Saturday, May 14, 2005

For those not watching Mummies...

Let Swopa give you an early headstart on bashing James Bennet's rose-colored look at Chimptopia, aka Iraq.

I'm sure the sky is lovely in Bennet's world.

Mummyblogging - The Sequel

Mummyblogging Thread


More Christian soldiers

This is getting scarier and scarier.

Bill the Cat-killer...

...goes shopping.

CPB Chairman Tomlinson Loves the O'Reilly Factor

So he says. Kenneth Y. Tomlinson is the head of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and he finds the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) too liberal. Though he says that he never discussed PBS with Bush administration officials, Media Matters for America says he did. And though

a "CPB representative" reportedly told The Washington Post in advance of a May 13 article that "Tomlinson was not giving media interviews,"

he does, at least to the wingnuts in the media: Bill O'Reilly and Tucker Carlson. Expect Big Bird to find religion fairly soon.

Taking Care of Our Veterans

Cpl Richard Twohig was injured in Iraq in 2003. Now on good days:

Cpl. Richard Twohig doesn't throw up or have to spend 12 to 14 hours hiding in bed with the shades drawn. The bad days come about once a week. The headaches are so bad, his knees buckle from the pain. Sometimes, his wife, Sang, has to help him into bed.

Twohig is a former Ranger and paratrooper who used to hunt, fish and play sports. He would dive under the hood of his car and make repairs or chase his 2-year-old son, Damon, or 5-year-old daughter, Elizabeth, around the yard.

Now, even on good days, too much noise or light brings on the headaches. Just the clanking of the weights at a fitness center on Fort Bragg makes him nauseated. His short-term memory constantly fails him, forcing him to have simple questions repeated. He has a constant ringing in his ears.

"I don't feel like a man anymore. I can't do normal stuff," Twohig said.

He is unable to work and, like many injured veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, was counting on the Army to provide him and his family with medical benefits. But lawyers representing some of those soldiers said the Army is making it difficult.

The Army decided that Twohig's disability is less than thirty percent. This means that he will get a 12,000 dollar taxable retirement benefit and health care through the Veterans' Administration, while his family gets no health care coverage. If his disability had equalled or exceeded thirty percent, he would have been entitled to a monthly retirement check and family health care coverage.

Twohig is appealing the ruling on his disability. Civilian lawyers who handle such appeals say the odds are against him.

Those lawyers say that there is a systemic problem and more and more injured soldiers are being shuffled off the Defense Department books to the VA. The lawyers - including Mark Waple of Fayetteville, who is representing Twohig - say they are reluctant to take cases to the Army Physical Evaluation Board because they rarely win.

"I think the Army Physical Evaluation Board is broken," Waple said. "The DoD would rather buy another cruise missile than medically retire someone. Systemically, what we've seen in the last seven years, they just seem to give a zero, 10, 20 percent disability so they are no longer on the DoD payroll. It is almost like a fix is in somewhere."

Think of all the veterans coming back with mental problems. Will they be taken care of? Would better body armor have helped Cpl Twohig and others like him?

Wal-Mart Woes

Wal-Mart is going through tough times, and all of its own doing:

For years, Wal-Mart was seen as a sure-thing. With double-digit sales and profit growth and a seemingly smooth and unstoppable future, it was the poster child for American entrepreneurial spirit.

But lately, the world's biggest retailer has become a lightning rod for critics who contend that it mistreats workers and that the company's low wages force employees to seek government aid in the form of Medicaid health insurance for the poor, food stamps and housing assistance.

Wal-Mart also faces the largest ever U.S. class-action lawsuit on charges that it discriminates against women in pay and promotions.

Last month, Wal-Mart said it was cooperating with a grand jury investigating whether Coughlin misused company funds. Wal-Mart in March said that Coughlin resigned at the company's request over its probe into unauthorized use of corporate gift cards and personal reimbursements.

The Wall Street Journal said Coughlin may have used undocumented expense payments to finance anti-union activities.

To top it all, Wal-Mart recently used nazi imagery in an ad aimed at defeating an Arizona zoning ordinance:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said yesterday that it made a "terrible" mistake in approving a recent newspaper advertisement that equated a proposed Arizona zoning ordinance with Nazi book-burning.

The full-page advertisement included a 1933 photo of people throwing books on a pyre at Berlin's Opernplatz. It was run as part of a campaign against a Flagstaff ballot proposal that would restrict Wal-Mart from expanding a local store to include a grocery.

The accompanying text read "Should we let government tell us what we can read? Of course not . . . So why should we allow local government to limit where we shop?" The bottom of the advertisement announced that the ad was "Paid for by Protect Flagstaff's Future-Major Funding by Wal-Mart (Bentonville, AR)."


American Taliban

From Jesse Taylor at Pandagon, How To Date In One Easy Step:
The "Christian" Way: don't. Rather than address this point by point, which would lead to head-exploding of a detrimental nature to this blog's visitor count, I'll just pick out the five worst ideas for the survival of human sanity.
Consider how our system works. A young man notices a young girl who attracts him. He asks her out on a date, and she agrees. If neither one likes the other, then they both have had a bad experience. If they initially "hit it off" and continue the relationship, then the eventual temptation to engage in sex is strong, especially if they happen to be teenagers, still under the roof of their parents.
This all comes complete with the excuse to start making honor killings of female family members a Christian thing. Really. (via)

The Gang of 500 Discuss Iraq

Courtesy of W.S. Gilbert:

If were not a little mad and generally silly
I should give you my advice upon the subject, willy-nilly;
I should show you in a moment how to grapple with the question,
And you'd really be astonished at the force of my suggestion.
On the subject I shall write you a most valuable letter,
Full of excellent suggestions when I feel a little better,
But at present I'm afraid I am as mad as any hatter,
So I'll keep 'em to myself, for my opinion doesn't matter!


If I had been so lucky as to have a steady brother
Who could talk to me as we are talking now to one another –
Who could give me good advice when he discovered I was erring
(Which is just the very favour which on you I am conferring),
My existence would have made a rather interesting idyll,
And I might have lived and died a very decent indiwiddle.
This particularly rapid, unintelligible patter
Isn't generally heard, and if it is it doesn't matter!


This particularly rapid, unintelligible patter
Isn't generally heard, and if it is it doesn't matter,
This particularly rapid, unintelligible patter
Isn't generally heard, and if it is it doesn't matter,
matter, matter, matter, matter, matter,
matter, matter, matter, matter, matter!

Uzbekistan is boiling over

I was going to post about Bill Frist getting punked, but in the post below Cleveland Bob alerted us to this tremendous piece from Billmon. If you want the snark you can go to my normal locale. But if you want a run down of George Bush's buddy "Karimov the Boiler" go here.

The NY Times has more on Uzbekistan as does Steve Gilliard. Tom Legg also contributes.

"Culture of Life"

No Modo in the NY Times

I'm sure she'll be back when her book tour ends to treat us to stories of her non-love life. However, Matt Miller, in her place, provides us with an actual editorial:

In the old days, war profiteering was a grueling round-the-clock job. You actually had to make something, like planes or guns, and then overcharge the government obscenely. Now, thanks to the Republicans, countless Americans are becoming "war profiteers" in their spare time...

Open Thread

Circling the moon.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Facing a dying nation

I have previously been known to discuss the fading star of the USA, and the rise of China (greatly facilitated by the Bush Family Empire). I have also talked about how, in India, they don't really think much about us anymore (but I'm too lazy to look it up). Now Jim Henley detects more signs of this in the de-escalation between China and Taiwan.

Make them listen

Update: I should have provided a Media Contact List.

In the land of false equivalency

Salon interviewed NYT's public editor Daniel Okrent. Okrent made the usual kind of excuses, although he did admit that Judith Miller's reporting was maybe not so hot. Two Glasses is an expert on the Equivalence Dodge and goes for it.

Let me guess...he was allegedly number three?

Yes, I'm a discount Nostradamus!

ABC stated tonight that a predator missile had killed an "important" member of Al Qaeda today and...

Haitham al-Yemeni, a native of Yemen known for his bomb-making skills, had been tracked for some time in the hope that he would help lead the United States to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, intelligence officials said. But with the recent capture in northwest Pakistan of Abu Faraj al-Libbi, thought to be al Qaeda's No. 3 man, officials worried al-Yemeni would soon go into hiding, and decided to take action.

Al-Yemeni was in line to replace al-Libbi, intelligence analysts said.

