Saturday, May 31, 2003

O'Reilly vs. Franken

The Hamster informs us that the O'Reilly/Franken slapfest at the book expo today will be replayed on CSPAN at midnight Eastern. I caught the tail end of it - O'Reilly was pretty pissed.

Anyone catch when O'Reilly said something like 'you can come over to my mother's house and have a bagel?'

Bad Attitudes

Make sure to check out Jerome Doolittle's weblog. He has quite the resume behind him, and quite the good blog. And shareware books, too!

Lies and the Lying Liars That Tell Them

Okay, that's the title of Al Franken's forthcoming book. But, it apparently describes the Bush administration as well (shocker!).

The Republican National Committee Web site describes the law in detail and summarizes the point that many members of Congress have also made this week.

"Who benefits under the president's plan?" the Web site asks. "Everyone who pays taxes — especially middle-income Americans — as tax rate reductions passed by Congress in 2001 are made effective immediately."

Ari Fleischer, the White House press secretary, made a similar point in his news briefing on Thursday, saying that people in the lowest tax bracket would "benefit the most" from the bill. "This certainly does deliver tax relief to the people who pay income taxes," he said, referring particularly to families with children. And Mr. Grassley said last week that "all taxpayers will see more money in their paychecks."

But the new study found five million taxpayers in the lowest tax bracket who get no benefit from the law, and 2.5 million single parents with children who also pay taxes but get nothing.

In the first category are taxpayers in the 10 percent bracket who have no children and no dividend or capital gains income. This group, which constitutes 89 percent of all single taxpayers in the lowest bracket, do not benefit from the expansion of the 10 percent bracket because they are already in it. They have no children, so they do not get the child credit, and they do not benefit from the law's relief for married couples. Members of this group, who make $9,300 to $13,800 a year, now pay up to $600 in income taxes.

The second group consists of 2.5 million taxpayers in the head-of-household filing status — mostly single parents — who have a child over 16 and who are in the two lowest tax brackets. The study found that they will not receive a tax cut, even though they pay as much as $5,200 in income taxes, because the lowest bracket is not expanded for head-of-household filers under the new law. The child credit is not available, either, because of the age of the children.

There are about a half-million additional taxpayers at all income levels who will not benefit from the new law because they fall between the cracks. They include a childless married couple in the lowest tax bracket who itemize their deductions and cannot take advantage of the increased standard deduction for couples. About 12,000 taxpayers making more than $200,000 will also receive no benefit because they have no dividend or capital gains income, and make too much money to take advantage of the increased exemptions from the alternative minimum tax in the law.

Cable Ratings

It's really pretty sad that CNN Headline news, which also sucks majorly after its revamping, is beating MSNBC in primetime. Hard to believe that Chris Matthews and Joe Scarborough aren't popular, I know, but it's true.

Prime Time
FoxNews 54.2%
CNN 29.2%
Headline News 8.5%
MSNBC 8.1%

Yesterday and Today

Replacement statue in Baghdad yesterday:

and today:

Wonder who whipped out the can of white spray paint...

Poor Margaret Carlson

Coming soon to remainder bins everywhere.

You Listen!

Max explains it all:

We now learn that after Al Queda attacked us for occupying Saudi Arabia, we invaded Iraq in order to withdraw from Saudi Arabia. And we invaded Iraq as part of our war on terrorism. So we wage war on Osama in order to accede to his principal demand. And people ask why I hate America. Because we are morons with JDAMs, that's why. I guess we'll have to let Josh Marshall sort this out.

With a Straight Face

Ken Adelman can say this:

BROWN: Do you think it's fair to say at this point that whatever ends up being found in Iraq is going to be less than the administration seemed to suggest very strongly leading up to the war?

ADELMAN: I don't think that's fair. I think what we've seen is the destruction in Iraq far more than any of us ever predicted. We have seen the destruction of a people, the destruction of the family, the destruction of human beings and human life in that country is far, far greater than we ever expected. So, we know that the main weapon of mass destruction was Saddam Hussein and his regime and that has been stopped.

UPDATE: In comments someone stated that Scott Simon's editorial on NPR this morning made the exact same argument.

Gotta love the Media Borg.

Welfare Queens

Cotton farmers:

While the common agricultural policy has rightly been condemned by development agencies for its deleterious effects on farmers in poor countries, the fact is that the American system of disguised subsidies through income support and export credits is no better. In 2001, America's 25,000 cotton farmers sluiced up US$4 billion in subsidies, leading to colossal over-production that leaked out into global markets, forcing down prices.

That's $160,000 per farmer.


Bush today:

This site is a sobering reminder that when we find anti-Semitism, whether it be in Europe or anywhere else, mankind must come together to fight such dark impulses.

Bush in 1994:

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.

UPDATE: Actually, I just found the story. He said the offending remarks in 1998. From the 12/1/98 Austin-American Statesman, which lets Karen desperately spin it:

A presidential campaign could include religious overtones that might put Bush in a precarious situation. The religious right, led by Christians whose political involvement is guided by their religious beliefs, is a powerful force in some of the early primary and caucus state that could go a long way toward determining the GOP nominee. Neither can Bush afford to alienate influential Jewish American voters. Bush's 1993 comments obviously remain on his mind. Last month, he briefed reporters on the Israel trip while he was in New Orleans for a Republican Governors Association meeting. As he gazed out a hotel hallway at the Superdome and waited for an elevator, Bush -- clearly going for a laugh at his own expense -- said the first thing he was going to say to Israeli Jews was that they were all "going to hell." Bush, who has both a quick wit and generally good judgment on when to use it, made the comment to the same Austin American-Statesman reporter who had reported his 1993 comments about his religious beliefs.

