Saturday, February 22, 2003

You're Not Allowed to Kill Civilians

Damn, who knew?

I'm actually a little uncomfortable about the arrest of Sami al-Sarian, at least given what I know so far, but...

Bell Curve V

Digby adds more from comments:

One can surely spend a lot of time refuting this nasty book in scientific terms --- it's as a rich target for scholarly ridicule as you can think of -- but common sense will tell you what the book is really all about just by reading the acknowledgements in which the authors declare they benefited especially from Richard Lynn's work and advice, a professor of psychology at the University of Ulster whom they describe as "a leading scholar of racial and ethnic differences."

The esteemed professor Lynn, who helped the authors so much, has been quoted as saying, "What is called for here is not genocide, the killing off of the population of incompetent cultures. But we do need to think realistically in terms of the 'phasing out' of such peoples.... Evolutionary progress means the extinction of the less competent."

Now, one could overlook that and assume perhaps that the authors were merely using his "work" for their(seriously flawed) statistical analysis, but since the book comes to much the same conclusions, albeit in more politically correct terms, it's clear that they were kindred spirits.

I can't speak for other liberals, but when a book uncritically uses the work of someone who advocates the "phasing out" of certain races and then goes on to use a completely flawed statistical model (that fails to take into account socioeconomic status) to prove that certain races have lower IQ's due to their genetics, then I don't think it's unfair to say that it is a political work and not a scientific one.

It's not the liberals who were being "unfair" or "afraid" by rejecting the book out of hand, it was those who pretended that Murray and Herrnstein weren't cynically using the language of science (by treating g theory as "mystical," for instance)to "prove" to their lay readers that blacks and Mexicans were "problems" (and that those problems are immutable because of their race), so no matter what the government or others try to do, they are going to remain a problem unless we get them to stop breeding and immigrating. That is what the book concludes whether anybody wants to admit it or not.

I for one don't think it is "unfair" to reject that kind of racist garbage out of hand but neither am I afraid to discuss racial differences in IQ. But, here in the United States, particularly as it pertains to African-Americans and Mexican-Americans, a genetic definition of "race" is a useless and phony construct. Murray and his ilk apparently don't care to admit that the "blood" of both of these races has been mixed with European "blood" for so many centuries that it is virtually indistinguishable from his own. Whatever differences exist between the races in this country cannot be explained by genetics alone, a fact which The Bell Curve ignores with its dishonest analysis.

As with "Creationism," Steven J. Gould and others were obligated to refute the shoddy science on which the book is based and they demolished it. But, since the book is obviously a racist political document, I find it a bit absurd that in order to be "fair" liberals in general have to argue the underlying scientific conclusions when the political agenda is right up front and clear for all to see.

It is both a work of astonishing scientific dishonesty AND a racist tract. One needn't refute it's scientific conclusions to point out its political intent.

An Open Letter to Salon

Dear Salon,
I've read your latest plea for subscriptions and I have some advice. There are two ways to appeal to your readers to fork over some money. The first is to appeal, NPR style, to their good nature and ask them to donate to your noble cause. The second is to provide them with content that can't be found in other general audience publications.

As for the first, I have to say that your continued promotion of incoherent lunatics such as Andrew Sullivan doesn't help the cause much. Aside from making Salon look completely foolish, Andy's presence in your magazine really destroys whatever warm fuzzy feelings your supposedly liberal readership might have. I mean, hey, I could be wrong - I don't have information about your subscribers or your site traffic, but I have a hard time believing that people are really going to pay to read essentially the same drivel - "LIBERALS STUPID AND BAD AND TREASONOUS" - that they can read for free over in his own little sandbox. I subscribe, I encourage others to do so, but I can't really fault their reasons for not doing so.

In addition, there are a lack of gay writers, or at least people openly writing with a gay perspective on issues, in mainstream general audience publications. Choosing to publish Andy, who writes explicitly from a gay perspective, above any other possible writer, is a smack in the face to huge gay population which Andy does not represent. It would be the same as if your only regular writer offering a woman's perspective were an "anti-feminist." I know Sully claims to speak for an oppressed silent majority of conservative gays and lesbians, but that's laughable and we all know it. I don't think nonstop Bush sycophancy plays well with that group, by and large. Way to alienate the base. Suggestion - find a gay writer who has perspective and focus which more closely reflects mainstream gay opinion, and provide and outlet for him/her. Members of groups whose views are underrepresented in the mainstream are desperate to have their perspective reach a wider audience than special interest publications allow. Such folks are usually incredibly grateful whenever this happens, and incredibly loyal.

This reasoning applies across the board. Stop paying to publish people, no matter who good they are, whose stuff can be read elsewhere in mainstream publications- Tina Brown, Arianna, Robert Scheer. Instead, pay some people who AREN'T available in mainstream publications - you'll bring their loyal grateful readers with you.

Bell Curve the Fourth

From Kieran Healy.

In other words, the gap between blacks and whites on the only thing we can measure that might be related to underlying intelligence washes out when we take environmental factors into account! So where, exactly, is the controversy? I reject Kevin's straw man: no-one is arguing that there's no such thing as smart people in the "know it when I see it" sense he talks about. Things only get controversial (and racist) if you think there's a persistent, measurable between-group difference on this trait between blacks and whites that can't be eradicated by equalizing environments. But Kevin plainly does not think this is so, because he has just told us that the only measurable group-level test-score differences are explained by environmental factors! Which leaves us with the harmless proposition that the genetic component of intelligence is variably distributed across the population, but not in the basically racist way that Herrnstein and Murray insinuate.

Which leaves us with the question of why Kevin would post something that just cries out to be misinterpreted. The last four paragraphs of his post are taken up with 'Do Not Shy From Harsh Truths, My Liberal Friends' and 'Face the Truth Head On' stuff. That's a seductive rhetoric for embattled liberals. You're on the side of truth. You are being realistic. The conservatives like you. I'm all in favor of facing unpleasant truths, being a social scientist and all. But what's so unpleasant about what seems to be the truth here?

Even More Bell Curve

From "Lessons from the Bell Curve", by James Heckman, in the Journal of Political Economy, October 1995.

Heckman is no left-wing hack. He gives the authors too much credit for their purity of intent and ignores the not so subtle racism that Digby discusses below, but here is what he concludes:
The Book fails for five main reasons.

1. The central premise of this book is the empirically incorrect claim that a single factor - g or IQ - that explains linear correlations among test scores is primarily responsible for differences in individual performance in society at large. Below I demonstrate that a single factor can always be constructed that "explains" all correlations in responses to a test or correlations in scores across a battery of tests, but in general this g is not constructed by conventional linear methods. There is much evidence that more than one factor -- as conventionally measured -- is required to explain conventional correlation matrices among test scores. Hernstein and Murray's measure of IQ is not the same as the g that can be extracted from test scores available in their data set. They do not emphasize how little of the variation in social outcomes is explained by AFQT or g. There is considerable room for factors other than their measure of ability to explain wages and other social outcomes.

2. In their empirical work, the authors assume that AFQT is a measure of immutable native intelligence. In fact, AFQT is an achievement test that can be manipulated by educational interventions. Achievement tests embody environmental influences: AFQT scores rise with age and parental socioeconomic status. A person's AFQT score is not an immutable characteristic beyond environmental manipulation.

3. The authors do not perform the cost-benefit analyses needed to evaluate alternative social policies for raising labor market and social skills. Their implicit assumption of an immutable g that is all-powerful in determining social outcomes leads them to disregard a lot of evidence that a variety of relevant labor market and social skills can be improved, even though efforts to boost IQ substantially are notoriously unsuccessful.

4. The authors present no new evidence on the heritability of IQ or other socially productive characteristics. Instead, they demonstrate that IQ is more predictive of differences in social performance than a crude measure of parental environmental influences. This comparison is misleading. It fails to recognize the crudity of their environmental measures and the environmental component that is built into their measure of IQ, which biases the evidence in favor of their position. Moreover, the comparison as they present it is intrinsically meaningless.

