Saturday, November 05, 2005

Lies and the Lying Liars

They knew their source was full of shit.

Though, one thing which is left out of the New York Times account is that al-Libi apparently had some, uh, "encouragement" for giving his bullshit information.

So, we tortured our way to obtaining bad information which was used to justify the war in Iraq which...

Lies and the Lying Liars

Bobo Brooks was spewing this crap on the Newshour last night, too. Does PBS care that they employ a liar? Does the New York Times? Sure, people just get things wrong sometimes but when winger central sends out the talking points and they all obligingly repeat them, that's not just getting things wrong that's being deliberately full of shit.

It's never just been the right wing media, it's long been the mainstream media providing a microphone for these dishonest hacks.

For shame.

Open Thread

I asked my love to give me shelter And all she offered me were threads.

We're All Larry Flynt Now

Some of us remember a few years back when Monica Madness hit that stories came out about Republican adultery. Salon was universally pilloried for daring to publish the fact that Henry Hyde had an affair. We were told that it wasn't about the sex, it was about the lying, and that politicians, Republican ones at least, deserved their privacy. People pointing out Republican hypocrisy on this subject were labelled McCarthyites (much as David Brooks called Mark Shields's suggestion that Bush lied to take us into war McCarthyism), and media outlets were scared off publishing any stories that might have been dumped in their laps.

I noticed that had apparently changed when the "Kerry had an affair" rumor surfaced during the election. There was no effort to justify why it was actually relevant to the election. It wasn't about the lying, or whatever, it was just about the sex.

Apparently, now, that's the new standard. Adultery, abortions, whatever, are all fair game. There need not be any bullshit justification, or hook of hypocrisy needed, they're newsworthy in and of themselves.

Open Thread

Now the threads I've sang don't add much weight to the story in my head so I'm thinking I should go and write a punch line.

Root Causes

Apparently it's boobies.


Smoking gun or silver bullet?:

Tomorrow, The New York Times answers the question, with reporter Doug Jehl disclosing the contents of a newly declassified memo apparently passed to him by Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

It shows that an al-Qaeda official in American custody was identified as a likely fabricator months before the Bush administration began to use his statements as the foundation for its claims that Iraq trained al-Qaeda members to use biological and chemical weapons, according to this Defense Intelligence Agency document from February 2002.

It declared that it was probable that the prisoner, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, "was intentionally misleading the debriefers" in making claims about Iraqi support for al-Qaeda's work with illicit weapons, Jehl reports.

“The document provides the earliest and strongest indication of doubts voiced by American intelligence agencies about Mr. Libi's credibility,” Jehl writes. “Without mentioning him by name, President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Colin L. Powell, then secretary of state, and other administration officials repeatedly cited Mr. Libi's information as ‘credible’ evidence that Iraq was training Al Qaeda members in the use of explosives and illicit weapons.

Open Thread

Thread comes to you and you follow - lose one on to the Heart of the Sunrise.


The NJ governor's race is getting quite nasty. This is funny.

The Miracle of the Internets

I don't think this point is made often enough. It is extraordinarily easy to imagine a world where the web as we know it never came to exist, and instead we just had a set of competing AOL type networks with top down control and without the real content freedom the web offers.

It amazingly bubbled up before anyone had a chance to smack it down.

Inside the Mind of Chris Matthews

Hardball, Wednesday:

MATTHEWS: Well, that's a political argument. I think everybody out there doesn't have national health insurance knows they don't have it. They know the situation they're in, Katrina, but they don't know what the hell is going on in Washington is what I'm trying to cover.

I agree with you for what people care about. They don't need more information about the lack of health care if they don't have it, I have to tell you that.

Media Matters

The weekly Media Matters column is quite good this week.


Couldn't happen to a nicer guy:

WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 - Kenneth Y. Tomlinson, the head of the federal agency that oversees most government broadcasts to foreign countries, including the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe, is the subject of an inquiry into accusations of misuse of federal money and the use of phantom or unqualified employees, officials involved in that examination said on Friday.

Mr. Tomlinson was ousted from the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting on Thursday after its inspector general concluded an investigation that was critical of him. That examination looked at his efforts as chairman of the corporation to seek more conservative programs on public radio and television.


In recent weeks, State Department investigators have seized records and e-mail from the Broadcasting Board of Governors, officials said. They have shared some material with the inspector general at the corporation, including e-mail traffic between Mr. Tomlinson and White House officials including Karl Rove, a senior adviser to President Bush and a close friend of Mr. Tomlinson.

Mr. Rove and Mr. Tomlinson became friends in the 1990's when they served on the Board for International Broadcasting, the predecessor agency to the board of governors. Mr. Rove played an important role in Mr. Tomlinson's appointment as chairman of the broadcasting board.

