Saturday, May 25, 2002

This Economist article discusses firms' pricing strategies.

How stupid can The Economist be? Everyone knows that prices are set by the market. Invidual firms have no ability to impact prices.
This is a very strange Ann Coulter column:

If I were a former president, I would waste less time worrying about genocidal maniacs in places like East Timor and focus my concern on interior decorators in West Hollywood. Let’s shed the shackles of political correctness and lay it on the line: America has gone queer. You know that this country is headed to Hell in a hand basket when the most masculine member of the United States House of Representatives is Barney Frank. A single conservative female living in Washington, D.C., has about as much chance of meeting a rock ribbed Republican heterosexual male as a Gentile has of becoming chairman of the Federal Reserve.

It should not be a mystery why there is absolutely no unit cohesion in the G.O.P. caucus. Thank God conservative politicians don’t vote the way they choose to live, or the Speaker of the House would be RuPaul.

I’m lonely, dammit, but I’m not willing to date commies who buy into that “freedom and justice for all” garbage. The only thing about my man that I want to be red is his neck. If Carter can develop a little pill that makes Tom DeLay or Dick Armey turn off the Judy Garland music and ask me out, then he will have finally done something socially relevant.

Okay, we now have irrefutable proof that Andy Sullivan is insane. He claims Richard Berke is a DNC flunky. Trust me, Andy, Richard Berke is probably #1 on the list of "straight journalists" (as opposed to pundits) that us Democrats wish would just go away.

Frank Rich

A far more revealing indication of the administration's mañana mindset about terrorism comes a month later, on Sept. 9, when Donald Rumsfeld threatened a presidential veto if Congress moved $600 million out of the White House's prized ballistic missile defense system and into counterterrorism.

Chris Nelson links to this story about a guy who the Feds are investigating for a number of things, including the fact that he tried to liquididate his children's trust on Sept. 10.

Not quite sure what to make of this one yet.
While I suppose I essentially agree with Instapundit's view on the whole teen sex issue, I'm a bit puzzled why he spent the whole day obsessing about it. No, that isn't a swipe at the obvious cause of his fascination, but instead I wonder why he hasn't found anything more important to discuss given recent news events.

What's next, school uniforms?

Note to Instapundit: Your new permalink system sucks. I link directly to your post above, but anyone who really wants to see what I'm talking about should just click to his main page.
Sept. 24th Newsweek:

On Sept. 10, NEWSWEEK has learned, a group of top Pentagon officials suddenly canceled travel plans for the next morning, apparently because of security concerns.
I believe that Josh Marshall is going to (finally!) receive his Ph.D in history tomorrow from Brown University. Congratulations Dr. Marshall!
Crossfire, 5/24/02:

BEGALA: I'm sorry, Tucker. Let me bring Alex into this. The last time you were on, I'm going to shift topics here, we were talking about the sordid Republican use of a photograph from September 11 to raise money for its party. This is the photograph. You will remember this well. September 11. Well, the good people at Media Horse Online were having a contest to come up with the best caption. And unfortunately for them, the best caption came from Bush himself, who this week, told German television this. "I mean, I was trying to get out of harm's way."

Love that Media Horse!
I'm just thankful that my sleep still comes from force of habit.
From the Department of Honor and Dignitude:

After the meeting, NTV, the once-independent Russian television station now controlled by a state-dominated firm, kept replaying footage of Bush entering his meeting with Putin while chewing gum and then spitting it into his hand.

From the Washington Post.


Here's the photo:

Friday, May 24, 2002


Lloyd Grove's recent attack on Brock was simply recycled from Matt "Coo Coo ca Choo" Drudge's site, without actual confirmation, and jazzed up with a few quotes from ex-pals of Brock. What's Grove's interest in this story?

Let's connect the dots.

To begin with, Grove gets quotes from R. Emmett Tyrrell ("Until now, I've been very cautious about what I've said about poor David because I didn't want to be responsible for driving him over the edge") and Barbara Ledeen ("[T]here had been suspicions that there had been something wrong for a while.")

Tyrell was David Brock's boss at the American Spectator when Brock was peddling bogus Troopergate stories and Anita Hill slanders.

Ledeen was a co-founder of the Independent Women's Forum (IWF), along with her friend Ricky Silberman.

The IWF exists to put an attractive face on anti-feminism, mostly devoting itself to trotting out career Conservative Movement women (oh, the irony) on TV to propogate the myth of what is in reality an almost non-existent national anti-feminism movement. I was unable to find the number of members they claim to have, but I've heard it rumored that they number less than a thousand. This is compared to the National Organization for Women's claimed 500,000. Any veteran media watcher knows that IWF members and their views are more than a little disproportionately represented on the talk shows, relative to their estimated membership.

IWF is funded by the sugardaddy of the VRWC, Richard Mellon Scaife .

Ricky Silberman is the wife of D.C. District Court Judge Laurence Silberman, card-carrying member of the VRWC and Ken Starr flunky.. Judge Silberman once declared that Clinton was "at war with the government."

As explained in David Brock's book, the Silbermans took him under their wings in his early days in Washington. They were instrumental in helping him to savage Anita Hill, first in the Spectator and then in The Real Anita Hill

This is unsurprising, since Ricky Silberman used to work for Clarence Thomas, whose nomination Hill almost derailed, at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In Brock's Blinded by the Right , Ricky Silberman astonishingly comes across even more obsessed with Anita Hill than Barbara "I am Hillary" Comstock was with Senator Clinton (but that's another story).

So, what about Grove ? Why would he stoop to piling on a man for (maybe) having a nervous breakdown? As MWO recently reported, Grove's current girlfriend is former IWF staffer Amy Holmes. Holmes is now a fairly high-ranking member of the vast army of conservative pundettes and has her own talk show, and prior to that she was an early recruit to the IWF and a Ledeen/Silberman protege.

Perhaps Grove should have recused himself from this one.

Maybe we should ask Washington Post ombudsman Michael Getler.

The Evil-Dewars are coming!

And look here's the FBI again, popping up
like some sort of agitated gopher, saying
very sorry but it simply won't be able to
prevent any nutjob suicidal religious
fanatics from strapping C-4 to their chests
and blowing up a crowded Starbucks in
downtown Chicago or maybe Seattle or
maybe right down the street from where
you live, and isn't that horrible and aren't
you just terribly scared good now please
hush up and stop asking questions.

This is the pattern. This is the message.
Like some horrible clockwork they come,
fresh terrorist attack warnings from the
Bush administration or possibly a
stern-faced government security agency,
paced out every month or so just so you
don't get too complacent, too wary, too,
you know, suspicious.

And Kudos to Morford for putting links in his column. Need some more of that. Although, Tweety's silly Blog is a bit overlinked.

Note to Daryn Kagan - the reason it's cold in South Africa could be because it is in the Southern Hemisphere.

ATLANTA (AP) -- Republican gubernatorial candidate Sonny Perdue is facing sharp criticism -- and not just from Democrats -- for a new campaign video that depicts Gov. Roy Barnes as a giant rat.

In 10-minute video, Barnes is portrayed as a huge rodent wearing a ``King Roy'' necklace. He is shown stuffing himself with wine and fruit at the governor's mansion and lovingly hugging the state Capitol as a narrator calls him ``shifty'' and ``crafty.''

Link here.

