Saturday, May 31, 2008

Midnight Thread

Bill's List Of Enemies

[The point of this post is to make a funny, not to endorse the narrative created by the Politico]

If Bill Clinton really has an enemies list, then Chris Bowers had better watch his back...


There are a lot of people who sincerely believe that their One True Candidate is more electable, along with plenty of people who take the superlative stance that only their candidate is electable. They may be right. I have no idea. I know smart astute people on both sides who think that way about their candidate. I long ago decided I would do my best to not head down the electability argument path. There are arguments on both sides, but I don't find either to be especially convincing. Ultimately I don't think you should head into the voting both and base your choice on how you imagine the American People will vote. That's Tim Russert's job, to divine the will of that mythical Amurkan, and we all know his track record.

Deep Thought

Your candidate's supporters suck.

And It's Over

+24 net for Clinton.

and then?

One Of Those Days

I got nothin'. Ambinder's doing the play by play.

Gloomy Day

And Hulk Stevens shoved his tie into my intertubes again.

Fresh Thread

Anyone get shot in the face today?



We all misspeak sometimes. I've done it myself. So on such a basic, factual error, you'd think that Senator McCain would just admit that he made a mistake and move on. But he couldn't do that. Instead, he dug in. And the disturbing thing is that we've seen this movie before -- a leader who pursues the wrong course, who is unwilling to change course, who ignores the evidence. Now, just like George Bush, John McCain refused to admit that he made a mistake. And that's exactly the kind of leadership that we've had through more than five years of fighting a war that should've never been authorized, and should've never been waged.

We don't need more leaders who can't admit they've made a mistake, even when it's about something as fundamental as how many young Americans are serving in harm's way.

While I think their underlying psychologies are slightly different, this is very true about McCain. He is McCain, so he is good and moral and right and correct and anything else is unpossible.


It makes complete sense that Reagan Democrats would more strongly identify with those who have the boorish manner of Yalies.


Had such nice weather here recently I forgot it could be not so nice.

I Don't Care

I admit I really don't care at all about the DNC R&B meeting today. There's no grand principle at stake here and I have no interest in listening to people pretend that there is. The primary system is a weird hybrid of things far removed any concept of "one person one vote." And it isn't really a public election the way, say, voting for your Congressman is an election. It's a contest whereby members of a club choose the leader of that club, who then goes on to participate in a real election.

It isn't important that muckety mucks from Florida and Michigan get to go to the big party in Denver. The only real issue is if what's decided today impacts the ultimate outcome - who becomes the leader of the club - and whether that's seen as legitimate by both sides. Personally I think changing the rules midgame is not the way to do things, though if it doesn't impact the outcome it doesn't really matter, but I guess some people differ on that.

Crazy Talk In Kansas City

Just nutty.

Funkhouser has proposed, based on input from local transit planners, a 119-mile network of light rail and streetcars in city streets, commuter rail on existing railroad tracks, plus rapid and express buses. It would require a half-cent sales tax increase in the three counties, plus hundreds of millions of dollars from the federal government. And it would be overseen by a new tri-county board of mayors and county officials.

Funkhouser’s proposal excludes the Kansas side of the state line because authorizing legislation exists only in Missouri, and Johnson County mayors have expressed little interest in pursuing a transit tax.

It's Official

The 2012 Pennsylvania Democratic primary will be held on my roof deck in 5 minutes.

...Alan Keyes wins! Congratulations, Alan!

The President Is Alice Walker

Or she's as important as him. Or something.

Late era wingnuttery is getting increasingly detached.

Media Matters

From Jamison Foser.

Are we there yet?

You might want to listen to Rachel Maddow's interview with Richard Clarke about his new book, Your Government Failed You, from last night's show. (Or her interview with Cory Doctorow about Little Brother.)

Not Atrios

Overnight Thread

Friday, May 30, 2008

For Us Geeks

Hey Tommy

Suck on this too!

Deep Thought

Karl Rove has The Math.

Not Bad

This kid might have some idea what he's doing.

"There are honest differences about how to move forward in Iraq, just like there were honest differences about whether or not we should go to war," Obama is supposed to say. "John McCain was for the invasion of Iraq; I opposed it. John McCain wants to continue George Bush’s war in Iraq indefinitely; I want to end it. So there’s going to be a clear choice for the American people this November."

"But that’s not what John McCain’s been talking about the last few days. He’s been proposing a joint trip to Iraq that’s nothing more than a political stunt. He’s even been using it to raise a few dollars for his campaign. But it seems like Sen. McCain’s a lot more interested in my travel plans than the facts, because yesterday – in his continued effort to put the best light on a failed policy – he stood up in Wisconsin and said, 'We have drawn down to pre-surge levels' in Iraq."

"That’s not true, and anyone running for commander-in-chief should know better. As the saying goes, you’re entitled to your own view, but not your own facts. We’ve got around 150,000 troops in Iraq -- 20,000 more than we had before the surge. We have plans to get down to around 140,000 later this summer -- that’s still more troops than we had in Iraq before the surge. And today, Sen. McCain refused to correct his mistake. Just like George Bush, when he was presented with the truth, he just dug in and refused to admit his mistake. His campaign said it amounts to 'nitpicking.'"

"Well, I don’t think tens of thousands of American troops amounts to nitpicking. Tell that to the young men and women who are serving bravely and brilliantly under our flag. Tell that to the families who have seen their loved ones fight tour after tour after tour of duty in a war that should’ve never been authorized and never been waged."


Ted Stevens comes through THE TUBES.

Deep Thought

I thought white members of the clergy were allowed to say anything they wanted to.

Deep Thought

Politics is just so mean.


