Saturday, October 08, 2005

Open Thread

The course of a true threading never did run smooth.

Open Thread

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your thread; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.

Open Thread

These threads are razors to my wounded heart.

Front Porches

I'm in Greensboro, NC for this conference thingy. Last night the proprietor of Hogg's Blog and Mathew Gross generously lent their porches out for a party for those attending.

I joked to someone that they lived in a great neighborhood and I was surprised that no one had tried to bulldoze it. Joke was on me -- it apparently was almost bulldozed at one point though now it's a designated historic district. Older homes, built well and characterized by their generous front porches which quite clearly foster a neighborly atmosphere. While flying in I flew over a massive McMansion development in its larval stage, notable especially for its lack of front porches. Shame.

June and July

Jane's got a good view of the latest on Judy^3.




Damn. This is horrible. Leave the news behind for 24 hours and then I feel guilty for not knowing about this stuff.


Ah, the Sgt. Schultz defense.

On the Road

But, you don't really need me anyway. Enjoy.

Open Thread

The course of a true threading never did run smooth.

Open Thread

Thread more than thou showest, thread less than thou knowest, thread less than thou owest.

Open Thread

A poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the thread and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Open Thread

How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless thread!

Friday, October 07, 2005

Open Thread

Cry "Thread," and let slip the dogs of war.

Open Thread

The thread 's the thing wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king!

Open Thread

To mourn a thread that is past and gone is the next way to draw new mischief on.

Holden's Ponies

Bush at 39.

Here's the full herd:

No more ponies until he hits 30.

New Notes?

Let the speculation begin. It would be, after all, irresponsible not to.

Just, please tell me that when the movie is made they let Harriet Sansom Harris play Miller.

CBS Hackery

Lovely double standard.

Travel Day

What's going on?

Open Thread

Small threads make base men proud.

Open Thread

Thread more than thou showest, thread less than thou knowest, thread less than thou owest.

Wankers of the Day

Washington Times.


A big chunk of the national media establishment do live and work in New York. As such, they understand that the subway is massive, it's how people get to and from their jobs, that most people are going to pay little attention to these warnings (or even be aware of them). The hysterical reporting is ridiculous.

Jodi Jodi Jodi

What is with the Times.

They Don't Need You

The latest discussion is about why conservative bloggers apparently feel ignored by the Republican establishment while liberal bloggers have been embraced by the Democratic one. First, it just isn't really all that true. There are plenty of conservative bloggers who are plugged into the conservative establishment one way or another, and "our side" is, despite all the chatter, far from being an adjunct of the Washington political industrial complex.

But, nonetheless there is a general recognition among more and more of the powers that be on the Left that blogging has value while not so much on the Right. The reason why is simple - conservative blogs are a redundant cog in an already well working machine. They. Don't. Need You. For the internet, they have Drudge, who has more power than all the blogs put together to get out or shape a story. They have talk radio. They have an army of existing plugged in think tanks pushing out people and quotes. They dominate the media as a whole.

Open Thread

To mourn a thread that is past and gone is the next way to draw new mischief on.

Open Thread

The course of a true threading never did run smooth.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


Naughty naughty:

Former House majority leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) met for at least 30 minutes with the top fundraiser of his Texas political action committee on Oct. 2, 2002, the same day that the Republican National Committee in Washington set in motion a series of financial transactions at the heart of the money-laundering and conspiracy case against DeLay.

A certain horse some of you may remember sent me a little message:

Tell the Truth now....


...prison's kanna fuuun innit?

Holden Gets a Pony

37%, bitches!

"Mistress in Georgia"

Oh. My. God.

Open Thread

Small threads make base men proud.

Open Thread

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your thread; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.

Open Thread

How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless thread!


Lots of discussion in wingnuttia about whether or not it's "elitist" to oppose Miers. These discussions seem to confuse different kinds of elitism. There's one kind of elitism which dares to suggest that smart qualified people should get the kinds of jobs that require smart qualified people. This seems to be perfectly reasonable.

The other type of elitism is the one which focuses on pedigrees and certificates. One must come from the right family and go to the right school. No less than Ann Coulter has been down on Brownie Miers for her lack of appropriate law school pedigree. This kind of elitism is incredibly rampant among the, you know, elites of all political persuasions - whether liberal academics or faux heartland populist conservatives - and goes way beyond the normal kind of network cronyism that elite institutions can help foster.

Having gone to a humble state school for my undergraduate degree and then to an Ivy League school for graduate school, I was continually surprised by the degree of snob elitism I confronted. I won't deny that going to a top school provides some signal of your abilities, but one certainly doesn't have to have gone to an Ivy League school or one of the "honorary Ivies" to be a smart, educated, qualified, capable person. And, having taught plenty of undergraduates at an Ivy League institution I can say that a degree from one is no guarantee of supergenius abilities either.

Even moreso I was shocked at how much having a graduate degree from an Ivy versus a non-Ivy seemed to impress even people who should know better. Especially at the advanced degree level the quality of any individual department within an institution is often entirely almost entirely uncorrelated with that institution's broader reputation as an undergraduate institution. Not all graduate departments in Ivy League schools are any good, let alone among the best.

Back to the Grand Jury

For Rove.

A Bill O'Reilly History Lesson


O'REILLY: All right. But let me counter that, [caller], and you can comment on my comment. That's the prevailing wisdom in a lot of the precincts, is that because blacks were in slavery in the United States, they were never able to develop an infrastructure of education and culture to compete with the white majority. That is the prevailing wisdom in lots and lots of places. Let me submit this to you, and then you can comment on it.

