Saturday, May 29, 2004


Rutten rips into the Times over our dear Judy and let's us know that there's some more to come.

I think one thing which needs to be stressed - and it sounds like Michael Massing is about to do it yet again - is that Judy's problem wasn't simply that she cozied up to some liars or was less than dilligent about verifying the BS that was handed to her. She had an explicit agenda and hasn't been very shy about admitting to it.

(link thanks to David E.)

Inverse Judo Flip

Interesting. Kerry just figured out how to package himself to the right of Bush on foreign policy and paint Bush as the namby pamby tree hugging humanitarian do gooder who is going to get us killed pushing this freedom nonsense.

The problem with the Bush Doctrine, you see, is all this emphasis on Democracy promotion instead of saving our own butts.

Nice move. Of course, neither stated position has much to do with reality. The Bush administration isn't serious about promoting democracy and it's hard to imagine a Kerry administration would be less serious. Still, it's an interesting little bit of rhetorical judo. "Promoting Freedom and Democracy" is just the packaging of a foreign policy which is doing anything but, so it'll be sort of amusing to see Kerry strike back at Bush by asking why the hell we're wasting our money and soldiers' lives for those damn furriners.

Those damn Bushies - always concerned with the human rights of others. It's time for a hard headed realist in the White House, someone who puts America First.

Hilarious, really.


I don't endorse everything in this game, but it's certainly, uh, interesting...


Jeebus, this WaPo article makes it clear that no one's in charge. Lovely.

Can't our media comprehend that this stuff matters? This isn't snickering cocktail party chitchat about who is up and who is down. This is an executive branch which is entirely rudderless. There is no leader. Neither Bush nor Rice, whose job it is to get all the ducks in a row, can control their feuding underlings.


A few short days ago the RNC issued this statement:

“Al Gore served as Vice President of this country for eight years. During that time, Osama Bin Laden declared war on the United States five times and terrorists killed US citizens on at least four different occasions including the first bombing of the World Trade Center, the attacks on Khobar Towers, our embassies in East Africa, and the USS Cole.”

“Al Gore’s attacks on the President today demonstrate that he either does not understand the threat of global terror, or he has amnesia.

Al Qaeda-linked militants on Saturday killed at least 16 people in a string of attacks in the eastern city of Khobar, Saudi security sources said.

They said the dead included at least nine civilians, seven of whom were foreigners and seven members of the Saudi security forces. The sources gave the nationalities of the dead as an American, a Briton, an Egyptian, two Filipinos, an Indian, Pakistani and two Saudi civilians.

I try to be above make cheap political points with this stuff. But, you know what? The accountability administration has been blaming Bill Clinton and Al Gore for everything that's happened under Bush's watch. Some of us said that going to war in Iraq would make us less, not more, safer. Some of us said that going to war would be an excellent recruiting tool for al Qaeda. And, hey, some of us were right.

This is the most incompetent administration in modern history. It isn't even close. And the decisions they've made are causing deaths that would have otherwise not happened.

And, yes, I know the terrorists did this not the Bush administration. Take it up with the RNC.

The Manipulator

A lovely little story from the latest New Yorker.


I was about to write that it "takes a lot of balls" to have been the Taliban's biggest US supporter and then to go on TV and blame it all on Bill Clinton. But, given that no journalist ever bothers to point it out it really doesn't.


Spencer Ackerman has the best overview of our new compliant strongman.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Ashcroft Dead Pool

It seems to be an "open secret" that Aschroft's going to go before the election. I have no idea if this is actually true - but, my guess is that it's a pretty decent election season strategy. As deserving of being thrown over as Ashcroft is, he can sort of be the "bad incompetent guy" who wasn't actually central to the Bush War President narrative. Throwing that little soccer ball out for the kool kids to chase will take their attention of all of the other people who should resign

Nattering Nabobs of Nagourney

Swopa documents the obvious -- one of the NYT's main reporters on the Kerry Beat seems to only have "democrats" like Susan Estrich and Mickey "The Hack" Kaus on his rolodex. I'll reproduce a big chunk of his post:

Searching the New York Times website for Nagourney's byline from early 2003 to today produced the following results related to overall Democratic prospects (as opposed to the ins and outs of primary results, individual candidates' pre-primary strategies, etc.):

May 27, 2004
Democrats Wonder if Kerry Should Stay on Careful Path

May 2, 2004

April 8, 2004,
Battles in Iraq Bring Problems for Bush And Kerry as Well

April 1, 2004
Political Memo; Bad Timing as Kerry Slips Out of Picture

March 21, 2004
Political Memo; Some Democrats Say Kerry Must Get Back on the Trail

March 13, 2004
Political Memo; Testing, Testing. Shrewd Politics or Kerry Foot-in-Mouth Syndrome?

