Saturday, May 03, 2003

French Bashing

One reason to bash the French is the fact that they forbid Islamic girls from wearing headscarves to school. I was struck by a comment over at War Liberal which expressed disdain for any religious belief which required members of one gender to cover their heads.


Disabled or In Prison

Nathan Newman reminds us of a dark ugly side of the 90s - that disability and prison populations about doubled. The former changed just about one for one with reductions in the welfare rolls, and the latter...well, that's quite an expensive use of society's resources.


Hey, I won for once.

(thanks to mrs. atrios)
Don't get too excited, was a $2 bet

The Rule of Law

According to the Washington Monthly:

In 1998, The Washington Times reported in a light-hearted front-page feature story that he plays low-stakes poker with a group of prominent conservatives, including Robert Bork, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, and Chief Justice William Rehnquist.

According to the UPI:

Bennett has long been known to be part of a small-stakes poker game in Washington with Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Associate Justice Antonin Scalia and lawyer Robert Bork.

According to DC laws, that's punishable by imprisonment of up to 5 years.

Book'em Dano.

Rewriting the Times

Here's Kit "Spite-Girl" Seelye on Bennett today:

"It's his own money and his own business," Grover G. Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, a conservative advocacy group, said. "The downside of gambling losses is that the government gets a third of the money, which is unfortunate and probably a sin in and of itself," said Mr. Norquist, whose group advocates smaller government.

William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard and another conservative ally of Mr. Bennett, agreed that this was a matter between Mr. Bennett, his wife and his accountant. "It would be different if he had written anti-gambling screeds," Mr. Kristol said. "I'm sure he doesn't regard gambling as a virtue but as a rather minor and pardonable vice and a legal one and one that has not damaged him or anyone else."

Mr. Kristol said that Mr. Bennett was not being hypocritical. "If Bill Bennett went on TV encouraging young people to gamble the rent money at a Las Vegas casino or was shilling for gambling interests, that would be inconsistent" with his moral crusades, Mr. Kristol said. ...

s.m. rewrites it:

"It's his own penis and his own business," Grover G. Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, a conservative advocacy group, said. "The downside of getting the occasional blowjob is that Clinton gets a cheap thrill, which is unfortunate and probably a sin in and of itself," said Mr. Norquist, whose group advocates smaller government.

William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard and another conservative bitter enemy of Mr. Clinton, agreed that this was a matter between Mr. Clinton, his wife and his aggressive little wannabe paramour. "It would be different if he had written anti-sex screeds," Mr. Kristol said. "I'm sure he doesn't regard the occasional blowjob on the side as a virtue but as a rather minor and pardonable vice and a legal one and one that has not damaged him or anyone else."

Mr. Kristol said that Mr. Clinton was not being hypocritical. "If Bill Clinton went on TV encouraging young people to engage in oral sex at halftime during the Homecoming game or was shilling for extramarital interests, that would be inconsistent" with his domestic policy on the economy which has resulted in an unprecedented surplus, Mr. Kristol said. ...

Cable Ratings

From eggman:

SHEP 1.5

So, Donahue gets a 1.5 and he gets fired. Chris Matthews gets a .4 and he keeps his job. The important point to make here is that these ratings declines came after Donahue was sacked - not only was his show more popular than the others, he also likely brought in additional sticky eyeballs to the network.

I'm no big fan of Donahue - he isn't my top choice for the only liberal host on television (though I do think his show probably would have been a lot better had he had more freedom to do it his way), but this is just ridiculous.


Over at O. Dub's place, commenter Leonard says this:

Once again, the essential is getting overlooked by the specific -- or, rather, we got us a big forest here. but hey! Look at this one tree!

Bennett isn't a hypocrite because he gambles; after all, as is rightly pointed out, he's never condemned gambling.

Bennett is a hypocrite because he's never condemned gambling.

Get it? His hypocrisy is not in condemning dope-smoking, homosexuality and porn, while he himself gambles; his hypocrisy is in condemning every vice except the one he happens to have. All the proscriptive arguments he makes in attacking vice could easily be applied to gambling; it's just, since gambling happens to be legal and he happens to enjoy it, he makes an exemption to his moral absolutism for gambling.

I don't have a problem with gamblers; it doesn't scandalize me one iota that Bill Bennett is a compulsive, self-deluding gambler. What's offensive -- and hypocritical -- is for Bill Bennett to defend his gambling with the argument that (a) it's harmless, (b) it's legal and (c) if it's a consenting adult doing it it's no one's business but his, and then to reject the exact same argument when it's made in defense of pornography or homosexuality (and could easily be made in defense of marijuana, were that legal).

Bennett's hypocrisy is made evident not by his gambling, but by the way in which he defends gambling.

Dean in Philly

Don't forget, you can meet the candidate tomorrow. And if that's not enough, you can meet me too! Well, my alter ego anyway.

More Jobs

I took quick look at the unemployment numbers in more detail below, but here's a more careful look from EPI.

Fun with MSGOP

I can't verify if this is true (no transcript), but here's an account of a fine moment on MSGOP:

An MSNBC news woman is interviewing families waiting for the Lincoln to dock. She asked a little boy of about 6 what he thought his daddy would want to do when he got home.

The kid says "NAKED FIGHT!"

The lady laughs a little and asks, "What's NAKED FIGHT?"

And the kid says "It's when they take their clothes off, and fight....At night, when it's dark....."

Nervous giggle from the interviewer, but the kid continues,

" the shower."

And finally, an embarrassed reporter has had enough......but not before they pull back to show Mom, who will be participating in the naked fight.

Glorifying Lynching

I wonder if there will be any controversy about the Toby Keith song that glorifies lynching?

Let's see, saying you're ashamed of a president who [insert numerous things here] gets you assaulted by Diane Sawyer for an hour. Lovingly remembering the good old days of ropes hanging over trees - nada.

