Saturday, May 17, 2003

Clue Stick

Oy, if this letter writer is correct...

As part of its propaganda effort in Iraq, the reconstruction office is establishing a newspaper called al Sabah, which is translated as "the dawn" ["U.S. to Take Its Message to Iraqi Airwaves," news story, May 11]. In fact, al sabah means "the morning"; the word for "dawn" is fajr. This is well known even among Muslims who don't speak Arabic, because a chapter in the Koran is called "al Fajr," and the first prayer of the day is the fajr, or dawn, prayer.
So morning, dawn -- what's the difference? Well, al Sabah also happens to be the name of the Kuwaiti royal family, as every Iraqi probably knows. News reports indicate that Iraqis already believe that Kuwaitis were behind the looting of their museums. Now they may be likely to believe that this new newspaper is sponsored by Kuwait.

Is that really the impression the reconstruction office wants to convey in this delicate political situation?


Kuwait City

Sixers Lose

And Hesiod and I had a friendly wager...

So, I'll pay up:

My horses had better win today...

I love Matt Taibbi

This guy keeps me entertained every week. He takes on Friedman.

What the Horse Said


I'm not sure why Eric Alterman feels the need to defend the "gentlemanly" John Fund. The truth of the physical abuse charges should be known and publicized. And, if Fund is innocent of them - in a legal or real sense, then that should be understood. But, if I get arrested for domestic abuse my name gets in the paper. If I'm a public figure and I get arrested for domestic abuse, my name gets in the paper with a follow-up article or two. If I'm a public figure who tried to smear a political opponent with completely baseless charges of domestic abuse I can expect a little bit more than that - which Fund didn't even receive.

It's hard to see how Fund was exactly piled on by either the liberal media or the SCLM. And, the recorded telephone transcripts of Fund with his then-girlfriend make clear that he was engaged in pretty vicious psychological abuse - cruel, dishonest, and manipulative. The idea that Fund is just this gentlemanly fellow who was just the innocent victim of an unreliable unstable accuser is a ridiculous mischaracterization given what we know. She may be unstable and unreliable, but Fund isn't exactly the pillar of stability or reliability either, whether or not he's actually been physically abusing anyone.

Eric also makes some unjustified cheap shots against the Horse by claiming they've been increasingly going over the line. Actually, as a long time Horse reader I can say they've toned down the act quite a bit since the early days, not entirely a good thing actually. They're always far more careful with their analyses or facts than is, say, Instahack, and frankly no more strident.

A couple Village Voice articles and a few liberal web sites commenting on the arrest of a prominent member of the WSJ editorial page is hardly a massive media witch hunt. Frankly, there was scant coverage of his arrest. Given that the WSJ has spent years smearing political opponents - living and dead, major public figures and extremely minor players - with false accusations about their personal and professional conduct, shining the light on actual criminal charges against Fund hardly seems unreasonable.

In the end, I think people in the media have a tendency to want their own personal lives to be above scrutiny. Increasingly many journalists are justifiably called "public figures" much more than your average elected politician is. As the Funds of the world trade in gossip, smear , and innuendo at dinner parties, on the WSJ editorial page, or on any the various cable nets, they open themselves up to the same treatment. I'd never advocate being dishonest, unlike Fund, but whether or not he hit anyone Fund is a slimebucket who cruelly used verbal and psychological abuse to manipulate someone into getting an abortion. Defend him on the facts, but Alterman goes far beyond that.

David E. has some more comments.

Sid Review

Of course, it completely whitewashes the media's role by claiming that the press has always attacked politicians. Nice justification. Otherwise, it's a decent review.

Bye Bye Bill

I wonder if Bill O'Reilly will keep his promise:

"If we don't find weapons of mass destruction in a week....allright?...and tons of them...I'll apologize to the American people...hell, I'll resign."

(not 100% on this quote, so if anyone can verify it that'd be great. He has said he'd have to apologize if no WMDS are found, but I can't find the 'resign' part.)
UPDATE: Consider the above mere rumor until it can actually be found in a transcript somewhere. In any case, he has said this( from Jim in comments):

Following up on Burton Radons' lead, I tracked down O'Reilly's interview on ABC's Good Morning America (March 18, 2003). In some ways this is better than the quote Atrios sorta got correct on the main page. If there are no WMD, O'Reilly vows he will never trust the Bush Administration again and that the war would be wrong. Here are excerpts:


Here's, here's the bottom line on this for every American and everybody in the world, nobody knows for sure, all right? We don't know what he has. We think he has 8,500 liters of anthrax. But let's see. But there's a doubt on both sides. And I said on my program, if, if the Americans go in and overthrow Saddam Hussein and it's clean, he has nothing, I will apologize to the nation, and I will not trust the Bush Administration again, all right? But I'm giving my government the benefit of the doubt. . . .

[And later in the interview]:

. . . if he has 8,500 liters of anthrax that he's not going to give up, even though the United Nations demanded that he do that, we are doing the right thing. If he doesn't have any weapons, then we are doing the wrong thing. So, we'll see.

Friday, May 16, 2003

Liberal Radio

Listen to Johnny Wendell tomorrow night. Susan McDougal will be on:

9-10PM, PCT,, KFI640AM in the Southwest.

(streaming audio available)

Not Our Celebrity

Apparently Ted Nugent is a wee bit of...well, a massive bigot.

Gore v. Bush States

Angry Bear put up some pretty pictures about the Bush and Gore states' relative tax burden. But, I didn't think this picture was the right one. It appears to simply be an average of the numbers across the states, rather than simply the (sum of all expenditures received by states who voted for X)/(sum of all taxes paid by states who voted for X).

So, I went to the raw data on all of that and wasted too many a few minutes punching it in. In total, "blue" states get 94 cents for every dollar they send to the Feds, and "red" states get $1.08.

On that note, I'm off to redistribute some of my income to the local bartenders.

Blitzer Time


Sullivan and Shalit

The depths of Sully's hypocrisy, ethical bankruptcy, and deception are highlighted in a few excerpts on the Ruth Shalit case that SullyWatch has dug up from George magazine. (link bloggered, scroll down)

Pointing Out the Obvious

Um...can I just talk in church for a second here? There is no way we will ever "win the war on terror."

So stop saying that.


More Sid

Bob Somerby brings to my attention this vacuous review of Blumenthal's book. Somerby notes in particular Maslin's interest in Blumenthal's discussions of the catty claims that Hillary didn't write It Takes a Village and stiffed the person who actually did.

As Somerby says:

MASLIN (pgh 1): When her book “It Takes a Village” was published in 1996, Hillary Rodham Clinton was assailed for not mentioning the ghostwriter who had been paid $120,000 to help. Her aide and confidant Sidney Blumenthal is now ready to set the record straight on this Clinton contretemps and hundreds of others. His most often repeated assertion, throughout an 800-plus-page memoir and political treatise, is this: “The charge was, of course, completely false.”

Meow! Hiss! Spit! Me-ow!! For the record, you might be surprised to learn that Blumenthal doesn’t write, “The charge was, of course, completely false” in his brief passage about It Takes a Village. In this part of his impressive book, he is helping readers get a sense of the endless, mindless, inane attacks that pundits loved lodging against Mrs. Clinton. And Maslin seems eager to show that he’s right. Blumenthal devotes two paragraphs to this incident (in an 822-page book); Maslin also gives it two paragraphs—in an 1100-word review! Why is this nonsense in paragraph one? To convince you that Blumenthal’s book is pure trivia. But then, early reviews have tended to focus on trivia—the kind our modern “press corps” dearly loves. Blumenthal’s book deals with troubling topics—matters that ought to concern all Americans. But simpering scribes like the Times’ Janet Maslin are eager to turn your gaze somewhere else. They feature minor episodes to avoid discussing the damage that’s been done by their class.

Let's take a look at how the media handled that issue - (Clinton Wars, p. 173)

In March, NBC News claimed a scoop about it: the First Lady had used an unacknowledged ghostwriter. The ghostwriter who had first worked with her on early drafts of the book happened to be Barbara Feinman, whom Sally Quinn and a number of Washington Post writers had used over the years on their books. The facts were that Feinman had been hired at the beginning of the project, but then Hillary had decided to write the book on her own, which she did by longhand, not being accomplished on a computer. Feinman was in any case paid $120,000, as earlier promised, though she had no part in the final composition of the text... Hillary's aides offered to show her handwritten manuscript to Tim Russert, the NBC News Washington bureau chief, but he declined and stood by the original broadcast. The Washington Post, however, did view the pages and publish an article reporting that Hillary had apparently written her book herself.