Hughes said Monday the 1993 remarks might have been on Bush's mind in New Orleans because a Jewish reporter for the Reuters news service had told the governor there that the remarks, recounted this year at the beginning of a New York Times Magazine profile of Bush, had upset the reporter's son.

Foxman said Monday that Bush's New Orleans quip was "inappropriate."

This is Why We Went to War

KRAKOW, Poland, May 30 -- President Bush, citing two trailers that U.S. intelligence agencies have said were probably used as mobile biological weapons labs, said U.S. forces in Iraq have "found the weapons of mass destruction" that were the United States' primary justification for going to war.

In remarks to Polish television at a time of mounting criticism at home and abroad that the more than two-month-old weapons hunt is turning up nothing, Bush said that claims of failure were "wrong." The remarks were released today.

Whatever those trailers are, and whatever they may have been capable of producing, they are not "weapons of mass destruction."

Another death.

Another 3 deaths.



I'm pretty much of an agnostic who is rather down on the authoritarian and evangelical aspects of (some) organized religion but otherwise positive about the rest of it. I might mock some unscientific views which stem from religion, but I'm rather confused why TAPPED is mocking whatever Dennis Kucinich might happen to believe in - particularly after posting a plea for Democrats to get religion.

As far as I can tell from what they've posted, Kucinich might have a sort of pan-universal Gaia-ish concept of oneness and a belief in reincarnation. Compared to most of the Old Testament, that's pretty tame stuff.

I can't remember if a friend told me this story or I if I read it in a David Sedaris book (probably the latter though I'm too lazy to hunt it up), but I remember hearing about an attempt by some people in a French class attempting to explain,. in bad French, the concept of Easter to a North African. All religions sound pretty kooky from the outside.

I'm all for mocking people who want to put religion into goverment or otherwise shove it down my throat, but what TAPPED wrote was just an unpleasant cheap shot. And, this isn't coming from a Kucinich fan, I just thought it was really wrong.

Friday, May 30, 2003

As Much As...

I appreciate seeing a bit of Zeppelin coverage on CNN, but this is a goddamn commercial.

Synergy, indeed. Bring on that media consolidation!

Affirmative Action, Conservative Think Tank Style

Jesse from Pandagon got offered a job as a token brown person at one of them. One imagines his job would have been to write anti-affirmative action position papers.

Arrest Them All

Laci Peterson's mother and family friends just broke into the Peterson home and removed a bunch of items.

On a related note, Jeralyn of Talk Left will be on O'Reilly's show tonight to discuss archaic 20th century notions such as "presumption of innocence."

No Jobs

Classified ads at lowest level in 41 years.



(Jeebus, Jimmy Page is gonna be chatting with Wolf later)

Hitchens rebuts Blumenthal, er Pollack

I have to admit he has a point or two.

Gaybashing and the Unhipublicans

Jonah Goldberg is leading the revolution against anti-gay bigotry among conservatives. That statement is both hilarious AND true. Little Jonah is only slightly less obsessed with all things gay than his is partner-in-idiocy Derbyshire over at the Corner. As anyone who reads the Corner knows (though why anyone does, other than to get a few kicks), Goldberg rarely passes up an opportunity to express his feelings about homosexuality - it's icky, it's disturbing, and he admits to being rather obsessed with it. The nice thing about that place is the writers seem to think no one but their little in-crowd is reading, so they tend to let their inner bigots out, behaving as they would at a paleoconservative dinner party instead of on a public website. I remember the touching moment when Jonah Goldberg expressed his gleeful excitement at the prospect that John Muhammed could be a THREEFER - Black, Muslim, AND GAY! For full disclosure, let me admit to being likewise gleeful that Goldberg himself is a Threefer - hideous, stupid, AND conservative!

But, too his credit, Goldberg comes out against criminalizing sodomy, but only on practical grounds. He's really only coming out against the prospect of police busting down bedroom doors, for which the police should be thankful as it diminishes the possibility they'll ever have to find out what goes on behind Goldberg's Green Door.

All this makes it extra amusing that Lucianne's crotchfruit is shocked because those super-cool republican kids recently profiled in the NYT have separated themselves from the past by claiming they are no longer into gay-bashing or racism. Goldberg doesn't believe that gay-bashing was ever part of the young conservatives' playbook. Of course, these odd little freaks also embraced Dinesh D'Souza, a proud bigot and homophobe himself, so again this is just another example of oppressed young white kids not quite understanding what racism is.

Well, enough of my rant, but you can go read Agenda Bender for some more on Goldberg.

Snowflakes and Rummygrams

Oh I'm so thrilled the responsible
grownups are in charge again:

President Bush, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, and other top officials are spending hours coping with frequent, unsolicited attempts by Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to make foreign policy, according to senior administration officials who are directly involved.

