Saturday, August 23, 2003

Clinton Hating

Irrational Bush hatred is limited to the far corners of the internet. Irrational Clinton hatred launched the careers of a thousand pundits and dominated the political discourse by politicians, journalists, and pundits alike for years.

David Neiwert has a long analysis of this.

And, hey, Josh - I still think there's a book here.

Friedman vs. Friedman

Swopa gives us some fun stuff:

Tom Friedman, August 24, 2003:

... this war is about Western powers, helped by the U.N., coming into the heart of their world to promote more decent, open, tolerant, women-friendly, pluralistic governments by starting with Iraq ...

Tom Friedman, June 4, 2003:

The "real reason" for this war, which was never stated, was that after 9/11 America needed to hit someone in the Arab-Muslim world.

And I seem to remember back in March he told us it was to save the poor little bunnies from the invading forces from Zarquon. Or something.

Jim Robinson Responds to Bush's Falling Re-Elect Numbers


More than half of Americans didn't vote for him the FIRST time. He was selected, not elected. Remember? Bwahahahhahaha.

Robinson is Der Fuhrer of Freeperville.

Shorter Tom Friedman

The American people and our allies must be willing to pay any price asked of them by the Bush Administration to improve the situation in Iraq even though the administration has clearly demonstrated that it is unable to do so.

In Their Own Words

Marty Connors, Alabama Republican Party Chairman:

Alabama needs to raise some revenue; there's no question about that, but this is not a tax increase any longer. This is a massive redistribution of wealth. We are the Republican Party -- of Alabama! If a Democrat had proposed this, we would be burning down cities.

Bush at 53

In Newsweek poll.

Against this backdrop, President George W. Bush’s approval ratings continue to decline. His current approval rating of 53 percent is down 18 percent from April. And for the first time since the question was initially asked last fall, more registered voters say they would not like to see him re-elected to another term as president (49 percent) than re-elected. Forty-four percent would favor giving Bush a second term; in April, 52 percent backed Bush for a second term and 38 percent did not.

As KB points out in comments, the numbers validate the recent Zogby poll.

Simple Simon Out

Though I believe he'll still be on the ballot. Hesiod, Kos, and I have all predicted Davis remains. Let's hope we're correct.

Kos thinks it transfers the wingnut vote to McClintock. He's probably right. Rush has done a 180 over Arnold and has started fawning over him, but I don't think that'll be enough.

Summer SPLC Intelligence Report

The SPLC has a few things to say about my old pal Robert Stacy McCain, assistant National Editor of the Moonie Times.

An avid poster on Internet discussion groups, McCain has aired strong personal views on these subjects. In December, New York Press media critic Michelangelo Signiorile published some of McCain's contributions to, written under the pseudonym BurkeCalhounDabney. McCain asserted that the civil rights movement inspired “black criminality” by encouraging people to get arrested at demonstrations. “I am disturbed … by [Jesse] Jackson's idea that 'breaking white folks' rules' was somehow inherently just,” McCain wrote. “If rules were to be broken merely because they were the work of white folks, then hasn't Jackson gone a long way toward explaining the explosion of black criminality that began in the 1960s?”

Signiorile, who was alerted by a reader to McCain's postings, told the Intelligence Report he was “amazed” by what he found. In one posting, McCain suggested that Harvard University president Lawrence Summers be “persecuted and run out of town” for supporting gay rights. In another, McCain gave his take on interracial relationships: “[T]he media now force interracial images into the public mind and a number of perfectly rational people react to these images with an altogether natural revulsion,” McCain wrote. “The white person who does not mind transacting business with a black bank clerk may yet be averse to accepting the clerk as his sister-in-law, and THIS IS NOT RACISM, no matter what Madison Avenue, Hollywood and Washington tell us.”

Shortly after Signiorile's story appeared, and McCain's extremist views began to circulate around journalistic and political circles, every posting by BurkeCalhounDabney was deleted from


“[A]s a working journalist with years experience,” McCain once wrote on the League's DixieNet Web site, “I am well aware of how reporters can subtly frame their stories to suggest which side in any controversy is in the right.” McCain's stories for the Times often display this expertise, relying on sources from hate groups without acknowledging the controversial nature of their views - and immediately shooting down any opposing viewpoints, like those of the NAACP leader in McCain's story on Dixie-loving as a “hate crime.”

If McCain's not-so-subtle framing of the news has raised eyebrows around the Times' newsroom, it doesn't appear to have affected the kinds of stories he's assigned to write. In 2000, when African-American writer Lerone Bennett Jr. published a controversial book accusing Abraham Lincoln of being a racist (see “Lincoln Reconstructed” in this issue), McCain wrote an approving feature about the book even though - perhaps unbeknownst to his editors - he had already expressed vehement opinions on the subject.

In an Internet discussion group, McCain had written that Lincoln was a “war criminal” who should have been tried for “treason.” On DixieNet, McCain - using his own name - had even concocted a mock “Wanted” poster for Lincoln, whom he described as the “st RULER and TYRANT of the AMERICAN EMPIRE” and a perpetrator of “Murder, False Imprisonment, and numerous HEINOUS crimes against the SOUTHern states and AMERICANS in general!”

You can read more about this bigot here and here and here

Laughter in the Courtroom

This must have been fun:

But these arguments were met by laughter in the crowded courtroom, as Fox tried to defend its signature slogan. Part of the network's burden was to prove that Mr. Franken's use of the phrase "fair and balanced" would lead to consumer confusion.

One round of laughter was prompted when Judge Chin asked, "Do you think that the reasonable consumer, seeing the word `lies' over Mr. O'Reilly's face would believe Mr. O'Reilly is endorsing this book?"

The giggling continued as Dori Ann Hanswirth, a lawyer for Fox, replied, "To me, it's quite ambiguous as to what the message is here."

She continued, "It does not say `parody' or `satire.' "

Ms. Hanswirth said Fox's "signature slogan" was also blurred, because people who were not associated with the network, which owns the Fox News Channel, also appear on the cover with Mr. O'Reilly.

