Saturday, August 16, 2003

Gazillions of Trillions of Zillions Oh My

That evil New York Times displays its innumeracy, as pointed out by reader JM:

As Mr. Bush's "growth" program rolls out, the richest 1 percent of Americans can expect an estimated 17 percent cut in their taxes by 2010, according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. The other 99 percent get a 5 percent cut - along with accumulated deficits of $4 billion or more across the next 10 years and the lost chance that the now-vanished surplus might be used to protect their future Social Security benefits.

I figured all these problems would be gone once Rick Berke and Jeff Gerth and Jayson Blair had all been fired..

Oh never mind.

It Can't Be

A very credible Democratic candidate for governor from a Red State is running hard against the incumbent by linking him to Bush, and doing so by mocking them both into the ground.

Quick, time to reprogram beltway conventional wisdom...

Update: Oops, he's not running against the incumbent. The incumbent is retiring. < Sully > So sue me < / Sully >

Living in Sin

Colbert King brings up an overlooked part of the whole "Gay Bishop" issue, the lack of outrage over the conduct of the presumed future supreme governor of the Anglican Church, the current Prince of Wales.

Prop. 13

It is interesting that Arnold's new man said it's time to raise property taxes in California. He is right, of course, for a variety of reasons, and not simply because it's a way to increase revenue.

Prop. 13 was a popular, and understandable, revolt against local property taxes. I'm actually sympathetic to it in the same way that I'm sympathetic towards rent control - in practice they don't operate much differently. In a time of booming property values, homeowners, some of modest means, were increasingly unable to afford to pay the associated skyrocketing property tax bills. So, the ballot initiative was passed to put a stop to it. The basics of prop. 13 is that it fixes the assessed value of your house for tax purposes at its purchase price, plus some small allowable increase per year.

It's discriminatory in the same way that rent control, particularly rent control with vacancy decontrol, is. Existing homeowners get the benefits of it - their property values can skyrocket (in the case of the beach communities, I mean SKYROCKET), while their property taxes remain flat. New and wannabe homeowners are at a great disadvantage, as a new assessment kicks in once a home changes hands. It has the same distortionary effects as rent control does, substantially reducing the mobility of individuals. Mobility is harmed because individuals who move will have to pay higher taxes on new homes versus their existing ones. The net effect is that beach communities in California are increasingly populated by old people.

Anyway, there are volumes which can be written about the effects of Prop. 13, but this is one aspect I often see left off so I thought I'd share...


We've had about two years of people screaming anti-Semitism at the drop of the hat in order to push a political agenda. Here's a case where stating the obvious - Mel Gibson's movie is both anti-Semitic and goes against current church teachings. It is therefore also anti-Catholic and anti-Pope. Where is the outrage? And why has it received such support?

Next Week's Time Magazine Cover*

He *is* leading in the polls, after all...

(thanks to onehandle)

*When pigs fly.

Way Too Fair and Balanced

Charles Kuffner links us to a story about Democrats being way to Fair and Balanced in Texas. We know how they're being repaid for it now:

In 1997, Senator Drew Nixon (R-Carthage) was arrested and convicted of soliciting a prostitute who turned out to be an undercover police officer.

Democratic Lt. Governor Bob Bullock arranged for his release and ultimately testified in court as a character witness on his behalf.

Nixon continued to serve in the Senate while he was incarcerated on weekends in a correctional facility.

Many of the Republican senators standing behind Lt. Governor David Dewhurst at today's press conference were in the Senate when it happened.

Not a single Republican rose to seek sanctions against a colleague who was a convicted sex offender. Maybe that was because he was the 16th Republican and Nixon's presence at that time afforded them their one vote majority. [NOTE: As a later entry in the QR reports, the margin was 16-15 in the Democrats' favor at the time.]

More significantly, not one Democrat attempted to make any political hay out of Nixon's troubles. A little well orchestrated publicity could have tarred the other Republican members as well as Nixon. He could have conceivably been forced by public opinion to resign, thereby putting what was then a marginal swing district back in play.

It would have certainly strengthened Bullock's partisan hand.

Yet, the fundamental collegiality of the Senate in combination with the protection of a Lt. Governor who had in his life suffered similar demons all worked to allow Nixon to participate unencumbered by sanctions or personal criticism.

But while they could countenance a convicted sex offender in their midst, Texas Republican senators struck what may be a fatal blow to Senate collegiality by punishing colleagues who, whether right or wrong, believe they are acting from deeply held principals and convictions.

Heh. Indeed.

Do give some money to the Texas Democrats.

Frivolous Lawsuits

I find it sort of weird when libertarians get all upset about frivolous lawsuits, when court enforcement of private contracts is on the short list of legitimate government functions. Frivolous is in the eye of the beholder, of course.

I've generally perceived the libertarian "paradise" as more Bleak House than Lord of the Flies.*

*Note, I didn't put "Atlas Shrugged" here as I've never quite understood why John Galt gave away his magic energy machine for free...

Sgt. Schultz!


It doesn't matter what Arianna or anybody says," Schwarzenegger said, responding to political commentator Arianna Huffington's remarks earlier Thursday that he is a "Bush Republican through and through."

Huffington also criticized Schwarzenegger for meeting with former Enron Chairman Kenneth Lay in May 2001 in Beverly Hills. The Los Angeles Times reported at the time that Lay gave Schwarzenegger and other business and political leaders a four-page plan detailing his solution to California's energy crisis.

"I don't remember the meeting," Schwarzenegger said.

Now That Bustamante's the Frontrunner

Will the media start giving him the Ahnold treatment?

Feel the Love

In Fresno.

Fresno residents and community leaders, outraged by an e-mail message in which City Council Member Jerry Duncan wished he had a "dirty bomb" to kill every liberal in Fresno, called Thursday for his resignation, recall or reprimand.
A crowd that gathered in City Hall also chastised City Council Member Brian Calhoun and his chief assistant, Ann Kloose, who wrote in an e-mail that police should "Cap" members of the Human Relations Commission.

(via Jesse)

Ombudsman, Ombudsman...

wherefore art thou Ombudsman....

It looks like Michael Getler chose a convenient time to take a vacation. No column for two weeks? Well, it's pretty useless anyway.

Kuttner on Energy

Bob Kuttner has a nice succint editorial on the evils of energy deregulation. And, look, for all my monkey readers - I'm one who thinks that a certain degree of "deregulation" in energy markets could be a good thing. But, it's always going to be a mix of very heavily regulated (the transmission grid and retail) and the less regulated (wholesale energy manufacturers). As such, it's going to be somewhat of an "artificial" market created and maintained by government regulation and oversight. Once that oversight goes away, the system will gamed.

And, yes, for the recent blackout Kuttner hits on the key issue with deregulation:

Third, under deregulation the local utilities no longer have an economic incentive to invest in keeping up transmission lines.

There it is, in a nut shell. Energy companies have no more incentive to build transmission lines than trucking companies have an incentive to build highways. So, when the government inevitably steps in to solve this little problem the worry is that the power companies themselves won't have to pony up a single cent, letting the free ride off the infrastructure.

Now, letting them free ride off the infrastructure isn't necessarily a bad thing, unless they are monopoly *owners* of that infrastrucutre with little regulatory oversight.

The "power elite" and the SCLM

Here are David M. Halbfinger and Katharine Q. Seelye of The Newspaper of Record (not!) on the power outage two years ago in California:

Two years ago California suffered a series of temporary blackouts as demand for electricity outpaced older power plants, while a botched experiment with partial price deregulation and environmental opposition created disincentives to build new plants. Wholesale electricity prices spiraled out of control, pushing the state's two private utilities to the brink of bankruptcy as they were left buying power at market rates at costs they could not pass on to the consumer.

"Spiraled out of control"—That's rich. Not one word about major Republican contributor Enron, whose price-gouging and market manipulations sparked the crisis (and, not so incidentally, put Gray Davis in deep trouble politically).

Leading me to ask:

Could wired Republican cronies gaming the system be the cause of this week's outage too? Well, stranger things have happened. Of course, the records of Cheney's task force might be useful at this point; but the administration succeeding in suppressing them.

NOTE: Atrios's orginal perspective (back) on this issue is of course fair more nuanced than my own; I suggest you read it.

Texas Thugs sink to new lows

Yes, it's possible!

