Saturday, April 29, 2006

Lord High Pissypants


As he walked from the podium the president and First Lady gave him quick nods, unsmiling, and left.


Press Secretary Stephen Colbert considers which button to push to deal with an unruly press corps: Eject, Gannon, or Volume.


He's shitfaced.

The Wild Duck

Henley writes about the narcissism of the "decent left." Cowardice would be another word which comes to mind.

Living With War

Hey, already up on Amazon.

The War on Straw

P O'Neill reminds us of Clinton's 1997 SOTU:

Every dollar we devote to preventing conflicts, to promoting democracy, to stopping the spread of disease and starvation brings a sure return in security and savings.

Yet international affairs spending today is just 1 percent of the federal budget -- a small fraction of what America invested in diplomacy to choose leadership over escapism at the start of the Cold War. If America is to continue to lead the world, we here who lead America simply must find the will to pay our way.

A farsighted America moved the world to a better place over these last 50 years. And so it can be for another 50 years. But a shortsighted America will soon find its words falling on deaf ears all around the world.

Almost exactly 50 years ago, in the first winter of the Cold War, President Harry Truman stood before a Republican Congress and called upon our country to meet its responsibilities of leadership. This was his warning.

He said, "If we falter, we may endanger the peace of the world -- and we shall surely endanger the welfare of this nation."

That Congress, led by Republicans like Senator Arthur Vandenberg, answered President Truman's call. Together they made the commitments that strengthened our country for 50 years. Now let us do the same. Let us do what it takes to remain the indispensable nation -- to keep America strong, secure and prosperous for another 50 years.

In the end, more than anything else, our world leadership grows out of the power of our example here at home, out of our ability to remain strong as one America.

And then Peter Beinart decided that going to war with Iraq was a good idea.

Past Results Are No Guarantee Of Future Performance

There are times when things arise which are so obviously idiotic that I have to wonder if maybe I'm the mad one. Proving your identity does not prove that you aren't planning to hijack a plane. Identity verification is the least important of airline security measures. These "fast pass" plans, based entirely on identity verification, are utterly inane.

Wanker of the Day

Prime Fighting Age Beinart.

Saturday Evening Soundtrack

You of course have already listened to the Neil Young CD.

If you need a break from that, local band Illumina is streaming in full their quality CD Nightlight here.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Struggle and Sacrifice

I wonder if cheeto rations are being cut for the warriors at home:

WASHINGTON - President Bush warned Saturday of tough fighting to come and "more days of sacrifice and struggle" in Iraq as April drew to a close as the deadliest month for American forces this year.

"The enemy is resorting to desperate acts of violence because they know the establishment of democracy in Iraq will be a double defeat for them," Bush said in his weekly radio address as he saluted the emergence of a permanent government.

"There will be more tough fighting ahead in Iraq and more days of sacrifice and struggle," he cautioned. "Yet, the enemies of freedom have suffered a real blow in recent days, and we have taken great strides on the march to victory."

I wonder if the fact that our country is run by delusional lunatics will ever quite penetrate the skulls of our elite pundit class.

Big Pharma

Christy tells us what Limbaugh's in for if he isn't given special treatment. Doesn't sound like all that much fun, though the special treatment if is a big if. Let's hope the local media in Florida make a little effort at some point to figure out if Limbaugh is in fact being treated like everyone else in his situation.


Boehlert's chapter on the Swift Boat Liars and the mainstream media who enabled them made me want to shoot even more people in the face.

The presidential candidates who will get my support in 2008 will be the ones who understand that the elite media Is Not Their Friend.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.


Belle Waring:

Don't you sometimes wonder what I was thinking way back when when I thought it was a good idea to invade Iraq? I sure do. My apologia from September 2004: Why I Was So Totally Wrong About Iraq. I ain't feeling a whole lot righter, I'll tell you that. It still seems to me, even now, that war supporters on the left, even those who now basically agree that the whole thing was a bad idea, still cling to some weird sense of moral superiority [cough, Euston manifesto, cough]. Like, "at least I wasn't some big hippie who didn't seriously grapple with the issues." The thing is, those people, hippies or not, were completely right, and many of them were right because they had seriously considered the issue and decided (correctly, mind you) that it was a bad idea.


Still, there seems to be some sense floating around the pundit class that those on the left who were wrong about invading Iraq were wrong in an interesting, morally meaningful way; wrong in the manner of a wrong Winston Churchill, or something. But one who turned out to be totally wrong, as I may have mentioned. That's just total bullshit and any of these people who is now going on to advocate war with Iran should be roundly ignored. No, they should be laughed at, and then ignored.

Indeed. At the time they believed they were "serious," that they shouldered heavy intellectual burdens about the world that mere mortals could not understand, that the world was a scary dangerous place in ways dirty fucking hippies like me couldn't understand, that anyone who wasn't on board their little dream was totally unserious and idiotic. They mocked and disparaged critics, marginalized them from the debate, and helped ensure that their noble vision was doomed to be a colossal clusterfuck as they did the same even after the war started (had they not clung to the McCarthy-Tinkerbell Strategy, some more useful contemporaneous criticism about the handling of Iraq after statue day might have improved things a bit.) They didn't just side with the Bush administration with the war, they sided with the Bush administration against all of its critics.

(via uo)

More Possible Criminals

And the great and glorious Bush age continues:

WASHINGTON, April 28 — Dr. Lester M. Crawford, the former commissioner of food and drugs, is under criminal investigation by a federal grand jury over accusations of financial improprieties and false statements to Congress, his lawyer said Friday.