Judge Chin said, "The president and the vice president are also on the cover. Is someone going to consider that they are affiliated with Fox?"

The courtroom broke into laughter again.

Ms. Hanswirth replied, "It's more blurring, your honor."


Move On is getting close.

Recess Appointments


The President has signed the recess appointment of Charlotte A. Lane of West Virginia to be a Member of the United States International Trade Commission. The President nominated Ms. Lane on June 7, 2002 and again on January 9, 2003.

The President has signed the recess appointment of Daniel Pearson of Minnesota to be a Member of the United States International Trade Commission. The President nominated Mr. Pearson on November 14, 2002 and again on January 9, 2003.

The President has signed the recess appointment of A. Paul Anderson of Minnesota to be a Federal Maritime Commissioner. The President nominated Mr. Anderson on April 10, 2003.

The President has signed the recess appointment of Daniel Pipes of Pennsylvania to be a Member of the Board of Directors of the United States Institute of Peace. The President nominated Mr. Pipes on April 2, 2003.

The President has signed the recess appointment of John Paul Woodley, Jr. of Virginia to be an Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works). The President nominated Mr. Woodley on January 22, 2003.

The President has signed the recess appointment of David W. Fleming of California to be a Member of the Board of Trustees of the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation (Public). The President nominated Mr. Fleming on April 11, 2003.

The President has signed the recess appointment of Jay Phillip Greene of Florida to be a Member of the Board of Trustees of the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation (Academic). The President nominated Mr. Greene on April 11, 2003.

The President has signed the recess appointment of John Richard Petrocik of Missouri to be a Member of the Board of Trustees of the James Madison Memorial Fellowship Foundation (Academic). The President nominated Mr. Petrocik on April 11, 2003.

The President has signed the recess appointment of Juanita Alicia Vasquez-Gardner of Texas to be a Member of the Board of Trustees of the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation. The President nominated Ms. Vasquez-Gardner on July 24, 2002 and again on January 9, 2003.

Bob Herbert, Hero

A few people rightfully took me to task for not mentioning the critical role that Bob Herbert played in helping get some belated justice for the Tulia defendants. Kudos to Mr. Herbert.

More generally, I don't undertand why we don't see more of this kind of thing. We have numerous columnists with twice weekly soapboxes in national newspapers. Once upon a time there was, I believe, a greater tendency for our media to focus on the "little guy" versus "the powerful." Maybe this was the much exaggerated "liberal media." I'm not sure why that's such a liberal thing to do - comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable seems to cut across political spectrum.

In a country of almost 300 million, you'd think that more columinsts would be able to find a few things more important than Al Gore's latest wardrobe change on which to spend their time.


There is of course more than a small chance I'll be proven wrong in predicting that Gray Davis keeps his job. However, as this latest poll shows the media has been way premature in writing his obituary. 50% say they'll vote for the recall, and 45% say they'll vote against. Not yet a slam dunk.

Shorter Date Rape

busybusybusy gives us shorter David Ignatius, which is really the shorter version of the latest round of shit being flung from the monkeypen.

Friday, August 22, 2003

Only in America


Franken on Fox

Ha Ha.

"In addition to thanking my own lawyers," Franken said after the ruling, "I'd like to thank Fox's lawyers for filing one of the stupidest briefs I've ever seen in my life."

Credit Where It's Due

35 Tulia pardons.

Specter say What?

This should be fun:

GULFPORT, Miss. - The father of the White House press secretary claims in his upcoming book, "Blood, Money & Power: How L.B.J. Killed J.F.K.," that former President Lyndon B. Johnson was behind the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

Barr McClellan, father of White House press secretary Scott McClellan and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Mark McClellan, is preparing for a Sept. 30 release of a 480-page book by Hannover House that offers photographs, copies of letters, insider interviews and details of fingerprints as proof that Edward A. Clark, the powerful head of Johnson's private and business legal team and a former ambassador to Australia, led the plan and cover-up for the 1963 assassination in Dallas.

Al's #1! Al's#1!



Great moments in rhetoric. Or something. I'm just glad it's Friday.

Damn Liberal Judiciary

Judge rules against Fox.


A federal judge on Friday denied Fox News Channel's request for an injunction to block humorist Al Franken's new book, whose title mocks the Fox slogan "fair and balanced."

U.S. District Judge Denny Chin said Fox's claim was "wholly without merit, both factually and legally."

The Face of the New Fascism

Arthur Silber discusses Irving Kristol.

Blitzer Time


Conspiracy Theories

This is about as wacky as literally anything the "Bush-hating loony left" has come up with.

The Liberal Media

Well, what do you know, there appears to be a market for some gosh darn liberal media after all. Who woulda thunk it????

Big lies is #4!

Lying Liars is #2!

Molly's book, not yet released, is #57!

Krugman, not yet released, is #191!

And, while you're buying those books... Be sure to support Neal Pollack by purchasing his new book. Neal's been giving out wonderful free ice cream for some time now, so pay him back by purchasing his new book.

And, you should also purchase Neal's classic sendup of literary journalism.

If nothing else, you owe Neal for what is perhaps the Funniest Blog Post Ever.

Mo Money Mo Money!

Move on is about 76% of the way there!


Lou Dobbs:

Retired Gen. Wesley Clark may still be a CNN analyst while he contemplates a run at the White House, but there's one network show he has been barred from: "Lou Dobbs Tonight." The reason? Dobbs believes that when Clark came on his show during the Iraq war and teed off on the Pentagon blueprint, the possible Democratic candidate was pushing his personal political agenda, not providing straight military analys.

This from a man who has had Steve Forbes on as a guest at least 25 times.

Reverend Barry Lynn

David Appell over at Quark soup feels he's being spun by the fact that the head of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State is an ordained Reverend. I'm not sure why. I mean, sure, if Lynn is really an atheist and he's dishonestly pushing his Rev credentials then Appell would have a valid point.

