Saturday, February 01, 2003

Avedon Carol tells us about the problems with voting machines.

This is a big one folks. I don't care which party could be doing this - electronic voting makes it easy to commit massive electoral fraud with no oversight. Creepy.


Let me recommend my good friend Ooba's Gothic Romantic clothing business. Gets the Atrios Seal of Approval.

....there's also some very nice and affordable jewelery. Valentine's day is coming up!

Can it for a day

What he said - and its more general implication.

You know - seven people died today. It's tragic. It's upset me - I've made that clear. But, I've also lived abroad when other countries have experienced their own tragedies. The US news coverage of them was frequently nonexistent. This sort of comment isn't simply inappropriate, it also demonstrates profound ignorance.

Tim Dunlop has related comments.
I was gone for the day due to circumstances mostly beyond my control. Aside from the initial forgetting my keys part, anyway. But, probably the best. Wasn't much in the mood to be shuttle disaster central, nor was I much in the mood to go back to our regularly scheduled programming.

To those who think it's inappropriate to mourn some lives more than others - well, it's the only way we can mourn at all.

UPDATE: The Goblin Queen does a pretty good job of expressing why these few might get our attention. I started to write something along those lines, but didn't do very well so I gave up.
Hard to blog when you're locked out of your apartment.



NASA has lost contact with the Shuttle.

CNN showing footage of re-entry which doesn't look good.

Appears to have broken up on re-entry. Unconfirmed reports of loud crash in Texas.

CBS has reported that in one of the last communications the crew radioed that they were getting insane tire pressure readings on the landing gear.

Who puts the AA in AARLC?

Gene Weingarten tries to discover the truth about the African-American republican Leadership Council. This is an hilarious column.

Still, it left me with a question. So I phoned the man identified as the group's political spokesman, Kevin L. Martin. Kevin had been quoted in the media a great deal in December, offering the opinion that Lott was railroaded and should be forgiven.
I told him that I enjoyed the site, but found myself puzzled by only one thing.

"What's that?" he asked.

"The African American Republican Leadership Council," I said, "does not appear to feature African Americans."

Our media should be ashamed of themselves for providing a platform to organizations like this. In the endless pursuit of 'balance' they regularly pit, say, a spokeswoman from NOW, an organization with thousands of members and against a spokeswoman from Concerned Women for America, and organization with few actual members but big donors. Just say no to Republican front groups! Particularly ones as bigoted as the CWFA. They're hideous.

You can go and check out the hilarious AARLC website here. Don't miss the advisory panel.

Punctured Bowel? Only a Flesh Wound

Roger Ailes gives us more about the doctor who was used as Bush's prop to push malpractice reform, which we first saw here.

Dr. Denise Baker of Bradenton sat behind first lady Laura Bush Tuesday night as President Bush asked Congress to limit medical malpractice awards in "frivolous lawsuits."

Baker said lawsuits against her were partially to blame for higher insurance rates that forced her to quit delivering babies. She has settled four malpractice claims since 1998, totaling more than $600,000.

Bradenton resident Bill Bartram and his wife, Phyllis, filed one of those lawsuits.

"Frivolous? (My wife) almost died," said Bartram, 61. He and his 55-year-old wife settled their suit in December 2000.

"My wife has a scar on her stomach as big as a fist," after an operation in 1998 in which her bowel was punctured, Bartram said. Bartram said he saw Baker's picture in the paper Wednesday and was outraged.

"I'm a Democrat, but I think the Republicans are putting politics in their medicine without checking out their doctors," he said.

In an interview with The Associated Press Wednesday, Baker referred to none of her patients by name, but she described a case in which she slightly punctured a woman's bowel during laparoscopic surgery.

Mainly because of those claims, Baker's annual insurance premiums rose from $58,000 to $200,000 last year, she said.

Instead of moving to another state, where she could get coverage for about $8,000 a year, Baker kept her gynecology practice in Bradenton.

But, leaving aside bashing Dr. Baker, this does raise the following question - how screwed up must the malpractice insurance market be if one state is offering it for $8,000 and another for $200,000?

There is likely an obvious answer which no one seems to be talking about. In fact, there was enough not talking about it that I hadn't even realized it until a few days ago - the insurance industry is exempt from federal anti-trust regulation.

Repeal that exemption. Or, simply cap the rates. Problem solved.

Defining racism down to the basement...

Apparently, expressing objections to interracial marriage is simply expressing a 'controversial opinion.'
You know, I love the power of the Middle 'C' and all, but there's something really wrong when this site is the #7 when you search google for "Emmett Till."

OOPS: Update - A reader notes the incoming search page had me at 117, not 7. That makes a lot more sense.

Eschaton Flashback

Someone in my comments recently jokingly used the term 'Saddamite.' I doubt I coined the term, but I believe I did once find the best use for it - when referring to Fred Phelps' trips to Iraq.

Here's Fred's love letter to Saddam:

We understand that Iraq is the only Muslim state that allows the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to be freely and openly preached on the streets without fear of arrest and prosecution. Alas, the United States no longer allows the Gospel to be freely and openly preached on the streets, because militant sodomites now control our government, and they violently object to the Bible message...The same majoritarian sodomite tyranny that now guides the Clinton administration's repressive policies toward Gospel preaching on America's streets, is apparently responsible -- at least in part -- for the merciless slaughter by starvation of 400 innocent Iraqi babies each day in your country. If our government and laws will allow it, and at the invitation of your government, we would like to send a delegation from Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, to preach the Gospel on the streets of Baghdad for one week in the near future."

-- Fred Phelps, in a letter to Saddam Hussein,
November 30, 1997

to which I responded: Does this mean that Fred Phelps is a Saddamite?

Well, I thought it was funny...

Here's a picture of Fred 's gang doing the Lord's work in Baghdad.

Navel Gazing

Hey, 300,000 sitemeter determined 'unique visits' for January.

But, as long as Andrew Sullivan gets more visits than me the terrorists are winning!

Friday, January 31, 2003

Ashcroft Hungry for Blood

Attorney General John Ashcroft has ordered federal prosecutors to seek the death penalty for a murder suspect, even though he had agreed to testify against others tied to a deadly Colombian drug ring in exchange for a life sentence.


Lawyers said it appeared to be the first case nationally in which Mr. Ashcroft had insisted on seeking the execution of a defendant who had secured a promise of life in exchange for information.


Mr. Ashcroft has stirred a controversy in federal prosecutors' offices nationally in recent months by insisting that they seek executions in some cases in which they had recommended against it. Under Justice Department rules, local federal prosecutors can only recommend whether to seek the death penalty; the final decision is up to the attorney general.

Defense lawyers, and some current and former prosecutors, said the case here has taken that controversy to a new level because the previous cases had not involved potential cooperators.

... a former senior federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, said it was "a remarkably bad decision" to superimpose national death penalty policy over local federal prosecutors' judgments about cooperating witnesses. "It will likely result in fewer murders being solved because fewer defendants will choose to cooperate," ...

Leaving aside my objections to the death penalty, this is idiotic. It'll make it impossible to get pleas, which was about the only freaking argument for the death penalty I ever bought - the effectiveness of using it to get people to narc on their pals. I mean, I don't actually know it's all that good for that purpose, but it seems to work pretty well on Law and Order, which is where most of my knowledge of criminal law comes from...

TBogg snarks on this.
So, anyone else catch Annthrax on Crossfire tonight? Apparently she is capable of saying, with a straight face, that failure to clap appropriately at a State of the Union address is treason, while trading with Iraq is not.

How many conflicts of interest can Cokie Roberts rack up?

She's not the only one of course. But, she and Steve have always been particularly shameless.

There's a little bit left out of this White House transcript of the Blair/Bush appearance (part in bold is left out):


Q One question for you both. Do you believe that there is a link between Saddam Hussein, a direct link, and the men who attacked on September the 11th?

The President: I never made that claim.

