Saturday, October 18, 2003

Militia Nuts

And Mickey Kaus said we should be worrying about left wing violence...

Lies and the Lying Liars

General Boykin's bullshit apology is worse than his original comments.

...oddly enough, Then- Colonel Boykin figures prominently in Alamo Girl's Waco lunacy...


It appears that Easterbrook's TMQ column has been disappeared from ESPN's website. Not sure why - perhaps for criticizing the boss (Eisner). But, in any case, I was never advocating that the guy lose his writing gigs over this incident - there are plenty of other reasons he should lose his writing gigs. I just am pretty disturbed that he didn't confront the main issue - or that he even embraced it - and his defenders gave him a pass.

...yep, he was fired. This likely had more to do with the fact that he criticized Eisner specifically than anything else, so if any good can come of this it'll be Easterbrook writing a column on the dangers of big media consolidation.

Heating Up?

Julian Borger is one of those reporters who probably knows who the Plame leaker is and isn't telling us, although he did finger Rove at one point.

There is worse to come for Mr Bush in the next few weeks. The leak investigation is expected to gather steam and will either produce a culprit close to the Oval Office or provoke claims of a whitewash.

So, this could just be a throwaway line or he may know more than he's telling.

Shorter Megan McArdle


It's ok to increase Social Security taxes and use the surplus to lower all other taxes. It's not ok to do the reverse. I don't feel like explaining why.

(stolen from a comment by Jason McCullough over at Max's place)

Or, my version:

Using regressive taxes to fund general revenues is good. Using progressive taxes to fund social security is bad.

Loan not a Big Deal

I'm not sure why everyone seems to be all excited about the Senate voting for $10 billion of the $20 billion in money for Iraq to be in the form of a loan instead of a grant. Sure, people are basically right that it's a bad idea, but it's also one of those things that can and will be changed sometime in the middle of the night when no one is paying attention. Some Republicans needed some political cover, and some Democrats wanted to put a finger in Bush's eye anyway they could, and they agreed on this. It might actually succeed in pushing the Bush administration to put some diplomatic pressure on other countries to forgive some of their debts. Or not. But, the probability that Iraq will have to pay back a cent of that money is about zero.

Still, I am rather shocked at all the conserva-tarians who are falling all over themselves to hand out more aid money. Where were all these calls for generosity after Afghanistan? And, how much is too much? Will the price tag of this adventure ever get too high? We've already allocated more money (in real terms) than the entire Marshall plan.

Blogs to Read

I keep forgetting to add Crooked Timber to the blogroll, so go read them.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Bush is Not a Nazi

This is news?

WASHINGTON - President Bush (news - web sites)'s grandfather was a director of a bank seized by the federal government because of its ties to a German industrialist who helped bankroll Adolf Hitler's rise to power, government documents show.

Prescott Bush was one of seven directors of Union Banking Corp., a New York investment bank owned by a bank controlled by the Thyssen family, according to recently declassified National Archives documents reviewed by The Associated Press.

They Did Lie

Kevin Drum gives the Bushies too much credit over the Botulism Bacteria of mass destruction, calling it a "technical lie." David Kay explicitly refers to it as a "weapons cache." Don't let them off the hook so easily.

SNOW: You believe that there are similar strains perhaps throughout Iraq right now?

KAY: We're actively searching for at least one more cache of weapons — of strains that we know exists.

SNOW: This is a cache that had been referred to by a scientist. The first bit of information paid off; you're still looking for the second one?

KAY: Exactly.

SNOW: And the second one is a large cache.

And, don't forget Bush's own spin:

Kay had reported to Congress on Thursday that his team has found no weapons of mass destruction inside Iraq. But Bush said Friday the Iraq war was justified and cited the vial of bacteria as proof Kay found ample signs Saddam "was a danger to the world."

In the magical fairy universe inhabited by Bush, Instahack, and their minions, this is proof that Saddam was a danger to the world. But, in the normal universe where reason and intelligence still have some value, this is of course not proof of any such thing.

Hey, an Honest Conservative!

Poor Ms. Miller must be very lonely these days.

Shouldn't Be Off the Hook

You know, this Easterbrook thing is really pissing me off. We have people like Eric Alterman and Jonathan Alter giving their "I know him and he's a delightful chap" nonsense. Every seems to be bowled over by how sorry, so truly truly sorry, Easterbook is. He feels real bad! He says it himself! So so sorry I mangled my words and therefore you misunderstood my intentions!

I'm ready to defend all the thoughts in that paragraph. But how could I have done such a poor job of expressing them? Maybe this is an object lesson in the new blog reality. I worked on this alone and posted the piece--what you see above comes at the end of a 1,017-word column that's otherwise about why movies should not glorify violence. Twenty minutes after I pressed "send," the entire world had read it. When I reread my own words and beheld how I'd written things that could be misunderstood, I felt awful. To anyone who was offended I offer my apology, because offense was not my intent. But it was 20 minutes later, and already the whole world had seen it.
Looking back I did a terrible job through poor wording. It was terrible that I implied that the Jewishness of studio executives has anything whatsoever to do with awful movies like Kill Bill. Nothing about Eisner or Weinstein causes any movie to be bad or awful; they're just supervisors. For all I know neither of them even focused on the adoration-of-violence aspect until the reviews came out. My attempt to connect my perfectly justified horror at an ugly and corrupting movie to the religious faith and ethnic identity of certain executives was hopelessly clumsy.

Where I failed most is in the two sentences about adoration of money. I noted that many Christian executives adore money above all else, and in the 20-minute reality of blog composition, that seemed to me, writing it, fairness and fair spreading of blame. But accusing a Christian of adoring money above all else does not engage any history of ugly stereotypes. Accuse a Jewish person of this and you invoke a thousand years of stereotypes about that which Jews have specific historical reasons to fear. What I wrote here was simply wrong, and for being wrong, I apologize.

I can't believe that no one has sat poor Gregg down and explained to him that he is completely ignoring the real problem with what he wrote. Weinstein and Eisner are ethnically Jewish. They may or may not be observant Jews. They may or may not be devout believers. They may or may not believe that their religion, if they actually have one, should require them to not promote violence in the fashion Easterbrook believes they are. In short, based simply on nothing more than the ethnicity of their parents and grandparents, who themselves may or may not have been religiously observant, Easterbrook stated that these men should be held to some higher ethical standard of his own imagining.

This is one of the core issues of "identity politics" - that members of some racial/ethnic minorities are never able to escape the identity that society has imposed on them, regardless of how they choose to live their lives and who they choose to associate with. Easterbrook is pretending that his only sins were to sloppily include the coded accusation of money worship, and because he implied the Jewishness was responsible for movies he doesn't like, which he didn't even do.