The content of the e-mail between the two officials has not been made public but could become available when the corporation's inspector general sends his report to members of Congress this month.

Open Thread

Lost in trance of dances as thread takes another turn. As is my want, I only reach to look in

Open Thread

I asked my love to give me shelter And all she offered me were threads.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Open Thread

What you gonna do when the thread strikes and hits you?

Friday Night Thread


Big Time Torture

Wilkerson sez torture orders came from Big Time.

Society for Professional Journalists

Jeebus what a bunch of morons are running that organization.

Friday Cat Blogging

Why Doesn't Richard Just Demand More Action to Prevent Child Molestation?

Actually, for all I know he has, but this kind of "anti-war liberals aren't whining loud enough about my pet issues and that proves that pro war people are better" reasoning is really silly.

As the poor man reminded us, it's rather difficult to unshit the bed. But, those who did place the shitter on the bed and cheered him on as he was shitting it should stop telling the rest of us that we're bad people because we also failed to stop another bed from getting shit upon.

Ney's Office Subpoenaed

The Abramoff scandal grows...

Certainly No Galileo

Man Jonah's an idiot.

Open Thread

On the darkest night so painful do you hunger for thread midst the torture of being one?

Wanker of the Day

Dana Rohrabacher.

And, we should never let a mention of Dana go by without playing a round of Dana's got a secret...

Bloggity Blog

As Kos points out, this is basically what the campaign finance reformers and the media scolds are worried about and there's nothing, aside from outlawing political speech entirely, that they can do about it.

But, in their efforts to do so they may end up preventing independent voices from having equal access to the public sphere, while letting Sean Hannity continue to do his good works.

Google Book Indexing

I really can't understand what people object to about Google's indexing of books. Such things, including both abstracts and excerpts, are nothing new and are a key part of any library's reference section. The idea that even an index is a derivative work of the author's creation requiring compensation or permission is absolutely ridiculous.

The Mother of All Battles

It looks like the Wall Street Journal (its parent company anyway) is about to make the rest of the media pay for giving in to their "liberal media" crap all these years.

Open Thread

Listen, should we thread forever Knowing as we do know fear destroys?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Don't Suburbanize the City

I was never familiar enough with the late Ed Bacon's contribution to the urban fabric here in Philadelphia to have my own opinion, but given Sandy Smith's explanations of what he was responsible for I have to concur with the basic point - suburbanizing the city is bad. Certainly urban life could use a bit more of some of the things people associate with suburban life - better schools, safer/cleaner streets, etc... - but the urban spaces should not be recreated in the suburban mold. There are plenty of suburbs where people can live, but bringing some of those influences into the city means, to a large degree, embracing the worst of both worlds.

Society Hill is a "nice" neighborhood. It's certainly the neighborhood that everyone from outside who comes through the city points to and says "wow, maybe city living isn't so bad." It's also a boring neighborhood which lacks the basic urban amenities which make city living what it is. It's a relatively small neighborhood, so it isn't as if it's that isolated, but it's large enough to reduce one key feature of urban existence - walkability.

Scary Pictures

The problem with being a major public figure is that people take thousands of pictures and some of them are bound to be truly scary.


Glancing through Political Money Line it seems that certain shows - Meet the Press seems to be a big offender - regularly covers travel expenses, though I haven't yet found anything close to Hot Tub Tom's 14 grand of fun. I also haven't found anyone else getting money from Fox News, though that doesn't mean it isn't there.

Is This Normal?

Fox pays $14,000 for DeLay's travel expenses?

Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX) "filed a report with the Clerk of the House of Representatives indicating he received free travel valued at $13,998.55 from Fox News Sunday for 'officially connected travel' on October 1-2, 2005, from Sugarland, TX to Washington, D.C. and back to Sugarland, TX. Rep. DeLay appeared on Fox News Sunday on October 2, 2005, the weekend after his indictment on September 28, 2005."

The Wackos

What prominent Republicans think of Christian conservatives.

Speaking of Power Tools

Don't forget the latest edition...


I can never tell if conservatives are really that stupid or if they just think their readers are. Toensing and DiGenova are media insiders. They were on TV every night during Monica Madness and DiGenova was responsible for some of the unsourced anonymous (some later retracted) bullshit (read: made up) about Lewinsky that hit the papers after Drudge broke the story and reporters were running around putting any gossip they could find in print.

From a review of Kalb's One Scandalous Story:

The highlight of Kalb's book is his careful dissection of one of the scandal's great non-stories: the allegation that a White House staffer--perhaps a Secret Service agent--had happened upon Clinton and Lewinsky in flagrante in the Oval Office. First reported by Jackie Judd on ABC News, several permutations of the story ricocheted around the media universe for days, eventually forcing embarrassing retractions from two of the nation's most prestigious papers, The Wall Street Journal and The Dallas Morning News. The false rumor captures the pitfalls journalists encounter when they ignore the by-the-book approach Kalb so sternly advocates.