5. Finally, the authors' forecast of social trends is pure speculation that does not flow from the analysis presented in their book. Most of the social policy recommendations have an ad hoc flavor to them and do not depend on the analysis that precedes them. The appeal to Murray's version of communitarianism as a solution to the emerging problem of inequality among persons is a deus ex machina flight of fancy that is not credibly justified.

More on Lott

From Rob Levine.

Say Hello to the Peking Duck

Blogging from China.

Race and Intelligence

CalPundit is missing the point. Liberals and academics aren't afraid at all to talk about race and intelligence, we'd just rather do what any reasonable researcher would do and call it "race and test scores." Noting the black-white gap in all kinds of standardized test scores, and exploring the reasons and importance of it is not a taboo subject - in fact, it's a widely explored one. The subject becomes offensive when people use the word 'intelligence.' The word has an innate quality to it - it implies something unchangeable. It should be apparent that discussing "difference in intelligence between the races" is intrinsically offensive - it implies genetic inferiority/superiority right away, even before the evidence is in. "Difference in achievement on standardized testing" does not. It's an unnecessary step to try and elevate test scores into being equivalent to some abstract concept of 'intelligence.' I'm not trying to understate the predictive ability of test scores for various life outcomes, but there's no need to rhetorically equate them with a word like 'intelligence,' and its implication of immutability. That's why Murray and Herrnstein spend time trying to convince us that their mystical 'g' is really 'intelligence,' rather pointlessly. It's so they can then turn around and focus on the inheritability of this immutable quality.

CalPundit is also too fair to the Bell Curve. The book contained more than just deliberately shoddy science - which should be warning bells enough - it also was an explicitly racist tract by intent and design. Every time I refer disparagingly to the Bell Curve some true believer expects me to write a 50,000 word critique of the book to justify my opinion of it. Frankly, it's as if every time I spoke disparagingly of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion someone expected me to write a 50,000 word critique of it. The Bell Curve has been "Fisked" by researchers in every field, and it is not, as Charles Murtaugh suggested, being part of a herd mentality to have concluded that it is, to a great degree, a load of explicitly racist crap. Glenn Loury rightly abandoned his old pals after their enthusiastic embrace and promotion of those twin books of pornography for closet racists - The Bell Curve and The End of Racism.

But, the more academic criticisms rightly largely focus on the methodology and validity of the conclusions, and they often ignore the fact that the book also drips with racism throughout, even aside from the disingenuousness of the research. Digby wrote this awhile back, before he had his own blog, and it's worth recycling now:

It’s true that the authors argued with wide eyed innocence that the book merely said that there are individual and group differences in intelligence and that these differences seriously influence the organization of work in modern industrial societies and that unfortunately they are pretty darned immutable, but golly gosh kerwillikers, that doesn't mean we all can't get along.

Nothing wrong with that, right? It’s just a little reminder that each individual should be judged on their own merits, and that's a good thing.

Unfortunately, the book also said some pretty strange things, even if you accept that IQ is the best indicator of future success and that IQ is immutable, which Herrnstein and Murray do, and even if you use their thoroughly discredited logistic regression analysis that assumes no IQ socioeconomic status interaction (when in fact, IQ and SES are highly intercorrelated) concluding that low IQ causes poverty. In other words, even if you take their completely flawed and discredited analysis at face value, when you get into the book (written btw for the lay reader -- no peer review) it isn't hard to see the real agenda.

In spite of all their studied concern about the “cognitive elite” and the danger to our society of all the smart people conspiring to keep out the odd and unusual smart poor person, we find that what they are really worried about is a supposed downward pressure on the distribution of IQ in the United States, which they call “dysgenic” pressure. They believe that blacks are experiencing much more severe dysgenic pressures than whites and speculate that part of the problem may be differences in reproductive strategies among the races. They blithely mention in passing a theory that blacks have the largest genitals and the highest frequency of sexual intercourse among the three major races but reserve judgment on whether that is relevant, saying that only time will tell.

(Who can really say what effects those huge black dicks have on those lil’ chocolate gals? It’s possible that once they set eyes one of those monsters they just can’t control themselves and those inferior genes just keep on gittin passed down. Better keep them large genitals away from the white wimmin!)

They also conclude that Latino immigration is putting downward pressure on the distribution of American national intelligence. They conclude, "Putting the pieces together--higher fertility and a faster generational cycle among the less intelligent and an immigrant population that is probably somewhat below the native-born average--the case is strong that something worth worrying about is happening to the cognitive capital of the country"

Oh lordy. Those wetbacks are bringing us down.

The authors believe that low birth weight and high infant mortality are probably caused by "prenatal negligence" on the part of stupid poor women rather than inadequate availability of medical care. They also trot out some unpublished research the relation between crime and low IQ, and between civility and high IQ. (I guess this shows which side of the bell curve the average dittohead falls on.)

They argue that America's “current fertility policy” subsidizes births among stupid poor women (most of whom happen to be black and latino) and, therefore, for the good of the country, welfare should be eliminated and policies should be put in place to lower the birth rate amongst these groups.

They also believe that our immigration policy is a danger to society because it assumes an indifference to the individual characteristics of immigrant groups.

But, they believe fervently in individualism. They say it over and over again. Once you deal with the birth rate of the oversexed blacks and close the borders to the dumb Mexicans that is.

And BTW: neither author ever conducted or published any research in scientific journals (which are subject to peer review) on the genetic basis of IQ and poverty in his entire career.

Good researchers, liberal and otherwise, do plenty of work looking at racial differences in achievement. There's plenty of work looking at the role of parental characteristics, as well as environmental factors, and the degree of their influence on various outcomes. Liberals don't shy away from these subjects, they just shy away of people who play the little rhetorical game of focusing on intelligence, and the implied immutability, as well as people for whom The Bell Curve is a starting place for this discussion. There is intrinsic racism in both of these, so if liberals shy away from this conversation it's simply because they're shying away from bigots. Even some of their detractors fell for this rhetorical game, praising them for their 'bravery' for broaching these 'sensitive issues.' These issues aren't sensitive, they're needlessly and deliberately insensitive in the way that they're being addressed, and the assumptions implicit in them.

Just So You Know I Didn't Make It Up

Bill Schneider:

SCHNEIDER: Could it be the French are up to something? Naturellement. They want to be the leading power in the new united Europe, a Europe united not by anti-fascism or anti-communism, but by anti-Americanism, a force now rampant in Western Europe.

Friday, February 21, 2003

Ah, that explains it..

"The link between [Saddam] and international terrrorism is so obvious it hardly needs to be stated." - Tony Blair.

What is a popular president?

I mean, how low do poll numbers have to go before the press stops referring to Bush that way? I'm not complaining, just curious.

Speeches by Dean and three Democratic candidates underscored a split within the party over how strongly to criticize a popular Republican president, particular on an issue as volatile as war.

The Wisdom of Bob Novak

NOVAK: You know Duke University has a good reputation. Everybody makes mistakes. Even CNN makes mistakes.

And I just smell -- I hate to say this, but I just smell the sign of her relatives are building up for pain and suffering to get a killing, to get not $250,000, but millions of dollars for this. I mean, isn't that what this is about?

TOOBIN: Well, certainly it could be about that. But the whole idea of a torte system, of medical malpractice is that you want to create incentives for good care. And this does seem to me, as a non- doctor, as a pretty basic mistake that was made here. And maybe $250,000 is not really enough for a lifetime of suffering.

If, in fact, a mistake by a doctor creates a problem like this, you can see why jurors sometimes do award this kind of money. It's not -- jurors are not necessarily just crazy when they award this money.

NOVAK: But how can you define it, when in fact if no mistake had been made, there was no sign that this girl would have lived more than a year, anyway, it seems that this is really playing god, isn't it Jeffrey?

TOOBIN: Well, not necessarily. I mean I think the standard of negligence law usually is reasonable care. And I think, if the surgery had simply not gone well, if she was too sick and she died, I think it is unlikely there would have been any lawsuit. But here you have the kind of mistake that is so basic and so obvious that you can see why the legal system might say, look, we are willing to accept some risks, but not this kind of risk.

