Saturday, June 03, 2006
I recommend listening, but here's the transcript also. Gore seems to get just about everything these days. Here's a good b it:
GROSS: You got to see George W. Bush close-up when he was your opponent for the presidency. What surprises you most about how the Bush presidency has turned out?
Vice Pres. GORE: I guess what surprises me most is his incuriosity. That's a real mystery to me because he's clearly a smart man. He has a different kind of intelligence, as everybody does. There's so many varieties of intelligence. He's clearly a smart man, but it is a puzzle that he would ask no questions about important matters. When his first secretary of the Treasury came in for their first meeting and spoke for an hour about economic policies of the new administration, he asked not a single question. When he received the briefing in August of 2001 that Osama bin Laden was planning a major attack soon, you know, on the United States, he did not ask a single question. When he was briefed several days before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and the weather service people were saying it may mark a return to medieval conditions, he asked not a single question. And that same incuriosity seems to be a factor when he just accepts hook, line and sinker the ExxonMobil view that global warming is not a problem, in no way related to the massive volumes of pollution we're putting into the Earth's atmosphere every hour of every day.
When they tell him that the scientific community is wrong and that they're just lying because they're greedy for more research dollars, he doesn't apparently look under the rug. He doesn't ask questions. And in the American system, the president of the United States is the only person who is charged with representing all of the people in every state in every district and looking after the welfare of the people as a whole. And if the special interest has one view, at least you should ask questions about how the public interest is affected, and I really do not know why he is so incurious.
And, estimated Friday box office take for An Inconvenient Truth was 410,000 from just 77 theaters.
Stuff on the internets gets popular because it gets popular, not because the connections club in Washington lets them get free publicity from their pals.
O’DONNELL: We understand that, Paul, but let’s get specific about the other point that Paul made, which is that the president — it took the chain of command several months to let the president know that this has happened. This is a scandal that could be worse than Abu Ghraib, that could ruin our efforts over there to change the hearts and minds of the American people.
And in a free society, decisions about such a fundamental social institution as marriage should be made by the people -- not by the courts.
Georgia10 points to the obvious question, which no reporter will dare ask:
Now, which enterprising White House reporter will ask whether the President thinks that Loving v. Virginia should be overturned?
Don't hold your breath for that one.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, Wolf.
Guess what Monday is? Monday is the day President Bush will speak about an issue near and dear to his heart and the hearts of many conservatives. It's also the day before the Senate votes on the very same thing. Is it the war? Deficits? Health insurance? Immigration? Iran? North Korea?
Not even close. No, the president is going to talk about amending the Constitution in order to ban gay marriage. This is something that absolutely, positively has no chance of happening, nada, zippo, none. But that doesn't matter. Mr. Bush will take time to make a speech. The Senate will take time to talk and vote on it, because it's something that matters to the Republican base.
This is pure politics. If has nothing to do with whether or not you believe in gay marriage. It's blatant posturing by Republicans, who are increasingly desperate as the midterm elections approach. There's not a lot else to get people interested in voting on them, based on their record of the last five years.
But if you can appeal to the hatred, bigotry, or discrimination in some people, you might move them to the polls to vote against that big, bad gay married couple that one day might in down the street.
Friday, June 02, 2006
- Meet the Press hosts Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) and Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission Chair Dr. Hans Blix.
- Face the Nation hosts Sec/State Condoleezza Rice and Time's Mike Duffy.
- This Week hosts VP Gore. Ex-Labor Sec. Robert Reich and Time's Jay Carney join the roundtable. Author John Updike is the Voices segment.
- Fox News Sunday hosts Rice, and Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Jack Reed (D-RI).
- Late Edition hosts Rice and Sens. George Allen (R-VA) and Carl Levin (D-MI).
Conservative pundit and best-selling political writer Ann Coulter has hired a white-glove, White House-connected law firm to fight allegations she voted illegally in February's Town of Palm Beach election.
And the attorney from the Miami-based Kenny Nachwalter firm is no stranger to Palm Beach voting. Marcos Jimenez — who was, along with the more famous Olson, one of the lead attorneys who fought for George W. Bush's side in the 2000 presidential election snafu here — was assigned to Coulter.
