Saturday, October 11, 2003

The Return of Big Government

Nice going guys.

Federal tax receipts relative to the overall economy have reached their lowest level since Dwight D. Eisenhower was president, while government spending has climbed to the highest point since Bill Clinton declared the era of big government over, according to new figures released by the Congressional Budget Office.

Letter To Rover

From John Conyers:

October 7, 2003

Dear Mr. Rove:

I write to ask you to resign from the White House staff. Recent press reports have indicated that, while you may or may not have been the source of the Robert Novak column which revealed the status and name of a covert operative, the wife of Ambassador Joseph Wilson, you were involved in a subsequent effort to push this classified information to other reporters and give it even wider currency. This itself may be a federal crime, but regardless of that fact, your actions are morally indefensible.

In my view, it is shameful and unethical that an Administration that promised to govern with "honor and integrity" and "change the tone" in Washington has now engaged in an orchestrated campaign to smear and intimidate truth-telling critics, placing them in possible physical harm and impairing the efforts and operations of the CIA. Recent reports indicate that you told the journalist, Chris Matthews, and perhaps others, that Mr. Wilson's wife and her undercover status were "fair game." Evan Thomas and Michael Isikoff, Newsweek, Oct. 13, 2003. Since these initial allegations have arisen, neither the White House nor your office have denied your involvement in furthering the leak.

Repeated press inquiries into this matter have been rebuffed with technical jargon and narrow legalisms, instead of broader ethical issues. Indeed, in the same article it appears a White House source acknowledged that you contacted Matthews and other journalists, indicating that "it was reasonable to discuss who sent Wilson to Niger." It should be noted that these actions may well have violated 18 U.S.C. § 793, which prohibits the willful or grossly negligent distribution of national defense information that could possibly be used against the United States. The law states that even if you lawfully knew of

Mr. Wilson's wife's status, you were obliged to come forward and report the press leak to the proper authorities - not inflame the situation by encouraging further dissemination. 18 U.S.C. § 793(f). Larger than whether any one statute can be read to find criminal responsibility is the issue of whether officials of your stature will be allowed to use their influence to intimidate whistle-blowers.

Over three decades ago, our nation was scarred by an Administration that would stop at nothing to smear and intimidate its critics. I do not believe the Nation will countenance a repeat of such activities. For your role in this campaign, I would ask that you resign immediately.


John Conyers, Jr. Ranking Minority Member

cc: The Honorable F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. Chairman Committee on the Judiciary


Corner cooties.

I love it when Jonah gets all snippy about people debasing the quality of debate/writing.

Compassionate Conservatism

My opinion on the whole Rush thing is pretty much what Uggabugga says here. Such a position is easy to have in light of Rush's comments during the first hour of yesterday's show:

It’s often been said that we rehab these people and find out what it is that makes them do what they do. But a criminal’s a criminal. There are bad people. There are bad people. There are good people too, but there are bad people.

Indeed. Heh.

..Digby has more. does David E.

Must See TV

Joe Conason will be on on CSPAN2 at 10pm ET discussing Big Lies.

Identity Politics

Via the Temple of Democracy, an invaluable resource for tracking the neo-confederate movement, I see the Washington Times chose its assistant National Editor, and avowed Southern Secessionist Robert Stacy McCain, to review a book about Martin Luther King Jr.

This is the journalist who wrote, back when he posted at Der FreiRepublik:

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

UPDATE: Oops, my mistake, this wasn't from one of his many postings at freeperville, but in this listserv discussion, dated August 1996.

Much Fun

Went to see the Neal Pollack Invasion at the annual 215 Teabagging Festival last night. No teabagging for me, but I did manage to partake in some hot finger-on-man nipple sex with Neal. Nirvana.

Buy the book. Buy the album. Live the dream.

No Means No

What Dahlia said. And Gregg Easterbook is a dick. A real fuckwit. I really don't get these people who think a serious problem facing this country is an epidemic of men who were accused of rape because they thought 'no' meant 'yes' when it actually meant... 'no.' I'm sure men get falsely accused of rape, as they do everything else. I think guys like Easterbrook are just upset that the law constrains them from being sufficiently aggressive in their sexual encounters, and they'd only get laid more if they felt comfortable putting on just a little more pressure...

But, look, we're not even talking about a 'little more pressure' - which is, you know, backing off your overture after you hear 'no' and then perhaps trying again a few minutes later. We're talking about hearing No, and then subsequently pulling of her clothes, your clothes, and then penetrating her. This goes beyond a little extra thigh rub. Is it possible 'no' is ever slightly ambiguous in practice? Sure. But, in my vast experience (cough), I can't imagine that the rest of it is.

I always hear men constructing these wild hypotheticals about what if she said no 10 minutes ago but is now seeming to consent. Well, look fuckwit, if there's any ambiguity just ask her.

...and, one more thing, fuckwits, consent can also be withdrawn once it is given, too. A moment of penetration doesn't grant you lifetime ownership of a woman's vagina. Bumper sticker version - "Stop means stop."

Astroturf from Soldiers

Oy, I actually managed to delete the original post. BUt, here are the details from Hesiod and the key newspaper article.

Letters from hometown soldiers describing their successes rebuilding Iraq have been appearing in newspapers across the country as U.S. public opinion on the mission sours.

And all the letters are the same.

A Gannett News Service search found identical letters from different soldiers with the 2nd Battalion of the 503rd Airborne Infantry Regiment, also known as "The Rock," in 11 newspapers, including Snohomish, Wash.

The Olympian received two identical letters signed by different hometown soldiers: Spc. Joshua Ackler and Spc. Alex Marois, who is now a sergeant. The paper declined to run either because of a policy not to publish form letters.


Six soldiers reached by GNS directly or through their families said they agreed with the letter's thrust. But none of the soldiers said he wrote it, and one said he didn't even sign it.

Friday, October 10, 2003


FWTD brings us an underreported part of last week's Enquirer article:

"Then one day in 2002, when I was in his office making a delivery [of drugs], he suddenly grabbed me, and kissed me quite passionately on the lips.

"As he hugged me, he was feeling my body. It suddenly dawned on me: He was patting me down - groping me to see if I was wearing a wire!

"Another time he grabbed my blouse, on my chest, and pulled it outwards, like he was thinking he might hook his fingers around a wire.

These are allegations, and it is the Enquirer.

MSNBC on Rush

I just got the tail end of it, but apparently Rush was having his drugs Fed-Exed to him. If they were crossing state lines...

Federal Government Must Aid California

You know, I wouldn't be so surprised if Bush could find away to slip the Wilson-Schwarzenegger administration a few bucks, but there's no way he's going to be able to if Arnold keeps shooting off his mouth about it.

Yeah, that'll go over real well with Bush's base...


So, the Vatican is telling people that condoms don't help prevent AIDS and that the church scandal received too much media coverage. Frankly, even at the height of the coverage I thought it didn't get enough.

There He Goes Again

It's always a funny day when Jonah "Three-fer" Goldberg goes hunting for racists. Miraculously, they're always Democrats. Here's what Lucianne's crotchfruit says:


From the Hotline:

Making An Ass-umption? In answering a question from Spanish-speaking Ernestina Escobar, who was introduced as "someone in our audience who has experienced the American dream." Dean responded: "You would have prescription benefits if you moved to Vermont, because a third of all our people, especially at your income level, are eligible for prescription benefits without help from the federal government." She never mentioned her financial situation.

Imagine if a white, preppy Park Avenue Republican had made this gaffe?

But, Jonah and the hotline have reading comprehension problems. Either that or they're liars. Here's how the question went:

QUESTION (through translator): As a Latin woman, one of my concerns is what's going to happen with the Spanish economy, and that's my worry right now. Because most of the businesses, Spanish businesses, are having a very slow economy right now, and that's causing a lot of problems.

WOODRUFF: Governor Dean?