The lawyer, Barbara Van Gelder, would not discuss the accusations further. In a court hearing held by telephone on Thursday, she told a federal magistrate that she would instruct Dr. Crawford to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against compelled self-incrimination if ordered to answer questions this week about his actions as head of the Food and Drug Administration, according to a transcript of the hearing.


Dr. Crawford resigned in September, fewer than three months after the Senate confirmed him. He said then that it was time for someone else to lead the agency.

The next month, financial disclosure forms released by the Department of Health and Human Services showed that in 2004 either Dr. Crawford or his wife, Catherine, had sold shares in companies regulated by the agency when he was its deputy commissioner and acting commissioner. He has since joined a Washington lobbying firm, Policy Directions Inc.

Unspinning Black

Okay, I think I've finally figured out this Limbaugh deal.

Rush Limbaugh, the conservative talk-radio host, was charged yesterday with prescription drug fraud and turned himself in to Florida authorities as part of a deal to resolve a lengthy inquiry into whether he improperly obtained painkillers.

Mr. Limbaugh, who is one of the nation's most popular radio personalities and is heard on nearly 600 stations, turned himself in yesterday afternoon to the Palm Beach County sheriff on a warrant for fraud to conceal information to obtain a prescription. He was released about an hour later on $3,000 bail, the authorities said.

Mr. Limbaugh's lawyer, Roy Black, said his client and prosecutors in Palm Beach County had reached a settlement plea-bargain deal in which Mr. Limbaugh would be charged with a single count in connection with allegations that he illegally obtained multiple prescriptions for a drug from more than one doctor.

As part of the agreement, which Mr. Black said would be filed with the court on Monday, the charge would be dropped in 18 months if Mr. Limbaugh continued to undergo treatment for drug addiction.

Mr. Limbaugh is also required to refrain from breaking the law during the 18-month period, pay $30,000 to Florida officials to offset the cost of the investigation a $30,000 fine and pay $30 a month for the cost of supervision, Mr. Black said.

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.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.


While many of the 101st may be unable to serve in our fine military for a variety of reasons - poor conditioning, age, anal cysts, low intelligence, incontinence, anxiety disorders, other priorities, cocaine addiction - there are still numerous civilian opportunities available to them in Iraq.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.


Anyway, I'm gonna leave before this mystery is solved but I don't get how Limbaugh came to an agreement on "a single count of doctor shopping" but was arrested for an entirely separate charge, unless there were in effect two charges, one of which has been rendered mostly meaningless.

...anyway, this could just be me being an idiot in which case ignore me.


Uh-oh, our pal Karl has problems:

Rove testified to the grand jury that when he told Cooper that Plame worked at the agency, he was only passing along unverified gossip, according to people familiar with his testimony.

In contrast, Cooper has testified that Rove told him in a phone conversation on July 11, 2003, that Plame worked for the CIA and played a role in having the agency select her husband, former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, to make a fact-finding trip to Niger in 2002.

Cooper has also testified that Rove, as well as a second source — I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, then-chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney — portrayed the information about Plame as accurate and authoritative.

Someone should tell Harwood.


Big Pharma gets sweetheart deal:

WEST PALM BEACH — Rush Limbaugh was arrested Friday on prescription drug charges, law enforcement officials said.

Limbaugh turned himself in to authorities on a warrant issued by the State Attorney's Office, said Teri Barbera, a spokeswoman for the State Attorney's Office.

The conservative radio commentator came into the jail at about 4 p.m. with his attorney Roy Black and bonded out an hour later on a $3,000 bail, Barbera said.

The warrant was for fraud to conceal information to obtain prescription, Barbera said.

Black said his client and authorities reached a settlement on a single count charge of doctor shopping filed Friday by the State Attorney will be dismissed in 18 months.

...wait, I'm not quite sure I'm getting this 'cause all we have is Black's spin.

...ah, ok, Black is spinning here I think. There are two charges (one settled) I think. They reached a settlement on what I assume is the more serious doctor shoppping charge, but the fraud charge is still there.

Sex Trafficking

Methinks that things might be heating up for Mr. Wilkes.


I've finished 90 or so pages of Boehlert's book Lapdogs, which Amazon is apparently shipping in advance of its release date. It's pretty good so far, though the chapter on the Note made me want to shoot a lot of people in the face.

...Boehler should consider this quote for a blurb for the paperback version, "Lapdogs made me want to shoot a lot of people in the face. -Atrios"

Fork it Over

Consider doing your part to help by donating to one of these fine candidates or any that you happen to personally favor.

People always talk about money in politics, but the truth is for most House races not all that much is spent. The big bucks go to statewide Senate races, and a couple of big ticket close House races in expensive media markets, but otherwise not all that much is spent.

Consider: In 2004, Lois Murphy spent about $1.9 million. That sounds like a lot, but consider a campaign lasts about a year. You need at least some paid staff, and office, all the printed materials (lawn signs, bumper stickers, etc...), and of course some paid media in an expensive media market. There are in the neighborhood of 750,000 people in the district (I pulled that number somewhat out of my, er, hat), so that comes to less than $3/person. This was one of the more expensive races.


While I understand that high gas prices do in fact cause economic pain to people and I'm also generally happy for people to blame George Bush and Republicans for their woes, the media coverage of the gas issue is really getting silly.



DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - With oil prices above $70 a barrel fouling the world economy, dismay is focusing on Iraq, whose exports have slipped to their lowest levels since the 2003 invasion.