You don't want walk into an operation like this thinking your arm is going to be cut off. You don't walk in to an operation like this thinking that they're going to give you organs with the wrong blood type.

BEGALA: And, in fact, Jeffrey, our president has used the phrase repeatedly, lottery. The litigation lottery, he calls it. And it seems to me a remarkably callous way to talk about people who have had the wrong limb chopped off, or like this little girl, the wrong organs, the wrong blood type inserted into her chest.

I just think that certainly as a political matter, the president risks losing some of that image of being a compassionate guy when he mocks people who have been the victim of this kind of damage.

TOOBIN: Well, I'm not sure he's taking such a great risk when he's got -- like he has so many of the nation's doctors on his side. I mean there is a real liability crisis in the country. I mean this is not an invented situation.

You have many very, very good doctors who are saying, we simply can't function under these conditions. So it's not entirely a question of being unsympathetic to victims. It's a system that just simply isn't working at this point.

BEGALA: Well isn't it a question of hypocrisy, when George Bush became president because he filed a lawsuit, and now he doesn't want to let this little girl's parents file a lawsuit?

TOOBIN: Now you're really in my territory here.

NOVAK: That's ridiculous.

TOOBIN: Well I really think that is sort of apples and oranges, Paul.

NOVAK: It's just ridiculous. BEGALA: No, it's hypocrisy.

NOVAK: Jeffrey, it's the kind of stuff I have to hear every night that I'm on here with Paul. And it's just baloney. Let me say this, isn't there a question of whether -- how do you measure pain and suffering for young people? I mean I would guess her family would not make $250,000 in five years, at the most. I mean, the idea that they had to have millions of dollars for this, what is the measurement of that?

TOOBIN: Well, that's why we have juries. And, in fact, juries are a very conservative idea, Bob? Fundamentally it's the voice of the people. It's the voice of the community speaking. And the jury gets to decide what suffering is worth, and suffering is worth something.

I mean if someone is in a wheelchair unjustifiably for 10 years, for 20 years, you could see the costs there. And you could see a dollar value being assigned to that. So I think it's not simply crazy to let juries decide. Often they come to very reasonable conclusions.
Bill Schneider just informed us all that France's goal is to be the head of a new Europe united not by anti-fascism or anti-communism, but by anti-Americanism.

Who needs Fox..

Meet the Press Telling the Truth?

Who’s on ‘Meet the Press’:
Sunday, Feb. 23

Richard Perle, Chairman of the American Enterprise Institute’s Defense Policy Board and Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-OH, debate military action in Iraq. Then Rep. Richard Gephardt, D-MO., discusses Presidential Politics 2004

I guess now we know who is really running our foreign policy...

Perle does work for AEI, and he is a member of the Pentagon's DPB, a position which has apparently been privatized.

(thanks penalcolony for the catch)

The Turkey Deal

Click the link to see Kos's analysis of the Turkey situation. Crazy.

Patriot Act Requires Lawyers to be Informants

Eric over at Is that Legal is rightfully puzzled about the fact that no one seems too concerned about a provision in the USA PATRIOT ACT (Jeebus, the fact that the administration wasn't tarred and feathered by the media over having the nerve to call that excrement the PATRIOT ACT... but, I digress) which requires Real Estate Lawyers to check if their clients are in the government's database of Big Baddies, and if so snitch on them. He says:

Two things jump out at me here. First, this is a spot where the reach of the USA PATRIOT Act is just enormous. It affects every single real estate transaction in the nation. From an administration that purports to be concerned about protecting state and local power from the reach of the federal government, this is an extraordinary foray into what has always been understood to be a core matter of state and local concern--transactions in real property.

Second, the USA PATRIOT Act here seems to tamper with the attorney-client relationship in a fundamental way. Not only does the law create an obligation for lawyers to rat on their own clients, it also creates an obligation for lawyers to conceal things from their own clients.

Well, I wasn't too concerned because I didn't read about it until this moment. Now I am concerned.

The "Jap Menace"

David Neiwert gives us a lovely history lesson. Apparently this country *didn't* just discover race when some civil rights agitators started making noise. Who knew?

This Stuff Shouldn't Happen


A Toronto woman coming home from India says she was pulled aside at Chicago's O'Hare Airport, accused of using a fake Canadian passport, denied consular assistance and threatened with jail.

In tears and desperate, Berna Cruz says she told U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) officers she didn't want to go to jail. She told them she had to get home to her two children and was expected to be at work the next day at a branch of a major Toronto bank where she works as a loan officer.

Instead of jailing her on Jan. 27, an INS officer cut the front page of Cruz's passport and filled each page with "expedited removal" stamps, rendering it useless.

She was photographed, fingerprinted, barred from re-entering the U.S. for five years and immediately "removed."

Not to Toronto, but to India, where she had just spent several weeks visiting her parents.

It took four days, and help from Canadian officials in Dubai and a Kuwaiti Airlines pilot, to get her back home.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Paul Krugman Hates America

But, he's probably just about spot-on here.

Umm..shouldn't we be worrying about this?

Rattling nerves along the border, a North
Korean fighter jet violated South Korean airspace over the Yellow Sea today before turning back as warplanes in the South scrambled. The flight -- the first such incursion in 20 years -- was the latest in a series of North Korean provocations.

The incursion, which lasted two minutes, came only days after North Korea threatened to abandon the armistice keeping peace along the border if the United States imposes sanctions on the communist regime.

War in the Philippines

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20 — The United States will send about 3,000 troops to Philippines in the next few weeks to fight Muslim extremists in the southern part of the country, Pentagon officials said today.

Unlike a six-month training mission that involved 1,300 American forces on Basilan Island last year, this will be a joint operation with the Philippine military that has no fixed deadline. It marks a significant escalation in the war against terror even as the United States builds up for a possible war against Iraq and continues to hunt for Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters in Afghanistan.

The plan calls for 750 American ground troops, including about 350 Special Operations forces, to conduct combat patrols in the jungles of Sulu Province with Philippine forces. In addition, 2,200 marines armed with Cobra attack helicopters and Harrier AV-8B attack planes will stand ready on ships offshore to act as a quick-response force, provide logistics and medical support.

one l, two p's, one n....

UPDATE: Sheesh, now it's "almost 2000." They changed the story, not me...

US Jerking Inspectors Around

This is such bullshit:

CBS News Correspondent Mark Phillips reports the U.N. has been taking a precise inventory of Iraq's al-Samoud 2 missile arsenal, determining how many there are and where they are.

Discovering that the al-Samoud 2 has been flying too far in tests has been one of the inspectors' major successes. But the missile has only been exceeding its 93-mile limit by about 15 miles and that, the Iraqis say,
is because it isn't yet loaded down with its guidance system. The al-Samoud 2 is not the 800-mile-plus range missile that Secretary of State Colin Powell insists Iraq is developing.

In fact, the U.S. claim that Iraq is developing missiles that could hit its neighbors – or U.S. troops in the region, or even Israel – is just one of the claims coming from Washington that inspectors here are finding
increasingly unbelievable. The inspectors have become so frustrated trying to chase down unspecific or ambiguous U.S. leads that they've begun to express that anger privately in no uncertain terms.

U.N. sources have told CBS News that American tips have lead to one dead end after another.

Example: satellite photographs purporting to show new research buildings at Iraqi nuclear sites. When the U.N. went into the new buildings they found "nothing."

Example: Saddam's presidential palaces, where the inspectors went with specific coordinates supplied by the U.S. on where to look for incriminating evidence. Again, they found "nothing."

Example: Interviews with scientists about the aluminum tubes the U.S. says Iraq has imported for enriching uranium, but which the Iraqis say are for making rockets. Given the size and specification of the tubes, the
U.N. calls the "Iraqi alibi air tight."

The inspectors do acknowledge, however, that they would not be here at all if not for the threat of U.S. military action.