DEAN: That gives me actually an opportunity to answer two questions. One was the prescription question as well.

We have got to stop in this country trying to stimulate the economy by giving help to enormous corporations, which then move their jobs to other countries. The way to help this country's economy is to invest in small businesses, allow them to have health insurance and help them pay for health insurance, and get them capital.

Banks will lend small businesses capital as soon as they don't need it, and we need to get capital in when businesses want to grow. Small businesses create more jobs than big businesses do, and they do not move their jobs to other countries.

In my state, everybody has health insurance under 18. You would have prescription benefits if you moved to Vermont, because a third of all our people, especially at your income level, are eligible for prescription benefits without help from the federal government.

What I want is a country that will start valuing ordinary human beings again, whether they're Latino, African-American, Asian American, Native American. No matter who they are, we are all in this together.

It was the dream of Martin Luther King when I was 21 years old at the end of the civil rights movement that if one of us was left behind, then this country was not as good as it could be or as it should be.

And what my campaign is about, something else that Martin Luther King said, which is that, "our lives begin to end when we stop speaking up for the things that matter." That's how we are going to change America.

We're going to invest in small businesses, not just in the Latino community, but in every community. We're going to invest in people who need help. We're the only industrialized world -- country in the world that doesn't have a universal health care system that includes every single person. We can do that and we can do all these things if we're all in this together...

You see, Dean was talking to a prior questioner, who had asked:

QUESTION: Yes. Forgive me for having to read this.

I am a stroke survivor, I am disabled and on a fixed income. For seven months I went without prescription medication because we cannot afford supplemental insurance to my Medicare.

I chose food over medicine. How can you assure me and the many other voters -- there's millions like me -- that you empathize with my hardship and as president you will make certain this won't happen to any other American? Thank you.


QUESTION: I went on a Pfizer program, and that's why I can do it, I can afford it now. And they're $51 that I pay. Before that it was 400 and some dollars a month.

EDWARDS: Which is just crippling, crippling for you, isn't it?

QUESTION: I get $800 -- and I don't care who knows it -- I get $830 a month from my Social Security because I had to take it at such a young age.

EDWARDS: And you and your family are in the same situation that millions of families are...

QUESTION: Millions.

So, Jonah, if a white preppy Republican had made the gaffe he'd be off the hook, too. Unlike you for your "three-fer" fun.
(thanks to reader gr)

Viet Dinh Meets the Arnis

Oh Jeebus. Viet Dinh is on the Arnis's transition team.

I love the sound of jackboots in the afternoon.

Rush Limbaugh Flashback

(thanks to reader rm)


In a ferocious assault that echoes the great journalistic feuds of the past, the nation's number one radiotalker Rush Limbaugh took to the waves on Monday to counter NEW YORK TIMES opinion queen Maureen Dowd, who this weekend labelled President Bush a "Boy Emperor"!

Limbaugh called Dowd's column "the most embarrassing thing I have read in a major American newspaper."


Dowd referred to Bush as a "boy" ten times on Sunday.

"The Boy Emperor picked up the morning paper and, stunned, dropped his Juicy Juice box with the little straw attached. 'Oh, man,' he wailed," Dowd wrote. "'North Korea's got nukes... 'Get me Condi!' the boy yelled. 'And a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.'"

Limbaugh fired back: "You know, I've been struggling with whether or not to even mention this. I cannot believe that the people get all over Richard Mellon Scaife and his newspaper as being a bunch of crackpot kooks when her column that ran on Sunday, yesterday, is the most embarrassing thing I have read in a major American newspaper. This thing doesn't deserve to be in the NATIONAL ENQUIRER. It doesn't belong in NATIONAL LAMPOON as a parody piece. It's just mean, despicable, childish, and immature."

Limbaugh continued: "It's obvious Maureen Dowd hasn't gotten over her breakup with Michael Douglas who she thinks is a real American president but he didn't do anything but utter the words written for him by Aaron Sorkin and stand where someone director told him to stand and have his hair coifed by somebody who knew what to do, and then he blew it by running off with Catherine Zeta-Jones, leaving Maureen Dowd in the lurch. All she's got now is bourbon for mouthwash, and it's showing on her columns."

Torture Wolf!

He has his own poll up for once that sneaky bastard.

Shorter Paul Krugman

David Brooks is my little bitch.

So, Rush is an Addict

And he'll like, take responsibility and stuff. Which means, well, nothing.

...he claims he started taking them after back surgery, and that he continues to have chronic back pain. Well, if true, we'll have to show him as much compassion as he does for people in his situation.

And so if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up.

You know, just once...I want one of these assholes to have to live by their own rules. Or, at least their adoring fans should wake up and realize that they're being led around by a bunch of SubGeniuses:

I don't practice what I preach because I'm not the kind of person I'm preaching to.
--J.R. "Bob" Dobbs

minus the Slack, of course.

Reverse Judo Flip

So, both Josh Marshall and David Neiwert have been pushing the "it depends on the meaning of classified information..." angle, and frankly I wasn't quite buying it. But, it looks like after today's performance from McClellan I was wrong.

Oh Really?

From Fair:

ACTION ALERT: O'Reilly Smears L.A. Times on Sex Abuse Story

October 10, 2003

In his continuing criticism of the Los Angeles Times for printing stories about Arnold Schwarzenegger's alleged record of groping and sexual assault, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly (10/8/03) pointed to what he saw as a double standard: "Do you think the L.A. Times sent a squad of reporters to Arkansas to investigate Bill Clinton's problems with women? No, it did not."

In fact, the L.A. Times did investigate Clinton sex stories in Arkansas. A 4,000-word piece appeared on the paper's front page on December 21, 1993, running under the headline "Troopers Say Clinton Sought Silence on Personal Affairs." This article was one of the first to report on the scandal known as "Troopergate," which led to Paula Jones' lawsuit against Clinton and thus indirectly to Clinton's impeachment.

Later on in the same broadcast, O'Reilly charged that the L.A. Times "didn't send a squad of reporters to go down there and interview Kathleen Willey and all of the other people. They did not do it." The paper could not have interviewed Willey "down there"; she was a White House volunteer who accused Clinton of sexual misconduct at the White House. She came forward to tell her story in 1998, and her case had nothing to do with Arkansas. Her allegations were featured in a front-page L.A. Times story on March 16, 1998.

It's not unusual for O'Reilly to slam the L.A. Times, a paper he often criticizes for being too left-wing (once calling it, for example, the "pro-Palestinian newspaper of record out there in L.A."-- 2/21/03). Such attacks helped Schwarzenegger supporters dismiss detailed and consistent accounts from women who said that they had been abused by the film star as mere partisan mudslinging.

ACTION: Contact the O'Reilly Factor and ask them to issue a correction about the host's erroneous charge that the Los Angeles Times failed to investigate Clinton's "problems with women" in Arkansas.

CONTACT: Fox News Channel The O'Reilly Factor

This is funny for so many reasons. The conservabots have managed to blot 8 years of history out of their little brains. "The mainstream media never investigated Clinton's sex life?!??!?!"

And, yes, as FAIR points out the LA Times was responsible for mainstreaming the bullshit Trooper-gate stories, which Andy "The Clenis! My Precious" Sullivan still believes.

Taking Ethics Advice...

...from Cokie and Steve Roberts is like taking civility lessons from Donald Luskin, but I think they get it right here.

The test for any journalistic decision is weighing the benefit against the cost, and the costs were high. This agent’s career was damaged and her contacts jeopardized. But readers received little benefit from learning her name. Novak was wrong to reveal her identity.

But, of course, they get it wrong here:

Still, we strongly support Novak's decision to protect his source's identity, even if that source committed a crime by blowing the agent’s cover.

Novak had no problem revealing that he had used Robert Hanssen as a source. There was little or no reason to do so, as Novak didn't admit to passing on any erroneous information (whether or not he did is another question).


