Saturday, March 15, 2003

Friedman and Iraq

What Jack Balkin says.

Friedman has given up. What took you so long Tom?



Some days, you pick up the newspaper and you don't know whether to laugh or cry. Let's see, the prime minister of Serbia just got shot, and if that doesn't seem like a bad omen then you missed the class on World War I. Our strongest ally for war in Iraq is Bulgaria — a country I've always had a soft spot for, because it protected its Jews during World War II, but a country that's been on the losing side of every war in the last 100 years. Congress is renaming French fries "freedom fries." George Bush has managed to lose a global popularity contest to Saddam Hussein, and he's looking to build diplomatic support in Europe by flying to the Azores, a remote archipelago in the Atlantic, to persuade the persuaded leaders of Britain and Spain to stand firm with him. I guess the North Pole wasn't available. I've been to the Azores. It was with Secretary of State James Baker on, as I recall, one of his seven trips around the world to build support for Gulf War I. Mr. Baker used the Azores to refuel.


Friedman's position has always been ridiculous - that Bush wasn't going to war for the same reason/desired outcome that Friedman was, but nonetheless going to war was a good thing. The annoying thing is - aside from the fact that a couple bits of evidence have been determined to be crap, there really isn't any new information out there to change minds on this one. Friedman never really bought into the "Saddam is a danger to the U.S." crap - he just was dreaming of Iraq-the-shining-beacon-of Democracy crap. I just think the cognitive dissonance became too much.




Rhetoric At Pro-War Rallies

Many of the speakers at anti-war rallies have gotten a lot of criticism (quite often justified). But, as Digby points out - rightly or wrongly, these speakers were always criticizing the people in power, not their fellow American private citizens. This is not the case at the "pro-war rally" in which apparently "hairy underarmed lesbians" is the favored punchline. Glad all the pro-war folks are objectively pro-bigot, and that they hate their fellow Americans.



UPDATE: Here's the transcript of the CNN coverage:


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We were starting to believe that we were surrounded by them, by the ones that are the freaks in the limousine, the ones with the hairy armpits and the lesbian, whatever that is. We thought we were being surrounded by California.

Today, today, I'm proud to tell you they are clear, we surround them.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

MATTINGLY: Things wrapping up right now. They just had the song, "Proud to be an American" playing. People singing along with it.

Again quite a few thousand more people than they expected for this rally, particularly with this kind of rain. So promoters very happy with the showing here today and people leaving with a very good feeling that their opinion is being made known across the country.

Back to you.

WHITFIELD: And David, to make it clear, the folks that are assembling there in Atlanta say this is not a pro-war rally but instead, it is one showing patriotism, showing support of the troops, as you mentioned, as well as the president's plans?

MATTINGLY: That is the theme here, support for the troops, for American soldiers right now in the Middle East. They say they don't want a repeat of what they saw after Vietnam, where soldiers came home and were not treated with respect. They want to make sure that does not happen again this time.


Well, if support the troops is the message, why the hell are they talking about "freaks in the limousine, the ones with the hairy armpits and the lesbian, whatever that is."

Time and time again these people prove who they're really threatened by.

Goddamn pathetic bigots.



More Anti-Gay Bigotry

Along with some serious violations of rights. From the ACLU:



  • One teacher called a conference with McLaughlin's parents and the principal because she objected to his being open about being gay. During the meeting, the principal concurred that she was opposed to McLaughlin talking at school about being gay.

  • A different teacher ordered McLaughlin not to discuss his sexual orientation, saying that she found it "sickening," and later called his mother to complain about his homosexuality.

  • School officials preached their religious views on homosexuality and forced him to read aloud from the Bible in clear violation of the establishment clause of the First Amendment. This was done as punishment after McLaughlin, who is himself a Christian, disagreed with a teacher for calling him "abnormal" and "unnatural."

  • In violation of McLaughlin's free speech rights, the school suspended him for two days for telling other students about being made to read the Bible in school. The principal and assistant principal also told McLaughlin that if he told any of his friends why he was suspended, they would recommend that he be expelled.

  • McLaughlin is not even allowed to participate in typical teenage conversations about crushes. In January he was disciplined for talking between classes with a female friend about a boy they both considered "cute." He was disciplined; his friend was not.





This is just horrible. Calpundit suggests an email campaign. I agree.

As he says:

Remember, though, keep it clean. Email has more impact if it sounds like it's coming from an intelligent person instead of a ranting lunatic. That said, start typing!


Pulaski County Special School District
925 East Dixon Road
Little Rock, Arkansas 72206
Telephone: 501-490-2000
School district website: http://www.pcssd.org/

Don Henderson, Superintendent: dhenders@pcssd.org
Jeff Shaneyfelt, Board President: jeffshaneyfelt@lsmcpas.com
Pam Roberts: proberts@mwsgw.com
Carol Burgett: y2659@aristotle.net
Don Baker: wdbaker@arkansas.net
Pat O'Brien: pobrien@aristotle.net
Mildred Tatum: No email listed
Gwen Williams: gwilliams29@earthlink.net

The Smoking Gun

South Knox Bubba finds it.

Idiotically Correct

Amen.


Yet the very same pious humourlessness, the very same shouting down of any opposing view, the very same presumptions of power, the very same claims to a higher purpose, the very same misappropriation of the suffering of strangers, that dogged the very worst of what we came to know as the ‘politically correct’ is now the breakfast, lunch, dinner and midnight snack of the neocons and pseudolibertarians, the Attack Runts and the designated mourners.


Whether it's the "patriotic correctness" (criticizing the president is unpatriotic!), the new "humanitarian correctness" (we're liberating the Iraqi people!), the sudden newfound sensitivity to anti-semitsm*, or whatever, the willingness of the Right to go on the attack whenever someone makes a slight verbal slip far surpasses even the most ridiculous caricatures of what "political correctness" ever was. Remember, the most extreme examples of PCness were limited to a few college campuses over a relatively short time span - it wasn't propogated and enforced by the media powers of the day.


*Regarding anti-semitism - For the most part I have no trouble with the heightened sensitivity to anti-semitism. Any additional awareness of bigotry is a good thing in my book. I do not like how it's being wielded as a crude political club by a lot of people who, for the first time, have discovered bigotry. I find the gleeful hunts for anti-semitism which walk side by side by utter indifference to bigotry towards African-Americans, Muslim-Americans, gays, and lesbians, make the motives of many making the charges rather obvious. What Jim Moran said was horrible, and I'm glad he was given his punishment - quickly, I might add. But, it didn't even rise to the level of a Howard Coble Moment, or a Sue Myrick Moment, let alone a Saxby Chambliss Moment, or Trent Lott moment. Coble still has his leadership position. I never saw the wide condemnations from the party of Sue Myrick's comments. Saxby Chambliss became senator by attacking the patriotism of a one-limbed Vet. Don Nickles was never "punished" for his opposition to the appointment of James Hormel as ambassador, and his bigoted comments during that episode. In fact, if people cared 1/10 about anti-gay bigotry as they did about anti-semitism, half the Republican members of Congress would be out on their asses.


In addition, the Right's concern for anti-Semitism is indeed newfound. One only has to go back to their embrace - and defenses of - Pat Robertson's anti-Semitic "New World Order" conspiracies. The Christian Coalition was welcomed into the fold by conservatives and neo-conservatives alike after its publication.

Greater awareness of bigotry - any bigotry - is fine by me. But extremely selective attention paid to certain forms of bigotry by the Right these days shows they're willing to exploit these issues an incredibly cynical fashion for political gain. One expects this, I suppose, from politicians - but for the bloggers and pundits who aid them, you should be ashamed.






CNN Sorta Calls Bush a Liar

Tom Spencer explains. Still, it doesn't quite rise to to the seriousness of the Great Clinton Blowjob Whopper, which Howie Kurtz still trots out.


And, of course, Clinton did mislead the country on the Lewinsky matter.


Poor Howie probably never had a blowjob to lie about.


Sound Bitten

Has various things I've been meaning to link to. So, just go there and read what you find interesting.

Comments Down

Hopefully they'll return at some point.

Friday, March 14, 2003

The Blame Game

Jill Dutt, one of the editors at the Washington Post, writes to Medianews regarding Jonathan Weisman's letter:


In case Jonathan Weisman's notes have caused any confusion about The Post's policy on quotations, let me describe it.

Reporters are not allowed to change a quote once it's been uttered. Anything appearing within quotation marks and published in The Post must be a verbatim rendering of what a source said. We do allow reporters, on occasion, to conduct background interviews with the understanding that if they want to quote the source, they check the quote. Reporters are supposed to get approval from an editor in advance of making an agreement to read back quotes.


While poor Mr. Weisman has to backtrack to try and save his probably alread-severed neck:


From JONATHAN WEISMAN, Economics Writer, Washington Post: Subject -- A follow-up. Given the response to my initial letter, I feel compelled to send a follow-up explaining what happened after my run-in with the White House press office over this single quotation. I was (and am) new to the Post. After the flap, I went to my editor, the assistant managing editor for financial news, Jill Dutt, to apprise her of the situation. Understandably, she was not pleased that even two words "the purest" appeared in the paper when they were not actually uttered by the interviewee. It is quite explicitly Post policy not to construct quotes in any way. Quotation marks are sacrosanct; they denote to readers the exact words uttered by a source.

