Saturday, April 03, 2004

Local Races

One of things I regret (and should remedy) is the that since moving to Philly about 2 years ago I haven't paid more attention to either local issues or even for the most part to local candidates in national elections. It's not like me - usually when I move to a new place (and I'm always moving) I try and soak up the local scene. But, I moved here after starting this blog and just keeping abreast of the national media/news takes a lot of time.

Hopefully I'll improve a bit in the coming months. But, until then, Mr. Liberal over at Kos has some info about PA races.

Censure Frist


When Condoleezza Rice appears Thursday before the commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, President Bush's national security adviser will have the administration's best opportunity to rebut her former employee's stinging critique of Bush's terrorism policy.

Since former White House counterterrorism chief Richard A. Clarke charged March 24 that the Bush White House reacted slowly to warnings of a terrorist attack, his former colleagues have poked holes in his narration of the early months of 2001 and have found evidence that Clarke elevated his own importance in those events.

The most sweeping challenge to Clarke's account has come from two Bush allies, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) and Fred F. Fielding, a member of investigative panel. They have suggested that sworn testimony Clarke gave in 2002 to a joint congressional committee that probed intelligence failures was at odds with his sworn testimony last month. Frist said Clarke may have "lied under oath to the United States Congress."

But the broad outline of Clarke's criticism has been corroborated by a number of other former officials, congressional and commission investigators, and by Bush's admission in the 2003 Bob Woodward book "Bush at War" that he "didn't feel that sense of urgency" about Osama bin Laden before the attacks occurred.

In addition, a review of dozens of declassified citations from Clarke's 2002 testimony provides no evidence of contradiction, and White House officials familiar with the testimony agree that any differences are matters of emphasis, not fact. Indeed, the declassified 838-page report of the 2002 congressional inquiry includes many passages that appear to bolster the arguments Clarke has made.


The Dem candidate for Ben Campbell's set, Ken Salazar, is currently way ahead in the polls. This is presumably mostly because he has very high name recognition, and his possible opponents don't have quite as much. But, it's still evidence of a possible pickup.

If I could find his campaign website, I'd link it.

David Kay

I have to admit that I've been a bit puzzled by David Kay's turnabout and recent harsh criticisms of the administration. A year ago, he sounded exactly like the rest of the Kool-Aid drinkers. Is it possible that, unlike most of them, he actually was a true believer?


Open Thread


Kerry Fundraising

Kerry's doing well collecting the bucks. Let's hope his people spend it wisely.

Go Pelosi!

Why does Bush need to appear in front of the commission with his minder?

WASHINGTON - House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says it's baffling and embarrassing that President Bush (news - web sites) is appearing before the Sept. 11 commission with Vice President Dick Cheney at his side instead of by himself.

"I think it speaks to the lack of confidence that the administration has in the president going forth alone, period," Pelosi, D-Calif., said Friday. "It's embarrassing to the president of the United States that they won't let him go in without holding the hand of the vice president of the United States."

"I think it reinforces the idea that the president cannot go it alone," she said. "The president should stand tall, walk in the room himself and answer the questions."


Josh Marshall points us to this quote from 9/11 commissioner Gorelick:

We can't afford to have documents that are relevant to our inquiry being withheld on a technicality. This is not litigation. This is finding facts to help the nation, and we should not treat this as if we're adversarial parties here.

It's this basic attitude which should shock and disgust us all. Why is the Bush administration acting like defendants in this?

Friday, April 02, 2004

On Fox


March 31, 2004 Wednesday

...GIBSON: OK, let me ask you about these contractors. Who is driving around in unprotected SUV's in Fallujah?

PETERS: I have to give you a painful answer on this. Either the most foolish contractors in the history of mankind or frankly it may have been intelligence people doing intelligence work. I don't know. I was talking to a colonel friend of mine who is over in the Gulf right now, today, about this. And he said, if they're contractors this is Darwinian selection at work.

GIBSON: Yes, but it's just kind of astonishing because Saddam Hussein got along apparently for months driving around in an old beat up taxi. Nothing could be more obvious than an American or European SUV driving around the middle of Fallujah. And you have to ask, what where these people thinking?

Open Thread II


Open Thread

Play nice.


Toomey/Specter Debate Drinking Game

For those of us in PA media market, the Hoeffel campaign has released a handy dandy drinking game to be played by viewers of tomorrow's Toomey/Specter debate.


This CBS poll does not make Karl happy.


This would be incredibly irresponsible.

WASHINGTON, April 2 (Reuters) - The U.S. Labor Department said on Friday it had no evidence the March paryolls data was leaked ahead of its official release time, as some financial market participants have speculated.

"We have no evidence of a leak," Labor Department spokesman Gary Steinberg told Reuters.

Ralph Axel, senior vice president and fixed-income strategist at HSBC Securities in New York, said the market started moving around 8:28 a.m. (1328 GMT) -- about two minutes before the surprising gain in March payrolls was officially released by the Labor Department.

"(Treasury Secretary) Snow came out early on and said this is going to be a big number. There seems to have been a leak," Axel said.

...maybe Reuters jumped the gun:

March Job Growth Strongest in 4 Years
Friday April 2, 8:28 am ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. employment rose last month at the fastest pace in nearly four years, easily outstripping expectations, as workers returned after a grocery store strike and construction hiring bounced back on better weather, a government report on Friday showed.

The latest report from the Labor Department offered comfort to President Bush as the jobs market - a hot political issue in the U.S. presidential campaign -- finally made a decisive break to the upside.

Non-farm payrolls climbed 308,000 in March, the Labor Department said, the biggest gain since April 2000 and well above the 103,000 rise expected on Wall Street.

...Reuters blames computer.

Finally, Good Employment News

So, the spinners can have their day, but let's not forget that it's been like the first good month this administration has had.

Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 308,000 in March, and the unemployment rate was about unchanged at 5.7 percent.

...holy crap. I think if we needed proof that the Rovians have taken over the BLS it's in this press release. I cannot remember ever seeing a BLS press release report a .1 percentage point increase in the unemployment rate as "about unchanged." This is astounding. Someone correct me if I'm wrong.

...I'll retract that accusation. Similar language has been used in the past.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Holy Crap

That was my response to the person who first informed me of the original allegations i(made by senior administration officials) in the Plame affair. Now it expands:

WASHINGTON, April 1 — Prosecutors investigating whether someone in the Bush administration improperly disclosed the identity of a C.I.A. officer have expanded their inquiry to examine whether White House officials lied to investigators or mishandled classified information related to the case, lawyers involved in the case and government officials say.

In looking at violations beyond the original focus of the inquiry, which centered on a rarely used statute that makes it a felony to disclose the identity of an undercover intelligence officer intentionally, prosecutors have widened the range of conduct under scrutiny and for the first time raised the possibility of bringing charges peripheral to the leak itself.