Drudge says Rush is going to address the media reports today. Someone has to listen and report back... I use to listen to Rush a few minutes a week just to see what the other side was up to, but now that I can just read his nonsense on the front pages I don't have to anymore...

Liberal Incivility Watch

If only I could be as sweet and gentle and honest and polite as Donald Luskin.

But, apparently, I'm not civil.

I never feel the need to be defensive about these things anymore, but this blog is generally more civil towards conservatives than an episode of Hardball is towards liberals, and that of course doesn't even begin to compare with the non-stop bile from AM hate radio.

me: man running website for free, except for donations (generous, but I sadly have no sugar daddy supporting me) and some ad revenue.

Donald Luskin: Man inexplicably being paid by the National Review to spout nonsense.

Rush Limbaugh, G. Gordon Liddy, Michael Savage: Idiots being paid large amounts of money to spew hate on hundreds of radio stations.

Newt Gingrich: Former Speaker of the House (future, when this was written).

Let's hope that one day my gal Cho decides Luskin is worthy of a few moments of her time.

Rummy Death Watch

So, anyone think about 5:30 today might be when we find out Rumsfeld needs to spend more time with his family?

...penalcolony provides us with this story:
Bush's overhaul of his top Iraq strategists reflects deep unhappiness with his national security team - particularly Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld but also Secretary of State Powell, Bush sources told the Daily News yesterday.
Bush's displeasure means that neither Powell nor Rumsfeld will keep his job in a second Bush term . . .

"Cheney, who, with his onetime mentor Rumsfeld, is a primary architect of the Iraq policy, has defended Rumsfeld's stewardship internally, arguing that Iraq has proved a more intractable problem than anyone could have imagined. Bush, however, has a less sympathetic view."

Of course, these stories are never about the "truth" - they're about people spinning things the way the want to. So, some have knives out for both Rumsfeld and Powell, and they're trying to put them in.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

The Fatal Flaw

So, plenty of people, especially Steve Gilliard, have made this point over and over, but this Frontline show really makes clear where the Bushies went wrong on this. The entire post-war plan was premised on the idea that they'd chop off the head, and the body would continue to function under new control. But, due to pressure from Chalabi and Wolfowitz of Arabia, etc..., they thought they had to purge all Baathist remnants - most of whom were just technocrats, or military grunts. This action made their strategy, which may or may not have worked otherwise, logically inconsistent.



WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld canceled a news conference Thursday in part to avoid questions about whether the White House recently reduced his role in Iraq's reconstruction, Pentagon and NATO officials said.

The White House said Monday it is creating an Iraq Stabilization Group to be headed by national security adviser Condoleezza Rice. The group will be responsible for handling the day-to-day administration of Iraq, a task previously handled by the Pentagon.

Rumsfeld was scheduled to brief reporters at a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Colorado. He was questioned at Wednesday's NATO press briefing about his relationship with Rice, a memo she circulated establishing the new Iraq Stabilization Group, and whether he was "in the loop."

The defense secretary has "said everything he has to say about it," Pentagon officials said.

Beaten By a Girl

Looking forward to more sports reports from Tbogg.

UPDATE: ESPN High School football correspondent Aplomb provides:

I don't think Tbogg's daughter has been that good from the get-go. I think what we've had here is a little social concern in high school football. The media has been very desirous that a girl kicker do well. There is a little hope invested in Tbogg's daugher and she got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that she didn't deserve. The defense carried this team.

That said, I resign because the other castmembers are uncomfortable. Later, I'll regret resigning. And look forward to me fully explaining the drug charges, once I understand the situation I'm facing. (Hint: it's the Clinton's fault.)


Tee Hee

Stupid Gropenfuhrer:

Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger introduced the key members of his transition team Thursday, saying the first thing they would do is audit the state's books to find out just how serious California's deficit is.

He also called on Gov. Gray Davis not to make any more appointments or sign legislation in the waning days of his administration, although Schwarzenegger acknowledged it is Davis' right to do so.

"I would like it really if he doesn't sign anymore bills, as far as that goes," Schwarzenegger said. "But we will be working on that, and I'm absolutely convinced that when the governor says that he wants to have a smooth transition, that we will in fact have a smooth transition. And I am looking forward to that and the process has already begun."

In Sacramento, Davis press secretary Steven Maviglio responded that Davis will continue to make appointments and act on legislation. He added, "The governor-elect might be interested in learning that bills that Gov. Davis does not act on before October 13th automatically become law."

In California, the governor may veto a bill, sign it or allow it to become law without signing it. In some other states a bill dies if it is not signed by the governor.

Maviglio noted that during the transition period when Davis was taking office, outgoing Gov. Pete Wilson made more than 400 appointments. Wilson was Schwarzenegger's campaign co-chairman.


Watching it now. It's good. It basically provides the general narrative of the war run-up that anyone who doesn't live on Planet Instahack knew about 8 months ago.

Kudos to PBS for showing it now. Where were they 8 months ago?

Rush Update

From Arthur Silber.


Police infiltrate peace group:

He was the quiet guy. The one who came to Peace Fresno meetings, always sitting in the same spot, taking notes but never taking part in the discussions. For two months, ending in May, he sat through planning meetings, passed out anti-war fliers and went to rallies. He said his name was Aaron Stokes. When asked about his job, he said he was independently wealthy.
Members of Peace Fresno now say he was Aaron Kilner, an undercover sheriff's detective who died in an off-duty motorcycle accident Aug. 30.

Fresno County Sheriff Richard Pierce would not say whether Kilner attended meetings, but he said Peace Fresno "was not and is not the subject of any investigation by the Fresno County Sheriff's Department."

Pierce said his department "does not have any reports, files, rosters or notes on Peace Fresno or its meetings."

However, in a four-paragraph statement issued Thursday, he defended his department's legal right to send undercover officers to community meetings.

Why is Rush Limbaugh Still Free?

They're arresting 15 year old kids for far less.

Dem Debate

Chat about it here. I'll be watching Friends. There's no way I can sit through an hour of Greenfield, Woodruff, and Crowley...

If you're bored by the debate, you can entertain yourself with this Jeff Greenfield flashback:

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, , 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."

ABC News had taken a video clip out of context, and then accused the first lady of prevaricating about the very material it had removed. Within days, the doctored quotationpopped up elsewhere. ABC used the identical clip on its evening news broadcast; so did CNN. The New York Times editorial page used it to scold Mrs. Clinton, as did columnist Maureen Dowd. Her colleague William Safire weighed in with an accusatory column of his own: "When you're a lawyer who needs a cover story to conceal close connections to a crooked client," he began, "you find some kid in your office willing to say he brought in the business and handled the client all by himself." Safire predicted the first lady's imminent indictment.

FBI Took Mayor Street's Blackberry


Federal authorities have seized Mayor Street’s BlackBerry handheld computer as part of their wide-ranging probe into possible corruption in City Hall.

Armed with a warrant, FBI agents arrived at City Hall and asked for the BlackBerry late this afternoon - hours after Philadelphia police, in a sweep of the mayor’s office, discovered a sophisticated listening device and several microphones the FBI had planted in the ceiling of Street’s City Hall office, said an official involved in the investigation.

Street turned the device over to Police Commissioner Sylvester M. Johnson, who in turn gave it to the FBI, the official said. Street immediately declined comment, and federal authorities could not be immediately reached.

Though Street continued to sound a note of vindication yesterday, stressing that he was not a “target” of corruption prosecutors, the revelation about his BlackBerry is another sign that he may be a focus of a wide-ranging federal probe into corruption in city contracts.

“I’m having a great day,” a smiling Street said on CNN. “Because it’s been confirmed by the US Attorney that I’m not the target of any federal investigation….To now have that part of the thing cleared up is very important to me.”

