Saturday, May 10, 2003

Roublen Vesseau Talks to Steno Sue Schmidt

At the WaPo Live Chat, frequent commenter Roublen asked the question that for 8 years no journalist had actually managed to answer.

Belmont, Calif.: Hi. Can you tell me precisely what the Clinton's are supposed to have done and what the key evidence was? Also, do you think the Clintons were guilty, and it couldn't be proved, or they were innocent, and there was never any evidence in the first place?

Susan Schmidt: The best answer to that question will be contained in Ray's Whitewater report when it is released a few months from now.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- That was our last question for The Post's Susan Schmidt. Thank you to Susan and to all who participated.

According to Roublen there was a long pause between question and answer.

Here's Joe Conason's article on this.

And, it should be noted - Steno Sue still has a job.

Another One Who Still Has A Job

Chris Matthews:

May 18, 1999 | The tabloid programming that masquerades as broadcast journalism these days achieved a sickening new low last week. On the evening of May 11, CNBC "Hardball" host Chris Matthews identified an innocent person as the perpetrator of a notorious felony. The following afternoon, Rush Limbaugh made the same accusation on his nationally syndicated radio show. It also appeared on various Web sites, notably the Drudge Report.

Neither Matthews nor Limbaugh, whose shows appear on networks that purport to adhere to decent standards and practices, bothered to call the subject of their reports to hear his side of the story. (Matt Drudge naturally posted the story without checking as well.) For six days and nights afterward, the accused citizen received dozens of death threats.

Had Matthews bothered to do his job professionally, he would have discovered an important fact: The supposed perpetrator was more than 3,000 miles away from the scene of the alleged crime on the day it supposedly occurred. And there is ample documentation to prove it.

This disgraceful affair began last Tuesday night, when Kathleen Willey kicked off her latest round of media appearances as a featured guest on "Hardball." She is, of course, the Virginia socialite whose 1997 accusations of sexual assault in the Oval Office helped trigger the controversy that nearly consumed the Clinton presidency. Last January, she testified as a witness in the Paula Jones case and later told her much-disputed story on "60 Minutes."

Sometime last year, Willey told investigators for independent counsel Kenneth Starr that she had been threatened by an unidentified man two days before she testified in the Jones case. The man, sometimes known as "the jogger," approached her early in the morning outside her home, she says. She claims that he knew that her cat had disappeared and that her car tires had been riddled with nails. "You just aren't getting the message, are you?" the mystery man supposedly told her.

This tale of terror has been cited countless times since by Matthews, William Safire, the New York Post, the Washington Times, political consultant Dick Morris and others as damning evidence of a "secret police" apparatus employed by the White House to silence its critics. Those said to be involved in this conspiracy, aside from the president, have included Hillary Rodham Clinton; Clinton aides Sidney Blumenthal and Betsey Wright; private investigators Terry Lenzner and Jack Palladino; and the Pentagon press office. But until now, no specific date or place has been attached to the nefarious activities of the "secret police." All of the charges boiled down to rumor and innuendo based on anonymous sources who had heard something secondhand.

Flash forward to last week, when Willey publicly recounted the details of the "jogger" incident on "Hardball." The blustering Matthews, whose capacity to imagine Clintonian treachery knows no limits, strenuously induced his reluctant guest to admit that she had learned the jogger's identity.

"Who was that guy?" demanded Matthews. "I'm gonna ask you again, because I think you know who it was."

"I do know," said Willey. "I think I know."

"Is it someone in the president's family, friends?" Matthews pressed. "Is it somebody related to [Deputy Secretary of State] Strobe Talbott? Is it a Shearer?"

Willey resisted. "I can't say ... I've been asked not to dis--"

"You've been asked not to admit that?" interrupted the eager host.

"Yes, by the Office of Independent Counsel, because they are investigating this," she said.

Minutes later, Matthews said, "Let's go back to the jogger, one of the most colorful and frightening aspects of this story." Willey admitted that she had been showed a picture by Jackie Judd of ABC News, and had identified it "positively."

Matthews said, "So it's Cody Shearer."

"I can't tell you," Willey replied.

Before 11 p.m. EDT, Drudge had posted the Matthews "scoop" in his usual overheated style: "Willey was shown a picture of Cody Shearer -- the brother-in-law of Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott and long-time friend of President Bill Clinton!"

The following afternoon, Limbaugh weighed in with his own review of Willey's "Hardball" debut: "She says Ken Starr asked her not to reveal the identity of the man who she says threatened her two days before her testimony in the Paula Jones case. Here's who it is. It's Cody Shearer, S-H-E-A-R-E-R ..." (Presumably the radio reactionary spelled out the name so that anyone wanting to call or visit Shearer would be able to find him more easily.)

Yet Another One Who Still Has a Job

Lisa Myers:

At issue is the phone call where the Hubbells are discussing whether Mrs. Clinton would be “vulnerable” to a probe of over-billing. Here is the transcript of one part of the call, with one statement set out in bold:

MRS. HUBBELL: You didn’t actually do that, did you, mark up time for the client?

HUBBELL: Yes, I did. So does every lawyer in the country.

MRS. HUBBELL: That would be one thing that you would look into the firm for [in a countersuit].

HUBBELL: Suzy, you are getting ahead.

MRS. HUBBELL: No, I am just thinking out loud. That’s an area where Hillary would be vulnerable. Not unless she overbilled by time, right?

HUBBELL: No, you are talking and not listening. We are on a recorded phone. So I am trying to explain...

It’s not clear what Hubbell objects to in his wife’s characterization, or why she still doesn’t know even basic facts about why her husband is sitting in prison. But it is quite clear, in the segment printed in bold, that Mrs. Hubbell is not accusing Mrs. Clinton of over-billing. She states first that she is “just thinking out loud;” and it is clear to any listener, when she closes out with her question, that she doesn’t know whether or not Hillary has engaged in this conduct. (Hubbell tells her at length, later in the call, that Hillary has not over-billed.)

But that’s not the way NBC viewers heard the response on The Today Show on Friday, May 1, by the time Spin Doctor Lisa Myers got out her scissors and did a little surgical work on the tapes. Incredibly, this is the conversation that Myers’ viewers heard--a conversation in which Mrs. Hubbell makes a very different presentation altogether:

MYERS: At another point, Mrs. Hubbell talks about over-billing clients.

MRS. HUBBELL (on tape): That’s an area where Hillary would be vulnerable.

HUBBELL (on tape): No, you are talking and not listening. We are on a recorded phone.

And that is precisely the way the transcript was presented on the screen to NBC viewers as the tape rolls--with no ellipsis whatever to let viewers know that material has been left out. Not that this would have been an appropriate deletion even if an ellipsis had been used. Myers’ cut in the tape completely changes the meaning of the presentation by Mrs. Hubbell--changing it from a question about whether Mrs. Clinton would be vulnerable, to an assertion that she would be. The charade was even worse by that evening; in a tape played on MSNBC’s May 1 InterNight program (apparently taken from that evening’s NBC News), Myers doctors the conversation in a more egregious fashion:

MYERS: The Hubbells seem worried that Mrs. Clinton could be vulnerable on an issue that sent Hubbell to prison in the first place--overbilling clients.