That was the first quotation negotiation that I engaged in with the White House and it was and will be the last. And no, I have received no comment from the White House since my first letter on this subject.


Are we to really believe that Weisman was just a poor rookie duped into submission by the White House, which otherwise never does these things? If so, then the purpose, tone, and content in his original letter were completely at odds with this. He said:


This is a bit of a confession as well as an appeal to the White House and my fellow reporters to rethink the way journalism is practiced these days.
...

The catch was this: The interview would be off the record. Any quotes I wanted to put into the newspaper would have to be e-mailed to the press office. If approved, the quotation could be attributed to a White House official. (This has become fairly standard practice.)

...

I think it is time for all of us to reconsider the way we cover the White House. If administration officials want to speak off the record, they are off the record. If they are on background as an administration official, I suppose that's the best we can expect. But the notion that reporters are routinely submitting quotations for approval, and allowing those quotes to be manipulated to get that approval, strikes me as a step beyond business as usual.



Now, if he actually gone to his editor after the "flap" as he claimed (which flap isn't quite clear) and she told him that this shouldn't happen, then one would suspect he would have walked away knowing he got played and thinking that it wasn't a problem. Clearly, in his first letter, he thinks it is a serious and widespread problem - standard practice, in fact.


Some other White House reporters should come forward and corroborate what this guy has claimed. If not, he may have just finished his career before he started it. Shame on all of you who don't.




Kerry Campaign Laptop Stolen

Oy.


Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry's campaign was victimized Thursday during a stop in San Francisco when a middle-aged thief with thinning hair and quick hands snatched a laptop computer from a car belonging to Kerry's campaign spokesman, Chris Lehane.

Making matters worse, the Dell computer was chock-full of campaign information that the Democratic presidential contender certainly wouldn't want his opponents getting their hands on.

"Obviously it's troubling to us because it contained a lot of valuable information," Lehane said. "We just want to make sure no one attempts to use it in the wrong way."

Lehane declined to say what was on the computer.

No one suspects any Watergate stuff, even if they found it odd the thief left behind a modem, clothing and other valuables after smashing a window on Lehane's SUV and grabbing the computer.

"It would be hard to believe that someone would really do that," Lehane said of the possibility of political espionage. "My guess is that it was just a run-of-the-mill breaking and entering."



Um...is Lehane just being diplomatic or is he totally fucking clueless?

Some sanity

From the program director at Kansas City's kfkf

The Dixie Chicks on KFKF

Natalie Maines' remark about the President* has sparked anger on both sides. We've taken literally thousands of calls, e-mails and faxes. The vast majority of them have asked us to stop playing the Dixie Chicks until Natalie apologizes to the President.

We did. I felt that if 80% of the audience was that angry, it would hurt KFKF to play their music.

However, the more thought I've given to this, the more I am led to what may be an unpopular conclusion. Our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines are over there fighting for our rights - and one of those is our Constitutional right to express an unpopular opinion. The longer this has gone on, the more I had visions of censorship and McCarthyism. Two wrongs don't make a right!

I agree with the 80% of you who abhor what Natalie said in London. On the other hand, I believe in the Constitution. We are putting the Dixie Chicks back on KFKF.

If you are so incensed that you want to do something, you have rights. You have the right to not purchase their CD. You have the right to boycott their upcoming concert - or to attend the show and stage a peaceful protest. You even have the right to turn off KFKF! While I would hope you would not penalize the station that has supported the troops - as we have - I would understand.

In light of what our men and women are about to do, this whole controversy is very small. Let me close with the most important sentiments any of us can express:

God bless our troops, pray for the people of Iraq, and may God continue to bless the United States of America!


Dale Carter
Program Director
94FM KFKF

You can email Dale Carter at DaleC@kfkf.com to express your thanks for him not being a brownshirt.

(oh, and for those of you who think criticizing the policies of an administration are somehow similar to Michael Savage's demonization of gays, lesbians, minorities, and immigrants... go away. Remember how the media responded when Clinton was criticized...you know, by the media despite his popularity?)

On a related note, Digby tells us to boycott all Vivendi artists.




Moran Resigns (minor) Leadership Position

i don't think he'll be rewarded with a plum committee position either.

Well, that was fast, but it won't stop the usual suspects from somehow activing as if what Moran said was equivalent to what Lott said, and then continuing to pretend that Lott's "punishment" was somehow worse.

I'm still waiting for a bit more outrage about Howard Coble's comments, too. He's the one who really needs to resign HIS leadership position.

(chirp...chirp...)

Hitchens and Horowitz

Together at last.

Howard Dean

I'm pretty much of the opinion that 'whoever is likely to win in 2004' should get the nomination. But, I do like a guy who says this:


"Anti-gay [Republican] lawmakers in the House have also presented amendments to repeal the civil unions law without providing any replacement system. In both versions printed this week, a provision called on the state to prohibit same-sex marriage and declare same-sex sexual unions to be "health hazards, contrary to public policy."

Dean told reporters Wednesday that what he heard angered him. "Years from now when people read that legislation it's going to look like it would for us to go back to the 1830s in the south and read about slave owners," he said."


(Note that's from 2001)


Major Barbara

Tells us about Red Adair and Halliburton.

Idiocy

Or profoundly ironic commentary. You be the judge.

This Should be Fun

For you New Yorkers:


New York — A panel of prominent writers — comedian Janeane Garofalo, Nation columnist Eric Alterman, New York Daily News columnist Stanley Crouch, Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist, and New York Sun managing editor Ira Stoll — will debate the question, Is the media biased?, at 7 pm, Tuesday, March 18 in a free-wheeling public discussion sponsored by the Nation Institute.



Selling Out

My contribution to the Daily Billboard is up.

Oh, and Wolf deserves as much pain as we can give him over this question.

Questions the Judciary Committee Should Ask

From Cap'n Dunsel, in comments:



Q: Sir, so as I understand your states' rights position, you believe the federal govenment should stay out of matters that have traditionally been the province of state government.

A: That's it exactly.

Q: Then you'd have serious reservations about Congress ordering state governments to institute damage caps on state court law suits which are determined under state law, as these have been matters for state courts for as long as there have been states.

A: er...well....ummmm.....I haven't really thought about that....

Q: fuck you, sir, and thank you for coming in this morning.

Plans for Peace

Well, the Bush Middle East peace plan has been unveiled, or something. I'm sure it's as useless as the Friedman peace plan, which if I remember correctly involved Saudi Arabia making nice with Israel in exchange for Israel withdrawing from all the occupied territories. I'm sure the former, like the latter, will be hailed for its brilliance despite the fact that it may as well have come from the planet Mongo.

I would normally be happy that any attempt at a process, even a likely futile one, was happening. The U.S. is the only one who can broker a deal in this. However, aside from throwing up a red cape to distract the press momentarily, discussing Mideast peace on the eve of Baghdad's destruction is a about as productive as, well, trying to obtain Mideast peace by destroying Baghdad.

Cracks

From Lloyd Grove:


"I'd like to announce that tonight I'm off to buy a case of French wine."

-- Nebraska senator and oenophile Chuck Hagel at the Marriott yesterday, during a speech critical of fellow Republican President Bush's "unilateralism." Hagel's cheering audience was a State Department-sponsored gathering of the National Council of International Visitors.


I really can't figure out what Hagel's deal is.

Domino Democracy

Not going to happen, says the State Department (but, shh..it's classified):



A classified State Department report expresses deep skepticism that installing a new regime in Iraq will foster the spread of democracy in the Middle East, a claim President Bush has made in trying to build support for a war, according to intelligence officials familiar with the document.
The report exposes significant divisions within the Bush administration over the so-called democratic domino theory, one of the arguments that underpins the case for invading Iraq.

The report, which has been distributed to a small group of top government officials but not publicly disclosed, says that daunting economic and social problems are likely to undermine basic stability in the region for years, let alone prospects for democratic reform.

Even if some version of democracy took root -- an event the report casts as unlikely -- anti-American sentiment is so pervasive that elections in the short term could lead to the rise of Islamic-controlled governments hostile to the United States
....

It is dated Feb. 26, officials said, the same day Bush endorsed the domino theory in a speech to the conservative American Enterprise Institute in Washington.

"A new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region," Bush said.

Other top administration officials, including Vice President Dick Cheney, have made similar remarks in recent months.



Is Bush lying to us? What WILL we tell the children?


Now's the time to donate to your favorite Senator

Or to the DSCC. Yeah, sure, they let us down a lot, but consider this recent episode:


In the meantime, Republicans also are trying something new: Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist went to the floor with an aggressive move that he believes paints Democrats as obstructionists. He introduced several other conservative judicial nominees for debate on the floor to see if Democrats would object — leading to this interesting exchange with Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, a top Democrat.

FRIST: Deborah Cook?
REID: Objection.
FRIST: John Roberts?
REID: Objection
FRIST: Jay S. Bybee?
REID: Objection.
FRIST: Timothy Tymkovich?
REID: Objection


Go Harry! Give them some money, and make sure to tell them why.

(via Smythesworld)

Thursday, March 13, 2003

Oppose Sutton

This column explains why:


So you don't have a disability, and you're not, like me, related to someone who does. You might think that the nomination of Jeffrey Sutton to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals doesn't mean a fig to you. You'll never get in a car accident that leaves you with traumatic brain injury, or give birth to a child without sight. And laws prohibiting race, gender and religious discrimination are not something you have needed to use.

