Saturday, February 11, 2006

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.


In which PZ Myers ponders the age old question: why does anyone pay Gregg Easterbrook to write anything?

Myers sells him a bit short by calling him a sports writer. That is, according to some, the only thing he does well. But the sportswriting was always a sideline for his Seriously Wrong Writing About Serious Issues such as, you know, the joys of Intelligent Design. Whether he's right or wrong Easterbrook's writing usually has the sophistication of late night conversation among somewhat smart but incredibly stoned college freshmen.

Wanker of the Day

Jim Brady.

Fresh Thread


The Wounded

Long piece in the Times.

Stuart Taylor

Earlier I'd linked to a Stuart Taylor column about new reporting on Guantanamo. It struck me as slightly odd, that there was something strange about the column coming from Taylor, but not being an authority on all things Stuart Taylor it didn't click right away why exactly I found it odd.

Brad DeLong reminds me.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Lieberman Hearts Hannity


Time for him to go.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Ken Starr Accused of Faking Letters?

Jeebus doesn't like me this much.

...changed title, not sure if this is suborning perjury or actual perjury on his part or...well, anyway, it's obviously "bad lawyer" whatever it is.

Daily Ciro

Labor steps up:

Add steelworkers to the list of unions gunning for U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar.


"He is our No. 1 primary target in the United States," said Chuck Rocha, national political director of the United Steelworkers of America.

The Laredo Democrat got to the top of the Pennsylvania-based union's hit list because of his vote last July for the Central America Free Trade Agreement. Cuellar was one of 15 Democrats who broke ranks in the House, ensuring the bill's passage. The pact, which organized labor feared would kill jobs and push down wages, passed by two votes.

United Steelworkers has been the loudest union seeking to bring down the first-term congressman. But it's got plenty of company among unions that assail what they consider Cuellar's Republican leanings.

Rocha said labor has put together "a comprehensive plan" to unseat Cuellar and return Ciro Rodriguez , whom Cuellar narrowly defeated two years ago, to Congress.

Republicans Heart Lieberman

From Nofacts:

Two prominent Republican lobbyists, Craig Fuller and H.P. Goldfield, hosted a fund-raising dinner Thursday evening at Goldfield's Washington home for Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman, seeking re-election in Connecticut this year.

Fuller was President Ronald Reagan's Cabinet secretary and later Vice President George H.W. Bush's chief of staff. Goldfield, a Reagan White House aide and later assistant secretary of Commerce, was a fund-raiser in the two Bush-Quayle campaigns.

Fortunately we have an alternative - Ned Lamont. You can help here.

Lies and the Lying Liars

Franken reminds us of the depravity of the right wing media.



Actually I really don't mind snow. When you don't have a commute, don't own a car, and have to shovel about 5 square feet of sidewalk it really doesn't affect your life much. Quiets the city down a bit for a day, no big deal.


Are the members of our press really this stupid?

We've got a record, and it's a record of accomplishment," said the president, who received a standing ovation when he was introduced. "And we're ready to lead again. We don't fear the future because we're going to shape the future."

Reporters were allowed to hear Bush's remarks, but were told to leave before the question-and-answer session. However, the feed from Bush's microphone was mistakenly left on, enabling reporters to hear the president again defend the controversial National Security Agency wiretapping program.

"Hard Thinking"

Um, this isn't actually a new idea. It was, you know, tried before.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Can They Protect It?

Closeted Ken Mehlman explains why it's dangerous to leave Republicans in charge:

"These are people we know love their country, the question is: Can they protect it?"

Obviously the answer is no.


One wonders if there's anything Ann Coulter can say which will keep her from having regular mainstream media gigs. All signs point to no.

Odds of Tim Russert asking Sunday's guest Pat Roberts to address Coulter's comments?

Bonus Cat Blogging

Vampire Wiley prepares to suck Gizmo's blood.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Friday Cat Blogging


There will come a moment - fairly soon - when Bush will cease to be the standard bearer of the Republican party. Various competing factions will be going for the presidential nomination and while Bush's implicit or explicit endorsement might be helpful in the primaries I highly doubt that Bush will be a big help to whoever his potential successor is in the general election campaign.

The fascinating thing will be watching how the Republican Party unwinds itself from the George Bush personality cult it's become. The truth is, no matter what they pretend to think, they don't really like him. While the obedience and deference to Bush has far exceeded that which Reagan got during his time in office, it's impossible to imagine that Bush will replace Reagan as the patron saint of the party.

So we'll be watching Republicans as they slowly abandon their hero at which point he'll basically be forgotten.

One thing would disrupt this storyline - Jeb.


At the Moonie Times.

Like many of the media's less respectable outlets the journalists who fancy themselves as being more respectable tend to just ignore it and pretend it's not there. But the Washington Times is a nontrivial player in the Washington news game, and if it's a pile of crap someone should tell Brian Lamb to stop devoting half of every morning to it.

The General's Inner Frenchman

Comes out for a bit.

Straight Talk

Nonsense from the media's favorite WATB John McCain.


Earlier Brownie said something to the effect that in Homeland Security there's basically a segment oriented towards dealing with terrorism and a segment oriented towards dealing with national disasters and the former doesn't really give a shit about the latter. He then went on to say that if terrorists had blown up the levees in New Orleans there certainly would've been a much better response than there was.

This, really, gets to the central point. Dealing with the aftermath of a terrorist attack is pretty much exactly like dealing with a major national disaster. It's the precisely the same thing from that perspective. For what possible reason would one cause of death and chaos invite a greater emergency response than another?

Sunday Hell

Biden AND Lieberman return to the Sunday shows (This week and Late Edition respectively).

DFA Jumps in for Ciro

They've got a score to settle.


What Kevin Drum and Anne Lamott say.

And while I agree that such language probably isn't the language of politicians I also don't think the current model of abortion hand-wringing that is being pushed by various people is especially good politically either. "Abortion is bad bad bad but it should be legal" isn't really an appealing message. My take is that a solid majority of the country is basically in the "pro-choice for me and not for thee" crowd. They know there are "good" and "bad" abortions and some of that moral judgment is inseperable from basic moral judgments about women having sex. But they certainly imagine that when the time comes that it's a decision they will make without Tom DeLay's help. The trick is making people understand that "pro-choice for me" requires, in practice, "pro-choice for thee" as well and having that trump peoples' general busybody tendencies.