These were preceded by a brief two-week "honeymoon" as Kerry swept the primaries:

February 9, 2004
Democrats See Unified Party For November

January 29, 2004
THE 2004 CAMPAIGN: DEMOCRATS; Party Leaders Express Relief at the Emergence of Kerry

Before that, though? For the most part, nothing but trouble:

January 9, 2004
THE 2004 CAMPAIGN: IOWA; Tide of Second Thoughts Rises Among Democrats
By ADAM NAGOURNEY and CARL HULSE; Michael McElroy contributed reporting for this article.

January 1, 2004
THE 2004 CAMPAIGN: THE DEMOCRATS; Democrats' Plan for Early Nominee May Be Costly

December 29, 2003
THE 2004 CAMPAIGN: POLITICAL MEMO; Stumping Gamely, the Democrats Fight Against Most Voters' Holiday Indifference

December 18, 2003
Candidates in Presidential Contest Are Failing to Move Democratic Primary Voters, Poll Shows

December 10, 2003
Democrats Wrestle With the Gore Factor

August 31, 2003
THE 2004 CAMPAIGN; Worried Democrats See Daunting '04 Hurdles

July 29, 2003
Centrist Democrats Warn Party Not to Present Itself as 'Far Left'

July 18, 2003
Political Memo; Tug of Constituencies Strains Democrats

July 9, 2003
Campaign Memo; Tricky Question for Democrats: When Is Open Season on One Another?

June 15, 2003
A Fund-Raising Sprint by Bush Will Put His Rivals Far Behind

May 25, 2003
By Adam Nagourney

May 17, 2003
Kerry Introduces Health Plan, Pointing Up Divisions Among Democratic Contenders

May 4, 2003
Democrats' First Presidential Debate Shows Party Fissures

May 4, 2003
Listen Up, Democrats: Why 2004 Isn't 1992

April 16, 2003
Looking at Postwar Bush, Glum Democrats Ponder How to Win in 2004

March 19, 2003
Divided Democrats Concerned About 2004

Max Speak

You listen.


One of their own:

The choice of Iyad Allawi, closely linked to the CIA and formerly to MI6, as the Prime Minister of Iraq from 30 June will make it difficult for the US and Britain to persuade the rest of the world that he is capable of leading an independent government.

He is the person through whom the controversial claim was channelled that Iraqi weapons of mass destruction could be operational in 45 minutes.


The handwritten memo, a copy of which has been obtained exclusively by the Telegraph, is dated July 1, 2001 and provides a short resume of a three-day "work programme" Atta had undertaken at Abu Nidal's base in Baghdad.

In the memo, Habbush reports that Atta "displayed extraordinary effort" and demonstrated his ability to lead the team that would be "responsible for attacking the targets that we have agreed to destroy".

The second part of the memo, which is headed "Niger Shipment", contains a report about an unspecified shipment - believed to be uranium - that it says has been transported to Iraq via Libya and Syria.

Although Iraqi officials refused to disclose how and where they had obtained the document, Dr Ayad Allawi, a member of Iraq's ruling seven-man Presidential Committee, said the document was genuine.

"We are uncovering evidence all the time of Saddam's involvement with al-Qaeda," he said. "But this is the most compelling piece of evidence that we have found so far. It shows that not only did Saddam have contacts with al-Qaeda, he had contact with those responsible for the September 11 attacks."

Although Atta is believed to have been resident in Florida in the summer of 2001, he is known to have used more than a dozen aliases, and intelligence experts believe he could easily have slipped out of the US to visit Iraq.

(link thanks to Lisa)

Chalabi Watch

Laura Rozen is your one stop shop. Her latest post, in particular, is quite fascinating. If one can believe her anonymous source, it appears that Chalabi passed information to Iran about our information gathering abilities. He told them how we spy on them. The more interesting question is who told Chalabi?

And, you know what, I just can't figure out anymore if people are joking when they suggest that Ledeen is actually a tool of Iranian intelligence. Oh well, little people like me did try to suggest that putting all these Iran Contra alums back in power might actually not be such a good idea. But, hey, I'm sure there was something more important for the media to focus on that week.

Democratic Gain

Here's an organization which is trying to help out Democrats.

...and 2020 Democrats.

Leading Lights of the Right

Arthur Silber has some choice paraphrases -- I'll excerpt one of the Derb:

And even if this war was not required for our national defense, it has had some wonderful benefits. A military is meant to be used, and soldiers want to fight. They're doing that now, so they're a lot better at killing and blowing things up than they would have been just carrying out those namby-pamby "peace-keeping" missions. One other thing: this war has shown how incredibly stupid it is to have men and women serving in the same unit, especially in combat zones. Pfc. England conclusively demonstrates that.

Abuse and torture? What abuse and torture? Of Arabs? I told you, I don't care about them. If only everyone had my broad, philosophical outlook. Then you wouldn't get bogged down in these ridiculous details.

