Saturday, June 09, 2007


You can have this thread when you pry it from my cold dead ham.


And with this, Donna Edwards gets added to the Eschaton Challengers list to get rid of bad Democrat Al Wynn.

More and better Democrats.

Fresh Thread


Wanker of the Day

Katie Couric.

Probably Correct

Scooter will likely win his appeal, given the movement conservative protection racket they have going.

One additional area where there's an imbalance is that Democrats are generally unwilling to attack the integrity of judges, while Republicans frequently do by at the very least suggesting they're using more power than they are entitled to when calling them "activist."

I understand this because faith in the judicial system is rather important, but at some point it's time to recognize that lack of faith might be deserved.


That would be Haim Saban, funder and namesake of the Brookings' Saban Center for Middle East Policy and home to the dangerously credulous Kenneth Pollack, the man who made the good liberal case for war so popular. case anyone still buys that "reluctant hawk" crap, here's kenny boy from January 2003:

What's the president to do?

First, he and his spokesmen must make clear that "cooperation" is not the same as compliance. Iraq's mendacious 12,000-page initial declaration was proof that Saddam Hussein has no intention of taking the United Nations up on what the Security Council unanimously agreed was his last chance to avoid war. As he did throughout the 1990's, he will give us cooperation without doing anything to comply with the demands of the Security Council to give up his weapons programs. And that is the only standard that counts.

The Bush administration should put much less emphasis on the weapons inspectors' futile hunt for a "smoking gun." Every inspection of an Iraqi site that finds nothing reinforces the misimpression that Iraq has complied. Moreover, as we experienced in the 1990's, every time the inspectors did find smoking-gun evidence of Iraqi cheating — be it the information supplied by the defector Hussein Kamel al-Majid (Saddam Hussein's son-in-law), the Russian missile gyroscopes that Iraq had imported after the Persian Gulf War, or the traces of VX nerve gas on Iraqi Scud warhead fragments — the Security Council still took no action to force Iraq to comply.

In addition, the administration should quickly share whatever intelligence it has with its allies in what Mr. Bush calls the "coalition of the willing," so that these countries will understand we have good reason for using force to do what Saddam Hussein will not do and the inspectors cannot do. And it should immediately publish, even in sanitized form, the large amount of information we have already gained from earlier defections of Iraqi scientists, which was always the most valuable intelligence we could get our hands on.

Last, after Mr. Blix reports today that Iraq has not explained the yawning gaps in the November document that was supposed to have been its "full, final and complete" declaration, Washington should press the Security Council to give Iraq an ultimatum. It must be made to account for the thousands of tons of chemical precursors, the thousands of liters of biological warfare agents, the thousands of missing chemical munitions, the unaccounted-for Scuds missiles, and the weaponized VX poison that the United Nations has itself declared missing. If it does so, the inspectors can verify. If it does not do so, we will have a plausible justification for war.

Back in 1998, Bill Clinton called off the strikes only to call them forth again a month later, launching Operation Desert Fox after Richard Butler, then the chief United Nations inspector, reported to the Security Council that Iraq was neither cooperating nor complying. Today, with 150,000 troops flowing to the region, our regional allies much more exposed, and Hans Blix about to report Iraq's "cooperation" to the Security Council, President Bush does not have the same maneuvering room. And it will grow even narrower the closer we come to war because Saddam Hussein undoubtedly has more mock cooperation tricks up his sleeve designed to play to the European Union-United Nations coalition of the unwilling.

With an iron will and some skillful diplomacy, President Bush can find a way out of this inspections trap. But he must do it quickly.

Helping the Bad Guys

Credit where credit is due. A little lightbulb went off in tweety's melon about his BFF Rudy!:

MATTHEWS: And by the way, I disagree with you about you being an amateur. But I‘ll tell you one thing. I agree with what Fareed Zakaria wrote in “Newsweek” this week, which is terrorism isn‘t explosions and death, terrorism is when you change your society because of those explosions and you become fearful to the point where you shut out immigration, you shut out student exchanges, you shut people out of buildings, you begin to act in an almost fascist manner because you‘re afraid of what might happen to you. That‘s when terrorism becomes real and frighteningly successful. That‘s what I believe, and that‘s why I question the way Giuliani has raised this issue. He raises it as a specter. In a weird way, he helps the bad guys.

Media Matters

From Jamison Foser.

Last Shot

Three months ago today the very serious Saint John McCain said:

This is our last shot, my friends; this is our last chance.

Since then, approximately 311 US troops have died.

One of Them

If, as expected, Scooter gets hauled off to prison, I expect the full horror of Washington insiderism to be on display. He is, after all, one of them.

Morning Thread


Late Night

Listen to a pretty song.

...and another

Friday, June 08, 2007

Evening Thread

Be excellent to each other.

And They All Had a Good Laugh

Judge Walton:

It is an impressive show of public service when twelve prominent and distinguished current and former law professors of well-respected schools are able to amass their collective wisdom in the course of only several days to provide their legal expertise to the Court on behalf of a criminal defendant. The Court trusts that this is a reflection of these eminent academics' willingness in the future to step to the plate and provide like assistance in cases involving any of the numerous litigants, both in this Court and throughout the courts of our nation, who lack the financial means to fully and properly articulate the merits of their legal positions even in instances where failure to do so could result in monetary penalties, incarceration, or worse. The Court will certainly not hesitate to call for such assistance from these luminaries, as necessary in the interests of justice and equity, whenever similar questions arise in the cases that come before it.