White House Lies

The spin, swallowed by our kneepad wearing press, that Bush had to fly in a jet because the ship was too far off was bogus. Of course, the greater spin, that flying in a jet to get to the ship, as CNN reporter Kyra Phillips did, was any big deal was also lovingly swallowed.

That liberal media...At least they get it after the fact:

ABOARD THE USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN — President Bush didn't have to make a dramatic tailhook landing on this aircraft carrier. He could have flown here on a helicopter as presidents normally would, the White House said Friday.
Officials also acknowledged positioning the massive ship to provide the best TV angle for Bush's speech, with the vast sea as his background instead of the very visible San Diego coastline. ...

... Fleischer had said last week that Bush would have to fly out to the carrier by plane because the Lincoln would be hundreds of miles offshore, making helicopter travel impractical.

As it turned out, the ship was just 39 miles from the coast ...

... The changes did not keep personnel at sea longer than they otherwise would have been, said John Daniels, a ship spokesman. ...

Will they ever bother to, you know, verify first and report later?


Aside from the rightness and wrongness of any military action, could there be anything more cynical than this:

Anna Perez, White House communications counselor, Friday sharply contested a United Press International report that national security adviser Condoleezza Rice and political adviser Karl Rove shut down a Pentagon plan to expand the Iraqi ground war to Syria in closing days of combat.


Another source with close knowledge of the matter told UPI: "The hawks didn't understand the emphasis had all changed: Everything was focused, not on the war any more, but on the president's re-election."

This official added that Rove had handled the elections of 2002 on the basis that "the American public knew the economy was a disaster, but the president asked them to put the war on terror first, and to vote Republican. And the public voted Republican. We think he felt any movement into Syria was pushing his luck."

Friday, May 02, 2003

Instant Karma's Gonna Get You

Gee, Andy, look in the mirror much?

OKAY, OKAY: Like Glenn Reynolds, I'm besieged by people who think I'm wrong about the tone of Bush's campaign speech last night. Fair enough. It's a subjective judgment call, and I certainly respect those who took it otherwise. But what amazes me is the vituperative tone, and how many then accuse me of being anti-war, anti-Bush and anti-American. Me? Are politics so polarized that you have to either engage in hagiography or hatred of our leaders? Is there nothing permissible in between?

Andy and Reynolds have both had their David Brock moment. I doubt they'll stray far from the reservation again.

Bush Service Records

Despite my having posted them the usual monkeys keep claiming I haven't. So...

Here's Martin Heldt's FOIA request.

Here's the list of documents obtained.

Here's the Boston Globe story on the issue.

Here's UggaBugga's handy timetable of events.

Here is Martin's copy of an unaltered document which was subsequently altered when it appeared in a George Magazine article.

(UPDATE:oh jeez, heldt not feldt of course....)

Torture Blitzer

The idiot.

Behind the Numbers

So, taking a peek at the bigger employment picture a few things are striking. African-American unemployment jumped from 10.2% to 10.9% in April, compared to a change from 5.1 to 5.2% for whites. The labor force seems to be growing, not shrinking, as some have suggested. For white males, there was a fairly big jump in the rate, from 4.7 to 5.0%.

Nancy Grace is a Menace to Society

The woman has never met a suspect (actual or imagined) that she didn't assume was guilty. Hearing that her fiancee was murdered made me less, not more, sympathetic towards her. Trying to calm her inner demons by lashing out at innocents night after night, enabled by 8-wives King, makes her a contemptible creature.

The Howler deals with her.

Bennett's a Bit of a Gambler

Well, it's just one more piece of evidence that he picks and chooses his virtues as well as his outrages. He also seems to be a wee bit disingenuous about his losses.
And I'm sure his various non-profits could use an audit...

Chutzpah Defined


Several companies under investigation for accounting irregularities are reportedly seeking to recoup taxes they overpaid based on inflated profits.

MCI, Enron, Qwest and HealthSouth are either pursuing or considering filing for tax refunds or credits for payments made on billions of dollars falsely claimed as earnings, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

Here's an Interesting Wrinkle

So much for the "marriage is about procreation" sillyness:

Scientists in Pennsylvania yesterday said they had turned ordinary mouse embryo cells into egg cells in laboratory dishes -- an advance that opens the door to creating "designer" eggs from scratch and, if repeated with human cells, could blur the biological line between fathers and mothers.

The work undermines the standard model of parenthood because the scientists made egg cells not only from female cells, but also from male cells, indicating that even males have the biological capacity to make eggs.

If the science holds true in humans as in mice -- and several scientists said they suspect it will -- then a gay male couple might, before long, be able to produce children through sexual reproduction, with one man contributing sperm and the other fresh eggs bearing his own genes.

(via the Michelangelo Signorile Show)

Ha Ha Ha

From the horse.

Santorum Trips Over Chair


WASHINGTON, May 1 — Four parents of gay children had a fiery private exchange tonight with Senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania. The meeting did not go well, and Mr. Santorum, who has infuriated gays by likening homosexuality to incest and bigamy, left in a hurry, tripping over a chair, the parents said.

"What we tried to do in this meeting was reach him on a human level, and we found no humanity there," said Melina Waldo, a former constituent of Mr. Santorum who lives in Haddonfield, N.J. She said he was "condescending, belligerent, argumentative and arrogant."

Dr. Josh is Such a Tease


Stating the Obvious

So even MK Ultrahack can understand.

As Ailes points out, contrary to the Mickster's assertion, expanding hate crimes laws to include sexual orientation does not expand the law to just protect gays.

Of course, if we could just declare homosexuality and heterosexuality "religions," like those lifestyle choices which are currently covered under hate crimes laws, ...

Thursday, May 01, 2003

April Unemployment Rate

Comes out tomorrow. Place your bets in comments on what the official number will be.