I think it is true that anyone who truly owns up to being an atheist is shut out of the national discourse on just about all issues. The media treatment of such people is openly hostile. But, if Lynn is a Reverend then he's a Reverend.

Historically, the people on the front lines of this issue have been religious people. Once upon a time Catholics in particular, being as they werea somewhat persecuted segment of the US population historically, were adamantly opposed to government getting into religion. Plenty of religious people feel strongly about it, and for good reason.

Japan Delaying Troop Deployment

I doubt it'll ever happen.

The deployment of Japanese troops to Iraq yesterday appeared likely to be delayed after the defense minister said it would be "difficult" to go ahead this year because of the bombing of UN headquarters in Baghdad.

Shigeru Ishiba, the director general of the Defense Agency, said late Wednesday the truck bombing had shown Japan's planned humanitarian mission would carry real dange

Oh Crap

I hope this isn't true:

The Pentagon is looking into claims that two US troops - one a woman - have been captured by Islamic forces in Iraq.

A Lebanese TV station reported that the group, calling itself Fukat al-Madina al-Munawara, or Medina Faction, had captured the pair during a shootout.

LBCI showed what it said was photocopies of the soldiers' military identity cards.

The pair were named as Katherine Rose and Andrew Peters but the claim has not been verified.

At least one accounted for... good news.

...both accounted for.

Flood the Zone Friday

Not geniuses tells us all to send letters to the editor, courtesy of CREEP.

Pop Quiz

Approximately 4.4% of our GDP is spent on...what?

..and the answer is...Health care administration!

Not health care - the health care *paperwork.*

Demetrios Speaks

In comments, reader Demetrios sez:

The Republicans certainly have every right to do it, just as they had every right to impeach Bill Clinton for sex. It's arguable whether they have the "right" to re-redistrict Texas; and they certainly did not have the right to purge the Florida rolls illegally of African-American voters in 2000. They didn't have a right to eavesdrop on Democratic strategy sessions in VA; and they had no right to call the Capitol Hill cops to remove Democrats from a House library. They have varying degrees of rights (or not) to do these things. But the sum total of it indicates a real allergy to democracy, to fair elections, and to the will of the voters. If Democrats displayed the same pattern of contempt for democracy, this would be a national story, and the party would be excoriated daily on the editorial pages of the "liberal" New York Times and Washington Post. As it is, the media refuses to connect the dots and make this a story. It's to their shame; but thank goodness for Joe Conason, Al Franken, Eric Alterman, Sidney Blumenthal and other smart liberals who are writing about what trash the Republican Party has degenerated into. Maybe, if it's just repeated often enough and intelligently enough, the rest of the media may start to catch on.

Post vs. Post

August 10

Thus, Mr. Gore maintains, we were all under the "false impression" that Saddam Hussein was "on the verge of building nuclear bombs," that he was "about to give the terrorists poison gas and deadly germs," that he was partly responsible for the 9/11 attacks. And because of these "false impressions," the nation didn't conduct a proper debate about the war.

What isn't persuasive, or even very smart politically, is to pretend to have been fooled by what Mr. Gore breathlessly calls the Bush "systematic effort to manipulate facts in service to a totalistic ideology."


Perhaps even more disturbing than the administration's indifference to the truth or falsity of the various claims it made before the war is the fact that it seemed to believe its own propaganda. President Bush and Vice President Cheney really thought that if they wished it, it would come -- "it" in this case being not only a quick victory in the war but also a rapid rallying of Iraqis to the American standard afterward.

Perhaps even more disturbing than the Post's indifference to the truth or falsity of the various claims it makes about Al Gore is the fact that it seems to believe its own propaganda.

UPDATE: Silly me, for some reason I managed to miss that the latter was an EJ Dionne column. Never Post Before Coffee.

Kleiman Responds

To some extent I guess he thinks it's simply a practical issue - that, say, the Bustamante campaign should be 100% focus on getting Bustamante elected, rather than the "no on recall, yes on Bustamante." It isn't clear to me that this would improve Bustamante's chances of winning the second ballot, though maybe it would and if so Mark has a point here.

But on the point that the recall doesn't have the same standard as impeachment - that's true and I've never questioned the *right* of the Republicans to do this, or argued that they weren't following the letter or spirit of the law her. The point is that it's obviously a *bad law.* The recall process is deeply flawed. I'm not against any recall process, but one in which the sitting governor could be ousted by "losing" 49% to 5% is a bad process. And, if Davis loses and Bustamanate wins, we can look forward to Recall Part 2 by the same cast of characters.

Al's #2!

It isn't actually that hard to get your book up to the top of the charts on Amazon with a burst of buying over a short period, but Al's still hanging in there which is quite impressive. Shipping now...

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Don't Get It

Mark Kleiman doesn't understand why many of us Dems think that it's imperative that Gray Davis keep his job. Leaving aside the question of whether he WILL manage to do so or not, I really don't understand Kleiman's attitude. It reminds me of (some of) the lefty-left's response to the Clinton impeachment: Sure, the blowjob wasn't important, but he should be impeached for a) he didn't pardon Mumia, b) Aspirin factory! c) Welfare reform! d) insert pet issue here.

The reason to reject the Clinton impeachment, which was of course legal (aside from some of Starr's and the media's extralegal shenanigans which brought us there), was that there was something wholly repugnant about the people and process behind it all Taking an opportunity to get your revenge on a guy you didn't like much, for reasons even more illegitimate than the stated reasons, by embracing a corrupt and frightening movement is ethically indefensible.

Now, it's possible Mark thinks that Davis has committed some severe ethical transgressions I'm not aware of, but otherwise he's simply accepting the idea that it's reasonable to try and overturn the results of an election simply because you didn't like them. Nothing changed between the time voters pulled the lever for Davis and the beginning of the recall process. While the recall process is legal, it's also extremely bad law and very anti-democratic.