THE PRIME MINISTER: That answers your question. The one thing I would say, however, is I've absolutely no doubt at all that unless we deal with both of these threats, they will come together in a deadly form. Because, you know, what do we know after September the 11th? We know that these terrorists networks would use any means they can to cause maximum death and destruction. And we know also that they will do whatever they can to acquire the most deadly weaponry they can. And that's why it's important to deal with these issues together.

Video is here. It's about 65% in.

UPDATE: It's in there now as:

THE PRESIDENT: I can't make that claim.

Which could be correct - too lazy to go watch the video again. It was rather quiet as he had pulled back from the microphone.

Well, listened again - It's either I didn't make that claim or I can't make that claim. I think.

Democratic Veteran tells us about the USS Stark.

Does it ever end...

Christopher Buckley has child out of wedlock. Has no contact with child.

(via the Horse).

Maybe I'll spend a fun afternoon tracking down hilarious Buckley quotes...

The Moonie Times mentions our good friends over at Take Back the Media.

Insight Magazine Flashback

From Salon:

On Nov. 18, an advance copy of Insight, a magazine operated by the ultra-conservative Washington Times, was circulated to various right-wing talk-radio hosts across the country. Featured was an article by managing editor Paul Rodriguez alleging that "dozens of big-time political donors or friends of the Clintons" received waivers to have themselves or family members buried at Arlington National Cemetery, America's most hallowed burial ground. Interestingly, the article, titled "Is There Nothing Sacred?" failed to mention a single name.

On the same day, Rep. Terry Everett, R-Ala., chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, issued a press release "reaffirming the interest of his subcommittee" in the Arlington National Cemetery allegations. Adding a congressional imprimatur to Insight's allegations, Everett noted that his subcommittee had "found some questionable waivers made in recent years."

Over the next two days, far-right talk-radio hosts, including Rush Limbaugh and G. Gordon Liddy, repeated the Insight magazine charges on the air across the nation. On Nov. 20, a White House denial of the Insight report was carried by the New York Times, the Washington Post and other major press outlets. As happens with such stories, the denial was dwarfed by the details of the charges themselves.

Despite the denials, Republican National Committee Chairman Jim Nicholson began waving the bloody shirt. "This has to represent one of the most despicable political schemes in recent history," he said in a Nov. 20 statement. "The ground at Arlington has been sanctified by the blood of those who served with pride, fought and died, and gave themselves to preserve the American ideal of liberty. For this hallowed ground to be so debased in the pursuit of campaign cash is a perversion of common decency."

With an "Arlingtongate" now in the making, House Speaker Newt Gingrich piled on, attacking Clinton over the alleged burial waivers and threatening to subpoena people. Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., released a letter to Clinton in which he asked the president to "respond personally to the public" regarding the allegations. Specter also wrote that "it appears that this is a matter which will warrant a Committee hearing."

Ah, remember how the liberal media jumped all over that one, too...

I don't know how any of these people still have jobs.

The Republican Big Tent

Let's see look at who some of the co-sponsors of the CPAC conference were:

The Free Republic.

Gary Aldrich's Center for Individual Freedom. Gary peddled false tales about Hillary Clinton hanging crack pipes and dildos from the White House Christmas tree.

Insight Magazine - a Moon publication.

Floyd Brown's Citizen United, the organization responsible for spreading lies about the Clinton administration and for producing the racist Willie Horton ad.

The Eagle Forum, the Family Research Council, and the Christian Coaliation - peddlers of anti-gay bigotry for years.

The Bradley Foundation, noteable for, among other things, providing a large grant to Charles Murray, author of the racist propaganda The Bell Curve.

We could do this all day...Truly a who's who of bigots and assholes.
Morford must be read today.

What a sick beautiful mind.
I hopefully have paypal up and running now, so if you're feeling generous..

Blix Says Powell Lying

And people wonder why I don't trust these guys.

Chief weapons inspector Hans Blix arrives at UN headquarters in New York. Photo: AFP

Days after delivering a broadly negative report on Iraq's cooperation with international inspectors, Hans Blix challenged several of the Bush Administration's assertions about Iraqi cheating and the notion that time was running out for disarming Iraq through peaceful means.

In an interview on Wednesday, Dr Blix, the United Nations chief weapons inspector, seemed determined to dispel any impression that his report was intended to support the United States' campaign to build world support for a war to disarm Saddam Hussein.

"Whatever we say will be used by some," Dr Blix said, adding that he had strived to be "as factual and conscientious" as possible. "I did not tailor my report to the political wishes or hopes in Baghdad or Washington or any other place."

Dr Blix took issue with what he said were US Secretary of State Colin Powell's claims that the inspectors had found that Iraqi officials were hiding and moving illicit materials within and outside of Iraq to prevent their discovery. He said that the inspectors had reported no such incidents.

Bush is still demonstrating genuine leadership...


Godwin's Law at CPAC

Liquid List writes in to tell us what kind of people Dick Cheney is associating with. Hey, Sam Donaldson spoke there too.

At the Conservative Political Action Conference, which featured Vice President Cheney as its opening luncheon speaker yesterday, one of the various exhibition booths hawking paraphernalia had some virulently anti-Muslim vinyl bumper stickers, for $3.95, including one that said: "No Muslims -- No Terrorism."

Sources said an attendee at the group's 30th annual conference, at the Crystal City Marriott, called Cheney's office to complain and a Cheney aide called CPAC organizers to express "strong displeasure."

The booth operators removed the anti-Muslim stickers from the rack before Cheney spoke -- though they left up some more tasteful items, such as the stamps that said: "WANTED! Crimes against children," and had a picture of former attorney general Janet Reno, "A.K.A. 'The Butcher of Waco.' " And they left others supporting the Confederate flag and such.

But the offending stickers were not really taken off sale. When a Washington Post reporter asked about the anti-Muslim bumper stickers, a booth attendant smiled and reached behind a sheet, saying conference organizers had ordered her to take them off display.

"Somebody doesn't believe in free speech," she complained, offering them for $2.75 apiece.

Liquid List has the sticker in question. Go take a peek.

(update: links fixed)

UPDATE 2: Kos has more:

[T]he booth operators help sponsor the Conservative Political Action Conference, so their beliefs are impugned on all conference attendees. Cheney spoke at the conference, therefore he believes that Janet Reno is a child butcher, and he supports the Confederate Flag.


Terrrorist Alliances

David Neiwert gives us the rundown on the alleged connection between Iraq and the Oklahoma City bombing. David is someone who took this possibility seriously but ultimately rejected it. What I never understood about these allegations was what the motive of McVeigh and Nichols would have been, and why they would have never told federal authorities about it.

David does provide what would have been a motive - that the militant white supremacist movement would have been thrilled to be important enough to form alliances with real terrorists. But, I still don't know why the culprits wouldn't have admitted it...

Belgian Same-Sex Marriage

Vaara, who seems to be lacking permalinks, tells us that that those wacky Belgians have passed a law allowing for same-sex marriages.


Fawn Hall at the INS

When the INS had their mass roundups following the initial registration requirement for immigrants from certain countries, bleeding heart liberals like me objected. Some failed to understand - if they were in violation of the law, then they should be arrested and deported, no? Why not?

The answer is simple - that many of these people were in technical, not real, violation of immigration law - violations that were likely not their fault. Many people exist in this gray area in which an old visa has expired while a new one has yet to be issued - they have made a goodwill attempt to comply with the law, and likely an INS worker has told them to sit tight and wait for their papers - papers which arrive months or years late.

Here's one reason why:

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 30 — Tens of thousands of pieces of mail come into the huge Immigration and Naturalization Service data processing center in Laguna Niguel, Calif., every day, and as at so many government agencies, it tends to pile up. One manager there had a system to get rid of the vexing backlog, federal officials say. This week the manager was charged with illegally shredding as many as 90,000 documents.