The officials said Bush himself had to quash a Rumsfeld proposal last month to send Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz to South Korea to announce that the United States was pulling American troops off the demilitarized zone that separates North and South Korea.

From his first days in office, Rumsfeld has inundated Washington with a blizzard of memos regarding foreign policy, not usually the responsibility of a defense secretary.

''There are literally thousands of them,'' said one frequent recipient of Rumsfeld's foreign policy ideas and advice. ''The theme is control. He wants everyone to have to play on his field.''

In an April 29 memo addressed to Bush, Cheney, and Powell, Rumsfeld suggested that the administration launch information operations to destabilize the communist regime of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il. It was an idea that skeptics elsewhere in the administration dismissed as unlikely to make a dent in so rigid and secret a government.

April was a banner month for ''Snowflakes'' and ''Rummygrams,'' as the defense secretary's classified and unclassified memos are called.

Rumsfeld's frequent foreign-policy forays, with Vice President Dick Cheney supporting some of them behind the scenes, are driving Powell and his aides to distraction, the officials said. The secretary of state and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the senior officials said, has kept his nose out of Defense Department business.


While I'm poking around the Nation, here's an interesting review of a couple of books on the history of interracial marriages in the U.S.:

As Kennedy points out, many sponsors of the Fourteenth Amendment "explicitly announced that it would not encroach upon states' authority to impose racially neutral prohibitions on interracial marriage. This history poses a dilemma for thoroughgoing originalists who object to antimiscegenation laws. If they are to stay true to their interpretive philosophy, such originalists must concede that Loving v. Commonwealth of Virginia was wrongly decided." He then twists the knife in a footnote: "It is a delicious irony that the most fervent champion of originalism on the Supreme Court in recent memory is an African-American--Justice Clarence Thomas--who was married in Virginia to a white woman named Virginia."


Go read today's Howler. Somerby easily filets the silly double-deception which is behind the "Sid lies about the Grand Jury" crap which 4 years later is still being spread. This tale requires two parts - that Blumenthal lied about being grilled about his contacts with the media (false) and that the grand jury forewoman criticized him for telling the "lie" (also false). Somerby took care of this 4 years ago, but it's still being repeated over and over again today.

Pollitt on Blair

Katha Pollitt makes the important point that serial frauds in journalism get away with it by playing to their editors' prejudices, and more often than not they're prejudices about race and class.

Economic Calendar

Personal income flat, lower than expected. Personal spending down, and lower than expected.

The Georgia Vote

Here's an article detailing the various, uh, irregularities surrounding the voting systems in Georgia.

Look, folks, this isn't a partisan issue. A 9 year old computer whiz could reprogram these machines.

Shafer on Miller

Jack Shafer tells us more about Chalabi's sock puppet at the NYT.

AWOL Documents Found!

George Magazine had used obviously doctored documents to "prove" that Bush had completed his service. After its collapse, they understandably disappeared from the web site. Here's the original document obtained by FOIA request by Martin Heldt, and here's the doctored version.

For context, here's a Tom Paine article on the subject.

The Tories

The fascinating thing about the Tories is that they seemingly missed their chance to drag themselves out of the wilderness by opposing the war on Iraq. It would have given them a reason to be. Assuming for sake of discussion that their only motivation for anything is crass political opportunism, the only reason I can imagine that they chose not to is that they figured the ramifications of destroying their special relationship with U.S. Republicans would be problematic. On the other hand, it looks like Blair may have managed to appropriate that one too. But, in any case, it looks like they're broke, which is a bad development. Countries which are dominated by one party, no matter what the party, seem to not do very well. Without an opposition, it seems that powerful interests - corporate, political, and otherwise - increasingly align themselves to hold onto that power.

Maybe I'll have to send the poor bastards a donation.

Wingnut Circular Firing Squad

What fun:

WASHINGTON, May 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Nationally syndicated radio columnist Andy Martin, the only announced 2004 Republican Party candidate for U.S. Senator from Florida, will hold a telephone news conference in Washington, DC, Friday May 30th at 2:00 P.M. to ask Congressman Mark Foley to withdraw as a U.S. Senate candidate.

DATE: Friday, May 30 TIME: 2:00 P.M.
LOCATION: Washington, DC, by telephone conference call
MEDIA AVAILABILITY: confirm through Revolutionary War Research Center,
(202) 496-1428.

Foley caused a firestorm last week when he called a news conference to comment on rumors he is gay -- and then refused to discuss the topic. "It's truth telling time," Martin states. "Foley lied when he said Democrats were smearing him. The truth is Foley's own party and the White House did not want Foley as the candidate. Foley insisted on fighting to stay in the race for U.S. Senator and gave his 'Checkers speech.' It didn't work. Mark self-destructed. "As usual, the cover-up and the lie are what doomed Mark, not his private life. U.S. Senators do not have 'private lives.'
"Thursday I am flying to Washington to meet with Republican Party leaders and to 'claim the prize.' We are doing a phone conference Friday because we are still scheduling appointments and do not know where in Washington we will be Friday afternoon. My only remaining opponent, Bill McCollum, has run and lost. He is a Washington lobbyist and power peddler. I represent the people of Florida."

Good Krugman

Nice column today.

Bad Dowd

Liberal Slant puts Maureen Dowd in her appropriate context.