His apology isn't an apology for his actual transgression - it's either a deflection or evidence that he doesn't have a clue. This non-apology is compounded by his ridiculous claim that he did the "same thing" to Mel Gibson. Here's what he said about Gibson:

THE TEST OF SINCERITY IS WHETHER THERE WILL BE THE PASSION LICENSED MERCHANDISE IN STORES FOR CHRISTMAS: Much of Mel Gibson's movie career has been that of an odious vulgarian. His Mad Max movies are an embarrassing paean to teen fantasies of violence and slaughter as fun; his Lethal Weapon movies depict criminals killing more often, and police killing far more often, than occurs in actual life. But maybe Jesus has changed Gibson. As a churchgoing Christian, I believe my redeemer Christ possesses transcendent power to enter any life and turn a thief or a murderer or a Hollywood vulgarian into a child of God. So perhaps Mel Gibson has been transformed, and his The Passion will not be a crass attempt to commercialize Jesus' death via exaggerated gore. Maybe The Passion will be a great film.

Not exactly the same thing. James Moran (rightly in my view) lost his leadership position over much much less.

By the way, the rest of the article on Gibson's film is such a deliberately selective portrayal of the controversy surrounding it, that one can only wonder what motivated it as well.

As for vulgarians - here's an example of what Easterbrook considers to be non-vulgar. I'm no prude, but we're playing by his rules not mine.

UPDATE: For some reason the ESPN link is no longer operative. Here's the google cache.

What Next from Easterbrook?

So, recently he has written a column claiming that if a woman says "no" a man should still be legally allowed to have sex with her. He then went on to write a blog entry holding ethnic Jews to a higher ethical standard because of that whole holocaust thing. I'm thinking next week we may get "Time to Bring Back Jim Crow?"

Any other possibilities?

WSJ - Full of It?

So, reader Steve directs us to this Opinion Journal (WSJ) piece claiming that Mississippi'sGovernor Ronnie Musgrove has attended CCC events.

I couldn't find any mention of this little factoid anywhere else, but reader ajc does find some affirmation of this. Musgrove did indeed attend a meeting of the Memphis Center City Commission.

...UPDATE: Apparently they're correct. Musgrove has attended in the past. And, he should distance himself from the CCC in the strongest language possible. And, if he doesn't, I'll endorse Haley Barbour for governor.

...okay, the Black Hawk Rally and the CCC or not one and the same. It appears they sponsor the thing, which makes it shitty, but also have their own private pow-wow. Both black and white politicians attend the thing, which I can't get my head around.

Barbour Runs with the Bigots

So, first Haley Barbour goes to a CCC picnic. Then he denies knowing what the CCC is after they post his picture up on their website. Now he's saying he won't ask them to take it down.
A perfectly reasonable thing for Barbour to do would be to say "I can't make them take the picture down. However, I wish they would as it wrongfully implies that I endorse their views, which I don't."

But, that wouldn't be a prudent thing to do, politically. So he won't.

Haley Barbour Flashback (from the 10/20/82 NYT):

But the racial sensitivity at Barbour headquarters was suggested by an exchange between the candidate and an aide who complained that there would be ''coons'' at a campaign stop at the state fair. Embarrassed that a reporter heard this, Mr. Barbour warned that if the aide persisted in racist remarks, he would be reincarnated as a watermelon and placed at the mercy of blacks.

Imagine if Clinton...

There are days I just can't comprehend what's happened to our news media:

Now federal investigators are scrutinizing a smelly deal birthed last year from Everglades muck. A year ago, New Times probed the Bush administration's planned $120 million buyout of mineral rights in the Big Cypress National Preserve from the wealthy Collier family, whose operation is based on Florida's west coast ("Big Cypress Buyout," September 12, 2002). The deal, announced in May 2002 on the White House lawn by the president and little brother Jebbie, was also to include to-be-determined tax breaks that could have amounted to hundreds of millions of dollars.

Though New Times revealed that the feds ignored staff estimates that the mineral rights were worth only $5 million to $20 million, there was little response.

So why did the inspector general of the Department of Interior just recently decide to probe the deal, as the Sun-Sentinel disclosed last week? The IG won't say a word about the inquiry, but a DOI insider has a pretty good idea of what sparked it. "There's blood in the water," the source says of the growing criticism of the White House. "It's near election time, and the sharks are circling. A lot of people are worried about what this administration is doing."

If it chooses, the IG's office can easily verify that the inflated valuation is a waste of taxpayer money. The question the IG investigators should be asking, however, is this: Did DOI higher-ups use that federal agency to aid Florida Gov. Jeb Bush in his reelection bid against challengers Bill McBride and Janet Reno?

Coming as it did during the thick of the campaign, the proposal certainly raised eyebrows. "The timing with the Bush administration -- that energy-happy, let's-drill-everywhere administration -- was certainly very suspect," says Robin Rorapaugh, who at the time was McBride's campaign manager. "The Bush White House and Interior Department are not an environmentally friendly organization. The deal was counter to what that administration is usually doing. [The announcement] was there to help his brother."

Even the governor hinted as much at the time. "Whenever there is a convergence of good politics and good public policy, I don't think we should be ashamed about it," he declared at the White House.

Stupid New York Post


Inside the Minds of Crazy People

Ken Adelman, on NPR yesterday:

Steady casualties in Iraq are bad enough. We don't need the additional casualty of the pre-emption doctrine. Pre-emption seems destined to become another war casualty now that we know that our prewar intelligence on Iraq was faulty. Maybe we just can't know what's going on in countries where we most need to know the frightening things they're planning. Regardless, from now on, Americans will be skeptical of bold US action based on such inside information. The public's default position will go from instinctive support--'Let's back the president'--to deep doubt--'There they go again.'

But before we write pre-emption's obituary, I echo that great American philosopher Gene Autry when he said, 'Whoa, big boy!' Despite the limits of intelligence, pre-emption must live on to guide US security policy. Pre-9/11, we weren't so keenly aware of dedicated fanatics bent on destroying Americans. Well, now we know. Once the world's most vile weapons get in the hands of the world's most vile people, they put thousands, perhaps millions of Americans at high risk.

The doctrines of containment and deterrence won't work with them. These Cold War ideas presume that our enemy had rationality and a desire for self-preservation. Well, our enemies today sure don't. So pre-emption must prevail, more out of a necessity than a choice. We simply cannot wait to react until terrorist cells and vile regimes actually launch mass weapons against us. We must act before they do.

Of course, pre-emption is a lot more controversial than previous US doctrines. The problems for implementing pre-emption were foreseen by none other than Machiavelli. He compared cool statecraft with medical treatment: The more glaring the any disease, the more obvious its diagnosis but the more difficult its treatment. By the time a doctor is certain that a patient has lung cancer, the time for effective treatment probably has passed. The best presidents, like the best doctors, act when their evidence is still inconclusive. Otherwise, the window for effective action passes. If pre-emption does become another war casualty, I fear far more serious casualties before we rid civilization of the scourge of terrorism. And sadly, that's not about to happen anytime soon.

Reader Seraphiel provides "shorter Ken Adelman":

We must continue the doctrine of pre-emption precisely because it was such a dramatic failure.