R.G. Ratcliffe of the Houston Chronicle writes:

The Republicans on Friday voted to enforce the fines by taking away certain senatorial privileges until the missing members return and pay the fines.
If the Democrats do not return and pay the fines, they and their staffs will lose parking on the Capitol grounds, state cell phone use, all purchasing for their offices, staff passes to the Senate floor, travel, use of conference rooms and subscriptions. Their postage will be limited to $200 a month.

Sounds to me like the Republicans are taking away the tools that the Democrats would need to use to represent their constituents. But then when did these stone Thugs ever really care about Democracy—or the rule of law for that matter?

Here's where to give to the Texas Democratic Party. Heck, why doesn't "Democrat" Warren Buffet stump up some money and give the Texas Democrats cell phones for life?

A foretaste of the 2004 campaign

From the laughingly called "non-partisan" Presidential Prayer Team:

Pray for the President as he seeks wisdom on how to legally codify the definition of marriage. Pray that it will be according to biblical principles. With many forces insisting on variant definitions of marriage, pray that God's Word and His standards will be honored by our government.

Get ready, folks. 2004 is going to get very ugly, and very rough. I wonder if these guys are familiar with the concept of imprecatory prayer? Like calling down God's wrath on the Bush administration and all its works?

NOTE: The PPT has an awesomely beautiful polling question, too:

Should religious leaders be allowed to speak and/or pray at public school gatherings such as a graduation ceremony or a sports event?

Heck, I don't mind if they speak—I just don't want my dime to pay for their religion, so I don't want them to pray. But that's not an answer in this poll. Anyhow, the PPT has achieved totalitarian plebiscite approval levels (no surprise, eh?) of 99% with this true gem of the pollster's art ...

U.S. English

There was a throway article in a recent WaPo article about the connections between a group that Arnie serves on the board of and white nationlalist groups. I found it odd and unfair, given that the sentence just hung there without any further description. It was still shoddy reporting, without further context, but Body and Soul explains why the charge is more than deserved.

A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free state ....

Neil MacFarquhar of the Times writes:

The most combative group of Shiite Muslims announced during their main prayer sermon today that they would proceed with a proposal to form their own militia to safeguard holy sites from any transgressions by American troops.

More than 3,000 of the faithful flooded one of the dusty main thoroughfares in Sadr City, a predominately Shiite slum in Baghdad, to hear the prayer leader, Sheik Abdel Hadi al-Daraji, denounce the American forces, accusing them of defiling sacred places after an incident on Wednesday in which an American Black Hawk helicopter forced down a flag near a Sadr City mosque.

The proposal for a Shiite religious militia initially received a tepid response from other, senior clergymen. Its revival could set the stage for renewed tension between the older, more respected scholars who control the influential seminary movement — known as the Hawza — and Mr. Sadr's young clerics, who have a wide street following in Baghdad.

There seem some conflict in the reportage on the flag incident, as alert reader salvage points out. The original AP story mentions amateur film footage that is said to show soldiers tearing the banner down. Then AP scrubs this and replaces it with a story that "prop wash" (accidentally) blew the flag down. The Times equivocates with "forced down," but mentions no film footage. Interesting ....

Friday, August 15, 2003

Dr. Laura

Anyway, there's nothing like being lectured for years by someone who has no doubts about her faith, only to have her drop it suddenly.

In a shocking if little-noticed revelation, Schlessinger — who very publicly converted to Judaism five years ago — opened "The Dr. Laura Schlessinger Program" on August 5 with the confession that she will no longer practice Judaism. Although Schlessinger said she still "considers" herself Jewish, "My identifying with this entity and my fulfilling the rituals, etc., of the entity — that has ended."

Of course, recognizing that most people who actually are a part of the religion you've converted think you're despicable probably does provide some clue:

Schlessinger began her August 5 program by noting that, prior to each broadcast, she spends an hour reading faxes from fans and listeners. "By and large the faxes from Christians have been very loving, very supportive," she said. "From my own religion, I have either gotten nothing, which is 99% of it, or two of the nastiest letters I have gotten in a long time. I guess that's my point — I don't get much back. Not much warmth coming back."


Schlessinger even hinted at a possible turn to Christianity — a move that, radio insiders say, would elevate her career far beyond the 300 stations that currently syndicate her show. "I have envied all my Christian friends who really, universally, deeply feel loved by God," she said. "They use the name Jesus when they refer to God... that was a mystery, being connected to God."

Power of prayer, and praying for power

Neil MacFarquhar of the Times writes:

Sheik Abdel Hadi al-Daraji ... said as the crowd roared back their prayer. "To denounce the lack of electricity, pray to Muhammad."

Jeebus! The Muslims are right on top of this power outage thing. Not so the Self-Identified Christians at the laughably "non-partisan" Presidential Prayer Team. Why the heck not? Because it's a Blue States problem?

California schemin'

Backscratching greedheads. Yech.

Shocked, shocked

(heh heh)

Guess what? Bush lied on wanting to improve the power grid. See the Chicago Tribune here via Eric Alterman, who gives the all-too-usual what Bush says now versus what Bush said then analysis. As The Other Big Dog (back) says, Bush's act is getting a little old.

The "fair & balanced" trademark

Here it is (from Sadly No via Wyeth Wire).

The "fair & balanced" trademark is registered in the field of "entertainment services in the nature of production and distribution of television news programs"—which is (though perhaps not to Fox) not likely to be confused with a published book with journalistic content. Yes?

Do we have any trademark lawyers in our readership who can comment on this point? (For example, is an "&" equivalent to the word "and"?)

Bush's poodle dragged closer, closer to the duck pit

In the UK, the political equivalent of Bush's 16 words lie was Blair's lie that Iraq could deploy WMDs in 45 minutes. Blair hasn't been faring too well of late.

Vikram Dodd, Nicholas Watt and Richard Norton Taylor of The Guardian write:

Tony Blair's headline-grabbing claim that Iraq could deploy weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes of an order to do so was based on hearsay information, the Guardian has learned. ...

The revelation that the 45 minute claim is second hand is contained in an internal Foreign Office document released by the Hutton inquiry. It had been thought the basis for the claim came from an Iraqi officer high in Saddam Hussein's command structure. In fact it came through an informant, who passed it on to MI6.

And just like in the US, the intelligence professionals were resisting the politicization of intelligence needed for Blair to make his war-justifying claim. Paul Waugh of the Independent writes:

John Scarlett, the chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, "winced" when asked about the credibility of the Government's key 45- minute claim about the Iraqi threat, a document submitted to the Hutton Inquiry reveals.

And just like in the US, the administration tried to duck their responsibilities. Kim Sengupta of the Independent

At 2.48 on a hot and slow afternoon in the Hutton inquiry, Martin Howard, an intelligence chief, casually dropped into his evidence that the Prime Minister had personally intervened in the case of David Kelly. Amid the frantic scratching of journalists' pens on their notebooks, there was a loud whisper, "torpedo running".

And just like in the US, there were honest intelligence professionals who raised their doubts in the press: David Kelly among them. Kelly was the source for this quote:

The government would not have convinced the public of the need for war against Iraq without exaggerating the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, its own leading expert believed.

David Kelly made the devastating claim in a taped conversation with a BBC journalist revealed yesterday at the Hutton inquiry.

The concern, he said, was not the weapons Iraq had, but what it might be allowed to develop in the future. "But that unfortunately wasn't expressed strongly in the dossier because that takes away the case for war."

In the UK, events took a tragic turn, as David Kelly committed suicide. After which Blair was asked by a journalist if he felt he had "blood on his hands."

I wonder what it's like to live in a country with a free press? And where hearings into doctored intelligence don't get caught up in months and years of stonewalling?


Drew Brown and Hannah Allam of Knight Ridder write:

Shiite Muslim clerics urged followers during prayers Friday to resist the U.S.-led occupation of Iraq and demanded that American troops leave the country, but they stopped short of calling for violence.

"America did not come here to liberate Iraq, as some misguided people think," said Sheik Abdul Hadi al Daraji. "The United States does not seek the good will of Muslims and Arab people. They did not come here for the interests of Iraqi people, but for their own designs."

Unrest in Sadr City broke out Wednesday after an American helicopter hovered close to a telecommunications tower bearing a sacred religious banner, inscribed with the name of Muhammed al Mahdi, the "Hidden Imam," a mystical figure who is revered by Shiites worldwide.

U.S. military officials say rotor wash from the helicopter may have blown down the banner. But residents say a helicopter crew member tried to tear it down. After shots rang out, American troops fired into a crowd of 3,000 who had gathered to protest the incident. U.S. officials say one man who fired a rocket-propelled grenade was killed, but residents claim the victim was a child.

