Saturday, December 03, 2005


Argh. This is just all getting ridiculous.


Luskin, according to sources close to Viveca Novak, was a longtime source of hers, not a close friend (as has been wrongly reported).

Washington Post:

A reporter for Time magazine told Karl Rove's attorney in early 2004 that the White House deputy chief of staff might be in more legal trouble than he originally thought, according to sources familiar with the conversation. Now, Rove is relying on that casual exchange as part of a broad effort to convince a prosecutor he did not lie about his role in the CIA leak case, the sources said.

A conversation between longtime friends -- Viveca Novak, who has helped cover the case for Time, and Robert Luskin, Rove's attorney -- is at the heart of the latest legal maneuvering in the two-year-old case.

I guess that makes the previously reported "summer or early fall" is no longer operative.

The WaPo article linked above is just gibberish. Basically Luskin or someone else runs to the press screaming "this is great for my client" no matter what the news is and the journalists feel obliged to try to make that spin fit the facts even when it makes no sense.

...adding, if this timeline is true it seems that Luskin might be facing potential obstruction/suborning perjury charges. I can't imagine this isn't the case, though perhaps some lawyerly types can set me straight.


Joe "Mama" Besser sure does get around.

Late Night


Open Thread

There'll be no mutant enemy we shall certify. Political threads of sad remains will die.

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.

Washington Right Wing Journal

FAIR confirms what must of us long knew - WJ leans more than just a little bit right.

Elected officials who appeared on Washington Journal were slightly more balanced than overall partisan guests. Of the 97 elected officials appearing on the show (senators and House members), 58 were Republican and 39 were Democrat—a 60 to 40 percent imbalance in favor of the GOP.

One might reasonably expect Republicans to moderately outnumber Democrats at a time when the GOP controls the White House and both houses of Congress, but a nearly two to one advantage is hard to justify—particularly in the wake of the national election that concluded in the first week of the study period with the Republican candidate receiving 51 percent of the popular vote. That election gave the Republicans control of 53 percent of the House and 55 percent of the Senate.

Journalists accounted for nearly a third of all guests (215, or 32 percent), the largest single occupational group on Washington Journal’s guestlist. The establishment-oriented Washington Post, with 20 journalists appearing as guests, was the most visible outlet, followed by the Capitol Hill–focused Congressional Quarterly with 12 and the right-leaning Washington Times with 10. USA Today and Time each provided eight guests, while five represented the Christian Science Monitor.

Despite its declaration of balance, the Washington Journal hosted journalists from right-leaning opinion magazines more often than it did those from the left. For instance, the conservative Weekly Standard furnished three guests, as did the like-minded National Review (including National Review Online). Only two guests from the liberal American Prospect were invited on the Journal, and only one guest from the left-leaning Nation.

When opinion journalists from all outlets were included, the right-leaning bias was nearly as strong: 32 right-of-center journalists appeared, vs. 19 left-of-center reporters (even counting editor Peter Beinart, the New Republic’s pro-war editor, as being on the left). Perhaps this tilt to the right could be rationalized if right-wing magazines were distinctly more popular than their counterparts on the left, but the reverse seems to be true; Mother Jones and The Nation both best National Review’s circulation numbers by a wide margin, and The Progressive outsells the Weekly Standard and American Spectator.


The King of Zembla interviews Joe Dante.

How Not to let the Word Racism Drive You Insane

Ampersand has good advice.

This roughly applies to discussions of sexism, too. The fact that you don't have a set of robes in your closet or you don't think of yourself as a misogynist doesn't mean that nothing that ever comes out of your mouth has its roots in racism or sexism, whether there's any of that intention behind it. Relax, consider the criticism.

(via pandagon)

Bowl Games

Thank God Congress is going to start working on the really important stuff which is just crying out for congressional meddling.

(via americablog)

Open Thread

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

Open Thread

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

Breaking News

John "Stumpy" Pepys killed.

Zombie Reviews?

I noticed Showtime was not free for all, but how did the rest of you enjoy it?

Your Invitation Has Arrived

Don't be stupid, be a smarty, come and join the Fox News party!

Friday, December 02, 2005

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?

Evening Thread

Don't forget - Zombies. Showtimes. 10pm.

For the fainthearted don't worry, it isn't really scary.

Plame Update

According to CNN both Luskin and Viveca Novak will be testifying next week. At issue appears to be the fact that Fitzgerald "misinterpreted" (uhh) and thought that a conversation between Luskin and Novak actually happened between Rove and Novak.

Plameologists, go...


OB FRANKEN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, it's very delicate. We're picking up that there could be two principals in this getting deposed next week giving sworn statements. Those two would include Karl Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin and Viveca Novak of "Time Magazine."

Now it really comes down to, when all is said and done, a question of who said what to whom when.

And the who is very important because we're being told by a variety of sources that the special prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, was planning to indict Karl Rove for misrepresenting during the investigation an interview comments that he had made to a reporter. However, there was a key conversation, sources say, and there may have been a misunderstanding by the special prosecutor that a conversation that he was attributing to Rove with Viveca Novak of "Time Magazine" may, in fact, have really been held by Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin.

As we've talked many times before, you and I, and just about any reporter who's been involved in this, has had conversations on the record with Luskin.

So now comes the process where Luskin is going to be testifying under oath during this deposition then Novak. Then Fitzgerald is going to have to make a decision on whether he will change his mind about indicting Rove.

It gets kind of complicated, and it gets even more complicated when you're told by the variety of sources this will not end the investigation. This is something that could go on for a while as they'll be looking for other parties who may have had a role in all of this--Wolf.