I hope Governor Barnes and his campaign staff are smart enough to produce this commercial:

Short clip from original commercial

[dark screen]

Caption: When was the last time a politician tried to obtain power by portraying his opponents as Rats?

Display 30s-era Jewish "rat" posters.

fade out.

Drudge is all excited because someone is gonna sue Bush.

Something tells me we might be seeing another 9-0 decision from the Supremes.
Bush banned from all RNC fundraising material?

This is odd. I can't believe this has anything to do with the photo flap.
Barry Crimmins writes this:

The White Guy House has said that recent terrorist alerts are the result of information developed at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp. This raises a rather pertinent question: If a man who has been in prison for six months is still getting reliable updates from his terrorist organization, just what kind of a prison camp are they running?

Nooner the Looner hallucinates, and my pal T. Bogg gets his in:

Ms. Noonan would have us believe that Mr. Bush will somehow be remembered for his speech
at the Bundestag. As evidence she reminds us of a Reagan speech at Normandy many years
ago. What she fails, or chooses to not remember, is that unlike people like herself that
were a part of the Reagan White House, most people remember Reagan laying flowers at a
memorial for Nazi soldiers on that visit to Germany. Considering that Mr. Reagan managed
to duck service during "The Big One", many were not amused. I'm sure Ms Noonan has
managed to block that blunder, like many other Reagan screw-ups, out of her mind. After
all, character only counts when one is actually keeping count.

Now we have Mr. Bush conveniently out of the country while Mr. Cheney cleans up his mess
he made while napping in Texas last August. In case Ms Noonan hadn't noticed, the media
scarcely touched on this all-important lecture that Mr. Bush delivered to politicians in
Germany who were busy unifying their country while Mr. Bush was running his oil
businesses into the ground in Texas. No, the media treated us to tens of thousands of
Germans who despise Mr. Bush and all he stands for. They don't need a lecture on world
affairs from a frat boy dilettante who was handed the job by his dad's friends.

In many cases the Germans will find in Mr. Bush a reminder of their own history. A
staggering Mr. Bush was elevated in the eyes of his people by a massive fire and tragedy
at the World Trade Centers, just as a former German ascended due to the Reichstag fire.
The similarities surely won’t end there.

More Grove context, from the always fabulous David Ehrenstein (stolen from MWO):

Dear MWO:

Can't say that I'm at all surprised by Lloyd Grove's antics. When Sullygate broke last year, I wrote Grove -- among a host of other reporters -- to ask for his reaction to the revelation that their Pet Homosexual, who when not attacking gays and lesbians who declined to vote for the Republican party was --like most of the Beltway -- hypnotized by Bill Clinton's penis; surely a far more fearsome weapon than any Scud missile to such types.

While most of those who I contacted re Sully's Adventures declined comment, Grove telephoned me personally, screaming at the top of his lungs that there was no way in the world he could believe that the Sainted Sully [proved himself a sexual hypocrite, with double standards for himself and non-Republican gays/Bill Clinton]. To speak of this was, for the oh-so-sensitive Grove, "going too far." But as we all know when it comes to Media Whores, what's good for the goose is NEVER good for the gander.

Keep up the good work.

David Ehrenstein
Los Angeles, Ca.

Thursday, May 23, 2002

I object to Vaara's low productivity. He's busy, I know, but he just has too much to offer. So, I'll just steal his latest post::

"So sue me," says Andrew, the soul of dry wit,
Whenever he's wrong, which occurs quite a bit.
Or else he just whines about Bill, Paul, or Noam,
Whenever a stone he's flung boomerangs home.
One wonders if Sullivan ever did meet
A horse, rigor-mortised, he'd not deign to beat.
And so, every day, we all know what he'll say
Because it resembles that film: Groundhog Day.
Because it resembles that film: Groundhog Day.
Because it resembles that film: Groundhog Day.

Thank you Jim Jeffords. And, thank you MWO for reminding us.
Once upon a time, Peter Arnett, a well respected journalist, was fired for his story "Valley of Death." While this new revelation about the military's testing of Sarin on their own troops don't necessarily validate his story, it sure does give even more credibility to a fairly credible story.

Arnett retracted, and was still fired. Google on him and April Oliver for more details.

Into the Buzzsaw.

Thanks to C.G.
I have some doubters about my story below about Orrin Hatch being the leaker that Woolsey had effectively been referring, appealing to earlier similar leaks. There may have been, but here's the shortest version excerpted from Washington Whispers:

Rumsfeld's scolding directed at Hatch
So whom was Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld targeting when he went on a tirade Wednesday against those who leak classified information? Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah. Senate, intelligence, and Pentagon sources say that Rumsfeld and other national security officials were outraged that the senator talked with reporters about intercepted secret information about the terror attacks into the Pentagon and World Trade Center. News reports show that Hatch discussed intercepts between associates of chief suspect Osama bin Laden about the attacks. The worry: leaks that that will dry up sources of information about the bin Laden gang, which may retaliate if it can figure out who the source was.

I'm sure leaks dried up previous methods of intercepting information too, but in the context of 9/11 it is hard to imagine that this wasn't what James Woolsey was talking about. Here is what he wrote:

Intercepted communications could be a more promising source of intelligence if it weren't for our national tendency to logorrhea about the subject. U.S. intelligence figured out in the late 1990s how to intercept bin Laden's satellite telephone conversations, and then someone talked to the press about it; the source of course dried up. Recently there have been periodic press reports about how we have been able to intercept al Qaeda e-mail and other communications. (Hint to the blabbermouths in the government who have access to intercepts of terrorist communications: Members of al Qaeda read newspapers.)

I guess it depends on what the meaning of the word Taskforce is...

Larry Klayman claims Barbour, Racicot, and Lay were part of the Energy Taskforce.

If Tamara Baker ran the press briefing:

May 22, 2002 -- St. Paul, MN (APJP) -- Here's a sneak peek inside a Bush White House daily press conference we may well see:

Ari Fleischer: First of all, I want to let you know that we have not ignored the terrorist threats --

First Reporter: Ari, why did Ashcroft turn down the FBI's 2001 request for more counter-terrorism agents?

Ari: Uh, uh --

Second Reporter: Ari, why did Bush ignore the memo he got on August 6 warning him about a possible plane attack by Al-Qaeda?

Ari: Uh, well --

Third Reporter: And why didn't Ashcroft, who had himself stopped flying in commercial aircraft back in July of 2001, pass on the Phoenix memo?

Fourth Reporter: And why did Condollezza Rice and her bosses blow off Sandy Berger's warning to keep a close watch on Al-Qaeda?

Ari: I can't tell you about all of that --it's national security! Didn't you hear Cheney and Rumsfeld -- we're under imminent danger of attack, so your asking icky questions is aiding the terrorists! Stop it!

First Reporter: Ari, Tom Ridge's "Homeland Security" color-coded danger indicator is still at merely the "Elevated" level as of May 21, 2002 -- it hasn't budged upwards at all, not even after everything Cheney and Rumsfeld have said. Why is that?


Fifth Reporter: Ari, Diane Feinstein said that on Sept. 10, 2001, she had talked to Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis Libby, to convey her concerns and that his response was "We'll get back to you in six months." Care to comment on that?

Ari: That's it! You're all under arrest! Ashcroft, take 'em away! We can do that now, you know! Habeas corpus doesn't exist anymore...

