Saturday, December 13, 2003


Your tax dollars in action:

$725,000 for the Please Touch Museum in Philadelphia;

$1.8 million for the Women's World Cup tournament;

$325,000 for the construction of a swimming pool in Salinas, Calif.;

$220,000 for the New Mexico Retail Association in Albuquerque;

$270,000 for "sustainable olive production";

$400,000 for the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Ky.;

$2 million for the First Tee golf program in St. Augustine, Fla.;

$315,000 for Formosan Subterranean Termite research;

$270,000 for potato storage in Madison, Wis.

Nedra Pickler Day!

I declare Monday, Dec. 15, to be Write Like Nedra Pickler Day! Everyone join me!

Can't Tell Right from Left

Haha. What morons over at Town Hall.

Preznit Giv Evrywon Turkee!



My gal Cho:

What is so wrong with that article that I didn't read, is that it divides a community that is already so divided it needs the division symbol. SHOW YOUR WORK!!!!! You need an extra sheet of paper fool????!!! This type of journalism and finger pointing is straight up cannibalism and is what is going to keep the right wing powerful. While we eat ourselves from the inside out and rot like a cancer, Bush is going to be preparing for his next term in office. Hasn't he done enough? Aren't we fucked up enough as it is now? Why are we asking for four more years of punishment? So that we can have the spokesperson for us be 'not too hot, not too cold, but just right?' Fuck that Goldilocks shit. And that is not a racist slur. It is this type of liberal need for 'specificity' and 'political correctness' that is going to turn this country into a totalitarian regime. That we offend each other so easily is the worst crime we commit against ourselves. Let it go. Let the bullshit go for now and we will fight over it later - AFTER we win the fucking election. What the fuck is wrong? Fuck it. There are parts of the conservative party that despise the other parts, fucking hate them more than we hate each other, yet they stand together, because they know it is the only way for them to win. The religious right is banded together with groups that sicken each other, believe everyone but them are going to hell, carry antibacterial gels with them whenever they have to shake hands, but they form a union because they know that the only chance they have to take over the government is if they play Red Rover. Doesn't it make you mad that they are fucking smarter than we are? Doesn't it make you hate so much that it turns into love?

(tip from Arthur Silber)

New Stuff!

I've expanded the "preznit giv me turkee" collection.

The merchandise is mostly for fun - the markup (what I get) is a buck fifty on most items.

Bold New Economic Plans

One guess... more tax cuts!

Dec. 12, 2003 | WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Bush's budget for the coming election year will chart a course for cutting federal deficits in half within the next five years, a top White House budget official said Friday.


The president's economic growth policies will consist "primarily'' of proposing again that tax cuts first enacted in 2001 be made permanent, instead of expiring as this decade ends, Kaplan said. That could cost $1.4 trillion over the next 10 years, according to congressional budget analysts.

CBO projections make this promise "barely" possible, but hideously unlikely. Throw in the other inevitable changes and the budget is busted. But, it's brilliant politics - tax cuts during an election year.

Mr. Bodman Will Soon be Unemployed


A senior member of President Bush's economic team told manufacturers this summer that it is difficult for the balkanized federal government to develop vision on any policy issue and that, in particular, the Commerce Department has scant political or financial authority to influence government policy on behalf of the nation's ailing manufacturers.

The comments by Deputy Commerce Secretary Samuel W. Bodman, revealed in a transcript of a day-long manufacturing symposium in June, offer a rare dose of candor about the way Washington works and the limits of the government's power. They also surfaced just as the administration is trying to boost the visibility of its manufacturing policies, and as Bodman awaits Senate confirmation to assume the No. 2 post at the Treasury Department.

Responding to a comment on the government's vision for manufacturing, Bodman told the gathering, "I will tell you, it is very hard for this government to have a vision on anything. We are totally stove-piped, and we live within these compartments. This is not by way of a complaint. This is not by way of an excuse. It is by way of a fact.

The Nedra Pickler version of this article contained the sentence:

Mr. Bodman failed to mention that as George Bush gets advice directly from Jesus Christ, he has no need for any from mere mortals.

Debunked Again

How many times is it going to take?

Czech government officials became much more skeptical that the meeting ever took place, particularly after it became clear that the initial intelligence report from the Czech domestic intelligence agency concerning the meeting had come from a single informant in the local Arab community.
The information was treated skeptically by Czech intelligence experts because it had been provided only after the Sept. 11 attacks, after Mr. Atta's picture had been broadcast on television and published in newspapers around the world, and after the Czech press reported that records showed that Mr. Atta had once traveled to Prague.

Czech officials have said that border police records showed that Mr. Atta, who was then living in Hamburg, Germany, did come to Prague in June 2000, after obtaining a visa in late May. Shortly after arriving in Prague on that occasion, Mr. Atta flew to Newark.

American records now indicate that Mr. Atta was in Virginia Beach, Va., in early April 2001, when he was supposedly in Prague to meet Mr. Ani.

People mock "conspiracy theories," and this one is believed by people at the highest levels of our government.

Nedra's #1 Fan

Big Pharma:

By the way, AP has a reporter named Nedra Pickler, and we're concerned about her job here at the EIB Network. We're going to be taking steps here to save the job of Nedra - maybe it's NEE-dra, I'm not sure how you pronounce it - Pickler. She's a reporter of the Associated Press. She's actually pointed out errors, mistakes and lies that the Democrats are uttering in their debates. Now, she hasn't gotten the message or she slipped by them in the interview process or something, but if we don't take action fast here to save her job she's going to be toast."

(thanks to cornfed)

Of course, Nedra's "mistakes" are always things like:

"When Wesley Clark said he objected to the war in Iraq, he failed to mention how our participation in World War II is considered by the vast majority of people to have been a success."


"When Dennis Kucinich says he objects to Bush's fiscal policy, he fails to mention that he's a commie-loving little elf."

Friday, December 12, 2003

Nit Picklering

Wow. This sentence by Nedra Pickler was actually printed in the WaPo:

But when he criticizes Bush's links to Lay, Dean never mentions that Enron's mismanagement was not the result of the president's tax-cut package.