Among the destroyed papers, federal officials charged, were American and foreign passports, applications for asylum, birth certificates and other documents supporting applications for citizenship, visas and work permits.

The manager, Dawn Randall, 24, was indicted late Wednesday by a federal grand jury, along with a supervisor working under her, Leonel Salazar, 34. They are accused of ordering low-level workers to destroy thousands of documents from last February to April to reduce a growing backlog of unprocessed paperwork.

Ms. Randall was the file room manager at the I.N.S. center. Mr. Salazar was her file room supervisor. The Laguna Niguel center handles paperwork for residents of California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and Guam and is one of four immigration service centers around the country operated by private contractors under I.N.S. supervision.

According to the federal indictment, Ms. Randall ordered her subordinates last January to count the number of unprocessed papers in the filing center. They reported that about 90,000 documents were waiting to be handled. In February, the government says, she ordered at least five night-shift workers to begin shredding many boxes of papers.

By the end of March, the backlog had been cut to zero, and Ms. Randall ordered her subordinates to continue destroying incoming paper to keep current, the government says.

Thursday, January 30, 2003

Denis over at CNN Lies gives us some choice quotes from denizens of approved!).

Soothsayers at the Onion

This Onion article from January 2001 has been a favorite of us Democrats since it was published. The sad thing is, it gets a bit more true every day.

(via Kos).
Wolf Blitzer's special guest tomorrow will be extreme bigot Michael Savage.

Ah the liberal media.

A catalyzing Pearl Harbor....

A little foil for everyone.

Former Governor Ridge is a Liar

HARRISBURG -- Former Gov. Tom Ridge's administration dramatically overstated the number of jobs created as a result of his foreign trade missions during the late 1990s, according to an audit.

"Export sales and new jobs attributed to these trade missions and international trade officers were not just given a positive spin or a slight embellishment,'' Auditor General Robert P. Casey Jr. said today. "They were grossly exaggerated to members of the General Assembly, the media, the business community and, most important, Pennsylvania taxpayers.''

Ridge took frequent criticism in the news media for his many and varied trips abroad to Europe and Asia, on trade missions. He justified the trips through what Casey called a "barrage'' of press releases after each trip, claiming the trade missions as unqualified successes.

Trade mission destinations included Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Poland, Israel, Ireland, South Africa, Mexico, Japan, Singapore, and Canada.

In fact, a Sept. 27, 1999, press release boasted a $5 billion increase in total exports in the state during the first four years of the Ridge Administration.

But Casey today released an audit of the state Department of Community and Economic Development that showed only a $287 million increase in exports during those years, of which only $5 million could be directly attributed to the trade missions.

Black People Love Him

Nick Kessler objects to The New Republic's ridiculous assertion, sans evidence, that Charles Pickering has widespread support among African-Americans, and their fact-ignoring defense of him generally:

While the TNR editors feign an interest in stopping Pickering’s confirmation, they back off from the charges that could actually derail it. TNR shrugs off opposition by African-Americans (distorting the facts in the process), and fails to even mention Pickering’s false statement under oath (paying no attention to the facts whatsoever). This typifies the baffling indifference shown by many journalists to the process and consequence of judicial confirmations. Even writers who claim not to want the federal judiciary dominated by right-wing ideologues often respond to conservative nominations with issueless reporting and weak commentary. TNR and others might truly think that they can effectively confront Republican nominees without tough accusations and concrete evidence. Or perhaps they simply dislike the political hardball that the judicial confirmation process has become, and fear that genuine engagement in the process would draw them in. Whatever the reason, even though TNR says it opposes Pickering it doesn’t look like the editors are really trying to keep him off the Fifth Circuit.

Dump the Idiot

Ken Layne and Tom Tomorrow are right. Salon should embrace its core readership, dump The Idiocy of the Week that it is Sullivan, and devote their money and resources to being a scrappy partisan webzine. Despite Talbot's regular ode to himself as the lone crusader for independent liberal journalism, and Salon's universal reputation for being a liberal rag, other than Joe Conason there isn't really anyone there who I'd remotely describe as being a partisan liberal. Salon is liberal because it talks about sex, because it leans democratic, in the glory days did some important investigative work attacking the Starr Machine, and it pays lip service to certain supposed liberal values. But, Salon isn't liberal like the Standard is conservative. Joan Walsh never misses a chance to bash the gay rights movement, either directly or through her mouthpiece Sully. Jake Tapper can't discuss Democrats without oozing contempt and disgust. There's no one writing regularly on minority issues. Too much of what they do is the kind of hip snide stuff which works in a partisan magazine, but comes across as irrelevant and pointless in a magazine without a clear editorial viewpoint - you know, we hate everyone so we must be cool.

I'm not saying Salon doesn't have any good stuff. I wouldn't be wasting time writing this if I thought they didn't. But, I know plenty of people who consider their payment to Salon to be similar to their payment to PBS or NPR - a donation. And, many people who would donate don't because of Sully. They want their money to go to paying for investigative journalism that isn't being done elsewhere, and viewpoints that aren't well-represented in other media outlets - web, print, television, or radio. They don't want it going to pay Andrew Sullivan to get offended because some Hollywood celebrity doesn't want war, or his latest accusation that Democrats are giving aid and comfort to the enemy. They can go to his website, or Instapundit's, if they want that kind of nonsense.

I'm always a bit amused by conservatives who take great glee in the always impending demise of Salon, and mock each new round of funding as throwing good money after bad. It isn't as if any conservative magazine survives without the generosity of donors - The National Review , The Weekly Standard , The Washington Times , along with the various conservative webzines all have generous benefactors. I can't find the figures right now, but if I'm remembering correctly Salon has more annual subscribers than does the Weekly Standard, (and both numbers are exceeded by subscriptions to the Nation). So, judging by that, Salon is surprisingly successful. It's possible they can't survive without donations - either by their readers or by "investors" who aren't expecting to make their money back. But, nor can most political magazines. Given that, it seems obvious that Salon should cater to what the world already thinks is its base - particularly now that their new revenue model lets everyone click-through a few ads to read the content. If that's still in place when my subscription runs out I probably won't renew. Or, if I do I'll consider it a donation - if they're worth donating to.

Max on Icky Commies

IP says communists are "as bad as Nazis." I have to disagree, though this topic could carry us into lengthy discourse. The short answer is there are diverse types of communist, but only one type of Nazi. There were communists, for instance, who never had any use for Joseph Stalin and in consequence died at his hands. There were communists who renounced Stalin and took the USSR into a relatively benign but unconsummated direction (Gorby). There are academic types with a completely idealized notion of communism who abhor all extant practices that go by that name. And so on.

What type of communists are in ANSWER? As I said, not all of them are communists to begin with. Most of the affiliated groups and co-sponsors of the demonstrations are not. As to those that are -- the Workers World Party cadres -- I've no reason to defend them. I will note that unlike U.S. Nazis, they do not advocate much less practice violence against U.S. citizens. They do not foment hatred based on race, ethnicity, and the like. Their most celebrated transgression is to support certain crimes of foreign dictators. To equate WWP with Nazis trivializes Nazism and glosses over home-grown lethal violence historically employed by U.S. fascists.

Meanwhile, the Prof and his followers indulge deficiencies, not to mention horrendous crimes, on the part of those they support. We could start and finish with the U.S. government itself, which strikes up alliances of convenience with awful regimes and individuals. Wot the hell, FDR was allied with Stalin.


Glenn Reynolds and others practice politics by the use of libel. Evidently they do not feel their arguments are good enough to carry the day. I don't blame them.


Newsflash: like all powerful nations from the beginning of time, the U.S. kills innocent people in pursuit of its national interest. Sometimes these interests are defensible, other times not. The 'Saddam-bad' discourse is just foreign policy baby-talk for the dull-witted. The same goes for the associate-with-ANSWER and you're "icky" nonsense.