My people came from County Cavan in Ireland. All right? And the British Crown marched in there with their henchman, Oliver Cromwell, and they seized all of my ancestors' lands, everything. And they threw them into slavery, pretty much indentured servitude on the land. And then the land collapsed, all right? And everybody was starving in Ireland. They had to leave the country, just as Africans had to leave -- African-Americans had to leave Africa and come over on a boat and try to make in the New World with nothing. Nothing. And succeeded, succeeded. As did Italians, as did -- and I'll submit to you, African-Americans are succeeding as well. So all of these things can be overcome I think, [caller]. Go ahead.

Rove in a Bad Mood?

Harriet Miers says so, and presuambly she's in a position to know.


Fred Barnes is so punny.

Let Bush be Bush

Think Progress says this morning's little show was about fear mongering. That could be it, but I think that narrative has sort of passed us by for the moment. Not that people aren't genuinely concerned about this stuff, but we've finally passed the stage when jumping up and shouting "evil doers!" will get the desired response.

I think it's more about letting Bush do something he enjoys for a change. And what he seems to enjoy doing most of all is giving speeches about evil doers.


Like many people, I quite enjoyed the leaked Fiona Apple album Extraordinary Machine which floated around the internets awhile back. Now the "official" version with some new production is out. I'm not sure it's a better album, but it isn't a worse one either. Just a bit different. Whether you heard the last version or not, it's worth a listen. And, if you do possess the earlier version common courtesy probably dictates that you throw a few bucks her way.

Visions of Utopia

Roy discusses.

Body Language

He sure does love this subject.


Again? Did we catch Al Qaeda's #3, Mick Shrimpton?

Open Thread

All the world 's a thread, and all the men and women merely players.

Open Thread

Thread more than thou showest, thread less than thou knowest, thread less than thou owest.

Open Thread

All the world 's a thread, and all the men and women merely players.

Open Thread

A thread! a thread! my kingdom for a thread!

Open Thread

How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless thread!

Open Thread

Cry "Thread," and let slip the dogs of war.

Open Thread

Thread more than thou showest, thread less than thou knowest, thread less than thou owest.

Open Thread

A poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the thread and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Open Thread

These threads are razors to my wounded heart.

Open Thread

All the world 's a thread, and all the men and women merely players.

Open Thread

These threads are razors to my wounded heart.

Effete Knuckledraggers


At one point in the first of the two off-the-record sessions, according to several people in the room, White House adviser Ed Gillespie suggested that some of the unease about Miers "has a whiff of sexism and a whiff of elitism." Irate participants erupted and demanded that he take it back. Gillespie later said he did not mean to accuse anyone in the room but "was talking more broadly" about criticism of Miers.

Actually, Gillespie probably has a small point.

9 Republican Senators Come Out in Favor of Torture

I suppose we should be thankful it wasn't more?


Someone's mighty quiet:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The federal prosecutor investigating who leaked the identity of a CIA operative is expected to signal within days whether he intends to bring indictments in the case, legal sources close to the investigation said on Wednesday.

As a first step, prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald was expected to notify officials by letter if they have become targets, said the lawyers, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.


Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin, declined to say whether his client had been contacted by Fitzgerald. In the past, Luskin has said that Rove was assured that he was not a target.


It's back:

WASHINGTON - Rudolph Giuliani said Wednesday that he plans to return to politics but that it is too early to say if that will be for the 2008 presidential campaign.

"I think I'll return to politics," Giuliani said in a speech to business leaders.

Called "America's Mayor," after his performance in leading New York City after the Sept. 11 attacks, Giuliani has spent the years since working as a corporate executive and public speaker.

Love that construction. "Called 'America's Mayor'..." Yes, by who? I mean, who exactly was it that started calling him America's Mayor?

...answering my own question, it appears that Peter Jennings was likely the first, on 9/17/01, followed by an introduction at a prayer service in Yankee Stadium on 9/23. Certainly there could've been something previous, but according to a nexis search of transcripts, Jennings gets the credit.

Open Thread

The thread 's the thing wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king!

Missed the Memo

Seriously, I'm not downplaying the potential for a catastrophic flu pandemic, buth how did we suddenly go all bird flu all the time?

Guest Set Up By Falafel Bill

David Kline explains.

Internment Camps?

It might be time.

5 Felony Counts

Just Safavian, but it could lead back to Abramoff...

Silly Celebrity Blogging

Oh the horror:

Tom Cruise’s new lady love has reportedly said that she wants to remain a virgin until she gets married.

A 2003 profile of Katie Holmes in the Sunday Mirror of London discusses how “she went to cheerleading practice, got straight A grades, and made a pledge that she would remain a virgin until marriage.”


Tom Cruise's fiancée, Katie Holmes, is pregnant with the couple's child, Cruise's spokesperson, Lee Anne DeVette, tells PEOPLE exclusively.

"Tom and Katie are very excited, and the entire family is very excited," says DeVette.

And, in other celebrity news...


Al steps up:

The news divisions - which used to be seen as serving a public interest and were subsidized by the rest of the network - are now seen as profit centers designed to generate revenue and, more importantly, to advance the larger agenda of the corporation of which they are a small part. They have fewer reporters, fewer stories, smaller budgets, less travel, fewer bureaus, less independent judgment, more vulnerability to influence by management, and more dependence on government sources and canned public relations hand-outs. This tragedy is compounded by the ironic fact that this generation of journalists is the best trained and most highly skilled in the history of their profession. But they are usually not allowed to do the job they have been trained to do.

The present executive branch has made it a practice to try and control and intimidate news organizations: from PBS to CBS to Newsweek. They placed a former male escort in the White House press pool to pose as a reporter - and then called upon him to give the president a hand at crucial moments. They paid actors to make make phony video press releases and paid cash to some reporters who were willing to take it in return for positive stories. And every day they unleash squadrons of digital brownshirts to harass and hector any journalist who is critical of the President.

ooo, the digital brownshirts get excited when Gore calls them that.

