Saturday, March 20, 2004

More Kelley

From the LA Times:

In an interview, Siegenthaler said the examination indicated that some people outside the paper were involved in helping Kelley cover up the fabrications. Inside the paper, no one was implicated, he said, though Kelley clearly had a number of "supporters and admirers."

Yes, I'd like to know who those outside supporters and admirers were, what they did to help, and how they managed to influence the newspaper.

...I don't have time to look into these people, but this letter to Romenesko provides us with a starting place. The writer lists people who had previous defended Kelley in the same letters section:

From DEREK ROSE: One wonders if all the people who so nastily attacked USA Today editor Karen Jurgensen and publisher Craig Moon here on Poynter will offer them a public apology.

That means you, Lance Gay ("newsroom management must have had other perverse motives"), Matthew Kalman ("a rather vicious and unethical witchhunt"), Mercedes Cardona ("sacrificing good journalists for the sake of office politics"), Liza Koon ("Jack's been treated very badly ... he is no Jayson Blair") and Clara Frenk ("The so-called 'managers' basically ... smeared one of the best reporters I've worked with")

World Journalism Institute

So, a bunch of you were having fun looking into the World Journlalism Institute, an organization with this mission:

There is one primary reason why the World Journalism Institute should be committed to the education of young journalists: it comes directly from the need to be faithful to the Christian example of accurately reporting (e.g., being reliable eyewitnesses) the work of God in today's world.

We at WJI believe it is now time to implement a new phase of this statement in order to help turn out journalists capable of presuppositional reporting. WJI has the right kind of professional and academic support network established for a venture of this kind.

The practical need for Christian worldview journalists in our contemporary society is self-evident, but to simply note the obvious, there is the urgent need to provide journalistic "salt" and "light" and "leaven" within the mainstream media as a manifestation of our Christian obligation to lovingly model justice to our society

For decades, WJI's parent corporation, God's World Publications, has stood against the cultural, intellectual, and spiritual degradation of our society. GWP has placed its focus on reporting from a unapologetic Christian point of view.

Now we have grouped together an outstanding stable of Christian journalists, editors, and graphic artists. To this group we have added nationally known Christian theologians and apologists. A truly unique learning experience for current and aspiring Christian journalists has been created.

The list of those they claim as their faculty are here. Who's included?

Let's see. First, we have Roy Rivenburg, an LA Times staff writer who just wrote a wonderful article about how lots and lots of people really really think gay people shouldn't marry.

Then we have NPR's religion correspondent Barbara Bradley Hagerty who regularly reports on hot button social issues.

Can intelligent, professional men and women in America’s workplace culture come to the conclusion that they need Jesus Christ in their lives? In our next Marketplace Forum, Barbara Bradley Hagerty, noted journalist for National Public Radio, discusses how her journey to faith occurred in the setting of her career as a reporter. She also describes the role her faith plays in her daily work in a demanding profession.
Barbara Bradley Hagerty has been at National Public Radio since 1995, much of that time covering the Justice Department. Her reporting carries her into some of our nation’s most gripping stories: Columbine High School, President Clinton’s impeachment hearings, and September 11th’s tragedies.

Then there's David Cho, a metro reporter for the Washington Post who covers local religion issues. This guy likes to recycle his own story ideas. Note how he likes to contrast "christian" and "religious" with "gay."

Anyway, I could spend hours having fun with this I'm sure. And, maybe I will. But, at a time when the New York Times has fired a stringer reporter simply because he had worked as an AIDS awareness activist, and the San Francisco chronicle has forbidden two reporters from having anything to do with covering the same-sex marriage story because they got married, I'm a bit confused (And not, sadly, surprised), that a substantial number of reporters doing the religious beat are associated with an explicitly pro-religion pro-conservative Christian organization.

Part of the mission of the group's parent organization:

God, through the sacrificial death and bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, has lovingly redeemed a people who are commanded to believe in Him and to live holy lives through the enablement of the Holy Spirit. After Christ's bodily return to this earth to claim His people, they will reign with Him in the life to come. Those who do not believe will be judged by God and made subject to his eternal punishment.