Indeed, Pelosi does deserve the credit for saving Social Security. Back in those fun days beltway conventional wisdom was that Democrats HAD TO offer a plan to "save" social security of their own or they'd be DOOMED. This was despite the fact that Bush himself had yet to formally offer a plan. Dirty fucking hippie bloggers knew how this game worked, that if the Democrats offered a plan they'd ensure that something would happen and that something would inevitably be pretty much what Bush wanted. Our plan was to not offer any plan, and in fact go nuclear on any Dem who did try to offer a plan.

Fortunately Pelosi had the same idea.

As the spring of 2005 wore on, some pestered her every week, asking when they were going to release a rival plan.

"Never. Is never good enough for you?" Pelosi defiantly said to one member.

Afternoon Thread

this primary still going on?

Just Another Quiet Day In Mosul

The dead are pretty quiet, it's true.

Tommy Friedman's F.U. To The World!

After Little Tommy Friedman was finished explaining that Iraqis need to suck on it - and, don't worry Tom, they're still sucking on it! - he spent a few years flipping the bird to all of us. You see, while George Bush was presiding over his war, Tommy was existing in some parallel universe in which his pet war was being fought. Don't take my word for it, take Tommy's!

But I have to admit that I've always been fighting my own war in Iraq.

As Harold Meyerson wrote:

Was it too much to ask the nation's most important foreign-policy journalist to focus on Bush's war -- particularly because, well, it was Bush, and not Friedman, who was president?

Little Tommy kept soldiering on, hunting for ponies in his little fantasy war. And every few months or so, Little Tommy's moustache would communicate to him that the next six months were critical, or important, or whatever. Little Tommy kept punting the problem down the road six months at a time, and over 10 Friedman Units later people are still dying. Even in his little fantasy war Tommy couldn't find the pony.

Suck on this Tommy!


The Stupid!!! IT BURNS ME!!!

The Horror of Tom Friedman

You would think that advocating indiscriminate killing of people in some Middle Eastern country - any country will do! - just "because we could" would be the kind of thing which would cause people to respond with disgust and revlusion, and perhaps revoke your NYT columnist card. But, as we've learned so many times over the years, there's really nothing you can say or write about the awesomeness of killing Arabs for random reasons which will stop your cocktail party invitations from coming. Friedman, I suppose, was at least not quite as narcissistic as Richard Cohen, who thought killing people in Iraq was a good idea because it would be "therapeutic" for our country. Dead innocent people so Cohen could save a bit on his shrink bill.

But the problem with Tom Friedman is that he's very serious and taken very seriously. Unlike Maureen Dowd whose gibberish has lost its influence over the years, Tommy "Suck On This" Friedman is still The Most Serious Foreign Affairs Man In America. When Tom Friedman speaks, people listen, even as his metaphors become as bad as his advice.

So on Suck On This Day we should do our part to convince as many people as we can that Tom Friedman is a blithering idiot and a moral monster. Suck On This Tommy!

Driving Philly

Needed a car for a quick errand yesterday, and I spent a few extra minutes driving around a bit farther south into South Philly than I usually go. Some of it has a kind of unpleasant crumbling look to it and it took me awhile to figure out why. Sure there are always the occasional abandoned or decrepit buildings and lots, but you even get that closer to center city (plenty of them right around where I currently live). Some of it's just the lack of street cleaning so you get a bit more stray garbage than you should. But then I realized that a lot of it is simply the crumbling and broken sidewalks. Repairing those would do a lot to improve the character of those areas.

Understanding Urban Development

I get a bit frustrated when I read through various proposed city developments and some of the criticisms of them. On the development side the frustration is because good urban development isn't really that complicated, and I remain puzzled at why developers so often fail to do it or why the city fails to force them to do it. On the critics' side I get frustrated because I think many well-intentioned people lack a basic sense of things. Don't misunderstand, I'm not telling people what they should like, just think that they tend to focus on things which aren't quite as important as they imagine.

Neighborhood residents tend to focus on size (height), traffic, and parking. These are all reasonable concerns, and if your view or sun exposure is going to be blocked I sympathize, but for the most part they aren't really the prime concerns. More than that, often legitimate height and parking concerns are addressed by making a project drastically worse. Smaller is not necessarily better, and more on site parking is quite often worse.

The important thing to focus on for a big urban project is whether it knits into the streetscape, or if it turns inwards, creating a pedestrian dead zone. More parking garages/spaces tend to work against this, requiring larger curb cuts and ramps, making the sidewalk a hazardous space.

People see a big project coming and they worry about disruption to their neighborhood and an increase in traffic/decrease in local available parking. But worrying too much about minimizing disruption leads to people wanting to simply shrink a project, rather than thinking about how to make it better.

Wanker of the Day

Mike Allen.



The news media have been, if anything, even more craven than the administration has been in defending its failure to investigate Bush's case for war in Iraq before the war.

Here's ABC News' Charles Gibson: "I think the questions were asked. It was just a drumbeat of support from the administration. It is not our job to debate them. It is our job to ask the questions.” And “I’m not sure we would have asked anything differently."


Or this from NBC's Brian Williams: “Sadly, we saw fellow Americans — in some cases floating past facedown (after Katrina). We knew what had just happened. We weren’t allowed that kind of proximity with the weapons inspectors [in Iraq]. I was in Kuwait for the buildup to the war, and, yes, we heard from the Pentagon, on my cell phone, the minute they heard us report something that they didn’t like. The tone of that time was quite extraordinary.” And this: "“It’s tough to go back, to put ourselves in the mind-set. It was post-9/11 America."

So the Pentagon tells the media what kind of reporting is in- and out-of-bounds?

Hogwash. Hogwash! HOGWASH.