Reagan's Bind

Slacktivist says the Bushies are experiencing it.


Final paragraph:

After the defeat of his original proposal last Friday, Schwarzenegger softened his demands. This week he agreed to a compromise proposal very similar to what the Democrats originally offered.

Posted Without Caption


Over at Kos they have the poll numbers of Dem insiders. The interesting thing isn't the poll itself - it's that the Dem insiders are known. Even though we don't know their individual votes, we know their names. So, when, say, Lieberman gets zero votes, you know his campaign manager doesn't think he can win (the primary).

Full info here at National Journal.

Gay Divorce!

In Iowa of all places.

Next time, I'm sure the judge will do the now mandatory crotch check before signing off.

Torture Lou!

If you vote yes he'll cry on live TV!

While you're there, check out the quote from Rice:

There's nothing I am worse at than long-term planning. I have never run my life that way. I believe that serendipity or fate or divine intervention has led me to a series of wholly implausible steps in my life. And I've been open to those twists and turns because I didn't have a long-term plan.

These folks wish you had a long term plan.

The Day the Music Died

3 years ago today Scalia and the gang took a dump on democracy. To remember that, go give some money to your favorite Dem candidate (pres, congress, whatever...)

George Carlin

HR 3687:
To amend section 1464 of title 18, United States Code, to provide for the punishment of certain profane broadcasts, and for other purposes. IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES December 8, 2003 Mr. OSE (for himself and Mr. SMITH of Texas) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary A BILL To amend section 1464 of title 18, United States Code, to provide for the punishment of certain profane broadcasts, and for other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That section 1464 of title 18, United States Code, is amended-- (1) by inserting `(a)' before `Whoever'; and (2) by adding at the end the following: `(b) As used in this section, the term `profane', used with respect to language, includes the words `shit', `piss', `fuck', `cunt', `asshole', and the phrases `cock sucker', `mother fucker', and `ass hole', compound use (including hyphenated compounds) of such words and phrases with each other or with other words or phrases, and other grammatical forms of such words and phrases (including verb, adjective, gerund, participle, and infinitive forms).'.
Should be a fun debate. ...My firstborn child to the Senator or Rep who proposes an amendment adding "Santorum" to the list.


I agree with Mark Kleiman that, as a practical (and security) issue, finding some way to legalize the status of the 8 or 9 million immigrants that we are unlikely to be able to deport is a good thing, and I'm glad Tom Ridge spoke out about it. Of course, like many things in the Bush administration I would assume that this is mostly just an issue they're raising because it's the start of the election season. They're going to fuzzy up the issue so they can appeal to both the growing block of Mexican-American voters and their anti-immigrant base. I expect to see much good cop and bad cop to appeal to both sides. But, if my cynicism is misplaced, then good for the Bush administration!

You Down with ABB?

Stranger from Blah3 has a nice little ditty (audio).

If This Were Roger Clinton...

...trying to get a free drink from a bar by saying he's the president's brother we'd have more notice by the media than for this crap from Neilsie.


And people wonder why I'm anonymous.


Okay, it's that season so when I say "primary free" I mean I'm going to try to stay out of the day to day catfighting.

But, every Dem should read this column by Bob Herbert. Print it and post it on the fridge.

I don't agree with him that any Dem is a longshot, because frankly, Bush is unelectable, but otherwise...

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Back to Primary Free

Okay, I lapsed, but I'll be good for a few more weeks.

No Dean/X or X/Dean

Where X=one of the other 8 candidates. The failure to "raise their hands" when Koppel asked them to do so if they thought Dean was capable of winning the election has pretty much ruled that one out. They'll play that video over and over...

Nedra Hearts Joe Lieberman

Nedra Pickler writes up a press release from the Lieberman campaign. I loved this paragraph:

Lieberman also sent a note to his e-mail list Wednesday, calling the Gore endorsement "a golden opportunity" to cast the race as Dean vs. Lieberman and asking for online contributions. The result was Lieberman's largest fund-raising day of the quarter, many in small contributions averaging $71.55.

hmmmm... which important fact is missing?

...and Jesse dispatches Richard Cohen. The funny thing is, Cohen wrote a sentence which says the exact opposite of what he clearly means.

And aside from the war -- a major aside, I grant you -- Dean has hardly campaigned as a Democratic centrist of the type who would have some appeal in the South, Gore's home region.

Though, this column here has to be the All Time #1 Richard Cohen moment.

Is Your Name Mohamad?

Then go the hell home.

Torture Lou!

Vote no!

The Whores on the Bus

Some insight from Get Donkey.

Objectively Pro-Communist

Who knew Glenn Reynolds was a commie fan? Well, I guess as long as they're for something he's for... But, wait, wasn't that a bad thing when... brain...shutting...down...

Reader jk adds:

That's great. Good job Kynn. The thing that made my brain melt on that post was the denunciation of the NYT for not covering it, the subsequent discovery that the NYT did cover it, and the assertion that mentioning it deep in an article just proved the point even more than if they didn't cover it.

So let's review:

The NYT didn't cover, which proves they want the US to lose.


The NYT and CNN did cover it, which proves even more that they want the US to lose.

And further:

The conservative press didn't cover it either, which somehow also proves that the liberal media outlets want the US to lose.

Unless: Some more conservative papers did cover it, which, surprise, proves that the liberal media wants the US to lose


Any decision by any media outlet to cover or not cover any event is evidence that they want the US to lose in Iraq.

Must be nice to live in a world where all possible combinations of evidence serve to prove your point.

Hostile vs. Non-Hostile Deaths

I wonder if they'll get their purple hearts.



Dan Kennedy on Koppel


Ted Koppel’s opening gambit at Tuesday night’s Democratic presidential debate was so inane and disrespectful that at first I didn’t realize the proceedings were officially under way. When Koppel asked the candidates to raise their hands if they thought Howard Dean could beat George W. Bush, I assumed he was just warming up the crowd.