Media and the Military

You know, after doing a broad perusing of the various discussions about the PFC Lynch story I've realized why the right and the left are at odds on this one. For the most part, and definitely for myself, lefty concern about this story hasn't been about the military or the civilian government lying about this story, it's about the media's uncritical reporting of those lies. I'm not too fond of the fact that the administration is peddling this bullshit either, but as with most things in this administration I'm far more worried about the fact that the media tends to report their crap without question.

Politicians lying is a dog-bites-man story. The media lying should be a man-bites-dog story. Sadly, it isn't anymore.

It is interesting how much the righties in the blogosphere defend the integrity of the media when the storyline fits their preconceptions....

Hail to the Thief

Order your copy today:

Thursday, May 29, 2003

CNN's Been On All Day

And I haven't heard a single word about the shenanigans by the Texas DPS. That darn liberal media...

Quietly Creeping Upwards

After hunting around quite a bit, I finally located CNN's Iraq casualty list. They claim 199 coalition deaths as of May 27.

Oh Steno Sue Oh Steno Sue

Oh, well, you're such a fool, yes, what a tool, Steno Sue...
The story that started it all:

WASHINGTON -- Pfc. Jessica Lynch, rescued Tuesday from an Iraqi hospital, fought fiercely and shot several enemy soldiers after Iraqi forces ambushed the Army's 507th Ordnance Maintenance Company, firing her weapon until she ran out of ammunition, U.S. officials said yesterday.

Lynch, a 19-year-old supply clerk, continued firing at the Iraqis even after she sustained multiple gunshot wounds and watched several other soldiers in her unit die around her in fighting 11 days ago, one official said. The ambush took place after a 507th convoy, supporting the advancing 3rd Infantry Division, took a wrong turn in the southern city of Nasiriyah.

"She was fighting to the death," the official said. "She did not want to be taken alive."

When your sources lie to you, it is incumbent on you to reveal those sources.

Email Michael Getler, ombudsmen at the Washington Post, and ask him when Susan Schmidt intends to inform the public about the "U.S. officials" who are using the press to spread lies.

WMD We Hardly Knew Ye

Billmon has the list of quotes which should be sent to every reporter in the country.

Leaving On a Jet Plane

I'll be off on my travels next week. Once everything gets settled we'll see how much I'll be able to update the site personally, but I've enlisted some help so it should keep on chugging along with or without me.

Oh, and if anyone wants to contribute to the utterly worthless cause of subsidizing my travels - you know, so I return rested with More Powerful Blogs Than Ever - feel free to click the links to the left or buy an ad or whatever.

Lies, Lies, Lies

"We're really not supposed to talk about that subject."

PFC Lynch's father in response to whether she knew what had happened. They just denied that she ever had amnesia.

Here's a story,

Bend it Like MK Ultrahack

Today's Howler is good.

He also reminds us of Tomasky's article about the "liberal" Howell Raines. I wonder if Tomasky still considers those airstrikes "political" however. The idea that the military would have gone along with such a thing under Clinton was ludicrous then and it's ludicrous now.

Highway Spending

Via Nathan Newman, I see that the Bugman is trying to screw New York out of transportation funding.

On the general issue of highway spending, I'm always a bit confused why fiscal conservatives and libertarianish-leaning Republicans don't spend more time complaining about transportation expenditures. We hear lots of bitching about Amtrak, which gets a whopping $1.2 billion or so per year. And, the airlines and airports soak up a big bunch of public money ('I'm too lazy to look up the specific amount right now). But, we rarely hear much complaining about highway or road expenditures generally.

In 2000, total public money spent on highways alone was $128.5 billion, which is about $450 per person. One of the arguments used to justify this is that highway expenditures are paid by "user fees" in the form of gas taxes, which is different than, say, using general revenues or that gasoline tax money to fund public transportation. But, it isn't even true - only 63% is financed by gas taxes and other similar user fees.

Now, I'm not explicitly trying to make the case for increased expenditures on Amtrak or other mass transit systems, but I'm just puzzled why so much ink is used debating the evils of Amtrak and other subsidized transit systems. Them highways sure are subsidized, not to mention the rest of the road network. I'm sure some of those expenditures are justified - but there are plenty of "highways to nowhere" littering the country which can't have been productive investments by any measure. Why aren't we complaining about those wasteful expenditures?

I'm a a mass transit fan, though even I wouldn't support the proposed light rail system in Orange County, CA (though the old LA Red Car system used to go all the way to Balboa Island!). However, my real issue is simply the double standard applied to roads/highways (and airports) versus mass transit. No one expects a road to make a profit.

Here's a map of the old red car system, before Judge Doom trashed it so he could make money on fast food franchises at highway intersections.

Thursday Is New Jobless Day

Congratulations to the 424,000 new jobless this week, and the additional 5,000 who were missed in last week's original count!

No Bunker

At what point will our media just accept that they get nothing but lies?


It's really quite sad how little coverage the deaths of the soldiers in Iraq get. After all the patriotic fervor the networks exuded in the run-up to the war, their families must wonder why they barely merit a mention.

Lord Help Us

And I say that as a fan of musicals.

