Saturday, January 10, 2004

Dear Maureen

Maybe he was just cold.



P.S. Sorry that Michael Douglas thing didn't work out. Maybe next time.

Carolina & St. Louis

What a weird game.

...over. Carolina wins on 1st down of 6th quarter.

Thank G-d for President Bush

He's saved the world from this:

Let's not be so moronic as to define WMD as "some unusable leaky metal tubes that have been buried underground for 15 years."

Weapons of mass destruction have to a) be a weapon, b) be capable of mass destruction.


A&M Ends Legacy Admissions

Quite a shocker. Hard to believe someone somewhere in the power structure won't push to reverse it, but nonetheless a good decision.

11 Degrees

Time to hibernate. Gonna be a cold game tomorrow, though lucky it isn't today.

Jobs Report

I'm not going to question the characters of the fine fine career professionals who worker at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. I'm sure they're above taking part in any manipulation of the statistics for political purposes. But, I would like to point out that it was really convenient that the October and November jobs estimates were revised downwards in the latest reports. Otherwise, rather than 1,000 job increase we saw we could have seen a 50,000 or more job loss for the month. That wouldn't really change the economic picture in a substantial way, but it would change the headlines.

Pill-popper vs. McNabb

Hah. Good for the Inky.

Go Iggles!

Donate to the DNC Day

I haven't been pushing this much for awhile, but it really is important to make sure the DNC has a few bucks on their pocket. This year isn't just about a presidential campaign. The DNC is really going to be coordinating the "national campaign," particularly in the run-up to the convention before the individual races begin to heat him. They're the backbone of the party, so let's stiffen it a bit.

You can donate here - I suggest a small sustainer donation. Have them pull $20 off your credit card every month. Let's see if we can get 25 more sustainer donations today. A modest goal.

And, hey, you've already donated enough so that Terry Mac owes me a phone call...

Friday, January 09, 2004

Myers Flashback II

From David Brock's Blinded By the Right:

My phone rang off the hook with interview requests, as reporters and TV producers, many of whom were now drawn into the morass of scandal just as I opted out, expected me to jump at the chance to proclaim that my disputed trooper story had been vindicated by Lewinsky revelations. Clinton was a lying sex fiend after all! I remember one particular call along these lines from Lisa Myers of NBC News, who had dogged the Clintons for years from her beat on Capitol Hill, and later aired the Juanita Broaddrick rape allegation. I was doing no interviews, I told Myers. But wasn't I feeling vindicated? she wanted to know. not exactly, I said. In the five years since Troopergate, I began to explain, no evidence had emerged to connect Clinton's personal life with his performance as president. Well, the husky-voiced Myers pressed on obtrusively, as if she hadn't heard a word I said, Clinton had been lying about so much for so long, wasn't it great that he finally go caught? I clicked off.

Conversations like these left me frustrated, for what exactly had Clinton been lying about for so long, other than adultery?...

NBC News Whores

This is pretty unbelievable. But, of course, it was a Lisa Myers special.

Lisa Myers is very skilled at editing the videotape to make a point. Consider this Lisa Myers Flashback from the Howler:

At issue is the phone call where the Hubbells are discussing whether Mrs. Clinton would be “vulnerable” to a probe of over-billing. Here is the transcript of one part of the call, with one statement set out in bold:

MRS. HUBBELL: You didn’t actually do that, did you, mark up time for the client?

HUBBELL: Yes, I did. So does every lawyer in the country.

MRS. HUBBELL: That would be one thing that you would look into the firm for [in a countersuit].

HUBBELL: Suzy, you are getting ahead.

MRS. HUBBELL: No, I am just thinking out loud. That’s an area where Hillary would be vulnerable. Not unless she overbilled by time, right?

HUBBELL: No, you are talking and not listening. We are on a recorded phone. So I am trying to explain...

It’s not clear what Hubbell objects to in his wife’s characterization, or why she still doesn’t know even basic facts about why her husband is sitting in prison. But it is quite clear, in the segment printed in bold, that Mrs. Hubbell is not accusing Mrs. Clinton of over-billing. She states first that she is “just thinking out loud;” and it is clear to any listener, when she closes out with her question, that she doesn’t know whether or not Hillary has engaged in this conduct. (Hubbell tells her at length, later in the call, that Hillary has not over-billed.)

But that’s not the way NBC viewers heard the response on The Today Show on Friday, May 1, by the time Spin Doctor Lisa Myers got out her scissors and did a little surgical work on the tapes. Incredibly, this is the conversation that Myers’ viewers heard--a conversation in which Mrs. Hubbell makes a very different presentation altogether:

MYERS: At another point, Mrs. Hubbell talks about over-billing clients.

MRS. HUBBELL (on tape): That’s an area where Hillary would be vulnerable.

HUBBELL (on tape): No, you are talking and not listening. We are on a recorded phone.

And that is precisely the way the transcript was presented on the screen to NBC viewers as the tape rolls--with no ellipsis whatever to let viewers know that material has been left out. Not that this would have been an appropriate deletion even if an ellipsis had been used. Myers’ cut in the tape completely changes the meaning of the presentation by Mrs. Hubbell--changing it from a question about whether Mrs. Clinton would be vulnerable, to an assertion that she would be. The charade was even worse by that evening; in a tape played on MSNBC’s May 1 InterNight program (apparently taken from that evening’s NBC News), Myers doctors the conversation in a more egregious fashion:

MYERS: The Hubbells seem worried that Mrs. Clinton could be vulnerable on an issue that sent Hubbell to prison in the first place--overbilling clients.

MRS. HUBBELL: You didn’t actually do that, did you? Mark up time for the client? Did you?

HUBBELL: Yes, I did. So does every lawyer in the country.

MRS. HUBBELL: That’s an area that Hillary would be vulnerable.

HUBBELL: Suzy, you’re talking and you’re not listening. We are on a recorded phone, OK?

Again, there was absolutely no indication of any kind that the viewer was hearing an edited phone call. Viewer had every reason to think they were hearing the phone call just as it happened. And by the way, Myers’ opening statement is completely inaccurate, if you listen through to the end of this phone call. Hubbell makes it very clear, later on in this call, that Mrs. Clinton would not be vulnerable to charges of over-billing clients.

I'll never understand how this woman still has a job.

Rush Limbaugh himself was opining today that Myers probably got this tape from R. Emmett Tyrell with whom Dean appeared with on this show on occasion. Nothing wrong with that, of course, but we know how she gets and maintains her "access."

Paula the Whore


PAULA ZAHN: Final question for you, sir. Your candidate, governor dean, has made several references to -- about president bush having alleged advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks from the saudis. Should someone who wants to be president be trading on rumors?

JOE TRIPPI: That's not what the governor said at all. In fact, you're trading on rumors when you keep saying that.