The expansion of the inquiry's scope comes at a time when prosecutors, after a hiatus of about a month, appear to be preparing to seek additional testimony before a federal grand jury, lawyers with clients in the case said. It is not clear whether the renewed grand jury activity represents a concluding session or a prelude to an indictment.

The broadened scope is a potentially significant development that represents exactly what allies of the Bush White House feared when Attorney General John Ashcroft removed himself from the case last December and turned it over to Patrick J. Fitzgerald, the United States attorney in Chicago.

Republican lawyers worried that the leak case, in the hands of an aggressive prosecutor, might grow into an unwieldy, time-consuming and politically charged inquiry, like the sprawling independent counsel inquiries of the 1990's, which distracted and damaged the Clinton administration.

Mr. Fitzgerald is said by lawyers involved in the case and government officials to be examining possible discrepancies between documents he has gathered and statements made by current or former White House officials during a three-month preliminary investigation last fall by the F.B.I. and the Justice Department. Some officials spoke to F.B.I. agents with their lawyers present; others met informally with agents in their offices and even at bars near the White House.


Traffic here is way up today. I'm not sure if it's a record for the site (at least close), but it's definitely a record for a day when there wasn't some extra super special reason (like silly stalkers threatening to sue me). I may even beat the Blogger Who Must Not Be Named.
Hopefully it's due to new readers coming from Air America and the Majority Report. And, I don't say that just because I like the new traffic - what I like is the possibility that we're expanding our own little echo chamber on the left.


Good. Go read.

(thanks to the PKArchive)

....Campaign Desk has more. Sounds like Letterman is a must see tonight.

Heart of the Beholder

This was just advertised on Air America. I have no information about it other than what's on the website, but it looks interesting.

Monthly Jobs Report

Monthly jobs report comes out tomorrow. Look for the spin army to fan out to every media outlet if the numbers are anything even resembling good. Look for Chao, Snow, and Mankiw to be bunkered down with Cheney if aren't good.

But, before the bobble-heads start on the news, let's remind ourselves what "good" actually is. Anything less than 140,000 is definitely "bad." It takes about 140,000 new jobs per months just to keep up with the working age population. So, when we're thinking about the number of net new jobs, just subtract off 140,000 off the bat.

The next point of comparison is the administration's own predictions. They've made so many different ones that it's hard to know which one to use at the point of comparison. Probably the approprate one to use is the one they used to justify their last tax cut, which was sold as a jobs program, proving that we are indeed "all Keynesians now."

They promised an average of 306,000 jobs per month through the end of 2004. They haven't actually achieved anything close to that in a single month, let alone on average.

So, let's choose our criteria in advance. Anything under 140K is seriously bad. A number between 140K and 240K isn't particularly good, but at least a sign that things could be picking up. And, anything under 306K is proof that the tax cuts are not working as promised.

Subtitling Santorum

The Hoeffel campaign has a bit of fun with Specter's latest ad.

Click here for the Hundred for Hoeffel campaign!


I was really shocked that this episode didn't inspire a peep from our press.

This selective declassification signalled to professionals in government that anything they said to reporters could be held against them if they ever in the future contradicted the Bush line. Yet not one news organisation tried to uphold the old rule by threatening to reveal sources of off-the-record briefings unless the White House reverted to the accepted convention that makes informed journalism possible.

Concerts for Kerry

Series of benefits kicks off April 7 in NYC.

Second Thoughts

Looks like Jim Henley has changed his mind about some things.


God, the New York Times is just awful.


D^2 catches Thomas Friedman in a bit of irrelevant innumeracy...


Anyone actually believe this BS from CNN?

Two comedy bits later, Letterman read one of his trademark cards that he's always fiddling with, and started to laugh: "God almighty, my life just gets more and more complicated. You know, just a minute ago . . . I was ranting and raving about the White House. According to this, CNN has just phoned and, according to this information, the anchorwoman misspoke, they never got a comment from the White House. It was a CNN mistake.

"What good does that do me? . . . I've already now called them liars. I think from now on we're going to have to start looking into things," Letterman said.

"Why start now?" his bandleader Paul Shaffer said.

"Because everything was fine, except now I've called the White House liars, and you know what that means -- they're going to start looking into my taxes!"

A CNN spokeswoman told The TV Column yesterday that the network notified Letterman's show at 5 p.m. that CNN had been incorrect in attributing the suggestion of video-doctoring to the White House. Letterman's show is taped at 5:30 p.m.

"It was their choice to continue to air it," the spokeswoman said, adding that the problem had arisen due to "a misunderstanding among staff," but would not elaborate.

Coming up on Air America

Christian Bauman, who has been an occasional contributor to this site, will be on in a few minutes discussing recent events in Iraq.

Christian is the author of "The Ice Beneath You."

(oy... Hitchens will be on first, so maybe you should click off for awhile.)

Losing Broder

Could it be?

When the effort to shoot the messenger failed to halt the political erosion, Bush did what he never should have done: He threw Rice to the commission. And, worse, he failed to do what he could have done long before: Offer the American people and the world a clear, coherent and detailed account of his own activities and state of mind in the months leading up to the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Instead of acting as the man in charge and saying to the commission, "No, you may not put my national security adviser on the mat, but I will answer to the public for what happened," he did just the opposite. He gave up Rice and then turned on his heel and walked out of the briefing room even as reporters were trying to ask him questions

Ha Ha Ha

Those Republicans are hilarious. No, really, they are.

Here We Go

O'Reilly, last night:

O'REILLY: I don't care about the - colonel, I don't care about the people of Fallujah. You're not going to win their hearts and minds. They're going to kill you to the very end. They've proven that. So let's knock this place down.

COWAN: Let's get out of the way and let Iraqis knock it down, so we don't lose any more American lives.

O'REILLY: I don't believe - I absolutely don't believe they can do it. General, how do you see it?

VALLELY: Well, we've got to do it together. We've go to do it quickly. We've got to sanitize that whole city. And keep in mind, Bill, you set an example when you go in there to do that. And when do you that, you get respect. And that's why you go to be tough.

O'REILLY: All right, general, is there any.


O'REILLY: .you know it, the colonel knows it. The colonel and I are disagreeing on the tactics, but we know what the final solution should be. Why hasn't the U.S. command done this? And why do they continue to absorb the level of terror that is coming out of -- this isn't a big town. We're not talking about Cincinnati here. Right? It's not a big town?

Billmon has more on similar sentiments elsewhere.

Desert Badger

One of the underreported stories which has been floating around was about Operation Desert Badger. It's gotten minimal media attention, but it was in O'Neill's book. A better name for it would have been "Operation Sacrificial Lamb." Or, perhaps, "Operation Kill Our Pilot Please." The idea was to keep goading Saddam into killing our pilots, to give us an excuse to attack. Support our troops!