Eschaton Assignment Desk

If I were a good reporter I'd follow-up on the story of Jenny Theisen and see if she's actually going to get the increased child tax credit which presumably makes up the bulk of their claimed $1300 in tax cuts. From W.'s speech:

Jenny Theisen, from Omaha, Nebraska, is here with us today. Jenny's husband, David, is a staff sergeant based at Offutt Air Force Base, and right now on duty in the Pacific and the Indian Ocean. Jenny and David work hard to provide for their children, just like a lot of other Americans do, as well. And right now, Jenny says, she tries to save $200 a month for her girls' college savings account. But sometimes other bills have to be paid first, is what she says. Under this proposal, under the bill I sign, it's going to be a lot easier for the Theisen family to save for the future because they will keep an extra $1,300 a year of their own money.

He didn't lie, did he?

Dude, where's my rebate check?

Apparently, there will be no child credit increase for many many families.

A last-minute revision by House and Senate leaders in the tax bill that President Bush signed today will prevent millions of minimum-wage families from receiving the increased child credit that is in the measure, say Congressional officials and outside groups.

Most taxpayers will receive a $400-a-child check in the mail this summer as a result of the law, which raises the child tax credit, to $1,000 from $600. It had been clear from the beginning that the wealthiest families would not receive the credit, which is intended to phase out at high incomes.

But after studying the bill approved on Friday, liberal and child advocacy groups discovered that a different group of families would also not benefit from the $400 increase — families who make just above the minimum wage.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Venturing Out From the Batcave

I ventured out from the VLWC headquarters this evening to meet up with my lieutenants in our holy army, Jesse from Pandagon and Jim from the Rittenhouse Review. After exchanging the secret handshake, swearing our allegiance to Stalin and Mao, and burning some candles at the altar of the Holy Clenis ™ , we settled down to a nice meal. I revealed my secret identity - as a Philadelphia gym teacher. Jim apparently works full time as an installation technician for Comcast Cable, and Jesse sells life insurance.

Greenberg on Sid

This Washington Monthly review is pretty good and it makes a key point - Blumenthal was tarred for being partisan and having a close relationship to those in power. This standard is never applied to conservative journalists:

Then came the feeding frenzies of Whitewater, Filegate, Travelgate, Haircutgate, Troopergate, and other would-be scandals. Throughout these controversies, Blumenthal not only continued to write admiringly of Clinton, with whom he had developed a professional friendship over the last half-dozen years; he also chided his scandal-mad colleagues--as he had since 1988, when a prowling press forced Gary Hart from the presidential race for marital infidelity--for descending into sexual scandal-mongering. Appearing on "Nightline" in December 1993, he urged the news media to scrutinize those who were retailing the Clinton scandals. But given the mood of the moment, with Clinton on the ropes, Blumenthal notes, "This 'Nightline' appearance marked me as somehow having crossed the line from the media's side to the President's." Consigned to the doghouse of Washington society, he endured a cascade of ad hominem attacks.

These attacks were peculiar. After all, dozens of Washington journalists enjoy cozy contacts with presidents and reflect these friendships in their writing. Far from paying a price, they are celebrated. George Will consorted with Ronald Reagan, to no detriment to his career. David Frum cashiered his service as a speechwriter to the incumbent into a best-selling book, The Right Man--only to return to writing pro-Bush pieces. In a slightly different vein, Tony Snow was the liaison between anti-Clinton dirt peddlers Linda Tripp and Lucianne Goldberg and now styles himself a disinterested newscaster for Fox.

Josh Marshall Commits Career Suicide

Well, let's hope not. But, he does say some of what needs to be said about the Beltway Heathers.

Taranto Ultrahack

Calpundit's on the job.

Nothing to See Here

Attorneys say Ashcroft blocked inquiries into bank fraud case:

U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft or his aides blocked investigators from probing U.S. Rep. Charles Taylor as part of a fraud case involving illegal loans by the bank Taylor chairs, defense attorneys say.

The accusations against Ashcroft came in a motion filed May 15 by attorneys W. Gene Sigmon and Forrest A. Ferrell, who represent Thomas W. Jones. Jones was convicted April 11 of supplying Blue Ridge Savings Bank with false information to obtain loans for Sylva car dealership owner Charles E. "Chig" Cagle, a Taylor political contributor and Republican activist.

Taylor press secretary Roger France on Wednesday referred a call seeking comment to bank representatives, who did not immediately return calls. Ashcroft and the Justice Department declined comment, spokesman Bryan Sierra said.

Cagle submitted forged documents to obtain $1.3 million in loans from the Asheville bank, where Taylor, R-N.C., is board chairman. Taylor, who founded the bank in 1978, has not been charged with any crime. He is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, which helps budget federal spending.

Move along citizen. Please turn your gaze to your wall monitor where pictures of glorious Dear Leader will inspire you.

Rove's Biggest Blunder

The more I think about it, the more I think this Bush movie will be the best thing that ever happened to the Democrats. Timothy Bottoms is going to be hilarious whether he intends to or not - the dialogue as reported will inspire a national gigglefest. And, if he's truly that heroic and articulate, the contrast with reality will make it brilliant parody. But, more importantly nothing could provide a greater catalyst for the asking of serious questions about the events of September 11th, with the fictional version providing a useful comparison point. The explicit involvement of Bush administration might even wake our slumbering media to take a closer look.