- DETROIT --A federal judge will go ahead with hearings in a legal challenge to a warrantless domestic surveillance program run by the National Security Agency.
U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor also criticized the Justice Department for failing to respond to the legal challenge, The Detroit News reported Friday.
Not many of those lately.
Speaking of hot days, the right wing denial of global warming is somewhat amusing. Sure there are the industry-funded shills (and those who want to get themselves some of that good wingnut welfare) and the professional contrarians, but it doesn't stop there. Global warming denial has become one of those obligatory positions for conservatives. It's a little bizarre. What's conservative about it, really? I have no idea. But for those in the conservative movement it's a required position, and even the college kids are hip to it.
I've been trying to figure out if there are any liberal-Democratic equivalents to this kind of thing. The closest things I could come up with were ANWR and McCain-Feingold CFR. I don't mean I think drilling in ANWR is a good idea or that opposing it is in any way dishonest, but it's certainly taken on a symbolic life which is grander and greater than the issue itself. And McCain-Feingold was certainly one of those things that no one really understood that much but thought as a symbolic stand it had some importance.
Dunno, maybe there are other things. But, hey, conservatives, enjoy being comic relief for the rest of us.
Thursday, June 01, 2006
Philly people get your tix for tomorrow's shows here.
Also opens in numerous places in CA, CT, NJ, IL, MA, NY, TX, VA, WA tomorrow. Full schedule by date here (.pdf).
Movie pulled in $7,662 per theater yesterday. X-Men III pulled in $1,573 per theater (and no that comparison isn't all that meaningful, just giving an idea of what the per-theater take of a hit movie is).
Olbermann: The bodies at Malmedy were not found until a month later. There were 84 of them, all, American soldiers. More than half showed gunshot wounds to their heads. Six had received fatal **blows** to the head. Nine were found with their arms still raised **above** their heads.
The fact that O'Reilly got these horrible facts completely backwards -- twice -- offended even his own usually compliant viewers. From his program **Wednesday** night...Wrong answer.
When you're **that** wrong -- when you're defending Nazi War Criminals and pinning their crimes on Americans, and you get **caught** doing so -- **twice** -- you're supposed to say 'I'm sorry, I was wrong'... and then you should shut up for a long time. Instead, Fox **washed** its transcript of O'Reilly's remarks Tuesday -- its website claims O'Reilly said "In **Normandy**..." when in fact he said "In **Malmedy**..."
The rewriting of past reporting -- worthy of Orwell -- has now carried over into such on-line transcription services as Burrell's and Factiva. Whatever did or did not happen **later**, in supposed or actual retribution... the victims at Malmedy, were **Americans**, gunned down while surrendering -- by **Nazis** in 1944 -- and again, Tuesday Night and Wednesday Night -- by a false patriot who would rather be loud than right.
"In Malmedy, as you know" Bill O'Reilly **said** Tuesday night, in some indecipherable attempt to defend the events of Haditha, "U.S. forces captured S.S. forces who had their hands in the air and were unarmed and they shot them dead, you know that. That's on the record. And documented."
The victims at Malmedy in December, 1944... were Americans. **Americans** with their hands in the air. **Americans** who were unarmed. That's on the record. And documented.
And their memory deserves better than Bill O'Reilly.
We **all** do.
So, no, the AMT doesn't simplify anything about doing taxes. It makes them more complicated as it's no longer transparent what your deductions can be.
Rep. Jim Gerlach, R-Pa., a top Democratic target, said the intent of "robocalls" is to "distort your record and drive your negatives up." Gerlach said many voters are turned off by the repeated calls, but said his campaign will soon be polling to determine their political impact. "It's bound to have an effect after a year of those calls," he said, adding he has countered the barrage with franked mail and by being visible in the district.
-- by Mark Wegner
Franking isn't supposed to be used for blatant political purposes, though of course this is regularly abused.
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Country trio the Dixie Chicks, the darlings of Nashville until their singer criticized President Bush three years ago, opened at No. 1 on the U.S. charts on Wednesday with their first studio album since then, but sales were sharply lower.