Al Qaeda really is like McDonalds...everybody is a manager of something.

Now firing a missile in Pakistani territory, that could have consequences.

Poor "Moderates"

The few lost souls in the middle: Mr. Chafee, Ms. Snowe, Ms. Collins, Mr. Specter. And Mr. Lieberman. They are squeezed harder than Giles Corey was during the Salem Witch Trials. The wingnuts want their votes for the Bolton nomination, and at least the first four are expected to vote against the use of filibustering in the Senate. Party discipline. The wingnuts are big on party discipline.

What happens if the "moderates" rebel against the wingnuts? As Stranger suggests, maybe they will be punished with the loss of more military bases. But what happens if they go along with the will of most Republicans? If filibustering ceases to be an option, the wingnuts won't need the "moderate" voices as much as in the past. The "moderates" might become even more impotent than they currently are.

Friday lion blogging

The Lion blogging for The Sideshow

Friday Cat Blogging


One Picture Worth a Thousand Words?

From Grass Root Dems:

These are up in Sioux Falls.

View from afar

You know, I don't remember reading in The Newspapers of Record that Hugo Chavez had called George Bush a dickhead.

Yet more Questions to Ponder...

What our press covers...from Crooked Timber, comparing Clinton to Dear Leader:

Bill Clinton’s presidency came under continuous assault for inviting donors to stay at the White House, specifically the Lincoln the liberal media allowed one President’s pattern of behavior (about 13%) to become a widely-understood multi-year scandal, whereas another President’s pattern of behavior (about 11-15%) is a page 17 story, if that. But, what do I know.

So Bush gets a page 17 story in USA Today for what was a scandal for Clinton.

Speaking of placement, the British "smoking gun memo" on Bush's preplanned war is finally unveiled on Page 18 of the Washington Post. Is that a few pages after Marmaduke?

"Frivolous visits"

Inmates Object to Visit Fee
Blair County[, Pa.,] inmates must pay a $50 fee if they want to visit their children, and the new policy has angered jailed parents.

The fee covers the cost of transporting prisoners two blocks from the Blair County Jail to the county courthouse, where the visits take place, and the cost of paying two sheriff's deputies [to] attend the visits, Sheriff Larry Field said.

The fee, which Field instituted last month, also cuts down on frivolous visits, he said.

Via the much-missed Rittenhouse Review (glad to see you back, Jim) by way of the excellent Suburban Guerrilla.

The Truly Oppressed in the U.S.: Fundamentalist Evangelicals

At least in the Air Force Academy, the place which was in the news for sexual harassment claims and then for treating Jewish cadets poorly. But all this pales beside the oppression of the Christians, of course. Even the Respecting the Religious Values of All People (R.S.V.P.) program discriminates against Christians:

Maj. Gen. Charles C. Baldwin, the chief of chaplains for the entire Air Force, screened the R.S.V.P. program in October, Captain Morton said, and afterward asked her, "Why is it that the Christians never win?" in response to some of the program's dramatizations of interactions between cadets of different religions

The R.S.V.P. Program was then changed...

The Captain Morton mentioned in the above quote is the same as mentioned in this one:

An Air Force chaplain who complained that evangelical Christians were trying to "subvert the system" by winning converts among cadets at the Air Force Academy was removed from administrative duties last week, just as the Pentagon began an in-depth study of alleged religious intolerance among cadets and commanders at the school.

"They fired me," said Capt. MeLinda Morton, a Lutheran minister who was removed as executive officer of the chaplain unit on May 4. "They said I should be angry about these outside groups who reported on the strident evangelicalism at the academy. The problem is, I agreed with those reports."

A Yale Divinity School visit to the Academy last summer found:

... this very strong evangelical Christian voice just dominating. We thought that just didn't make sense in light of their mission, which was to protect and train cadets, not to win religious converts."

See what I mean? Evangelicals just can't win.

Who's running this show?

I've been wondering why small businesses haven't banded together to support programs that would give them an edge - programs that are, for the most part, more liberal than what the Republicans are up to - and now I see an article saying that the Small Business Administration actually refused to release a report that says, "large companies are winning contracts in the Federal government's $60-plus billion small business contracting program."
Lloyd Chapman, president of the ASBL, has no question about the SBA's reasons for hiding the report. "If there was nothing to cover up, they would have handed this report over months ago. The fact is that their edited report only listed 44 large companies as incorrectly receiving small business contracts, whereas we know that more than 600 large businesses have been taken off the SBA database in the past two years."

The Inspector General for the SBA has documented fraud within the SBA since 1995. Earlier this year, the SBA Office of Inspector General issued three reports citing misallocation of small business contracts to large businesses. According to the Inspector General, four out of six high-dollar small business contracts awarded by the SBA itself in fiscal years 2001 and 2002 were given to large businesses.

So, what does this mean? Are big businesses controlling the SBA to the detriment of small businesses? That would explain a lot.

Dueling Tops!

JimmyJeff gets all dressed up and finds some place to go.

The Liar's Club Roast for Tom DeLay.

Some would say "Wanker"

Since it is up to Atrios to bestow such a title, I can only give you nominees.

May I suggest perennial contender, Charles Krauthammer?

Democrats have not had a very good run recently in the popularly elected branches. Since choosing the wrong side of the culture wars of the 1960s, they have won only three of the past 10 presidential elections.

Yes, such a terrible thing Democrats did to follow Humphrey's advice to, "get out of the shadow of states' rights and walk forthrightly into the bright sunshine of human rights!"

Chuckles keeps spinning that filibuster lie too for good measure.

"An age when taking care of employees has gone out of style."

Krugman, of course:

In 1968, when General Motors was a widely emulated icon of American business, many of its workers were lifetime employees. On average, they earned about $29,000 a year in today's dollars, a solidly middle-class income at the time. They also had generous health and retirement benefits.

Since then, America has grown much richer, but American workers have become far less secure.

The status of working Americans isn't important news to the "fuckwit 500" and their ilk either. Yet, in the media, hour upon hour, column inch after inch, is devoted to stock performance and corporate profits. Workers are now described as an impediment to corporations and a burden to their own government.

Cue Lee 'fucking' Greenwood!

Only On Fox

You can't make this stuff up.

Flying Monkey Moron Brigade

One of the Reverend Moon's minions has gone on the attack against Senator Reid for mentioning an FBI file... one which has been in the press including in an article by... the Moonie Minion himself.

Scroll around Kos for more.

Open Thread

Trusting the machines

Spitfire is more willing than I to put faith in electronic voting machines.

And here's Bruce Schneier on What's Wrong With Electronic Voting Machines.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Say "Cheese!"

Right Wing tries to ruin Gay Games
The American Family Association is going after Kraft Foods for sponsoring the Gay Games. On their site they ask people to write to Kraft to object to sponsorship of the Gay Games, Well, you right wing pigs...two can play that game....
BlogActive suggests a little participation.


Get your sex education right here.

Wanker of the Day

Michael Medved.

Extra bonus wanking here.


Journalisming is hard! WAAH WAAH WAHH! STOP PICKING ON US!

Douchebag of Cowardice/Bloviator of Courage

From Eric Alterman:

There will be no Alterman versus Novak Debate.

"We regret to report that the Arthur N. Rupe Great Debate scheduled for May 25, 2005 has been canceled due to Robert Novak's unexpected withdrawal."

Perhaps la Douchebag needs dental work? Whatever he bailed -- I suggest you click link.

Meanwhile, here's a guy that is not afraid of a tussel.

British MP George Galloway says he is ready for an explosive confrontation with US senators who claim he received oil rights from Saddam Hussein's Iraq...The committee said it would be "pleased" for Mr Galloway to appear at a hearing in Washington on 17 May. The MP accepted, declaring he would take "them on in their own lions' den".

He told the BBC: "I'll be Daniel and I'll be triumphant".

Say what you want about Galloway, man has some guts.

Wingnut Studies on the So-Called Liberal Media

Media Matters for America has looked at two recent right-wing studies, both of which found, not surprisingly, that the U.S. media heavily tilts liberal. And equally unsurprisingly, Media Matters shows that these studies have some very odd ways of getting to their findings. Their rules seem to be these:

1. If conservatives are mentioned more than liberals, then the news are biased against conservatives. You know, because liberals slip through undefined. Never mind if conservatives are more in the news because they happen to be in power. Never mind that conservatives might be mentioned more because the media caters to them and asks four conservatives to comment for each liberal.