Senate Republicans Vote to Raise Taxes

Always read the fine print:

The Senate bill increases taxes and fees to offset tax cuts in excess of $350 billion. The increases include closing corporate loopholes and eliminating deductions for Americans working overseas.

Santorum Style

A bunch of people have written in suggesting we join in with Dan Savage's contest and try to figure out which gay sex act should henceforth be known as "The Santorum."

(um...keep it fairly clean at least)

Homeland Security Central

Josh Marshall is on the story about the Texas Republican's use of Homeland Security. I'm pretty dubious that this can be really be blamed on a low level cop, rather than on Craddick or DeLay himself.


So, conventional wisdom tells us that state-run industries are inevitably inefficient and bad for consumers. It is true that without competitive pressure, state monopolies might lack the incentive to provide both the quantity, quality, and prices that might arise in a truly competitive environment. And, state-run industries often become patronage machines - simply ways to dole out fiefdoms to favored donors and supporters.

However, most discussions of state-run monopolies ignore the other side of the equation - the fact that the state can be not just the sole provider of a particular good or service, but also the sole purchaser of a particular good or service - a monopsonist.

In both Pennsylvania and New Hampshire the state is the sole distributor of wine and liquor. Consumers must purchase these through state-run retail outlets, and restaurants must go through the state-run distributors themselves.

Roughly speaking, I would say that New Hampshire residents are quite happy with this system while Pennsylvania residents are not. The reason is that both states have an advantage on the whole sale end - by being the sole purchasers they can manage to obtain lower prices from wine and liquor producers in the same way that Wal-Mart can obtain lower prices from manufacturers. In theory, such lower prices could be passed onto consumers, making them happier and drunker.

By and large the system in Pennsylvania isn't very popular. The reason is that the liquor control board in PA has a dual function - both distribution and enforcement of liquor laws, which kind of puts it at odds with itself. The state has a sizeable anti-alcohol contingent, stemming back to prohibition, and there are plenty of dry towns. In addition, Pennsylvania is a big state geographically, which limits competition from border states for much of the population.

On the other hand, the New Hampshire system seems to work quite well. Stores are large and prices are cheap. The primary difference is that New Hampshire's retail outlets are designed to be competitive - competitive with the liquor sales in the surrounding states. This map displays the rather strategically located outlets along the border of the state. In fact the stores are frequently located at highway rest stops to make them that much more convenient.

The point is, by being a big buyer, New Hampshire can have lower liquor procurement costs. By being competitive, and keeping prices low, they can attract even more business and revenues from residents high cost states who drive over the border and load up their SUVs with their monthly's supply of happy juice.

UPDATE: David Appell informs me that one can purchase wine in non-state run stores in New Hampshire.

Thursday, May 15, 2003


Word of the day. Learn it.

More tomorrow...

That Diligent Times

There are multiple books documenting the serial lies and omissions of the Grey Lady throughout the Clinton administration.

So, what are they worried about now?

EDITORS AT the paper are looking into complaints about fudged datelines, composite scenes and too-good-to-be-true quotes, the sources say.

Ah, okay.

Private Lynch

So, the US military runs into a hospital with blanks in their guns in order to stage a little movie of an unnecessary heroic rescue.

Jesus wept.


Just go read.

If we had an actual media, with all the high profile government contracts Halliburton is receiving, they might refer us back to Dick Cheney's VP debate with Lieberman.

I think if you asked most people in America today that famous question that Ronald Reagan asked, "Are you better off today than you were eight years ago?" most people would say, "Yes."

And I'm pleased to see, Dick, from the newspapers, that you're better off than you were eight years ago, too.


CHENEY: And most of it -- and I can tell you, Joe, that the government had absolutely nothing to do with it.

Savage Autism

There's nothing like picking on the disabled. Autism rates in California are skyrocketing, and here's how Michael Savage responds:

[This from Rick Rollens. Please participate if you agree with this
Well, it seems that national talk show host Michael Savage, who describes himself as a "compassionate conservative" and host of the nationally syndicated Michael Savage Show, has taken on the autism community. He stated in a program yesterday that the new California Report was "a way to drum up business" now that the Iraq war is over and that there is no proof that autism is increasing. He also mocked our community by reading a list of some of the symptoms of autism and said "I have that, I have that, I have that" mocking the seriousness of the autistic condition. Please join me today, from 4:00pm to 7:00pm (pst) by phoning into your local am radio affiliate and getting on the air with Michael and setting Michael straight on autism and the autism epidemic. You can also e-mail him as well.
He can be reached at: or call his show at:1-800-449-8255.

I suggest you also contact the folks at MSGOP News ( and and ask them if a man who openly mocks and scorns the disabled is someone they think should be representing their news channel.


You know, I've always been somewhat of defender of the DLC against those who think it's Satan incarnate. I'm all for a bit of money-raising pragmatism. But, their attempt to frag the Dean campaign was both poor in form and poor in substance. They've pulled a full rectal-cranial inversion and tried to tar Dean's grass roots support as support by "activist elites" as opposed to "normal people." And, most of all, they've tried to paint Dean is a some crazed lefty. The fact is, there's only one candidate that's clearly to the right of Dean on the issues and that's Lieberman, though a case could be made for Graham I suppose.

Clinton was an economic centrist but social liberal who know how to reach out to most of fractured coalition that is the Democratic party. The biggest problem we face in the '04 election isn't Great Leader's mighty air craft carrier codpiece, or whatever that year's "soccer moms" will be called - it's voter apathy. When the chips are down - and they're increasingly down - people want to be inspired.

I'm an anyone but Bush guy at this point. I don't know if Dean is either my favorite candidate or the one I think has the best chance of winning the general election. It's too early to make such a determination. Al From is right that Clinton didn't win by running to the Left, but he didn't win by running meekly either. The people I've met at the Dean Meetup and Fundraiser that I went to weren't "activist elites." The most commonly used expression at those events was something along the lines of "I've never really done something like this before..."

The key is to make politics interesting and inspirational - to draw people into it and to make it a participatory. I'm not sure if Dean can do that - but it seems to be what he's trying to do.

Oh, and you can contact the DLC here.

Texas and Homeland Security

So, I'd say the administration might be somewhat off the hook on this one, but this Texas trooper needs to be put in jail for this. I'm not sure for what, but deceiving federal law enforcement agencies has to be good for some time.

A Texas trooper trying to enlist federal help to find missing Democrats told the agency that tracks drug smugglers and terrorists that former House Speaker Pete Laney’s light plane might have crashed, the federal agency said Thursday.

Democrats, already angry at the efforts used to try to force them back to Austin so Republicans can redraw congressional districts in Texas, called the revelation a clear abuse of power.

"From all indications, this request from the Texas DPS was an urgent plea for assistance from a law enforcement agency trying to locate a missing, lost, or possibly crashed aircraft," said Dean Boyd, spokesman for the federal Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is part of the new Homeland Security Department.

A DPS spokeswoman, Lisa Block, declined to comment on the propriety of the phone call, or say if it followed accepted DPS procedure. She also declined to say if the agency is inquiring into the matter.

According to a partial transcript the bureau released late Thursday, the DPS officer told the bureau’s tracking center, “We got a problem and I hope you can help me out. We had a plane that was supposed to be going from Ardmore, Oklahoma, to Georgetown, Texas. It had state representatives in it and we cannot find this plane.”

Washington Post Circulation

Reader 56k brings us this interesting article from a few months back:

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Post is one of America's great brands, a successful newspaper that dominates a rich metropolitan market. But its circulation is shrinking, and, according to confidential assessments by Post executives, market shifts make it hard to recoup losses.

Memos unveiled as part of a lawsuit show the newspaper losing ground with such key groups as newcomers, young readers, and even well-educated, affluent consumers. In recent years, the paper has watched circulation drop in core parts of the sprawling Washington area, where a burgeoning immigrant community includes many non-English speakers.