Markos writes:

In my ideal world, blogs do some fundraising, yes, but we are better at focusing attention on certain races, raising the profile of obscure congressional districts and turning them into national events. MoveOn can then swoop in and raise the serious money with an assist from DfA. With the higher profile, it becomes easier for campaigns to do traditional fundraising. PACs return their phone calls, labor unions start taking them seriously, wealthy donors are more likely to write that $2,100 check to a campaign that looks alive.

Meanwhile, the blogs, MoveOn, DfA, and others can generate on-the-ground volunteers to help these campaigns build their ground game.

I'd love to get out of the fundraising thing, but there's no doubt that "raising the profile of an obscure congressional district" includes raising the early seed money. That grabs media, establishment, and donor attention more than anything else. We saw that with Hackett (which was a blog/DfA accomplishment, MoveOn sat that one out), and we're seeing it now with Ciro Rodriguez (all blogosphere to date). Hopefully, we'll see it in CA-50 next month as we try to help push Busby over the 50 percent mark in the first round special election.

But the netroots is bigger than the blogs. We've got our role in the ecosystem, but we can't do it all ourselves. The big money will have to come from other sources. I believe our chances in many of these races will depend, ultimately, in our ability to bring the full resources of the netroots to bear.

This is basically right. Raising money is great but the real impact is in generating attention which hopefully leads to other things.

Wanker of the Day

John Dickerson.

Nothing like standing up for the principle that it's okay to knowingly deceive your readers. Journalism, 2006 style.

Round and Round

Holden informs us that Townsend is pretty much making stuff up here:

MS. TOWNSEND: We don't know exactly when the plot was scheduled for. The intelligence tells us that Khalid Shaykh Muhammad began to initiate it in October of 2001. We know that between then and when the lead operative was arrested in February of '02, between those two periods of time, they traveled through Afghanistan, they met with bin Laden, they swore biat, they came back, and the lead guy is arrested, which disrupts it in February of '02. So you see what I'm saying? It's during that short window of time, between October of 2001 and February of 2002, but we don't know when they planned -- we don't know when it was planned to actually be executed.

Q Just a question on the timing. You said that the operatives and the leader met with bin Laden in early 2002 in Afghanistan; is that right?

MS. TOWNSEND: It's between October 2001 and February of 2002, when the leader is arrested.

Q But when did they meet with bin Laden in Afghanistan?

MS. TOWNSEND: Hold on, let me see. They're telling me the intelligence community believes it was in October.

Q Of 2001?


Q Before the U.S. invasion?

MS. TOWNSEND: Okay, hold on. I can't be that specific, because we don't know.

Q Okay. So you don't know whether or not they met with bin Laden in Afghanistan while U.S. forces were in the country?

MS. TOWNSEND: I don't know.

Funny. Anyway, there may have been a restarted plot but it's sort of a repeat:

The tallest building in California and other West Coast sites were on an early list of targets for the Sept. 11 plot, the commission investigating the attacks reported Wednesday.

The mastermind of the attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, said he originally envisioned an attack involving 10 hijacked planes. He proposed crashing them into CIA and FBI headquarters, unidentified nuclear power plants and the tallest buildings in California and Washington state. At 1,017 feet, Library Tower in Los Angeles is the tallest building west of the Mississippi.

The expanded plan was rejected by Osama bin Laden, who ultimately approved a mission involving four planes. Training for it began in 1999.

The commission's 20-page outline of the Sept. 11 plot, based on interviews with government officials and documents, filled some of the gaps in the events leading up to the deadliest attacks on U.S. soil and raised fresh questions.

That's from June 2004.


This deserves a rerun:

I mean, you know, I think these civil rights leaders are nothing more than racists. And they're keeping constituency, they're keeping their neighborhoods and their African-American brothers enslaved, if you will, by continuing to let them think that they're -- or forced to think that they're victims, that the whole system is against them.

Think Progress Radio

An alternative to the Brownie hearings.

Heckuva Job Bushie

Zombie policies:

Congressional Republicans on Wednesday shunned President Bush's election-year call to cut Social Security benefits, and one committee chairman accused the administration of seeking to end "a pittance for widows and widowers."

"I have no plans to pursue these proposals," said GOP Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

The budget that Bush submitted to Congress on Monday proposes eliminating a $255 lump-sum death benefit that has been part of Social Security for more than 50 years. It also urges Congress to cut off monthly survivor benefits to 16- and 17-year-old high school dropouts.

Cut His Mic

Could someone please tell Joe Lieberman that the point of having Drownie testify at a hearing is to... have him testfiy and not to drone on and on and on an zzzzzzzzzzz...

Daily Ciro

Rodriguez hits the AP:

SAN ANTONIO -- A photo showing President Bush cupping the cheeks of Rep. Henry Cuellar at last week's State of the Union address is a gift that keeps on giving for Cuellar's leading opponent in the March 7 Democratic primary.

The Washington Post photo is a boffo hit on the Internet, inspiring both humorous caption contests and hard-edged blogs that accuse Cuellar _ beaming as the president holds his face _ of being a stealth Republican.

And it's been a cash cow for former congressman Ciro Rodriguez of San Antonio, who is trying to regain the District 28 seat he lost in 2004 to Cuellar, a Laredoan.

You can help here
. And while you're there you can give a little to Ned Lamont. Time to say bye to Joe Lieberman.

Appeasing the Geezer

What Wolcott says.

I've never actually known anyone who listens to Imus.


WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 — In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Bush administration officials said they had been caught by surprise when they were told on Tuesday, Aug. 30, that a levee had broken, allowing floodwaters to engulf New Orleans.

But Congressional investigators have now learned that an eyewitness account of the flooding from a federal emergency official reached the Homeland Security Department's headquarters starting at 9:27 p.m. the day before, and the White House itself at midnight.

To understand why this barely matters to the clubby Washington pundit crowd we just need to re-run Sally Quinn's article on Washington values.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Big Fat Carnival

At Alas, a Blog.


The sweet sounds of Mary Matalin.

