Saturday, March 01, 2003

Real-Time Pricing

One of the consevative-libertarian (or was it libertarian-conservative?) myths is that a panacea for the retail electricity market would have been and is real time pricing. Real time pricing in its purest form would be mean that minute by minute retail electricity rates are changed to reflect the current "market price." Now, let's make a couple of BIG (and likely false) assumptions to simplify this issue. First, let's assume that the retail market (and wholesale, too, but we'll get to that) was in reality a competitive one. I'll get into why that is likely a silly assumption at another time, but let's just stipulate for now that it could be. The implication of that is that the real time price of electricity would be roughly equal to the marginal cost of production. The benefit of this is that price would be a correct signal of cost, and therefore increases in cost (and price) would be accompanied by decreases in the quantity of electricity demanded.

Now, the marginal cost of producing an additional bit of juice would be determined by both 'longer run' and 'shorter run' factors - long run including the price of important inputs of energy production - say, the price of natural gas - and shorter run factors would include the transition from more efficient to less efficient means of energy production as demand increased. That is, with low demand the lowest cost generation technologies are used and with high demand less efficient ones are brought oline. So, the second important, and false, assumption that we need to make is that price fluctuations never actually result from reaching the limits of production capacity. If we allowed this to happen, then even in a competitive market the price would no longer bear any relation to the marginal cost of production.

Even given these two rather silly assumptions, real-time pricing is just a pipe dream. First of all, very few or no residential customers would ever want real-time pricing. No consumer would want to have to keep an eye on the price before deciding whether or not to turn on his/her air conditioner at any give moment. There would be a cost to obtaining and monitoring that information which would just be more than anyone would be willing to deal with. That is, the cost of price uncertainty would far outweigh any gains from being able to exploit lower prices by time-shifting. So, competitive retail suppliers, if they existed, would offer long-term contracts to their customers at set rates, which I am sure most customers would opt for. Such contracts would reflect expected future average costs, not marginal ones, and we'd be right back where we started. Retail rates would effectively be fixed - by contract, not regulatory decree - and wholesalers would be able to game the system as they did previously if conditions were right. The only way to prevent this would be to outlaw such long run contracts which is hardly a libertarian solution. In fact, part of the problem with California deregulation was that long run contracts at the wholesale level were outlawed (with good intentions, but disastrous results), . It is true that outlawing these allowed wholesalers to game the system, but it also follows logically from that criticism that if such contracts weren't outlawed, the retail companies would enter into long run contracts with wholesalers, which would then detach the purchase cost from the production cost in the short term making real-time pricing rather meaningless.

It is also true that incorporating a rough time-varying pricing structure such as peak period pricing might not be so unpopular and would therefore be feasible. And, certain commercial and industrial users might be less resistant to time-varying rates, but only users who were extremely sensitive to energy prices and who were able to time-shift their activities would really be likely to perceive that the benefits of real-time pricing would outweigh the costs of potentially extreme price uncertainty.

This Should Help Things

I don't even know what to say about this.

The United States is conducting a secret 'dirty tricks' campaign against UN Security Council delegations in New York as part of its battle to win votes in favour of war against Iraq.

Details of the aggressive surveillance operation, which involves interception of the home and office telephones and the emails of UN delegates in New York, are revealed in a document leaked to The Observer.

The disclosures were made in a memorandum written by a top official at the National Security Agency - the US body which intercepts communications around the world - and circulated to both senior agents in his organisation and to a friendly foreign intelligence agency asking for its input.

The memo describes orders to staff at the agency, whose work is clouded in secrecy, to step up its surveillance operations 'particularly directed at... UN Security Council Members (minus US and GBR, of course)' to provide up-to-the-minute intelligence for Bush officials on the voting intentions of UN members regarding the issue of Iraq.

The leaked memorandum makes clear that the target of the heightened surveillance efforts are the delegations from Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Mexico, Guinea and Pakistan at the UN headquarters in New York - the so-called 'Middle Six' delegations whose votes are being fought over by the pro-war party, led by the US and Britain, and the party arguing for more time for UN inspections, led by France, China and Russia.

The memo is directed at senior NSA officials and advises them that the agency is 'mounting a surge' aimed at gleaning information not only on how delegations on the Security Council will vote on any second resolution on Iraq, but also 'policies', 'negotiating positions', 'alliances' and 'dependencies' - the 'whole gamut of information that could give US policymakers an edge in obtaining results favourable to US goals or to head off surprises'.

Can we just put all of them in jail now? Please?

It's Nice to be Right

As I have been, all along, about the rape of California.

See here.


Are we invading Turkey now?

I don't quite get this:

The Turkish vote throws into question the ambitious military strategy that had been devised to overwhelm the forces of President Saddam Hussein. American military commanders wanted to begin an attack from Turkey in order to pin down Iraqi forces in the north, thus keeping them away from the main American force driving from the south.

A senior Pentagon official said today that the Turkish Parliament's vote would not alter the military's plans to try to stage tanks and other heavy equipment for the Fourth Infantry Division through Turkey into northern Iraq.

"I don't think it's that big a deal," the Pentagon official said. "As Secretary Rumsfeld likes to say, democracies aren't very tidy."

UPDATE: The NYT, in its infinite wisdom, has removed the quotes from the Pentagon official. AH well.

New Things to Boycott

Turkish Delight
Turkish Baths
Turkish Cotton

Eric Alterman's on Now

Goddamn freeper-types called the bookstore and tried to convince them that Alterman had cancelled the appearance. Typical wingnut assholes.

...speaking of Alterman, the book is back up to ranking 58 on Amazon. Wonder what brought that on.
Toying around with the template, particularly for the links..suggestions welcome..

Alterman on CSPAN2 Today


Kenneth Pollack

I've never read the book (mandatory disclaimer) but his credibility and/or knowledge is pretty suspect when he claims that the Iraqi defector Kamel (his name appears to be spelled alternately with an a and an e) "reported that outside pressure had not only failed to eradicate the nuclear program, it was bigger and more cleverly spread out and concealed than anyone had imagined it to be."

Civil Disobedience

Catholic League president calls for for teachers to break the law.

"Two things need to be done immediately: teachers and students should practice civil disobedience and the judges must be impeached.

“It is up to the teachers in the nine western states affected by this decision to break the law: they should instruct their students on the meaning of civil disobedience and then practice it. All they need to do is call the cops and local TV reporters and then recite the Pledge of Allegiance in their presence. It needs to be shown on television all over the world that as the U.S. prepares to go to war to maintain the liberties symbolized in the Pledge, there are brave men, women and children at home who are prepared to fight tyranny on our own soil.

“Iraq’s problem is tyranny of the minority. Ironically, that’s our problem as well. But the Iraqi people at least stand to be liberated and have their tyrant deposed. We need to do the same with ours, albeit with different means: impeachment proceedings against the two federal judges who made this decision should commence as soon as possible. Make no mistake about it, it is not enough for the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn this ruling. Judicial malpractice has been committed and those responsible must be removed from the bench. They should be removed not because most Americans disagree with them but because of jurisprudential incompetence.”

love it.

Turkey Votes Yes NO on Deployment

Check out Google News, and know that every single one of the stories about this vote is currently wrong.

Apparently they needed an absolute majority, not simply a plurality, and all the news outlets jumped the gun.


The Agonist has more.

Someone with a stronger constitution than me should go read the wailing and screaming of the war bloggers.

UPDATE: hahaha. Watch the Freepers' agony as the story evolves.

UPDATE 2: On a semi-related note, Hesiod tells us some more about the Kamal/Unscom transcript.

Big Big Meanies

Cal Pundit addresses the whining by Weekly Standard Bush Fluffer Leo Bockhorn. Bockhorn wonders why pro-war liberals still don't like the masterful Bush.

Richard Reeves adds a few more reasons:

Declaring that he wanted to talk about "a crucial period in the history of the nation," he began with a war whoop: "Part of that history was written by others; the rest will be written by us." Six sentences later, in full whoop, he offered this: "We have arrested or otherwise dealt with many key commanders of al-Qaida. Across the world, we are hunting down the killers one by one. We are winning, and we're showing them the definition of American justice."

"Otherwise dealing with," as we learned in the State of the Union message, is the president's euphemism for assassination. Now he is defining that as American justice. Actually, American justice is about the presumption of innocence and trial by peers. What the president was bragging about used to be called "lynching."