"Iraq could be making a tremendous difference," said Dalton Garis, an economist at the Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi. Instead, its shortfall is "a significant contributing factor to the high price of oil," he said.

Iraq, a founding member of OPEC, sits atop the world's third-highest proven reserves. Its estimated 115 billion barrels is more than any other OPEC member except for Saudi Arabia and

But contrary to optimistic expectations, Iraq's oil production has slipped further and further since the U.S.-led invasion, to an average of 2 million barrels a day. It has never regained even the reduced production levels that prevailed in the 1990s, when Iraq was under tough U.N. sanctions.


Aside from the dishonesty of it, does anyone really care of Dennis Hastert rides in a hydrogen car?


Prime Fighting Age Beinart continues his noble war against straw.

Billions and Billions

In a sane universe this, and not hookers, would be the looming and overarching scandal.

Still, I'll settle for hookers.


Everyone should take the opportunity to catch one of the repeats of Bill Kristol on last night's Colbert report.


There's little chance that whatever deity who runs this universe likes me enough to let this be true.

But, like The Editors, I be prayin'.

Georgia10, who has a nice little profile here, has much much more.


I managed to avoid the subject of the Harvard student accused of plagiarism until I saw this:

“Opalgate” seems to have spun more accusations of envy than those of plagiarism. Many on campus and beyond have said— “Let’s face it: we are all jealous of her success”.

I speak on behalf of another “we”: those of us who—believe it or not— were impressed by Viswanathan’s achievements, just as I am impressed by the incredible work I see my friends produce everyday. If there is any envy, it stems from the fact that, because Viswanathan comes from a wealthy family, she was able to pay $20,000 for a college counselor who put her into contact with a publisher. In short, she was lucky enough to be able to pay for connections.

I wish, for the sake of literature in general, that every gifted writer had the clout required to get his or her work out there like Viswanathan did. So my reaction of disgust to the entire affair is not premised on jealousy, but injustice. The disillusionment comes not from plagiarism but from the blatant (mis)use of social power.

—Emma M. Lind ’09, a Crimson editorial editor, lives in Grays Hall.

$20,000 for a college counselor?

(since there's some confusion in comments I took this to mean a college admissions consultant, one who you pay to help you with the college applications process.)

Prayer Warrior

The Editors pray.

Living With War

You can listen to Neil Young's new album here.

Time for the Apology

Yep, Wired magazine owes Al an apology.

...Noah Shactman writes in to say that Boehlert is a little off here because Wired News was to blame for the Gore stuff, not Wired Magazine, and they are separate entities despite the fact that Wired News republishes a lot of the content from the magazine. There's a point there, though it's a bit like separating "Washington Post" and ""

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.


It'll happen or it won't, but clearly the Rovers are backing down from "nothing to see here" to "uh, maybe there's something to see here." My guess is they put indictment odds at 70%+ to switch PR stratgies in this fashion.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth

It's hard spending 90 minutes with Gore-on-film, and then another half hour or so with Gore Live In Person, and not feel a great deal of sadness for what could have been. Without spinning out elaborate alternative history scenarios, I can just return to the fundamental reasons why I hoped that Gore would be elected in 2000: that a few more years of relatively responsible and sensible use of our nation's resources could put our country on a sustainable path to long term prosperity.

But An Inconvenient Truth isn't about what might have been, it's about what needs to be. I'm always a bit wary of Chicken Littles. I've written before about the tendency of many people of all ideologies to have an unhealthy obsession with their own personal belief in an inevitable impending End Times. Whether your favorite bringer of doom is the Rapture, environmental catastrophe, nuclear war, a cataclysmic economic event, plague, general breakdown of civil society, etc... depends in large part on your ideology. But whatever that ideology is, many people seem to have a strikingly sharp belief that the End Is Nigh unless people Understand The Truth They're Preaching.

So, what is The Inconvenient Truth? That global warming is real and serious. That human activity is causing it. That potential catastrophe is near term. That while potential catastrophe is near term, it is not too late to solve the problem.

Gore makes the case compellingly in a surprisingly entertaining movie. It's 1 part Gore's need to make the perfect presentation, the convincing presentation, the one that makes people understand just what it is he's so concerned about in a way which makes them concerned about it too. It's 3 parts a version of that presentation. And, finally, it's one part a personal story of Gore's path through life.

They've done as good a job as probably could be done creating an involving and entertaining movie about global warming, and I don't mean to damn it with faint praise. It is an involving and entertaining movie about global warming. It is a movie you should convince people to go see.

And, while it wasn't its purpose, it's also a movie about what might have been.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.


It may be time to make a trip to the champagne store:




Wanker of the Day

Dianne Feinstein.


Only Fox allowed at the White House. Hilarious.

Go Ron

Wyden filibusters on CSPAN2.

Domenici is currently screeching like the WATB he is.

Always a Silver Lining

Literally anything can be spun into good news for Bush.


Roger Simon:

Although it underscores what we already knew - that Glenn Reynolds (whose book is selling much better) has remarkable respect in the blogosphere for his integrity and intelligence - I must say I am surprised at the relatively pathetic sales figures for Markos Zuniga's book "Crashing the Gates.


As of this morning, for Reynolds’ An Army of Davids (February 2006), Bookscan reports 1716 retail sales and 2609 “discount” sales, for a total of 4325.

As of this morning, for Armstrong and Kos’s Crashing the Gate (March 2006), Bookscan reports 2598 retail sales and 1804 “discount” sales, for a total of 4402.