The heroes in this episode are John Broder and Steve Labaton of The New York Times, who spiked their own story about the tryst's eyewitness at the last moment when they suddenly realized something their competitors did not: Their "sources" (four of them, in fact) were not really sources at all. The pressure on the pair was intense, not least because their story looked big enough to offset the Post's having scooped the Times in breaking the Lewinsky story. Yet careful last-minute spadework indicated that rather than four knowledgeable sources, what they actually had were, in Kalb's words, "four different people who seemed either to be echoing the Judd report [from ABC News] without any independent confirmation of their own or conveying and then embellishing a rumor they had heard about an agent `stumbling' upon the president with a young woman."

Like an echo chamber, the combustible scandal atmosphere had ricocheted a single rumor in so many directions that it seemed to many as though it were being confirmed from numerous sources. Only uncommon restraint and exacting self-scrutiny kept Broder and Labaton from falling into the trap that snared their peers. Later they learned that each of their four "sources" might actually have picked up the rumor from the same individual, former U.S. Attorney (and ubiquitous talking head) Joe DiGenova.

Bug Shit Crazy

WASHINGTON - Republicans may control Congress and the White House, but a leading House Republican says they can't be blamed for runaway federal spending on their watch.

Blame it on the war, said Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas. Or the Democrats.


He also blamed Democrats, complaining that they haven't offered any suggestions on how to cut spending. He said they created a congressional budget process that makes it difficult to cut spending.

"We've been operating off a Congress designed by Democrats," he said.

The Republicans took control of Congress in 1995.

Worst President Ever

ABCNews poll at 39.

55% say administration "intentionally misled" the country on Iraq. I guess they're all in, as Marshall Wittman would say, Michael Moore territory. Wittman's one of those people always worried about marginalizing the center. Why is he writing off 55% of the public? Weird, really.

These are fun too.
First number yes, second no:

Is a strong leader 47% 53%
Is honest and trustworthy 40 58
Shares your values 40 58
Understands problems of people like you 34 66

Open Thread

Leaving all the changes far from far behind. we relieve the tension only to find out the thread's name.

"So Misguided It's Almost Disturbing"

A rerun, in case you missed little Ricky on Imus...

Calling Bebe

Liddy's been a bad girl.


I hadn't thought initially that the possible conflict of interest issue with Alito and Vanguard was such a big deal, but now I actually see that it is:

Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. ruled in a 2002 case in favor of the Vanguard mutual fund company at a time when he owned more than $390,000 in Vanguard funds and later complained about an effort to remove him from the case, court records show -- despite an earlier promise to recuse himself from cases involving the company.

The case involved a Massachusetts woman, Shantee Maharaj, who has spent nearly a decade fighting to win back the assets of her late husband's individual retirement accounts, which had been frozen by Vanguard after a court judgment in favor of a former business partner of her husband.

Her lawyer, John G. S. Flym, a retired Northeastern law professor, said in an interview yesterday that Alito's ''lack of integrity is so flagrant" in the case that he should be disqualified as a Supreme Court nominee.

Maharaj, 50, discovered Alito's ownership of Vanguard shares in 2002 when she requested his financial disclosure forms after he ruled against her appeal to the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.


In 1990, when Alito was seeking US Senate approval for his nomination to be a circuit judge, he said in written answers to a questionnaire that he would disqualify himself from ''any cases involving the Vanguard companies."

I'm a bit unclear about what chain of events led to Alito having to specifically address Vanguard in that questionnaire.


One day soon we may unravel just why the Bush administration was so desperation to get Wilson and why, after his column, they were so quick to back down from the "16 words." Those on the right have a point when they argue that Bush didn't say "Niger" he said "Africa" and the still-standing (if probably bullshit) claim that British intelligence had an alternative source for the claim. That is, they'd have a point if the Bushies themselves didn't disavow the claim as soon as they were really pushed. So, why did they?

Defending Christmas

More idiocy from O'Reilly.

Your Right to Know

Smerconish, who's one of our local Limbaughs here in Philadelphia (though more reasonable and independent usually), has an interesting column about his efforts to get Tweety to answer the question of whether Tim Russert ever told him about Scooter's complaint call.

It's interesting for a variety of reasons, but just go read the whole thing...

The Real Issue

Of course we must constantly remind ourselves that "WMD" was always intrinsically somewhat of a bullshit argument. It should never have been whether Iraq had some nonconventional weapons, most of which aren't capable of "mass destruction," but whether Iraq was, through any means, a genuine threat to us. Absent an active nuclear program that really just was not the case, no matter how many nasty drums of chemicals Saddam had (or, apparently, didn't have) lying around.