Your Liberal Media

NPR this morning:


Here’s an update on the razor wars. Razor makers went from a single blade to two, then Gillette produced a razor with three blades. Schick responded with four, and in 2004, the satirical newspaper, the Onion, mockingly predicted that Gillette would strike back with five.


White Gillette has now done for real.

Its five-blade Fusion Razor was advertised at the Super Bowl. So, I went a couple of days without shaving, and then sat down to shave half my face with the five blade razor, and half with four.

We got Gillette’s Vice President of External Relations, Eric Krauss, on the line, to see how it went.

Mr. ERIC KRAUSS (Vice President of External Relations, Gillette): It’s no science that if you add a blade, you’re going to get a closer shave. But what you also get is a significant amount of irritation, and…

INSKEEP: Let me just check, let me just check your statement there. You said that it’s no science that if you add a blade, you’re going to get a closer shave, by which you mean…

Mr. KRAUSS: Right. But that’s not the beauty.

INSKEEP: But, but, but I think that…

Mr. KRAUSS: That’s not the beauty.

INSKEEP: …some experts are suggesting that there is no science that an extra blade would be a closer shave. I mean, if you…

Mr. KRAUSS: Well, I would, I, you know, as I said, we test our products among hundreds and even thousands of men.

INSKEEP: I’ve got some shaving cream here, if you’ll pardon me, I’ll just…

Mr. KRAUSS: And which side of your face are you going to shave with the Fusion?

INSKEEP: That’s a difficult choice. I’ll leave that up to you.

Mr. KRAUSS: Okay, why don’t we go left side with Fusion.

INSKEEP: Some kind of communist or something like that?

Mr. KRAUSS: No. No, just, you gave me the option, and let’s go with the left side.

Of course, satire outpaces reality...
(thanks to tip from commenter enslaved)

Fresh Thread

Eye candy edition.

Great Moments in Headline History

By tomorrow Faux news will run with "Reid and Abramoff Spent Summers Together on Brokeback Mountain."

Catholicism is as Catholicism Does

I guess I can judge Bill Bennett by child molesting priests.

Wingnut Universe

Josh Marshall touches on something I've been meaning to write about for awhile, though I don't think I'll give it the full treatment for awhile. The modern young conservative movement is dominated by people who really do inhabit an alternate reality in a way which is fairly new. And it's scary that they're increasingly being put in positions of power. My favorite example of that was one of the young conservatives who was sent to Iraq. He was greatly opposed to Iraq having judicial review because... get this... it might lead to the legalization of abortion.

I suppose once upon a time in the past we had the Birchers, and then there was the not-as-fringe-as-everyone-pretended militia movement, but now we have an entire generation of young wingnuts weaned on Rush Limbaugh and Fox News.

Getting scary.

Note to Advertisers

I don't look over my advertiser statistics much but casual observation suggests that the way to get people to click on an ad is to put pictures of pretty people in them.

Wanker of the Day

George Deutsch.

Typical Republican WATB.

Stop Making Sense

Fortunately someone in the White House press corps had sense enough to realize that this does not make any sense:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President George W. Bush disclosed new details on Thursday of a thwarted al Qaeda plot to use shoe bombs to hijack a plane and fly it into a Los Angeles building, as he sought to justify his tactics in fighting terrorism.

Um, you can't hijack a plane with shoe bombs. You can blow up a plane with shoe bombs. From the gaggle:

Q Scott, I wanted to just ask a follow-up about the LA plot. Is there something missing from this story, a practical application, a few facts? Because if you want to commandeer a plane and fly it into a tower, if you used shoe bombs, wouldn't you blow off the cockpit? Or is there something missing from this story?

MR. McCLELLAN: I don't know what you're referring to about missing. I mean, I think we provided you a detailed briefing earlier today about the plot. And Fran Townsend, our Homeland Security Advisor, talked about it. So I'm not sure what you're suggesting it.

Q Think about it, if you're wearing shoe bombs, you either blow off your feet or you blow off the front of the airplane.

MR. McCLELLAN: There was a briefing for you earlier today. I think that's one way to look at it. There are a lot of ways to look at it, and she explained it earlier today, Alexis, so I would refer you very much back to what she said, what she said earlier today.

AP Tries

And fails.

The new journalism, where even the "facts" must be balanced.


Bush then:

But I want to tell you something -- leaks of classified information are a bad thing. And we've had them -- there's too much leaking in Washington. That's just the way it is. And we've had leaks out of the administrative branch, had leaks out of the legislative branch, and out of the executive branch and the legislative branch, and I've spoken out consistently against them and I want to know who the leakers are.

And now we have:

Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, testified to a federal grand jury that he had been "authorized" by Cheney and other White House "superiors" in the summer of 2003 to disclose classified information to journalists to defend the Bush administration's use of prewar intelligence in making the case to go to war with Iraq, according to attorneys familiar with the matter, and to court records.

Faux News Reality

Fox follows CNN's lead, edits out applause and then... Kondracke comments on the lack of applause!

Little Ricky Lies Again


Intellectual Arm Candy

Let me just echo Garance's post on contemporary romance. One certainly can't generalize over the entire population, but certainly within my experience the notion that men are uncomfortable dating women who are more successful than them just doesn't hold up. On the other hand, Dowd's writing on gender relationships more generally ring a bit more true than do her writings about romance.

...adding: Though I suppose it's the case that "marrying the secretary" is common in round 2 of the marriage game and people in my peer group haven't, for the most part, hit the age when that is common. I just don't see it happening as much.

I Agree With Jonah Goldberg

What a horrible thing to have to write. But he does address one of my pet peeves - the unbalanced roundtable. More generally I don't think journalists should be on roundtables at all! What's the point of putting people who aren't really supposed to have opinions in a format where they're supposed to express opinions. As I've written before all they're capable of doing is recycling conventional wisdom which may or may not really be true. It's made worse by the pairing of journalists and pundits/operatives, but even without that it's just a ridiculous format for reporters to participate in.

I think it's great when journalists, say, go on CNN to discuss a particular news story they've written, but they degrade their craft and confuse people about what they're supposed to be doing when they position themselves as something they claim not to be - pundits.