Kleiman's critique of Davis's completely legitimate election strategy also confuses me. Davis didn't make Bill Simon the candidate - Republican primary voters in California did. I've always doubted that Davis's ad campaign had much to do with it - the California Republicans love the circular firing squad more than the national Dems. Even if it did, this wasn't the new and unique campaign tactic the media pretended it was.

Regardless, voting no on the recall is about rejecting a process, not supporting a candidate. Davis may be a stinker, but he's the duly elected stinker of the state of California. If Governor Bill Simon were being recalled right now, I'd (if I were still a CA resident) vote against that too.

One Line

Tomasky responds to some Greenies who didn't like his attack on Nader. Frankly, the entire debate is rendered moot by one line:

Indeed, if the Greens had helped elect Al Gore, he likely would have been the greenest president in U.S. history.


Move On at 48.49%

Keep giving!



Meanwhile, in Afghanistan...


MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Florida-AP -- An American soldier has been killed in a hostile fire incident in Afghanistan.

The U-S Central Command only identifies the dead soldier as a member of special operations. The name is being withheld pending notification of the family.

Chemical Ali

Well, I hope they've really got him this time. He's only been reported dead three times.

I Hate Susan Estrich

For a variety of reasons, but this screed attacking Arianna for running for governor against the wishes of her poor children is ridiculous.

I think Arianna should drop out - I don't think running is going to do anything either for her or whatever political causes she is aligned with, but the "how dare she do that to her kids" angle is horrible. No one would use it against a man -- no one used it against George Bush who ran against the wishes of his daughters -- and a self-proclaimed feminist like Estrich shouldn't legitimize this kind of attack.

Give More to Move On

They're 43% on the way to their goal. Do it in honor of the late Sally Baron:

When Sally Baron's family wrote her obituary, they described a northern Wisconsin woman who raised six children and took care of her husband after he was crushed in a mining accident.

She had moved to Stoughton seven years ago to be closer to her children and was 71 when she died Monday after struggling to recuperate from heart surgery. Her family had come to the question of what might be a fitting tribute to her.

"My uncle asked if there was a cause," her youngest son, Pete Baron, said.

Almost in unison, what her children decided to include in the obituary was this: "Memorials in her honor can be made to any organization working for the removal of President Bush."

Majority Want New President

NOW can we stop talking about the president's extraordinary popularity?

Yes, yes, I know technically it's a plurality but majority is commonly used in this fashion...It's only when the distinction really counts that it's necessary to make it...


Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter run screaming from Joe Conason. Wahh! Wahh!

The Last Time...

The peace process in Israel was derailed it was all blamed on the Clenis.

Blogging in the Bulletin

'tis an Aussie publication. Other than that I know nothing about it.


David Kelly:

Mr Broucher added: "As David Kelly was leaving, I said to him 'what do you think will happen if Iraq is invaded?'. "His reply was, which at the time I took to be a throwaway remark, he said 'I will probably be found dead in the woods'."

Six Short Weeks


NIAGARA, N.Y. -- Thousands attended a parade on Saturday to honor the 914th Airlift Wing, which returned about six weeks ago but could be redeployed in the coming weeks.

"Niagara is prepared," said Col. James B. Roberts. "They are our top unit."

More than 250 reservists celebrated their return from the Middle East at the parade. They also welcomed Roberts as the new Niagara Falls Air Reserve Base Commander. Roberts comes from the Dobbins Air Force Base in Atlanta, Ga.


Niagara Falls, NY (AP) 08/21/03 -- Members of an Air Force reserve unit who were given a welcome parade have learned they're being shipped out again for the war in Iraq.

Details of the latest redeployment will be released at a news conference Thursday.

The 914th Airlift Wing out of the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station received word of its redeployment on Wednesday.

Several hundred of the reservists were deployed in March and returned to Niagara Falls about six weeks ago.

On Saturday, they were honored with a "Hometown Heroes Parade" that drew hundreds of flag- and sign-waving supporters.


The reservists returned to Niagara Falls six weeks ago after being in the Middle East on assignment for about a year.

Inky on Blogs


The fact that I'm "wickedly witty" comes as a big surprise to my wife.

Thursday is New Jobless Day

Congrats to the 386,000 new jobless, as well as the 5,000 that were missed in the initial report from the previous week.


Congressman Janklow blew through a stop sign at 70 miles per hour and killed a motorcyclist. It appears the facts of this are not in dispute, and he should therefore resign his seat in the House immediately.
UPDATE: I'm sure it's just an accident that the Moonie UPI says he's a Democrat.

Judge Moore

Jack Balkin has an interesting post about the history of and relevance of the Establishment clause in the constitution to the current situation Alabama. In particular he addresses the fact that Alan Keyes has endorsed the notion that states should be able to establish their own religions. Balkin explains why this is bad law and bad policy, but one thing he doesn't address (note he's the really smart lawyer and I am not) is that even if one thinks, as Keyes does, that states do still have the right, that would seem to be the job of the state legislature and not a lone judge.

Defend Democracy

Go give some money to the patriots at Move On who are trying to fight the Perry-mandering in Texas.

Selling Out

John Scalzi managed to sucker AOL into paying him to do this. Congrats, John!

Wednesday, August 20, 2003


(via NMMNB)


I suppose I'd have to go back and read my archives to be more sure of what I was thinking before the Iraq war, but I believe it went something like this: The war would be "won," to the extent that it was, though I expected more problems actually taking Baghdad, particularly once it appeared that there were suppy line problems. Fortunately I was wrong there. I figured the aftermath would be problematic, but as long as we paved the streets with gold as quickly as possible we'd win a decent chunk of the hearts and minds. I thought the problem would be apportioning power and attention to the various competing interest groups, and some violence would come from that. In the long run we'd come to regret the whole adventure.

I didn't have a great deal of trust in the ability of this administration to pave the streets with gold adequately enough, but I had no idea they'd screw it up this badly. Who knew they could be this incompetent? Whatever the motives for the war, winning the hearts and minds Tom Friedman style was obviously a necessary condition for a successful peace. It was clear Big Don Rumsfeld wanted war on the cheap, but I thought he'd at least have the engineers in there securing the peace.