Little Ricky's Got a Problem


Third party group, Santorum campaign use same footage


Associated Press

WASHINGTON - If the grandfather and grandson walking together in Sen. Rick Santorum's Internet ad look familiar, it could be because the same two actors are in a television ad that a third-party group is running in support of Santorum.

A spokeswoman for Santorum, R-Pa., has repeatedly denied any connection between Santorum and the group, Americans for Job Security.

The campaign for Bob Casey Jr. - the leading Democratic challenger in his 2006 Senate race - said Friday the coincidence is too much to be ignored.

"I think it raises a lot of questions," said Larry Smar, a spokesman for Casey, the Pennsylvania treasurer who is leading in polls against Santorum. "Someone isn't shooting straight."

Screenshot from Americans for Job Security ad:

Screenshot from Santorum web ad:

Same pair, same clothes... They're claiming it's just a miracle of the coincidental stock footage.

They Make Phone Calls

The General asks a question and gets an answer.

"Little Nazi Blockwatcher"

Ann's so cute.


August says this is the funniest thing he's ever heard.

It's not nearly as funny as this.

Wingnutosphere: Wrong Again

What's that, about 0 for 74534534?

(via tbogg)

Open Thread

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

Pajama Follies

Catch has the latest.

Friday Zombie Blogging

Don't forget to watch Showtime's Masters of Horror at 10pm. Here's another review.

It's Showtime's free week so cable/satellite customers should have access.

Wank Wank Wank

No matter how many times it's pointed out the campaign finance obsessives just close their eyes and ears and pretend it isn't the case:

"Last time I looked, press institutions aren't in the business of raising money for candidates," said Fred Wertheimer, president of Democracy 21, a campaign watchdog group in Washington that submitted comments opposing Fired Up's request.

"We object to this being framed as a press exemption where you have groups that are affirmatively stating that one of their major purposes is to support and raise money for candidates," Wertheimer said.

No matter how many times it's pointed out to these people that people in other parts of the media encourage their readers/listeners give money to candidates (Stern/Limbaugh/Krauthammer/Hannity/etc...) they just ignore it and pretend it doesn't happen.

If we think such fundraising activitiy should nullify the press exception, fine, but that standard should be applied evenly across all media types.

Anyway, here's a link to FireUpMissouri which is what this is in reference to.

Stupidest Man Alive

Looks like my good friend Don Luskin* still holds the title.

*AFAIK no relation to Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, who may or may not turn out to be the stupidest attorney alive.

Lies and the Lying Liars

WSJ busted again.

(tip res ipsa)

Monthly Jobs Report Day

I've been in remiss in making my over/under bet the last few months. But, today the monthly jobs report comes out. Consensus forecast is 210K new jobs. One rarely goes wrong making the under bet these days, and with a number that high I'll go with it.

...and the overs win!

Nonfarm payroll employment grew by 215,000 in November, and the unemployment
rate was unchanged at 5.0 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S.
Department of Labor reported today. Over the month, job growth was widespread,
with large gains in construction and food services.

Open Thread

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

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Harshing on Matt and Viveca

It's time we started discussing just what the fuck journalistic ethics were involved in the Viveca Novak/Matt Cooper/Luskin love triangle. If what we've learned recently is true, Matt Cooper, who went to court so that he wouldn't have to reveal a source, told colleague (not editor) Viveca Novak who that source was, and she in turn blabbed about it to a likely target of the investigation.

Can someone explain the journalistic principles involved here?

I thought not.

Jane Scoops the Times

Jane, Wednesday:

According to a source who wishes to remain anonymous because they don't want to be identified (got that from a WaPo article on Paris & Nicole yesterday and I've been dying to use it -- good one, huh?) Viveca Novak is indeed being called to testify before Fitzgerald at Luskin's request. Rumor has it that in May of 2004 when Cooper and Russert were first subpoenaed, "inveterate gossip" Viveca knew that Matt Cooper's source was Karl Rove and she just happened to mention it to her buddy Luskin. Luskin is now claiming that this surprise revelation to his memory-challenged client is what prompted them to go hunting through his emails and call up the one he had written to Hadley.

Times, tomorrow:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 - A conversation between Karl Rove's lawyer and a journalist for Time magazine led Mr. Rove to change his testimony last year to the grand jury in the C.I.A. leak case, people knowledgeable about the sequence of events said Thursday.

Mr. Rove's lawyer, Robert D. Luskin, spoke in the summer or early fall of 2004 with Viveca Novak, a reporter for Time magazine. In that conversation, Mr. Luskin heard from Ms. Novak that a colleague at Time, Matthew Cooper, might have interviewed Mr. Rove about the undercover C.I.A. officer at the heart of the case, the people said.

The timing - important - is different, but the basic story is the same. The timing matters because the number of months it took between having his memory jogged and "changing his testimony" will have an impact on whether Fitz can indict him for perjury.

...and, Jane scoops me on Jane scooping the Times.


Man, if they flip Abramoff it'll be like a nuke hit Republican Washington.

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 - With a federal corruption case intensifying, prosecutors investigating Jack Abramoff, the Republican lobbyist, are examining whether he brokered lucrative jobs for Congressional aides at powerful lobbying firms in exchange for legislative favors, people involved in the case have said.

The attention paid to how the aides obtained jobs occurs as Mr. Abramoff is under mounting pressure to cooperate with prosecutors as they consider a case against lawmakers. Participants in the case, who insisted on anonymity because the investigation is secret, said he could try to reach a deal in the next six weeks.