Being Tough

One of the obvious contradictions in our contemporary discussion of Democrats is that the scribes who obsess the most about needing to be seen as "tough" are the ones who generally tell Democrats to run away from every fight. I have no position on the Brown/Hackett race in Ohio but this is refreshing:

“That’s low politics, punk!” a heavy-set man sneers as he marches toward the poll.
Hackett wheels around. “Pardon me?”
“You know, that radio ad that says, ‘You don’t know Schmidt.’” He’s talking about one of Hackett’s attack ads against Republican Jean Schmidt. The man spews a stream of epithets, and Hackett lets out a crybaby whimper: “Waaaaaaa!”
“What’s that, punk?” the big man growls.

A TV crew is setting up nearby, but Hackett doesn’t seem to care. “What’s your fuckin’ problem?” the candidate snaps. “You got something to say to me? Bring it on!” Hackett, all 6 feet 2 inches of him, is nose to nose with the heckler. “Problem?” he taunts. The man turns around and storms away.

“These guys in the Republican Party adopted this tough-guy language,” Hackett tells me, still steamed, an hour later. “They’re bullies. They’re offended when somebody takes a swing back at them.”

The point isn't that every politician needs to be Paul Hackett, the point is that you get points for being tough and standing up for yourself and what you believe in by, you know, being tough and standing up for what you believe in.


Froomkin writes about Time magazine's journamalism:

Media Matters , the liberal media watchdog Web site, raises an interesting point about Time Magazine's coverage of the Valerie Plame affair.

Back in this October 2003 story, the magazine reported: "White House spokesman Scott McClellan said accusations of Rove's peddling information are 'ridiculous.' Says McClellan: 'There is simply no truth to that suggestion.'"

It is now clear that several reporters and editors at Time knew very well that McClellan's statement was false.

Media Matters writes: "But despite that knowledge, they participated in the publication of an article containing that quote, with no indication that it was untrue. They participated in the publication of that article, which, in reporting that 'Rove was initially accused by Wilson of being the man behind the leak,' implied that Rove was no longer under suspicion -- even though they all knew that Rove was, in fact, [Matt] Cooper's source."

Is there any excuse for a news organization to print a statement that they know is untrue, without at least trying to clue their readers into the truth? That seems to defeat the central purpose of journalism.

So what should Time have done? One option might have been to go to Rove and say: We know McClellan isn't telling the truth. You either need to tell us the truth, on the record, or tell him the truth.

What if Rove had refused? One option might have been to go to McClellan and tell him that they had reason to think his statement was not accurate.

And if McClellan brushed them off? They should have stopped at nothing until they found a way to report what they knew to be the truth.

Another issue is why there's been so little discussion of this issue. Maybe we can fit it into one of the blogger ethics panel sessions.

Daily Ciro


More recently, Cuellar made some Democrats furious when a photo was published showing President Bush grabbing Cuellar’s cheeks at the State of the Union. After liberal blogs posted the photo, Rodriguez’s campaign has raked in the cash, more than $70,000 from online donors, according to ActBlue, a Democratic online clearinghouse.

“He has pissed off every single Democrat [in Washington],” Rodriguez said in an interview. In fact, campaign-finance records show that at least 10 current members of Congress have donated to Rodriguez’s campaign, while not a single one has given to the incumbent Cuellar. “That never happens,” Rodriguez added.

Roll Call:

Rodriguez raised $168,882 last year to finish 2005 with a measly $43,071 in cash on hand, compared to Cuellar, who raised $660,237 and banked $293,833.

But the Rodriguez campaign claims it brought in around $85,000 in January, not to mention the additional $30,000-plus it collected last week after a couple of liberal Web logs featured Cuellar’s friendly moment with Bush as the president exited the House chamber after delivering the State of the Union.

A wee more than $30,000 now. Anyway, you can help here.

Lance Speak

You listen.

What is to be Done?

Nora Ephron on all the man-love John McCain inspires.

Wonder What This Is About

Obviously something more than we're being told:

Claude Allen, President Bush's principle domestic policy adviser, has resigned. A White House spokesman told the Chicago Tribune that Allen wanted to spend more time with his family.

Republicans who know Allen are uncertain why he stepped down so suddenly. Late last week, he was in good spirits as he briefed allies and surrogates about the President's State of the Union message. On Tuesday, he attended a conference in PA on the president's faith based initiative.

Allen enjoys a warm relationship with moral conservative groups in Washington. As a senior political appointee at the Department of Health and Human services, he was the administration's point person on abstinence initiatives.

Jeebus probably doesn't like me enough for the obvious reason that the point person on abstinence initiatives would resign.

Not Performing

Time to fire Karen Hughes.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006



Twice in the past four years, a top Justice Department lawyer warned the presiding judge of a secret surveillance court that information overheard in President Bush's eavesdropping program may have been improperly used to obtain wiretap warrants in the court, according to two sources with knowledge of those events.

The revelations infuriated U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly -- who, like her predecessor, Royce C. Lamberth, had expressed serious doubts about whether the warrantless monitoring of phone calls and e-mails ordered by Bush was legal. Both judges had insisted that no information obtained this way be used to gain warrants from their court, according to government sources, and both had been assured by administration officials it would never happen.

The two heads of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court were the only judges in the country briefed by the administration on Bush's program. The president's secret order, issued sometime after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, allows the National Security Agency to monitor telephone calls and e-mails between people in the United States and contacts overseas.

James A. Baker, the counsel for intelligence policy in the Justice Department's Office of Intelligence Policy and Review, discovered in 2004 that the government's failure to share information about its spying program had rendered useless a federal screening system that the judges had insisted upon to shield the court from tainted information. He alerted Kollar-Kotelly, who complained to Justice, prompting a temporary suspension of the NSA spying program, the sources said.

Yet another problem in a 2005 warrant application prompted Kollar-Kotelly to issue a stern order to government lawyers to create a better firewall or face more difficulty obtaining warrants.

We should remember that Royce Lamberth was like the patron saint of wingnuttery during the 90s.

Fighting Dems

Prepare to take Washington.

Tweety Tries to Make Up With Us

The real question is if this is what he really thinks why do we so rarely hear it?


The end of an era?

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Snippty Snippity

CNN puts itself in the clip doctoring business. That would've been perfectly valid had they said so or otherwise made it obvious but they made it a seamless edit.

The Beard Goes Begging

This is absolutely hilarious.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.