But a high ranking law enforcement official, who declined to be named in print, said: “They don’t put a room bug in the office of a person to get evidence about his associate. You’re talking about criminal conduct in that room.”

Maybe they have reason. We'll see, but so far his opponent has been behaving like a sniveling little turd over this, trying to fan the fire in dishonest ways.

Tales of the Ridiculous

You know, as far as I can tell, and perhaps my more informed readers can correct me, the DMCA is such a ridiculous piece of legislation that it would outlaw the following scenario: Suppose a CD manufacturer discovered that by placing a small sticker somewhere on the CD, it would copy protect it. Yes, that's silly I know, but stay with me. Then, if I made the marvelous discovery that simply by removing the damn thing your CD would no longer be protected, there could be criminal charges against me if I let anyone know about it.

Now we have this case. A company comes up with wonderful copy protection software which basically worked by automatically loading a bit of scumware onto your computer which would keep you from ripping the files. I'm not sure if it applied only to that particular CD, or all CDs, but I don't think I like the idea of a company crippling my computer, without my permission, in order to prevent me from doing something which is perfectly legal. To defeat this brilliant protection, all you need to do is disable the auto-load function on your CD-ROM, which can be done manually by pushing the shift key, according to the guy who is now about to be sued for pointing that out.

Back in the good old days of the 80s companies would copy protect software. And, other companies would sell software to crack that protection. There were perfectly legal and good reasons to want to have a backup of those always-crashing floppy disks.

(edited to correct slight factual errors)

UPDATE: It does have a EULA. Cute:

The installer apparently asks for the users permission to install the file, and does not do so unless the user clicks on the equivalent of an OK button. If the UK rejects the 1800-word End User Licence Agreement (EULA), the disc is automatically ejected.

The EULA says: "This audio compact disc utilizes MediaMax technology by SunnComm to deliver enhanced features to your computer. In order to properly utilize this CD on your computer, it is necessary to install a small software program on your computer hard drive."

It's worth noting that the BMG distributed CD Halderman tested lacks the familiar CD logo. Thanks to the inclusion of SunnComm's technology the disc can no longer be described as a CD - an item that has a very specific description as detailed in the standards documentation written by the format's creators, Sony and Philips. A disc that doesn't follow the standard to the letter can't be described by its supplier as a CD.

Odd, then, that the EULA, as quoted above, claims it is a CD - and is arguably in violation of the CD licensing regulations. Just a thought...

Pat and Joel Go a-Nuking


The US State Department has lodged a vehement complaint with prominent conservative televangelist Pat Robertson for comments suggesting that its Foggy Bottom headquarters should be destroyed with nuclear weapons, officials said Thursday


I read your book," Robertson said, according to a transcript of the interview posted on his Christian Broadcasting Network's website (

"When you get through, you say, 'If I could just get a nuclear device inside Foggy Bottom, I think that's the answer'," he said.

"I mean, you get through this, and you say, 'We've got to blow that thing up.' I mean, is it as bad as you say?" Robertson asked.

Mowbray responded: "It is."


It's supposed to be about the war lies. Tonight on PBS, check local listings..

Left vs. Right

On the Left we have TNR, and on the Right we have the Weekly Standard.

What a wide range of opinions our liberal media broadcasts...

Life in the Gulag

You know, I don't really know what specifically drove the Columbine kids to do what they did, but I do know that treating kids like suspected criminals all the time just can't be a good idea...

Dear City Paper

Please stop giving column space to idiots who think that the 1st Amendment requires ESPN to let Rush Limbaugh say anything he wants to while on their payroll.



Rant on Sister!

Margaret Cho directs some righteous fury at Ann Coulter.

Oh, Those Darn PC Folks

I mean sheesh, how can anyone be upset about such a thing.

Stupid is as Stupid Does

Charles Johnson, taking a break from his usual obsession, is absolutely outraged that Dean pays his campaign staff to work on his blog.

Yes, folks, it's that stupid.

You Can't Make This Stuff Up

Fox has hired the former second-in-command of the Iraqi Information Ministry...

Arnold Thanks his Supporters

Cheap whores:

He also thanked the news media for their role in his quest for the statehouse.

"Please do me a favor: Stay with me the next three years, OK? Because you are absolutely essential for me to get my message out there," he said. "I really appreciate your being part of my campaign."

(thanks to sbm)

Thursday is New Jobless Today

Congratulations to the 382,000 new jobless, and the 6 thousand we neglected to congratulate last week.

Lowest numbers since February, so that's good news, but not all that meaningful as the weekly numbers jump around a bit.

Things I Learned on NPR Today

Arnold's father was NOT a Nazi, and if a caller says he is they get hung up on.

Al Franken can't say he's simply a satirist because he makes political points with his satire.

Blogging from Baghdad

About women's rights.

Tens of Thousand

The Weekly Standard is so full of shit in claiming that there are "tens of thousands" of senior administration officials.

Dear Michael Isikoff

Please read the newspapers before attempting to make shit up to defend the Bush administration. I would suggest the Washington Post, 9-29:

Another journalist yesterday confirmed receiving a call from an administration official providing the same information about Wilson's wife before the Novak column appeared on July 14 in The Post and other newspapers.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003


I'm only an occasional Letterman viewer, but I've never seen him initiate a war against Leno. He just mocked a video of Leno looking at his watch during Arnold's speech (Leno was there), and then proceeded to totally mock him personally.


Tommy Boy

I almost feel bad for our pal Tom. He's pretty much been delusional for months, but normal mocking aside I think his latest column reveals his fundamental misunderstanding:

First, let me state my own bias: Iraq is the whole ballgame. If we can produce a reasonably decent, constitutionally grounded Iraqi government, good things will happen all around the Middle East. If Iraq turns into a quagmire, it will be a disaster for U.S. interests all around the world. So, for me, everything should be focused on getting Iraq on the right path.

This is one part ignorance one part pride. The ignorance part is Domino theory of Democracy. The pride part is the belief that we have to win this fools' errand to save face.

Hitlery on the Daily Show

Coming up...

Tee Vee

So, the new Angel (no spoilers) was pretty good tonight. They seem to be incorporating more of the Buffy-style hip banter, far moreso than Buffy did in its last couple of years.

Why oh Why

Josh Marshall wonders why the fact that Grover Norquist compared the morality of the estate tax with the morality of the holocaust isn't getting more attention. It's very simple - because Grover Norquist is a Republican.

Josh should know the rules by now.

Amused to Death

Neil Postman died. Oddly, I've never read that book even though it's been sitting on my shelf for years, though I do like the album version.

Anything Good on TV

Anyone have a decent TV show to recommend? The number of nights with anything half-decent to watch seems to have diminished significantly this year.

Imminent Threat

I guess it was imminent after all.

(via Kos)

Rumsfeld - Condi Lies!

Tee hee:

Ms. Rice said over the weekend that she had conferred with Mr. Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and Vice President Dick Cheney about setting up the new entity. But her account seemed at odds with Mr. Rumsfeld's recollection. He told reporters that he did not recall the change being discussed. "I wouldn't know how to comment on it," he said.

At one point, when the interviewer persisted, the secretary lost his patience. "You don't understand English?" Mr. Rumsfeld said. "I was not there for the backgrounding," a reference to the briefing given to The New York Times.

Rant on Sister!

Katha Pollitt takes on the latest round of conservative desire for polite discourse.

What I want to know is, Why can't they just admit it, throw a big party and dance on the table with lampshades on their heads? Why are they always claiming to be excluded and silenced because most English professors are Democrats? Why must they re-prosecute Alger Hiss whenever Susan Sarandon gives a speech or Al Franken goes after Bill O'Reilly? If I were a conservative, I would think of those liberal professors spending their lives grading papers on The Scarlet Letter and I would pour myself a martini. I would pay Susan Sarandon to say soulful and sincere things about peace, I would hire Al Franken and sneak him on O'Reilly's show as a practical joke. And if some Democratic dinosaur lifted his head out of the Congressional tarpits to orate about the missing WMDs, or unemployment, or the two and a half million people who lost their health insurance this year, I'd nod my head sagely and let him rant on. Poor fellow. Saddam Hussein was his best friend, after Stalin died. No wonder he's upset.