Bay Buchanan just lied on CNN and repeated the completely debunked claim that Ken Lay slept in the Lincoln Bedroom when Clinton was president.

If Donnna Brazille is gonna put herself out there on TV, she needs to know these things.

Bush is one stupid, mean, pathetic, bastard as Ellen Goodman makes clear.

Bush to welfare recipient:

''For a person who has never worked a day in her life ... you're one articulate soul.''

Talk about coincidences. Case in point -- Lloyd Grove.

MWO, disgusted that a man's possible (unconfirmed) breakdown should be fodder for his sleazy column, complete with snarky quotes from his enemies has this to say about Grove:

MWO has learned Lloyd Grove is living with a woman who is or was at one time affiliated with the Independent [sic] Women's Forum, a henhouse of sad, right-wing harpies which came in for harsh criticism by Mr. Brock in "Blinded by the Right." Could that explain his willingness to be used as a tool of Matt Drudge and the Cult of the Soulless?

Or perhaps he's experiencing residual bitterness from a nasty divorce. So instead of dealing with his demons by seeking out professional help, he's resisted, and instead allowed his problems to fester and manifest in vicious smears of decent people.

Hence, irony of ironies, we have shrill, seedy Drudge and Grove attempting to inflict damage on a truthful, self-reflective David Brock who never hesitated to acknowledge in his book that his break from the right and writing "Blinded by the Right" were painful and difficult processes.

We see the same phenomenon among other members of the Soulless Right, including those whose ugly quotes were gleefully featured in Grove's dirty column. Grove and those sources would likely benefit from intensive therapy that infuses them with the capacity for moving beyond their anger and developing a sense of compassion and decency (President Clinton's comments earlier in the week about his critics being "unhappy people" certainly resonate now).

I think Grove's readers should know this stuff. Today. Yesterday they didn't need to.
"The 9:45 a.m. attack on the Pentagon appeared to take place on the Army side of the building, said retired Gen. Wesley Clark, former supreme commander of NATO. "We've known for some time that some group has been planning" such an assault, he told CNN, adding that "obviously, we didn't do enough" to prepare for one.

From CNN.
The Sully - Alterman dustup gives me an opportunity to say a few things about journalists and scandals.

I always worry that I'm probably wrong when I disagree with Ted Barlow, but in this case I do.

The notion that members the Fourth Estate, which in Andy's view of the world are mostly part of the Fifth Column, should be completely immune from personal scrutiny is just wrong.

When geeky moralizer George Will gets thrown out on the lawn by his wife, and them marries his mistress, that's news. Much in the same way that it should be news when anti-choice Bob Barr is caught paying for an abortion.

It's the hypocrisy. Once it rises to some level, it's fair game.

Those who feel free to pass judgement should not be immune from the same, particularly as our punditocracy increasingly enjoys their celebrity status.

More on the Moonie Times:

At Tuesday night's celebration of the Washington Times' 20th anniversary, its founder, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, gripped a podium at the Washington Hilton and delivered an impassioned, hour-long evangelical sermon in Korean saying he established the newspaper "in response to heaven's direction."

During the sermon, he set the course for the Times' next 10 years: "The Washington Times is responsible to let the American people know about God." Later, he added: "The Washington Times will become the instrument in spreading the truth about God to the world."

By this point, several Times staffers had exited for the Hilton's bar, either because the party was alcohol-free or -- possibly -- because they needed a stiff drink.

Moon's sermon tossed gasoline on the long-smoldering embers that some Times staffers have spent two decades trying to extinguish: the accusation that their paper is a mouthpiece for Moon's religious movement, the Unification Church. Or, at best, a public relations outlet for conservative values and the Republican Party.

The charges were not helped by allegations of former reporters, who say stories were changed to favor conservatives; by editors who quit, claiming church tampering; or by obscurity surrounding the paper's finances. It has been years since many of those incidents, though, and five years since Moon's last mass wedding in Washington, which inevitably pulled the Times into scrutiny. For the past few years, the Times has enjoyed a relatively Moon-free zone.

Now, that has changed.

Yesterday, Times employees parsed Moon's words. According to one staffer, many were "embarrassed," some "humiliated." Others described the speech as "painful to watch." Though staffers trust their top editors to maintain editorial independence, they were worried that the paper's critics would use the religious leader's words as weapons. Moon's charge to the paper to spread his gospel did not appear in yesterday's Times account of the party.

Milwaukee Archbishop resigns. First domino?
Privateer and Get Donkey noticed that this blog got zapped into the delta quadrant last night. Not sure why, but everything seems to be okay now...
Isn't anyone worried about the missing cyanide?
Howard Kurtz is such a dick.

Update: Ooops, it is Lloyd Grove, not Howard Kurtz. I saw "Reliable Source" and just assumed. So sue me...

Howard Kurtz is still a dick though.
I think it is likely that The Privateer and me disagree about most things. However, he seems to have the most in-depth coverage of the Israeli/Palestinian situation of any domestic blogger. He has a perspective that not all would agree with (which is the DUHH disclaimer for everyone on this issue), but he's worth a read.

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Who woke the sleeping whores?

Suddenly, journalism isn't just taking dictation from Karen.

military officials have serious doubts
about the wisdom of a U.S. invasion
of Iraq, but their concerns have not
been passed on to civilian leaders
because of the Bush administration’s
determination to oust Iraqi President
Saddam Hussein, defense sources
told NBC News on Wednesday

Click the link for the rest.

Eric Alterman has this to say about MWO:

If you want to supplement your knowledge on the story - or any significant story - that makes W look bad and reminds everybody that we’d have been better off with an honest election in 2000, that’s where I’d go first, for the links. The language gets a little heated, and the people who write it strike me as a little bit nuts sometimes, but in a good way

Obviously he's a fan, but I do wonder if he's missing the joke. My take on MWO has always been that they're just taking the piss out of the Frothing Right Wing by adopting their tone and style and firing it back at them. Of course, they haven't also adopted their journalistic ethics, which is what really gets people angry.

I notice most of Blogistan just ignores them. Kinda funny, really.
Blogleft spells out last summer's timeline pretty well.
Mickey Kaus buys into James Woolsey's spin that the media are damaging to the war on Terra because, for example, "U.S. intelligence figured out in the late 1990s how to intercept bin Laden's satellite telephone conversations, and then someone talked to the press about it; the source of course dried up."

But what Woolsey fails to tell us, and Kaus fails to catch, is that "someone" was none other than Senator Orrin Hatch , first to the Associated Press on Sep. 11 and then to ABCNews on Sep. 12 (found various sources through Google). This isn't a case of the irresponsible press pumping some irresponsible leaker in the intelligence community, this is our favorite self-important Senator from Utah babbling away for attention. While the press may have some responsibility to not report these leaks generally, or at least consider whether to, I imagine that when a U.S. Senator is doing the leaking they unsurprisingly don't stop to consider whether or not to report it. In this case, the responsibility is Hatch's, not the AP's, and definitely the fault of no one but him when televised live on ABCNews.
I haven't ventured into AndyLand for awhile, but I decided to check in today. Andy's trying to start a pissing contest with Eric Alterman, which is fine, but he's already lost the first round. Since Andy's vast technical staff and financial backers can't seem to manage to fix his perma-links, I can't link directly to the post, but this is what he says:

I agree with him about David Brock's privacy. But here's his harrumph: "And I say shame on those who claim a right of personal privacy for their own lives but then jump all over Brock’s life to advance their own political agendas. (One more cute move like that one, Drudge, and you’re off my links list. So there!)" But where was Alterman last year when my privacy was being destroyed by his ideological friends and allies? Joining in with the best of them - gleefully. Figures.