One wonders how long the press's infatuation with Bush's sunny nobility blind them to the fact that he, you know, lies quite a bit.

More Inappropriate Funeral Behavior

These people are shocking. Politics, at Martin Luther King's funeral!

It is now for us, all the millions of the living who care, to take up his torch of love. It is for us to finish his work, to end the awful destruction in Vietnam, to root out every trace of race prejudice from our lives, to bring the massive powers of this nation to aid the oppressed and to heal the hate-scarred world.

Fortunately, we can now run all of our eulogies by Jeff Greenfield so he can let us know if they're appropriate or not.


You can help here.

Time for Another Blogger Ethics Panel

I'm really going to have to increase my fee for doing these things, maybe to $279 per audience member.

Def Comedy Jam

What is it with white people telling black people how they're supposed to behave this week.

Wanker of the Day

Tim Russert.

Faith Based Theft

Pam tells us about how religious organizations are making good use of your tax dollars.

re: Funerals and McCain/Obama

Just rerun what Jane said about something else:

These are the simple tricks that the con artists in some medicine show would repeat endlessly as they traveled from town to town selling a bunch of useless crap. We may be tired of being on the receiving end of such cheap come-ons but the sloppy drunken roundheels of the press seem to fall for it every time.


Wanker Cuellar is engaging in a bit of resume puffery. Just like a Republican:

A day after claiming the support of the Texas State Teachers Association and the National Education Association, the campaign of U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar acknowledged Tuesday that it has not yet received the groups' umbrella endorsements.

You can help out Ciro here.

Cutting Social Security


WASHINGTON - President Bush's budget calls for elimination of a $255 lump-sum death payment that has been part of Social Security for more than 50 years and urges Congress to cut off monthly survivor benefits to 16- and 17-year-old high school dropouts.

If approved, the two proposals would save a combined $3.4 billion over the next decade, according to administration estimates.

This is just a petty, vicious, pointless idea. Survivor benefits give people a chance to maintain their economic existence after one spouse dies. There's no reason to tie it to school enrollment.

Time to get your Republican member of Congress on the record. Ask him/her if they support Bush's plan to cut Social Security.

Joe Makes His Choice

Stands by his good pal McCain.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Bye George

Pumping gas is fun too:

George C. Deutsch, the young presidential appointee at NASA who told public affairs workers to limit reporters' access to a top climate scientist and told a Web designer to add the word "theory" at every mention of the Big Bang, resigned yesterday, agency officials said.

Mr. Deutsch's resignation came on the same day that officials at Texas A&M University confirmed that he did not graduate from there, as his résumé on file at the agency asserted.

I don't actually care if people go to college, though lying about your achievements is a bad thing.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


Heather Wilson is pretty much a wingnut lickspittle, so this is odd:

WASHINGTON, Feb. 7 — A House Republican whose subcommittee oversees the National Security Agency broke ranks with the White House on Tuesday and called for a full Congressional inquiry into the Bush administration's domestic eavesdropping program.

The lawmaker, Representative Heather A. Wilson of New Mexico, chairwoman of the House Intelligence Subcommittee on Technical and Tactical Intelligence, said in an interview that she had "serious concerns" about the surveillance program. By withholding information about its operations from many lawmakers, she said, the administration has deepened her apprehension about whom the agency is monitoring and why.

BoBo's World

Lonoke, AR edition:

A series of arrests involving drugs, sex and the abuse of a state inmate program shocked the small town of Lonoke on Monday, as the police chief, his wife, the mayor and two bail bondsmen were taken into custody.
Police Chief Jay Campbell and the two bail bondsmen, Bobby Cox and Larry Norwood, were arrested on allegations that include conspiring to manufacture methamphetamine, while the chief’s wife, Kelly Harrison Campbell, was arrested and faces allegations of residential burglary, providing state inmates drugs and alcohol and taking two of them outside the city jail to have sex, authorities said.
Jay Campbell, 46, was charged with multiple felonies, including conspiracy to manufacture methamphetamine, hindering apprehension or prosecution, criminal conspiracy to commit residential burglary, theft by receiving and theft of services, according to a bench warrant.
The warrant issued Monday states Kelly Campbell gave the Act 309 inmates at the city jail a cell phone, marijuana and liquor. It also states that she had sex with two of the inmates multiple times, including at a local hotel, in violation of the Correction Department program rules.
Lonoke police officers told investigators that “they could not keep the chief’s wife out of the jail and that when they tried, she became irate,” and when a jail supervisor instructed officers to keep a log of her visits to the jail, her husband “became irate,” according to the warrant.

Ad Naggery

Why would any Democrat in Washington talk to Nagourney?


Nagourney flashback:

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

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

May 2, 2004

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

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

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

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

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

February 9, 2004
Democrats See Unified Party For November

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

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

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

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

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

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

December 10, 2003
Democrats Wrestle With the Gore Factor

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

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

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

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

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

May 25, 2003
By Adam Nagourney

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

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

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

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

March 19, 2003
Divided Democrats Concerned About 2004

The Tweety Files

In which Matthews struggles to find the depths of his own hackdom.

...more from Media Matters.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

For the Record

When I die, please let it be known that my family and friends are entitled to conduct my funeral in any manner they see fit, including but not limited to talking about the things which were important to me in life.


Media Matters:

Summary: At least three reporters involved in an October 2003 Time magazine article that suggested Karl Rove was no longer under suspicion of outing Valerie Plame, and that contained Scott McClellan's denial that Rove was involved, knew at the time of the article that Rove had, in fact, outed Plame.

blah blah blogger ethics panel blah blah

Bush's America


Your Bush Administration

Scientific Activist claims Bush flunky George Deutsch did not, as has been claimed in the press, graduate from Texas A&M.

Ciro Gets Your Dough

Picture at

Time for Another Blogger Ethics Panel

They're going to have to clone me so I can do them all.

I started the research for this article last April, when I was still a reporter at the Tribune.

It started as an assignment to analyze some executive compensation data for the paper’s annual CEO pay section. As I crunched the numbers, it became apparent that FitzSimons’ pay would figure prominently in the article. It seemed like an article we needed to publish, even if it would reflect negatively on the Tribune’s top exec.

So I wrote it. My editor signed off on it. The copy desk cleared it and slated it for publication last May.