Breast Cancer Awareness

Uppity Negro issues a challenge.

All you need to do is click here.

Apologies that Aren't Apologies

You know, when you screw up you say so and you don't keep trying to justify it. Prime example -- Gregg "The Idiot" Easterbrook.

LOS ANGELES, Oct. 16 — A senior editor at The New Republic has published a column on the Internet that deplores the violence in the film "Kill Bill" and criticizes Harvey Weinstein, the co-chairman of Miramax, which released the film, and Michael Eisner, chairman of the Walt Disney Company, as "Jewish executives" who "worship money above all else."

The article by the senior editor, Gregg Easterbrook, appeared Monday on The New Republic's Web site. Within the site, Mr. Easterbrook has his own "Easterblogg" column.

Mr. Easterbrook said on Thursday that he planned to apologize "for a really bad choice of words."


Mr. Easterbrook said he wrote a column last week about Mel Gibson's coming film "Passion," and added: "I raised the issue that Mel Gibson professes to be an ardent Christian. Maybe he is. But his background previous to this movie is making movies that glorify violence."

"I raised the exact same question about a Christian," Mr. Easterbrook said, and "there was not a single peep."

Now, even an idiot like me before having a cup of coffee can tell the difference. There are actually three main differences here.

You see, Mel Gibson is a self-professed ardent Christian. Weinstein and Eisner are just big Jewy Jews with big Jewy Jew names who, as far as I know, haven't spent a lot of time being self-professed anything.

Secondly, when Easterbrook decided to go after the big Jewy Jews, he didn't go after them over their supposed hypocrisy of their actions given their religious beliefs, but because somehow the history of the Jewish people - particularly the holocaust - gave them some kind of moral obligation.

Third, and this is the only one that Easterbrook seems to have somewhat copped to, is the fact that you don't go around accusing Jews of being "money-grubbing" any more than you dress in blackface or caricature African-Americans with watermelon and fried chicken. These are coded words/images which in other contexts would be harmless.

So, accusing Gibson of hypocrisy because of his religious beliefs may or may not be a valid charge, but there is nothing bigoted about it.

And, so, Easterbrook apologizes but doesn't apologize, and TNR stands behind him. Pathetic.

(via Ailes)

UPDATE: More non-apology apologies. He flagellates himself a bit more on his blog, but he says that he just mangled his words. Bullshit. It is as if I wrote the following:

It is true, of course, the black people are stupid. We shouldn't ignore the fact that some white people are also stupid.

And then tried to argue that I hadn't intended to distinguish white people from black people, because I said some white people were stupid too.

....there's some more discussion over at Medianews.

UPDATE 2: Just want to correct an error - in the post I put "money-grubbing" in quotes, and shouldn't have. That wasn't the phrase Easterbrook used. Here's what he said:
Does that make it right for Jewish executives to worship money above all else, by promoting for profit the adulation of violence?

The Lies of Freedom Fry Ann

Is she ever not lying?

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Damn Yanquis


A Moment of Candor

Hear Rush sing!

Caught in the Media S-Storm

So, we were wandering out to get some dinner tonight and we came across a total media zoo at about Broad and Chestnut. Wondered what it was all about.

October 16, 2003 — Federal agents raided two city departments and the private offices of a lawyer with ties to Mayor John Street on Thursday, nine days after an FBI bug was discovered in the mayor's office City Hall.

A large group of FBI agents spent several hours at the downtown offices of Ronald A. White, an attorney who has raised money for Street, performs legal work for the city and specializes in helping clients win government contracts.

Investigators could be seen labeling items in the office as evidence and gathering documents.

Agents also seized records from the city's finance department and the Board of Pensions and Retirement, according to City Solicitor Nelson Diaz.

One New Job

Anyone need a job?

Is Joel Mowbray Ever Right?

Apparently not.


Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday told a summit of Islamic leaders that "Jews rule the world by proxy" and the world's 1.3 billion Muslims should unite, using nonviolent means for a "final victory."

Land of the Absurd

Those sweet sweet tasty lies:

Then Cheney got to the core of his argument:
"Another criticism we hear is that the United States, when its security is threatened, may not act without unanimous international consent. Under this view, even in the face of a specific agreed-upon danger, the mere objection of even one foreign government would be sufficient to prevent us from acting."

With that statement, Cheney abandons deception and traipses merrily into the Land of the Completely Absurd. Nobody -- not the Democrats, not the United Nations, not even the French -- makes the argument that he describes. It would be insane to do so.

Cheney invents that argument to support his larger point: After Sept. 11, the Bush administration at least did something, while its less-than-manly critics would have done nothing.

And that is the ultimate falsehood.

The true policy choice is between actions that make things better for the United States and actions that make things worse. If we were to assess the invasion of Iraq on those grounds, the outcome would be something like this:

Saddam had no WMD, no nuclear program and no ties to al-Qaida. So invading Iraq did little or nothing to improve our security. It did, however, come at a cost that may take decades to fully tally.

The invasion has strained our alliances and international standing, making it difficult to draw support against real threats in North Korea and Iran. Our military is overextended. The financial toll is $150 billion and counting; the toll in U.S. lives continues to mount as well.

From the Onion


Who would have thought that a bad Austrian artist who's obsessed with the human physical ideal could assemble such a rabid political following?

Thursday is New Jobless Day

Congratulations to the 384K new jobless, and the 6K who we missed last week.

Moderately good news, or at least not horribly bad news.

...Wampum has more.

Not From the Onion


"Bush told his senior aides Tuesday that he "didn't want to see any stories" quoting unnamed administration officials in the media anymore, and that if he did, there would be consequences, said a senior administration official who asked that his name not be used."

(thanks to rs)

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Holy Crap

"Why is this man in the White House? The majority of Americans did not vote for him. Why is he there? And I tell you this morning that he’s in the White House because God put him there for a time such as this.”

“And we ask ourselves this question, ‘Why do they hate us? Why do they hate us so much?’
Ladies and gentlemen, the answer to that is because we’re a Christian nation, because our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christian. Did I say Judeo-Christian? Yes. Judeo-Christian.


“That means we’ve got a commitment to Israel. That mean’s it’s a commitment we’re never going to abandon.
“Go back and read the history books. Go back and read what the early founders of this nation said about Israel, about the Jews. John Adams wrote extensively of, he called it the Hebrews, the contributions they had made to our concepts of liberty and the importance of their contributions to the founding of this great nation.
“Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin each, independently, when asked to come up with a national symbol for this new nation, both came up with a national symbol that reflected on our Jewish heritage.
“One had Moses standing over the Red Sea with his staff and the water parting.
“The other had the Israelites coming out of bondage in the desert being led by a ball of fire. They recognized the importance of our relationship to the Jews and to Israel. Ladies and gentlemen, we will never abandon Israel, we will never walk away from our commitment to Israel because our roots are there.
Our religion came from Judaism, and therefore these radicals will hate us forever.”