2. If facts are on the side of the liberals they are "liberal talking points" and an equal number of "conservative talking points" should be added, even if they are not facts. So each "earth is round" statement should have a corresponding "earth is flat" statement.

Funny, I didn't find anything in these studies about how most of the media is in bed with this administration.

Perhaps a touching duet of the 'Horst Wessel Song' with David Irving is in Order

Wow, somebody should never draw a respectable paycheck again.

Pat Buchanan pins the blame for the Second World War where it so richly deserves to be placed -- in bizarro world -- on France and Britain.

True, U.S. and British troops liberated France, Holland and Belgium from Nazi occupation. But before Britain declared war on Germany, France, Holland and Belgium did not need to be liberated. They were free. They were only invaded and occupied after Britain and France declared war on Germany – on behalf of Poland.
By the way, that is one of the less offensive portions. Now, if somebody wrote that the United States' actions before 9/11/01 may have been a catalyst for those dastardly acts, they are supposed to be shamed and humiliated to the end of their days.

But such will not be the fate of Pat. Hell, he's probably on Scarborough tonight and McLaughlin Group this weekend.


The Gang of 500 Fatuous Fuckwits

The Note.

Culture of Responsibility

The excellent Jeanne D'Arc of Body and Soul alerts us to this:

King of Jordan to pardon Iraq's deputy PM over $300m bank fraud

That would be our friend Mr. Chalabi. Someday this is going to make an amazing biopic.


Didn't Steve Gilliard already use that analogy? There are some exceptional bloggers who post regular, in depth analysis, in one fashion or another, on Iraq. The story of how our country is being lied to by its leaders. Gilliard, the truly underappreciated Needlenose, and of course, the incomparable Juan Cole are three I regularly visit. There are, of course, many others. Plus there are folks like Riverbend that actually live there.

But one thing the above have in common is they have been telling us that things are not good in Iraq consistently, no matter how many times we are told to "clap louder!"

Today Newsday gives us more evidence of their foresight:

With security experts reporting that no major road in the country was safe to travel, some Iraq specialists speculated that the Sunni insurgency was effectively encircling the capital and trying to cut it off from the north, south and west, where there are entrenched Sunni communities. East of Baghdad is a mostly unpopulated desert bordering on Iran..."It's just political rhetoric to say we are not in a civil war. We've been in a civil war for a long time," said Pat Lang, the former top Middle East intelligence official at the Pentagon.

It is not a long article, but it is full of disturbing information.

Fact Chuck

This is not a parody. Really. No matter how much you think it is a parody of, you have to come to terms with the reality that it is not, in fact, a parody of

On the other side, the liberal People for the American Way released an ad May 3 attacking both Owen and Brown. The PFAW ad says of Brown, "She's so radical that she says, with programs like Social Security and Medicare, seniors are cannibalizing their grandchildren!"

Actually, Brown was speaking about the debt being passed on to future generations, not suggesting that Medicare or Social Security causes old people to eat human flesh. Here's the full quote from a speech she gave in 2000 before the Institute for Justice:

Brown: My grandparents’generation thought being on the government dole was disgraceful, a blight on the family’s honor. Today’s senior citizens blithely cannibalize their grandchildren because they have a right to get as much “free” stuff as the political system will permit them to extract.

That's certainly a colorful metaphor. Readers can decide for themselves whether the idea being expressed is "radical" or not.

Click through the link, my readers. I promise you, it's not a parody...


Dear Dr. Hager,
I have long wondered how I could resolve my desire to have forced sodomy with my wife with my faith in Christ. It appears you have found the answer, though I have yet to hear from you how you've based this in scripture. Unlike you, I have not been blessed with a narcoleptic spouse, so sneaking it in while she's asleep may not be an option. As a doctor, could you perhaps suggest some God blessed pharmaceutical aid for my desires?




Feel free to call the good doctor's office yourself and ask how he resolves his faith in Christ with his desires for forced Sodomy:

Name: W. David Hager, MD
Specialty: Obstetrics/Gynecology
Contact Information
Phone: 859-278-0363
Fax: 859-278-0082
Office Address: 1720 Nicholasville Road, Suite 411
Lexington, KY 40503

Bobo's World


They say it was racial discrimination. She says it was the Lord telling her not to rent to fornicators.

Closing arguments are expected this morning in a civil-rights trial involving a Lawrence couple, Adrianne Morales and Wayne Jackson, who say they were turned down for an apartment in 2002 because she's Hispanic and he's black. But the apartment manager, Lynne Sander, says she rejected them because God recently had told her she shouldn't rent to unmarried couples.

"I am following God's law," Sander told jurors on Wednesday. "I did not discriminate against them. For my morals and my integrity, I did what was in my heart."

Blogger's friend

The New York Times Link Generator, the invaluable blogger's tool that provides permanent links to NYT articles after their regular links have scuttled back behind the archive wall, was unavailable for the last few days and I didn't know why.

Now they are back with this news:

The server that powers this site has suffered a catastrophic hard drive crash and there are no recent backups. We've lost thousands of URLs. If you have any weblog-safe URLs that aren't in the database (or a copy of the urlarchive.txt database), please let us know.

If you'd like to help support us as we rebuild this and our other sites, feel free to make a donation.

If you're feeling generous, you'd be doing us all a favor to help out any way you can.

Sorry Ike, we fucked it up

The New York Times writes of the "perils" of the Military-Industrial Complex being flush with cash thanks to all that freedom marching.

Ike, we have let you down.

You will search the article in vain for any indication that this is more than a problem between the shareholders and the Pentagon. Nowhere is it even implied that it could be troubling morally. That spending billions upon billions on killing machines could even be somewhat difficult to swallow for the citizenry at large. Especially with the proud members of the "Culture of Life".

We could have spent money on really helping people to be free as opposed to killing a bunch and then proclaiming those left, abstractly free. But just as disturbing is the implication in the article that we just collectively accept grotesque war profiteering.

Oh, and, speaking of Ike.

"Oh, Davey!", Said Goliath, "What about the ball-gag and candlewax?"

Perhaps Bobo will turn out to be correct and Bolton will get confirmed (followed by a long night of celebratory passive/aggressive mustache rides). Still, this is getting dangerously into Rich Lowry territory:

The momentum has shifted on the Bolton nomination because John Bolton turns out to be a more complicated figure than earlier portrayed. It's become clear that earlier tales of him chasing women down hallways are unreliable. It's become clear that while he's abrasive, he is professional. If Senator George Voinovich reads these transcripts before he votes, I'm sure Bolton will be confirmed.
Unless, of course, Senator Voinovich isn't down with licking the boots of a dominitrix.

Holden points out Wolcott once again outsnarks me. Which makes me pea-green with jealousy. Naturally, I will take it out on some NRO editor at my blog today.


Andalusia is not so fun when it is raining.

That is all.

Forced Sodomy

Maybe this will get our media's attention:

Late last October Dr. W. David Hager, a prominent obstetrician-gynecologist and Bush Administration appointee to the Advisory Committee for Reproductive Health Drugs in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), took to the pulpit as the featured speaker at a morning service. He stood in the campus chapel at Asbury College, a small evangelical Christian school nestled among picturesque horse farms in the small town of Wilmore in Kentucky's bluegrass region. Hager is an Asburian nabob; his elderly father is a past president of the college, and Hager himself currently sits on his alma mater's board of trustees. Even the school's administrative building, Hager Hall, bears the family name.

That day, a mostly friendly audience of 1,500 students and faculty packed into the seats in front of him. With the autumn sunlight streaming through the stained-glass windows, Hager opened his Bible to the Old Testament Book of Ezekiel and looked out into the audience. "I want to share with you some information about how...God has called me to stand in the gap," he declared. "Not only for others, but regarding ethical and moral issues in our country."


Sex was always a source of conflict in the marriage. Though it wasn't emotionally satisfying for her, Davis says she soon learned that sex could "buy" peace with Hager after a long day of arguing, or insure his forgiveness after she spent too much money. "Sex was coinage; it was a commodity," she said. Sometimes Hager would blithely shift from vaginal to anal sex. Davis protested. "He would say, 'Oh, I didn't mean to have anal sex with you; I can't feel the difference,'" Davis recalls incredulously. "And I would say, 'Well then, you're in the wrong business.'"