Ten paragraphs after that, Bush went from whoop to whopper, saying: "After defeating enemies, we did not leave behind occupying armies; we left constitutions and parliaments."

Americans are a decent people with, except for lynching and such, a great history, a wonderful story to tell. We have been pretty good (and sensible) about avoiding colonialism and imperialism. But never occupying? Please. We did occupy Germany and Japan after World War II -- it would have been insane not to -- and we have occupied most every country in Central America, to say nothing of the Philippines, Haiti, Cuba, Indian country and California. Some might add Texas to the list.

The president, as we know, is no scholar -- and that is not necessarily an insult. But he does seem to be intent on dumbing-down America. The ignorance at the top has infected real scholars, beginning with Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, a brainy fellow who has lost his bearings promoting and defending war in Iraq. Last Thursday, Wolfowitz rebuked the Army chief of staff, Gen. Eric Shinseki, who told Congress that occupation of Iraq might require hundreds of thousands of soldiers.

Wolfowitz then asserted that few troops would be needed because Iraq has never had the kind of ethnic strife that has characterized places like the Balkans.

What? Iraq is divided into three parts: Kurds in the north, Saddam Hussein (news - web sites)'s Sunni Muslims in the center, and the poor (and brutalized) Shi'ites in the south. That's what the "no-fly zones" were about. And, unless God is as kind as he is great, those people are going to try to chop each other into little pieces if they get half the chance. Sad but true, so send some maps to the Pentagon too.

Electronic Voting

I've been behind on posting about this for awhile, but there have been a lot of interesting developments lately. Seeing the Forest is taking this story and running with it so go check there.


"I don't listen to this noise that goes on around here, and I don't pay much attention to those people who want to stay here, he said. I came from Texas, and I'll go back to Texas. And in Midland, Texas, when I grew up, there were more signs saying Get us out of the UN' than there were saying God Bless America.' And there were plenty of God Bless America' signs.

"I feel the comfort and the power of knowing that literally millions of Americans I'm never going to meet ... say my name to the Almighty every day and ask him to help me, he said. My friend, Jiang Zemin in China, has about a billion and a half folks, and I don't think he can say that. And my friend, Vladimir Putin, I like him, but he can't say that.

You've got to be kidding me

I was wondering where Bush was going to come up with his magic instant billions for Turkey. Here it is:

WASHINGTON, Feb 27 (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush may dip into a Depression-era emergency fund for a short-term loan to Turkey as he presses for access to Turkish bases for a possible attack on Iraq administration and congressional sources say.

The $38 billion Exchange Stabilization Fund was used in 1995 by former President Bill Clinton to bail out Mexico over objections from many Republicans.

Bush used the fund to help Uruguay last year and, with an Iraq war potentially just weeks away, is considering tapping into it again -- to provide what s ources say would be about an $8.5 billion bridge loan to NATO ally Turkey.

The administration wants Turkey's permission to use its bases to attack Iraq from the north. In return, Turkey is demanding an aid package worth up to $30 billion in U.S. grants and loan guarantees to help cushion its frail economy
from the impact of a war.

As a down payment on the aid package, which is subject to congressional approval, Turkey wants a bridge loan, which would be repaid once Congress acts.

"They want it right away," a U.S. official said of Turkey's request for a bridge loan.

If Washington is to meet Turkey's demand, administration and congressional sources say the White House has little choice but to tap into the fund. Unlike other forms of bilateral aid, which must be approved by Congress, the
multibillion-dollar fund falls wholly within the jurisdiction of the Treasury secretary, subject only to presidential approval.

Set up in 1934, the fund was intended primarily for emergency use to defend the dollar.

The fund returned to the public eye in 1995 when the Clinton administration, faced with congressional opposition to a taxpayer-financed bailout for Mexico, said it would use the fund's resources. That fueled criticism from
Republicans about whether that was an appropriate use for the money.

The United States made up to $20 billion available to Mexico, most of it from the fund, although not all the cash was used. The money was paid back with interest and the United States even made a profit on the deal.

Clinton tapped the fund again in the financial crisis that hit Asia in the late 1990s, again drawing Republican fire.

Despite a pledge not to follow the Clinton administration's lead, Bush in August 2002 provided a $1.5 billion bridge loan to struggling Uruguay.

Blair Calls Protesters Appeasers

Now that Mr. Blair has smacked into Godwin's Law, can we declare victory and go home?

Shorter George Will

From Busybusybusy.

Fox Poll

Kos directs us to this Fox poll.

Support to re-elect President Bush has dipped slightly in the last year, but the much of the shift has been from "undecided" to an unnamed Democratic challenger. When asked how they would vote if the 2004 presidential election were held today, a plurality says they would vote to re-elect Bush (42 percent) and almost as many (38 percent) say they would vote for the Democrat, up from 21 percent who said they would support the Democratic candidate in January 2002.

Michael Savage

Check out this delightful transcript. Apparently he feels he can use the Justice Department to smite his enemies.

Iraq Tracker!

Take Back the Media has their own!

Friday, February 28, 2003

North Korea

This is what keeps me up at night.

Theocrats On the School Board

Laws don't apply to us!

It's just part of the fundie grand plan to destroy the public school system.

But, nonetheless I'm sure THIS is what will get all the attention - pledge of allegiance "under God" ban upheld.

Amen to that.

Blitzer Time

Go ruin his weekend.

Hoosier Terrorists

Maybe! Or, something. Anyway, we'd better get some aerial surveillance on them just in case...

George Will, Then and Now


Lloyd Cutler is a liberal critic of Senate Rule XXII that requires 60 votes to curtail debate by imposing cloture. He is a distinguished Washington lawyer, seasoned by public service (he was President Carter's counsel) that unfortunately did not inoculate him against the temptations of institutional tinkering. The tinkering he favors would facilitate the essence of the liberal agenda - more uninhibited government. For example, a decade ago he recommended various reforms to undermine what he called an "anomaly" and what the Framers considered the essence of the constitutional system - the separation of powers.

Cutler's argument for the unconstitutionality of Rule XXII is:

"The text of the Constitution plainly implies that each house must take all its decisions by majority vote, except in the five expressly enumerated cases where the text itself requires a two-thirds vote: the Senate's advice and consent to a treaty, the Senate's guilty verdict on impeachments, either house expelling a member, both houses overriding a presidential veto and both houses proposing a constitutional amendment."

But the Constitution "implies" no such thing. Cutler's semantic sleight-of-hand is in the words "must take all its decisions." The Constitution provides only that, other than in the five cases, a simple majority vote shall decide the disposition by each house of business that has consequences beyond each house, such as passing legislation or confirming executive or judicial nominees. Procedural rules internal to each house are another matter. And the generation that wrote and ratified the Constitution - the generation whose actions are considered particularly illuminating concerning the meaning and spirit of the Constitution - set the Senate's permissive tradition regarding extended debate. There was something very like a filibuster in the First Congress.


The president, preoccupied with regime change elsewhere, will occupy a substantially diminished presidency unless he defeats the current attempt to alter the constitutional regime here. If at least 41 Senate Democrats succeed in blocking a vote on the confirmation of Miguel Estrada to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the Constitution effectively will be amended.

If Senate rules, exploited by an anti-constitutional minority, are allowed to trump the Constitution's text and two centuries of practice, the Senate's power to consent to judicial nominations will have become a Senate right to require a 60-vote supermajority for confirmations. By thus nullifying the president's power to shape the judiciary, the Democratic Party will wield a presidential power without having won a presidential election.

That was easy. Next?

The Worst Argument Ever (Almost)

Josh Marshall is making it, but he's left open the possibility for redemption:

Unfortunately, we don't have that choice. The administration has already done massive damage to our standing in the world. And they've managed to create facts on the ground -- intentionally and unintentionally -- which make pulling back arguably more dangerous than pushing ahead. The question is no longer what the ideal thing to do is. It's more aptly described as which of the really bad alternatives is best to choose given the jam the administration has backed us into.

First of all - if our standing in the world sucks because we've pissed people off and we're about to go invade a country without their support is it going to get better if we go ahead and invade? This is playground level diplomacy and it is silly. We bully. Bully must follow through on threat or bully can't be bully anymore. Hulk smash!

The one thing which doesn't make this the worst argument ever is if pulling back somehow decreases our security rather than increases it. So, if Josh succeeds in coming through on the second half of this promise:

More soon on what the damage is to our standing in the world and what those facts on the ground are.

then maybe I'll retract. But still this notion that we can improve our standing in the world by continuing down this ridiculous course is indefensible.