Evening Thread


"He's Like a White Bread Guy"

And they never do bad things.

Are We Safer?

In thinking about that question, I feel it's appropriate to go back to the standard in December '03, when Dean was exorciated for saying what everyone knew was true, that the capture of Saddam Hussein didn't make anyone safer. Dean was attacked for not recognizing that "we" included the troops, and as we all knew Saddam was masterminding the entire "don't call it an insurgency" operation from his spider hole and after his capture there would be no more reason for US troops to be attacked.

Whatever else has gone on, it's certainly not the case that by that definition of "we," we are not safer. Roughly 3000 US troops have died since then.

Farm Bill Follies

I generally see the Farm Bill is one of those impenetrable deals concocted in the back rooms by square state senators, impervious to any sound or fury directed at it.

As such I tend not to follow its twists and turns, but it's certainly an important bill both for how it impacts the environment and how it impacts the health of the nation.

Anyway, as it's not something I've followed enough to know if Rep. Blumenauer is trying to push it in the right direction, but at a first pass it doesn't sound evil.

More info here.

Fallen Soldier

These people are demented and twisted.

Looking Ahead

One hopes that when Paris finishes her 45 day sentence she devotes her life to improving jail/prison conditions.

Fresh Thread



CNN briefly cuts away from Paris Hilton coverage.

Broder Infects Balz

Really, this is silly stuff.

Peter Pace Replaced

MSNBC sez General Pace is being replaced with Admiral Mike Mullen as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

Hate Being Right

Me, July '05:

I wonder if Democrats realize that Iraq will be the central issue in both the '06 an '08 elections? I don't think they do. sad.

Some probably realize it now, but yes voters already know Iraq will be the central issue in the '08 elections.


Ezra writes:

It cannot be said often enough, or loudly enough, or forcefully enough, that the Republican Party is uniting around a man who does not know the first thing about the Iraq War. And when I say first thing, I mean that literally. Many of us made fun of Romney's misuse of the terms non sequitur and null set, but the context in which he misused them was far worse. Dodging question about the worth of the Iraq War, he said "if Saddam Hussein had opened his country to IAEA inspectors and they'd gone in and found that there were no weapons of mass destruction, we wouldn't be in this conflict. But he didn't do those things."

I think this misses the point. I don't know what Romney knows or doesn't know about the Iraq war, but "Saddam didn't let the inspectors in" and "Saddam kicked the inspectors out" have both been elements of the standard media narrative for some time. There's no reason Romney should be expected to be challenged on it by anybody but dirty fucking hippie bloggers.

Here's George Bush, July 14, 2003:

The larger point is, and the fundamental question is, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is, absolutely. And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power, along with other nations, so as to make sure he was not a threat to the United States and our friends and allies in the region.

Why shouldn't Republicans just keep repeating this stuff?

So Much Wanking

"Tort reform" zealot Robert Bork sues.

Iraq 4Ever

Finally a bit of comprehension from a mainstream media source.

Just how long is the issue of the day in Iraq-obsessed Washington. And frighteningly, no one seems more confused about the plan than Bush himself. In two separate appearances in the last week, he alternately invoked last fall’s Baker-Hamilton report—which envisioned a substantial pullout by early 2008—and America’s South Korea occupation, which has been a robust front-line presence for more than 50 years. Which is it?

Neither, as it turns out. The Washington commentariat has suggested recently that Bush seems ready to pronounce the imminent end of his “surge,” which by several accounts has failed both to secure large parts of Baghdad and, on a more strategic level, to prod the still-paralyzed Iraqi government to govern. “I would like to see us in a different configuration at some point in time in Iraq,” the president said at a Rose Garden news conference on May 24. So is he talking about a “Plan B?” he was asked. “Actually, I would call that a plan recommended by Baker-Hamilton, so it would be a Plan B-H,” the president joked.

In fact Bush has no intention of going back to Baker-Hamilton, says a senior White House official, who requested anonymity because he is not authorized to speak on the record. Sure, he’s paying a lot more lip service to its recommendations, partly in an effort to gain new bipartisan consensus on Capitol Hill after the White House’s successful effort to thwart a Democrat-led withdrawal plan. But one of the central recommendations of the Baker-Hamilton report called for a dramatic consolidation of the U.S. presence onto a handful of large bases like Balad. There, U.S. air units and special ops would mainly focus on killing Al Qaeda and leave the Iraqis more or less to their own devices. A long-term presence at Balad is still part of the plan—it always was—but the White House official told NEWSWEEK this week that the Baker-Hamilton panel misunderstood the mission. “What Baker-Hamilton didn’t get right is the military feasibility of doing anti-Al Qaeda missions based primarily on special forces operations,” he told me. “That isn’t feasible because Al Qaeda is so entrenched in the population.” When the National Intelligence Estimate “gamed this out,” he said, it concluded that sectarian violence was now so out of control that to allow Shiite reprisals to occur while the Americans remained hunkered down on their bases would only fuel support among the Sunnis for Al Qaeda, which would grow even more entrenched. Hence the surge’s effort to rein in Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army and other chief culprits.