So, let's see. The war is not being fought for national defense. Derbyshire sure as hell doesn't want it being fought for humanitarian reasons. In fact, he doesn't care about them because, you know, they're Arabs and no one in their right minds should care about "those people."

Nope, the war is a great and wonderful thing because we have a military and they like to kill people. They don't like namby-pamby stuff -- they like to go out and shoot and get their limbs shot off and their eyes and brains blown out. Oh yes, this is what it's all about -- satisfying the bloodlust of cranky old bigots like Derbyshire.

And these people call Al Gore "nuts." They're all fucking insane.

(sorry, paraphrases not quotes. But, click through to the originals and you'll see he's being perfectly fair.)

CNN Repeating Story

You can now send your emails to Eason Jordan at He's CNN's chief news executive.

The Next Generation

And, over on his blog Big Media Matt really does get at a serious problem within the Dem establishment.

On the left, the College Democrats are treated like shit, the think tanks do approximately nothing to help their young research assistants move on to bigger things, the junior staffers on the Hill get no support and encouragement to stay involved in politics, and in general no one seems to give a damn whether or not there will be a next generation of professional progressives.

My perception is that there are a lot of people who see the whole situation as a zero sum game -- any job, or salary, or any sort or props which someone else gets is that much less turkee for you. Of course it doesn't have to be this way.


I guess now that Kaus has completely destroyed his once held (though never deserved) reputation as a serious policy thinker, there's little chance that he'll ever try and regain it. But, one does wonder why a media outlet which presumably doesn't like to be the laughingstock of the known universe continues to publish him.

A Month to "Handover"

Which CNN likes to breathlessly tout as the "End of the Occupation."

For some reason, our press seems to be surprisingly uncurious about a rather simple question.

Handover to whom?

Call CNN


[Kelli] ARENA: Neither John Kerry nor the president has said troops pulled out of Iraq any time soon. But there is some speculation that al Qaeda believes it has a better chance of winning in Iraq if John Kerry is in the White House.

BEN VENZKE, INTELCENTER: Al Qaeda feels that Bush is, even despite casualties, right or wrong for staying there is going to stay much longer than possibly what they might hope a Democratic administration would.

There you go. We're fighting al Qaeda in Iraq and they think John Kerry is a wimp.



You can communicate your thoughts to Ms. Arena personally at:

The Final Goth Solution

This is precious.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Move On = Klan

Last night on Fox, Sean Hannity equated speaking to Move On with speaking to the Klan:

HANNITY: Should -- why would Al Gore associate with a group that is that left wing and that radical? What if he spoke before the Klan? Would that -- would we not hold him in judgment for that?

(thanks to sdf)

Rule of Law

Well, if the Attorney General feels no need to obey the law, why should we?

Some allies of the Department of Homeland Security within the Bush administration and members of Congress criticized Attorney General John D. Ashcroft yesterday for issuing terrorist threat warnings at a news conference on Wednesday, contending he failed to coordinate the information with the White House and with Homeland Security, which has the job of releasing threat warnings.


Under the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and Bush administration rules, only the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can publicly issue threat warnings, and they must be approved in a complex interagency process involving the White House. Administration officials sympathetic to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge said he was not informed Ashcroft was going to characterize the threat in that way -- an assertion that Justice officials deny.




Go take the poll.


(thanks to woot)

JK another great success so far! 106 donations totalling $8630.03!

Overall numbers since we began:

Total Donations: 2133
Total Dollars: $178386.89
Average Donation: $83.63


Wow, what a shithead Janklow is.

Neocon Judy

Michael Berube reminds us that our dear Judy was also a conduit for tinfoil hat Cuba conspiracy theories.

Let's also not forget her book written with nutcase Laurie Mylroie in a mere 21 days to let us know really quickly why Saddam had, in the space of days, gone from being Our Man in Mesopotamia to The Evil One.

I'm also finding out that she was the go-to gal to drum up support for the idea that Khadaffi was the Evilest One when it was his turn.

Note - there's no contradiction between recognizing there are bad men in the world (Saddam, Khadaffi) that maybe we should do something about and being a bit frustrated about the fact that there are reliable stenographers in the press who are willing to play a part in the Pentagon's PR machine once we decide that one of those bad guys is The Bad Guy of the Week. As Rumsfeld's adventures with Uzbekikitty tell us, not all bad guys are created equal. The ability of the government to easily manipulate useful tools like Miller into putting their PR on the front pages should frighten us all, even if they are truly bad guys.


According to a reader, Purina has stopped running ads on Howie Carr's web page on WRKO after being informed of his op-ed equating gay marriage and prison torture.


The state of things:

FALLUJAH, Iraq (AP) - With U.S. marines gone and central government authority virtually nonexistent, Fallujah resembles an Islamic mini-state - anyone caught selling alcohol is flogged and paraded in the city. Men are encouraged to grow beards and barbers are warned against giving "western" hair cuts.