Of course, the point isn't that I think all journalists need to be secular. But, this is an organization dedicated to training journalists to push a particular conservative Christian agenda from within mainstream news organizations, and many of their people are covering religion and social issues in top organizations. Including that liberal NPR. From my first pass look at some of the kinds of stories these people crank out, it seems they're quite good at creating fairly innocuous pieces which aren't obviously slanted propaganda, but which inevitably do push the position and emphasize the things you would expect.

...I'm hunting through some of the work of the NPR reporter...and, I'm thinking this is quite bad. Really really bad. I think we know now part of the reason the liberal NPR isn't goddamn liberal at all, particularly on these types of issues where she handles much of the reporting.

More Vance International

Apparently the Bush campaign has given about $750K to them and their subsidiaries, not the $250K that was reported yesterday.

The question is, what for?

National Review Enquirer

William F. Buckley is spreading urban legends.

The Kelley Firestorm

Wow. It's just amazing how the fraudulent reporting of USA Today reporter Kelley has set off a firestorm in the media and blogging worlds. Not. As this letter writer to Romenesko says:

From PETER CARLIN: I agree with Tom Jackman that the Kelley miasma isn't rating near enough conversation. Not just for the professional and ethical questions it raises, though those are clearly legion. But the more you read about Kelley, the more fascinating his lunacy becomes. Note how he continues to swear by his stories, no matter how much evidence -- much of it
rock-solid, such as the drowned woman who turned up alive and well -- to the contrary. He's the energizer bunny of liars, just beating that drum all the way across the room, out the door and down the hallway.

I was tickled to see, via a link on Drudge's site, (speaking of
lunatics, but that's another story) a lovely story about Kelley on some religious website in which he described the transcendent joy of journalism: "I feel God's pleasure when I write and report," Kelley enthused. Which is strange and wondrous indeed, when you consider the sort of reporting Kelley was doing.

And then there's this priceless bit of what has to be whole cloth that
Kelley spun for his faithful friends, regarding his experience in Moscow when he ran afoul of Russian mobsters and, as his pursuers gained, could only pray for help. Let's let Jack tell us what happened next:

"I got this vision of an apartment building with the number 925
on it and an elderly man next to the door up one flight of stairs. Next thing I knew, I came upon building number 925. Walking in, I found an elderly man on the right who told me to come in until my pursuers passed," Jack recalls.

Yea and verily!

The thing about the Jasyon Blair story was that it didn't matter. Sure it was egg on face of the New York Times, but his fabrications were almost entirely harmless and trivial. Kelley's fabrications were frequently inflammatory pieces on inflammatory issues. And, while Blair's agenda was just preserving his career, Kelley possibly had a much larger one though I haven't read much analysis of his fabrications in that context.

When the Blair scandal came out there were endless ruminations about the poisonous impact of affirmative action on the newsroom, and many many people who declared solemnly that "of course" his race was a factor. People like the brothers Hack, Crazy Andy, etc...

What's their explanation for this guy, who got away with the journalistic equivalent of murder for years? We'll never know, because as a quick glance at their site shows - they don't care a bit.

*edited to insert the word "journalistic" in the above graf, which is what I wrote in my head but apparently didn't make it to my fingers. I didn't mean to say he what he did was equivalent to murder, just that it was the worst thing a journalist could do in his craft.

Operation Ignore

From the Clenisites:

WASHINGTON, March 19 — Senior Clinton administration officials called to testify next week before the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks say they are prepared to detail how they repeatedly warned their Bush administration counterparts in late 2000 that Al Qaeda posed the worst security threat facing the nation — and how the new administration was slow to act.

They said the warnings were delivered in urgent post-election intelligence briefings in December 2000 and January 2001 for Condoleezza Rice, who became Mr. Bush's national security adviser; Stephen Hadley, now Ms. Rice's deputy; and Philip D. Zelikow, a member of the Bush transition team, among others.

One official scheduled to testify, Richard A. Clarke, who was President Bill Clinton's counterterrorism coordinator, said in an interview that the warning about the Qaeda threat could not have been made more bluntly to the incoming Bush officials in intelligence briefings that he led.