So frustrated have the inspectors become that one source has referred to the U.S. intelligence they've been getting as "garbage after garbage after garbage." In fact, Phillips says the source used another cruderword. The inspectors find themselves caught between the Iraqis, who are masters at the weapons-hiding shell game, and the United States, whose intelligence they've found to be circumstantial, outdated or just plain

Even the New Republic...

is getting a bit Hawk-shy.

Cincinnati Mayor Unhappy With Ridge Visit

Gets all snarky:

Mayor Charlie Luken had hoped for something more from Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge's visit to Cincinnati Wednesday.

"We asked for help in fighting terrorism, and we got a new Web site and some more duct tape," Luken said.

Ridge urged families to create kits to prepare for potential terror attacks as part of the "Ready Campaign," which he announced during his speech at the American Red Cross's downtown office.

I bet Ridge is going to want his duct tape back.

Give Me All Your Money!

Well, no, but for various reasons now would be a good time to contribute to this humble operation if you're in the mood. Links on the left.

If you think there are better ways to spend your money, and there probably are, I suggest giving some money to Move On. Commander Reynolds, doing his best to please Osama Bin Laden, has sent the troops in to try and disrupt their Virtual Protest effort, so they could probably use some help.

Btw, I think I fixed the problem with the "click box to open in new windows" problem. I'll also likely switch the commenting system back to Haloscan later this evening, as it's (generally) better for a variety of reasons, so you may want to hold off on posting your best stuff until then...


You know what to do.

Turkey Postpones Vote

ANKARA, Turkey - Brushing aside U.S. warnings that time is running out, Turkey's foreign minister said Thursday that a parliamentary vote on basing tens of thousands of U.S. troops for an Iraq war is unlikely before early next week.

But Yasar Yakis left open the possibility the government could decide in principle earlier and leave the final authorization for next week.

Economy Minister Ali Babacan was quoted as saying that the U.S.-Turkish dispute on the deployment could be resolved "within the coming days."

The standoff centers around a Turkish demand for billions of dollars in U.S. aid to offset losses in case of an Iraq war and comes as U.S. ships loaded with tanks and other armor awaited orders off the Turkish coast.

Warbloggers...reset your enemy...NOW!

UPDATE: Oh Jeebus, check out the Moonie spin on this. I had to read it twice to be sure that the situation hadn't changed.
Turkey moves to allow in U.S. troops

ANKARA, Turkey, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Ankara moved Thursday to end a standoff with Washington by announcing it would send to parliament a motion to allow U.S. troops to deploy in Turkey, but U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said he wanted a reply by the end of the

The Turkish move was intended to ease a crisis in relations between the two NATO allies. The bone of contention has been the terms for allowing U.S. and possibly other "coalition of the willing" forces into the country on their way to form a northern front in neighboring

The U.S. military considers a northern front would greatly expedite conduct of the widely expected war to topple Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

The Turkish constitution requires parliamentary approval for foreign troops to be allowed into the country. The parliament went home for the weekend Thursday without taking up the motion, but was expected to do so early next week, possibly Tuesday.

Powell said Thursday in Washington he expected an answer from Turkey by the end of the day on whether it had accepted the terms as negotiated.

That Sweet Mr. Howard

The Prime Minister, John Howard, has accused the 500,000 Australians who took part in last weekend's peace rallies of giving "comfort to Saddam Hussein".

Perhaps he should lock them all up for treason, pre-emptively.

Someone tell Peggy

Bush is screwing the Firefighters.

[tbogg]She'll get a bit jealous, so you'll have to explain it to her...[/tbogg]

Somerby on Matthews

I caught this little nugget in the silly Joan Walsh's interview of the sillier Chris Matthews, but I knew Somerby would take care of it a bit better.

One of the things Somerby has documented frequently is the tendency of the liberal media to do a bit of historical revisionism of their own opinions. In the Salon interview, Matthews argues that the media is "liberal" because it claimed the Gore won a debate when it was clear that Bush had won. Of course, at the time Matthews claimed Gore had won or that it was a tie.


Alterman Radio Appearances

NPR is having Eric Alterman on Fresh Air on February 26 and on TOTN some time before that. Getting time on their two main programs is quite generous of NPR, so there is no need to write any more those polite emails to NPR.

Onion Takes Control of Government

Pandagon has a new catchy design. At first I just thought it was amusing visual satire of the ridiculous Homeland Security nonsense and I was impressed with Jesse's creativity. Then I realized it actually was the ridiculous Homeland Security nonsense.

Please tell me this is just a dream. As Jon Stewart once said..Bill Clinton, come back, we're's a cigar, you can put it anywhere you want...

Man Resigns from SCV

The man who stirred controversy with a public fight he said was aimed at keeping the Sons of Confederate Veterans from becoming a neo-Confederate hate group has resigned as Greensboro's camp commander.

Gilbert Jones of Greensboro said he stepped down to ensure that the local Col. John Sloan Camp, one of eight chapters in North Carolina that has had their charters suspended by the national SCV leadership, could continue to operate.

"The only way for them to get their charter unsuspended, and to keep it, was to get rid of me," Jones said.

Last summer, Jones went public with his campaign to block the potential election of Black Mountain attorney Kirk Lyons as commander of the Army of Northern Virginia, which encompasses the SCV's largest membership.

The Southern Poverty Law Center in Alabama has described Lyons as "a well known, hard-core racist." Lyons has denied that e is a white supremacist but admitted to being a "unreconstructed Southerner."

Here's the SPLC's report on Kirk Lyons and some additional articles on neo-confederates.

Rehnquist and Scalia Come Out Against Estrada

Well, they would if they had any consistency.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Ah, Diplomacy

It's time for Powell to go. It really doesn't matter what his reputation is at home - as Sec. of State he needs to command respect abroad. Lately he's been channeling Jonah Goldberg and Donald Rumsfeld, and I think now he's crossed the line.

PARIS (Reuters) - Secretary of State Colin Powell accused countries like France that want more time for arms inspections in Iraq of being "afraid" to take responsibility for a possible war to disarm Baghdad.

I'm sure plenty of people might agree with Powell's assessment - but that doesn't matter. At this point he isn't an effective international advocate of anyone's opinion - his, mine, or Bush's.

(via Tom Spencer).


Too lazy to find the links right now, but it seems that Turkey is the smart one here. Bush needs war, war needs Turkey, Turkey wants money. Turkey will get money. LOTS of money.

UPDATE: Apparently, for Turkey, it's about oil too.

Homegrown Suicide Bomber

A Ku Klux Klan leader charged with firearms violations told an undercover informant that he had converted his car into a suicide bomb, authorities said yesterday.

David Hull, 40, of Amwell, Washington County, was arrested last week by federal agents who said he built pipe bombs and had attempted to obtain hand grenades for an abortion clinic bombing.

Hull is self-declared Imperial Wizard of the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, a faction that grew out of the defunct Invisible Empire Klan. Hull also has connections with various members of both factions of the neo-Nazi Aryan Nations.

(via Orcinus)

Zombie Brain Suckers

MonkeyTime explains.

Torture Wolf!


Republicans Can't Handle Money

President Bush will sign legislation this week setting a 2003 budget that raises federal spending by 7.8 percent over last year, capping a remarkable two years in which the federal budget increased by 22 percent.

Although Bush has made controlling spending a recurring theme in recent months, the $791.5 billion spending bill for 2003 that he plans to approve by Thursday night will be one for the record books. The 2003 rate of discretionary spending increases -- the part of the budget subject to Congress's annual oversight -- will be the second-fastest since 1985. It is topped only by the 2002 increase, which included the government's response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The government has not experienced a two-year leap in spending of this magnitude since expenditures jumped 24.5 percent between 1976 and 1978.

Opposing the War is Not Anti-American

It's the people who claim it is who are.

Why is this not obvious?