Winning hearts and minds...


Wyeth Wire catches Glenn Reynolds wondering why, during a blackout, when very very few computer users would have access to the internet, Homeland Security's first priority wasn't updating their website.

Al's #3

We couldn't have expected him to bet the South Beach Diet for long, but the fact that he's still at #3 on Amazon is quite impressive. About 180 of you have purchased it through my site, which should allow me to afford to attend the alway's fair and balanced Neal Pollack's annual teabagging convention.

This is good for a laugh.

Kevin Phillips on Dean v. Bush

From the LA Times (last Sunday) here. Excuse the long post, but the analysis seemed interesting to me. (I'm going to leave out the parts that say that Dean is not the second McGovern, but the second McCarthy.)

The 43rd president is reenacting a lot of the biases, favoritisms and mismanagements displayed by his father, and they're too innate to be easily shed. Here are the big three, if Democrats can figure out how to play them:

[1] Dean is correct about the administration's 9/11 and war-related vulnerabilities. After four decades of Bush ties to the Persian Gulf, the family is so interlocked with the local royal families, banks and big-money crowd that duplicity and conflicts of interest abound. The result is White House secrecy and deceit. ... The younger Bush, in turn, may find that by 2004, the 2003 advance on Baghdad has been superseded by two emerging scandals — the cover-up of Saudi participation in 9/11 and the false representations made about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction.

[2] The Bush tax cuts of 2001-03, flagrant in their tilt toward investors and the top 1% of income earners, echo, albeit far more dangerously and at far greater cost, the elder Bush's insistence on cutting capital gains taxes for investors. The result of this favoritism, in 1991-92 and again today, is a jobless recovery. Investors get some gains, but ordinary folk lose their jobs. ... And this isn't lefty stuff; it's capital-C "Centrism" that would cut like a scythe from Long Island to La Mirada.

[3] The younger Bush's vulnerability for pandering to the religious right is a lot different — bigger, but tougher to nail — than his father's. ... What the younger Bush has done instead is to give the religious right so much patronage and critical policy influence — to say nothing of coded biblical references in key speeches — as to have built them into the system.

The degree is little less than stunning. In late 2001, religious right leaders sampled by the press said Bush had replaced Robertson as the leader of the religious right, becoming the first president to hold both positions simultaneously.

But in the meantime, the chance for Dean to educate a lie-weary electorate and doctor its spirit with candor is clearly at hand. And he can do worse than heed the 1968 achievement of another man from a small Northern state who is still remembered for crystallizing national disenchantment with the first Texas president to fib America into a bungled war.

So, there's hope and a requirement for a lot of hard work.

Our troops: Abused by Bush, yet supporting him. What's the deal?

Elizabeth Bummler of the Times via the Tacoma News-Tribune writes:

In his speech, Bush acknowledged that "this has been a challenging time for military families," but said nothing about how long troops would be in Iraq.

Cpl. Matt Bennett, 21, who was with the 1st Marine Division in Iraq and returned home last month, said the troops still there were frustrated. "They're starting to look down on the chain of command," he said, adding that the soldiers were now asking, "Why don't they get us out of here?"

Bennett, like others at the base, said he supported Bush and definitely supported Schwarzenegger.

Two reactions here as well: (1) Why would Bennet support Bush? Is it just that Bennet knows he'd be disciplined if he said he didn't support Bush? Can any of our military readers speak to this? (2) If the military has truly become part of the Republican base (not just the officers, but the troops...) Well, can anyone say "Praetorian Guard"?

UPDATE: Alert reader northsylvania supplies this interesting military blog. Lots of insightful posting on this thread. Thank you readers.

The Fair and Balanced Union Leader

Here's the Manchester Union Leader—famous for representing the troglodyte wing (and, well, body, the other wing, tail-feathers and beak) of the Republican party—on Bush:

President Bush is hanging onto the Reagan wing of the Republican Party — and the Reagan Democrats and independents — by a thin thread called “national security.” Unless he is willing to dramatically change his high-roller approach to spending other people’s money, he’d better pray that thread holds.

From which I draw two orthogonal conclusions: (1) A terrorist attack is almost certain to happen in 2004, since what Bush really needs to play to his base, he tends to get; and (2) Dean's "Republicans can't handle money" line should play very well in New Hampshire, particularly if there's some fiscal catastrophe (as opposed to the ongoing crisis) between now and the primary.

Fair and Balanced

Blah3 tells you where to get all you Friday Fair and Balanced Goodness.

Not Getting It

The last time we met candidate Kerry, he was telling Democratic voters to just "get over it [the 2000 election]."

Now we have him making this crack:

"The Dean campaign is saying you're kind of stealing their thunder on this on-line petition," Dave Price, a reporter for Des Moines-based WHO-TV 13, to which Kerry responded with a smirk: "Well, the last person I heard who claimed he had invented the Internet didn't do so well."

The response earned restrained yucks from the gaggle of reporters. But Dean's staff hadn't said they invented on-line petition drives, and Kerry didn't refute that Dean's started at the same time.

I'm a practical guy, and if taking pot shots at Gore can get Kerry elected fine with me. But, I'm pretty sure this betrays a deeper misunderstanding of what's been going on with the media the last few years.

Time to get a clue John Kerry, or the media onslaught you face is going to make "getting Gored" look like walk in the park.

Some free advice, from a supporter.

The Other Big Dog!

Marc Humbert of AP writes:

"President Bush may not be on our list of America's best presidents, but he should be on anyone's list of America's best magicians," Clinton said. "The budget surplus - then you saw it, now you won't. Good jobs - then we had them, now we don't ... George Bush's disappearing act is getting a little old to me."

Nice riff!
UPDATE: Read too fast—thought it was Bill, turned out to be Hillary. Nice riff, Hillary! (Thanks to alert reader F&B libdevil for correcting me on this.)

The Arnis™ once more

To share videos with Rob Lowe.

[Ducking as I shield my head from brickbats thrown by West Wing fans, who somehow see no problem with a "Democratic" Hollywood star helping the Republicans to take over California in one of the most important elections this country will ever face. What the heck is he thinking?]

Let's look on the bright side!

When the lights go back on, that is.

Mark Gongloff of CNN writes:

Some economists have expressed hope that sales of flashlights, batteries and other essentials will offset some of the negative impact of the blackout...

Of course, the other bright side of the blackout is that it will Bush yet another alibi as he does his typical responsibility-shirking thing for the jobless "recovery" (recoWery?)

The other qWagmire

David Rohde of the Herald Trib writes:

The Afghan government accelerated a sweeping purge of government officials Thursday, firing three governors and six security chiefs in provinces hardest hit by an intensifying pro-Taliban insurgency.

The action came after more than 50 people died in clashes and a bomb attack Wednesday that marked the highest one-day death toll in Afghanistan in nearly a year.

Not sure what firing the governors and security chiefs will do when the warlords are running the country.... Oh well, as Rummy says, we'll get better at it as we keep doing it.


Winning hearts and minds...

From AP and Reuters in the Herald Trib here:

Guerrillas firing grenades wounded two U.S. soldiers and three Iraqi civilians in central Iraq on Friday, while thousands of Shiite Muslims gathered for prayers at a flash point in a Baghdad suburb.

Chanting "Yes for Islam," more than 3,000 worshippers flocked to a street in Al-Sadr City, a section of Baghdad where U.S. forces shot and killed one Iraqi and wounded four during a protest earlier this week.

American forces are facing a guerrilla campaign in Sunni areas, a hotbed of Saddam support, and there are also signs of surging resentment among Iraq's Shiite majority, which generally welcomed Saddam's overthrow during the U.S.-led invasion that began in March.

At the prayers on Friday, many Shiites beat their chests and waved red, black and green religious flags as they sat under a tower where U.S. troops fired into a crowd of thousands of protesters Wednesday.

Yep. "Taking to the streets" (back) got the Iraqis better electrical power...

What next, I wonder?

And I sure hope they take their tactics from, oh, Mahatma Gahndi...

When they say it's not a prop, it's a prop

Rick Pearson and Ray Long of the Chicago Tribune write:

Creating a dilemma for a party that has trouble attracting minority support, the White House has told state Republican leaders to stress diversity in selecting delegates for President Bush's renomination next summer.

"It's not a prop," Robert Kjellander, Illinois' Republican National committeeman and a Midwest coordinator for the Bush re-election campaign, said after the state's GOP Central Committee on Thursday approved its delegate-selection plan.