Talking About the War

Earlier I linked to this Chris Bowers post which after further investigation is a bit unfair to Rahm Emanuel. While it is true that Iraq was not front and center in many of his answers to Tim's questions which allowed opportunities to differentiate Republicans and Democrats, it isn't the case that Emanuel was entirely silent on the subject for all such questions.

It's certainly the case that they still seem to be unable to settle on a simple message with respect to Iraq, but that's not the same thing as ducking the issue entirely.


O'Reilly cancels on one of the Power Tools and then complains he couldn't get any guests for the segment.

Here's a sneak preview of Bill's next book.

Back to the Future

Bush I on Clarence Thomas:

[H]e is the best qualified at this time. I kept my word to the American people and to the Senate by picking the best man for the job on the merits.

Bush II on Brownie Miers:

Q Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. President, of all the people in the United States you had to choose from, is Harriet Miers the most qualified to serve on the Supreme Court?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes. Otherwise I wouldn't have put her on.


O'Connor nomination:

The Associated Press
July 7, 1981, Tuesday, AM cycle

Asked about Mrs. O'Connor's position on the extremely sensitive abortion issue, Reagan, who said he had interviewed the intended nominee, told reporters as he left the press room: "I am completely satisfied."

At her press conference, Mrs. O'Connor declined questions over that issue, the ERA and others, saying "I'm sorry. I cannot address myself to substantive issues pending my confirmation."

But deputy White House press secretary Larry Speakes said she had told the president "she is personally opposed to abortion and that it was especially abhorent to her. She also feels the subject of the regulation of abortion is a legitimate subject for the legislative area."

United Press International

July 8, 1981, Wednesday, AM cycle

Television evangelist James Robison, taking the opposite position of many of his conservative colleagues, Wednesday said he supports the nomination of Sandra O'Connor to the Supreme Court.

In a statement, Robison said he based his support for Mrs. O'Connor on a conversation Tuesday with presidential counselor Edwin Meese. A Robison spokesman said Robison obtained the following statement from Meese:

''Sandra O'Connor thinks abortion is abhorrent and is not in favor of it. She agrees with the president on abortion. There was a time when she was sympathetic toward the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) movement, but the more she studied and found out about it the more she changed her mind.

''She is very conservative ... Sandra O'Connor assured the president that she was in agreement with him and she totally supports pro-family issues and the Republican platform.''

United Press International

July 8, 1981, Wednesday, AM cycle

President Reagan, seeking to stem Moral Majority's criticism of Supreme Court nominee Sandra O'Connor, had assurances Wednesday from the Rev. Jerry Falwell that he still thinks Reagan is ''the greatest.''

Moral Majority vice president Cal Thomas said Reagan called Falwell, head of the conservative organization, in mid-afternoon Tuesday -- a few hours after naming Mrs. O'Connor -- and spoke for 15 minutes.

Falwell had criticized the nomination bitterly because of Mrs. O'Connor's stands on abortion and women's rights but his tone was decidedly different in the telephone conversation.

''He had a very warm conversation with the president, told him that he loved him, that he thinks he's the greatest president we've in our generation, et cetera, that he disagreed with him on this issue but he's not throwing the president out with the bath water,'' Thomas said.

White House communications director David Gergen said Reagan called Falwell ''to have an opportunity to discuss his views and his understanding of Mrs. O'Connor's views ... based on her court decisions and legislative record.''

''The president said he was absolutely convinced she was personally opposed to abortion. Dr. Falwell said that was fine but we needed more than that,'' Thomas said.

United Press International

July 22, 1981, Wednesday, AM cycle

A major conservative fund-raiser -- declaring the New Right is not ''a paper tiger'' -- vowed Wednesday to enter the fray to keep Sandra O'Connor from winning Senate confirmation as a Supreme Court justice.

The declaration by direct-mail wizard Richard Viguerie came as fundamentalist opponents to Mrs. O'Connor opened a new First Amendment front and other foes of the Arizona judge continued to attack her record on abortion.


Viguerie said the New Right -- an informal coalition united by ultraconservative views on both social and economic issues -- has to wage a battle against Mrs. O'Connor's record on the abortion issue, or else the White House ''will just think we are a paper tiger.''


McIntire, who described Reagan's choice as ''a dark and sad day for fundamentalism in our churches,'' marched with about 20 demonstrators outside the Supreme Court and in front of Senate offices. One carried a sign saying, ''Get a Judge Who Doesn't Fudge.''

Salazar on Dobson

Salazar has the right idea:

"It's troublesome to me the comment would be made," Salazar said at a Tuesday news conference in Denver. "It seems to me, all of the (information) the White House knows about Harriet Miers should be made available to the Senate and the American people. If they're making information available to Dr. Dobson - whom I respect and disagree with from time to time - I believe that information should be shared equally with a U.S. senator."

Can I get a heh-indeedy?

Limbaugh Says Federal Judge Siding with al Qaeda


The Truth

Franken's got a new book coming out, worth ordering if only to help hasten Bill O'Reilly's inevitable trip to the asylum.

Both "Rush Limbaugh is..." and "Lies and the Lying Liars..." were very funny.

Witness List

Any reason James Dobson shouldn't be put on the witness list for the Miers confirmation hearing? He apparently knows information relevant to the nomination.

Some of the efforts evidently bore fruit. By day's end, Mr. Dobson, one of the most influential evangelical conservatives, welcomed the nomination. "Some of what I know I am not at liberty to talk about," he said in an interview, explaining his decision to speak out in support of Ms. Miers. He declined to discuss his conversations with the White House.”