In other words, despite the fact that it’s been available for four fewer weeks, Kos and Armstrong’s book has now clocked Bookscan sales in excess of Reynolds’. Notably, several hundred more full-price sales. This is leaving aside the fact that Kos and Armstrong’s book is currently at #40 on Amazon, whereas Reynolds’ is at #801.

And, yes, Bookscan doesn't tell the full story and neither do Amazon rankings, but if Simon has any evidence for his claims he's free to provide it.

The point here is not a pissing contest about books sales; I don't give a shit and I doubt Markos or Glenn do either. The point is the wholesale embrace of manufactured horseshit to desperately prop up their collapsing worldview.

Speaking of Wingnuttery

Book sales, Iraq, the Dixie Chicks:

The Chicks are back at it again with a new CD available to the world of country music. This just a few weeks after announcing that they were giving up on the genre and branching out to other forms of music.

Will their new music be played? Of course the tunes will go out over the airwaves because the powers in Nashville and New York that drive the music industry today will never be part of an unsuccessful album release and will make sure the Chick’s receive air play.

The Dixie Chicks have every right to speak their mind in public. Many Americans died to give them that right and I support their freedom of expression.

But, we do not have to listen to their music, buy their products or attend their concerts.

We have the right to call or write the advertisers who pay for the music to be played on the radio and refuse to do business with them as long as they support the Chicks. We have the right to ignore the Dixie Chicks until they are “has-beens” in the music industry and they are forced to sell their mansions on the hill.

Haha. Has-beens.

The Self-Similarity of the Wingnut Function

Professor the Editors once gave a sage lecture on the self-similarity of the wingnut function, and Glenn Greenwald (whose book is still #1) picks up where he left off. Their defective mind processes work the same way, whether it's Iraq or book sales.

Don't they have somewhere lurking in their brain any critical faculties at all? For the sake of one's own integrity and reputation if nothing else, who would read an undocumented assertion on Drudge -- no matter how much of an emotional need they feel for it to be true -- and then run around reflexively reciting it as truth, writing whole posts celebrating it and analyzing it, without bothering to spend a second of time or a molecule of mental energy trying to figure out if it's really true?

This intellectually corrupt syndrome goes back a long way and has been festering for a long time. Nuggets of deceitful, fact-free fantasy get planted in some cesspool like Drudge and then mindless followers who want to believe it start repeating it as fact, and then it gets ossified forever as conventional wisdom and can never be dislodged from their minds. That's how Al Gore came to "claim that he invented the Internet," how Howard Dean became a far left radical pacifist, how Jessica Lynch had a heroic shoot-out with Al Qaeda and was then rescued by gun-blazing Marines, how produced commercials saying that Bush was Hitler, how Saddam funded Al Qaeda and personally participated in the planning of 9/11. It's even how the lesbian, Hillary, killed Vince Foster in order to ensure that their affair (or whitewater crimes or drug-running landing strip) would be kept quiet and, to this day, it's how Bill Clinton was a wildly unpopular president.

Soon after 9/11, the Bush movement became driven by much more than a set of political beliefs. It provides its adherents with much more than just a vehicle for political activism. It gives them purpose and a feeling of strength and power that they otherwise lack. In that sense, it is not dissimilar to a religion, and it is therefore unsurprising -- but nontheless ugly and destructive -- that their beliefs and convictions are not grounded in facts and reality but in a resolute faith that cannot be shaken by facts. Every event is interpreted so as to bolster the faith, facts are disregarded which undermine the faith and fact-free assertions are embraced which confirm the faith.

The way in which it became an instantaneous certainty that CTG is a failure (and Glenn Reynolds's book is a grand success) -- a "fact" that will endure in those circles forever, literally -- reflects a process that repeats itself over and over, with a whole range of issues. That is the process that led us into Iraq and not only kept us there, but ensured that we remained immoveably wedded to policies which were so plainly producing nothing but horrendous failure. Being able to pick and choose what facts you want to believe based upon which ones feel good or vindicate your desires can be emotionally satisfying, but there is no more destructive and dangerous mental approach than this for determing how the world's sole superpower will be governed.

Mission Accomplished

A look back in horror.


Think Progress clearly explains why Rover is in deep doo-doo.

More Frank on Klein

I hadn't realized the HuffPo excerpt was in fact an excerpt. Rick Perlstein writes in to point me to the best bit:

Now, I know it’s customary in D.C. journalism to understand Harry Truman the way Joe Klein does: as a symbol, as a lovable, plain-spoken guy from the “heartland” largely unconnected to actual politics (sort of the way the folkies regarded Woody Guthrie, come to think of it). So maybe it’s a little unfair of me to call attention to what Truman actually said. But Mr. Klein’s repetitive invocation of Truman, plus a little regional pride in the man, compelled me to look up the Turnip Day speech. Having listened to a recording of it, I think Mr. Klein is right in insisting that it be regarded as a model for Democratic candidates. I can also report that what Truman said in the speech is in almost every particular the precise opposite of what Joe Klein advises contemporary Democrats to say.

Harry Truman was no centrist, and neither was he a radical. Still, listening to his ferocious ad-libs back in 1948 (which was, incidentally, not during the Great Depression), his audience could have had few doubts about what the Democratic Party stood for. Truman was explicit: “[T]he Democratic Party is the people’s party, and the Republican Party is the party of special interest, and it always has been and always will be.” He reveled in what Mr. Klein would call “class war,” calling a Republican tax cut a “rich man’s tax bill” that “helps the rich and sticks a knife into the back of the poor” and describing politics as a contest between the “common everyday man” and the “favored classes,” the “privileged few.” Even more astonishingly, Truman went on to talk policy in some detail, with special emphasis on Mr. Klein’s hated “jobs, health-care, and blah-blah-blah”: He called for the construction of public housing, an increase in the minimum wage, expansion of Social Security, a national health-care program and the repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act. And this sort of high-octane oratory propelled Truman on to win the election in a historic upset.