The key is what to do now. Bob Herbert says the only possible way forward is a broad international coalition, though I think what he's really thinking is that we should just get the hell outta there.

Traffic Fatalties

So, after talking about drinking (And, hey, doing a bit of it) I went to check out the traffic fatalities. About 42,000 people die in traffic accidents each year, about 17,000 or so of those are alcohol related.

Lotta dead people.

I've been car free for a few months now. Love it.

UPDATE: Just wanted to add that I'm car free simply because the economics works out that way, not because I'm making some statement or trying to save the Earth or whatever (not that there's anything wrong with that). When you realize you only drive your car a couple times per month, it's time to get rid of it...

AJC Poll

Go tell them what you think.


The Bush re-election site encourages the sendingof some pretty creepy astro-turf. Of course, you can also use the site to send your own letters to media outlets. Perhaps we should do that every Friday...

Anyway, if these ridiculous letters start showing up verbatim in your local paper please inform me, and your local editor...

Education is Off the Table

Well, Arnold has said that and has therefore removed any credibility about his economic plan. As Kevin Drum points out, take education off the table and there just isn't much left. Take everything else that hasn't effectively been earmarked by a combination of court decisions, federal strings, and ballot initiatives and there's practically nothing left.

Anyone who claims they can put the CA budget into balance without increasing tax revenues is a liar or a fool. My guess is that Candidate Arnold is hoping he can pretend he can do just that, while Governor Arnold would of course have to raise some taxes.

So, Californians and the media - do you want to have the debate about which taxes to increase before or after the recall election?

End the 21 Year Old Drinking Age

I agree with Big Media Matt. Or, at the very least, stop holding the highway funds hostage and send the decision back to the states.

I think 19 would work reasonably well in this country - still keep it out of the (legal) hands of high school kids.

UPDATE: Just wanted to add that I do think the DUI concern is a very real one. Proposed solution: Provide a lower drinking age only for those without driver's licenses. Maybe I'm on to something here...


Bush compassionately visits with black and brown people.


(via Kos)

Blitzer Time


Farkin Rally

The photoshoppin hipsters over at Fark have some fun with the recent Dean rally in Philly.

Under the Radar

I do find it somewhat bizarre that the mainstream media utterly ignores what goes on in the Spanish language media in this country. In Los Angeles, and other places, it has really heavy weight. So, someone should perk up and notice this broadside against Arnold from Univision, helpfully translated here.

(via Kos)

My broader point is that this is the type of thing analysts like CNN's Bill Schneider should pay attention to, but don't.

How Much Money Did It Cost?

Good news that Tampa has scrapped its facial recognition system. There's an obvious question here - how much money did they blow on this equipment which apparently failed to recognize a single suspect.

Spinning the Patriot Act

It's all well and good for Ashcroft to run around the country defending his favorite toy, but the website which claims to debunk "myths" put out by those terrorist-loving commies at the ACLU (go give them a donation, in Ashcroft's name) is full of an immense about of deflectioni and deception. Unsurprising, as I'm sure it was largely put together by Crisco's right hand woman, Barbara Comstock, an expert at this kind of propaganda.

Consider, for example, this "myth:"

Myth: The ACLU has claimed that “Many [people] are unaware that their library habits could become the target of government surveillance. In a free society, such monitoring is odious and unnecessary. . . The secrecy that surrounds section 215 leads us to a society where the ‘thought police’ can target us for what we choose to read or what Websites we visit.” (ACLU, July 22, 2003)

Reality: The Patriot Act specifically protects Americans’ First Amendment rights, and terrorism investigators have no interest in the library habits of ordinary Americans...

This of course does nothing to refute the "myth." What the ACLU says is precisely true, but Ashcroft is just spewing another version of the "if you have nothing to hide, there's nothing to worry about."

The use of such deception to defend this steaming pile of crap should be indictment enough. Repeal the whole thing.

Mithras has more.

UPDATE: Apparently what John Ashcroft is trying to do is fight "anti-terrorism."

1. The Patriot Act allows investigators to use the tools that were already available to investigate organized crime and drug trafficking. Many of the tools the Act provides to law enforcement to fight anti-terrorism have been used for decades to fight organized crime and drug dealers, and have been reviewed and approved by the courts..

(from reader CB)

In addition, I'm sure it's just a coincidence that the .org site looks like this.

Arnold Boring

CNN spent all morning breathlessly plugging Arnold's forthcoming economic summit/press conference and then cut away about 15 seconds into his speech. We did learn that Arnold has come out in favor of a "pro-business environment."

And, he's come out against pedophiles.

Just What Are They Trying to Say?

Odd little paragraph from a USA Today op-ed sent in by reader TD:

"The powerful truck bomb that ripped through the United Nations' headquarters in Baghdad on Tuesday, killing the top U.N. official in Iraq and at least 19 others, was the most brazen act of terrorism in the country since the U.S. invasion in March."

No Snail Mail

I think one complaint many donors to causes, organizations, and candidates have is the sheer volume of direct mail solicitations they receive. I'm pretty sure most of my usually paltry contributions get spent on sending me mail. More groups should have and publicize the no mail option.

I pledge allegiance to thee, Texas

You've got to be kidding me.


Vaara (in comments) spells out the course of events:

U.S. says there are terrorists in Iraq -> U.S. invades Iraq -> terrorists pour into "liberated" Iraq -> rightards say, "Look! Terrorists in Iraq!"

The much-loved "flypaper theory" is really wonderful. Every time there's another body bag out of Iraq, they get to scream "success!"

What Has Bush Done?

Kos struggles to find 3 good things Bush has done. I'm curious about the other side of the partisan line. Leaving aside foreign policy, where I know the conserva-tarians think that everything the Bush administration does is a cunning plan to destroy all the terrorists in the world and save us all from destruction at their hands, what are three domestic things the Bush administration has done that appeals to the libertarian-conservatives/conservative-libertarians who inhabit the blogosphere. And, I don't mean things which you think should appeal to *liberals* - I mean things which actually appeal to *you*.