PAULA ZAHN: I haven't said it yet. I'm just repeating --

JOE TRIPPI: Yeah, you're repeating the rumor. Yeah, what happened was the governor said that when the president and the administration mislead people and the war, the American people start asking questions, there's these rumors out there, and we need to talk about them to shut them down because he didn't believe it. And he said that on the air in the interview.

PAULA ZAHN: But there was another interview on npr that has gotten a lot of attention. He basically said, you know, whether this can be proven or not, he suggested that the president had had advance knowledge of what might have fallen on 9/11.

JOE TRIPPI: No. The governor said he didn't believe that, and it was part of the problem. We have this right now with black box voting. You'll find across the country that there are people all over this nation who believe these paperless computer voting machines are a way that the bush administration will steal the election. Okay, what's not important here is whether that's a rumor or not. What's important here is that we shut that down, that we prove to people that there's no way that anybody -- that these paperless machines are going to rob people of their vote. Repeating that is not repeating that you believe it. I don't necessarily believe that those machines do that or not. But if we're going to have a democracy, we have to say so and air it out.

PAULA ZAHN: Let me just repeat exactly what came off the transcript of the npr radio show, and this is governor dean's remark, "the most interesting theory that i have heard so far, he responded, "is that he was warned ahead of time by the saudis."

JOE TRIPPI: And then can you keep reading, please?

PAULA ZAHN: Well, could go on for the next five minutes from the interview. And you're saying he didn't say that, I got it right here.

JOE TRIPPI: No, no, no, I said if you keep reading, he'll say he didn't believe that.

PAULA ZAHN: There is a point at which, but you were denying what he suggested.

JOE TRIPPI: You're forgetting that part, paula.

PAULA ZAHN: I'm not forgetting it. I just wanted to clarify that he had, in fact, repeated something and he did say later on...

JOE TRIPPI: Keep reading the interview, and we'll get to the part where he says he did not believe it.

PAULA ZAHN: No, I am not denying that, but i wanted to challenge your point...

JOE TRIPPI: That's not how you started the interview.

PAULA ZAHN: I think our audience has a pretty good sense now of what was said and what wasn't said. Joe trippi, thank you for your time

(sent in by C)

Friday Cat Blogging

Finally the cats were considerate enough to pose incognito.

Money Quote

From the Slacktivist:

Most Americans have more debt on their credit cards than money in their mutual funds.

Religion and Politics

This is a pretty good essay in the WaPo.

Distorting a candidate's religious views is not a new hobby. In 1800, supporters of John Adams campaigned against Thomas Jefferson on the grounds that he was an atheist. He wasn't. He was a deist, a believer in a God not involved in current human events, but his views were easily caricatured. In his 2003 book, "The Founding Fathers and the Place of Religion in America," historian Frank Lambert documents the smears, including one campaign diatribe that ran: "God -- and a religious president . . . or Jefferson and no God."

Imagine the TV ads that would run today against Jefferson -- a man who actually edited the Bible to cut out the miracles:

(Cue video)Two hands extend out of ruffled 18th-century sleeves. One hand grips a pair of scissors, the other a Bible. The scissors start cutting.

Voiceover: Thomas Jefferson says the Old Testament is full of "dung." He says the Gospels are a pack of "fabrications" put together by "fanatics."He seems to think he knows what should be in the Bible and what shouldn't be. Whom do you trust: Thomas Jefferson or the Good Book?

I recognize that if politicians exaggerate about everything else, they're likely to do the same with religion. I don't think Al Gore would really have approached each presidential decision by asking "What Would Jesus Do?" It's also hard not to laugh at the ham-handed way Dean telegraphed that he's starting to talk about religion mostly because Southerners seem into it. Some of this is totally fair game.

But picking apart a candidate's views on faith is a risky business. Every religion seems absurd to those who don't believe in it. Each person's spiritual path makes more sense to them than to anyone else. Distorting their spiritual lives for political or rhetorical gain is unfair to the candidates. For speaking openly about their faith practices, they should be praised, not pilloried.

Oryx and Crake

I just finished reading Margaret Atwood's latest novel, Oryx and Crake. Two thumbs up, as they say. Thanks to the generous reader who sent me a copy.

Make this the discuss your favorite recently published fiction thread. <3 years old or so.

Another Nedra Story

President Bush called for an end to sex tourism during his speech to the UN despite that fact that Neil Bush contracted herpes while having unprotected sex with prostitutes while on a business trip in Asia to meet with Jiang Zemin's son who paid him $2 million to be available for 2 phone calls a year to advise a Chinese company.

Haha. not really.
(thanks to noam chimpsky)

Torture Lou!


Easterbrook Gets Something Right

His Mars mission article is pretty good, particularly the concluding paragraph.

And why might George W. Bush endorse a Moon base or Mars mission? Either he's a science illiterate surrounded by advisors who are science illiterates, or it's a blank check for aerospace contractors.

Given this UPI article (Easterbrook and UPI in one post! oh my!), I think we can see where it's going:

Sources said Bush will direct NASA to scale back or scrap all existing programs that do not support the new effort. Further details about the plan and the space agency's revised budget will be announced in NASA briefings next week and when the president delivers his FY 2005 budget to Congress.

It's basically a plan to junk any money spent on pure science (sure, the shuttle and the station are probably worth cutting, but there are plenty of other things), and open the coffers to the aerospace industry. Lovely.

The Gropenfuhrer Giveth...

...and the Gropenfuhrer taketh away...

One of the more controversial budget-balancing moves would be taking $1.3 billion in property taxes from cities and counties. If Schwarzenegger takes the property tax, he would essentially be eliminating some of the same money he just restored to local governments after promising they would be protected.

Last month, in a move the state legislative analyst called possibly illegal, Schwarzenegger shifted $4 billion to cities and counties to restore money they had lost when he reduced the car tax. If approved, Schwarzenegger's $1.3 billion maneuver would not be the first time the state has taken money from local governments. In 1993, then-Gov. Pete Wilson shifted $2.6 billion of local property tax to pay for K-12 schools and community colleges, and local governments say they continue to suffer from that budget-balancing plan.

Nit Picklering Returns!

Come on AP, this is just a fucking joke.

ROCHESTER, N.H. - Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean on Friday criticized President Bush for restricting stem-cell research based on religious beliefs even though his own faith affected his decision to extend legal rights to gay couples.

When Nedra Pickler writes her stupid column equating two entirely different things, she neglects to point out that having religion be a substitute for science is not the same thing as being guided by religion in other areas.

(picture thanks to norn)

Threat Level

The Tough Thing About Lying... that you have to remember your lies. Truth is always much easier. Kos has a Colin Powell then and now.


This is incredible.

NASHVILLE -- A state appeals court says a gay father must keep his homosexuality in the closet when his son is around.

But the state Court of Appeals says it was wrong for a lower court to send Joseph Randolph Hogue to jail for simply telling the boy he was gay.