MRS. HUBBELL: You didn’t actually do that, did you? Mark up time for the client? Did you?

HUBBELL: Yes, I did. So does every lawyer in the country.

MRS. HUBBELL: That’s an area that Hillary would be vulnerable.

HUBBELL: Suzy, you’re talking and you’re not listening. We are on a recorded phone, OK?

Again, there was absolutely no indication of any kind that the viewer was hearing an edited phone call. Viewer had every reason to think they were hearing the phone call just as it happened. And by the way, Myers’ opening statement is completely inaccurate, if you listen through to the end of this phone call. Hubbell makes it very clear, later on in this call, that Mrs. Clinton would not be vulnerable to charges of over-billing clients.

Another Reporter Who Still Has a Job

Jeff Greenfield:

Even more damning was a "Nightline" report broadcast that same evening. The segment came very close to branding Hillary Clinton a perjurer. In his introduction, host Ted Koppel spoke pointedly about "the reluctance of the Clinton White House to be as forthcoming with documents as it promised to be." He then turned to correspondent Jeff Greenfield, who posed a rhetorical question: "Hillary Clinton did some legal work for Madison Guaranty at the Rose Law Firm, at a time when her husband was governor of Arkansas. How much work? Not much at all, she has said."

Up came a video clip from Hillary's April 22, 1994, Whitewater press conference. "The young attorney, the young bank officer, did all the work," she said. "It was not an area that I practiced in. It was not an area that I know anything, to speak of, about." Next the screen filled with handwritten notes taken by White House aide Susan Thomases during the 1992 campaign. "She [Hillary] did all the billing," the notes said. Greenfield quipped that it was no wonder "the White House was so worried about what was in Vince Foster's office when he killed himself."

What the audience didn't know was that the ABC videotape had been edited so as to create an inaccurate impression. At that press conference, Mrs. Clinton had been asked not how much work she had done for Madison Guaranty, but how her signature came to be on a letter dealing with Madison Guaranty's 1985 proposal to issue preferred stock. ABC News had seamlessly omitted thirty-nine words from her actual answer, as well as the cut, by interposing a cutaway shot of reporters taking notes. The press conference transcript shows that she actually answered as follows: "The young attorney [and] the young bank officer did all the work and the letter was sent. But because I was what we called the billing attorney -- in other words, I had to send the bill to get the payment sent -- my name was put on the bottom of the letter. It was not an area that I practiced in. It was not an area that I know anything, to speak of, about."

I'm Surprised They Didn't Get Lucianne to Review It

Continuing in the media tradition of having an interested party review any books having to do with the Clenis, former Times editor Joseph Lelyveld reviews Sid's new book. He spends a big chunk of the review defending Jeff Gerth and wondering why the Clintons didn't simply hand over Chelsea Clinton's underwear drawer to the Times staff, rather than waiting for a subpoena to be issued so that one of Starr's panty sniffers could go through it (well, he doesn't put it like that obviously).

I'm sure after all these years Lelyveld still hasn't bothered to read Gene Lyons' evisceration of Gerth and the rest of the Times's reporting on this subject.

Make the whores mad - buy Sid's book.

Gene reminds us:

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

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

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

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

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

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

One wonders how Mr. Gerth still has a job while Jayson Blair does not.

Still Waiting

For the Whitewater corrections.

Judith Miller Switches to Sports

Howell Raines gave her a new gig.

Embedded super-reporter Judith Miller reveals Raiders won 2003 Super Bowl:

By Judith Miller, New York Times
SAUSALITO, CALIFORNIA, Feb. 7 - A respected accountant who is a member of the Sausalito chapter of the Oakland Raiders Fan Club has told a friend who told his cousin who told this reporter that he (the respected accountant) has provided evidence to the National Football League that the Raiders nipped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2003 Super Bowl.

Based on that evidence, which this reporter and her editors have not yet seen, the New York Times has decided to retract earlier stories filed the night of the game that proclaimed a Bucs victory.

Letting the Lunatics Take Over

Gil Smart relays a conversation he's had with a minister:

On and off this week, I've engaged in a back-and-forth with a local UCC pastor who agrees with what I've had to say about Santorum, though he's reluctant to say so from the pulpit. I find it kind of sad, I guess, that he fears some might get up and walk out. He's probably correct in his fears, of course. Which makes it even sadder.

He was also upset that I, along with many other media types, permit the religious right to speak for all Christians. That, he believes, "is exactly why the weasels run rampant."

I suppose I am guilty of this; I suppose a lot of journalists are guilty of it. But the problem, as I perceive it, is that the more moderate Christians who might abhor the religious right's attitude rarely stand up to refute it.

I know there are Christians out there who are angry that the religious right is being permitted to define the "Christian" agenda. I have heard from many of them; they grieve over what they perceive to be the misreprensentation of their beliefs.

But unless they do something to stop it, that misrepresentation will continue.

I've been puzzled for some time why Christians seem to be tolerant of the fact that Jerry Falwell is the media face of Christianity. I'm not exactly sure there's all that much they can do about it, but I'd be pretty livid if my deeply held beliefs were represented by someone like that. Of course Falwell and his fellow travellers do have a genuine following, but their brand of Christianity is highly overrepresented on TV - sort of like the the way prosecutors are kind of overrepresented by really really angry blonde women.

But, if the pastor is too afraid to even speak up to his own congregation, what does he expect?

Friday, May 09, 2003

What were they thinking?

Coke Promotion has Swastika bearing robot.

Nancy Grace

[post censored]

My First Ad!

Hey, go check out Rogers' blog.

No Comment Necessary

(via Pandagon)

On a related note, Wlady used to send me nosy emails back when I started doing this. I haven't heard from him in awhile...


Buy one before all the kool kids do!

Chris Matthews - Nazi

The Economist has an article about a Labour MP's anti-Semitic comments.

It begins:

IN America, Tam Dalyell would now be leaving public life in disgrace. That, after all, was the fate of Trent Lott, the Senate majority leader, after an oblique and nostalgic reference to the days of segregation. But Mr Dalyell's claim that a Jewish cabal around the prime minister was distorting Britain's policy to Israel has caused only a few ripples. Unlike George Galloway, another anti-Israeli Labour MP suspended from the party this week for his devotion to Saddam Hussein, Mr Dalyell—the party's most senior backbencher and a famously idiosyncratic politician—has provoked nothing more than tolerant sighs.

And ends:

But the oddest thing of all was that Mr Dalyell's remark was so inaccurate. Two of the three men he mentioned, Peter Mandelson and Jack Straw, are not, by their own description, actually Jewish. Their partially Jewish ancestry would make them so only under Nazi-style race laws.

Someone should tell that to Chris Matthews, who kept calling Kerry "a Jew" on the Daily Show the other night.