The upshot is there really is no Plan B, or Plan B-H, or indeed anything coherent. The goal is Baker-Hamilton’s “end-state,” but without the training up of Iraqis that would allow the recommended pullout to happen by March 2008. It’s the South Korean occupation without the truce, or a status-of-forces pact. It’s just Iraq, in other words— a quagmire that is as resistant to solutions as ever.

While there are other reasons, the main reason we stay in Iraq is because of the vanities of incompetent people.

And Speaking of Immigration

How politically braindead are Senate Republicans for trying to put the "blame" for the immigration bill failure on Harry Reid.

...adding, immigration is one of those issues where High Broderism just doesn't work. While compromise, yadda yadda, is often necessary to get things through the Senate, the fact is that there are two competing visions for immigration and any "compromise" is just going to be a muddle. There's no sensible way to split the baby.

More Immigration

Ezra writes:
The lefties I talk to on this are pretty universal in blaming the worst elements on the restrictionists, not business.

He took issue with my suggestion yesterday:

The real thing to take away," he writes, "is that much of the "bad" is bad that Michelle, Lou, and I can all agree on. It isn't in there because it appeals to Republican/conservative voters, it's there because it appeals to elite business interests.

So, let me be more clear and more specific. The only reason there's any potential Republican support for the bill is because of their support from elite business interests. The Republican base is anti-immigrant, anti-immigration, however you want to describe it. There was plenty of bad stuff in the bill which was in there to try to get a couple of Republican politicians on board - the various punitive measures and hurdles - but none of that stuff is convincing to the base. They may like that stuff more than I do but it isn't anything close to being enough to make them happy.

So the bad stuff I was referring to which Lou, Michelle, and I can all agree is bad is the fact that the bill would do nothing to stop illegal immigration and would, through the guest worker program, create an additional path for people to enter legally and then remain here by overstaying their visas. While business interests have protested too loudly about some aspects of the bill, basically anything which gives them a large supply of an unprotected underclass makes them happy. They'd be thrilled for it to be a completely legal guest worker program, but they're not too troubled by the alternative.


While I'd say there's a surprising degree of broad ideological agreement among people who read and comment on major lefty blogs, I think that serves to mask a great deal of disagreement about priorities. I'm not suggesting that there's lockstep agreement on all policy issues, but it seems the greater differences are about priorities.

Especially in debates about the presidential hopefuls I see people seeming to talk past each other because they aren't really disagreeing about the issues, they're disagreeing about how they prioritize those issues.


Over there:

BAGHDAD (AP) - In a dawn strike Friday, unidentified gunmen attacked the house of the police chief in Baqouba, northeast of Baghdad, killing his wife, two brothers and 11 guards, Diyala provincial police reported.

The attackers also abducted two sons and a daughter of police chief Col. Ali Dilayan al-Jorani, police said. The chief, head of central Baqouba's Balda police station, wasn't at home at the time, they said.


Two suicide bombers struck a Shiite mosque and a nearby police station near the oil-rich city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq, and more than 25 people were killed or wounded, police said.

Wanker of the Day

Eli Lake.

Morning Thread

Scary brown people edition.


Thursday, June 07, 2007

Immigration Bill Dead

Not surprised and not really disappointed.

Blogwhoring thread

You know you want to.

Here, I'll start.

What's This All About?

Quite often it comes to my attention that people don't really know what this blog is all about. Like Digby my political radicalization was 95% a reaction to our political media, rather than politics per se, and while the Bush administration has certainly given me plenty of other things to react to, my primary fascination has been with the media industrial complex and its intersection with contemporary American politics.

Your blog may be different!


Broder's boy bounces all the way to 34% in latest Fox poll (.pdf).

Congress is more unpopular among Democrats than Republicans.


Well, what to say. There's some good and awful in the bill, though with potential moving parts it's hard to know for sure. The real thing to take away is that much of the "bad" is bad that Michelle, Lou, and I can all agree on. It isn't in there because it appeals to Republican/conservative voters, it's there because it appeals to elite business interests.

From a conservative perspective, there's amnesty (bad) and nothing serious to prevent or change the incentives for illegal immigration from scary scary Mexico. The point system rigged towards better educated immigrants and away from the family system will change the character of legal immigration somewhat, but won't change illegal immigration at all. A guest worker program without any path to citizenship will just lead to lots of people entering the country legally and then overstaying their visas.


Over there:

BAGHDAD -- Bombs exploded today outside a popular falafel restaurant in Baghdad and a police station near the Syrian border as Iraq's bloodshed claimed at least 20 more lives.

A U.S. soldier, a British soldier and an Iraqi journalist were among those reported killed.

The U.S. military said the soldier was killed and two were wounded Wednesday when a bomb exploded in southwest Baghdad. At least 3,504 U.S. personnel have been killed since the start of the war in 2003, according to the website, which tracks U.S. casualties.

People Hate Bush

It's nice that more of our political class are waking up to that fact.

Didn't Answer

But that didn't stop the media from hyping this as McCain's awesome moment.

Fresh Thread


Really Upset

Uh, Joe? I think they're really upset that you're insisting they stay in the desert so they can wait to be blown up.