The First Mother

If I were Dick Cheney I'd be on my way to my undisclosed location.

Laughing at Falafel

A reader's reaction to O'Reilly (audio).

...nevermind. Server not happy. Will put up if I can manage to shrink the file.

...okay, try this one.

Getting Out

I heard Murtha on NPR earlier and the one thing that struck me as that he's apparently convinced that by the end of next year most US troops will be out of Iraq. He wasn't clear on exactly how we were going to get to that point.


O'Reilly is effing bonkers.


Smell it.

"Cultural Discomfort"

Because what we really needed was a new nice sounding phrase for xenophobic racism.

Kipmas is Coming!

It might be almost as much fun as Fitzmas.

Save The People Paper

I have no idea why some well meaning dogooders don't see a tremendous opportunity here...

Derb's World

Hilarious. Or scary. Or something.

Five Worst Offenders

Yes, we shouldn't let Judith Miller get all the credit.

Here's one:

Jim Hoagland, Washington Post: This is sort of the Post's version of Miller, only he gets more leeway because he's an op-ed columnist. A veritable Dr. Strangelove of the war, he carried on a bizarre one-way discourse with Saddam Hussein before it started, referring to the dictator as "old chum" and gleefully chiding him about his imminent destruction. At the heart of Hoagland's madness was Ahmad Chalabi, the huckster who ran the Iraqi National Congress and was used as a chief source by the Bush administration in the buildup to war. Hoagland, to his great detriment, forged a too-close, 30-year friendship with Chalabi. It obviously skewed the man's logic. In 2001, he criticized the L.A. Times for repeating claims that Chalabi, wanted on embezzlement charges in Jordan, was a "crook." Then he waxed poetic about how Chalabi sacrificed "most of his fortune so he can risk his life to fight Saddam." Too bad he forgot to report that the man and the INC were paid tens of millions of dollars by the Pentagon for Chalabi's often faulty — but oh so handy — "intelligence." If Hoagland had any left, he'd pull a Murtha.

(tip from RP)

Big Liar

Time reporter says Bush is full of shit.

Same Time reporter said Lieberman's either nuts or a liar.

I like this guy.

Worse, Worser, Worst

O'Reilly wins the triple crown!

Joe Should Go

Lieberman's certainly annoyed me about the Iraq war issue and because of plenty of Fox News Democrat moments, but actually where he annoyed me the most was when he was transparently full of shit about the Bankruptcy Bill. He voted against the final bill, but he was on the wrong side of the procedural vote which everyone knew was the only real way to stop the thing. He then proudly trumpeted his vote against it. That's the kind of thing Rick Santorum does.

If any credible primary challenger in Connectictut stepped forward they would get lots of support. Including, it seems, from Move On.

Splitting the Baby

In the comments to the post below about abortion a few people chimed in with the predictable "well, yah, but if the man wants her to have an abortion and she doesn't have one he shouldn't have to pay child support !!!!"

This is inane. All it does it give men a magic "get out of paying child support" card. Yes, I understand how in fantasyland it sounds nice that if one partner doesn't want a baby and the other does they go their separate ways. But here in reality you don't get to force a woman to have an abortion and even if you try you still have legal obligations.

I'm sure there are men who justifably feel they've gotten screwed on child support/custody issues. As there are numerous more women who have gotten screwed on the same issues, if in a slightly different fashion. But, once again, biology just dictates that there isn't a middle ground here. It would be nice if men "had a say." It would be nice if the decision to carry a child to term was something to be negotiated between two responsible partners, and that's presumably something which happens quite frequently. But there's no way to put such a thing into law without in effect signing over the property rights of a woman's uterus. That's just the way it is.

That worried about having unwanted children and child support payments? Use birth control. Have sex with people you're on the same page with on these issues. Really worried? Go get a little snip job.

Congratulations Ron Royhab

All of this great stuff from the Toledo Blade and I'd never made the connection. I knew his sons in college.

WASHINGTON -- Political columnist Jack Germond, Charles Osgood of CBS News and the Ohio editor whose paper broke the state's "coingate" scandal are among the winners of this year's National Press Foundation awards.

Ron Royhab, executive editor of The (Toledo) Blade, will receive the Benjamin C. Bradlee Editor of the Year Award. Royhab oversaw a series of stories that showed gross mismanagement of a $50 million investment by the state into rare coins.

Open Thread

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

Open Thread

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


People certainly have the right to name their children whatever they want and it's not the kind of thing I usually criticize, but our wanker legally changed his son's name to:

Yo Xing Heyno Augustus Eisner Alexander Weiser Knuckles Jeremijenko-Conley

Apparently he also named his daughter "E."

(thanks to animal)


Wingnutosphere: Always wrong and proud of it.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Wanker of the Day

Yes, it's 20 minutes early but what the hell.

Dalton Conley:

That is her right, of course, and nobody should be able to take that away. But when men and women engage in sexual relations both parties recognize the potential for creating life. If both parties willingly participate then shouldn't both have a say in whether to keep a baby that results?


The bottom line is that if we want to make fathers relevant, they need rights, too. If a father is willing to legally commit to raising a child with no help from the mother he should be able to obtain an injunction against the abortion of the fetus he helped create.

Sometimes I wish the level of debate in our elite national publications could exceed, ever so slightly, the level of late night freshman dorm conversations. When he writes "have a say in whether to keep a baby" what he actually means is "decide what a woman does with her uterus." It would be nice if there were some intermediate position, but biology dictates that there just isn't. Either you have the baby or you don't. Someone has the right to make that decision for themselves or they don't. And, of course, he eventually makes that clear. He doesn't mean "have a say." He means "decide."