Why does this matter? Because rhetorical b.s. is being deployed to support an evil foreign policy. This policy, and the underlying b.s., looks to be with us for a long time. At the same time, its political power is limited; anti-war opposition is surging and could yet affect events in the short term. I think we need to keep in there pitching.

Well, that's most of the post but go read the rest.

Jim Henley - Dupe of Iraqi Spies

A source identified as a member of the Iraqi opposition told U.S. agents that Iraqis in Canada were ordered to recruit Arabs and other foreigners for espionage missions in the U.S., the report said.

The Iraqi Embassy in Ottawa sent operatives to New York and Washington with instructions to "intensify spying activities and to carry out anti-U.S. demonstrations to stop a war against Iraq," the report said.

Aside from the dubiousness of this stuff, note the language. "anti-US demonstrations to stop a war against Iraq."

Brookings Scholar Detained by INS

Note the key part at the end - when they grabbed him they told him to leave his wallet behind. He was fortunate enough to be let loose at a metro station, and he had his metrocard. Most are not.

Lincoln - History's Greatest Monster

The story thus far:

Recently, the United States Historical Society announced its intention to place a statue of Lincoln in Richmond, VA., as a remembrance for his visit to the city late in the Civil War. Unsurprisingly, this got the usual suspects - in particular the neo-confederate bigots over at the Sons of Confederate Veterans (a one-time somewhat respectable organization which has been taken over by a gaggle of white supremacists. See this post for a variety of links about this).

Attempts to prevent the statue from being placed there haven't been too successful. Opponents have used rhetoric such as "A statue to this politician is no more appropriate in Richmond than one celebrating Sherman who burned Atlanta to the ground or one glorifying the evil Third Reich to Hitler in Tel Aviv."

So, they took the next step and decided to go after the organizers. A campaign to impugn the integrity of the organization running it was began. Calls to investigate the non-profit status were made, whipped up in part by an investigative piece by the Washington Times, and encouraged by Virginia Republican Congressman Virgil Goode:

The findings confirm suspicions articulated by Rep. Virgil H. Goode Jr., Virginia Republican, who sent a letter to Fran Mainella, director of the National Park Service, asking her to investigate the matter. Mr. Goode said he was concerned that the similarly named U.S. Historical Society — a true nonprofit organization that markets historical replicas — is directing payment to its for-profit sister, the United States Historical Society, which exists only in name, which is owned by the for-profit corporation, FKAO Inc.

The latest development is that a website "dedicated to airing allegations of fraud against the underwriters of a statue of Abraham Lincoln was shut down Wednesday after the statue's sponsors complained."

According to the anonymous Web site, U.S. Historical Society also calls itself United States Historical Society. However, state corporation records list the latter as a "fictitious name"--that is, a trade name used legally by a business registered under another name--belonging to FKAO Inc., which is registered as a for-profit company. FKAO, in turn, was known at one time as Omnia Corp.

Malone said that Robert Kline had been associated with Omnia but sold all of his interest in it in 1994. At present, he said, there is no relationship between the society or its officers and FKAO. He stressed that the society is not misleading anyone about how the money it raises through the sale of replicas is to be accounted for and spent--it will go to fund the statue.

Note that the Bragdon Bowling mentioned at the end of the last article linked is a member of the "John Wilkes Booth camp [chapter]" of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

To be continued...

(thanks to Mac Diva for some of this information)
CBS Marketwatch notes the assault on Limbaugh's advertisers.


Just noticed the fine folks at Arts and Letters Daily have thrown me a link.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Sam Heldman notes the distinct possibility that nominee Jeffrey Sutton was being ...uh...shall we say 'less than forthcoming under oath.' In particular, his claims that when he was doing his darndest to eviscerate the ADA he was just working for his clients and not pursuing his personal crusade. Since the AP article doesn't quote, it's hard to be sure. But, in any case, as Sam says:

I've said before, there's nothing wrong with being a "cause" lawyer; I'm one, when I can be. It just matters what causes you advocate, and (now) whether you're candid about it.

For some more information about Sutton, see here and here.

Tomorrow, please call the nice people who work in Senator Leahy's office and make sure you alert them to this article here in which Sutton is quoted as saying "I love these issues. I believe in this Federalism stuff." Again, he's entitled to his views - he just isn't entitle to obfuscate them in front of the Judiciary Committee.

He can be reached at 202-224-4242. You can also Fax it to his office at (202) 224-3479.

Be nice and chat with one of his assistants. You'd be surprised at how willing they are to chat sometimes, and in addition how clueless they can be. I don't mean that as an insult to them, just to point out they're sometimes grateful for new information.

Hagel and ES&S

One underlying issue is whether Hagel properly disclosed his financial ties to Election Systems & Software (ES&S), a company that makes nearly half the voting machines used in the United States, including all those used in his native Nebraska.

ES&S is a subsidiary of McCarthy Group Inc., which is jointly held by the holding firm and the Omaha World-Herald Co., which publishes the state’s largest newspaper. The voting machine company makes sophisticated optical scan and touch-screen vote-counting devices that many states have begun buying in recent years.

An official at Nebraska’s Election Administration estimated that ES&S machines tallied 85 percent of the votes cast in Hagel’s 2002 and 1996 election races.

In 1996, ES&S operated as American Information Systems Inc. (AIS). The company became ES&S after merging with Business Records Corp. in 1997.

In a disclosure form filed in 1996, covering the previous year, Hagel, then a Senate candidate, did not report that he was still chairman of AIS for the first 10 weeks of the year, as he was required to do.

Hey, Patrick, can I get one of those rolls back?

Anyway, this electronic voting machine stuff is a serious issue. Catch a Democrat rigging the things already so the media will pay attention and we can nip this disaster in the bud.

Linking Around

TAPPED has some fun stuff up today - in particular about what happens when a generation of young conservatives has been nursed on the twin tits of Limbaugh and Horowitz. Speaking of Limbaugh, apparently all the sponsors' banners are gone from his web page. Click here to help take on the rest of them.

And, I've been remiss in linking to Zizka lately. I think it's the lack of permalinks...but, scroll down and find the good stuff.

Some Reinforcements

Here's a little gift for Patrick:


This orgiastic display of democracy's great weakness—a refusal to acknowledge that more of something means less of something else—undermined the moral seriousness of the call to arms and sacrifice that followed. Sneering at the folly of tax cuts spread over several years instead of right away, Bush failed to note that those gradual tax cuts were part of his own previous tax bill. Bragging that he would hold the increase in domestic discretionary spending to 4 percent a year, Bush probably didn't stop to wonder what that figure was under his tax-and-spend Democrat predecessor. Short answer: lower.

Caption Time

David Neiwert begins a lesson on fascism.
I've added a couple of items to the Wish List - just in case anyone is feeling extra generous.

This means you Ben Affleck! Stop wasting all your money on J. Lo and Vegas...

No one ever said it was no-fault insurance...

A Florida obstetrician invited to President Bush (news - web sites)'s State of the Union address as an example of doctors squeezed by malpractice insurance costs settled three lawsuits totaling nearly $600,000 in the last three years.

Dr. Denise Baker, who practices in Bradenton, Fla., was sued in connection with cases she handled or assisted with in 1996, 1997 and 2000, according to records kept by the Florida Department of Health. She settled the cases — one involving the death of a baby — for $225,000, $250,000 and $95,000 respectively.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists says a typical member can expect to be sued about 2.5 times in his career. And among all doctors, one in six in Florida are sued, compared with one in 12 nationwide, according to ACOG.

Baker's track record was one reason insurers gave in September for wanting to charge her $200,000 for a year of insurance coverage, compared to the $58,000 she previously paid.

The Daily Wolf torture..

Osama Who?

Emma gives us the SOTU by the numbers.
Nobody told me vaara started blogging again...

Those damn feminists...

When will they learn that Men have Rights too!!