At the time of the briefings, there was extensive evidence tying Al Qaeda to the bombing in Yemen two months earlier of an American warship, the Cole, in which 17 sailors were killed.

"It was very explicit," Mr. Clarke said of the warning given to the Bush administration officials. "Rice was briefed, and Hadley was briefed, and Zelikow sat in." Mr. Clarke served as Mr. Bush's counterterrorism chief in the early months of the administration, but after Sept. 11 was given a more limited portfolio as the president's cyberterrorism adviser.

The sworn testimony from the high-ranking Clinton administration officials — including Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, Defense Secretary William S. Cohen and Samuel R. Berger, Mr. Clinton's national security adviser — is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.

Senor Argyros

Oy. I'd forgotten that our ambassador to Spain was a former nemesis of mine, George Argyros, from my days when I was trapped behind the Orange Curtain.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Cleaning up the Comics

A cartoonist says that Ashcroft has been leaning on States' Attorney General Offices to lean on weekly papers to clean up the foul language within.


Internet Scary

We can all have loads of fun at this website. Play with the maps.

What the Hell?

I tend to pay attention to these things, and I had no idea 27 of our soldiers have died this month.

Vance International

Just why does the Bush campaign need $200,000 in services from a paramilitary security organization?

Inquiring journalists should want to know...

Kerry Fundraising

Let's hope the optimism in this article about the ability of Kerry and the Dems to fundraise actually understates their potential.

Sen. John F. Kerry is setting the stage to raise as much as $100 million for his presidential campaign by seizing control of his party's fundraising machinery, winning the support of top money people for vanquished rivals, and attracting thousands of new small donors via the Internet, according to officials inside and outside his campaign.

In the two months since the Jan. 19 Iowa caucuses, the Massachusetts Democrat's campaign has pulled in more than $26 million, including $18 million over the Internet, aides said. Just two weeks ago, the campaign had announced a goal of raising $80 million -- and was greeted with initial skepticism among some party fundraisers.


Although Bush is virtually certain to raise more money than Kerry -- and perhaps double -- Democrats are no longer concerned that the president will spend the Democratic nominee into the ground even before most voters tune into the race months from now. Some Republicans privately express concern that Bush's money advantage will not prove invincible, as they had once believed.


First, Democrats are more united than they have been in decades, and the base of Democratic donors, especially new and smaller ones, appears deeper than most party officials originally projected.

"George Bush promised that he would be a uniter and not a divider," said Alan D. Solomont of Massachusetts, one of Kerry's top money men. "The one group he has united are Democrats."

Second, Democrats are copying Bush's successful model of creating scorecards for their top fundraisers, and have added special Internet tracking systems so that the people who raise large amounts get credit from the campaign and their peers.

1300 Troops

One point that seems to have been overlooked in much of the discussion is the fact that if our bold adventure in Iraq is really on such shaky ground that the withdrawl of Spain's 1300 troops will make a substantial difference then we are truly screwed.

...look, even the "symbolic" importance just isn't really important. Once upon a time Aznar stood on the stage with Bush and Blair and that probably did grant the adventure a bit more legitimacy than it otherwise would have had, but at this point it's absolutely meaningless. It looks bad for the Bush administration, I suppose, but even then only in a kind of petty "nyah nyah" scoring points way, not so that it genuinely lessens Bush's stature in the international community. I mean, that's pretty much impossible to do at this point.

If you want to argue 1300 of them means 1300 less of us, well then that's a good thing if you value Spanish soldiers' lives less than the lives of US troops. You're free to do that, I suppose, but it isn't exactly an argument which is going to persuade the new Spanish PM.

The reality is that this was always a US endeavor with a bit of token support. Now there will likely be a tiny bit less token support. My point is that if the success or failure depends entirely on the tiny bit of token support we managed to obtain, then this just highlights what an utter diplomatic and subsequent military failure this is turning out to be.


Roger Ailes informs us that while Howard Kurtz interrupted his honeymoon to write an endless series of articles about Jayson Blair, he buries the story about the USA Today journalist getting caught making far more serious fabrications.

