US was slipping perilously close to a dictatorship. (And while I am sure there are some people for whom impeaching Bush might be "payback for the Clinton impeachment", I think you'd have to be stupid to think that's what it's all about. Clinton just isn't that important to us; this is about America.)

Warning note: A friend advises that his very sharp accountant has noted a dramatic increase in IRS audits of ordinary people, and all of her clients who are being audited filed electronically. So file on paper, the old fashioned way.

16:56 GMT

Adventures in webcrawling

First, Do No Math - Elton Beard sees with his own eyes that pundits really do think they don't need math, or even simple arithmetic. However - Richard Cohen take note - they really, really do.

Elton doesn't seem to have addressed the latest eruption from Krauthammer, so it's left to Taylor Marsh to wonder why conservatives cower at Hollywood. (And I wonder why conservatives want to destroy the one big, money-making export America still creates.)

Andy Young has been creeping me out for a while. Looks like he's creeping out The Black Commentator, too.

Atrios says, "This is pretty amazing," and he's right. "Worried about media consolidation? Look at Italy where one guy can own the media, and the government, and book the US Congress in a made-for-TV campaign special!"

Skippy: "we don't think anybody anticipated that things might happen while he was in office and he'd actually have to lead the country." And at Shakespeare's Sister: "It's almost too hilariously stupid to be offensive. Almost." Via MadKane, who has found much inspiration lately.

Twistedchick has a round-up on the Patriot Act re-authorization, and, why at least Feingold didn't stand alone this time. (Byrd even apologized for not standing with him last time.) Of course, eight Democrats and Jim Jeffords is still a pretty poor showing. I guess when Feingold got up and read the entire Constitution, no one else was listening.

The Amazing Adventures of ... ta-daaa ... CrisisLeader!

My thanks to madamjujujive for finding some dead links for me. Drop by Everlasting Blort and say hi, and while you're there, check out the knitted digestive system. (There is also a dancing banana.)

I had 35 tabs open and I crashed my browser.

03:06 GMT

Friday, 03 March 2006

It'll feel so good when they stop

Do you remember when the Chinese knocked our spy plane down in 2001 and the White House was spreading stories about how "engaged" Bush was and how he was asking "penetrating questions"? Well, it turns out that John Dickerson (who was in those days the Time Washington correspondent), actually believed this nonsense, even though the example the White House provided of one of Bush's penetrating questions was, "Do they have Bibles?" BTC News discusses Dickerson's pathetic surprise upon seeing Bush fail to ask Brownie any questions after being told Katrina could be the big one. (via)

Glenn at A Brooklyn Bridge has a remarkable bit of news on the administration's wonderful plan for out-sourcing AIDS treatment and creating health tourism: How can we reduce the number of people with HIV/AIDS in the United States? Send them to India, I guess. And a report on bigotry at work.

"Feed the hungry. Clothe the naked. Go to jail." So, I guess they're persecuting Christians after all. (Thanks to Dave Weis for the tip.)

Another interesting connection - between Libby and WETA.

Oh, well. At least the 60-second interview yesterday was Joss Whedon.

20:17 GMT

More interesting stuff

Horror dump: All the worst news at once from Think Progress in this morning's ThinkFast post.

Gail Davis, as always, has a good bunch of links at The Arizona Eclectic, a short rant on science hype, a pointer to Christopher Moraff's In These Times article "Lies, Damn Lies and Poverty Statistics", and lots more.

Boing Boing, House introduces mandatory radio-crippling law: Rep. Mike Ferguson (R-N.J.) has introduced a bill to cripple all digital radios. The Audio Broadcast Flag Licensing Act of 2006 (H.R. 4861) requires all digital radio makers to build their devices so that they only permit "customary uses" of broadcasts. That means that no one ever gets to invent any new radio tech ever again unless the RIAA approves of it. Finally, it requires radio device makers to cripple their products to prohibit "unauthorized copying" -- which is a lot more broad than "illegal copying." As we've heard, the RIAA's position is that no copying is implicitly authorized -- they don't even think you should be allowed to rip your CDs. (Really, go there and read it.)

Talk Left: A 19 page affidavit (pdf) by Patrick Fitzgerald was unsealed today in the Scooter Libby case. It appears that Bob Woodward may have tape-recorded his conversation with his source because the affidavit refers to a transcript of the conversation. The affidavit also makes it pretty clear that Woodward's source and Novak's as-yet unidentified source are the same.

True Blue Liberal has Krugman's "George the Unready": Iraqi insurgents, hurricanes and low-income Medicare recipients have three things in common. Each has been at the center of a policy disaster. In each case experts warned about the impending disaster. And in each case - well, let's look at what happened. You left one out, Paul: 9/11.