In The Moonie Times

Liberal Oasis and I make the cut. Oh rapture!

That's My Bush

The folks at the Ministry of Truth are apparently cobbling together the official version of Bush on September 11. If the Democrats had any sense, they'd take out ads broadcasting the footage of Dear Leader reading "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" as people were jumping out of buildings.

Fortunately, someone involved in the production must have a wee bit of a sense of humor. The actor playing Bush as he runs and hides is Timothy Bottoms.

Durable Orders Drop

Bigtime. And drop bigtime from a revised downward figure from the previous month.

I just heard Bush say he signed legislation extending unemployment benefits for 13 more weeks - I hadn't heard about this. Odd.

Crossfire Moves, Ratings Drop

I sense a pattern here.

Journalistic Integrity IV

Exhibit D - Ceci Connolly. We could spend all day on her, but here's a flat out fabrication:

CONNOLLY AND ALLEN: One woman, noting that the Republican contenders recently spoke at length about Jesus Christ, asked the Democrats how they felt about injecting faith into the presidential campaign.
Gore, noting that the number of atheists in America is rising, reiterated his support for separation of church and state. But he added: "I affirm my faith when I'm asked about it, but I always try to do so in a way that communicates respect, not only for people who worship in a different way, but just as much respect for those who do not believe in God."


GORE: I strongly support the separation of church and state. The bedrock principle on which our nation was founded was the search for religious freedom, which clearly meant freedom from government interference in religion. And I think that carries with it not only an obligation to respect the Constitution—for example, I think that the Constitution forbids the teaching of evolution in schools, except in religion class, but not in science class. And I think it also means that every single person in our public life ought to recognize an obligation to communicate tolerance of all religious faiths and traditions, especially the religious faiths and traditions that are held to be a minority in our country. That's what we're all about—religious freedom. Now I think that, in some times past, that principle has been wrongly interpreted to mean that somebody who is a person of faith and in public life should not even affirm his faith. I very much respect the way Bill has handled this question, you know, that's great, that's fine, that's his way of doing it. I affirm my faith when I'm asked about it but I always try to do so in a way that communicates absolute respect, not only for people who worship in a different way, but just as much respect for those who do not believe in God, who are atheists. Atheists have just as much of a right to the public discourse as anyone, as people of any religious faith in the country. And I think that we have got to really stand and if necessary fight for that principle.

So there you have it. Gore didn't say a word that resembled the statement the Post reported. Nothing was said, at any time, about whether atheists were increasing, decreasing, or staying the same. Two lesser notes—Gore's reference to atheists came late in his comments, not right at the beginning, as Connolly's readers might have thought. And Bradley had in fact answered first; Connolly's account reverses the order.

Journalistic Integrity III

Exhibit C, Richard Cohen, in today's Howler (scroll down to the bottom).

Journalistic Integrity II

Exhibit B: Lisa Myers, who now heads up NBC News's investigative unit:

MYERS: At another point, Mrs. Hubbell talks about over-billing clients.

MRS. HUBBELL (on tape): That’s an area where Hillary would be vulnerable.

HUBBELL (on tape): No, you are talking and not listening. We are on a recorded phone.

And that is precisely the way the transcript was presented on the screen to NBC viewers as the tape rolls--with no ellipsis whatever to let viewers know that material has been left out. Not that this would have been an appropriate deletion even if an ellipsis had been used. Myers’ cut in the tape completely changes the meaning of the presentation by Mrs. Hubbell--changing it from a question about whether Mrs. Clinton would be vulnerable, to an assertion that she would be. The charade was even worse by that evening; in a tape played on MSNBC’s May 1 InterNight program (apparently taken from that evening’s NBC News), Myers doctors the conversation in a more egregious fashion:

MYERS: The Hubbells seem worried that Mrs. Clinton could be vulnerable on an issue that sent Hubbell to prison in the first place--overbilling clients.

MRS. HUBBELL: You didn’t actually do that, did you? Mark up time for the client? Did you?

HUBBELL: Yes, I did. So does every lawyer in the country.

MRS. HUBBELL: That’s an area that Hillary would be vulnerable.

HUBBELL: Suzy, you’re talking and you’re not listening. We are on a recorded phone, OK?

Journalistic Integrity

Since precision and ethics are all the rage, let's have some flashbacks. Exhibit A, Jeff Greenfield, who has the nerve to report on the Jayson Blair story, knowing full well that the Clinton Rules of Journalism allow any fabrication to stand:

Even more damning was a "Nightline" report broadcast that same evening. The segment came very close to branding Hillary Clinton a perjurer. In his introduction, host Ted Koppel spoke pointedly about "the reluctance of the Clinton White House to be as forthcoming with documents as it promised to be." He then turned to correspondent Jeff Greenfield, who posed a rhetorical question: "Hillary Clinton did some legal work for Madison Guaranty at the Rose Law Firm, at a time when her husband was governor of Arkansas. How much work? Not much at all, she has said."

Up came a video clip from Hillary's April 22, 1994, Whitewater press conference. "The young attorney, the young bank officer, did all the work," she said. "It was not an area that I practiced in. It was not an area that I know anything, to speak of, about." Next the screen filled with handwritten notes taken by White House aide Susan Thomases during the 1992 campaign. "She [Hillary] did all the billing," the notes said. Greenfield quipped that it was no wonder "the White House was so worried about what was in Vince Foster's office when he killed himself."