The Hatch Standard

Orrin Hatch has shocked the world with his proposal for a one day statute of limitations on all crimes and ethical transgressions:

We have to look at people who they are today, not what they may have done wrong in the past.

Rant on Brother!

Some lovely righteous fury from John Scalzi.

Centcom Down?

I can't get there...

Dana Priest Chat

Go read. I'll pull out some interesting bits when I find them.

...well, nothing that interesting., except maybe this:

Dana Priest: I'm so sorry that I couldn't answer more questions, there are so many---most about the leak investigation. One thing is certain, the story will have changed by next week--so "see" you then. Best, Dana

Predicting the obvious or a hint at what's to come...

Snark Supreme

From Tbogg:

Andrew Sullivan often makes comments about "old media", but that doesn't mean that he won't accept a paycheck from them. This morning he wanders into a Deep South truck stop and wonders why there's no Pet Shop Boys on the jukebox:

Go read the rest.


I hear he puts on quite the performance on Fresh Air today. Listen when it comes online, or when it's broadcast on your local NPR.

And, in Local News...

It appears (though not confirmed) that the FBI has been bugging our mayor...

A sophisticated electronic listening device with multiple microphones was found yesterday morning hidden in the ceiling of Mayor Street's City Hall office.

Within hours, the FBI said that the eavesdropping device was not related to the mayor's race, but declined to explain how it knew that so quickly.

Pressed whether federal investigators themselves might have planted the bug, FBI spokeswoman Linda Vizi said the agency "would not confirm or deny" whether that was the case.

UPDATE: The Daily News has a source saying it's a federal probe of something.

Rummy out of the Loop

Man, they didn't even tell Rummy that they were going to take away his shiny new toy.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said yesterday that he was not told in advance about a reorganization of the Iraq reconstruction, which he heads. He said he still does not know the reason for the shake-up.

Rumsfeld said in an interview with the Financial Times and three European news organizations that he did not learn of the new Iraq Stabilization Group until he received a classified memo about it from national security adviser Condoleezza Rice on Thursday.

Rumsfeld was asked several times why the changes were necessary. "I think you have to ask Condi that question," he said, according to a transcript posted on the Web site of the Financial Times.

Pressed, he said: "I said I don't know. Isn't that clear? You don't understand English? I was not there for the backgrounding."


High Turnout High Turnout!

The media bobbleheads keep dutifully reporting high voter turnout. Well, the turnout was higher in the last election, so stop saying that.

Katie Couric began the media's immediate campaign to absolve themselves of their responsibility by saying that Arnold had "defied conventional wisdom" by winning. If his losing was conventional wisdom, why the hell did you give him free air time 24/7 for two months?

God I hate our media.

And the winner goes to...

time series econometricians.
how boring.

Good News

Ward "segregation isn't racism" Connerly's latest went down in flames.

What a Night

I hope I didn't do anything stupid.

Anyway, I had optimistically predicted that Davis would survive. I based that on one major premise - that after about a month or so, the media would stop with the Access Hollywood coverage of Arnold and actually point out his ties to Pete Wilson, Enron, etc...

Of course, I was wrong. They're a lazy bunch of SOBs, and if they can point a camera at a Nurembourg rally and call it news, they're going to do it. I knew Arnold would have untold hours of free media on AM radio, etc... but I actually made the mistake of thinking the respectable news media would eventually realize they had a responsibility.

Prediction: Arnold proposes crazy things which do nothing to deal with California's budget problems (MORE spending! LESS taxes!), while blaming the Democratic legislature for anything that goes wrong. He'll probably get away with it...

Tuesday, October 07, 2003


Remember 3 years of complaining about calling elections based on flawed exit polls! Oops! Never mind.

Hey, maybe he won, but the media could have know.. until FUCKING ONE PERCENT OF OFFICIAL RETURNS WERE IN. Just to pretend.

...jokes aside, this is really serious. I mean, they may truly have enough information to make this call - I have no idea - but I have *never* seen an election called when zero percent of the returns were in, particularly an election with so many absentee ballots. What the hell?

I'm not in denial here, I'm quite ready to accept the Gubernator, but this is about responsibility in an issue that the media spent years agonizing about.

... but, in any case, buy me some toys to alleviate my depression.

To the Family and Friends of Donald Luskin

(assuming he has any)

Please make sure you have someone at his side, at about 10 am tomorrow morning, just in case...



Clark's Manager Quits


WASHINGTON -- Wesley Clark's campaign manager quit Tuesday in a dispute over the direction of the Democratic presidential bid, exposing a rift between the former general's Washington-based advisers and his 3-week-old Arkansas campaign team.

Donnie Fowler told associates he was leaving over widespread concerns that supporters who used the Internet to draft Clark into the race are not being taken seriously by top campaign advisers. Fowler also complained that the campaign's message and methods are focused too much on Washington, not key states and the burgeoning power of the Internet, said two associates who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Spokesmen for the campaign declined comment.

Fowler has been at odds with communications adviser Mark Fabiani of California and policy adviser Ron Klain of Washington. All three are veterans of Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign, part of a large group of Clinton-Gore activists hired by Clark as he entered the race Sept. 17.

Well, probably not much surprise who I think is right here, but what do I know about campaigns. I think it's pretty easy to make the internet dwellers feel included, a la Dean, without giving up any control.

Florida II

Drudge is starting up the 'air of inevitability.' How *dare* those campaign sources leak early poll results! I mean, my God, they might discourage people from voting like those millions of Panhandle voters and...

oh never mind.

If this election is close (either ballot question), be prepared for a massive shitstorm of truly epic proportions.

Torture Lou

Make the poor boy cry.

Ha Ha Ha Ha

And they mocked voters in Florida...

More of Arnold's Thugs

Digby reports some actual goosesteppers.

Making Shit Up

The NYT continues to do it.

The Clinton Test

Josh Marshall says he follows the Clinton Test when determining the appropriate degree of relevance and outrage for a particular issue.

We should compare Partisan Liberal Journalist Josh Marshall's "Clinton Test" with Partisan Conservative Journalist Chris Caldwell's "Clinton Test:"

CALDWELL: Well, yes, one of my colleagues likes to say, "The Golden Rule is that all rumors about the Clintons are true". But I think ...

KURTZ: That's quite a journalistic standard.

Senior Administration Official

Hey, even Bush says it is. Of course, he also pretends that could be Lots and Lots and Lots of people.

Voting Problems

You can report them here, among other places.

Quote of the Day

From SP in comments:

I'm sure someone will write a good speech that starts, "Four score and seven billion dollars ago..."

so obvious I'm shocked I hadn't heard it before.

Ah, the Good Old Days

No explanation necessary for this.

(via Tapped)

Hillsdale Academy is of course part of Hillsdale College. Remember when...

In November, another right-wing wolf cloaked in family values sheepskin was unzipped to the American public. George Roche III resigned as president of conservative Hillsdale College in Michigan after accusations of a quasi-incestuous relationship with his daughter-in-law, Lissa.

On the morning of Oct. 17, 42-year-old Lissa and her husband, George Roche IV, visited the 64-year-old Roche at the hospital, where he was undergoing treatment for diabetes. With her husband and father-in-law as witnesses, Lissa claimed that she and the elder Roche had been off-and-on lovers for 19 of the 21 years she and her husband had been married. Lissa returned to her campus house after the confession and armed herself with a .38-caliber handgun. She walked out of her backyard and through the college's arboretum to a stone gazebo, a secluded location where students once went to relax, guzzle a few beers or liaise with members of the opposite sex. There, Lissa ended her life.