Video: Lives In The Balance (from Jackson Browne). Buck Batard calls it, "the best indictment I've seen in a while."

I guess Jazz doesn't like snow as much as I do. (Hm. IE doesn't seem to like the layout at Running Scared. Looks OK in Opera, though.)

Eight British Butterflies (story here).

16:58 GMT


I was just listening to Rachel Maddow interview Arundhati Roy on today's show, and she talked about Bush's trip to India. (You can listen to the show for the next 24 hours on a stream from her page; Premium subscribers can download the podcast.) There's a link to Roy's article on the subject at The Nation, "Bush in India: Just Not Welcome":

For Bush's March 2 pit stop in New Delhi, the Indian government tried very hard to have him address our parliament. A not inconsequential number of MPs threatened to heckle him, so Plan One was hastily shelved. Plan Two was to have Bush address the masses from the ramparts of the magnificent Red Fort, where the Indian prime minister traditionally delivers his Independence Day address. But the Red Fort, surrounded as it is by the predominantly Muslim population of Old Delhi, was considered a security nightmare. So now we're into Plan Three: President George Bush speaks from Purana Qila, the Old Fort.

Ironic, isn't it, that the only safe public space for a man who has recently been so enthusiastic about India's modernity should be a crumbling medieval fort?

Since the Purana Qila also houses the Delhi zoo, George Bush's audience will be a few hundred caged animals and an approved list of caged human beings, who in India go under the category of "eminent persons." They're mostly rich folk who live in our poor country like captive animals, incarcerated by their own wealth, locked and barred in their gilded cages, protecting themselves from the threat of the vulgar and unruly multitudes whom they have systematically dispossessed over the centuries.

Much like the prison modern presidents have been creating for themselves.

Whenever I look at how cossetted our cowardly monkey is, I remember my father talking about passing by the White House on his way to work every morning and exchanging mute nods of greeting with President Truman, who took his morning walk at the same time. And I've read of an earlier time when you could just wander into the White House without an appointment to chat with the President of the United States. But that's the country we used to be. Now we're looking a lot more like the countries we grew up being grateful we didn't live in.

Roy said, by the way, that the corporate Indian press wasn't talking about the demonstrators and their reason for being there; they talked instead about Bush's dogs. They're not Corgis, though.

13:30 GMT

From the bountiful Internet

I can't keep up with The Brad Blog. In Alaska, "The state Democratic party has been attempting since December of last year to review the Diebold GEMS tabulator data files from the 2004 election in order to audit some of the strange results discovered in the state, including a reported voter turnout of more than 200% in some areas," but they have been denied on grounds of ... national security! In Maryland, Governor Ehrlich did a startling about-face last month when he suddenly wrote a letter to the State Board of Elections saying that he didn't trust the Diebold machines and that Maryland should have paper ballots. And Why do Diebold's Touch-Screen Voting Machines Have Built-In Wireless Infrared Data Transfer Ports? Brad also has a post about Air America going off the air in Phoenix despite having taken their station from being unrated and unprofitable to #3 in the local market. It was quickly bought up by right-wingers who turned it into the area's eighth "Christian" station.

In other voting news, this curious sentence in an article by Bob Fitrakis: Recently, Professor Steve Freeman of Penn spoke at a New York election reform forum and told the audience that a third of the Kerry voters who showed up in exit polls in rural Republican-dominated areas simply don't show up in the actual vote tally. Not just in Ohio, but throughout the nation.

The Bush administration says the law banning torture doesn't apply to Guantanamo. I wish we had a press corps that would just ask them why they want it. And when they give the usual answer about intelligence, just say, "No, that's obviously a lie. Why do you really want it?" And just keep asking.

Why are Bush's poll numbers still going down? He's losing hard-core Republicans, now. (And it looks like that Salvador option may be in operation.)

Vote for "the Most Revoltingly Stupid Joe Klein Comment of All Time".

Video of Jon Stewart on Larry King.

So, where are those blame-the-music-types now?

Photo: "On the London Eye".

12:09 GMT

Sold out

It's 2006; do you know where your country is? Let Thom Hartmann tell you:

When Americans No Longer Own America

The Dubai Ports World deal is waking Americans up to a painful reality: So-called "conservatives" and "flat world" globalists have bankrupted our nation for their own bag of silver, and in the process are selling off America.

Through a combination of the "Fast Track" authority pushed for by Reagan and GHW Bush, sweetheart trade deals involving "most favored nation status" for dictatorships like China, and Clinton pushing us into NAFTA and the WTO (via GATT), we've abandoned the principles of tariff-based trade that built American industry and kept us strong for over 200 years.