"It's so that the delegation reflects the diversity in the Republican Party. The president has tremendous support in non-traditional areas, and we want to make sure the delegates to the convention reflect that," he said. "This is to meaningfully expand the base of the Republican Party."

Right. Of course, they wouldn't need to expand the base if they had the diversity in the first place, and Rove wouldn't have had to issue orders for the TV look he wanted if it already existed.

Turn the carrier so San Diego doesn't show up on the tube...

What's the going rate for a WMD lie in the Bush administration? $20,000

Gosh, those thug weasels are cheap aren't they? (But then the troops know that already). Let's just hope the liars stay bought, for the administration's sake, eh?

From the Federation of American Scientists at

But as scrutiny of U.S. intelligence concerning Iraq continues, even in the August doldrums, awkward new details are emerging concerning the role of the Department of Energy (DOE) in the October 2002 NIE on Iraq.

DCI Tenet said twice this week that DOE "agreed" that reconstitution of the Iraqi nuclear weapons program was "underway."

But contrary to Tenet's statement, the predominant view in the DOE weapons labs was that Iraq was not reconstituting its nuclear program, according to a story in the politically conservative WorldNetDaily.

Confusion arose because the DOE representative to the interagency process that produced the NIE was a human resources manager who "was ill-prepared to argue the technical merits of the case against the White House's position made by Energy's nuclear-weapons research labs." See "Energy rep at Iraq meeting lacked intelligence savvy" by Paul Sperry, WorldNetDaily, August 6.

The DOE official, identified as Thomas Rider, then-acting director of the DOE Office of Intelligence, reportedly told senior intelligence officers at DOE to "shut up and sit down" when they proposed to dissent from the view that Iraq was reconstituting its nuclear program.

According to WorldNetDaily, he was richly rewarded for his cooperation. See "$20,000 bonus to official who agreed on nuke claim" by Paul Sperry, WorldNetDaily, August 12.

I know, I know, we all know they're lying, even the SCLM knows they're lying, but it can't hurt to keep after them. Besides, it's fun.

Republican tactics 101: If you can't rig the election, cancel it

Ken Herman and David Pasztor of the Austin-American Statesman write:

The [Texas] Republican leadership is looking into the possibility of postponing the March congressional primaries if the boycotting Democratic senators continue to delay the GOP effort to draw new districts.

A little Thug tuneup for 2004?

"Live from Baghdad! Top 10 tips for surviving outages"

Why not talking to the experts in doing without a functioning electrical grid? That's right—the Iraqis! Here:

And the No. 1 suggestion among Iraqis for Americans suffering without power: TAKE TO THE STREETS. Some said demonstrations can be effective in persuading authorities to turn on the switch. "We held protests. After that we had fewer blackouts," Ahmed Abdul Hussein said without even a hint of sarcasm. "I'd suggest Americans go out and demonstrate."

Of course, the Iraqi power failures are from a war, and our power failures are... well, from what else but from a war of a few "malefactors of great wealth" against the public interest?

NOTE: Though to be fair—heck, why not try to be fair to the administration? Since even when we are fair, their failures are so grotesque—I'd like to see more citations in Palast's reportage on the "malefactors" above.

Weapons of Mass Deception

Sheldon and Rampton, authors of Weapons of Mass Deception, have a really interesting wiki with a page about the YABLs on WMDs here.

See also what looks a lot like a 21st Century Phoenix Program at their Proactive Preemptions Operations Group page.

Lots of good stuff. I like the logo, too—"Total Disinformation Awareness."

UPDATE: Thanks to alert reader hamstrung for the Phoenix Program citation.

So who do you trust? Your doctor or the Bush administration?

Dave Zweifel of the Capitol Times writes:

The announcement earlier this week that thousands of doctors across the United States and more than 60 right here in Dane County feel that we need a single-payer universal health care plan was a refreshing development.

Doctors more than anyone see firsthand the escalating cost of medical care coupled with the suffering and heartbreak that millions of working American families must endure simply because they are not covered by health insurance.

It's a huge scandal for a nation that prides itself as the most powerful and most generous in the world.

Advocates of universal health care have pointed out for years that all U.S. citizens could be insured if we simply pooled the money now spent on the hodgepodge of managed care and insurance plans that have become wasteful subsidies for the insurance companies and drug companies.

In a strongly worded article in the new issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, the physicians argue that the time has come to start a national discussion about health care and how to administer and pay for it.

Ida Hellander, executive director of the Chicago-based Physicians for a National Health Program, estimated that more than $200 billion a year, or about 25 percent of every dollar now spent on U.S. health insurance, is wasted on paperwork alone.

What was particularly interesting about the doctors' proposal is that it was published in JAMA, signaling that the country's huge association of doctors at least deems the topic worthy of debate.

Of course, if health insurance wasn't employer-based, increased labor mobility would be the result; employees would find it easier to say "Take this job and shove it," since they wouldn't lose their insurance.

And if you haven't noticed it, this administration is not really into making employees safer, better paid, more empowered, or anything like that, so it's a cinch they'd be against universal health care.

UPDATE Meanwhile, in the Happy World of Private Health Insurance:

In a 15-page subpoena dated Aug. 1 and addressed to CareFirst's "custodian of records," a federal grand jury in Baltimore requested dozens of documents going back several years, sources close to CareFirst said.

The investigation appears to flow out of a 300-page report released March 5 by Maryland's previous insurance commissioner, Steven B. Larsen.

The report alleged that, in 2001, CareFirst sought to sell itself to WellPoint Health Networks Inc. for $1.37 billion in an effort to enrich its top officials, including chief executive William L. Jews and Executive Vice President David D. Wolf. The report also accused a personal lawyer of Jews', Isaac M. Neuberger, of conflicts of interest: Neuberger worked for CareFirst as well.

CareFirst, in a statement yesterday, said it did not break any laws.

Maybe not. As usual, the scandal is what's legal. (thanks to alert reader david riley)

Future Washington Post Editorials

When a major Earthquake hits London, killing 3000+, a snarky editorial about how they failed to sufficiently Earthquake-proof their buildings.

When a freak snowstorm causes 3000 +road deaths from accidents and exposure in Rome, a snarky editorial about their lack of salt trucks and central heating.

When a measles epidemic kills thousands in Africa, a snarky editorial about their lack of a decent vaccination program.

When a nuclear missile strike hits Zurich, devasting much of that part of Europe, a snarky editorial about their failure to adequately invest in a missile defense program.

I'm sure we can think of more.


Well, we don't really know what caused it yet, but let me say one thing - no pure private market system will ever exist to give private companies, absent monopolies, any incentives to invest in a sufficient, and sufficiently reliable, general transmission infrastructure.

So if this is a recovery, where are the jobs?

Krugman writes of "Twilight Zone Economics":

Since November 2001 — which the National Bureau of Economic Research, in a controversial decision, has declared the end of the recession — the U.S. economy has grown at an annual rate of about 2.6 percent. That may not sound so bad, but when it comes to jobs there has been no recovery at all. Nonfarm payrolls have fallen by, on average, 50,000 per month since the "recovery" began, accounting for 1 million of the 2.7 million jobs lost since March 2001. ...

Meanwhile, employment is chasing a moving target because the working-age population continues to grow. Just to keep up with population growth, the U.S. needs to add about 110,000 jobs per month. When it falls short of that, jobs become steadily harder to find. At this point conditions in the labor market are probably the worst they have been for almost 20 years. (The measured unemployment rate isn't all that high, but that's largely because many people have given up looking for work.) ...

Since November 2001 new claims have averaged 414,000 per week. A number a bit lower than that might mean stable or slightly rising payroll employment — but as we've just seen, that's not nearly good enough. For comparison, in 2000 — a year of good but not great employment growth — weekly claims averaged 305,000. My conclusion is that the state of the unemployed won't improve unless claims fall a lot further than they have.

The best guess is that growth in the second half of the year will be faster than in the first half, possibly high enough to create some jobs, but not high enough to make jobs easier to find. In other words, in terms of what matters most, the economy will continue to deteriorate.

All this is, of course, an indictment of our economic policy — a policy that has managed the remarkable trick of generating immense budget deficits without giving the economy much stimulus.

I can't pay the bills by telling the phone company that industrial production went up 0.5%. Too bad!

Arnold's movies pulled by cable companies

Due to equal time considerations. Though Vivendi will run California disaster movies instead.

How about a Leni Riefenstahl festival?

The Arnis™?

Then again, there may be something to be said for Arnold after all.