But Sutton - and the reason people like me are fiercely opposed to his nomination - should mean a huge amount to you. He's a portent of things to come should the Bush administration continue its trend of nominating federal judges with a states'-rights agenda - especially Circuit Court judges, who are seen as being prime candidates for the Supreme Court.

Jeffrey Sutton is the country's most prominent crusader for federalism, a growing movement in which states are increasingly asserting their sovereign immunity from lawsuits based on federal laws. As Ohio state solicitor and partner at a major law firm, Sutton successfully used federalist arguments to restrict Congress' authority to enact civil-rights laws, including the Americans With Disabilities Act.

The way those of us in the disabilities community see it, Sutton's zeal for states' rights is systematically dismantling the ADA and other civil rights laws. As a result of his arguments in Garrett v. Alabama, decided by the Supreme Court in 2001, folks with disabilities can no longer sue state employers under the ADA. So Patricia Garrett, a former director of nursing at the University of Alabama-Birmingham Medical Center who was demoted because she had breast cancer, cannot take the hospital to court under the ADA.


Contact your senators tomorrow.

Captain Queeg

Krugman's up, shrill as always.

Shrill, you ask? Why everyone says so.

Another Poll

Go torture Lou Dobbs. He's fun too.

Even More Revisionism

TAPPED catches the incredibly dull-witted K. Lo asserting that the term "partial birth abortion" is the result of a liberal media plot.

Dean Exploits Internet

NY Times article here.

Signs of Rebellion?

Washington Post reporter confesses. God it is like Pravda over there.


From JONATHAN WEISMAN, Economics Writer, Washington Post:

In the wake of Seymour Hersh's open statements about the way the White House treats the press, I feel compelled to relate a personal story that illustrates how both the White House and the press have allowed manipulation of the printed word in Washington to get out of hand. This is a bit of a confession as well as an appeal to the White House and my fellow reporters to rethink the way journalism is practiced these days.

Recently, I was working on a profile of the now-departed chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, R. Glenn Hubbard. I dutifully went through the White House press office to talk to an administration economist about Hubbard's tenure, and a press office aide helpfully got me in touch with just the person I wanted. The catch was this: The interview would be off the record. Any quotes I wanted to put into the newspaper would have to be e-mailed to the press office. If approved, the quotation could be attributed to a White House official. (This has become fairly standard practice.)

Since the profile focused on Hubbard's efforts to translate relatively arcane macroeconomic theory into public policy, the quote I wanted referenced the president's effort to end the double taxation of dividends: "This is probably the most academic proposal ever to come out of an administration." The press office said it was fine, but the official wanted a little change. Instead, the quote was to read, "This is probably the purest, most far reaching economic proposal ever to come out of an administration." I protested that the point of the quote was the word "academic," so the quote was again amended to state, "This is probably the purest, most academic, most far reaching economic proposal ever to come out of an administration."

What appeared in the Washington Post was, "This is probably the purest, most academic ... economic proposal ever to come out of an administration." What followed was an angry denunciation by the White House press official, telling me I had broken my word and violated journalistic ethics.

I had, of course, violated journalistic ethics, by placing into quotation marks a phrase that was never uttered by the source, ellipses or no ellipses. I had also played ball with the White House using rules that neither I nor any other reporter should be assenting to. I think it is time for all of us to reconsider the way we cover the White House. If administration officials want to speak off the record, they are off the record. If they are on background as an administration official, I suppose that's the best we can expect. But the notion that reporters are routinely submitting quotations for approval, and allowing those quotes to be manipulated to get that approval, strikes me as a step beyond business as usual.




UPDATE: Just wanted to add that someone made the observation recently (in comments? on another blog? don't remember) that the Clinton White House screwed up early on by "punishing" the entire press when they "misbehaved" when they should have done what the Bushies do - make an example of one bad one (should in the Machiavellian sense, not necessarily in the "I approve of it" sense). Similarly, the press is going to have to rebel all together and stand behind people like Weisman if they want anything to change.

Selling Out

My corruption by big media begins. Soon you'll wax nostalgic for the days before I was one of the kool kids.

UPDATE: Ted Barlow has some more on this issue. (permalink not working)

Blitzer Time

Due to the Elizabeth Smart story, I don't think that little warmonger read his poll results yesterday. Let's try again.

The Mickster

The Horse has it exactly right here:


Kool Kidz Update
Know-it-all-ism Still Worst of All Evils


From Kausfiles...

Kiss of death: Bill Clinton joins the Balking Hawks. ... Why do I think this dooms any chance their case might have had within the Bush Administration? ... Clinton must know his endorsement won't help -- but I guess he couldn't resist being seen as getting the answer right. (He did get the answer right, by my lights.).


Mickey essentially (and accurately) admits here that Bush will opt to kill tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis and endanger American servicemen over doing the right thing, for no other reason than that the most recently-elected president to serve in office instructed him regarding the right thing. Yet Mickey reserves his criticism for...President Clinton's alleged character deficiencies?

Fascinating!

Indeed.

Go Dixie Chicks

Ashamed of Bush.


Reporting on a Chicks' concert, the Web site for the United Kingdom paper The Guardian said singer Natalie Maines (pictured, center) told the crowd, "Just so you know, we're ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas."

The singer's barb got the audience cheering, the Guardian said.

......

"I feel the president is ignoring the opinions of many in the U.S. and alienating the rest of the world," Maines said in the statement. "My comments were made in frustration and one of the privileges of being an American is you are free to voice your own point of view."

And while Maines maintains her beef with Bush, she's much more supportive of the United States troops.

"While we support our troops, there is nothing more frightening than the notion of going to war with Iraq and the prospect of all the innocent lives that will be lost," Maines said.


You can support the Dixie Chicks here.

Also, go vote in this poll.

UPDATE: Never mind about the poll - typical Republicans changed the questions when they started to lose.

Masters of CalvinBall.

Hitchens v. Ireland

This is a pretty amusing exchange in the LA Weekly.

New Jobless Claims Still High

At 420,000. Above 400,000 is considered to be "bad" for whatever reason.

and...retail sales plunge 1.6%. Ouch.

FBI Intercepts Correspondence Between Journalists

This is serious stuff:


Government agencies opened a package mailed between two Associated Press reporters last September and seized a copy of an eight-year-old unclassified FBI lab report without obtaining a warrant or notifying the news agency.

The Customs Service intercepted a package sent via Federal Express from the Associated Press bureau in Manila to the AP office in Washington, and turned the contents over to the FBI.

FBI spokesman Doug Garrison said the document contained sensitive information that should not be made public. However, an AP executive said the package contained an unclassified 1995 FBI report that had been discussed in open court in two legal cases.

"The government had no legal right to seize the package," said David Tomlin, assistant to the AP president.

The package was one of several communications between Jim Gomez in Manila and John Solomon in Washington, AP reporters who were working on terrorism investigative stories.

It was the second time that Solomon's reporting was the subject of a government seizure. In May 2001 the Justice Department subpoenaed his home phone records concerning stories he wrote about an investigation of then-Sen. Robert Torricelli.

The Customs Service said its agents opened the package from Manila after selecting it for routine inspection when it arrived at a Federal Express hub in Indianapolis. Agents did not open an identical package addressed to AP's United Nations office.

Both packages contained an FBI laboratory report on materials seized from a Filipino apartment rented by convicted terrorist Ramzi Yousef. The reporters were working on a research project that resulted in stories published last month about the government's concerns before April 19, 1995, that white supremacists might bomb a federal building.

"The job of Customs is to intercept smuggled contraband and collect import duties," said Tomlin, who is an attorney. "Customs has no authority to seize private correspondence where there's no suspicion it contains contraband. There certainly wasn't any such suspicion here."


Ah, I'm Back

Was having withdrawal symptoms. If something happened, and I don't blog it, did it really happen?

(of course)

White House to Have Freedom Yard Sale

The White House: This weekend.


The Hannibal French Bronze Clock:

The Hannibal clock displayed on the mantle was the work of Deniere and Matelin, noted French bronze casters who made many of the bronze-dore objects purchased in 1817 by Monroe, including this bronze-dore fruit basket.

===
Bellange Arm Chair:

When the White House was rebuilt after the 1814 Fire, James Monroe bought furniture designed by the French cabinetmaker Pierre-Antoine Bellange. The furniture was decorated with carved sprigs of olive, although Monroe asked for eagles. The upholstery was listed as double-warp satin in delicate crimson and two shades of gold, with an American eagle woven into the center of a wreath of laurel. Of the pieces he purchased, only nine remain in the White House today, including this armchair, six other chairs, one sofa, and one pier table.

===
1- Official White House China
The Monroe service, made by P.L. Dagoty, Paris, France, c. 1817.

2- A serving platter from the flamboyant Hayes china, made in France by Haviland & Co., 1880.

3- Classical figures adorn a rococo-revival punch bowl from the Franklin Pierce service, 1853. Mrs. Benjamin Harrison found the bowl in the White House attic and had it mended and put on display as an historical piece of White House china.


===
Entrance and Cross Halls Art and Furnishings:
The Entrance Hall is seen by visitors as they leave the White House. It is set off from the Cross Hall by a colonnade and is decorated in the same style. Its furnishings include a French pier table purchased by Monroe in 1817 and a pair of French settees with carved mahogany swans' heads.