It was only after Koppel warned John Kerry that his time had expired that I noticed it was actually a few minutes after 7 p.m. To my disgust, I then knew that Koppel’s little exercise in horse-race stupidity was being staged not just for the benefit of a few C-SPAN geeks (me included) and the University of New Hampshire crowd. It was also part of the actual televised debate, as broadcast live on New Hampshire’s WMUR-TV (Channel 9), and rebroadcast later that night on ABC’s Nightline.

What a disgrace. Before the debate, Koppel told the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz that his goal was to "keep people at home from dozing off." He accomplished that, but only by tarnishing his own considerable reputation. By focusing on Al Gore’s surprise endorsement of Dean, and on the polling and fundraising shortcomings of the other eight candidates, Koppel actually pulled off the heretofore unimaginable feat of giving Dennis Kucinich a moment in the spotlight.

Hell, even that useful idiot Saletan gets it right for once:

These were the last 90 debating minutes of the year - a crucial opportunity for every candidate other than Dean - and Koppel wasted 30 of those minutes on questions barely worthy of aides in bars.


Why won’t they even mention Iraq? Trust us—these people don’t give a shit about war in Iraq! They aren’t going to die in the desert, and they don’t give a good flying fig if you do. Is Al Gore right about Iraq? Is he right about the war on terror? That, of course, is a matter of judgment—but you won’t see those questions discussed in these pages. These people are Heathers, Paris Hiltons, with Millionaire Pundit Values, and they don’t give a shit about wars or Iraq. Instead, they care about phone calls to poor Joseph Lieberman! It’s all they understand; it’s their only concern; and it’s the one thing they’re willing to ponder.


Cry me a River Joe

What Michael Tomasky says.

On NPR Today

Today on NPR (TOTN I think) I learned that people are getting very upset about the fact that at the Democratic debates the candidates are spending a lot of time talking about Gore's endorsement, or his beard, or something, instead of talking about the issues.

So, Ted Koppel and his little friend can spend over half an hour asking questions like that, for which Howie "God I'm a whore" Kurtz will praise him for asking "barbed" questions, and then the rest of the media will turn around and blame the candidates for the whole thing.

2003 Koufax Awards

Go put your nominations in!

Out the Yin-Yang


ANNAPOLIS -- An e-mail found in a collection of files stolen from Diebold Elections Systems' internal database recommends charging Maryland "out the yin-yang" if the state requires Diebold to add paper printouts to the $73 million voting system it purchased.

The e-mail from "Ken," dated Jan. 3, 2003, discusses a (Baltimore) Sun article about a University of Maryland study of the Diebold system:

"There is an important point that seems to be missed by all these articles: they already bought the system. At this point they are just closing the barn door. Let's just hope that as a company we are smart enough to charge out the yin if they try to change the rules now and legislate voter receipts."

"Ken" later clarifies that he meant "out the yin-yang," adding, "any after-sale changes should be prohibitively expensive."

The e-mail has been cited by advocates of voter-verified receipts, who say estimates of the cost of adding printers -- as much as $20 million statewide -- have been bloated.

"I find it appalling," said Del. Karen S. Montgomery (D-Dist. 14) of Brookeville, who plans to file a bill mandating a voter-verified paper trail.

"I'd really like to have [yin-yang] explained to me anatomically, with the assumption that almost any place it would be would be painful," she said.

Montgomery said that the price to add printers should be much lower and that she thinks it is being high-balled in part to keep people from talking about the printing system.

Getting a clue yet, people?

Thursday is New Jobless Day

Congratulations to the 378K new jobless! Lucky Duckies every one.

Stranger's Law

Has my endorsement.

Screw Human Rights

So, let me get this straight. Viceroy Jerry gives a speech honoring the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Included in that little document is this:

(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

But we're attacking the headquarters of trade unions (there could be more to this story, of course) and have preserved Saddam's anti-labor provisions.

Gore Bashing

I'm all for the candidates kicking each other a bit (and everyone else can have a go too), though I have some opinions about the type of criticisms they should be directing at each other, but I'm pretty sickened by all the Gore bashing that's been going around.

Eyes on the prize people.

Holiday Shoppers Unite!

Thanks to all who have been kind enough to click through one of the Amazon links before doing your holiday shopping. All you have to do is click here or go through the search box and I get a cut.

Scalia Halts Execution


Hopefully later today Scalia will find time to address the monkey problem, because it really hurts when they fly out of my ass.*

*Stolen from Jon Stewart.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

No Turkee For Them

Actually a decent gaggle today.

Bush vs. Straw

What Jesse said. The Republicans have already invented their opposition candidate, which bears little or no relation to the actual candidates. I'm sick and tired of pundits and netizens adopting the RNC view of any of the candidates as if it were either gospel or proof that there's just no way to combat their spin.

They're going to do it to every candidate. Dean is crazy, simultaneously too right and too left, angry, and he lies. Clark is a bit nuts, everyone in the military hates him, and he's probably a war criminal. In addition, he's running for president only because of ruthless ambition. Kerry is a spoiled pampered elitist whose military service means nothing because he opposed the war. Oh, and look at that hair, I bet that cost a lot of ketchup money. Edwards is a trial laywer which means he's evil!

Cut the crap folks. I truly believe 5 of the candidates (I won't say which) will, if they run a good campaign, have no problem beating Bush. That "if" is no small thing, of course, but there you go.

...One more thing. The Age of Wonk is over. The time when candidates would put forth meaningful policy proposals and could expect there to be at least a tiny PBS and NPR audience which would be a part of the public debate and follow along is over. It's all just so goddamn confusing and Cokie Roberts doesn't understand anything about it, you know? And, besides, who cares about all that stuff down in Peoria, or whatever random heartland city name we're going to point to condescendingly as the true dumb america which really matters, where people are jes folks and they knows what they likes and they call 'em as they see 'em and blahbady blah blah blah. As they say, where California goes so goes the nation, and in this case it has been where California resident Mickey Kaus goes, so goes the rest of the media.