“There was a man in Mogadishu named Osman Atto. You see him in the movie [“Blackhawk Down”], smoking a big cigar and talking philosophically. How many of you have seen the movie? Acting like a big shot. Well let me tell you something. That’s not what Osman Atto did. The reality was Osman Atto was Aideed’s closest ally. He was Aideed’s top lieutenant. He was a multimillionaire financier for Aideed’s clan. And we knew if that if we could capture Osman Atto and take him away, that we could destroy Aideed’s network. So we went after Osman Atto about two weeks before the battle.... We went after Osman Atto. We got into a terrible fight. And I’m sad to say a lot of Somalis were killed as we went after Osman Atto.
But we missed him by seconds. He walked out of the facility that we raided, he walked down the street and blended in with the crowd and we missed him.
“And then he went on CNN and he laughed at us, and he said, ‘They’ll never get me because Allah will protect me. Allah will protect me.’
“Well, you know what I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God, and his was an idol. But I prayed, Lord let us get that man.
“Three days later we went after him again, and this time we got him. Not a mark on him. We got him. We brought him back into our base there and we had a Sea Land container set up to hold prisoners in, and I said put him in there. They put him in there, there was one guard with him. I said search him, they searched him, and then I walked in with no one in there but the guard, and I looked at him and said, ‘Are you Osman Atto?’ And he said ‘Yes.’ And I said, ‘Mr. Atto, you underestimated our God.’”

Pat Robertson? Jerry Falwell? Gary Bauer?

No. General William Boykin.


If you're a feminist, you don't devote your career to defining yourself in relation to other feminists.

If you're an environmentalist, you don't devote your career to defining yourself in relation to other environmentalists.

If you're a Democrat, you don't devote your career to defining yourself in relation to other Democrats.

You may have views which differ from the conventional wisdom of the movement you're associated with, but you need only to express them in a positive fashion.

And, one more thing - being a "contrarian" does not give any greater weight to your opinions.

Holy Hack

Kaus on Rush.

Torture Lou

Remember, the point isn't to say what you think, the point is to make him unhappy. This'll be a fun one.

Ending Medicare

I'm always a bit taken aback when people who don't appear to be missing two thirds of their brains advocate ending Medicare. For the vast majority of the population...and, by that I'm talking 90%+, health insurance past the age of 60 or 70 would be completely unaffordable.

Anyway, I'll have a longer post up about insurance when I'm more in the mood.

Haley Hangin' with the CCC

Kos and Political Wire are telling us about the fact that Haley Barbour is hanging out with his good buddies at the CCC.

Glad this story has second legs. Here's what I had on it a couple of weeks ago.

...ArchPundit, the man of long links, has more.

The Horse has Returned


Red Baiting

So, now we find the truth of the Stalin-loving Ed Asner:

McCullough: "If you could portray an historical biography and you had an unlimited budget, unlimited support cast and everything you could ask for, who would it be?"

Asner: "Well, you know something, they've played Hitler, nobody has ever really touched Stalin, it just occurred to me. It's not because I am a liberal or anything like that. Stalin is one big damn mystery, I wonder why nobody has tried it? Many people, you know, speak of the fact that he killed more people than Hitler – why does nobody touch him? It's strange. So, and he was about my size, my height – with a wig I probably could do it."

Interesting that Big Media Glenn used something posted on World Net Daily to let loose a whole heap of red-baiting goodness. True Reynolds has posted a correction, which for some reason he thinks is easier to do on a weblog, on radio show? On a world net daily column? This is left unsaid.

But, it doesn't matter. Six months from now some feces-flinging monkey will be polluting my comments section with claims that Ed Asner worships Stalin. What does that have to do with the Democratic party anyway? Not a clue. Won't matter.

Pierce in Altercation

Click and scroll down for the rest.

I ask this out of deep concern, mind you, and I hope dearly it is not the case, but did David Brooks choose to celebrate his elevation to Times op-ed pundit by taking peyote? What in the name of giggling god is going on with the man?

Dems Denied Iraq Visit

So, a bunch of Republicans went to Iraq and came back talking about how wonderful it was, while Democratic senators were denied the opportunity to go:

On returning from a trip to Iraq and Afghanistan, a group of Senate Republicans said yesterday that the Bush administration deserves a lot more credit for successful reconstruction efforts in those war-torn nations.

Meanwhile, several Senate Democrats complained that they were denied access to a plane for a inspection tour of their own.

“For whatever reason, Sens. [Chris] Dodd [D-Conn.] and others who requested the opportunity to travel were prohibited from doing so, and I think that requires a better explanation that the one I’ve been given so far,” Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) said.

“We have no understanding. We were told that an [Air Force] airplane was not available,” adding that Britain offered them the use of an airplane. “If Britain can offer United States senators an airplane, you would think the United States government could do so as well.”


Chris Monks, admitted masochist, is going to spend the whole day reading and mocking instapundit.


I really can't believe this stuff. A judge has ordered a father not to speak to his child in Spanish. know, I know the instant response of many Republicans will be "good. the child should learn English." As someone who has spent a bit of time being an ex-pat, and witnessing the massive American expat communities in other countries who send their kids to American schools, and never bother to learn the local language despite spending decades there...

Pass the Popcorn

I hope this plays out:

A federal judge has set the stage for an unusual clash over assertions by reporters for four news organizations that they need not disclose the names of their sources, a traditional journalistic practice that underpins much of news reporting in Washington.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson late last week ordered journalists at the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Associated Press and Cable News Network to reveal who in the government may have disclosed derogatory information to them about Wen Ho Lee, a former nuclear weapons scientist who was the chief suspect in an espionage case.

I'd like to get Jeff Gerth under oath myself...

In general, I of course am all for journalists protecting their sources. But, the thing about sources is that they reveal information because they have their own agenda. When journalists uncritically move that agenda forward, and then later find out they had been spun, the public interest shifts the other way. At some point the story becomes about whoever broadcast the erroneous information in the first place.

California Redistricting

Here it comes.

In '01 the Democrats could have royall screwed the Republicans with redistricting. They didn't. They basically preserved every incumbent's seat - D or R. Now, one can object to a process which protects incumbents, but at least there's a degree of fairness to it. And, with the ridiculous term limits in CA., protecting incumbents isn't such a big deal.

(via Faultline)

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Flashback of the Iraq Crack

(thanks to pixie)

The White House, in the run-up to war in Iraq, did not seek CIA approval before charging that Saddam Hussein could launch a biological or chemical attack within 45 minutes, administration officials now say.

The claim, which has since been discredited, was made twice by President Bush, in a September Rose Garden appearance after meeting with lawmakers and in a Saturday radio address the same week. Bush attributed the claim to the British government, but in a "Global Message" issued Sept. 26 and still on the White House Web site, the White House claimed, without attribution, that Iraq "could launch a biological or chemical attack 45 minutes after the order is given."