The Mustache of Understanding Strikes Again

Reminding me, scarily, that I had a rather surreal dream about the mustache.

Judy Judy Judy

Gene Lyons:

Until last week, that is, when Miller’s source Scooter Libby supposedly persuaded her it was OK to sing. Except Libby’s lawyer insists he gave her attorneys exactly the same information a year ago. Lawyerly scuffling broke out, but it seemed clear that Miller had simply reconfigured her lofty principles--possibly to avoid criminal contempt charges.

Then somebody leaked Scooter’s letter to the press. It said Miller’s truthful testimony would actually benefit him, helpfully reminding her of the legal tightrope her source is walking: “[A]s I am sure will not be news to you, the public report of every other reporter's testimony makes clear that they did not discuss Ms. Plame's name or identity with me, or knew about her before our call.”

See, if Scooter didn’t know Plame was a secret agent, “outing” her may not be a crime. It’s the incompetence defense. The letter also implicitly promised Miller big scoops on, get this, Iran’s nuclear weapons, and closed with a poetic line reminding her that “[Out West, where you vacation, the aspens will already be turning. They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them.”

Ponder that metaphor for a moment.

Here’s all I know: If Hillary Clinton had written Susan McDougal a letter like that, the Washington press would have exploded with indignation. The TV talking-heads would be predicting indictments, and the phrase of the week would be “criminal conspiracy.”

Federalist #76

Sirota reminds us:

[The President] would be both ashamed and afraid to bring forward, for the most distinguished or lucrative stations, candidates who had no other merit than that of coming from the same State to which he particularly belonged, or of being in some way or other personally allied to him, or of possessing the necessary insignificance and pliancy to render them the obsequious instruments of his pleasure.

(thanks to reader y)


Let's remember that we won one.

But in enumerating his short-term priorities at a nearly hourlong news conference in the White House Rose Garden, the president mentioned only the war on terrorism and the hurricane reconstruction.

"There seems to be a diminished appetite in the short term" for dealing with a Social Security overhaul, Bush said with a dash of resignation.


I'm not sure if Scooter crosses the line here, but he certainly parks his ass right on it.

Don't Talk About the War


...update here.

The Incoherent Pomposity of George Will

It's sort of cute when George Will gets angry. He gets more pompous than Tacitus and more incoherent than Assrocket.

Open Thread

All the world 's a thread, and all the men and women merely players.

Open Thread

Thread more than thou showest, thread less than thou knowest, thread less than thou owest.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

O'Reilly Blames American Troops for Nazi War Crimes

Apparently he is the reincarnation of Joe McCarthy.

Put the Thingy In the Hoo-Haw

Or, no baby for you.

Judy Judy Judy


NEW YORK CNN's Lou Dobbs was perhaps Judith Miller's biggest TV supporter during her 85 days in jail, and the New York Times reporter recognized this Tuesday, granting him an exclusive interview.

Miller called the detention facility in Alexandria, Va., "the most soulless place I had ever been....It was demeaning. It was degrading. It was very lonely."

Who knows how lives could've been improved if Judy had spent her time covering prison conditions rather than pushing phantom threats.

Open Thread

There 's daggers in men's threads.

Open Thread

These threads are razors to my wounded heart.

Fun on the Internets is also making lots of live concert recordings available for free download. You can spend hours poking around. Let me recommend The Katie Todd Band which I happened upon by accident. Can download some shows here.

Open Thread

A poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the thread and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

More Bennett

From Roy.


Passed in the Senate:


SEC. 1. That the Senate strongly condemns William J. Bennett's reprehensible statements of September 28, 2005.

SEC. 2. That the Senate believes that such statements are unbecoming of a former Cabinet Secretary.

correction: I was informed that this passed, but apparently it was just introduced.


Looks like no one in New York remembers who Weld is.

Looking good for '06 in NY.


A question I haven't yet seen answered is why this legal strategy would make any sense:

The backdrop for Monday's action may have been a dispute over the continued viability of a waiver of the three-year statute of limitations that DeLay granted in writing on Sept. 12 in order to keep trying to persuade Earle not to issue any indictments. After last week's conspiracy charge, DeGuerin said the waiver was withdrawn.

Monday's indictments maintained that the waiver was still in effect. But DeGuerin said in an interview that Earle may have brought the new charges so speedily because he was uncertain of his ground on that issue. A key transaction in the alleged conspiracy -- the payment of $190,000 by the Republican National Committee to the Texas Republican candidates -- occurred on Oct. 4, 2002, or three years ago today.

For what possible reason would anyone waive something which would open up the door to prosection?

There's some discussion in this Kos diary about what this could mean. Not sure what to make of it myself.

Bin Laden Determined to Strike In US

E&P on Brownie Miers' job:

Does that date sound familiar? Indeed, that was the date, a little over a month before 9/11, that President Bush was briefed on the now-famous “PDB” that declared that Osama Bin Laden was “determined” to attack the U.S. homeland, perhaps with hijacked planes. But does that mean that Miers had anything to do with that briefing?

As it turns out, yes, according to today's Los Angeles Times. An article by Richard A. Serrano and Scott Gold observes that early in the Bush presidency “Miers assumed such an insider role that in 2001 it was she who handed Bush the crucial 'presidential daily briefing' hinting at terrorist plots against America just a month before the Sept. 11 attacks.”


The photo that ran in so many papers and their Web sites originally came from the White House but was moved by the Associated Press, clearly marked as an “Aug.6, 2001” file photo. It shows Miers with a document or documents in her right hand, as her left hand points to something in another paper balanced on the president's right leg. Two others in the background are Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin and Steve Biegun of the national security staff.