"Taking The Long Way," their third chart-topper, sold 525,000 copies in the week ended May 28, according to tracking firm Nielsen SoundScan. The figure ranks as one of the biggest openings of the year, and exceeds industry expectations by more than 100,000 copies.
But it paled against the 780,000 copies that their last studio release, "Home," sold during its first week in August 2002. It spent three weeks at No. 1, and has sold 5.8 million copies to date. In April another country trio, Rascal Flatts, opened at No. 1 with 722,000 copies of its new album.
(tip from tavern wench)
New York has no national monuments or icons, according to the Department of Homeland Security form obtained by ABC News. (Click here for the actual document.) That was a key factor used to determine that New York City should have its anti-terror funds slashed by 40 percent--from $207.5 million in 2005 to $124.4 million in 2006.
The formula did not consider as landmarks or icons: The Empire State Building, The United Nations, The Statue of Liberty and others found on several terror target hit lists. It also left off notable landmarks, such as the New York Public Library, Times Square, City Hall and at least three of the nation's most renowned museums: The Guggenheim, The Metropolitan and The Museum of Natural History.
I'm certain there's a mall somewhere in kabumfuck American that really needs some DHS grant money.
Lamont: I think that those who got 132,000 troops stuck in the middle of a bloody civil war should be held accountable. I think those that approved "Heckuva Job Brownie" for FEMA in 42 minutes should be held accountable. I think that those believe that the federal government should intervene in the Terri Schiavo case should be held accountable. That's the last place I want the federal government going, into my hospital room and into my bedroom. I think those who supported Alberto "The Geneva Convention is Quaint" Gonzales should be held accountable.
What an unhinged moonbat.
But whatever its flaws Iran isn't the worst country in the world, it just happens to be a country with not-so-great-human rights which we don't happen to like today. We do like our buddies in Saudi Arabia, a country with a truly awful ruling regime. Not fashionable to spend our days denouncing them.
The point is there are nasty regimes all over the world. It'd be nice to have leadership in this country which was genuinely dedicated to "spreading freedom and democracy" but that would be, you know, "hard work." Instead we just get regular rounds of "denounce the bad regime of the week."
Onward to Bolivia!
So what is it that Beinart really wants from antiwar liberals? The obvious answer is found less in policy than in rhetoric: we need to engage more energetically with the war on terror and criticize illiberal regimes more harshly.
Maybe so. But this is something that's nagged at me for some time. On the one hand, I think Beinart is exactly right. For example, should I be more vocal in denouncing Iran? Sure. It's a repressive, misogynistic, theocratic, terrorist-sponsoring state that stands for everything I stand against. Of course I should speak out against them.
And yet, I know perfectly well that criticism of Iran is not just criticism of Iran. Whether I want it to or not, it also provides support for the Bush administration's determined and deliberate effort to whip up enthusiasm for a military strike. Only a naif would view criticism of Iran in a vacuum, without also seeing the way it will be used by an administration that has demonstrated time and again that it can't be trusted to act wisely.
And this is precisely why when Pete says this he misses the point entirely:
PB: Anything one writes deserves to be judged by itself. The Democratic Party nominated someone in 2004 who had been flat wrong in his opposition to the Gulf War in 1991, I think most people would acknowledge that. Many people who were very prominent figures in the Democratic foreign policy debate and the Democratic Party in general--most of the people who were there at that time in 1991 were wrong about that. The vast majority of the party was wrong, and yet it still seems to me that we have things to learn from people like Sam Nunn or John Kerry. If you were to go from the Gulf War through Kosovo and Iraq, you would find that a large number of people in every facet of the liberal Democratic universe were wrong, on at least one of those wars. Very, very few people were right about all three of them. The people who were--and I think Al Gore is in this category--deserve a significant amount of credit, but the truth of the matter is, if you were looking for an untainted record, you would find very few people.