I suggest all sensible women "decide" to not let their vaginas get within 20 miles of this guy. He thinks he has the right to decide, once he voluntary donates his sperm to you, that you must carry the child to term.

Fucking wanker.

Olbermann To Be Cancelled

Well, I hope not, but it's frequently what MSNBC does to their highest rated shows.

Forced Butt Sex

You know, I'd sorta remembered this story about David Hager the other day but couldn't remember who it was about and finally decided that maybe I'd just imagined the whole thing.

Amanda reminded me.

More Thread



The idea that Goldman Sachs genuinely needed "incentives" for them to remain in New York City is laughable. The reality is the city probably could've made them pay for the privilege.

Fresh Thread

Anybody get indicted today?

"Clerical Error"

You'd think a campaign would notice they had $2 million less than they thought they did...

Arlen Specter's Legacy

Will he preside over the destruction of Roe v. Wade?

Progressive Countries

Hitler's Germany, Mao's China, Castro's Cuba, and Stalin's USSR.

Who knew?

Open Thread

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

Imus Smacks Lieberman


Wankers of the Day

PJ Media.


Something tells me it'll be Pace who finds himself up for early retirement, not Rumsfeld.

Our leaders are truly scum.

Groundhog Day


The title is quite appropriate. In Groundhog Day, Bill Murray's character first tries to make the most of his lot by changing how he seemed to be. Eventually he began to change how he actually was.

Bush will of course never understand that.

Embrace Our Zombie Dissident Overlords

Via Catch, Joe Dante discusses his Showtime show:

"This is a horror story because most of the characters are Republicans," director Joe Dante announced before the November 13 world premiere of his latest movie, Homecoming, at the Turin Film Festival. Republicans, as it happens, will be the ones who find Homecoming's agitprop premise scariest: In an election year, dead veterans of the current conflict crawl out of their graves and stagger single-mindedly to voting booths so they can eject the president who sent them to fight a war sold on "horseshit and elbow grease."
The dizzying high point of Showtime's new Masters of Horror series, the hour-long Homecoming (which premieres December 2) is easily one of the most important political films of the Bush II era. With its only slightly caricatured right-wingers, the film nails the casual fraudulence and contortionist rhetoric that are the signatures of the Bush-Cheney administration. Its dutiful hero, presidential consultant David Murch (Jon Tenney), reports to a Karl Rove–like guru named Kurt Rand (Robert Picardo) and engages in kinky power fucks with attack-bitch pundit Jane Cleaver (Thea Gill), a blonde, leggy Ann Coulter proxy with a "No Sex for All" tank top and "BSH BABE" license plates. Murch's glib, duplicitous condescension is apparently what triggers the zombie uprising: Confronting an angry mother of a dead soldier on a news talk show, he tells this Cindy Sheehan figure, "If I had one wish . . . I would wish for your son to come back," so he could assure the country of the importance of the war. The boy does return, along with legions of fallen combatants, and they all beg to differ. [...]

Dante and writer Sam Hamm (Batman) adapted Homecoming from Dale Bailey's "Death and Suffrage," a 2002 short story that puts a morbidly literal spin on the idea of the dead being used to pad the Chicago voting roll. (The film also owes something to the low-budget 'Nam-era Dead of Night, in which a "Monkey's Paw" wish brings an undead veteran back to his family home.) Though Bush is never named, Homecoming tailors its provocative scenario to accommodate a devastatingly specific checklist of accusations, from the underreporting of war casualties to last November's dubious Ohio count. As if in defiance of the Pentagon's policy to ban photographs of dead soldiers' coffins, Dante's film shows not just the flag-draped caskets at Dover Air Force Base but their irate occupants bursting out of them. "There's a lot of powerful imagery in this movie that has nothing to do with me," Dante says. "When you see those coffins, which is a sight that's generally been withheld from us, there's a gravity to it. Even though there's comedy in the movie, there's something basically so serious and depressing about the subject that it never gets overwhelmed by satire." [...]

"You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see what a fucking mess we're in," he continues. "It's been happening steadily for the past four years, and nobody said peep. The New York Times and all these people that abetted the lies and crap that went into making and selling this war—now that they see the guy is a little weak, they're kicking him with their toe to make sure he doesn't bite back. It's cowardly. This pitiful zombie movie, this fucking B movie, is the only thing anybody's done about this issue that's killed 2,000 Americans and untold numbers of Iraqis? It's fucking sick." While gratified by the warm reception to Homecoming in Turin, Dante says he's eager for the right-wing punditocracy back home to see it: "I hope this movie bothers a lot of people that disagree with it—and that it makes them really pissed off, as pissed off as the rest of us are."

The actress Dante found to play NotAnnCoulter eerily resembles the real thing.

Blowing Stuff Up is Not a Plan

Yglesias's take is about right. Contrary to all the recent chitchat Bush didn't lay the groundwork for any withdrawal from Iraq. It ain't gonna happen on his watch.

As Yglesias says, this adminsitration doesn't know how to do any of the things they want to do.

Matthews is wetting himself over Bush's masterful proposal for $3.9 billion in reconstruction funds Bush is proposing. I guess Halliburton needs another day of pay. We'd be better served if Matthews spent some time telling us what happened to all of the previous monies which were allocated for Iraq reconstruction.

O'Reilly Compares Murtha With Hitler Sympathizers


Zombie Dissidents

Make sure to have all your right wing friends turn on Showtime on Friday.

A War Plan for 6 Year Olds

The infantalization of America continues.

Well, at least Chris Matthews will be able to undertand it.