Hey, Andy, even I may have been on your side if you hadn't just written this in an article in the May 27,2001 London Times:

Sexual gratification is his medication for the hugely busy but strangely empty life that he leads. Now that he is no longer president, being sued for sexual harassment or committing perjury in a deposition, that's a matter for him, his wife and his God. But it will surely get him into trouble again. Another sexual harassment lawsuit from an aggrieved intern and he will be toast. But how will he resist? He shows no sign of having grappled with his obvious psychological problem -even the humiliation of 1998 didn't do that.

Witness what happened in Oslo after Clinton gave his speech two weeks ago. Rather than retiring to bed, Clinton went out to dinner with some students at a branch of TGI Friday, the American restaurant chain. A 19-year-old girl presented him with a tulip. Clinton gave her a hug. "You're too beautiful to only get a hug," he told her.

Anybody who thinks he has changed is fooling himself. These patterns of behaviour are driven so deep they will almost never change. In this sense, Clinton is once again a sex scandal waiting to happen. And the scariest thing is that he barely knows it.

Besides Andy, you've done your share of "outing".

Tweety to host Early Show?

ha ha ha.
I linked below, but it deserves another mention. GET YOUR WAR ON PART 11!.

Fifty years from now, when some young social historian is trying to make sense of the completely bizarre post-9/11 lunacy, I hope he or she stumble upon these comics.
Hey, Eric Alterman links to me. I guess all that sucking up worked.

He wonders why this place is called Eschaton. Surprisingly, he's the first one to ask. When I decided to start this my brain quickly tried to retrieve from its recesses some obscure-yet-appropriate reference to, well, something, and it offered up this one. It refers to a small passage in David Foster Wallace's monster book Infinite Jest in which students at a private tennis academy play a complicated game called Eschaton. It's a strange half-explained simulation of WWIII, sort of a Risk-like wargame played on tennis courts, with tennis ball bombardment representing nuclear bombardment. The game has arcane rules requiring a computer to compute the value of each "hit" based on position, trajectory, etc... In the passage the game eventually gets completely out of hand and the rules break down.

It seemed an appropriate metaphor for Blogistan, and political discourse generally in the country, though save me your critique of my literary analysis as I claim no ability in this area.

This also, of course, explains the subtitle "Political Bombardment from Behind the Orange Curtain," with the latter part referring to my exile in Orange County, CA.
Hey Tweety Bird has been restylized as a Blog too!

How come nobody noticed?

Earlier, I missed this paragraph in the LA Times article linked below:

Among the flying public grounded
that day were the president's
parents, who found themselves
stranded in Wisconsin. Bush was
able to reach his father, as well as
First Lady Laura Bush, who was
in Washington. But as he
discussed his personal reactions,
Bush also wanted there to be no
doubt about his focus on the task
at hand.

Poppy was at the White House that day, NOT in Wisconsin. (Thanks to Jerky for the catch)

Tim Russert, on NBC's Today Show, 9-13-11:

"Ironically, former President Bush was in the White House on Tuesday morning when this attack occurred. He happened to be visiting there in town. He did not go to the situation room and become part of the negotiations or discussions, but he... left the White House. But he is someone that the current president loves and respects, and those are two pretty good qualities to have in any adviser. During the situation when our plane was forced to land in China, former President Bush was an invaluable adviser. And I would think that this president will utilize his knowledge, and his thoughts, and his experiences, and I think most Americans would understand that; in fact, encourage it" (NBC's "Today," Sept. 13).

Update: Okay, mystery maybe solved... from the 9-14-01 NY Daily News:

The former President spent Monday night at the White House but left early Tuesday. He was in the air, en route to a speech in St. Paul, when terrorists attacked New
York and Washington. The ex-President was diverted to Milwaukee, where he spent Tuesday night.

Scrubbers scrubbers everywhere...

Recently linked to a page of the Military District of Washington's website which included information about a contigency planning exercise from October 2000 in which they were exploring a "mock plane crash into the Pentagon." They had a page of photos up which included a rather lurid view of a model mockup of a plane crashing into the Pentagon. That has now been disappeared off their web site.

My pal Cappa has coined the best phrase to describe these latest clumsy terra warnings:

Weapons of mass distraction
Important Enron Moment:

They advise that in any discussion
of whether state or federal
regulators have jurisdiction over
Enron's trades, the company
should always say it's the feds.

I usually let other people who are more on the ball than me weigh in on the whole DMCA, copyright, etc... issue.

But now that the DMCA has effectively made felt tip pens illegal, can't we get rid of this thing?

And haven't I, and CNN, and Reuters, just broken the law by even telling you about it?


First Sharks, now Chandra...

Just shoot me.

Update: here's the story, and a great example of irresponsible headline writing. Dan Quayle may be Chandra Levy for all we know.

Hey, the Moonies held a birthday bash for their newspaper

What do you call a gathering of 3,000 people, a self-aggrandizing lecture by Dr. Laura Schlessinger and an hour-long sermon from the Rev. Sun Myung Moon?

The Washington Times 20th-anniversary bash.

An eclectic crowd convened at the Hilton Washington last night to celebrate the other paper in the nation's capital. The party was to honor the success of the scrappy conservative daily; instead, it was dominated by Moon's address, titled "The Life of Jesus as Seen From God's Will, and God's Warning to the Present Age, the Period of the Last Days." Even the most charitable souls might have come away thinking that the newspaper -- founded by the Unification Church leader -- is a conduit for Moon's religious message, something its editors have repeatedly denied.

He also admits blowing a cool billion on the rag. I expect Mickey Kaus to write about Moon's financial folly any day now..

Otto Reich, though a professional liar, is a bad one. Gotta keep your stories straight Otto, you fascist prick.

WASHINGTON - In a surprising announcement in early May, the Bush administration charged that Cuba maintains a ''limited offensive'' biological warfare capability. By Tuesday, the administration seemed to have forgotten about the matter.

A sweeping, 177-page State Department report on trends in global terrorism summed up Cuba in 47 lines, omitting any reference to its reported biological warfare research.

Officials seemed flustered when asked about the omission... ...

On Capitol Hill, Otto Reich, the department's top diplomat to Latin America, appeared initially confused when asked why the report made no mention of Cuba's bio-weapons research.

''Is it an oversight?'' asked Sen. Byron Dorgan, a North Dakota Democrat.

''I do not know who publishes that particular document,'' Reich said moments later when asked about the report, which Dorgan held in his hand.

''It's your department that publishes it,'' Dorgan said. ``This is a State Department publication, and we just received it on Capitol Hill.''

Reich countered: ``It must be incomplete.''

Get Your War on Part 11!
Cheney's Halliburton Cooked Books

My pal Samela sez this:

Which is more worthy of investigation? Mike Espy taking a pair of football tickets or Dick Cheney in charge of a company cooking its books?

Which is more worthy of media scrutiny? Al Gore not fixing the drain at the house of a tenant who poured bacon grease down her sink or Dick Cheney in charge of a company cooking its books?