...and the winner is, 6.0%

Whatever else you want to say about him...

...that Moussaoui has a bit of a sense of humor.

From Talk Left:

Zacarias Moussaoui wants John Ashcroft to take a quiz:

Zacarias Moussaoui wants Attorney General John Ashcroft to answer a multiple choice quiz about the government's theory of his role as a terrorist conspirator. Several of 17 handwritten pleadings released Thursday by U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema have a version of the quiz, which asks Ashcroft to check one of four boxes.

The choices are:

20th hijacker.
5th plane pilot missing in action.
I, Ashcroft don't know.
Let's kill him anyway.

Isaiah 61

In the speech tonight, Great Leader quoted this passage from Isaiah:

To the captives, come out; and to those in darkness, be free.

The full context, in a different translation is:

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has annointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.


It is odd watching the military and the press fawn over a wartime deserter.

And, does anyone want to look into the legality of an unlicensed pilot - in fact one who had his national guard flying privileges suspended - flying a plane?
Just asking...

On Demand

So, not having quite the stomach for Great Leader's rally, I was playing around with my cable system's "On Demand" programming. Though they don't actually have much content worth watching yet (at least free content - plenty of stuff for pay) it really is an example of one of those technologies that we'd been promised for years, but which was always just around the corner. Well, it's here now.

Still no flying cars, but it's a start.

Paging Mickey Kaus

Oh Mickey....have you seen this?
As all reasonable liberals stated at the time - the real test of the 1996 welfare reform would happen when the economy hit an economic downturn. I'm sure Mickey can be proud of his accomplishment -
massive increases in extreme poverty rates.

WASHINGTON _ The number of black youths living in extreme poverty is at its highest level in the 23 years that such statistics have been kept, according to a report released Wednesday.

More than 932,000 blacks under age 18 are in that category, a 50 percent increase from the 622,000 classified that way in 1999, according to a Children's Defense Fund analysis of Census Bureau data.

Oh Canada!

Gay marriages are-a-coming!

Bush Practices Affirmative Action

So why can't the U. of M?

White House officials said the nominations flow from Bush's commitment to expanding gender and racial diversity on the federal bench. "The diversity thing is a constant with him," one official said.

Legal sources said the White House is so focused on finding minority nominees that after officials have exhausted their personal networks in particular geographic areas, they have scoured the directories of federal and state judges, and even the rosters of major law firms, in the quest for qualified minorities they may have overlooked

Chasing the Same Audience

I really can't fathom why it's believed there is an even greater audience for conservative blowhards on afternoon radio. Clearly many of the radio stations who carry O'Reilly didn't really think there was, as they demanded substantial "Talkola" payments to do so.

The same can be said for MSNBC - since choosing to go 100% Fox Lite their prime time ratings have dropped from a 1.5 to a .5 - they're barely on the meter anymore.

And, CNN continues to lose the war. Aside from Crossfire, they don't have a single liberal host, unless we define liberal as "not conservative." On the right we have Jack Cafferty, Judy Woodruff, Lou Dobbs, Paula Zahn, Wolf Blitzer, Kyra Phillips, Bill Schneider, Jonathan Karl, Candy Crowley...

Thank Jeebus Racism is Dead

Otherwise we'd still have segregated proms:

ALBANY, Ga. — A year after holding their first integrated prom, some students at Taylor County High School (search) have decided to again hold a separate, private party for whites only.

While many whites say they still plan to attend next week's integrated prom, the decision to hold the whites-only prom this Friday saddened senior Gerica McCrary, who helped organize last year's dance.

"I cried," said McCrary, who is black. "The black juniors said, 'Our prom is open to everyone. If you want to come, come."'

Juniors are in charge of planning the prom each year and last year they decided to have just one dance — the first integrated prom in 31 years in the rural Georgia county 150 miles south of Atlanta.

Until then, parents and students organized separate proms for whites and blacks after school officials stopped sponsoring dances, in part because they wanted to avoid problems arising from interracial dating.

This year, a small number of white juniors decided they wanted a separate prom.
The school has 439 students, 232 of them black. McCrary and a white friend passed out fliers informing students of all races that they would be welcome at the May 9 prom at nearby Fort Valley State University.

(via Tbogg)

It Just Doesn't Stop

Between turning May Day into Loyalty Day, the official government news service turning an airplane landing into an all-day "historic event," and the discovery that the new US-sponsored Iraqi news service is run by a Christian Fundamentalist news agency...

Guess I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue...

UPDATE: ok ok, Clinton did it too..

New Jobless Claims High

And, as usual, the previous weeks' were revised upwards.

The labor market continues to deteriorate. Last week 448,000 people filed for first-time jobless claims, exceeding consensus estimates. The previous week’s number was revised up to 461,000. Initial claims have exceeded the benchmark 400,000 level for 11 consecutive weeks. Initial claims have actually trended higher since the end of March. Continuing claims have risen also, to 3.68 million. Tomorrow’s employment report will show a third month of net job losses.

More Disturbing Judicial Nominees

Neal Pollack runs down the list.

And, you can now pre-order the greatest book ever written.

Ha Ha Ha

Drudge is reporting that O'Reilly's radio ratings are in the gutter.

Choicepoint Database Story

Hesiod has more.

If some Spanish speaking readers want to check the Latin American newspapers on this story I'd appreciate it.

FBI Agent In Spy Case Gets Immunity

So, we'll never know the truth on this one. Oh journalists? Time to speak up...

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Seeing Red


Many black leaders supported a contested plan to reduce the number of minority voters in several heavily black Senate districts, because shifting some minority voters to neighboring districts would help Democrats beat Republicans.
A lower court rejected those boundaries under the Voting Rights Act. Congress must decide in 2007 whether to renew part of the law which justices are interpreting in this case.