Wanker of the Day

Marshall Wittman.


It wasn't just liberal hawks, either. In summer of 2002 before things really heated up there were frequent moments of honesty when conservatives would admit the WMD thing was basically bullshit but we needed to go to war anyway because [insert reason #45325532 here, usually something to do with showing the world how big our dicks are].

Why Did We Go to War In Iraq?

Given George Packer's rather bizarre gyrations about Iraq it's interesting that he understands that it is still the unanswered question.

Also, this is something which has gone mostly gone unnoticed. DiFi's off the bus:

Dianne Feinstein, a member of the intelligence committee, said yesterday: "Had I known then what I know now, I never would have have cast that vote, not in a thousand years."

And, Paul Begala dealt with the ridiculous other talking point coming from the conservative Borg - that the Senate "had the same intelligence" as the White House.

BEGALA: First off, the White House is who provides the intelligence to the Congress and the notion that the Congress sees the same intelligence as the president is nonsense.

I used to work in the White House and I used to work on the Congress. I can tell you, presidents and this president especially, treats Congress like a mushroom factory, keeps them in the dark and feeds them manure.

First of all, they didn't as Begala points out. And, secondly, the vote was an authorization to use force which got the inspectors in who then determined that there were probably no WMD there before Bush told them to get out before the bombs started dropping. Of course you had to be a fool to not have known that the force authorization meant that war was inevitable, and many members of Congress were foolish for that reason, but that doesn't mean the actual final decision to go to war was theirs.


Interesting how every conservative is suddenly invoking the Clenis as an excuse for the Iraq war. Some points:

Just because Clinton may have believed something does not necessarily make it true. I didn't think we needed to remind conservatives of that, but it's also something liberals believe. There never was a personality cult of the Clenis (except, oddly, on the right) which turned us all into his Lemmings.

In 1998 the bombing campaign, according to weapons inspectors, destroyed the basis for any possible WMD programs.

In 2002-2003 we had weapons inspectors in Iraq, thanks to the great and wonderful sabre rattling by Bush, to determine if post-1998 the capacity for any WMD had been rebuilt. They found that it hadn't, but instead of acting on that new information the Bush administration took us to war anyway.

...seeing the forest has more.


Interesting how scandals that the public finds important aren't thought to be very important by the press.

Geography of the Testicles

These people are bizarre.

Open Thread

Leaving all the changes far from far behind. we relieve the tension only to find out the thread's name.

Open Thread

No thread can take your place, you know what I mean. We have the same intrigue as a court of kings.

Open Thread

Leaving all the changes far from far behind. we relieve the tension only to find out the thread's name.


Bill Frist wants you to take the poll.

History's Greatest Monster

Damn repaving keeping me up so I'm watching Larry King chat with President Carter. Here's a pic from the Carter skybox at the convention, where a crack team of Democratic operatives determined that me, Tom Tomorrow, and Michael Moore (not pictured) should be stationed.

Bye Karl

This seems to be one of those horse head in the bed stories:

Top White House aides are privately discussing the future of Karl Rove, with some expressing doubt that President Bush can move beyond the damaging CIA leak case as long as his closest political strategist remains in the administration.

If Rove stays, which colleagues say remains his intention, he may at a minimum have to issue a formal apology for misleading colleagues and the public about his role in conversations that led to the unmasking of CIA operative Valerie Plame, according to senior Republican sources familiar with White House deliberations.

While Rove faces doubts about his White House status, there are new indications that he remains in legal jeopardy from Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald's criminal investigation of the Plame leak. The prosecutor spoke this week with an attorney for Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper about his client's conversations with Rove before and after Plame's identity became publicly known because of anonymous disclosures by White House officials, according to two sources familiar with the conversation.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Life in the City

I admittedly engage in the occasional bashing of the suburbs, but you suburbanites probably rarely have the joy of overnight repaving of streets.

Ah, the lovely sound of trucks, the delightful smell of tar...

Bill Buckley to Jonah Goldberg: STFU



The whole discussing about the "nuclear option" and the "gang of 14" was always ridiculous. Making a deal to prevent the other side from cheating was not a responsible act for anyone involved. If the "gang of 14" is breaking down then great. Whether or not Alito will be or should be filibustered has nothing to do with this. The Republicans signalled their intentions to cheat, the media thought it was cute, and then they fell in love with the "moderates" who prevented them from cheating by validating their right to cheat.

Harry "All your balls are belong to us" Reid showed us what a post-nuclear Senate could look like. I for one look forward to hearing from the increasingly hysterical Polly Prissypants.

Rope. Tree. Justice.

Neiwert on Malkin's latest "book."

Open Thread

Our thread is our world, our life.