Shorter Nick Kristof

The current administration has totally fucked up the situation in Iraq, but there's no reason we should stop them from continuing to fuck it up.

Alternate shorter Kristof:

Yah, baby, we knew the attack on Iraq was wack! But that was so eeeaassy man, we didn't bother to share, dig it. And now it's too late. Peace!

Powell Lied

Says ex-aid:

CBS) The person responsible for analyzing the Iraqi weapons threat for Colin Powell says the Secretary of State misinformed Americans during his speech at the U.N. last winter.

Greg Thielmann tells Correspondent Scott Pelley that at the time of Powell’s speech, Iraq didn’t pose an imminent threat to anyone – not even its own neighbors. “…I think my conclusion [about Powell’s speech] now is that it’s probably one of the low points in his long distinguished service to the nation,” says Thielmann.

Pelley’s report will be broadcast on 60 Minutes II, Wednesday, Oct. 15 at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

Thielmann also tells Pelley that he believes the decision to go to war was made first and then the intelligence was interpreted to fit that conclusion. “…The main problem was that the senior administration officials have what I call faith-based intelligence,” says Thielmann.

It's a shame more people didn't have the balls to make a stand before the war. The media didn't even have the guts to give any coverage to a couple hundred thousand CORRECT peaceniks marching in New York, even though 35 lunatics huddling around a slab of granite is like shit to the media flies.

Private Benjamin

Let me join with a bunch of libertarians in the Draft Ben Shapiro Movement. No, not for president - wee Ben is too young for that. For the military, of course.

Current participants in this budding movement include the folks at Lew Rockwell, Joanne McNeil, and Radley Balko.

Shorter Easterbrook

From B^3.

Torture Lou


Andrew Come Lately

One of Andrew Sullivan's favorite little games - and he's been doing it his entire career as a propagandist - is to suddenly "discover" an issue, pretend he was the first one to have thought of it, wrap himself in his new "contrarian" clothing, blast his mythical opposition for not having discussed the issue previously, use at as evidence for his moral/intellectual/sexual superiority, and do a total 180 degree turn from his prior position while pretending he hadn't.

I see via Tbogg that he's doing it again. He's now wondering:

Two things spring to mind: why weren't forces directed to secure all possible WMD sites immediately? And why were troops not sent to secure Saddam's conventional weapon sites immediately? The Baathist resistance is now fueled primarily by those weapons. The fate of WMDs is unsure - a critical reason for the war in the first place. Did Rumsfeld even think for a second about these post-war exigencies? Why were these objectives not included in the original war-plan as a whole?

Of course, I and everyone else with a brain, in the midst of accusations of being traitors, or of being Bush-haters, or of wanting the war to go badly, have been raising these issues on an almost daily basis since this little adventure began. (slight exaggeration there, perhaps, but nonetheless).

Send Rush to Jail

No reason for him to get different treatment:

A lack of drug-treatment programs is forcing judges to incarcerate an increasing number of inmates while at the same time in-prison treatment is being slashed.

In a state where almost a third of those entering Florida prisons last year had been convicted of drug offenses, the Department of Corrections has significantly reduced state programs to help those who are released and cut in-prison treatment at all but 13 of Florida's 55 prisons.

Corrections officials blame the state Legislature for the cuts, which take effect Nov. 1 and are expected to save taxpayers $13 million, reducing by more than a third the number of beds at 20 residential treatment programs throughout the state.

The cuts affect all four Central Florida prisons, in Brevard, Lake, Polk and Volusia counties, as well as four residential drug-treatment centers -- Bridges of America in Orange, Seminole and Polk counties and the Salvation Army in Daytona Beach.

Big Jewy Jew Boy

Here's a cute story:

WASHINGTON -- Republican Rep. Max Burns tried Monday to make up with his Jewish constituents after criticism that he stood by while a campaign supporter made an anti-Semitic remark at a fund-raising event.

Burns, of Sylvania, telephoned the Savannah Jewish Federation after the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee criticized him for failing to speak up when Savannah businessman Jackie Sommers, during a Burns fund-raiser about three weeks ago, spoke of "that Jew boy down in Savannah" -- an apparent reference to one of Burns' re-election opponents.

Burns, contacted later Monday, said that after the event, he and his wife, Lora, went to Sommers' home and admonished him.

"Mr. Sommers does not speak for me, nor do I condone his comments," said Burns, adding that he had not known Sommers was going to attend the event and that Sommers made the comment as the fund-raiser was ending.

"Unfortunately, I can't control what he says," Burns said.

Scalia Recuses Himself

Interesting. Scalia recuses himself from 'Under God' case.

...question - what happens in a 4-4 tie? I assume the decision would stand, but...

The Lies Continue

Pinkerton has a pretty good column:

On Friday, as part of the same "truth" offensive, Vice President Dick Cheney recalled the efforts during the 1990s to stymie Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, such as United Nations inspections and targeted airstrikes.

"All of these measures failed," Cheney said.

No, actually, all those measures succeeded, which is why we haven't found anything resembling a weapon of mass destruction in Iraq.

Others, too, are part of this Orwellian tactic, although they sometimes bobble their assignment. Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) had just returned home from a government-sponsored tour of Iraq when she appeared on Fox News to comment on Sunday's car bombing in Baghdad. Proving she's a good listener, she insisted that the suicide attack was actually good news. How's that? Speaking of the American nation-building effort, she explained, "As it's working, there are more incidents like this, from people who don't want it to work." By that inverted logic, of course, it would be bad news if there were fewer bombings.

But then, undercutting Granger's case, the interviewer noted that Granger and her fellow visitors had not actually stayed overnight in Iraq while they were visiting the country; each night, they were flown back to Kuwait, some 400 miles south of Baghdad. One might think for a moment about the implications of such a long-distance commute. If all the American security in Iraq can't make Iraq secure for VIPs, then maybe Iraq isn't so secure.

And there's this:

In a television interview last month, Cheney discussed a link between Saddam Hussein and the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as though it were a live possibility, not something that had long ago been determined to lack credibility. That prompted an unusual rebuttal from Bush, who declared that there was no evidence of a link between Hussein and Sept. 11.

The fact that the correction came from Bush, not Cheney, raised questions no one wanted to answer. After all, the government has a monopoly on overseas intelligence, and the public rightly assumes that reports of threats to the United States represent the best possible assessments by teams of professionals. Is Cheney refusing to accept the president's judgment? Does Cheney know something Bush doesn't? And who's really in charge here?

Then, on Friday, Cheney again repeated an assertion that others in the administration have steered away from. Hussein, Cheney told the Heritage Foundation, "had an established relationship with Al Qaeda, providing training to Al Qaeda members in . . . poisons, gases, and making conventional bombs."

The question of whether Hussein had ties to Al Qaeda remains of importance to those here and particularly overseas deciding whether to support the unfinished war. In stating it so baldly, as a fact, Cheney is committing the government's credibility to his assertion.