By the 1980s, according to Davis, Hager was pressuring her to let him videotape and photograph them having sex. She consented, and eventually she even let Hager pay her for sex that she wouldn't have otherwise engaged in--for example, $2,000 for oral sex, "though that didn't happen very often because I hated doing it so much. So though it was more painful, I would let him sodomize me, and he would leave a check on the dresser," Davis admitted to me with some embarrassment. This exchange took place almost weekly for several years.


For the next seven years Hager sodomized Davis without her consent while she slept roughly once a month until their divorce in 2002, she claims. "My sense is that he saw [my narcolepsy] as an opportunity," Davis surmises. Sometimes she fought Hager off and he would quit for a while, only to circle back later that same night; at other times, "the most expedient thing was to try and somehow get it [over with]. In order to keep any peace, I had to maintain the illusion of being available to him." At still other moments, she says, she attempted to avoid Hager's predatory advances in various ways--for example, by sleeping in other rooms in the house, or by struggling to stay awake until Hager was in a deep sleep himself. But, she says, nothing worked. One of Davis's lifelong confidantes remembers when Davis first told her about the abuse. "[Linda] was very angry and shaken," she recalled.

No wait, no Democrats involved. Never mind.


Assrocket channels King Leopold.

Took Long Enough

From the L.A. Times:

Reports in the British press this month based on documents indicating that President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair had conditionally agreed by July 2002 to invade Iraq appear to have blown over quickly in Britain.

But in the United States, where the reports at first received scant attention, there has been growing indignation among critics of the Bush White House, who say the documents help prove that the leaders made a secret decision to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein nearly a year before launching their attack, shaped intelligence to that aim and never seriously intended to avert the war through diplomacy.

Still not front page though (PDF file). I mean it only raises the question of whether there is a "smoking gun" showing Dear Leader a war criminal? Not that big a deal compared to, say, extreme cuisine. Well, at least they have something.

And the memo even made CNN's crawl on its front web page, though not the top story, which remains Satan's Cessna!

By the way, CNN - You are hurting America!...furthermore, Atrios is not spelled A-t-t-a-t-u-r-k. Please, just stop your awful bloggity-blog show. Thank you, that is all.

Open Thread II

Do your worst

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Open thread

My brain is kind of empty at the moment, but just in case you get bored, don't forget that we're all still maintaining our own pages in between, and Echidne has been posting some very good stuff. Even Attaturk is still carrying on with his colleagues. Me, I got tired of seeing myself referred to as "he" and posted a biographical note (with a picture), along with some other ranting.

(Er. Yes. Echidne reminds me that I forgot to provide my own address at The Sideshow.)


Josh Marshall found a humdinger over at Rock the Vote on Michael Medved, twisting in the wind in his attempt to pretend that Republicans have nothing to do with any plans to privatize Social Security. Oh, my.

Military Recruiting is Hard Work!

It's no longer enough to tell about the wonderful travel opportunities the military can offer:

The U.S. Army plans to stop recruiting activities for one day this month to review procedures that its 7,500 recruiters use, an Army official said.

Maj. Gen. Michael Rochelle, head of the Army Recruiting Command, is expected to make the announcement, which could come as early as Thursday.

The move follows a CBS News report of least two allegations of recruiting abuse.

In one case, the network reported a recruiter suggesting how a potential volunteer might cheat to pass a drug test, and in another, a sergeant threatened a prospect with arrest if he didn't report to a recruiting station.

The Army said it is investigating the allegations.

A good idea. And how about checking this one out, too:

Will Ammons, 20, signed up for delayed entry at the Lake Jackson Army recruiting station last year.

But soon afterwards, he fell in love and changed his mind before he ever shipped out.

That's when, he says, Army recruiters crossed the line and started harrassing him.

"He told me I pretty much had two options," Ammons said. "I'd go before a judge and get a sentence of 15 years but he had the option to double it. It was either that or they were going to put me in front of seven other people with rifles and shoot me."


About as popular as Ed Gein during Fashion Week, Chachi!

Dennis Miller's viewer can now switch back over to QVC, because his show is d-e-a-d!


Jeez, time for another conference on blogger ethics.

Read what's at the link and then email Steve Ross at with appropriate comments.

Steve's clearly from the Cokie Roberts school of journalism (Cokie, on a wrongly interpreted Hillary Clinton comment):

At this point it doesn’t much matter whether she said it or not because it’s become part of the culture.

Facts are so old school. Factesque! is where it's at.

Forced Group Sex

Maybe this will interest the media?

Nope, never mind, no Democrats involved.


Yesterday I heard about the United Airlines Pension case and Champollion had a short blurb on it. However, today Ezra Klein via John Cole show us just how frigging deep the outrageousness gets

The story, amazingly, gets worse. While the Bankruptcy Bill was steamrolling through Congress, Dick Durbin offered an amendment that would've "protect[ed] employees and retirees from the common corporate practice of discharging liability for retirement plans, retained earnings and matching funds when businesses file Chapter 11." This is really, if you think about it, quite amazing. The Bankruptcy Bill made it harder for individuals to declare and survive bankruptcy. Durbin offered an amendment that would've forced corporations, when they were declaring bankruptcy, to fulfill their stated financial obligations to their employees. These financial obligations are retirement plans, matching funds, and so forth. They are, in other words, the exact same long-term assets that are supposed to keep hard-working Americans out of bankruptcy court!

Of course, the GOP managed to make sure this amendment failed.

The debts and liabilities for United's pensions are going to to left with the tax payers. So a bankrupt airline receives the protection of the bankruptcy courts and the pension guaranty system by laying BILLIONS of dollars of pension liabilities off on taxpayers. Meanwhile one of these taxpayers seeking to discharge tens of thousands of debt in bankruptcy will get squat!

But hey, you've got your Social Security to look forward to right?

I Want One of These Jobs

First there was Armstrong Williams. Then Maggie Gallagher. And so on. Now there is Dave Smith:

An Agriculture Department agency paid a freelance writer at least $7,500 to write articles touting federal conservation programs and place them in outdoors magazines, according to agency records and interviews.

The Natural Resources Conservation Service hired freelancer Dave Smith in September 2003 to "research and write articles for hunting and fishing magazines describing the benefits of NRCS Farm Bill programs to wildlife habitat and the environment," according to agency procurement documents obtained by The Washington Post through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Smith, contracted to craft five stories for $1,875 each, also was to "contact and work magazine editors to place the articles in targeted publications," the records show.

But Smith did tell the magazine editors of his government contract and wasn't paid for the articles by the magazines, so everything appears just fine and dandy. Except for this little thing:

One of the Outdoor Oklahoma articles was accompanied by a note identifying Smith as a freelance writer who works as a biologist for the agency. None of the articles appear to disclose his federal contract.

Gagner said the agency's intention was not to hide its role. And while the agency would consider such an arrangement again, "we would make sure there was somewhere in the article that says . . . that that writing was done by, for" the agency, he said.


Sleight of hand

Digby has joined our earlier discussion of the freakish confidence with which the Republicans are attempting to destroy any limits on majority party action. He also says the entire filibuster argument may be a red herring:
This isn't a new thing, but like so much else lately in wingnut governance, it was until quite recently a fringe position that nobody took seriously. Indeed, even conservative legal scholars like John Yoo, who is not one would ever call a moderate, disagrees with this interpretation. But, it has clearly gained currency recently. The Senate, for instance, has put forth several more or less symbolic bills that are explicitly exempted from judicial review. There's S. 1558, the "I can put the 10 commandments anywhere I damn well please and judge is going to tell me I can't" Act. And there's S. 2082, the "I can say God told me to do this and no judge can say it's unconstitutional" Act (also known as the "foreign govmint's got nothin' to do with our laws" Act.) And then there's S 3920 the "two thirds majority can overturn the Supreme Court" Act.

But these have no chance at passage. The "Real ID" bill, however, does. As far as I've been able to ascertain, nobody has ever actually passed and signed a bill that would explicitly exempt legislation from judicial review. This is unprecedented and if it happens it should trigger a constitutional crisis. If congress can pass any laws it wants and declare them exempt from judicial review --- as with the Real ID bill -- and also peremptorily "bar judicially ordered compensation or injunction or other remedy for damages" then our system of checks and balances has been gutted. There will be nothing to stop a majority, particularly if it ends the filibuster, from passing any laws it chooses with a simple majority and exempting all of them from judicial review for constitutionality. In other words, the constitution says what the majority says it says.

Which would pretty much mean we don't need a constitution, since mob rule would work just fine!