Everybody duck!

Or get the duct tape. Or whatever. The drones are coming! At least, that's what Rush Limbaugh says.

I remember Bush mentioning the possibility of unarmed drones being sent to this country, armed with some sort of poisonous weaponry, and unleashed on an unsuspecting citizenry. Lo and behold, now we have the announcement today that it's being done.


Bipartisan Group of Former Senators Opposes War

Talk Left has the details.

Gotta Love That Moonie Times

Nice to know that the flagship conservative paper in the country doesn't even bother to hide its anti-gay bigotry:

Indeed, Mr. Donahue featured Rosie O'Donnell as his very last guest, dwelling upon her feelings as a "mother" and a pacifist.

I wonder what the difference between a mother and a "mother" is.

These are your bigots, Righties, I shouldn't have to be bringing them up all the time.

(via Roger Ailes).

Salon on Alterman

Talbot wrote a pretty decent article about it, though he does need to get over himself...

Donahue Again

Eric Alterman says that part of the problem with Donahue was that the show sucked. Well, it did kinda suck, but since when does that determine whether a show stays on the air? Donahue was regularly MSNBC's top-rated show. Not a particularly astounding achievement, perhaps, but it beat out all of the other shows-that-suck on MSNBC. In addition, we know now that the producers kept mucking around with the show and likely contributed to its suckiness, by forcing Donahue to constantly have "balance" - you know, Phil and the same 3 mouth-breathers we can see on Fox regularly.

Sure, I'd prefer someone other than Phil to be the only liberal with his own cable news talk show. But, the wider issue is that MSNBC was constantly sabotaging his show, and despite that he still regularly beat Tweety, whose cancellation isn't, as far as I know, even an issue. Media wags regularly discussed Donahue's impending cancellation throughout its entire run DESPITE the high, by MSNBC standards, ratings.

So, what's up with that?

Signorile on Koufax

I held off on talking about this because I figured someone would do it better than me at some point. I think some well-intentioned folks, like Keith Olbermann, really lost the plot on this one. The accuracy of the blind item regarding Koufax's sexuality is of course a valid concern, but the sportswriter world reacted as if someone had accused Koufax of molesting children. Accusing him of being gay is not accusing him of a horrible crime, which is how some reacted. Signorile says:

But the paper runs a blind item, buried in a gossip column, about a baseball hero being gay - and all hell breaks loose.

Don't get me wrong: Koufax, a classy and circumspect guy, has every right to correct inaccuracies about himself as well as to try to protect his privacy. And Leavy has an obligation to counter those who might impugn her journalism. But if "there's nothing wrong with being gay," as some were quick to say in prefacing their criticisms of the Post, then why is it so "contemptible" to suggest it? Why not just say it's inaccurate and move on?

Was the Post item really worthy of Koufax's severing last week his 48-year-old ties with the Dodgers, an action that, in fact, resurrected the December item and made it a story? And did it warrant Olbermann pulling out of a book deal and announcing it to the world?

Certainly Rupert Murdoch has done far worse things - including pandering to the brutal Chinese government - than owning a newspaper that runs blind items suggesting that sports stars are gay. The pandering obviously didn't keep Olbermann from taking a multi-million-dollar job with News Corp.'s Fox Sports in 1999 (he's now at the ABC radio network), nor did it keep him from signing on the dotted line with HarperCollins. But a blind item suggesting one of his idols isn't straight has him ripping up his book contract?

The critics' indignation has been couched as a defense of Koufax's privacy. But it's interesting that none of them, nor, apparently, Koufax himself, protested in early January when New York Daily News columnist Michael Gross named Koufax as the subject of the Post's blind item, adding that there was "no way" Koufax was gay.

Gross claimed - without quoting anyone, let alone Koufax directly - that he'd "confirmed" that Koufax lives with a women who "bears an uncanny resemblance to Carly Simon." Funny, but no one charged that this invasion of Koufax's privacy was "contemptible" and "scandalous."

So let's be real: All of the howling is not about privacy. It's about homosexuality and the intense discomfort surrounding it in professional sports.

UPDATE: Local columnist Debbie Woodell has more.

More Lies

Bush cuts Americorps:

A Bush administration bookkeeping decision has left a funding shortfall for the AmeriCorps national service program that could force enrollment cuts of as much as 50 percent -- instead of the 50 percent increase President Bush had promised.

The president embraced AmeriCorps, a Clinton-era program, after the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and has made it a central part of his "compassionate conservative" agenda. During his State of the Union address last year, he called for AmeriCorps enrollment to grow to 75,000 from 50,000.

Instead, it is possible that enrollment will be held to 26,000 this year unless changes are made, AmeriCorps officials said.

Maybe he's just redirecting the money to his new yet-to-be-announced "Bush Youth" program.

Fun With Greg Mankiw

On "Supply Side" Tax Cuts:

What has infuriated some advocates of Mr. Bush's tax-cutting plans are things that Mr. Mankiw wrote in his textbook, "Principles of Economics," first published in the late 1990's.

The textbook includes a section on President Reagan's economic policies, which, like those of President Bush, called for deep tax cuts and were based in part on the idea that tax cuts could help pay for themselves by producing faster economic growth.

In a section of his book entitled "Charlatans and Cranks," Mr. Mankiw ridiculed the Reagan policies as "fad economics" that were tantamount to "fad diets."

"An example of fad economics occurred in 1980," Mr. Mankiw wrote, "when a small group of economists advised presidential candidate Ronald Reagan that an across-the-board cut in income tax rates would raise revenue."

After reviewing the impact of Mr. Reagan's policies, which included a run of high budget deficits that lasted until the mid-1990's, Mr. Mankiw wrote that the moral of the experience was that "when politicians rely on the advice of charlatans and cranks, they rarely get the desirable results they anticipate."

In later editions of his textbook, Mr. Mankiw dropped the entire section on "charlatans and cranks" and muted his criticism. But he has not mended his fences with today's advocates of big new tax cuts.

"These insulting passages display an enormous level of ignorance about the economic reality of the 1980's," said Stephen Moore, president of the Club for Growth, a
political group in Virginia that raises money for candidates who support Reagan-style tax cuts.

Mr. Moore said he wrote a letter pleading against Mr. Mankiw's nomination to Karl Rove, President Bush's top political adviser. But White House officials, who are still angry about Mr. Moore's complaints about Stephen Friedman, said today that they did not listen much to Mr. Moore.

Final Message from Mr. Rogers

As relayed by Neal Pollack.

Thursday, February 27, 2003

Oh God This Isn't a Joke

CNN's Special Iraq Quickcast.

More Lies

The distortion of Kamel's testimony.

Barry can explain better than me, but short version is that the lunatics in charge have been using this defector to prove Saddam had WMDs, even though said testimony included "All weapons-- biological, chemical, missile, nuclear, were destroyed."

Cloture Vote on Estrada Scheduled

Looks like we win, barring something unforseen.

Diplomat's Resignation Letter

The sacrifice of global interests to domestic politics and to bureaucratic self-interest is nothing new, and it is certainly not a uniquely American problem. Still, we have not seen such systematic distortion of intelligence, such systematic manipulation of American opinion, since the war in Vietnam. The September 11 tragedy left us stronger than before, rallying around us a vast international coalition to cooperate for the first time in a systematic way against the threat of terrorism. But rather than take credit for those successes and build on them, this Administration has chosen to make terrorism a domestic political tool, enlisting a scattered and largely defeated Al Qaeda as its bureaucratic ally. We spread disproportionate terror and confusion in the public mind, arbitrarily linking the unrelated problems of terrorism and Iraq. The result, and perhaps the motive, is to justify a vast misallocation of shrinking public wealth to the military and to weaken the safeguards that protect American citizens from the heavy hand of government. September 11 did not do as much damage to the fabric of American society as we seem determined to so to ourselves. Is the Russia of the late Romanovs really our model, a selfish, superstitious empire thrashing toward self-destruction in the name of a doomed status quo?

David Brock in Paperback

Order your copy now:

The Horse tells us there's a new preface.

"If Clarence Thomas had not gotten on the Supreme Court by covering up his past, if a right-wing conspiracy did not subvert the law and the Constitution in its pursuit of Clinton, if the checks were not written by those who I say wrote them, if there was not the endemic racial and sexual bigotry I describe, if the right-wing claims I say are false were true, we would surely know it by now. The conservatives would have said so. That they could not speaks volumes."