The heroes of Moyers’s story are John Walcott, Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel of Knight Ridder newspapers, which was acquired by The McClatchy Company in 2006. Their relentlessly skeptical reporting was nearly unique in Washington – and almost entirely ignored.

Happy Suck On This Day!

Five years, or 10 F.U.s, ago today, America's leading foreign affairs public intellectual explained the Iraq war to us.

I think it [the invasion of Iraq] was unquestionably worth doing, Charlie.
We needed to go over there, basically, um, and um, uh, take out a very big stick right in the heart of that world and burst that bubble, and there was only one way to do it.

What they needed to see was American boys and girls going house to house, from Basra to Baghdad, um and basically saying, "Which part of this sentence don't you understand?"

You don't think, you know, we care about our open society, you think this bubble fantasy, we're just gonna let it grow?

Well Suck. On. This.


That Charlie was what this war was about. We could've hit Saudi Arabia, it was part of that bubble. We coulda hit Pakistan. We hit Iraq because we could. That's the real truth.

Five years and 10 F.U.s later, Iraqis are still sucking on it!


There was one network that allowed people who objected to the arguments for invasion of Iraq to come on to say so. There was just one problem:

Not Atrios

Dead of Night

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Child Stars

Rock on.

Deep Thought

I miss the ball. Don't take your eye off it!


Hey, I got my official DNC blogger credential notice.

Funny thinking about 4 years ago. My secret identity was still a secret. I'd just left academia and joined up with Media Matters (with a long planned 3 week Italy trip in there somewhere). I showed up in Boston just a couple of days after returning from Italy with nasty laryngitis. Spent days telling people that wasn't my normal voice. Bloggers were the (stupid) "big story" of the convention because we were such a novelty. A reporter for a Florida newspaper got the "big scoop" of my real name without realizing that it was actually a scoop.

...and Barack Obama gave a speech. And I lost a jacket. And I ate Chinese food late at night with Eric Alterman and Garance Franke-Ruta and some other people. And my hotel was way outside of town. And Ezra Klein was 13 years old. And Jesse Taylor was still blogging. And I went to a Creative Coalition Event where Media Matters was handing out fliers because O'Reilly was there. And I met Alec Baldwin but not Natalie Portman. And I was riding in a cab with young Ezra and others of similar age when one of them looked at the next car and asked "who's that old dude who's trying to look like a rock star?" I responded that it was Kevin Bacon, and that his wife was driving. And Tom Tomorrow called me to whisk me into Jimmy Carter's skybox, where I had a nice chat with Amy Carter and THE GREAT EVIL ONE MICHAEL MOORE was also there. No one had any idea who I was. And I met Jimmy. And I ran from Samantha Bee and the Daily Show when they showed up to the blogger area. And George Bush was re-elected and lord help us all.

Where Was Congress

I think we all have a tendency to forget that a nontrivial majority of Democrats did actually vote against this war. And a bunch of dirty fucking hippies marched, and a bunch of stupid bloggers tried to yell STOP.

This quote from Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is often appropriate:

There must have been a moment, at the beginning, where we could have said -- no. But, somehow we missed it.

Well, we'll know better next time.

Evening Thread


Not Bad

Michael Hirsh:

The question I have is: why do we have to hear this from him? What's really extraordinary is how few prominent pundits and columnists have gone even half the length that McClellan has in acknowledging that they got things utterly wrong when they gave their full-throated support to Bush's still-unexplained turn toward Saddam after America's "victory" over the Taliban in Afghanistan. Consider just one example: The New York Times's Thomas L. Friedman, one of the most famous columnists in America and maybe in the world today. Here is Friedman writing on March 13, 2003, seven days before the Iraq invasion: "This war is so unprecedented that it has always been a gut call—and my gut has told me four things. First, this is a war of choice. Saddam Hussein poses no direct threat to us today. But confronting him is a legitimate choice—much more legitimate than knee-jerk liberals and pacifists think. Removing Mr. Hussein—with his obsession to obtain weapons of mass destruction—ending his tyranny and helping to nurture a more progressive Iraq that could spur reform across the Arab-Muslim world are the best long-term responses to bin Ladenism."

Many Iraq hawks have encouraged the pleasant myth that because most of the nation's most prominent pundits, like Friedman, backed Bush's shift to Saddam, everyone was equally fooled and gulled. But this is demonstrably false. Just check the record. Though they were a drowned-out minority, a small number of columnists and reporters—none of them "knee-jerk liberals" or "pacifists"—saw clearly beforehand that the Iraq invasion was a fatal distraction from the real enemy, Al Qaeda, which was known at the time to be a unique product of the anti-Soviet jihad in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Here, for example, is Friedman's colleague across the Times op-ed page, Maureen Dowd, writing a day earlier, March 12, 2003: "It still confuses many Americans that, in a world full of vicious slimeballs, we're about to bomb one that didn't attack us on Sept. 11 (like Osama); that isn't intercepting our planes (like North Korea); that isn't financing Al Qaeda (like Saudi Arabia); that isn't home to Osama and his lieutenants (like Pakistan); that isn't a host body for terrorists (like Iran, Lebanon and Syria)." (In case anyone is wondering, I myself was on the record calling the case for war in Iraq a "crock" during a panel discussion at Yale University on Nov. 6, 2002.)

Some dirty fucking hippie bloggers, too.

Speaking of Thomas Friedman, tomorrow is a very exciting day!!

Oh My

Oh my.

He'll Lose

Ultimately, this is the reason Clinton supporting emailers give me over and over again. Many believe with absolute certainty that there is no possible way for Barack Obama to win an election against John McCain. Sometimes this is argued by cherry picking polls, and sometimes it's basically "people won't vote for a black guy," but that's their story.