Blitzer Time


9/11 Timeline

One of the most bizarre and troubling things I've witnessed is the complete lack of interest by our media about the events of September 11. People who raise questions about some obvious inconsistencies of the news reports are branded conspiracy theorists. Here's a tinfoil hat free critical look at the actions of Bush on that morning.
(via Talk Left)


Kopp gets 25 to life. Good.

Makes You Howl

The Daily Howler frequently mentions the time that Richard Cohen wrote a column blasting Joe Lieberman for something which had actually been said by W. I finally got around to reading the original column. It's really pretty spooky.

When last I left you (before going into a vacation hibernation) I had written in admiration of Sen. Joseph Lieberman--especially his fidelity to his religious values. Since then Lieberman has triggered a national debate on the role of religion in politics. I still admire the man, but fidelity to my own values compels me to say I wonder what in the world he's talking about.

I wonder the same thing about many other politicians who make very public expressions of faith and implore us all to do the same. Theirs is a very sunny religion, one that seems to ignore not only much of recent history, like the Holocaust, but a good deal of what is happening right now--everything from abductions and decapitations in the Philippines to the mutilation of children by Sierra Leone's Revolutionary United Front. For those events, I can only echo what Robert F. Kennedy was overheard crying out when his brother, John, was assassinated: "Why, God?"

My own continuing crisis of faith is beside the point. But the marriage of religion to politics is another matter. I thought it was in bad taste for Lieberman to go on and on about religion. But I thought it downright smug of him to suggest that God somehow favors America above all nations. The United States is a fortunate and exceptional nation, which I love dearly, but it is no more divine than any other.

"Our nation is chosen by God and commissioned by history to be a model to the world," Lieberman told the annual convention of B'nai B'rith late last month.

Is that so? Did God choose slavery, which persisted in this country long after it was outlawed elsewhere? Did God choose to nearly eradicate the American Indian? Did God choose to incarcerate the Japanese during World War II? Where was God when blacks were being lynched and bigots planted bombs in southern churches, killing innocent little girls? Are these the models God wanted for the rest of the world?

Lieberman's statement is preposterously false and lacks humility. In these and other statements, he and like-minded politicians not only have had God virtually raising a hand at a naturalization ceremony, but they have imbued religion with a power it does not have. They suggest that if only more people were religious and allowed to pray before football games or whatever, we would be a far better nation--and, surely, all games would end in a tie.

UPDATE: Here's how he dealt with this little mistake. At the very end of his next column he wrote:

" Correction: In my column of Sept. 6 I mistakenly attributed the quotation, "Our nation is chosen by God and commissioned by history to be a model to the world" to Joseph Lieberman. In fact, the quotation was from George W. Bush."

The Frogs Fight Back

Looks like they can punish our companies, too.

I wonder how many good decent-paying jobs were lost because of the temper tantrums of the Bush administration.

Republicans Propose Tax Increases

Silly gooses.

Senate Republicans, struggling to make more room for President Bush's cherished tax cut plan in their annual budget, yesterday settled on an unusual and controversial solution: raise taxes elsewhere.

Under White House pressure to include at least a bare-bones version of Bush's bid to eliminate taxes on corporate dividends, Finance Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (Iowa) and fellow committee Republicans broke from their no-new-taxes orthodoxy to propose tax increases on Americans living abroad, companies sheltering income overseas and others. All told, committee members approved more than 30 tax increases or other revenue raisers to help fund their tax cut in other areas, including dividends.

Americans working overseas would be hit the hardest: the bill would no longer allow them to exclude $80,000 in income from federal taxes. That provision alone would amount to a $32 billion tax increase.

Removal of the foreign income exemption is going to make a lot of people howl.


The Republicans are up to their usual tricks.

Morford on SF

This is pretty good:

It's that odd dumbstruck jolting feeling you get as soon as you step more than 25 miles away from this most progressive and funked-out and deeply flawed and self-consciously screwy of kaleidoscopic American urban metropoli: oh my freaking God, what is happening to the world? This is what you say. To yourself. Probably.

Because suddenly you find yourself pummeled with many of those lovely bleak horrible things you've somehow become so inured to while living in S.F., those things you might've slowly come to hope don't really exist quite so violently and vehemently anymore. But of course they do.

It happens when you step off that plane in some -- let's say -- "differently evolved" part of the country and don't see a single ethnic person for four days and can't get a decent organic basil-and-goat-cheese omelet to save your life and all the theaters are playing Adam Sandler and the concept of fresh sushi means "less freezer burn than the corn dogs." Elitist? Whatever.

Sexism. Racism. Guns. Jingoism. Jesus fetishism. Psychopatriotism. Rampant pseudo-religious family-values faux-ethical circle jerking masquerading as Christian humility. Wal-Marts like giant florescent-lit viruses. Strip malls like a stucco plague. Ho hum, ain't that America. It so is.

Let's face it: We in S.F. live in a cultural bubble. A giant tofu-huggin' gay-lovin' lusciously fed hippie liberal sunshine-y cocoon that might as well get blasted by terrorists and die of AIDS and drop off into the ocean for all the relevance it has to the rest of the world -- that is, if my rabid monosyllabic gun-lickin' hate mail from, say, the psychopatriot Freeps over at or the bilious dittoheads of is to be believed.

And they're right -- sort of. It's so very true. We are freaks and crazies and tend to shrug it all off, we in our radical prosaic goofy normalcy. We live in "the Granola State," full of "fruits and nuts and flakes." (Isn't that cute? That's about as clever as it gets, slam-wise. The poor things. They try so hard).


So, I'd been skipping most of Salon's excerpts but I couldn't resist reading about Sid and Snitchens. Hitchens is such a tool.

You can buy it here...

Deserter Storm

David Neiwert points out that even the 100% undisputed aspects of Bush's military record are utterly scandalous, and the media's response to this information is simply more proof of the SCLM's biases.

SCLM Continues to Ignore The Story

As Josh Marshall points out, the SCLM continues to avoid mentioning the fact that Katrina Leung was a GOP activist. It's almost eerie how the various news reports go out of their way to avoid mentioning this salient fact. And, it isn't just a minor part of the story - it is potentially THE story. Leung was intimately involved in the politcally motivated fundraising investigations in the 90s. Her political affiliation is relevant.

Thursday, May 08, 2003

Not My Cat

But, this has to be the cutest cat ever.


The New Times of Palm Beach effectively outs congressman Mark Foley, though not for the first time. I'm of the opinion that outing someone, at least public figures, isn't any more a violation of their privacy than is reporting on their marital status or the number of children they have. Thinking otherwise concedes the point that anti-gay prejudice is so virulent that bringing it up is too damaging.


I've been avoiding the excerpts of Sid's new book in Salon for the same reasons I try to avoid the trailers for movies I'm looking forward to. But, in that tradition, for those who like spoilers Roger Ailes gives us a couple.

I doubt there are many bombshells in Sid's book. I expect it to be a compendium of things we mostly already knew - the facts that dare not speak their name. But, the degree to which certain media people - particularly Chris Vlasto, Lisa Myers, Steno Sue Schmidt, Spikey Mikey Isikoff, Weisskopf, Turley, Jackie Juddd, etc... - were effectively operatives of the OIC needs to be told and retold again and again until people like the loathsome Kurtz take note.