The Post has been losing readers since 1993, with circulation falling 8.25% weekdays, to 746,724, and 7.97% Sundays, to 1,048,122. Nationwide, from 1993 to 2001 (the latest figures available), newspaper circulation dipped 7.08% daily and 5.55% Sundays.


Although Post execs last week declined to say whether the trends persist, the ongoing dips in circulation suggest the difficulties continue. Responses by the paper have included the addition of sections on local news, expanded coverage of growing outlying areas, and extra marketing efforts for the Sunday paper.

Or, maybe it was over that period of time that the mighty Clenis(TM) fried your collective brains.

The Ethics of Susan Schmidt

Years later, in 2000, in an online Washington Post chat room, a reader asked the newspaper's chief Whitewater reporter, Susan Schmidt, why the paper had never published the results of the RTC-Pillsbury Report. She replied, "The Pillsbury Report was incomplete. Information that had surfaced after its release - notably Mrs. Clinton's Rose Law Firm billing records - rendered it irrelevant." Unfortunately, this was not factually true. The billing records had no relevance to any legal issue addressed by the Pillsbury report, and the RTC had issued its February 25 report subsequent to the discovery of them, making that very point and vindicating Mrs. Clinton. In any case, this incorrect ex post facto defense cannot explain the newspaper's decision not to publish the contents of the original report in the first place. Though the Post has published lengthy internal reviews of its errors in the past, Schmidt's was the only explanation ever offered by anyone there involves in its Whitewater coverage.

The Clinton Wars, p. 179.
I suppose that's the kind of affirmative action one gets when one is desperately trying to help Len Downie get his Watergate.

Emphasis is Everything

What Calpundit says about right wing bigots.

Torture Wolf


The Ethics of the Entire Profession

On December 13, 1995, the Resolution Trust Corporation release it's long-awaited and dreaded supplemental report on Whitewater...

The RTC report stated that it had in its possession "essentially all of the documents regarding Whitewater" relevant to the Clintons...

In brief, everyone of the accusations against the Clintons was false...

Understandably, the Clintons had been pleased. At last, they were vindicated. The White House sent out copies of the report to more than 150 news organizations. Then, nothing happened. If the report had been launched into outer space it would have received more coverage. The Wall Street Journal ran a straightforward article in its news pages. But days past and nothing appeared in The Washington Post and The New York Times. No network broadcast any report. As it happened, the Post never mentioned it, and almost two weeks later, the Times published only a few lines, and somewhat misleading ones at that.

The Clinton Wars, p. 168.

The Ethics of Jeff Gerth

Much has been made of the question whether the scandal would have been stanched if Hillary had turned over the Whitewater files. Both David Gergen and George Stephanopoulos insisted that if the Post had been handed the documents the Whitewater fuss would have effectively been ended. But Jeff Gerth already had documents, including the long memo from the Arkansas bank commissioner Beverly Basset Schaeffer, with the correct information. The last was not, apparently, part of his picture.

The Clinton Wars, p. 224
It is unknown what kind of affirmative action Jeff Gerth is receiving, but one imagines it is the kind you get when you have pictures of Lelyveld with a goat.

The Ethics of Sally Quinn

In February 1994, I had lunch with Tina Brown in New York to clear the air and to discuss future stories. All was affable and uneventful. When I returned to Washington, I received a call from a friend and former colleague working at the "Style" section of the Post; this friend told me there was a campaign being conducted against me, that the "style" piece was a part of it, and that Sally Quinn, who still exercised some influence at the "Style" section, was boasting that I would soon be fired from The New Yorker. I called Sally up. She openly acknowledged spreading the rumor about me and wondered why anyone would make a fuss about it; that was just how Washington operated and nobody should blame anybody.

The Clinton Wars, pp. 226-227.

I guess that's the kind of affirmative action that happens when you're screwing the boss.

More Assault Weapons, Less Crime

I'm not a big gun control guy, or at least I usually don't bother discussing at much as there isn't usually much knowledge and/or honesty on the subject (on both sides at times), but I'm really curious where the gun fetishists would draw the line? I don't want nitpicking arguments about how some of the banned assault weapons aren't really assault weapons, blah blah blah. All that may be true, but the point is where *do* you draw the line? Anywhere?

Occasional Reminder

Red states are stealing money from blue states. I wish they would stop.

Why Does Ahnuld Hate America?

Schwarzenegger Opposes Bush:

Arnold Schwarzenegger says he couldn't have become all he has become -- championship bodybuilder, presidential fitness adviser, "The Terminator" -- without mentors early in life.

Yet many kids would lose that kind of support under the Bush administration's plan to cut $400 million in after-school spending, Schwarzenegger told a Senate subcommittee Tuesday.

"If our children are our future, our future is in jeopardy every afternoon between 3 and 6 p.m. when unsupervised children are roaming the streets," Schwarzenegger said

Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Crossfire, Today

Poor Tucker.

BEGALA: Well you know where your tax dollars are going? Our federal Department of Homeland Security was used to try to track these guys down. We got seven Americans killed by terrorists this week and Bush is using the Homeland Security Department for partisan ends (ph)? Shame on him. That's a waste of taxpayers' money. That's what we ought to be concerned about, young lady.

CARLSON: And if that were true, I would be concerned.

BEGALA: From the left -- that's true. It was reported in today's (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

CARLSON: Bush did not use it. Untrue.

BEGALA: Bush is the president. It's his department. From the left, I am Paul Begala. That's it for CROSSFIRE.

CARLSON: And from the right, I'm Tucker Carlson. Join us again tomorrow for another edition of CROSSFIRE.

God It's So Depressing

I really can't believe this hardball transcript. Just make it all go away...

MATTHEWS: Now for our “Decision 2000 Political Update.” This weekend, Senator John Edwards addresses the human rights campaign, the nation’s largest gay and lesbian organization.
On our HARDBALL college tour, Edwards opposed gay marriage but endorsed partnership rights regarding health care and other benefits for same-sex civil unions. On a more personal note here’s Congressman Dick Gerhardt, another presidential hopeful, discussing his own 30-year-old daughter.
REP. RICHARD GEPHARDT (D-MO), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Chrissy (ph) is a lesbian. She is a great young woman. She is doing great work. She’s a social worker here in D.C. And I’m very proud of her. And I want her help in the campaign. And she’s going to help with gay and lesbian people, but she’s going to help with people all over the country.
MATTHEWS: It’s interesting that Vice President Cheney’s daughter is also a lesbian. Interesting. Things are developing in this country for better or worse, but we are coming public with these things. Finally here’s some muscular in-your-face politics from President Bush. Today he addressed graduating class at the University of South Carolina. Not Notre Dame or Stanford, but South Carolina, the site of his bitter year-2000 primary smack down of Senator John McCain.
MATTHEWS: Let’s go to the panel. We didn’t get to see much of him there. Terry, what do you think of these new developments?
JEFFREY: Well, in terms of Senator Edwards and his position coming forward in terms of the gay rights thing, Chris, this goes right back into the last discussion. The fact of the matter is if you adopt and advocate tradition views that we ought to only have sex in marriage, which was the view that Senator Santorum was expressing a few weeks ago, and you relate this to people who want to engage in homosexual behavior, or even promiscuous homosexual behavior, then the cultural lead in this country will to try and destroy you. The fact of the matter is, if in this country you try and teach your children the traditional moral norms in sexuality, the cultural elite in this country from the public schools to the people who run the newspapers...
MATTHEWS: Was it right or wrong for Dick Gerhardt to come public about his daughter’s orientation? Is it right or wrong for Dick Cheney to do the same a while back?
JEFFREY: I think its wrong for any leader in American life to try normalize morally...
MATTHEWS: No, is it right or wrong to be open about it?
JEFFREY: I think it’s very odd. I think it’s odd for a politician to try make a political gain out of talking about his daughter’s sex life. Why is he going on national TV?
MATTHEWS: Maybe because a newspaper organization is about to blow...
JEFFREY: Why do we need to know about his daughter’s sex life?
MATTHEWS: ... the story.
JEFFREY: That’s another horrible thing. Why should they want to blow the story?
MATTHEWS: Because he has got to deal with it. Does anybody ever thought about these lines? I will let everybody off the hook on this one. Go ahead, Carl.
JEFFERS: The only thing I would suggest about what Terry just said is I would wonder if Terry also felt that it was inappropriate for Dick Cheney, and whether he was looking at it for a political gain because I don’t think he was. And I don’t agree with Dick Cheney and have a great deal of problem with much of Dick Cheney’s position, but that I believe that Cheney and Gerhardt, all of these men and women, when it comes to them, are being sincere. They’re dealing with an individual family situation and they are trying to make it an easier situation, I think, for the country to understand that diversity is important and we have to accept these things, and that is that’s no excuse, by the way, for allowing kids to be able to do what they did in New York and that.
JEFFREY: This is the truth. No one has the right to tell your kid or my kid that it’s OK to have sex outside of marriage or that homosexual sex is morally acceptable.
MATTHEWS: Nobody is saying that.
JEFFREY: Yes, they are.
JEFFERS: Nobody is saying that, Terry.
JEFFREY: They’re in the supreme court right now, the Lawrence v. Texas case, arguing that it is quote-unquote a fundamental right to engage in any kind of consensual sex.
MATTHEWS: Who wants to talk? Go ahead. Go ahead, Ken.
JOWITT: Well, first of all, being a devout heterosexual, I think it’s perfectly legitimate for gays and lesbians to organize as interest groups like any other citizen, to assure they’re not discriminated. I mean, my father had to hide the fact that he was a democrat working for a republican in a factory, for god’s sake. Some people had to hide the fact that they had mixed marriages. I don’t have to be a partisan of any particular style of life. What I object to is promiscuity in every type of life. It’s perfectly legitimate for Gerhardt to say his daughter is a lesbian and lesbians vote. I mean, not to acknowledge this is to put your hand-your head in the sand. And it is not the condoned promiscuous behavior on anyone’s part.
MCGUIRK: I think it’s ironic that you have two guys with the first with the first names that they have with the lesbian daughters. I don’t think there is some sort of pattern there, but...
MATTHEWS: Well, OK. No. Coming up, more shots at President Bush and his victory visit on the USS Abraham Lincoln from the Democrats. They keep hitting him for his best day on earth. There is President Bush aboard the ship. We will be back to talk about why the Democrats keep bringing the issue up again.