Vanity Fair

Big Media Matt's right that the Vanity Fair article by James Wolcott on blogging is quite good, and not simply because it's sympathetic to us feisty liberal bloggers. So, go buy a copy. It'll only take you about 15 minutes to find the table of contents in that damn magazine.

More Spain

The blogger formerly known as Calpundit lets us know that the Aznar government wasn't just misleading the press, they were also misleading the German equivalent of the FBI in an attempt to maintain their story. Perhaps one of the right wing trolls can explain to me how impeding an investigation of a massive terrorist attack is, actually, being strong on terrorism. Who are the real appeasers?

Germany was reminded of this last weekend. Its federal criminal bureau said the Spanish authorities intentionally withheld information and misled German officials over the explosives used in the Madrid bombings. The Spanish conservative government had insisted the Goma 2 Eco dynamite for the explosives had been frequently used by Eta, the Basque separatist movement. On Monday, it admitted that was not the case.


This is amusing:

The official merchandise Web site for President George W. Bush's re-election campaign has sold clothing made in Burma, whose goods were banned by Bush from the U.S. last year to punish its military dictatorship.

The merchandise sold on includes a $49.95 fleece pullover, embroidered with the Bush-Cheney '04 logo and bearing a label stating it was made in Burma, now Myanmar. The jacket was sent to Newsday as part of an order that included a shirt made in Mexico and a hat not bearing a country-of-origin label.

The Bush merchandise is handled by Spalding Group, a 20-year-old supplier of campaign products and services in Louisville, Ky., that says it worked for the last five Republican presidential nominees.

Ted Jackson, Spalding's president, said, "We have found only one other in our inventory that was made in Burma. The others were made in the U.S.A." He said the company had about 60 of thefleece pullovers in its warehouse, and that a supplier included the Burma product by mistake.

Bush campaign officials did not return calls seeking comment. The imports are potentially an issue because outsourcing has become a hot political topic in the election.

Bush last July signed into law the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act, saying "The United States will not waver from its commitment to the cause of democracy and human rights in Burma."

The Friends of Santorum

Senator Rick Santorum visited the WICK Goodtime Oldies studios on Friday, August 11th, to tape the Republican response to the President's address to the nation. (scroll down to see picture)


WWDL-Wilkes Barre-Scranton owner Doug Lane [who also owns WICK], 60, has been arrested on sex charges in Lackawanna (PA) County.

Authorities searched the radio station and Lane's home earlier this week. District Attorney Andy Jarbola said they found evidence to back up the story. Officials said Lane got rid of a computer Wednesday morning that may have contained more evidence.

Police say Lane started a four-year relationship with a child when the boy was just 12 years old.

Innocent until proven guilty, of course, but apparently he isn't even denying it.

(thanks to reader j)

(Yes this is totally unfair, I know.)

Got Away?


A BULLETPROOF LandCruiser at high speed bursting out of a tribal compound in Pakistan's South Waziristan region was just the latest infuriating setback in the US's quest to bring down the top of the al-Qa'ida tree.

The car, followed by two armoured vehicles and a phalanx of heavily armed militants able to wipe out dozens of crack troops sent to blast the terrorists from their nest, is believed to have contained Ayman al-Zawahiri, right-hand man to Osama bin Laden.

After mounting speculation that US and Pakistani forces ranged on either side of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border were about to pounce on al-Qa'ida's key planner, a senior Taliban spokesman yesterday made the claim Washington least wanted to hear - that both Zawahiri and bin Laden were safe in Afghanistan.

"He may have slipped the net," the official said.

(thanks to woot)

...Count me among those who think the whole thing was a bit of theater.

The Unbearable Whiteness of CNN

It's been awhile since we've taken a look at how extreme affirmative action policies have filled our media with disproportionate numbers of minorities. Here's my latest look at CNN's hosts, weekdays 5AM-11PM, and major weekend programs.

At least there's Soledad.