Parking: The Enemy

Well, not parking per se but the requirement for ridiculous amounts of it for new developments by many cities. If all urban development, including older development, met the parking requirements the city wouldn't be a city, it would be a giant strip mall development. Misguided zoning codes combined with the demands of existing residents scared of losing their parking are to blame.

I'm not suggesting that suggesting that parking shouldn't be a consideration at all, but especially for locations with good transit access it shouldn't be a primary consideration.

Recent Email Subjects

Too busy whoring for the Republican Obama to think
How Obama and his dirty henchmen assassinate truth
Typical craziness from Obama deadender
Check it out, 'bama whore, check it out....
More right-wing crap from Obama


I've been curious if the "talk" about Sam Nunn has come from anyone other than the usual Beltway types who throw out his name any time a list of "serious" Democrats is required.

Nunnmania will sweep the nation soon!



X-Men fans rejoice: Wolverine has come to life, as a frog. When the comic book warrior faces a fight, metallic blades spring forth from his hand. A new study concludes that certain African frogs are similarly equipped, having sharp, claw-shaped bones that pierce through their own fingertips when the animal is threatened.

More than 100 years ago, scientists observed the mysterious bony appendages in museum specimens of the Arthroleptidae frog family, but they had no idea what to make of them. Some speculated that the protrusions were an artifact of the preservation process. Harvard University biologists David Blackburn decided to solve the mystery once and for all after having the frequent misfortune of being injured by the amphibians while doing field research in Cameroon. "The frogs will start kicking and drag these claws against your skin," he says. "I've gotten bloody scratches from them many a time."


I was writing a post about the primary. But, well, screw it.

...adding, I've been writing a political blog without doing much politics for several months now. I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE.

Continuing Claims

As CR notes, as new jobless claims remain fairly high, continuing claims continue to rise. So far there hasn't been any data to tell us definitively "OMFG THE ECONOMIC MELTDOWN IS HERE," but certainly there are negative trends.

When Suburbanites Riot

Remembering 1979.

Twenty-nine years ago, service-station owner Steven Lankin watched as a summer-night Levittown crowd seething over gas rationing, two-hour lines at the pumps, and a then-stunning hike to $1 a gallon turn violent.

What began as a truckers' gas-crisis protest lasted two nights, June 23 and 24, 1979. It drew thousands of people and left 100 people injured, nearly 200 arrested, and one Shell station shattered in the first gasoline revolt in American history.


In the riots, car tires and a junked car were burned in the streets, Philadelphia and state police officers were bused in, and most of the gas stations at the intersection were vandalized. Police-brutality lawsuits were filed and eventually settled for $154,000. And national attention was drawn to a community founded as an iconic planned suburb in the early 1950s to embrace a car-centric vision of the American Dream.

"Social disorder in Levittown? The postwar era really has ended," George F. Will wrote in Newsweek after the riots.




Despite being a rather self-obsessed profession, journalists usually aren't very likely to actually reveal much about their sausage factory. Jessica Yellin tells us of corporate pressure to praise The Great And Glorious Adventure in Iraq, so kudos to her for showing us how the head cheese is made.

Nobody could have predicted...

Thursday Is New Jobless Day

Still high. +372K lucky duckies.

Deep Thought

Sometimes, reasonable people can disagree about things. Crazy!


Over there.

BAGHDAD -- A suicide bomber blew himself up today in a crowd of police recruits in northwestern Iraq, killing at least 16 men and wounding 14 others, an official said.

The blast occurred in Sinjar, a town near the Syrian border that was the site of the deadliest attack of the war -- a series of suicide truck bombings that killed an estimated 500 people.

Trying To Make Me Gay Marry A Dude

Good for Paterson:

ALBANY — Gov. David A. Paterson has directed all state agencies to begin to revise their policies and regulations to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions, like Massachusetts, California and Canada.

In a directive issued on May 14, the governor’s legal counsel, David Nocenti, instructed the agencies that gay couples married elsewhere “should be afforded the same recognition as any other legally performed union.”

DOMA will prevent federal recognition for a long time, but it's something.

Resistance Even Now

I have to say I'm finding the media reaction to Little Scottie a bit surprising, though I suppose I should be finding it predictable. He writes a book saying a few things we all know to be true, the only slightly surprising thing is the messenger, and our awesome media responds by putting on a parade of Bush supporters to insult McClellan and dispute his allegations. Ambinder describes it:

The press accounts suggest that McClellan has accepted, more or less, the caricature of the White House under McClellan's regime as portrayed on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart: propagandistic, disconnected from reality, dangerously insular, allergic to transparency.


Westward Ho

Off to NJ. Be kind to each other.


This gives me hope for our nation, and I am not joking in the slightest.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Wanker of the Day

David Gregory.

Putz Asks Question...

Question gets answered.


I'm having my biannual or so craving.


Oh this will work out well for all of us.

CHICAGO (AP) -- The CEOs of United Airlines and US Airways are scheduled to meet Thursday as talks aimed at combining the carriers progress despite concerns that threaten to scuttle the deal, according to two people briefed on the discussions.

We Still Here?

Stupid googleblogger.

Fresh Thread



Republicans really don't know anything about anything.

Don't Like Arnie

The governator is not very popular.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today has a 37% approval and 60% disapproval rating. Subtracting disapproval from approval yields a Net Job Approval of Minus 23 — the lowest in our polling since May of 2006, when it reached Minus 25. Schwarzenegger’s highest approval rating was a Plus 23, recorded one year ago; his lowest ever is a Minus 33, reached twice, in both September and October of 2005.
Senator Dianne Feinstein today has a 49% approval and 47% disapproval rating, for a Net Job Approval of Plus 2 — the lowest her approval rating has ever been in SurveyUSA tracking, which began three years ago. Feinstein’s highest Net Job Approval was a Plus 26 in March 2006.