Cool Kid

I have to admit I felt a bit sorry for the kid on the Letterman clip. I was a bit worried his 15 minutes might be a bit traumatic. But, apparently he has a sense of humor:

Reached Wednesday, Crotty was more than a bit anxious about the incident.

"I accept full responsibility for that," the forlorn father said. "His mother was out of town, and I let him stay up too late. I should have prepped him better."

Prepped him? Come on, chairman. He's a 12-year-old, not Karl Rove. He did what 12-year-olds do during long political speeches -- in this case, 42 minutes. They get bored and fidgety.

Actually, Tyler has had a birthday since the event. As of last week, he's 13. (Happy birthday, pal.)

Dad, who is among the elite Bush backers to achieve "Pioneer" status for raising more than $100,000 for the president's re-election efforts, loosened up as our conversation went on.

"It was a funny bit," he conceded.

And when Tyler finally saw the tape, Crotty said, "he laughed so hard he almost cried."

Ooops. Never mind. The White House just called and insisted this whole incident didn't happen. As a good journalist, I must believe them unquestioningly.

JK Day a Success!

Total Donations: 1387
Total Dollars: $123985.87

over $14k today!

thanks all

Wednesday, March 31, 2004

CNN & The White House

Letterman just said that according to his source the White House did indeed contact CNN to try and influence their coverage of his clip of Bush speech.

If true, this is really incredible. First, CNN will report whatever the White House sends over to them. And, more importantly, when busted CNN will lie and claim they didn't get the information from the White House. They'll cover for them.


Game, Set, Match

Asleep at the wheel.

On Sept. 11, 2001, national security adviser Condoleezza Rice was scheduled to outline a Bush administration policy that would address "the threats and problems of today and the day after, not the world of yesterday" -- but the focus was largely on missile defense, not terrorism from Islamic radicals.

The speech provides telling insight into the administration's thinking on the very day that the United States suffered the most devastating attack since the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor. The address was designed to promote missile defense as the cornerstone of a new national security strategy, and contained no mention of al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden or Islamic extremist groups, according to former U.S. officials who have seen the text.

The speech was postponed in the chaos of the day, part of which Rice spent in a bunker. It mentioned terrorism, but did so in the context used in other Bush administration speeches in early 2001: as one of the dangers from rogue nations, such as Iraq, that might use weapons of terror, rather than from the cells of extremists now considered the main security threat to the United States.

The text also implicitly challenged the Clinton administration's policy, saying it did not do enough about the real threat -- long-range missiles.

It's important to be honest about what happened. For too long the White House has tried to pretend that they were on top of things, when all of the facts went against them.

Anyone who thinks that our biggest concern is missiles is a fool or a liar. Period.

Majority Report Blog

Sam Seder, the co-host of the Majority report, really wants to push blogs on the show, which is great. I'll be on regularly until they decide I suck, as will Kos. But, they're starting their own blog which is a pretty good idea.

Neal Pollack Returns!


coming up now

make fun of me thread


Links to the orignal show on Monday and follow-up with CNN passing on White House lies verbatim can be found here.

John Kerry Day Update

Total Donations: 1330
Total Dollars: $117594.14

Need about 2 grand more to make it 10K for the day. And, I'll put the begging bowl away next Thursday and give everyone a week off. Click to give.

Radio Tonight

Don't forget, I'll be on the Majority Report on Air America around 9. But, don't worry, listen to the show anyway - they actually will be having some guests that people have heard of too!

More on Letterman


Last night we showed a clip of the President giving a speech. Behind him stood a lad who was obviously bored silly. The 14-year-old or so yawned, scratched, yawned, yawned, checked his watch, bent over, stared at the ceiling, and then fell asleep during the President's speech. It was very funny. So funny, in fact, that CNN replayed the clip Tuesday during their broadcasts. But, but, but, the first time is was shown, CNN anchorwoman Daryn Kagan reported that the White House said the clip was a total fake, it was merely the Late Show having fun with their ability to edit and do TV tricks. Dave says what the CNN reporter said was an out and out 100% lie. A couple hours later, CNN anchor person Kyra Phillips reported that the kid was at the speech but not where the Late Show had him. Dave again makes the claim, "That's an out and out absolute 100% lie. That kid was exactly where we said he was." It's true. The speech was at a Florida Rally on March 20th at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. Dave is irked that the White House was trying to make him look like a jerk. But he's glad he got his side of the story out in the open.

CNN's totally in the tank.


This is just unbelievable. Are any of these people ever honest? From the Howler:

DOWN IN THE MIRE: Wolf Blitzer has offered an explanation for his comment about Clarke?s personal life (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 3/30/04). He spoke on yesterday's Blitzer Reports. As he did, he misled viewers about Paul Krugman:

BLITZER (3/30/04): Last Wednesday, while I was debriefing our senior White House correspondent, John King, I asked him if White House officials were suggesting there were some weird aspects to Richard Clarke's life. Clarke, of course, is the former counter-terrorism adviser who has sharply criticized the president's handling of the war on terror. I was not referring to anything charged by so-called unnamed White House officials as alleged today by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. I was simply seeking to flesh out what Bush National Security Council spokesman Jim Wilkinson had said on this program two days earlier.
WILKINSON (videotape): Let me also point something. If you look in this book, you find interesting things such as reported in the Washington Post this morning. He's talking about how he sits back and visualizes chanting by bin Laden and how bin Laden has some sort of mind control over U.S. officials. This is sort of X-Files stuff. And what I'd say is, this is a man who was in charge of terrorism, Wolf, who was supposed to be focused on that. And he was focused on meetings.

BLITZER: Other than that, John Kerry [sic] reported White House officials were not talking about Clarke's personal life in any way. Lou Dobbs Tonight starts right now.

Presumably, Blitzer meant to say "John King," not "John Kerry." But when it comes to Wolf Blitzer, who knows?
Was Blitzer referring to Wilkinson in last week's comment? Here at THE HOWLER, we don't really know (more below). For the record, Wilkinson's comments were a stupid, fake account of what Clarke actually says in his book -- the kind of fakery men like Wilkinson know they can offer to Blitzer. Simply put, Wilkinson lied, right in Blitzer?s face. But was that what Blitzer had in mind when he spoke to King last week? Here, again, is what he said when he posed his question:

BLITZER (question to King, Wednesday, 3/24/04): What administration officials have been saying since the weekend, basically that Richard Clarke from their vantage point was a disgruntled former government official, angry because he didn't get a certain promotion. He's got a hot new book out now that he wants to promote. He wants to make a few bucks, and that his own personal life, they're also suggesting that there are some weird aspects in his life as well, that they don't know what made this guy come forward and make these accusations against the president. Is that the sense that you're getting, speaking to a wide range of officials?