Oh, wait, apparently they do:

Since Christmas time, 2001, Schmidt has been sitting in a California jail because she refuses to disclose the location of her two daughters, aged 7 and 9 at the time. She is protecting them from their father, Manuel Saavedra, who is a registered sex offender, an illegal alien who has been ordered deported, and an alcoholic. According to a press-release by Stephanie Dallam, research associate for The Leadership Council, the conviction came in the seven-year custody battle "after the judge refused to allow the jury to hear about Saavedra's sex offense, his status as a registered sex offender, allegations of domestic abuse, or testimony by another ex-wife."

Due to Schmidt's refusal to cooperate, the California court awarded custody of the children to their father.

San Francisco Weekly reported that he was convicted in 1992, of "misdemeanor child molestation in an incident involving his 13-year-old niece." The court was not interested in hearing that this was why Schmidt refused to allow Saavedra his visitation. The court did not want to hear that Saavedra had threatened Schmidt that he would flee with the girls to his native Chile. Instead, Saavedra has been depicted as a model father who cares about his children while Schmidt recovers from a horrific attack by a deranged inmate who had mistakenly been placed in the wrong cell block.


Well, this "very good father" has been arrested and charged again for molesting another little girl.

PLA tells us about the right wing Washington Legal Foundation, which is honest enough to wear its bigotry proudly:

We are finally in a position we've fought more than a decade to reach -- a position where we can deal a death blow to the single most important source of income for radical legal groups all across the country," wrote WLF Chairman Daniel Popeo. Among the foundation's adversaries in the litigation, Popeo continues, are "groups dedicated to the homeless, to minorities, to gay and lesbian causes, and any other group that has drawn money from hard-working Americans like you and me to support its radical cause!

And Sam Heldman wonders:

[A] "takings" jurisprudence that forbids the government from taking private money for public purposes would be a monster hard to contain. Maybe that's the IOLTA-haters' real goal – to unleash that monster?

I didn't think it was a mystery that an incredibly broad reading of the Takings Clause was on the top 3 list of Things to Accomplish for right wing legal groups.

Interview with Kurt Vonnegut

I myself feel that our country, for whose Constitution I fought in a just war, might as well have been invaded by Martians and body snatchers. Sometimes I wish it had been. What has happened, though, is that it has been taken over by means of the sleaziest, low-comedy, Keystone Cops-style coup d’etat imaginable. And those now in charge of the federal government are upper-crust C-students who know no history or geography, plus not-so-closeted white supremacists, aka “Christians,” and plus, most frighteningly, psychopathic personalities, or “PPs.”

To say somebody is a PP is to make a perfectly respectable medical diagnosis, like saying he or she has appendicitis or athlete’s foot. The classic medical text on PPs is The Mask of Sanity by Dr. Hervey Cleckley. Read it! PPs are presentable, they know full well the suffering their actions may cause others, but they do not care. They cannot care because they are nuts. They have a screw loose!

Latest Gene Lyons Column

Moonbeams and Magnolias at the New York Times

Toward the end of her astonishing review of Susan McDougal's book "The Woman Who Wouldn't Talk" in the New York Times Book Review, Beverly Lowry condescends to give the author some advice. A novelist and professor of creative writing at George Mason University, Lowry thinks McDougal ought to have sought professional help writing her memoirs, "an editor or writer...who would have persuaded her all she had to do was tell the story straight."

This is big talk from a reviewer who couldn't even summarize the book's basic facts competently. According to Lowry, Kenneth Starr's Whitewater investigation "came up with pretty much of nothing, beyond a felony conviction for McDougal on charges of obstruction of justice and criminal contempt."

In reality, Starr's failure to convict Susan on precisely those charges provides the book's triumphant climactic scene. As Judge George Howard read the jury's "not guilty" verdict on the obstruction charge, McDougal writes, "a cheer went up in the courtroom...We had taken on the most powerful prosecutor in the country, an organization with an unlimited budget and incredible resources, and we had beaten them soundly. But as much as I enjoyed being a part of the victory, I was not naïve enough to believe that the verdict was about Susan McDougal. The entire trial was a referendum on Kenneth Starr, and we had succeeded in showing just how corrupt his investigation was."

A waspish reviewer might sneer that Susan's triumph over her tormentors has a cornball "Erin Brockovich" meets "The Pelican Brief" quality. It would be mean and stupid, but a defensible opinion. Lowry, however, seems completely oblivious that in the end, Susan McDougal did finally talk. She testified for several days in open court during the aforementioned trial. So did three of Starr's prosecutors. The jury believed Susan.

Here at Unsolicited Opinions, Inc., we too have reviewed a bunch of books over the years and have also taught writing to college students. At the expense of pedantry, we'd like to offer our esteemed colleague at George Mason this advice: "Yo, Beverly. Next time, read the damn book."

Assuming minimal competence, Lowry simply cannot have done so. She appears to have skimmed the opening chapters for information confirming her own loopy notions about "girl children from the Deep South"--she's the kind of Professional Southerner who peddles moonbeams to Yankees--then winged it. Her summary of whatn Whitewater was supposed to have been all about is filled with preposterous errors. Joe Conason exposes a half dozen howlers in

Part of Lowry's problem is simply bad writing. Check this out: "The future president was governor and the McDougals owned a bank and a savings and loan and were buying and selling land and, like a lot of other people they knew, making money hand over fist. Unquestionably, the Clintons took part in Whitewater and irrefutably they and the McDougals trampled on some rights and bent some rules along the way. But they were on a roll, life was good, Arkansas sheltered them, and nobody thought life would ever go any other way."

The syntax is murky, but if that's supposed to mean the Clintons made money on Whitewater, the fact is they irrefutably lost $43,000. As for trampling rights and bending rules, if Lowry's review were a sophomore's paper, I'd write "BE SPECIFIC" in the margin in big red letters. Which rules? What rights? Even the independent counsel's final report stipulates that the Clintons had no knowledge of Jim McDougal's monkey business, which didn't involve Whitewater anyway. The phrase "Arkansas sheltered them" would rate a big "EXPLAIN," because insofar as it means anything, it implies improprieties not in evidence.

True to the moonbeams and magnolias school of bad Southern writing, Lowry speculates that Susan must have been in love with Bill Clinton, a notion her book lampoons, portraying the former Chief Executive as a glib horn-dog who looks awful in jogging shorts. Lowry also questions if "we" can trust McDougal, given what she calls bizarre charges of "embezzlement of $150,000 brought by the orchestra conductor Zubin Mehta, and his wife, Nancy."

Unfortunately, Lowry neglects to mention that the California jury that acquitted Susan of embezzlement in the Mehta case held a press conference denouncing the prosecutor for accusing her without a shred of credible evidence. Several jurors then came to Little Rock to support her in her final showdown with Kenneth Starr. Once again, it's all in the book. To raise such issues without saying so isn't quite as reckless as falsely accusing somebody of two felonies, but it definitely comes under the heading of not "telling the story straight."

As for the New York Times, what is there left to say? The cover-up continues. Mention the Clintons or Whitewater, and the nation's single most influential book review metamorphoses into The Drudge Report. Have its editors no standards of professionalism and intellectual honesty whatsoever?

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

The Man Dyes his Hair!

So, I admittedly couldn't take it - but I'm willing to accept nominations for the First Annual (hopefully there will only be two) State of the Union "Fineman Award" for the biggest pundit suckup of the evening....tell your tales of horror in comments.
The Hamster discusses SOTU.

(thanks Schmanda)
I turned it to Happy Gilmore awhile ago - it was a bit more intelligent. But, apparently the "aluminum tubes" were mentioned in the SOTU speech. Complete ethical bankruptcy while pushing for an invasion.


OH, and apparently he invoked Godwin's law this evening. Double Shweeet!



The Daily Lott

Mark Kleiman says "cut your losses." Tim Lambert has the daily update. And Mary Rosh has a blog.
It's the most exciting event since Bruce Springsteen played Madison Square Garden for 582 straight nights....the release of...