That's the sound of O'Reilly's and Malkin's melons exploding. Apparently Franken's new book debuts at #1 on the NYT bestseller list.

The Best Show I Never Listen To

I rarely listen to AAR's Morning Sedition. I'm not much of a radio person generally, except when driving which I rarely do these days, and I'm either sleeping or busy at that time of day. But it's really quite a good show and it'll be disappointing if, as is apparently the case, the show ceases to be in its current form.


CBS Poll.

Worst. President. Ever.

Open Thread


Buy It Up

If I were a liberal leaning person or foundation with a few bucks to throw around and I wanted to do some good in the world, I'd indulge the wishes of Knight Ridder's chief shareholder and buy up some newspapers.

Fun With Forbes

World O'Crap takes them apart.

Wanker of the Day

Jake Tapper.

Santorum Wants a Threesome


Open Thread

your eyes.

Caption This

What's Reid saying to Polly Prissypants? (from the washington post)

Quote of the Day

From the New York Times:

Americans are long overdue for an answer to why they were told there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

That would, of course, be accomplished in part by having a full accounting of all of Judith Miller's sources.

Pro-Choice and Proud

What's important to Americans:

If it becomes clear Alito would vote to reverse Roe v. Wade, Americans would not want the Senate to confirm him, by 53% to 37%.

If most Senate Democrats oppose the nomination and decide to filibuster against Alito, 50% of Americans believe they would be justified, while 40% say they would not.

If the Republicans then decide to eliminate the filibuster on judicial nominations, to ensure an "up-or-down vote" on the nomination, Americans would be evenly divided as to whether that tactic was justified -- 45% say it would be, 47% say it would not.

Polly Prissypants


Frist was now sputtering. "This is an affront to me personally. It's an affront to our leadership. It's an affront to the United States of America!" Turning sorrowful, he vowed that "for the next year and a half, I can't trust Senator Reid."

"Mr. Leader," one stunned journalist observed, "I don't remember you being so exercised over something before."

"You've never seen me in heart surgery," the senator, a transplant specialist, replied.

Dr. Frist's patients -- not to mention the Tennessee medical licensing board -- may be surprised to learn that he had operating-room rage. But his reaction to Reid's provocation was predictable.

Open Thread

I asked my love to give me shelter And all she offered me were threads.

Open Thread

No thread can take your place, you know what I mean. We have the same intrigue as a court of kings.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Whiney Racist Hate Mongering Sock Puppet

Who could I be talking about?


Articles like this were pretty much a daily occurrence during the Clinton administration. Current and former officials were always telling reporters what they just had to do to get back on track, or whatever. But they've been pretty rare in the Bush era.

WASHINGTON -- The building blocks of President Bush's career _ his credibility and image as a strong and competent leader _ have been severely undercut by self-inflicted wounds, leading close allies to fret about his presidency. They say he's lost his way.

These senior Republicans, including past and current White House advisers, say they believe the president can find his way back into people's hearts but extreme measures need to be taken. Shake up his staff, unveil fresh policies, travel the country and be more accountable for his mistakes _ these and other solutions are being discussed at the highest levels of the GOP.


A White House official privately put it this way: Bush has to step up somehow and be accountable.


Between Horny Bear Scooter and Strip Search Sammy I'm really starting to wonder what the hell is up with your modern Republican party...

Judy Judy Judy

We may have Judy to kick around for a little while longer.

At least it'll provide more material.

Open Thread

More in the mind than the body this feeling, a sense at the end Of a circular thread.

Video Goo Goo

Watch Harry shut'em down.

Watch Cafferty go off.

(pic thanks to Dave J.)

Frist to America: WAAHHHH WAAAHHH

Sorry, behind here, still catching up with email. Frist sure is a little baby.

Uh, What's Going On?

Was out today. I gather I missed some fireworks? Someone fill me in...

...ah, here we go.

...more here. I hate when I miss all the fun.

Open Thread

How can the thread with its arms all around me?

Open Thread

Threads to the left of you threads to the right speak when you are spoken to don't pretend you're right.


This makes more sense than the story by Isikoff which claimed that one email got Rove off the hook somehow:

Fitzgerald appeared prepared to indict Rove heading into last week for making false statements, according to three people close to the probe. But that changed during a private meeting last Tuesday between Fitzgerald and Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin. It's not clear precisely what happened in that meeting, but two sources briefed on it said Luskin discussed new information that gave Fitzgerald "pause."

That evening, Fitzgerald's investigative team called Adam Levine, a member of the White House communications team at the time of the leak. An investigator questioned Levine about an e-mail Rove had sent Levine on July 11, 2003 -- the same day Rove discussed Plame with Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper, according to Dan French, Levine's attorney.