Joe Klein is not the only one to moan about the polarized age in which we are supposedly living these days, with all the power having gravitated to “the extremes of both left and right,” to use the standard deploring formula. Everyone in pundit-land moans this way, and they can be fairly confident that their buddy the CNN host won’t contradict them when they so moan. But someone needs to rub their faces in the fact that, compared to today’s “polarized” Democratic Party, their lovable old Harry Truman sounds like a fire-breathing anarchist, defending positions so far to the left that we have forgotten that one of the two major parties ever held them. Maybe what ails us isn’t a deficit of authenticity or the pull of the poles; maybe it’s something Truman would have grasped in a Kansas City minute: the power of money, the push of the right. Maybe squishy centrism is the problem, not the solution. And maybe we could use a little more polarization of the Turnip Day variety.

Smart Posturing

What Yglesias says. Sometimes our wonkier types just need to keep their traps shut. Plenty of bad ideas, especially when they're both relatively harmless and unlikely to pass, make for good political theater. The party out of power can't actually do policy, so relax and let them do some politics.


Apparently the Frist-backed Senate gas gouging bill exempts wholesale gouging and only applies to retail gouging. I have no idea if the big oil companies are engaged in wholesale price gouging, but that's the only type of gouging which will have any actual impact on people. Otherwise we're just talking about preventing the occasional and isolated jacking up of the price by a local gas station. Big whoop.

The language includes this bit:

It is unlawful for a [sic] any person to increase the price at which that person sells, or offers to sell, gasoline or petroleum distillates to the public (for purposes other than resale) in, or for use in, an area covered by an emergency proclamation by an unconscionable amount while the proclamation is in effect.


Thomas Frank eviscerates Joe Klein.


The LamontBlog tells us that Lamont will be on the Majority Report this evening. I won't be on this evening as I'll be going to a screening of Gore's new movie.

We also learn that Lamont is hiring Bill Hillsman to run his ads.


In the comics.

(thanks to reader y)

Now We're Talking


Federal prosecutors are investigating whether two contractors implicated in the bribery of former Rep. Randall "Duke" Cunningham supplied him with prostitutes and free use of a limousine and hotel suites, pursuing evidence that could broaden their long-running inquiry.

Besides scrutinizing the prostitution scheme for evidence that might implicate contractor Brent Wilkes, investigators are focusing on whether any other members of Congress, or their staffs, may also have used the same free services, though it isn't clear whether investigators have turned up anything to implicate others.


Mr. Wade in February pleaded guilty to giving bribes of more than $1 million to Mr. Cunningham, including cash, antiques and payment for yachts. Mr. Wade, who hasn't been sentenced yet, is cooperating with prosecutors. According to people with knowledge of the investigation, Mr. Wade told investigators that Mr. Cunningham periodically phoned him to request a prostitute, and that Mr. Wade then helped to arrange for one. A limousine driver then picked up the prostitute as well as Mr. Cunningham, and drove them to one of the hotel suites, originally at the Watergate Hotel, and subsequently at the Westin Grand.

Hey Hey, Ho Ho

So Lieberman is going to get on TV and announce that FEMA should be disbanded. Is anyone going to bother to point out that he was the primer mover behind the Homeland Security department, including placing FEMA under its control?

Give to Ned.


BooMan runs down the latest. Short version: Rove's defense is that of course he knew that everyone at Time thought he spoke to Matt Cooper, but he didn't remember doing so and how could have been so stupid as to lie about such a thing.

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, April 26, 2006

Jesse's World


Mr. Jesse Malkin, founder and former publisher of the Oberlin Forum, physically assaulted and verbally threatened to kill me on the afternoon of the 1991 Commencement exercises, just after I had taken one picture of him for the Oberlin Hi-O-Hi 1991 yearbook supplement. I am writing because I feel that such an act of intolerance should be unacceptable in an academic community which of course values tolerance, freedom of speech, and - above all - civilized behavior toward all people, including photographers…

I have to admit that, until recently, I had never really paid any attention to the Oberlin Forum. I knew that it was the right-wing publication on campus, but its articles were short, often muddled, and not very well researched (if research was even an issue)…

Commencement exercises had just finished, and Mr. Malkin was talking with College Treasurer Charles Tharp, somewhere close to the memorial arch. I approached them and circled around quickly, trying to find the best angle. I knew Mr. Malkin was a Rhodes scholar, founder of this publication, and that he had been Mr. Tharp’s intern. In other words, here was someone whom I thought should definitely be in the yearbook - he was important. As I circled around, I raised my camera…I snapped on picture.

Suddenly, Mr. Malkin turned to me, yelling “Don’t take my picture…” I wondered why he was yelling, but lowered my camera. There were other, equally important people whose pictures I had yet to take. Suddenly, he lunged out at me, shouting, “Don’t fuck with me, or I’m going to kill you!” He grabbed my arm and tried to grab my camera, continuing to spew insults and death threats. The civilized scholar had suddenly transformed into an uncontrollable savage. Fortunately, a friend managed to pull me away from his grasp. Malkin must have regained his senses as his vicious fit ended and he ended his attack. This friend and several other people were all witnesses to this act of violence.