The junior United States Senator from California, Barbara Boxer, today is at Plus 6, with a 50% approval and 44% disapproval rating. Boxer has see-sawed over the past year, seeing Net Job Approvals as high as Plus 23 in May 2007, and as low as 0, in November 2007, when her approval and disapproval ratings were each at 46%.

Deep Thought

I bet Jesse's coming back...

Ignoring Ted

Boehlert has an important column about how the press ignored Ted Kennedy in 2002 when he spoke out against their grand and glorious adventure in Iraq. One of the excuses that the press gives for ignoring people who thought that this was a really stupid fucking idea is that the Democrats didn't really oppose it. Well, Ted Kennedy did and so did plenty of others. And Kennedy isn't some no-name senator, he's one with a big history, stature, and name recognition. He give a big speech. It was ignored.

If that's What It Takes

I think we've already established that it is.

Wasserman Schultz, in an interview on MSNBC Tuesday, echoed the demand of House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-Mich.) that Rove would not be allowed to invoke executive privilege to avoid testifying. Rove could not invoke the privilege since he said he did not have conversations with the president about the attorneys' firing, Wasserman Schultz said.

Asked by MSNBC host Dan Abrams if the committee would go far as having Rove arrested, Wasserman said it would.

"Well, if that's what it takes," she said. "I mean we really cannot allow the co-equal branch of government, the legislative branch, to be trampled upon by the executive branch. The founding fathers established three branches of government. We are a co-equal branch, and this is an administration that essentially has ignored and disrespected the role of the legislative branch for far too long."

Kudos to David Alpert

For getting some props from the WaPo.

Greater Greater Washington is the kind of blog I'd try to write if I were less lazy and wasn't already writing this sucky blog.

Even Deeper Thoughts From Anne Kornblut


Potomac, MD: McClellan needs to get over himself. The nerve of blaming the media for their failures in the run-up to the War. Elisabeth Bumiller so eloquently explained how things work the night before the Iraq War started, 4,000 dead American soldiers ago: "it's live, it's very intense, it's frightening to stand up there. Think about it, you're standing up on prime-time live TV asking the president of the United States a question when the country's about to go to war. There was a very serious, somber tone that evening, and no one wanted to get into an argument with the president at this very serious time.".

Anne E. Kornblut: That's a good point. (I'm a huge Bumiller fan).....

Deep Thoughts From Anne Kornblut

I guess you do politics with the press corps you have...

SW Nebraska: Will any future president be able to do the job on the press, Congress and the public that George Bush has been able to do? What about the politicization of the Justice Department, science, etc? It seems that McClellan has taken the press to task in his book. Will the press be so cooperative with a President again or has the media been reminded that they actually have an important, difficult job to do?

Anne E. Kornblut: I haven't read McClellan's book yet, but really look forward to it, especially on the point you raise. My immediate reaction upon hearing he'd said that was, "Wait, what!? Isn't it the job of those employed at the White House to be straightforward in the first place?" In my experience, reporters do know the importance of the job, and face many obstacles in trying to get information (especially from this administration). But I also do think all of our efforts have been redoubled over the last few years. I'm so proud of my colleagues at the Post who covered Walter Reed for that very reason.

(ht reader t)


John McCain doesn't think Iraq was a mistake. But more than that, I didn't realize the National Review did think it was?

Some Positive News

Californians might not vote to ban same-sex marriage.

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A majority of registered Californian voters oppose changing the constitution of the most populous U.S. state to bar gays from marrying, according to poll released on Wednesday.

The Field Poll survey found 51 percent against approving a possible November ballot measure to prohibit gay marriage, with 43 percent in favor. A slightly differently worded question on the same issue found 54 percent opposed and 40 percent in favor.

The Novelty Of Liberals On The Teevee

Just want to add one important thing to Glenn's post. It's true that these days Olbermann stands out on MSNBC for his "liberalism," but it's also important to note that his actual expressed liberalism is pretty narrow. He has a dislike and distrust of the Bush administration, which is shared by 70% of the public. He objects to overreach of executive powers, a subject largely ignored by the rest of the media. And... that's it. It's not the nightly "abortion, gay marriage, and give money to poor people" hour. Keith isn't advocating, or even covering, a large set of what I would consider to be "liberal issues." He approaches the daily news with a somewhat liberal sensibility, but that's it.

70% of the country doesn't like George Bush, and one hour per night 5 days per week is about the only time that perspective is on the teevee, except perhaps a few curmudgeonly outbursts by Jack Cafferty and those precious seconds when Pat Buchanan isn't talking over Rachel Maddow.

First Concerts

Mine was...

Robert Hazard and the Heroes!

Cars Cost A Lot Of Money

Ridership is up a lot locally, especially on the suburban commuter lines which ferry people in to city jobs.

Commuter rail lines are fine, and they pull a lot of cars off the highways which is rather important given the relative lack of feasibility of expanding highway access into this city. But they don't do all that much to reduce automobile dependency unless development patterns around stations are changed drastically from what they currently are most places. The goal for transportation and other planners should be to make it possible for more households to not have one car per driving age member.

Since so many people simply accept that automobile ownership is a necessity, they're unlikely to really factor in the cost when they make decisions. They see it as a need, so they pay for it. But a relatively low estimate of the annual cost of automobile ownership is $6000. Generously assuming that if you lack a car you'll spend about half of that on transit, taxes, occasional car rental, etc, you're still left with $3000. That gives you an extra $250/month to put into a mortgage.

Must Be Lonely In The Basement

I do love Will Bunch's commenters.


UBS worried:

ZURICH (Thomson Financial) - UBS has told members of its former private banking team responsible for rich US clients not to travel to America, the Financial Times reported.