"After all the blood that was shed, and the lives that were lost, we shall only accept God's law in Fallujah," said cleric Abdul-Qader al-Aloussi, offering a glimpse of what a future Iraq may look like as the U.S.-led occupation draws to a close. "We must capitalize on our victory over the Americans and implement Islamic sharia laws."

The departure of the marines under an agreement that ended the three-week siege last month has enabled hardline Islamic leaders to assert their power in this once-restive city 50 kilometres west of Baghdad.

Some were active in defending the city against the marines and have profited by a perception - both here and elsewhere in Iraq - that the mujahedeen, or Islamic holy warriors, defeated a superpower.

Mistakes Were Made

Eric Boehlert examines the NYT's "mistakes were made" form letter. And, Digby has more.

Shorter Digby: Our press is constantly fed bullshit by Republican sources, and they keep coming back for more seeing it as acceptable practice.

Tim Russert/AP flashback:

In the film we see RNC glee as the Associated Press accepts their oppo research on a Gore misstatement during the first presidential debate. During their months of filming BBC producers also observed producers for NBC's Tim Russert, among others, calling to enquire if the team had any new material. This was apparently normal practice.

"It's an amazing thing," says RNC researcher Griffin in the film, "when you have top-line producers and reporters calling you and saying 'We trust you.... We need your stuff.'"

JK Day Continues

Only 19 donations so far. 15 bucks to save our country. Mars, Bitches!

Quote of the Day

You know what, I was proved fucking right. That's what happened. People who disagreed with me were saying, 'There she goes again.' But I was proved fucking right.

Guess who?


Judith Miller edition.


...just wanted to remind people that as cynical as David Rees comes across as, he actually bought into the whole "we're going to save Afghanistan" idea and has been trying to help do the work that the Bush administration hasn't. All GYWO book royalties are being donated to these guys, who have to be the coolest guys on the planet.

The Big Dog Speaks

Pre-order now.

It isn't coming out for a month and it's already ranked 8th.

Pollkatz Returns

The great Professor Pollkatz has returned. I'm always fascinated by this graph of his which compares the approval ratings (from Gallup) of presidents from Carter onward.

The striking thing is how the approval ratings of Clinton (The Great Satan) and Reagan (The Most Popular President Ever) track almost precisely except for two differences. Clinton's are abysmal right in the beginning, reflecting some early stumbles and the press's tendency to talk about the "failed Clinton presidency" before it even began. And, then, at the end, when they were both having their respective scandals. Iran-Contra seriously damaged Reagan's popularity, while the press witchhunt of Clinton boosted his.

Happy John Kerry Thursday

Almost forgot. Give some scratch to Big John!

JK Thursday will only last through to the convention. After that he'll be on public financing.

Franken Beats Rusty

Air America on the way to global domination.

But in New York, where Air America still broadcasts over WLIB-1190 AM, the network beat Limbaugh's station, Disney-owned WABC, among both 25-to-54-year-olds and 18-to-34-year-olds during the 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. period. In the 25-to-54 demographic, WLIB garnered a 3.4 share to WABC's 3.1; among 18-to-34-year-olds, WLIB won sevenfold with a 2.9 share to WABC's 0.4.

I believe other shows are doing quite well also. I'll be able to tell my grandchildren that I was a guest on the very first day...

(thanks to YYZ)

Take Rusty off AFR

Media Matters has sent a letter to Rumsfeld asking to have Limbaugh removed from Armed Forces Radio. Read the letter. Sign the petition.

TV Ads Worthless

Kos has a post on the declining effectiveness of TV advertising for campaigns. I'm not surprised. Frankly, I don't watch TV ads anymore. I think my brain has finally perfected the art of shutting them out completely.

Advertising on blogs, on the other hand, is an extraordinarily effective way of reaching a targeted audience.

Thursday is New Jobless Day

Congratulations to the 344K new jobless, and to the 3K we neglected to congratulate last week. Lucky duckies every one!

Terra Ists

Writing in the PDN, Will Bunch has some interesting things to say:

Today comes international terror suspect Aafia Siddiqui, a Volvo-driving, MIT-trained neurologist and mother of three, who was reported arrested and then reported not arrested within a matter of hours in April 2003.

Siddiqui, 32, a Pakistani who once lived in Boston, apparently split from her husband, an anesthesiologist, and fled to her native country. Thirteen months ago, NBC News and other news organizations said she'd been arrested there - later confirmed to the Associated Press by two U.S. officials.

That same day, a second AP story said American officials suddenly had "backed off" claims that she was in custody. They claimed new information from the Pakistani government had made her arrest "doubtful."

Yesterday, she was one of seven terror suspects named in a high-profile press conference by Attorney General John Ashcroft. American officials insist that she was named by captured al Qaeda leader Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and that she shared a post-office box with a terrorism suspect.

Despite the hype, most of the alleged terrorists named yesterday by Ashcroft had been publicly identified long ago. One former national security official in the Bush administration told Reuters news service: "This is more butt-covering than anything else."