Sound Off

Watching the news conference with the mute on. Strange body language. Hostility manifests in a weird jaw tic. He's clearly talking down to the press and to us as if they and we are children (a case can be made for the former, of course). Keeps adopting a kind of "if I explain it to you very slowly you'll have to agree!" pose.

Wanker of the Day

Richard Cohen.

In so many ways:

Misunderstanding and/or misrepresenting the Bennett situation.
Misunderstanding Leavitt.
Claiming people who were upset with Bennett were only upset because they heard him out of context, when Cohen himself seems to have no idea what Bennett actually said.
Equating criticism with censorship (pundit, heal thyself).
Linking this with McCarthyism.

In conclusion:
These spitball columns, these demeaning zingers, only tend to highlight the common argument that Richard Cohen is out of ideas. If so, I have one to offer him: Retire.


So, basically, Miers is being put on the court to make sure nothing interferes with the power of the executive.

Harriet Miers, at the time staff secretary, is seen on Aug. 6, 2001, briefing President Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

Open Thread

What's in a name? That which we call a thread by any other name would smell as sweet.

Open Thread

All the world 's a thread, and all the men and women merely players.

Monday, October 03, 2005



I Need to Chill a Goddamn Case of Champagne

There are days when I love me some Texas justice:

AUSTIN, Texas - A Texas grand jury on Monday re-indicted Rep. Tom DeLay on charges of conspiring to launder money and money laundering after the former majority leader attacked last week's indictment on technical grounds.

The new indictment, handed up by a grand jury seated Monday, contained two counts. The money laundering charge carries a penalty of up to life in prison. Last week, DeLay was charged with conspiracy to violate campaign-finance laws.

Double Your Fun!

Hey, we're up to three now. Maybe I'd better open yet another bottle of champagne.

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - A Texas grand jury on Monday indicted U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay on two new charges including money laundering, following a conspiracy indictment last week which forced him to step aside as the second-ranking Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The new indictment, for money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering, was issued shortly after DeLay's lawyers sought to dismiss the original charge on a legal technicality.

Full Circle

Someone at MSNBC is a wee bit subversive. Accompanying this AP article about Miers was this picture and caption:


Harriet Miers, at the time staff secretary, is seen on Aug. 6, 2001, briefing President Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

Gee, August 6, 2001. I wonder what could be on the cover sheet of that memo Bush is pretending to read. Maybe it was, oh, I don't know...


(thanks to reader a)


I can't have strong opinions about this either way, but let's recognize it for what it is:

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Oct. 3 - Iraq's Shiite and Kurdish leaders quietly adopted new rules over the weekend that will make it virtually impossible for the constitution to fail in the upcoming national referendum, prompting Sunni Arabs and a range of independent political figures to complain that the vote was being fixed.

Some Sunni leaders who have been organizing a campaign to vote down the document said today that they might now boycott the Oct. 15 referendum, because the rule change made their efforts futile. Other political leaders also reacted angrily, saying the change would seriously damage the vote's credibility in Iraq and abroad.

Under the new rules, the constitution will fail only if two-thirds of all registered voters - rather than two-thirds of all those actually casting ballots - reject it in at least 3 of Iraq's 18 provinces.

The point is to get something in place which is perceived as being sufficiently legitimate to satisfy enough people. There's nothing intrinsically magical about the process which was originally put in place, but certainly changing the rules along the way makes the universal acceptance of the legtimacy of the process a bit difficult. On the other hand, if the whole thing falls apart and has to be rebooted it's hard to see that there will be a better outcome. And, if those ungrateful Sunnis pipe up we can always send the Mustache of Understanding in to take care of things:

That will become clear in the next few months as we see just what kind of minority the Sunnis in Iraq intend to be. If they come around, a decent outcome in Iraq is still possible, and we should stay to help build it. If they won't, then we are wasting our time. We should arm the Shiites and Kurds and leave the Sunnis of Iraq to reap the wind.

Inside the Mind of A Crazy Person


More on DeLay

I salute the fine and speedy work by those good patriots in Texas:

The money laundering charge was the first action from a new Travis County grand jury, which started their term today. It came just hours after DeLay's attorneys filed a motion to dismiss the case.

The motion was based on the argument that the conspiracy charge against DeLay was based on a law that wasn't effective until 2003, the year after the alleged money transfers.

Sounds like DeGuerin's playing silly games.

George Dix, a professor at the University of Texas law school who is an expert in criminal law and procedure, said he doesn't believe changes made to the Texas election code by the 2003 legislature have any effect on the conspiracy charge.

The penal code's conspiracy charge allows for the charge if the defendants allegedly conspired to commit any felony, including an election code felony.

Just because the election code was "silent" on the penal code provision until 2003, it doesn't mean it wasn't a valid charge before 2003, Dix said.

"To me it just says, 'We really mean what we said implicitly before,' " Dix said.

So, the law essentially changed from covering any felony to covering any felony including election law felonies. Department of redundancy department.

DeLay Indicted on Money Laundering Charge

Good thing I put those champagne bottles in the fridge.

Government Promotes Interspecies Breeding As Solution to Energy Problem

Well, not really, but I'm glad we're going to do something about this energy issue.

WASHINGTON, Oct 3 (Reuters) - With U.S. heating bills expected to hit record highs this winter, the Bush administration on Monday launched a conservation campaign featuring a cartoon mascot "Energy Hog," which critics said does little to discourage energy use.

Your tax dollars at work.

$1.2 Million

My sources tell me the title of Miller's book is "I helped send almost 2000 troops to their deaths and all I got was this lousy book deal."