The Swiss bank has also made lawyers available to the more than 50 bankers involved, many of whom have left UBS (nyse: UBS - news - people ) since it decided last November to wind down its cross-border private banking business for US customers.

UBS' travel restrictions suggest it is concerned that investigations into the bank by the US Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission may widen, the newspaper added.

Maybe Phil Gramm should stay away, too.

Hamsters are Complaining

They say the wheel is running slow.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Late Night

Rock on.

Informing Us

As is the habit, currently CNN helpfully gives us 3 notionally netural journalists balanced by... Francis Townsend.

I Don't Know Anyone Who Supported The War

Rick Hertzberg says that Chris Matthews was "was quite clearly against the Iraq War when that position was unpopular with Americans in general and cable blowhards in particular."

Leaving aside the issue of how awesome Americans thought the war was before the bombs started dropping - not quite so much - I'll let Chris Matthews tell us about his opposition to the war:

MATTHEWS: No you're -- no, no, no -- Don -- Don -- Don -- you can check everything, get your Nexis-Lexis out, get your Google out, get your -- every column I've written from the day they started talking about Iraq has been against it. Now you're chuckling, 'cause you know damn well you pulled my chain here. I have been a voice out there against this bullshit war from the beginning.

Chris Matthews once had two platforms. He had a cable show, and a column for the San Francisco Chronicle. His final column for that paper was printed on September 1, 2002, long before the Iraq war started. In it, he was indeed against the war.

I hate this war that's coming in Iraq. I don't think we'll be proud of it. Oppose this war because it will create a millennium of hatred and the suicidal terrorism that comes with it.

However, that viewpoint was missing from his cable show. He saw what happened to Phil, after all.

Oh Scotty!

Unlike Ari, who really loved his job, you could tell that as time went on Scotty hated his. He kept doing it, of course, but with an increasing look of perpetual constipation...

Li'l Scotty Yips

Scott McClellan tells us Dirty Effing Hippies we were right about most everything.

Of course, being right about everything we already knew that. Hosed

Not sure what happened. Switched it back to but GoogleBlogger won't let me try to switch back. Anyway, hopefully all will be resolved eventually...

Deep Thought

I wonder if Kathleen Parker wants to save males with mudblood.

...oops, because I am stupid I deleted the last deep thought. The universe weeps.

Drinking Liberally: Now With Extra Free Books!

Bringing a stack of books to Drinking Liberally tonight, 6-? at Tangier at 18th and Lombard, in case anyone wants them. I'm starting to get multiple copies of stuff sometimes. You know you want to be the proud owner of Kathleen Parker's "Save the Males."

Bored Now

It seems the Villagers have gotten bored of this little primary contest.

Not Just Gas

We focus on gas because it's easy to track day to day and it's something most of us consume regularly. But rising oil prices are of course going to impact a lot more than gas if they do indeed continue to rise. Energy costs generally will go up, along with the price of plenty of oil derived products, and the cost of air travel will increase. Along with intra-city and intra-region transit, one wonders if political pressure to create and improve train service for medium distance (sub-550 mile or so) high speed hauls.

Mrs. A took the Ave from Barcelona to Madrid yesterday. 386 miles in 2:45, city center to city center.


A quick stroll through the google tells us that transit ridership is going up everywhere. I do wonder if this will lead to political pressure to improve and expand transit systems.

Deep Thought

The increased likelihood that there will be fewer appearances by Lanny Davis on my teevee is more than enough reason to support Obama.

2.5% Rejection

This really is quite astounding. An investment bank had a contract with a mortgage lender which dictated that they couldn't reject more than 2.5% of their loan apps.

The Will of God

The alliance between right wing Jews and Christian lovers of Israel until it is destroyed in a fiery apocalypse and all the Jews go to hell has always been a wee bit puzzling, but one would've thought that asserting that the holocaust was all part of God's divine plan would perhaps strain that relationship a bit.


Rick Perlstein writes about the failure of conservatives to understand that it isn't the 60s and 70s anymore.

But there's a bit of a broader question. Why is that when I turn on my teevee on Sunday morning I still see George Will, Cokie Roberts, and Sam Donaldson? And when I click on the Washington Post I still find Richard Cohen and David Broder?

The pundit class is old and ossified. It was old and ossified 16 years ago and 16 years later it's the same damn people.


Free fall.

NEW YORK - U.S. home prices dropped at the sharpest rate in two decades during the first quarter, a closely watched index showed Tuesday, a somber indication that the housing slump continues to deepen.

Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller said its national home price index fell 14.1 percent in the first quarter compared with a year earlier, the lowest since its inception in 1988. The quarterly index covers all nine U.S. Census divisions.

Wanker of the Day

Richard Cohen.

And because I'm cranky:

And because I'm really cranky.

Bye Mitch

sweet sweet poll porn:

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of the Kentucky Senate race shows Democratic challenger Bruce Lunsford with a five percentage point lead over long-time Republican Senator Mitch McConnell. The poll, conducted just two days after Lunsford won the Democratic nomination, shows the challenger with 49% of the vote while McConnell earns 44%.

These results stand in stark contrast to the Presidential race in Kentucky—John McCain leads Barack Obama by twenty-five percentage points. However, just 67% of McCain voters currently plan to vote for McConnell. Twenty-eight percent (28%) of McCain voters say they will split the ticket and vote for Lunsford. Recognizing the overall political dynamic, McConnell issued a statement last week indicating that he is looking forward to running against the “Lunsford-Obama plan for America."

High Quality Wanking

Conservative media critiques are getting more Baroque.


Poll: "Is Joe Lieberman Worse than Zell Miller Yet?"

And here's a link to send to all your family.

Not Atrios

Monday, May 26, 2008

Late Night

Rock on.