What the audience didn't know was that the ABC videotape had been edited so as to create an inaccurate impression. At that press conference, Mrs. Clinton had been asked not how much work she had done for Madison Guaranty, but how her signature came to be on a letter dealing with Madison Guaranty's 1985 proposal to issue preferred stock. ABC News had seamlessly omitted thirty-nine words from her actual answer, as well as the cut, by interposing a cutaway shot of reporters taking notes. The press conference transcript shows that she actually answered as follows: "The young attorney [and] the young bank officer did all the work and the letter was sent. But because I was what we called the billing attorney -- in other words, I had to send the bill to get the payment sent -- my name was put on the bottom of the letter. It was not an area that I practiced in. It was not an area that I know anything, to speak of, about."

Pickering the Bigot

Pickering's behavior in the cross burning case was atrocious from top to bottom, and his later defense of it was disingenuous to say the least. Ailes notes that the latest NYT article on the subject, while adding some new details, neglects to inform us that Pickering's claim that he was unaware that the juvenile who plea-bargained for a lower sentence was the ringleader was a lie.

Silver Rights has more.

MoDo in Trouble

Well, if she's in trouble for this then there are a lot of other reporters who should be out of a job - or would be if the Clinton Rules of Journalism weren't in operation.

From the Clinton Wars, p. 443

The transcribed remarks strongly suggested he was covering up Hillary's involvement in Whitewater. In one excerpt of the Burton version, Hubbell was cited as saying that new claims against his law firm would "open up" Hillary. The unexpurgated tapes on which these transcriptions were based were listened to by a dozen reporters but not by any Democratic members of the committee. Three days later, the Democrats were allowed to hear them, and they discovered that the transcripts had been extensively doctored... For their part, the reporters who had written articles about the doctored tapes as if they were credible later claimed they had been working under deadline pressure.

More on Foley

From Jim DeFede in the Miami Herald:

Mark Foley can't have it both ways.

The Republican congressman from Palm Beach can't hold himself up as a defender of gay rights while at the same time denounce as ''revolting and unforgivable'' questions about whether he is gay.

Last week Foley held a news conference with a handful of selected reporters to declare that he would not answer questions about his personal life. ''I'm not going to be dragged into the gutter by these rumormongers,'' he declared.

Foley may be within his rights to say he doesn't want to talk about his sexual orientation, but, unfortunately, his words implied there is something wrong with being gay.

Why should it be ''revolting and unforgivable'' to ask if he is gay? And why would it be tantamount to being ''dragged into the gutter'' for him to answer such a question?

Foley's words only serve to feed the hatred and bigotry of the conservative wing of Florida's Republican Party. And he's doing it because these are the people who will decide if Foley is the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in 2004.

Do I believe Foley is gay? In addition to fairly persuasive reports in both the gay press and, more recently, the Broward edition of New Times, a friend of mine said he was at a social gathering with Foley a few months ago at which the congressman introduced his partner and said the two of them had been together for more than 19 years.

there's more.

Dean Moron

It's clear that the infamous Dean Broder is Dean of nothing more than an ethically challenged press and the Moron-Americans that dominate our discourse. Suddenly he discovers that maybe the 5 year plan of Dear Leader might actually cause a bit of pain and suffering.

Well, at least Bush didn't wear Earth tones you useless relic.

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

The Glass Closet

Signorile on Foley.

Right-wing Republicans are fond of attacking equality for gays and lesbians by claiming that gays are seeking "special rights." Florida Republican Congressman Mark Foley seems to believe in special rights for himself though. While it’s generally accepted that candidates for public office should have their lives open to the media–from their tax returns to the images they offer up of their families–Foley is demanding certain aspects of his life be kept obscured.

It’s not a coincidence that these particular aspects of his life are the type that would infuriate the Christian right, a strong force in Florida’s Republican Party. Foley is about to make a play for the U.S. seat currently held by Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), who is running in the 2004 Democratic presidential primaries. Foley says he’ll run for the seat even if Graham changes his mind and seeks re-election to the Senate.
Meanwhile, The Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, a bipartisan group that supposedly promotes the idea that gay political candidates should be open about their sexual orientation, played right into the Republicans’ hands, engaging in that Beltway suck-up game. Their press flack Jason Young called the New Times story "dirty," which is a pretty scurrilous charge. A politician allegedly lies and deceives the public–with the full knowledge of a small clique around him–and it is those who expose it who are "dirty?"

We’re not, after all, talking about a deeply closeted married man who is having secretive homosexual sex in a public rest room. We’re actually not talking about sex at all, at least not as in the case of Bill and Monica. We’re talking about identity–how one defines oneself and is known to family and friends. We’re talking about someone who is 48 years old, unmarried and is, according to the New Times, quite comfortably known to be gay to many people in politics on both the right and left in Florida, and whose own boyfriend has been out with him in public, as described by the gay military hero Tracy Thorne.

Objectively Pro-Boiling

As Vaara pointed out in comments, here's Donald Rumsfeld being chummy with people-boiling dictator of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov.