Bye Bill


MCLEAN, Va., Oct. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- K12 Inc. today announced that William
J. Bennett has resigned as an employee, and as Chairman and member of the
company's Board of Directors, effective immediately. K12 Inc. said the Board
accepted his resignation, thanking him for his contributions to the company.
K12 Inc. said that it has no relationship with, or involvement in, Dr.
Bennett's radio program. The opinions expressed by Dr. Bennett on his radio
program are his and his alone.
Dr. Bennett, in a separate statement said: "I am in the midst of a
political battle based on a coordinated campaign willfully distorting my
views, my record, and my statements. Given the controversy surrounding the
remarks I made on my radio show, I am stepping down from my positions at K12,
so that neither the mission of the company, nor its children, are affected,
distracted, or harmed in any way."


David Schuster reminisces:

At the time I started at Fox, I thought, this is a great news organization to let me be very aggressive with a sitting president of the United States (Bill Clinton)," Shuster said. "I started having issues when others in the organization would take my carefully scripted and nuanced reporting and pull out bits and pieces to support their agenda on their shows.

"With the change of administration in Washington, I wanted to do the same kind of reporting, holding the (Bush) administration accountable, and that was not something that Fox was interested in doing," he said.

"Editorially, I had issues with story selection," Shuster went on. "But the bigger issue was that there wasn't a tradition or track record of honoring journalistic integrity. I found some reporters at Fox would cut corners or steal information from other sources or in some cases, just make things up. Management would either look the other way or just wouldn't care to take a closer look. I had serious issues with that."

(thanks to reader b)


Sounds fun.

Broadcast Flag

I don't do enough tech/copyright/IP issues here because other people do it better. But, Congress is trying to stick a broadcast flag into digital TV which would allow content producers to stop you from doing things like recording and copying their shows. We may soon be discussing the good old days of the VCR, or at the very least we'll be discussing the good old days when you could download a show to your Tivo so you can watch it on the train (though its supporters claim otherwise). Cory Doctorow has a list of members of Congress who are currently pushing this. Feel free to give them a call, especially if they happen to be your reps.

Two Stories

Story one:

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Sales tumbled at General Motors and Ford last month as record high gas prices and the automakers' own summer promotions finally took their toll.

Tough comparisons with strong results a year ago were also a factor, industry executives said.

GM, the world's biggest automaker, said U.S. sales overall sank 24 percent to 344,797 vehicles in September.

Sales of light trucks, which include pickups, sport/utility vehicles and vans, plummeted even more, off 30 percent from a year earlier, while car sales declined 14.5 percent.

Ford, the nation's No. 2 automaker, said September sales overall sank 19 percent to 228,157 vehicles.

Ford's sales of light trucks fell even more sharply, sinking 27 percent to 155,167.

Story two:

Toyota Motor Corp. said Monday that its U.S. vehicle sales jumped 10.3 percent in September as climbing car sales offset a slight decline in trucks.

The Japanese automaker - which sells car and trucks under the Toyota, Lexus and Scion brands - sold 178,417 vehicles during the month, up from 161,793 last September. Car sales jumped 22.2 percent to 107,551 vehicles, more than making up for a 3.9 percent decline in truck sales to 70,866 units.

Dealing with Bush

This sounds about right.

Miers Blogging

Harriet Miers has already started a blog.


I have no idea what kind of judge Miers will be and nor probably does anyone else in the commentariat. We probably won't know for a few years either way (assuming for the moment that she's confirmed) unless the nice people in the press do some digging to try to find out. All we do know is she's a reliable Bush fixer.

Wingnuttia is rather angry at the choice. I don't think this is because they're really concerned that she's not conservative enough for their tastes, although that's part of it. They're angry because this was supposed to be their nomination. This is was their moment. They didn't just want a stealth victory, they wanted parades and fireworks. They wanted Bush to find the wingnuttiest wingnut on the planet, fully clothed and accessorized in all the latest wingnut fashions, not just to give them their desired Court rulings, but also to publicly validate their influence and power. They didn't just want substantive results, what they wanted even more were symbolic ones. They wanted Bush to extend a giant middle finger to everyone to the left of John Ashcroft. They wanted to watch Democrats howl and scream and then ultimately lose a nasty confirmation battle. They wanted this to be their "WE RUN THE COUNTRY AND THERE'S NOTHING YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT" moment.

Whatever kind of judge she would be, she doesn't provide them with that.

Reading, Writing, Understanding

I'm going to try this one more time and then give up, I suppose. I just read through the comments to last night's posts on spam and people still don't seem to understand the issue.

1) Please, email me things you think are interesting and important. I never complain about readers who do that.

2) What I did complain about was people who put me on their rather large email lists. There are a large number of people who have an email list to which they send literally anything they happen to come across which they find interesting. This inevitably includes news articles I've already linked to, stories I've already covered, issues I've already discussed. In other words, people aren't reading the blog and thinking "gee, maybe Atrios might be interested in this subject which I see he hasn't covered yet..." Instead, they're just spamming things out several times a day without caring anything about the probably long forgotten identity of all the people they added to their list at some point. There's a big difference between sending out an important story to a blogger or even a small group of bloggers and just adding bloggers to your personal email rant lists.

3) And, no, people including other bloggers shouldn't be scared to send out the occasional mass email. But, that's very different from either engaging in the behavior described in 2) above or sending out actual spam which is promoting your business or something similar.

4) Once again, none of this should make readers or other bloggers think that I don't welcome and appreciate tips. Jerks who fill my inbox multiple times per day with their mass emailed missives and people who send things which they think I personally might be interested are two entirely separate groups of people.

5) I am not complaining about the volume of email I get. That comes with the territory. I'm complaining about the people who fill my inbox with crap described above which decreases the signal to noise ratio making it very difficult to find the good and interesting stuff people send me.

Wanker of the Day

David Frum.