Wow, these comments by Ken Rogoff are pretty surprising.

Kenneth Rogoff, the I.M.F.’s chief economist, went even further. He recently told journalists, “Suppose for a minute that we were talking about a developing country that had gaping current account deficits year after year . . . a budget ink spinning from black into red . . . open-ended security costs, and a real exchange rate that had been inflated by capital inflows. With all that, I think it’s fair to say we would be pretty concerned.” When I.M.F. types start talking about the United States as if it were a banana republic on a bad day, it’s probably time to change course.

Norah Vincent, Liberal

According to Jonah Goldberg, anyway.

What a moron.

(via Calpundit).

Advertise Here!

Once I spend the time figuring out how to get things all set up, I'll be running ads through blog ads. As Greg Beato says, it ain't enough to live on but it might be enough to drink on. So, if you're interested in advertising keep that in mind...

And, as always, thanks to all who have contributed. In addition - thanks to all who buy their books through the Amazon links. I know some people aren't thrilled with Amazon and would rather make their purchases through their local independent booksellers, so if you're one of those people please do that! But, if you are going to buy something through Amazon, I appreciate when you click through the links on this site. I generally get 5% when you make a random purchase and 15% if it's something I link to directly. The 5% isn't much obviously, but it does add up over time. It's nice getting money that way because I'm just getting a piece of what you'd spend anyway. And, since they pay quarterly it ends up being a decent-sized amount.

Data Geeks Go!

The Census Bureau has released their detailed 1% sample of 15 states. Go have at it

Must Hear Radio!

Margie Phelps will be on the Michelangelo Signorile Show on Monday. Don't miss!


I remember when I first started blogging the kool kids used to point to the Euro's slide against the dollar as proof of the failure of the euro-weenies and further evidence that USA RULES. Or something. Oops.

Ted's Back

And there was much rejoicing.

You should go read this post in particular.

Oops. Links bloggered, just go here and scroll down until Ted starts talking about Catholics.

More on Judith Miller

At Medianews(no permanent links, sadly)

From the now debunked "specially configured aluminum tubes" sought by Saddam to enrich Uranium, which Miller revealed last September, to the
accusation that Iraq obtained a particularly virulent strain of smallpox from a Russian scientist, to the over-hyped purchases by Iraq of large quantities of atropine injectors, to the shadow scientist last week who confirmed the major Bush administration allegations then disappeared, none of her stories contained real evidence of Iraq's alleged recent WMD program.

Unfortunately, The Times' reporter on the scene -- the Public's so-called watchdog -- is not only ideologically committed, but she may now have more of a stake than George Bush to prove all these front page allegations she channeled from the government were true.

Feel The Love

There is increasing acceptance of violent rhetoric. Witness Michael Graham on Hardball:

GRAHAM: I’m not a woman or an editor. But as a human being, I found the line a joke. It was a joke. It was just an off the cuff comment. Anyone listening to Hillary Rodham in her speech last week about patriotism, that screaming, screeching fingernail, I wanted to bludgeon her with a tire iron. That’s what I wanted to do.

David Neiwert discusses the folks at LGF.

Oh, and go read lots of good stuff over at Smart Remarks.

Move Aside Little Ben

It looks like the Virgin Ben is being replaced.


Finally Josh Marshall directs his attention to the GOP activist.

Sully Wakes Up

Sullywatch notes that Sullivan now says this about Bennett:

But when, of course, was the last time Bill Bennett defended anyone’s privacy? Hasn’t he spent a career arguing that privacy should be foregone for the public good? Doesn’t he believe that all private activities are dependent for their morality and legality on their effects on society as a whole? (Radley Balko nails this point home.) Hasn’t Bennett even defended the public shaming and stigmatization of “sinners?” (He has certainly argued that gay people should be stigmatized, while promoting untruths about them to boot.)

Well, duhh Sully. That's why it was a valid story.

Go Buy Some Books!

You can get Hillary Clinton's forthcoming book, or Joe Conason's forthcoming book, or Sid Blumenthal's forthcoming book, or Billy Bean's new memoir on being a gay baseball player....

and, hey, while you're there you can even buy a few things for me...

Erasing Bennett

Was Bill Bennett hastily pulled from an ad campaign?

Crackdown in Cuba

For the record, Wayne Smith's article on Cuba isn't even a very good example of "blaming America first." Had he written that article verbatim, substituting North Korea for Cuba, I don't think anyone would have even blinked. Pointing out that our belligerent foreign policy might lead to totalitarian regimes cracking down on their dissidents isn't really a crazy notion, and nor is it blaming their deaths on American foreign policy. Having our diplomats have high profile meetings with leading dissidents was clearly asking for trouble. Now, that doesn't mean we're to blame for their deaths, but it does mean that our Cuba policy is rather stupid. Our actions and diplomacy have consequences, intended or not. It's just that no one "on the Left" can say anything about Cuba without getting attacked.

If that's the best Cohen can come up with...

Atrios Was Right

By Richard Cohen

After the events of September 11, anonymous blogger Atrios wrote a comment that has stuck with me. He blasted the Republican Party's approach to foreign affairs, repeating the phrase "the blame Clinton first crowd." I hated the comment at the time, but have recently reread it. It has aged better than I have.

Atrios's mantra -- blame Clinton first, and by extension our country -- mostly applied to the post-Cold War era and the United States' attempt to contain and put out fires worldwide. But the appellation could just as aptly be applied to some of those -- note the modifier "some" -- who opposed the war in Bosnia, attempts to go after Bin Laden which were derided as "wag the dog" stunts, and almost everything else the United States had done during the Clinton administration.

A case in point is a recent article in the Weekly Standard, a conservative magazine, by William Kristol. It begins by characterizing the swift execution of 3000 people in New York City as an "assault." I would have used a stronger word, but okay.

The article goes on to blame this mass murder on our commitment to a "peace process" between Israel and the Palestinians. "The American stance was one of doubt, reason, and retreat," Kristol opines, suggesting that we ourselves were to blame for that horrible day.

"This assault was the product of two decades of American weakness in the face of terror and three decades of American fecklessness in the Middle East. From the barely-responded-to bombing of the Marine barracks in Lebanon in 1983 to the host of subsequent, little-noticed or quickly forgotten attacks in the later 1980s and in the 1990s, we came to be seen as a "weak horse." That characterization was Osama bin Laden's, and he made it with reason."

That same tendency to blame our foreign policy for the moral shortcomings of others unfortunately permeates the right and the Republican Party. I wish it were otherwise, but after Sept. 11 when some people reacted to the terrorist attacks here by blaming U.S. policy -- in the Middle East specifically but around the world in general this conclusion became inescapable.

Had we not pursued peace in Israel, had we not backed the corrupt Saudi monarchy, had we not been buddies with Saddam Hussein, had we not developed blue jeans and T-shirts and rock music and premarital sex, the World Trade Center might still be standing and the Pentagon untouched.