Which is more worthy of public outrage? A $50,000 failed land investment dating from 15 years earlier or Dick Cheney cooking the books to the tune of $100 million of a public corporation that received numerous government contracts?

Just asking.

Let me add that Halliburton receives MAJOR government contracts, despite Dick Cheney's claim to have been successful without the government's help. If I remember correctly, they (well, their subsidiary) also signed a long term contract to handle all of the military's international construction needs.

Bush Admits to being coward.

This really yanks my chain.

As Mark Crispin Miller reminds us, listen to what he says.

President Bush spoke publicly for the first time Tuesday about his fears for himself and his family in the hours after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, telling a German television reporter he was "trying to get out of harm's way" before returning to the White House.

In an interview with ARD German Television, Bush said that in the immediate aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, "I was concerned about things like, is my wife safe? You know, I was worried about that. I was worried about things such as my parents. I was worried about my [twin] girls."

Among the flying public grounded that day were the president's parents, who found themselves stranded in Wisconsin. Bush was able to reach his father, as well as First Lady Laura Bush, who was in Washington. But as he discussed his personal reactions, Bush also wanted there to be no doubt about his focus on the task at hand.

"At the same time, you need to know about me that I was also thinking clearly about how to respond," he said.

First, he says he was trying to get out of harms way -- apaprently ground zero was Florida.

Then he says he was worried about his wife, who WAS in harms way.

Then he repeats Karen and Karl's talking point about himself verbatim.

"We were concerned about threats on the president. We were worried about future attacks, and there's a lot of belief that Flight 93 was headed to the White House," Bush added, referring to the hijacked commercial airliner that crashed in western Pennsylvania.

Then he does it AGAIN. Repeats another talking point, and refers to himself in the third person in the process.

Cowardly little bunny.

Right Wing Denial Watch

All of which brings up the question of George W. Bush. He is clearly not of the monster class. His critics would argue that, just as clearly, he belongs with the mediocrities. But there is by now some real evidence that he is something more than that, that he is one of
the accidents, one of those who is not driven to greatness but who wander to it and rise to it.

You get the sense with Bush that he became president because he realized, once he grew up, that it was what he was supposed to do -- what with dad, and all. That is very different from the sort of consuming hunger that impels the monster-greats. Different, and healthier, and sometimes the basis for its own kind of greatness.

Michael Kelly...

Color before new warnings: Yellow.

Color after new warnings: Yellow.

Tuesday, May 21, 2002

"We have trade disputes because we have trade -- you can't have trade disputes without trade, and trade is good"

-You Know Who
Modo Prediction time...

Tough one.

I'm thinking good.

Update: The results are in!


I think it would be far more useful, however, if we had a wheel with five colors to warn against incompetence.

Holy heather: At this level, John Ashcroft stays so busy whiting out lines of the Constitution, diluting Justice's civil rights division, lionizing the Second Amendment and robing naked statues that he forgets to give the president a detailed F.B.I. memo describing the time and place of the next terrorist attack.

Squeal teal: At this level, George Tenet, a rare Clinton holdover, so assiduously ingratiates himself with the president (he named the C.I.A. building after Poppy and keeps him in the loop) and has his minions spin the blame toward the F.B.I. that he can't manage to find even an hour to figure out how to infiltrate Al Qaeda.

Top-secret taupe: The president and vice president keep secret all the data that Americans need, on the spurious assumption that They Know Best (The Bush family motto). The Bushies become so obsessed with drawing attention to Bill Clinton's failure to eliminate Osama that they have no energy to eliminate Osama.

Bureaucratic balsam: Tom Ridge works so hard trying to prove his relevance that he becomes unable to do his irrelevant job, which is teaming with Norm Mineta to hire more of the highly trained airport professionals who drag 85-year-old dowagers and eight-month-old infants out of the security lines and make them remove their orthopedics and booties.

Visas-for-everyone violet: I.N.S. employees continue to show up for work, exponentially ratcheting up the risks to the American public.

Where in the World is Katherine Harris??

Click here for the mystery...
Well, it looks like Eric Alterman needs a better editor.


Did I mention the baseball writing? All that, and he was perhaps second only to Roger Angell and maybe Thomas Boswell as the best (imnsho) baseball writer in America. If it hadn’t been for Gould, that honor might have gone to George Will. As I said, there was no end to the service this man performed for his country. God bless him.


Speaking of Harvard professors, in a as a knock on all blogs. It is not.


Update: It's fixed now, but I take issue with Alterman's criticism of Jackson and Sharpton injecting themselves in the silly Cornel West flap. Why? Because everyone else from Blogistan to pundits to right wing magazines to other academics to my bartender decided to chime in on this one, so why single out Jackson and Sharpton?

I think TAPPED is being a bit hard on Katha Pollitt over her criticism of Dennis Kucinich's anti-choice voting record. While I agree with TAP that ideological purity tests on the left are not productive and that being anti-choice does not, necessarily, buy you a ticket out of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, Pollitt makes clear his voting record is a little bit more disturbing than that. He hasn't simply voted for anti-choice legislation, he's also voted for some of the more cynical and mean-spirited pieces of legislation, such as "[voting] for a ban on dilation and extraction (so-called partial-birth) abortions without a maternal health exception."

There are two ways to view that Bill. You can take it on its face and say its supporters had really made the moral calculus that the mother's life was worth less than a fetus, or, as I do, see it as just a cynical ploy to force a Clinton veto, which means they cared neither for the mother nor the fetuses they got so weepy about in their impassioned speeches.

So, let Dennis be anti-choice, fine, but he shouldn't support crap like that.

Reader A.J. brought this column by James Carroll to my attention:

Since September we have squandered our wealth and focus on a huge war while neglecting police work and intelligence at home and abroad. Hence the vagueness of the current warning. And how dare our government set off alarms about Cuba's putative bioterrorism project while it has done nothing to apprehend the anthrax killer? Oh, and - forgive me, just asking - where is Osama?

The Bush administration's warning about Castro's interest in bioterrorism could seem blatantly timed to deflect political pressures arising from Jimmy Carter's trip to Havana. Vice President Cheney's agitated Sunday alarm about imminent terrorist attacks could seem timed to defuse last week's long overdue political offensive by Democrats. The president's rejection, in principle, of arms ''reduction'' could seem to serve his larger political and economic purpose of restoring the American war industry to its place of preeminence. The president and his closest advisers, in other words, could be cynically exaggerating threats to our national security for their narrow purposes.

But it may be worse than that. The shape of their dread is useful to them in these ways, but, also, like the mentally disturbed, they seem convinced that any danger they imagine is real. Our nation is being led by men and women who are at the mercy of their fears. That they work hard to keep the American people afraid might seem to suggest that they want merely to deflect any second-guessing about the course they have set, but in fact our fear reinforces theirs.

Why doesn't the justice deparment just Get Over It!

filed, in Missouri and Tennessee, by the
department’s civil rights division, Assistant
Attorney General Ralph Boyd told the
Senate Judiciary Committee.
The lawsuits will allege disparate
treatment of minority voters, improper
purging of voter rolls, “motor voter”
registration violations and failure to
provide access to disabled voters, Boyd
Other charges, he said, include failing
to allow voters with limited proficiency in
English to have assistance at the polls and
failing to provide bilingual assistance.

No...couldn't be?!?!!?

I'll get over it as soon as some of my fellow citizens get over the Civil War.
It really can't be emphasized enough that the New York Times missed the big scoop in their own story.