Supporting or opposing the Iraq war wasn't simply about supporting or opposing a policy, or even supporting or opposing a particular war. Climbing on the Bush train to disaster involved endorsing a completely disastrous foreign policy "doctrine," endorsing a completely dishonest sales job for the war, endorsing a polical climate which branded opponents of that war traitors, etc... etc... Even the more sober supporters of the war like Ken Pollack, who won't get off my television for some reason, knew there was no urgency for whatever reasons they imagined the war would be necessary, but they all decided that supporting this misguided war RIGHT THEN was more important than having any understanding of what Bush and the gang was doing with it.
Supporting the Iraq war wasn't some abstract policy mistake. Supporting it involved endorsing a whole menu of horrible things. I remember at the time all these people thought, Friedman-like, that they'd get their fantasy war. But any sensible person knew they were going to get George Bush's war.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
According to Jonathan Neumann, Tierney created "a whole new playbook" for the city's public relations community. "Once Brian had some success mounting personal attacks on reporters," he says, "we started getting those kinds of calls all the time."
Neumann faced meetings with Tierney other than those involving Cipriano. He says the public relations exec once declared that two separate reporters working on two separate stories were biased against Tierney's two separate clients-just like Cipriano.
Hey, if it worked once ...
Neumann's take on Tierney doesn't sit well with some people, including Tierney himself.
"I think it's a sad day that someone I've always considered an enemy of the First Amendment and an enemy of the Constitution now owns those newspapers," says Neumann.
The story is rather involved, but basically it's a story of cowardly editors backing down to what sounds like surprisingly minor public pressure. I really don't understand why editors seem to break so easily. It's not Tierney's fault the wimps made his job easy. Give in to this crap and it'll keep coming. If it works they'll keep doing it.
The FBI today arrested two computer experts on the staff of state Sen. Vincent J. Fumo, accusing them of trying to obstruct the federal investigation into the powerful Philadelphia Democrat.
A 65-page affidavit laying out the case against legislative aides Leonard P. Luchko and Mark Eister said they and unnamed others had "conspired to obstruct justice" by deleting "electronic evidence," including e-mails.
In the affavidavit, the FBI spells out in its bluntest terms yet the nature of its probe, saying it is looking into whether Fumo engaged in "exortion."
The agency said the inquiry is focused on whether Fumo "used his authority and official position to attempt to demand and obtain payments" from corporations to a South Philadelphia nonprofit.
The document does not name Fumo. Instead, it always referring to an unidentified "Senator." It is clear from the context, however, that the reference is to Fumo.
The FBI is also investigating whether Fumo "benefited both political and personally from expenditures made by the organization," a nonprofit called Citizens Alliance for Better Neighborhoods.
It added that it was probing whether the nonprofit "spent money for the senator's personal benefits and for politial activities inconsistent with the organization's limited mission and tax-exempt status."
I won't shed any tears if they get Fumo.
"It's hard not to cross it. They keep moving the little sucker, don't they?" claims William Hurt in "Broadcast News" when accused by a producer of "crossing the line" during a news report. So what is that line? And does it even exist?
What truly made the story depressing for us though was the lack of shock and outrage about the story uttered in the Washington political community. There was some partisan outrage among folks we either read or talked to, with the left thinking the Times went over the line and the right fearing the story could only help Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., play the victim card to get into the White House.
But when the dean of all political reporters, the Washington Post's David Broder, just matter-of-factly acknowledged the significance of the Times' story without expressing even the slightest bit of regret or remorse for the very idea of running it, that's when we knew that we were going to be very lonely in expressing our disappointment. While not trying to read Broder's mind, it's likely he sees coverage like this as inevitable and that, frankly, we would be naïve if we pretended it's not there. But is this really how we're going to elect out next president; based on how many weekends a month partners of a dual-income marriage spend together? There are a number of prospective '08 candidates who have been married more than once -- should we expect the dirty details of every divorce? Apparently so, the Times has deemed.
The "line" hasn't existed in my lifetime, it's just something selectively applied. Todd also asks whether Ryan Lizza's reporting on George Allen's high school days were appropriate. I think it's a valid question, though in that case on balance I'd say "yes" as they fit into a bigger picture, but I agree that it's debatable. I'd actually be more than happy to universally agree that what presidential candidates did before about age 26, except felony convictions, is basically irrelevant. Along those lines I never had a problem with Bush's shoddy Guard service, I had a problem with the facts that a) He (see autobiography) and his campaign continued to lie about it and b) This was the ultimate example of selective media coverage of such issues.