But this was the mass murder of innocents -- pulled off, incidentally, by non-poor young men who had not spent their lives scavenging for food scraps. The attacks were not in self-defense, or even in revenge for something America had done, but a fanatical, insane and futile blow directed at modernity.

Below the surface of this reasoning seethes a perplexing animosity toward the United States -- not the people but the government and the economic system. Possibly it has its roots in the New Deal, when government began to moderate the catastrophic results of the excesses of capitalism when government became the adjunct of moneyed interests. At the same time, of course, while governments on all levels -- federal, state and local -- were racist, the civil rights movement began to strip away the existing social hierarchy.

Almost none of that still applies -- the current government is rolling back the New Deal program by program, and bigotry and religious intolerance exist in the highest levels of government . Yet the impulse to blame America first lingers, an atavistic reflex that jerks the knees of too many on the right and has cost the Republican Party plenty over the years. Atrios put his finger on it almost 2 years ago. It's about time the Republicans listened to what he had to say.

Thursday is Jobless Day

Congratulations to the 425,000 new jobless! And to the additional 5,000 who didn't make it into the statistics the previous week.

Presidential Action Figures

From General J.C. Christian Patriot.

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Margie Phelps Writes to the NYPress

(Yes, that Phelps)

MIKESIGNORILE: You have reached new levels of deceit and depravity ("The Gist," 4/30). Complaining about Sen. Santorum and his family saying goodbye to their deceased baby as though that’s unnatural, while fags use every dead or dying fag in the world to promote anal copulation and similar abnormal behavior! Unbelievable! It definitely draws to mind the passage in the scriptures on homosexuals at Jude 8: "Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities." That fits you and those you favor to a T.

Have you been to a fag parade lately? Have you seen the bizarre vulgarities that make up their outfits and behavior? Have you listened to the sewage spewing out of their mouths? It’s like you’ve suddenly been transported to a parallel universe where everyone in it is an angry, violent, raging, pitiful, filth-mongering freak. I know–I’ve picketed scores of them. These people are riddled with every manner of mental, physical, emotional and moral deformity–and nothing is sacred with them.

What kind of a distorted lens do you look through, my friends? Where you would mock a man for letting his family say goodbye to a dead loved one, while promoting sex with feces and semen-drinking? You have truly lost all contact with reality. You and your readers are in desperate need of about five dozen readings of Romans 1–quickly.

Margie Phelps, Topeka, KS

Macho Macho Man

Gene Lyons Today:

Evidently, Bush will run as a one-man reunion of the Village People, the dreadful disco act. Having previously costumed himself as a businessman (his ventures mostly failed) and owner of the Texas Rangers (he had an 11.3 percent share when the team was sold), he’s added cowboy and fighter pilot to his repertoire. In reality, his Texas ranch was acquired in 1999; Bush’s time in the saddle is limited to golf carts.

(art by Julius Civitatus)

War Profiteers

Perle and his buddies:

Pentagon adviser Richard Perle briefed an investment seminar on ways to profit from conflicts in Iraq and North Korea just weeks after he received a top-secret government briefing on the crises in the two countries, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.
Perle, who until March was chairman of the Defense Policy Board, a group of outside advisers to the Pentagon, also serves on the board of several defense contractors. The revelation raises concerns about conflicts of interest.
The Times reported that Perle attended a Defense Intelligence Agency briefing in February and three weeks later participated in a Goldman Sachs conference call in which he advised investors in a talk titled "Implications of an Imminent War: Iraq Now. North Korea Next?"

Jewish Blood

The other night on the Daily Show, Chris Matthews said something along the lines of "Yeah, this guy... they discovered he's Jewish! He is not Irish or anything. His name is Kerry, but he's not Irish. He was hiding the fact that he's a Jew!."

As my friend J.C. says:

Kerry is not Jewish, his grandfather was Jewish, but converted to Catholicism. Kerry's father was raised Catholic. John Kerry is Catholic.

Kerry didn't know his grandfather was Jewish until recently.

Most Americans have dozens of ethnic and national backgrounds in their genealogical tree, yet they are not aware of most of them. Kerry's background is also German, English, and other nationalities, but I guess for these racist media-heads, a Jewish ancestor trumps everything else, and makes him instantly a "Jew", two generations removed.
Goebbels would have been proud.


Judith Miller

Here's an interesting article about the odd conflicts of one of the NYT's embeds.

Followers of the Iraq WMD debate know of the Iraqi "scientist" at the heart of Miller's article, the man who favors "nondescript clothes and a baseball cap." Prohibited from interviewing him, Miller based her account entirely on what this individual told U.S. military officers who then -- X to Y to Z -- told Miller what he'd said. Had it appeared on some fringe web site, the piece might be dismissed as not meeting the smell test, or as at least as being premature.

Said Jonathan B. Tucker, a former U.N. weapons inspector currently on sabbatical from the Monterey Institute of International Studies at the U.S. Institute of Peace, "It's very vague and not corroborated. I don't view it as definitive." Saying the story perhaps should have been held for more evidence, Tucker added, "It's pretty thin on the evidence."

But Randy Scheunemann, president of the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, said, "Miller is an absolutely veteran reporter who has broken a very important story."

Miriam Rajkumar, a project associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said it has a "politically potent use for those who want to justify and validate the allegations made before the war regarding Al Qaeda and WMD. Anything that validates that will be pounced on."

Miller herself appeared on the PBS NewsHour the day after her article appeared and, asked about any proof of WMD, referred immediately to "something more than a smoking gun," in short: "a silver bullet." The metaphors proliferated as the proof evaporated.

The article having leapt from The Times' front page, my dissection of it below will not be the first. Any reading of the piece should perhaps occur in light of Miller's relationship with the Middle East Forum, run by the controversial Daniel Pipes, who has been in the news of late as a Bush nominee to the congressionally chartered U.S. Institute of Peace. A non-profit, the forum was founded in 1994.

Theres's more there.

....and, the Rational Enquirer gives us Judith Miller Watch.

Luskin v. Krugman

I've sort of ignored this, as Luskin and his lapdogs are... how can I put it... dumb as a box of rocks and about as honest as the Iraqi Information Minister Ari Fleischer. But, Demosthenes has been on the beat and if you'd like a little lesson in economics you can go here. (start with Jobs, Jobs, Jobs a followup and go in chronological order).

Max had a piece earlier saying that Krugman could have been wrong on a couple of points, which is true enough, but that's different than accusing him of deception.

Wolf Deserves Pain

Go give him a spanking.


So, it looks like neither "more time with my family" (not claimed) nor "running for governor" (hinted at) nor "I am the worst Budget Director Ever" (suggested by Brad DeLong) is the sole reason for Daniels' resignation from OMB. Methinks the stink surrounding his recent subpoena caused Rove to extend the plank, tout de suite.

Deserter Storm

Tom Spencer of Thinking it Through discusses Operation Pacific Photo Op.

The Fabulous New Century

Neal Pollack serializes his new novel about his experiences at a certain well-known magazine.

Stupid Conservatives

God, I don't even know what to say about these idiots. The Liquid List has some thoughts.

Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Party On!

Dude - where's my twins?