I Think There's a Word For This

Maybe someone can help me out:

WASHINGTON -- Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss thought he was chatting privately with Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist when he asked for help in securing an appointment for a rich GOP donor who raised "a chunk of money for me."

Little did he know Frist had allowed a reporter to listen in and his story would spark allegations by Democrats that the two GOP lawmakers were "selling ambassadorships to the highest bidder."

Holy Crap

Texas Republicans use Homeland Security agency in California to track Democrats.

Oh man, these guys are unbelievable:

State Rep. Craig Eiland, D-Galveston, said he believes that the dragnet went overboard when a Texas Ranger tried to find him Monday night at the neonatal unit of the Galveston hospital where his newborn twins are recovering -- in intensive care. Eiland said he called the agent on his cellphone and told him that DPS agents had already found him in Ardmore, Okla. -- where he and most of his fellow boycotters are in self-imposed exile.

"It's unnecessary, bordering on harassment," Eiland said. "Let the good guys go back to catching the bad guys and let the politicians deal with each other."

And somebody in comments was complaining that the guy had abandoned his twins. No wonder - it wasn't as if he was going to be able to be in the hospital anyway.

One federal agency that became involved early on was the Air and Marine Interdiction and Coordination Center, based in Riverside, Calif. -- which now falls under the auspices of the Homeland Security Department.

The agency received a call to locate a specific Piper turboprop aircraft. It was determined that the plane belonged to former House Speaker Pete Laney, D-Hale Center.

The location of Laney's plane proved to be a key piece of information because, Craddick said, it's how he determined that the Democrats were in Ardmore.

"We called someone, and they said they were going to track it. I have no idea how they tracked it down," Craddick said. "That's how we found them."

Best Blurb Ever

For all his faults, Sully does manage to provide the greatest cover blurb Blumenthal could have ever hoped for. (link bloggered, just scroll down)

"The account Mr. Blumenthal gives of the haplessness and priggishness of Kenneth Starr is riveting stuff. ...The insane attempt to actually bring down a President over perjury in a civil suit has not yet been more vividly evoked. ... Brutally revealing about the stupidity, bigotry, malevolence and extremism of the right-wing forces that became obsessed with President Clinton."

--Andrew Sullivan, New York Observer

John Tierney

Oh holy hell. The Times, looking to compeletely drive off its readership, has assigned John Tierney to cover the Democratic candidates.
(link fixed)

Blitzer Time

You know the answer.

Mass Graves

You know, I'm a little annoyed that the discovery of mass graves filled with dead bodies killed during the popular uprising we encouraged and then turned our backs on is being used as a justification for this war... I mean, we already knew Saddam killed lots of people when that happened and that we did nothing to help them.

Graham vs. Graham

A reader writes in:

He wrote to you:

"Media bashing is one of my personal pleasures, and your collection of articles/blogs on the topic looks promising. I promise to be back."

Yet on his web site he says:

"I'm not a media basher by nature. My life hero is a newspaperman--H.L. Mencken, after whom my son is named. I understand that everyone makes mistakes, including journalists. "

It's not his nature, but it is one of his personal pleasures! Ha!

UPDATE: This letter to Graham on his website is pretty funny.

Ask the Times

According to drudge, the Times is having a forum today. You can send them email at and ask them questions about their coverage.

I suggest you might ask them how it is possible that their former executive editor, Lelyveld, who presided over much of the Whitewater coverage, is completely ignorant of the facts that were uncovered in that investigation. You can get your inspiration from Joe Conason or from Gene Lyons.

You might want to also ask about why they kept Jeff Gerth on despite his blatant lies and key factual omissions.

And, why they allowed Kit Seelye to stay on after manufacturing a scandal by misquoting Al Gore, or Rick Berke's numerous embellishments and misrepresentations during the campaign.

Profit Margins

I'm a bit puzzled by something (well, not really). As anyone will learn in a basic economics class, while the pursuit of profit is the raison d'etre for businesses, profits themselves should be generally frowned upon by your efficiency-loving economist. Profits (or above normal rates of return) should exist as reward for innovation, or risk-taking, but otherwise are a sign of some market imperfection - generally market power. So, what can we conclude when the owners of the Philadelphia Inquirer doesn't consider a profit margin in the "mid-teens" to be high enough?

There sure as hell isn't any innovation going on there. Used to be a great paper - sad.

Does Michael Graham Lie?

As one of my commenters points out, the MSNBC transcript doesn't exactly fit Graham's version of what he said on MSNBC. It didn't fit with my memory of it either, but I took him at his word. Silly me.

[Graham wrote] and the fact that it's preceded by the sentence "It's a JOKE!" and followed by "That's how I felt, but I would never DO it," do you really think this is violent rhetoric on par with a discussion at LGF of purging our nation of problematic fellow citizens.

well, here's a link to the transcript:

and here's the relevant section:

MATTHEWS: Well, I accept your standards. Michael Graham, what do you think?
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.
MATTHEWS: Counting on Michael Graham, he’s in the controversy. Thank you, Katrina Vanden Heuvel. Michael Graham, it was great having you joining us.
And join us tomorrow night at 7.

My Correspondence With Michael Graham

Michael was kind enough to send this email to me:

First, let me apologize for not being a regular at the site. Media bashing is one of my personal pleasures, and your collection of articles/blogs on the topic looks promising. I promise to be back.

As a member of the "just spell my name right" wing of American punditry and shameless self-promotion, I'm glad to get the mention on your site. And as an unapologetic right-winger, I'm not bothered in the least that mention isn't positive.

But I'm waging this (seemingly) one-man war for something resembling reason between the Right and Left and I'm just curious: Do you really find my comments on Hardball offensive? Really?

Given the context (a discussion of a columnist getting in trouble for a joking remark) and the statement itself, (isn't "tire iron" the least bit humorous?), and the fact that it's preceded by the sentence "It's a JOKE!" and followed by "That's how I felt, but I would never DO it," do you really think this is violent rhetoric on par with a discussion at LGF of purging our nation of problematic fellow citizens.

Look, I know that people on my team jump on every little comment from a lefty. I know that in the post-Clinton era, all debate is partisan. But I have this dream (which I write extensively about in REDNECK NATION) that liberals will one day return to the principles of liberalism, one of which is for everyone to relax and get over it.

I remember the days when it was Conservatives who had no sense of humor. Does it truly move us forward for the Left to lose theirs, too?