The e-mail, which did not mention Plame, ended with Rove telling Levine to come see him. The investigator wanted details of that conversation, which took place within an hour or so of the Cooper-Rove chat, according to a person familiar with the situation. Levine told investigators they did not discuss Plame.

Part of Rove's defense has been that he was very busy man who simply forgot to tell investigators about his conversation with Cooper. If the e-mail "was exculpatory at all, it was most likely a small piece of a much larger mosaic of information," French said.

A source familiar with the discussion between Rove and Fitzgerald said the Tuesday meeting was about a lot more than "just an e-mail from Levine." He would not elaborate.

Rove remains a focus of the CIA leak probe. He has told friends it is possible he still will be indicted for providing false statements to the grand jury.

"Everyone thinks it is over for Karl and they are wrong," a source close to Rove said. The strategist's legal and political advisers "by no means think the part of the investigation concerning Karl is closed."

Open Thread

Leaving all the changes far from far behind. we relieve the tension only to find out the thread's name.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Wanker of the Day



Something I think is just about undeniable at this point is that we have a president who has decided that "leaving Iraq=losing." Even aside from whatever reason we're really there for, or what our long term ambitions in the region are, he's settled into this little narrative that can't be broken. Iraq is the central front in the war on terror. The terrorists are attacking us there. The terrorists want us to leave. If we leave the terrorists win.

We are not going to see significant troop withdrawals in '06, '07, or '08 absent a major rebellion by Republicans in Congress, which I can't see happening. Even a Democratic sweep in '06 won't help end this thing.

All the talk of benchmarks, timetables, withdrawal, whatever is somewhat moot. There's nothing which will cause Bush to call for withdrawal. It's his mission, his purpose, his raison d'etre. It's all he's got, and he's not going to let go no matter how many people die.

Happy Halloween

Here's the scariest Jack-O-Lantern I could find:

Arianna has some things to say about the NYT's puff piece.



But I don't understand why someone as politically keen as The Nation's David Corn would lend his name to the editorial board of Pajamas Media, the greatest assembly of conservative deadbeats since Jonah Goldberg's last fondue party. What an illustrious roster of ideological utensils make up Pajamas' masthead: Michael Barone...John Podhoretz...Tim Blair...and this inveterate stirpot, whose presence all decent men and women should shun until proper disinfectant can be found. By allowing his name to be slated on the editorial board, Corn is letting himself be used as a figleaf enabling Pajamas to pretend that it's a bipartisan effort instead of what it so flagrantly is, a neocon popstand.

I keep gettting invitations to the launch party. I'd rather eat lead paint chips.

Sex then Death

It can't be said enough, but the anti-choice movement's opposition to vaccination for the HPV virus on the grounds that it might encourage people to screw more tells us all we really need to know about what motivates them.

The Grand Unifying Iranian Conspiracy

I've long been partial to the generally said with a whisper theory that the Iraq war was in no small part the product of Iranian intelligence. It's hard to see how they weren't the ones with the most to gain from the conflict.

It just might be true.

Judicial Activism

Who are the judges most likely to legislate from the bench?

Here is the question we asked: How often has each justice voted to strike down a law passed by Congress?

Declaring an act of Congress unconstitutional is the boldest thing a judge can do. That's because Congress, as an elected legislative body representing the entire nation, makes decisions that can be presumed to possess a high degree of democratic legitimacy. In an 1867 decision, the Supreme Court itself described striking down Congressional legislation as an act ''of great delicacy, and only to be performed where the repugnancy is clear.'' Until 1991, the court struck down an average of one Congressional statute every two years. Between 1791 (the court's founding) and 1858, only two such invalidations occurred.


We found that justices vary widely in their inclination to strike down Congressional laws. Justice Clarence Thomas, appointed by President George H.W. Bush, was the most inclined, voting to invalidate 65.63 percent of those laws; Justice Stephen Breyer, appointed by President Bill Clinton, was the least, voting to invalidate 28.13 percent. The tally for all the justices appears below.

One conclusion our data suggests is that those justices often considered more ''liberal'' -- Justices Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter and John Paul Stevens -- vote least frequently to overturn Congressional statutes, while those often labeled ''conservative'' vote more frequently to do so. At least by this measure (others are possible, of course), the latter group is the most activist.


Thomas: 65.63%
Kennedy: 64.06%
Scalia: 56.25%
Rehnquist: 46.88%
O'Connor: 46.77%
Souter: 42.19%
Stevens: 39.34%
Ginsburg: 39.06%
Breyer: 28.13%

I understand that political spinners are going to do what they do, but when the supposedly responsible members of our press are reducing everything to buzzwords and catchphrases they should at least define what they mean. With Alito it's just ridiculous to claim he's a practitioner of "judicial restraint."

Judicial Activism usually means nothing more than "Judgifying I don't like." In other words, it means nothing.