Glad to see someone actually cares about that constitution.

Today's vote means the habeas bill can now be brought to the Senate floor at any time. One source with knowledge of the legislative plan said Majority Leader Harry Reid has committed to bringing the bill to a vote within the month.

Some Democrats are pushing Reid to go further, advocating more comprehensive human rights protections and a repeal of the entire Military Commissions Act. Senator Chris Dodd, the most aggressive defender of the Constitution in the presidential race, is pushing legislation that would not only restore habeas, but also ban the use of evidence obtained through torture and recommit the U.S. to the Geneva Conventions. "We must recognize that our security is enhanced by upholding our nation's historic legal principles as we vigorously pursue terrorists," he said in a statement today. Dodd is giving a major address about his proposal at the Cardozo School of Law Commencement exercises in New York on Thursday, part of a larger effort to prioritize Constitutional rights on the national agenda – and in the presidential campaign. The Dodd Campaign has gathered over 10,000 "citizen cosponsors" for his bill, the Restoring the Constitution Act, while using YouTube, blog and netroots outreach to rally more support.

Obama, Clinton and Biden, the other Senators in the presidential race, have cosponsored the habeas legislation but not Dodd's bill, which currently has eleven cosponsors. The legislation faces an uphill battle in the Armed Services Committee, a much less hospitable venue for Constitutional rights than the Judiciary Committee. But there is one influential Armed Services member who opposed the Military Commissions Act and could jump start the effort to restore Constitutional rights: Hillary Clinton.

Oh No

Big Media Ezra can't resist the lure of face time with Tweety.


Broder's boy bounces all the way to 32% in new AP-Ipsos. And:

In another indication of the public's bleak mood, only 21 percent said they believe things in the U.S. are heading in the right direction, the worst mark since the AP-Ipsos poll began in December 2003.

(ht pony boy)


An enduring mystery is why our very serious mainstream media doesn't think it's a big deal when candidates perpetuate the falsehood that inspectors didn't go to Iraq.

Nobody Watching Glenn Beck's Shitty Show


The Scoreboard: Tuesday, June 5

25-54 demographic: (LS)

Total day: FNC: 213 | CNN: 213 | MSNBC: 81 | HLN: 96 | CNBC: 64

Prime: FNC: 312 | CNN: 492 | MSNBC: 137 | HLN: 86 | CNBC: 66
5p: 6p: 7p: 8p: 9p: 10p: 11p:
FNC Gibson: Hume: Shep: O'Reilly: H&C: Greta: O'Reilly:
156 246 181 384 343 207 154
CNN Blitzer: Dobbs: Debate (two hours): Post-show: Cooper: Cooper:
132 222 747 389 237 168
MSNBC Hardball: Tucker: Hardball: Countdo.: Scarbo.: Investig.: Investig.:
56 38 74 201 62 147 165
HLN HLN: Prime: Beck: Grace: Beck: Grace: Showbiz:
92/83 64 59 118 50 90 123

And would someone introduce the people at MSNBC to the basic television programming idea that if you have a relatively highly rated show, and that the ratings for the show which follows fail to keep that audience, you should consider replacing it.

Everyone knows MSNBC would have higher ratings if they put someone left of center on after Olbermann instead of the Mayor of Looneyville. No one will be honest about why they don't.

Wanker of the Day

Joe Klein.

Joe Klein Memories

Ah, the good old days when we were all so civil.

That night I was at a table with Jacob Weisberg, the political scribbler for New York magazine. We were gossiping about fellow journalists, when Klein passed by. He spotted Weisberg and came to a stop. That week New York had published a piece about how a literary expert had used a computer program to pinpoint tell-tale similarities between Klein's bylined writings and "Primary Colors." Weisberg had written a sidebar noting that there were other reasons to suspect Klein. The author of the book, Weisberg reported, was knowledgeable about New York politics, a onetime Clintonphile who now felt betrayed, and a man obsessed about the subject of race. All these attributes fit Klein.

Klein was enraged. He launched into a blistering attack on Weisberg. Why hadn't New York -- where Klein once had been the political columnist -- called him, he yelled, for a comment? (A comment which, obviously, would have been a lie.) "Thanks, thanks, a lot, Jacob," he said with bitter sarcasm. "That was real nice." Klein's face was red. His eyes steely. He wouldn't let Weisberg talk. "And that bit about being obsessed about race -- I really liked that. Do you think being concerned about an important national issue is the same as being obsessed?" How could the magazine do this to him, he demanded to know, playing the wrongly accused to perfection.

Increasingly wound up, he charged Weisberg with possessing no class and making improper use of off-the-record information. Getting meaner, Klein said Weisberg was gaining a reputation in journalistic circles as an unlikeable fellow not worthy of a dinner-party invitation. (I know of no evidence of this and find Weisberg entirely likable.) When Weisberg tried to squeeze in a word, Klein shot him the look of daggers and hissed: "You don't understand. This is the very last time you and I will ever speak. The last time."

I had rarely seen such a display of unrelenting anger. Weisberg turned white. Finally, Klein huffed, "By the way, this is off-the- record. You do know what off-the-record is, Jake, don't you?" Then he stormed off. (Since I do not believe public outbursts can be placed off-the-record ex post facto, I do not feel bound by Klein's parting comment.)