Leaving aside his party affiliation and willing participation in yet another media-fueled, [m|b]illionaire-funded right-wing coup.

From Time:

In 1999 Schwarzenegger told George magazine of his bitterness about the frenzy over Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton and the waste of time and energy it represented. "That was another thing I will never forgive the Republican party for," he said. "I was ashamed to call myself a Republican during that period."

Goodness! And what changed from "that period" to this? W's "election"?

On the other hand, we also read this:

But Arnold may identify with Clinton for any number of reasons. Two years ago, when he first considered a gubernatorial run, Gary South, a strategist for Governor Gray Davis, sent reporters a story from Premiere magazine that accused the star of repeatedly groping female interviewers and detailed various extramarital shenanigans on the sets of his films—claims that Schwarzenegger denies.

"Identify" except for the detail that Arnold's approach doesn't seem (in this description) to, well, take the element of consent into account...

All hail the mighty Arnis™?

NOTE: I can't find the text of the original Premiere article, though many sources quote without supplying a URL—can any readers supply a pointer?

UPDATE: The original Premiere article, "Arnold the Barbarian", thanks to alert reader Seb. And no, consent doesn't seem to be a real concern for Arnold.

Fair and balanced...

Anyone else getting a blank screen from Google with I'm feeling lucky™ and (with quotes) "fair and balanced"?

I mean, could at least put up a test pattern, or something... If the fair and balanced part of their programming schedule hasn't started yet ....

UPDATE: Others get the site. Oh well—must be my ultrasophisticated IE5 setup.

Thy will be done...

Kristoff dug up this nugget in the Times today. From

Duty is ours; results are God’s. This is true. We who did our duty to stand firm may have compelled God to have mercy on us so G.W. Bush is president despite losing the popular vote to Al Gore and winning by merely ~500 votes in Florida. God defeated armies of Philistines and others with confusion. Dimpled and hanging chads may also be because of God’s intervention on those who were voting incorrectly.

Why is GW Bush our president? It was God's choice.

God's choice? I thought it was the Supreme Court's. Of course, Scalia believes a more sophisticated variant of this claptrap, so the lunatics really are in charge of the asylum.

Rehabbing Charles Murray

David Brooks is a little more mild mannered than most, and generally a lot less strident, but he nonetheless manages to come out with some pretty hideous stuff sometimes. Brad DeLong catches him trusting Charles Murray. If one wants "Charles Murrayish" type statistics, there are plenty of places to get ones that can be trusted. All of his stuff his tainted. Get over it.

I can't believe this Editorial

In the Washington Post. They've now officially hit WSJ territory.

No on Recall, Yes on Bustamante

There's the offical site. Please contribute.

Since I'm Busy...

I won't possibly be able to link to all the fair and balanced websites today. But, I'll link to a few that are in my mailbox this morning. First, here's

....and South Knox Bubba!

...make sure to get your Fair and Balanced Friday TShirt!

Fuzzy Math

1.5%, 40%...what's the difference.

Rod Paige is a bad man.

Bush Admin Opposes Combat Pay Raise

A very very tiny one. You do the math and figure out how much this would really cost.

...or maybe they've backed down. Damn 24 hour news cycle.

Fair and Balanced Friday

I had all kinds of exciting things planned, but last minute travel may prevent them from happening. Please check all the fine blogs to the left for some of the most Fair and Balanced fun one could ever have.

Neal starts us off, with a little power outage encounter.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Conservatives Love CNN

I knew that. As my friend Pete says, they go to CNN for the (dwindling quality of) news coverage and go to Fox for the foodfight.

NEW YORK -- Fox News Channel does not hold a monopoly on reaching conservative viewers, according to a report from ad agency Carat USA based on Mediamark Research's MRI reports. According to Carat, while Fox indexes at 122 -- against a par of 100 -- for viewers who term themselves "very conservative," CNN is also above average at 105. Moreover, CNN actually reaches more "very conservative" people in a week than Fox, with 37% of those respondents reporting they watch CNN compared to 32% for Fox. While Fox's average viewership is substantially higher than CNN's, the latter actually attracts more viewers, but for a much shorter tune-in time. The study suggests that these conservative viewers are still tuning to CNN to get the latest news, but not remaining for prolonged periods. (Andrew Grossman) .


Light blogging for the next few days. If any of my guest bloggers are still around, feel free to jump in.

Pipes Recess Appointment

Heard on NPR that Bush will make a recess appointment of Daniel Pipes.

That'll do wonders for the hearts and minds.


Down, down, down...

Since when is that a "solid majority"? Only when Republicans are in power...

That was meant to be a throway comment, but I've just gone through the archives and looked at how the AP spun various Clinton polls. It was also exactly in reverse - they'd minimize his much higher approval numbers by pointing to his negatives in other issues.

SCLM indeed...

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Rolling Stone, RIP

Sure, Rollng Stone has sucked for decades, but in case anyone else had any doubts left.

Note, I have nothing against the twins, but Rolling Stone makes its choices...

The Truth About Eschaton

Charles Stross has revealed my true identity:

The Singularity was triggered by the Eschaton, a super-powerful being descended from humanity that can travel in time and that essentially rules the universe.

(thanks to Paul Musgrave)

Let Freedom Ring

Sean Hannity, call your lawyer*. As Max notes, there are a lot of authors who may have a few law suits on their hands soon.

Go to this link, and search the trademarks for Let Freedom Ring.

Out on A Limb

Tomasky predicts Arnold won't win. I'll go a step further and predict that Davis holds on.*

*Never, ever, underestimate the power of the Clenis.


Well, hiring Warren Buffet sure wasn't the best way for Arnold to play to the base...

Though, it might help him with other voters of course.

Radio Free Orcinus

David Neiwert will be on this radio show at 8pm ET discussing the latest white supremacist crap.

...oops, I mean this white supremacist crap. Who can keep up.

Krugman to Usurp Clenis

I never thought it possible, but wingnuts of all kinds are starting to give credit/blame to Krugman for, well, everything. We haven't seen this kind of hysteria since the Clenis came to town. He will be happy to know he's now responsible for even more likely Nobel Prize winning economic theories.

Apparently there's now a "Krugman/Keynes" theory. It's new to me, but wingnut economists should stop referring to all "economics we don't like" as "Keynesian" (or "Krugman/Keynesian"!!). It generally just demonstrates they don't have a clue about economics, or a clue about what Keynesianism actually is.

The Post Gets Letters

And gets blasted over their Gore editorial.

The Post's editorial said that Al Gore had "blurred" vision when he "breathlessly" said that the public was fooled by the Bush administration's "systematic effort to manipulate facts in service to a totalistic ideology."

Might it also be said that The Post breathlessly gushed in a Feb. 6 editorial headlined "Irrefutable" the day after Secretary of State Colin L. Powell presented the administration's case against Saddam Hussein in the United Nations? Much of that case has been refuted -- e.g., aluminum tubes for nuclear weapons, mobile biological laboratories, long-range drones. Sort of consistent with Mr. Gore's "effort to manipulate facts" argument.

Fooled The Post.



Register on BloggerCon

A few spelling mistakes and bad links, but hey they mention me a lot.

Scary Stuff

Matt Taibbi visits a Christian youth rally, complete with Kirk Cameron.

UPDATE: TBogg has an even more frightening postscript.

Double Standards

Via Avedon Carol, we find this little tale:

"Bait and Switch" is an experiment to find out whether small, personal home pages and Web sites of large organizations get identical treatment from blocking software companies in deciding what to block.

Most censorware products attempt to block "hate speech", with "hate speech" usually defined to include derogatory statements based on sexual orientation. (The definitions used by the different companies are usually published on the company Web sites; current definitions at the time of the experiment are collected here)

We collected some of the anti-gay statements from the home pages of four well-known conservative sites: the Family Research Council, the Focus on the Family, the Official Dr. Laura web page and Concerned Women for America (none of these sites are currently blocked by any of the programs that we tested). We then created one different "bait" Web page for each of these organizations, with the "bait" page consisting of quotes taken from the organization's Web site, without telling the viewer where the quotes came from. The "bait" pages were submitted for review to each of the blocking companies (through anonymous HotMail accounts so that the companies wouldn't know the submissions were coming from Peacefire).

In all cases, the blocking companies agreed to block the pages we submitted in their "hate speech" categories. We then contacted the blocking companies to ask if they would block the organizations whose Web pages were the sources of our anti-gay quotes.