"Maybe if we make it bad enough, they'll think about repealing it," Justice Antonin Scalia said to laughter in the court.

Haha. It was goddamn fucking hilarious when blacks in the South were NOT ALLOWED TO VOTE. That's a knee slapper Scalia! Hahahahaha. Repeal it, so we can go back to the good old days so your colleague Rehnquist can spend his retirement years reliving his youth as a POLL THUG.

These folks are getting out of hand.


Bush gives Florida felon purge database company $75+ million to create a database of Mexican and Latin American voters.

I don't even know what the fuck that's about.

Damn, how the hell did I miss this story when it first broke.

Bush Hates Women

What more needs to be said:

The American delegation joined with Iran, Pakistan, Sudan, Libya and others in efforts to delete a phrase - included in previously agreed-upon UN statements dating back a decade - that calls on countries to condemn violence against women and "refrain from invoking any custom, tradition or religious consideration" to avoid the obligation to stop the violence.

(via Big Media Matt).

Gay Marriage Will Cause Men to Cheat on Their Wives

So says Stanely Kurtz, which I think says far more about him than anything else.

9/11 Secrets

It is Isikoff, but...

The report names names, gives dates and provides a body of new information about the handling of many other crucial intelligence briefings—including one in early August 2001 given to national-security adviser Rice that discussed Al Qaeda operations within the United States and the possibility that the group’s members might seek to hijack airplanes.

But...Condi said:

I don’t think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon, that they would try to use an airplane as a missile.

Of course, because it isn't about blowjob it isn't technically a lie.

The Joys of Capitalism

My good friend makes plus-sized Gothic clothing and one-of-a-kind jewelry. So, if you desire those things go place your orders!

Beat the Press

Matt Taibbi delivers a well-deserved spanking to Times reporter Neil Lewis.

Patriot Raid

Bye bye 4th amendment.

How Convenient

The Silhouette Lounge

523 Linden Street - Scranton, PA 18503 - (570) 344-4259
Named Best Gay Bar in Northeastern Pennsylvania
for 2000, 2001 and 2002
By the Readers of Electric City!

The offices of Rick Santorum in Scranton:

527 Linden Street
Scranton, PA 18503
(570) 344-8799

Never Mind the Pollacks

Our friend Neal gets the CNN treatment.

Bigots (Including Santorum) Have Some Problems


Not long after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum sent out a letter asking for money for a nonprofit group lobbying against same-sex marriages.

"I know it may sound like a huge exaggeration, particularly in light of the attack on America, but this may truly be the most important letter I ever write you," Santorum wrote.

The letter endorsed Alexandria, Va.-based Alliance for Marriage and its campaign for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriages. The mailing sought money so the nonprofit could flood Congress with petitions to "protect marriage between a man and a woman against the attacks of the homosexual activists."

This mass mailing has generated a new round of criticism of the senator from gay-rights advocates. Yesterday, they said Santorum, by seemingly equating terrorism and gay marriage, had showed a stunning lack of judgment.

In his letter, the Republican senator characterized Alliance for Marriage as a "political organization." The group, for its part, told donors any contributions were tax-deductible.

Tax experts said yesterday that both statements could not be true. They noted that donations to political groups are not tax-deductible.

As it happened, the recipients of Santorum's letter included Philadelphia gay-rights activist Malcolm La


Go listen to Mike Signorile talk about this.

Anti-Semitism In My Comments

The idiot parading around my comment boards as Bill Moyers and Walter Cronkite has this to say:

With all due respect to the intent of VCII towards ecumenism and inter-faith healing, to assert that the Jews are NOT responsible for the death of Jesus is quite absurd.

scamper away you bigot.

Boycott South Carolina

This requirement for doctors to report abortions is despicable. If you live there, move.

Kennedy on MSNBC

Dan Kennedy says what needs to be said about Banfield and Savage.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Blog Promotion

I always hate making posts like this, but fortunately Eugene Volokh has provided the basic how-to guide. If you want to promote your weblog, go read his advice.

I Obviously Haven't Had Enough to Drink

Check out what they're proposing in Missouri - a masturbation tax!

I always thought that, um, one of its advantages was, um, the fact that it was free. 5% of nothing ain't gonna solve their budget problems.

Jesus Wept

As if the rumored-to-be highly anti-semitic in ancient languages Jesus movie weren't enough, we have this.

In another symbol of Mel's ultra-conservative faith, he is building a massive church in Agoura Hills, on the western outskirts of the Los Angeles metropolis.

Apparently an exclusive place of worship for the Gibson clan, this £13million temple will not be open to the public

Well, it is a tabloid...but oy...

Update - here's a non-tabloid source. Is he going to pay for his own personal priest? WTF?

Congrats to the Kos Family

Doing their part for the Democratic party by breeding more of them.

Ashleigh Moore is Missing

Our media loves missing girls, though they haven't paid any attention to her.

I'm not a fan of the media circus that surrounds missing kids, except to the extent that it helps motivate law enforcement to find them.

From the Archives

Remember awhile back there was this guy arrested for stockpiling a bunch of warheads in New Mexico? Well, his lawyer has a reasonable question for the prosecutors - if they're going after his client, why aren't they going after the company that sold the stuff to him?

One guess what company it was.

The Great Blumenthal Conspiracy

Charles Pierce is subbing for Alterman today.

Scaife Reporter Accused of Being Drunken Bigot

I can't say I'm shocked.

Just go read the whole thing.