Fred's Still Quiet

2 days without a "Free Scooter!" piece at the WaPo.

...oops, I was wrong. There is one.


Someone's been poking around in Ted's tubes:

Sen. Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in the Senate, disclosed in an interview that the FBI asked him to preserve records as part of a widening investigation into Alaskan political corruption that has touched his son and ensnared one of his closest political confidants and financial backers.

Stevens, who is famous for bringing home federal earmarks for Alaska when he was Appropriations Committee chairman, was not previously known to be linked to the Justice Department's probe, which has uncovered evidence that more than $400,000 worth of bribes were given to state lawmakers in exchange for favorable energy legislation.

Investigators have used secret recording equipment, seized documents and cooperating witnesses to secure the indictments of four current and former state lawmakers, including the former state House speaker, shaking the core of Alaska's Republican Party.


"They put me on notice to preserve some records," Stevens said in a brief interview about his legal team's discussions with the FBI. He declined to say what kinds of records were involved but confirmed that he had hired lawyers and that his son, former state Senate president Ben Stevens, "is also under investigation."

Morning Thread


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Outside the System

Goodling has a problem.

Evening Thread

Someone forgot to give Joe Klein his ketamine again.

Anal Eroticism

Just try to resist clicking the link.

Godless Dems

Jamison Foser takes a look at the media coverage of the Dems and their religious forum.



A Brief Play in 10 Lines

The ghost of Joseph Heller is channeled by Bernstein and O'Reilly to reflect 15 years of reporting on the Clintons.

O'REILLY: Did she break the law?


O'REILLY: OK. Good, I like this. How did she break the law?

BERNSTEIN: She broke the law if, indeed, she perjured herself.

O'REILLY: Well, you just said she did break the law.

BERNSTEIN: No. The special prosecutor determined that she did not.So he did not file the charge.

O'REILLY: So you think she did. But the special prosecutor, Ken Starr, said no.

BERNSTEIN: That is correct. You know what? Let me be really straightforward. I don't think she broke the law. I think there was a time that she did not tell the truth.

O'REILLY: Under oath?

BERNSTEIN: You know, I wasn't in the room.



But, hey, at least Romney actually is a handsome, chiseled fellow. When they start going on and on about the babe magnet Fred Thompson or the hunky Giuliani I have to shake my head in wonder. There's something wrong with them and it has nothing to do with being gay or straight. This is way deeper than that --- so deep, in fact, that someone should do their psychology thesis on the subject. Why do so many male Washington courtiers have giggling mancrushes on phony Republican politicians? A question for the ages if there ever was one.

It is truly bizarre once Tweety and the gang start slobbering.

Very Serious

I see someone at your number one source for haircut-related campaign information thinks the Mittster is teh awesome. You would think that being completely wrong about The Most Important Issue Evah would offer some disqualification, but as Matt suggests this nonsense has so permeated the basic narrative that it's more of a gaffe to point out that it's bullshit than it is to go along with the bullshit.

...uh, ew?

New Thread

'turk incursion into Eschaton -- for the dial up people.

Happy FU, ISG!

(reminder from certified mutant enemy)


Mitt Romney, one of the very serious foreign policy people:

[I[f you're saying let's turn back the clock and Saddam Hussein had opening up his country to IAEA inspectors and they'd come in and they'd found that there were no weapons of mass destruction, had Saddam Hussein therefore not violated United Nations resolutions, we wouldn't be in the conflict we're in.

But he didn't do those things, and we knew what we knew at the point we made the decision to get in.

The inspectors did go in, as we all know. Still, some say the inspectors went in, some say they didn't, who is to say who is right?

Happy FU, ISG!

It was six months ago today that the all-important Iraq Study Group report was released. For a meditation on its importance, I give you Dean Broder:

Whatever the final impact of the Iraq Study Group report being issued today, for the 10 commission members this was an exhilarating experience, a demonstration of genuine bipartisanship that they hope will serve as an example to the broader political world.

He later wrote:

Bush will reject it at his peril.

And then after Bush rejected it, wrote:

It may seem perverse to suggest that, at the very moment the House of Representatives is repudiating his policy in Iraq, President Bush is poised for a political comeback. But don't be astonished if that is the case.

Since its release, approximately 585 US troops have died.

Still Nobody Watching Beck's Shitty Show


The Scoreboard: Monday, June 4

25-54 demographic: (LS)

Total day: FNC: 240 | CNN: 172 | MSNBC: 123 | HLN: 88 | CNBC: 90

Prime: FNC: 433 | CNN: 238 | MSNBC: 233 | HLN: 118 | CNBC: 135
5p: 6p: 7p: 8p: 9p: 10p: 11p:
FNC Gibson: Hume: Shep: O'Reilly: H&C: Greta: O'Reilly:
125 211 257 496 384 417 407
CNN Blitzer: Dobbs: Blitzer: Zahn: King: Cooper: Cooper:
208 247 379 210 286 219 160
MSNBC Hardball: Tucker: Hardball: Countdo.: Scarbo.: Special: Investig.:
74 92 105 300 167 232 273
HLN HLN: Prime: Beck: Grace: Beck: Grace: Showbiz:
65/60 64 40 131 95 127 150

Reality Slips In


When U.S. Attorney Roslynn Mauskopf described the alleged terror plot to blow up Kennedy Airport as "one of the most chilling plots imaginable," which might have caused "unthinkable" devastation, one law enforcement official said he cringed.