Pulling Out Equity

The chart accompanying this article about the auto industry, showing how many new cars were purchased using HELOC funds, is pretty staggering especially since auto dealers have long had generous financing deals which probably would've provided lower interest rates than the relatively low HELOC rates.

It supports an idea I've been mulling over for awhile, that when people got HELOCs they didn't really quite conceptually understand that they were just taking out a loan. They thought they were selling a little bit of their home to the bank. I don't mean that they literally didn't know it was a loan they had to pay back, but I think the concept of "pulling out equity" gave people a sense that they were actually taking a bit of the profit on their imagined home price increase, instead of just taking out a loan against it.

Head Scratching

I know I'm not alone in the League of Mostly Nonaligned Bloggers in being rather puzzled by Clinton supporters. I don't mean all people who supported her, but the ones who are still pushing for her candidacy. As far as I can tell they want her to be the candidate and really just don't care how that happens as long as it does. At this point only a drastic rule change combined with a massive shift in support from superdelegates even gets her close to the nomination. In another words, cheating combined with the smoke-filled room residents overturning the outcome of the primary process.

I never really cared all that much about who won this thing, but at some point Obama became the only one with a legitimate path to the nomination. I just stare and scratch my head and wonder what it's all about. I appreciate that there are people who don't like Obama for whatever reasons and prefer Clinton for whatever reasons. But he, you know, won?


Somebody call the wahmbulance, and send it over to the White House WATBs.

Windows Driver Hell

Haven't been there in awhile. oy.

And, yes, I know I should get a mac.

Evening Thread


The Bush Boom

Exciting employment opportunities.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The house on East 24th Street was the worst of the six that David Law and Trey McCallister worked on the other day here. The front door had been kicked in so many times that the dead bolt was exposed and bent. Trash littered the front and back yards. A copper pipe was gone.

“Somebody has been trying to destroy this place,” said Mr. McCallister, eyeing the door.

But the two men have seen far more destruction as they go from one deserted house to another here in northern Florida, where the foreclosure crisis has struck particularly hard. Mortgage companies hire contractors like them to inspect and maintain houses that once-proud owners can no longer afford and no one else wants. These days, business is brisk.


Sometimes they're funny.

Advice Not Taken

Nobody listens to Atrios. What I wrote after watching MSNBC on February 12:

Clinton campaign people would be wise to listen to Rachel Maddow, who suggests that Clinton could win points by going after McCain, instead of Pat Buchanan, who thinks she should attack Obama.

I'm not suggesting that criticism of Obama is off limits, just that if Clinton wants to prove she can kick conservative ass, she should start doing it.

Oh well.


Once things stop being rights... they are no longer rights, but merely courtesies extended to you by the king until he decides otherwise.

George Bush's America, where the government can imprison and indefinitely detain you just on his say so.



Large lots, large houses.

For nearly a decade, tax-weary people from New Jersey and New York poured into the Lehigh Valley in search of a bigger home on a bigger lot, and developers couldn't build so-called McMansions fast enough to meet demand. But as a credit crisis sweeps the nation, forcing a record number of homeowners into foreclosure, home building -- especially construction of large homes -- in the Lehigh Valley has slowed to a crawl.

A housing downturn that has made credit more difficult to get, combined with rising energy costs, is pushing the market away from the McMansions built in the Valley the past decade, and toward a more affordable version of the American Dream.

That may give Lehigh Valley Planning Commission members the opening they have been looking for to shift future development toward smaller, more affordable homes that chew up less open space.


Though it will take at least a year to craft, the model probably will include cottage housing, clustered housing that preserves green space, zoning that encourages businesses and homes to occupy the same neighborhoods and incentives to developers to preserve open space.


''Don't blame us, we're just building what the current zoning laws allow,'' said Chuck Hamilton, executive officer of the Lehigh Valley Builders Association. ''If a township requires 1-acre lots, no one wants to put a small house on that. If these planners allow smaller lots, we'll be happy to build smaller homes, if people want them.''

Deep Thought

I wonder if Michael O'Hanlon is having a nice BBQ today.

Death By YouTubezzz

Dear mattinjersey,

Youtube did not exist in 2004.



Everybody Hates George Bush

Indeed they do.

Even Texas Republicans such as Dallas Rep. Pete Sessions are distancing themselves from President Bush.

The president, Mr. Sessions told a group of eighth-graders visiting the Capitol last week from Akiba Academy in Dallas, "is doing everything he thinks is correct," and yet "the American people are fed up.... we've lost the House and Senate, and everybody hates George Bush."

Why Do People Think Like That?

I try not to engage in mindreading, but I've spent a lot of time trying to diagnose the underlying causes and symptoms of Broderitis. The only consistent thing I've been able to come up with is that such people are incredibly elitist. When they speak of a "national consensus" they speak only of an imagined elite consensus which just happens to align with their own political preferences. The nation is "divided" when it disagrees with them, and "united" when it agrees. Democracy is distasteful to them, as they "know" that the rubes must not really be able to have their say in how their country is run.

The weird state of affairs which this country experienced for much of the 20th century, with a substantial number of moderate Republicans and a Democratic party filled with conservative Dixiecrats, gave an immense amount of power to unelected Washington elites who set about always trying to define this mythical "center." The lack of clear difference between the parties elevated pesonality above policy, and left the dirty details of such things to technocrats.

Hopefully those days are over, no matter how much wankers like Broder and Rodriguez squeal about how awful it is that educated voters get to have their say.

Hideously Stupid People Rule Our Discourse

Apparently political participation is bad because the country is much better off when the low information mushy middle decide elections.

Knowledgeable people with well-informed opinions about policy: bad. Easily manipulated people who don't pay attention and therefore live in some sort of Arcadian plane free of the taint of knowledge: good.