That isn't to say I don't want my candidates having good policy proposals, but as Al "fuzzy math" Gore learned, when the other candidate says that up is down, the media will report it for balance. All those numbers are hard! This campaign will be won by getting people excited, having them trust the candidate, outlining general (though not necessarily entirely meaningless) policy themes, and most importantly not letting the Beltway Heathers get the best of you.

...and another thing. Stop ceding the goddamn debate. Who here thinks Howard Dean can beat Bush? Why Ted, you ignorant slut, Fred Flintstone could take Bush with Barney Rubble as his campaign manager. Wesley Clark should stop saying that he needs to be the nominee because someone needs to be able to match Bush at foreign policy. What Clark should say is that Joey Tribiani could match Bush at foreign policy, though he, Clark, has the most experience. Stop acknowledging that Bush is strong on anything. He's a big loser. He's a miserable failure. He's lost 3 million jobs. He got us into a screwed up war. Our soldiers are being killed by terrorists. The Middle East is a mess. Afghanistan is a mess. OBL is alive. Hussein is alive.

Baker Strikes Back


WASHINGTON, Dec 10 (Reuters) - The Pentagon on Wednesday delayed the issue of $18.6 billion in U.S. tenders to rebuild Iraq amid criticism over the exclusion from bidding of firms from France, Germany, Russia and other war opponents.

The prime contracts were set to be advertised last Friday, but were delayed while "high-level" policy decisions took place. A further delay was announced on Wednesday after earlier promises of release on Monday and Tuesday.

"The scheduled release of the solicitations in support of the Iraq reconstruction contracts has been temporarily delayed," said a notice on the Pentagon-run Iraq Program Management Office Web site (

Praise Jeebus. The adults are truly in charge. I'm so glad our confusing policy on the Most Important Issue Ever isn't derived from the fact that we have 5 competing administration members trying to do 5 different things.

Sully vs. Sully

Now this is hilarious, at least to the extent to which what the fuck has happened to my country can be hilarious.

Andrew's unconcerned about presumption of innocence, but extraordinarily concerned about sexual privacy.

He's so predictable.

9/11 Got Me Hard

Christopher Hitchens is the latest right winger to admit that 9/11 gave him a big stiffy. There's been quite a lot of this. I don't really begrudge it, too much, I sort of know where they're coming from. "Interesting times" are always exhilirating in their own weird way, especially when you believe that they suddenly given your otherwise mostly wasted life some purpose. Not that it made me feel that way.

But, of course, if I had written (and I wouldn't) something like "I am only slightly embarrassed to tell you that this was a feeling of exhilaration. Here we are then, I was thinking that finally an event had happened which cause America to rethink its foreign policy and fight on the side of good," I would have been condemned as an evil American-hating Lefty. But, of course, what I just wrote in quotes (mostly stolen from Hitchens) isn't saying something which is a sort of Lefty parody of what Hitchens said, it essentially is exactly what Hitchens is saying. I didn't specify which of our foreign policies was at fault, nor why, nor what it would mean to fight on the side of good. What our imagined American-hating Lefty and Hitchens are both saying is, "good, now we can get down to business and do what I think we should have been doing." The confirms their world-view (right or wrong), and all is well. For some reason, saying "Our foreign policy has been wrong and has led to this horrible event!" is okay as long as it's followed by "We must start kicking the shit out of more people!" but isn't if it's followed by "We should stop kicking the shit out of so many people!" Aside from the merits of either statement, both are blaming America's foreign policy for what happened. Why does Hitchens hate America?

The sad thing is, of course, neither Afghanistan nor Iraq anything else will provide the necessary climax. 9/11 just didn't give them a stiffy, it gave them priapism.

More Nedra

Calpundit discovers another ridiculous AP dispatch from deep within RNC headquarters.

Robert Bartley has Died

And there must be an investigation into whether Peggy Noonan was involved.



BAGHDAD, Iraq - Iraq (news - web sites)'s Health Ministry has ordered a halt to a count of civilians killed during the war and told its statistics department not to release figures compiled so far, the official who oversaw the count told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The order was relayed by the ministry's director of planning, Dr. Nazar Shabandar, but the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority, which oversees the ministry, also wanted the counting to stop, said Dr. Nagham Mohsen, the head of the ministry's statistics department.

"We have stopped the collection of this information because our minister didn't agree with it," she said, adding: "The CPA doesn't want this to be done."

A spokesman for the CPA had no immediate response.

The Collected Works of Nedra Pickler

Wow. This AP writer really is a piece of work. Get her on board, quick, Fox!

Lieberman Hearts the Clenis

It's a bit weird reading/hearing Lieberman invoke the name of Bill Clinton so often these days. For all the huffing and puffing about Gore's endorsement, Lieberman himself had asked Gore for one. But, in any case, maybe we're all better off now that endorsements have been declared the enemy of Democracy and none of the candidates will be seeking out any more of them.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Big Gay Generals

Good for them:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 9 — Three retired military officers, two generals and an admiral who have been among the most senior uniformed officers to criticize the "don't ask, don't tell" policy for homosexuals in the military, disclosed on Tuesday that they are gay.

The three, Brig. Gen. Keith H. Kerr and Brig. Gen. Virgil A. Richard, both of the Army, and Rear Adm. Alan M. Steinman of the Coast Guard, said the policy had been ineffective and undermined the military's core values: truth, honor, dignity, respect and integrity.

They said they had been forced to lie to their friends, family and colleagues to serve their country. In doing so, they said, they had to evade and deceive others about a natural part of their identity.

The officers said that they were the first generals and admiral to come out publicly and that they hoped that others would follow.

Debate Questions

How long will it take before we get to a question about policy?

Things are going very well for him in the polls. Things are going very well for him in terms of raising money.
So I would like all of you up here, including you, Governor Dean, to raise your hand if you believe that Governor Dean can beat George W. Bush.

Tell me, Senator Kerry, why didn't you raise your hand?