So far, all of the censorware companies in our experiment have been back-pedaling since then, saying that they will not block the pages which were the original sources for the anti-gay quotes. Naturally, Peacefire does not advocate censoring these pages, but only because we are against censorship in general. If blocking software claims to block sites which "denigrate people based on sexual orientation" -- as almost all censorware companies claim to do, in their published definitions of "hate speech" -- then the sites that we listed clearly meet those criteria.

They Pay This Guy?

God, I'm at least 1.1X as smart as Donald Luskin. Why won't someone pay me to crank out stupidity day after day like this crap. Here Mr. Luskin has a problem with pronouns.

Krugman clamed to have spoken to a soldier just back from Iraq (wait a second ... Krugman said just last week that "we're stuck in Iraq indefinitely" ... what's this guy doing back home hob-nobbing with economics professors?).

You know, "we" as in the "U.S. military," or "we" as in our country.

Later Luskin goes on to complain about Krugman's use of the pronoun "one."

It doesn't get any stupider than this, folks. The National Review has become dumber than your typical talk radio program. Frightening. They say the problem with stupid people is they're too stupid to recognize just how stupid they are. Someone at the National Review has to know what fools Luskin makes them look. Or maybe not. This is the place that pays K. Lo, Jonah Goldberg, and the rest of idiots over at the Corner.

The scary part is how these gung ho Uber-Patriots feel free to trash the honesty of the troops in order to try and make the universe conform to their twisted notion of reality.

Krugman responds to his increasingly desperate critics.

Balkin on Fox

Balkin gives a legal view of Fox and Franken.

George Will Flashback

"Trashing the truth is now so natural in Washington that there were only wordly smirks and shrugs when George Bush began the Thomas saga by saying two things he and everyone else know are untrue -- that Thomas is the person best qualified for the Supreme Court, and that his race was irrelevant to his selection."

(from Big Lies, p. 130)

O'Reilly On 41%

According to Bill O'Reilly, 41% of the population of california are "fanatics."

And 59 percent say they will now vote to throw Davis out of office on October 7. Only the fanatics like Barbra Streisand and Jesse Jackson still support Davis.

And, Drudge says O'Reilly lobbied for the lawsuit. Judging by what has been reported about what was in the filing, he wrote most of that too.

Ha ha ha. What a little baby.

Not too late to buy the book.

From the full drudge report, we see that O'Reilly knows he can't actually get Franken on libel, truth being an absolute defense and all, so he pushed this phony Trademark crap.

And, Al and his publisher are going to be laughing all the way to the bank.

More on Van Impe

Hey, we managed to get this story into the gossip column at least...

VAN IMPE is the author of such books as “Israel’s Final Holocaust” and “The Great Escape: Preparing for the Rapture, the Next Event on God’s Prophetic Clock.”
He has predicted that the end of the world will strike somewhere between 2003 and 2012 and one reviewer has called his TV preaching show with wife Rexella “a fantastically loopy apocalyptic take on the week’s news.”
The issue of the alleged involvement with the Bush administration came up on his Web site when someone asked Van Impe, “Do you think that President Bush, apparently a Christian man, believes and knows he is involved in prophetic events concerning the Middle East and final battle between good and evil?”

“I believe he is a wonderful man,” Van Impe responded, and goes on to say, “I was contacted a few weeks ago by the Office of Public Liaison for the White House and by the National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice to make an outline. And I’ve spent hours preparing it. I will release this information to the public in September, but it’s in his hands. He will know exactly what is going to happen in the Middle East and what part he will have under the leading of the Holy Spirit of God. So, it’s a tremendous time to be alive.”
“My investigation into it is that there’s no truth to it,” National Security Council spokesman Sean McCormack told The Scoop, “but I’m continuing to look into it.”

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund

Go give some money. It's tax deductible.

David Kay's September Surprise

Bush Administration Tells Think Tank to Sue EPA

Does it ever end?

AUGUSTA, Maine - Attorneys general in two New England states suggested Monday that the White House is behind a lawsuit that seeks to invalidate a federal report on global warming.

Maine Attorney General G. Steven Rowe and Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, both Democrats, also asked U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft for an investigation.

Rowe and Blumenthal said they want to know whether White House officials working at the Council on Environmental Quality solicited a lawsuit filed by a conservative Washington think tank to discredit a 2000 report that documents the dangers of global warming.

The lawsuit was filed last week by the Competitive Enterprise Institute against the White House Office on Science and Technology.

Blumenthal said a June 2002 e-mail between a CEI executive and White House staffers "indicates a secret initiative by the administration to invite and orchestrate a lawsuit against itself to discredit an official United States government report on global warming dangers."

Such action, Blumenthal said, could constitute improper and possibly illegal conduct.

Rowe said the idea the administration is inviting a lawsuit from a special interest group in order to undermine the federal government’s own work under an international treaty "is very troubling."

and, where does CEI get their money? Click the link to find out... You won't be surprised.


Al hits #1! I'm sure Al would like to thank you, the people, for making this possible.

Bush Hearts Arnold

Now we know why. They have much in common:

When his father died while Arnold was living in the U.S., he did not return for the funeral. He has said variously that he was too deep into his training or that he was hospitalized. He had long since made his escape from home by way of bodybuilding. At 19 he went AWOL from his Austrian army base to enter a competition that he won.

Well, to be fair, Arnold went AWOL to actually do something. Bush refused to take a mandatory physical, stopped flying, and skipped off to Alabama because...?


I hadn't heard of this case before, but it pisses me off as much as just about anything has lately. Jim Henley provides the short version:

The story: Jesus Castillo worked in a Texas comic book store. He was busted for selling an erotic comic to an undercover officer. These facts have not been disputed: Castillo is an adult. The cop was an adult. The comic was displayed in a separate Adults Only section of the store. The cop was under no compulsion from Castillo to acquire that particular comic. (An excellent, appropriately disgusted recap, comes from Franklin Harris' Pulp Culture column. I cannot recommend this article highly enough.)

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund provided expert witnesses to attest to the artistic and literary qualities of the comic in question. The DA told the jury that none of that mattered, because comic books have "always" been for children and the "adult" comic was therefore obscene by definition. The jury bought the argument and convicted, the trial judge let it stand and, last week, the US Supreme Court declined to review the case.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

How Many Nobel Prize Winning Economists...

...does it take to change an adminstration?

Solow and Akerlof bash the Bush administration.

In the end, the issue isn't the deficit per se but the structural deficit. In a recession it's fine to run a deficit, and some structural deficit, for financing "investment" type government spending (pure research, education, physical infrastructure, etc... ) is a good thing. But, if the structural deficit starts ballooning we've got problems.

My friend Max still seems fairly sanguine about the structural deficits, at least from what I can infer from his posts. I'm not so sure. As Howard Dean says, Republicans can't handle money. Throw the usual tax cutting fetish and unwillingness to cut spending on top of a perpetual war, and Houston, we may have a problem.

Fair and Balanced Friday

Neal Pollack has given the Fair and Balanced Blogger Army a call to arms. Friday is Fair and Balanced Day. It shall be our solemn duty...nay, our solemn Fair and Balanced Duty, to use the phrase Fair and Balanced in as many Fair and Balanced ways as we can. Preferably while mocking the shit out of the Fair and Balanced Fox News Network in as many viciously funny ways as we can think of. As Neal says:

Yes. This Friday, August 15, is Fair And Balanced day on the Internet. You are all hereby instructed to use the words Fair And Balanced in very creative ways on your various websites. My cosponsor in this effort, Atrios, informs me that many of you are already using "Fair And Balanced" in your taglines. Very good. Sometimes, I swear you don't even need instructions from me. But we can go further. Tell Fox News to take its Fair And Balanced slogan and shove it up its Fair And Balanced hole. Feel free to be more subtle than that, if you wish.

To repeat. This Friday is Fair And Balanced day. Use the slogan at will. I will not be keeping track of the uses on this site, because it made me tired last time, but I still trust that you will spread the virus in funny and creative ways. We cannot let Fox News cannot beat us, people. If they sue one, they can sue all. Al Franken has resources. Fox News' next victim might not be so lucky.

Pop Quiz

What's greater, this year's projected California deficit or California's share, according to its share of national population, of the projected Federal deficit this year?

Fun at Gay Day

So, I'm at the baseball game (Phills lost, boo), sitting in the Gay Community section. A local news channel was there interviewing people - fine. But, Fox "news" was also there. What were they doing? Trying to goad people into saying something nasty about Bill O'Reilly. "Now's your chance! Does anyone want to say anything mean about Bill O'Reilly?!?!" Amusingly, judging from the blank stares and subsequent conversation, the group of 15 or so people near me had no idea a) who Bill O'Reilly was and b) that there was a 24 hour Fox news channel (they thought it was the local cable company produced news channel).