By Eric "Little Steven" Alterman


Get your copy now, before all the cool kids do...

Hey, Eric, where's my review copy...

9pm EST?

Damn - I missed the speech! I guess it happened while I was trying to learn the rules of the drinking games...

'This Country Has Many Challenges'
January 28, 2003
By KOMO Staff & News Services

WASHINGTON - President Bush, girding the nation for war, said Tuesday in his State of the Union address that Saddam Hussein has shown "utter contempt" for the world community and must be held to account. Bush also pledged to help the ailing economy with lower taxes and a stronger health care system.

"The dictator of Iraq is not disarming. To the contrary, he is deceiving," the president said.
The first half of Bush's address was devoted to domestic policy, a reflection of his desire not to let Iraq overshadow a presidential agenda geared toward the 2004 re-election campaign.
Washington Gov. Gary Locke, tapped to deliver the Democratic response to Bush, said that economic recovery would not happen until states and cities receive help from Washington - something missing from Bush's economic proposals. "People are clearly worried about terrorism and Iraq but those concerns should not overshadow the pressing needs of the people here at home," Locke said.

Drinking Games!

Hey, Jesse has the State of the Union drinking game. I think I'll play it with straight gin.

And Adam Felber has another. What the hell, play them both.

Anyone remember Bhoutros?

CalPundit provides us with the latest poll figures (real, not online)

We asked Americans, who do you trust more to make the right decisions regarding Iraq? The Bush administration or the United Nations? No contest. Right? Well, think again. It's a tie. As many people say they trust the U.N. as the Bush administration.

That really is quite astounding.

And people criticize me...

for linking to dubious sources.


Signorile on Thacker

The Thacker appointment wasn’t the first time that the Bushies had thrown gays to the Christian right like red meat to a pack of wolves, only to later profess bewilderment that anyone would think they were insensitive. Back in July 2001, the Washington Post revealed–also on page one–that White House mastermind Karl Rove had cut a deal with the Salvation Army. He’d promised that Bush’s new faith-based initiative programs would make the not-so-gay-friendly group exempt from antidiscrimination laws that protect gays. In return, the group would spend a million bucks on Republican lobbyists, including money for a major Bush campaign strategist. Exposed, the administration quickly responded that it had no plans to do anything of the kind–though, actually, only a few weeks ago Bush signed faith-based executive orders that in fact appear to allow the Salvation Army to discriminate against gays exactly as it had been promised in the original, secret Rovian pact.

So, even if Log Cabin’s Mead is correct in saying that the president doesn’t agree with people like Thacker, what does it really matter, since his administration often does the complete opposite of what he says he believes? Thacker, after all, would now be sitting on th AIDS commission if not for his recently purged words landing on the front pages.

[does this mean that anyone who supports the Bush administration is objectively pro-discrimination?-ed. Apparently! In fact, they're pro-Falwell too!]

Line of the Week

Krugman gets the prize:

We can be sure that some pundits will acclaim the speech as bold and brilliant; they would do that if he read from "The Very Hungry Caterpillar."

Go make Wolf cry...
busy today...

But Norman...

Looks like Schwarzkopf may be regretting those campaign commercials...

Operation Flaming Sword of the Baby Jesus

Religious liberals are making the same mistake that often bedevils religious conservatives: They're grossly oversimplifying the Bible. It's true that Jesus put the love of neighbor at the center of Christian ethics. Forgiveness, not vengeance, animates the heart of God, offered freely to any person willing to renounce sin. But the Christian Gospel is not only about "the law of love," as war opponents like to put it. It's also about the fact that people violate that law.

That's why Jesus talked a great deal about punishment, and the moral obligation to oppose evil with a strong and swift hand. Human evil must be confronted, he said, not merely contained. Depending on the threat, a kind of "pre-emptive strike" or judgment against evil might even be required: "Be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in hell" (Matthew 10:28).

--Joseph Loconte, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation, is a commentator on religion for National Public Radio.

UPDATE: Loconte's another one who seems to think that the biggest threat to society as we know it is "discrimination" against groups that practice discrimination.

Oh that liberal NPR...

UPDATE 2: Here's another passage:

Like Mr. Tittle, many of today's war critics hail Jesus as "the Prince of Peace," while forgetting that the Bible also calls him "the Lion of the tribe of Judah," the one "who judges and wages war." In itself, that's not an argument for a pre-emptive strike on Baghdad. But it's a good reason for a little more humility among the apostles of diplomacy.

Oh lovely. Guess where Jesus is referred to as "the Lion of the tribe of Judah?" Revelations 5:

Then one of the elders said to me, "Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals."

Uh-oh..what happens next? The freaking Rapture.

Monday, January 27, 2003


One of the things conservatives did throughout the 90s was fail to acknowledge the legitimacy of the Clinton presidency. Their contempt for democracy was as apparent then as it is now. They're still at it:

INHOFE: That isn't true. That isn't true. The Al Hussein missile goes further than that. And by the way, that would reach every capital in that whole region out there.

How do you know they don't have a missile? We know one thing for sure, China has been trading technology and systems with Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Pakistan, North Korea now for years and years. Indigenously? No they're not going to have one. But they're getting dangerously close to having one. We can all have reason to suspect. Why would they not if they're trading with these countries?

It was your guys back during your president, Bill Clinton's time in 1998...

BEGALA: He was your president too, we're all Americans.

INHOFE: Well, you make that determination...

BEGALA: I just -- you look like American to me. United States senator.

INHOFE: That's when they said -- and this was Bill Clinton's intelligence group -- said it was going to be somewhere between 5 and 10 years before the North Koreans would have a missile -- a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) rocket. Seven days later on August 31 of 1998 they fired one.

Note that this isn't some partisan hothead ranting away on the internet - this a United States Senator denying the legitimacy of a twice-elected president.


If anyone can give me a reason for turning on the XML/RSS feature in blogger I'll do it. No one's requested it, but it seems it can be done...I don't really know what it is...

....okay, RSS feed here. Complain if there are problems.

More Moonies

Some people are under the misconception that Moonie is necessarily a pejorative term. While it is true that the Unifcation Church has attempted to distance itself from that word as they try and distance themselves from their cult reputation, the word is present in plenty of official translations of Moon's writings.

See here. Here. Here.

I could go on.

That isn't to say I don't use the term as a way to denigrate the newspaper when I refer to at as the "Moonie Times," as in the newspaper owned by the Moonies, but the term itself was used for a long time by its adherents.

And, I do have to say that I find it absolutely fascinating that people would equate opposition to a dangerous cult and its poisonous impact on our politics and media with religious bigotry. Incredible.

Apparently Moon and Al Haig are soulmates. Who knew?

(thanks, as always, to MW for the research)

Conservative ADHD

CalPundit says:

I'm willing to bet that a liberal is just a conservative with an ADHD kid.

In response to the fact that one can get an enraged rant about "mythical" ADHD out of a conservative almost as easily as one can get a rant about how homosexuality is a lifestyle choice. Though she hasn't quite come over to the liberal side, and frankly I wouldn't want her to, I'm always a bit amused when poor Mona Charen writes one of her "please! ADHD is real!" columns. I have no idea if Mona Charen has a kid with ADHD, actually, but it is pretty hard to discount the theory. So many conservatives and republicans have a pet cause which appears so out of character, until you realize it's affected them personally. Get a little empathy guys - we can be a bit concerned about bad stuff that happens other peoples' kids, too.

Poll Fun

Go make Wolf Blitzer unhappy for another day....

Hillary Clinton Invites Enemy to Attack!

See here.

The truth is we are not prepared, we are not supporting our first responders, and our approach to securing our nation is haphazard at best," Clinton said. "Somewhere along the line, we lost our edge. We let our guard down."