But what's the evidence for it? Cheney offered none. If he knows something others don't, he should put it on the table. The only time the administration was asked to provide evidence, in Secretary of State Colin L. Powell's presentation to the United Nations, the link between Hussein and Al Qaeda seemed far less certain.

A Calorie is a Calorie is a Calorie

I don't want to get into the diet wars here, but one thing which has always puzzled me is why nutritionists have clung to this little article of faith. I'm starting to wonder if they're particularly bright people. Consider this article about the Atkins diet:

Now, a small but carefully controlled study offers a strong hint that maybe Atkins was right: People on low-carb, high-fat diets actually can eat more.

The study, directed by Penelope Greene of the Harvard School of Public Health and presented at a meeting here this week of the American Association for the Study of Obesity, found that people eating an extra 300 calories a day on a very low-carb regimen lost just as much during a 12-week study as those on a standard lowfat diet.

Over the course of the study, they consumed an extra 25,000 calories. That should have added up to about seven pounds. But for some reason, it did not.

So, it's one study and it needs to be replicated. It may or may not hold up, but then consider this:

That strikes at one of the most revered beliefs in nutrition: A calorie is a calorie is a calorie. It does not matter whether they come from bacon or mashed potatoes; they all go on the waistline in just the same way.

Not even Greene says this settles the case, but some at the meeting found her report fascinating.

"A lot of our assumptions about a calorie is a calorie are being challenged," said Marlene Schwartz of Yale. "As scientists, we need to be open-minded."

Others, though, found the data hard to swallow.

"It doesn't make sense, does it?" said Barbara Rolls of Pennsylvania State University. "It violates the laws of thermodynamics. No one has ever found any miraculous metabolic effects."

Look, this doesn't violate any laws of thermodynamics. The issue is not whether a measure of energy, a calorie, is the same regardless of the form it's stored in, the question is whether or not the form it is stored in has any impact on the way your body processes it. Not all food has to be completely digested. Perhaps some types of food require more energy to be digested. Maybe some types of food have an impact on your metabolism somehow. Who knows? But to take it on faith that it shouldn't make any difference is really quite odd.

Rumsfeld to cut 100 Military Bases


I really have no opinion about whether this is a 'good' or a 'bad' thing from a military/efficiency perspective but I do remember the non-stop shit Clinton got for implementing the round of base closures put into place by the Bush I/Cheney gang.


Those right wingers are elevating the discourse.

Truth from the Podia

This .pdf memo is a damning indictment of the Bush propaganda operation and its enablers in the media.'s a teaser.

(via political wire)

A Uniter Not a Divider

I don't think this is quite what he meant:

Intelligence agencies have also picked up conversations between Wahhabi Muslims from Saudi Arabia and Iraqi Baathists loyal to Mr. Hussein. That has surprised the officials, because the Wahhabis are highly conservative fundamentalist Sunni Muslims, while the Baathists are moderate Sunnis who until recent years encouraged secularism.

"These are people who normally want to kill each other," said one official.

As alert reader rb noted a few days back, Cheney's use of the passive voice is quite telling:

"Iraq has become the central front in the war on terror," Mr. Cheney said in an address at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative institution here. "Our mission in Iraq is a great undertaking and part of a larger mission that the United States accepted now more than two years ago. Sept. 11, 2001, changed everything for this country."

Lottsa Fun

Chris Mooney has a good piece in Mother Jones summarizing John Lott's increasingly unprofessional behavior. Over at Mooney's blog he has some more things to say as well as linking to further discussion in the blogworld.

One thing left out of Chris's article was the time that Lott used his "expertise" in one field to enter into another one. Specifically, his explicitly fraudulent work on the Florida voting problems.

And, yes, pushing bogus statistics to cover up the disenfranchisement of minority voters gets you in my "bigot" column.

Astroturf Central

Counterspin is on it.

Monday, October 13, 2003

The Quiet American

So, that was the movie I watched after dinner. I highly recommend both it and the book by Graham Greene. The movie was a good and mostly faithful rendering of the book, though because I had read the latter recently it's hard for me to determine how well the movie stands on its own. I think it does well, but if you're concerned grab a copy of the book because it's a quick read.

It's one of those books which if it had been written any time between 1970 and 2000 or so it would have been considered to be rather simplistic. The basic metaphors of the book/movie are rather obvious, with hindsight anyway.

But, as it was written in 1955 it has an incredible aura of prescience. The Quiet American represents the misguided but perhaps truly well intentioned desire to intervene in Vietnam, an element of our national character which perhaps wasn't universally obvious back then.

Anyway, I'm probably not saying anything here that any other critic hasn't said, but go take a look/read.

(and thanks to the generous reader who had bought me the book awhile back!)

Wow, Thanks!

Went away for dinner and to watch a movie and come back to find I have more than enough....thanks!!!

...wait, holy crap, it appears that someone actually bought me the laptop from my amazon wish list. I won't know that for sure until someone emails me and confirms it or it shows up at my door, but it puts me in a really weird situation. I was asking for money for the laptop, not the usual request to fatten up the Atrios liquor budget, but now I have a laptop and way more money than I need.

I never expected people to be so generous with their cash, and I definitely never expected any one individual to be that generous, but as I said it puts me in a weird position.

Anyway, to be ethical I really think I need to either return peoples' money, if they wish, or forward it on to some charity/political campaign/party, or whatever...

so, if anyone is having buyers' remorse, please
email me by clicking this link here
to make sure I see it and let me know what you want. I'm happy to comply with your wishes if I can. Otherwise, I'll probably donate some of the money myself to some causes, and use some of it to buy a few things like a TIVO and a video capture card, and eventually use it to defray future costs of setting up my own site with Movable Type. But, in the end, I can't promise it'll all be spent on blog-related things......

New Laptop Fund Plea

Hey all, I hate to do this but it's time to put the begging bowl out front. My laptop computer really isn't long for this world. Let me tell you what I'm working with here. Awhile back, an unfortunate collision between a leaping cat and a glass of wine caused major problems. The touchpad doesn't work, so I need to use a mouse, and neither do the speakers. My spacebar no longer works - I had to redefine the neighboring "alt" key to be my spacebar, and the #5 key is missing. An operating system crash at some point destroyed my Office install (And I didn't have the CD to reinstall), and left my WIN2k slightly screwed up in many ways, despite a re-install of the OS.

This isn't charity - this is NPR/PBS style giving request. This is a free web site, and no one who reads it is under any obligation to give. No need to apologize if you can't afford to give - I don't want your kids' food money - I want, as Bartcop would say, your liquor and gambling money.

Anyway, I'd like to raise about $2000 so I can afford to get a new laptop. I'm not poor - I'm sure many of you, particularly the direct victims of the Bush economy, are in a worse economic situation than me - but nor do I have an extra 2 grand to throw around.

Any time a blogger asks for money people take issue for some reason. Either give or don't give - I'm not going to stamp my feet and threaten to stop blogging unless people give. I don't expect people to give.