Savage Weiner on Banfield

PRESS: Well, not necessarily. I’m not nice to Pat.
But I’ve got a-here’s my beef, OK? I want to go back to your book, which I read before the last time you were on with us. And I want to read what you said about Ashleigh Banfield: “Turn on MSNBC and you’ll find the mind slut with a big pair of glasses that they sent to Afghanistan. She looks like she went from porno into reporting. What happens, from 20 to 30, they do porno. From 30 to 40, they do weather. Then, from 40 to 50, they do TV news.”
I just want to know, I don’t think that’s fair. I don’t think it’s true. Have you apologized...
SAVAGE: No, I wouldn’t apologize.
PRESS: ... to Ashleigh Banfield and are you sorry you wrote that?
SAVAGE: No, I’m not sorry at all and I’ll tell you why. I don’t know the girl personally, but I’ll tell you what she did that pissed me off, if I may. And this shouldn’t have been done on this wonderful channel.
She was on assignment with the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, which is fundamentally a Jewish children’s killing organization. She was on assignment with them in a hidden location as they were out hunting Jewish kids? And I’ll never forget this as long as I live. The lights come on and one of the guys in a head scarf says: “The Israelis, the Israelis. Kill the camera. Kill the camera.” And she looked so excited, as though she was on a Girl Scout cookie-hunting mission here.
They were out killing people. What was she doing with them? Didn’t she understand what she was doing?
PRESS: Well, here’s the question, Michael. Can’t you disagree with her and say that without calling her a mind slut?
SAVAGE: No, I can’t.

I'm still waiting for NBC news to condemn that.

Bad All Around

Hesiod posts about the 13+ Iraqis killed when U.S. Soldiers fired on a crowd of protesters. He makes the point that I would have made - it doesn't really matter what happened, it's still bad bad bad.

MK Ultra Hack

Ailes notes that the Mickster is hitting a new low.

Philly 4 Dean

Dean's coming to town, and you can go meet him. If I can scrape up $50 I'll likely be there.

Journalists, Come Clean

Most news reports of Katrina Leung - particularly those in the Post and the Times - do their best to not mention that Leung was a Republican activist. Obviously we don't know Leung's guilt or innocence, but what we do know is that she was a Republican operative who was deeply involved with the Gore fundraising investigations. While it'll be too much to ask for the FBI to come clean about all this, I think it's perfectly reasonable (though naive) to expect that any journalists who used her as a source to do so. The use of journalists for partisan aims is a valid story, in fact it's THE story of the 90s.

But, I won't be holding my breath.

Hostage Crisis, Day 11

Hostage crisis? What on Earth are you talking about Atrios? What hostage crisis? What? You're telling me that 21 Americans have been held hostage for 11 days in Nigeria and I haven't heard anything about it? How is that possible?

LAGOS, Nigeria — Striking Nigerian (search) oil workers have taken about 100 foreign workers hostage on several offshore oil installations, company officials and union workers said Tuesday. The hostages include 21 Americans.

The strikers have been holding 97 foreign workers, including 35 Britons, aboard four offshore drilling rigs owned by Houston-based Transocean (search) since April 19. The events occurred in a remote area off the West African nation's coastline.

The rigs were drilling wells on behalf of oil multinationals Royal/Dutch Shell (search) and TotalFina Elf (search).

Western diplomats said the hostages included 21 Americans and 35 Britons. Their conditions were unclear, although there were no initial reports of injuries or deaths.

Jack Cafferty on CNN

"...the Iraqi war with Osama Bin Saddam Hussein."

Savage Calls Banfield a Slut

And NBC is troubled by her remarks.

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - NBC News correspondent Ashleigh Banfield has ripped television news networks, including her own, for their "glorious" coverage of the Iraqi war and a lack of focus on international news overall.

In a speech Thursday at Kansas State University, she also attacked NBC News for hiring right-wing radio talk-show host Michael Savage to do a show on MSNBC. Savage recently called Banfield a "slut" after her reports portraying the radical Arab point of view.

Banfield, who won her first notoriety for her coverage from the World Trade Center on 9/11, might be in some trouble for her comments. In a statement issued on Friday, NBC News said, "Ms. Banfield does not speak for NBC News. We are deeply disappointed and troubled by her remarks, and will review her comments with her. In the meantime, we want to emphasize how proud we are of the journalism produced by NBC News and of the men and women who worked around the clock, even risking their lives, to bring this story to the American public."

You know, I'm really just trying to figure out how one can justify NBC's double standard here. Savage says the most foul things - including attacking the media and MSNBC (Banfield) - every day on his radio show. One might argue that Banfield's a "journalist" while he's a "talk show host" - but Banfield was also a talk show host and that distinction has become pretty meaningless on the cable nets.

Sid hits #5!

Order yours now! All the kool kids are!

Disappearing Witnesses

They may not have ever existed at all. Go figure.

Ms. Leung, a donor and fund-raiser for political candidates in California, also played an important role in the investigation of Chinese donations to the Clinton-Gore campaign. A former senior official in the Justice Department said that if Ms. Leung was a double agent, she might have compromised the entire campaign finance investigation. "It raises questions about whether the Chinese knew the details about the whole finance investigation even before Congress or Janet Reno knew them," the official said, referring to the former attorney general in the Clinton administration.

A former prosecutor who was active in the case said several important figures in the investigation whom authorities sought to subpoena disappeared before they could testify. "There were people we never found," the prosecutor said. "There were dead ends. Whether those were legitimate dead ends or artificial dead ends, we don't know."

4th Circuit Shocker

Rules against VMI prayer dinner.

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- In an important victory for First Amendment groups, a federal appeals court ruled Monday that the traditional prayers said before evening meals at the Virginia Military Institute are unconstitutional.

The decision upholds a lower court ruling and emphasizes that the extraordinary obedience demanded of VMI cadets doesn't give them the freedom to choose not to participate in what's been called a non-denominational, voluntary dinner prayer.

"In establishing its supper prayer, VMI has done precisely what the First Amendment forbids," a three-judge panel on the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled unanimously.

"Put simply, VMI's supper prayer exacts an unconstitutional toll on the consciences of religious objectors," Judge Robert B. King wrote in the opinion.