Now, Malkin himself has stated in an article that “…rejecting reasoned discourse and free inquiry, such behavior is the antithesis of liberal arts education.” In fact, in the same article he assered that one of his major reasons for choosing Oberlin “was because of its reputation for tolerance and diversity. I was impressed by Oberlin’s history and commitment to social justice,” Could Jesse Malkin have gone so far in rejecting some of his most basic beliefs?

Jesse, I wonder if you will have any response to this. In “No Cider and Cookies,” your attack against the 1990 March Against Bigotry, you criticized - without substantiating any of your accusations - radical leftists” for “attempting to achieve by intimidation and bullying” what they “cannot accomplish by persuasion”…


There are so many obvious ways this is idiocy, but the simplest one is that for generations there have been a lot of American citizens (native born) for whom Spanish is their native language.

History. Read some, morons.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Extra Wanker of the Day

Becaus some days there are just too many wankers.

Mike LaMonaca, of Equality Forum.

Wankers of the Day

Ed Towns, Al Wynn, Charlie Gonzales, Bobby Rush, Gene Green.


CSN&Y is going on tour. Here are the dates.

Poor Ricky

Admits he doesn't live in Pennsylvania anymore.

Lucky for us!

Fresh Thread

Be excellent to each other, and don't shoot anybody in the face.

...and, if you're bored, there's a free .mp3 (Subdivision) awaiting you in the Ani DiFranco ad to the right.


Bill Bennett just now:

We are talking about the name of an agent that was not covert... She was not covert.


But special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald found that Plame had indeed done "covert work overseas" on counterproliferation matters in the past five years, and the CIA "was making specific efforts to conceal" her identity, according to newly released portions of a judge's opinion.

Wolf sorta-kinda-alittlebit corrected him.


Quiddity presents a paradox.


Lamont sends out an email:

Dear Duncan,

Want proof that this campaign is the real deal? Last week Joe Lieberman was forced to start putting ads on the air while election is still months away - his first in 12 years.

In one of the ads Joe Lieberman looks into the camera and claims he "respects the views" of those who disagree with his position on Iraq. That's how he feels when reading a script, by his pollsters, reminding him he needs to appeal to Democrats in the Democratic Primary.

Joe Lieberman expressed his true feeling about those who disagree with him on Iraq when he said, "...we undermine the President's credibility at our nation's peril."

We need to take Ned Lamont's message to the airwaves before the convention and we need to do it quick. Our first media buy will cost $125,000 and we can only do it with you help.

Help our campaign get on the air.

Joe Lieberman is trying to make this a campaign about Iraq. But we know Iraq isn't the only issue in this primary.

Joe Lieberman believes that Terri Schiavo's life was the Senate's business, that rape victims should just take a "short car ride" to another hospital for emergency contraception, and that President Bush's energy bill is good for Connecticut.

If we don't define ourselves Joe Lieberman is sure to define us.

Help us purchase our first media buy.

Thank you,

Tom Swan
Campaign Manager

PS Our campaign continues to roll along and our ballot petition operation is starting today. Sign up now.

You can contribute through the links above or through the Eschaton Act Blue site.


I was struck by this comment from Limbaugh's ex this morning on CNN:

KAGAN: John King in Washington, D.C. An important story, one that has a lot of interest, but one people that a lot of people don't know very well. And you definitely do. So thank you for your perspective and new information. John King, thanks.

So the story has "a lot of interest" and it's also one "that a lot of people don't know very well."

That's certainly odd.


Lots of fine patriots out there apparently.


O'Donnell thinks that the meaning of today's testimony would be known if we knew whether Rove asked to go to the grand jury or if Fitz asked him to come. He says the buzz in Washington is the former - meaning bad news for Rove - though Rove's minions are spinning it the other way (not that they're known for being truthtellers).

As evidence we have:

The source said Rove, a powerful and controversial political strategist, was asked to testify by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, that he would appear voluntarily and that he had not been subpoenaed.


According to NBC News’ David Shuster, legal sources say Rove volunteered to testify and was no subpoenaed. Rove’s decision followed a recent conversation with Fitzgerald.

The first source is a Rover. The second description is somewhat ambiguous, but leans more towards bad news for Karl.

Tony Snow Has a Gigantic Head


Oh Well

John and Pam pulled out of that Equality Forum panel, and were quite right to do so.

...Pam explains here.


Think Progress has CNN's report with Rove meeting with Fitz and his attorneys. I saw this as I was walking out the door and was rather amused by Rove's people spinning this as good news and John King's willingness to pass this on uncritically.

Maybe Rove will be able to clear everything up, in which case many many of Holden's ponies will die a tragic early death, but I don't think there's much reason to think that such a meeting is good for Rove at this point.

...Fox says Rove is testifying. I'm sure he's just going to clear everything up.


Chris Bowers breaks down the survey results and highlights the bits that are contrary to standard media myths about blog readers.

I don't care all that much whether we're "very highly educated, highly politically active, quite well-to-do, voracious consumers of media, not very young" or "drooling, rabid, anti-social, uneducated, teenage extremists" but the former happens to be the truth.

Feeling Fitzy

Is Fitzorial Day coming?

WASHINGTON - Special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald early Wednesday went before a federal grand jury looking into the leak of the identity of undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame.

It is believed to be only the second session the prosecutor has had with the grand jury which is examining questions left unanswered in the Plame affair. The only other time Fitzgerald was seen going before the new panel was Dec. 7.