Sorry about the long email and thanks for your time.

which I thought was reasonable enough that I should reply in kind, so I responded:


I'm not a member of the humor police. I'm one who thinks anything can be funny, from the holocaust to dead babies (remember dead baby jokes?), and even ethnic jokes.

However, for a something to be funny there actually has to be a joke. Simply stating something is a joke doesn't make it one. Where is the humor in wanting to beat Hillary Clinton with a tire iron? Other than appealing to the "yes, me too!" crowd who thinks the idea of beating her with a tire iron would indeed be funny. That's the only joke there - I'm not sure how the pairing of the word 'tire' with the word 'iron' constitutes a joke.

It's conservatives who have seized upon some absurd parody of political correctness and combined it with the new Patriotic Correctness, as you say jumping on anything lefty political opponents say. Once upon a time conservatives would do things like wonder out loud why, say, jokes about women were misogynystic but jokes about men were A-Ok. Hey, maybe there was a point there - but now we see conservatives being far more PC than lefties ever were - getting genuinely outraged about jokes about men, or christianity, or generally priveleged ethnic groups, or whatever. What began as "why the double standard" is now frothing rage more silly than even the silliest caricatures of lefty PCness. Combined with the increasing tendency to view any criticism of Great Leader as evidence of a lack of patriotism - as if president and country where the same - from where I stand it's the RIght who needs to lighten up.*

As for the question of I genuinely found the comments offensive or whether it's just scoring points for my side - it's both. There's a violent undercurrent in too much of the rhetoric cominig out of the right - particularly on AM radio but increasingly moving to the more "legitimate" news outlets. Now, if someone goes and hits hillary clinton with a tire iron I won't blame you for it, but one can't deny that there's a segment of the population (one can see them at, free republic, LGF, etc...) who thinks should violence would be acceptable or even necessary. More generally, we have a problem with violence against women in this country - there are plenty of men who think fists, if not tire irons, are the appropriate way to deal with uppity women. So, yeah, it's offensive.

But, the other part of what's offensive is the double standard which has overtaken the increasingly conservative dominated media. You're not blind - you know when one of our side makes a little slip, real or perceived, it gets Drudged and broadcast on practically every radio station in the country. If Susan Sarandon had suggested that Tom DeLay should be beaten with a tire iron, there would be howls of outrage on your side.

You screwed up. Should you be drummed out of the public square for it? Probably not. Should Hardball think twice before having you on again anytime soon? I'd hope so. If you'd just said it on your radio show would anyone have noticed? Probably not. But, shows like Hardball are still masquerading as legitimate news - and thus they define what is acceptable legitimate discourse. What is okay for an AM radio ranter isn't necessarily okay for the Newshour with Jim Lehrer, or Hardball.

That's the point that Bob Somerby is trying to make - it isn't simply that people say these things, it's that the political discourse in this country is increasingly dominated by Chris Matthews fantasizing about Hillary Clinton's sex life and people who make tire iron jokes. That the AM radio talk ethic is moving its way into cable news, the network news, and the non-tabloid op-ed pages.

To which he said:

Thanks for taking the time to respond. Unfortunately, your entire response was a screed against the VRWC media boogeyman, and avoided the obvious, fundamental question: So, anytime some says "I wanted to kill that guy/break his neck,etc.,etc"--a common idiom in the Engligh language--that person is making a threat? Saying something offensive?

Once again, that was the POINT OF THE CONVERSATION on Hardball. All you're showing me is your intentional obtuseness in defense of your politics.

I'm happy to be a conservative, but I'm not willing to be intentionally stupid to further the cause. I guess I don't want it as bad as you do.

Thanks again.


*I slightly fixed that sentence which managed to get mangled somehow. I don't think it changes the substance of the exchange in any way.

Howie and the Clenis(TM)

So, I went back and read Howie Kurtz's meditations on Salon's Henry Hyde story. They were fairly sober meditations on the issue, mostly providing a platform for all of the accusations that the Clenis itself had investigated and orchestrated the story. A couple "anonymous sources report that anymous sources overheard.." types of things we had come to love during those wonderful days. But, basically he framed the coverage around the issue of whether the media should be reporting this stuff and and whether the Clenis was behind it all.

Compare that to today's lovely discourse on the revelations that the governor of West Virginia was having an affair...

Ailes has more.

Bush Has Always Been A Liar

Bob Somerby rips into our ridiculous horrible media. A few more people who deserve the Blair treatment.

Place Your Bets

Odds that Sullivan actually read more than the first few chapters of Sid's book?
I say 1 in 15.

Puppy Love

"I melt when I'm around him."
--Newt Gingrich to his (now former) wife, talking about the Clenis(TM).

Words of Wisdom from Marvin Olasky

Oh the wit!

[T]he George W. Bush who was tough enough to stand up to supporters of Saddam should refuse to be pushed around by supporters of sodomy.

via Arthur Silber.

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Michael Moore Has Crossed the Line

The other night on Bob Costas's show, he said the following:

Anyone listening to Lynne Cheney 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.

HAHA! I'm kidding of course. Michael Moore didn't say that, it was actually 2nd tier right wing hack Michael Graham on Hardball. And, he didn't say it about Lynne Cheney - he said it about Hillary Clinton!

Hahaha. Those conservatives are hilarious.


So, is anyone going to hold Bill Safire accountable for his decades-long reign of error?

All signs point to no.

Praise Jeebus

Many undecideds.

So far, many voters have not yet made up their mind who to vote for in 2004. 34 percent of registered voters say they would vote for President Bush over an unnamed Democratic challenger, 21 percent say they would vote for a Democratic challenger and 42 percent of voters don't yet know for whom they would vote.

Missing Safire Column?

This article is still up on the website but it isn't listed at any of the usual places.

Cox Caves

Thank you for your email. Cox Communications has made a decision to run the spot entitled “Blood,” produced by, which opposes proposed tax cuts.

Originally, Cox declined the media buy based on a review of just the script, due to concerns that the television spot was in poor taste and the portrayal would prove offensive to viewers.

Upon review of the actual spot, Cox has determined that the message is acceptable and plans to begin running the ad immediately.

Cox has a long history of airing ads from various political parties and all sides of debated issues. However, the company reserves the right, as granted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), to reject ads it feels customers will find offensive or in poor taste. The initial decision to decline the airing of the “Blood” ad was based on this policy.

(a reader forwarded this email to me)

Slate on Sullivan on Shalit


The Sullivan blog's serial maiming of Raines isn't just payback, of course. The Raines regime deserves much of its dressing down. But when Sullivan goes on and on about how the Blair scandal isn't about "an overwhelmed, twenty-something young reporter" but "how he wasn't stopped, and despite crystal-clear warnings, was actually promoted at the behest of the highest authorities in the place: Gerald Boyd and Howell Raines," one can only offer two words: Ruth Shalit. As editor of the New Republic in the mid-'90s, Sullivan protected and defended the young Shalit in an almost identical fashion as she sloppily cribbed and plagiarized again and again after being busted in public again and again. (See Lisa Depaulo's definitive feature in the February/March 1996 George for all the incriminating details.) Of Boyd and Raines, Sullivan writes, "They weren't just AWOL for this calamity; they compounded and magnified it, by promoting Blair again and again, despite their own editors' ferocious objections and a fast-accumulating record of inaccuracy and deception." Talk about glass houses!

Clinton Wars, p. 129

During a debate on a terrorism bill opposed by the NRA, one Republican congressman, who voted against it, summarized the sentiment: "I trust Hamas more than I trust my own government."

The Clinton Wars, p.127

The new Speaker of the House was Thomas Foley of Washington state, a charming, progressive Democrat who was deeply devoted to the institution. Gingrich's aide ginned up a rumor mill, calling reporters around Washington and smearing him as a closet homosexual. "We hear it's little boys," one of them told a reporter, who reported this remark.

Rush Limbaugh Show, 8/31/93

LIMBAUGH: And welcome back to RUSH LIMBAUGH on television sitting here, ladies and gentlemen, in the Limbaugh Institute for Advanced Conservative Studies. And again, if you're wondering why I'm holding a utensil made popular basically on
Thanksgiving Day, be patient, be cool because we'll explain it to you in the final segment of our program.