As part of a divorce hearing, Hogue was barred from "exposing the child to his gay lovers and, or his gay lifestyle."

Hogue claimed it was an illegal and overly broad restraining order.

The appeals court says it found nothing wrong with the lower court shielding the child from the gay influences.

But the court did agree with Hogue that the order didn't specifically ban the father from telling his son about his sexual orientation.

(via Talk Left)

...Demagogue has more.

More on the Employment Report

Comrade Max gives his take.

... on CNN just now Blitzer actually punctured the wall ever so slightly and wondered out loud if the Bushies messed up a bit when they put him out in front of a "JOBS JOBS JOBS" backdrop.

...this Jobwatch graph says it all.

Campaign Dirty Tricks

Every election is going to have some dirty tricks. Some are actually rather minor and I consider them to be "fair game," though not necessarily desirable or productive. So, the much-hyped story of some Dean campaign workers showing up at Kerry headquarters and pretending to be undecided Iowans is to me much ado about (mostly) nothing. Of course, it's perfectly fair and reasonable for the other candidates to try and raise a stink about the issue.

The more serious charge about Dean campaign workers coming to Iowa to actually participate in the caucuses is also a dirty trick. Overzealous supporters are capable of anything, I suppose, but there is of course no evidence of any kind of organized effort to do this. But, making the accusation casts doubt on what Dean and his campaign are doing.

The most serious dirty trick, to me, is anything which uses dishonest information to try to discourage people from heading to the polls. So, these reports that someone is doing just that to New Hampshire voters are rather disturbing. Of course, this kind of dirty trick can work both ways - if true, it could be Dean campaign supporters doing nasty things, or it could be other people trying to make the Dean campaign look bad. I'm not endorsing either view here - of course I have absolutely no idea.

But, more generally, in the next few weeks we're going to see/hear about a lot of these things. I would suggest that no matter whose campaign you support you take them all with a grain of salt and not jump to use them as ammunition. I'm not saying that one shouldn't be critical of some of these things if they're true, but there's generally going to be some doubt about both the truth and origin of any of these things.

...Josh Marshall comments on the weirdness of the ARG information. Perhaps an enterprising journalist whose first name is Josh and last name begins with M should contact them and get more details.

[edited - ARG doesn't use automated polls. ]

From Blog to Print

The Strib published Josh Marshall's Brooksy-bashing post.

Reinventing Himself

Next he'll be wearing Earth Tones!

Can our media get any worse?

Give 10 Bucks to Haloscan

Just a note to any of my fellow bloggers who are using Haloscan for comments. I'd recommend paying them the $10 - not just because it's cheap and you've been mooching off of them - but because it does give you some additional features which are nice. The 1000 character limit goes away, and you can edit/delete posts from within the comments window if you're logged in to your account.

Unemployment at 5.7%

Good news.

On the other hand, the total number of jobs increased by only 1,000, and what's driving the unemployment rate drop is people leaving the labor force in droves.

... the more I look at the numbers the more it's "bad news." The real story is the lack of continued job growth.

... stock futures tumble. The dollar had gained in foreign markets, one wonders what this news will bring...

Washington Times Owner Calls for Elimination of Gays

But, as always, this kind of thing will just be ignored.

Thursday, January 08, 2004


I'll admit I'm a bit of a space geek, but I have hard time believing that as obscenely expensive domestic intiatives go, travelling to Mars is really the one to rope those soccer moms in...

Paranoia Will Destroy Ya

Microsoft Flight simulator is now inspiring visits from state troopers.


New Jersey passes civil union-type bill.


I sure do miss the good old days when if I managed to get a woman into my hotel room I had a license to do absolutely anything I wanted with her body. Sigh. Those were good times.

From the NRO:

Pre-feminist common sense suggested that a woman who comes alone to a man's hotel room late at night has already consented to sex with him, but on the all-or-nothing principle so dear to ideologues everywhere, feminist orthodoxy insists that the adoption of this rough-and-ready but extremely useful guide would be tantamount to saying that a woman who has slept with other men not her husband, or even who dresses provocatively has already consented to sex. And the feminist interpretation of the law is now almost uncontested in the courts. No means no — even though no one else hears it, even though everyone knows that it may mean yes — because feminists want to reserve to women the right and freedom to be indiscrete.

Well, even the liberal Gregg Easterbrook doesn't think "no" should mean "no," though I don't think he quite went as far as endorsing "crossing the hotel room threshold means you give up any say about what happens to you" standard.

(link thanks to JE)

Bite Me AARP

From the Daily Misleader:

Late last year, President Bush promised retirees that "if there's a Medicare reform bill signed by me, corporations have no intention to dump retire [from their existing drug coverage]...What we're talking about is trust." The White House and its congressional allies backed up Bush's assertion by claiming the bill included a special tax subsidy to "encourage employers' to retain prescription-drug coverage" for their retirees' and not to cut them off.

But just three months after Bush's pledge, the Wall Street Journal now reports that the White House quietly added "a little-noticed provision" to the bill that allows companies to severely reduce - or almost completely terminate - their retirees' drug coverage "without losing out on the new subsidy." In other words, the president did not just break his promise to sign a bill that prevents seniors from losing their existing drug coverage. He actually acted to reward companies who cut off their retirees with a lavish new tax break.

The provision was no mere oversight by the president. The major backers of the provision were Lucent Technologies, General Motors, Dow Chemical and SBC Communications - all major campaign contributors to the president. According to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, executives from those companies have donated almost $140,000 in hard money and $2.5 million in soft money to Bush and his party since 2000.

California Fee Hikes

I really hope you liked the $90 or so you saved on your car tax.

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger plans to propose a 10% fee increase for Californians attending college at the University of California and California State University and a fee hike of up to 40% for graduate students at the universities, sources familiar with the governor's budget said Wednesday.

At the same time, the budget is expected to contain reductions in college financial aid for students from moderate-income families.

Diana Fuentes-Michel, executive director of the California Student Aid Commission, said she expects the governor's proposal to tighten qualifications for Cal Grants, the state's main financial aid program.

The low cost/high quality of CA's higher education is one of the state's real draws, and one of the few major perks for low and moderate income people.

Brooksy Responds

The public editor is sending out Brooks's response to those who have complained:

"For what its worth, that neo being short for Jewish was meant as a joke. Nothing more. Most of the people who get labeled as Neocons are Jewish, so I was just sort of playing off that.
" As for me accusing anybody who accuses neocons of being anti-Semitic, there are a few issues here. First, I wasn't saying anything about people who criticize neocons' ideas. The column wasn't about that at all. It was about people who imagine there is a shadowy conspiracy behind Bush policy. Second, I explicitly say that only a subset of the people who talk about the shadow conspiracy find Jewishness a handy explanation for everything. I have no idea how large a subset that is, but judging from my e-mail it is out there.
"So I was careful not to say that Bush or neocon critics are anti-Semitic. I was careful not to say that all conspiracy theorists are anti-Semitic.
"I am still on the learning curve here, and I do realize that mixture of a crack with a serious accusation was incredibly stupid on my part. Please do pass along to readers that I'm aware of how foolish I was to write the column in the way I did." --David Brooks

(sent in by reader e)


Howler and Alterman continue beating on Brooksy.