Crazy, sexy, cool actor ASHTON KUTCHER sat down with Rolling Stone magazine to talk JENNIFER ANISTON, getting "punk'd" and partying with the BUSH twins -- JENNA and BARBARA! ET has the juicy rundown of Ashton's tales -- don't miss tonight's show for the story!

For the May 29th issue of the mag, on stands Friday, May 9th, Ashton shares tidbits from his sometimes loco life -- including an unforgettable party with the Bush gals. He tells Rolling Stone: "So we're hanging out ... The Bushes were underage drinking at my house. When I checked outside, one of the Secret Service guys asked me if they'd be spending the night. I said no. And then I go upstairs to see another friend and I can smell the green wafting out under his door. I open the door, and there he is smoking out the Bush twins on his hookah."

Butbutbut...Chelsea got a bit drunk once!

(oh Tbogg... I believe this is your cue...)

Santorum is Not Enough

Arthur Silber notices that the wingnuts are angry about the GOP's embrace of homosexuality.

And, yes, John Schlafly is gay.

Pierce The Space on Chatterbox

Over at medianews:

From CHARLES PIERCE: This Space always distrusts columns that call themselves by their own names, particularly when the author is by-lined anyway. This Spaces believes that to be pretentious dweebishness of the highest order, and This Space is tired of it, This Space is.

So This Space was predisposed to dislike Chatterbox right off the top, even before This Space read how Chatterbox is most concerned on who leaked the info on Bill (Sportin' Life) Bennett, rather than why it's good for this sinful world every time a gluttonous pecksniff gets hoisted publicly on his own prodigious petard. (Note To Bill: Re-read "The Ant And The Grasshopper."Now.)

This Space doesn't recall a similar diligence on Chatterbox's part as regards where all those really cool stories about Bill Clinton's extracurricular whoopie were coming from. Of course, this would have imperiled Chatterbox's -- and Mrs. Chatterbox's -- prominence in the bustling Beltway social scene, and This Space would never presume to do that.

Jonah Goldberg Doesn't Know His History

Over at the Corner (yeah, I'm slumming today), Jonah Goldberg says the following:

More important it is a lie that conservatives started the "gotcha game." If we're going to play "who started it?" then we must look to the John Tower affair, the Robert Bork confirmation, and the Clarence Thomas hearings.

What Jonah and many conservatives always conveniently forget is that John Tower wasn't brought down by scheming liberals - he was brought down by the testimony of theocrat Paul Weyrich. Sure there was an almost party line vote on Tower, but it was Weyrich who played "gotcha."



Poor Stanley and Rick and Bill

Check out this couple on the Amazing Race:

Twenty-eight-year-old Reichen is a pilot and teaches at a flight school in Los Angeles. A former US Air Force officer and a graduate of the US Air Force academy, he is married to his teammate Chip. He loves skiing and flying and is very into being physically fit. He describes himself as "detail-oriented, caring and thrill-seeking." He speaks French and has traveled internationally quite a bit. Reichen's views on relationship are much more liberal than Chip's -- He enjoys flirting with other guys, but that makes Chip upset. Reichen likens himself to Ben Affleck--"intense"--and says Chip is like Bruce Willis: "steady and true." Reichen says he never procrastinates; he gets things done NOW.

Chip is 36 years old and is the president of a media company that mainly produces music-related projects. He attended Yale and Harvard Business School. He loves hiking in the mountains and participating in triathlons." He describes himself as "determined, free thinking and mindful." He says he is like Winston Churchill: "steady…never say no; anything is possible." Chip lived in Hong Kong for three years, in Paris for six months and in London for two years. He is in great physical shape.

For some reason the sight of Chip and Reichen makes me want to go cheat on my wife. I'm not sure why, but I'm sure someone inhabiting Planet Kurtz can explain it to me.

But, when I do, she'll surely forgive me. After all, it'll be all Chip's fault.

(via vaara)

Fun With Actuarial Tables

That's probably the last time you'll see that headline. In any case, the House has just passed a bill which has lessened pension funding requirements for blue collar workers on the basis that blue collar workers don't live as long as white collar workers. Now, this could possibly be a reasonable step except for one thing - they aren't similarly increasing the funding requirements for white collar workers.

To explain this so that hopefully even your average House Republican can understand - let's suppose 50% are workers are white collar and are expected to live until age 80. Let's suppose 50% are blue collar and are expected to live until age 70. So, currently companies are required to fund pensions under the assumption that the average worker lives until he/she is 75. Now they want to require that pensions for blue collar workers are only funded for an expected lifespan of 70. Fair enough, but then pensions for white collar workers are only funded for workers living an average 75 years.

The net result is that a population with an average lifespan of 75 years will have pensions that are only funded for people who live an average of 72.5 years.

UPDATE: Oops, Bill hasn't passed. Just in the works. My bad.

Boo Hoo Hoo

A bigot had his feelings hurt.

What Julian Sanchez and Matthew Yglesias say about it.

As one of Julian Sanchez's commenters reminds us, Mistah Kurtz (the other one) thought his pile of warmed-up Anita Bryant barf was actually going to elevate the debate about homosexuality.

Making the Monkeys Howl

Man they hate when someone brings up the AWOL thing. Eric Zorn hits 'em with it again:

So much for that myth--the cynical distortion that has become conventional wisdom in many circles. During the presidential campaign of 2000, it started going around that Texas Gov. George W. Bush, then the leading Republican candidate, had significant gaps in his military record.

Specifically, that Bush failed to report for duty for an entire year toward the end of his hitch with the Texas Air National Guard.

The short version: In May 1968 the silver-spoon son of a U.S. congressman jumped to the top of a long waiting list despite mediocre scores on his pilot-aptitude test and was allowed to enlist in the Guard, a common way to avoid being drafted into combat in Vietnam.

In May 1972 he sought a transfer from Houston, where he flew F-102s on weekends, to a unit in Montgomery, Ala. There, he worked on the U.S. Senate campaign of a friend of his father's and, records indicate, blew off his military obligations.

Bush failed to take his annual flight physical in 1972 so Guard officials grounded him, the story went. He never flew again and received an early discharge to go to graduate school. His final officer-efficiency report from May 1973 noted only that supervisors hadn't seen him or heard from him.

Bush's campaign biography obscured or misrepresented these details. In the summer and fall of 2000, his spokesmen offered various and evolving explanations for what Democrats said represented a far bigger "character issue" than any of the windy exaggerations of their candidate, Vice President Al Gore.

"If he is elected president, how will he be able to deal as commander in chief with someone who goes AWOL, when he did the same thing?" Nebraska Sen. Bob Kerrey said to the Boston Globe, where veteran investigative reporter Walter V. Robinson, a former Army intelligence officer, wrote several major stories on the subject. "This stinks."

Somewhat Irrelevant Flashback

Who wrote this:

The Framers also understood that stable, tyrannical majorities can best be prevented by the multiplication of minority interests, so the majority at any moment will be just a transitory coalition of minorities.

Krugman Understands News

Why doesn't Howard Kurtz?