All right. Gays in the military. Wha--I want to show you Strom Thurmond. And I'll tell you why I wa--have you--have you people by--have any of you in the audience seen Strom Thurmond's comments on this? All right.

Now Strom Thurmond is 90 years old and, of course, he's--he's from the World War II generation. He has a different view of the world than people of, say, my generation or my parents' genera--well, I wouldn't say he's different from my parents'
generation. Probably the same view of the world--same thoughts. Strom Thurmond just fire--he doesn't care. He is not encumbered by trying to be politically correct. He's not encumbered by all of the--the so-called new niceties and proprieties. He
just says it, and if you want to know what America used to be--and a lot of people wish it still were--then you listen to Strom Thurmond. Here he is conducting hearings yesterday on gays in the military and he's actually talking--you won't see him,
but you're--he's talking to a homosexual. He--and what you also won't hear--he has just asked the homosexual if he has ever sought psychiatric help.


LIMBAUGH: Now, my friends, let's not chuckle. Be compassionate. He will ask the homosexual if he's ever had any psychiatric help and ha--the homosexual answers and then Strom continues. Here's what he says.

(Footage from Senate hearing)

Senator STROM THURMOND: Your lifestyle is not normal. It is not normal for a man to want to be with a man or a woman with a woman.


LIMBAUGH: He got a standing ovation. Now people--people applauded that. People applaud--because--you know, Strom Thurmond can say it because he's 90 years old and people say, Ah, he's just an old coot. He's from the old days,' and so
forth. But that's what most people think. They just don't have the guts to say it. That's why they applaud when somebody does say it that directly and that simply.

Limbaugh didn't mention Thurmond's rumored illegitimate child or his marital infidelity.

Tom Craddick Has Big Ones

On CNN just now Tom Craddick just stated that in the past 25 years he'd been in the House no one had walked out on voting except for a few senators in the late 70s.

Of course, if he'd extended that to the past 32 years he would have had to inform us that he himself had pulled a similar stunt.

Candy Crowley unsurprisingly didn't bother to share that with us.

Go take this poll.

UPDATE: Not the first time.

That Liberal Media

Serial truth molester John Stossel will be Barbara Walters' new co-host.

Explosion At Hart Senate Building


Washington - The Hart Senate Office Building is evacuated after what the D.C. Fire Department describes as a report of an explosion in the loading dock area -- possibly coming from a trash compactor.

Fire and EMS spokesman Alan Etter says it happened around 2:15 this afternoon. Etter says there is the odor of smoke on the lower floors, and that hazmat teams are now going inside the Hart Building, which is at Second and C streets, Northeast.

There are no immediate reports of any injuries.

The Senate gallery has told reporters it is a minor incident involving a trash compactor, and that the situation is under control and there's no danger to anyone.

Not clear if it's any big deal.

...or maybe not. sounds odd.

Deja Vu All Over Again

Howard Fineman, March 18, 1991:

If you are a Democrat with a compulsion to run for president, this would be a good time to find a detox program for the ambition-addicted. President Bush's popularity is at Founding Father levels. The Republicans have a cassette full of your doleful prewar words about Desert Storm, ready for media man Roger Ailes to pin to your hide. Meanwhile, Bush's Warthogs -- Rep. Newt Gingrich and Sen. Phil Gramm -- are softening you up from the air, impugning your toughness if not your patriotism. Even if you voted for the war, as did Sens. Al Gore and Charles Robb, you still have to answer for your party, which opposed it almost en masse. "They're fair game," says Ailes.

Cox Cable Won't Run Move On Ad


Well This Is Scary

There are days I'm not happy about living in the heart of a major urban area... No offense to my suburban and rural friends, but I think your shopping malls are safe.

Post vs. Post

This is rare - someone actually criticizes (gently) Howie. Of course, it isn't actually in the print edition.

It's a great article so just go read the whole thing

Fair and Balanced

Newsmax just wrote to inform me that Fox & Friends proudly featured Chris Ruddy talking about their playing cards of the Axis of Weasels. Having Chris Ruddy on at all demonstrates that Fox has no journalistic ethics.

I'm sure Fox will proudly feature the Chickenhawk Deck tomorrow.

Blitzer Time

Make him cry.

Thug Watch

In West Hollywood:

Two Iranian men who allegedly attacked two men they believed were Jewish outside a West Hollywood nightclub pleaded no contest to a hate crime charge, authorities said.

Daoud Mohammad Majid, 19, and Mohammed Hassan Aref, 22, of Los Angeles, The men pleaded no contest Monday to a hate-crime attack in a Beverly Hills courtroom, without the original bodily injury component that prosecutors had sought.

They faced as much as eight years in state prison if they had been convicted of the original charges of committing an assault likely to cause great bodily injury enhanced by a hate-crime allegation, said Scott Millington, head of the district attorney's hate-crimes unit.

Majid was put on three years' probation and ordered to receive tolerance counseling, go to the Museum of Tolerance, perform community service and make restitution to the victims, Millington said.

The same conditions were imposed on Aref, but his sentencing was postponed. He was ordered back to court on Nov. 3.

Authorities said Majid, Aref allegedly chanted "Kill the Jews" as they kicked the two victims on the ground. The Sept. 15 incident followed a "Persian night" promotion at a nightclub.

Freeper Thread Pulled

But it started with this post:


North TX Freepers and Ardmore Freepers should coordinate efforts and form a posse to make CITIZEN ARRESTS on the FUGITIVE COWARD RATS who have fled the state of TX, AVOIDING REPRESENTING THEIR CONSTITUENTS and HOLDING BILLS HOSTAGE.

Molly on the Texas Leg.

Haha, I'd forgotten this one:

Most of us thought it was pretty funny when Rep. Debbie Riddle popped out with her now-classic statement: "Where did this idea come from that everybody deserves free education, free medical care, free whatever? It comes from Moscow, from Russia. It comes straight out of the pit of hell."

Who knew Thomas Jefferson was a commie from hell?

Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories. And to render even them safe, their minds must be improved to a certain degree. . . . An amendment to our constitution must here come in aid of the public education. The influence over government must be shared among all people.

Another Whites Only Prom


Rachels disagreed, saying the prom isn’t about prejudice, but tradition.‘I don’t think there’s a lot of tension between us,’’ she said. ‘‘We’re all friends, we just have different interests. We’re all very close. It’s not racial.’’

Um, if it isn't "racial" what the hell is it?

True Patriots

The story of the Texas Democrats fleeing the state is hilarious. The story of the Republicans sending the Texas rangers into Oklahoma to get them is hilarious. The story of them wanting to get the Feds involved is hilarious. And, this comment by New Mexico AG Patricia Madrid is hilarious:

Her comments came after Gov. Rick Perry's office asked New Mexico whether it would allow Texas officials to make arrests in that state. Madrid said the question is being researched. But she wasn't taking it all serious.

"Some are speculating this request from the Texas Governor's office concerns an effort to locate missing Texas House Democrats," Madrid wrote. "If so, Texas should understand that since ski season is over, the Santa Fe Opera has not begun and President Bush was just in town, I don't think they are in Santa Fe now. Nevertheless, I have put out an all-points bulletin for law enforcement to be on the look out for politicians in favor of health care for the needy and against tax cuts for the wealthy."

Charles Kuffner gives us the media rundown.

Velociraptors in Bowties

Blumenthal's description of the right wing attack monsters.

ha ha

Book's good. Go buy it.

Monday, May 12, 2003

Blaming the Clenis(TM)

General JC Christian Patriot says we should do it more often.

Irony Overload

Jeff Greenfield is on CNN discussing the Jayson Blair issue. Yes, this 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."

Bye bye MSGOP


About 200,000 people are watching these programs. If viewers are distributed evenly across the United States, that means that:

In the Philadelphia metropolitan area, where Chris Matthews is from, about 3500 people are watching.

Hire Macarena Hernandez

The New York Times owes her.

When Middle Class White Guys Lose Their Jobs

Katha Pollitt notes that the media only starts paying attention (and thinking it matters) when realtively well-to-do males start taking the jobs that Mickey Kaus thinks single mothers should be thrilled to have..

A Picture Of Me

There's a little tiny blob in the background (a tad bit more clear in the print version) which I believe is me. I was walking behind Dean and his mini-entourage when the photo was taken.

Here's the accompanying article.