Wonderful opportunities for those who can afford to take them.
Obviously winning this one matters on its own terms, but it also matters in trying to reshape the entrenched media narrative that being anti-choice is the popular position. If we can kill this one in South Dakota...
They got the signatures to get it on the ballot. Now they have to round up the votes.
With the #1 debut of Taking The Long Way, the Dixie Chicks have also become the first female group in chart history to have three studio albums occupy the #1 slot on the Top 200.
Taking The Long Way has achieved one of the year's Top 5 first week's sales tallies and has the best first week's sales for any female act on the Top 200 in 2006.
In addition to its chart-topping success in America, Taking The Long Way has just debuted at #2 in Australia.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
But blog I must.
So I give you Jeff Goldstein, artist's conception (revised).
Cleland's a friendly guy and has a good sense of humor. Lentz is an Iraq vet, and some of the guys he served with were there along with an Iraqi who served as their translator for a time in Mosul.
Lentz is spending his days knocking on doors, winning votes one by one. Hopefully he pulls it off.
My favorite was this paragraph:
As the prospect of a Democratic majority gains credibility and Ms. Pelosi is more visible, she is also subjected to the speculation and analysis about her hair, makeup and clothes that any woman positioned for such a big job often must endure.
Ah, the passive voice. Who is subjecting her to such speculation? Why, Mark Leibovich is! In the pages of the paper of record.
Look, wages have been flat for years and we're reaching what is hopefully the tail end of a decades-long systematic undermining of various elements of our society/economy which provided the middle class with a bit of economic security. All politicians needs to begin to understand that simple fact.
Monday, May 29, 2006
Sir David Hare changed the Colin Powell character in his play about the run-up to the Iraq war between productions, because he became convinced that the former US secretary general, far from being an honest broker, had not told the truth.
In the National Theatre production of Stuff Happens two years ago, Mr Powell was "represented as a liberal hero", Sir David told the Guardian Hay festival. "In the (subsequent) US production he was a tragic hero. I now believe that Powell was lying when he presented (the weapons of mass destruction) evidence to the UN.
"This is, I admit, very contentious, and is in the face of repeated denials by Powell," he added. "But I think he had grave reservations about whether the 45 minutes claim was true ... he was tricked into going to the UN by George Bush."
Sir David also told the festival how Stuff Happens had encountered "mysterious trouble". At the National Theatre, he said, "it was playing to full houses, had brilliant reviews, and was taken off. I was promised it would be revived, and it never was. I have never been given a proper explanation. I was told, 'It will be out of date next year.'"
Iraq and how we got there won't be out of date next year, the next, or the next. Why people fail to come to grips with this I do not understand.
So much to get up tonight. We’ll start with an introduction of Senator Lieberman by a veteran at the Memorial Day parade in Waterbury earlier today:
“Jospeph Lieberman has served, he’s in his 18th year. And, ummm, as the expression goes, ‘maybe we’ll keep him there until he gets it right.’”
Joe walked the parade route with a Republican Congresswoman.
LAURA INGRAHAM, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: To do a show from Iraq means to talk to the Iraqi military, to go out with the Iraqi military, to actually have a conversation with the people instead of reporting from hotel balconies about the latest IEDs going off.
Journalists tend a bit too much to bask in the reflected glory of the accomplishments and activities of their greatest colleagues, but there's certainly reason to have a great deal of respect for people who are actually trying to get the story in Iraq. The truth is it is extremely dangerous for journalists to go out in Iraq - something the right wingers sitting in their basements covered in cheetoes like to attribute to cowardice as they wank away - but it's also the case that some journalists are getting out there one way or another.
Another few millenia in hell awaits Ingraham, I think.
A CBS News correspondent was critically injured and her two-person crew killed Monday when the Baghdad military unit in which they were imbedded was attacked.
Kimberly Dozier, 39, sustained serious injuries in the attack and underwent surgery at a U.S. military hospital in Baghdad, the network reported. She is in critical condition, but doctors are cautiously optimistic about her prognosis.