The plot, he knew, was never operational. The public had never been at risk. And the notion of blowing up the airport, let alone the borough of Queens, by exploding a fuel tank was in all likelihood a technical impossibility.

And now, with a portrait emerging of alleged mastermind Russell Defreitas as hapless and episodically homeless, and of co-conspirator Abdel Nur as a drug addict, Mauskopf's initial characterizations seem more questionable -- some go so far as to say hyped.

As Bloomberg said, time to get a life.

Silent Fred

Not a single "Free Scooter!" column/editorial on the WaPo today.


Morning Thread

Anyone looking for a job?

Not Atrios, Not Even Thers.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Late Night

Less scary white men.

Fresh Thread

Scary white people edition.

Time for Fred to Shine!

In comments Karin brought up a good question. Just how many "Free Scooter!" editorials will be in the WaPo and who will be tasked to write them?

Blitzer Wins the Nomination!

Rather stunning that the moderator of a debate with 11 people can manage to take up 1/6 of the time.


Jessica Valenti, and her boobs, will be on Colbert tonight.


Scary black people edition.


The New York Times is apparently all just an elaborate multi-layered joke.

It all makes sense now.

Fresh Thread

Watch the Aspens turn.

The Surge Will Start Tomorrow

But what about all those Kagans - Fred, Robert, Dopey, Mopey, Sleazy, Shitty, and Smurfette - who told me it was working?


Broder's boy bounces all the way to 29% in new Pew poll.

(ht pony boy)


The Anbar success continues.

BAGHDAD: A suicide bomber struck a gathering of anti-al-Qaida tribal leaders in troubled Anbar province on Tuesday, blowing up his car as they met, killing at least 15 people, police and hospital officials reported.

They Write Letters

Unity 08 writes to me:

Dear Duncan,

You signed up to be a Unity 08 Delegate for a reason — to fix our broken political system. But did you ever think fixing it would take just ten minutes?

Today we're sending you the first of Unity08's "10-Minute Tuesday" actions: Easy, fun, yet meaningful ways to build towards a bipartisan ticket in 2008, ten minutes at a time.

Here's your first assignment — take a few minutes to reach across the aisle and have "The Talk."

What I mean is this: Right now, we have two parties that barely speak to each other unless it's to attack the other side. This means real issues get ignored and our country gets nowhere.

Well, today I urge you to take the first step to change all that. Whether you're a Democrat or a Republican or an Independent, do one thing today: reach out. Talk to one person. Or talk to a whole group. Talk to them about the importance of ending the bickering and paralysis in Washington and why the bipartisan approach of Unity08 can help fix our broken political system.

AND THEN... Invite them to become a Unity08 Delegate.

Here are 3 ways to have "the talk." If you have...

ONE MINUTE... Send an email!
Send an email to one person "across the aisle" from you inviting them to join you as a Delegate. We'll provide you with a sample email and you can feel free to make it your own.
ONE HOUR... Have a conversation.
Get a few short and easy talking points to help you have a Unity08 conversation with your co-worker, neighbor, friend, or relative.
ONE EVENING... Host a dinner party.
We'll pull out all the stops to help — conversation starters, menus, place cards and more.

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Because it'll be absent from most if not all media coverage of the Libby trial, I think it's important to ask what kind of man lets his friend take the rap for him.

So White, So Male

Apparently it was impossible for CNN to find a woman or someone off-white who knew enough about politics to either moderate or do pre/post-debate analysis for either debate.

...oops, I was wrong. They did have nonwhites/nonmales for the post-debate analysis, just not the pre-debate analysis. The promo for tonight's coverage included a graphic with a bunch of white males.

Tom DeLay Who?

It's like he never existed.

To the Joint

Via email, Marcy says that the judge is not inclined to give Scooter bail pending appeal, though he will allow for a hearing on that matter next Thursday. If he does deny bail, Scooter will be carted off 45-60 days from now.

30 Months + $250,000 Fine

Sez CNN.

...+2 years probation afterwards.

Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga

The suspense is killing me, so off to distract myself with lunch and other things for a bit.

Here's a new Spoon song, The Underdog, because everybody loves Spoon.


Liveblogging at FDL, but on CNN Brianna Keilar says it looks like Scooter's gonna be getting jail time.

That seems obvious, so the real question is whether Walton will let him stay out pending appeal.

...she also said all the love letters to Scooter have been made public. Let's hope they're made public in an easily accessible way.

...and here they are.
Nice signature, James Carville.

Time to Go

While I don't think Congress should move to chuck out members who have been indicted, it's generally (if not always) the case that they should resign. Innocent until proven guilty is a standard for the courts, not for Congress or public opinion.

So, yes, William Jefferson should leave.

A Victory for Obscenity!


But the judges said vulgar words are just as often used out of frustration or excitement, and not to convey any broader obscene meaning. “In recent times even the top leaders of our government have used variants of these expletives in a manner that no reasonable person would believe referenced sexual or excretory organs or activities.”