Following the money

Charles Kuffner has an amusing little piece explaining a little detail of the case against Tom DeLay (R-Sugardaddy) down there in Texas. He doesn't think the law is "vague".

Update: I should just read First Draft and then I wouldn't have to look at other blogs, eh, Holden?

Uh, No...

This is a rather silly thing to be wasting my vacation commenting on, but Jennifer 8. Lee says something silly in this article:

Powerball lottery officials suspected fraud: how could 110 players in the March 30 drawing get five of the six numbers right? That made them all second-prize winners, and considering the number of tickets sold in the 29 states where the game is played, there should have been only four or five.

Lucky Fortune CookiesBut from state after state they kept coming in, the one-in-three-million combination of 22, 28, 32, 33, 39.

It took some time before they had their answer: the players got their numbers inside fortune cookies, and all the cookies came from the same factory in Long Island City, Queens.

Chuck Strutt, executive director of the Multi-State Lottery Association, which runs Powerball, said on Monday that the panic began at 11:30 p.m. March 30 when he got a call from a worried staff member.

The second-place winners were due $100,000 to $500,000 each, depending on how much they had bet, so paying all 110 meant almost $19 million in unexpected payouts, Mr. Strutt said. (The lottery keeps a $25 million reserve for odd situations.)

Of course, it could have been worse. The 110 had picked the wrong sixth number - 40, not 42 - and would have been first-place winners if they did.

Actually, the fine folks at Powerball don't really care how many "first-place" or jackpot winners there are. They split whatever the pot is. It's too many of the "lesser" prize winners that cost them extra money...

Matthias Rust may have resumed World's Capitols Tour

Our quality media...just on the Tee Vee!

*pant, pant, pant* -- "The White House and Capitol Building are under attack by enemy aircraft!"

..."Sorry, just a Cessna that lost its way, all clear given"


Update: [NEVER MIND]


Tom Ridge once proclaimed he did not play politics with the Department of Homeland Security...

The Bush administration periodically put the USA on high alert for terrorist attacks even though then-Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge argued there was only flimsy evidence to justify raising the threat level, Ridge now says.
Ridge, who resigned Feb. 1, said Tuesday that he often disagreed with administration officials who wanted to elevate the threat level to orange, or "high" risk of terrorist attack, but was overruled.

Who overruled him?

The level is raised if a majority on the President's Homeland Security Advisory Council favors it and President Bush concurs. Among those on the council with Ridge were Attorney General John Ashcroft, FBI chief Robert Mueller, CIA director George Tenet, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of State Colin Powell.

Now, lookey at this graph...put together by JuliusBlog.

I should add that Air America's Sam Seder has been talking about this on the radio (actually internets) and prompted this post. See it is a vast left wing conspiracy Byron York.

The Kids are Alright/Magic Bus...

And other appropriate "Who" tune kudos to the Princeton Kids who are taking a bus and their campaign against the breaking of the filibuster to Washington, D.C. today. They will be in front of the Capitol Building about noon eastern.

Help us make sure the GOP does not let folks like James Dobson, promising "eyesight to the blind", win.

Alright, this is starting to hurt people so I apologize.

Meanwhile, over at "the Corner", it is "dreaming from the waist" 24/7.

Blogger Ethics

Maybe we need to convene another panel or something. Oh wait, this guy's a TV anchor AND a blogger. So confusing.

Now that's an Editorial!

Not necessarily intended as a reply to a certain New York Times editorialist, but it could have been. I cannot encourage you enough to read this editorial in the Louisville Courier-Journal from American Journalist Molly Bingham (it is actually a from a speech she gave). She wrote an excellent piece for Vanity Fair last year, so many of you know of her (she was also a hostage for a period of time). I cannot salute the paper enough for having the courage to publish the piece. You can just imagine the letters to the editor they are going to get from the "pretty mind" crowd.

It gives the "purple finger of truth" to the Bush Administration and our 24th most free press.

Just read it!

Update: Richard Cranium has more on Ms. Bingham.

Stop Wasting John Tierney´s Beautiful Mind

After all, his peace of mind matters more than 60 dead people.

Roaring Naughties

From the FT:

Real wages in the US are falling at their fastest rate in 14 years, according to data surveyed by the Financial Times.

Inflation rose 3.1 per cent in the year to March but salaries climbed just 2.4 per cent, according to the Employment Cost Index. In the final three months of 2004, real wages fell by 0.9 per cent.

The last time salaries fell this steeply was at the start of 1991, when real wages declined by 1.1 per cent.

Maybe indexing initial social security benefits to prices instead of wages isn´t such a bad idea after all...

Open Thread

For night flyers

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post (Arianna Huffington's website) is on its second day. Farhad Manjoo of the Salon claims that it is intended to compete with the Drudge Report:

But whatever else it may be, the Huffington Post is not a left-wing Drudge Report. It is instead, you might say, both a lot more than Drudge and quite a bit less. It's not the disaster a riled Nikki Finke immediately proclaimed it to be in the L.A. Weekly (Finke, who has also written for Salon, called Huffington's new site "such a bomb that it's the box-office equivalent of Gigli, Ishtar and Heaven's Gate rolled into one") -- nothing that features a regular contribution from Larry David can be so quickly dismissed. But it is not revolutionary, either. Huffington's site is, quite simply, a daily news roundup married to a very big group blog (with, curiously, very few participants under the age of 40 -- and possibly 50) and little to no original reporting content; like most bloggers, Huffington's high-profile opiners are generally trolling topics well covered elsewhere.

The blogs, many of them written by celebrities, have no comments-ability, and the bloggers are free to talk about whatever they like. Quite a few of the bloggers are wingnuts, so Manjoo is right about the Huffington Post not being especially left-wing. But it's an interesting phenomenom in the blogging world: a megablog created in an instant. Whether that works remains to be seen.

Still, I don't quite get what Arianna hopes to achieve with the Huffington Post. If it's not intended to strengthen the liberal/progressive voice in the media, what is it for? To allow for political debates?

Fighting for democracy

It seems clear to me from the comments that there are people who want to see action from our politicians and also to get involved with doing something to secure our voting systems. As far as I know, most of the bigshot national politicians are pretty much ignoring the issue. One person who isn't is of course Rep. John Conyers. Check out his weblog to see what he's been doing.

Tena has reminded us that there are a number of grass-roots organizations around this issue, and Common Cause has a focus on it, too.

Nothing is going to happen if we don't all put pressure on our own representatives at both the federal and local levels. But bear in mind that the states still have local control and it's no good waiting for people in Washington to take care of this. We need to contact our local elective officials and get our neighbors involved.

Democracy isn't just about politicians, it's about us. We have to do it.

Harry Reid throws down the Gauntlet & picks up a Chair!

I'm not keen on some stuff (the Bankruptcy Bill for instance) but by and large this guy has played Frist and the Republicans so far. And like Kos, I doubt he'd do it if he wasn't confident.

I believe there are two options for avoiding the nuclear showdown, which so many of us believe is bad for the Senate, and bad for America.

But I want to be clear: we are prepared for a vote on the nuclear option. Democrats will join responsible Republicans in a vote to uphold the constitutional principle of checks and balances...[he offers two alternatives, one negotiation the other a regular 2/3 rule change vote]...

...But if neither of these options is acceptable to you, let's vote.

I do so hope Harry has a lot of spare furniture laying around.

Who Needs Taxes to Buy Body Armor?

Via Think Progress, we learn that

The Oklahoma House of Representatives recently passed legislation to create "Patriot Plates," special license plates which help buy body armor for Oklahoma troops sent to Iraq.

For every $35 plate purchased, the state will donate twenty bucks to a special fund to buy bulletproof vests and other pieces of armor to keep soldiers safe.

The legislation was proposed by State Rep. Ryan Kiesel, who said he got the idea after meeting with soldiers from his district. "They were being sent to Afghanistan or Iraq with no body armor or Vietnam-era body armor."

Stop Hurting America


Note to the news media--with an emphasis on the cable networks: Enough is enough.

Your continual focus on, and reporting of, missing, young, attractive white women not only demeans your profession but is a televised slap in the face to minority mothers and parents the nation over who search for their own missing children with little or no assistance or notice from anyone.

The latest missing woman to dominate the airtime of the cable networks was Jennifer Wilbanks, from Duluth, Ga. Like Dru Sjodin, Chandra Levy and Elizabeth Smart all before her, Wilbanks is young, white and attractive. Wilbanks, as it turned out, ran away of her own volition from her impending marriage. As a Maryland police official told me after Wilbanks turned up in New Mexico, "the media's non-stop focus on the possible abduction of Wilbanks forced the local officials and police departments to spend thousands of dollars they would not otherwise have spent."