Boo Hoo Hoo NYC Commuters

Michael Rappaport (scroll down to his letter) complains about Mayor Bloomberg's desire to impose a 2.75% city wage tax on commuters, on the basis that it is a whopping six times what the commuter tax was before it was consigned to oblivion.

Here in Philadelphia residents (moi) pay a whopping 4.54% and commuters pay 3.95%. While everyone agrees it should be lowered (though there isn't agreement on how to make up for the lost revenue), I'm not too sympathetic to the notion that the commuter tax is too high relative to the resident tax.

Interestingly, due to deductability of local taxes paid elsewhere, the Philadelphia tax basically prevents the surrounding municipalities to enact their own income taxes, and causes them to rely on property taxes instead.


It looks like this blog may have managed to break the camel's back over at blogads. They'll be putting in another server soon. So, in the meantime I'll be pulling the ad strip in and out depending on if load times are reasonable or not. For those who have bought an ad (and please go click on the links to the right) I'll make sure to have the ad time extended for a couple of days so you don't get cheated.

When Two Wrong Make a Right

Leaving your apartment without locking your door: wrong.

Leaving your apartment without your keys: wrong.

(That moment of truth when you put your hand on the doorknob...priceless)


Apparently Rove has decided that it wasn't a war, just a battle.

Who Needs the RNC?

Big Media Matt says this TNR Primary Blog is cool. Great, just what we need - non-stop nitpicking of the candidates by "even the liberal" TNR. Look, I'm not against constructive criticism but this kind of carping isn't exactly helpful. Besides, I thought that was even the liberal EVERYONE ELSE IN THE MEDIA's role.

So, the Dems will get stepped on from the left over at the Nation, smacked into submission from the center by The American Prospect, and bludgeoned from the right by the New Republican - and that's the liberal media for god's sake.

Literary Nitpicking

Eric Alterman argues that my saying that the whole point of the Human Stain was Bill Clinton's impeachment is wrong, and says that "Both insist that the book is a defense of Clinton. Nothing could be more politically blinkered. The “entire point” of the book is not an argument about Bill Clinton. Its genesis was inspired by Bill Clinton, sure, but it is a work of art independent of any political function."

That's a rather odd view of literature. Sure, it exists as a work of art independent of any political function - but it's silly to argue that it is solely a work of art independent of any political function. I can't imagine anyone seriously making that claim about Roth's Our Gang, or Guernica.

There are three basic things playing out in Roth's book. The first is the backstory of a black man who for years had passed himself off as a Jew. The second is a brief meditation on campus racial and gender politics. The third, and the majority of the novel, is an explicit allegory on the Clinton impeachment mess. The author makes that clear multiple times, explicitly linking events in the book with events in the "real world." On page 2, it reads "1998 … in America the summer of an enormous piety binge, a purity binge, when terrorism - which had replaced communism as the prevailing threat to the country's security - was succeeded by cocksucking…," rather presciently. Somewhere in the middle of the book there's an extended overheard dialogue discussing Monica Madness as one would a football game.

The short version of the Human Stain is that a man is brought down by an accusation that was on its face ridiculous, and that no one really actually quite believed. Some of his natural allies failed to support him out of fear, and some because they felt he'd abandoned some previously held ideals. Some piled on for envy and revenge, and in one case unrequited (and unrealized) lust.

While they managed to destroy his career, he was finally killed by an insane freeper in the midst of said cocksucking. The blowjob was subsequently used to justify all of the previous allegations in an anonymously circulated email which read "One is left to imagine just how heinous were the crimes that he was determined to hide." The crime was simply that he got a blowjob from a younger lower class woman.

But, it's silly to create this artificial divide between "Art" and the rest of the world. Nick Hornby writes books inspired by music. They aren't just about music, and one wouldn't have had to have heard any of the songs he references to read his books, but it would be wrong to say that they are independent from music. The Human Stain is clearly political. One wouldn't have to know a thing about Monica Madness to enjoy the book, so in that sense it is independent from it. But, it is still about the blowjob - and other things, too.

Former Times Editor Careless With Facts

Joe Conason rips into Lelyveld.

It Takes One To Know One

I suppose a former incompetent disgraced editor knows enough about the job to criticize other incompetent editors such as Lelyveld and Raines. But, I really will never get beyond what Andrew Sullivan considers to be his proudest moments in his undistinguished career:

TNR also published the first airing of 'The Bell Curve,' the explosive 1995 book on IQ, and 'No Exit,' an equally controversial essay that was widely credited with helping to torpedo the Clinton administration's plans for universal health coverage.

Promoting a book of racist propaganda a factually challenged article about the Clinton health plan.


Time to Read

My copy of Sid's book arrived, so like Josh Marshall I must go and read it.

Ad Problems

Minor hiccup over at blogads so I pulled the strip down. It'll return shortly.

Secret Courts

Oh this is just delightful.

Federal Judge Asked to Toss Secret-File SuitFederal Court in Florida Hides Cases From Public
Dan Christensen
Miami Daily Business Review

With the start last week of the government's high-profile drug trafficking case against accused Colombian drug lord Fabio Ochoa, a fresh spotlight is shining on a little-known practice by the U.S. District Court in South Florida that's hiding civil and criminal cases from the public.

Ochoa's defense team, including Miami super-lawyer Roy Black, says it has identified several drug cases in which the existence of events and pleadings were omitted from the public docket. The Daily Business Review learned that in one case drug defendant Nicholas Bergonzoli was convicted, sentenced and imprisoned last year in total secrecy.

Drug cases aren't the only ones sometimes kept completely secret. Also obscured from view on the docket kept by Court Clerk Clarence Maddox's office is a civil case brought against a prison warden by a young Algerian man living in Deerfield Beach, Fla., Mohamed Kamel Bellahouel, who was once mistakenly suspected of involvement with terrorists.

Neither the courts nor the U.S. Attorney's Office, however, acknowledges that dockets are being secretly maintained. A 10-year-old decision by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta -- U.S. v. Valenti -- forbids the use of so-called dual dockets in which some matters are held back from the public.

It Should Be Front Page News

When a sitting senator and presidential candidate in the position to know accuses the president of a cover-up of the events surrounding September 11. Why it isn't I do not know.


Brad DeLong explains the breathtaking incompetence of the Bush Administration to MK Ultra Hack.

Sid in the Times

Here's pretty good coverage of his book, though it unsurprisingly doesn't mention any of Sid's criticisms of the Times' reporting. What's fascinating, which I'd sort of forgotten, is the extent to which Sid was mocked as a journalist for being Clinton defender way back in Clinton's first term. Any of the kool kids mocking their own for being Bush defenders? Of course, Sid was right and they were wrong and may Jeebus's wrath come down upon them all.

The Final Word on Jayson Blair

As always, provided brilliantly by Neal Pollack.

This weekend's stunning admission by the half-wit fifth columnists at The New York Times that a young reporter named Jayson Blair had engaged in an elaborate series of deceptions, falsehoods and calumnies undetected by his sleepy editors is a sure sign that black people must not be allowed to practice journalism in America anymore.

Sunday, May 11, 2003

Rove's Dilemma

Digby has a fascinating post about the neo-confederates' bigotry against gays and lesbians.

Just Curious

This will be about as accurate of a survey as is, say, your average Wolf Blitzer poll. But, I'm curious about how many people here haven't read Conason & Lyons Hunting of the President. I don't mean my Republican readers - I doubt any of them have.

The interesting thing in all of this is that Righties love to blast the Times, not realizing that us liberals hate it too. The notion that it's "liberal" - and in particular the notion that it's pro-Democrat - is hilarious to us. We remember Howell Raines' thundering editorial calling on Hillary Clinton to "prove her innocence" of unspecified charges.

If you prefer your history dressed up as fiction, The Human Stain provides it for you.*

Oh, and while we're on this general topic, Monica Lewinsky has an op-ed in the LA Times today. She's right.

*Just a note on the Human Stain. I really was fascinated by the fact that all of the reviewers ignored the entire point of the book. Despite the fact that the author himself described the book as a visceral reaction to the impeachment mess, the entire focus by reviewers was on the racial plot device. Spoilers ahead (highlight text to read): Jeebus, the main character is killed by a crazed freeper while he's receiving a blowjob


Returning now to the unreliable sources transcript:

SULLIVAN: Let me ask you a question. If you found out that a leading Republican official who never said anything about homosexuality, for example, not a word, turned out to be privately gay, would you out him?