Will ending the dividend tax make air travel safer?" Clinton said. "Will it keep a dirty bomb out of New York Harbor? Will ending the dividends save one police officer or
firefighter his or her job? In short, will it make America safer, more secure? Of course, the answer is no."


Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) said Friday that the Bush administration's top priority is homeland security and that Clinton's criticism only exposes the country to more terror.

"I just think it was a cheap shot," King said. "It just invites the enemy to attack again."

Criticism of the president's failure to fund the programs he touted as being crucial for Homeland Security is inviting our enemies to attack. I love the Republican Party - they're the assholes that keep on giving.

Eschaton Assignment Desk

Okay, journalists, since the current administration is, by executive order, distributing money to "faith based organizations," how about finding out what some of those organizations are?

Clinton Recession

Damn this Clinton recession!

Rude Associations

In the comments over at Talk Left, Patrick Nielsen Hayden of Electrolite says this:

The context is the widespread claim by pro-war bloggers, Glenn among them, that those of us who attended anti-war events co-sponsored by A.N.S.W.E.R., a front group for a bunch of Marxist-Leninist whack jobs, have by so doing lent aid and comfort to neo-Stalinist evil. Even though 98% of the people at those marches don't know diddly about A.N.S.W.E.R. or its controlling entity, the Worker's World Party, and certainly don't care about the WWP's opinions about the 1956 Hungarian uprising.

In this context, Atrios was raising the question: if we're tarnished by going to an anti-war march co-sponsored by A.N.S.W.E.R., surely anyone who writes for the Washington Times is just as morally culpable? It seems like a fair point, and the fact that Glenn only wrote for them once and didn't get paid doesn't seem like much of a, you should pardon the expression, answer. I only went to one march (so far), and what do you know, I didn't get paid either.

The Reverend Moon is no joke, and I'm amazed that you haven't been tracking on him. He really is a real-life comic-book supervillain, complete with portentous declarations about his desire to bend the United States to his will, and the fact that he has more or less bought and paid for big chunks of the institutional Right in this country is something that thoughtful conservatives ought to be a lot more concerned about than they seem to be. Certainly Moon wields a lot more power in the real world than the piddling Worker's World Party. This was Atrios's point, and I haven't seen it refuted yet.

Personally, I'd be happy to give Glenn a pass; I'm not actually into policing people's every association. I believe in coalition politics, and if you practice coalition politics, you inevitably wind up being associated with some people you don't care for. Sometimes those people are so distasteful that you need to reconsider your coalition. I actually think the Washington Times meets that standard, but I'm not proposing that Glenn Reynolds meets that standard if he disagrees with me on this point. I actually quite like Glenn, overall, and all of our interactions have been benign. I also like the mysterious Atrios. Yes, he's confrontational and rude as hell, and yes, he's often asking the right questions.

Me rude?

First the usual suspects claimed that anti-war protesters were "objectively pro-Saddam." Then they claimed there wouldn't be many of them. Then they claimed that by going to an anti-war rally fronted by a group most of them had never heard of they were supporting Stalinism/Marxism/whatever. Then they claimed that, well, they weren't really supporting Stalinism, but they were giving the group 'legitimacy' and 'credibility' which they wouldn't otherwise have.

The entire conservative intellectual establishment and the Republican party lends the Reverend Moon, the Unification Church, and its newspaper legitimacy and credibility every day. This is a far more well-financed explicitly anti-American organization than anything some unreconstructed commies can offer up.

Or, as this letter written in response to Michael Kelly's witless screed on the subject puts it:

A vast conspiracy

This is so exciting! I can't remember the last time I was an unwitting pawn of a vast international communist conspiracy. And here I thought I was just exercising my First Amendment rights by putting a No Iraq War sign in my yard.

Tim Gilbery, Bothell

David Neiwert has more on the Moonies and religious prejudice.

Sunday, January 26, 2003

Sloppy Instapunditry

I never claimed Instapundit wrote a regular column for the Washington Times or that he has received "great income thereby". I just know that he has written for them because it is on his faculty information page:

Reynolds is one of the most prolific scholars on the UT faculty. His special interests are law and technology and constitutional law issues, and his work has appeared in a wide variety of publications, including the Columbia Law Review, the Virginia Law Review, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, the Wisconsin Law Review, the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology, Law and Policy in International Business, Jurimetrics, and the High Technology Law Journal. Professor Reynolds has also written in the New York Times, Washington Post, Washington Times, Los Angeles Times, and Wall Street Journal, as well as other popular publications. He is also a contributing editor to the TechCentralStation.Com website, and writes a regular column for the FoxNews website. He is the co-author of Outer Space: Problems of Law and Policy and The Appearance of Impropriety: How the Ethics Wars Have Undermined American Government, Business, and Society. Professor Reynolds has testified before Congressional committees on space law, international trade, and domestic terrorism. He has been executive chairman of the National Space Society and a member of the White House Advisory Panel on Space Policy. A member of the UT faculty since 1989, Professor Reynolds received the Harold C. Warner Outstanding Faculty Scholarship Award in 1991, and the W. Allen Separk Outstanding Faculty Scholarship Award, 1998.

Whatever the content of Reynold's contributions to the Times was, the presence of a well-respected member of the UT faculty on their pages grants Moon's agenda legitimacy, no? Isn't that the argument?

As for referring to objections to the activities of the Reverend Moon, which include well documented serious abuse of his followers, as "religious prejudice"...well, I think I've won that one. For the record, I'm against anyone pushing a theocratic agenda, particularly anyone who has influence with those currently governing my country.

As for trolling? Sheesh.


Katha Pollitt beat up Hitchens the last time the protest issue came up - way back in November:

You told me a few years ago that you "signed everything that came across your desk" to keep Mumia Abu-Jamal from the death chamber. As you surely knew or should have known, Mumia was and is the cause célèbre of the Revolutionary Communist Party and its popular front organization, Refuse and Resist. Most if not all of those petitions and sign-on advertisements came from them. Did that make you their dupe, and the unwitting defender of the killers of Tiananmen Square? When you spoke at anti-Clinton rallies organized by, did you care that this motley collection of racists, gun nuts, militiamen and conspiracy theorists opposed Clinton from the far, far loony right? I'm not saying that one should never think twice about who calls a demonstration or organizes an open letter, but, as you must have considered when you threw in your lot with the antichoice movement, which is completely dominated by your archenemies, the Christian right and the Catholic Church, sometimes you just have to get on with the work that needs to be done. How happy would you be today had you boycotted the 1963 March on Washington because--oh no!--communists were prominent in the civil rights movement?

and Stefan Collini beats up on Hitchens now:

'The sight of Hitchens view-hallooing across the fields in pursuit of some particularly dislikable quarry has been among the most exhilarating experiences of literary journalism during the last two decades. He's courageous, fast, tireless and certainly not squeamish about being in at the kill. But after reading this and some of his other recent writings, I begin to imagine that, encountering him, still glowing and red-faced from the pleasures of the chase, in the tap-room of the local inn afterwards, one might begin to see a resemblance not to Trotsky and other members of the European revolutionary intelligentsia whom he once admired, nor to the sophisticated columnists and political commentators of the East Coast among whom he now practises his trade, but to other red-coated, red-faced riders increasingly comfortable in their prejudices and their Englishness - to Kingsley Amis, pop-eyed, spluttering and splenetic; to Philip Larkin, farcing away at the expense of all bien pensants; to Robert Conquest and a hundred other 'I told you so's. They would be good company, up to a point, but their brand of saloon-bar finality is only a quick sharpener away from philistinism, and I would be sorry to think of one of the essayists I have most enjoyed reading in recent decades turning into a no-two-ways-about-it-let's-face-it bore. I just hope he doesn't go on one hunt too many and find himself, as twilight gathers and the fields fall silent, lying face down in his own bullshit.

Both are far too kind.
God, is Katherine Harris the ref for this game?