===
State Dining Room:
When not set for a state dinner, as seen above, the mahogany dining table, surrounded by Queen Anne-style chairs, displays part of Monroe's gilt service purchased from France in 1817. The ornamental bronze-doré pieces are used today as table decorations. The plateau centerpiece, with seven mirrored sections, measures 14 feet 6 inches in length when fully extended. Standing bacchantes holding wreaths for tiny bowls or candles border the plateau. Three fruit baskets, supported by female figures, may be used to hold flowers. The two rococo-revival candelabra date from the Hayes administration.

===
Vermeil Room Art and Furnishings: (self explanatory)
The vermeil collection contains pieces from different services and includes the work of English Regency silversmith Paul Storr (1771-1844), French Empire silversmith Jean-Baptiste-Claude Odiot (1763-1850), and Philip Rundell of London, who crafted the vermeil wine cooler at the right. The cooler has as its handles classical figures reaching for grapes

===
Art for the President's House — An Historical Perspective:
In 1963 the family of John F. Kennedy contributed a painting by French Impressionist Claude Monet as a tribute to President Kennedy's great love of the outdoors.

===
East Room Art and Furnishings:
Today the East Room retains the late 18th-century classical style to which it was restored by architects McKim, Mead & White during the Theodore Roosevelt renovation of 1902. An oak floor of Fontainebleau parquetry was installed at the time

===
Red Room:
Furnished in the Empire style of 1810-30, the Red Room contains several pieces of furniture from the New York workshop of the French-born cabinetmaker Charles-Honoré Lannuier.

The furniture displays many motifs similar to those of the French pieces now in the Blue Room. Egyptian motifs were extensively used in French Empire furnishings following Napoleon's 1798-99 campaign in Egypt, and many of these same designs were adopted by cabinetmakers working in New York, Boston, and Philadelphia.

All the fabrics now in the Red Room were woven in the United States from French Empire designs. The walls are covered by a red twill satin fabric with a gold scroll design in the borders. The furniture, like the American Empire sofa, is upholstered in a silk of the same shade of red. An early 19th-century design inspired the draperies. The carpet--of beige, red and gold--is a reproduction of an early 19th-century French Savonnerie carpet in the White House collection; it was made for the room in 1997. The 36-light French Empire chandelier was fashioned from carved and gilded wood in 1805.

===
Blue Room:
When President Monroe redecorated the "large oval room" after the fire, he used the French Empire style, which is the present decor. Monroe ordered a suite of French mahogany furniture through the American firm Russell and La Farge, with offices in Le Havre, France. However, the firm shipped gilded furniture instead, asserting that "mahogany is not generally admitted into the furniture of a Saloon, even at private gentlemen's houses". Eight pieces of the original suite can be seen, including a bergerè, an armchair with enclosed sides. A gilded bronze clock also remains.

The marble-top center table, that has been in the White House since it was purchased by President Monroe in 1817, stands beneath the French chandelier.

The blue satin draperies were derived from an early 19th century French source. The walls were hung with a light gold paper adapted from an early 19th century American paper with borders adapted from two early 19th century French papers.


===
And finally, inside the State Dining Room:
Carved into the mantel below George P. A. Healy's portrait of President Lincoln is an inscription from a letter written by John Adams on his second night in the White House:

"I pray Heaven to Bestow the Best of Blessings on THIS HOUSE and on All that shall hereafter Inhabit it. May none but honest and Wise Men ever rule under this roof."


*****
Ha ha!

(From the Farmer, in comments)



The Fabulous David E.

The Fabulous David E. is now contributing to the New York Press's Daily Billboard.

One wonders who else might be soon be joining the Billboard crew ...

The Agonist Needs Money For New Breasts

Wait, that's not right, wrong cause. The newlywed Agonist has been saving for a trip so he could go write a book for us all to read. Sadly, some of his promised cash didn't come through. So, if a whole bunch of you go and give him just a little bit of money each, that adds up to a Whole Lot of money. $35 gets you an autographed copy, too. So, go to here to learn what to do.

Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Lindner Keeps On Giving



From 365gay.com:


(St. Paul, Minnesota) Minnesota state Rep. Arlon Lindner continues to defend his position that gays and lesbians were never persecuted during the Holocaust.

His latest allegation goes even further, saying that "the main gay participants in the Holocaust were Nazi concentration camp guards," and he suggests that homosexuality helped lead to World War II. Lindner said he bases his accusations on the book "The Pink Swastika," published by Abiding Truth Ministries, a right wing fundamentalist group based in Wisconsin that claims gays were responsible for the rise of Hitler.


Freepers Squeal About Savage

Amidst the usual paranoia, bigotry, and homophobia we find this remark:

To: sinkspur

I agree with you.

But more to the point, where are conservative advertisers who should be flocking to Savage's show? Who needs P&G or Sharper Image or Dell? Where are the hair restoration products, libido products, business opportunity promoters that populate so many conservative shows to support this guy?
15 posted on 03/12/2003 4:10 PM PST by joesbucks


ha ha.


A Toast to Stupidity

House Republicans try to dishonor an American culinary innovator - Joseph French. From Joe Conason:

Apropos of the politicians who are expunging the word "French" from cafeteria menus, a gastronomic historian writes: "French toast was not invented in France. In fact, it was invented in Albany, NY. Tavern owner Joseph French is credited with inventing the famous breakfast in 1724. Supposedly, Mr. French didn't know the proper usage of the possessive apostrophe and, instead of 'French's toast' he put 'French toast' on his menu."


Sorry, Scummy, you too.

Why do they hate America and Americans so much?

Supreme Court Stays Execution

Wow.

Perle Files Suit Against Hersh in the U.K.

Ths is just atrocious - Perle is attempting to use the courts and libel laws of another country to intimidate and silence a American journalist over something printed in an American publication. It would be one thing if Perle were just a private citizen, but he isn't. He's an official government advisor - specifically the chariman of the Defense Policy Board - and obviously no small player in this administration.

Britain's libel laws suck - their only consolation is that occasionally people who sue under them - such as Jeffrey Archer - get caught perjuring themselves and end up being thrown in jail for a lovely holiday.

Oh, and P.S. - here's the article in question.

Astroturf Alert

Skimble has the details.

Time Warp

Evil the Younger.

At first I honestly thought it was a still photo from Dr. Strangelove but then I couldn't place the characters...

Senate Chooses Fetus Over Your Wife

Unless continuing a pregnancy will necessarily result in the death of the mother, regardless of the potentially catastrophic health consequences to you or your partner, the pregnancy must continue.

Where in the World Are...

Khalid's sons? This is a goddamn outrage.

Blitzer Time

Go!

This is the big one - vote early, vote often.

Savage Weiner

All 6 national sponsors have withdrawn.

UPDATE: As has Puritan's Pride:


From: "xxxxxxxxx"
Date: Wed Mar 12, 2003 1:40:07 PM US/Eastern
To:
Subject: RE: MICHAEL SAVAGE: Drop your sponsorship


We have asked MSNBC not to air our spot on the show. The spot only ran once.
It should not run again.


We are sorry that this happened, and hope that you reconsider patronizing
our Company.


xxxxxxx

So, go buy some vitamins..

Bin Laden

If he's in custody, great. If they're holding back the announcement as this guy claims - not great. In fact - pathetic, despicable, disgusting, horrendous.


Pooya said he heard of bin Laden's arrest from credible sources "who I have reasons to believe have never given me wrong information." He added he believed news of the arrest was being held back to coincide with the start of military action against Iraq (news - web sites). "All I know is that one of the things under consideration is when the announcement should come -- it's supposed to be timed with the apprehended attack between the 17th and the 18th (of March)."



9/11 Investigators Unable to Get Security Clearances To Do Jobs

What a surprise.


WASHINGTON — When Slade Gorton was appointed in December to a special commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, supporters heralded his lengthy résumé and expertise in intelligence matters. But Gorton lacks the one thing he really needs: security clearance to review classified documents.

Gorton, a former Republican U.S. senator from Washington, isn't the only commissioner without clearance, so while the FBI completes background checks, the panel is at a standstill.

"The slowdown is our own clearances," said Gorton, noting that he can't even read the classified findings of a previous congressional investigation into the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.


The article goes on to tell us that it can take 10 months to get security clearances - and the commission only has 15 months to do its job (and ticking). In addition, Gorton, a former Senator, already HAD a security clearance, so its ridiculous that it can't be expedited.

Not the Onion

"Smoking Gun Made With Duct Tape"

It's a poorly built model airplaine.


March 12, 2003 | Al-Taji, Iraq -- A remotely piloted aircraft that the United States has warned could spread chemical weapons appears to be made of balsa wood and duct tape, with two small propellors attached to what look like the engines of a weed whacker.

Iraqi officials took journalists to the Ibn Firnas State Company just north of Baghdad on Wednesday, where the drone's project director accused Secretary of State Colin Powell of misleading the U.N. Security Council and the public.

"He's making a big mistake," said Brig. Imad Abdul Latif. "He knows very well that this aircraft is not used for what he said."

In Washington's search for a "smoking gun" that would prove Iraq is not disarming, Powell has insisted the drone, which has a wingspan of 24.5 feet, could be fitted to dispense chemical and biological weapons. He has said it "should be of concern to everybody."