Cameraman Paul Douglas and soundman James Brolan, both London-based, were killed.
Event: Bryan Lentz for State House Campaign rally featuring Sen. Max Cleland.
Date/Time: Tuesday, May 30th, 2:30 PM
Location: Iron Hill Brewery
30 East State Street
Carless city residents like myself can get there with the R3 (about a half a mile walk from the station) or by taking the 101 trolley from the 69th street terminal - that one stops very close to the location.
But, Little Debbie is at it again...
Sunday, May 28, 2006
Most people aren’t authorities on climate science, or on much of anything, but that’s not some horrible moral failing. Most people don’t want to read all the way to chapter 9 of some assiduously dry science policy document; and, let’s face it, most people are full of weird ideas about shit they don’t know anything about. I know I am. The problem is that - for reasons I can’t begin to understand - Easterbrook is sitting in the chair that should be occupied by someone who knows what the hell they are talking about.
Indeed they do. But here's the funny thing about that. I read The Good Fight a couple of weeks ago, and Beinart is pretty clear that he now believes he was wrong about a whole host of things back in 2003. He was wrong about WMD, wrong about containment, wrong about the need for international legitimacy, etc. etc. If he had it to do over again, he wouldn't have supported the war.
What's more, his prescription for how liberals should approach foreign policy going forward is distinctly non-martial. He believes we need a sort of modern-day Marshall plan for the Middle East; a willingness to work with international institutions even if that sometimes restrains our actions; an acceptance that we should abide by the same restrictions that we demand of others; greater patience in foreign affairs; and a rededication to social justice both at home and abroad.
In other words, I think he could give the keynote address at YearlyKos and not really say much of anything the audience would disagree with. If Beinart really is the standard bearer for a new incarnation of liberal hawkishness, then we're almost all liberal hawks now.
There's a little more to it, of course, and Beinart remains critical of liberals who have gotten so disgusted with George Bush's approach to terrorism that they've decided the whole war on terror is just a sham. Still, it's an interesting transformation, and many of the differences that remain within liberal circles strike me as more rhetorical than substantive.
"The war on terror" was always a sham, in the sense that it was a hideously inappropriate metaphor which provided cover for a bunch of hideously inappropriate policies. As for these magical straw liberals who think terrorism isn't an issue, I imagine they're hiding out in Beinart's barn along with the rest of his straw monsters. As for the real issue, which is "George Bush's approach to terrorism," well, yes, that's a sham as I imagine even Beinart would acknowledge.
Perhaps someone just needs to sit Beinart down and tell him that a tendency to argue with invisible adversaries is not a sign of a deep and important thinker, something he so desperately wants to be.
P.S. According to Bush, it's Iraq. And we're not supposed to think it's all a sham?
BLITZER: He's trying to balance a realistic assessment. At the same time, he uses the phrase "a turning point," which may or may not happen.
RUSSERT: We do not know if this will be a turning point. The reason is, are there enough young Iraqis who will step forward and say, "I believe in this new democracy. And to prove that, I'm willing to shed my blood and give my life."
It is then and only then can Americans start coming home. That's the unanswered question. Do the Iraqis believe, across the board, in their government and willing to take on the insurgency without any question?
This is the level at which the guardians of our elite discourse think about the world. Lord help us.
A young Russert, standing up to the insurgency:
Military service of Tim Russert, who was 20 in 1970:
The miracle of the Dean campaign wasn't the blog, or the fundraising, it was the fact that people were inviting strangers into their homes to meet and plan actions. It was that they were going from the virtual world to the real world. This was 3 years ago.
Some artists I've enjoyed recently which have at least some of their stuff on emusic.
Matt Pond PA
Pretty Girls Make Graves
The Essex Green.
The New Pornographers
For classic music lovers, they have a massive Naxos catalog. And, since it's basically a quarter per song depending on how the music is sliced up on the CDs you could be downloading massive amounts of classical music for cheap - a quarter per movement, a buck a symphony for lots of stuff.
They spit in your face and you ask for more. Can't stand up for you guys if you won't stand up for yourselves.