Wednesday, May 26, 2004


Big Fucking Ifs:

"The truth is it wouldn't take much actually to turn this around, not that they necessarily will," said Gary Schmitt, executive director of the Project for a New American Century, a leading neoconservative think tank. "There are a lot of very positive trends going on in Iraq, and I think if you take care of the security situation and the political trend lines toward real elections, in fact I think Iraq is more than salvageable."


Good speech. All the hos should watch it. They won't.

Where's Condi?

Rather quiet lately.


Strange press release from the GOP today:

“George Bush has served as President of this country for three years. During that time, Osama Bin Laden attacked the United States killing 3,000 people, and terrorists killed US citizens on several other different occasions including the bombing of a nightclub in Bali, multiple bombings and attacks in Saudi Arabia, a bombing in the Phillipines, and attacks in Yemen, not to mention the almost one thousand American military and civilian personnel killed in what the President has dubbed the 'central front in the war on terror.'"

“Bush's actions demonstrate that he either does not understand the threat of global terror, or he has amnesia.”

Oh, wait, woops -- that isn't what it said. It said this:

“Al Gore served as Vice President of this country for eight years. During that time, Osama Bin Laden declared war on the United States five times and terrorists killed US citizens on at least four different occasions including the first bombing of the World Trade Center, the attacks on Khobar Towers, our embassies in East Africa, and the USS Cole.”

“Al Gore’s attacks on the President today demonstrate that he either does not understand the threat of global terror, or he has amnesia.”

Terrorists - Not Just Brown and Swarthy Anymore!

Thanks for letting us know, John:

Our intelligence confirms Al Qaida is seeking recruits who can portray themselves as Europeans. Al Qaida also attracts Muslim extremists among many nationalities and ethnicities, including North Africans and South Asians, as well as recruiting young Muslim converts of any nationality inside target countries.

Herseth in the Lead

Latest poll has Herseth 11 points ahead. The special election is on Tuesday. One would assume the power of incumbency would help her win in November as well. One seat closer to Speaker Pelosi.

President Gore


Truth About the Handover

Kos has a bit of a WSJ article which lays out very clearly so even Kyra Phillips should be able to understand just how much power we're going to be giving to the fake yet to be determined Iraqi government on June 30.


Pet Goat

No, really?

At the commission's hearing on aviation safety last May, Maj. Gen. Larry Arnold, a retired NORAD commander, acknowledged under questioning that the jets could have intercepted Flight 77 if they had been sent sooner.

Felzenberg said the June hearing will focus on tracing the timeline of the FAA's notification, as well as when President Bush delivered the order to NORAD to shoot down any hijacked planes.

In the days after the attacks, officials said NORAD had been notified of the hijacking of an American Airlines jetliner 12 minutes before it slammed into the Pentagon. Vice President Dick Cheney said Bush had authorized the Air Force after the World Trade Center attacks to shoot down any plane that entered and refused to leave Washington area airspace. Cheney left unclear whether Bush's decision came before the Pentagon was hit.

McCarthy's Corpse

Media Matters takes on James Taranto's latest attempt to be cooler than Joe McCarthy.

Truth in Headlines


Republican Survivor

This is going to get them in trouble...


So, Perle's now being critical. Of what? 1st, the CIA (warning: Moonie Magazine link):

Perle has no doubts that some of the attacks on him are coming directly from members of the CIA, in order to cover their own exposed rears. By attacking Chalabi's intelligence they can distract attention from their own mistakes.

"I believe that much of the CIA operation in Iraq was owned by Saddam Hussein," Perle said. "There were 45 assassination attempts against Saddam -- and he survived them all. How could that be, if he was not manipulating the intelligence?"

The real problem? Not putting Chalabi in charge as soon as possible!

"I would be the first to acknowledge we allowed the liberation (of Iraq) to subside into an occupation. And I think that was a grave error, and in some ways a continuing error," said Perle, former chair of the influential Defence Policy Board, which advises the Pentagon.

With violent resistance to the U.S.-led occupation showing no signs of ending, Perle said the biggest mistake in post-war policy "was the failure to turn Iraq back to the Iraqis more or less immediately.

"We didn't have to find ourselves in the role of occupier. We could have made the transition that is going to be made at the end of June more or less immediately," he told BBC radio, referring to the U.S. and British plan to transfer political authority in Iraq to an interim government on June 30.

Hey may have a point - Chalabi probably could have handled the reconstruction budget at least as well as Simone "Frenchy" Ledeen.

And, then we have Hoagland, who is also running with the "you should've put my buddy in charge" line:

The decision to concentrate power in the hands of the Coalition Provisional Authority rather than establish a provisional Iraqi government a year ago has had disastrous results. As Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani and others have said, that step "turned an army of liberation into an army of occupation" resented across Iraq. Liberation was successful, and ousting Hussein was a justifiable action. Denying power to Iraqis once he was gone was not. You must face that.