But, it does take time to run this thing and if you appreciate my efforts and have gotten some enjoyment out of this AND you have a few extra bucks, I'd greatly appreciate it...

You can donate

Or the Amazon Honor System.
Or, if there's a really wealthy and generous reader out there, there's a shiny new laptop sitting on my wish list

And, hey, if this works out I'll fundraise to collect money to repair my beach house in Provincetown...(just kidding, no beach house for me)

UPDATE: Amazon has these really annoying limits, which are established when you first sign up and they never let you change. It appears as if the limit has been reached there. But, thanks!

UPDATE 2: Pulling pay-links down. Got way more than enough. If anyone is still feeling extra generous I'll leave my wish list up, but no begging for money for awhile....


God I'm so angry.

On a day when two U.S. soldiers were killed in Iraq, President Bush used a Columbus Day speech Monday to pay tribute to soldiers who have died in that war and others.

"That's what's happening today: People are willing to sacrifice for the country they love," Bush said at the White House. "They remember the lessons of September 11th, 2001, and so do I."

Bush then proceeded to play golf.

The Collective Responsibility of Jews

I'm pretty taken aback by the conclusion of this Easterbrook column.

Collective responsibility is just the flip side of collective blame. Both poisonous. Both bigoted.

This was the kind of thing that got Congressman Moran in trouble, but with Moran it was more just clumsy expression of what could have been a valid observation. Easterbrook runs right out and says that those rich money-grubbing Jews shouldn't be promoting violence because as Jews they have a greater responsibility. Or something.

The joys of being a religious, racial, or ethnic minority - always open to this kind of criticism by idiots like Easterbrook.

Shorter Easterbrook: I don't like Tarantino, and I blame the Jews.

Grocery Store Wages

A bit more information:

Grocery store baggers covered by the UFCW start at $6 per hour while the most experienced workers who oversee departments make about $17.90, Andreder said. The average wage is between $12 and $14 per hour, she said.

Smearing the Victim

In order to see how much contempt Arnold has for the victims he did/didn't apologize to, and how uncritical our liberal media was towards his campaign, one needs only to look at the case of Rhonda Miller. Miller was a stunt woman who claimed to be one of the victims of Der Gropenfuhrer. A couple of days letter, egged on by the Free Republic, AM hate radio, and the Schawrzenegger campaign itself, the liberal media dutifully parroted claims that Ms. Miller had a very long rap sheet, because if you typed her name into a criminal database, a long list of prostitution and other charges came up.

Last night on ABC (no link yet to the story...if anyone can find it), Jake Tapper reported that Rhonda Miller the criminal and Rhonda Miller the stunt woman were actually two different people. Shocker.

I'll post a link or transcript as soon as I can hunt it down... but, here is the New York Post giving the unconfirmed version:

His campaign also accused Miller of prostitution - a charge strongly denied by Miller's lawyer, Gloria Allred.

"This is beyond sleazy," said Allred. "She has no criminal record whatsoever."


Schwarzenegger's campaign said L.A. County records showed Rhonda Miller was charged seven times with prostitution, and convicted six.

But Allred said the records referred to a different Rhonda Miller.

Sounds like the first candidate for a character defamation lawsuit.

If Bill Clinton Had a Drug Problem

How Limbaugh would have responded.

Sunday, October 12, 2003

Holy Bat Shit

Ha Ha. Tom Tomorrow.

Smarter Monkeys, Please

My latest conservative visitor, Homer, takes issue with my characterization of the Heritage Foundation as racist.

There is no other way to characterize an institution that has supported Dinesh D'Souza.

Soldier Attacked by Mob of anti-war Liberals

No of course not, but I'm sure it'll take about 7 minutes before some blogger spins it that way.

Ed Meese's Cunning Plan

You can't make this stuff up.

UPDATE: Do I object in principle to work programs in prison? No, of course not. But, I do object to the callous claims that this is about prisoner rehabilitation and job training when states are actively cutting prisoner education programs. I do object to the fact that the companies don't appear to be bidding for access to these workers, or having any competition, so they're effectively monopsony buyers of labor in these prisons and they're using state property for nothing. I do object to the fact that there is some degree of coercion here - obviously working looks good to a parole board. And, on the other side, while the liberal in me knows that some prisoners are people capable and fully intending to lead straight lives, the realist in me knows that, well, they are convicted criminals and I don't really want them having jobs like working in call centers, where they can have access to personal information of people on the outside.

In a just world Ed Meese would be in prison stamping out license plates, not working with the lunatics and racists at the Heritage foundation to provide a slave labor class for the country.


Supermarket employees in CA went on strike. Though the union had intended to only target one chain of stores, the other major chains locked out all of their employees.

So, CA readers - take your business somewhere other than Ralph's, Vons, or Albertsons.


One of the themes of the 2000 election was that sure Bush wasn't so bright, or at least was clueless about the world and foreign policy, but that it would be okay because he would surround himself with smart people who would handle that stuff. Some people tried to point out at the time, and since, that it the idea of delegating responsibility for these things was a recipe for disaster. And, now we basically have that disaster - in the middle of an actual war, and in the middle of dealing with the very real threat of international terrorism, we have the State Department and the Pentagon and the CIA playing out a civil war through their intermediaries in Bush's cabinet. As Digby says:

The problem is not just Condi Rice. In fact, it isn't really about her at all. It is about a president who doesn't know what's going on and who no one listens to or respects. His administration is awash in infighting and backstabbing and the result is, as the article says, a dysfunctional foreign policy that is incoherent and ineffectual.

The issue is leadership; the real deal, not the solid-gold dancer jumpsuit version. A puppet whose strings are being pulled in 5 different directions isn't a pretty picture. But, that's what's happening, and it's been clear that it's been happening for quite some time.

He points us to this article about how Rice has just been given a new job - which is apparently simply to do the job she was supposed to be doing already, but was failing to do, which was to be the referee:

The two factions, convinced they had the backing of the president, have pursued contradictory policies, often scheming to undermine each other. Insiders said that Rice rarely kept on top of the intramural bickering, though she seemed to lean more toward the Rumsfeld/Cheney group, and at times recommended policies to the president that he later rejected.

But, at the end of the day - it isn't Rumsfeld, or Powell, or Tenet, or Rice who is supposed to be the leader - it's Bush. Fortunately some senators, even Republican senators, are starting to figure this out:

President Bush has lost control of Iraq policy because of infighting among administration officials, the leaders of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee said Sunday.

The administration also came under criticism from Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry for being unwilling to create a real international coalition and alienating governments everywhere. "This is haphazard, shotgun, shoot-from-the-hip diplomacy," the Massachusetts senator said.

The committee leaders urged Bush to take charge of U.S. postwar policy in Iraq.