Let's state the obvious. Blitzer did refer to unnamed "administration officials," the claim he mocked on yesterday's program. If you watched him yesterday, you would have thought that Krugman invented the part about "unnamed officials." CNN's viewers were baldly misled. Sadly, they were misled by Blitzer.
So Blitzer dissembled about Paul Krugman. Beyond that, it's conceivable that Blitzer was referring to Wilkinson in his question to King. In truth, it seems like a bit of a stretch. But yes, it's always conceivable.

Somerby is too generous. While it's possible (though doubtful) Blitzer was referring to Wilkinson, no reasonable person would have actually thought he was. So, he may have "misspoke," but he tries to blame Krugman.

I hate these people.

Abuse of Power

The Bush administration keeps having civil servants violate the law by having them work on explicitly political projects.

Air America On

You can listen here.

Cue trolls saying how much it sucks.

John Kerry Day Update!

Total Donations: 1279
Total Dollars: $112874.14

That's about $3200 for the day so far!

It's the end of the quarter, so it's important to get those numbers up and keep the Big Mo going.


A bunch of people have sent this in. Here's reader d:

I don't know if you saw Letterman last night, but there was some interesting stuff.

On Monday night, he showed a long clip of a Bush speech (headlined as "George W. Bush energizes the youth of America," or something like that) with this young boy (around 12 years old) on the stage behind him who was obviously having a really hard time concentrating. As the clip jumped forward in time, he gradually got more fidgetty--the kid was yawning, checking his watch, cracking his neck, bending over and touching his toes. It was absolutely hysterical.

Last night, Dave says that earlier on Tuesday, CNN showed the clip from his show. Afterwards, the anchor came on and said that the White House informed them that the Letterman people edited the boy into the clip. Dave came back and said that that was a flat-out lie! Then he showed a CNN broadcast from later on Tuesday when they repeated the clip, and a different anchor said that the White House now said that, yes, the boy was at the speech, but not actually on stage behind George. Dave reiterated that, in fact, they were big LIARS!

A few minutes later, Dave's producer informs him that CNN contacted the show and said that the White House had never actually contacted them, and the anchor had made a mistake. For the rest of the show, Dave was lamenting that he had accused the Bush administration of being liars, when he didn't have his facts straight. Off mike, you could see the producer mouth the same thing I was thinking, which was that TWO different anchors each reported being given information by the White House-how could they both just make that up?

Sounds like the Bushies lied as usual (as they do about things big and small?), and that for some reason CNN decided to provide damage control cover-up. I don't know why Dave didn't push them further. The whole thing was very surreal, but typical. Can someone get the real story about what transpired? (Actually, I went to sleep a little bit before the show ended, so I don't know if there were any other tidbits that came up?)

That Liberal NPR

From Talk of the Nation:

CONAN: Susannah Meadows is general editor at Newsweek magazine. She analyzed Newsweek's recent poll, which measured the effect of Richard Clarke's testimony on public opinion. And she spoke to us from her home in Brooklyn, New York. Obviously, that was the first poll to emerge last week. There will be others with greater information as time goes on.

Let's get some callers on the line. And Richard joins us from Louisville, Kentucky.

RICHARD (Caller): Yes.


RICHARD: I'd like to say that, listening to Clarke's testimony, it solidified in my mind the fact that not only was there smoke but fire underlining this decision to enter the war in Iraq. And it caused me to do a little bit more research and understand that prior to 9/11, Dick Cheney was appointed head of the task force for anti-terrorism, and yet he had no meetings, zero meetings, with people to discuss terrorism in this country or facing this country.

CONAN: I'm unfamiliar with that.

RICHARD: Yeah. And I found it quite unusual that that little item wasn't subpoenaed. So, you know, and being a Vietnam veteran, I guess I had leanings in that direction anyway.

CONAN: I have to ask Mary Louise, are you familiar with this? I've not heard it come up in the hearings at all.

KELLY: Oh, I haven't heard it come up at all. When you said Dick Cheney, sir, becoming the chair of the counterterrorist group in the White House, you meant Dick Cheney, not Richard Clarke?

RICHARD: No, Dick Cheney was appointed as a task-force leader by President Bush, and he made that statement to the public, that he was going to be looking over terrorism and the threat that it posed...

CONAN: Again, I'm going to have to look into that. It would seem it would have come up had it happened that way. Maybe I'm wrong, though, Richard. We'll have to go back and check on that.

RICHARD: Well, that'd be great.


RICHARD: Thank you for the show and the call.

CONAN: OK. Thank you very much.

RICHARD: Right-o. Bye.

Air America Premiers

Story in NYT.

I met Janeane Garofalo and her co-host Sam Seder earlier this evening. It should be fun - let's hope they increase the number of outlets and that they last.

Funny how people look different on screen. Janeane is absolutely tiny, as is Paul Rudd. Tim Robbins isn't as tall as I thought.

Happy John Kerry Wednesday!

Happy John Kerry Day! Yes, I know JK Day is usually on Thursdays, but today's the last day of the quarter and it's a good idea to pump up the numbers. So, we'll bump JK day up one day, and then we'll take next week off to give your wallets a rest.

Click to give!

Chase Out the Fundies

From Signorile:

Why would Rivenburg be pushing an agenda in his reporting? Let's look at the website of the World Journalism Institute, where Rivenburg is listed as a "guest faculty" member.

"In this age of mass secular media, the mission of the World Journalism Institute is to overcome the culture's efforts to eclipse God by providing a counter-thrust to the secular media, as well as the tepid and non-discerning Christian media," the institute's site reads. "By helping train aspiring Biblically-minded journalists, WJI can lift the spiritually impoverished public to the renewing grace of God, and to this end we must press our unwilling materialistic-naturalistic newsroom culture itself into the strategic service of the universal and unrelenting claims of the Lord of the cosmos."

Responding to some questions I emailed him, Rivenburg, whose Columbia University master's thesis about modern exorcism was titled "Deliverance From the Devil," attempted to distance himself from WJI.

"I'm not sure that listing me as an instructor for a five-hour feature-writing seminar necessarily implies that I'm an evangelical Christian [I'm Catholic] or endorse all of their philosophies," Rivenburg said. "But I have, in the past, thought about asking them not to put me on their website. Maybe I should reconsider that."

If he doesn't agree with the institute's philosophy, why would he lend his name and reputation to it? Why would he work for it at all?

"It's not like I'm doing ads or cover blurbs for them," he responded. "I simply agreed to teach a seminar on feature writing and they've listed me as one of their instructors, which I am." (Rivenburg told the LA Observed website last week that though he didn't fully agree with WJI, it did offer a "generous" fee and that a friend told him to "give it a whirl.")

As for his own position on same-sex marriage, Rivenburg prefers to stay in the closet, even as his association with WJI seems to have outed his leanings.

"When I wrote about the presidential race in 2000, it would have been unprofessional for me to publicly discuss my political beliefs or voting record," he said. "Likewise, I think it's unprofessional for me to publicly discuss my personal views on this topic."