We've Found the Source of the WMD

It's the Pentagon. Schweeeeet!

Equal Justice

These soldiers should ask their commander in chief what the penalty for going AWOL is:

Morale among some war-weary GIs in Iraq is so low that a growing number of soldiers - including some now home on R&R - are researching the consequences of going AWOL, according to a leading support group.

The GI Rights Hotline, a national soldiers' support service, has logged a 75 percent increase in calls in the last 12 weeks, with more than 100 of those calls from soldiers, or people on their behalf, asking about the penalties associated with going AWOL - "absent without leave" - according to volunteers and staffers who man the service.

Many of the calls have come from soldiers who are among those now on the first wave of 15-day authorized leaves that began almost two weeks ago. Some hotline callers have indicated they may not return, staffers said.

"What would happen if I just don't go back" to Iraq, one soldier asked a worker at a GI support-line center.

"I'm going to shoot myself in the foot," said another, referring to his solution for getting home.

The Metro

My city is one which has its own version of the international free public-transit oriented Metro newspaper. It's about 8 minutes of news light reading, but the nice thing about it is that it frequently runs things from the international wires that you don't see elsewhere. Usually it's just odd celebrity or 'freak event' news, but today there was a gem:

A phalanx of aides and bodyguards kept a throng of international journalists at bay. Some veteran journalists say it is easier to get access to traveling U.S. presidents.

Staffers told supporters to discard whatever signs they had brought with them. As they entered a security check area, they were told to collect new official signs like "Remarkable Women Join Arnold" and "Democratic Women Love Arnold."

and, as E points out, official signs that appear to be handmade..


Arnold supporters attacked Georgy. Well, they'd already gone after nuns, so I guess there should be no surprise here.

Gubernatorial candidate Georgy Russell was pushed, shoved, hit and kicked yesterday by supporters of Arnold Schwarzenegger at a rally in Pleasanton CA. She was repeatedly called a "bitch" and one of the Arnold Supporters wrote on her clothing with a permanent marking pen. The felonious abusers, who claimed to be provoked by remarks from Russell, were near equal numbers of men and women and no one during the incident came to Russell's aid. Schwarzeneggar and his wife Maria Shriver witnessed the attack and neither said or did anything to stop the abuse.

Russell, while disgusted with the behavior, thinks Arnold and his supporters deserve each other. "Some of Arnold's supporters apparently do not hesitate when it comes to using violence to accomplish their goals. It's not surprising that they support and defend a candidate who has manifested poor judgment and aggressive behavior most of his adult life. The behavior exhibited by Arnold's supporters is not simply an aberration, it is an MO that has it's roots at the top; it is reminiscent of the behavior of the thugs that were bussed in by Republicans during the Florida recount to perform much the same role as the bullies of yesterday and while that is no surprise to me I am nonetheless sickened by it all. This bully mentality was exhibited by Arnold in the debate in his rude treatment of Arianna Huffington and that the press offered little to no criticism of his behavior opened the door wide and gave a green light to his supporters to follow suit."

Just a little preview of election '04.

Glad There's Still a Decent Paper...

Actually, there are a few, but here's one from the Strib:

As is clear now, Clinton's policy of containment had worked pretty well.

As is clear now, the American people were sold a bill of goods by a small cadre of PNAC ideologues, bent on attacking Iraq, who latched onto the opportunity provided by Osama bin Laden and his crew of suicidal, airplane-hijacking terrorists. The price? Scores of billions of dollars, hundreds of young American lives, the standing of the United States in the world, plus the credibility of President Bush and his neocon cronies.

Diary of a Stalker

By Donald Luskin.


Signorile discusses the Plame Game.

If we’re going resurrect the word "outing" and expand its definition, it’s instructive to look at a classic outing to see just how hypocritical much of the press is being in the Plame case. Editors and reporters have been riding the high horse of "journalistic ethics" in defending both Novak’s outing and reporters’ failure to identify administration leaks. But this story has little to do with ethics and everything to with self-preservation and careerism. As has been pointed out by some media critics, the journalists who were given the information on Plame (but chose not to use it) could and should have done a story about how the White House was leaking the name of a CIA agent–all without using the name of the agent or even the leaker. They chose not to for the same reason they won’t now release the name of the leakers, despite the felony of exposing a covert operative. They believe that if they did, they’d lose all access to the White House, that their competition would get a leg up and that their careers would suffer.

Back in 1991, I wrote a cover story for the Advocate about Pete Williams, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs in the Bush administration and Pentagon spokesman throughout the Gulf War. Williams was known to be gay by higher-ups in the Pentagon, including then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney and, it appeared, President Bush. Meanwhile the Pentagon was booting gays and lesbians out of the military, claiming they were a security risk because they might have access to classified information and could be blackmailed, while the average cook, private or porter had no access to state secrets. But the truth is, Pete Williams certainly did.

Something that is implied but not quite stated clearly enough in this column - back when there was a big media storm about "outing" - outing gay people - the media was much more up in arms than they are about this recent incident.

Cover Up

All those claims about documents being handed over to the Justice Department by 5pm today were bullshit. They're going through Alberto Gonzalez's hands first.

What a load of crap.

Supreme Court Perjurers

An alert reader informs me that Crazy Andy would have supported Clarence Thomas for SC Justice even though he believed Anita Hill. This, of course, means Andy thinks it's just ducky for a Supreme Court Justice to be an acknowledged perjurer.

Monday, October 06, 2003

Local News

I don't cover local news much because I haven't been here long enough to have my finger on the pulse. But, unsurprisingly polls show that in the race between incumbent Mayor Street (black) and challenger Katz (white), the vote will pretty much be according to race.

Of course, for the black voters they're playing evil identity politics by supporting a corrupt and incompetent mayor (not my spin) simply because he's black, and the white voters are making an honest and educated choice.

End Vote By Mail

A campaign has a natural timeline to it, and early voting blows.

Absentee ballot if you're out of the state or unable to get to a polling place, not 'cause you're lazy.

...oh, and on a related note, I would stay up and do the recall coverage tomorrow, but due to the massive amounts of absentee ballots we ain't gonna know the results of this one for awhile...

Walsh Gets a Clue

I rarely have a kind word for Joan Walsh, but she does good here.

Two Sources?

An observant pixie, in comments, notices what I never did. Or, at least, if I did I forgot - too much information. The two different WaPo stories had what was widely interpreted as a minor discrepancy in sourcing. But there is also a discrepancy in timing.

From the first Post story, which was posted up on the web site during the evening on Saturday:

Yesterday, a senior administration official said that before Novak's column ran, two top White House officials called at least six Washington journalists and disclosed the identity and occupation of Wilson's wife.

From the second story, posted up on Sunday:

An administration aide told The Post on Saturday that the two White House officials had cold-called at least six Washington journalists and identified Wilson's wife.

This could just be an issue with the timing of web versus print stories - the Saturday story was written for publication in the Sunday print edition. But, we nonetheless can potentially solve the source discrepancy by realizing there are two different sources.

Andy Card with the Lead Pipe?

Digby raises the possibility that the leaker has nothing to do with a CIA-Rove war and is just an appalled insider.

Graham-a Lam-a Ding Dong

Tbogg and Jesse give some good smackdown. As does steve g.

In honor of..

In honor of the the anniversary of the death of Matthew Shepard, Bush has announced Marriage Protection Week:

Marriage is a sacred institution, and its protection is essential to the continued strength of our society. Marriage Protection Week provides an opportunity to focus our efforts on preserving the sanctity of marriage and on building strong and healthy marriages in America.

Marriage is a union between a man and a woman, and my Administration is working to support the institution of marriage by helping couples build successful marriages and be good parents.