Upcoming David Brock Events

Tuesday March 4
7 PM Talk & Signing
Barnes & Noble (Georgetown)
3040 M St NW
Washington DC

Tuesday March 11
7 PM Talk & Signing
Wordsworth Books
30 Brattle St.
Cambridge, MA

Wednesday March 26
7 PM Talk & Signing
Barnes & Noble (University of Pennsylvania)
3601 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA

Thursday March 27
Talk & Signing
Democratic Leadership for the 21st Century
New York City

Michael Savage Says Arrest "Anti-War" Leaders

From his website:

Time to Arrest the Leaders of the Anti-War Movement,
Once we Go To War?
We Must Protect Our Troops!

Do you think if I call for their heads to be put on pikes in the town square MSNBC will give me a show?


Apparently there's a creeptacular story in this month's Harper's. Charles Dodgson gives us a bit of a taste.

Orange Alert! Orange Alert!

Re-Elect below 50%.

Rush Limbaugh Transcript Project

Here it is.

"I said this once before, the way he was quoting a ani anti war crowd this country it looked to me like Hussein might be seeking the Democratic party nomination. And here he's offered to debate Bush, I think he's, a preceded all the other democrat candidates in the race with this offer, he's the first, to throw down that gauntlet. Bush response is, hey there's no debating disarmament."

Tubesteak Messiah Travels Through Time

Come on New York Times, this is an easy one:

It is rare but not unheard-of for a diplomat, immersed in the State Department's culture of public support for policy, regardless of private feelings, to resign with this kind of public blast. From 1992 to 1994, five State Department officials quit out of frustration with the Clinton administration's Balkans policy.

Who knew the governor of Arkansas was running our Balkans policy, and where did he find the time between that and organizing the Ruby Ridge operation...

(from Jeff Hauser)

Baghdad's Batteries

More weapons of mass destruction? No, just fascinating objects I'd never heard about before.

Say Hello to the Angry Bear

Always nice to hear from someone who is capable of discussing economics above an Econ 101/Ayn Rand level.


TAPPED has a pretty comprehensive overview of the Donahue issue.

Sneaky Wolf Starting Early Today

Go bug him.

Keeping the Brownshirts in Line

'ole RimJob's having a tought time over at Der FreiRepublik.

But, some fine fine brownshirts know what to do down in Atlanta:

I wasn't sure how much good I could do or how much power one person has but I wanted to do it. When I took my place on the sidewalk across the street from my church, I was struck with this Norman Rockwell picture of America. Families with their balloons, flags and signs made it feel like the Fourth of July. I was thrilled by all the patriotism and was proud to be part of this community that cares enough to turn out to greet the most powerful politician in our land.

But when I unrolled my sign, all that changed, and I may never be able to look at my community the same way again.

I never chanted, raised my voice, confronted anyone or was disrespectful to those around me. I simply held my sign and stood my ground. The abuse came first from a small group of homemakers standing near me, their small children dressed in red, white and blue.

"Go home! You don't belong here," they said.

All around me folks began to speak up, and it wasn't long before a large group of people crossed the street with banners and flags and began aggressively yelling "Go USA!" Bob, a young man with a ball cap and a sign reading "Drop Bush, Not Bombs" came and stood with me for support.

The really frightening stuff began when a television cameraman stopped and asked me why I was there. As soon as the crowd saw the camera pointed at me, they went wild. I was trying to express myself and they screamed at me and over my voice. A man stood behind me making obscene gestures as I spoke.

The reporter tried three times, unsuccessfully, to get a picture without obscenity. One woman spat in my hair. The journalist gave up and moved on. The mob did not. Men and women violently screamed in my face and Bob's.

It stopped just long enough for the president's motorcade to pass by and then erupted again. We were told to " Get the f--- out of the country," had obscene gestures pushed in our faces. An elderly man told me to "Go to hell!"

I was in a state of shock. Here I was, a 42-year-old mother of four, born and raised in Cobb County, holding a peace sign, standing on the sidewalk across the street from my church, and I was frightened that my neighbors were going to hurt me because I dared to express my opinion. This could not be happening. Not in America, right?

One man suggested I take my cross off, insinuating that I was not a Christian. Another told me to pray for the president. I respect the position of the president and what a difficult post he holds. I just don't agree with his position on some very important issues that directly affect my family and me.

It's amazing that the pro-war people let themselves be represented by these people, and that none of them have devoted themselves to actively condemning them constantly.*

*yes that is sarcasm of course

A Skeptical Blog

Gives us an Enron Book Review, a discussion of a freeper patriot rally, and a whole lot more.


Anyone know what's going on? The Evil Little Troll, Senator Sessions, is babbling now and my doctor has ordered me not to listen to such things.

ADAWATCH says Oppose Sutton


Great News! Sen. Tom Harkin has put a "hold" on Sutton to give us more time and will be our champion on the Senate floor to help stop Sutton. Our problem is that Senators are still not hearing from enough of their consitituents. Please use this free phone number to call on Thursday. (See Below) Also, go to to see our ad running in Roll Call magazine.

*****Call YOUR senators toll-free 1-888/508-2974*****

ADA Watch, a project of the national Coalition for Disability Rights, has joined forces with hundreds of national, state, and local groups to oppose the nomination of Jeffrey Sutton to a lifetime appointment on the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals. ADA Watch needs you to call your senators and urge them to stand up against the efforts to continue the radical right's 20-year campaign to stack the federal courts with conservative ideologues. Specifically, we need you to tell your senators to block confirmation of Jeffrey Sutton to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit several important: Jeffrey Sutton is a leading activist in efforts to curtail Congress' historic role to enact legislation that protects individuals' civil rights, and provide equal opportunity for all Americans. As a leader in the so-called "states rights" movement, Mr. Sutton has personally argued key U.S. Supreme Court cases that, by narrow 5-4 majorities, have undermined Congress' ability to protect Americans against discrimination based on race, age, disability, and religion. For example, over the past several years, Mr. Sutton has been involved in a targeted effort to challenge and weaken the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), landmark legislation enacted by a bipartisan Congress and signed into law by then-President George H.W. Bush. Sutton also filed a brief in Olmstea which he argued that the unnecessary institutionalization of people with disabilities is not unconstitutional.

The Senate must take seriously its "advise and consent" role on federal judicial nominations. Please urge Senators to vote "No" on Sutton.

ACTION: Using a national toll-free call in number, you will be able to call YOUR senators toll-free (1-888/508-2974) on Thursday, Feb. 27 and urge them to oppose efforts to stack the federal courts with Jeffrey Sutton and other ideologues. Tell senators that they must not act as a "rubber stamp" on President Bush's judicial nominees, and must not confirm nominees who refuse to answer questions, and whose records indicate hostility to important equal opportunity principles guaranteed to protecting the rights of all Americans.

Sutton's a bad guy. Calling today was fun. Let's keep it up. Today was anti-war day. Let's make tomorrow anti-Sutton day.

Protest Savage on MSNBC

This is one I think most of my conservative pals would want to join in with. After all, he'll be representing you every Saturday afternoon, not me.

GLAAD tells you what to do and why.

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

The Great Convergence

It's interesting to see this group of people united around the common cause of proving that Abraham Lincoln was history's greatest monster. Now, each of them - libertarians, neo-confederates, Moonies - may on the surface have their own reasons, but in the end it's probably all the same. Anyway, just a couple of quick notes on a few of the participants. More as I take the time to look them up.

The conference is sponsored by Lew Rockwell, a libertarian seemingly more concerned with the federal government's attempt to stop the states from infringing on individual liberty than individual liberty itself.

Attendees include Paul Gottfried, Professor of Humanities at Elizabethtown College, who just wrote a lovely article for Insight Magazine in praise of the Reverend Moon. Paul's got some whiny issues, too.

Anyway, there are some more entertaining names in there which I'll get to when I have the time...

The Grays and the Greens

Another Mac Diva Guest Column:

Charles Murtaugh suggests that among environmentalists, not the neo-Confederate movement, is where we should be looking for bigotry.

Actually, those of us who monitor hate groups have been aware that the Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations and other far Right groups recruit in the environmental movement for some time.

Virginia Abernethy, the 'environmental activist' described in the article quoted is has been an elite member of the St. Louis based Conservative Ctitizens Council for years. Her mainstream credentials have allowed her to fly below radar much of the time. She is a professor emeritus of psychiatry and anthropology at Vanderbilt Medical School.