Define racism. One could certainly make the argument that the cable networks that continually focus on these missing white women, to the virtual exclusion of minority women, are practicing a form of racism. The racism in this case, however, while predicated on color, does not concern itself with the color of one's skin. Rather, it is based on the color of money, ratings points and competition. Would an African-American woman who went missing days before her wedding receive the same (or any) coverage as that of Wilbanks? Not likely.

Nuclear threat

One reason I don't think it's at all paranoid to suspect that the Republicans have deliberately taken over the voting system in order to cheat is that they keep doing things that don't otherwise make sense. There's a rather long list of things you just wouldn't expect them to think they could get away with unless they really thought they could control the ballot box, because otherwise they would have to expect that the public would kick enough of them out to not only end some political careers but also make impeachment - and prison - a distinct possibility.

And then there's this nuclear option thing - why would they be willing to remove any possibility of stopping majority party initiatives unless they were absolutely sure that they could never become the minority party again?

Conservatives have made good use of the filibuster over the years, on judicial nominations and a lot of other things. Are they absolutely certain no one will wake up and get rid of them? Or are they just sure that how we vote isn't going to matter?

Well, I have a favorite Sportscaster

I used to like Olbermann, and now I like him more, but he's not exactly a sports guy anymore. Costas I always liked, but again, mostly when not doing sports.

Well, I think a lot of us can now decide we like Jim Lampley. He post today at the shiny, new, incredibly well-underwritten celebrity-blogorama.

Okay, I like Lampley but have decided to have a bitter all-consuming, hatred for the Huffington Post, all born of jealousy.

At 5:00 p.m. Eastern time on Election Day, I checked the sportsbook odds in Las Vegas and via the offshore bookmakers to see the odds as of that moment on the Presidential election. John Kerry was a two-to-one favorite. You can look it up.

People who have lived in the sports world as I have, bettors in particular, have a feel for what I am about to say about this: these people are extremely scientific in their assessments. These people understand which information to trust and which indicators to consult in determining where to place a dividing line to influence bets, and they are not in the business of being completely wrong. Oddsmakers consulted exit polling and knew what it meant and acknowledged in their oddsmaking at that moment that John Kerry was winning the election.

And he most certainly was, at least if the votes had been fairly and legally counted. What happened instead was the biggest crime in the history of the nation, and the collective media silence which has followed is the greatest fourth-estate failure ever on our soil.

Somebody is a blog-reader!


What would you do if you were a state governor and found out that the costs of your Medicaid program (the program that funds health care for certain groups of poor people) were soaring?

It seems that you would get together with other governors to plan on cuts in the benefits and on increases in the amounts the patients must pay themselves:

In recent months, the governors have drafted at least three versions of a paper titled "Medicaid Reform: A Comprehensive Approach." The documents, obtained by The New York Times, offer a vision of "Medicaid plus health care reform," including "incentives and penalties for individuals to take more responsibility for their health care."

Sounds bracing, doesn't it? But the Medicaid expenses haven't really soared because of careless and irresponsible spending by individual enrollees. They have gone up because:

Drug prices and hospital costs have risen at a brisk pace, but the increase in enrollment is a more important factor.

From 2000 to 2004, according to the Congressional Budget Office, the number of Medicaid recipients grew by one-third. This growth coincides with the erosion of employer-sponsored health benefits. As employers have cut back coverage and raised premiums, private insurance has become less available and less affordable to low-wage workers.

Know your Guest Bloggers & Open Thread

While we are over at Atrios's commodious treehouse, I would like to say that two of your three guestbloggers run tremendous blogs of their own. And what would my guesting for the head druid be, if I did not take it upon myself to just once engage in a little Attaturking?

Avedon obviously reads and digest news articles at a rate far above that of mortal humans and then breaks them down better than we deserve.

Echidne is, of course, a goddess and her divinity allows her to catch yet another Republican taxbreak-a-palooza.

Meanwhile, well gee, I like to send emails to Herr Pope.

Otherwise, blogwhore amongst yourselves or just comment away.

Don't forget to "sit" before you "spin"

I've already written about Tierney once today, so forgive the indulgence, but I do believe that we have met Pat Sajak's intellectual equal.

Of course they would both be "A-Level" at the intersection of Doughy Street & Pantload Avenue

Ba'al save us!

Not a way to get my vote

Gee, I wonder if John Kerry still thinks he's running for president....
In his attacks upon Washington, Mr. Kerry is adopting a puzzling strategy that could work for a governor but not for someone who is an entrenched member of the Washington elite. In Louisiana, the senator also repeated his disagreeable habit of pandering, telling his red state audience that Massachusetts Democrats should not install a plank endorsing gay marriage in the party's platform because it would be divisive. State Democrats should ignore that advice, and Mr. Kerry would have been wiser to point out that gay marriage has proved to be anything but divisive in Massachusetts.

Some might say -- WANKER!

John Tierney, ladies and gentlemen, or as the New York Times should just advertise, "Two Bobos at Twice the Price!"

I never thought I would say this, but I miss Bill Safire telling me to get off his lawn. As aggravating and redundant as Safire's act was, that bitter old bastard could write and lie with aplomb.

Today Tierney, settling into Bobo's old Tuesday spot, comes up with this proposal. The press should not report with much depth on suicide bombings because, gosh darnit, it makes it look like things are not going very well. In other words, our dumb media also needs to mellow out!

Bullshite! Always good to see anybody from the NY Times offices in the states take the press to task for how Iraq is being covered without any irony whatsoever. Consider a few of your colleagues Mr. Tierney, who reported not on suicide bombers, but uncritically of whatever pablum the Bush Administration tossed out before those bombers were around.

One could spend paragraphs cursing every sentence, but this is a "family" blog so I'll keep my fucking indignation short and let the rest of you have your shot at the wanker.

Update: Apparently, and perhaps sadly for him, TBogg and I had the same initial thoughts.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Open Thread

Freshly spun.

Give the (person) what they Want

I was relaxing this evening, checking in on this blog occasionally. Avedon and Echidne have put up some really excellent and substantive posts.

But a comment and a couple emails asked me for some SNARK, not just snide asides within a post, but a some sort of attempt, no matter how lame, for "the funny".

Well, for my two or three fans, your wish is my command. Bit of a retread from my blog earlier.


I heard that CNN's view poll earlier today was unbelievable. However, I was busy and sort of just shrugged it off. It wasn't really a priority because, come on, it's the CNN viewer poll, outside of torturing Lou Dobbs what is it good for?

But eventually I got there, and jiminy jeebus it is certainly a cosmically important question, one that has definitely been a stumper for humanity lo these many years.

Do you believe a dog could care for a baby?


Yes was a landslide.

Insert Santorum joke *HERE*. Now I love dogs, but c'mon!

I look forward to future CNN viewer polls, such as:

Would you like Space Aliens to clean your carpets?

Hey, is your gerbil looking at you funny?

How would you feel if Benedict XVI mowed your lawn?

Can Carrot Top feed your fish?, or even better,

Can we feed Carrot Top to your fish?

Light the fuse Jeebus, I'm ready for the end times!!

Security Guy

Bruce Schneier on Real ID:
I've already written about national IDs. I've written about the fallacies of identification as a security tool. I'm not going to repeat myself here, and I urge everyone who is interested to read those two essays (and even this older essay). A national ID is a lousy security trade-off, and everyone needs to understand why.
Read it all. Then go here.

State of the art elections

Down in comments, Holden asks us to imagine this creation by DWD on every web page and lamppost and mailbox in the country:

And while we're on that subject, I'd like to say that I am not interested in mere "paper trails" or "receipts". As regular readers of The Sideshow are aware, I join with tech-savvy supporters of democracy everywhere in saying that there is only one appropriate means of making elections secure: Paper ballots, hand-counted on the night, in public.

Receipts are no use. A paper receipt can be emitted by a machine confirming that you voted for the candidate of your choice even as it tallies a vote for someone else or no one at all. There is no natural rule that prevents coding a machine to send one electronic message while printing out a different one.

For true transparency, you don't do anything that isn't visible to the naked eye. I want to be able to watch people counting ballots and see that they are tallying the real votes. I want the ballot I marked to be counted by another human being, watched by still other human beings, in the most openly non-partisan manner possible.