The old concept was that if there was a dollar's worth of labor in a pair of shoes made in the USA, and somebody wanted to import shoes from China where there may only be ten cents worth of labor in those shoes, we'd level the playing field for labor by putting a 90-cent import tariff on each pair of shoes. Companies could choose to make their products here or overseas, but the ultimate cost of labor would be the same.

Then came the flat-worlders, led by misguided true believers and promoted by multinational corporations. Do away with those tariffs, they said, because they "restrain trade." Let everything in, and tax nothing. The result has been an explosion of cheap goods coming into our nation, and the loss of millions of good manufacturing jobs and thousands of manufacturing companies. Entire industry sectors have been wiped out.

These policies have kneecapped the American middle class. Our nation's largest employer has gone from being the unionized General Motors to the poverty-wages Wal-Mart. Americans have gone from having a net savings rate around 10 percent in the 1970s to a minus .5 percent in 2005 - meaning that they're going into debt or selling off their assets just to maintain their lifestyle.

At the same time, federal policy has been to do the same thing at a national level. Because our so-called "free trade" policies have left us with an over $700 billion annual trade deficit, other countries are sitting on huge piles of the dollars we gave them to buy their stuff (via Wal-Mart and other "low cost" retailers). But we no longer manufacture anything they want to buy with those dollars.

So instead of buying our manufactured goods, they are doing what we used to do with Third World nations - they are buying us, the USA, chunk by chunk. In particular, they want to buy things in America that will continue to produce profits, and then to take those profits overseas where they're invested to make other nations strong. The "things" they're buying are, by and large, corporations, utilities, and natural resources.

Back in the pre-Reagan days, American companies made profits that were distributed among Americans. They used their profits to build more factories, or diversify into other businesses. The profits stayed in America.

But no more. Cheap-labor conservatives have seen to that. Liberal policies built the strongest economy in the world. Rolls-Royce Republicans have killed it.

Do read the rest.

02:02 GMT

Thursday, 02 March 2006

I can't think of a title

Jeff Schalles has directed me to a weblog called HOW the NeoCons Stole Freedom, saying the article "Why Scooter Libby is Toast and Rove will provide the butter" provides a good take on the issue. But while I was there I also noticed "A NeoCon Strategy exposed: Why the NeoCons focus so many attacks on women", about an article that "purported to 'prove' that women are not legally enabled to run for the office of President."

The Reverend's line of argumentation depends on an interpretation of the intentions of the writers of various laws regarding gender specific words. The Reverend went on to cite 'Constitutional' authorities he neglected to name. A thorough reading of the piece reveals that The Reverend Waller is seeking time on the radio and in print to promote his 'campaign.'

The Reverend is asserting a different interpretation based on uncited opinions and what amounts to minute consideration of the words, 'he, and 'man.' Now cast your mind back to the floods of abuse heaped on women activists who insisted that gender used in language impacted them and their rights; remember the sneers and jokes over suggested changes.

I have to confess I thought then that those feminists were making a mountain out of a mole hill. Evidently I was wrong.

In other news, Think Progress has a lot more shocking stuff on how the media sat on the Katrina briefing video for six months - they had it right away - and other creepy stuff, like that according to a letter, Al Qaeda had infiltrated "key agencies of the United Arab Emirates" by 2002. And I just heard on the radio that John Snow, who claimed not to have known about the port sale deal until he heard it in the press, made over 30 million dollars on the sale.

17:58 GMT

Bunch of links

Anyone notice this little tiff between Mexico and Sheraton hotels? Mexico City authorities slapped "closed" stickers on Tuesday on a Sheraton hotel that was the center of a recent U.S.-Cuban dispute, but the hotel ignored the orders and said it would keep operating as normal. The official closure of the hotel on the capital's smart Reforma avenue happened three weeks after inspectors said it infringed safety and licensing laws and would be shut down. That move came after the Sheraton threw out, on the orders of Washington, a group of Cuban officials holding a conference there, angering Mexico which said its sovereignty was abused.

Moosie has Gene Lyons' latest up, "Bush's fabled intuition may be just that" (which I've permanently archived here).

I've been thinking I ought to say something about the Donna Shalala business, but I keep forgetting and now, fortunately, Atrios has so I don't have to: Former Clinton HHS Secretary Donna Shalala is the president of the University of Miami. The janitors there just walked off the job demanding higher pay. Shalala, who recently claimed [she] "spent much of her public career as an advocate for the poor" isn't doing much to advocate for these poor, who earn about $6.50/hr without benefits. [...] You can call her at (305) 284-5155 and request she be an advocate for the poor since she has the power to do so.