The CofCC gained notoriety when deposed Majority Leader Trent Lott and former Georgia Rep. Bob Barr were linked to it. Other politicians, including presidential candidate Dick Gephardt, have had to distance themselves from it. The organization was quite famous in its earlier incarnation -- the White Citizens Councils of the South.

Nor is the CofCC to be taken lightly. One might want to borrow one a couple of 2X4s while hanging out with the Gordon Baum and his pals. Members have wacked out.

Of course, the CofCC brass sees the situation differently.

Dr. Abernethy's political equivalent is U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.).

Tancredo's politics is indeed personal. He, personally, attempted to get a young Mexican honor student deported:

The Congressman is staying the course:

Tancredo: Strengthen border or end 'charade'

Lawmaker hopes to provoke national immigration debate

By Owen S. Good, Rocky Mountain News
February 21, 2003

LUKEVILLE, Ariz. - The shoulder-high wire fence does no more to stop people than a first base line stops a foul ball. . . .

Tancredo wants soldiers on this border.

The Littleton lawmaker hopes his visit this week -- with Republican colleagues from his Immigration Reform Caucus, Rep. John Shadegg of Arizona and Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan - will provoke the national debate on immigration for which he has been long spoiling.

"The point is to get the people who are here, who have seen it, to go back to Congress, explain to their colleagues what they have seen, and hopefully we will elevate this issue to the point of debate," said Tancredo, while standing about 10 yards from where Eggle bled to death.

He wants an up-or-down question on secure borders. If the nation wants them, as he does, Tancredo says we should send in troops and improve the barriers. If not, "I suggest we abandon this charade, take down that fence, stop putting people at risk," he said.

The rest of the story:

Betsy Hartmann, author of the article the Charles quoted, gets to heart of the matter in a current piece in Black World Today:

Increasingly tied to the racist right on one side, the anti-immigrant movement is also tied to mainstream government, media and academic circles on the other. It provides a practical and ideological conduit for racist ideas and interests to influence politics as usual. In this sense it is a mistake to view it as just about immigration; it is about protecting and reinforcing white power in the U.S. Among its strategies are:

1) Getting its people into positions of power.

2) Projecting a respectable face to the mainstream media.

3) Cultivating academic legitimacy.

The entire piece is well worth reading.

As much as I appreciate our fellow member of the blog community bringing this topic up, being in favor of amity in Bloggersville and all, I am somewhat bewildered. Gene Expression and Dr. Abernethy's group, the Council of Concerned Citizens, share the same beliefs in a racial hierarchy and limited immigration. Why would a person criticize one while embracing the other?

Bush at the AEI

I missed the speech, but was Mary Rosh there?

Media Pro-War and Anti-Liberal

The truth comes out.


Glenn Hubbard Resigns for Family Reasons


A Guide for Americans Visiting France

I thought I'd have to contribute something to the frog-bashing. Not sure what the original source of this is - one of those things that floats around...

"The following advisory for American travellers heading for France was compiled from information provided by the US State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency, the US Chamber of Commerce, the Food and Drug Administration, the Centres for Disease Control, and some very expensive spy satellites that the French don't know about. It is intended as a guide for American travellers only.

No guarantee of accuracy is ensured or intended.

General overview: France is a medium-sized foreign country situated in the continent of Europe. It is an important member of the world community, though not nearly as important as it thinks. It is bounded by Germany, Spain, Switzerland and some smaller nations of no particular consequence and with not very good shopping.

France is a very old country with many treasures, such as the Louvre and EuroDisney. Among its contributions to western civilisation are champagne, Camembert cheese and the guillotine.

Although France likes to think of itself as a modern nation, air conditioning is little used and it is next to impossible to get decent Mexican food. One continuing exasperation for American visitors is that the people wilfully persist in speaking French, though many will speak English if shouted at. As in any foreign country, watch your change at all times.

The People: France has a population of 54 million people, most of whom drink and smoke a great deal, drive like lunatics, are dangerously oversexed, and have no concept of standing patiently in line. The French people are in general gloomy, temperamental, proud, arrogant, aloof, and undisciplined; and those are their good points.

Most French citizens are Roman Catholic, though you would hardly guess it from their behaviour. Many people are communists, and toplesssunbathing is common. Men sometimes have girls' names like Marie, and they kiss each other when they hand out medals. American travellers are advised to travel in groups and to wear baseball caps and colourful trousers for easier mutual recognition.

Safety: In general, France is a safe destination, though travellers are advised that, from time to time, it is invaded by Germany. By tradition, the French surrender more or less at once and, apart from a temporary shortage of Scotch whisky and increased difficulty in getting baseball scores and stock market prices, life for the visitor generally goes on much as before.

A tunnel connecting France to Britain beneath the English Channel has been opened in recent years to make it easier for the Government to flee to London.

History: France was discovered by Charlemagne in the Dark Ages. Other important historical figures are Louis XIV, the Huguenots, Joan of Arc, Jacques Cousteau and Charles de Gaulle, who was President for many years and is now an airport.

Government: The French form of government is democratic but noisy. Elections are held more or less continuously, and always result in a run-off. For administrative purposes, the country is divided into regions, departments, districts' municipalities, cantons, communes, villages, cafes, booths and floor tiles. Parliament consists of two chambers, the Upper and Lower (though, confusingly, they are both on the ground floor), whose members are either Gaullists or communists, neither of whom is to be trusted, frankly. Parliament's principal preoccupations are setting off atomic bombs in the South Pacific, and acting indignant when anyone complains. According to the most current State Department intelligence, the President now is someone named Jacques. Further information is not available at this time.

Culture: The French pride themselves on their culture, though it is not easy to see why. All their songs sound the same, and they have hardly ever made a movie that you would want to watch for anything but the nude scenes. And nothing, of course, is more boring than a French novel (except, perhaps, an evening with a French family -ha! ha! ha!).

Cuisine: Let's face it, no matter how much garlic you put on it, a snail is just a slug with a shell on its back. Croissants, on the other hand, are excellent, though it is impossible for most Americans to pronounce this word. In general, travellers are advised to stick to cheeseburgers at leading hotels such as Sheraton and Holiday Inn.

Economy: France has a large and diversified economy, second only to Germany's in Europe, which is surprising because people hardly work at all. If they are not spending four hours dawdling over lunch, they are on strike and blocking the roads with their lorries and tractors. France's principal exports, in order of importance to the economy, are wine, nuclear weapons, perfume, guided missiles, champagne, high-calibre weaponry, grenade launchers, landmines, tanks, attack aircraft, miscellaneous armaments and cheese.

Public holidays: France has more holidays than any other nation in the world. Among its 361 national holidays are 197 saints' days, 37 National Liberation Days, 16 Declaration of Republic Days, 54 Return of Charles de Gaulle in Triumph as if he Won the War Single-Handed Days, 18 Napoleon Sent into Exile Days, 17 Napoleon Called Back from Exile Days, and 112 France is Great and the Rest of the World is Rubbish Days. Other important holidays are National Nuclear Bomb Day (January 12), the Feast of St Brigitte Bardot Day (March 1), and National Guillotine Day (November 12).

Conclusion: France enjoys a rich history, a picturesque and varied landscape, and a temperate climate. In short, it would be a very nice country if it weren't inhabited by French people. The best thing that can be said for it is that it is not Germany.

A word of warning: The consular services of the United States government are intended solely for the promotion of the interests of American businesses such as McDonald's, Pizza Hut and the Coca-Cola Corporation. In the event that you are the victim of a crime or serious injury involving at least the loss of a limb, report to the American Embassy between the hours of 5.l5 am and 5.20 am on a Tuesday or Wednesday, and a consular official who is supremely indifferent to your plight will give you a list of qualified dentists or something similarly useless. Remember, no one ordered you to go abroad. Personally, we always take our holidays at Miami Beach, and you are advised to as well.

Thank you and good luck."

William Saletan on Howard Dean

and Tom Delay.

Read the whole thing.


Jonah Goldberg is a fan. Glenn Reynolds is a fan.

CalPundit nicely tries to explain it to them, but .... I think it's hopeless, Kevin. Reynolds has expressed his support of collective racial guilt in the past, and he's tarred anti-war protesters with loose associations they're hardly aware of - you know, red-baiting - both of which demonstrate a clear fondness for the tactics of that old drunk.

Lives and careers of innocent people ruined? They don't give a crap.

UPDATE: The history professor tells us more.