How Many Democratic Pundits Identify As The Base?

It's interesting. Just about all of the conservative commentators rhetorically align themselves with "the base." They're on the team. How many Democratic commentators do? How many act as if "the base," whatever that is, is some icky scary mob to run away from at all costs?

I'm not talking about the reality of it, but the posturing. Bay Buchanan was talking about "the base" and it was a "we" thing.


On Alito:

Best of all for Bush's base, Alito is the kind of "restrained" jurist who isn't above striking down acts of Congress whenever they offend him. Bush noted this morning: "He has a deep understanding of the proper role of judges in our society. He understands that judges are to interpret the laws, not to impose their preferences or priorities on the people."

Except, of course, that Alito doesn't think Congress has the power to regulate machine-gun possession, or to broadly enforce the Family and Medical Leave Act, or to enact race or gender discrimination laws that might be effective in remedying race and gender discrimination, or to tackle monopolists. Alito thus neatly joins the ranks of right-wing activists in the battle to limit the power of Congress and diminish the efficacy of the judiciary. In that sense Bush has pulled off the perfect Halloween maneuver: He's managed the trick of getting his sticky scandals off the front pages, and the treat of a right-wing activist dressed up as a constitutional minimalist.

Enabled, of course, by the craptacular media who mindlessly repeat whatever talking points they're handed.

DRM Follies

This is hilarious. Sony is pushing a copy protection system for CDs just to have a pissing contest with Apple.

The whole CD copy protection racket is just ridiculous. MP3 players are so pervasive now that you can't tell your customers that they can't do what they're accustomed to do with the disc they just purchased.


53% Say Administration Lied

It's kind of a big deal that a majority of Americans believe that the Bush administration misled the country about WMD. As James Wolcott wrote once about something else, it's kind of a big deal because people have mostly come to that conclusion all by themselves without very much prompting by the opinion guardians in the media.

[poll just on CNN]

Words Speak Louder Than Actions

Since Bush says everyone is cooperating everyone is cooperating even though someone's just been indicted for, you know, not cooperating.


Nitpicker versus Victor Davis Hanson.

I think Victor's the one in the middle, but I could never keep them straight...

(via tbogg)

Some More Media Advice

I'm writing this very very slowly so hopefully you'll be able to understand it. When a lower judge follows a clear Supreme Court precedent he or she is not necessarily doing so because he or she thinks that the decision which set the precedent was decided correctly. The cool thing about getting to be on the Supreme Court is that you have a say in what those binding decisions are, and so you have a chance to overturn the stuff you don't like.


John King dutifully passing along talking points.

In the case of one abortion decision, yes, he sided with those who favored notification. A wife or a woman would have to notify her spouse before receiving an abortion. But he didn't say anything about abortion itself. He said the Pennsylvania legislature should have that right; the courts should not make that decision, the legislature should.

From the Bush White House perspective, this is a conservative with respect for judicial restraint. We are about, though, Kyra, to have a very big political fight.

The right has thrown together a bunch of catch phrases which often have nothing to do with each other and when they do they can contradict each other (judicial restraint, strict constructionism, original intent, etc...). Alito isn't known for his "judicial restraint." He's known for the exact opposite.


The media hucksters are busy pushing Alito in Bush's chosen "don't like activist judges" box despite the fact that he doesn't belong there any more than Bush's other favorite judges do. Earlier on CNN they were making this claim with respect to the Casey case, claiming his position on that was motivated by deference to the legislative branch. But Alito is known for the opposite - desiring great deference from the other branches and wanting to strike down legislation left and right, at least legislation not about expanding eminent domain power to cover the uterus.

Alito: Employers Can Fire People For Having AIDS

Fuck yeah!

A Big Game of Charades

So that's what it was.

Silly me.

Link dead. Try later.

Nuclear Option

The media spent months obsessing about this story, getting it wrong almost every time, and now that there's a whiff of filibuster in the air (though certainly no on in power has suggested it would happen) they're back to getting it wrong again.

The nuclear option is not, as Ed Henry said just a few minutes ago on CNN, about "changing Senate rules" to prohibit the filibuster. It's about cheating. It's about using a bullshit procedure to get around the official Senate rules change process by abusing the power of the majority and then sticking their tongues out and chanting "what're you going to do about it?"

The media gets things wrong a lot, but their continued willingness to obscure what this is about is bizarre.

Against the Family Leave Act

Nuttier than Rehnquist. Lovely.

The Legacy of Arlen Specter

I never had any doubt that Arlen Specter would push through a nominee that would overturn Roe as long as he had some cover. That is, as long as the nominee wasn't clearly on the record as wanting to overturn Roe he could hold his nose and close his eyes and pretend.