Guest Column by Mac Diva

The following was written by regular commenter Mac Diva:

Though I write of the neo-Confederate movement, it would just as accurate to use the plural. The infighting among neo-Confederates is of nearly as much interest as their offensive beliefs. Most assert an idealized version of the Civil War and its aftermath in which white Southerners fought to protect their homeland after it was invaded by the North under the leadership of the despotic President 'Ape-raham Lincoln.' According to them, slavery, which they insist is Biblically justified, played no part in the South's decision to withdraw from the Union. Nor were there any ill feelings between master and slave or former secessionist and freedman other than those engendered by Yankees, Scalawags and carpetbaggers. The group of neo-Confederates we are discussing today are in agreement with those tenets of the Cause, except for one aspect. They assert that the army of the secessionist South was racially integrated. No, I did not misstate that. According to these revisionists, a minority in the movement, black slaves joined their masters in fighting the bloody war against the Union, preferring continued slavery to the freedom conferred by the Emancipation Proclamation.

Mainstream historians disagree. They point out that the Southern states all stated the potential abolition of slavery as a main reason for leaving the Union. Confederate States of America Vice President Alexander Stephens explicitly said the Confederacy was not founded on the idea that all men are created equal:

"Those ideas [the position of Jefferson and other founding fathers that slavery was wrong and that hopefully it would die out], however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government built upon it fell when the 'storm came and the wind blew.'

Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests upon the great truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition."

(Cornerstone Speech, March 21, 1861)

However, a few white neo-Confederates, members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and/or the League of the South, have succeeded in producing black neo-Confederates. The most recognized of these persons is H.K. Edgerton, a North Carolina man who marched across the South carrying the Confederate flag to raise money for white supremacist Kirk Lyon's legal foundation this fall. Edgerton's relationship with Lyon's began when he got in trouble while heading a local NAACP chapter in 1988. Not long after being photographed posing as a Klansman with Lyons and an associate, Edgerton began to work for Lyons, though it is uncertain whether he is actually paid wages.

(sources: here and here.

For more about Lyons, see here

Edgerton is considered an honorary member of the SCV. However, a few black individuals have been offered membership in the group. The situation of John Wayne Holland , detailed in this week's "Washington Post," is an example:

Willingly or not, the 17-year-old Creed Holland [J.W. Holland's ancestor] was sent by his master, William A. Holland [Hazel Holland Davis' forbear], to help the army in 1863. In 1925, with Holland's endorsement, he applied for and received a military disability pension from the state for his two years' war service as a teamster. Davis found that pension record as she worked on an application to enroll her property on the National Register of Historic Places, a designation it received in June. She shared her research with John Holland's brother William, who she knew had been researching his family history.

That led John, William and a third brother, Ben, to join the Sons last year. Their sister, Wanda, has joined the United Daughters of the Confederacy. According to John, none of them had known they had kin in the Civil War, nor had they known much about Creed Holland.

A white member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans who has known Holland for 20 years says he recruited him to join. It is not clear from the "Post" article how much Holland understands about Civil War history or the goals and objectives of the the SCV, which has aligned itself with the League of the South during the last two years. The League supports secession from the United States by the South and the establishment of a Christian theocracy in which only white, Christian, property owning males would be allowed full citizenship rights, according to LOS leader Michael Hill.

Another African-American SCV supporter considers correcting the 'miseducation' of the next generation of school children his mission.

As part of Black History Month, the public library system in Norfolk, Va., is honoring African-Americans who fought and died on behalf of the Confederacy during the Civil War.

Robert Harrison, director of the Horace Downing Branch library in Norfolk, said blacks are rarely portrayed as supporting the Confederacy because politically correct historians prefer to connect the South and the Confederate flag with the evils of slavery. But history tells another side of the story, he said.

Harrison said the Horace Downing Library will spend one day, Feb. 25, re-creating Civil War encampments and re-enacting the roles that blacks played on both sides of the battlefield. (On Feb. 13, the Barron F. Black Homework Center, part of the Norfolk Public Library system, will present a similar re-enactment.) The celebrations will include rifle and cannon salutes to black "fallen heroes."

He agrees with Southern heritage groups that the mainstream history of the Civil War and its aftermath is not 'balanced.'

Harrison said he has discovered "tons of passages and memoirs" that document Southern blacks' loyalty to the Confederacy prior to and after its demise. Yet almost 138 years later, he said, it's becoming increasingly difficult to convince modern blacks that their ancestors fought to preserve the South of their own free will.

A Virginia historian doubts any black men actually served as soldiers for the Confederacy in its capitol state:

"If you can show me that quotation where these units went into action, I'm sure I and the other historians throughout this country, throughout the world, will be very interested in it, because nobody's every seen it," says author, educator and historian Doctor E. Curtis Alexander.

Alexander says in Virginia, black units were only formed as the Civil War neared its end. He says noted historian James McPherson writes the black troops got no respect at the war's end.

"He talks about, 'Yes, they were in uniform between March 25th and April 9th, two units, and the only violence or action they saw was when they marched down Carey and 24th Streets in Richmond,'" says Alexander. "They were spat on and jeered."

Tarheel Rudolph Young says the study of genealogy led him to join the SCV:

Since 1993, Young has dug through Confederate pension rolls and identified 15 to 20 blacks from Lincoln, Gaston and Cleveland counties who aided the Confederacy in support roles. He's found hundreds more who are mentioned in the records, but not identified.

Young traces his ancestry to a slave who served as a cook for Confederate regiments. He was elected commander of Lincoln County [N.C.'s] Sons of Confederate Veterans in 2002, after joining the year before. Young left the SCV after white supremacist elements were successful in taking over.

Rudolph Young, Camp 1616, Lincolnton: Please add my name to the esteemed list of those compatriots who want to save the SCV from those who propose to turn our organization into something that our ancestors who fought that war never intended it to be. I am proud to stand with the likes of Charles Hawks, Walt Hilderman, and Gilbert Jones.

There is a smattering of other black neo-Confederates. One has been accused of fraudulently receiving funds from the SCV intended to pay black men to don Confederate gray and march with the group in a large commemorative parade. He was also barred from the campus of the University of Mississippi after continually getting in fights with students while parading there in his Confederate uniform carrying the Stars and Bars. Another, who travels with an SCV handler, has produced a film claiming to document the history of black Confederate soldiers. The most touted member, a physician from Texas, died last year.

What does this phenomenon mean? From the perspective of the African-Americans involved, it seems to me that this trend speaks mainly of the need of people, some more than others, to be included in something they perceive as larger than themselves. Being inducted as a member or treated as an honorary member of a longtime Southern institution such as the SCV must provide them with that feeling of belonging and significance.

There is next to no question that claims of significant numbers of blacks having served as troops for the Confederacy during the Civil War are apocryphal. The historical record is well-preserved. The black men who served Confederate units were slaves limited to menial tasks. So, why would some white men, mainly Southerners, claim otherwise a century and a half-later? I suspect it is an effort to make the neo-Confederate movement more fashionable. In a time of increasing emphasis on multiculturalism, colorizing the Confederate Army makes the neo-Confederate movement seems less the anachronism that it is. It should also be noted that only some 'newfangled' members support the effort to posthumously draft blacks and Indians* into the Confederate Army, so there will be current neo-Confederates of color. The leadership makes it clear that such equality was not practiced in the past and would not be practiced in the future if the movement were ever to achieve its goals.

*Some of the Cherokee did fight for the Confederacy.

White supremacists Kirk Lyons, left and Neill Payne, right pretend they are Klansmen along with Edgerton, who is giving the term handkerchief head whole new meaning.

NY Sun Writes Puff Piece About Bigot

Joins Moonie Times in covering up for Michael Savage.

Charles Donefer has more.

What the Hell

For all the anguished use of 9/11 as a justification for just about everything, did anyone even know Germany had one of the plotters on trial?

I mean, this guy apparently helped plot the murder of thousands and it barely hits the news here?

I know it's being reported now, but before the verdict, nothing?