...just one comment. People like me used to be called conspiracy theorists in the runup to the Iraq war for daring to suggest that Syria and Iran and who knows who else were on the list. Once the Iraq shock and awe began, and the war in Iraq looked like a cakewalk, there was a new story - that we were conspiracy theorists for alleging that there was a conspiracy. There's no conspiracy! Of course we're going to invade Iran and Syria! We've said that all along! You're a conspiracy nut for suggesting that something that is out in the open is a conspiracy! ha ha!

Now, of course, with Operation Inigo Montoya not going so well and our military stretched to thinly too do anything else, we're back to anti-semitic conspiracy theorists.


A couple people have written in complaining that they have to scroll right to left to see the full page. Usually when this happens I've just posted a picture that's too large - however this time that doesn't seem to be case. If anyone has a clue...

...thanks. Found it - was a super long URL in one of the posts. Fixed.

The War on Tourism Continues

This is really getting silly:

Currently British travellers can visit the US for up to three months without a visa under the "visa waiver" scheme.

But new passports issued after 26October must hold "biometric" data such as digital images or fingerprints - or a visa will be needed.

The UK authorities will not be able to issue such passports before mid-2005.

British travellers holding a "machine-readable" passport - issued in Britain since November 1991 - can still travel to the US without a visa for the 10-year lifetime of their document.

They will then have their fingerprints and photographs taken on arrival in the US.

But those who get a new passport after October 26, but before biometric ones are available, will have to purchase a visa at a cost of £67.

More than four million Britons a year travel to the US, and hundreds of thousands of them would be affected by the arrangements as they currently stand.

Thursday is New Jobless Day

Congratulations to the 353K new jobless. It isn't so high, but not low enough to improve the unemployment rate. The full numbers come out tomorrow.

Ignoring the Wounded

NPR has an amazing piece about it.

It's gotta drive these people nuts that they're coming home with their legs blown off, expecting to be treated like heroes, and they're just totally ignored.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Run Gary Run

Go for it!

Sliding Towards Irrelevancy

TNR endorses Lieberman.

...Kos has more.

Easterbrook II

Some wonder why I bother with Easterbrook. There are two objections - 1) Who the hell is this Easterbrook guy anyway? and 2) Well, it wasn't really that big of a deal on the "anti-Semitism" meter.

As for the first objection, Easterbrook is a "media favorite," having established his right-leaning centrist creds which is the road to such things. You know, he cares about the environment but environnmentalists are all wrong, etc... He writes for TNR regularly, has written for every major publication you can think of, and has started popping up on Howie the Whore's weekly show. So, he isn't a nobody.

As for the second one - yes, there's some truth to that, but the incident provides a perfect example of how some people can get away with saying dumbass things that other people can't. In particular, the media's favorite sons can get away with far more than anyone else.

Easterbrook wrote a dumb thing, then wrote an equally dumb apology, then maybe wrote a dumb email saying that the evil Eisner was going to ruin his life so pity him, then maybe lied to certain people about that, then maybe had a bunch of people he sent the email to cover for him.

As with my interest in the story the first time around it's more about members of the media's desire to protect those who are full members of the club. I thought this story had gone away, but if Easterbrook lied to certain bloggers about that email, I consider that a major violation of trust by a member of the media. Sure, they're all full of shit to some degree sometimes, but this is potentially a very simple documentable lie said by someone in the middle of doing a bit of crisis management. Frankly, if true it's pretty disgusting.

My WMD Plans

The world trembles:

...though I prefer the cool killer robot.

Bush and Dean, in Agreement

Dec. 15 press conference:

QUESTION: Mr. President, you said earlier this morning that in a trial that all of Saddam's atrocities need to be brought out. He was in power more than 30 years. It probably would make for a long rap sheet.

Bush: You're not supposed to pre-judge.

QUESTION: Yes. I'm just counting the years.

Bush: OK, good.

QUESTION: Do you believe that the invasion of Kuwait in 1990 should be included, as well as his assassination attempt against former President Bush?

Bush: That'll all be decided by the lawyers. And I will instruct this government to make sure the system includes the Iraqi citizens and make sure the process withstands international scrutiny.

But we'll let the lawyers handle all that. And, as you know, I'm not a lawyer. And I delegate. And I'm going to delegate this to the legal community which will be reviewing all of this matter.

Where is the media outrage over Bush's shocking contention that he shouldn't pre-judge anyone - not even The Evilest One himself?

(thanks to ck)

...(yes Dean was talking about OBL and not Saddam, but the general principle is the same given what Saddam is apparently guilty of)

..For the record, here's what Dean said:

I've resisted pronouncing a sentence before guilt is found. I still have this old-fashioned notion that even with people like Osama, who is very likely to be found guilty, we should do our best not to, in positions of executive power, not to prejudge jury trials.


What can you make of this sort of thing:

The U.S. State Department has changed its stance on a new Brazilian security process for U.S. citizens entering the South American nation. Washington is now urging Brazil to alter its new process of fingerprinting and photographing U.S. visitors.

"We have told the Brazilians that we think that these are measures that provide tremendous inconvenience to travelers and that they need to be changed," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Tuesday.

Just last week, Boucher's deputy -- J. Adam Ereli -- said the United States understood Brazil's new policy. "This is their sovereign right to do if they want to do it." Ereli said.

Brazil's program began after a similar process was announced for the United States. The US-VISIT program began January 5 and applies to any visitor, including Brazilians, who are required to have visa to enter the United States. Visitors from most European nations are excluded.


I thought this little controversy had been put to bed. Well, it's back. Columbia Journalism Review has an article documenting the recent dustup about Gregg Easterbrook's comments on his weblog stating that because Disney executives were Jewish they had a responsibility to not produce films which glorified violence.

Subsequently, Easterbrook initially issued a typical non-apology apology. After this, a blog called the Power Line posted an email which was purportedly from Easterbrook. The proprietor of the subsequently Power Line removed the email, but never said it wasn't genuine. According to Daniel Drezner, Easterbrook denied that he had sent this email.

The text of the email of unclear origin is here:

Yesterday I was told to expect to be fired by ESPN. It hasn't happened yet, but seems likely [he has since been fired by ESPN]. Friday the top officers of ESPN refused several orders from Michael Eisner, the head of Disney, that I be fired. By the end of the day it seemed likely they would give in....