Rivenburg, who says his editors assigned him the same-sex marriage piece (an example, perhaps, of bias or carelessness on their part), often writes opinionated political and cultural humor columns for the L.A. Times, which raises the question of why he can't offer me a position on same-sex marriage. It's interesting that he takes on the mantle of objective reporter when he's writing about issues important to Christian fundamentalists, such as his pieces on so-called partial birth abortion and how Hugh Hefner brought us the era of AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases.

If Big Media is going to stop gay journalists who get married from covering the same-sex marriage movement, shouldn't it be clamping down on reporters and editors aiding and abetting a hidden Christian right agenda as well?

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

2d open thread


Open Thread

Enjoy. And, if you're feeling generous go help Joe Hoeffel raise $50,000 by April 8.

Holy Crap

John Gorenfeld let me know this morning that the Reverend Moon was claiming to have spoken to Congress and proclaimed himself to be the Messiah. I was having a hard time believing it was true, but it appears it is at least sort of true.

MW writes in with this link, which confirms the story.

Apparently, there was an "Ambassadors for Peace" awards ceremony, at which Moon gave the keynote address, in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, given by the "Interreligious and International Peace Council."

Here's the link to the program. Here's the "Host Committee," filled with plenty of names of Members (yes, Democrats too). And, here's a bit of what Moon had to say to them.

The five great saints and many other leaders in the spirit world, including even Communist leaders such as Marx and Lenin, who committed all manner of barbarity and murders on earth, and dictators such as Hitler and Stalin, have found strength in my teachings, mended their ways and been reborn as new persons. Emperors, kings and presidents who enjoyed opulence and power on earth, and even journalists who had worldwide fame, have now placed themselves at the forefront of the column of the true love revolution. Together they have sent to earth a resolution expressing their determination in the light of my teaching of the true family ideal. They have declared to all Heaven and Earth that Reverend Sun Myung Moon is none other than humanity's Savior, Messiah, Returning Lord and True Parent. This resolution has been announced on every corner of the globe.

Walmart Follies

Video they won't carry because it's "unpatriotic": Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War.

Video they will carry, apparently because it is patriotic: Triumph of the Will.

Condi Flashback

I'm just going to be covering ground that many others before me have. But, I think it's worth putting it out there again.

One of Rice's more interesting - and much mocked - statements following 9/11 was this one:

"I don't think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center . . . that they would try to use . . . a hijacked airplane as a missile.

Now, this was ridiculous because of course plenty of people within the intelligence community and elsewhere predicted just such a thing. But, it's a completely bizarre statement because it's hard to comprehend why anyone would think to say it even if it were true. What distinction is there between a "normal hijacking" and hijacking planes and flying them into buildings. From the perspective of the intelligence community, how on Earth would this difference matter at all? From the perspective of domestic security, how would this influence the appropriate preventative measures at all? Aside from scrambling Air Force jets to shoot them down, it would make no difference that I can imagine.

Rice has now "retracted" that statement to the Commission. But, frankly, I'm still more than a little puzzled.

"She corrected (herself) in our private interview by saying, `I could not anticipate that they would try to use an airplane as a missile,' but acknowledging that the intelligence community could anticipate it," Ben-Veniste said.

"No reports of the use of airplanes as weapons were briefed or presented to Dr. Rice prior to May 2002," said her spokesman Sean McCormack.

If that's true, it's absolutely phenomenal. I would expect that the National Security Advisor would have some knowledge and input on the security measures being taken when the president travels abroad. From 7/11/2001:

Italy has installed a missile defence system at Genoa's airport to deter airborne attacks during next week's G8 summit, fuelling hysteria about looming violence.
A land-based battery of rockets with a range of nine miles and an altitude of 5,000 feet has been positioned in the latest security measure against perceived threats from terrorists and protesters.

Unidentified planes, helicopters and balloons risk being shot down should they drift too close to the heads of state from the group of seven leading industrialised nations and Russia.

Colonel Alberto Battaglini, of the ministry of defence, said the precaution was not exces sive. "The measure, which was planned by the previous government, may seem open to criticism, but in reality it is merely to act as a deterrent against any aerial incursion during the summit.

"They are little missiles ... which only have a deterrent function to discourage any aerial-led attack and they do not present any danger to the residents of the city," he said.

And, then again from 9/27/01:

Two months before the attacks on New York and Washington, Osama bin Laden may have been contemplating an aerial attack against world leaders assembled in Genoa for a G8 summit.
Rumours that the terrorist suspect planned to pack an aircraft with explosives and launch it at the Ducal palace containing George Bush have been given weight by the president of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak.

He said Islamist suicide pilots were originally intended to launch an attack on the Italian riviera.

"On June 13 of this year, we learned of a communique from Bin Laden saying he wanted to assassinate Mr Bush and other G8 heads of state during their summit in Italy. It was a well-known piece of in formation," said President Mubarak.

On a state visit to Paris, the president told French media that Egypt's intelligence services had intercepted plans for "an aeroplane stuffed with explosives" to plunge into Genoa. A warning was passed to the US, he said.

Presidential Infallibility

Jesse and Kevin wonder why the Bushies don't just come clean, admit "mistakes were made," and move on. I agree that it would seem to be the smart thing to do, but one of the hallmarks of this administration is their insistence on maintaining the illusion that all utterances made by Bush and the rest of the administration are Ex Cathedra ones, inspired by God, and therefore by definition not in error. I'm not sure how much of this is just a reflection of Bush's own particular pathology, or a part of the Roveian strategy, but it's nonetheless an important part of their Teflon armor. These people don't make mistakes. If you question them, you are wrong. Period.


You know, I should be used to stuff like this by now but this made my jaw drop.

"Thirty-one percent of our state is African-American. I can assure you, from my travels, that we all have the same hopes and the same dreams. It's time for the Republican Party to become the party of the working people, regardless of race."

I suppose we should appreciate the honesty.


More like this, please.

In a recent morning in early March, the Senate Judiciary Committee convened to protect the American flag from burning, stomping, shredding, and the notion that, as Judiciary Chairman Orrin Hatch put it, "urinating or defecating on the flag is some form of speech." The Committee's Republican majority had carefully assembled the audience for this hearing. The room was filled with dozens of aging veterans, wearing medals and dark red VFW hats. Also in attendance was a hero of perhaps even greater red-state status: nascar driver John Andretti, who would testify that "those who desecrate the flag have total disregard for our military."

In other words, the hearing had all the trappings of a perfect, election-year GOP stunt. But then things got a little more complicated. Committee Democrats, such as Richard Durbin of Illinois, noted that Republicans had voted down a Senate amendment increasing veterans' health spending the previous night. "Giving a veteran a flag is not a substitute for giving our vets the quality health care they were promised," Durbin said, causing brows to furrow under those VFW caps. Committee Republicans were furious. GOP Senator Larry Craig of Idaho nearly sputtered with rage as he defensively rambled about shortened lines at a veterans' clinic in Boise and vowed that veterans' spending would eventually be "plussed-up" in the budget process. The cultural issue had become an economic one; Democrats had found a soft spot.