Congressman Gephardt, you didn't raise your hand, either. None of you did.

I'm not really asking you -- at least, I wasn't then -- whether you think you're the better candidate. I was simply asking you whether you thought that Howard Dean could beat George W. Bush. Not a one of you raised his or her hand.

Senator Lieberman, you've got a bit of a shot to the solar plexus today... Have your chances received a bad shock today?

Reverend Sharpton, you were raising your hand before. In response to which part of what happened?

Ambassador Braun ...he implication was clear, that somehow Al Gore may be able to transfer some of the allegiance that he has within the African- American community to Governor Dean. You buy that?

Senator Edwards, what I was trying to get to with Ambassador Braun was whether loyalty can, in any way, be transferred by an endorsement from one politician to another. What do you think?

General Clark, you're relatively new to the process. It is rumored, however, that you are a favored candidate by the Clinton family. If Mrs. Clinton, Senator Clinton, or former President Clinton were to offer you his endorsement, would you take it?

Congressman Kucinich... I'd like to hear your thoughts on what endorsements like this mean or don't mean.

Governor Dean, what is it that makes me think that while there may be eight people up here who aren't crazy about that endorsement and who think it trivializes politics, that you probably don't?

General... Like Ted said, you're new to this. You started later than everybody else. Do you believe that you're actually listening to the voters out there that are telling you something different than you're telling us tonight?

Congressman Gephardt... Given what you said, do you believe that you're any better than George Bush in terms of changing the tone of the debate in Washington?

[To Kerry] Governor Dean said recently that religion does not play into his policy decisions. Contrast that with President Bush, who has made it clear that religion plays into his policy decisions. From your perspective, do you believe that this could hurt the Democratic Party's chances in areas of the country, like the South, where politics and religion tend to go very much hand-in-hand?

[to Sharpton]
Nevertheless, as far as your visits are concerned, you have been here far less often than your colleagues here who have gone through the paces, met with the voters, done the grassroots style of campaigning that the voters of New Hampshire are expecting and looking for.

Why shouldn't those very same voters not think of you as disrespecting them by not coming here and doing the same thing?

Ambassador Braun, I effectively put the same question to you: How do you anticipate winning the New Hampshire primary, winning over the hearts and minds of these voters watching tonight if you're not here?

Senator Edwards, in two polls in the last few weeks, 27 percent of likely Democratic voters headed to the polls in January still say they have no idea among the nine of you whom they are going to choose.

Tonight, on this stage, at this point, what can you tell us that makes you the better choice, that if by choosing you, you get something that the rest of them cannot offer?

[to Kucinich]
My questions are this: Can you elaborate on what that was that made you change your mind on an issue like this? [abortion]

[to Dean]
A statement like that, don't you see the possibility of some Democrats being nervous about statements like that leading them to the conclusion that you are not right for being the next commander in chief?

[to Lieberman] You have a jobs plan that talks, in part, about public-private partnerships. That sounds like that's going to take a long time for the people that are now struggling to find jobs.

How specifically quickly do you think you can provide actual jobs with a plan like that?


It only took 19 questions before something resembling a policy question was asked. Our wonderful media.

Over and Out

Josh Marshall has an interesting take on the appointment of Bush family fixer James Baker.

Slaying the Bug Killer

Charles Kuffner interviews the man who will unseat Tom DeLay.

Your Command, Lord Vader?

AP Debate Coverage

Sponsored by the RNC.


Koppel asked them to raise their hands if they thought Dean could beat Bush. They didn't. Idiots - you should be willing to say that a SLUG could beat Bush.


... So far there hasn't been a single question about policy. Not one. To his credit, Kucinich has called Koppel on this crap twice.

Not Inevitable

Let me agree with Digby, who writes in the comments to his post here, that the Dean is not the inevitable nominee, and not even close.

Dean is justiably called the frontrunner now, due to his performance in national (meaningless, but mostly all we have) and key state polls, but he's far from running away from this thing. I think Iowa and New Hampshire are going to be much less important than they even usually are (which is hardly at all - it just gives the lazy media a way to tell a simple story and make the lead up to them "exciting). Dean will possibly have a lousy Super Tuesday on February 3rd. And, given the way the delegates are being awarded this year - no winner take all and by congressional district - even a popular win in a state can translate into a small or even nonexistent delegate lead (I'm not gonna buy into any Grand Superdelegate Conspiracies for the moment).

There isn't much polling data for most states other than NH and and Iowa. Dean's doing horribly in South Carolina, the next "important state." If Dean manages to run a good campaign for the other Super Tuesday states - Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico, Delaware, Missouri, North Dakota - then we'll have a serious race.

Momentum matters, but Iowa and New Hampshire aren't really enough. Win those and get blown out on Feb. 3rd and the story will suddenly be "Big Loser Dean - How'd he Screw It All Up?"


Oh Lordy. Bush signed the Medicare Bill while Sousa's Liberty Bell March was playing in the background.

reader nk provides the graphic:


Apparently if Gore opens his mouth, it's a threat to Democracy.

Just when you think it can't possibly get any fucking stupider.

...Daniel Munz comments. does Morat. does Jesse.

...for the record, here's the relevant portion of Gore's speech:

Democracy is a team sport, and I want to do everything I can to convince anybody that is interested in my judgment about who among these candidates has the best chance to win and the best chance to lead our country in the right direction -- I want do everything I can to convince you to get behind Howard Dean and let's make this a successful campaign as a group.

It is about all of us. And all of us need to get behind the strongest candidate.

Now, I respect the prerogative of the voters and caucuses and in the primaries and I'm just one person, but I'm offering my judgment.

And I'm also going to say one other thing here. Years ago, former President Ronald Reagan said in the Republican Party that there ought to be an 11th Commandment, "Speak no ill of another Republican."

Well, now, we're Democrats and we may well not find that kind of commandment as accessible. But to the extent that we can recognize the stakes in America today, I would urge all of the other candidates and campaigns to keep their eyes on the prize. Here we are in Harlem. We need to keep our eyes on the prize.