And then, 36 hours before the article was to appear, it was killed. Tribune editors ducked questions about why they hadn’t run the article, and declined to schedule it for publication.

Doing the Math

Kos gets about 750,000 visits per day and this site gets about 140,000 or so. I don't know how many unique pairs of eyeballs that translates to, but you can make a guess.

Of those, 805 have donated to Ciro through Kos's link and 319 have donated through mine.


"We know now there were no weapons of mass destruction over there [standing ovation]... but Coretta kew and we know that there are weapons of misdirection right down here. Millions without health insurance. Poverty aounds. For war billions more but no more for the poor." -Reverend Dr. Joseph Lowery, at the Coretta Scott King funeral, in front of 4 presidents.

"Racial Suicide"

Pat Robertson.


Feingold on the Royalists in our midst.


Glenn Greenwald will be on NPR's to the point opposite Pajamaline's Assrocket.

Wanker of the Day

This is a bit of a repeat, but the fuller story deserves to be read.

Joshua Claybourn.

Everybody Loves Ned

If you live in Connecticut, make sure you sign up...


Debate coverage:

Rodriguez, bringing heat to a campaign that until last week had seemed sluggish, aggressively sought to portray Cuellar as too conservative for District 28, which sweeps from San Marcos to San Antonio's South Side to Laredo.

"Cuellar has sold out on the people of the 28th District," said Rodriguez, who lost to Cuellar in a bitter Democratic primary two years ago. "Henry Cuellar has not been there for the people of our district."

The former four-term congressman is looking to capitalize on the unexpected jolt of attention and contributions his campaign got last week from a widely circulated photograph of President Bush embracing Cuellar before the State of the Union speech.

Cuellar defended his first year in office as productive and in the interest of South Texans. He won approval of six amendments last year, which he contended was more legislation than Rodriguez had managed in eight years on Capitol Hill.

Cuellar said the public is tired of angry partisanship and that he's been effective because of his bipartisan approach.

You can help defeat the wanker Cuellar here.

Democrat Disease


There are many things about this statement that are bullshit. I don't have to lay them all out for you. But I would like to expound on one aspect of this statement that drives me crazy: it's a process answer.

A process answer is saying what "we should say" instead of just saying it. Nothing drives me more nuts than a politician who talks process instead of engaging voters directly. In this instance it's a backstab equal to anything one of those run-at-the-mouth strategists says to the NY Times to boost his cool factor among the mediatarts. He's positioning hemself as a "reasonable" centrist on national security, but he clearly has nothing to offer on the subject at hand so he just talks about what "we should be doing."


Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

NSA Releases Classified Picture

Washington conducting electronic surveillance.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

More Gonzales Funnies

Uh, Washington?

Alberto: President Washington, President Lincoln, President Wilson, President Roosevelt have all authorized electronic surveillance on a far broader scale.

Aside from the rather obvious issue of, you know, lacking electronic communications at the time, what war was President Washington fighting?

Good Night and Good Luck

Two snaps up. Go see it.



These are the simple tricks that the con artists in some medicine show would repeat endlessly as they traveled from town to town selling a bunch of useless crap. We may be tired of being on the receiving end of such cheap come-ons but the sloppy drunken roundheels of the press seem to fall for it every time.


I read this post by Digby earlier assuming it was just an absurdist joke.

Ho. Lee. Shit.

BIDEN: Thank you very much.

General, how has this revelation damaged the program?

I'm almost confused by it but, I mean, it seems to presuppose that these very sophisticated Al Qaida folks didn't think we were intercepting their phone calls.

I mean, I'm a little confused. How did it damage this?

GONZALES: Well, Senator, I would first refer to the experts in the Intel Committee who are making that statement, first of all. I'm just the lawyer.

And so, when the director of the CIA says this should really damage our intel capabilities, I would defer to that statement. I think, based on my experience, it is true -- you would assume that the enemy is presuming that we are engaged in some kind of surveillance.

But if they're not reminded about it all the time in the newspapers and in stories, they sometimes forget.

The Tweety Files

In which Chris Matthews, unsurprisingly, makes things up again.


Tbe real subtext of this story is that McCain wants an opportunity to preen in front of the cameras and an adoring media as he waxes nonsensically about "reform" for months as we head into the presidential primary season.

Oh, and that McCain is pretty much an asshole.


Well, from what I saw our team was better today than they were during the hearings for Strip Search Sammy. And Specter's final words to Gonzales were quite tough, though I'm not yet gonna trust Arlen to do the right thing. It's too rare an event.

As far as I could tell the primary question was left unanswered: just why was it necessary to avoid the FISA court? Who were the spying on that the FISA court wouldn't have given warrants for? What were they doing such that they didn't want anyone else to know?

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Fresh Thread


...go watch the powertools video.

Great Moments in Powertoolery


DURBIN: I just don’t understand why they can’t make what modifications in the law might be necessary, but instead are claiming powers that go way beyond what the statute allows and way beyond what anyone voted for on September 14, 2001.

Q: But the attorney general says FISA allows intercepts that are otherwise authorized by statue. And he also says that that was authorized in the authorization of force act.

DURBIN: That’s his argument. You’ve just repeated it.

Q: Well, why don’t – if you disagree with that argument, why don’t you go on the floor and try to get a vote and have the Senate say whether or not the authorization of force – with all force necessary --

DURBIN: No, you’ve got it wrong. You’ve got it wrong. I don’t know – who do you work for, incidentally?

Q: Powerline and Pajamas Media.

DURBIN: Jamas Media?

Q: Pajamas Media.

DURBIN: Pajama Media?

Q: And Powerline.

DURBIN: Okay, I’m sorry I wasn’t familiar with your publication. But I will just tell you this: the argument is the Constitution spells out the powers of the president, as well as the powers of the legislative branch and the judicial branch. And statutes will be followed if, in fact, they put exclusive authority. That’s was FISA does. It creates the word “exclusive means” – exclusive authority. And they are reading more into it now than the statute obviously allows.

Q: But did you hear Gonzales say –

DURBIN: I’ll check out Pajamaline, but I’m not familiar with your publication.

Q: Yeah. Dan Rather knows something about it.

Rodriguez Debate

Being liveblogged here, if you're interested while the hearings are in recess.