Go Durbin! He had the best seat the other night at the Unity Dinner - at my table.

Reward good behavior. And, a note to the party organizations - this is the kind of thing we love to hear about!

...more good behavior! Check out Daschle kicking some dittohead ass on the Senate floor today.

Give them some turkee! Make their spines grow strong!

Smear the Queer

I have no idea what's "weird" about Richard Clarke's personal life, if anything, but it's interesting that the White House has apparently been shopping this information to Wolf Blitzer - who ran with it on air, but not apparently to John King.

BLITZER: Well, John, I get the sense not only what Dr. Rice just said to you and other reporters at the White House, but what administration officials have been saying since the weekend, basically that Richard Clarke from their vantage point was a disgruntled former government official, angry because he didn't get a certain promotion. He's got a hot new book out now that he wants to promote. He wants to make a few bucks, and that his own personal life, they're also suggesting that there are some weird aspects in his life as well, that they don't know what made this guy come forward and make these accusations against the president.

Is that the sense that you're getting, speaking to a wide range of officials?

KING: None of the senior officials I have spoken to here talked about Mr. Clarke's personal life in any way.

If he's gay, as is being pushed around the rumor mill, then I say great! Let the outings begin! I'd love to spend a few weeks discussing closeted gay Republicans.

Condi to Testify

Now, media, don't let yourselves be fooled. The issue of whether or not Condi should testify was never the issue. The point is, if you're still awake, what she'll say and how it fits in with what she's said before, and with what Richard Clarke has said.

And, all this stuff about the commission promising in writing that this won't set a precedent is nonsense. The commission has no authority to make such promises. It's silly.

Big Gay Pentagon Spokesman

Pete Williams.


Monday, March 29, 2004

Majority Report

I just had a bit of fun participating in a rehearsal for Janeane Garofalo and Sam Seder's new show on Air America.

If all goes according to plan, I'll be on their premier show on Wednesday night.

Don't worry, they'll have some A-list guests, too.

Another Victory For the Homosexual Agenda!

Gay Marriage is driving the Reverend Moon out of the country!


Here's Howie Kurtz on why no one (him) cares about the Jack Kelley story:

KURTZ: But isn't there also the question of race? I mean, there was a whole affirmative action debate about Jayson Blair.

Of course, what Kurtz should know is that Kelley's editors explicitly stated that the fact that he was a devout Christian made them more likely to give him a pass. Why is this not a story? And why has Kurtz not attempted to address the substance of Kelley's fabrications - fabrications which were largely designed to inflame ethnic tensions between Jews, Muslims, and Christians? Why is nobody wondering what kind of agenda this guy had?

Two Rules

I would be sympathetic to those who thought it was right for Phil Bronstein of the SF Chronicle to forbid two journalists who had a same-sex marriage from covering that story if they ever thought it important to apply those standards across the board. Consider what David Shaw from the LA Times says:

We in the media are deluding ourselves if we think the public automatically accepts our simple assertion that we can report fairly on issues we not only feel strongly about but are personally involved in.

He later goes on to ask this question:

I suppose the closest analogy to the Chronicle case would be a reporter who had an abortion covering abortion. Here too there's a difference, though. The woman may not have chosen to get pregnant — and, once pregnant, she has to do something, either have the baby or have an abortion.

Well, or a pregnant woman who chose not to have an abortion covering abortion. Why not phrase it that way? Since when is having an abortion a controversial act?

He then says:

However the courts ultimately decide, would readers be likely to trust the Chronicle's coverage of the story if they knew that Gordon and Mangelsdorf stood to gain, or lose, personally by that decision?

How about all of those highly paid journalists covering Bush's tax cuts? They surely stood to gain or lose?

Should we only allow people whose sons and daughters wouldn't go off to war cover the march to war? After all, they have no personal stake?

How about devout Christians who taught for an organization whose mission is, in part:

There is one primary reason why the World Journalism Institute should be committed to the education of young journalists: it comes directly from the need to be faithful to the Christian example of accurately reporting (e.g., being reliable eyewitnesses) the work of God in today's world.

Should the LA Times let them write articles about gay marriage, particularly when the parent group of that organization has extreme and explicity anti-gay views? Or, more specifically, why is the LA Times letting such people (cough Roy Rivenburg cough) write such articles?

Dear Media

Legally, there is difference between testifying in front of a Congressional Committee and testifying in front of a commission established by a Bill signed into Law by the preznit.

Hoeffel Fundraising Update

25 donors and $1000 today.

Keep it coming... One Hundred for Hoeffel!

...As of 7:15 – 45 donors and $1803.

Woodward, Bush At War

It's amazing how many of the interesting details in this book were ignored by the media, but all the codpiece hagiography was trumpeted everywhere. From the Howler:

WOODWARD (page 98-99): As for Saddam Hussein, the president ended the debate [about immediate military action against Iraq]. “I believe Iraq was involved, but I’m not going to strike them now. I don’t have the evidence at this point.”

Nit Picklering Returns!

Nedra had been on better behavior lately, but old habits die hard:

Kerry is Roman Catholic, but his support for abortion rights is at odds with Vatican teachings.

Which, as Confessore explains, is a completely irrelevant detail. He then says:

Speaking of which, the Bush campaign's response to Kerry's speech -- "was beyond the bounds of acceptable discourse and a sad exploitation of Scripture for a political attack" -- is so over-the-top it's laughable. If quoting Scripture to make political points is now off-limits, President Bush is going to have a problem.

Actually, it won't. For all his supposed "piety" and regular reading of the Bible, Bush has rarely actually invoked Scripture. What he does use quite frequently are the code words of the culture warriors on the Religious Right, but almost never demonstrates any actual knowledge of the Bible.

Hundred for Hoeffel!

I'm going to kick off my new fundraising endeavor - let's try and raise one hundred grand for Joe Hoeffel, candidate for the Pennsylvania Senate seat. The campaign has set up a dedicated donation page, so they'll be able to track donations made through this website.

Hoeffel's going to either be running against wingnut Toomey or a seriously wounded Arlen Specter. Either way, he really should win. We keep losing senate seats here in Pennsylvania because of a basic split in the Dem party and an inability to nominate decent candidates. We finally have a Democratic governor, Rendell, which should help keep the troops in line. And, presumably the November election turnout should favor Hoeffel as well.

Frankly, the big problem for his campaign is the lack of statewide name recognition. There's really only one way to fix that - money. This is definitely a seat where money will make a difference. He won't need to fight the large war chest the Republicans will amass, he'll just need to have enough to get the word out.