Oh, and here's Karimov with W.

"You can judge the character of a man by the company he keeps."
-- George W. Bush (November 5, 2000)

Media Monopoly

Now would be a good time to contribute for Move On's media monopoly ad campaign.

I have to admit that as important as this issue is I've mostly given up on it - I just don't think there's any way to win this particular battle. But, that shouldn't stop us from trying.

Americans Love The Big Dog

According to poll:

Who would have thought it? Some two years after he left office hounded by right-wing detractors and stained by his affair with Monica Lewinsky, Bill Clinton now ranks as this nation's third best chief executive, according to a recent CNN/USA TODAY/Gallup Poll.
Only Abraham Lincoln (chosen by 15%) and John F. Kennedy (13%) finished ahead of Clinton (11%) in the April poll, which asked Americans who was "the greatest" president. George W. Bush managed to tie Clinton for third place.

Will the unholy reign of the Clenis ™ ever end?

The Josh Marshall Texas Update

JM's at his best when he tenaciously follows a somewhat below the radar developing story and manages to tease key details out of the muck, so I'm glad he's following this one.

Maybe after a few more years he'll have done penance for all that Condit nonsense.


Sidney Blumenthal denies he's me. Frankly, I'm not buying it.

He Boiled His Own People

Onward to Uzbekistan! Warbloggers, start your engines!

Michael Getler Discovers Anonymous Sourcing

He's shocked to discover the Post's own standards for sourcing aren't being followed.

Maybe someone should send him a copy of Marvin Kalb's One Scandalous Story.
(from page 128)

The initial Washington Post story ran 1,608 words. It contained four "on the record" quotes - the crucial one from Lewinsky's lawyer Ginsburg, who confirmed that Starr was "investigating his client's involvement with Clinton"; one from presidential lawyer Bob Bennett, who said the president denied any such relationship; and two brief and inconsequential quotes from lawyers Hundley and Moody. It also quoted twenty-four anonymous sources, who were loosely identified in any number of ways. For example, there was one "source close to the investigation," used in the lead of the story; six references to "a source" or "the source"; four "according to a source or sources"; five "source or sources familiar with" (sworn statement, job history, testimony, document, her account); one "White House officials"; one "associate"; five "a Justice Department official or officials"; and one "a colleague." The "background/on the record" ratio was an unhealthy twenty-four to four, a pattern that improved only slightly in the Post coverage over the next few weeks.

...Until the breaking of this story, The Washington Post had rigorously abided by its two-source rule, imposed by Ben Bradlee during the Watergate scandal.

On a related note, go read the Howler.

The Iran Roadmap

Neal Pollack explains it all so that it almost makes sense.

Gaps in the Tape

God this is becoming a farce.

AUSTIN -- Texas state police officials on Monday blamed a faulty duplication machine for a five-hour gap in a Capitol security tape that was given to a House committee investigating how authorities handled the Democratic walkout.

"I don't know if people are trying to run out the clock so we're not in town any more or if it's just incompetence. Either one is bothersome," said Rep. Kevin Bailey, D-Houston, chairman of the House General Investigating Committee.

Dishonest as Always

Roger Ailes catches Snitchens recycling some of Michael Kelly's old debunked smears.

Boy Meets Boy

Bravo doing gay version of the Bachelor. The network had no comment on their rumored followup "boy meets dog" starring a certain senator from Pennsylvania.

The Real Threatening Storm

Kenneth Pollack is on talking about Iran. I guess he's busy writing the sequel...

Monday, May 26, 2003

More on Miller

Swopa's been on her case for awhile. Looks like he may deserve credit for being the first to notice she's an INC tool. As he says, "this is all part of an extensive pattern of the Iraqi National Congress apparently feeding disinformation to reporters in much the same way they supplied fraudulent intelligence to the U.S. government before the war. It's a scandal-in-the-making that cries out for further investigation . . . if any media outlet is brave and determined enough to look into it."


Bipartisanship is Date Rape

Well, there you go. I'd expect Dean "bipartisan" Broder to start whining about this, except the Dean only expects one party to get raped.

Miller Chalabi's Sock Puppet

From Kurtz

A dustup between two New York Times reporters over a story on an Iraqi exile leader raises some intriguing questions about the paper's coverage of the search for dangerous weapons thought to be hidden by Saddam Hussein.

An internal e-mail by Judith Miller, the paper's top reporter on bioterrorism, acknowledges that her main source for such articles has been Ahmad Chalabi, a controversial exile leader who is close to top Pentagon officials. Could Chalabi have been using the Times to build a drumbeat that Iraq was hiding weapons of mass destruction?

The Chalabi connection surfaced when John Burns, the paper's Pulitzer Prize-winning Baghdad bureau chief, scolded Miller over her May 1 story on the Iraqi without clearing it with him.

"I am deeply chagrined at your reporting and filing on Chalabi after I had told you on Monday night that we were planning a major piece on him -- and without so much as telling me what you were doing," Burns wrote that day...

Sunday, May 25, 2003

Just What the Country Needs

Another Republican who can't keep his zipper zipped.*

Steve at Kos explains.

*A line you won't be reading in a Howard Kurtz column.

Slogans, Chants, and Groans

Jim C. sums up the conservative movement.

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