The drone's white fuselage was emblazoned Wednesday with the words "God is great" and the code "Quds-10." Its balsa wood wings were held together with duct tape. Officials said they referred to the remotely piloted vehicle as the RPV-30A


In addition, the real story was that this had already been reported.


The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Negroponte, complained this weekend that chief U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix didn't mention the drone in his oral presentation to the Security Council on Friday.

Blix mentioned the drone in a 173-page written list of outstanding questions about Iraq's weapons programs last week. While small, Blix said, drones can be used to spray biological warfare agents such as anthrax. He said the drone hadn't been declared by Iraq to inspectors.

But Iraq insisted it declared the drone in a report in January -- and Hussein held up its declaration to prove it. The confusion, he said, was the result of a typo: The declaration said the wingspan was 14.5 feet instead of 24.5 feet as stated by Powell.

"When we discovered the mistake we addressed an official letter correcting the wingspan," he said. He showed that letter to reporters as well. He suggested inspectors had already seen the drone when the correction was made, but said: "No one of the inspectors noticed the difference."


I think we have more to fear from the hobby and model rocket superstore than we do from these drones.

UPDATE: We're ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!!





Another Review of 'What Liberal Media'

In the Columbia Journalism Review. I think this is probably the 'smartest' review yet. Good reviews are fine, bad are fine, mixed are fine, what's got to be frustrating for an author are the clueless ones. This one is mixed leaning to good, but definitely thoughtful and intelligent.

Oh, and you can buy the book here.

The Mickster

Brad DeLong clears a few things up for him.

You know, he really shouldn't have had to. I think this one was rather obvious and could have been easily inferred from Krugman's columns.

RSS Again

Okay, I'm kinda enjoying this RSS newsreader thing. I settled on Feedreader for the moment. Strangely, hunting down actual feeds for, say, the wire services and other news outlets seems to be a more difficult task than I expected. Suggestions welcome... Particularly for AP Breaking so I can beat Drudge to the punch more often.

Michael Tomasky

Tomasky's good. I'm glad he has another outlet for his media columns. This week he discusses the UN spying story, and why American media didn't pick it up. He rightly asserts that the pre-emptive strikes by Drudge and the Washington Times questioned the stories veracity enough to make other outlets shy away. But, frankly, even if the editors of the New York Times were concerned about the memo's legitimacy, that shouldn't have stopped them from publishing the story. If one checks the international press, the story obviously had a big impact on the wavering nations on the Security Council. Even if the memo had proven to be a fake, it was playing a huge role in the ongoing saga of international diplomacy surrounding the Iraq situation in the UN. For the US media to essentially ignore that story is a travesty.

Of course, now we know that the memo wasn't a fake, and not only should they report on the story they should do a bit of a follow-up. You know, talk to some politicians and diplomats in those countries that were a bit upset about this.

I guess that's too much to ask.

Sports Fans Against The War

Hesiod informs us that war coverage will likely pre-empt most of CBS's March Madness Coverage. They'll push the games onto various Viacom-owned cable channels not necessarily available to all.

GYWO

Number 21.

Didn't WW1 Start like this?

Serbian PM killed in Belgrade.

The Beastie Boys Present

A World Gone Mad

I guess they've been reading Michael Ledeen.

Digby on Michael Ledeen

He says:


The next time somebody says that the left is full of conspiracy theorists I'm going to pop a gasket. This guy is a MAINSTREAM Republican, writing on the National Review website, for crying our loud. His nutsy wife worked in the Reagan administration and formerly ran the Barbizon School of Dyed-Blond Former Prosecutors.


Michael Ledeen gets invited to the White House. He is crazy as a loon.



Click the link to see why. deBeste has nothing on him.

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

RSS Newsreader

So, I suppose I should try one of these things. Suggestions?

Let me join in the chorus

and say 'ha ha' to Steven de beste over this one (regarding the French opposition to war):



Do they see the stakes as being high enough so that they might actually threaten to nuke us?


Britain Out?

Holy crap. Hard to believe.

Bigot on the Larry King Show

All Catholics, as well as anyone who isn't a bigoted wingnut moron - and particularly any Christians who aren't bigoted wingnut morons, should be outraged that Larry King puts Bob Jones on to discuss the Christian view of war. This guy represents you, not me. Slacktivist tells us why.

Credit Where Credit is Due

Kudos to Scumbuster and his Super Blog for inspiring Representatives Jones and Ney to insist that the House cafeteria menu will now serve Freedom Toast.

In addition, it has come to my attention that the French, proud of the way in which Americans have been honoring them, are now officially changing their name to the Republic of Freedom.

Anti-Semite in Chief?

War Liberal reminds us of this gem.


And there's this:


Bush joked to reporters about his '94 answer a year or so ago, prior to a trip to the Middle East. According to stories in the Austin American-Statesman, he told reporters that he planned to stop in Israel and tell the Jews they were all going to hell. An exchange of messages between Bush and the Jewish Anti-Defamation League followed. While no one has accused Bush of anti-Semitism, there have been comments about his insensitivity, both toward the Jews and his own family. A Jewish reporter said Bush's remarks were quite upsetting to his son. No one in the Bush family has commented, but there's little doubt that Bush has touched a sore spot in family history.


Savage Weiner II

New York Times notices his advertisers are pulling out.

And they say liberals...

have no sense of humor. TBogg catches Crazy Andy being, well, dumb as a stump once again.

Cleaning the Pool

From the NYPRESS:


The Bush press conference to me was like a mini-Alamo for American journalism, a final announcement that the press no longer performs anything akin to a real function. Particularly revolting was the spectacle of the cream of the national press corps submitting politely to the indignity of obviously pre-approved questions, with Bush not even bothering to conceal that the affair was scripted.

Abandoning the time-honored pretense of spontaneity, Bush chose the order of questioners not by scanning the room and picking out raised hands, but by looking down and reading from a predetermined list. Reporters, nonetheless, raised their hands in between questions–as though hoping to suddenly catch the president’s attention.

In other words, not only were reporters going out of their way to make sure their softballs were pre-approved, but they even went so far as to act on Bush’s behalf, raising their hands and jockeying in their seats in order to better give the appearance of a spontaneous news conference.

Even Bush couldn’t ignore the absurdity of it all. In a remarkable exchange that somehow managed to avoid being commented upon in news accounts the next day, Bush chided CNN political correspondent John King when the latter overacted his part, too enthusiastically waving his hand when it apparently was, according to the script, his turn anyway.

KING: "Mr. President."

BUSH: "We’ll be there in a minute. King, John King. This is a scripted..."

A ripple of nervous laughter shot through the East Room. Moments later, the camera angle of the conference shifted to a side shot, revealing a ring of potted plants around the presidential podium. It would be hard to imagine an image that more perfectly describes American political journalism today: George Bush, surrounded by a row of potted plants, in turn surrounded by the White House press corps.


Read the rest.
(UPDATE: Romanesko has this prominently displayed, so they'll all read it. Here's some small bit of optimism about the future.)

Savage Weiner

Michael Savage's radio network is owned by cult leader Roy Masters. Take Back the Media explains.

The Grownups are in Charge

What little babies. This will do wonders for our trade balance.


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The cafeteria menus in the three House office buildings will change the name of "french fries" to "freedom fries," a culinary rebuke of France, stemming from anger over the country's refusal to support the U.S. position on Iraq.

Ditto for "french toast," which will be known as "freedom toast."

The name changes were spearheaded by two Republican lawmakers who held a news conference Tuesday to make the name changes official on the menus.



(via Fanatical Apathy)

Less and Less Information

This really was a valuable publication.


Last month, the nation's governors came to Washington complaining about inadequate federal funding for the states. But states are about to find it much harder to make this complaint -- because the Bush administration has decided to stop publishing the budget report that states use to see what money they are, or aren't, getting from Washington.

The White House's Office of Management and Budget is discontinuing the annual report called "Budget Information for States" -- the primary federal document reporting how much states get under each federal program. In fiscal 2003, the report ran 422 pages. In 2002, it was 415 pages.


And for fiscal 2004? "The volume will not be produced this year," said Trent Duffy, OMB's spokesman. He said the change will reduce the cost of "paper and producing another volume."


State advocates are displeased. "There's no one place in the public domain for this information anymore," said Alysoun McLaughlin of the National Conference of State Legislatures. "You can't get that comprehensive picture
anymore.


Hint - make it .pdf only.

Online Polls

Sometimes people wonder why I like to "Torture Wolf Blitzer." Well, in his case it's because he's drooling for war and he reads the poll every day on the air and it gets relative few respondents so its easy to influence.

But, more generally, no reputable news organization should report the results of online polls. I remember one morning that asswipe Jack Cafferty was slamming the Democrats based on the results of a CNN online poll. I forget what the issue was, but he basically said "given these results, how could the Demcorats even question the president?" or something similar.

I think it's fine for a more talk-show like show, such as Talk Back Live, to do it. It's a show (Well, was a show) organized around audience responses so it's okay for a bit of fun. But, no other time.

Along comes Dr. "Kitty Beware!" Frist with his online poll, which he took down after it was supposedly "hacked." Well, I'm sure it wasn't hacked - I and a few other liberal websites sent people over to answer the poll. These polls are meaningless, and no one should take them seriously. But, if Frist had gotten a 90% "pro-war" result he would have read it into the congressional record, declared George Bush the Moses of the Iraqi people, and the bombs would start dropping.