Yesterday I was told by an ally within Disney corporate that Eisner has assigned people to try to destroy the book [The Progress Paradox: How Life Gets Better While People Feel Worse] -- to get Time to drop the serial, to keep me off interview shows, even to get Random House to kill the book. In a published body of work that now extends to millions of words, I have written three foolish and wrong sentences. Now I've not only lost reputation and half my income (ESPN): what matters to me most in all the world, my book writing, is in jeopardy at the worst possible time. And I'm up against one of the richest, most vindictive men in the world.

again - at the time, according to Dan Drezner, Easterbrook claimed that the email was not genuine.

Here's what CJR has to say:

The first thing Dezenhall told Easterbrook was that it would be difficult to mount a self-defense: "The problem is anytime you try to explain prejudice you get into a 'some of my best friends are' . . . type thing." Instead, Dezenhall advised Easterbrook to rally others to his defense. On October 18, Easterbrook did just that, sending out an all-points e-mail to a network of media contacts asking them to come to his aid. It recounted the hits he had taken in the media and expressed concern that Eisner was out to destroy his forthcoming book, The Progress Paradox, by keeping him off talk shows, blocking a serialization deal, or even prevailing upon Random House to kill the book outright. (The e-mail also made clear that Easterbrook suspected Eisner was behind the push to fire him from

This description sounds very much like the email, printed above, which Easterbrook denies sending. If he really sent it (extraordinarily stupid of him) - and he really sent it out as an "all-points email to a network of media contacts," and then subsequently denied it - then all of these "media contacts" have been covering for him.

Maybe CJR is wrong. Someone should ask Easterbrook.

The Cheating Culture

I haven't read it, but an ad was just taken out for it (see right) and it looks interesting.

You can order it here.

Dear Howie

It's "Atrios." "A-t-r-i-o-s".




Apparently the mastermind behind Iraq's WMD program is about as skilled with a pencil as I am. But, since these plans were not handed over the war was justified.

Radio Alert

Kevin Phillips, author of American Dynasty, will be on the Michelangelo Signorile show on Siriusoutq sometime between 1-4 EST. You can listen online here.

Blogs and Candidates

Henry Copeland, who runs the blogads system, has a post up about blogs and the '04 election. I think he's right that there's an opening for a few candidates - one or two Senate candidates and a few House candidates - to tap into blogs and the internet the way Dean has done and help create both a buzz and increase their fundraising abilities.

It isn't that buying a blogad is the necessary way to do this, or the us bloggers are bought for a few bucks, but advertising on blogs helps get the attention of both the blogger and the readers.

My own plan has been at some point this year to "adopt a candidate" for a House race. Ideally, this would be someone with a reasonable chance of beating a Republican incumbent, particularly one who is a real tool. Secondary considerations would be someone who was relatively local to me, though that isn't necessary. My own Rep is in a completely safe seat so that isn't really an option. Anyway, I'd try and help do a bit of fundraising and steer people for volunteering.

Toomey vs. Specter

The hot race in Pennsylvania this primary season is between the arch-conservative Toomey and the faux-moderate useful idiot Specter for the nomination to be the Republican candidate for Senate.

It isn't too late to change your voter registration to Republican...

Clark Chat

I passed up the opportunity to participate in a live Clark Chat (I can never come up with decent interview questions). But, a bunch of bloggers are going to be asking questions of the general and you can "listen in" using IRC at 5PM EST today.

Read-Only Channel: #wireside

You'll need an IRC client like MIRC. Or, I think you can just watch it live on this page.

More on Immigration

What I don't like is the "guest worker" program. This is just legalized indentured servitude. One has to work 10 years in the US to qualify for SS retirement benefits. And, I wouldn't support changing that for non-citizens only. As Big Media Matt says, letting them come here for 9.9 years and then kicking them out seems like a great way to solve the non-existent social security crisis.

Technical Help

There are little things which drive me crazy. Eudora suddenly started opening up "new messages" in a tiny little window when I open them, forcing me to resize them every time. What I'd like is for them to open fully in the proper pane...


With Clark apparently moving into second place in New Hampshire, does Kerry now refocus his campaign against Clark?

Random Sample

Ah, California local news. Always living up to its reputation for high quality unbiased coverage.

Petulant Baby

This stuff is unbelievable:

Condoleezza Rice, President Bush's national security adviser, stood in front of Mr. Bush's desk in the Oval Office last summer and tried to coax the president into something he did not want to face.

She suggested, carefully, that the White House begin repairing the rupture with the allies over Iraq by reaching out to Germany, whose chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, had infuriated the president by campaigning for re-election on an antiwar platform. Mr. Bush, simply put, did not trust him.

"I can't do it with Schröder," Mr. Bush told Ms. Rice, according to a senior administration official who witnessed the exchange. Ms. Rice, who had not directly suggested that Mr. Bush meet with Mr. Schröder, rushed to reassure. "No, no, no, we won't make you do it with Schröder," she said. But Mr. Bush seemed to know what Ms. Rice had in mind. "Wait a minute, you'll get me back with Schröder, I know what you're trying to do," the president said, the official recounted.

If I were running for president, I'd get in this guy's face until he cracked. Then we'll see who the "angry" one is.


Go read and MWO (scroll down to the bottom). Here's the letter I just sent to the NPR ombudsman:

Mr. Dvorkin,

I understand some people have emailed you following some information I posted on my website. For the record, I never suggested that anyone email you about it, and nor did I post your email address. While occasionally I do suggest that readers contact members of the media over certain issues, this was not one of them. Here is a link to the post that people were responding to.

Perhaps as NPR ombudsman you should treat your listeners with a bit more respect. The never hidden biases of Juan Williams and Maria Liasson are obvious to all, including Roger Ailes.



Here is his response:

Dear Atrios,

The issue is whether people listen to NPR and are moved to complain or
whether they don't listen and are moved to complain. As NPR's ombudsman, I
tend to pay more attention to the former than the latter.

Best regards,

Jeffrey Dvorkin

Tuesday, January 06, 2004


At first pass this sounds good:

WASHINGTON, Jan. 6 — President Bush will propose a sweeping overhaul of the nation's immigration laws on Wednesday that could give legal status to millions of undocumented workers in the United States, senior administration officials said Tuesday night.

Under Mr. Bush's proposal, which effectively amounts to an amnesty program for illegal immigrants with jobs in the United States, an undocumented worker could apply for temporary worker status here for an unspecified number of years, with all the employee benefits, like minimum wage and due process, accorded to those legally employed.

Workers who are approved would be permitted to travel freely between the United States and their home countries, the officials said, and would also be permitted to apply for a green card granting permanent residency in the United States.

Administration officials said that Mr. Bush would also propose increasing the number of green cards issued each year, which is now about 140,000, but they did not provide a specific number. The administration officials, who briefed reporters in a conference call on Tuesday night, said only that Mr. Bush would ask for a "reasonable increase."