Yes, I know, neither says Chalabi's name, but who else? Who else?

The End of the Occupation

God, I can't believe the press is actually pretending June 30 is meaningful.

Will they ever learn?

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

My Son Has a Blog

First the missus takes over, and now I discover that my son Max* has a blog as well. He catches this bit of delight from Midge Decter:

We're not in the Middle East to bring sweetness and light to the world. We're there to get something we and our friends in Europe depend on. Namely, oil."
--Decter on the Warren Olney show, 89.9, Los Angeles, 5/21/04

*joke. Max is not really my son.

Let Them Step Down

Raines left when Jayson Blair put inconsequential bullshit into the paper. The Times now says that the editors were responsible for she-who-they-cannot-name (Judith Fucking Miller) helping to drag this country into war. The blood of thousands of people is on the hands of those editors, by their own admission. They should do the honorable thing.

(let's not forget, of course, that Raines was editor when much of Judy's crap was peddled. But, they say "editors" plural.)

Thanks to Mrs. Atrios

For holding down the fort. Sadly, nothing much got cleaned as I was just hiding in the closet reading Sean Hannity's latest book all day, but, hey...

I'm a Hack

Recently I said that the Mighty Reason Man never updates his blog. I was wrong. He has.

Cuddly Factor?

So I am watching Tweety here -- waiting patiently for Mr. Atrios to get done already --, and the screamer is asking Kerry's Campaign Senior Advisor Tad Devine about Kerry's "cuddly factor". WTF?? Does it really matter if Tweety wants or not to *hug* Kerry?

Polls, Sarin, Speech...

Good Mr. Atrios is busy helping around the house and I am trying to help him for a few hours with his blog. So... I skimmed through news headlines, posts in other blogs and so on, trying to decide on what would make Mr. Atrios laugh when he returns to his blog after a hard day of not-so-much-fun work. I think I will have to settle for this, and leave it to Fat Tim...

More Cleaning

It looks like the U.S. has been cleaning and preparing for summer in the wrong places...

(This is not a coup, but until Mr. Atrios is done with his chores, Mrs. Atrios is in the house!!)

Clean Open Thread

While Mr. Atrios is very fast at the keyboard, it strikes me (Mrs. Atrios) that he is not very fast at Spring cleaning... hmmm...

You can use this thread to do some of your own Spring cleaning.

Open Thread

While Mr. Atrios is doing some way overdue Spring cleaning... (hey, I already did my part! --Mrs. Atrios)


Max has the latest on Republican fundraising calls being made from India. Look, press corps, just ask the goddamn question:

Have any fundraising calls on behalf of the RNC, either directly or through a firm that they've contracted with, been made from India?

It's rather simple.


So, I skimmed the transcript. How many versions of "listen to what I say, don't pay attention to what I do" will the 101st Fighting Keyboarders actually swallow? As usual, Andy gives himself some wiggle room, but still.


Unitarians - Religion After All

Reversal in Texas.



Here's one way to look at it. The job forecast in the 2002 Economic Report of the President assumed that by 2004 the economy would have fully recovered from the 2001 recession. That recovery, according to the official projection, would lead to average payroll employment of 138 million this year — 7 million more than the actual number. So we have a gap of 7 million jobs to make up.

And employment is chasing a moving target: it must rise by about 140,000 a month just to keep up with a growing population. In April, the economy added 288,000 jobs. If you do the math, you discover that President Bush needs about four years of job growth at last month's rate to reach what his own economists consider full employment.

The bottom line, then, is that Mr. Bush's supporters have no right to complain about the public's failure to appreciate his economic leadership. Three years of lousy performance, followed by two months of good but not great job growth, is not a record to be proud of.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Speech Thread

For those with a stronger constitution than mine.

Big John


Kerry Bush
Now 49% 41%
4/2004 46% 44%
3/2004 43% 46%

I think that's the first poll showing a statistically significant lead.

More importantly: kicking ass in the Zogby Battleground poll.

Good for the Hoosiers

Ignore the spin on this poll. 50% of Hoosiers support gay marriage or that thing which is just like gay marriage with a different name.

Quote of the Week


It's extremely difficult to govern when you control all three branches of government," says Hastert spokesman John Feehery, a burden of which Democrats would happily relieve them.

(via Kos)

Hacktackular Howie!

David E. of Fablog responds to Howie's continual assertions that the nasty "liberal media" is being oh so biased by not shitting on the marriages of gay people in Mass. over at Romenesko:

From DAVID EHRENSTEIN: Ron Kampeas asks [below] "Should a wedding be covered like a campaign rally, with every second graf a reminder of 'why this might be wrong.' How do you fact check a wedding?"