Punchline - stop with the goddamn online polls already.

(on that note - go torture wolf!)

More on Lindner

Oh boy.



The usually lively Minnesota House was silent as Rep. Arlon Lindner rose Monday afternoon to address the 134-member body.

House Democrats, Jewish groups and gay rights organizations wanted Lindner to apologize for his recent statements denying that homosexuals were persecuted during the Nazi Holocaust.

But the Corcoran Republican, who is well known for controversial remarks, only made them angrier: He repeated his doubts about the persecution of gays during the Holocaust, and he said if the Legislature doesn't pass his bill stripping gay people of protection under the state's Human Rights Act, Minnesota children may be subjected to a holocaust of their own, and America could become "another African continent."

African-Americans and other members of the House jumped to their feet to protest, and by the end of the evening, the governor had joined them, calling Lindner's statements "troubling."

"I am embarrassed for us today when I think about the evil, bigoted statement that was just expressed," said Rep. Keith Ellison. "It seems every time this gentleman says something, he digs himself a deeper hole and embarrasses this state."

In the course of his service in the Legislature, Lindner has said that Buddhism is a cult and called a Jewish colleague "irreligious."

Neva Walker, who, like Ellison, is an African-American and a Democrat representing Minneapolis, said Lindner had personally attacked her with his words, and she urged his constituents to make sure he does not return to the state Capitol after the 2004 election. Lindner was just elected to his sixth term with nearly 61 percent of the vote in his district.

Lindner, who has a master's degree in divinity, said later that he was not trying to insult Africans or African-Americans — he was simply trying to say that many people in Africa are infected with HIV or have AIDS.


Abortion Ban

Ampersand explains.

Lord Help Us

To the Editor:

I am the author of "Bible Code II: The Countdown," mentioned by Bill Keller in his March 8 column.

My Pentagon briefing about the Bible Code took place on Feb. 21 and was attended by top military intelligence officials.

Both American and Israeli intelligence are now using the Bible Code to hunt for Osama bin Laden. What possible loss is there in that?

Why do United States and Israeli intelligence take the code seriously? Not, as Mr. Keller writes, because "we're all a little too desperate these days," but because the Bible Code keeps coming true.

We have a real enemy to find and fight, the one who attacked us: Osama bin Laden. Discouraging top American intelligence officials from checking out information that might lead to the Qaeda leader is bad for our country.

We are in a war that must be won.
MICHAEL DROSNIN
New York, March 9, 2003

Remember?

How the Republicans withheld criticism of FDR and Truman during WWII? Remember how nobody criticized Truman during the Korean War? Clinton went unscathed during Somalia and Bosnia?

Me neither.

So, John Kerry, get a clue. You may stop your attacks, but they won't.

More Theocrats

Governor Riley of Alabama.


HOOVER, Ala. -- Republican Gov. Bob Riley asked 700 Alabamians on Saturday to enlist as prayer soldiers on two war fronts: one in Iraq, the other right here at home.


"There is another war that is going on in this country," Riley said in his keynote address at the Christian Coalition of Alabama's 2003 Friends of the Family Celebration. "This one is far more insidious. It's one that you just can't go and attack. It's a war for the absolute soul of this country.

"God looked down on this country because this country was founded on the rock -- and that rock was our lord and savior Jesus Christ," Riley said. "And when the storms came and the rains came, the rock, it did not move. But over the last 15 or 20 years, something began to erode.

"If we are going to save this country, if we are going to re-establish that belief in God, it's up to us," Riley concluded to enthusiastic applause. "If we don't do it, who will?"

...

If war in Iraq becomes a reality, Riley said, American troops would not be fighting for oil or out of imperial conquest, but "for our right to worship as we see fit."

The speech concluded a week during which the Riley administration's weekly Bible studies -- one for Cabinet officers, one for gubernatorial staff -- drew national attention. The sessions are held outside business hours.

Toby Roth, Riley's chief of staff, appeared Wednesday on an MSNBC cable news show to debate Larry Darby, an activist atheist, about the appropriateness of the study groups.

"I'm going to continue to worship as I see fit whether Mr. Darby likes it or not," Riley roared Saturday.

First lady Patsy Riley, who introduced her husband, asked attendees to pray that Darby "sees our Lord Jesus."



I think I picked the wrong night to quit drinking...

On a related note, vaara brings us some propaganda which must have been written by godless commies:


Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.





Monday, March 10, 2003

Krugman

He's the second one I've seen suggest that the inevitable resolution of the fiscal train wreck will be that the government will inflate away the debt.

oooh boy. Gonna be a scary ride.

Richard Perle

Uggabugga explains it all.

More Polls

Ipsos-Reid/Cook has 38% voting definitely Bush, 37% definitely not Bush, 22% would consider someone else, and 3% not sure.

How the hell can you be not sure with those options?

Same poll has him at 51% approval, 43% disapproval.

Is he still a popular president? Just askin'...



Moonie Monday

So go check out Moonie World.

Pentagon Threatens to Kill Journalists

Will fire on their satellite uplink positions.

The Pentagon has threatened to fire on the satellite uplink positions of independent journalists in Iraq, according to veteran BBC war correspondent, Kate Adie. In an interview with Irish radio, Ms. Adie said that questioned about the consequences of such potentially fatal actions, a senior Pentagon officer had said: "Who cares.. ..They've been warned."

According to Ms. Adie, who twelve years ago covered the last Gulf War, the Pentagon attitude is: "entirely hostile to the the free spread of information."

"I am enormously pessimistic of the chance of decent on-the-spot reporting, as the war occurs," she told Irish national broadcaster, Tom McGurk on the RTE1 Radio "Sunday Show."

Ms. Adie made the startling revelations during a discussion of media freedom issues in the likely upcoming war in Iraq. She also warned that the Pentagon is vetting journalists according to their stance on the war, and intends to take control of US journalists' satellite equipment --in order to control access to the airwaves.

James Moran

Is at best a colossal idiot and at worst something a lot worse than that. But, I agree with Ted Barlow that if this is the "Trent Lott Moment" for Democrats, then:

Can I resist the partisan point that a true "Trent Lott moment" would mean that Democrats should pressure Moran to resign from his position as House Minority Leader, kick him to a leadership position in a major committee, and call it square? It appears that I cannot.


Of course, as far as I can tell it took about 60 seconds for him to make an admittedly stupid-sounding apology, and about the same amount of time for him to be roundly condemned by all. All that IS left for them to do is give him a leadership position. But, I also agree with Ted - cut the guy loose for all I care.




Howler History

This is really the punchline on the Gore/Wolf story - that John McCain employed the editor of a neoconfederate magazine to run his operations in South Carolina. Did you know that? Probably not.

What Is With These People

Looks like State Representative Arlon Linder is a complete jackass.


Religious leaders and Democrats joined a survivor of the Holocaust in condemning Republican Rep. Arlon Lindner for remarks he made last week questioning whether homosexuals were persecuted by the Nazis.

``I can testify to the fact that homosexuals were indeed persecuted based on their sexuality,'' said Hinda Kibort, 81, an Edina woman who was in German-run labor and concentration camps from 1941 to 1945. ``I was there.''

...

Lindner said he doesn't doubt Kibort's own recollections of Nazi actions, but still questions why, he believes, there has been little attention to homosexual persecution until recent years. He said he expects to be in session on April 9, the date of the Washington trip, and won't be going along.

``They talk about my particular views and so forth,'' he said. ``But I guess I still feel like we've got a First Amendment that applies to everybody.''

Kibort described how homosexuals were forced to wear pink triangles, just as Jews were made to wear the star of David. ``His absolute lack of knowledge concerning Nazi barbarity in World War II is appalling,'' she said.

Lindner has introduced a separate bill that would repeal the state human rights amendment that protects gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Minnesotans from discrimination in employment, housing, education and other areas. It also would remove sexual orientation as a protected class in hate crimes laws.


Everytime someone critcizes a bigoted wingnut for being a bigoted wingnut they start babbling about "1st amendment rights."

Jeebus.



Evangelicals and Lynchings in Guatemala

Aretino tells us about them.

Blitzer Time

Go!

Bush Sr. Joins the Peace Train

Almost.


THE first President Bush has told his son that hopes of peace in the Middle East would be ruined if a war with Iraq were not backed by international unity.

Drawing on his own experiences before and after the 1991 Gulf War, Mr Bush Sr said that the brief flowering of hope for Arab-Israeli relations a decade ago would never have happened if America had ignored the will of the United Nations.

“You’ve got to reach out to the other person. You’ve got to convince them that long-term friendship should trump short-term adversity,” he said.

The former President’s comments reflect unease among the Bush family and its entourage at the way that George W. Bush is ignoring international opinion and overriding the institutions that his father sought to uphold. Mr Bush Sr is a former US Ambassador to the UN and comes from a family steeped in multi-lateralist traditions.

Although not addressed to his son in person, the message, in a speech at Tufts University in Massachusetts, was unmistakeable. Mr Bush Sr even came close to conceding that opponents of his son’s case against President Saddam Hussein, who he himself is on record as loathing,have legitimate cause for concern.