I think immigration is a good thing. If I were benevolent dictator, I'd focus on increasing legal documented immigration in reasonable ways, without relegating the immigrants to "guest worker" status with their visas tied up too closely with their jobs. We can debate about the details, but the more the merrier as far as I'm concerned - particularly if the immigrants have legal protections.

I understand why some object to an amnestyish program which rewards those who "broke the law" while punishing those who obeyed the rules by putting them at the back of the line. Fine - put them at the front of the line!

Daily Show

Good. Watch the rebroadcast if you're on the Left Coast.


The nice people at Haloscan have fixed my old comments account, so I 've switched it back. They said they could/would import the new comments into the old account, though that may not happen instantly. So, if all the comments disappear, hopefully temporarily, that's why..

ADL Criticizes NY Post


(via Hesiod)

I'm sure Judy Woodruff will have this on Inside Politics tomorrow.


Fascinating Article

(01-06) 14:10 PST WASHINGTON (AP) --

The chief executive of the country with the biggest arsenal of weapons of mass destruction on the planet turned around Tuesday and decried the existence of weapons of mass destruction.

Okay, that isn't really the article. Here it is:

Some of the biggest spenders in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination turned around Tuesday and decried the influence of big money on government and the political process.

Write Woodward at and explain why one can simultaneously decry the fact that big money has an influence on government and the political process while not choosing to unilaterally disarm. Perhaps you could point out the fact that the Bush administration, no fan of WMDs, has not yet advocated unilateral disarmament.


Prices edging up quite a bit. This not so good. People make too big a deal about the fact oil prices are denominated in dollars, but as a consequence when the dollar falls, oil becomes cheaper for non-dollar countries, boosting demand and increasing prices-in-dollars.

Angels in America

I finally got around to watching HBO's version of Angels in America, thanks to bittorrent someone who taped it for me. I won't bother with a long review, but overall it was a surprisingly good rendition of the play. Relative to the production I had seen, I thought the "realism" parts of the play came through more strongly and with more subtlety, while the more "magical" parts fell a little flat. The "magical" bits, I think, were necessary to give the play the sense of being "more than the sum of its parts," so the movie fell a bit short. Still - quite good. We watched 4 hours in one sitting, and then the other 2 the following afternoon.

Arthur Silber has a longer essay on it. Part 1 is here. Part 2 is here.

Two Polls in Two days

How odd.

Yesterday - CNN/Time.

Today - CNN/Gallup/USA Today.

No Opinion

I have no opinion on what is or isn't a suitable memorable for 9/11. Well, let me amend that - I have opinions but I really don't look forward to endless debate by people who for whatever reason believe it's their personal memorial and that they should therefore have veto power.

American Dynasty

Former Republican and creator of the "Southern Strategy," Kevin Phillips, has a new book out.

Howie the Whore

Old habits die hard for that whore.

I'd Like to Think This is a Joke

From the Note:

From: Mike Gehrke []

To: research@Johnkerry



Dean exaggerates — again!

As his campaign loses steam to a chugging John Kerry in Iowa, there are new questions that MUST be answered about a key development in Howard Dean's past. A glaring inconsistency that has come to light. This one is dripping … ..

IS IT TWO? : "In the summer of 1973, Howard Dean III asked Howard Dean, Jr. to join him for dinner at a Manhattan restaurant. Prudently waiting until his father was well into his second Martini, he proceeded to the business at hand: that his life was headed in a purposeless direction … .He had a different scenario in mind: becoming a physician." ("Profiles: Running on Instinct, The New Yorker, January 12, 2004)

OR THREE? On the other hand, Dean says: "I took my father to dinner, fed him three martinis and told him I wanted to go to medical school.." ("What Makes Howard Dean Tick?" Newsweek, July 21, 2003)

Dean should be called to account for his quaffic disingenuousness. And let's see Brent Colburn try to refute this! It's not swill!!
Paid for by John Kerry for President, Inc.
Contributions to John Kerry for President are not deductible for tax purposes.

The Note is suitably befuddled about the prominent positioning of the "fake Dean scandals" that are bubbling up.


Brad DeLong gives Dan Drezner a well-deserved spanking.

Double Standards on Regional Bigotry

Imagine if I ran an ad which went something like "George Bush should take his negro lynching, anti-intellectual, pig feet eating, sister-screwing, wife beating..." before the farmer's wife then finishes the sentence: "... KKK-loving, right-wing freak show back to Texas where it belongs."

Mine's slightly more over the top than the actual Club for Growth ad, but it's no more incorrect. For some reason it's perfectly valid to make just about any regional stereotype about the Hollywood and Northeastern "elite," (which, we should remember, was just code for "JOOs and Negro-lovers"), but people get all sensitive when one stereotypes the South and Texas. I don't think such regional stereotypes are particularly enlightening or useful, but nor do I think their invocation should provoke the kind of outrage that genuine racism should. But, why the double standard?

Of course, the amusing thing about the Club for Growth ad is how wrong it is - Vermont is not part of the "elite Northeast" to the extent that it exists, it's a small rural farm state.

...for the record, Vermont has precisely two Starbucks for all those latte drinkers to go to.


Salon has a good story about a deep-pocketed theocrat.

He does seem sincere in his distancing from his old association with Rushdoony.

Cheney Lies?

Tom Tomorrow notes that Safire may have unwittingly revealed the source for his bullshit "terrorists had secret White House codes" story.

Amazon Purchases

Thanks again to everyone who made their purchases through Amazon over the past few months. As always, I'm not telling you to buy through Amazon - I just appreciate that if you are going to do it you click through one of the many links cluttering the site before you do so. This quarter they've increased the amount they'll pay on big-ticket electronics items, so if you're going to buy one of those through Amazon...

But, of course, shop elsewhere if you want. The point is that it's an easy way to support the site if you're going to being shopping at Amazon anyway.

Makes No Sense at All

Why would the Club for Growth be running ads against Howard Dukakis Dean?

Fake Scandal II

Another from the Jeff Gerth school of reporting on Democratic candidates.

Look, reporters - when you dig and you find nothing it isn't actually a story - especially one that should be on the front page. comments, forest street nails it:

This article also has me convinced that newswriters are now working with a variation of the classic "inverted pyramid" style for writing wire copy. Used to be, writing in that style meant a strong lede with a hook, and then adding details as you go deeper in the story.

The new style is to put the most scandalous spin on the sitation in the lede, add what seem to be incriminating details in the first paragraphs, then add exculpatory information in the last paragraphs.

That means the story goes "poof" and disappears for those who read the whole thing, but it does leave a nasty impression for those who just scan the first few graphs.

And how do most people read these days?

Contact Daniel Okrent at and ask him why reporters are putting "damning" information in the lead paragraphs and putting the exculpatory information, which negates the entire story, at the end.