What A Mess

As the Watch says, "[T]he Iraq situation seems to be going to hell before a war even officially starts," and Body and Soul tells us why. Short version - we've gone from pretending we're doing this for the Kurds to make Christopher Hitchens all giddy with glee, to ignoring them, to being outright hostile in order to gain Turkey's support. We're bribing other countries to come on board in some very inappropriate ways. And, finally, the Iraqi opposition is starting to wonder just what the hell they've signed onto. Oh, and let's not forget Iranian troops moving into Iraq...

GOP Threats halted Cheney investigation


Threats by Republicans to cut the General Accounting Office (GAO) budget influenced its decision to abandon a lawsuit against Vice President Dick Cheney, The Hill has learned.

Sources familiar with high-level discussions at the GAO said Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), chairman of the Appropriations Committee, met with GAO Comptroller General David Walker earlier this year and “unambiguously” pressured him to drop the suit or face cuts in his $440 million budget."

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

More Bigot Eruptions on the Court

One of Bush's judicial nominees is this bigot from Colorado, Tymkovich.

As HRC tells us:

Additionally, HRC opposes the nomination of Timothy Tymkovich for Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit. As solicitor general, Tymkovich defended Colorado's Amendment 2 and wrote a law review article that he co-authored that appears to reflect anti-gay bias and opposition to laws designed to protect against discrimination based on sexual orientation.

"The article shows that Tymkovich buys into some of the worst anti-gay rhetoric and ideology concerning our community," said Stachelberg. "He describes anti-discrimination laws as 'special legal protections for homosexuals' and 'special rights,' common rhetoric for those opposed to equal protection for gays and lesbians."

In the article, Tymkovich lumped homosexuality with a litany of "immoral" and dangerous behaviors, including sadomasochism,
cockfighting, bestiality, suicide, drug use and prostitution:

Our society prohibits, and all human societies have prohibited, certain activities not because they harm others but because they are considered, in the traditional phrase, 'contra bonos mores,' i.e., immoral. In American society, such prohibitions have included, for example, sadomasochism, cockfighting, bestiality, suicide, drug use, prostitution, and sodomy. While there may be great diversity of view on whether various of these prohibitions should exist (though I have found few ready to abandon, in principle, all of them), there is no doubt that, absent specific constitutional protection for the conduct involved, the Constitution does not prohibit them simply because they regulate 'morality.'" (emphasis added). "Amendment 2, while not primarily about moral judgment, reflects a social statement about state and local laws benefiting homosexual conduct."

Contact your Senators, those who are semi-sane, and request they oppose the Tymkovich nomination.

Point, Counterpoint

General J.C. Christian Agrees with Glenn Reynolds, Private Pandagon disagrees.

We report, you decide.

Is there a gay man on the Supreme Court?

Now, as the court is preparing hear another high-stakes challenge to sodomy laws, even the most conservative justices are likely to show far more respect for the legal arguments put forth by those who believe such laws are unconstitutional. For in the years between Bowers and Lawrence v. Texas, which the court is scheduled to hear March 26 and decide by late June, the justices have spent an unprecedented amount of time with out gay men and lesbians and have even faced speculation about the sexual orientation of one of their own, David Souter.

“Souter had barely left the podium in the press room of the White House before Republican Party officials were raising ‘the 50-year-old bachelor thing,’ which was widely interpreted as a way of introducing speculation that Souter is homosexual,” Margaret Carlson wrote in Time magazine in August 1990, shortly after Souter’s nomination.

Apologies to Jacoby

Kaus says Jacoby didn't make up the Kerry articles. So, I apologize for this.

It's still a ridiculous issue which is the Globe's problem, not Kerry's, as MWO makes clear, but that doesn't change the fact that it appears I was incorrect.

I've apologized for being wrong about Jacoby, now maybe the Globe will apologize for being wrong about Kerry.

Just wanted to add one more thing - there are so few mentions of Kerry being Irish that it is hard to believe that no one at the Globe was ever corrected for that mistake. The fact that no one ever ran an actual correction is not proof of this. Given the number of times they refer to other Mass. politicians as being Irish, it must have been known.

A reader writes in and says: "This picture of Bush looks exactly like my cat when he wants tuna and we give him turkey with giblets."


Blitzer Time


Stupid Conservatives

Are having a bake sale.

Julian Sanchez Loses his Innocence

Good liberals, like good libertarians, are contrary to popular myth quite skeptical of Big Government. With liberals it tends to be about things like McCarthyism and red-baiting, through to the Cointelpro and other FBI abuses, the use of the U.S. military to extend and defend corporate interests, as well as its being a giant pork project in and of itself, and our related human rights atrocities which were related to those ends. With libertarians it's usually the consequences of economic regulation and taxation that get them all upset. And, usually we agree on the bedroom stuff. Julian's a libertarian who has just learned a few things about what gets OUR knickers all in a twist about the Big Gov.

(via Jeff Hauser).

Krugman's Good Today

There has been much speculation why Europe and the U.S. are suddenly at such odds. Is it about culture? About history? But I haven't seen much discussion of an obvious point: We have different views partly because we see different news.

So why don't other countries see the world the way we do? News coverage is a large part of the answer. Eric Alterman's new book, "What Liberal Media?" doesn't stress international comparisons, but the difference between the news reports Americans and Europeans see is a stark demonstration of his point. At least compared with their foreign counterparts, the "liberal" U.S. media are strikingly conservative — and in this case hawkish.

I'm not mainly talking about the print media. There are differences, but the major national newspapers in the U.S. and the U.K. at least seem to be describing the same reality.

Most people, though, get their news from TV — and there the difference is immense. The coverage of Saturday's antiwar rallies was a reminder of the extent to which U.S. cable news, in particular, seems to be reporting about a different planet than the one covered by foreign media.

What would someone watching cable news have seen? On Saturday, news anchors on Fox described the demonstrators in New York as "the usual protesters" or "serial protesters." CNN wasn't quite so dismissive, but on Sunday morning the headline on the network's Web site read "Antiwar rallies delight Iraq," and the accompanying picture showed marchers in Baghdad, not London or New York.

This wasn't at all the way the rest of the world's media reported Saturday's events, but it wasn't out of character. For months both major U.S. cable news networks have acted as if the decision to invade Iraq has already been made, and have in effect seen it as their job to prepare the American public for the coming war.

So it's not surprising that the target audience is a bit blurry about the distinction between the Iraqi regime and Al Qaeda. Surveys show that a majority of Americans think that some or all of the Sept. 11 hijackers were Iraqi, while many believe that Saddam Hussein was involved in Sept. 11, a claim even the Bush administration has never made. And since many Americans think that the need for a war against Saddam is obvious, they think that Europeans who won't go along are cowards.

There are two possible explanations for the great trans-Atlantic media divide. One is that European media have a pervasive anti-American bias that leads them to distort the news, even in countries like the U.K. where the leaders of both major parties are pro-Bush and support an attack on Iraq. The other is that some U.S. media outlets — operating in an environment in which anyone who questions the administration's foreign policy is accused of being unpatriotic — have taken it as their assignment to sell the war, not to present a mix of information that might call the justification for war into question.

So which is it? I've reported, you decide.

The third, which Krugman probably isn't quite ill-mannered enough to suggest, is of course ratings.

Racism against Asian-Americans

David Neiwert writes about it here. I'm not sure I have much to say that he hasn't, but from my experience racism against Asians and Asian-Americans is quite pervasive and almost universally ignored. As David notes, it takes a different form than racism against African-Americans, which for some reason "makes it okay." In a way, however, the racism against Asian-Americans is even more poisonous. To the vast majority of people in this country, Asian-Americans are "foreigners," even five generations later.

And, make sure to check out the next post where David discusses Sgt. Stryker's rather bizarre attempts to whitewash Japanese internment. At the end David asks the money question:

Does wartime justify the suspension of the basic American right to a presumption of innocence?

Civil libertarian Glenn Reynolds has said yes. Civil libertarian Atrios says no.

Harvey Pitt Watch

Um, has he left yet?

UPDATE: Guess he has.

The Greatest Book Ever Written

Is now available for purchase at


1) Max notes that Jane Galt suggests that New Yorkers should use 2 X 4s against protesters if they are misbehaving.