He said that the key question of how many weapons of mass destruction Iraq held “could be debated”. The case against Saddam was “less clear” than in 1991, when Mr Bush Sr led an international coalition to expel invading Iraqi troops from Kuwait. Objectives were “a little fuzzier today”, he added.


Why does George Bush Sr. hate America so much?

12,000 Bantus to Come to America

Wow. I'm absolutely shocked that this administration is going to let this happen.


They are members of Africa's lost tribe, the Somali Bantu, who were stolen from the shores of Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania and carried on Arab slave ships to Somalia two centuries ago. They were enslaved and persecuted until Somalia's civil war scattered them to refugee camps in the 1990's.

Yet on this recent day, the Bantu people were rejoicing as they stepped from the plane into the blinding sun. They were the last members of the tribe to be transferred from a violent camp near the Somali border to this dusty place just south of Sudan. They knew their first trip in a flying machine was a harbinger of miracles to come.

Over the next two years, nearly all of the Somali Bantu refugees in Kenya — about 12,000 people — are to be flown to the United States. This is one of the largest refugee groups to receive blanket permission for resettlement since the mid-1990's, State Department officials say.

The refugees will be interviewed by American immigration officials in this camp, which is less violent than the camp near Somalia. The interview process has been slowed by security concerns in the aftermath of Sept. 11. Despite the repeated delays, the preparations for the extraordinary journey are already under way.

Every morning, dozens of peasant farmers take their seats in classrooms in a simple one-story building with a metal roof. They study English, hold their first notebooks and pens, and struggle to learn about the place called America. It is an enormous task.

The Bantu, who were often denied access to education and jobs in Somalia, are mostly illiterate and almost completely untouched by modern life. They measure time by watching the sun rise and fall over their green fields and mud huts.


Good for us.

Operatives

Many people laugh when some of my commenters are accused of being Rove's Operatives. I have no idea if any of them are and don't much care, really, but the notion shouldn't be laughed at. The GOP and companies like Microsoft have had extensive internet operations for some time, paying people to spread their propaganda through this new medium. GOPTEAM leader also lets you earn points for internet forum and chat room activities. And, what do you know - the Pentagon does too.


As the U.S. military prepares to fight what could be the most sophisticated, high-tech war in history, its public-affairs troops here already have launched a media offensive.

Officers at the U.S. Central Command media center have engaged in various techniques -- from logging on to Internet chat rooms to providing ready-to-use factoids for cable TV news shows -- to get the Pentagon's message out to the world.


And poor little me is an unpaid operative of the VLWC.


(via Hesiod)

Savage Boycott

Some success:


Dear XXX,

Thank you for taking the time for bringing to our attention that our TV advertisement aired in controversial programing. The TV advertising was purchased through an agency and was bought in broad day parts meaning that specific programming was not selected. We at Casual Male do not consider our advertising as being a sponsorship or endorsement of any given program. As a result of your email, we have given direction to our agency not to air during Michael Savage on MSNBC. Our customers are very important to us and we value their feedback. We hope that we can service you in the future

Sincerely,

Ric Della Bernarda
VP of Marketing, Casual Male Retail Group

Soon it Won't be Funny

But while we can still joke, let's have another round of Name That War!

Some of the ones I've heard and liked are "Operation Deserter Storm," "Dubya Dubya III," "Let's Roll Again," ...

Pravda on the Potomac

Pathetic, really.


TONY JONES: One of the very intriguing things about this story is it seems to have got very little coverage in the US.

You'd think it would have been huge coverage there.

Is it true that a number of US television networks which scheduled interviews with you cancelled them at the last minute?

MARTIN BRIGHT: Yes.

It's as well not to get too paranoid about these things and too conspiratorial.

I'm sure on your own show from time to time you bump people at the last minute for perfectly innocent reasons.

And I have to believe that this was why this was happening with the American broadcasters.

However, it did happen three times within the period of about 24 hours.

It happened with NBC, Fox TV and CNN, who appeared very excited about the story to the extent of sending cars to my house to get me into the studio, and at the last minute, were told by their American desks to drop the story.

I think they've got some questions to answer too.

A Symbol for our Times

Texas about to kill an innocent man.


Mr. Banks, a man with no prior criminal record, is most likely innocent of the charge that put him on death row. Fearing a tragic miscarriage of justice, three former federal judges (including William Sessions, a former director of the F.B.I.) have urged the U.S. Supreme Court to block Wednesday's execution.

So far, no one seems to be listening.

"The prosecutors in this case concealed important impeachment material from the defense," said Mr. Sessions and the other former judges, John J. Gibbons and Timothy K. Lewis, in an extraordinary friend-of-the court brief.

....

Just two weeks ago the Supreme Court handed down a ruling that criticized courts in Texas for ignoring evidence of racial bias in a death penalty case. Lawyers in the case noted that up until the mid-1970's prosecutors in Dallas actually had a manual that said, "Do not take Jews, Negroes, Dagos, Mexicans or a member of any minority race on a jury, no matter how rich or well-educated."

The significant evidence against Mr. Banks was the testimony of two hard-core drug addicts. One was a paid informant. The other was a career felon facing a long prison term who was told that a pending arson charge would be dismissed if he performed "well" while testifying against Mr. Banks.

The prosecution deliberately suppressed information about its arrangements with these witnesses — information that it was obliged by law to turn over to the defense


....

And prosecutors made sure that all the jurors at Mr. Banks's trial were white. That was routine. Lawyers handling Mr. Banks's appeal have shown that from 1975 through 1980 prosecutors in Bowie County, where Mr. Banks was tried, accepted more than 80 percent of qualified white jurors in felony cases, while peremptorily removing more than 90 percent of qualified black jurors.

The strongest evidence pointing to Mr. Banks's innocence was physical. He was in Dallas, more than three hours away from Texarkana, when Mr. Whitehead was killed, according to the best estimates of the time of death, based on the autopsy results.





Russia to Veto

via the Liquid List.

Kidnapping and Interrogating Children

Aren't we sweet.

Begging Bowl

There are many ways to contribute. You can give to me directly, or you can pony up some dough to causes I'm all for. Either way I'm happy. If there isn't much extra cash sitting around your household, do your part some other way.

Sunday, March 09, 2003

Sy Hersh - Terrorist?

YES! Says little Ricky Perle.


BLITZER:Let me read a quote from the New Yorker article, the March 17th issue, just out now. "There is no question that Perle believes that removing Saddam from power is the right thing to do. At the same time, he has set up a company that may gain from a war."

PERLE: I don't believe that a company would gain from a war. On the contrary, I believe that the successful removal of Saddam Hussein, and I've said this over and over again, will diminish the threat of terrorism. And what he's talking about is investments in homeland defense, which I think are vital and are necessary.

Look, Sy Hersh is the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist, frankly.

BLITZER: Well, on the basis of -- why do you say that? A terrorist?

PERLE: Because he's widely irresponsible. If you read the article, it's first of all, impossible to find any consistent theme in it. But the suggestion that my views are somehow related for the potential for investments in homeland defense is complete nonsense.

BLITZER: But I don't understand. Why do you accuse him of being a terrorist?

PERLE: Because he sets out to do damage and he will do it by whatever innuendo, whatever distortion he can -- look, he hasn't written a serious piece since Maylie (ph).

The Big Men Came

We're not likely to see/hear too many protest songs coming out of our paranoid media, but I'd like to recommend this great song by singer-songwriter John Voorhees. It was actually written during Bush I, but seems appropriate now.

You can download it here. There's a mirror here too.

A Conservative "Dove"

I don't think Arthur Silber and I agree on much, but he's been pretty pissed off at most of his (usual) fellow travelers lately.

The Simpsons

Appparently it's a total rip on Republicans and Faux News tonight. I missed it, as I'm currently watching The Pentagon Papers on that other Fox Network, FX, but if you're in a more Westerly time zone, don't miss it.

Don't want to spoil it, but as a teaser apparently the Fox News Crawler had such things as "92% of Democrats are gay."

UPDATE: The Horse provides a screenshot:

Filibuster Them All

Nathan Newman explains how the Republicans have forced the Democrats' hand on this one.

Vigilante Violence

A good companion book to David Neiwert's book on the Patriot Movement (though I've never asked him what he thinks of it) is Rural Radicals by Catherine McNicol Stock. While I tend to agree with the review that pops up on the amazon page that her link between radicalism and vigilantism is a bit strained, it is still an interesting (and fairly brief) look at a vigilantism throughout American history.

It seems relevant now because I do noticing an increasing tolerance - and advocacy of - vigiliante justice by My Fellow Americans. G.C. Cabot points us to this example by Ricky West who wishes the white supremacists who assaulted John Walker would go ahead and finish the job. I'm continually amazed at how often the strong "law and order" types are also prone to adovcating the antithesis of law and order - lawless "citizen justice."


I'm no gun control nut, but I definitely think we'd be better off if, say, half of the guns owned by private citizens in this country randomly disappeared overnight. That isn't going to happen, and I'm not saying we should go take them away, but the idea of citizens-with-guns as a crime deterrent scares the hell out of me. There is a very blury line between legitimate self-defense and vigilante justice, and while there are legal definitions of appropriate force, we're largely talking about "he-said/he-said" cases of private confrontations without witnesses. The legitimization of the use of potentially deadly force by normal folks, in which the presumption of the legal innocence of the one using it would largely depend on the usual things - you know, the socio-economic status of the "attacker" and "victim" - opens the door to a world in which each man is judge, jury, and executioner with an inappropriate degree of oversight from the real legal system.