So, if you haven't depleted your donation budget yet please consider giving. And, if you're a a PA resident make sure to check out the campaign website and see how else you can help out.

We're starting with about $3500 already raised for the Hoeffel campaign through this site... let's make it a Hundred for Hoeffel!

Hoeffel rhymes with ruffle


Let's all just agree that Raines and Lelyveld both suck. Lelyveld presided over Gerth's reign of terror, and dishonestly defends him to this day, and and Raines angrily trumpeted his findings. My favorite Rainesism from his days in charge of the op-ed pages was when he called upon Hillary Clinton to prove her innocence of unspecified charges.

Powell Has No Answer

Watch the video.


uh-oh. Kos posted up some pictures of me.

...I think kos is in love with Al Sharpton. Check out the loving gaze...

Sunday, March 28, 2004

O'Reilly, 3/23/04

O'REILLY: Thanks for staying with us. I'm Bill O'Reilly.

In THE FACTOR "Follow-Up" Segment tonight, we've been following the various demographic shifts throughout America, and now the Census Bureau estimates, by the year 2050, white Americans will make up less than 50 percent of the population. How will that change the USA?

Joining us now from Washington is Dr. William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution. Here in the studio, John McManus, the editor in chief of "American Demographics" magazine.

So I guess this is being driven by Hispanics, right, with all the illegal immigration, millions of people coming in here and the higher birth rate among Hispanics in America. That's what's driving this?

JOHN MCMANUS, "AMERICAN DEMOGRAPHICS": The Hispanic population is the greatest increase that we'll see over the time period that we're talking about. Illegal immigration is a portion of the story, but it's the increase in -- rapid increase in immigration and birth rate in people of Hispanic origin that we'll see.

O'REILLY: All right. Because black birth rate is fairly stable, right?

MCMANUS: Proportionately, black birth rate and increases in their population will level out and be less significant in growth in that time period. I think Bill will be able to address the numbers better than I can, but...

O'REILLY: OK. And how about Asian? What's the situation with that?

MCMANUS: Asian -- we're going to see a 213 percent increase, according to the Census Bureau projection, and so that will be a very rapid increase of the percentage of their population in the U.S. as well.

O'REILLY: All right. Now, Doctor, the Census Bureau really doesn't tell us how this is going to affect the country. Do you have any theories on it?

WILLIAM FREY, PH.D., BROOKINGS INSTITUTION: Well, I really think what's happening is going to be this phasing out or fading out of the white baby boom population. It is a 50-year time period we're talking about...

O'REILLY: Yes. We'll all be dead. Thank God, right?

Get Over It

Brit Hume today:

WALLACE: And one that got a big laugh in the room that day -- and I must say, I still think it's funny -- the day after, some Democrats and the families of some American soldiers in Iraq, some who died in Iraq, said they were offended by this kidding about the missing weapons of mass destruction.


HUME: Well, we have a society in which one of the greatest things you can do is a platform (ph) to see victim status, and one of the qualifications for that is that you have these exquisitely tender feelings about things and sensibilities which are easily offended.

And in America today, if your sensibilities are offended by something that has happened, you get an enormous amount of credibility and are taken very seriously.

My own view of this is, the president's there poking fun at himself over what goes down, I think, as one of his failures. And I thought it was a good-natured performance, and it made him look good only in the sense that it showed he could poke fun at himself. But he certainly doesn't disguise the record on weapons of mass destruction.

And you have to feel like saying to people, "Just get over it."

Get Over It.

...what's so funny? (remember...the people laughing here are the beltway media)



Nothing would be better, from my point of view, than to be able to testify," Rice told CBS's "60 Minutes." "I would really like to do that. But there is an important principle involved here: It is a long-standing principle that sitting national security advisers do not testify before the Congress."

First of all, this isn't even about testifying in front of congress. Second, to the extent that there is any long-standing principle, it's about being compelled to testify in front of congress by congress and its committees - not about being compelled to testify to an independent committee set up by an Act of Congress and signed into law by the preznit. Third, National Security Advisors have testified before congress. Fourth, and most importantly, we aren't talking about compelling you to testify at all.


Take the Poll


60 Minutes Thread

Count Condi's lies.

...that liberal media. Last week 60 Minutes had Hadley on after Clarke to provide a rebuttal. So, now they've let two people do it.


I Can't Take it Anymore! Is Condi Rice able to utter the truth ever? Just once? Consider this:

Rice said in a TV interview that she wants to testify publicly, but is constitutionally barred from doing so, a senior administration official said Sunday afternoon, before the program aired. Rice also said in the ``60 Minutes'' interview that she wants to meet with family members of the Sept. 11 victims, to hear their concerns, the official said.

What a load of crap. Nobody, not even Ted "Marat" Olson, has ever seriously argued that Condi Rice would be "constitutionally barred" from testifying to the 9/11 commission. At most they would argue that separation of powers means that she couldn't be compelled to testify.

What horseshit.

More WJI

Roger Ailes notes that not only were many of WJI's mainstream big guns knocked off their "faculty" list, they've also been disappeared from the page advertising them as lecturers in a summer course offering. Is this a bait and switch, as Roger suggests? Or are these people still going to teach the course "secretly?"


Obviously, John Kerry doesn't understand Christianity because he doesn't have Olasky's "objectivity."

John Kerry, speaking Sunday to churchgoers on the city's north side, rejected President Bush's claim to be a compassionate conservative and said the administration was neglecting the less fortunate.

Today we are told that, after 3 million lost jobs and so many lost hopes, America is now turning a corner," the pending Democratic presidential nominee said. "But those who say that, they're not standing on the corner of Highland Street, where two 15-year-old teenagers were hit in a drive-by shooting last week."

Kerry never mentioned Bush by name, instead aiming his criticism at "our present national leadership." In appealing to worshippers to oppose the devout Christian president, Kerry cited scripture and an African proverb: "When you pray, move your feet."

"The scriptures say, what does it profit, my brother, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?" Kerry told the congregation at New North Side Baptist Church. "When we look at what is happening in America today, where are the works of compassion?"


Kevin Drum says:
In an odd twist, at the same time that Americans have gotten over their anti-Catholic bigotry of days past the Catholic Church itself has become far more politicized.

This isn't as nearly as true as Kevin states - there were parts of the Catholic church and related organizations that were always very politicized. And, in the cities where Catholics were more dominant - New York, Boston - Catholics were very powerful and politically active. In some ways much more so than today.

But, I do think it's true that Catholics in this country seem to have to a large degree forgotten the past. It is definitely true that overall, and in many places to an extreme degree, Catholics were genuinely a persecuted religious minority. And, as a religious minority they well understood the importance of the separation of Church and State. Sadly, this is much less true.