Anyway, I still haven't had a chance to read the actual article, but from what Josh has said about it he's absolutely right. Kucinich should be held accountable for this stuff. This could be stuff he's dealt with one or many times in the past, I have no idea, but when you throw your hat into the presidential ring all is fair game again. I personally think Kucinich's record on abortion issues (and, even more - contraception issues), and the likelihood of that muddying up the waters in other ways, is enough to believe Kucinich should stay out of this race. This race stuff is reallydisturbing too and given what I know now doesn't say much for Dennis the Younger. I'll have to learn more to know if he's attoned for it enough for it to not still matter.

Blitzer Time

Josh is talking about Dennis Kucinich. Here's the article. I don't have time to read it right now, so enjoy..

(thanks to various emailers)

Call Your Republican Senators

Inform them that the word "flaunt" means something very different than the word "flout." As in "flaunting the constitution" is really a good thing, not a bad thing.

Actually, don't, it's fun watching them sound stupid.

Boycotting Philadelphia Restraurants

I'm with Jim on this one. I'm wondering what taxes he hasn't been paying.

They're all way overpriced, anyway.

DeLay Rips Dean for "Appeasement"

You mean THIS Tom DeLay?

DeLay seemed to feel the issue applied personally to him, and perhaps it did. He had graduated from the University of Houston at the height of the Vietnam conflict in 1970, but chose to enlist in the war on cockroaches, fleas and termites as the owner of an exterminator business, rather than going off to battle against the Vietcong.

He and Quayle, DeLay explained to the assembled media in New Orleans, were victims of an unusual phenomenon back in the days of the undeclared Southeast Asian war. So many minority youths had volunteered for the well-paying military positions to escape poverty and the ghetto that there was literally no room for patriotic folks like himself. Satisfied with the pronouncement, which dumbfounded more than a few of his listeners who had lived the sixties, DeLay marched off to the convention.

"Who was that idiot?" asked a TV reporter who arrived at the end of the media show. When he was told the name, it drew a blank. DeLay at that time was a national nobody, and his claim that blacks and browns crowded him and other good conservatives out of Vietnam seemed so outlandish and self-serving that no one bothered to file a news report on the congressman's remarks."

Call Your Senators About Estrada

Bob Graham of Florida, Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico and Blanche Lambert Lincoln of Arkansas are all being targeted by GOP hate radio campaigns to support Estrada. It's amazing how many Hispanic "former Democratic voters" Rush Limbaugh has in his listening audience. Who knew?

Graham: (202) 224-3041

Lincoln: (202) 224-4843 (DC) or (501) 375-2993 Arkansas

Bingaman: Toll-free (in NM): 1-800-443-8658 DC: (202) 224-5521

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

Freedom Toast!

Scumbuster has the recipe.

Better Late Than Never

Ohio to approve equal protection amendment - 135 years late
Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The state on Tuesday took its first step toward correcting an oversight that left Ohio as the only state that has not ratified the Constitution's 14th
Amendment, which guarantees equal protection of all citizens.

The Senate voted unanimously to pass the amendment, 135 years after most of the country did, and sent the resolution to the House.

The state Legislature passed the amendment on Jan. 11, 1867, but a year later rescinded ratification as "contrary to the best interests of the white race."

The amendment became a law in July 1868 because Congress and three-quarters of the states supported it then. All other states, expect [sic] Ohio, eventually ratified the amendment.

Blogging Around

I'll let the Rittenhouse Review take care of it. Apparently Jay Caruso has his knickers in a twist about me over something. Someone go take a peek and let me know what it's about...

¿Entiendes sobre Estrada?

Natasha at the Watch has the rundown.

I think we're okay on this, but there might be some wavering senators still. I'll post up contact info on them first thing tomorrow so you can do your duty.

Fun with Ari

Go to Cspan scroll down to today's press briefing and start watching at 28:00 for the full context.

Howie Keeps on Spinning

I'm afraid I disagree. Yes, Whitewater resulted in no charges against the Clintons (though other folks, like Arkansas's governor, were convicted) and the coverage was, in my view, overblown. But the administration did a lot of sleazy things in its '96 fundraising, including courting donors with White House coffees and Lincoln Bedroom sleepovers, and taking money from people who turned out to be crooks and were later convicted. And, of course, Clinton did mislead the country on the Lewinsky matter. Enron is a legitimate story, but there is no evidence that the Bush White House lifted a finger to save Kenny Boy's company from bankruptcy (though its policies have certainly favored the oil industry). So it's important to make distinctions about these things.

I won't even get into the rest of it. But while it is true that the Arkansas governor was convicted, connecting Jim Guy Tucker to Whitewater is like connecting Monica Lewinsky to Whitewater (which, of course, Ken Starr managed to do). I'll let my alter ego Gene Lyons do the talking here:

The indictment had no relationship to Whitewater, Madison Guaranty, or the Clintons. At the time of the allegedly suspect transactions, Tucker was a private businessman and attorney. Longtime political rivals, he and Bill Clinton were closer to being enemies than friends. Every Arkansas reporter knew that. Their mutual dislike had been acknowledged for years. They had never had any private business transactions.

(from Fools for Scandal, and obviously written before Jim Guy Tucker's conviction.)

Moonie Monday Tuesday

Moonie World's on the job. Joe Bob Briggs...say it isn't so!

Hypocrisy, thy name is...


Several Hundred Thousand

Holy massive occupation, Batman!

WASHINGTON, Feb. 25 — The Army's chief of staff said today that several hundred thousand American troops could be required to provide security and public services in Iraq after a war to oust Saddam Hussein and disarm his military.

The magnitude of the postwar troop commitment described by the Army's top officer, Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, is much larger than what other American officials have outlined. Pentagon officials have said that about 100,000 American troops may be needed in the post-Saddam phase, along with tens of thousands of additional allied forces.

"Something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers are probably, you know, a figure that would be required," General Shinseki told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee today. "We're talking about post-hostilities control over a piece of geography that's fairly significant, with the kinds of ethnic tensions that could lead to other problems."


Well, Donahue's been canceled. I'm not all that upset about it. I didn't really watch and didn't consider him a particularly effective advocate. I'd rather have him on than not on, I suppose, on balance, but I don't think it matters that much. There is one thing which drives me insane - the myth that Donahue's ratings sucked.

Well, they did suck, but so DO CHRIS MATTHEWS'. In fact, they were regularly the same or higher. Why the double standard?

On the other hand, I believe Eric Alterman will be chatting with little lying Tweety tonight.

(oops, just noticed Tom Spencer said basically the same thing)

Credit Where Credit is Due

To the National Review on the whitewashing of the confederacy.

(sent in by C. Murtaugh)

Noah Shactman Invades Los Alamos

That's creepy.

We may have to contribute to his legal defense fund. Here's the blog.

From the Horse

Call Senator Bill Nelson: (202) 224-5274
Ask him why he is afraid to participate in a
filibuster to defeat anyone nominated by the
election thief who fought to keep Nelson's
Florida constituents' votes from being
counted, much less a candidate like
right-wing fanatic Miguel Estrada.

Especially anyone from Florida - CALL NOW.

And, if you are from Florida, DEFINITELY call his regional offices:

Phone: 407-872-7161
Toll Free in Fla : 1-888-671-4091
Fax: 407-872-7165

305-536-5999 Telephone
305-536-5991 Fax

US Court House
Phone: 561-514-0189
Fax: 561-514-4078

Phone: 954-693-4851
Fax: 954-693-4862

Phone: 954-693-4851
Fax: 954-693-4862

West Palm Beach:Phone: 561-514-0189
Fax: 561-514-4078

Miami:305-536-5999 Telephone
305-536-5991 Fax


You can listen here if you missed it. (as I did)

DOJ Redirects Websites


Oh boy.

Go Get Wolfie!


Dissent, Then and Now

The Washington Times

Sunday, May 2, 1999
Conservatives Protest Kosovo Bombs

By Kristan Trugman

Dozens of protesters gathered on the Ellipse yesterday afternoon to voice their opposition to the bombing of Kosovo, the transfer of highly classified technology to the Chinese government, and the actions of the Clinton administration in general.

"We have a monarch in the White House, and he's sending our kids overseas," said Pat Cooksey, founder of True Blue Patriots - one of several conservative organizations that held the "March on Washington '99."

Ms. Cooksey said the conflict in Yugoslavia is reminiscent of the Vietnam War.