Don't Talk About the War

Sam Rosenfeld makes the point, which apparently needs to be made over and over, that Iraq as a political issue is not going to just go away.

For all the changed dimensions and new dynamics that the emerging Democratic grassroots world is bringing to the party, the old-school substantive divisions on matters of war and peace aren't going away and surely won't be easily obsured for a second presidential election in a row. Clinton faces a massive and absolutely unavoidable substantive problem in her bid for president, as do any of the other strategic-class Dems with their eyes on that prize. If her political team doesn’t recognize that yet, they’re in for a surprise.


Looks like the much-touted government conservation program is, unsurprisingly, nothing really more than a little PR telling people to please conserve, pretty please. Oddly, Bush probably could in a sense lead by example by touting all the features of his green-friendly fake ranch in Texas, but that's unlikely to happen because the ranch serves as a symbol for all things which stand in opposition to treehuggerness of any kind.

Still, I have to imagine that someone in charge is truly frightened about the coming energy situation. Whether it's simply high gas and heating prices, or as I suspect fears of actual supply disruptions (which may or may not happen), someone in the administration is a wee bit worried and knows that deserved or not the political backlash from an energy crunch would be vicious.


Funny how these things happen:

NEW ORLEANS - Among the rumors that spread as quickly as floodwaters after Hurricane Katrina, reports that gunmen were taking potshots at rescue helicopters stood out for their senselessness.

On Sept. 1, as patients sweltered in hospitals without power and thousands of people remained stranded on rooftops and in attics, crucial rescue efforts were delayed as word of such attacks spread.

But more than a month later, representatives from the Air Force, Coast Guard, Department of Homeland Security and Louisiana Air National Guard say they have yet to confirm a single incident of gunfire at helicopters.

Likewise, members of several rescue crews who were told to halt operations say there is no evidence they were under fire.

To be sure, the streets of New Orleans posed real dangers in the days following Katrina. Many rescue workers said they heard gunfire; one doctor reports that shots came close enough to Charity Hospital that he heard the bullets hit.


Because of reports of gunfire, a FEMA support team ordered the Florida task force to stop work for the entire day unless law enforcement protection could be found, task force leader Dave Downey said. That help never came. Meanwhile, thousands of people were stuck in attics and on roofs of flooded houses in New Orleans.

"We had just had a very successful day before," when they rescued 400 people, said Downey, whose crew manned boats. "It definitely slowed down our rescue efforts. ...

Weekly Wanker

See who wins the coveted Winger.

J-Pod Said All That Needs to be Said

And he said it last week:

HARRIET MIERS [John Podhoretz]
I am going to assume that this is a classic Bush head-fake gambit. If I'm wrong, I will spend the weekend banging my head against a concrete wall. This is the Supreme Court we're talking about! It's not a job for a political functionary!
Posted at 10:40 AM

(via Holden)


Sadly, it isn't just the National Review which doesn't seem to know what insider trading is. From Newsweek:

Frist may well have the facts on his side. Attorneys with knowledge of the case say Frist has what appears to be a valid explanation—he apparently indicated in a letter his intention to sell shares in April, long before the earnings announcement in July (a Frist aide says the senator will turn over documentation to the SEC proving this).

It doesn't matter how long before the official earnings announcement Frist asked to seel the stock, at least as long as it's measured in months and not years. The only issue is whether he was illegally acting on inside information.

Open Thread

Cry "Thread," and let slip the dogs of war.

Open Thread

All the world 's a thread, and all the men and women merely players.

The World's Biggest Email Filter

A couple of days ago I admonished people for adding me to their spam lists. Sadly, as is frequently the case, too many people assumed I was somehow talking about them.

Look, spam sucks. My biggest spam problem these days involves a set of people who have created email lists (to which I, at least, have never wanted to be added) to which they regularly send anything interesting they happen to come across. If it's just one person it's no big deal, but these mass emails are sent to large numbers of people.

I don't mind stuff which is sent with good faith and good judgment. Once in awhile people have something they perceive as good enough to send out widely. I've done it myself. I have no problem with that. My problem is with the dozens of people who have added me to their personal daily email digests, without consent or opportunity for opt-out. Frankly, some people are just, well, fucking nuts, but even those who aren't nuts are just rude. I didn't ask to get your daily digest of important crap. Get your own blog, don't waste my time. How many "address this important issue!!!" emails am I supposed to smile at when they're issues I've already addressed?

Sunday, October 02, 2005

The "wayback machine" has now expanded its purpose to the collection and dissemination of public domain recordings, including feature films. Obviously the perpetual expansion of copyright length will tend to limit the scope of such an endeavor, but nonetheless there are plenty of interesting things available.

Tivo owners can now download the mpeg2 versions to our computers and then stream them through Tivo's onscreen interface.

Off to watch Flash Gordon...

Open Thread

There 's daggers in men's threads.

Moderate Bar

Sounds fabulous.


I'd written about this once before I think, but I was thinking about it again recently for a couple of reasons. I'm continually struck by how much we all (or many or most or whatever) have a bit of End Timeser in us. Sure, there's the Rapture crowd. But, it appears that a lot of people belong to one of the many End Times clubs (unofficially, at least). Enviros predict imminent environmental catastrophe. Libertarians imagine (even hope for) the breakdown of civil society through various precipitating events. People on the left and right predict imminent international economic collapse. I don't want to go to deeply into *why* so many people seem to be charter members in one of the many End Times clubs, though I do imagine it has something to do with it being the ultimate affirmation of some deeply held belief.

We all have our own version, I suppose, which says something about us. But in any case I was struck by Kevin Drum's version of the apocalypse, which was kind of a new one.