"The president has to be the president, over the vice president and over these secretaries," the chairman, Sen. Dick Lugar, R-Ind., said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Added the committee's top Democrat, Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware: "There's no clear articulation within this administration of what the goals, what the message is, what the plan is. You have this significant division within the administration between the Powells and the Rumsfelds."

Novak Not Clueless

Cosmic Iguana, who kindly just purchased an ad, brings to our attention an old column by Bob Novak:

December 3, 2001

Inside Report: Not Secret CIA

WASHINGTON -- Exposure of CIA operative Johnny (Mike) Spann's identity as the first American killed in Afghanistan is viewed by surprised intelligence insiders as an effort by Director George Tenet to boost the embattled CIA's prestige.

Old CIA hands were shocked by the breaking of the old rule keeping secret the names of agents in order to protect their family and associates (in this case, undercover Pakistanis and Tajiks). The rule was violated, according to the insiders, because the CIA needs publicity after the massive intelligence failure of Sept. 11. The death of a heroic agent makes the agency look better.

This incident intensifies congressional criticism of Tenet, with intelligence experts suggesting that a badly planned interrogation of Taliban prisoners cost Spann his life.


The contents of Robert Novak's email inbox have been revealed.

The Day That Jonah Bravely Ran Away

For all the Corner readers, here's a story about how brave Sir Jonah is:

Last week, a producer at Boston’s WBUR, an NPR station–the same NPR accused by the right as being at the forefront of the "liberal media agenda"–was so eager to get in touch with me that she contacted my editors at both New York Press and Newsday with urgent missives, and also sent an email via my website. She was calling from a popular program called "The Connection," hosted by Dick Gordon, and wanted me to participate on a show about same-sex marriage the following day. The other guests would be writer E.J. Graf and National Review Online’s Jonah Goldberg.

Now, for those who don’t know it–and my email shows that many do not–Goldberg is the son of the notorious, sleazoid web maven, Lucianne Goldberg, the scheming literary agent who helped expose Bill Clinton’s sex life. If not for his mother’s standing among those on the right–and the favors she had stockpiled for being a tool of the anti-Clinton machine–Jonah would probably be punching data in a terminal somewhere, rather than sitting on talk shows as a pundit.

As the producer from WBUR was trying to reach me, I was on the air myself, doing my own daily three-hour radio program, and didn’t get the messages until 4 p.m. I returned the calls and accepted. She planned to make arrangements for me to go to an NPR studio in Manhattan, but also inquired if I could do it from my studio at Sirius Satellite. She was set on having me on the show.

She called back at 6:30 to inform me that I was "off the hook" for the show: Conservative pundit Goldberg wouldn’t appear with me. The producer noted that she doesn’t usually let a guest "dictate" who the other guests are, but it was late and thus hard to find another conservative. As I wrote in a letter about the incident to Jim Romenesko’s media news page on the Poynter Institute’s site last week, that sounded pretty bogus. Finding a conservative pundit to do a radio program is about as difficult as finding a drag queen at gay pride.

What turned the macho Goldberg into a yellow belly? What could send him running from a gay columnist? According to the producer, Goldberg implied that we’d had some words–even though Goldberg and I have never spoken or even exchanged so much as an email. He did "admit," she said, that I am a "powerful" gay columnist (yes, I laughed at that one), but that I had put out "misinterpretations" of his work.

...and Big Media Matt has a few comments for the thin-skinned Jonah:

Conservative commentators who think Paul Krugman and Al Franken are shrill sure do have a surprise in store for them. Coming from a man who just penned a cover story proclaiming Vermont to be "Hell" and then mocking Burlington essentially for being a college town, while ignoring all of the substantive policy issues, complaints about degrading the discourse are somewhat lacking in credibility.

Hate Speech

This one is for my conservative readers. Please explain to me what it is, and why after years of mocking it as a liberal infringement of freedom of speech, I regularly hear conservatives throw it around whenever they're criticized.

(for example, the Freepers regularly claim the Hillary Clinton was evil because she engaged in "hate speech," when she demonized the conservative movement by calling it a "vast right-wing conspiracy.")

The Bold Plans of Wilson-Schwarzenegger

The Left Coaster sums it up:

Under the new plan, large users would be allowed to leave the current utility supply system and buy their power from private generators and suppliers. This would leave small business and residential rate payers with the tab for paying off the debts of the utilities, who under the new Schwarzenegger plan could pass along their full price increases to their ratepayers instead of being responsible for their bad decisions themselves. In other words, it’s a plan that Ken Lay would love, and one that he probably sold Arnie on when they met back in early 2001.

Schwarzenegger is also going to push a typically Republican idea for dealing with the state’s current structural gap between revenues and expenses. Instead of having the courage to raise taxes, Arnie like Bush will just say "Charge it, please." The state GOP adamantly opposes any tax increases and in fact will be attempting to roll back existing taxes. The GOP doesn’t want to specify what cuts they propose to make up for the gap between revenue and expenses, so Arnie has decided to borrow his way out of the entire $20 billion current and budget-year gap with one huge bond measure.

You read that correctly: Arnie will be proposing a $20 billion bond measure and then bash the Democrats on top of that to still cut spending to bring the insufficient revenues in line with spending. The GOP base will love that all of this happens without them paying any more, and in fact they will probably get tax cuts. And future bond measures for schools and parks will be adversely affected by this monster indebtedness.

Residential demand for electricity is, in the short run at least, highly inelastic, and competition in the retail market a fantasy which will never be truly realized. A field ripe for looting. They already did it once.

Coincidentally, the borrow now - pay later approach is the centerpiece of the Katz mayoral campaign here in Philadelphia. The idea is they'll borrow a bunch of money now, cut taxes, and the resulting growth in city residents and businesses will allow the gov't to easily pay off the loan through higher future revenues.

Coincidentally, the borrow now - pay later approach is the centerpiece of the Bush economic plan.

Ahmanson Leads Battle Against Gays

Howard Ahmanson is one of the leaders of the theocracy movement in this country. He's also had a stake in one of the main voting companies - ES&S. He's now bankrolling the battle against gays in the Anglican church.

Howard F. Ahmanson Jr does not like publicity. The fiftysomething multimillionaire, who lives in Newport Beach, California, is something of a recluse.

Calls to Ahmanson's multitude of companies and foundations requesting an interview go unreturned. Organisations which enjoy his largesse decline to talk about their benefactor.

What is known is that in the 1990s Ahmanson, whose family made a fortune in banking, subsidised a number of controversial right-wing causes. These include a magazine called the Chalcedon Report , which carried an article calling for gays to be stoned; a think-tank called the Claremont Institute which promoted a video in which Charlton Heston praises 'the God-fearing Caucasian middle class'; and a scientific body which rejects the theory of evolution.

Now Ahmanson has a new crusade, whose repercussions will be felt far beyond the United States. He is using his cash to stir up the most divisive row facing the Anglican Church, one that threatens to rip it apart when its leaders meet in London this week.

Plame Update

Billmon and Josh Marshall do the parsing of the latest WaPo article so I don't have to.