Adopting an argument made by lawyers for NBC, the judges then cited examples in which Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney had used the same language that would be penalized under the policy. Mr. Bush was caught on videotape last July using a common vulgarity that the commission finds objectionable in a conversation with Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain. Three years ago, Mr. Cheney was widely reported to have muttered an angry obscene version of “get lost” to Senator Patrick Leahy on the floor of the United States Senate.


If anyone would like to give money to help Steve's family out, there's now a paypal link up.

Simple Truths

Yes, one leads on national security issues by... leading.

Could Be Frog March Day

Scooter sentencing hearing at 9:30.

Homework thread

Help the Justice Department define "wrongdoing" and "improper".

Not Atrios

Monday, June 04, 2007

Late Night

Rock on.

Black Like Them

A sea of undifferentiated blackness.

Evening Thread

1000 count edition.

--Molly Ivors

Talk Dirty To Me

Tom Allen knows how to pander!

(that's lighthearted jest, not criticism)


Broder's boy bounces all the way to 35%.

Approval of congressional Dems is down to 44 because of loss of support from people who are against the war.

Fresh Thread



Klein Le Bon:

Reading this, you get a better sense for where the cult of Armey comes from: He's like a stupid person's idea of what a thoughtful person sounds like.


Clips and stuff here.

Increasing the Danger of Internal Bleeding

That's a feature, not a bug!


MSNBC sez Feds are seeking indictment against William Jefferson.

Working the Pole

I for one welcome speculation about the sex lives of candidates not named Clinton, in the interest of fairness.

And kudos to Scar for recognizing that despite what everyone else in Washington seems to think, Fred Thompson is not the sexiest man alive.

Debate Time

It's inevitable that high polling candidates are going to get more news coverage generally than other candidates, and I'm not sure I can really make a great argument against this fact, but there's no reason that should be true during a candidate debate where the candidates can be treated as equals by the moderators.

Wank Away

Matt has more on today's wanker, though I think he lets him off a bit easy. He's right that Hiatt is slowly following the course of Peter Beinart and others who after it was apparent that the Iraq war was a disaster felt the need to distance themselves from those dirty fucking hippies by constructing "even if they were right they were wrong" kinds of arguments. I think Petey has largely left this behind, but Hiatt's still laboring under the delusion that anyone who opposed the Iraq war did so because they were Buchananite nativists who reject all contact with the outside world instead of people who just thought the Iraq war was a disastrously stupid idea.

But aside from that, Hiatt engages in a bit more mendacity. He writes:

Strikingly, both want to reinvigorate existing multilateral alliances and to create new ones. Both point to flaws in the United Nations but say the United States should work to cure them rather than pull out. Both want renewed attention to securing loose nukes around the world.

Each of their calls for change carries criticism of the Bush administration, implicit in Romney's case, explicit -- and eloquent -- in Obama's. The United States cannot promote its values abroad unless it lives by them at home, Obama says, pledging an end to secret prisons and other abuse of detainees. A president cannot sell an active foreign policy, he says, unless he "can restore the American people's trust" at home.

What does Hiatt leave out? That Obama's "twin" Mitt Romney wants to double the size of Gitmo, presumably because he has a list of terrorist names, addresses, and their evil deeds in his pocket who President Romney would capture and imprison indefinitely without charge if only there wasn't a "no vacancy" sign there. Not only does Hiatt obscure this fact, in the context of the rest of the article it actually suggests this is yet another similarity between Obama and Willard Mitt.

People Like Clinton

Let me endorse in general terms Scarecrow's take on Clinton, both the positives and the negatives, and add a note for Clinton detractors.

That people have a problems with Clinton, or prefer other candidates, is perfectly understandable. One can make a case against her for a variety of reasons, and one can of course make the case for other candidates. But I do get a sense that a lot of online negativity against Clinton is misplaced and counterproductive to the cause, that is the cause of derailing her candidacy if that is your goal.

There seems to be a tendency to paint Clinton supporters as uninformed or stupid. I have no doubt that Clinton supporters may not be aware of every argument against her, every point of potential disagreement, and every little failing. But that's true of the supporters of every candidate. More to the point, the "denigrate the supporters" strategy is, generally, no way to win friends and influence people.

People like Clinton. She's the clear frontrunner in national polls. Her strong showing as peoples' second choice suggests that the "anti-Clinton" constitutency isn't all that strong.

I'm not writing any of this to make the case for Clinton, I'm just trying to make the case that her detractors underestimate the strength of her support at their peril. Whatever the reasons, her support is real and significant.

Wanker of the Day

Fred Hiatt.

Words and Stuff

Candy Crowley also just informed that John Edwards said the war on terror is just a bumper sticker. Edwards' point is that the phrase is a bumper sticker, a "political slogan." Or, specifically:

But what this global war on terror bumper sticker -- political slogan, that's all it is, all it's ever been -- was intended to do was for George Bush to use it to justify everything he does: the ongoing war in Iraq, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, spying on Americans, torture.

None of those things are OK. They are not the United States of America.

Morning Thread

According to Candy Crowley, Hillary Clinton can't criticize Bush because she comes across as a shrill emasculating ballbusting harpy.