Monday, April 28, 2003

Today on NPR

Cokie Roberts said:

But I think they are trying very hard to get some Democratic voice out there so that the voters see an alternative to the president and to the Republican Party. But the problem, of course, is there's so many of them that there will be lots of Democratic voices out there, and some of the strongest voices are likely to come from Al Sharpton, Howard Dean, people who are not necessarily in the mainstream of the American voting public, and that could be a problem for the Democrats.

Potus Blog

Potus shares his feelings about Santorum.

Where Are the Women?

Jeanne d'Arc wonders why there hasn't been any footage of women among the crowds in Iraq...and why she's the first one to ask that question.

And why there were no women among those gathered to kiss the pinky ring of Jay Garner today.

Even in Afghanistan, where position of women in society was far worse than Iraq, there was at least some token representation of women after we kicked out the Taliban.

(...okay, not the first, but no one in big media appears to be doing it)

Bush Appoints Former Girlfriend

I wonder what Laura thinks about that.

The White House made a number of recess appointments last week as Congress fled for spring break. One was April H. Foley, a "homemaker," according to campaign contribution disclosure documents, from South Salem, N.Y. She was named to the board of directors of the Export-Import Bank. The appointment is good until Congress adjourns next year.

So why a homemaker for this job? Well, "early in her career," the White House announcement says, she was director of business planning for corporate strategy with PepsiCo Inc. and director of strategy for Reader's Digest Association. More recently, she was president of the United Way of Northern Westchester County, N.Y. Not all of it, just the northern part.

Still not locked in on the merits? Did we mention she used to date George W. Bush when both were at Harvard Business School and has remained friends with him?

Howie Tells How He Knows if Something Is Newsworthy


Silver Spring, Md.: I was amazed to open Sunday's Outlook section and see no mention of the Santorum imbroglio. A U.S. senator claims there is no right to privacy and that the state should have the ability to limit people's wants and desires, and no one at The Washington Post has an opinion about it?

Was this merely a 24-hour story? If it was, then we're in bigger trouble than I thought.

Howard Kurtz: Outlook, which sort of does its own thing, is not necessarily a good barometer. The Post, to its credit, has done four news stories on the Santorum controversy, along with one editorial and one op-ed piece (by Richard Cohen). I write in my print column today about an effort by conservatives to discredit the AP reporter who interviewed Santorum. Since there's been little GOP criticism of Santorum (other than from a couple of moderate senators), it does look like the story may peter out fairly soon.

and Eric Alterman notes that Howie hasn't bothered to discuss the shocking statement by CNN's Eason Jordan that they had the Pentagon give their approval on their war pundits.

Book Titles

Karl Marx: The Communist Manifesto
Matt Drudge: The Drudge Manifesto

North Korea

So, when we bribe North Korea to give up their nuke program what will be the top 5 reasons used to justify that it is somehow different than when Clinton bribed North Korea to give up their nuke program...

Democrats Rock!

This study, by Santa-Clara and Valkanov, demonstrates that Democrats are good for the stock market.

Drudge Goes After Sid


The only thing which comes close to being an actual criticism is the fact that the book is only #23,588 on Amazon. Of course, the fact that it HASN'T BEEN PUBLISHED YET doesn't have much to do with it.

Haven't read it yet, but if it's pissing Drudge off it'll probably be good. Go put your order in...

(thanks to Drudge, it's now up to 117! Good going Matt!)

Tbogg also comments.

Sunday, April 27, 2003

Loyalty Oath, Texas GOP Style

Tim Francis-Wright from Bear-Left writes in to inform me of a few things about the Texas GOP.

First, there's a bit of their platform that we're all presumably aware of:

We are opposed to any granting of special legal entitlements, recognition, or privileges including, but not limited to, marriage between persons of the same sex, custody of children by homosexuals, homosexual partner insurance or retirement benefits. We oppose any criminal or civil penalties against those who oppose homosexuality out of faith, conviction, or belief in traditional values."

But there's a new bit, which while not requiring an oath of adherence, does require the following:

"Any person filing as a Republican candidate for a public or Party office shall be provided a current copy of the Party platform at the time of filing. The candidate shall be asked to read and initial each page of the platform and sign a statement affirming he/she has read the entire platform. The individual accepting the signed statement shall review the initialed platform and maintain a list of those who have complied with this request. This will become effective in the 2002 election. We strongly encourage Republican candidates, officeholders,and Party officials to support the Republican Party Platform and fellow Republican candidates and officeholders. We direct the Executive Campaign Committee to strongly consider candidates’ support of the Party platform when granting financial or other support."

I'm sure our crack press will, during the '04 campaign, ask Bush which parts he agreed and disagreed with (hahahahahahaha).

White House Correspondents' Dinner

This year's dinner was notable for its complete lack of promotion and coverage and its abandonment of the traditional roast of the president by its comedian host - there was neither roast nor comedian host.

At least Al Franken was there, and Salon's Karen Croft reports this lovely exchange between Al Franken and Wolfowitz:

Franken: “Clinton’s military did pretty well in Iraq, huh?”

Wolfowitz: “Fuck you.”

Don't Forget...

The New Harry Potter is coming out soon!

As is Season 4 Buffy!

and Sid's new book!

Secular Government

I don't have the volume on, so I have no idea what's being said, but currently there's a discussion on CNN between the gruesome troll Cliff May and some guy from CAIR about "The New Iraq - Democracy vs. Theocracy." From what I can tell from the little captions, the issue is whether or not Iraq's government should be secular.

Now, I think Iraq's government should be secular. I also think the US government IS in theory secular, as defined by the constitution, and SHOULD BE in practice. But, we have prominent senators, an attorney general, a president, a Secretary of Education, and a Supreme Court justice who feel otherwise.