However, with his participation in the Pennsylvania Casey decision, Alito's made his views pretty clear. The real question now becomes will Arlen Specter's final legacy be to help orchestrate the overturning of Roe?

Here's what the Inquirer wrote last year when they endorsed him

The Inquirer believes Specter should get another six-year term. Preserving the legality of abortion plays no small part in this decision. Sometime in the next four years, the chairman of the Judiciary Committee will very likely find himself in the pivotal role of scrutinizing at least one new Supreme Court nominee. Assuming that Republicans are in charge of the Senate, it would be better to have the chairman's seat filled by Specter, who says Roe v. Wade is "inviolate" as the law of the land. If Specter loses, next in line among Republicans to be chairman is Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, who opposes abortion rights.

It's time to see if the guy has any actual principles or if the "moderate pro-choice Republican" thing he's milked his whole career was just a scam.

Men's Liberation

Deeply stupid people.

Strip Searching 10 Year Olds

What the hell country does this guy want to live in and why can't he just find it instead of turning my country to shit.


I think it would've been quite nice if Judge Alito had stopped by to pay respects to Rosa Parks... yesterday. The idea that they're going to parade him in front of her casket after his nomination is truly demented, especially given Alito's dissent in Bray v. Marriot Hotels which , as explained in the majority opinion:

The dissent's position would immunize an employer
from the reach of Title VII if the employer's belief that it had selected the "best" candidate, was the result of conscious racial bias. Thus, the issue here, is not merely whether Marriott was seeking the "best" candidate but whether a reasonable factfinder could conclude that Bray was not deemed the best because she is Black. Indeed, Title VII would be eviscerated if our analysis were to halt where the dissent suggests.

All Your Uterus Are Belong To Your Husband

While I certainly don't agree with the position I can at least have some respect for those who want to outlaw abortion based on the notion that "life" (whatever that means) begins at conception (Though no respect for those who believe that conception is the magic point unless rape or incest was involved. That's just ethical gibberish.) I certainly don't have any sympathy for those who think that your legal spouse has part ownership of your uterus.

Alito Alito Bo Balito...

Let the games begin.

Open Thread

Threads to the left of you threads to the right speak when you are spoken to don't pretend you're right.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Saddam Building Laser Cannon on the Moon


The Schools


As the money runs out on the $30 billion American-financed reconstruction of Iraq, the officials in charge cannot say how many planned projects they will complete, and there is no clear source for hundreds of millions of dollars a year needed to operate the projects that have been finished, according to a report to Congress released yesterday.

The report, by the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, describes some progress but also an array of projects that have gone awry, sometimes astonishingly, like electrical substations that were built at great cost but never connected to the country's electrical grid.

With more than 93 percent of the American money now committed to specific projects, it could become increasingly difficult to solve those problems.

Issues like those "should have been considered before," said Jim Mitchell, a spokesman for the inspector general's office. "It's very critical right now, with so little of the U.S. money left to be committed, that they're going to have to make these determinations very quickly."

Booby and Scooter Sitting in a Tree

.Larry Johnson on Booby

Ari Ari Bo Bari Banana Fana Fo Fari

Me My Mo Mari... ARI!


Isikoff's been almost reasonable lately. But, this story containing the most ridiculous "why Rove wasn't indicted" excuse combined with the most ridiculus "why Fitzgerald would talk to Bush's lawyer" excuse was really quite silly.

Of course, I have no idea if Rove is really off the hook or why Bush's lawyer is talking to Fitzgerald, but the lack of logic behind the explanations is appalling...

The Elite

Just who the hell are "the elite" in conservative world?

BoBo's World

Bobo inhales swamp gas edition.

Open Thread

Have you heard of a thread that will help us get it together again? Have you heard of the thread that will stop us going wrong?

Fresh Thread


Quote of the Day

"Unfortunately a lot of fine young people were gotten for perjury during Watergate."

-Al Haig

Fox Fun

Brit Hume follies.

Find the Liberal

Meet the Press roundtable:


Reliable Sources roundtable:

Frum, Bumiller, Milbank

Wanker of the Day

Leon Kass.

Wanker Redemption


I owe Patrick Fitzgerald an apology.

Over the last year, I've referred to him nastily a couple of times as "Inspector Javert," after the merciless and inflexible character in Victor Hugo's "Les Misérables." In my last column, I fretted aloud that he might pursue overzealous or technical indictments.

But Mr. Fitzgerald didn't do that. The indictments of Lewis Libby are not for memory lapses or debatable offenses, but for repeatedly telling a fairy tale under oath.

He also calls on Big Time to resign if he can't come clean.

Is Malkin a Journalist?

David Neiwert answers the question.

Open Thread

Have you heard of a thread that will help us get it together again? Have you heard of the thread that will stop us going wrong?

Open Thread

Always on the thread of what could be the greatest moment in this life.