In any case, that's only "news" in the way that John Stossel does "news" - try to create an event and then film it. I'm sure the goal was to get the "intolerant left" to say something out of line about O'Reilly, and then contrast it with the fact that, relatively speaking, Bill "I want to go to a gay bath house!" O'Reilly is fairly gay-friendly.

Being Exposed

A good Signorile column on right wing smearjobs.

Take Me Out to the Ball Game

Off to "gay day" with the Phillies, just to make John Derbyshire mad.

Franken at #4

Climbing that chart.

Thanks Fox and Drudge!



Had Enough, Punk?

Jerome Doolittle, age 70, succeeds in his goal of bench pressing more than Bush.

Eating is Not Cheating

I wonder what Republicans, who took a dim view of Clinton's notions of what does and doesn't constitute sex and infidelity, will think of Arnold's (scroll down 'to Arnold the Barbarian.')

Arnold Hasn't Been Voting

Naughty naughty.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, labeled by polls the early leader in California's recall election, did not vote in five of the past 11 statewide elections, records revealed Monday.


But the actor did not return absentee ballots for the 2000 general and primary elections after requesting them, the registrar said, meaning Schwarzenegger twice missed a chance to vote for President Bush. He did not vote in the June 1998 primary, which included a successful initiative banning bilingual education, records show.

And Schwarzenegger missed both the 1996 primary and general elections, which included the presidential campaign of Republican Bob Dole and initiatives on medical marijuana and tax increases on the wealthy. In 1996, Schwarzenegger was promoting the films "Jingle All the Way" and "Eraser" and was filming the movie "Batman & Robin."

Of course, he's claiming the elections workers just didn't file them or whatever.

Torture Wolf

Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!

Heat Wave

It's hot in France, the usual suspects are lying and implicitly cheering on the deaths it has caused. But, for those who think this evidence of France's economic, technical, and health infrastructure inferiority, or lack of compassion, or something, let's take a visit to Chicago.

The heat made the city's roads buckle. Train rails warped, causing long commuter and freight delays. City workers watered bridges to prevent them from locking when the plates expanded. Children riding in school buses became so dehydrated and nauseous that they had to be hosed down by the Fire Department. Hundreds of young people were hospitalized with heat-related illnesses. But the elderly, and especially the elderly who lived alone, were most vulnerable to the heat wave.

After about forty-eight hours of continuous exposure to heat, the body's defenses begin to fail. So by Friday, July 14, thousands of Chicagoans had developed severe heat-related illnesses. Paramedics couldn't keep up with emergency calls, and city hospitals were overwhelmed. Twenty-three hospitals—most on the South and Southwest Sides—went on bypass status, closing the doors of their emergency rooms to new patients. Some ambulance crews drove around the city for miles looking for an open bed.

Hundreds of victims never made it to a hospital. The most overcrowded place in the city was the Cook County Medical Examiners Office, where police transported hundreds of bodies for autopsies. The morgue typically receives about 17 bodies a day and has a total of 222 bays. By Saturday—just three days into the heat wave—its capacity was exceeded by hundreds, and the county had to bring in a fleet of refrigerated trucks to store the bodies. Police officers had to wait as long as three hours for a worker to receive the body...

Question: How many people died as a result of the heat wave?

Klinenberg: ...Edmund Donoghue, Cook County's chief medical examiner, used state-of-the-art criteria to report 465 heat-related deaths for the heat wave week and 521 heat deaths for the month of July...

...Medical examiners around the country confirmed that Donoghue's heat-related death criteria were scientifically sound and endorsed his findings. But perhaps the best measure of heat deaths comes from another figure—the "excess death" rate—which counts the difference between the reported deaths and the typical deaths for a given time period. According to this measure, 739 Chicagoans above the norm died during the week of 14 to 20 July—which means that Donoghue had been conservative in his accounts.

1925? 1945? 1965?

Nope. 1995.

You can buy the book here.

And, some additional heartless idiotarians pile on to score cheap political points.

UPDATE: Jesse comments.

Franken up to #8

Keep on buying...


Bush Action Figure

The best one yet.

(from Tbogg)

Eschaton Assignment Desk Part 2

Earlier, I asked the Washington Press to inquire about Jack Van Impe's claims he'd be contacted by the White House to discuss the Middle East. Reader JG contacted Jack Van Impe's office and this is what they responded:

"On July 7th or 8th we received a call from Justin Bush of the Office of Public Liaison for the White House asking Dr. Van Impe to attend a meeting with Dr. Condoleezza Rice and a few other faith-based leaders to discuss President Bush's "Roadmap to Peace in the Middle East."

"Due to a busy taping schedule for his weekly TV program, Dr. Van Impe was not able to go to Washington for this meeting, but we told Justin Bush that he would be taping a video the following Saturday that will be sent to Dr. Rice as soon as it is finished. That tape, "The Roadmap to Peace: Potholes & Road Rage" is currently in post-production and will be sent to Dr. Rice and President Bush upon completion."

I can't wait.

Fall Reading

Adam Felber gives us a preview of forthcoming publications.

On Harleys

I don't know much about motorcycles, but I do know that when I was in my undisclosed European location, the biker (Harley) convention rode into town much to the delight of all the emasculated Euroweenies.

Armed Liberal has more.

News Corp UnAmerican

Says Penguin books spokesperson.


George Bush is No Fiscal Conservative


An recent article regarding George Bush's fiscal record during his tenure as president called Mr. Bush a "fiscal conservative."

According to Americans for Tax Reform's Cost of Government Day report, the average American worked 77.4 days to pay for Federal spending in 2000. By 2003, the average American needed to work an additional ten days, for a total of 87, because federal spending rose so much faster than family income.

Federal employment soared under Mr. Bush as well. From 2000 to 2002, the government's workforce grew from 1,778,138 to 1,818,260. That's a 2.3 percent increase in just the first two years of his administration.

Being a fiscal conservative means more than cutting taxes. Being a fiscal conservative means resisting the growth of government and balancing the budget.

Those looking for a fiscally conservative Republican for president must look beyond the Bush campaign.

(the above is a parody of this letter to the editor)

Fair and Balanced

So fair, vaara, Max, Pandagon, and Blah3 have all become Fair and Balanced weblogs. Join the fun!

...and No More Mister Nice Blog, and Major Barbara, and Septic Tank.

and Hoffmania, and the Storm, and Nitpicker, and Pansypoo, and Pixelforge.

and Thinking it Through, Tom Tomorrow, Seeing the Forest.

And the Node of Evil, and the Hamster, and Ordinary Language, and Sadly No, and Xoverboard, and Raw Feed, and NTodd, and Chris Nelson.

And Nitpicker, and Big Media Matt, and HairyFishNuts, and a Skeptical Blog, and (sort of) ex-Lion Tamer and Rovidica and Gordon Coale and Off the Kuff and Refuge of Sanity and FrognBlog and Mapleberry and the invisible library and the federal examiner and McArdle and Left Hook and War Liberal and Mobythor and The Story So Far and Orcinus and Snark Attack.

And AlFrankenWeb and This Century Sucks and Lunaville and Apropos of Nothing and Turquoise Waffle.

And Brad DeLong and Bunkosquad and Mykeru and Legomancer and folkbum and The Talent Show and Tam Lin, a Fair and Balanced Romantic Comedy , and Stinging Nettle, and villanomo and Planet Swank and Postal Code and Rushlimbaughtomy and SavageCruelBigot and Treason and Counterspin.

And Washington Interns Gone Bad, a Fair and Balanced Comedy and the Jason Buckley Weblog and Cosma Shalizi and Bohemian Mama.

and Instapundit and Futurballa and Tristero.

And I'm SICK OF TYPING THESE ALL IN. Blah3 has a few more that I don't think are included here.

We have a movement! Be prepared for some more Fair and Balanced fun on Friday!


A responsible press would stop giving Arnold coverage until he starts answering questions.

But, we don't have a responsible press.

Milo Minderbinder

From Today's Krugman:

There's also another element in the Iraq logistical snafu: privatization. The U.S. military has shifted many tasks traditionally performed by soldiers into the hands of such private contractors as Kellogg Brown & Root, the Halliburton subsidiary. The Iraq war and its aftermath gave this privatized system its first major test in combat — and the system failed.