Can't we at least start owning up to this so we can talk about it?

Ballistics Fingerprinting Study Delayed

I'm not entirely sure if a ballistics fingerprinting database is a good idea, and nor do I have any idea about its possible accuracy. However, it's a bit puzzling that some people would get more outraged about a database for gun DNA than a database for people DNA.

I guess guns have a greater right to privacy than do citizens, although I haven't managed to locate that one in the constitution.

Teaching Backwards

I think I agree with Calpundit that students would like history much more if it were taught backwards. I honestly can't remember if I was ever formally taught any modern history past the Johnson administration, and even that was probably limited to the last few weeks of my senior year in high school. I think I learned about Rome and Greece, the Lynne Cheney version of Colonial/Revolutionary American history and the Civil War multiple times, a couple runs at WW1 and WW2, and then in my senior year a teensy bit on the 60s, but that's it. The required course in college was a grand Western Civ. overview, and I took a bit of Russian history voluntarily.

It isn't entirely clear why this is the case, though I bet that part of the reason is that one can't teach the recent past without being explicitly political. All teaching of history is to some degree political, but it's much more obvious - and controversial - when the subject is recent U.S. history.

I think we could extend this to the teaching of literature also. I really don't get why Milton, Chaucer, and Shakespeare seem to be taught in the earlier years of high school, followed by 19th century Brits and Americans (the latter, in particular, mostly horribly dull), and modern and contemporary literature seem to be relegated to that senior year honors English class. A reasonable guess is that it's partially for similar reasons - in the case of literature, the "naughty bits" of contemporary literature are somewhat more obvious than those in, say, Shakespeare and we wouldn't want little Jane to read a couple of bad words until she's ready to graduate.

But, in both cases the effect is the same. For your average 15 year old, even 20 years ago is the distant past. And, "stories" - history or fiction - from the distant past seem to have little relevance for your typical teen.

Sullivan's Employer on Homosexuality

Here's what he had to say in response to a question about how to deal with gay Moonies:

Tell them that if it really becomes a problem to cut it off, barbecue it, put it in a shoe box and send it to me.

(via exmoonies)

More History II - Barbara Gittings


A gay activist long before people were even calling themselves gay, Barbara Gittings has been fighting the good fight for almost 50 years. She flunked out of her freshman year at Northwestern because she was spending most of her time in the library trying to find something that would help her understand what it meant to be a lesbian. Her mission ever since has been to tear away "the shroud of invisibility" that allowed homosexuality to be defined in terms of crime and disease. Editor of the pioneering lesbian journal The Ladder in the mid-'60s, she was one of the first-ever gay demonstrators, a member of the group that picketed in front of Independence Hall every July 4 from 1965-69. A founding member of two national gay rights organizations, she also served for 15 years as head of the American Library Association's Gay Task Force, drawing attention to gay literature through such unconventional tactics as setting up a gay kissing booth at a Dallas ALA convention in 1971. After many years in Philadelphia, Gittings, 66, now lives in her native Wilmington, DE, with writer Kay Tobin Lahusen, her partner of 37 years. On April 27 during PrideFest, she will be honored at a reception benefiting the Free Library's gay and lesbian literature collection.

More History

Here's some information about the 60s gay rights movement in San Francisco.

Throughout the early sixties, San Francisco remained a center of gay activism. Police extortion of gay bars became a scandal in 1961 when several bars refused to pay and went to court instead. In the aftermath, gay bar owners formed the Tavern Guild (1962) and worked cooperatively to fight police harassment. In 1964, several liberal ministers became concerned with homosexual rights and formed the Council on Religion and the Homosexual (CRH). Later that year, CRH sponsored a New Year's ball for the gay community. When the police showed up in force and arrested several of the ministers, the outcry that followed placed an effective restraint on police harassment.

In 1964, a new gay organization was formed in San Francisco, concerned with the development of the gay community, as well as political action. The Society for Individual Rights (SIR) opened a community center in 1966, sponsoring a wide range of social and cultural activities. SIR also held Candidate's Nights, in which local political candidates fielded questions from a gay audience. In New York, similar developments occurred. In 1968, the gay community won important concessions from the Lindsay administra-tion, reducing police pressure on gay bars. These early victories laid the groundwork for the mass coming out of gay people in the early 1970s, neutralizing the greatest, single obstacle to the gay community—police harassment.

More on SIR:

To raise funds for the fledgling organization, the ministers planned a New Year's Eve party for the gay community. In an era when the police arrested citizens and revoked liquor licenses for same-sex touching of the most innocent sort, holding a public gay dance was tantamount to a confrontation.

On the night of the dance, dozens of uniformed officers stalked California Hall, with police cars and paddy wagons parked in front. Police photographers took pictures of each of the 600 guests in a blatant attempt at harassment. Two days later, the ministers held a press conference condemning the police. They accused the police of "deliberate harassment and bad faith" and charged officers with "intimidation, broken promises, and obvious hostility." The police had overplayed their hand. ACLU lawyers, angered by the incident, took the case to trial. According to the Chronicle, "complaining officers sat with mouths agape" as the judge ordered the jury to return a verdict in favor of the gays. The ministers validated the charges of police harassment in a way that the words of a homosexual individual did not.

In August 1966, a Tenderloin cafeteria became the site of a showdown between gays and police. Compton's, at the corner of Turk and Taylor, was frequented by hustlers and queens, One night, a policeman grabbed at one of the queens, and rather than tolerating the harassment, she threw her coffee in his face. Fighting erupted as angry young gays broke out the windows, threw dishes and trays at the officers, and burned down a nearby newsstand. The next day, drag queens were barred from the cafeteria, and a picket line sprang up. That night, protesters smashed the premises' newly installed plate-glass windows.

Thus, almost three years before Stonewall, San Francisco's gay militancy was born.