The memorandum was sent to counterterrorism offices in two cities — one copy went to John O'Neill, then the top counterterrorism agent in the F.B.I.'s New York office. Mr. O'Neill retired from the F.B.I. in late August. He had just begun a job as the security chief of the World Trade Center when he was killed in the attacks.

Does anyone in journalism speak French? Anyone?

Ha Ha Ha

Just Keep it In Your Pants..
"We have no choice but to address the policies and decisions, made at the very highest level of our government, which helped bring us to this point," an influential political voice said less than a month after Sept. 11. "To do otherwise is to be irresponsible and unprepared in the face of a ruthless enemy, whose objective is to kill many more Americans."

--Rush Limbaugh, 10/04/01

As caught by E.J. Dionne.
CNN is running a piece on shark attacks, even though there hasn't actually been one.

Is it too early for a drink?
Note to Bloggers:

It appears that Blogger had a big hiccup. Try republishing your archives, making a new post, editing old posts and republishing, rinse, repeat, and your site may reappear.
Ashcroft Incompetence Watch

On September 10 last year, the last day of what is
now seen as a bygone age of innocence, Mr
Ashcroft sent a request for budget increases to the
White House. It covered 68 programmes, none of
them related to counter-terrorism.

He also sent a memorandum to his heads of
departments, stating his seven priorities.
Counter-terrorism was not on the list. He turned
down an FBI request for hundreds more agents to
be assigned to tracking terrorist threats.

Can we fire this guy yet?

Tinfoil hat leader Remember John has been beating the drum for months. Now we discover he was right all along.

In a stunning revelation, the New York Times has reported that among the two FBI office counterterrorism chiefs who received the now famously neglected Phoenix memorandum last July was none other than John O'Neill -- then the top counterterrorist officer in the FBI's New York City's office, and the FBI's leading expert on Osama bin Laden.

O'Neill knew perfectly well what Al Qaeda was up to, and had been knocking on doors (and, at times, heads) for years to get his colleagues and superiors to understand what he did.

The last straw came in July 2001, when (as he told the French authors Guillaume Dasquié and Jean-Charles Brisard in an interview), O'Neill became fully aware that the Bush administration, anxious over negotiations for a Caspian Sea oil pipe line, had decided to back off of tracking bin Laden and opposing the Taliban, lest it risk alienating powerful Saudi families. Instead of going after the Taliban and bin Laden, the Bush Administration decided to negotiate and try to buy off the Taliban and bin Laden.

Unfortunately for the Administration, the pipe-line negotiations broke down in August.

And on September 11, bin Laden struck.

Well, not sure if it is just a random fluke, but today I've had what seems to be a respectable number of hits in Blogistan, aside from the Blogistan Elite, and without a recent link from the hits generators.

Soon, I hope to write more slightly serious bits, because that is why I started this in the first place. But, the cheap shots are so easy....
Let me be one of the first to welcome Eric Alterman to Blogistan. I know many of my liberal counterparts in Blogistan hate the guy, but I think he's about the only practical and sane voice on the Lefty-Left (whatever that means).

Here's hoping MSNBC lets him have a more Bloggish design. And his own more convenient URL.

Update: I missed that this URL gets you redirected appropriately.

Monday, May 20, 2002

Is Frank Luntz still working for NBC?
7. Do you think that there should be a full-scale investigation into the handling of intelligence before September 11, or do you feel that this would be unproductive and too political?

Is the media ever going to ask just what is up with Mr. Splotchy?
Looks like an interesting story is going to break. (blog, if not particular link, via Naked Writing who has a nice rant up). This should add fuel to the fire.
The Daily Spleen just opened up shop, well, today. The first post is priceless:

Ann Coulter in Twenty Years?

Now I am just an elderly lady who is full of spleen,
who humps around greater Boston in a God-awful hat,
who never lived and yet outlived her time,
hating men and dogs and Democrats.

Anne Sexton (1928–1974), U.S. poet. “Speaking Bitterness.”

Josh Marshall discovers that Republicans love to beat on outspoken black Democrats, particularly outspoken black female Democrats.

well, duhh.

Note to Josh(not that he is reading this, but hey): Whatever you thought of McKinney's actual comments, the real story of that whole affair was how the entire media industry was all too willing to pile hard onto an outspoken black female Democrat, and resort to misrepresenting (as you've come to realize) her comments in the process. I'm not accusing you of being motivated by this particular pathology, I just think you got played. Much ado about nothing. Red meat for the Freepers, and the liberal media aided and abetted.

Consider the rather muted response to Dick Armey's recent suggestion that Israel should forcibly relocate the Palestinians. Or the rather muted response to Jesse Helms' suggestion that Clinton "watch his back" if he comes to North Carolina military bases. Or the continued support by the liberal media for a series of investigations that were basically designed to accuse (if not always in so many words) Hillary Clinton of having Vince Foster killed.

Frankly, McKinney's actual comments were pretty benign compared to those gems.

So, next time an outspoken black Democrat has her words from a 3 week old interview on a radio station with a relatively small number of listeners blast-FAXed throughout the land and then subsequently twisted by the Washington Post, please resist the urge to pile on.


Instapundit and others like him (you know, gun nuts) often complain that the media, particularly the national media, rarely report when gun owners successfully defend themselves against criminal attacks.

I'll accept the reality that the national media never picks up the stories, but I have a question about the local media, which many claim also underreports these events:

Has anyone ever asked them why? My theory has always been that some of the reason that these stories are underreported is that the police lean on the press a bit. There are a couple of reasons they might do this, but I have no idea if they do. How about someone ask..I'm quite happy to be wrong about this. No real horse in this one.

Bob Somerby on the herd mentality of the Washington Pundits:

Speaking of one-trick ponies: Your pundits are happiest when they All Say The Same Thing. When it came to SS reform, major pundits all had the same story:

Hardball, MSNBC, May 5, 2000:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Norah, let’s start in talking about this amazing campaign. Who would have believed that George W. Bush would have looked so clean and so good right now after that bruising fight with John McCain? He’s up five points in a number of polls this week, and yet you see Al Gore picking away at him with these left jabs of his…It’s the same thing he did to Bill Bradley—attack, attack, attack.

Russert, CNBC, May 6, 2000:
JOE KLEIN: The concern I have about the Gore campaign is that he has learned one lesson and he’s kind of becoming a one-trick pony.
TIM RUSSERT: Attack. Attack. Attack.
KLEIN: Attack. Attack.
RUSSERT: Governor Bush put forward a Social Security plan calling for a partial privatizing, and he attacks, saying that is risky…Why—why—why does Gore just, almost knee-jerk, attack, attack, attack?

Inside Politics, CNN, May 17, 2000:
CHARLES COOK: For Governor Bush, it’s a chance to show sort of bold leadership…But at the same time, getting into that area is certainly a risky thing and it’s going to test all of George Bush’s abilities of persuasion to sell this, because Al Gore is very good at the attack, just look at what he did to Bill Bradley on health care…
BERNARD SHAW: What comes to mind, Stu?
ROTHENBERG: Well, in general, he has been attacking for months now and there’s been a lot of criticism that he’s been overly negative. Once again, here, attack, attack.
But what were the merits of Gore’s attacks? All across our pundit reserves, scribes made little attempt to say. But Joe Klein knew why Gore was doing it. “Why does Gore just attack, attack, attack?” Russert asked. “Well, because it’s—it’s, you know, scaring people about Social Security,” Klein said. So it went as liberal bias kept spoiling the corps’ campaign coverage.