Letters to a New Blogger

Tim Dunlop has reposted what is pretty good advice to new bloggers. Here's my short version:

I get requests for links all the time. If someone sends in "please link to my weblog!" I'm unlikely to even click on it, let alone link to it. If someone sends me a link to something that interests me, especially if they include the content of the post in the email, I'm much more likely to link to it. As for who makes the list of links on the left - for the most part it's my personal link list. If I find myself reading someone's weblog regularly, I'll eventually add them to the list. I tend to favor people who update their weblogs fairly often. And, I'm slow to remove people from the link list though eventually I do if people stop updating.

Veterans Pissed

Good. They should be.

WASHINGTON -- Veterans are condemning House Republicans' failure to deliver a $3.2 billion boost for the Veterans Affairs Department that would have shrunk the agency's waiting list for medical care.

"A shameless betrayal" is how AMVETS sums it up.

"A moral outrage," the American Legion said.

"Abominable" is the word from the Non Commissioned Officers Association.

"Veterans have been pushed to the limits," said Joe Violante, national legislative director for Disabled American Veterans. "They're being lied to, and they're not tolerating it."

The broken promise -- the second time in a year Congress has reneged on a pledge to veterans -- has veterans vowing to remember at the ballot box.


Staring at a pile of IKEA boxes filled with furniture I need to put together.

Ohio Republicans to Redistrict

Despite the fact that the controlled they process the last time around.


Back to School

Don't forget that Amazon sells textbooks, too!

More on the Nice Doggie

The Poor Man notes that the Rottweiler of Love makes the following comment:

Do I condone splodeydopes driving cars into civilian institutions and blowing them up?

No. As a matter of fact, nothing would please me more than to see everybody even remotely associated with this act (families, friends and cousins thrice removed) gutted like fish and displayed in public by impaling them on rusty spears.

Do I see quite a bit of irony in the fact that the very institution that has been coddling, nurturing and protecting terrorists for decades has been attacked by their own pet rattler?

Yes. You bet your sweet blippies I do.

I thought we could provide a little slideshow for the Doggie:

Congressman Dana Rohrbacher with Afghan rebels, 1988.
Since Sept. 11, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher has angrily—and with no small dose of irony—blasted the Clinton administration for failing to topple the Osama bin Laden-connected Taliban in Afghanistan. What the Huntington Beach Republican never mentions is a fact the Weekly reported last September: Rohrabacher himself was cozy with the Taliban. In late 1996, he assured the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs that the Muslim group did not have terrorist ties, was no threat to the U.S. and would bring "stability" to the region.

Big Don Rumsfeld with his good friend, Saddam Hussein.

Trademark Totally Amok

Verizon has filed a trademark lawsuit against union officials for "using the [trademarked] 'Can you hear me now?' phrase last week during a conference call with journalists."

As Dave Barry would say, I am not making this up.


WaPo today:

(thanks to CL)

Still Out on a Limb

I'm still gonna predict that Gray Davis survives the recall.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003


I like Clark, but if he enters the race we're going to have come to terms with the fact that he faces the Kerry problem tenfold. Kerry's problem is, of course, that he voted for the Iraq resolution and then subsequently criticized the president for going to war. Now, I'm smart enough to realize that this can be a perfectly consistent position, but on the other hand Kerry should have been smart enough to realize that the resolution made war inevitable. But, that isn't the point - the point is either way the media isn't going to let him get away with this "middle" position whether or not it's consistent.

That brings us to Clark. Wesley Clark had a CNN soapbox for all the months leading up to the war. While he wasn't a cheerleader for the invasion, he wasn't exactly coming out swinging against the war. Of course, I know Clark was playing by SCLM rules - as long as he was "fair and balanced" he got to keep his job. Still, if the war was such big mistake why the hell didn't he say something?

I'm not trying to bash Clark here. I'm actually more than impressed with the guy - very few people could have taken the thrashing from his NATO allies that he did during the Bosnia conflict and then turn around and write a book praising international alliances. Nor am I making opposition to the Iraq war my personal "litmus test" (please can we banish that phrase?). Nonetheless, the guy had ample opportunity to speak his mind on the Iraq situation. He's started to come out swinging, but what took him so long? And, more importantly, the contrast provides a wide open door through which the MK Ultrahacks of the world can drive right .

UPDATE: I just want to add that I don't think this torpedos a Clark candidacy any more than it torpedos a Kerry candidacy - it's just a complication.

Chris Matthews Flashback

Almost feel like I'm entering a parallel universe reading this whole article, from 1982.

The administrative assistant to House Speaker Tip O'Neill, Chris Matthews, has told staff members not to bother with Times reporters. "The Rev. Moon can buy a newspaper, but I can't buy the idea he's a newspaperman," says Matthews. "We work hard enough responding to legitimate press inquiries.

James Whelan, editor at the launch, left the paper feeling guilty for the "blood on his hands" he had for giving Moon's operation legitimacy.
(thanks to reader mw)

Speaking of the Moonie Times, I haven't checked up on my old friend Robert Stacy McCain lately....hmm...

Davis Speech

Anyone track down a link to the full text?

UPDATe: Reader Marty provides. thanks.

Homeowners' Associations Part Deux

Charles Dodgson has a long and insightful post on HA's, which I wholeheartedly endorse and agree with from top to bottom.



Justice Department spokeswoman Barbara Comstock -- wearing a white t-shirt that said "Freedom" in red letters across the front -- dismissed criticism of the Patriot Act as the work of "a small, vocal minority" spreading misinformation.

[ Is that Barbara "I am Hillary!" Comstock?-ed. Yep!]

Gibson to Add Lovable Jews to Movie


Mel Gibson, "under fire from Jewish groups," according to Religion News Service, has agreed to "soften" his portrayal of Jews in his upcoming film's depiction of the death of Jesus Christ.