Oh praise Jeebus. I thought for a moment we'd have a lull in the Right's jihad against Hollywood except, you know, Ahnuld and Fred Thompson and basically every Hollywood person who ever had actual political power. Drudge link:

Choking back tears, COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF star Donald Sutherland warned this week: President Bush "will destroy our lives!"

The star of the new ABC drama, which follows the first woman President of the United States, lashed out at the real White House during a dramatic sit down interview with the BBC.

Sutherland ripped Bush and his administration for the war and Hurricane Katrina fallout.

"They were inept. The were inadequate to the task, and they lied," Sutherland charged.

"And they were insulting, and they were vindictive. And they were heartless. They did not care. They do not care. They do not care about Iraqi people. They do not care about the families of dead soldiers. They only care about profit."

At one point during the session, Sutherland started crying: "We stolen our children's future... We have children. We have children. How dare we take their legacy from them. How dare we. It's shameful. What we are doing to our world."

Sutherland went on rip Karl Rove's "methods and means" against people like Cindy Sheehan.

"We're back to burning books in Germany," Sutherland said of NBC's editing out of Kanye West's comment on Bush during a hurricane relief telethon.

Cranky Bastards

The official media cranky old men have been coming around recently. Rooney:

I'm not really clear how much a billion dollars is but the United States — our United States — is spending $5.6 billion a month fighting this war in Iraq that we never should have gotten into.

We still have 139,000 soldiers in Iraq today.

Almost 2,000 Americans have died there. For what?


We had a great commander in WWII, Dwight Eisenhower. He became President and on leaving the White House in 1961, he said this: “We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. …"

Well, Ike was right. That's just what’s happened.

August Wilson, RIP

I'd only ever seen Fences, which was quite good. I always managed to always keep missing his other works for some reason. But, from that experience as well as reading and hearing various things about by/him, he certainly was aiming for the kind of theater I tend to like. Gratifying he completed his cycle before his death, at least.

Open Thread

There 's daggers in men's threads.

Open Thread

There 's daggers in men's threads.

A Pox On One House

When the WaPo can manage to pen an entire editorial without slipping in some version of "but the Democrats are really to blame!" then perhaps things are actually changing.

Judy Judy Judy

Jay Rosen has some interesting things to say. It's clear that the institutional issues at the Times are incompatible with the sort of high minded journalism they preach. He writes:

Indeed, Miller's confounding case has so handcuffed the editorial capacity of the Times that it couldn't manage the simple act of reporting the news that she had been freed at about 4 pm Thursday. (See Editor & Publisher for that one.)

The Philadelphia Inquirer got a tip earlier in the day, confirmed it with officials at the jail that afternoon, and published the news about Miller's freedom at 6:40 pm. The Inquirer guys said they were surprised the Times wasn't reporting its own news. “We were checking their Web site," they said. "We thought they would put it up and they didn't." The Times did post its story around 8:45 pm that night (according to CJR Daily), but what does it mean when the simple act of breaking your own news becomes impossible for the Washington bureau?

Editor & Publisher: "When asked Friday why the Times did not report the story for several hours after Miller's release, New York Times Washington Bureau Chief Philip Taubman declined comment." No comment? Judy Miller's Times is an institution that ties itself in knots. It can't speak clearly, it contradicts itself. Instead of giving out information, it withholds. It can never tell the full story.


Or take this example: Murray Wass of the American Prospect reported new information back on August 6th: "Scooter Libby and Judy Miller met on July 8, 2003, two days after Joe Wilson published his column. And Patrick Fitzgerald is very interested." Wass asked the Times to comment:

In response to questions for this article, Catherine J. Mathis, a spokesperson for the Times, said, "We don't have any comment regarding Ms. Miller's whereabouts on July 8, 2003."

After Miller's release the Times got around to saying what it must have always known: "Ms. Miller met with Mr. Libby on July 8, 2003, and talked with him by telephone later that week, [sources] said." Notice how it affects what the New York Times, a great institution, can tell the public, and yet Judy's decision was hers: personal when she made it (her conditions weren't met), personal when she changed it (her conditions were met.) That's what I mean by Miller's Times.

Newspapers are a business and I wouldn't never expect 100% transparency on all internal operations. But, this isn't about internal business dealings, this is about news and journalism. There are different parts of the beast, but a big mistake was ever letting Bill Keller get involved in this in any way. That corrupted the integrity of the news page. Let Pinch defend her, let the editorial page (ridiculously) rant in her defense, but with Keller putting himself out there to defend her the news page of the Times completely lost its claim to legitimate independence.


Go watch the virtuoso stylings of PZ Myers and some other annoying guy. I haven't watched yet myself. Be kind.

Voodoo Lounge

Christian Bauman, who used to hang out here back in the good old days, has a new novel out:

I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but his previous book, The Ice Beneath You, was quite good, especially at conveying what it feels like to be fighting a forgotten war.

All the Way Up

Maybe I'd better put a second bottle in the fridge.

Champagne is Already Chilling

Endgame in the Plame grand jury.


Inquirer starts a series on getting old in the suburbs. The first part isn't that informative, but it raises some interesting issues. Layout and density make providing and obtaining the kinds of services seniors need difficult and costly.

Open Thread

Thread more than thou showest, thread less than thou knowest, thread less than thou owest.

Open Thread

There 's daggers in men's threads.

Greatest Live Show in the History of the Universe

Was out seeing Gogol Bordello. Make sure you go when they visit your town.


On one hand I actually think it was pretty inappropriate for Blitzer to ask Bob Bennett about his brother's nonsense, but on the other hand I find the implication that guests usually know what the questions are in advance rather disturbing.

Late Night

Chat amongst yourselves. Occasionally I leave the house. Oddly, that seems to bother some people.