USA Today Reporter Busted

Investigators say he fabricated parts of substantial numbers of stories. Why oh why do we have affirmative action for white christian evangelical men? Why oh why do newspaper editors let their biases about such people cloud their judgment? I'm sure the brothers Hack, Glenn and Mickey, will spend weeks discussing how this guy's race and religion allowed him to get away with things that other journalists couldn't get away with.

From JOHN PHILLIP SANTOS: There was a troubling sidebar to the NYT coverage of the Jack Kelley flap, reported by Times media correspondent, Jacques Steinberg.

Reporting on an interview with Johanna Newmann, Kelley's onetime foreign editor at USAT, now at the LA Times, Steinberg reports that Kelley, because he was so widely trusted, was allowed to use only a first name to identify the author of an alleged Serbian girl's diary that contained murderous anti-Croat vituperations. The story ran on USAT's front page.

"That trust, she (Newmann) said, was rooted to some extent in his openness with his colleagues about being an evangelical Christian. 'He was this very earnest, moralistic Christian reporter,' she said. 'It made people trust him in ways they didn't trust other reporters. If he was reporting he had the diary of a Serbian girl, and no one else had it, you tended to say: 'He just has a way with people. People just respond to him.' "

Steinberg moves on without probing further the implications of Newmann's remarks.

How many newsrooms operate in the shadow world of such an ethic? What kind of an editor would factor a reporter's evangelical Christian beliefs into whether or not to go with a dubious piece of reporting, much less admit to it in the New York Times? Would a good Muslim reporter be likely get the same green light from Newmann? A righteous Bahai or a compassionate Buddhist?

I guess even the most upright Atheist would have to be willing to account for every fact they want to report to the public.

God help us.


So, I'm listening to Howard Stern who just go fined by the FCC. He's trying to play a clip from the Oprah show, which was on Jimmy Kimmel's show last night, but his producer won't let him. The point of playing the clip is that by the current FCC standards, it's "indecent," but they'd never fine Oprah for it. So, the question is - would they fine Howard Stern for playing a clip from the Oprah show? In any case, they won't even let him play the clip.

But, never let it be said that this is a decent website. Here's the transcript:

WINFREY: Yeah. So you say--let's talk about that secret language, Michelle.


WINFREY: I didn't know any of this.

Ms. BURFORD: I have--yeah, I have--I've gotten a whole new vocabulary, let me tell you.

WINFREY: I did not know any of this. Does this--does this mean I am no longer hip?

REED: ...(Unintelligible).

Ms. BURFORD: Salad-tossing. I'm thinking cucumbers, lettuce, tomatoes. OK? I am definitely not hip.

WINFREY: OK--so--OK, so what is a salad toss?

Ms. BURFORD: OK, a tossed salad is--get ready; hold on to your underwear for this one--oral anal sex. So oral sex to the anus is what tossed salad is. Hi, Mom. OK. A rainbow party is an oral sex party. It's a gathering where oral sex is performed. And a--rainbow comes from--all of the girls put on lipstick and each one puts her mouth around the penis of the gentleman or gentlemen who are there to receive favors and makes a mark in a different place on the penis, hence, the term rainbow. So...



In fact, the Bush administration has done the very thing it falsely accuses Mr. Kerry of doing: it has tried repeatedly to slash combat pay and military benefits, provoking angry articles in The Army Times with headlines like "An Act of `Betrayal.' " Oh, and Mr. Kerry wasn't trying to block funds for Iraq — he was trying to force the administration, which had concealed the cost of the occupation until its tax cut was passed, to roll back part of the tax cut to cover the expense.

But the bigger point is this: in the Bush vision, it was never legitimate to challenge any piece of the administration's policy on Iraq. Before the war, it was your patriotic duty to trust the president's assertions about the case for war. Once we went in and those assertions proved utterly false, it became your patriotic duty to support the troops — a phrase that, to the administration, always means supporting the president. At no point has it been legitimate to hold Mr. Bush accountable. And that's the way he wants it.


Wow. You all donated $19810 today, for a total of $75,513 since late Wed., Mar 3, when I first put the donation link up.