Open Thread

There'll be no mutant enemy we shall certify. Political threads of sad remains will die.

Open Thread

There'll be no mutant enemy we shall certify. Political threads of sad remains will die.


In the process of verifying an earlier quote by Rumsfeld I managed to lose whoever had tried to make the comparison. So, I owe this in part to some commenter or blogger or emailer but I can't find who. In any case, Rumsfeld said this today:

Consider the progress of the Iraqi security forces over the past year. In August 2004, five Iraqi army battalions were effectively in the fight. Today the number is 95.
In July 2004, there were no ready operational Iraqi army divisions or brigade headquarters. Today there are at least seven operational divisions and 31 operational brigade headquarters.

In July of 2004 there were no ready special police commando, public order or mechanized police battalions under the Ministry of Interior. Today there are 28 such battalions conducting operations.

And last year there were about 96,000 fully trained and equipped Iraqi security forces. And today there are over 212,000 trained and equipped security forces.

Strange, really. In October 2003 Big Don said:

In less than six months, we've gone from zero Iraqis providing security to their country -- you don't have that chart, there it is -- to close to 100,000 Iraqis currently under arms.

Indeed, the progress has been so swift that Iraq is already the second largest of the security forces in the coalition. It will not be long before they will be the largest and outnumber the U.S. forces. And it shouldn't be too long thereafter that they will outnumber all coalition forces combined. Some have suggested that any statement that raises awareness of these successes is putting an optimistic face on a difficult security situation. Not so. Every time we've discussed progress in Iraq, I have made clear that the situation in the country remains dangerous, and that there will be setbacks.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


Smell it:

WASHINGTON -- As part of an information offensive in Iraq, the U.S. military is secretly paying Iraqi newspapers to publish stories written by American troops in an effort to burnish the image of the U.S. mission in Iraq.

The articles, written by U.S. military "information operations" troops, are translated into Arabic and placed in Baghdad newspapers with the help of a defense contractor, according to U.S. military officials and documents obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

Many of the articles are presented in the Iraqi press as unbiased news accounts written and reported by independent journalists. . The stories trumpet the work of U.S. and Iraqi troops, denounce insurgents, and tout U.S.-led efforts to rebuild the country.

While the articles are basically truthful, they present only one side of events and omit information that might reflect poorly on the U.S. or Iraqi governments, officials said. Records and interviews indicate that the U.S. has paid Iraqi newspapers to run dozens of such articles -- with headlines such as "Iraqis Insist on Living Despite Terrorism" -- since the effort began this year.

Puke Funnel

Round and round the bullshit goes, where it stops nobody knows...

Your Liberal Media

Funny how it's desperate to defend Republicans.

Of course neither Pinch nor Billy K. are liberal, so this should be no surprise.

The Dirt the Scum Needs to Grow


Open Thread

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

I Demand To Be Put On The List!

Falafel Bill's list is up and I'm not on it. Damn.

Please Save Us

Bush today:

want you to know that Jon Kyl, United States Senator from Arizona, still listens to his mother. (Laughter and applause.) That's a pretty good sign, isn't it?...

Look, I don't know how many U.S. senators there are that like NASCAR. (Laughter.) I view that as a pretty good sign, to have a United States senator who follows NASCAR. It means he's down to earth. He doesn't walk around Washington with a lot of airs like some of them do...

These are serious times in which we live, and it requires serious, experienced people to deal with the problems that we're confronted with. And the biggest problem we got is we're still at war. I wish I could report to you we weren't at war, but there's an enemy that still lurks that wants to do harm to the United States of America. And they want to do us harm because we stand squarely for freedom and democracy and we're not going to change. You see, they can't stand the fact -- (applause) -- they can't stand the fact that we allow people to worship freely, or to speak their mind in the public square, or to print articles the way they want to print them in America. They have a different view of the world. They've got this vision of darkness that stifles dissent and stifles the freedoms that many of us take for granted...

The enemy has made Iraq a central front in this war on terror, so we must take it seriously...

Jon Kyl understands that in this war on terror it's important to have members of the United States Senate who understand mixed messages...

You know, I just recently came off a trip to the Far East...And it struck me that I was in a region of the world where there -- where wars had started.

Sebastian "Jeffrey Dahmer" Mallaby

Ah, the lovely level of discourse which our elite media gatekeepers feel fit to use. Calling a decorated war veteran a traitor? No problem!

Furman advised John "Benedict Arnold" Kerry in the 2004 campaign and has never received any payment from Wal-Mart; he is no corporate apologist.

(via Romenesko)


David Rees has some fun with Snitchens.

(thanks to SteveNS)

Thank You Jesus

I suppose the Falafel has a point.



Oxymoron of the Day

"IED Factory."



We do admittedly face a tremendous problem - that there's little reason to expect that the idiots who couldn't run a war will be able to run a withdrawal any better. Whether we're going to get a fake withdrawal or a real withdrawal (I still think it's the former), the results could be disastrous both for Iraqis and Americans. Those of us who think getting out is the right thing to do don't think getting out stupidly is a good idea. The shorter version of Fred Kaplan's questions here is basically, "Is Karl Rove Setting the Iraq Policy?"

President Bush is going to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq. That no longer seems in doubt. The question is: How does he plan to do it? Which troops will come out first? How quickly? Where will they go? Under what circumstances will they be put back in? Which troops will remain, and what will they do? How will they keep a profile low enough to make the Iraqi government seem genuinely autonomous yet high enough to help deter or stave off internal threats? Who will keep the borders secure, a task for which the Iraqi army doesn't even pretend to have the slightest capability? What kinds of diplomatic arrangements will he make with Iraq's neighbors—who have their own conflicting interests in the country's future—to assure an international peace?