Over there.

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A suicide bomber on a motorcycle killed at least six members of a U.S.-backed neighborhood patrol and wounded 18 others on Monday, police said.

Is There Any Limit?

I mean, is there any dictation that Politico won't take down from Republicans? Is nothing too absurd for them to pass it on?

And little Mikey Scherer has discovered, in 2008, that Matt Drudge Rules Their World.

Oil At $133


Early Morning

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Adventures in Modern Recording

Late night.

Sunday Night Thread

We can't rewind.


What the bacon-scented drunken lout said.

Galbraith perhaps said it a bit shorter:

The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.


HBO's showing their dramatization of the 2000 post-election fiasco this evening. They were kind enough to send me a screener, but ultimately I just couldn't watch it. I even kept turning off CNN today when they were showing clips.

That whole saga was just really traumatic. It was my "holy shit everything is really screwed up" moment when I suddenly realized that all of our elites - politicians, supremos, and especially the media - did not deserve the modest naive faith that I had given them. I'm not saying that I lacked any cynicism about the various institutions before, but just watching the media piss on our Democracy over that time period was incredibly jarring.

It was also the time when the "internet left" finally began to come together. Not that it was nonexistent prior to that, but it was definitely the moment when lots of people were suddenly looking for - and then providing - commentary not approved by Tim Russert.

It's interesting how there have kind of been waves of people coming to the internet for politics. The early pioneers, with impeachment and the War on Gore. Then the selection, the media coverage of the inauguration, and the post-selection lack of critical coverage of the Bush administration. Then the post-9/11 horror show. Then Iraq. Then the 2004 election. And... well, now.

"Both If We Could (Giggle)"

Campaign '08 is just getting started...

So Many Victims

As Dick Cheney likes to remind us, he volunteered.

“You want to wear this or this for therapy tomorrow?” Sgt. Shurvon Phillip’s mother asked, holding two shirts in front of him. On one wall of his bedroom hung a poster of a marine staring fiercely, assault rifle in hand and black paint beneath his narrow eyes. Shurvon’s eyes, meanwhile, are wide and soft brown. He sat upright, supported by the tilt of a hospital bed. He cannot speak and can barely emit sound or move any part of his body, and sometimes it’s as if the striking size of his eyes is a desperate attempt to let others understand who he is, to let them see inside his mind, because his brain can carry out so little in the way of communication.

Afternoon Thread

Nice Sunday afternoon. Here's some music to listen to while I hunt for some roadkill to grill.

Crazy Talk

Young Ezra Klein suggests that trying to reassemble a political coalition from pre-1980 isn't all that wise in the year 2008.

Older, wiser people like me know that a political victory isn't legitimate unless it includes all of those Reagan Democrats.

Deep Thought

Based on the quantity of email I've received this weekend, it's apparent that D.C. really shuts down on Memorial Day weekend.

Media Matters

From Jamison Foser.

So CNN is preparing for the general election by hiring a contributor best known for playing on racial divisions and allowing him to praise John McCain and criticize Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton without ever telling viewers that he is a member of McCain's ad team, in direct violation of the standards CNN laid out for contributors who support Hillary Clinton.

CNN says it is "the most trusted name in news."

I Would Like To Subscribe To Your Newsletter

Blogging requires that you develop a thick skin pretty quickly, but after doing this for years there's still one thing which can occasionally set me off and I think it's true for many other bloggers too. It's the broad genre of "what you should write about on your blog" though it also includes "issues you should care about," and "opinions you should have." This is combined with a weird notion that if only something appears on this blog that the world will change, or something. I'm never quite sure.

And there are the people who think that this blog should be a data dump of everything I think about everything. As is the case in real life, some thoughts and opinions I just keep to myself, though usually not because I fear angering George Soros.

So Many Victims

But as Dick Cheney likes to remind us, they volunteered so it doesn't really matter.

WASHINGTON — Until the day he died, Sgt. Brian Rand believed he was being haunted by the ghost of the Iraqi man he killed.

The ghost choked Rand while he slept in his bunk, forcing him to wake up gasping for air and clawing at his throat.

He whispered that Rand was a vampire and looked on as the soldier stabbed another member of Fort Campbell's 96th Aviation Support Battalion in the neck with a fork in the mess hall.

Eventually, the ghost told Rand he needed to kill himself.

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

ABC's "This Week": Karl Rove and Barack Obama senior advisor David Axelrod; round table with Vanity Fair's Dee Dee Myers, Washington Post's E.J. Dionne, ABC News' Matthew Dowd and George Will.

CBS' "Face the Nation": Hillary Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson, John McCain supporter Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Obama supporter Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.).

CNN's "Late Edition": Major Gen. Mark Hertling, Commander, Multi-National Division-North; Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice); Rep. David Dreier (R-San Dimas); Obama supporter Robert Reich; Clinton economic advisor Gene Sperling; McCain economic advisor Douglas Holtz-Eakin; Mary Tillman, mother of Pat Tillman and author of a book about her son; CNN's Bill Schneider, Suzanne Malveaux and Gloria Borger.

"Fox News Sunday": Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe; Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee; Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), chairman of Democratic National Campaign Committee; Col. Michael Colburn, director of the U.S. Marine Band; panel with Fox's Brit Hume, Nina Easton, William Kristol and Juan Williams.

NBC's "Chris Matthews Show": David Brooks of the New York Times, Andrea Mitchell of NBC News, Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post and Katty Kay of the BBC.

NBC's Meet the Press: CBN's David Brody, the New York Times' Maureen Dowd, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, the Washington Post's Ruth Marcus, Newsweek's Jon Meacham and NPR's Michele Norris.


UPDATE. For Sinfonian. This should be more his speed: