Saturday, January 04, 2003

Martin Wisse brings this to our attention (it's a bit old, but I missed it first time around):

Halle Berry, in her role as the sexy superspy Jinx in "Die Another Day," helps James Bond save the world from certain doom. But Ms. Berry may be performing an even more improbable feat as the cover model of the December issue of Cosmopolitan magazine

Ms. Berry became only the fifth black to appear on the cover of Cosmopolitan since the magazine began using cover photographs in 1964, and she is the first since Naomi Campbell in 1990. Ms. Berry is evidently one of a tiny cadre of nonwhite celebrities who are deemed to have enough crossover appeal to appear on the cover of mass consumer magazines.

Tom Friedman says it's war about oil. Sorta. But maybe that's okay. Or not.

God I hate that guy.
Talk Left tells us the FBI used an informant to tape phone calls of Governor Ryan.

While politicians aren't above the law, blah blah blah, there's something a bit smelly about that. As Jeralyn says, "[T]o use an undercover ploy to tape a Governor, any Governor, is not a routine matter. "

Crank Watch has a good rundown of l'affair Lott.
Krugman's going to be on This Weak tomorrow. Get ready to unleash your righteous fury bloggers!
Interesting Monstah has been on the bogus "5 Scary Middle Eastern Guys" story since the beginning.

Is it okay to be a bit outraged now? Let's think about what's happened. The administration has apparently made up this story. There is no evidence it happened. No evidence of 5 guys going to Canada. No evidence of 5 guys coming over the Canadian border. No evidence that the 5 guys are connected to each other or terrorism. They mysterious gentlemen are alternatively described as "Arab" or "Middle Eastern" even though one of the photos was of a Pakistani guy who is currently in Pakistan, and all the names appeared to be Pakastani. Bush announced that he personally sent the FBI on a nationwide manhunt for these guys, which one newspaper article described as a 'posse,' and authorities asked the public to help. The public, of course, dutifully responded to his call by calling the police on random people.

Can we count the number of ways this is sick disgusting shit?
Take a look at junior's jacket.

Chilling forgotten history.
("kitten Kevorkian." haha. No one can beat the horse.)

Upstairs, Downstairs

In fact, the democratic - some might even say proletarian - theme was evident throughout the ball at the World Trade Center: standard tickets were an affordable $40, the guests - about 7,000 of them - had to pass through a metal detector, and there were long lines for the cash bars that were shut down during official speeches. Guests swarmed the tables of hummus and pita, which were ravenously consumed and promptly cleared for good. Because of a shortage of seats - and pita bread - one woman ate her small lump of hummus with a fork, standing up.

Many of those overheard complaining about their growling stomachs declined to discuss it on the record; this was a partisan crowd, after all.

''Would you come to something like this to eat?'' asked Republican National Committeeman Ron Kaufman, wearing a tuxedo and cowboy boots. ''You come to be seen and to talk.''

This inaugural gala, however, was a two-party system.

An escalator ride to the discreet, exclusive Martini Lounge brought a striking change of scenery. Well-heeled guests who ponied up $1,000 or more took in a stunning view of the Boston skyline to the right, and to the left, a plate-glass window allowed them to gaze down on the hoi polloi crammed on the World Trade Center floor. Video and audio from the ground-level stage were piped in to a television monitor in the corner.

Tables were adorned with white-rose centerpieces and flickering votives; seating was plentiful, as was the spread of Middle Eastern hors d'oeuvres. Vodka flowed down the trunk of an elephant-shaped ice sculpture.

Jeanne Kangas, a Republican State Committee member, was impressed.

''It's very creative,'' she said, calling for a refill of her martini. ''This thinking outside the box, it's very similar to what Romney wants to do'' as governor.

(hey, where'd my link go...:( ..hey it's back again!)

Oh man, whore of the year is tough. I thought Margaret Carlson would be a shoo-in.
If Chris Matthews's ratings were the same as Phil Donahue's, or even lower at times, why did Phil get cancelled but not Matthews?

Something to ponder...

The word gay has been hijacked!!! By gay homosexuals!!!

Those bastards!

But I thought the media was liberal on cultural issues! Howie keeps telling me so!

Don Farmer is a retired ABC News political and foreign correspondent and a former CNN news anchor. He can be reached via e-mail at

UPDATE: Inspired by Jesse, I sent Mr. Farmer an email:

Dear Mr. Farmer,
I remember having a similar experience as your grandson when I was a child. I was reading a book by J.R.R. Tolkien (The Hobbit, I believe) and was quite disturbed by a particular passage which described how the characters were gleefully "throwing faggots on the fire." I must have been about 9 or maybe 10, but this behavior was quite disturbing to me. It seemed bizarre to me that these otherwise noble and likeable characters would do that to people simply because they were gay, I mean homosexual.

Opening up my dictionary I'm quite shocked to discover that many many words have multiple meanings. Some meanings are apparently "archaic," which I think means that have fallen out of common usage, and some have preferred, secondary, and even tertiary meanings. Some word meanings differ by region within the U.S., and there are even words that mean one thing in the U.S. and something entirely different in the U.K. It's quite fascinating how flexible the English language is, and how quickly it evolves. As a person with a distinguished career in media - including a stint as a foreign correspondent - I'm surprised that this might be new to you. But, I suppose it's nice that there are still new things to learn.

In any case, my mother was also concerned that a word had been 'hijacked' - but her concern was that it had been hijacked by bigots and used as slur. She also wanted to shield me from its bad association and usage - which wasn't with homosexuality per se, but with people who think that it is "bad."

Perhaps the word 'faggot' could be the subject of your next column.

Best regards,


The Washington Times, owned by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon who has declared that America is "Satan's Harvest", and which employees as a writer and Assistant National Editor Robert Stacy McCain , a neo-confederate secessionist racist member of the League of the South, has declared the New York Times the Knave of the Year.

I can think of no higher honor.


The case of the five vanishing suspects

By the middle of this week, they had starred in hundreds of newspaper and television reports and had been on the lips of everyone from U.S. President George W. Bush to Senator Hilary Clinton, who announced at a press conference that they had entered the United States through Canada.

But yesterday, the FBI admitted that the most important ingredient in the story -- that is, the proof -- is nowhere to be found: "There is no border-crossing information that would say they're here," FBI spokesman Ed Cogswell said. "And to say they came in from Canada is pure speculation."


"We don't know if they ever entered the U.S.," Mr. Cogswell said. "And in fact we've never linked these guys to terrorists. Most of what we have here is an unknown, and even with these individuals we don't know if they are true names with those photographs."

"We're chasing rumours," a senior RCMP officer said. "We don't know if these five men were ever in Canada and we certainly have no proof whatsoever that they crossed into the United States either legally or illegally."

Asked what might have triggered the initial FBI allegation about the five Middle Eastern men entering the U.S. from Canada, the Mountie replied caustically: "It was a slow week at the White House. They needed something to stir the pot because nothing was happening in Iraq."

UPDATE: Slacktivist has more. And scroll down for some good Kaus bashing, too.

Remember this? Wonder whatever happened to it..

Bush Set to Fight An Electoral College Loss
By Michael Kramer,

New York Daily News November 1, 2000

Quietly, some of George W. Bush's advisers are preparing for the ultimate "what if" scenario: What happens if Bush wins the popular vote for President, but loses the White House because Al Gore's won the majority of electoral votes?


[W]hat if Gore wins such crucial battleground states as Florida, Michigan and Pennsylvania and thus captures the magic 270 electoral votes while Bush wins the overall nationwide popular vote?

"The one thing we don't do is roll over," says a Bush aide. "We fight." How? The core of the emerging Bush strategy assumes a popular uprising, stoked by the Bushies themselves, of course.

In league with the campaign - which is preparing talking points about the Electoral College's essential unfairness - a massive talk-radio operation would be encouraged. "We'd have ads, too," says a Bush aide, "and I think you can count on the media to fuel the thing big-time. Even papers that supported Gore might turn against him because the will of the people will have been thwarted."

Local business leaders will be urged to lobby their customers, the clergy will be asked to speak up for the popular will and Team Bush will enlist as many Democrats as possible to scream as loud as they can. "You think 'Democrats for Democracy' would be a catchy term for them?" asks a Bush adviser.

Wonder why they could've expected the media to fuel the thing bigtime. Al Gore couldn't even fuel the notion that they should recount a few votes in Florida,* and he did win the goddamn popular vote.

*Don't bother to tell me they were counted and recounted and recounted again because 18 counties in Florida never recounted them once during the statewide legally mandated automatic machine recount. You wouldn't want to look like a fool or a liar like James Baker now would you?

(thanks for the reminder Thumb)

CNN gossip...

CNN's ratings are in the toilet, but the cable network's on-air talents are looking a lot chirpier these days. According to ticked-off insiders, Teya Ryan - boss Walter Isaacson's number two - has handed down an edict in hope of regaining some ground against front-running Fox News Channel. "She let it be known to all on-air personalities in no uncertain terms that they are to be happy. Everyone has to be happy and chirpy all the time - that's what she thinks viewers want," our mole groused. "Kyra Phillips was on the other day and mentioned the doctors killed in Yemen and she looked like she was saying 'Happy New Year!' " No wonder on-air talents like Garrick Utley, Brooks Jackson, James Hattori, Allan Dodds Frank and Mark Potter were not so broken up when they were handed pink slips yesterday. CNN viewership fell 8 percent to 898,000 while Fox had a 34 percent spike to 1.2 million under the leadership of Roger Ailes. A CNN rep said: "It's completely absurd. Teya has never instructed an anchor to be happy. CNN's journalists always strike the appropriate tone.

The stupider that network gets the lower their ratings go. Hasn't anyone noticed that? Could it have anything to do with this?

Roll Call August 6, 2001

Copyright 2001 Roll Call, Inc.
Roll Call

August 6, 2001

LENGTH: 875 words


BYLINE: By John Bresnahan and Mark Preston

In an effort to improve his network's image with conservative leaders, new CNNchief Walter Isaacson huddled with House and Senate GOP leaders last week to seek advice on how to attract more right-leaning viewers to the sagging network.

Isaacson met with Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.), House GOP Conference Chairman J.C. Watts (Okla.), Rep. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) to talk about CNN's image with conservatives and how it can be improved.

Isaacson confirmed that he also reached out to senior White House officials, but he denied that he was seeking counsel on how to boost CNN's ratings with conservative viewers.

Interesting profile of J.C. Watts. He's starting to spill the beans a bit more.

When the controversy first broke, Watts fixated on the way Lott was being savaged by liberals and the media. And he identified with him because of it. As the furor has worn on, however, Watts finds himself offended not only by the details of Lott's segregationist-coddling past but also by the posturing of the senator's conservative critics. They are worried, they say, about the impact of Lott's comments on the party's outreach toward African Americans.

What outreach? Watts wonders. For a long time, he says, he has been the only congressional Republican actually doing outreach instead of just talking about it. Outreach? Where have you been for the past eight years? Watts wonders.

Once again, his long-simmering resentment of liberal exploitation of racial issues for political gain is at war with his frustration at his party's tone-deafness and lip service about inclusion. Watts is trying to straddle a fault line that Lott has turned into a chasm.

Saturday Book Recommendations

Sleepwalking Through History by Haynes Johnson. The often ignored history of the Reagan years. It's a shame this guy forgets everything he knows when he goes on the Newshour to be a historian Bobblehead.


The Fifties by David Halberstam. The notion that it was the Fifties that was the real time of social upheaval and not the Sixties is perhaps not so novel, but in a series of short unlinked chapters on a variety of subjects - from the civil rights movement to McDonalds to Levittown to television and youth culture, Halberstam makes clear why and how it really was the pivotal decade.


Adam Felber takes a peak at the Democratic candidates.
Hahaha. This is brilliant.

Friday, January 03, 2003

Thinking it Through has some good stuff up.
Eriposte has set up a comprehensive media bias page.
Peter Arnett buzzsaw history I.

Peter Arnett buzzsaw history II.
Reader BB writes in:

I heard on "Marketplace" on the drive home the director of "The Crooked E," the television-movie made from Brian Kruger's (sp) book on his experiences at Enron, to be shown this Sunday night on CBS (I think). The woman said that the original screen date was November 3, or the Sunday prior to election day. But for reasons of which she had no explanation, she and the producer were told two weeks before the election that the movie would be rescheduled, which disappointed the producer, who hoped that the movie would give voters pause.

Damned liberal media.

Better Rhetor says fire John Ashcroft, as should the all the sanctimonious Lott-bashers.
Edwards proposes to end university legacy admissions.

UPDATE: Digby fills this story out correctly.
Check out the 2003 year-in-review, sent from the future.
Anyone in the mood for the 'liberal Rush Limbaugh' (sorry Mike) can listen in here now.

Go read skippy now.
Republicans to give Lott committee chairmanship.

Good for them.

BATF to round up illegal firearms.

Freepers unhappy. Haven't yet come up with link to Clinton.

Senate Report Clears Rubin of Illegality

Another horrible segregationist club, Lone Whacko.
An entertaining look at the good old days of the National Review.
Cabbage Hammer advocates nuclear proliferation.

Just the logical implication of 'more guns, less crime.'
Volokh says some interesting things here, but I have a big quibble with this one:

Yes, occasionally the Left does try to get such people fired; it generally fails, because the First Amendment does indeed protect professors who offend blacks as well as those who offend whites.

I'm pretty sure the protection that professors have from being fired is simply something called 'tenure,' combined with employment contracts which give wide latitude to expression under the umbrella of 'academic freedom.'

If Eugene worked for the law firm of Dewey, Cheatem, and Howe, he could be fired for almost any reason, including one of the partners taking offense to something written in his weblog.
Interview with liberal radio host Randi Rhodes.

RHODES: Oh, I am so glad you asked. I am a ratings and revenue queen. Number 1 or 2 in the ratings usually. So what are the "mainstream" talking about? Well, they say Liberals don't make money because no one wants to hear them. Okay, let's think.

BUZZFLASH: Explain the allegations that Rush Limbaugh has stated, that if Clear Channel syndicated your show, he would take his program to another company. Could there be a Democratic or Progressive Rush Limbaugh type personality on the airwaves?

RHODES: Not at Clear Channel.

First, let me tell you where the story came from. I had two meetings with middle managers who both liked me and what I had done for our 'pod'. (At Clear Channel the territories are split up into 'pods'.) In two separate meetings I was told "The Rush story." Additionally, I should never expect to be syndicated by Clear Channel because Rush had said he'd just do what advertisers do. He'd go somewhere else. I was an unknown, he was a known.

You can listen to Randi here.

Religious Right mad at O'Reilly. ha ha ha.
UggaBugga has a fun game for us to play!

Heads roll at CNN

While Utley said it was his decision to leave CNN, five of his peers were axed in recent days. Washington senior correspondent Brooks Jackson, San Francisco-based anchor James Hattori, CNNfn anchor Bruce Francis, CNN financial news senior correspondent Allan Dodds Frank and Miami-based reporter Mark Potter were told their contracts won't be renewed.

"I got the word on Monday that my position is being eliminated," Jackson said.

Prominent CNN national correspondent Bruce Morton, an ex-CBS veteran, is expected to leave when his contract expires this month, CNN sources said.
The Dr. Laura memo.
I've discovered another horrible example of a segregationist club.

This one's for you, Lonewhacko.

Bush Announces Operation Infinite Purity

Outlaws Onanism. Legalizes Clitoridectomies.

Someone should tell the Virgin Ben. Quick.

Thursday, January 02, 2003

Eric Boehlert demolishes Time and some poll myths.
Krugman draws a questionable moral equivalence between Kim Jong Il and Bart Simpson.

Well, not really. But it's a good column.
Haha. This is actually funny.

As is its source.

Readers hate Boondocks.

Apparently it makes it hard for some of them to be "tolerant."

(some like it, too. via Charles Kuffner.)
Sara sez:

Well, I was at the Memorial -- it was advertised, by the way, as a Memorial Rally not a Memorial Service. I did not boo -- but when Lott showed up I did a small thumbs down. (got my wish it turns out)!!!

Everyone is missing the essence of who Paul was, and how he became successful at Electoral Politics. It all began when he was in Grad School and adopted as one mentor Myles Horton, founder of Highlander Folkschool (Great 2 hour PBS interview by Bill Moyers with Horton is available). Horton's roots went back to Jane Addams and John Dewey and he applied those ideas to creating in the South an adult education school focused on Labor Organizing, then in the 40's Civil Rights, and come the late 60's the environment. Paul modeled his own college teaching career on Horton's example -- for 20 years there was not a progressive movement or event in Minnesota where Paul and his students were not engaged. That created one hell of a network, especially since as each little movement came to fruition, Paul invited them into the DFL. It was on that base that he ran for Senate in 1990. We had no money, and the elite in the party never thought we could win -- but guess what? Networked Progressive Movements can offset big bucks in some circumstances.

When Paul, Sheila, Marcia and the traveling staff died in that plane crash it was the demise of a life work and not just a candidacy -- and the 20 thousand people who stood in line to get into Williams Arena that day were not looking for spiritual uplift. They wanted to remember all the times, and they wanted to shout at the heavens about their pain.

Minnesotans know that it was Hubert Humphrey who forced the Democratic Party to reverse its stand on States' Rights and take up the call of Human Rights -- and he did it most publicly at the National Democratic Convention in Philadelphia in 1948. That act was the cause of Strom Thurmond's leading the States' Rights party in the 48 election -- and while Hubert had to talk for 16 years before most of the Civil Rights he stood for became law -- he did it. Paul Wellstone was his heir. Of course people in the Arena knew Lott was CCC and KKK and all the rest. When he walked in, that was the undercurrent of discussion all around me. "How dare he come here" was the comment. You need to know that we also had been offered VP Cheney for the event, and we had uninvited him because we were unwilling to put up metal detectors and wand everyone, and let the Secret Service run the Memorial. Locally the press reported some of these matters -- but the whole story of how the Republicans tried to upset the Memorial has hardly been told. For instance, in one parking area some of Coleman's little boys went round slapping Coleman bumper stickers on cars in camera range. We got the cops to paste plain paper over them. Everything was edgy -- and Lott was simply too much to take.

Rick Kahn has had to take a huge amount of responsibility for well intentioned bad judgment. He was one of Paul's students in the late 80's who took on the thankless job of being Campaign Treasurer at a time when that was a thin checkbook, and the Wellstone office was a rented broom closet in a center where we kept the phone, the answering machine, and the Apple Computer on which we formatted the early campaign literature. Two nights a week we were entitled, given our mini rent, to haul out the campaign into an office where we could do phone organizing. I organized a Congressional District for Paul -- and I did it from my dining room table, because the office was too small. Kahn simply is a young man who invested more than 14 years of his life in Wellstone -- never got called on a Campaign Finance Error, and who was beyond devastated. I wish some folk would comprehend him.

Those of us who worked over the years to keep Wellstone out there as a National Figure know we can't replace Paul. What we have to work on now is rebuilding in many states the kind of progressive network that made it possible for Paul Wellstone and Sheila to serve. Part of that is being real and human and shouting at the heavens when things crash.

I say, as I have always said, anyone who pissed on a man's grave and trashed his family and closest friends in the middle of their grieving is beneath contempt. Disgusting, hideous, insults to human decency.

What's wrong with the left on the internet?


Newsmax? Gets money. Gets money. (do you think think they actually pay the Virgin Ben? Jeebus - someone call Barbra Streisand and get her to write checks to Jesse and Matthew Yglesias and Eric)

WorldnetDaily? Gets money.

Buzzflash? Reader Donations.

Smirking Chimp? Reader Donations.

The Hamster? Reader Donations.

MediaWhoresOnline? Presumably self-financed, but admitttedly unknown.

Bartcop? Reader donations.

Atrios? Reader donations.

That isn't a plea for money, believe it or not. I'm just saying that the Left on the internet is an all volunteer effort. That isn't all bad, but a corollary to the no money is no coordination. No secret messages from Sidney Blumenthal.

Take a bow, Mr. Jones

I was touched -- deeply touched! -- by Luke Benson's cry of anguish over how the liberal media prevent conservative voices from being heard in this country ("Liberals, media have all but ignored Lott's apology for his remarks," Dec. 26).

In fact, I am deeply touched many, many times each day by the silencing of the right in this great nation of ours.

I weep as Rush Limbaugh describes, on the hundreds of radio stations that carry his show, the ruthless suppression of the conservative viewpoint by "liberal wackos" and "femi-Nazis."

My heart bleeds when I read the same lament in the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal, our nation's most prestigious financial publication, and when I hear it on the up-and-coming Fox News cable channel, or on one of the countless radio talk shows hosted by the little Limbaughs.

I rend my garments when the Voice of the Times, deep in the heart of the Daily News, bemoans the stifling of the conservative voice.

Yes, if I've heard it once, I've heard it a million times: Conservative views can't get a fair hearing because of the machinations, the bias, the dishonesty and the mind control of the liberal media.

With so many saying it, who can doubt it?

Think about it!

-- Stan Jones
Eagle River

There are plenty of (presumed) candidates for the democratic spot on the '04 ticket whose candidacy I consider silly. Though for all of them, except one, that view is at least slightly debatable.

Well, at least he had the good sense to step down as Leader.
It's the Bloggies!
Nassau County obviously not ready for self-government.
Eric Alterman demonstrates once again that conservatives are humor impaired.
Derbyshire is giving in to despair. Lesbians and single black women having babies! The horror!

Had Derbyshire said a "single woman" we could have taken this as a comment on traditional family structure, yadda yadda yadda. But, he had to note she was black as well. Why? Duh.

(via Oliver)
The Hamster has returned. And, apparently he's only 5 years old or something.
My spider sense tells me Jay Reding is talking about me. Anyone wanna go see what he's on about?
Some people both in comments and in email have questioned whether Ward Connerly got a bum rap from Bob Herbert. Here's David Frum's "defense."

I don't think Herbert gave him a bum rap at all. And I have another reason to think David Frum is an idiot.
Margaret Carlson definitely won the Pundit Outrage of the Year. I didn't write anything about it because as Neal Pollack once wrote,* her statement was "so beneath contempt that I can barely muster the energy to write 1,000 furious words about them." Fortunately, Bob Somerby slices and dices her for me.

*In his case, about Al Gore.
CalPundit takes on OxBlog over North Korea. Bonus points for Argumentum ad Jedi!

UPDATE: As Davey notes in the comments, Kevin Drum should be ashamed of himself for suggesting a moral equivalence between George Bush and the Emperor in Star Wars!

This is ambulance chasing?

In 1993, a five-year-old girl named Valerie Lakey had been playing in a Wake County, N.C., wading pool when she became caught in an uncovered drain so forcefully that the suction pulled out most of her intestines. She survived but for the rest of her life will need to be hooked up to feeding tubes for 12 hours each night. Edwards filed suit on the Lakeys' behalf against Sta-Rite Industries, the Wisconsin corporation that manufactured the drain. Attorneys describe his handling of the case as a virtuoso example of a trial layer bringing a negligent corporation to heel. Sta-Rite offered the Lakeys $100,000 to settle the case. Edwards passed. Before trial, he discovered that 12 other children had suffered similar injuries from Sta-Rite drains. The company raised its offer to $1.25 million. Two weeks into the trial, they upped the figure to $8.5 million. Edwards declined the offer and asked for their insurance policy limit of $22.5 million. The day before the trial resumed from Christmas break, Sta-Rite countered with $17.5 million. Again, Edwards said no. On January 10, 1997, lawyers from across the state packed the courtroom to hear Edwards' closing argument, "the most impressive legal performance I have ever seen," recalls Dayton. Three days later, the jury found Sta-Rite guilty and liable for $25 million in economic damages (by state law, punitive damages could have tripled that amount). The company immediately settled for $25 million, the largest verdict in state history. For their part, Edwards and Kirby earned the Association of Trial Lawyers of America's national award for public service.

You like me! You really like me!

Congrats to all the winners!

And, thanks to Dwight for taking a fun idea and actually putting a lot of effort into it.
Ah, could someone who knows something about HTML explain why the blockquote tag doesn't seem to work in some browsers? I get it. Could someone suggest a more universal way of indenting text?
Society, culture, the institution of marriage, family, and all that is good in the world has likely been totally destroyed by this.

Jeebus help us. Before it is too late.

K. Lo gives us her favorite examples of liberal media bias.

What always amuses me about the Corner is how the other residents of that insane asylum treat her as if she were a very special child and she never seems to notice.
The righteousness of all things is now judged by the blowjob standard. Unsurprisingly, Ward Connerly thinks nothing can be worse.

I am delighted that Lott was forced to remove himself from consideration as Senate Majority Leader. But, it is truly a measure of our misplaced priorities and values when a statement made at a birthday party that might be interpreted as an endorsement of racial segregation can overwhelm issues of war and peace. For making such a statement, one gets the political death penalty. But, for having sexual liaisons in the Oval Office — and lying about it — one gets invited to give speeches all around the globe and receive speaking fees in excess of $100,000 per engagement.
Yesterday an Isuzu SUV rolled over after its tire blew. Two passengers were killed. Another 4 survived due perhaps, in part, to the help of Senator Frist who was at the scene.

Given Frist's support of "tort reform" and his votes to cap punitive damages on product liability, the surviving 4 passengers likely would have preferred that John Edwards was at the scene.
Digby tells Peggy Noonan it's time to apologize.

UPDATE: Leah A., who also needs her own blog, says:

Yes indeed, the mighty Wurlitzer was on the job on this one, and it wasn't just the usual idiots. So august a conservative as Christopher Caldwell, you know, the good conservative whom TAPPED is always TAPPING on the back for his excellent writing and excellent fairness, was right in there, banging out dissonance; that's my polite word for LIES.

Even more than Noonan, who contented herself with using the good, though mis-guided Wellstone to club the mourning family and friends left behind, Caldwell implicated Wellstone himself in all the badness going on; it was emblematic, don't you know, of who Wellstone really was at heart, which Caldwell knew for sure, using that lazar eye all conservatives come equipped with that can penetrate through flesh and bone to see the real person; his unique discover - Wellstone was a phony, though a phony who didn't know he was a phony.

For instance, Caldwell claimed, there was no interest at the memoria in any of the people who died with Paul, the eulogies were only about the Senator. As Wellstone had lived, Caldwell pointed out, so had he died; after all, Wellstone's constituency was limited to left-leaning college professors (I swear to God that's what Caldwell wrote)

One problem with this analysis; as we all know, there was a long separate eulogy for each of the passengers who died in that plane. For heaven's sake, two of them were Sheila Wellstone, Paul's wife, and Marsha, his daughter. Was Caldwell trying to say Wellstone, his family and friends didn't care about them either?

Of course he wasn't. The truth is that Caldwell isn't much better than any of the contemporary right, and every bit as prone to lie. Clearly, he hadn't seen five minutes of the memorial, or made any attempt to read any accounts from neutral sources, or made any attempt to contact anyone actually there, or anyone responsible for putting on the memorial. Why bother with tiresome, and potentially troublesome facts when you are in possession of the truth, by definition. Oh sure, Caldwell's up for the occassional attack on an Anne Coulter; she's a genuine embarrassment. The question I have for Caldwell: jeepers creepers, why aren't you embarrassed by Peggy Noonan? Hell's bells, why aren't you embarrassed by yourself?

Someone, (digby, atrios) should do the same kind of job on Caldwell on the memorial that digby did so beautifully today on Noonan. Please.

(um, I think you just did)

Wednesday, January 01, 2003

Orange County, CA isn't quite what people think it is.

It can produce Bob Dornan, Pejman Pundit, Ann Salisbury, and CalPundit.

My Plea For the New Year

Partisan hacks should admit to being partisan hacks.

I am one!

So, cut the crap the rest of you.

The Twins Cruise Report

My best friend's son was on this cruise. He's a huge Bush fan but was extremely disappointed in the conduct of the twins. He said that all they did was drink. He met Jeb's son George and thought he was just terrific. I guess the family mingled like normal folk though surrounded by Secret Service.

They're legal now, so good for them!

I'm sure Mrs. Atrios would be the first to tell Jeff Jarvis that I lack the necessary beauty that telegenic pundits such as Robert Novak and Jonah Goldberg possess. I have a feeling Josh Marshall could be okay, as long as we get the scruffy unshaven pissed off looking Josh Marshall from the website and not the rather frustratingly supine (and too well groomed) Josh Marshall we see when he pays that toad Howie Kurtz a visit.

As for radio, Mike Malloy is very good at what he does. Randi Rhodes and Nancy Skinner are also quite good. Malloy doesn't quite have TV down yet, though Nancy is pretty good.

Anyway, the point is there is some talent out there - in media and in existing organizations. It just needs coordination, cultivation, and above all financial support.

The Right has numerous transmitters - people who can sidestep the "mainstream media" and blast stories, talking points, and information out to a mass audience and ensure the rest of the media will dutifully parrot it. And, of course, Fox News as well. The Left doesn't have this at all. This is where Bloggers may play a role. But, even then - if a tree falls in a forest... until the media takes its cues from liberal bloggers, as it currently does from conservative ones to some degree, we can't be very optimistic about the power of our Blogs.
Damn. Digby has a blog - now where am I going to get all my best stuff?
Ailes notes the Mugger is an idiot.
Now I'm pissed. Google demoted me. I used to be "7/10" on their page rank system, now I'm back down to "6/10."
Conason's good today.
In comments below Reynolds says:

Actually, Josh and I emailed about this almost the minute it was posted. He wanted to be sure I realized he was quoting someone. I said yes, but your post says they're right. And I offered to change the post if he thought I was unfair.

He said no, but I nonetheless added a line making clear that he was quoting someone.

If I've learned anything, it's that people who call me a "conservative asshole" generally don't bring much to the argument.

To which I respond:

Nor do people who say that people who are against war in Iraq are objectively pro-Hussein.

In any case, agreeing with what he quoted in which a comparison was made between the situations at Ruby Ridge and North Korea is not the same thing as stating (or meaning) that there is a moral equivalence between Ruby Ridge and North Korea. But,you know that.

This inspires confidence.

dd LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) -- A Pakistani jeweler said Wednesday his picture is among those of five suspects who the FBI says may have entered the United States on falsified passports. The man said he has never visited the United States.

Though it is amusing sometimes in the end I find any discussion of "Who is Atrios?"* rather silly - at least silly if people actually care. I mean, who is Ted Barlow? Well, he's some guy from Texas who has a weblog. Who is Oliver Willis? Some guy in Boston who runs a weblog. Who am I? Some guy in Philadelphia who runs a weblog. If this were "Eschaton, by Bob Smith" people would say "oh, that Bob Smith is some guy in Philadelphia who runs a weblog." End of story.

Being anonymous raises the question of whether I am "somebody" - which I think means somebody in politics or media outside of this weblog. And, I've said many times I'm not. I've never worked in journalism in any way (well, okay I was briefly an intern in high school for a tiny local rag...) and I've never been involved in politics. I don't receive secret messages from the DNC or Sid Blumenthal (though I'm open to it!) nor, sadly, do I receive any money. But, even if you knew my name you wouldn't have any idea if that last claim were true, any more than you know whether Glenn Reynolds is paid by Grover Norquist.

*Deliberate stupid Ayn Rand reference

Speaking of Gene Lyons

Here's today's column. Arkansas readers aren't allowed to read unless you get the paper, so close your eyes:

The Woman Who Wouldn't Talk

Everybody remembers the slapstick scene at the end where Bill Clinton's pants fell down. But now that it's receeding into history, it'd be surprising to find one American in ten who can recall exactly what Kenneth Starr's ballyhooed Whitewater investigation was alleged to be all about. It simply defies credibility that the United States government frittered away $60 million and squandered the energies of upwards of 100 FBI agents for seven years investigating a failed $200,000 dirt road real estate project before admitting it found no credible evidence of wrongdoing by President Clinton or his wife Hillary.

According to Susan McDougal's engrossing, often funny new book The Woman Who Wouldn't Talk, she did her best to warn Starr's investigators that they'd embarked on a fool's errand. She describes a March, 1995, meeting during which OIC prosecutors made it clear that all she needed to do to secure a grant of immunity was to drop a dime on the President.The problem was, she kept telling them, that "I didn't know of anything the Clintons had done that was even remotely illegal."

She remembers thinking "what a dumb system...there was no obvious way to prevent a guilty person from simply telling grandiose lies against another person - one who might well be innocent - in order to save his own skin."

Unfortunately, the whole system turns upon the competence and integrity of prosecutors, and the abstemious Mr. Starr turned out not to have any. It still drives her crazy that "despite abundant evidence to the contrary, [Starr] is almost always described as an honest man, indeed as a man of real integrity." She speculates that her pious antagonist got the benefit of the doubt from the press simply "because he was so quick to assure us over and over or his reputation for honesty. Whether comparing himself to Joe Friday or quoting scripture, Starr made sure to constantly talk about his integrity....[But] the simple truth is that Kenneth Starr had absolutely no compunctions about telling outright lies if they suited his purposes."

True to her generous nature, McDougal doesn't quite grasp how deeply the Washington press establishment had bought into the Whitewater delusion, nor how willing it was to abandon its own ethical standards in the quest to bring down a Democratic president. Shoot, she's still upset that lazy journalists bought into the premise that "Madison Guaranty [Savings & Loan] was a criminal enterprise," smearing many innocent, hardworking employees, although virtually all of the real crimes Starr's team found centered around their star witness, embezzler David Hale.

She ought to read Susan Schmidt and Michael Weisskopf's book Truth at Any Cost. They blame the entire state. In darkest Arkansas, see, Starr "was up against an infernal system...everything seemed geared to protect the former governor and his wife - from the local courts and prosecutor's offices to the federal judiciary." Infernal, no less, which my dictionary defines as "of or relating to hell."

Schmidt glorified Starr for the Washington Post; Weisskopf for Time. Having staked their careers on OIC leaks, their book is the journalistic equivalent of the Stockholm Syndrome, in which hostages come to identify with their captors. But they did get one thing half right: "Exhibit A" in their explanation of why Starr failed to bring indictments against the Clinton "crime family," for example, is Susan McDougal. "Clinton," the authors contend "would not ask her to break her silence. She never talked."

In reality, of course, Susan did testify for several days during her 1999 criminal contempt trial, and was cross-examined by OIC prosecutors more than a year before Truth at Any Cost was published. Her account of that trial, and the deep satisfaction it gave her to confront Starr's bully boy prosecutors in open court, as opposed to a grand jury room where prosecutors have virtually unlimited power, makes a satisfying conclusion to a deeply humane account of one woman's unlikely heroism.

But it was, indeed, McDougal's dignity and courage that brought Starr's operation to a standstill. She served 18 months in jail on a civil contempt citation imposed by U.S. District Judge Susan Webber Wright because she refused to testify before a federal grand jury.

Starr's attempt to add criminal contempt charges failed when the trial jury deadlocked in favor of acquittal and a mistrial was declared. The jury found her innocent of an obstruction of justice charge, apparently because she convinced jurors of what she'd realized three years earlier when, after convicting her of crimes she insists they knew she hadn't committed, OIC prosecutors paraded her in chains before a national TV audience: They had never been interested in the truth, only in getting the Clintons.

Maybe exhibiting her like Hannibal Lecter wasn't the dumbest thing Starr ever did. He did so many dumb things. But in retrospect, the image of Susan McDougal in her simple checked skirt and black stockings, draped in shackles and shuffling off to prison with her chin held high, told millions of Americans all they needed to know about the prissy Torquemada who ordered it done.

You can buy Susan's book here.

Flashback Wednesday

This leads to a larger and even more disturbing question: How much of the Times' coverage of the various Clinton scandals, from Whitewater on down, can be trusted? The answer: not very much.

It's time to unmask. Two years ago I wrote a book called "Fools For Scandal: How The Media Invented Whitewater," based on a lengthy article I had originally written for Harper's magazine. The chief antagonists in the book, it's fair to say, are the aforementioned Labaton and Gerth.

"From its dimmest origins in Times reporter Jeff Gerth's March 8, 1992, article about the Clintons' ill-fated land deal," I wrote in the book, "the Whitewater 'scandal' has worked as follows: Tipped off by an interested party, a reporter, editorial writer, columnist or Republican politician conceives a theory of what must have happened in a given set of circumstances -- most often circumstances altered by ignorance or suppression of inconvenient facts. The theory gets stated as a rhetorical question: Did the Clintons do X, Y, or Z? Next, it is an insinuation: it sure looks as if they must have done it. Then, a conclusion: of course they did it, the cunning rascals. Eventually, theory metamorphoses into pseudo-fact: they did it. All without anything remotely resembling proof having been offered. When evidence to the contrary comes along, it's shoved aside, minimized or suppressed, a whole new theory is created, and the entire press pack goes whooping off down yet another trail. If they were rabbit dogs, you'd have them gelded as house pets.

"To the practiced eye, the Times coverage of Whitewater has followed this pattern with almost comic regularity."

One example each of the Gerth and Labaton method should suffice. The implied misdeed in Gerth's original 1992 Whitewater story was that Gov. Clinton had schemed with his handpicked state securities commissioner, a woman named Beverly Bassett Schaffer, to keep his crooked business partner James McDougal's Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan from being shut down by regulators despite its insolvency, thus resulting in millions of dollars in losses to taxpayers. "In interviews," Gerth wrote in the Times, "Mrs. Schaffer, now a Fayetteville lawyer, said she did not remember the Federal examination of Madison ... 'I never gave anybody special treatment,' she said."

About as guilty-sounding a non-denial denial as one could hope to find, wouldn't you say? The trouble is, Gerth's characterization of Bassett Schaffer's faulty memory couldn't have been more misleading. Far from forgetting, Bassett Schaffer had in fact written Gerth a series of highly detailed memos, 20 pages in all, informing him of the following facts: The state of Arkansas had no plenary authority to shut the S&L down without the permission of the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corporation, which it never got. Second, on Dec. 10, 1987, more than a year after joining with federal regulators in ousting McDougal from control of the Madison Guaranty, Bassett Schaffer had sent a registered letter to the Federal Home Loan Bank Board and the FSLIC strenuously urging that the institution be closed immediately. Fifteen months later, the Bush administration finally got around to shutting Madison Guaranty down.

Bassett Schaffer not only hadn't dragged her feet, she had goaded reluctant federal regulators to take action. Testimony at subsequent Senate Whitewater hearings would ultimately show that of all 746 institutions that went belly up during the S&L crisis of the 1980s, not a single one anywhere in the United States was shut down by state regulators alone -- a fact the New York Times has never, to my knowledge, reported.

Stunned by Gerth's selective account, Bassett Schaffer considered filing a libel suit against the Times, but eventually decided it was a no-win situation. Meanwhile she had amassed considerable legal fees and given up her own law practice to deal with Whitewater full time. She has never been charged with wrongdoing of any kind.

There, now we can all hate the New York Times.

Buy Gene's totally ignored book here.

(no I am not Gene Lyons)

Autoerotic asphyxiation burn?

Well, just a theory, but somebody could ASK.

UPDATE: Another possible theory. And here.
Hey, uh, Horse? It's '03..
Is it just me, or was there surprisingly little of the usual "year in review" stuff this year?

Minty-Fresh Testoster-Grease Makes You Happy

...after 10 men received an eight-week course of testosterone gel, they reported significantly
improved mood, less anxiety, better sleep, and heartier appetites ...

and really powerful glutes.

Hey, um, guys, my email address is...

With that sentiment, there is a sense within the leadership ranks that the party erred in not building a media support system after the 2000 presidential election, when it lost the media coordination of the Clinton White House.

"Across the board, we need to muscle up," said John Podesta, the former White House chief of staff for Bill Clinton and now a law professor at Georgetown University. "That means from the Congressional operations to the party committees to the think-tank world to, most significantly, beefing up our capacity to communicate with the public in all forms of media, not just through obscure Internet Web sites but on television and radio."

"BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan, Dec. 31 -- U.S. military authorities announced today that a brief shootout erupted between U.S. and Pakistani troops along the Afghan border Sunday, prompting the U.S. forces to call in an F-16 warplane that dropped a 500-pound bomb on the Pakistanis to end the clash."

U.S. and Pakistani military authorities sought to play down the clash and stressed that both sides remain determined to cooperate in hunting down remnants of Taliban and al Qaeda forces who have redoubts in the isolated border hills and move back and forth across a tense and loosely policed frontier. But the shooting raised again the question of whether some Pakistani soldiers and tribal leaders still sympathize with their Taliban neighbors, whom they long supported until the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Happy New Year all! It's been fun.

at long last my secret is revealed -- I'm Mahir!
Doxagara takes issue with Ann Coulter.

The Agonist says:

My point is that international affairs are never black-and-white like so many on the far Left and far Right would have you believe. There is a lot of gray area. And the gray area is usually dominated by diplomats. Something this administration is sorely lacking in.

I don't think the failure to comprehend this is a problem for the extremes - but rather for armchair pundits and warriors all across the ideological spectrum. Bush referred to the North Korean dictator as a pygmy, said he had a visceral hatred of the man, and put him into the "Axis of Evil." Such things do not help.
As any veteran Kauswatcher knows, his sole measure of the health and wellbeing of the economy, society, life, the universe, and everything is simply the number of people on welfare. That number is going up again, so someone had better up his prozac dose.
skippy notes the missing CNN poll plot thickens...

And the Fattest Right Wing Moralizer is....

Bill Bennett!

You don't send me flowers anymore...

Jeebus. Not every comparison is meant to convey a moral equivalence between the subjects compared. I feel sorry for Josh who will get 50 pieces of email telling him exactly why Ruby Ridge is *not* like North Korea.

If there's one thing I've learned about arguing with conservative assholes - never use analogies. never use comparisons.

Consumer Confidence Drops

Confidence plunges in December

Job worries push present situation index to 9-year low

NEW YORK (CBS.MW) - Consumer confidence unexpectedly plunged in December, the Conference Board saidvTuesday.

The board's monthly index sank to 80.3 from 84.9 in November, just above the nine-year low of 79.6vreached in October.

I was confident that would happen.

Dana's having some fun.

All of which raises various questions. With all the time the president has spent clearing brush, how is it possible that there is still any brush left on his ranch? And what is he doing about North Korea's nuclear shenanigans?

Bush's absence of public comment is no accident. In the two major stories of the last few weeks -- Lott's downfall and the North Korea controversy -- Bush aides calculated that opening the president to questions would only magnify stories the White House would rather keep quiet.

"Sometimes those factors come into play," a senior Bush aide said yesterday, explaining that sending Secretary of State Colin L. Powell out on Sunday to talk about Korea was less alarmist than a presidential appearance.

Bush "doesn't need to be out there every day on every development," the official said. When Congress returns and the standoff with Iraq heats up, expect Bush to return to more talkative ways.

Of course, Bush, even when hidden from view and clearing endless brush, continues to work the phones and do his day job. Still, his aides feel compelled to remind the public of this. "The president immediately engaged on this issue," Powell told Tim Russert on Sunday regarding North Korea. "President Bush has been engaged from the very beginning."

The administration has found it useful to provide such reminders, at regular intervals, that the president is paying attention to the issues of the day.

International environmental concerns? "The president has already been very engaged in these issues and plans to be engaged," Paula Dobriansky, undersecretary of state for global affairs, said in August. The India-Pakistan standoff? "The president is fully engaged," White House press secretary Ari Fleischer said in June. The review of military resources? "The president has been engaged," Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld attested last year. The China spy plane crisis? "He has been very engaged," said a senior Bush aide, briefing reporters.

This president, it would seem, has been engaged more often than Elizabeth Taylor.
Matthew Yglesias is right to condemn the apparent (if true) policy of the State Department's policy of not assigning Jewish Diplomats to Saudi Arabia.

However, this is an example of importing one country's bigotry in the name of good relations. Though I find it hideous, I find it less hideous than certain politicians' desire to export our own bigotry to Luxembourg in the case of James Hormel.
A note to any reporter providing coverage for the Sons of Confederate Veterans. Here's a list of prominent members who are also members of explicitly racist/segregationist groups:

Executive Council
Charles McMichael, Chief of Staff (FM)
John Weaver, Chaplain-in-Chief (CCC)

General Staff
Charles Kelly Barrow, Historian-in-Chief (LOS)
John Killian, Aide-de-Camp (national director, CCC)
Charles McMichael, Chief of Staff (FM)
John Weaver, Chaplain in Chief (CCC)

National Committeemen
Charles Kelly Barrow, Historical, Bonnie Blue Society (LOS)
Edward Cailleteau, Time and Place (secretary of Louisiana state chapter, CCC)
Ron Casteel, Organ Transplant, Promotional Affairs, Public Affairs (chairman of Missouri state chapter, LOS)
Dave Holcombe, Monuments (FM)
Charles McMichael, International Headquarters (FM)
Charles Rand, Recruiting/Retention (LOS, FM)
William Shofner, Constitutional Review (LOS)
John Weaver, National Relief (CCC)

Army Leadership

Army of Northern Virginia
Charles McMichael, Chief of Staff (FM)

Army of Tennessee
Carl Ford, Inspector (attorney general of Mississippi state chapter, LOS)
John Killian, Chief of Staff (national director, CCC)
Charles McMichael, Chief of Staff (FM)
Leonard Wilson, Parliamentarian (national director, CCC)

Army of the Trans-Mississippi
Ed Cailleteau, Executive Councilman (CCC)
Ron Casteel, Public Relations (chairman of Missouri state chapter, LOS)
Dave Holcombe, Chief of Heritage Defense (FM)
Eugene Hough, Judge Advocate (CCC)
Charles McMichael, Color Sergeant (FM)
Charles Rand, Division Commander (LOS, FM)

State Leadership

David Allen, 1st Lt. Commander (chairman of Tuscaloosa chapter, LOS)
Cecil Godwin, Special Projects Officer (LOS)
Leonard Wilson, Northwest Central Brigade Commander (national director, CCC)

Jeffrey Allen Hardy, 8th Brigade Commander (chairman of Central Florida regional chapter, LOS)
Jack B. Harris, 1st Brigade Commander (chairman of Florida Panhandle regional chapter, LOS)

Roger Busbice, Heritage Defense Chief/Aide de Camp (board member of Louisiana state chapter, CCC; 2000 heritage defense coordinator for Louisiana state chapter, LOS)
Ed Cailleteau, Editor/Parliamentarian (CCC)
Dave Holcombe, 2nd Lt. Commander (FM)
Charles McMichael, 1st Lt. Commander (FM)
Charles Rand, Commander (LOS, FM)

Bill Hinson, Historian (chairman of Greater Jackson chapter, CCC)
Greg Stewart, Parliamentarian (coordinator for Coahuma, Tunica and Quitman counties, FM)

Ron Casteel, Commander (chairman of Missouri state chapter, LOS)

South Carolina
Bobby Eubanks, Division Chaplain (contact for South Carolina Low Country regional chapter, LOS)

Michael Masters, Commander 5th Brigade/Web Editor (chair of Virginia state chapter, CCC)

Military Order of the Stars and Bars

John Killian, Chaplain General (national director, CCC)

John Killian, Chaplain (national director, CCC)

Charles Kelly Barrow, Commander (LOS)

Timothy Manning, Chaplain (LOS)

LOS is the League of the South. CCC is the Council of Conservative Citizens. FM is Free Mississippi.

Oh Jeebus. It's been, what, about 3 days, and Rick "Heather" Berke has been reassigned from the "be bitchy about Gore" beat to the "be bitchy about Edwards" beat.
Snotty's got a couple new things up. Always good to read the other side - you don't get much of it in the liberal media.

Monday, December 30, 2002


In fact, there is no evidence that the economy was in recession when President Bush took the oath of office on Jan. 20, 2001. Yes, growth was slowing, and the longest expansion in American history was running out of steam. But the U.S. economy did not go into recession until Bush's presidency, according to both of the most accepted definitions.

Some Question U.S. Support For Israel

By Roger B. Fetcher
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 31, 2002; Page A01

WASHINGTON, DC Since the signing of the Camp David accords, billions in U.S. foreign aid have gone to Israel. There is growing outrage by some about continued financial support of Israel, given the alleged human rights abuses of the Israeli government against Palestinians by the Sharon government.

David Duke, president of Americans in Support of Palestinian Freedom, a D.C.-based human rights group, said "Since last year, we have gotten well over 200 complaints of human rights abuses. It's time our lawmakers recognize these injustices."

That was of course a fake news story. Everyone get the point?

Moonie Monday

I think I forgot last Monday's.

One of the things which always bugs the hell out of me is the tendency of many to label Louis Farrakhan a Leftist or Liberal or Whatever.. I'm not sure why this is, but I think it has something to do with the fact that he's black and sometimes says nasty things about white people. In any case, Mr. Farrakhan has pretty close ties with the Reverend Moon. The recent Million Family March was a joint Farrakhan/Moon production.

They also hung out in Korea and at a 1997 event (where Whitney Houston, for once, showed good judgment).

Good new Tom Tomorrow toon.
More on this later, but this SPLCenter analysis really is a must read. The press gives a lot of uncritical coverage of the views of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which is really quite hard to stomach.

(link fixed)

"North Carolina SCV official Jim Pierce circulated this cartoon to other SCV members by e-mail."
Down. (flash).
Make sure you spend those holiday amazon gift certificates through the link to the left...
Time to invade Liberia AND CBN headquarters.

Dwight Meredith has more.

A Ban on Hate or Heritage?

Asks the Washington Post.

I'm not going to give an opinion on the particular issue - whether schools should be banning confederate flag wearing by students. My first reaction in all these types of things is generally "no" but the problem with this story is that it is highly sympathetic, and slanted towards, this current issue which is being drummed up by neoconfederates to further their agenda:

"Since last year, we have gotten well over 200 complaints about the banning of Confederate symbols in schools," said Kirk Lyons, lead counsel for the Southern Legal Resource Center, a North Carolina-based public-interest law firm that works to protect Confederate heritage and is in discussions with some families at Cherokee High School. He said the center is litigating six lawsuits and that dozens of others challenging Confederate clothing bans have been filed across the country.

Likely this story was fed to the reporter by Lyons who has an interest in this, which is fine. However, the reporter fails to tell us some important things about Lyons.

Kirk Lyons was once a member of the National Alliance. He married the daughter of the leader of the Aryan Nations at their compound. The best man at his wedding was one Louis Beam, former Grand Wizard of the Texas KKK. In addition to working to protect "confederate heritage" he's defended prominent white supremacists and neo-Nazis. In 1993 he participated in a protest of the opening of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. In a speech to German Nationalists he said he was "honored to be in the country that has produced the world's most famous composers, artists and architects as well as the greatest f├╝hrer of the 20th century" which he claims was just a stunt to tweak Germany's free speech laws. He is reported to have invited skinheads to his house to celebrate the anniversary of Kristallnacht.

Some more:

In a 1992 speech to a gathering of the Populist Party, which had run David Duke for president four years earlier, Lyons summed up his views: "This is a global struggle that European people will not perish from the face of the earth, [and] if we are going to succeed in a worldwide movement, for that of white rights and a white future … we must encourage professionalism."

Email Michael Getler, and inform him that when the Post's reporters are writing sympathetic stories about children being denied their confederate heritage, they shouldn't ignore the relevant background of the some of the players they write about. Neo-confederates are encouraging their children to wear these things in order to get attention, stir up trouble, and further their cause. This kind of background is quite relevant to this story, and the reporter should have interviewed some more people on the "other side" to provide the key information about Lyons, his past, and his current agenda.

(sources include here and here and here). The first couple links detail his attempt to take over the Sons of Confederate Veterans. There's some more about that topic in this excellent analysis here.

Kos has some related comments. (and, thanks to Mac Diva for the heads up).
WampumBlog tells Instapundit not to run with scissors.

and, make sure to read the more personal news here.

Oh Lordy, I'd actually managed to block out the fact that we're going to have Senators Dole and Alexander to kick around...
Rummy, Rummy, Rummy...

Sunday, December 29, 2002

So, what do you think would be a more offensively racist display to put on TV during prime time?

a) Showing a movie in which a white man wears a placard with the phrase "I hate Niggers" in a predominantly black neighorhood, and is subsequently attacked by a mob of young black men who were outraged by this display of deliberately anatgonistic racism.

b) Showing a movie in which a white man wears a placard with the phrase "I hate everyone" in a predominantly black neighborhood, and is subsequently attacked by a mob of young black men who were outraged by nothing more than this rather odd display of general misanthropy.

If you chose a), and proceeded to edit that scene so that it becomes as in b), you too could be an executive at Fox Television.

(the movie in question is Die Hard With a Vengeance )

A new level of irony, or something...

In Godley, Tex., a 20-year-old man was fatally shot as he was wrestling for a gun with a 21-year-old man. Police said the two had been aggressively debating which of the two was more likely to get to Heaven.

(from Roger Ailes).
Charles Dodgson says bring back the amateurs on foreign policy.
Apparently it's okay to be a gay Republican after all...

(sent in by Ann S.)

States' Rights! States' Rights! States' Rights!

Republicans, backed by many corporate executives, are making significant if little-noticed progress in their campaign to strike back at trial lawyers and shield U.S. companies from multimillion-dollar liability lawsuits. Now that the GOP controls both chambers of Congress, they plan deeper pushes in the months ahead.

President Bush and his congressional allies in the past two years have written into federal law new limits on the public's ability to sue airplane manufacturers, drug makers, builders of anti-terrorism devices and teachers for alleged misconduct or gross negligence. Republicans inserted many of the legal protections into legislation during last-minute negotiations with little fanfare or debate. ...

... When the GOP-controlled Congress convenes next month, Republicans plan to build on their success by pushing new federal protections for physicians, managed care firms, asbestos manufacturers, small businesses and major corporations hit with class-action suits, according to party officials. Most of the industries seeking legal protections are major GOP donors. ...

... congressional Republicans early next year will push for legislation proposed by the president that would dramatically limit the liability of physicians sued for medical malpractice. Under the plan, aggrieved patients could seek no more than $250,000 for pain and suffering, even if their state's law permitted a much higher award. There would be no federal limits on compensation for economic damages, such as lost wages and medical costs.

O. Dub notes the fiscal crises of the states is a big big problem.
I'm sure they're bad people..

The soldiers moving swiftly through Afghanistan a year ago swept up thousands of suspected terrorists, members of the Taliban or Al Qaeda who had reigned cruelly over Afghans and launched attacks against U.S. targets. Hundreds of suspects were flown to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where they remain. But as often happens in the initial confusion of military assaults, some of those arrested were innocent. It's long past time for the Pentagon to determine which were guilty only of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and to free them.

Military sources told Times reporter Greg Miller that dozens of prisoners in the jail at the U.S. Navy base in Guantanamo have no meaningful links to Al Qaeda or the Taliban. In many cases, intelligence officers in Afghanistan recommended that the prisoners not be sent there in the first place. Their superiors overruled them.

The sources said operatives extensively questioned at least 59 detainees who they determined were of no further intelligence value. Questioners recommended that those prisoners be freed in Afghanistan or sent to their homes in Pakistan. The U.S. shipped them to Cuba.

Keeping innocent men in jail intensifies anti-Americanism in the prisoners' home countries. It also can push the guiltless into the arms of terrorists at Guantanamo. The problem is made worse by the Bush administration's decision to classify the prisoners as enemy combatants who can be held indefinitely without hearings or lawyers. Representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross monitor jail conditions, and the organization said in February that the captives were entitled under the Geneva Conventions to have a hearing before "a competent tribunal."

In March, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said some prisoners might be transferred to other countries and some might be released. Yet, nine months later, the U.S. has freed only five, including two men who appeared to be in their 70s and said they never helped the Taliban. Military sources suggest that many of the remaining 600 prisoners are caught up in a bureaucracy that is afraid to free them lest someone later prove they were terrorists after all.
Mark Kleiman notes that MWO had the goods on the Guilford County Republican Party's link to a hate site months ago.

White House budget office thwarts EPA warning on asbestos-laced insulation

By Andrew Schneider, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency was on the verge of warning millions of Americans that their attics and walls might contain asbestos-contaminated insulation. But, at the last minute, the White House
intervened, and the warning has never been issued.

The agency's refusal to share its knowledge of what is believed to be a widespread health risk has been criticized by a former EPA administrator under two Republican presidents, a Democratic U.S. senator and physicians and scientists who
have treated victims of the contamination.

The announcement to warn the public was expected in April. It was to accompany a declaration by the EPA of a public health emergency in Libby, Mont. In that town near the Canadian border, ore from a vermiculite mine was contaminated with an extremely lethal asbestos fiber called tremolite that has killed or sickened thousands of miners and their families.(...)

Is Bush gassing his own people?
Go play with the nice doggie.

And the winner is...

Pete Hisey contributes a year-end award:

"And the Clueless Fascist Moron of the Year Award Goes to..."

Before I announce the winner, I just want to say that the competition this year was fierce. Every nominee, from Trent Lott to Don Rumsfeld to George Bush...what can I say, they were SPECTACULAR. Let's have a big hand for them.

OK, OK, I know you all want to know who won...could someone help Mr. Kissinger back to his table, please. Hank, we love ya, but you didn't quite make it this year. I know you'll be back.

Now remember, this award is not for the most dangerous fascist moron, which I am sure you will win handily, Mr. Ashcroft. Take a bow. It is for the single most clueless, moronic, idiotic, fascist jerkoff of the year. Someone who, as the kids say these days, just doesn't get it.

Well, the winner this year went way over the top, and we are just...humbled. He has formed a nonprofit agency to produce television shows to be broadcast throughout the Muslim world. And the first show they're working on? A new version of that classic on-the-road adventure Route 66, this time starring two hip young Arabic men, tooling around America and having adventures along the way. We personally think that each show should open with a close up of the grafitti in whatever small-town holding cell they've found themselves in this week, but maybe we just don't understand high art!

Give it up for former Reagan adviser and ambassador, Richard Fairbanks!