More Goldberg

Jonah also reveals what a insulated little idiot he is. Check out this statement:

The Civil Rights movement of the 1960s didn't claim nearly as many lives, but it, too, transformed American life, rearranging institutions, public and private, and rewriting the language of the nation. And, you know what? None of it had anything to do with gay people.
Brother didn't fight brother over gay marriage or homosexuals in the military. Men didn't brave police dogs and fire hoses to overturn sodomy laws and the National Guard was never called in to restore order after gays were allowed through the schoolhouse door. Gays weren't kidnapped in Africa and brought to America against their will to toil in our fields.

I'm not even quite sure what that last sentence has to do with anything, but in any case someone should teach Jonah a little history.

The Stonewall riots were a series of violent conflicts between homosexuals and police officers in New York City. The riot began on Friday, June 29, 1969 outside the Stonewall Inn, a gay hangout in Greenwich Village. "Stonewall", as it is often called, is considered the start of the modern gay rights movement in the U.S. and worldwide. It was the first time any significant body of gays resisted arrest.

Prior to Stonewall, police raids on gay bars and nightclubs were a regular part of gay life in cities across the United States. Commonly the police would record the identities of all those present, which would be subsequently published in the newspaper, then load up their paddywagon with as many gays as it would hold. Kissing, holding hands, or even being in a gay bar at all were used as grounds for arrest on indecency charges at that time.

The Stonewall raid started out just like any other raid on a gay bar. Seven plainclothes policemen entered the bar along with one uniformed policeman, allegedly to investigate improprieties in the liquor license. They cleared the bar, whose clientele remained on the sidewalk and street outside.

Some of the people outside the bar that night began to toss coins at the police, making fun of the system in which regular raids were a part of extorting payoffs from the bar owners. The gay bar system in New York at the time was widely corrupt. Many gay bars were owned by the Mafia, and operated by a form of payola called gayola, paying off the police to look the other way.

Details about what happened next vary from story to story. The situation quickly got out of control, as there were 400 gay people outside of the bar, milling around, so the stories are confused and sometimes contradictory. One story says the situation escalated when a drag queen stood in the doorway and defied the police. Another says a butch lesbian started it. Either way, at some point the situation took a dramatic turn for the worse, and the police began beating people who resisted with their nightsticks. Several were sent to the hospital, and one teenage boy lost two fingers after police slammed his hand in a car door.

The crowd started throwing rocks and bottles rather than coins. The police took refuge inside the Inn, which they trashed. They also beat a heterosexual folk singer, Dave Van Ronk, a man who was present and who has since documented much of the events, says effeminate men were singled out for special treatment.

While the police were inside, someone sprayed lighter fluid through the door and attempted to light it. The crowd used a parking meter as a battering ram. All across the district, residents, many of whom were gay, rushed to the scene and the crowd swelled. They began to chant "Gay Power!"

The police sent additional forces in the form of the Tactical Patrol Force, a riot-control squad originally trained to counter anti-Vietnam War protesters. They were completely unsuccessful at breaking up the crowd, however, who sprayed them with rocks and other projectiles. At one point they were presented with a chorus line of mocking queens, singing:

We are the Stonewall girls
We wear our hair in curls
We wear no underwear
We show our pubic hair
We wear our dungarees
Above our nelly knees!

Rabid Anti-Gun Economist Wins Bates Medal

Those liberal commie statist economists have awarded the rabidly anti-gun Steven Levitt the Clark Medal.

Decent Republicans Like Jonah Goldberg

Poor Andy - he has so few allies in this he has to pretend that Jonah's on his side on the whole sodomy thing. As Roger Ailes points out, Jonah Goldberg actually thinks Andrew Sullivan should be arrested and imprisoned, but says we shouldn't bother because it fails a cost/benefit test.

With friends like these...

Oh, and Josh Marshall discovers that George Will is dishonest. Next week Josh will inform us that water is wet.

Dean Blog

You know, Howard Dean (and his people) really do have the right idea about what a candidate's blog should look like.

Hate Radio

I used to consume a minimum weekly dose of this stuff, if for no other reason than the fact my apartment used to be located in a valley and the 40 billion watt hate radio station was the only thing which came in clearly. But, I no longer listen to it. I'm curious what will happen this week - either they will obey Karl Rove's gag order they will make some delightfully bigoted comments. Either way...

Bush Loves Bigots

He keeps nominating them: Two things are amazing here - both the fact that our media keep treating Jesse Helms as that cuddly uncle for all these years and that they've forgotten all of this (or failed to do a Lexis search).

From :Samizdat

In the October 19, 1984 New York Times, Allen was reported to have charged Hunt with the unpardonable crime of having links with "the queers." Allen was reported to have apologized shortly thereafter, but that apology - its text being unavailable - seems terribly insincere in light of a later Times piece:

Mr. Allen said he made the remark after the Hunt campaign ran television commercials saying Mr. Helms was supported by ''right-wing nuts,'' as Mr. Allen put it.

Asked yesterday about his remark, he explained, "I said at the time that we could say the same thing about queer groups" supporting Mr. Hunt.

Those words were recorded March 12, 1985. Sensitivity training is a many-life-long process, it seems.

The media seems largely to have forgotten about Mr. Allen's animus toward the "queers" exercise of their right to support whomever they want. The last article I found mentioning it was a November 18, 194 Washinton Post item on Uncle Jesse's 1984 campaign. The relevant passages:

Helms shamelessly mined the race issue. He called Hunt a "racist" for appealing to black votes on the basis of his support of civil rights measures. His press secretary Claude Allen, a black, tried to link Hunt with "queers." Allen later apologized.

But Helms didn't waver. On election eve, he accused Hunt of being supported by "homosexuals, the labor-union bosses and the crooks" and said he feared a large "bloc vote." What did he mean? "The black vote," Helms said.