More to the point, does the president have a plan for all this? (The point is far from facetious; it's tragically clear, after all, that he didn't have a plan for how to fight the war if it extended beyond the collapse of Saddam.) Has he entertained these questions, much less devised some shrewd answers? If he's serious about a withdrawal or redeployment that's strategically sensible, as opposed to politically opportune, we should hear about them in his speech Wednesday night.

Much as we couldn't control the execution of the war, we also can't control the "peace." It will be a sad thing indeed if "peace" takes the form of the current conservative favorite, the El Salvador model.

...Just on CNN they're claiming over 200,000 trained and equipped Iraqi soldiers. Right.

...Arthur suggests we may Snorkelpuffle from Iraq.

A Plan

Hey, two and half years later we're going to get a plan for victory.

Feel the Joementum!

Time magazine Baghdad bureau chief Michael Ware on Morning Sedition this morning:

I and some other journalists had lunch with Senator Joe Lieberman the other day and we listened to him talking about Iraq. Either Senator Lieberman is so divorced from reality that he's completely lost the plot or he knows he's spinning a line. Because one of my colleagues turned to me in the middle of this lunch and said he's not talking about any country I've ever been to and yet he was talking about Iraq, the very country where we were sitting.

(tip from res ipsa loquitur)

The Salvador Option

Bug or feature?


More fun with Zuckerman.

Feel the Joementum!

It surges through you!

Strip Search Sammy

I've always been puzzled by people who think foreigners shouldn't be entitled to constitutional rights when they're in this country. I can only imagine that they've never been outside the country or they believe that their flag lapel pin gives them universal diplomatic immunity or something.

Would certainly by a nice state of affairs if every country thought they could play calvinball with the rights of foreigners in their countries.


Smell it.

Open Thread

How can the thread with its arms all around me?

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.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Show Your Papers!

God I miss the days when I could make fun of my European friends (mostly undeserved) for this stuff.

Would it be Irresponsible to Speculate?

It depends on who you are.


I read this article a few times before I realized what we were supposed to learn from it:

The reporter for Time magazine who recently agreed to testify in the CIA leak case is central to White House senior adviser Karl Rove's effort to fend off an indictment in the two-year-old investigation, according to two people familiar with the situation.

Viveca Novak, who has written intermittently about the leak case for Time, has been asked to provide sworn testimony to Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald in the next few weeks after Rove attorney Robert Luskin told Fitzgerald about a conversation he had with her, the two sources said.

It's not clear why Luskin believes Novak's deposition could help Rove, President Bush's deputy chief of staff, who remains under investigation into whether he provided false statements in the case. But a person familiar with the matter said Luskin cited his conversations with Novak in persuading Fitzgerald not to indict Rove in late October, when the prosecutor brought perjury and obstruction-of-justice charges against Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby.

"This is what caused [Fitzgerald] to hold off on charging" Rove, the source said. But another person familiar with the conversations said they did not appear to significantly alter the case.

Luskin presented evidence, including details of his own conversations with Novak, to Fitzgerald at a secret meeting at a downtown law office shortly before Libby was indicted on Oct. 28, according to a source familiar with the case.

It could not be learned what Luskin and Novak, who are friends, discussed that could help prove Rove did nothing illegal in the leaking of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity to reporters and the subsequent investigation of it.

Um, so Viveca Novak's been covering this story and she's friends with Rove's lawyer?

You know what to do, folks, CONVENE THE BLOGGER ETHICS PANEL STAT!

Bling Bling

Don't have sex until he SHOWS YOU THE MONEY!

Was worried this was photoshopped, but there's an entirely different mention/picture here.

Whack Jobs on the Left

Tweety says (small video link):

Everybody sorta likes the president except the real whack jobs on the left.

Favorability ratings: Favorable/unfavorable (this is favorability, not job approval)

Hotline: 41/56
NBC/WSJ: 38/50
Zogby: 47/50
CBS: 33/51
FOX: 45/49
PEW: 46/51

It's nice to see that the majority of the country are officially lefty whack jobs!

Alito and CAP

Hilzoy explains.

Alito is a bad dude.

Dukestir Say Bye Bye

Whether a calculated attempt to obtain sympathy or an honest expression of regret, the Dukestir did make a good speech today. As I said, I almost felt sorry for the guy. Tough waking up at age 65 and realizing you're gonna go to the slammer.

He's still cooperating with the investigation. One assumes that Mitchell Wade will have some talking to do. Who knows what else he might have to say...

Bozo the Coward

Conservatives always think it's unfair when the "liberal media" actually matches them up with someone who can put up a fight.

Office Furniture

Think Progress asks:

Why did the White House hire MZM, a “defense and intelligence firm,” to buy office furniture for the White House?

Good question. As soon as Scottie comes out from his spider hole maybe someone can ask them.

Fresh Thread


Dukestir Resigns

Almost felt bad for the guy. But, somehow taking bribes on defense contracts during war time should, you know, be a big deal.


Either someone made a really bad typo or an extra 135 US deaths in Iraq appeared overnight.

...mistake. fixed.

(via icasualties)

Navy Seals Rock!

And blogs didn't think that it'd be a good idea to spend what would presumably be gazillions of dollars to have Katie Couric anchor our nightly news show.

Couric actually use to be okay by the standards of morning show hosts, but the Today Show is utterly creepy now.

Holy Crap

Dukestir pleads really really goddamn guilty your honor.