There's also increasing overlap between Catholics and Protestants, with many of the "old battles" completely forgotten. In this country, Catholicism no longer seems to be something completely distinct from Protestantism, but rather simply yet another flavor of Christianity. Papal authority, iconography, etc... - all the prior divisions - seem to have been replaced mostly by the standard issues in the culture wars. The overall divide seems to less be between different denominations and more between liberals and conservatives.

Jack Kelley, formerly of USA Today, is a Catholic, but he's an evangelical Charismatic Catholic, which made him fit right in with conservative Protestants in a way which would have hardly seemed possible 50 years ago.

More Hypocrisy

Should change the name to the GOH.

Republicans used to complain that President Bill Clinton used Air Force One as his personal campaign plane, taking many official presidential trips that had no real purpose other than to raise reelection funds or drum up votes.

But President Bush has been on the go even more than his predecessor, according to an analysis by Brookings Institution visiting scholars Kathryn Dunn Tenpas and Anthony Corrado and research intern Emily Charnock.

In his first three years in office, Bush took 416 trips to 46 states, compared with Clinton's 302 trips to 40 states during a similar period. Virginia was Bush's most visited state (not surprising, since presidents often take day trips across the Potomac for public events).

Don't Forget...

Air America and the O'Franken factor premier at noon on Wed.

I believe they'll be streaming, at least initially.

When Every Hypocrite Counts

Bill Frist, hypocrite.

...I just submitted my review to Amazon for this book.

I am troubled that someone would sell a book, trading on their service as a government insider with access to our nation’s most valuable intelligence, in order to profit from the suffering that this nation endured on September 11, 2001.

Christian Journalism

Marvin Olasky the brains behind WJI. He's written a little book called "Telling the Truth," about what Christian journalists should be like. From Chapter 1:

Class one: explicit biblical embrace or condemnation. The Bible condemns homosexuality so clearly that only the most shameless of those who twist Scripture can try to assert the practice?s biblical acceptability. Biblical objectivity means showing the evil of homosexuality; balancing such stories by giving equal time to gay activists is ungodly journalism. Similarly, in an article showing the sad consequences of heterosexual adultery there is no need to quote proadultery sources.

Class two: clearly implicit biblical position. Even though there is no explicit biblical injunction to place children in Christian or home schools, the emphasis on providing a godly education under parental supervision is clear. Biblical objectivity means supporting the establishment and improvement of Bible-based education, and criticizing government schools, in the understanding that turning education over to "professionals" who have no regard for God is an abdication of biblical parental responsibility.

Class three: partisans of both sides quote Scripture but careful study allows biblical conclusions. On poverty-fighting issues, partisans from the left talk of God's "preferential option" for the poor, but the biblical understanding of justice means giving the poor full legal rights and not treating them as more worthy than the rich by virtue of their class position. Since even widows are not automatically entitled to aid, broad entitlement programs are suspect. Biblically, provision of material help should be coupled with the provision of spiritual lessons; the poor should be given the opportunity to glean but challenged to work.

There are three more "classes" - they go from low to high regarding the degree of "balance" a well-trained journalist must provide. The chapter is entitled "Biblical Objectivity."

(thanks to Terry of Conwebwatch)


It's quite shocking. Russert is lobbing (mostly) softballs and actually letting him respond. None of the rat-a-tat-tat interruptions.

Silly Tom

I suppose it's a nice that a columnist admits that he'd rather not know any actual facts because he's already constructed the appropriate mixed metaphor, and he wouldn't want to actually come up with a new one on which he could pin his ramblings.

But, for a moment Friedman moves away from talking about foreign affairs that he knows nothing about and gets to domestic politics, proving he's as clueless about that as he is about everything else.

Most of all, I want to wake up and read that John Kerry just asked John McCain to be his vice president, because if Mr. Kerry wins he intends not to waste his four years avoiding America's hardest problems -- health care, deficits, energy, education -- but to tackle them, and that can only be done with a bipartisan spirit and bipartisan team.

I actually think McCain could boost Kerry's electoral chances, but as for the actual governing part if Friedman believes that a McCain Vice Presidency would somehow stoke the bipartisan fires he's even more clueless than I thought.

A Kerry/McCain ticket would just make McCain persona non grata in the Republican party. He would have no ability to reach across the aisle to his former colleagues - they would spit on him as he walked by.

More generally, I think anyone who preaches the joys of bipartisanship is a fool who has little understanding of how American politics does and should work. Partisanship is a good thing. If the opening position is compromise then the public never receives a healthy debate over the merits of a particular policy. Sometimes I wonder if that's really what members of the Broder school of political analysis really want - to cut the pesky people out of the process.

Of course, well-run government does require that there are a few responsible adults on both sides who can, at the end of the day, come together and iron out their differences. But, bipartisanship is not an end in itself. Democracy requires healthy debate and disagreement.


There are plenty of reasons to dislike John Ashcroft, and I probably dislike him for all of those reasons. But, lost in the clutter is an additional one which should concern us all - he's incompetent. It's well understood that Crisco John is not the brightest bulb on the tree, and he doesn't seem to be able to do his job effectively.

More WJI

It sends their students off to battle:

Preparing for battle
WJI sends students into the war zone of American journalism, but it needs your gifts to train its soldiers


The "hard stuff" means getting ready to go out into the war zone of American journalism?especially into the daily newspapers of America where secularism, liberalism, and political correctness rule supreme. WJI is here to help the very best of those 100 students who show up each year equip themselves to perform on the terms demanded "out there," but to do so with some gutsy inner equipment of unusual design. It's a lean and mean approach?and it's working


In three-week courses in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, and other sites, Mr. Case's curriculum helps shape the thinking of his students so that, when they finish, they know both what their secular employers will expect and what it will take to carry a telling Christian influence into those positions. Paid internships and a graduate-level course with WORLD's Marvin Olasky wait for the top performers. And the possibility of someday writing for WORLD itself is high motivation for some of the students. Priya Abraham and John Dawson, both WJI products, write regularly for WORLD.

...we even got Olasky's attention. He likes to miss the point, as these people do. I have nothing against conservatives in the newsroom. I have nothing against conservative Christians in the newsroom. I have something against conservative Christians in the newsroom who are graduates of an institute whose mission is to train people to push a conservative Christian agenda in their capacity as straight journalists and do it in such a way that their editors don't notice.

But, in the end, I blame the editors. Some of the articles I've read by WJI people - particularly this Roy Rivenburg one (oy, link broken - here's a link to someone who posted a copy) - are incredibly slanted and no editor without an agenda should have let it be printed. Some of the WJI people are quite good, like the NPR reporter Barbara Bradley Hagerty, who is yet another person who has been disappeared off their "faculty"...oops, now it's "guest teacher" list. By "good," I mean quite subtle - the agenda doesn't jump out at you and smack you on the head, but once you know it's there it's fairly easy to spot.

It isn't the agenda - it's the hidden agenda.