The Tweety Files

In which Chris Matthews declares his love for the thrice-married adulterer Giuliani..

Meanwhile In Local Wankerville

One of the candidates on the Eschaton Act Blue list is Lois Murphy. She's running against the awful Jim Gerlach, who's good at pretending to be moderate when it doesn't matter so he can fool the apparently unsophisticated Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board into saying nice things about him. In December Gerlach voted for the budget bill when they needed to try to pass it. And, then, when it came up for a vote again he voted against it once they'd managed to secure enough votes to pass it. In other words, a profile in cowardice which is given praise by the suckers at the Inquirer. This is an all too common feature of our local newspaper. They provide the applause for all of the meaningless gestures our local fake moderate Republicans make in order to prove they're moderate. The Inquirer should know better. Actually, I assume they do, but this basic dance has been going on forever. For some reason they play along.

But, anyway, this isn't about Gerlach. Apparently Murphy has a primary opponent, something I was previously unaware of. Given that Murphy almost won the election last time I doubt this guy is going to provide an actual challenge, but he's performing the role of the "Fox News Democrat" here, providing Gerlach's lines for him.

Consider this:

Like Murphy, Leibowitz said he believes Gerlach has become beholden to party members like House Majority Leader Tom Delay, overwhelmingly voting with him on key issues. On the other hand, Murphy, a former president of NARAL Pro-Choice Pennsylvania, makes some of the district’s “pro-life Democrats” uncomfortable, he suggests.

Leibowitz claims to be "pro-choice" but thinks someone who, you know, actually supports choice will turn off voters. Oh. Okay.

Bunch's Law

This is a good idea. Readers know I find the notion of the "self-correcting blogosphere" rather silly, but press stories about blogger unreliablity should include at least one example of error. They can even dig up one of my mistakes. I'm sure there are plenty floating around the archives. Then they can head to Media Matters and see something more important - what their friends and colleagues are doing wrong.

Step Up

Kos has some more background on the Rodriguez/Cuellar race, pointing out that quite a few Dems have contributed to Rodriguez. More should personally, as should their various PACs. Progressive Dems, here's a way to make yourselves heard.

And, you know what you can do.

More Thread


Hearing Blogging

Glenn Greenwald.



Rodriguez Debate

For those in San Antonio, you can go show your support to Ciro Rodriguez as he debates the wanker Cuellar.

Always Wrong

Nitpicker gives us a small sample of people who are going to have their pundit's license revoked and be banned from The Situation Room.

"Kind of Good News"

Life in wingnuttia.

Morning Thread



Pick a new nickname for Norah O'Donnell.

And, yes, nicknames are just so juvenile. Just ask the preznit, he'll tell you.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Lord Hiatt Speaks


In an era when the Web allows readers to read only commentary that they agree with, we continue to think there's value in an opinion page that offers a wide range of commentary.

This is one of the standard talking points churned out by members of the mainstream media, where one can always find the entire range of public opinion - from the New Republic to the Free Republic - on display in perfectly balanced nuggets of ideological wisdom.

But it's just bullshit. First of all one has long been able to find "only commentary that they agree with" - by, for example, listening to conservative talk radio or reading the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal which no longer even has a token liberal. Second, the interactive, partisan, and combative nature of contemporary political commentary on the web ensures that anyone who spends much time getting their politics from the web is indeed going to get a wide range of opinions and viewpoints.

Much of the political web involves monitoring and commenting on what "the other side" is saying and doing. The debate is on display for all to see. This impossible-to-kill notion that those who get their news from the web are only exposed to "one side" of issues results from a fundamental failure to bother to understand how things actually work.

Even if you, in some sense, got "all" your news through this site, or the Corner, or Powerline, you would still, if you ever clicked through a link or two, be exposed to a full range of opinion on any subject.

The Roundtable

The weekly political "journalist" roundtables have long been one of my major media pet peeves. You get two versions of them. The first version is the Washington Week in Review version which is all "objective" journalists who come on to discuss the issues of the week. Who are constrained by their positions to be "objective and balanced" and cannot really express opinions. Except they are there to express opinions. So the only opinions they can express are those things which are "conventional wisdom." Which is usually just the coalesced Gang of 500/The Note talking points. Which are heavily influenced by the conventional wisdom production machine of cable news talk shows. Which all skew conservative.

The second version is the roundtable which contains a bunch of journalists AND a right wing hack or two (the left wing hack version is so rare as to be an notable event). The right wing hack is not constrained by any conventions of "balance." They can say what they want and argue any point, while the journalists can sit there and spew their recycled conventional wisdom talking points.

Neither version is especially useful for our political discourse. Neither version puts the journalists in a good light, who put their "balanced" authority on mostly inane gibberish in the first category and, in the second, allow themselves to put on equal footing with players in the partisan opinion journalism game.

Stop it.

Superbowl Review

Game, refs, commercials, announcers, commercials, half-time show...

all crap.

Fresh Thread


Bizarre Window

For an interesting education see the myspace site of Jacob Robida, who died in a police shootout some time after going on a rampage with gun and hatchet at a gay bar.

Defending the Team

Yep, this sounds about right. The Libby defense team and those who are funding it are about defending more than Libby.

Superbowl Thread



Arthur writes:

Given the ease with which one can deflate the ludicrous notion that a nuclear Iran would constitute "the largest threat" facing the world, it is a cause for great concern that this view has so completely taken over rational debate on the subject. It is of even greater concern when we remember that we are only discussing a potential. But note how a central part of the propaganda campaign works: several months ago, the usual estimate for the time Iran would need to develop nuclear weapons was about ten years. Then it got reduced to five years. Now, people speak as if Iran will have nuclear weapons in the next few months. The unavoidable implication of this tactic is the obvious one, the one that Bush used so disastrously with Iraq: we need to act now. We have to do something now. There is only one word to describe this approach: it is not reasoned discourse -- it is hysteria, pure and simple.

So the question arises: what makes so many people, to be found in all parts of the political spectrum, so willing to fall for this kind of propaganda? Is there something in our general method and approach that makes us particularly susceptible to this kind of hysterical saber-rattling? Are we predisposed to find enemies -- not just your standard enemy, but "the biggest threat to the Republic" and "the largest threat" to the entire world -- when the actual enemy is significantly different in nature and magnitude from the nightmarish cartoon the propagandists offer us?