Hottest Ticket in Town

Now this I have to see.

Who You Are

Blogads reader survey results for this blog.

Aggregate survey results for a variety of blog groupings.

Rope. Tree. Journalist.

I hope all the newspapers who publish syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin appreciate this.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Late Night

Atrios sucks. Joe Klein rocks!


Greenwald hits #3. Now you're really going to feel like a loser if you don't buy it.

Alyssa Speak, You Listen

She's the boss.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Sadly, Broke

Gavin M. could use a few nickels to support his lifelong mission to fix the internets. If you appreciate all the free bloggy goodness they provide you can help out.


Greenwald's book is up to #24. You're going to feel like a total loser when all the cool kids are talking about it and you don't have it.

Impotent Embarrassment

Tony Snow's smarter than I thought.

Bush Threatens to Veto Iraq Spending Bill

Why does he hate the troops? I guess he was for the war before he was against it.



Quick transcript:

If you want to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and therefore improve our national security situation, you can't do it if you're a Republican because you are too wedded to the oil companies. We have two oilmen in the white house. The logical follow-up from that is $3 a gallon gasoline. There is no accident. Tt is a cause and effect. A cause and effect. How dare the president of the United States make a speech today in April, many, many, many months after the american people have had to undergo the cost of home heating oil. A woman told me she almost fainted when she received her home heating bill over this Winter. And when so many people making the minimum wage, which hasn't been raised in eight years, which has a very low purchasing power have to go out and buy gasoline at these prices? Where have you been, Wr. president? The middle class squeeze is on, competition in our country is affected by the price of energy and of oil and all of a sudden you take a trip outside of Washington, see the fact that the public is outraged about this, come home and make a speech, let's see that matched in your budget, let's see that matched in your policy, let's see that matched in and you're separating yourselves yourself from your patron, big oil, cut yourself off from that anvil holding your party down and this country down, instead of coming to Washington and throwing your Republican colleagues under the wheels of the train, which they mightily deserve for being a rubber stamp for your obscene, corrupt policy of ripping off the american people.

Pelosi earns herself 4 of Holden's ponies.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Battle Cry of the 101st

Silly Sully:

But the years since, and the atrocities still committed by the Jihadists, have not diminished my or, I suspect, many other people's desire to fight our enemy with vigor and precision. My spine hasn't softened against al Qaeda. If anything, I want to defeat what they represent more now than ever.

I really don't even know what to say about these kinds of things.

(tip from P O'Neill)

Feel the Joementum!

Connecticut voters aren't too thrilled about Joe Lieberman's BFF.

WASHINGTON -- President Bush's job approval rating in Connecticut plunged to a record-low 24 percent this month, one of the most dismal showings in the nation - and a number the president could find difficult to reverse anytime soon.

How Would a Patriot Act?.

Glenn Greenwald discusses his forthcoming book. It's important to support books of this type, so please consider pre-ordering it.

Wanker of the Day

Hugh Hewitt, with a special assist from the idiots at the Inquirer for publishing him.

Snow Job

Tony Snow replacing Scottie? This will be fun.

Is a No-Brainer

Henry says I'm wrong to think this net neutrality issue is a no-brainer and then proceeds to outline one of the many reasons it is, in fact, a no-brainer.

I like the commenter at Drum's place who calls it "Medicare Plan D for the internet" which is possibly not so far off.

More generally this is a telco lobbyist written bill being run through a Republican congress without much public discussion pushed by people like known steward of the public good Dick Armey.

I'm sure one can concoct some technical explanations why some fantasy change to net neutrality could be a good thing, but that's not what's going to happen here. One could also propose some fantasy change to Social Security which could be a good thing, but all that does is play into the hands of those who will, in fact, be making the change. And killing the internets.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Late Night

Please don't shoot anybody in the face.

I Have a Solution

Don't be an idiot.


Just when I think Joe Lieberman Weekly can't get any worse.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.


Our rulers are truly despicable people.

Wanker of the Day



Bush approval in CNN poll.

Where's Joe?

Lieberman said he'd be on his BFF Hannity's show once a month. That was on Feb. 10, and he hasn't been back on since.

And Another Retired General Speaks

Rumsfeld's gotta go.


Just an update on the missing Social Security Trustees report. The stated reason for the delay was that they were missing the two Public Trustees whose terms had expired. Bush wanted to renominate the existing ones and the Senate wasn't too happy with that. So, Bush made one of his recess appointments that used to send Official Washington into a tizzy when Clinton did it but are now just fine and reappointed them himself.

The report will arrive on May 1, one week from today...

Because They're Better Than All That

Brian Montopoli notes that the media universe consists of more than just the New York Times but that most media critics don't bother to pay attention. This has long been one of my pet issues, that a certain breed of print journalists simply assume the rest of the news media away and pretend it doesn't exist. The next step, of course, is singling out bloggers for all those imagined offenses that are regular features elsewhere in the media.

Voting Against Vets

Little Ricky voted against medical funding for veterans and a now-former supporter couldn't get him to explain why.

Support Ann

All good local people should take the opportunity to join Ann Dicker for a fundraiser this evening at her campaign headquarters.

The Stupids

The stupids were out in force in the Inquirer this weekend. Nothing like proving how awful bloggers are by printing nonsense from Hugh Hewitt. Might as well convene a panel on journalism with Jayson Blair and Karen Ryan. Susie and Will comment.