But U.S. television coverage ranged from respectful to gushing. Nobody pointed out that Mr. Bush was breaking an important tradition. And nobody seemed bothered that Mr. Bush, who appears to have skipped more than a year of the National Guard service that kept him out of Vietnam, is now emphasizing his flying experience. (Spare me the hate mail. An exhaustive study by The Boston Globe found no evidence that Mr. Bush fulfilled any of his duties during that missing year. And since Mr. Bush has chosen to play up his National Guard career, this can't be shrugged off as old news.)

Anyway, it was quite a show. Luckily for Mr. Bush, the frustrating search for Osama bin Laden somehow morphed into a good old-fashioned war, the kind where you seize the enemy's capital and get to declare victory after a cheering crowd pulls down the tyrant's statue. (It wasn't much of a crowd, and American soldiers actually brought down the statue, but it looked great on TV.)

Let me be frank. Why is the failure to find any evidence of an active Iraqi nuclear weapons program, or vast quantities of chemical and biological weapons (a few drums don't qualify — though we haven't found even that) a big deal? Mainly because it feeds suspicions that the war wasn't waged to eliminate real threats. This suspicion is further fed by the administration's lackadaisical attitude toward those supposed threats once Baghdad fell. For example, Iraq's main nuclear waste dump wasn't secured until a few days ago, by which time it had been thoroughly looted. So was it all about the photo ops?

Well, Mr. Bush got to pose in his flight suit. And given the absence of awkward questions, his handlers surely feel empowered to make even more brazen use of the national security issue in future.

You see, when a candidate tries to exploit his military experience, as Bush did with the whole fake "flying the plane thing," it is perfectly appropriate to bring up this issue and start asking the questions, which as Howie has pointed out, Bush has never really answered. In Howie's world, such questions are verboten and we shouldn't worry our little heads about them.

If Clinton had pulled a stunt like that, the lead paragraph of every news story would have been something along the lines of "President Clinton, whose relations with the military are somewhat strained due to his irregular draft record..." This was true even though Clinton never dodged the draft any more (and in some cases less) than did Dick Cheney, Pat Buchanan, Spencer Abraham, Elliot Abrams, Richard Perle, John Ashcroft, ...

Leave No Child Behind

General Myers on the Gitmo Kids, 4/25:

Myers: I would say, despite their age, these are very, very dangerous people. They are people that have been vetted mainly in Afghanistan and gone through a thorough process to determine what their involvement was. Some have killed. Some have stated they're going to kill again. So they may be juveniles, but they're not on a little-league team anywhere, they're on a major league team, and it's a terrorist team. And they're in Guantanamo for a very good reason -- for our safety, for your safety.

Administration officials today on some Gitmo kids:

WASHINGTON, May 5 — Bush administration officials said today that they would soon release an additional group of prisoners, about a dozen, from the detention center in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

Officials said that the prisoners, captured in the war in Afghanistan, had been determined to have no further intelligence value and that there was no evidence that they had been involved in any crimes.

The impending release comes after officials said that Secretary of State Colin L. Powell had told Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld that he was hearing a rising number of complaints from other countries about the indefinite detention of their citizens at Guantánamo.

Those to be released will probably include one or more of the three youths the military recently acknowledged were being held at Guantánamo. The three are believed to be 13 to 16 years old, and the disclosure of their detention by an Australian television network produced a barrage of criticism from human rights groups.

Monday, May 05, 2003

North Carolina Can Fire You For Being Gay

And the little darlings just rejected a bill to change that.

Bogus Statistics and Bigotry

Anytime one advances a cause with lies or obviously bogus statistics one's commitment to truth is obviously called into question. In addition, if someone knowingly uses fake statistics to try and demonize a particular group it demonstrates he/she is not only a liar but a bigot as well.

A few years back Wee Willy Bennett kept repeating some obviously fake statistics about the average lifespans of gay men. When confronted with the fact that the methodology used to obtained these numbers was flawed in a way which would be obvious to your typical 9 year old (and probably obvious to Brad Delong's kid when he was about 3), Bennett refused to back down. Instead, he cited another source to back up his claims - a source which simply cited the flawed original numbers.

Bennett - bigot, liar, hypocrite.

Kurtz Must Be Seen to Be Believed


From today's Media Backtalk
Kingston, R.I.: Re: Photo op on the Abraham Lincoln

Observation: a president who basically blew off most of his Air National Guard hitch would fly onto an aircraft carrier to declare an end to a war, and that amid all the media's gushing over this stunt there was virtually no mention of the president's military record -- or lack thereof. Question: I realize that this may be "old news," but wouldn't it have been apropos to bring up his Air National Guard absence?

Howard Kurtz: I've seen a couple of references to Bush's National Guard service, but since we never got a definitive explanation as to whether he was absent without leave, it's hard to keep pounding that as an issue.

In other words, since we've never actually gotten an answer we should stop asking questions about it or even bringing it up.

On Selective Biographies and the Press: Howard, you say candidates can't offer selective versions of their biography, but that is exactly what Bush successfully managed in campaign 2000, effectively shutting off all discussion of his drug use and other "irresponsibilities" of his youth and middle age. Earlier you claimed, essentially, that there's no there there in the questions about Bush's Guard service. Why is Bush's Guard duty, which you would probably have to admit is still cloaked in mystery, off limits to reporters when every other candidates military service will not be?

Howard Kurtz: Bush didn't shut off discussion of his youthful irresponsibility; he just refused to talk about it in any detail. The press was filled with stories questioning what he was trying to hide, examining his youthful drinking, speculating about whether he used cocaine, questioning his explanation to a Dallas reporter that he could have signed a government application attesting to no drug use in the past 15 years. There was also the story of his DUI charge that broke in the last week of the election. So this was hardly a non-issue.

UPDATE: The Horse reminds us of this nonsense by Kurtz:

Howard Kurtz then:

HOWARD KURTZ: "Josh Marshall, you
don't know the extent of damage or
vandalism by departing Clinton White
House aides, and neither do I. So, in
writing in Slate Magazine that the press
wildly overplayed this story, it kind of
sounds like you're acting as a knee-jerk
Clinton defender."

Howard Kurtz Now:

HOWARD KURTZ: I've seen a couple of
references to Bush's National Guard
service, but since we never got a
definitive explanation as to whether he
was absent without leave, it's hard to
keep pounding that as an issue.

David E. All Over the Place

David Ehrenstein of FaBlog had a piece in the LA Times yesterday, and will be on Signorile's radio show today.

My New Hero - Etan Thomas

A bit of poetry:

Stephanie Hill shoved her way through the crowd and whipped out a pen for Washington Wizards center Etan Thomas. She wanted his autograph, but had no idea he is a professional basketball player -- Hill was impressed by his poetry.


"People usually have a stereotype when they see a basketball player anyway. When they see you and you break those stereotypes, they come up to you afterward and they want to talk with you. I like that."

And the crowd at Borders liked Thomas.

"This poem is called, 'Republicans,' " said Thomas, wearing glasses and khakis.

Them hypocrites don't care about you.