Indeed. The point is not that Iran with nukes is a good thing, or that it's not a current foreign policy issue of importance, it's just ludicrous to think it's "the biggest threat to the Republic." A few years back the frightened bedwetter crowd was freaking out about scary Iraq and now they're freaking out about scary Iran.

Anyway, this is all so ridiculously familiar. Falling into the trap by even bothering to talk about it I suppose. Shrieking "eek! a monster!" seems to be about all the Right is capable of anymore.

...just so it's clear let me explain my views: The Iran scary boogeyman rhetoric from the Right is to scare voters. Our actual Iran policy, as distinct from the Rovian politics, is a complete muddle. Our ability to conduct airstrikes on nuclear facilities, if that was a desirable and realistic thing to do in some abstract sense, is somewhat hampered by the fact that we have 130,000 troops sitting in a neighboring now-Iran-friendly Shia dominated Iraq where our goal is, in theory, to maintain the peace. We have no serious Iran policy, defined however you want to define "serious," and are unlikely to. What we will have, however, is a serious Iran politics, one timed nicely for the '06 elections. Seeing any of the Iran talk as a serious discussion of policy instead of just another trip on the scary terra train is a mistake. The ability of Serious Hawkish Pundits to encourage a serious Iran policy, whatever that would be, is zero, as we should all know by now. I know there are people who imagine that there are actual grownups in Washington who, with the right prodding, could actually influence events. Sorry, not until the Bush administration is out of office.


For the obligatory-must-comment-on-the-events-of-the-day-post I'll leave it to lgfwatch:

To summarize: you can be a confirmed Bushophobe and still acknowledge that the cartoon rioters are idiots. Likewise, you can be a fully paid-up member of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy while realizing that just because you can do something like publish cartoons that offend Muslims, doesn't necessarily mean you should, especially when the lives of U.S troops might be at stake.

I'm not too sympathetic with the notion that anything under the cover of religion is automatically entitled to deference. On the other hand, "don't be an asshole" about peoples' religious beliefs when they aren't trying to impose them on you seems to be reasonably good etiquette. The cartoons weren't funny and the visual portrayal of Mohammed was done just to "be an asshole" without any larger point to it. It's like parading around in blackface just for the hell of it. There's no point other than "I'm doing this to see who I can piss off." I certainly defend the right to piss people off, though not always the decision to do so.

Round 2

Just so you know what's coming in the next few months, just click this link and mentally replace the "q" with an "n."


It's very rare to have such a clean chance to make a statement in a primary. The wanker Cuellar's Bush/Republican love is well documented and the seat is such a safe Democratic one that concerns about appealing to conservative voters or other electability issues are not in play at all. The case is often made that progressives need to get more actively involved in primaries in order to get the party out of the clutches of the Blue Dog Democrats and similar, but it's often just an unrealistic thing to do for various reasons.

This, however, is a clean shot. If you've got a few bucks donate to Rodriguez. If you live anywhere near volunteer to help.

If you're a massively rich liberal for whom a couple of thousand bucks isn't a big deal, then consider that your 2 grand will probably go much farther in this race than in any other race this year.

Plame's Covert Status Verified

Well, another part of the Chewbacca defense down the toilet. I suppose all the right wing hacks who claimed they knew for certain that Plame wasn't covert will lose their pundit's license and never be allowed in the Situation Room again.

Stupid AND Lying

How does one really engage in political debate with people who don't have the reading comrpehension of a 3rd grader? Are they stupid or are they lying is a standard question and this morning we have our answer: both!

York is a clever propagandist, although this morning he was probably in a hurry, posting while fluffing his doo on the way to chat with Howie Kurtz, and didn't realize that his attempt to misrepresent my comments was self-refuting. So, York falls on the "liar" side of the question.

But then we have this idiot trolling for hits by posting a trackback. He falls on the "stupid" side, unable to comprehend that York relies on idiots like him to help spread his gospel of nonsense.

Fear is the Mind Killer

He of the best hair in punditry gives us a preview of the coming political campaign. Anyone who suggests that Iran is not the biggest scariest monster in the world is going to have their comments misrepresented.

I of course never even implied the notion "who cares about a city or two?" The point is that the deterrence that kept a few thousand ICBMs coming our way from the Soviet Union should also work with smaller state nuclear powers, with the added benefit that "mutually assured destruction" simply becomes "assured destruction" - theirs, not ours.

North Korea can also presumably take out a couple of US cities, and that country is both more desperate as well as having a leader who is more likely be an irrational actor. Pakistan is under a dictatorship and is one successful assassination attempt away from who knows what. They too can presumably take out a couple of US cities.

I'm quite against nuclear proliferation in all of its forms and it would've been nice if we had been taking it more seriously. But thinking that Iran shouldn't have nukes is not the same as imagining that Iran with nukes is the "greatest threat to the Republic" that we face. I just have no idea how that computes.

Morning Thread

Play nice.

Your Public Servants

George Deutsch unleashed.

Oil for Food

Such a scandal:

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Feb. 4 — Iraqi and American officials say they are seeing a troubling pattern of government corruption enabling the flow of oil money and other funds to the insurgency and threatening to undermine Iraq's struggling economy.

In Iraq, which depends almost exclusively on oil for its revenues, the officials say that any diversion of money to an insurgency that is killing its citizens and tearing apart its infrastructure adds a new and menacing element to the challenge of holding the country together.

In one example, a sitting member of the Iraqi National Assembly has been indicted in the theft of millions of dollars meant for protecting a critical oil pipeline against attacks and is suspected of funneling some of that money to the insurgency, said Radhi Hamza al-Radhi, the chairman of Iraq's Commission on Public Integrity. The indictment has not been made public.

The charges against the Sunni lawmaker, Meshaan al-Juburi, lend credence to the suspicions of Iraqi officials that the insurgency is profiting from Iraq's oil riches.

In another incident, the director of a major oil storage plant near Kirkuk was arrested Saturday, with other employees and several local police officials, and charged with helping to orchestrate a mortar attack on the plant on Thursday, a Northern Oil Company employee said. The attack resulted in devastating pipeline fires and a shutdown of all oil operations in the area, said the employee, who was granted anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the matter.