2) I, after attending a protest, note that protesters were all very well behaved so that Jane Galt's "Goon Squad" would be unnecessary.

3) Children protesting in Georgia were hit with a cinder block by someone driving by. I note facetiously that Jane Galt's goon squad had gone to Georgia.

4) Jane gets lots of nasty emails apparently. Jane gets upset about all the incivility, and to prove her point has this parting shot to all the Saddam-sympathizers:

I'm not responding to your deliberate attempt to cast me as Bull Connor in your own private resistance fantasy in which you singlehandedly save the people of Iraq and the world by -- agitating to keep Sadaam Hussein in power. If you can't read and comprehend multi-syllabic words strung together in a long row, this is probably not the correct forum to remedy the situation.

And Mark Kleiman takes me to task for misrepresenting Jane's words.

Well, whatever.

I don't condone sending pointlessly obscene emails to anyone, and nor did I ask anyone to. But I find it a bit odd that someone has a problem with my linking of Galt's calls for inappropriate vigilante violence to (admittedly different) vigilante violence on the grounds that doing so might cause some inappropriate emails. If my words are somehow irresponsible for that reason, then so were hers, which was the point of the 'goon squad' comment in the first place.

But, please stop sending nasty obscene emails to people. Except Mark Kleiman (Joke, Mark!).

Monday, February 17, 2003

It's All About the Oil - For France?

Oops, or was it Spain!

Spain's prime minister, Jose Maria Aznar, was coming to terms yesterday with the fact that his unswerving support for George Bush on Iraq had inflicted heavy political damage that could cost his conservative People's party its hold on power.

Ministers admitted that the government's position was "causing significant electoral damage" and Mr Aznar's wife, Ana Botella, was quoted as saying his party was going through "one of the worst moments in its history".

Between 2 million and 3 million people took to the streets of Spanish cities to protest at the weekend in what was said to the biggest overall turnout in the world. As many as one in 15 Spaniards marched.

More significantly for Mr Aznar, opinion polls have shown that, for the first time since securing a clear victory in elections three years ago, the Socialists have overtaken the People's party in voting intentions.

Mr Aznar also faced embarrassment yesterday when it was revealed that in 1997 he had offered to pay Baghdad in "aid" if it gave oil contracts to the Spanish-owned Repsol company. The government was ready to make a "donation" if Repsol was given a concession in the Nasiriya field, despite the fact that the UN had just issued a series of resolutions condemning Iraq's continued blocking of inspections, according to El Mundo newspaper, which quoted official documents.

And, 'ole Jeb didn't help much by referring to Spain as the "Republic of Spain"...

New Patriot

Welcome General JC Christian, Patriot, to the Blogosphere.

Poets For The War

Scumbuster has the details.

London Question

Is that Millenium Bridge still not open?


Fox Pirates CNN Signal



Check Local Stations for Times

Blitzer Time


The Horse is Running a Pop Quiz

Tough one.

John Bolton says:

Syria and Iran next.

U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton said in meetings with Israeli officials on Monday that he has no doubt America will attack Iraq, and that it will be necessary to deal with threats from Syria, Iran and North Korea afterwards.

UPDATE: Digby tells us more about the dashing Mr. Bolton.

Potent and Continent

From the Chris Matthews Show this weekend:

MATTHEWS: Let's talk about home front now, because I think this is--this is going to go somewhere but I'm not sure where we're going to end up next week on this one. We're going to know more next week about home protection. I'm stunned this week about politics. And
this week in politics, Democratic candidate John Kerry announced that he had prostate cancer. He had his prostate removed, and on the way to the hospital, I--in the New York Times, you must have read--he had a 90 percent chance of keeping his potency and 99 percent
chance of keeping his continence. I want--I don't know who to start with this. Tucker, I'm going to Tucker.

Mr. CARLSON: Don't look at me!

MATTHEWS: Is this--is this what it means to run for office today, that you have to be a walking medical chart, that everybody knows everything?

Mr. CARLSON: Well, let me defend media excess by saying, I think Americans want a continent, potent president. But that said...

Poor Rod Dreher is Upset

Feels his "inner teamster" coming out because a woman likened Bush to Hitler.

I guess Rod has never seen this website.

Or listened to Rush Limbaugh refer to women as "feminazis."

Well, I guess one woman with a sign is the same as a man who gets invited to the White House, gets to do election coverage on major news networks, and claims to have 20 million listeners per week. I can see why Rod doesn't feel the need to get upset about that.

Maybe I missed Dreher's tears being shed when Jackie Mason compared Clinton to Hitler.

Or when bestselling author and proud Republican Michael Savage referred to the gay rights movement as the "pink swastika."


I hate sanctimonious Republicans. Go clean out your own closet you hypocritical thugs.

Things to Boycott

French Wine
French Cheese
French Onion Soup
French Poodles
French Fries
French Kissing
French's Mustard.
French Toast

anything else?


The story about Representative Coble soldiers on, slowly and quietly.

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 16 (AP) — A Japanese-American representative from California has called for Republican leaders to condemn comments of a Republican colleague from North Carolina that Japanese-Americans were interned in World War II for their protection.

The representative, Michael M. Honda, a Democrat, compared the remarks of his colleague, Representative Howard Coble, to recent comments by Senator Trent Lott, of Mississippi. In December, Mr. Lott was pressured into resigning as majority leader after praising Strom Thurmond's 1948 presidential campaign, which promoted racial segregation.

Mr. Honda said he was "outraged" that Republican leaders had made no move, despite requests from Japanese-Americans, to persuade Mr. Coble to step down as chairman of the House subcommittee overseeing domestic security.

Mr. Coble said on a North Carolina radio show on Feb 4. that Japanese-Americans had been interned for their safety, but disagreed with a caller who said Arab-Americans should be confined.

"We were at war; they were an endangered species," Mr. Coble said. "For many of these Japanese-Americans, it wasn't safe for them to be on the street."

Mr. Coble later released a statement saying the internment was "the wrong decision and an action that should never be repeated." He has refused to give up the subcommittee post.

The SCLM has been all over this one too, of course.

The lack of attention paid to this by the right side of the blogosphere is of no surprise, given the general lack of concern over racial issues, other than Kerry the Jew and Gary Hart the anti-Semite, and the belief expressed by Instapundit, and presumably shared by many, that the only problem with locking up people based on their ancestry was the overestimation of the threat some Japanese-Americans may have posed during WWII.

IsThatLegal is Coble central. And, he's right that the Democrats should be screaming about this and supporting Honda. Shame on them for not doing so. Aside from the principle, this guy should not be chairing the sub-committee on Homeland Security.

Days Numbered for Blair?

I haven't followed British politics closely enough recently to be sure, but I'm actually pretty skeptical about the likelihood of the Iraq situation bringing down his government as Charles Dodgson suggests. Tony Blair has been party leader for awhile. Since there is no primary system as such, the candidates are set by the party, which gives the leader some power to stack the deck with loyal soldiers over time.

I actually think Blair might face a different problem - the Queen putting a stop to troop deployment absent UN approval... She is head of the armed forces, after all...

Unlikely, perhaps, but...

UPDATE: Tom Spencer has more bad news for Blair.

Sunday, February 16, 2003

Jennifer 8. Lee

I like to think I'm not entirely sheltered from things outside-the-norm, but this one has me a bit confused. What does it mean to have a middle initial of '8.'?

Jeff Jacoby is a liar

But we knew that.

I performed a few similar and related Lex-Nexis searches and couldn't find anything to dispute this.

I look forward to the apologies from Mickey and the denunciations from all corners of the Blogosphere.

UPDATE: Roger Ailes has an update. "So Jacoby still has it wrong, although less wrong than before. "

Making Amends

An email to Howard Bashman says:

I would have hoped that fair-minded individuals on both sides would recognize how the judicial confirmation process would similarly be degraded by the use of a filibuster to stop pending nominations. Does anyone doubt that, in the future, the Senate Republicans may attempt to filibuster the nominees of a Democratic President now that this precedent has been set? Is this really the way we want this process to proceed?