This nation cannot afford to have four more years of a Bush- Cheney administration. We can't afford to be divided among ourselves to the point that we lose sight of how important it is for America.

Shorter Al Gore: I think Dean is the strongest candidate, and I want to try to convince people to get behind him because of that. We obviously can't march in lockstep like the Republicans, but we should strive for a little party unity and not have a circular firing squad to the extent that's possible.

...Kieran Healy comments.

Former Senator Paul Simon has Died


Eschaton Endorsement

It's time for the official Eschaton endorsement. Having surveyed the field of current Democratic candidates, and finding them all fatally flawed and utterly unelectable, I have concluded that there is only one man who can beat George Bush.

That man is former Senator Paul Tsongas. Yes, I know he's dead, but even dead he has more charisma than John Edwards, more raw power than Wesley Clark, more fire in his belly than Howard Dean, more experience than John Kerry, and a more beautiful singing voice than Joe Lieberman.

Look folks, without Tsongas we're doomed. Wesley Clark is a war criminal who is rumored to be a child molester. Howard Dean takes his marching orders directly from Pol Pot. John Edwards got rich off the backs of poor insurance company executives. John Kerry has hair. Joe Lieberman is controlled by Ariel Sharon. Tsongas is the only one who can save America from George W. Bush.

Viva Paul Tsongas! Tsongas for president!


Over at Horowitz's slum, Frank Gaffney goes nuclear on Gover Norquist's alleged terrorist ties.

Winds of Change has a bit more.

Looks like Andrew Sullivan finally found his 5th column!

Another Lott Sock Puppet?

Ha ha ha.

Halloween with Bigots

Here are a couple of the Penn State pictures. (not all pictures are posted)

The worst ones are here.

...story here.

Gore's Secret Plan

Any pundit who think that Gore's Dean endorsement has anything to do with some secret plan to position him, or someone else, in 2008 is a ridiculous fool. Anyone who thinks that Gore, or the DLC, or the DNC, or the Clinton Cabal, or whoever, is so organized and so powerful that they have control over events 4-5 years from now hasn't been paying too much attention.

NPR Political Coverage

It seems that NPR's Dem campaign coverage is being done by...

Juan Williams and Mara Liasson.

What do they have in common?


Oy. Car bomb in Baghdad.

...NPR reporting a helicopter shot down.

Monday, December 08, 2003

F Al Gore

Poor Matt.

Because I'm Proud of Myself

I'm not usually funny or creative, in this way at least. But, this still makes me giggle so I'll re-run it:

Bush's New Envoy to Korea

Peace on the peninsula at last.

Janklow Guilty

All charges.

Gore & Dean

So, just a few thoughts culled from my brain and various commenters. Obviously this is a big F you to Lieberman, who just issued a big F you back. I'm not sure it does much either way for Dean's chances of winning the primary, or hurts any of the other candidates much (other than Joe). I think most of the punditry's discussions about the various cliques within the Democratic tent are 1 part completely made up and 1 part staffers in the various camps stirring up trouble. So, all the stuff about this being a fight between Gore camps and Clinton camps, or some other imagined rivalry, is just bs for the most part (as I've always believed the "Clark is the Clintons candidate!" stuff was nonsense.)

Never Mind the Pollacks

So, I'm reading Neal Pollack's latest book and he had a funny line I thought I'd share. It's Bruce Springsteen talking to a rock critic he meets:

"Aren't you that guy from the Nation?" he says. "The one who appreciates and understands me."

Get Lou!




BAGHDAD, Iraq - On its corporate Web site, under a page titled "A Fresh Start for Iraqi School Children," Bechtel Group showcases sparkling new classrooms filled with happy, young Iraqi students.

But the reality is far different, according to Army investigators.

"In almost every case, the paint jobs were done in a hurry, causing more damage to the appearance of the school than in terms of providing a finish that will protect the structure," a recent Army investigation into Bechtel's work found. "In one case, the paint job actually damaged critical lab equipment, making it unusable."


During repairs, "reports started coming in about poor quality," said 422nd Civil Affairs Battalion Maj. Linda Scharf, who was responsible for the schools in question, and who started fielding calls from concerned teachers and headmasters.

"So I asked one of my teams to go verify the rumors," Scharf said. "They took their digital camera, and the reality turned out to be worse than the rumors."

What they found: The subcontractors Bechtel hired left paint everywhere - on the floors, on desks, all over windows. The classrooms were filthy, the school's desks and chairs were thrown out into the playground and left, broken. Windows were left damaged, and bathrooms that were reportedly fixed were left in broken, unsanitary condition.

"Would you allow your child to use that bathroom? I wouldn't," Scharf said, pointing to a photograph of a stained, broken hole in a dirty, tiled stall.

The sad thing is that it's bullshit like this which, added up, destroyed whatever slim hope we had for success. And people call me a traitor - go tell it to Bechtel.

Raspberry on Gay Marriage

I had missed this column. It's pretty good.

Warner, like other gay writers before him, divides the world into stigmaphiles and stigmaphobes -- those who embrace the very things that make the disrespected groups different and those who would suppress the difference in a mistaken search for group respectability.

He includes writer Andrew Sullivan, whose own book, "Normal," is a particular target of the "The Trouble with Normal," among the stigmaphobes. Sullivan's argument, he says, amounts to "We'd be accepted if only. . . ."

"Sex and sexuality are disavowed as 'irrelevant' in an attempt to fight stigma," says Warner. "But the disavowal itself expresses the same stigma!"

Two things struck me about Warner's thesis. The first is how completely I had embraced the Sullivan notion that gays and lesbians would be okay if only they behaved more respectably -- and that marriage might be a way of encouraging that better behavior.

The second was, for me, more startling: the degree to which stigmaphobe describes some of my own attitudes regarding racial acting out. Warner himself doesn't mention race in this regard. But is there any appreciable difference between Sullivan and others wishing that gays would behave more "normally" -- at least in public -- and my own wishing that black teenagers, for instance, would act more "respectfully" -- toning down their swearing and loud conversations, muting their boomboxes or deferring to grownups?