This is of course no coincidence, as it wasn't a coincidence that Bush took the podium on the Martin Luther King's birthday (the real one, not the holiday) to condemn the University of Michigan's affirmative action program as a quota system - a complete lie..

The media loves to ignore these little coinkydinks. Bush voters understand them. He's just playing to his base...

Still No Map

It's nice to see the Texas Republicans are clueless and inept.

Though not, it seems, as clueless and inept as the one in charge.


At Altercation.

Peter Beinart is one of those liberals for whom I wish we still had some use. I mean, he’s smart. He’s prolific. He’s completely sincere, and he’s really terrible on television — which, given the ignorami who seem to prevail in our media/political culture, I consider a great recommendation for both his intellect and his character. But, boy howdy, reading his review of the Krugman collection in yesterday’s TIMES, the man sounds like he’s spent the last 15 years floating amid the moons of Neptune. Consider this passage:

“Guest lists that cross ideological lines can help liberals understand the conservatives they write about. And many Washington conservatives genuinely don’t see the Bush administration as radical: they see it as having ratified a big-spending, culturally liberal status quo.”

Breathtaking, isn’t it? I mean, where does one begin? It isn’t like the conservative agenda is hard to discern; when Grover Norquist says he wants to strangle government in his bathtub, he isn’t speaking metaphorically. He means it. Tom DeLay doesn’t speak in code, and he runs the House of Representatives. The people who’ve our current foreign policy up on the rocks have plotted the course in public — and, occasionally, in Mr. Beinart’s own magazine — for the past 15 years. They didn’t act out their impeachment kabuki in the root cellar, and they didn’t muscle the Florida election in the dark.

And the fact that a lot of them haven’t yet gotten everything they wanted is hardly proof that the administration doesn’t want all the same stuff, too. It’s evidence that some Republicans — and even some Democrats — would rather not see the Republic taken all the way over a cliff. If it pains Mr. Beinart to know that some of his dinner pals want to demolish everything in which he believes, and that they are halfway there already, I am truly sorry, but the Krug is right and he’s wrong on this one. I don’t want these clowns understood. I want them defeated — permanently, the way the Whigs were — and the earth salted so they do not rise again.


Plenty of people have said that Bush could end this any time he wants to, and of course he can. He went on the record today as saying he doesn't know who jeapordized national security by outing a covert CIA operative. The journalists who were on the receiving end of this information could of course put the information out there, either on the record or anonymously. I'm hearing rumors that if subpoenad, some wouldn't put up a fight.

But, there's also one more person who could end this - the senior administration official who pointed his finger at two White House officials in the WaPo article 8 days ago.

Look Honey!

Negroes! And they aren't smoking crack!

Holy hell.

I really shouldn't have to point out the obvious - that when a man, a woman, and three children are sitting together at a table we can not infer either that the man and woman are married, that the children are theirs jointly, or that even if they were currently married that they were at the time of the children's births.

(via the Boggster)

In a related note, I keep forgetting to run this gem from Pat Robertson:

"He started off playing a chauffeur in 'Driving Miss Daisy,' and then they elevated him to head of the CIA, and then they elevated him to president and in his last role they made him God. I just wonder, isn't Rush Limbaugh right to question the fact, is he that good an actor or not?"

-- Pat Robertson on his "700 Club" television show, using the example of black actor Morgan Freeman to defend Limbaugh's jab at Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb


Good one.

Operation Condi

Lord help us all. Actually, this is about putting control of the selling of Iraq back in the White House, and will have little to do with what happens there, though I suppose it's a bit of a spanking for Darth Rumsfeld.

The Chewbacca Defense Continues

Josh Marshall has the details. They're basically just trying to muddy up the whole thing, even though it is mindbogglingly simple. The usual toadies in the press will play along.

Shorter MBFs

Since Wilson disagreed with something Dear Leader said, he is a traitor to our country. Now that's the real scandal!

Rush on Drugs

Ailes has some more.

Sunday, October 05, 2003

Onward to Syria?!

I'm not in a position to judge the moral rightness or wrongness of Israel's attack of a camp in Syria, nor are any of the rest of you unless you have access to their intelligence. But, as I've said a few times before, it's really time to put aisde the moral questions of Israel's approach to their security and address the practical ones. I think too often both sides get stuck in the moral issue - defenders of Israel say that it has a right to defend itself by just about any means necessary, and opponents argue, among other things, that Israel's disregard for "collateral damage" should be condemned.

As one who thinks that Israel has legitimate security concerns and has a right to defend itself, though of course we can argue about what "by just about any means necessary" should mean, I've always thought that addressing the overall utility of Sharon's more belligerent approach to his "war on terra" was a better way to argue the issue. The moral questions quickly lead us down a path of "they started it! no they did!," or debates about hereditary ownership claims. But, in the end, from Israel's perspective anyway, in the midst of suicide bombings the primary question is - is it working? Both in the short and long run of course.

It's hard to conclude that the Sharon approach has been effective. While there are those who are loathe to "make peace" with terrorists, in the end that's what you have to do. Or, at least, you have to make peace with potential terrorists.

So, now we go to Syria. Israel may have dealt a well-deserved blow to a bunch of baddies - I really have no idea. But, is escalating a long-(sort of) dormant war a good idea? And, more importantly, are the PNAC lunatics behind this?

It wasn't too many months ago, in the feel-good statue toppling days, that the nutcases in the Bush administration were making very loud noises about Syria and Iran being next. Let's hope they're not crazy enough to start a conflict right now.

The Chewbacca Defense


...and Mark Kleiman neatly takes care of the Sgt. Schulz defense, leaving the defenders with... nothing.

Read Mark's post - particularly any visiting journalists who want a very handy timeline for the events in July.


War Liberal informs us that the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina has expelled four churches simply for accepting homosexuals as members.

Buy the T-Shirt.

(T-Shirt via the Sideshow)

Shorter Mark Kleiman

It's very odd for a professor of law to be actively advising someone how to cover up a crime.

...Randy Paul has more.

Billmon on Fineman

Billmon takes on Fineman's slick apologia for the administration. He catches something which totally slipped by me, that Fineman is somehow crediting Joe Wilson for the Bush I administration's decision to not go into Baghdad, and claiming that he forced a meek and mild Dick Cheney into obeying this policy.

As Billmon says, "The idea that Joe Wilson, charge’ d’affaires in Baghdad, made the decision not to march on Saddam's capital -- and that Dick Cheney, cabinet secretary, only "supported" that decision -- is one of those crackpot assertions that could only be made in the madhouse that is now the American media."

Dear Media

Please stop pretending you can't tell the difference between consensual and nonconsensual sex acts. Please stop pretending thinking allegations might have some bearing on whether someone should be elected is the same thing as thinking similar allegations (or not similar) justify forceably removing someone from office. Please stop pretending all of the allegations about Arnold are about events from thirty years ago.

And for the males in the media, please, please, for the sake of your wives and daughters if nothing else, please stop conveying the idea that their breasts are public property.



Or, as Katha Pollitt says:

Instead, reaction as been strangely subdued. Thursday night's "Hardball" was typical. Chris Matthews, who chose the curiously sweet, rather affectionate word "fondling" to describe Mr. Schwarzenegger's behavior, seemed mostly interested in getting Senator Dianne Feinstein to compare the actor's grotesqueries to Mr. Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky. The senator was so intent on being statesmanlike that she didn't even point out that Ms. Lewinsky — unlike the the women in The Los Angeles Times article — volunteered herself.


Why is it so hard for commentators to come right out and say: here is a man who seems to have a long history of contempt for women, who uses his celebrity to get away with sexual humiliation — why does he belong in public life? Would that sound too square, too P.C., too, um, feminist? From the newsstand crammed with leering lad magazines like Maxim to all-male, all-the-time talk radio to the self-congratulatory misogyny of "The Man Show," aggressive male chauvinism is back in style, and Mr. Schwarzenegger is its standard-bearer.