(not that the Bucs really need it, admittedly)
Las Fuelchup! (flash)
New York Times picks up the astroturf story.

(sent in by Paul Boutin).

But what will Peggy Noonan think...

Posted on Sun, Jan. 26, 2003

N.Y. firefighters to protest for aid at Bush speech
New York Daily News

NEW YORK - The weary, retired firefighter President Bush tossed his arm around at Ground Zero days after the terrorist attacks is making a special trip to Washington to plea for help for ailing rescue workers.

Upset that $90 million in federal aid to monitor the long-term health of Ground Zero laborers is tied up, Bob Beckwith will join a silent - but very visible - protest at the State of the Union address Tuesday.

"I think the President is a good man," said Beckwith, a retired firefighter, who worked at Ladder 117 in Queens, N.Y. "I believe he'll give us the money. We're all going down for that one purpose."

"We are being overlooked," said Philip McArdle, a Uniformed Firefighters Association health and safety officer who also will attend the speech. "It will be hard for anyone to ignore us when we are sitting there."

Beckwith and McArdle, 47, have been given tickets by state Democratic congressional members to sit in the gallery of the House Chambers during Bush's speech.

Beckwith met Bush on Sept. 14, 2001 - the President's first visit to the burning rubble of the World Trade Center. When Bush climbed atop a wrecked fire truck amid the rubble, he put his arm around Beckwith, then 69, and assured rescue workers he was with them.

"I can hear you; the rest of the world hears you," Bush said through a bullhorn, in a defining moment of his presidency. "And the people who knocked these buildings down will hear from all of us very soon
Didn't see it, but Janeane Garofalo shows that she's 50x smarter than that useless moron Kurtz.
The opening sentence of Bill Keller's hilariously demented profile of George Bush is this:

George W. Bush is what no one predicted — a powerful president with a pure conservative agenda and a gambler's instinct. By comparison, Ronald Reagan may look like a moderate.

Well, I predicted it. Many of my readers have written in informing me that they predicted it. Anyone paying attention during the 2000 election could have predicted it - except a supine press corps giggling over their cute nicknames and bowled over by such mindbogglingly meaningless catch phrases as "compassionate conservatism" and "affirmative access." And, as Jeff Hauser (actually his "West Coast Correspondent") points out via email, one other notable person predicted it - Al Gore.

Maybe I'm crazy, but I keep remembering someone telling us in 2000 that Bush was a gambler who had a "RISKY TAX SCHEME." He told us that Bush was a conservative who was for the "powerful" not the "people," who's plans would benefit only the "wealthiest 1%" and he told us that "Governor Bush has declared to the anti-choice group that he will appoint justices in the mold of Scalia and Clarence Thomas." And he did it in front of national television audiences of nearly 50 million people.

For all the talk about how the protesters were "supporting ANSWER" why do my friends on the other side never worry too much about supporting the theocratic aims of Reverend Moon and the Unification Church? The latter owns an influential Washington daily newspaper, much beloved in all conservative circles, and has published and presumably paid ANSWER-bashers Glenn Reynolds, Jonah Goldberg, Andrew Sullivan, etc. Unlike the former, who have no political influence and presumably minimal financial backing, Moon is a billionaire who donates oodles to many other right wing causes and organizations. While anti-war protesters were accused of supporting Stalinism and coddling dictators simply for showing up to an anti-war protest sponsored in part by a pathetic shell of an organization, many of our favorite conservatives actually work for a powerful wealthy man who has used his vast financial resources to push his frightening political agenda.

Aside from believing he is the True Messiah, Moon desires institution of a single world theocratic government with himself as its leader. Under this Unification government, all marriages would be arranged by Moon and all other religions abolished. George Bush senior has given many generously paid speeches for Moon front groups around the world. Moon front groups include the World Anti-Communist League, which has actively been involved in mercenary operations supporting some nasty dictators.

Unlike ANSWER and the World Workers Party, Moon has money, Moon has media influence through UPI, the Washington Times, and other assorted publications, Moon has political influence with representatives in the Bush administration, and Moon has some of the most prominent conservative writers working for him.

And we're supposed to be concerned that anti-war demonstrators are supporting Stalinism simply by showing up?

I know the standard answer to this is that Moon has no hope of implementing his agenda so working for the Washington Times does nothing to further it. Fine - ditto ANSWER and the WWP.

UPDATE: David Neiwert chimes in with a bit more info. And I just wanted to make an additional point I had intended to more clearly - if billionaire influential Moon has no chance of implementing his agenda, and that's reason enough not to object to direct association with the Washington Times, then it's ridiculous to even waste half a second talking about anti-war demonstrators being associated with ANSWER.

[Does this mean that Instapundit is objectively pro-Moonie?-ed. Apparently so! ]

Tim Lambert continues with the daily Lott update, and Soundbitten has a response to Instapundit's Lott post, which also contains examples of some pretty egregiously innappropriate posts by Mary Rosh.
Another column on astro-turf.

Nice to see this getting some exposure, but the media sure do follow the herd... People have been alerting editors about this stuff for months and months.
Tom Spencer has more on John Lott's survey alibi - including this fascinating letter to the editor (which Mac Diva had also sent to me previously but I for some reason forgot to post it).

Hey, no one told me that Richard Powers had a new book out.

I quite like most of what Powers has written. His big flaw is that, to me at least, writing always seems hard for him - as if he has to labor over every sentence. And, admittedly, his characters are bit of the cardboard cutout variety. Still, he was writing novels about Big Ideas when that was horribly untrendy. I'd recommend Three Farmers on Their Way to a Dance, The Prisoner's Dilemma, The Goldbug Variations, and Galatea 2.0. The last one is sort of autobiographical, so it helps to have read a few of his previous novels.

If you take away the black vote...

Josh Marshall has a post about how the media regularly portrays minority votes as somehow being second class votes - or as he puts it:

It's as though a party's political viability and health are best judged by how it fares in the white electorate.

He's right. It's bad enough when Rush Limbaugh loudly proclaims that "If you take away the black vote, Bush won by the landslide!" as if this were relevant, and not incredibly racist. But, it isn't just Limbaugh - seemingly inspired by him, CNN's Bill Schneider pretty much echoed this sentiment when he presented this piece (from April 25, 2002), which I originally posted about here:

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SR. POLITICAL ANALYST: Judy, how dependent are Democrats on the African-American vote?

Without black voters, the 1992 and 1996 presidential elections would have been virtually tied,just like the 2000 election. Oh no, more Florida recounts!


(voice-over): What would have happened if no blacks had voted in 2000? Six states would have shifted from Al Gore to George W. Bush: Maryland, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and Oregon. Bush would have won by 187 electoral votes, instead of five. A Florida recount? Not necessary.

Right now, there are 50 Democrats in the Senate. How many would be there without African-American voters? We checked the state exit polls for the 1996, 1998, and 2000 elections. If no blacks had voted, many Southern Democrats would not have made it to the Senate. Both Max Cleland and Zell Miller needed black votes to win in Georgia. So did Mary Landrieu in Louisiana, Bill Nelson in Florida, John Edwards in North Carolina, and Ernest Hollings in South Carolina.

Black votes were also crucial for Jon Corzine in New Jersey, Debbie Stabenow in Michigan, and Jean Carnahan in Missouri. Washington state and Nevada don't have many black voters, but they were still crucial to the victories of Harry Reid in Nevada and Maria Cantwell in Washington.

Nebraska and Wisconsin don't have many black voters either, but Ben Nelson would have lost Nebraska without them and Russ Feingold would have lost Wisconsin, too, in both cases by less than half-a- percent. Bottom line? Without the African-American vote, the number of Democrats in the Senate would be reduced from 50 to 37.


SCHNEIDER: A hopeless minority. And Jim Jeffords' defection from the GOP would not have meant a thing -- Judy.

A hopeless minority.

My jaw literally was on the ground when I watched him do this.