Poor Andy. Raspberry got his book title wrong.

Gore to Endorse Dean

I'm laughing just imagining the Beltway gang going into full Heather mode.

Looking around the net I see the responses range from "Brilliant!" to "Al Gore has doomed the election!"with nothing in between.

Can't we all just get along.


Here's a good q&a in the Strib.

Dissent as Treason

You know, once upon a time the more turgid of the armchair warriors at least had some point when they branded anti-war types (the ones on the left, anyway, they never noticed the ones on the right) as traitors. If you bought into the belief that Saddam Hussein was an imminent, or an imminently imminent, or whatever, threat to our country, and you bought into the belief that the only way to stop this threat which was sort of but not quite imminent, then in your little through the looking glass world opposing that war would be akin to wishing for the downfall of your country.

Now, of course the little jackboots couldn't comprehend that maybe those two big premises were perhaps false, which was the whole point of opposing the thing in the first place for most of us, but at least there was a certain consistency to it.

But, now that those premises are obviously false, as have been the 15 new ones they've thrown at us in the intervening time, it's time to cut the crap.

OY... I accidentally edited a post instead of making a new one. Here's the Somerby article that this post originally referenced.


Ron Fournier is claiming a story that had his byline wasn't actually written by him. Interesting...

Feel the Love

More eliminationist rhetoric from our pals on the "if you're not with us you're against us" Right.

Perhaps our good friend Mr. Yoshida should begin figuring out how to destroy this man:

So the boss came to visit us on Thanksgiving, under wraps and under the American flag. Thanks for coming. Oh thank you, kind leader, merciful leader, for taking one day out of your busy schedule to visit us. The shepherd looking over his flock. Thanks for making the sacrifice. God knows we’re making one. Re-election is coming up, but that had nothing to do with it, now did it?

I remember your victorious landing on the ship. Oh how all those then alive, and now dead, would love to sit down next to you, cutting their families’ turkeys and filling the empty seats at the tables. Leader of the free world, be our guest at the head of our table. Or would you like to sit in one of the many empty seats left by the war? There’s plenty of room. Enough turkey and stuffing to go around. Fat and happy, delirious and exhausted. That’s how I feel.

In a hurry? Going so soon? Have time for questions? You sure do have time for compliments. Do you ever feel responsible? I’m tired of this. Go back home to the ranch and tell them how happy and fulfilling the trip made you feel.

Spc. Damian Torres


I've never really understood why economists consider the government default on its international debt obligations to be a nuclear option. It would be a nuclear option for the US, of course, because people love lending us lots of money at low interest rates precisely because the chance of default is so low. On the other hand, for developing countries people tend to love lending them lots of money at very high interest rates because the probability of default is relatively high. Plenty of large companies experience hard times, go into bankruptcy, default on some of their debts, reorganize, and come back to life - at which point people line up to lend them money again. There's no reason the same shouldn't be true for smaller countries. Sure, if they just default willy nilly on their debts because they feel like it they're going to have a hard time getting anyone to lend them money again, but economic times and political leadership change, and along with that so will the willingness of international lenders to show up with the baskets of cash.

It's nice to see that the Economist is admitting that Argentina's recent policies - telling international financial institutions to piss off while spending money to increase domestic consumption - are actually doing the trick.

Third, the government has focused on boosting domestic consumption at the expense of the demands of foreign creditors, banks, and privatised utilities. This is controversial, but has arguably made economic sense.

Pissing off foreign creditors and investors who demanded huge rates of return in exchange for their cash should not only be acceptable but expected when there's a serious economic crisis. The risk premium is there for a reason.

Lucas Speaks Out

Reader tg writes in:

My Congressman, Rep. Ken Lucas of Northern Kentucky, has some interesting thoughts on Bush now that he's decided not to seek a third term. Lucas is a Democrat, but so consistently votes with Republicans that the White House asked him last year to switch parties, which he surprisingly did not. The candidate Lucas has thrown his support behind is Nick Clooney, a former local news anchor and the brother of Rosemary and father of George. Clooney also wrote a column in the Kentucky Post until his candidacy was announced and is very involved in the community, but the Republicans are already spinning his campaign as some sort of Hollywood liberal celebrity indulgence. He is even being unfavorably compared to Schwarzenegger. Either Northern Kentucky Republicans have a skewed sense of what a celebrity is, or they're being hypocrites.

Article excerpt:

No longer restrained by political calculations of a re-election campaign, U.S. Rep. Ken Lucas is speaking out against the administration of President Bush.

In his first interview since announcing last week he would not seek a fourth term in Congress, Lucas was critical of Bush's handling of the war in Iraq and of the prescription drug benefit the president championed and will sign into law next week.

Lucas, 71, the lone Democrat in Kentucky's federal delegation, has often supported Bush and rarely spoke against the president's plans or policies.

But with Democrat Nick Clooney running for his 4th District seat, Lucas apparently has grown comfortable taking on some of the decisions being made by the White House.

Lucas, a military veteran, originally supported the invasion of Iraq.

"I thought that the administration needed bipartisan support, and I was for our commander-in-chief," Lucas said. "Because I felt at that time it was the right thing do. If I knew then what I know now, I would have never voted for the war.

"There was no imminent danger about weapons of mass destruction," he said. "And the tune of the administration changed from that to ridding a country of a ruthless dictator."

The Bush administration also was not straightforward about the intelligence it had, releasing tenuous information that fit its goal of attacking Iraq, Lucas said.

"I feel deceived," he said.

"I don't think we have a good plan for an exit strategy," Lucas said. "I think it was handled poorly as far as not bringing in other countries."

Up Up and Away!

Euro continues its rise.

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Bye Bye Wolfowitz?

Neocon excellent adventure coming to an end?