Repudiate This


January 5, 2004 -- IT'S fashionable in left- wing circles to describe anyone who admires America as a fascist. But the real totalitarian threats of our time come from the left. And no public figure embodies the left's contempt for basic freedoms more perfectly than Howard Dean.

One secular gospel of the left preaches that the Patriot Act has drastically curtailed American freedom. Free speech, the teacup Trotskys claim, is a thing of the past.

Whenever one of my forlorn leftie pals raises the issue, I ask him or her to cite a single example of how the Patriot Act has limited their personal liberty. They never can. Instead, they rail about what-ifs and slippery slopes.

But Howard Dean and his Deanie-weenies do all they can to restrict the free speech of others. I can predict with certainty that Dean's Internet Gestapo will pounce on this column, twisting the facts and vilifying the writer, just as they do when anyone challenges Howard the Coward.

Free speech, you see, is only for the left.

Dean wants to muzzle his Democratic competitors, too. He believes the Democratic National Committee should shut them up. His followers try to intimidate other presidential aspirants by surrounding the cars delivering them to their rallies and chanting to drown out their speech. Of course, Dean denies any foreknowledge or blame.

These are the techniques employed by Hitler's Brownshirts. Had Goebbels enjoyed access to the internet, he would have used the same swarm tactics as Dean's Flannelshirts.

Labor Dept.

I'm pretty sure this is the second time this story has gone around. But, in any case, the Labor Department is telling employers how to screw their workers. I guess that's why it's called the "Labor" department.

Fake Scandals

Mark Kleiman explains the latest.

Remember - Jeff Gerth still has a job.

Monday, January 05, 2004

Pickler Corrected

Of course, as we know, corrections are always buried if they're run at all...
(thanks to ronv)


Forget Plame, he should be fired for this comment:

NOVAK: You know, you can give that old -- that old -- those talking points any time you want, Paul. But the fact is, your party is in bad shape in the white South. And


BEGALA: Why is that?


BEGALA: Why is that?

NOVAK: It's because it's a conservative, patriotic area.

patriotic WHITE South.

Get Well Soon, Ray

Ray Davies of the Kinks shot.

Run to the Video Store

And go rent "Ninja III: The Domination" starring (well, not starring) Howard Dean.

Legacy Admissions

Charles Kuffner brings us this article about legacy admissions at Texas A&M:

Typically, anywhere from 1,650 to more than 2,000 A&M applicants a year receive legacy points, so called because they reward the grandchildren, children or siblings of A&M graduates. Such applicants receive 4 points on a 100-point scale that also takes into account such factors as class rank, test scores, extracurricular activities, community service and others.

Most A&M applicants admitted with legacy points don't need them to get in. But in 2003, 312 whites were admitted who wouldn't have been without their alumni ties. In 2002, that figure was 321.

The legacy program was the difference for six blacks and 27 Hispanics in 2003, and three blacks and 25 Hispanics in 2002.

Whore of the Year

The Horse is back, and it's that time...

Advice from Paul Weyrich

He really has our best interests at heart.


Rachel Marsden has an exciting history.

One incident.

Another one.

...Brian Linse provides us with more fun:



Her website is here. She took down the link to her photos but they can be found here.



Jay Bookman lets Limbaugh have it.

I wonder why jokes about Limbaugh and Neil Bush aren't standard fare on late night comedy shows.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Stolen Laptop

The proprietress of The Sideshow, Avedon Carol, had her laptop stolen. Bummer. Throw her a nickel or two if you've got it.


Celebrity gossip isn't, for the most part, my domain. But, I have to admit that I'm a bit puzzled about the fact that Liza Minnelli, who usually can't cross the street without getting some trash tabloid coverage, is doing a pretty good job doing in a pretty good Sitcom - Arrested Development - and there hasn't been a peep out of the entertainment press.

One might conclude they have something against her...

Say it isn't So, Bill

Check out the GOP Bastard of the Month, right column.

I'd previously heard about this from a reliable source with reliable sources, but that's a bit too third hand to verify...

...on a semi-related note, Arthur Silber gives us the creepy right wing view of sexuality.

Toensing Flashback

Haha. Marshall nails her.


Fuck the AP. This is just getting ridiculous. This article simultaneously says the Dean is basically telling the truth, but if one were to ask an entirely different question, one would get a different answer, which means that Dean isn't sticking to the facts.

You may contact the AP National desk at 212-621-1600 and ask them, ever so politely, "what the fuck?"

You may also email the author at and ask him how what he wrote makes any goddamn sense at all.

...Somerby reminds us that Woodward also peddled crap about Gore.


I guess Neil Bush neither had abstinence nor safe sex education:

Brown: "And you were married to Mrs. Bush?"

Bush: "Yes."

Brown: "Is that where you caught the venereal diseases?"

Bush: "No."

Brown: "Where did you catch those?"

Bush: "Diseases plural? I didn't catch..."

Brown: "Well, I'm sorry. How ... how many venereal diseases do you suffer from?"

Bush: "I've had one venereal disease."

Brown: "Which was?"

Bush: "Herpes."

Brown then interrogates Bush's about his various sex partners: "Did you pay them for that sex?"

Bush: "No, I did not."

Brown: "Pick them up in a sushi house?"

Bush: "No. ... My recollection is, where I can recall, they came to my room."

Brown: "Do you know the name of that hotel? I may go to Thailand sometime."

( thanks to Frederick)

No Duh

Abstinence only education not working:

ENABL (Education Now and Babies Later) teaches the view embraced by social conservatives -- that abstinence is the only sure way to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, and that teaching kids about birth control or safer sex practices simply encourages them to have sex. In fact, federal rules tied to the funding forbid any mention of the effectiveness of contraception or safer sexual practices that reduce the risk of disease.

The 91-page report, posted last week with little fanfare on the Health Department's Web site, recommends broadening the program to include more information about contraception. Critics of the ENABL program questioned why the agency waited until six months after the report was completed to release what they said might be a politically controversial finding. State health officials said the release was not delayed.

The Minnesota researchers surveyed 413 kids who were taught the abstinence-only curriculum at one school in each of three counties. They found over the course of the year that the rate of those who said they were sexually active increased from 5.8 to 12.4 percent, and that the rate of those who said they would probably have sex before finishing high school increased from 9.5 to 17 percent.


In Minnesota, most parents want both kinds of information provided to their kids, according to the ENABL study. It surveyed 2,500 Minnesota parents and found that only one-fifth wanted abstinence-only education and that 77 percent wanted their kids to know about contraception, too, the researchers said.

The real question, of course, is how many additional unwanted pregnancies and abortions there were.

Tony Today


But the other threats are brutal and repressive states who because of their brutality, because they don't actually have the support or consent of their people, are developing weapons that can cause distraction and destruction on a massive scale and are a huge, huge liability for the whole security of the world.

reader vs says on video it's more like:

...are developing weapons that can cause distraction -- destruction -- on a massive scale are a huge, huge liability for the whole security of the world."