Why the same way you'd fact-check any other public event of course. And if we're going to follow Howie Kurtz's strictures the "other side" should always be consulted in these matters. Why are these people whose pictures we see on the "Weddings and Celebrations" page of New York Times not being thoroughly investigated? Why are they getting married? Do they have the right? Are they indeed heterosexual or is it a marriage blanc in the tradition of Cole and Linda Porter? Surely a responsible editor would spare no quarter in assuring the readership that the weddings trumpeted in the Stylke section are the genuine article and not Triumph of the "Will & Grace" alliances. Good journalism demands it.

And Ailes notices Howie just being generally hacktackular.


Slyfelinos takes on more right wing nonsense.

Wedding Massacre

As I said previously, I really don't jump on every military operation gone bad. Right or wrong, we're in a war in Iraq and there are people shooting at our soldiers, they're going to respond and sometimes they're going to screw up. Not being on the ground in Iraq, I have little clue about what the precise situation is, what information they have, and what determines the specific operations they take. Whether any particular screwup is of the 'OH MY GOD HOW COULD THOSE IDIOTS HAVE DONE THAT' or of the 'OH MY GOD WHAT A TRAGIC MISTAKE' variety I really don't know. Either way, I don't think our military goes around blowing up wedding parties just for fun.

But, what really pisses me off is when they lie about it even once it's obvious that, well, they're lying. Here's the latest.

And, here are pictures that the Spanish media is showing. Here, and here. You may not want to see them.

(elmundo links thanks to Julius from juliusblog)


If I heard correctly, Al Franken's show is beating Limbaugh's in NYC. 3.4 share.

Perhaps It's Time...

Ah, the libertarians.


Say hello to one of my new advertisers, Senator Russ Feingold. Regular readers may remember that I have a tendency to be rather harsh on Feingold at times, mostly having to do with his role in helping to confirm the Worst Attorney General Ever.

My take on Feingold is that he's too often a "bad maverick," when it matters (confirming Ashcroft) and a "good maverick" when it doesn't (lone vote against Patriot Act). But, that's somewhat unfair and largely a result of the fact that 3 years later I haven't been able to get over Ashcroft thing. What is definitely the case is that the Senate would be a much worse place without him.

Your 5 Day Forecast


Hoeffel Report

So, as I said below I went to a fundraiser for Joe Hoeffel which was attended by Howard Dean. It was held outdoors at a lovely suburban home in Philadelphia's Main Line area. Attendance and money collected, from what I understand, exceeded expectations significantly, which is good news for the Hoeffel campaign.

It was the first time I'd seen Hoeffel speak in person. Now, I've been a supporter of his campaing a) because he's local, b) because he can win, and c) it's really time for Specter to go. But, frankly, I've been of the opinion that with enough money and a well run campaign, a ham sandwich could beat Arlen Specter this year.

I've seen Hoeffel speak on TV a few times, and I have to say that he didn't come across all that well on TV. But, I was glad to see that in person, he's great. Comes across as a real Democrat, knows how to work the crowd, has a little bit of the scrappy Dean attitude, etc... I think we'll find that he'll be quite a formidable candidate as this thing heats up.

This is one we can win.

Defining Deviancy Down

From Tom Tomorrow.


Kos has an interesting post up on the latest Dem turf wars. I don't know enough about the NDN to have much of an opinion, but I think Kos hits on what's wrong with the DLC -- what started as an organization which was trying to help Democrats create a more business friendly image (for fundraising) and a more centrist agenda (to get the votes of moderates) has just degenerated into the petulant whining of an increasingly irrelevant guy.

Down Down Down

Almost to the 30s...

The war in Iraq continues to tarnish the approval ratings of President Bush. Evaluations of the way Mr. Bush is handling the war in Iraq, how he is handling foreign policy, and how he is handling his job overall are now at their lowest levels ever in his presidency.

Mr. Bush's overall job approval rating has continued to decline. Forty-one percent approve of the job he is doing as president, while 52 percent disapprove — the lowest overall job rating of his presidency. Two weeks ago, 44 percent approved. A year ago, two-thirds did.

Sixty-one percent of Americans now disapprove of the way Mr. Bush is handling the situation in Iraq, while just 34 percent approve.

As concern about the situation in Iraq grows, 65 percent now say the country is on the wrong track — matching the highest number ever recorded in CBS News Polls, which began asking this question in the mid-1980's. Only 30 percent currently say things in this country are headed in the right direction. One year ago, in April 2003, 56 percent of Americans said the country was headed in the right direction.

The last time the percentage that said the country was on the wrong track was as high as it is now was back in November 1994. Then, Republicans swept into control of both houses of Congress for the first time in decades.

Majorities disapprove of the way Mr. Bush is handling foreign policy and the economy. Terrorism remains the only positive area for the president — a majority of 51 percent approve of the way he is handling the campaign against terrorism. But that number matches his lowest rating ever on terrorism.

Lies and the Lying Liars

The Bush blog just lives to post up lies on their blog.
Like candidate, like campaign.

What will we tell the children?

Sunday, May 23, 2004

The Governor and Mrs. Atrios

Went to a fundraiser for Joe Hoeffel this evening. Here's a picture of Governor Dean and Mrs. Atrios. Sadly, it appears my thumb accidentally got in the way of the photograph.

The End of Pledge Week

See you suckers! Off to Paris!


Thanks all! About 1350 of you donated, which is really incredible. I'm bad at writing gushing thank yous, but I'm more than grateful for the support.

Now, back to business. Let's get back to work on the trifecta - President Kerry, Majority Leader Daschle, and Speaker Pelosi.

War is Hell

A delightful essay by Simone Ledeen.

In other news, winter has officially arrived here. The rain has started and all the sand and dust has turned to mud. My pants are perpetually dirty- splattered with mud- and my boots are looking very rough indeed! War is hell.


Hillary Clinton is coming here tomorrow. For her sake I hope I don’t see her. I might do something crazy like spit in her direction. Actually, General Tant, right before the President came onto the podium, had a funny line. When Bremer said ‘someone more senior,’ Tant turned to me and commented: ‘If Hillary Clinton shows up I am leaving.’ I heard that tonight in Afghanistan, where she is making a stop, the troops were more interested in the food than her. Go figure.

(thanks to Biblio)

Shifting Links

Reader m writes in to say that the story from Newsday linked below, which was a piece by Knut Royce regarding Chalabi, has been replaced by a more innocuous AP story.

The Royce story still exists at this link, so I'm not sure what the deal is.

Sunday Funnies

Anything amusing on the Sunday talk shows this week? I Tivo most of them, but I can't stand to watch them anymore unless someone brings something fun to my attention.

Missing Pages

McCain was bitching about this various places on Friday but it didn't seem to get much attention. So many anonymous white house officials to interview about how manly president codpiece is. Time finally picks it up:

Another big stack of pages is causing concern over at the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is investigating abuses at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison. Committee aides discovered belatedly that their copy of the 6,000-page report on prison abuses produced by Major General Antonio M. Taguba might not be complete. The copy they got after Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's testimony on May 7 was a thick document with 106 annexes, and it was quickly arranged into separate binders. Only later did the committee stack up all the pages, compare them with a ream of 6,000 blank pages and decide that at least 2,000 pages were missing. "We'd certainly like to know why they're missing," said Republican Senator John McCain. Pentagon spokesman Larry Dirita insisted, "If there is some shortfall in what was provided, it was an oversight." Committee staff members haven't actually counted the pages. Chairman John Warner will investigate this week to see what is missing.

It's not even funny to say anymore, but Jeebus...imagine if Clinton were pulling this shit?

Holy Crap

Iraq is being run by a bunch of fucking Young Republicans. Read the whole thing, but just to give you an idea:

For months they wondered what they had in common, how their names had come to the attention of the Pentagon, until one day they figured it out: They had all posted their resumes at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative-leaning think tank.

...more on this basic story here in Slate:

And while the Pentagon's assumptions of an ecstatic, sweets-and-flowers-bearing populace that would welcome the occupiers as liberators may have been understandable in February 2003, Feith continued to let ideology rule his decisions long after the "major combat operations" ended. Last September, Knight Ridder reported that Paul Bremer's request for more than 220 employees for the occupation had yet to be approved. Guess who was to blame? "It is taking forever because Feith only wants true believers to get through the gate," a senior administration official said."

and here:

More such "help" may be on the way in the person of Rich Galen, veteran GOP-spin meister, former spokesman for Vice President Dan Quayle and onetime head of Newt Gingrich's GOPAC. In late October, Galen received the call to serve his country in Iraq as yet another of Bremer's Senior Advisors. His gig? Adding more artillery to the Iraq War spin operation. "My job," Galen told The New York Post before shipping off, "will be to help reporters on the ground find interesting stories that they can use. If there's a civil-affairs unit out of Manhattan that rebuilt a school, it might be of interest to Channel 5 but not to a network."

CPA officials say that the older GOP functionaries do a reasonable job keeping their partisanship publicly under wraps. But the younger Republicans in Iraq spend much of their time plotting against the Democrats. "Everything is seen in the context of the election, and how they will screw the Democrats," said one CPA official. "It was really pretty shocking to hear them talk."

"They are all on the campaign trail," said another official. "They see this as a stepping stone to a better job in the next Bush administration." "I don't always know if they are Republicans," said yet another senior CPAer. "But what is clear is that they know nothing about development, and nothing about transitional economies." They're trying to do the right thing, this official adds, "but they do what they do without any knowledge of how the post-war world works in reality. They come up with hare-brained schemes that cause so many problems they take more time to fix than to create."

It's also driven journalists on the ground, watching these operatives move in and out of Saddam's marble Republican Palace, which CPA commandeered as its headquarters, to joke: "They don't call it the Republican Palace for nothing."


Kinsley slices and dices.