Sunday, May 04, 2003

Kinsley on Bennett

I think Kinsley hits about the right note on Bennett (as does Dr. Josh). The defense that Bennett never condemned gambling, so therefore he can't be a hypocrite, is silly. Bennett didn't just tell us we must obey Bill's 10 commandments, he told us that we should all be a bunch of moralizing assholes and that we should apply social pressure to things we consider bad - doubly so for people in public life.

I don't think that drinking, smoking, gambling, and eating are for most people such a big deal. Clearly, nor does Bill Bennett. I also don't think homosexuality is a bad thing, I think decent people (and not so decent ones including many of Bennett's pals) get divorced, and once in awhile people get a blowjob. But, Mr. Virtue is the one who has argued we should bring back the Scarlet Letters for things we disapprove of. When he made that argument he wasn't saying it was for things that he disapproved of, but as Kinsley points out he argued that we must "enter judgments on a whole range of behaviors and attitudes."

Have You Ever Noticed?

Seriously. Have you ever noticed the way that Republican women seem almost embarrassed by being women? It's odd.

Insuring Kids is Easy and Cheap

Max Sawicky says offering to insure kids is a dodge by candidates offering some form of universal health coverage because it's easy and cheap. Big Media Matt says that's all the more reason to do it. I'd take it a step further and argue that it's probably the one part of our health care system for which universal coverage - of any reasonable sort - would be easy and cheaper than our current system. I'm just making this up of course, not having done any research, but I have a hard time believing that the expensive abuse of the emergency room system isn't predominantly a result of poor parents bringing in their uninsured kids.

Bob Dole Didn't Get the Memo

So, of all things Dole thought the topic du jour on 60 minutes should be Reality Television - and specifically the Osbournes. You know, the show praised by even Dan Quayle, with the star hamming it up with Bush last year at the WHCA dinner.

I wonder why Dole didn't choose any of the numerous reality television on That Other Network, the one run by that whatshisname from Australia. You know, all those shows which trivialize marriage and glorify casual sex... Or, maybe Dole could have asked about soft drink companies which use an opened soda can as an obvious symbol of a viagra popping old man's orgasm at the sight of a teenage girl half clad, or...

In any case, the real outrage with the Osbournes isn't that their son had to go to rehab - it's all the sons and daughters of not so well-to-do people who end up in jail instead of rehab. Speaking of that, one wonders also why Dole didn't pick on that other favorite reality show - Jeb!

Todd Gitlin is a Git

Avedon Carol, back at her old digs, tells us why.

Sid Tidbits

From CBS:

Don’t Say You Weren’t Warned: Sid Blumenthal’s forthcoming book, “The Clinton Wars” contains a number of juicy anecdotes, but one of the most telling takes place on Inauguration Day 1997.

President Clinton had finished his speech with a quote from the late Chicago Cardinal Bernadin saying “It is hard to waste the precious gift of time on acrimony and division.” People on the podium warmly shook the president’s hand, Blumenthal reports, but Chief Justice Rehnquist had been “chilly and expressionless toward the president throughout the morning.”

Following the speech, Rehnquist turned to speak to Mr. Clinton. “Good luck, “ he said. “You’ll need it.”

Hillary figured it out. “They are going to screw you on the Paula Jones case, “ she said while the president waved to the crowd.


You can order the book here:

And, you can order Hitlery Klint00n's book here (just to piss of the freepers):

Dean in Philadelphia

Went to the Dean fundraiser in Philadelphia today. I'd say there were maybe 100 people there. The governor spoke for about 30 mins. - mostly hit the right notes. Seems pretty good at managing to express an appropriate degree of outrage without resorting to hyperbole that the media can use against him. He spoke out clearly why he's for affirmative action, using an example of when he told his female chief of staff to try and hire more men, and attacked Bush for his bigoted dishonesty about the U. of M.'s "quota" system. He relayed an anecdote of an 80 year old gay Normandy Vet thanking him for his support for Civil Unions.

I think Dean has an approach which lets him get away with things other candidates can't. The senators who are running have a hard time criticizing Bush because most of them voted to support too many of his proposals, or at least the watered down versions of them. While one can explain away some of their individual votes (or even all of them) on practical grounds, it does give the Tim Russerts of the world the opportunity to make any criticism of Bush look like opportunism. Whether fair or not, Dean's "outsider" status makes him immune to this kind of badgering, at least for the moment.

(full disclosure: I had a comp ticket)

Bill Bennet On Homosexuality

From This Week, 11/9/97

WILLIAM BENNETT: Now it's my turn. Now it's my turn. But because we hold the relationship between man and woman in marriage to be special and sacred. We also hold it to be the grounds of continuation of society and we've ruled other things out.

Now, on what grounds do you say two homosexuals should be able to marry, but not a homosexual and his sister, or not some guy and four women? If it's a matter of, as I've heard and read in your documents, two adults who love each other, why not five adults who love each other? You have failed to provide a principled difference.
WILLIAM BENNETT: We don't know. I think the best state- of-the-art science right now is the belief that some people are hardwired this way. Some people make the choice. And there are a lot of people in the middle.

If there are a lot of people in the middle, if there are a lot of waverers, we should be sending signals of what - of what society needs to prefer. And it needs to prefer heterosexuality.


WILLIAM BENNETT: Well, for a lot of reasons. One, it needs to continue, and this is the way we continue. Second, by their own testimony, homosexuals are very unhappy. If you read...

ELIZABETH BIRCH: So you think people should only be able to marry to procreate?

WILLIAM BENNETT: Let me finish. You asked a question. Let me finish.

ELIZABETH BIRCH: Just to procreate?

WILLIAM BENNETT: Let me answer. No, no. Let me answer. They're very unhappy by their own testimony.

ELIZABETH BIRCH: Oh, that's not true.

WILLIAM BENNETT: Third, death. Death in this community - - the loss of life, the misery brought on by this life -- is a fact which you may wish to deny, but is a fact.

SAM DONALDSON: She says she's not unhappy.

ELIZABETH BIRCH: You know, Mr...

WILLIAM BENNETT: She says she isn't. But read the homosexual literature. This is the argument they make about genetics. They say if we weren't hard wired this way, we wouldn't choose it. No one in his right mind would choose to live the life they
are leading.

WILLIAM BENNETT: Well, it depends on how you ask the question. I mean, as the president said last night, you know, your mechanic, the guy who's doing your balanced budget, is he gay or not? You don't care. I mean, I ran these federal agencies.
We had tons of gay employees, perfectly fine with me.

But if parents say, look, we have some concern about a scout master or we have some concern about adoption by gay couples, that's perfectly reasonable. When you put it to a vote actually, as they did in the state of Washington last week, people
in the state of Washington did not come out the way Mrs. Birch says. So if you -- as Ms. Birch says.

If you ask the question, you know, are you in favor of not discriminating, all of us are in favor of not discriminating. But if you're saying should we be indifferent as a society to whether people are gay or not, the answer to that has to be no.

We Secured the Oil

But we didn't secure the Iraqi nuclear waste depository.

I feel safer already.

And, what Brad DeLong said, though my conversion came a bit earlier.