Isn't it about time for the House to kick his ass out of there? He sits on the defense subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee and he admits to taking bribes?



If true this could be quite a big deal:

Earlier this month, attorneys say Fitzgerald received additional testimony from Ralston -- who said that Rove instructed her not to log a phone call Rove had with Cooper about Plame in July 2003.

Ralston also provided Fitzgerald with more information and "clarification" about several telephone calls Rove allegedly made to a few reporters, including syndicated columnist Robert Novak, the lawyers said.

Cunning Plan

So, Bush is going to turn things around by talking up an immigration proposal that the Right absolutely hates and nobody else likes very much?

Grand Old Police Blotter

The Dukestir to plead guilty.


I'm not one who gets outraged when media types rant about how blogs are filled with inaccuracies. They are, as any visit to one in the full-o-shit-o-sphere, such as Time Magazine's Blog of the Year, will prove. Zuckerman's little anti-blog rant is ridiculous for other reasons, as P O'Neill points out.

Still, it's worth addressing his central point that "gatekeeper" media, a system by which "journalistic professionals" determined what the great unwashed did or did not need to know, is being torn down by the blogs. I think that concept of "gatekeeper media" is on balance a bad concept, but I don't see it as being entirely without merit. Nothing wrong with real professional standards, assuming they're real and not imaginary.

However, it isn't blogs that destroyed the Gatekeepers. It wasn't blogs that put Rush Limbaugh on as an election analyst. It wasn't blogs that gave Bill O'Reilly the flagship show on a major cable news network. It wasn't blogs that gave Michael Savage his own television show on a cable news network. It wasn't blogs that put Ann Coulter on the cover of a major national news magazine. It wasn't blogs that created all of the various and often fact free screaming heads shows. It wasn't blogs that gave syndicated columns to numerous conservatives with little or no experience in journalism. It wasn't blogs that devoted the summer of 2001 to Gary Condit (uh, ok, well, maybe Josh helped a bit)and the summer of 2005 to a missing girl in Aruba. It wasn't blogs that invented the New York Post or Washington Times. And, it wasn't blogs that were responsible for all of the errors that this wonderful organization tracks on a regular basis.

Gatekeeper media may be dead, but to a great degree they dug their own grave and dove right in. Blogs didn't really get there until after the funeral.

The War on Christmas

Yglesias is right to remind us all, for the 10 millionth time, that godless Europe mostly consists of states with explicit state religions or quasi-state religions. Some countries even handle the tithing for churches by collecting the "church tax" and distributing it to churches.

While church attendance is definitely higher in this country (claimed attendnace at least), it is not because of strict church-state separation in Europe. If anything it's the opposite.

Elite Women

This Prospect article is quite good. The are many problems with all of the recent "dopey New York Times articles" in part because they emphasize the notion that "elite women" have "choices" and then imagine a phony trend that they're "choosing" to have children.

We all have choices, and we all make those choices subject to various constraints. Even "elite women" who are presumed to have more, if not unlimited, financial resources and more desirable careers to leave behind face other constraints. The "choice" to perhaps leave a career behind in order to have children is not a simple embrace of childrearing over all other things, but simply the most preferred available option.

More flexible and forgiving work environments, great male willingness to participate in household duties, greater availablity of flexible and affordable childcare arrangements, and numerous other things would make raising children more compatible with an elite career would soften up some of the constraints women face. Some of these are cultural, some individual, and some could be improved through better policies.

While I have no firsthand knowledge, it's rather apparent to me that it's goddamn hard to raise a kid when both parents have full time jobs, and it's goddamn difficult, even for relatively affluent people, to raise a kid with one income. I think some of the reason we don't talk about this enough is that in these days of baby and family fetishizing it's somehow taboo to acknowledge that it is, as our great president is fond of saying, hard work.

Who Cares?

Unlike conservatives who appear to see every Hollywood movie as an affirmation or challenge to their entire belief system I don't actually care if Bruce Willis gets to make his war movie or if it dies in "development hell."

Still, one has to wonder why they're so excited to see fiction about the war that they're mostly not willing to go see in person (it's still going on guys, in case you didn't notice) and about which they stamp their feet and shriek every time the dreaded MSM shows any kind of footage of.

Well, no, one doesn't really.

Crumbling Facade

It is indeed a sign.


Reddhedd does some theorizing on the latest developments.

...more here. I think this makes more sense. Bye Karl.

Open Thread

If we reason with destiny, gonna lose our touch. Don't kill the thread.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Booby's Obituary

Howie's nice about it, but that's what he's writing.

Open Thread

I beg to leave, to hear your wonderous threads.

BoBo Broder

Broder today:

MR. DAVID BRODER: It's possible, Tim, but they won't get there by arguing about who did what three years ago. And this whole debate about whether there was just a mistake or misrepresentation or so on is, I think, from the public point of view largely irrelevant. The public's moved past that.

BoBo today:

Every time you delve into the situation in Iraq, you come away with the phrase "not enough troops" ringing in your head, and I hope someday we will find out how this travesty came about.

Broder at another point:

We saw it in the House, we saw it in the Senate, and we will see it increasingly now because the president is weakened. The one thing the president could do that would help himself and help his party would be to start leveling with the American people. I mean, I think an honorable man like John Warner, to have to sit here and not be able to say to you what those young officers clearly said to him about the troop situation in Iraq, just puts his party in a terrible position and people can see through that.

I know I'm not a smart Washington Post/New York Times pundit, but, uh, can't we connect the dots here and see that what happened 3 years ago, and every day since, is that they lied about everything?