"The Passion," which will be released next March, will add sympathetic Jewish characters to the storyline and have them shout unbiblical words of opposition to Jesus' crucifixion, lest moviegoers get the impression that Jews actually wanted God's Son put to death.

Ashcroft in Philly Tomorrow

9:20AM, defiling the constitution center. If I had an army of drag queens at my command, I'd send them all over.

Laughing at the Deaths of your Fellow Citizens

Well, I wasn't wrong in thinking the right wing of the blogosphere would quickly cheer on the deaths of the UN workers.

At least one American was among them. Huzzah!

Little Mick, Man of the People

Some people really are out of touch.

And what's up with that NPR/Slate thing? We all knew MK Ultrahack had a face made for radio, but who knew he had a voice made for blogging.
UPDATE: Great minds think alike .

Book Titles with Trademarks

If you can think of any book titles with trademarks in them, please contact the Authors Guild and let them know. At the link there's a list of what they've already collected.

Moon Stick

Conason on Hardball:

CONASON: It would have been good if somebody had decided to be like Reverend Moon and spend hundred of millions of dollars on the “Washington Times” where Tony Blankley works, which has never made any money. It loses — no, you said the free market, Chris.
It’s not the free market. The free market isn’t what supports the “Washington Times.” They can’t get any advertising or subscriptions. That is a propaganda operation that is paid for by Reverend Sun Moon.
MATTHEWS: In all fairness. They’re making money with their arguments.

Revisionist Historians

The White House has gone and revised their web page about the USS Lincoln speech.

Here's a screenshot from this page:

Lying Liars Released this Week

Extra printing and early release thanks to O'Reilly.
Order yours today!

Blitzer Time


We Love Arnold!

New website. They've had a sneak peak at his platform:





Anti-Bad Stuff

Anti-Gary Coleman!

Make Luskin Cry

Make Krugman's book a bestseller.

Time for More UN Jokes!

Apparently a bomb just exploded at UN headquarters in Baghdad! HA HA HA! Actually, I'm not sure what's funny about that, but I'm sure Instahack and Bill Quick will find the humor there somewhere...

UPDATE: It appears as if the bombing may have been done by anti-Saddam anti-UN forces from the 7th Warblogger Infantry Division.

UPDATE 2: Nope, no, wait a minute, all members of the 7th are sitting on their asses in front of their computers. False alarm.

Moving the Goalposts

No More Mister Nice Blog catches Viceroy Bremer I moving the goalposts.

Meet the Press

Dana Milbank notices a variety of problems with the rhetoric coming from the incompetent one:

President Bush, revising his earlier characterization of the fighting in Iraq, said in an interview released yesterday that combat operations are still underway in that country.

In an interview with the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service given on Thursday and released by the White House yesterday, Bush interrupted the questioner when asked about his announcement on May 1 of, as the journalist put it, "the end of combat operations."

"Actually, major military operations," Bush replied. "Because we still have combat operations going on." Bush added: "It's a different kind of combat mission, but, nevertheless, it's combat, just ask the kids that are over there killing and being shot at."

In his May 1 speech on the USS Abraham Lincoln, Bush declared: "Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country." The headline on the White House site above Bush's May 1 speech is "President Bush Announces Combat Operations in Iraq Have Ended.".

Since then, a search of Bush speeches on the White House Web site indicates, the president had not spoken of the guerrilla fighting in Iraq as combat until this interview; he had earlier spoken of the "cessation of combat" in Iraq.

A White House spokesman said Bush was not making a distinction between combat and military operations. "What the president declared on May 1 is that major combat operations were over," he said. "He did not say that combat was over."

And, one for Tim Russert:

Asked about U.S. force presence in Afghanistan, Bush said the U.S. presence is being "gradually replaced" by other troops.

"We've got about 10,000 troops there, which is down from, obviously, major combat operations," he said. "And they're there to provide security and they're there to provide reconstruction help. But both those functions are being gradually replaced by other troops. Germany, for example, is now providing the troops for ISAF [International Security Assistance Force], which is the security force for Afghanistan, under NATO control. In other words, more and more coalition forces and friends are beginning to carry a lot of the burden in Afghanistan."

In fact, the 10,000 troops in Afghanistan represent the highest number of U.S. soldiers in the country since the war there began. By the time the Taliban government had been vanquished in December 2001, U.S. troops numbered fewer than 3,000 in Afghanistan. And three months later, in March 2002, when the last major battle against remnants of the Taliban and al Qaeda took place in eastern Afghanistan, about 5,000 U.S. troops were in the country.

(thanks to Jeff Hauser)

Garofalo on Crossfire

Anyone see? How's she doing?

The General Returns!

General J.C. Christian Patriot writes to Senator Santorum.


Henry Wallace, 1944:

The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.
American fascism will not be really dangerous until there is a purposeful coalition among the cartelists, the deliberate poisoners of public information, and those who stand for the K.K.K. type of demagoguery.
Still another danger is represented by those who, paying lip service to democracy and the common welfare, in their insatiable greed for money and the power which money gives, do not hesitate surreptitiously to evade the laws designed to safeguard the public from monopolistic extortion.

The American fascists are most easily recognized by their deliberate perversion of truth and fact. Their newspapers and propaganda carefully cultivate every fissure of disunity, every crack in the common front against fascism.
They claim to be super-patriots, but they would destroy every liberty guaranteed by the Constitution.

They demand free enterprise, but are the spokesmen for monopoly and vested interest. Their final objective toward which all their deceit is directed is to capture political power so that, using the power of the state and the power of the market simultaneously, they may keep the common man in eternal subjection.

Shorter Henry Wallace:
"When fascism comes to America, they'll call it Democracy."
-Will Rogers.

The Wealth of the People

I keep hearing Big Don Rumsfeld and Viceroy Bremer I refer to the oil wealth of the Iraqi people. I'm always puzzled by what this means, exactly. Perhaps some reporter should ask them to explain it. Slacktivist explores this point.