I note with interest that Atrios also made a post last night called "Dear Mac Users" that read in its entirety: "I don't care." It generated a thread of 1120 before I went to bed last night (1140 as I write). (This seems to have been his response to people complaining that he posted a link to this clip of Chris Matthews trying to cope with news that Bush is not popular - which, I gather, doesn't play for Mac users. But, of course, Atrios didn't explain that. Not that he's responsible for the MSN site's accessibility.) Later, he put up another post called "Dear Windows Users" which began, "Don't care much, either. You're on your own," and continued with a few other things he doesn't care about - current thread-count is 1109 comments.

You know you're hated when you need 5,000 bodyguards.

Housekeeping note: You're welcome to help improve my blogroll by pointing out dead or dormant links. I always feel better about adding your link if it is replacing a dead one.

Dear Mac, I am not a foreigner. I was born and raised in Maryland and never set foot outside of the United States before I was 30.

13:50 GMT

The laughing boys

Much-linked over the last couple of days is Glenn Greenwald's "Latest Iraqi war casualty -- conservative belief in 'personal responsibility'":

Finally forced to accept the reality of their failure, war proponents have only two choices left: (a) admit their error and accept personal responsibility for their horrendous lack of judgment and foresight, or (b) blame others for their failure while insisting, in the face of a tidal wave of evidence, that they were right all along. Guess which option these Shining Beacons of Personal Responsibility are embracing?
I'd like to take this moment to point out that the invasion was an idea that (i) never made sense, (ii) had already been shown by thousands of years of history to be a stupid idea, (iii) was always bound to be extraordinarily expensive, and (iv) was implemented so badly that the whole world could see that it was being done in the worst way possible in pretty much every respect. Additionally, it made us look weak, and lost us our honor. It also apparently gave Bush the right to present us with unlimited government of men and not laws and to nullify the Constitution. So it was the biggest of Big Government Programs, it ignored both expert opinion and the potential for, um, Unintended Consequences, and it just plain stank from the ground up.

And all those conservatives who are now leaving the sinking ship supported every bit of it, even after it became obvious that Bush had screwed the pooch every which way.

Why? Because there is nothing intrinsic to conservatism that supports frugality, responsibility, reason, virtue, or the Constitution itself. This whole debacle was typical of conservatism in everything but degree. Because, usually, more liberal forces have been able in some way to moderate how far this crap goes. Only this time, they weren't. And this is what happens when the substance of your "values" is that you hate all those liberal, hippy, pinko lefties on general principle - what you hate is decency, sense, reason, and responsibility. Oh, yeah, and morality. Once you decide that human beings are just collateral damage, you become The Bad Guys.

And speaking of bad guys, check out Eric Alterman's look back at Osama's endorsement of Bush in the 2004 campaign. Like me, Eric believes bin Laden was being perfectly honest when he said he wanted Bush to win. But here's a new piece of evidence:

In this story Bush appears to endorse the view put forth by a whiney John Kerry that Bin Laden's videotaped message put him over the top in 2004. Bush said there were "enormous amounts of discussion" inside his campaign about the 15-minute tape, which he called "an interesting entry by our enemy" into the presidential race.

"I thought it was going to help," Bush said. "I thought it would help remind people that if bin Laden doesn't want Bush to be the president, something must be right with Bush."

Come now. If Bush can figure it out that an Osama intervention is going to help him, then, so too can Bin Laden. Just as Fidel Castro offered, through emissaries, to endorse the candidate he hated most in our elections once (jokingly, one presumes) bin Laden, who knew that Bush's team did nothing to prevent 9/11 despite considerable signals, let him get away at Tora-Bora, pulled agents out of Afghanistan to send them to Iraq, recruited gazillions of potential terrorists for his organization with his chaos-inducing invasion of Iraq and spread more hatred of the United States than our worst enemies might have hoped for, purposely intervened on behalf of Bush. Whether it mattered, no one can say. What we can say for sure is that with an approval rating of 34 percent and the Middle East sliding towards Armageddon, it's one of the worst things ever to happen to this country.

I can remember a few years ago having an argument with a friend about whether Bush was the worst or only the second-worst president we'd ever had. Admittedly, there are one or two things Bush hasn't (yet) repeated, but I bet my friend now agrees with me that Bush really is the worst. He might even agree, now, as he did not then, that 9/11 wasn't the biggest disaster for our country. That honor goes to the 2000 "election" itself.