"We had this sinking feeling then that something wasn't right, but we didn't know what. I have that same gut feeling now, and we aren't getting any answers," Ms. Cooksey

Bob Djurdjevic of Truth in Media in Arizona, agreed as he stood on the Ellipse by the White House, where tourists lined up to visit.

"Less than two weeks ago, I traveled to Serbia. where I spent five days under NATO's bombardment. What I saw was wanton and senseless devastation. This is a war against civilians," he said.

Others spoke of the threats to U.S. security by the transfer of technology to China, and its campaign contributions to the Clinton administration.

"It is time to hold Bill Clinton acoountable for the acts of treason he has done with the China government, said Garland Favorito of Citizens for an Honest Government.

Steve Ulrey, who touted himself as a regular citizen with no connection to any organizations, said he arrived in Washington from his home in Detroit to speak against Mr. Clinton.

"We need to do something collectively to reclaim our country," Mr. Ulrey said. "It's time we the people, not we the government, run this country."

"The reason we have Bill Clinton as president is because conservatives chose to abandon the government. Now we're paying the price," said Tom Adkins, editor of the on-line magazine Common Conservative.

Objectively Pro-Slobbo?

Ah, Chickenhawks

Things got contentious at the end of the less-than-hourlong demonstration when some at the rally confronted a group calling itself Vietnam Veterans for Peace.

"Go home and eat your wine and cheese, you sissies," William G. Rice, 40, yelled at the group of about 20 people as they walked away. "Cowards."

Rice, a laborer, said that although he had no military experience, he thought he understood the political situation better than the veterans.

"I seem to have a better understanding of the price of freedom than they do," he said.


Turd Blossom

Sam Heldman says:

It's hard to read this article and not come away with the understanding that Karl Rove committed perjury. Can we look forward to a multi-million dollar criminal investigation, headed by a zealous and single-minded Democrat, that spreads and morphs and grows for years?

oy problems...ok fixed I think..switched out the comments again..will bring haloscan back if it ever mends.

Paul Krugman on Fresh Air Today



Is That Legal? Brings to us this bizarre defense of Howard Coble's comments about Japanese Internment. Not only does Ken Masugi defend Coble, he also uses a McCarthyite smear against his detractors!

After all, the more questions we ask, the better policy we are likely to get. Anything else is ideological fanaticism. Congressman Coble's critics are the fanatics. They are the ones who should be regarded with wariness in these nervous times.

Monday, February 24, 2003

Domestic Terrorism Watch

Federal investigators have penetrated branches of the Ku Klux Klan, Aryan Nations and the racist Christian Identity movement in a widening probe that has netted two suspects from opposite ends of Pennsylvania.

Using an undercover informant who posed as an expert in firearms, demolition and paramilitary training, FBI agents working from the Philadelphia office have gathered extensive intelligence on the racist far-right network and interconnections among its various groups.

At one point, the undercover informant gave cell phones to some members, enabling investigators to track members and monitor their conversations.

Both federal investigators and members of the extremist fringe gave matching accounts of the informant's role in arrests in the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia areas during a 24-hour period this month.

In Washington County, federal agents swarmed over the rural home of David Wayne Hull, 40, the imperial wizard of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. Hull, who has longtime associations with members of the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations as well as Christian Identity groups, was charged with manufacturing a pipe bomb and trading it to the undercover witness in return for a cell phone. Hull is being held without bond pending trial.

In Philadelphia, Joshua Caleb Sutter, 22, was arrested as he met with undercover agents in a parking lot, where he was purchasing a pistol with the serial number ground off. He also was charged with possession of an illegal silencer.Sutter is a member of the Aryan Nations spinoff group, Church of the Sons of Yaweh, and previously was Aryan Nations minister for Islamic liaison. In that role, he said he attempted to form alliances with anti-American Muslim extremists after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

But Andrew Sullivan said that Susan Sontag was in charge of the 5th column...

My Powell Moment

You know, through the whole Iraq talk I've always been willing to be converted. I'm a bit more skeptical than the Cohens, Raspberrys, McCrory's of the world who were so desperate for Colin Powell to tell them that everything was okay about this endeavour, but I've honestly been openminded about this thing all along. I kept waiting for the secret special evidence, and all I ever got were more lies. My Powell conversion never came. Theirs did, but now they have buyer's remorse.

And, once enough people decided accusing anti-war folk of being commies, or appeasers, or Saddam lovers, or dictator supporters, or America-haters, or whatever it is this week, was the way to make the case, it was pretty clear to me that there was no case to be made, or at least none that was being made. Saddam bad. Gassed his own people. Aluminum tubes. Weapons of Mass Destruction. Protesters giving Saddam what he wants. Peace folk "objectively pro-Saddam." Saddam is Hitler, anti-war folk Chamberlain. What horseshit - nothing but fearmongering and McCarthyism redux.

As much as I think the War Hawks and their supporters are leading us down the path to danger and ruin, and despite their rhetorical quirks, I never (except as parody) accuse them of wanting the terrorists to kill us all. Since they're gonna win win the policy debate on this one, I hope they're right and I'm wrong.



Speaking of Comic-Book Supervillains

I do worry about this guy, and we're not exactly handling it very well.

Short version - Asia tells us "your problem, you caused it, you deal with it."

Not The Worst Argument Ever

Kevin, I did say "just about." But I do take issue with the assertion that "my sense from reading the anti-war left is that they don't really take the danger of terrorism and unstable states seriously." I mean, I take them very seriously. I think I take them more seriously than someone like Michael Ledeen who apparently thinks that North Korea is a Shi'Ite Arab state. I just don't think this war is motivated by fighting terrorism. I don't think it will reduce expected future victims of conflicts - ours or those in the Arab world. In fact, just the opposite. A lot of people are going to die in the war, and probably quite a few more will die in its aftermath. I don't think this little adventure would be likely to, in its best-case scenario, do a damn thing to help stabilize the Arab world and reduce future conflict there. And, given the bunch that's running the operation I think one would have to be insane to think we'll get anywhere near a best-case scenario.

I'm sure there are some idealistic peaceniks who underestimate the possible dangers of future terrorism, but I'm one who thinks it is the war hawks who are doing it. Happy to, and hope to be, proven wrong in all of this, but my opposition to this war rests mostly on the firm belief that it makes the world, and our country, a much more dangerous place, not a safer one.

And, as for the (almost) "worst argument ever"....well, I think it only works if you really think the world is this giant comic book populated by various supervillains. Call this the Goldberg view of the world, after noted comic book collector Jonah Goldberg. I mean, simply not going to war this month isn't going to alter the state of the world or "encourage our enemies" who will "think us weak" unless you have the worldview of your average teenage warblogger. We can go kick Saddam's ass any time we want, and the instant he actually came close to having a nuclear weapon instead of, say, the desire to one day have one like the rest of the world, we could go kick his ass good and proper.

Patrick has more.

Derbyshire is a Fred Reed Fan

Not that I'm surprised.

Great Moments in Justice

Judge Laura Denvir Stith seemed not to believe what she was hearing.

A prosecutor was trying to block a death row inmate from having his conviction reopened on the basis of new evidence, and Judge Stith, of the Missouri Supreme Court, was getting exasperated. "Are you suggesting," she asked the prosecutor, that "even if we find Mr. Amrine is actually innocent, he should be executed?"

Frank A. Jung, an assistant state attorney general, replied, "That's correct, your honor."

That exchange was, legal experts say, unusual only for its frankness.

The Worst Argument Ever

Just about anyway. I agree with Charles Dodgson.

Blogger Bug

Just a note - sometimes this page seems to warp back in time to last Thursday. If it does that, please just reload a couple of times...

Moonie Times Bigot Roudup

So, let's see here. We have editor Wes Pruden, who once gave an interview to Southern Partisan Magazine and is involved with various confederacy-related activities. We have Assistant National Editor and writer Robert Stacy McCain, one time Free Republic poster, current member of the secessionist League of the South, and now we have our new friend Fred Reed, who once time wrote a law enforcement column of all things, and now at least is apparently on the technology beat.

Oy. These are the ones who are just too stupid to hide it.

Alterman on Hardball Tonight Tomorrow

9pm EST. Assuming Gary Condit doesn't do something between now and then, anyway.

Surprise Surprise

This is ridiculous

Washington - The lawyer who recommended the American Bar Association's highest rating for controversial appellate judge candidate Miguel Estrada took part in partisan Republican activities during his term as a nonpartisan judicial nomination evaluator for the Bar, according to records and interviews.