Zombie Soldiers

Or, "dissidents", as NotAnnCoulter calls them.

Up in the Air

Now this hadn't occurred to me. Jeebus help us all.


HERSH: You know, Wolf, there is people I've been talking to -- I've been a critic of the war very early in the New Yorker, and there were people talking to me in the last few months that have talked to me for four years that are suddenly saying something much more alarming.

They're beginning to talk about some of the things the president said to him about his feelings about manifest destiny, about a higher calling that he was talking about three, four years ago.

I don't want to sound like I'm off the wall here. But the issue is, is this president going to be capable of responding to reality? Is he going to be able -- is he going to be capable if he going to get a bad assessment, is he going to accept it as a bad assessment or is he simply going to see it as something else that is just a little bit in the way as he marches on in his crusade that may not be judged for 10 or 20 years.

He talks about being judged in 20 years to his friends. And so it's a little alarming because that means that my and my colleagues in the press corps, we can't get to him maybe with our views. You and you can't get to him maybe with your interviews.

How do you get to a guy to convince him that perhaps he's not going the right way?

Jack Murtha certainly didn't do it. As I wrote, they were enraged at Murtha in the White House.

And so we have an election coming up -- Yes. I've had people talk to me about maybe Congress is going to have to cut off the budget for this war if it gets to that point. I don't think they're ready to do it now.

But I'm talking about sort of a crisis of management. That you have a management that's seen by some of the people closely involved as not being able to function in terms of getting information it doesn't want to receive.

Privatizing War

That's worked out well then. here.

Open Thread

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

Calling All Advanced Plameologists

Don't know where this fits in:

WASHINGTON - A second Time magazine reporter has been asked to testify in the CIA leak case, this time about her discussions with Karl Rove's attorney, a sign that prosecutors are still exploring charges against the White House aide.

Viveca Novak, a reporter in Time's Washington bureau, is cooperating with Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, who is investigating the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity in 2003, the magazine reported in its Dec. 5 issue.

Novak specifically has been asked to testify under oath about conversations she had with Rove attorney Robert Luskin starting in May 2004, the magazine reported.

Novak, part of a team tracking the CIA case for Time, has written or contributed to articles quoting Luskin that characterized the nature of what was said between Rove and Matthew Cooper, the first Time reporter who testified in the case in July.


This is truly a distressing story. The issue is not that private companies are never going to be a cog in the war machine. That is nothing new. The issue is that the military needs to be responsible for those things which are truly mission critical. And, when private companies are involved there needs to be oversight and enforcement. There should never be a situation, especially on the battlefield, when there is a tension between "the military notion of completing a mission irrespective of cost" and the goal of private companies to earn a profit. If they can't do the necessary job then they shouldn't be doing it. It's that simple.

I watched a bit of the recent Washington Monthly panel. During it Paul Glastris mentioned how he had previously been far more supportive of federal privatization initiatives than he was. The reason is that he's seen how it simply ends up duplicating, at the federal level, the patronage/machine politics that we see at state and local levels. I don't know why this was a surprise.

Wanker of the Day

Chris Wallace.


digby sez:

The really neat thing about this is that Rove has decided that Joe Biden should be the 2008 Democratic nominee. Feel the magic.


Mine All Mine!

Yglesias writes something which everyone needs to understand:

Record companies and their movie studio allies have managed to convince a shockingly large swathe of opinion that the purpose of intellectual property law is to prevent copyright infringement. In fact, the purpose is to advance the general welfare of society.

but judging by the number of people who seem to take issue with this in his comments obviously a lot of people don't. Let's go to the constitution:

Clause 8:

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

The key phrases being "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts" and " securing for limited Times." A lot of the commenters seem to side with Disney et al who, after having made tons of money ripping off fairy tales without paying any royalties, seem to think that copyright law should extend out to time infinity.

The business centered discussion of these and related issues often serves to obscure the point of certain institutions. For example, antitrust law exists solely for the protection of competition for the benefit of consumers, not to protect competitors. It's a seemingly subtle distinction, but it makes a world of difference in how we think about it.

Our Plan!

Funny. White House is now saying it's great that everyone supports the plan that they never announced.

It's BS, though.

Open Thread

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

Open Thread

There's a thread and the thread is now and it's right for me.

Screw Them

The warbloggers' war:

In response to the lynching of four American security contractors, US forces were ordered to "clean out" Fallujah, over the protests of the Marine commander on the ground, who argued that months of painstaking efforts to win hearts and minds would be destroyed.

"The decision was political, not military," said Toby Dodge of Queen Mary College, London University, who went to Downing Street with other Iraq experts before the war to warn Mr Blair of the perils of an invasion. "It was taken in the Oval Office."

But after three weeks of heavy fighting, and correspondingly high casualties, the White House lost its nerve. The Marines, who lost 600 men, believed they were on the point of seizing the town when they were ordered to hand over to an "Iraqi brigade" commanded by a general from the Saddam era, which promptly yielded control back to the insurgents.

In the midst of this disaster, the Prime Minister was at the White House. That Britain was concerned about the conduct of the fighting was revealed in a leaked Foreign Office memo the following month. This said: "Heavy-handed US military tactics in Fallujah and Najaf, some weeks ago, have fuelled both Sunni and Shia opposition to the coalition, and lost us much public support inside Iraq."

...update: the 600 number is bogus, didn't notice it on the first read. Don't know if this was just a typo or what. In any case it wasn't the reason why I linked to the story but it certainly raises questions about the legitimacy of the reporting.
(tip pseud)


One more person recognizes he's on the wrong side of history...