SULLIVAN: Why not?

GREEN: What he does in his bedroom is his business. I mean, Bennett was out in public...

I'm not really sure what it means to be privately gay. I mean, can one be privately straight? I guess if one has *never* been seen in any public setting with a partner that would qualify, but that's just about impossible. And, being gay is quite separate from what one does in one's bedroom, as is being straight quite separate. Father Mychal Judge was gay, but celibate (presumably at least). The latter fact doesn't nullify the former.

Andy himself outed Janet Reno, Ed Koch, Rosie O'Donnell, Richard Simmons, Donna Shalala, and Donna Brazile. I'm not sure if they were "privately gay" as I'm not sure what that means, but they weren't publically "out" either (I'm not even sure if they're all gay - or if Andy is sure.)

Well, anyway, I guess inconsistency is the hobgoblin of power glutes. As Andy once wrote:

“There comes a point, surely, at which the diminishing public stigmatization of homosexuality makes this kind of coyness not so much understandably defensive as simply feeble: insulting to homosexuals, who know better, and condescending to heterosexuals, who deserve better. It’s as if the closet has had every foundation and bearing wall removed but still stands, supported by mere expediency, etiquette and the lingering shards of shame. Does no one have the gumption just to blow it down?”


Gotta love it:

A move in the U.S. Congress to link immigration with opening up Mexico's state oil company to U.S. investment has outraged Mexicans, and newspapers Saturday accused American lawmakers of arrogance and blackmail.

The House International Relations Committee narrowly approved the measure Thursday saying that any accord on immigration issues with Mexico should include an agreement to allow U.S. companies to invest in the state oil company Pemex.

The measure is a nonbinding "sense of Congress" amendment in a broad State Department funding bill, and must still be approved by both houses of Congress.

It went nearly unnoticed in the U.S. news media but created a storm in Mexico.

The 1938 nationalization of Pemex is celebrated as a symbol of national pride and was written into the constitution.

"Blackmail in the US: Immigration Accord for Pemex," a leading newspaper, El Universal, said in a front-page headline Saturday.

Andrew Sullivan On Privacy

05/27/01 in the Times of London.

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

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

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

You know, I'd be a lot easier on Andy (not that he cares) if he hadn't written that.

And, unfortunately for him he wrote that just before this broke.

Sully Defends Bennett


KURTZ: You decided to kick him in the shins?

GREEN: Well, I'll leave that for readers to judge. I think a lot of people saw the inconsistency in the fact that he's decried everyone else's morality and given himself a free pass of one vice that he himself happened to indulge in.

SULLIVAN: So he can't win. I mean, if he actually had said gambling is a vice and wrong, you have a case that he's a hypocrite. But he didn't so he is not a hypocrite, but you still nail him.

GREEN: But he has. I mean, he wrote a book (UNINTELLIGIBLE) cultural indicators, he listed gambling as one of the indicators of social decline.

SULLIVAN: Yes, of course, it wasn't him, it was some army of paid researchers that produced it for him.

GREEN: His name is on the book.

SULLIVAN: Yes, his name is on a lot of books, but it doesn't mean he wrote them.

I wonder if Bennett ever specifically condemned claiming you'd written something when you hadn't...

(sent in by David E.)

The Clenis(TM) Never Rests

Nor does the media's obsession with it.

O, Canada!

Is there a Bubba/Belinda brouhaha in Toronto?

Canadian society is all atwitter with rumors former President Bill Clinton may be involved in more than a friendship with wealthy socialite Belinda Stronach, 37. The press is going ape over word Stronach is divorcing Johann Olav Koss, her Olympian speed-skating Norwegian hubby of three years.

u The chat: Stronach, whose father runs Magna International, has played golf with Bubba, dined with Bubba and reportedly looks like a young Hillary.

u The tittle tattle began last September when the two "B's" both attended a fete at Toronto's Four Seasons Hotel and got people wondering if they were an item.

u The flip side: The Stronaches have reportedly been in talks with Clinton about his library and foundation . . . but more than that, who knows?

More Problems at the New York Times

Apparently their former editor also needs someone to fact check his ass.

The story said that the Clintons had a half-interest in a real estate development company in the Ozarks and that the other half was owned by an old friend who was at the helm of the biggest savings and loan association in the state when it became insolvent.

Madison Guaranty wasn't the biggest S&L in Arkansas, unless you live on Planet Gerth. It wasn't even the biggest one that failed. As mbroglio informs me:

Here's a list of the top S&L's in Arkansas that failed, the amount of the bailout and the time spent by RTC investigators on each S&L:

First Federal Savings of Arkansas - $833 MILLION - 13 hours
Savers Saving - $645 MILLION - 140 hours
Independence Federal - $314 MILLION - 19 hours
Landmark Savings - $91 MILLION - 3 hours
Madison Guaranty - $73 MILLION - 5,661 hours
First American Savings - $65 MILLION - 171 hours
Home Federal - $59 MILLION - None
First State Savings - $57 MILLION - None

Where Right and Left Should Agree

The continuing use of eminent domain by local governments to seize properties for private use, by ridiculously stretching the meaning of "public purpose," should stop. Sometimes it may be justifiable, of course. But, for example, the situation described in this article in which the property was taken and handed over to Pfizer is ridiculous.

It's a lefty issue because the properties are generally owned by lower income people without the resources to mount a legal challenge, and a libertarian-righty issue because of the Evil Big Government/Property Rights angle.

Kudos to the libertarian Institute for Justice for making this one of their issues.

I don't expect President New Baseball Stadium to have much to say about this one, of course.

Best. Job. Ever.

Klingon interpreter needed.

The language created for the "Star Trek" TV series and movies is one of about 55 needed by the office that treats mental health patients in metropolitan Multnomah County.

"We have to provide information in all the languages our clients speak," said Jerry Jelusich, a procurement specialist for the county Department of Human Services, which serves about 60,000 mental health clients.

Although created for works of fiction, Klingon was designed to have a consistent grammar, syntax and vocabulary.

And now Multnomah County research has found that many people -- and not just fans -- consider it a complete language.

"There are some cases where we've had mental health patients where this was all they would speak," said the county's purchasing administrator, Franna Hathaway.

County officials said that obligates them to respond with a Klingon-English interpreter, putting the language of starship Enterprise officer Worf and other Klingon characters on a par with common languages such as Russian and Vietnamese, and less common tongues including Dari and Tongan.


All the people who feel it necessary to wonder if Jayson Blair is evidence of the perils of affirmative action.

Make me sick. I'm sure the same people will be lecturing us about the evils of "collective rights" even as they obsess about the fact that this guy is black.

The difference it seems, is that the white people get promoted.

Anthrax Under Water

This is creepy:

The FBI has developed a new theory on a central mystery of the 2001 anthrax attacks after finding evidence in a Frederick, Md., pond that may suggest how an ingenious criminal could have packed deadly anthrax spores into envelopes without killing or sickening himself, according to sources close to the investigation.

A piece of equipment and other evidence recovered this winter from ice-covered ponds in Frederick Municipal Forest have reinvigorated the 18-month-old case, leading officials to explore a novel theory with shades of science fiction. Some involved in the case believe that the killer may have waded into shallow water to delicately manipulate anthrax bacteria into envelopes, working within a partly submerged airtight chamber. When finished, the killer could have easily hidden the evidence by simply dumping contaminated equipment and clothing into the pond.

Bush Photo Op Costs Workers Day of Pay


SANTA FE, N.M., May 10 -- About 340 workers at an Omaha plastics factory will lose pay or have to work next Saturday to make up for time lost during a visit by President Bush on Monday to promote his "jobs and growth plan," their boss said today.

Brad Crosby, president of Airlite Plastics Co., said about 170 of his workers will lose a full day's pay and another 170 will be docked for part of their pay for Monday unless they make up the time they spend attending Bush's speech.

Airlite, which will shut down for its first shift and part of the second shift to provide a photogenic backdrop for Bush's speech, will be the Monday afternoon stop on a two-day swing by Bush to pressure senators to support a large tax cut as the measure heads to the Senate floor. Bush will stand near a production line that makes polystyrene containers for shipping steak, vaccines and other goods