Shorter Atrios: Hey, Chris Matthews, are your wife's breasts real? They sure feel real!

Bait and Switch

Right before Dr. Strangefeld shows up to visit with some troops, they're told they'll be going home soon. After he leaves, that is no longer operational.

Jobs Picture Worse


Data Revision Confirms Weak Jobs Picture
Sun Oct 5, 7:33 AM ET Add Business - Reuters to My Yahoo!

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A warning by the U.S. Labor Department (news - web sites) that it expects to revise down past employment data pours cold water on the view of some economists who believed the jobs market had been improving for some time, analysts said on Friday.

Statisticians at the Labor Department said they expect to revise down U.S. payroll employment by about 145,000 for the March 2003 reference month -- effectively showing even greater weakness in the sluggish labor market than previously thought.

The downward adjustment surprised Wall Street, which had been rife with speculation this week that Labor would adjust the figures up, bringing payrolls more in line with another survey which has shown a recent improvement in the job market.

Vickie Plame

Someone really needs to tell the people at Newsweek that her name is Valerie. Isikoff just called her Vickie. Do they know something we don't?

...Joe Conason just made an important point. Since it appears that the journalists who were the recipients of leaks have been gossiping about it, they've already waived any privelege with respect to preserving the anonymity of their source.

In comments Barbara adds:

I made this point on some comment board somewhere else -- If you feel free to release the name of the source to ANYONE then you haven't sworn a vow to secrecy -- just a vow to protect the leaker as well as others from the consequences of their actions. That takes it out of the realm of abstractly noble conduct (falling on your sword for the 1st amendment) and puts it in the neighborhood of facilitating a possible criminal offense. There's a world of difference. No doubt the real difference is the preexisting political proclivities of the Leakee: Any bets that it's Safire, Will, and a few choice others? They'll never talk. Goddamn bastards.

Howie Goes a Whoring

God, can anyone believe Howie Kurtz's performance on Reliable Sources?

The Media Slumbers

Why oh why is this being totally ignored?

Nina Totenberg: "The White house asked for and got permission earlier this week to wait a day before issuing a directive to preserve all documents and logs which led one seasoned federal prosecutor to wonder why they wanted to wait a day, and who at the justice department told them they could do that, and why?"

Just a Recap

The significance of David Corn's article is that if Rove and the Roverers weren't responsible for the original blowing of Plame's cover, but instead pushed the information onto reporters afterwards... Then the White House's response to hearing about the leak was not to investigate who the responsible party was, but rather to try and use that information to push their agenda. Bush should ask for Rove's head over this one, whether or not he did anything illegal.

White House vs. CIA

In this article we have White House correspondents telling us that Tenet wants to leave. In this article we have national security correspondents telling us Tenet wants to stay.

Are You Now, or Have You Ever....

been a Democrat?

Increasingly our lovely media seems to think that disqualifies you from expressing an opinion on anything.

Sully the Clinton Hater

Sullivan's obsessive hatred of the Clenis is well-known, but he does, as Sully Watch points out, attempt to pretend that he disapproved of some of the Clinton-stalking scandal machine of the 90s. Sully Watch catches him passing on the bullshit American Spectator stories.

Sullivan isn't a journalist. He isn't even a hack. He's a lying propagandist of the highest order. Any media outlet that continues to publish him is no better than garbage.

I Blame the Muslims!

Gotta love this:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- U.S. Rep. Cass Ballenger blames the breakup of his 50-year marriage partly on the stress of living near a leading American Muslim advocacy group that he and his wife worried was so close to the U.S. Capitol that "they could blow the place up."

The nine-term Republican lawmaker, in an interview with The Charlotte Observer published Saturday, called the Council on American-Islamic Relations -- whose headquarters are across the street from his Capitol Hill home -- a "fund-raising arm" for terrorist groups and said he reported CAIR to the FBI and CIA.

Ballenger, 76, told The Associated Press on Saturday that he had no problem with Muslims generally, but that he objected to what he believes are ties the group has with terrorists.

"The only difference I have is that building across the street. In my opinion, it should never have been leased" to the group, Ballenger said.

His wife, Donna, told The Associated Press the couple kept a close eye on CAIR since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and worried that the group's activities might jeopardize security on Capitol Hill.

"This gang across the street is questionable," she said Saturday.



BAGHDAD -- The U.S. Army general who heads coalition forces in Iraq says it will be years before the United States is able to "draw down" its forces here, and he warned Americans to brace for more casualties, including a "significant engagement where tens of American soldiers or coalition soldiers" are killed.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Chicago Tribune, Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez gave a frank assessment of the military situation in Iraq. He said the coalition forces are winning the war here despite the daily drumbeat of news reports that suggest the military is encountering more trouble than its commanders had anticipated.

Alter Breaks Ranks

Finally a journalist speaks up:

Can I tell a quick leak story? The year was 1987 and Oliver North was testifying before a congressional committee investigating the Iran-contra affair. As I sat listening to him in the Senate Caucus Room, I couldn’t believe my ears. North was talking about the 1985 apprehension of Arab terrorists who had tossed an elderly Jewish man in a wheelchair, Leon Klinghoffer, over the side of the cruise ship Achille Lauro. The already famous Marine colonel was accusing members of Congress of being untrustworthy because they revealed the military details of that capture. I knew that North was shamelessly accusing other people of leaking something that he, in fact, had leaked himself—not to me, but to other reporters. He was using confidentiality as a weapon. I decided to blow the whistle in NEWSWEEK and identify him as the source. This didn’t exactly make me Mr. Popularity with my colleagues or with North, who threatened to sue. But I would do it all over again.

FAST FORWARD to 2003. The Justice Department has finally opened an investigation into which officials of the Bush administration leaked that Joseph Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, was in the CIA. Bob Novak or any of perhaps five other still anonymous reporters could save everyone a lot of trouble and simply identify the culprit, but as of last week, they hadn’t. Confidentiality is essential to doing our job and almost all of us would go to jail to protect our sources from the reach of the government. To the press, this is second nature; to the public, the code of silence can sometimes seem strange and unsettling. Is there a way out? I think so, though I don’t expect my colleagues to like it.


Passed Over Again

Oh well, maybe next year.

Rove's Sock Puppets

Looks like Tweety's one of them:

In the issue coming out October 6, Newsweek will be reporting that after Bob Novak published a July 14 column containing the leak attributed to "senior adminsitration officials" that identified former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, as an undercover CIA operative, NBC News reporter Andrea Mitchell was contacted by White House officials who touted the Novak column and encouraged her to pursue the story about Wilson's wife. The newsmagazine also notes that, according to a source close to Wilson, shortly after the leak occurred Bush's senior aide Karl Rove told Hardball host Chris Matthews that Wilson's wife was "fair game." Matthews told Newsweek that he would not discuss any confidential conversation. (He told me the same weeks ago when I made a similar inquiry about this chat with Rove.)


...But these new details are significant and undercut the White House line on the leak. At a White House press briefing, Scott McClellan, Bush's press secretary, repeatedly said that Bush and his White House took no action after the Novak column was published on July 14 because the leak was attributed only to anonymous sources. "Are we supposed to chase down every anonymous report in the newspaper?" McClellan remarked.

He was arguing that a serious leak attributed to anonymous sources was still not serious enough to cause the president to ask, what the hell happened? And he made it seem as if the White House just ignored the matter. Not so. Mitchell's remark and even the Rove-friendly account of the Rove-Matthews conversation are evidence the White House tried to further the Plame story--that is, to exploit the leak for political gain. Rather than respond by trying to determine the source of a leak that possibly violated federal law and perhaps undermined national security ( The Washington Post reported that the leak also blew the cover of a CIA front company, "potentially expanding the damage caused by the original disclosure"), White House officials sought to take advantage of it. Spin that, McClellan.