Mike Malloy caught this strange utterance from Dick Cheney on Meet the Press:

MR. RUSSERT: Should the president turn over the August 6 CIA briefing to the Senate Intelligence Committee?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: In my estimation, Tim, it would be a mistake for us now to get into the mode where we're going to start throwing out on the record some of the
nation's most important secrets.


Oh, man, the President is really losing it. Check out the transcript of a recent statement:

In closing, I'd like to remind Americans that not only did Bill Clinton receive terrorist warnings years before I did, but he also porked that fat Jewish intern. Porked her repeatedly. Porked her in the Oval Office, Porked her in the mouth. Again and again. Quick and dirty. And all the while, the unprecedented era of peace and prosperity he created raged on. I think that speaks for itself.

Thank you. No questions, please.

wonder how I missed that one...

The folks at The Nation have some nerve asking these questions:

1) Who in the Justice Dept. and its FBI unit knew about the memos from the field raising questions about Arabs training in flight schools?

2) Why, if Attorney General John Ashcroft stopped flying on commercial aircraft over the summer, did Justice not issue sterner warnings to airlines and the public about threats to commercial aviation?

3) Why did Vice-President Richard Cheney ask congressional leaders not to investigate the events leading up to September 11?

4) Why did Administration officials keep repeating the mantra "We had no information about specific threats" when some of them were aware of at least nonspecific threats of hijackings?

5) Why did the Administration decide not to tell the public of the information it knew until the story leaked to the press?

Oops, wait a second -- wrong link. That's from Business Week! (via MWO)
Get Donkey shows us which party had the hysterial reaction to last week's revelations.
I can't speak for all "liberals," but I find the debate about racial profiling - rather, the non-stop whining on the Right that liberals would have complained about racial profiling had they tried to follow up and investigate Arab men in flight schools - really, really dishonest.

There is a difference between picking a man out of an airport line because he is Semitic looking and picking him out of an airport line because he carries a Saudi passport.

There is a difference between investigating people because they are brown and investigating them because of their country of origin.

I didn't have much of problem with Ashcroft investigating every single person Arab in this country because it was racial profiling (though to the extent the he investigated American Citizens of Arab descent rather than simply Arab residents, I would have), I had a problem with it because it was a counterproductive waste of resources which would do nothing but create resentment in the Arab-American community at a time when that was probably a bad idea.

All of Blogistan (e.g. The O'Rourkian via Instapundit) had their panties in bunches this weekend over the fact that a CBS news report goofed and said "President Bush" in 1998 rather than "President Clinton." Come on, it is worth a laugh, but do you really think this is anything other than a goof? The fact that Janet Reno is STILL listed in this Washington Post biography as being responsible for Ruby Ridge is a bit more damning.

From the bio:

Few members of the Clinton
administration have
engendered as much
controversy as Attorney
General Janet Reno. She was praised for her
role investigating the 1995 Oklahoma City
bombing and the Unabomber but criticized for
her handling of the Ruby Ridge incident and the
storming of the Branch Davidian compound in
Waco, Texas

Update: I forgot to mention that I had contacted them about this and they never fixed it or responded.

Instapundit notes that Sylvia Ann Hewlett's book isn't selling.

I think he's dead on when he says:

Yeah, there's a whiff of 1987 about the whole enterprise, it's true.

From what I understand there are two parts two Hewitt's book - the well-researched part about declining fertility, and the hysterical rant about the misery of being childless. And, yes, we've heard that part before. I'm sure we'll hear it again. I'm glad it isn't selling so well this time. It's also nice when the media promotion machine fails.
While we're on scary search engine referrals, I'm number 9 for "Luke Helder sexy".

Who the hell is searching for that?

Can anyone explain the following paragraph from this newsweek article:


NEWSWEEK has learned there was
one other major complication as America
headed into that threat-spiked summer. In
Washington, Royce Lamberth, chief judge
of the special federal court that reviews
national-security wiretaps, erupted in anger
when he found that an FBI official was
misrepresenting petitions for taps on terror
suspects. Lamberth prodded Ashcroft to
launch an investigation, which reverberated
throughout the bureau. From the summer
of 2000 on into the following year, sources
said, the FBI was forced to shut down
wiretaps of Qaeda-related suspects
connected to the 1998 African embassy
bombing investigation.
“It was a major
problem,” said one source familiar with the
case, who estimated that 10 to 20 Qaeda
wiretaps had to be shut down, as well as
wiretaps into a separate New York
investigation of Hamas. The effect was to
stymie terror surveillance at exactly the
moment it was needed most: requests from
both Phoenix and Minneapolis for wiretaps
were turned down.

When did Ashcroft become Attorney General?
As the Clinton administration was coming to an end, many people joked to 'ole Rusty Limbaugh that once Clinton was gone his show would be over because he wouldn't have anything talk about. Rush claimed loudly and proudly that once Clinton was gone he wouldn't talk about him anymore, but that he would still have plenty to say.

Well, then we had a few more fake Clinton scandals once he left office, so perhaps Rusty can be forgiven for breaking his promise. But, seventeen months later * Rush still devotes much of his show to talking about Clinton.

That is fine, perhaps. But what is more disturbing is that the rest of the media is too. Every analysis of the Bush administration, particularly any accusation of wrongdoing, has to include some reference to the Clinton administration. It's as if they think that to be "fair and balanced" requires kicking the ex-president every time you kick the current one. That's stupid.

*Apparently it has been sixteen, not seventeen, but there have been many media mentions of seventeen lately so it isn't really my fault.

From the Clinton did it too so it's okay even though it was wrong for Clinton to do it department...

comes this article from the Washington Post.
$2.3 billion loan to Adelphia Exec

from Adelphia.
Hey, I'm the #3 result on Google if you search for "czech circle jerk."

Those search engine referral hits get odder every day...

Sunday, May 19, 2002

So, anyone looking forward to Mickey Kaus's Democrat-indicting Republican-excusing spin?

Me neither.
In case anyone hasn't yet, please check out this experiment in Meta-Blogging... add your own Blogs!
What He Said

Thus far, the most incriminating statements about Bush have not come from the fluffers in the corporate press or the timid congressional Democrats, but from the friendly fire of talk radio. Rush Limbaugh and his callers have excused Dubya for not protecting America from the worst terrorist attack in our history because the ruffians in the ACLU and the Hollywood left would have assaulted their guy with harsh words if he had taken preventative action. This spirited conservative defense is thundering across the fruited plains: “Bush had to let three thousand Americans be annihilated because he was justifiably frozen in fear at the prospect of being verbally assailed by Barbra Streisand”. The message is being especially well received in the pious red states, where majorities of the citizenry call their favorite aunt “Ma”. From the right wing perspective, Bush is completely innocent, regardless of whatever he did - or failed to do - because liberals are a herd of nagging yentas. This really is the current conservative rank and file defense of Bush, and they believe in it passionately.

Whole thing is good, read it all...

Clinton administration tries to get Bin Laden, Cokie Roberts screams:


Bush administration issues new threat warnings not based on any new information.