Just a little more than four years ago, Senator Leahy stated on the Senate floor that "I have stated over and over again on this floor that I would refuse to put an anonymous hold on any judge; that I would object and fight against any filibuster on a judge, whether it is somebody I opposed or supported; that I felt the Senate should do its duty. If we don't like somebody the President nominates, vote him or her down. But don't hold them in this anonymous unconscionable limbo, because in doing that, the minority of Senators really shame all Senators." 144 Cong. Rec. S6522 (June 18, 1998). Sadly, this principled position appears to have evaporated into the ether now that the President is a member of the opposite party. Shame indeed.

I've never understood why Republicans like to think that it is the victim of a crime who is obligated to make amends. The Republicans didn't just play dirty THEN, they're continuing to play dirty NOW. They gave the Democrats virtually no time to question Estrada, and Estrada didn't feel it necessary to bother answering their questions.

No one is arguing that "two wrongs make a right," but when the bully knocks you down and keeps kicking, you eventually fight back. It's their rules, which they continue to play by, and all of the moral appeals for the Democrats to play nice ring utterly hollow. The very same Republicans who played dirty pool with the Clinton nominees are the ones running the show now. They haven't done anything to make up for their past transgressions, they continue to behave in the same way, continue to lie about the past, and then have the temerity to appeal to the better nature of the minority party and argue that Democrats should behave better then the Republicans are continuing to behave.

If Leahy's opinion has changed it isn't because he's no longer a principled man, it's because he's finally realized that he isn't up against a principled opposition. The Republicans turned this into a gunfight, but they continue to ask the Democrats to be gentlemanly and bring their knives instead. After years of having bullets being pumped into their chests, they're starting to realize it's a losing strategy. No one gives a crap if David Broder praises the Democrats for rolling over and being good puppies, and that's about the only thing playing nice gets them - and not even very often.

Estrada is an exceedingly nasty character. And, his non-answers to the committee make him either a liar or unqualified for the job. Any partisan warrior with a drop of ethics would be horrified that the Republicans are enabling and condoning this behavior. So, spare me your pious appeals for "fairness."

Poor Hitchens

Now he's inventing things about his own love life AND Bill Clinton's:

Controversies never seem to elude some people. Bill Clinton is one of them.

While Clinton and writer Christopher Hitchens were at Oxford, they reportedly shared a "girlfriend" who has been revealed now as a radical lesbian. She is a lecturer and writer on Princess Diana.

The media frantically searched for the girl ever since Hitchens said he and Clinton shared a girlfriend while at Oxford. "We had a girlfriend in common — who has since become a very famous radical lesbian. So one of us was doing something wrong or right."

The Sunday Times identified her as Mandy Merck and claimed she admitted to being the friend in question. She played strip poker with Clinton and exchanged a kiss with Hitchens, she told the Sunday, but added her preference was for her own sex.

Merck insisted she was never the girlfriend of either. "Hitchens once asked me 'did we have a moment?' and I said I recalled a kiss, little thinking he would imagine we were dating partners."

As for strip poker with Clinton, Merck said she managed to depart with most of her clothes. "I think I was the winner, because I got to leave first. Sex might have taken place afterwards but it didn't take place with me."

Merck is well-known in the Left circles. She and Clinton lived in the same anti-Vietnam war student hangout in Oxford.

"He (Clinton) knew I was a lesbian very early on in our friendship and it did not in any way eroticise or de-eroticise things."

South Pole Protest


Protest Post-game

From David E.

The Brilliance of Pro-War Marchers

It's a shame we anti-war folk can't come up with slogans as on message and catchy as this one.

If We Had a Liberal Media

This would be a huge story.

The Bush administration - which is in the midst of trying to sell the war to the public - filed a brief urging the judges to uphold denial of the permit.

The Bush administration filed a brief in support of a city government's attempts to suppress a march which was protesting their policies.

Let's say that again.

The Bush administration filed a brief in support of a city government's attempts to suppress a march which was protesting their policies.

The SCLM is SO all over this story.

A Bigot Writes About a Bigot

Neo-confederate advocate of Southern secession, one-time Free Republic poster and Washington Times Assistant National Editor Robert Stacy McCain writes about Michael Savage.

Here's one of Mr. McCain's old Free Republic posts:

[T]he media now force interracial images into the public mind and a number of perfectly rational people react to these images with an altogether natural revulsion. The white person who does not mind transacting business with a black bank clerk may yet be averse
to accepting the clerk as his sisterinlaw, and THIS IS NOT RACISM, no matter what Madison Avenue, Hollywood and Washington tell us.

Oh yes, he's the one to cover Michael Savage.

At least Scoobie gets a mention.

The French Strike Back

Another thing I had failed to appreciate was how isolated we French are. It's painful to admit, but only 73 percent of the French people oppose a war without a second U.N. resolution. We definitely cannot pretend we speak for the rest of the world, as war is opposed by 82 percent of the European Union (84 percent of Brits), and in other parts of the world, let's say South America, it's more in the range of 90 percent. So we should shut up. And we should also admit that our isolation makes us insignificant, though I still can't understand why publications such as the Weekly Standard keep talking about us so much. Maybe it has something to do with our food.

(via My Daddy's Blog)

The Mighty Mighty Reason man has some more.

PA Legislator Wants to Ban French Wine

Oh this is hilarious.

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- A Pennsylvania lawmaker wants to ban state-owned liquor stores from selling imported French wine and spirits, saying he's fed up with France's opposition to a possible U.S.-led war on Iraq.

State Rep. Steve Barrar, a Republican from Delaware County outside Philadelphia, said he will introduce a resolution this month ordering the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to prohibit state stores from carrying and selling French booze.


"I even said to my kids I'm not buying french fries, I'm so mad at the French."

Thank God Jersey is just across the river...

All this might bring down the WTO, too.

Pork Pork Pork

Republicans love it!

The senator's staff uncovered $11 billion of pork-barrel spending after quick examination of the bill last night. CAGW's Schatz thinks it could top last year's record $20.1 billion.

Congressman Jeff Flake, Republican of Arizona, is another member who says no to pork. Commenting yesterday on the $90,000 for the Cowgirl Hall of Fame, $350,000 for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and $750,000 for the Baseball Hall of Fame, Flake said, ``I'd nominate Congress for the Pork-Barrel Hall of Fame, but I'm afraid the appropriators would actually try to appropriate money for it.''

Flake was ``disgusted'' because the bloated bill, which included $10 billion more in spending than the president's request, was written by Republicans. He was one of 83 representatives who voted against the bill.

The bill passed the Senate 76-20, with even the champion pork antagonist McCain casting a yea vote.

Mary Rosh Goes to the Free Republic

Now this definitely qualifies as unethical behavior by an academic:

To: JeanS

If you want to read the research paper upon which this research is based, go to:

The papers that get downloaded the most get noticed the most by other academics. It is very important that people download this paper has frequently as

4 Posted on 06/02/2000 19:45:38 PDT by Mary Rosh

And, Tim Lambert continues the regular Lott update, including pointing us to this Chicago Tribune story.

Happy Birthday Josh Marshall

Well, yesterday anyway.

[isn't your birthday this month, too? -ed. Oh, yeah, almost forgot.]

Brick Throwing Warmongers

Looks like Jane Galt's goon squad went to Athens, Georgia.

Five hundred people waved signs and shouted anti-war slogans in a Saturday afternoon peace rally punctuated by a passerby hurling a brick from a car into a small group of children. A 10-year-old boy was struck in the leg, but wasn't injured.

The Triumphant Return of O. Dub

Oliver Willis is back after being hacked, and he tells us that Google purchased Blogger.


Thank You Bill Clinton

Looks like the Big Dog gave us the Best Military Ever.

Los Angeles

(skippy is the one on the left)

More Protest Reports

We have the Goblin Queen and her New Real Live Friend the Talking Dog in New York.

And, Digby's on the beach doing a Where's Waldo kinda thing.