According to the Newhouse News Service, "U.S. troops in Iraq suffered through months of unnecessarily poor living conditions because some civilian contractors hired by the Army for logistics support failed to show up." Not surprisingly, civilian contractors — and their insurance companies — get spooked by war zones.

No word on the Egyptian cotton.

Fine Young Conservatives

In the Daily Texan:

When weighing the benefits and the drawbacks of the PATRIOT Act, it is clear to most Americans that preventing future acts of terrorism is much more important than trying not to offend Muslims in this country. American Muslims should see it as their patriotic duty to undergo more intense scrutiny than the average American. It only makes sense to do so if we are serious about combating terrorism. Turning away from the fact that an organization made up entirely of Muslims seeks our destruction is a fatal error in judgement.

Americans should not deny jobs or services to American Muslims, but we should not pretend that there are not hundreds in this country that are plotting to destroy us. Let's not let our feelings get in the way of doing what is right for our protection. Following the course advocated by liberals like Ms. Isensee will only make us more susceptible to attack.

Brendan Steinhauser

Executive director of The Young Conservatives of Texas

Something tells me that Mr. Steinhauser didn't send this letter from Baghdad.

Tom Friedman

Avedon Carol pegs Tom Friedman:

He's been writing the same thing over and over for about a year or more now and it never made sense but becomes more ridiculous as every day goes by and reality overtakes his continuing delusion. For a long time people put up with it because he had a reputation for "understanding" the region, but it's become increasingly clear that all he understood was that he didn't like it much[.]

I Have a Problem

When suicide bombings in Israel get front page (web page) attention in the NYT but the deaths of American soldiers in Iraq do not.

Note this isn't a comment on the media paying too much attention to Israel - it's about them not paying enough attention to our own goddamn dead.

Thanks Drudge

He bumped Franken's book up to #52 on Amazon. #26. #20/

Obstructionist Republicans

Apparently Charles Grassley has been blocking nominees to the Justice Department. WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE?

(Via TalkLeft)

Ailes is a Master

And, no, not the bald repulsive one who is filing suit against Al Franken, but the hip suave cool blogger who just got mentioned in the Times Herald Record. The columnist says:

A furor ensued over the past two weeks, as word surfaced of young Karl's efforts to find a date. Among other effects of this pathetic stunt, as one reader noted, was to bring 24-year-old Karl and Orange County to the attention of Roger Ailes' web log,
Ailes was withering in his critique of Laura Vance, a Young Republican who came to young Karl's defense, and who referred to a mainstream Republican women's group as a "a bunch of old hags.''
Wrote Ailes: "Ms. Vance went on to describe the thong and see-through bra she had planned to wear to Karlpalooza."
She hadn't actually done so, of course, but when one shows up on Roger Ailes' radar, one is in dangerous territory. Ailes is a master.

Amen, Brother

Another real patriot.

Monday, August 11, 2003

Make Roger Ailes Mad

Click the book and buy it!:


Judging from what Drudge says about all of this, it sounds like Franken might have a nice libel countersuit.

Shorter Donald Luskin

My readers are too stupid to understand what Paul Krugman writes, and it is therefore fair for me to accuse him of misleading them based on their ignorant misinterpretations.

Religious Freedom

Well, at least they're honest. Here's what's in the constitution:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.

But Michael Novak tells us that religious liberty is only about Jewish or Christian religious liberty.

In addition, the defense that both Jefferson and Madison gave of the right to religious liberty depends crucially on a specifically Jewish and Christian concept of God. Theirs is not a Hindu, Buddhist, or Muslim concept, let alone the concept of God in Aristotle or Plato, Kant or Leibniz. It is the concept of a God who reads our intentions, hearts, and consciences, not just our outward behavior. This God demands to be worshiped in spirit and in truth. This God singles us out one by one, and renders the arena in which He meets the individual conscience sacred.

UPDATE: According to Jefferson himself (via comments over at Big Media Matt's place):

The bill for establishing religious freedom, the principles of which had, to a certain degree, been enacted before, I had drawn in all the latitude of reason and right. It still met with opposition; but, with some mutilations in the preamble, it was finally passed; and a singular proposition proved that its protection of opinion was meant to be universal. Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed, by inserting the word "Jesus Christ," so that it should read, "a departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;" the insertion was rejected by a great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mahometan, the Hindoo, and Infidel of every denomination.

Novak goes on to say:

Are we to understand the Democrats as asserting that only religious people who have "shallowly held" beliefs are reliable as judges? Will judges of "shallow" beliefs have the courage to override their own feelings in order to apply the law impartially?

Let's remember the words of one man with deeply held religious views, Antonin Scalia:

I pause here to emphasize the point that in my view the choice for the judge who believes the death penalty to be immoral is resignation, rather than simply ignoring duly enacted, constitutional laws and sabotaging death penalty cases. He has, after all, taken an oath to apply the laws and has been given no power to supplant them with rules of his own. Of course if he feels strongly enough he can go beyond mere resignation and lead a political campaign to abolish the death penalty—and if that fails, lead a revolution. But rewrite the laws he cannot do.

Anyone who continues to scream anti-Catholic bias - take it up with the very Catholic Antonin Scalia, who goes against his own church on this one. According to Scalia, Pryor is unfit to be a judge.

UPDATE: For the nuisances who think that that Scalia isn't really going against his own church, the man himself says:

It will come as no surprise from what I have said that I do not agree with the encyclical Evangelium Vitae and the new Catholic catechism (or the very latest version of the new Catholic catechism), according to which the death penalty can only be imposed to protect rather than avenge, and that since it is (in most modern societies) not necessary for the former purpose, it is wrong.

Fair and Balanced

In honor of the precious sensibilities of Roger Ailes, we have a new slogan here.

You can do your part by buying Al Franken's new book.

As Jesse says, Sweet Monkeyed Crap.

Back from Seeing Dean

Organizers said about 3500+ were there - not quite sure I believe it, but that can't be too far off. Props to The Trouble With Sweeney for putting on a good pre-rally show.

I'm standing next to the guy with the sign.

Fun Acronyms

They sure do love joking with us. Operation Ivy Lightning.
(from cap'n dunsel)

Biden's Out

Not surprised. Biden personifies "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing." He'll step up to the plate and interject a bit of noise now and again then he slinks into the background without any follow through.

More Like This, Please

Jerome Doolitttle of Bad Attitudes has a great essay up:

Seemed” because the press absolutely cannot not have known. I knew. You knew. Everybody knew who was curious enough to search the internet, the overseas media, and even the inside pages of the American press itself.

The deadly drone planes aimed at the sacred heimat, the ominous aluminum tubes, Powell’s Winnebagos of Death, the menacing yellowcake from darkest Africa, the whole dodgy dossier — all the lies were shown to be false almost as soon as they were spoken.

You’d think that the liberal press would have connected all those phony dots before the invasion, and set out to pound the truth repeatedly into our heads until a little of it penetrated.

But you would be wrong. The editors and TV producers were waiting for validation from official reports, investigative findings, judicial rulings, testimony before Congress, and so on. Without that, serious and responsible attention simply could not be paid.

All of which is bullshit of purest ray serene.

The editors and the producers were waiting for the body bags, simple as that. Only when the public began to ask its own questions about the war did the papers and the talking heads dare to pile on. Only then were the lies of Bush and his men seen as worthy of a full-court press.

Go check the rest.

Eschaton Assignment Desk

Dear Washington Press Corps, here's an easy one for you. Could someone please verify if Jack Van Impe Ministries International was really contacted by the Office of Public Liason of the White House and Condoleezza Rice to prepare an outline on the coming apocalypse?

I believe he is a wonderful man. They say he is a prayer warrior. He was born again through Billy Graham's visit a few years ago when he was having problems with alcohol, and today he's proud to claim these verses in John 3, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God," verse 3. Verse 7, "You must be born again." He said I have been born again. My life has been changed.

I am not sure whether he knows all of the prophecies and how deep of a student he has been in God's Word, but I was contacted a few weeks ago by the Office of Public Liaison for the White House and by the National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice to make an outline. And I’ve spent hours preparing it. I will release this information to the public in September, but it’s in his hands.

He will know exactly what is going to happen in the Middle East and what part he will have under the leading of the Holy Spirit of God. So, it's a tremendous time to be alive.

It is great to have a President who believes in God — a President who's living a godly life and not playing with sin, for the Bible says in Proverbs 14:34, "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people."

(cue Hugh Hewitt accusing me of having anti-insane-apocalyptic-endtimeser bias)