While serving on the ABA's nonpartisan Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary, veteran Washington lawyer Fred F. Fielding also worked for the Bush-Cheney Transition Team, accepted an appointment from the Bush administration and helped found a group to promote and run ads supporting Bush judicial nominees, including Estrada.

Fielding evaluated Estrada in the month after President George W. Bush nominated him on May 9, 2001, ABA officials said. That was just weeks after Fielding vetted executive appointments for Bush's transition team and a year before he helped start the partisan Committee for Justice, records show.

The overlap has thrust Fielding - and his evaluation that led to the 15-member ABA Standing Committee's unanimous vote to rate Estrada "well qualified" - into the heated political battle over Estrada's nomination to the prestigious U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, a stepping-stone to the Supreme Court.

More Bigots at the Washington Times

Fred Reed wrote a law enforcement column (and now he writes a technology column) for the Moonie Times.

Let's see what Fred thinks about the world:

First, let us assume that it is not--that is, that blacks are as intelligent as whites. The question then arises: Why in god's name are we not educating black children to the level of white? Blacks lag whites by large margins. If they can perform, the country is criminal in not
ensuring that they do. There can be no acceptable excuse. Children raised half-literate have little prospect in a society that daily becomes more technical. Poor education blights their lives intellectually, economically, emotionally. It also takes a heavy toll on others in crime, the expense of welfare, and lost taxes. It is simply immoral.

Why is schooling so poor for black children? To begin with, because blacks have little enthusiasm for academics. Blacks have demonstrated for an end to discrimination, more welfare, less brutality by police, greater rights, more pay, and greater respect. They do not march for more homework, harder courses, thicker texts with larger words and smaller pictures. Another reason is that the teachers' unions resist the dismissal of the incompetent in a profession that already gets the dregs of the intellectual barrel. Finally, politicians are terrified of blacks, who complain that the imposition of academic standards constitutes a form of imperialism.

Now what?

Second, let us assume that blacks are less intelligent. What can we do?

For starters, we need to recognize that no one is going anywhere. Blacks are not going to go back to Africa. Whites are not going to go back to Europe. We are all where we are going to be. We are not going to turn Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi into a separate black nation.

Yet neither, if the disparity in intelligence is real, are blacks going to become physicists, engineers, or doctors except in miniscule numbers, or through affirmative action. Leadership, except in electoral office or appointments arising from electoral power, will remain white, engendering resentment among blacks.

Oy. It's too early to even know what to say. There's plenty more there...

(thank Mac Diva for the catch)

Sunday, February 23, 2003

Tom Tomorrow



It's pretty clear that Avril Lavigne had a No War message on the inside of her jacket during her performance at the Grammys, and the producer deliberately showed the back of her head at the start of her performance to avoid showing this.

UPDATE: Apparently it said "Rock On." Though, this just makes it more ridiculous - they didn't know what it said, but they more than obviously cut away anyway.

This'll upset some people...

Bush Family Flashback


The following exchange took place at the Chicago airport between Robert I. Sherman of American Atheist Press and George Bush, on August 27 1987. Sherman is a fully accredited reporter, and was present by invitation as a member of the press corps. The Republican presidential nominee was there to announce federal disaster relief for Illinois. The discussion turned to the presidential primary:

"What will you do to win the votes of Americans who are atheists?"
"I guess I'm pretty weak in the atheist community. Faith in God is important to me."
"Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are atheists?"
"No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God."
"Do you support as a sound constitutional principle the separation of state and church?"
"Yes, I support the separation of church and state. I'm just not very high on atheists."

DVD Player Recommendation

I recommended this before, but I've had it awhile and I'm still happy with it so I'll recommend it again.

The Norcent DP-300 is cheap (currently $65 at Amazon), it has a voltage selector so you can travel, it has a PAL/NTSC converter which means you can definitely play any region-free DVDs wherever you are, and it is also generally fairly simple (punching in a code) to make Region-Free. The last part may change, as different firmware versions do come out so what works on one player may not work on another, but I had no problem with mine.

So, if you need to play DVDs internationally, or play international DVDs locally, or both, it's a very cheap solution.

Buy one here!

Some Links

David E. vs. the LA Times.

Digby on that thing I said I'd stop talking about.

Nathan Newman too.

Jesse also.
I agree with Jesse that wasting time refuting this garbage gives it more legitimacy. But, there hits a point when enough 'respectable' people begin to cite it approvingly that it's time to launch another offense. There, I've done it. The book is racist garbage. Anyone who doesn't think so is an idiot or a bigot or both (at least it makes it easier to identify them, I suppose). Now we can move on.

Body and Soul on Afghanistan.

And, make sure to read General J.C. Christian on just about everything.


Adam Felber explains.

Who Killed Schrodinger's Terrorist?

This made the rounds previously, but it's still good for a laugh.

Fellowship of the Ring - Special Edition

I finally got around to watching this after someone generously purchased it for me. It really is a tremendous improvement of the movie version. The problem with the movie version was that too many cuts had taken out most of the character development of the fellowship and also destroyed the proper pacing and sense of time in the movie. After about the first third, it was reduced to "battle - move - battle - move" without anything else. The Special Edition puts all this stuff back in and really creates a much more complete movie. So, go rent it or buy it here.

Bell Curve The End

My interest in posting about the Bell Curve wasn't really motivated by the original post on intelligence by CalPundit, but rather the comments section over in this post at Matthew Yglesias's site where I was asked repeatedly to explain my criticisms of the book (For example, Charles Murtaughs says "By the way, I see that Atrios et al. have still not bothered to back up their attack on "The Bell Curve." I still haven't made up my mind on that, but I do know that I distrust the mob instinct, and so far most of what I've seen in the left's reaction to Murray and Herrnstein qualifies as such.")

Well, now I have. I hope the criticisms of Noble Prize winning economists from the U. of Chicago have some weight, even if mine don't. I don't plan on bothering to do it again, as I think it should be well understood by any sane intelligent person that H&M's book is a racist polemic, using fraudulent pseudo-science and shoddy reasoning to advance an unexcusable racist agenda. Anyone who questions this is, in my mind, either unaware (excusable perhaps) or as I said previously, equivalent to someone defending the "truth" of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. It had an impact on thinking and policy in this country, which was the point of its being written in the first place, and the fact that "reasonable" people years later still find the need to defend it speaks volumes about its influence and them. The book was not written as a contribution to science, but rather to enable and encourage racist thinking and promote policy goals motivated by such thinking. While the "rightness" of those policy initiatives is not necessarily nullified by the use of racism to advance them, the fact is that the book did help contribute to the perceptions that outcome differences are not evidence of inequitable policies or ongoing racism, but rather the outcome of a meritocratic society, and that blacks and immigrants were "bringing our country down," and used to justify said policies.

UPDATE: Okay, I can't resist. In the link to Yglesias's site posted above Jane Galt says:

I can't resist throwing my two cents in on the Bell Curve, since I am the only person I know who has read it, and also the only person who doesn't have an opinion on its correctness -- I'm in Charles Murtaugh's camp. What I can say is that right after I read it, I read Stephen Jay Gould's review of it in the New Yorker, and I was horrified. I'm afraid I can't find the review, but it was, to my recollection, a pack of lies. Or I should say, half-truths, sly implications, weaselly omissions, brazen misquotations, and absent science. The only way he could possibly have written such a review is to be secure in the knowlege that no one who read it would ever read the book -- and in my experience, that has indeed been the case. Everyone I know who rails against hte book has not read it. They present its critics as being triumphantly correct without having examined the source material. That's not science, that's religion. I don't deny that many of the people obsessed with proving racial differences seem unpleasantly glad about the differences they allege, but I haven't found that to be the case at GNXP, and given the number of highly complex traits that are highly hereditary,the dismissal of the possibility by the left seems exceedingly peremptory. The inescapable conclusion that most of Murray's critics had written the lede on the way to the game taints the convincingness of their argument.

Well, I've read it Jane. And as for Gould's review - here's the pack of lies. I'm happy to believe there are some, but perhaps you could tell us what they are, so as to avoid making sly implications.

P.S. Don't send Jane any emails over this, please. And, no that isn't reverse psychology. Don't.

Update 2: Just wanted to add that defending the Bell Curve by claiming that "liberals" who attack it do so because they're denying that any aspect of intelligence could be hereditary is like defending the Protocols on the grounds that its detractors are denying the existence of rich Jewish bankers.