That's a paraphrase.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Late Night

Rock on.

Freed Alterman

The man explains:

Ok, here's what happened.

I came to New Hampshire with the Creative Coalition for a panel tomorrow morning and was supposed to be in the auditorium for the debate but because I am a journalist, they were told I would have to wait in the spin room. When I got to the spin room, which was an empty gymnasium, I noticed that there were chairs located on a balcony above us. So I went up there--no one asked me for my ID or anything--and went over to the bar and asked if it was a cash bar, because I had no idea what kind of event it was. I was told it was an open bar so I asked for a glass of wine and a glass of water and went to sit down and wait for the event to begin.

A guy came over and asked me who I was and I told him I was a colmunist for The Nation and he told me I had to leave. I thought he was kind of rude, so I asked him his name, thinking it might go into Altercation the next day. He refused to answer me I asked again. He refused again. But I was following him out when he went to get a cop. The cop told me to leave the room and I did. We left the room, past where the people were handing out badges to go into the reception and I figured the entire drama was over. But the cop kept yelling at me to leave. I didn't understand. I thought I had left. I asked him to stop yelling, I had left. He kept telling me to leave. In retrospect, I guess he was kicking me out of the building and I didn't understand, but it was really mystifying and annoying and I told him I wanted to speak to his commanding officer.

We went over to the commanding officer and I, calmly and politely, sought to explain that I didn't know why this cop was continuing to hassle me. The first cop kept interrupting me as I tried to explain myself and finally I turned around and said, "Can I please finish a sentence here?" That's when the first cop decided to arrest me. He handcuffed me behind my back and took me outside.

(A funny aside, Congressman Ed Markey happen to walk by then and came over to say hello to me and stuck out his hand for a shake. I had to say, "Sorry, Ed, I'm being handcuffed." He laughed, and told the officers that he would vouch for my character and walked away.)

Anyway, I never refused to leave and the only time I raised my voice was when the first cop would not let me explain what I had thought was a massive misunderstanding to his commanding officer. Once I was arrested and brought to the Goffstown station, I actually had a pretty nice time with the cops there, who were very friendly and understanding of my situation. When they learned I was a writer and planned to write about this incident, they wanted to make sure that I knew that the cop who had arrested me was not one of theirs, but was from another town and had been working on an "reciprocity" arrangement.

I paid a $30 to be released and the whole thing took about 45 minutes. I filed a written report with the police explaining that I thought the arresting officer had treated me unfairly, and I do think this was the case, but I now think it was based on a misunderstanding on just where he wanted me to stay and where he wanted me to leave.

In any case, I spoke to CNN and I believe they will correct some of the misimpressions created by their first story. Just to be clear, I did not refuse to leave seven times and I did not, as far as I know, raise my voice, except for that last time.

For the record, I also don't remember anyone reading me my Miranda rights, though I don't know if that is ultimately going to matter. I have a court date in July but I am hoping to be able to clear it up before I leave tomorrow because it strikes me as mosty, a misunderstanding.

Free Alterman


MANCHESTER, New Hampshire (CNN ) – Columnist and author Eric Alterman was arrested Sunday night inside the debate spin room and charged with criminal trespass after police say he refused repeated orders to leave.

Goffstown, N.H. police say Alterman was in the spin room as a guest of the Creative Coalition and went to an area reserved for a private reception for WMUR-TV. Police say he was asked by an executive at the party if he was invited to the private area and was asked to leave. A police officer was called after a verbal altercation ensued. He was asked by police seven times to leave, and police say he became increasingly loud as he refused. After ignoring a final request, police say he was handcuffed and taken from the building. He is charged with criminal trespass, and a bail commissioner will determine if he will be released.

...cnn has taken this down. Weird.

...back up again.

Fresh Thread

Rock on.


I have to admit I find the presidential debates - and, more importantly, the coverage that surrounds them - too creepy to deal with at the moment. But, Dems on CNN at 7 for those in the mood.

Chris Dodd has set up a debate talk clock. Good thinking including the beard in that.

Fresh Thread


Fred Hiatt's Dreams

Such a beautiful mind.

Wanker of the Day

Fred Hiatt.

Next Year

You're always a year aaaaaaa waaaaaaaaaaaay.....


Over there:

The bodies of 26 people were found shot in different districts of Baghdad on Saturday, police said.


Meanwhile, U.S. military officials announced Sunday that seven U.S. troops were killed in six separate incidents on Saturday.

The Deciderer

Apparently he's frightened of Dick Cheney or something.

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities:

ABC's "This Week" -- Iraqi President Jalal Talabani; Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa.; NASCAR driver Kyle Petty. 8 a.m.

CBS's "Face the Nation" -- Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo.; Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y. 8:30 a.m.

NBC's "Meet the Press" -- Democratic strategists Bob Shrum and James Carville; Republican strategists Mary Matalin and Mike Murphy. 8 a.m.; also 7 p.m. on MSNBC.

CNN's "Late Edition" -- Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Richard Shelby, R-Ala.; Elizabeth Edwards, wife of presidential candidate John Edwards; Tagg Romney, son of presidential candidate Mitt Romney. 8 a.m.

"Fox News Sunday" -- Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker. 4 p.m.; also 3 p.m. on Fox News Channel.

Very Late Night