Well, at least Josh Marshall is on the ball.
From BushWatch

If Diane Feinstein and other senators were briefed in early July, who else was 'in the loop?' Well, John Ashcroft, for one. Ashcroft took the unprecedented step of refusing to fly on commercial airliners at the end of July due to a "threat assessment", using expensive charter jets on the taxpayer tab for even personal fishing trips. It's interesting that of all the cabinet members, Ashcroft should be the one chosen to survive the attacks at all costs. Ari Fleischer says the 'dots couldn't be connected' until after passage of the USA-Patriot Act; this is complete nonsense, of course, the FBI agents in the field were prevented from connecting the dots before 9/11 because Ashcroft and the Administration had shut down the granting of FISA warrants (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act). Whereas, the record of the Clinton administration and Janet Reno was that no FISA requests were refused, under Ashcroft and the Bush administration FBI field agents were unable, after repeated requests, to obtain a FISA warrant against Zacarias Moussaoui even after French Intelligence had named him as having Al Qaeda connections. Among other useful things, Moussaoui's computer held the phone number of Mohamed Atta's roommate.

It might be remembered that the USA-Patriot Act was the product of Ashcroft and the White House without any input at all from the Justice Department that Ashcroft allegedly represented. Whereas, the Bush administration had previously refused to issue a FISA warrant against Moussaoui, a known terrorist engaging in exactly the sort of behavior that had its chief executives cowering in the hinterlands, under USA-Patriot the government now has the authority to conduct FISA type spying on ordinary American citizens merely on the OK of any judge anywhere in the country.

That liberal media strikes again:

Bush also campaigned against Clinton's fundraising excesses -- putting donors in the Lincoln Bedroom or Arlington Cemetery -- but now offers his own donors high-level
briefings and the Sept. 11 photo.

Proving once again, that every charge against Clinton, no matter how many times it is debunked, will continue to be recycled under the "Clinton rules of journalism."
Amygdala sez:

REMEMBER: If you find yourself dying of bacteriological attack, radiation, or simply exploding into fire, be sure to write a note as to whether you blame a Republican, or a Democrat. That is, after all, what's important.

Of course not. But it does matter who is in charge, what they did to prevent it, and how they plan to prevent the next one.

And now can we finally start talking about that?

Now can we acknowledge that, as Charles Dodgson makes clear below, Ashcroft is completely incompetent?

Now can we acknowledge that Louis Freeh left the FBI in shambles while remaining in power due to his obsession with the presidential member?

Now can we acknowledge that the USA Patriot Act, with its name that could not possibly be any more Orwellian, is a horribly frightening piece of legislation which has nothing to do with fighting Terra?

Now can we ask just what it is we're planning to do in Afghanistan?

Now can we ask the media, the administration, and everyone else to maybe, just maybe, stop referring to this as a "War"? Astoundingly, it really isn't fair to all those other Wars.

Now can we stop denouncing all criticism of the administration's actions as being unpatriotic or even treasonous?

Now can we acknowledge the fact that when our president is an incompetent idiot, that is not a good thing as Peggy Noonan claims?

Now will journalists start hanging up on Ari when he calls to criticize them for their negative coverage?

I hope so.

Thank you Charles Dodgson for an excellent post. He begins by taking Tom Friedman to the woodshed, which I always appreciate. I am unable to fathom why Friedman has been annointed the as the Punditocracy's lead Pontificator on foreign affairs, and the Middle East in particular. He doesn't write well. He doesn't have original ideas. Even when I agree with him I find his supporting arguments usually so weak I start to question my own position.

But, following that, Dodgson says this:

If you buy that argument, it only clarifies the spectacular inappropriateness of the administration's response to the attack after the fact, the ill-named PATRIOT act. They claimed that the attack showed that intelligence and law enforcement agencies needed to be able to gather more information, with far less interference from the courts --- eventually floating an omnibus bill with provisions including, among other things, nationwide judge-shopping for wiretaps, and requiring ISPs to turn over billing records without a warrant. When the Senate balked, the administration publicly threatened to blame them for the next attack.

The rationale for all this was that the government didn't have enough information. Now, they explain their failure to heed specific warnings, like the report by that guy out in Phoenix, by saying they had too much information, and no way to sort the wheat from the chaff. You can't solve that problem by adding more chaff.

And yet adding more chaff is what they have done, not just with the PATRIOT act, which had as one of its overarching themes Government Access to More, but in the subsequent fishing expedition which amounted to asking every Arab-American immigrant whether they were a terrorist --- questions which real terrorists will not answer honestly, and which loyal Arab-Americans whose cooperation the FBI may need will remember as an insult. Yet, every available FBI agent was diverted to this task, and when their numbers proved insufficient, they tried to enlist local law enforcement as well --- though they were stymied in jurisdictions where ethnically based roundups by local police are actually against the law.

Those agents could have been instead asking about suspicious activity around cropdusters, or investigating security around water mains and works --- means of attack that we know that al-Qaeda has considered --- or even combed the dusty shelves of the FBI itself looking for a neglected report on attack modalities we haven't known about yet. Instead, to plagiarize myself, they were out asking immigrant Muslim housewives what they knew about Semtex.

There's more. Click the above link for the rest.

The Privateer is shocked to discovered he's number 2,048 over at Alexa Page Ranking. Hey, so am I!

I'm not sure if 'ole Privateer is having a bit of fun or if he really believes his own greatness, but in any case Alexa recently changed their ranking system and now all bloggers on are lumped together.
Naked Writing has a great review of the pedophilia handbook (joke) Harmful to Minors. Check it out.
This MSNBC article is a must-read:

Soon after Bush’s chesty Mansfield
Room talk, Team Bush gathered itself, and
fought back hard—”whacking the rats,” as
the aide put it. They dispatched Vice
President Dick Cheney to wave the
patriotic flag at a political dinner in New
York, where he warned critics not to make
“incendiary comments” that are “totally
unworthy of national leaders in time of
war.” The Bushies even took the
unprecedented step of wheeling out Laura
Bush to defend her husband. Traveling in
Budapest, Hungary, Mrs. Bush stayed up
late to watch a Condi Rice briefing. The
next morning the First Lady volunteered to
reporters that it was “very sad that people
would play upon the victims’ families’
emotions, or all Americans’ emotions.”
The counteroffensive temporarily
silenced most Democrats. But the Bush
administration nevertheless found itself in
a nightmarish if familiar Washington
predicament, forced to issue statements
without knowing what leaks might
immediately undercut them.
committees were demanding (and getting)
access to thousands of potentially
explosive documents, and bureaucrats
suddenly were less interested in protecting
the president than in protecting their own
rears and reputations.

So you mean they were going to lie? Karl, tell me it isn't so...

A note to all the CHAs who write in and comment:

Get over it.

The Slickest of Willies, the great Satan from Arkansas, the man responsiblity for all evil in the world is no longer in charge.

While you jump to blame him for 9/11, you also jump to blame him for the first WTC bombing which happened a mere month after he was in office. While you jump to blame him for 9/11, you also jump to blame him for whatever went wrong in Somalia, an operation started before he came into office and completed before 9/11/93. While you jump to blame him for 9/11, you also jump to blame him for Waco, another operation that was planned before he came into office, and was over long before 9/11/93.

And you accuse me of inconsistency? sheesh.

[UPDATE: I am wrong. The "Black Hawk Down" events happened after 9/11/93. So sue me...]