Receipts are meaningless unless there is a recount. You can easily avoid a recount by ensuring that your machines never allow the tally in a significant district to come close enough to trigger a recount. With no recount, no one ever knows that the receipts don't match the official tallies.

Machines can be fiddled, so don't let them count your vote.

Update: Some people seem to be unclear that not all versions of "paper trail" and "receipts" include the use of a paper ballot. I have no problem with using those with paper ballots, but the essence is still that the ballot itself must be the piece of paper that is marked and counted to get the official tally.

On Lint Democrats

David Sirota has something to say about the moderates of the Democratic Party, especially about their anger at Nancy Pelosi:

It would be one thing if they had a serious, substantive complaint against Pelosi. Yet, according to Roll Call, these "moderates" are still whining simply because a few weeks ago Pelosi had the guts to tell the truth and level with Democrats who sold out the party by supporting the credit card-industry written bankruptcy bill. In other words, all she did was tell the truth and try to keep her party together - exactly what a LEADER is elected to do. For Democrats who desperately need to project strength and resolve, this whining and crying is just another example of "moderates" once again undermining the party at the worst possible time.

"Moderates say they are waiting for action, not apologies, from Pelosi," the story says about these political crybabies. "They say they want the Minority Leader to show that moderate and conservative Democrats are part of party decision-making..." Funny, last I checked, these "moderates" are not only "part of party decision-making" but they have actually taken over decision making for the party by abandoning the party on key votes, and therefore sending the embarrassing message to America that Democrats are divided on even the most fundamental economic issues. In fact, these "moderates" have been so assertive in making such destructive decisions on behalf of the party, the right-wing Washington Times is now bragging about them - a true sign of disgrace.

The Washington Times should be happy about the divisions within the Democrats: anything that tears up the opposition will help the wingnuts. Party discipline is something the wingnuts excel at and something we free-thinkers do rather poorly. But there are times when the lack of party discipline is especially costly, and I'd argue that we are living in one of those right now. Yes, we are the party of tolerance, but do we really have to tolerate Zell Miller and his clones? Those Democrats who stick to the Republicans like lint to socks in the dryer?

One-party nation

Think Progress has an item about the State Department responding to requests for information on Bolton only if they are approved by Republicans. Yes, it's completely unacceptable. It's how they do things.

Potemkin Questioners Ass Kicking

What does it say when a group of Dutch kids make such an unmitigated doof of Feckless Leader that the coddled and inept American Media is ushered out of the meeting?

The next question — the last heard by reporters or included in the White House transcript — concerned the cost of the Iraq war.

The unidentified questioner noted that the U.S. had been involved in "a lot of wars," and wondered about the impact on Americans at home.

She said she had recently received a brochure seeking donations for poor people in the United States and asked Bush: "What's the balance between the responsibility to the world and the responsibility to your own people?"

Said Bush: "I think we have a responsibility to both." Reverting to what resembled a campaign stump speech, he then listed the value of small businesses in creating jobs and spoke of the United States' role in fighting HIV/AIDS in Africa and safeguarding freedom around the world.

Media were then asked to leave, though the meeting, held in a window-lined room at a glorious chateau near Maastricht, went on for another half-hour.

Were they:

(a) Afraid Bush would look even more ham-handed and inept than usual (a scary thought)?

(b) Afraid of what the Press Corps may learn about journalism?

(c) Both?

Doofus Poppins!

Photo via Reuters

Gouging poor children for money

I just found this story in the comments and it hurt:
A proposed budget cut would make New Hampshire the only state in the nation to charge its poorest parents for health insurance for children under the state-federal Medicaid program.

The Gray Lady: A Radical Makeover?

An internal committee of the New York Times has come up with a list of recommendations "to increase reader's confidence in the newspaper". Fewer errors (does this refer to the Judith Miller debacle?), more coverage of religion, rural areas and Bobo's world. And starting a blog! This one raised my eyebrows, given the recent Times opinion piece worrying about the ethics of us bloggers (see Attaturk's take on it below).

Will this makeover work? Not for the wingnuts.


The way things are going, you'd almost expect to see this headline in The New York Times. Thankfully, it has only appeared (so far) at Opinions you should have:

Powerful Lobbyist Appointed To Serve on Ethics Panel's Investigation of Tom Delay.


I and others have made this point before -- there´s no way that a private accounts system wouldn´t be very burdensome on small businesses.

The first chief administrator of the federal Thrift Savings Plan said Thursday that President Bush's plan for establishing personal accounts as part of a Social Security overhaul faces "overwhelming" practical challenges.
"The administration's plan for universal [individual accounts] is not feasible and it should not survive the process of responsible congressional hearings," Francis Cavanaugh, who served as executive director of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board from 1986 to 1994, told the House Financial Services Monetary Policy Subcommittee.

Cavanaugh said there are "considerable dissimilarities" between the Bush administration's plan and the Thrift Savings Plan, which is often cited as a model for the proposed Social Security investment accounts.

While only the federal government administers the TSP, Cavanaugh said the Social Security individual account proposal would create administrative burdens for many types of companies, especially small businesses.

The costs of administering 401(k) types plans are quite high, and I´ve seen no suggested plan which would make a private accoutns plan anything but a massive burden for small businesses.

More liberal media, please!

If you're not yet familiar The White Rose Society, check it out now, because Ben Burch provides a valuable service, and has been doing so since long before we had anything like Air America. Ben has also started his own journal, and today has a post on another one of my favorite subjects, which is how to create a comprehensive liberal media:
Do you really think that the Right would own the freaking media if the rich criminals that seem to lead it had not opened up their pocketbooks and supported vermin like Rush and Drudge and Coulter?

Where is the similar effort on our side?

Ben is angry, and I don't blame him. The structures on the left seem to be very top-down and the money that comes into them goes upward rather than being spread around.

It's an interesting microcosmic look at the difference between the effectiveness of progressive versus conservative ideals:

- the conservatives use the progressive methodology that moves money through their infrastructure and generates real profit for them;

- the Democrats use conservative methodology that starves the base and the activists and makes it cripplingly hard to survive while still doing the work of promoting progressive ideals.

So conservatives are proving that liberalism works better, and liberals are proving that conservatism doesn't.

Now, if only the moneyed Democrats could show a little faith in liberalism, we might really get somewhere.

Operation CYA engaged...

I have not served in the military. I say that because it is pretty clear from watching the "tee-vee news" that only those who have actually served in the military are allowed to criticize the Pentagon.

Oops, I forgot about Kerry.

I guess the rule is that only those who do not criticize the military are allowed to comment on the Pentagon.

Further, I am not an experienced military strategist like Sean Hannity. After all, Hannity has made many more last stands in 'Risk' than I have. Over at FoxNews, I have heard that Sean's countless, desperate attempts to hold Irkutsk, as Neil Cavuto's hordes surround his last plastic army, are legendary. Why the 'Song of Roland' has nothing on Sean's brave plea to "roll a six".

Nevertheless, I noticed that outgoing Joint Chiefs Chair General Richard Myers is talented at the time-tested military tactic known as covering one's ass. The L.A. Times manages to write an article that has Myers' advocates proclaiming how "brave" and "effective" he was by being Rummy's toady.

By keeping a low profile, Pentagon strategists say, Myers avoided the tactics that cost other chiefs their jobs.

That "other" would be General Shinseki, who told Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz that their Iraqi troop deployment plans were woefully insufficient (with the added irritant of being absolutely correct).

Effective low-key tactics under Myers, therefore, were allowing Rummy to have his way on "small" matters like invading Iraq!

However, there is one notable exception, to the low-key approach that Myers' defenders are desperate to point out. The policies the led to Abu Ghraib:

Uncomfortable with some of the interrogation tactics at the Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib prisons, Myers refused to join discussions with Rumsfeld and others without military lawyers, a group that had questioned many administration policies, the senior Defense officials said. After Myers' legal advisor was left out of the routine meetings, the general told the secretary he would not attend a meeting without the advisor, one of the officials said. Again without awaiting a response, the official said, Myers stormed out.

Gee, wonder why that is?

If it had been Father's Day....

I would have referenced my own blogfather, Patrick Nielsen Hayden of Electrolite, who mentions this in response to my Mother's Day post, but also reminds us that Republicans hate unions for a reason - the same reason they hate Social Security and want to stop real universal healthcare at any cost.

A lot of people pretend to oppose unions because they allegedly impede the "free market". That's a lie - unions are a natural part of your right to free association and equally a natural part of the market itself, as Kevin Drum explains.

An Intellectual Pistol-Whipping

As it appears that David Brooks is able to discern little more than shiny objects, today's Krugman will not cause him much pause. John Tierney, apparently able to read little more than White House policy brochures, would have a Coulter-like bleating fit. For the Professor takes no prisoners.

Hell hath no fury like a scammer foiled. The card shark caught marking the deck, the auto dealer caught resetting a used car's odometer, is rarely contrite. On the contrary, they're usually angry, and they lash out at their intended marks, crying hypocrisy...

...Let's consider the Bush tax cuts and the Bush benefit cuts as a package. Who gains? Who loses?

Suppose you're a full-time Wal-Mart employee, earning $17,000 a year. You probably didn't get any tax cut. But Mr. Bush says, generously, that he won't cut your Social Security benefits.

Suppose you're earning $60,000 a year. On average, Mr. Bush cut taxes for workers like you by about $1,000 per year. But by 2045 the Bush Social Security plan would cut benefits for workers like you by about $6,500 per year. Not a very good deal.

Suppose, finally, that you're making $1 million a year. You received a tax cut worth about $50,000 per year. By 2045 the Bush plan would reduce benefits for people like you by about $9,400 per year. We have a winner!

Thank you Professor.

Once again, the opponents of Bush's scheme use the Administration's own plan to beat them about the head with it. And all the White House pablum pushers can do is respond in generalities and say, "Oh yeah, show us your plan?"

I always thought "our plan" was the Social Security Act, coupled with sound fiscal policy?

I'm just old fashioned that way.

"Vrooooom, Vroooooom", the Preznit said.

This picture seems quite symbolic.

From Reuters.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

The Scopes Monkey Trial: Take Two

This time in Kansas, where the Board of Education is considering authorizing schools to teach religious alternatives to Darwin's theory of evolution, especially the theory of "intelligent design".

The anti-evolution scientists have had their day in limelight, giving evidence on the problems with Darwinian ideas. (Thoughts from Kansas and Red State Rabble give detailed reports on the hearings. For the "intelligent design" take on the hearings, see Evolution News and Uncommon Descent.) The British Times reports on all of it in a tone which makes me wonder if the writer had put his feet up and had the popcorn ready while jotting notes on all those crazy Americans. Hmm.

This bit in The Times is especially interesting:

Other witnesses included Jonathan Wells, an embryologist and senior fellow at the Discovery Institute in Seattle, who described himself as "an old Berkeley antiwar radical". "The way Darwinian evolution is usually presented is that the evidence is overwhelming, and there is no controversy about it," he said. "That's clearly not the case."

Dr Wells, who holds PhDs in theology from Yale University and in biology from the University of California, Berkeley, confirmed under cross-examination that he was a member of Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church.

Pro-Darwin scientists distributed an internet posting outside the hearing in which Dr Wells declares: "Father's words, my studies and my prayers convinced me that I should devote my life to destroying Darwinism."

Sun Myung Moon is also the owner of the wingnut paper The Washington Times.

Godmother's Day

A few years back, I was bugging Atrios to start a weblog. "It's easy, just go to Blogspot and start one. You'll be great at it."

So I feel like the godmother of this weblog.

So. We know about some of the godchildren, like Corrente and First Draft, as well as my colleagues who have been sitting in with us today. And Digby and Barry (Ampersand), of course, earlier on.

But this post is your opportunity for straight-up link-whoring. How many of you here started a weblog because you were reading Eschaton?

Update: Thanks for all the great links. Now do this.

PS. I don't get your TV shows - who is this?

Operation Golden Shower

Finally! A plan to save Iraq!

Nixon - sore loser

I erroneously stated below that Nixon did not contest Illinois. In comments, Monica_nyc supplied a link to the archive article on just that subject, FISHY OUTCOME: The Legend of Nixon's 1960 Loss, which details the fact that Nixon's team fought hard everywhere they could:
New Jersey was typical. The GOP obtained court orders for recounts in five counties, but by December 1 the state Republican committee conceded that the recounts had failed to uncover any significant discrepancies, and they halted the process. Kennedy was certified the state's official winner by 22,091 votes. Other states' recount bids and investigations similarly petered out.

Texas and Illinois, the two largest states under dispute, witnessed the nastiest fights. In Texas, where Kennedy won the twenty-four electoral votes by a margin of 46,000 ballots, the GOP took to the courts. But its suits were thrown out by a federal judge who claimed he had no jurisdiction. In Illinois, the appeal was pursued more vigorously, maybe because the electoral take was higher (twenty-seven) and Kennedy's margin slimmer (9,000 votes). Charges focused on Cook County (specifically Chicago) where Kennedy had won by a suspiciously overwhelming 450,000 votes.

National GOP officials plunged in. Thruston Morton flew to Chicago to confer with Illinois Republican leaders on strategy, while party Treasurer Meade Alcorn announced Nixon would win the state. With Nixon distancing himself from the effort, the Cook County state's attorney, Benjamin Adamowski, stepped forward to lead the challenge. A Daley antagonist and potential rival for the mayoralty, Adamowski had lost his job to a Democrat by 25,000 votes. The closeness of his defeat entitled him to a recount, which began November 29.

Completed December 9, the recount of 863 precincts showed that the original tally had undercounted Nixon's (and Adamowski's) votes, but only by 943, far from the 4,500 needed to alter the results. In fact, in 40 percent of the rechecked precincts, Nixon's vote was overcounted. Displeased, the Republicans took the case to federal court, only to have a judge dismiss the suits. Still undeterred, they turned to the State Board of Elections, which was composed of four Republicans, including the governor, and one Democrat. Yet the state board, too, unanimously rejected the petition, citing the GOP's failure to provide even a single affidavit on its behalf. The national party finally backed off after December 19, when the nation's Electoral College certified Kennedy as the new president -- but even then local Republicans wouldn't accept the Illinois results.

A recount did wind up changing the winner in one state: Hawaii. On December 28, a circuit court judge ruled that the state -- originally called Kennedy's but awarded to Nixon after auditing errors emerged -- belonged to Kennedy after all. Nixon's net gain: -3 electoral votes.

Happy Mothers' Day!

To all the mothers out there! The earth is the ultimate mother of us all. George Bush, the dutiful son, has naturally given her many presents over the years. Here is a short list of them:

# Withdrew from Kyoto accord, designed to cut greenhouse gases
# "Clear Skies" initiative aims to reduce sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and mercury emissions by 70 per cent. But is voluntary and does nothing about carbon dioxide
# Is pushing $1.7 billion, five-year plan to develop hydrogen technologies as alternative to oil and petroleum fuel
# Won Senate approval to drill for oil in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
# Loosened pollution controls on coal-fired power plants and abandoned more than 50 investigations into possible breaches of the Clean Air Act.

And this year, just in time for Mothers' Day, George wrapped up a pretty parcel containing the opening of one third of America's national forests to roadbuilding. Easier to control forest fires, you know. And no, it has nothing whatsoever to do with facilitating future logging or mining or the drilling for natural gas.

Apparently, the third rail of political reporting

As some of you may be aware, Robert Koehler wrote a great article for Tribune Media Services called The silent scream of numbers, detailing the reasons to suspect foul play in the 2004 election. What you may not know is that that article, and a later one on a similar theme, were not picked up by many papers that normally carry his work. His latest column, Citizens in the rain, has actually been spiked by TMS itself.

Perhaps the most annoying item in this story is the fact that The Chicago Tribune, which does not run Koehler's column, nevertheless attempted a rebuttal, neatly missing the point and of course re-writing history to claim that Richard Nixon set "a moral example" by not contesting his loss in 1960. (In the real world, Nixon did contest one state for weeks. He didn't contest Illinois because his own party's shenanigans in the southern part of the state couldn't bear scrutiny.)

The corporate media keeps pretending that this is all about overturning the election and refusing to accept defeat. They just don't seem to get it that it's democracy's loss, not Kerry's, that's at issue here.

Look, we have an election result we cannot verify. That's unacceptable. Among other things, it means we can't know that any future elections will be honest - unless we stop this business now, before those future elections take place.

Bradblog has the story, and an update noting that Editor & Publisher has run an article about it.

(No, I don't know why this post originally appeared with a 12:12 PM timestamp and therefore jumped below earlier posts. I fixed it. Hope not too many of you fell through the time warp....)