Killing the Internets

This is important. Too many people imagine that the internet was an inevitable development which can't be killed, but that just isn't the case. The power of the internet is due to some very smart decisions made by smart tech people and Senator Big Sweaty Lunk. There are those who will kill it if they can.

I suppose the good news for "reformers" is that if the big ISPs succeed in doing this then they'll have a good excuse to regulate internet political speech, because then it will be the case that money will matter on the internet.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Liars and Torturers

Yglesias writes:

But, of course, if you think that leaking classified information in order to expose illegal conduct by high government officials is the same thing as high government officials selectively releasing classified information in order to bamboozle the public into supporting a strategically daft invasion, then you're out of your mind. The issue, though, is that a certain number of people think that bamboozling the public into supporting the Iraq War was a good and noble thing to do, and a largely overlapping group of people think that arbitrary detention and torture are so vital to American national security that a little lawbreaking and secrecy is a small price to pay to ensure that the job gets done. Others of us hue to an anti-bamboozlement, anti-torture line and, naturally, don't think the president should be able to cover up his illegal conduct by slapping a "classified" label on all the evidence.

This is something we all forget from time to time, those of us who have a knee-jerk faith in general human goodness and decency. Whether it's the administration, elite pundits, or blogospheric idiots, we are dealing with liars who support torture. Once we understand that, it all makes a bit more sense.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Unpopular President

Unless I missed any in a quick skim, it's been over a year since Bush has cracked 50% approval in any major poll.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

The Emperor's New Clothes and the Fucking Blogger

A parable.

Revelations and Revelations

Josh has the right take on the 60 minutes show tonight. The real point isn't the actual revelation, it's that he's revealed it before to people tasked with investigating this stuff, who promptly filed it in the circular filing cabinet.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Wanker of the Day

Melinda Barton.


Went for a little run along the river. The free the river park people were doing their thing. The Spin Dentist was having a little stroll with Mrs. Spin Dentist. My previous downstairs neighbor was going for a little run, and I bumped into the better half of one of the fearless leaders of our local Drinking Liberally.

Some days it feels like a small world.

...oh, and for those who walk or run or bike or whatever this google maps-based pedometer is handy.

Rumsfeld Must Go

Fighting Dems have put out the word.

Here's Patrick Murphy's release on the subject:


“We need a change in personnel, and we also need a change in policy.”

Levittown, PA – April 23, 2006 – Iraq War veteran and Democratic congressional candidate Patrick Murphy today joined his former commanding officer, Retired Major General Charles Swannack of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, and 5 other senior generals in calling for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld while continuing to call for a change in administration policy on Iraq. As a Captain in the Army’s elite 82nd Airborne Division, Murphy served under General Swannack during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Murphy also served with Swannack in Bosnia for four months in 2002

“President Bush listened to Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld instead of military leadership in executing a plan that took ten years to develop. The rush to war in Iraq without a plan to win the peace was irresponsible, and now our servicemen and women are paying the price,” Murphy said.

“We need not just a change in personnel, we need a change in policy,” Murphy added.

“There are only two senior generals who commanded forces on the ground in Iraq who are now retired and free to speak their minds,” Murphy said. “Both of them agree that Donald Rumsfeld must go,” Murphy said. “Rumsfeld should go and so should the current Bush policy on Iraq.”

In addition to General Swannack, Retired Maj. Gen. John Batiste – who led the 1st Infantry Division in northern Iraq in 2004-2005 – called for Rumsfeld's resignation during an interview last Wednesday on CNN. Former U.S. Central Command chief Gen. Anthony Zinni, former Army Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton, and retired Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold also have called for Rumsfeld to step down.

In December, Murphy unveiled a three-stage plan to bring home troops from Iraq responsibly. He has been endorsed by Pennsylvania Democratic Congressman John Murtha, a longtime Pentagon supporter and a top congressional defense expert who galvanized opposition to Bush policies in Iraq when he called for troops to begin coming home before the end of 2006.


You are the 100 millionth visitor to Eschaton.

(yes I stole that from skippy)


Pretty good column about the internets and the Lamont campaign.

And some more information about the campaign here.

Two Types

Aside from the underclass, there are basically two types of people/families in this country - those who live paycheck to paycheck and those who don't. Some who live paycheck to paycheck may live in an expensive home, have nice cars, etc... In other words, they have for whatever reason decided to live right up to the limit of their means, or beyond. Despite living quite well, they can still feel acutely any negative economic shock, even the relatively modest hit of having gas prices go up. They have substantial payments to make every month - cars, utilities, mortgage, credit cards, tuition payments - as well as lifestyle habits which are hard to break. They may manage to sock a few bucks away into their retirement accounts, but they have little or no liquid savings which can be readily tapped, or once it's tapped it is unlikely to be quickly replenished.

The inability of much of the celebrity pundit class to understand why people can both be doing relatively well (not all people of course) and also be feeling substantial anxiety about the economy has to do with the fact that they long ago left the "paycheck to paycheck" class.


For Philly area folk, those in and around his district consider signing up to volunteer to help Patrick Murphy.

Or Lois Murphy.

or Joe Sestak.

For state races, where a little effort can be a big help, there's Anne Dicker.

Or Bryan Lentz.

Becoming the Change

It's good to see Gore, who used to be rather conservative on social issues, coming around completely on gay rights. I understand that practical reality dictates that some politicians are unable (or of course just unwilling) to do the right thing. Since that is the case, it's even more important for there to be leadership on this issue by Dem leaders who aren't facing election or re-election in "red" areas.


Long profile of Ned Lamont.

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Late Night

Beware the mammoth.