Monday, August 18, 2003

Bush Then and Now


In 2002, the President in his State of the Union address called for increased national service and then illustrated what he meant by visiting a Teach for America school in Atlanta. “I am proud to stand up and talk about the best of America and Wendy Kopp,” the president said. “I hope young Americans all across the country think about joining Teach For America.


New York - On July 11 a form letter arrived in the Teach For America (TFA) offices from the Corporation for National and Community Service: “We regret to inform you,” it said, “that your application was not selected for funding,” TIME’s Joe Klein reports in his column, “Who Killed Teach for America?,” appearing in the current issue of TIME (on newsstands Mon., August 18th).

Cartoon Mexicans

The GOP continues to do an incredible job at minority outreach.

Thanks Once Again

Thanks to Lambert for chipping in a bit of help while I was away, despite being quite busy himself. And, thanks to all who joined in for Fair and Balanced Friday.

Young Dems

Like TAPPED, I really don't have a clue why the only candidate to show up at the Young Dem convention was Howard Dean. Aside from a bunch of other reasons, they're potentially a small army of easily exploited valuable volunteers with a relatively large amount of time on their hands.

An Attorney on Franken v. Fox

Here's an interesting post about the specifics of the complaint. Here's a funny bit:

Thus, Fox News is basing a substantive amount of its complaint on the remarks of an opinion writer who writes for a paper of very limited distribution and submits his articles for no pay to sites that are apparently desperate for contributions.

More on Van Impe

Hey, some answers:

One prominent televangelist who was invited to the White House meeting, the Rev. Jack Van Impe of Troy, Mich., chose not to attend. His office said he could not schedule it.

On the Jack Van Impe Ministries Web site, the preacher told of being invited to attend and being asked for his views on the plan by the national security adviser.

Van Impe's executive director, Ken Vancil, said that instead of attending, Van Impe is preparing a videotape presentation for the president.

In it, Vancil said, Van Impe will remind the president that biblical prophecy says the Holy Land "shall not be divided."

National Security Council spokesman Sean McCormick said the White House did not ask Van Impe to make a presentation. McCormick said the meeting is one of many the White House conducts to meet with leaders in various walks of life. He denied it was held to sell evangelists on the peace plan.

However, a official for another group with strong links to evangelicals and Jewish conservatives said, "The meeting was an attempt to sell us the peace plan, and it failed."

Frankly, the idea that a bunch of evangelical Christians need to be "sold" on a peace plan for I/P should scare the hell out of us all. Especially because they don't much want peace:

JVI: One man said concerning this road map to peace in the Middle East, we are rapidly descending into hell. He means it's going to be all out war in the future. What does the Bible teach concerning bombs?

Yes, there will be bomb, but that's why a leader arises out of the European Union, Revelation 13:1, and Daniel 9:26, and makes and confirms a peace contract for seven years in Daniel 9:27, and the whole world is happy.

There it is, ladies and gentlemen. But what starts this whole thing? Bombs? No. A leader rising and confirming the peace. We call it the Antichrist and that is 2 Thessalonians 2:8.

There you go.

Back From Flyover Country

More bloggy goodness in a bit.

Do you know that around those parts a popular item is the "Corn Dog and Twinkie Set," the purpose of which is to provide an easy way to cook both Corn Dogs AND deep fried frozen twinkies.

Rhetorical Tic

Tbogg has some fun with George Will's.

It is axiomatic that serious people think George Will is a tool.

Sunday, August 17, 2003

Ten Commandments Rally

A Minority of One gives us the on the ground reports. Here's one, and scroll around for some more.

I don't understand why some gonzo activisits haven't erected a similarly-sized and styled monument to the five pillars of Islam. Would end this one pretty much right away...

Noted Without Comment


"Even if within two hours it was pretty clear, for a president to say something, it's got to be more than pretty clear, it's got to be 100 percent certain," said one Republican with strong ties to the White House.

California Republicans

Thank Jeebus they just can't ever manage to get all their ducks in a row. They almost remind of a certain other national party that I've occasionally pulled the lever for.

Hey! The Imperial Valley is doing their part, too.

Ah, nothing's more fun than watching the clueless beltway media flail away. The CNN reporting today always made at sound as if Ahnold was ahead of Cruz. Sure, the Fields poll had them in a statistical dead heat, but the newscasters always were implying that Cruz was *catching* Ahnold.


The trolls have been trying to paint Bustamante as a racist and anti-Semite. Orcinus explains.


This story really is incredible - the Baylor coach being accused of trying to get his players to tell investigators that the slain player made money dealing drugs.

Big Lies Reviewed in Sun Times

Good review.

Region Free DVD

Julian Sanchez is complaining that there's no Region 1 release of a movie he likes. Let me do my occasional recommendation of the Norcent DP300 DVD player. It's cheap, seems to play just about every format imaginable, and by punching a few buttons on the remote you can remove the region coding. It also has a PAL/NTSC converter so you'll have no problems playing any international DVD.* Best of all, you can get one for under $50.

*Note that versions change over time, so if they've changed the player since I bought mine all of this may be no longer be operative.

Stupid Conservatives

The Hamster finds another one. They just really cannot comprehend parody, even when there's a blinking neon light saying THIS IS PARODY.

More on Kerry

Digby adds some thoughts to my own regarding Kerry's little "Gore joke."

You Can't Guard a Pipeline

You just can't. I don't know why they didn't realize this.

Barnicle Friedman

Phew, I'm glad someone else finally noticed. Reading Friedman's columns for years, and especially his abysmal Mercedes and the Fig Tree, or whatever it was called, has led me inevitably to one of two conclusions. The first possibility is he just makes up quotes. The second possibility is that he's getting a giant hand job from people who are smart enough (doesn't take much) to know what Friedman-san wants to hear. He miraculously finds quotes which sound just like Tom Friedman doing a bad imitation of an Arab (Israeli, Japanese, whatever...) who happens to talk just like...Tom Friedman! Anyway, Kevin Drum and Matthew Yglesias comment.