In any case, while we all at times have our private thoughts about person X having a little "accident" on the grounds that they're bad and they would deserve it, that's a far cry from actually advocating for extra-legal "justice." I see more and more approval for such actions, which combined with advocacy of "official" extra-legal justice (such as Gitmo and torture), tells me that there is increasing contempt to for the system and institutions which are the foundations of our society and that which we are supposed to be defending.

Scary stuff.

Tatu On Jay Leno

Apparently, when Russian teen lesbian pop stars Tatu were on Jay Leno the shirts they were sporting said "Fuck the War" in their native language.



British Intelligence Employee Arrested

The real story is that this is a tacit admission that the UN spying story was true.

On a related note, anyone see Norman Solomon on CNN awhile ago? God, I really want to know where the Insane Wingnut Debate School is located. The guy they put up against him sounded like the wingnuts in my comments.

Clare Short Says She Will Resign

If Britain goes to war without UN backing.

George doesn't need the UN, but Tony might.

Johnny Wendell

Make sure to tune into KFI out of Los Angeles to listen to some actual liberal radio. Starts at either 7 or 8pm EST.

Steve Lopez Visits DC

This is a pretty good column about DC's disconnect with the rest of the country. More amusing than informative, but it does get a couple good digs in at homewrecker Sally Quinn.

Alabama Legislator Supports League of the South

The League of the South is an organization which advocates southern secession. Via David Neiwert I see they have a friend in the Alabama Legislature.




The League of the South also has a good friend at the Moonie Times, Robert Stacy McCain. Now's as good a time as any to re-run this from a couple months back:

Robert Stacy McCain is an Assistant National Editor of the Washington Times, the conservative newspaper on which its owner, the Reverend Moon(through the Washington Times Foundation), has spent over $1 billion since its debut.


Mr. McCain frequently writes about racial issues for the newspaper in articles which aren't very subtle in their attempt to blame racial tensions, and a host of other problems, on African-Americans.

His articles have been reposted at the site of the American Renaissance magazine, described here by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Mr. McCain has no actual affiliation American Renaissnace that I am aware of, though his 1997 letter to the editor shows he is at least an occasional reader. In addition he has reported on studies by the New Century Foundation, another project of American Renaissance founder Jared Taylor, and cited him rather uncritically as an expert on race relations. It may be that McCain's attention to the group is simply a result of receiving an assignment from his editors, as Jared Taylor is rumored to have received money from the Reverend Moon as well.


Mr. McCain is, however, a member of the League of the South, a modern secessionist organization. His contributions can be found here and here. While we can't necessarily attribute to him all of the views of the organization's founder and president, Michael Hill, whose views seem to be well-represented by this passage in a recent letter to LotS members:


"The day of Southern guilt is over -- THE SOUTH WAS RIGHT -- and let us not forget that salient fact. NO APOLOGIES FOR SLAVERY should be made. In both the Old and New Testaments slavery is sanctioned and regulated according to God's word. Thus, when practiced in accord with Holy Scripture, it is NOT A SIN. Our ancestors were not evil men because they held slaves. This issue is our Achilles Heel, and the only way to deal with it is to confront our accusers boldly and without guilt. After all, what we are really upholding is GOD'S WORD. Let us fear Him, and we'll fear no man."


one does have to question his involvement with such a group. His views do seem to be somewhat more moderate than the organization's leader, as this passage demonstrates:


We may never all agree that The South Was Right! -- as Louisiana authors James Ronald Kennedy and Walter Donald Kennedy proclaimed in the title of their zealously partisan 1994 defense of the Confederate cause -- but the least we owe our ancestors is a fair hearing and a balanced portrayal to our readers.


though some of them are still a bit "interesting." A moderate secessionist he may be, as is evidenced by this debate with some fellow travelers, though in this context it isn't exactly clear what 'moderate' means. One can generously interpret the secessionist movement as simply a political rebellion against the increasing encroachment of the federal government into what should be local issues, one can't ignore that in the end the particular encroachments that are objected to are the Civil Rights and Voting Acts. In addition, Mr. McCain's views on, for example, miscegenation are hardly 'moderate':


[T]he media now force interracial images into the public mind and a number of perfectly rational people react to these images with an altogether natural revulsion. The white person who does not mind transacting business with a black bank clerk may yet be averse
to accepting the clerk as his sisterinlaw, and THIS IS NOT RACISM, no matter what Madison Avenue, Hollywood and Washington tell us.


Mr. McCain also appears to be a regular poster over at the Free Republic. Though publishing under the pseudonym, "BurkeCalhounDabney," he doesn't make much of an attempt to hide his identity, occasionally discussing his job as a journalist and more specifically linking back to pictures on his personal home page.

A large number of McCain's posts can be found here.

Here we can see his attitudes about the persecution of homosexuals (non-italics his):


Posted by BurkeCalhounDabney to thegreatbeast
On News/Activism 11/29/2002 11:35 PM PST #7 of 12


Harvard's president, Lawrence H. Summers, issued a statement calling the episode "extremely disturbing" and "part of a past that we have rightly left behind." "Whatever attitudes may have been prevalent then," Mr. Summers said, "persecuting individuals on the basis of sexual orientation is abhorrent and an affront to the values of the university."


Wimp! Speaking of someone who should be persecuted and run out of town ....


his embrace of the much debunked racist tract The Bell Curve can be found here:


Theories of black intellectual inferiority, too, have popped up from the 1781 publication of Thomas Jefferson's "Notes on the State of Virginia" to "The
Bell Curve" in 1994 and beyond.


Theories? It is not a "theory" that the average IQ of U.S. blacks is about 85. Now, some have sought to develop theories as to the origins of this differential -- genetics, environment, culture, etc. -- but the reality of "intellectual inferiority" (as NYT phrases it) is not in dispute at all. The gap
between group averages is one of the most thoroughly demonstrated phenomena in psychometrics.

I hasten to add that differences in group averages are not predictive for any individual. If one compiles all the IQ tests, blacks average 15 points less than whites -- as a group. But there are many, many thousands of blacks of superior intellect, just as there are millions of below-average whites.

I would not hesitate to admit my "intellectually inferiority" to Thomas Sowell, an economist, columnist and author whom I greatly admire. To acknowledge the existence (and social significance) of group differences does not make one a racist.


his contempt for the Civil Rights movement and his linking of civil disobedience to "black criminality":


I am disturbed however, by Jackson's idea that "breaking white folks' rules" was somehow inherently just. Did not the white folks of DeKalb, Miss., also have laws against murder, rape, robbery? If rules were to be broken merely because they were work of white folks, then hasn't Jackson gone a long way toward explaining the explosion of black criminality that began in the 1960s?

This shows how the civil rights movement, to a great extent, represented a direct assault on tradition and law. It is all well and good for the liberal to say, "Well, some laws and traditions are unjust." But who is to say which laws are unjust? Was it not true that the civil rights revolution was an exercise in pure political power, and that every measure from Brown v. Board to the 1965 Voting Rights Act was merely a function of the national majority imposing its will? If a bare majority is sufficient to strike down the laws of 15 states, and this be called justice, why then should we complain when, in 1973, a 7-2 majority of the Supreme Court declared void the laws of 49 states restricting or prohibiting abortion?


etc.
The Southern Poverty Law Center has this to say about McCain:


A Reporter of Their Own

LOS has not done as well with the mainstream press. Enduring a number of editorial attacks by Southern newspapers, it has loudly complained of what it terms the "scalawag" press — Southern newspapers that, in its view, have sold out to "Yankee" ideologies. But the League has found a few staunch defenders in the major media, including syndicated columnist and LOSmember Charley Reese.

And then there is Robert Stacy McCain. During the workday, McCain is a national reporter at The Washington Times. At other hours, he is an active League member — and a highly visible one, with several political essays featured on the LOS web site. This high-profile partisanship did not prevent McCain’s editors from allowing him to write a story highly critical of the Southern Poverty Law Center last May, even though the Center had long criticized LOS. After hearing the Center’s initial complaint over this apparent conflict of interest, Washington Times national editor Ken Hanner did not return the Center’s calls.

"[A]s a working journalist with over 10 years experience," McCain writes without irony in one of his LOS essays, an attack on the press for painting Confederate flag backers as racists, "I am well aware of how reporters can subtly frame their stories to suggest which side in any controversy is right."



For those who equate criticism with censorship, let me add that Mr. McCain of course has a right to his views and a right to share them with the world. I would never say otherwise.

However, in a world where the hottest question in media circles is whether Howell Raines has "biased" coverage of the discriminatory policies of Augusta, it seems fair to focus some attention on the biases of other journalists. There are those who claim that the bigotry and racism of "paleoconservatives" is relegated to the fringe of the Right, in sharp contrast to the supposed anti-Semitic America-hating Left that runs our universities and newspapers. However, unlike many of his racist Freeper pals, Mr. McCain is not just another nut with a computer, he is employed by and writes for America's premiere conservative newspaper.


(Yes, that last reference is a bit dated. And, his Free Republic posts were all removed. If you have a very strong stomach you can read about Mr. McCain's views about the murder of Emmett Till here.)