Rummy's No. 2
Word is that Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz may bow out as soon as February. Replacement requirements: a strong manager, one who can repair relations with the military and could take over for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Several names have bubbled up, including Deputy White House National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley, a former Pentagon assistant, and NASA boss Sean O'Keefe, a former secretary of the Navy.

Stuff to Buy!

Buffy Season 5 comes out Tuesday!

Or you can get the very reasonably priced Seasons 1-4 boxed set.

And, you can watch them both on this Norcent DP-300 DVD player, currently selling for the low low price of $29.99 after $10 mail-in rebate. This is the one I own. It's great because it plays all formats (mp3, VCD, etc...) and it also has a built in PAL/NTSC converter so you can definitely watch all region free international DVDs. In addition, at least on the version I have (which may have changed, so I can't guarantee), there's a simple hack using the remote which will disable the region coding system.


Click link for picture.


If the facts asserted by former workers of Abercrombie & Fitch on 60 Minutes right now are true, these kids are gonna own that corporation in a couple of years. Good for them.


F'ed Up

So, Kerry said the F word in a Rolling Stone interview. Dubya flashback:

Fuck Saddam. We're taking him out.
-George W. Bush, March 2002, as reported in Time.

You no-good fucking son of a bitch, I will never fucking forget what you wrote.
-George W. Bush, to journalist Al Hunt in front of his 4-year old daugher, 1987.

If the Bushies are making a stink about this, it's incumbent on any journalist who has heard, but not reported, our president saying a naughty word or two to report them for, as they say, "balance."

Of course, let's not forget:

-George W. Bush, 1988, in response to a question about what he and his father are talking about when they're not talking politics.

Newt v. Hillary

Fat Tim had Newt and Hillary on today. Newt was much more critical, by an order of magnitude or more, of what's going on in Iraq than was Hillary. Leaving aside for the moment what this says about Hillary, it says a lot about how the media has covered criticism of Dear Leader's Excellent Iraq Adventure. From the moment Andy Card rolled out the new product, there has probably been more consistent, if somewhat muted, criticism of all of this from the Right. Sure, criticism from the Left tended to cast more doubts on the purity of motivation of the Bushies, while Right criticism tended to focus entirely on process and outcome (Leftist criticsm did that, too, of course), but nonetheless the media in its desperate attempt to follow the script has always cast this is a largely partisan debate. It is true that in congress almost all opposition has come from Democrats, but in the wider world of opinion shapers there has been plenty of criticism by those who are otherwise ideological allies of this gang.

By attempting to portray this as a partisan debate, the media successfully delegitimizes the opposition, who are "of course" simply trying to score political points, according to the Cokie Roberts school of political journalism.

Cover Songs

I'm also a big fan of cover songs. Most royally suck of course, but the ones which manage to successfully translate a song to a new genre succeed in revealing the songs "essence" (yeah, crappy word, but I'm just writing this quickly). Particularly when songs are overproduced, even an alternative genre song which is likewise overproduced can make it clear why a song is just a Good Song.

Off the top of my head, some ones I remember quite liking include:

Johnny Cash's cover of NIN's "Hurt." (agreeing with Jim Henley).

Along with Bruce Baugh, I always thought the Hooters' version of Cyndi Lauper's "Time after Time" was really nice. IIRC they actually wrote the song.

Thumper's ska version of Iron Maiden's "Crazy Train."

Defunct Pittsburgh (then) alt-rock band The Affordable Floors' cover of New Order's "Temptation."

L.L. Cool J's "unplugged" cover of his own song "Momma said Knock You Out." Yes, not quite a cover, but close enough.

Yes's cover of Simon and Garfunkel's "America."

Oddly, or perhaps not oddly, most of the covers I like are done by bands I don't particuarly generally like and are of songs which I didn't necessarily like so much in the original.
Honorable mention to Dread Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song." I'm sure there are more, but I haven't given this much thought.

Meet the New Boss

Same as the Old Boss?

Those who try to do the undoable must also think the unthinkable. US strategists in Iraq are contemplating what they have always denied, the search for a "strong man with a moustache" to stop the present rot. If the result is not democracy, so be it.

If the result is the dismemberment of Iraq, so be it. Iraq has become a mess. There is only one priority: to "get out with dignity".

This strategy is now being rammed down the throat of the US administrator in Baghdad, Paul Bremer, by George W. Bush's new "realist", Deputy National Security Adviser Bob Blackwill. He answers to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, not US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and is the new boss of Iraq.

The Pentagon, Rumsfeld and his deputy Paul Wolfowitz, architects of the old "idealist" strategy, are in retreat. The Iraqi Governing Council, which Bremer reluctantly created, will be disbanded. Washington must find someone with whom it can do business, someone who can deliver order in return for power. That search is Blackwill's job.

In a nutshell, Washington has bought the old British Middle East strategy, that you deal with local leaders and leave them to it. The fantasies of Rumsfeld and of Bush's recent "world democracy" speech are at an end. There must be no second Vietnam in Iraq. Necessity has become the mother of humiliating invention.

(via the Sideshow)

Surprising Florida Poll Results

I can't quantify this, but my impression of the media coverage during the Schiavo case was definitely that it was framed against her husband and for her parents, who desired Jeb's and the Lege's intervention in the case. I also assumed that at the very least a slim majority were on the parents' side, too. Apparently not:

Gov. Jeb Bush and Florida Republicans reignited a national debate on the right to die when they ordered a feeding tube reinserted into a brain-damaged woman, but the majority of the state's voters believe the politicians got it wrong, according to a new poll.

By nearly three to one, registered voters across religious, party and gender lines told pollsters they disagree with the intervention. While Bush and GOP legislators acted at the request of Terri Schiavo's parents to keep their daughter alive by overruling the wishes of her husband and a court, an overwhelming number of the poll's respondents believe that a spouse should determine whether an incapacitated person without a living will should be taken off life support.

''The governor is clearly in the wrong in terms of public opinion,'' said Democratic pollster Rob Schroth, who conducted the poll for The Herald and the St. Petersburg Times with a Republican pollster, Kellyanne Conway.