12:19 GMT

Items of interest

"The Mess" by Peter Galbraith in The New York Review of Books discusses Viceroy Paul Bremer's My Year in Iraq and George Packer's The Assassins' Gate: In his State of the Union address, President Bush told his Iraq critics, "Hindsight is not wisdom and second-guessing is not a strategy." His comments are understandable. Much of the Iraq fiasco can be directly attributed to Bush's shortcomings as a leader. (via)

WaPo has the rather amazing video of the briefing on Katrina. That is, the briefing in which Bush was warned about Katrina before the storm hit. And Bush just stayed on vacation like he always does whenever he's told that a catastrophe is headed for us.

I don't usually look at, let alone recommend, this kind of site, but he just did it so well. It's kinda the way people seemed to think the web would all be, once upon a time. (And, elsewhere, some, um, patriotic bounce.)

Tilde~ has a bumper sticker for ya.

01:18 GMT

Wednesday, 01 March 2006

Bits of stuff

And the winner is.... Al Gore!

Kevin Drum says: "Good news! The medical malpractice "crisis" is over." Also, things aren't so good in Afghanistan. (Al Gore was right.) And from Paul Glastris, if you needed to save money and you had a choice between getting rid of a useless $9bn program or gutting a really successful $27m program, which would you do? Well, if you're the Bush administration, you know what to do.

Is this the shadow he casts, or are we seeing the puppet master at work?

I confess, I went into a state of shock when I saw the quote. It's actually a few days old but I think I was in a coma from it. Chris Matthews, comparing the monster to a man who faced down a lynch mob: "Well, he looks like he's a wise man now and a man of restraint, almost Atticus Finch. You know, almost the guy against the mob outside this police station." Who told him to say that? I wanna know. I mean, Bush is such a coward he can't even speak to a mixed crowd that contains Democrats, fer dog's sakes! (Not that he'd lift a finger to stop a hanging, anyway....)

17:46 GMT

Yes! Skippy etc.!

This post at Sollicitudo Rei Socialis is about Christian witness, but with a bit of translation, it could just as well be called, "Why the best bloggers link to other bloggers." (via)

I worry, though, about blog triumphalists (and other "the Internet changes everything" types) who don't seem to realize that this can all be taken away. Once again, if you let corporations control the means of communication, they will ultimately control what you can communicate, and to whom. In the federal government in Washington, the main legislation concerning the media in the United States - the Telecommunications Act - is being rewritten, and the fate of net neutrality (and perhaps the future of the Internet) rests in the balance. Unfortunately, Net neutrality clauses have been struck out of the most recent draft of the Telecom Act. Now the blogosphere may face its greatest challenge: saving itself.

Best laugh I had before lunch (which I still haven't eaten yet) is seeing how Mia Culpa reacted to my suggestion that we take a poll on how many elections we have to mysteriously "lose" in spite of the evidence before Kos finally thinks the GOP stealing elections is a serious problem: "I'll do it!" So go and vote, even though she spelled my name wrong.

16:10 GMT

My picks from the morning trawl

Picking up on a phrase in one of my earlier posts, Dave Johnson asks "What Does "The Democrats" Mean?" and reminds us of the First Rule of Stop Losing: Do what works:

"The Republicans" sure are good at jumping on things, taking advantage, making noise, persuading people, and getting their way. But when we say "The Republicans" who and what do we mean? Are we talking about the Republican Party? Republican elected officials?

When the Republicans "jump on" an event and do such a good job of getting their persuasion-message out to the public, what are the details of how this is accomplished? Who does what? Who formulates the message? Who conducts the polling and focus groups? Who pays the people who organize the writing of op-eds for newspapers? Who calls the editors to place the op-eds? Who arranges for all the Ann Coulters to appear on all the conservative media shows? How is it all organized and coordinated? How is it all funded? Who pays all the Ann Coulters and all the "little people" working behind the scenes?

In other words, what is the structure of the Republican advantage?

Dave also has good pieces on how Republican ideology works in practice, and another on On Third Parties.

Hilzoy on yet another manifestation of how the administration supports the troops: Remember when people got all bent out of shape about Clinton's claim that "it all depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is"? I'd rather worry about my President's views on 'is' than about his redefining 'veteran', or 'rebuild New Orleans', or 'checks and balances', or 'imminent threat'. (via)

Iraq is a mess, and Andrew Sullivan needs a hero. His conclusion? "Send Clinton." Via Ezra Klein.

I'm listening to Maia Szalavitz on Rachel Maddow's show and she's talking about the "troubled teen" treatment industry and how it cons parents and hurts kids. Read her series on the subject at The Huffington Post.

14:20 GMT

Avedon Carol at The Sideshow, March 2006

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

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