Kudos for relative transcript honesty. The news reports all cleaned it up.

Oh, Ms. Malkin, We're Waiting

Military Injustice:

This whole thing makes the military prosecutors look ridiculous," said John L. Fugh, a retired major general and onetime judge advocate general, the highest uniformed legal officer in the Army.

General Fugh said the case ought to be brought to a speedy end when a preliminary hearing resumes on Jan. 19. At the hearing's conclusion, Col. Dan Trimble, the presiding officer, is supposed to make a recommendation to Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, the commander of the Joint Task Force that runs the Guantánamo camp, on whether to convene a court-martial, dismiss the case or impose some administrative penalty like a reprimand or discharge.

"It certainly seems like they couldn't get him on what they first thought they had," General Fugh said, "so they said, `Let's get the son of a gun on something.' "

General Fugh, who has played no role in the prosecution or the defense of Captain Yee, said, "Adding these Mickey Mouse charges just makes them look dumb, in my mind."

According to a senior Justice Department official, even the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which was involved in reviewing the documents that were seized from Captain Yee, never thought much of the evidence against him.


For his part, Captain Yee was placed in solitary confinement in a naval brig for 76 days, much of the time in leg irons and manacles. One of his lawyers, Eugene R. Fidell, said that Captain Yee's jailers would not tell him the time of day or the direction of the compass points to help him pray to Mecca for most of that time. Mr. Fidell said that Captain Yee was treated in a worse fashion than the detainees at Guantánamo to whom he used to minister.

Little LuLu had this to say:

Yee brought the detainees prayer beads and religious books, facilitated prayer services, and assisted them with Muslim food preparation. And he received lavish, fawning profiles in the "diversity-" and "tolerance-" obsessed mainstream press. Now, he has been charged with sedition, aiding the enemy, spying, espionage and failure to obey a general order. Treason charges may be added. Yee exploited our bent-over-backwards solicitude toward Muslims in the military by allegedly using his access to smuggle out diagrams of the detainees' cells and lists of the names of the detainees and their interrogators. More than half of the armed forces' Muslim chaplains were trained by a terror-linked, Saudi-subsidized institute while military leaders blindly sung the praises of multiculturalism.

Islamist Fifth Columnists are benefiting from the very guarantees of religious freedom being denied to devout Christian soldiers such as Daniel Moody who are risking their lives for the War on Terror overseas. This dangerous deference to radical Islam -- rooted in a cowardly fear of offending -- is not only a threat to our soldiers' constitutionally protected rights, but to our national security.

Ah well, being a right wing hack means never having to say you're sorry.


Howard Fineman has been busy investigating the views of internet trolls.

One can't make this stuff up.

...WVMicko responds. Apparently not a troll, even as Howie tried to make him look like one even as he was saying he wasn't.

Lying Dick Gephardt

Dick Gephardt just said that Dean had stated that Medicare "should have never happened." Even Gephardt's own list of Dean-hates-Medicare quotes doesn't state that.

...he then said (paraphrasing) that "I don't think anyone thinks that Saddam's capture doesn't make America safer..."

Well, if by not anyone you mean "60 percent of Americans."

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The capture of former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein has given U.S. President George Bush a ratings boost, but few Americans think that the United States is now safer from terrorism, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll released on Tuesday.

The poll found that in the two days after Saddam's capture, Bush's overall approval rating rose six points to 58 percent, the highest level since last July, and up from 52 percent in the four days before the former Iraqi leader's arrest.
Despite the capture of the ousted Iraqi leader, 60 percent of Americans believe his status will make no difference in the terror threat against the United States, the poll found.

...torture Wolf Blitzer!



On the other side of politics, Howard Dean, Democratic candidate for president, didn't think Saddam Hussein's capture made us any safer in America. The other politicians screamed that was un-American. It was John Kerry who said, How could Dean dare say that we were not safer now? Kerry is so sure we're safe that he mortgaged his house the other day to have the money to say Dean is a traitor. This is only before the first primary and Kerry goes for the roof over his head. He seems ready to go naked on these primaries.

Howard Dean then said that he was old-fashioned and he didn't think you could judge or punish Osama bin Laden until you had a trial and found him guilty.

Suddenly, politicians and the news industry shouted, What are you talking about innocent until found guilty? How can this man Dean say that bin Laden deserves a trial? They said that this was a perfect illustration of Dean talking without thought. And completely un-American, too.

In 1945, they had the Nuremburg trials for Nazis who had killed tens and tens of millions, and had judges, witnesses, evidence and defense counsels. Just the other week, one of the Democratic candidates, Wesley Clark, testified in the Hague at the trial of Slobodan Milosevic of Yugoslavia.

Yet Joseph Lieberman, who is a peripheral candidate now and thus a nasty little man, said that because he relies on the Constitution, Dean is a weakling who would melt in the face of George Bush.

Rent Control II

Anyway, my below post on rent control has taken some hits largely because I was trying to speak in generalities and was therefore not being clear.

To respond, I don't currently believe that NYC's rent control program has any serious negative impact on the housing supply. Once upon a time that was likely the case, but the slow and steady decontrol over the past 30+ years has made rent control a small part of the issue. I do think rent control is generally bad bad policy, but that doesn't necessarily mean that once its imposed the appropriate policy is sudden and total decontrol.

I also don't think rent stabilization is particularly bad policy - the allowable annual rent increases are fairly high and probably do little to distort the housing market. They smooth out spikes and prevent landlords from screwing captive tenants in NYC's fairly sticky market.

Nor do I think all efforts to preserve "neighborhood character" are bad. I just think that often such efforts are simply designed to restrict the housing supply and preserve land/property values for existing owners. Restricting supply is one way to keep the price up.

However, there are plenty of places in Manhattan where adding some taller buildings here and there - sometimes true high rises and sometimes simply adding a couple of floors - would be possible and desirable. People argue that developers build highrises, and turn around and charge top dollar for them. Of course they do. But what I submit is that Manhattan's problem, overall, isn't that it has too many high rise apartment buildings but that it has too few. A way to bring the price down is to increase the overall supply of the housing stock. Even increasing the amount of high end housing stock will, to some degree, lower prices in the lower end market. Obviously, it's necessary to increase not just the square footage but the overall number of units. But, a sharp increases in the number of housing units over a relatively short period of time would cause prices to drop. You need supply to increase faster than demand.

GOP Team Leader

So, I just watched a creepy Candy Crowley snooty dismissive report about Dean's "internet support," which was followed a few minutes later by a report praising Bush's "grass roots campaign" because of his... GOPTeam Leader program. Which, of course, is... on the internet.

Congratulations Spirit

So far so good.

...updates here.