But, more importantly, there have been a total of 911 donations. Some have donated big, some small, but it's the willingness to donate at all that matters.

It's easy, therapeutic, and fun to read and rant online. But, now's the time when we can take some action. If you can afford to give a lot, great! If you can afford to give a little, great! If you can afford to give some time, that's great too! But, no matter what you do, if you've spent the last couple of years being pissed off and wanting change, you should make sure to do *something.*

I'm glad so many have.

and, uh, hey, an invite to the Unity Dinner wouldn't be out of line...

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Final Turkee Call!

We're only $416 away from a total of $75K!

Giv Keree Turkee!!!

Losers are From Loserville

Gavin of Gavinsblog is getting nasty letters from the lawyers of Dr. "Ph.D From Accepted But Not Accredited University" Gray, of "Men are from Mars..." fame. Calpundit Political Animal explains.

Turkee Update

Total Donations: 871
Total Dollars: $72264.09

$16,562 today.

That $75K is so close...

...Total Donations: 899
Total Dollars: $74009.41

as of 10:50

...Total Donations: 902
Total Dollars: $74559.41

Only $441 to get to $75K!

Ad Buys

Kash over at Angry Bear gives us the rundown on Kerry/Bush ad buys.

Estimated spending: $8,197,514+
Spots aired: 8,071
States: AR, AZ, CA, FL, IA, ME, MI, MN, MO, NH, NM, NV, OH, OR, PA, WA, WI, WV, nat'l cable
Estimated spending: $310,137+
Spots aired: 415
States: AR, AZ, FL, IA, ME, MI, MN, MO, NH, NM, NV, OH, OR, PA, WI, WV

Fortunately, we have a few more things on our side:

Organization: Spots; Spent (anti-Bush): 3,651; $3,184,203
The Media Fund (anti-Bush): 2,124; $2,061,101
Log Cabin GOPers (pro-gay marriage): 34; $69,103
Citizens United (anti-Kerry): 34; $25,420
New Dem Network (pro-Dem, Spanish-language ads): 69; $13,294

Let it Snow Let it Snow Let it Snow

I for one am hoping for a nasty dose of winter weather. But, I'm a carless city dweller with nothing to shovel, so my opinion is probably not representative.

Irony Overload

Bremer yesterday. I wish we could laugh at these things.

Turkee Update

Total Donations: 843
Total Dollars: $70,733.69

...That's $15,031 today.

Secret Supporters

Tim Dunlop reminds us that once upon a time Colin Powell was bragging about countries which secretly supported the war in Iraq, the names of which he couldn't reveal.

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, one, we didn't put together just the coalition of the willing. A coalition is always a coalition of the willing. And this particular coalition of the willing now has 47 nations; 47 nations are openly members of the coalition, and have asked to be identified with this effort. And there are many other nations that for a variety of reasons don't want to be publicly identified, but are also a part of the coalition of the willing.

Powell recently:

Secretary of State Powell yesterday challenged Kerry to name names. Interviewed on "Fox New Sunday," Powell said if Kerry can't list names, he should -- quote -- "find something else to talk about."

Recession and Deficit

Max explains that the economic downturn has caused little of the increase in the deficit. Though, as he explains, the administration does have one amusing way out of that:

It is possible that the GDP gap is understated, which means the cyclical component of the deficit would be as well. For instance, if you factored in labor force drop-outs, the unemployment rate now could be measured in excess of seven percent. So an adjustment to the observed deficit for 2004 assuming "full employment" -- a move from seven to five percent, rather than five-point-something to five percent -- would knock the stuffing out of the observed deficit.

So if they liked, the Bushies could claim the structural deficit is actually much lower than the observed one. The fly in this ointment however, is that they would also be admitting that unemployment now is much higher than apparent. If they had any interest but their own at heart, they would admit this. It would even give them an excuse for more tax cuts. But nooooo . . . .

Turkee Update

Satan makes another appearance.

Total Donations: 802
Total Dollars: $67,666.97.

Some Good News from PA

Quinnipac poll.

Sen. Arlen Specter has a 49 -- 36 percent approval, compared to 53 -- 32 percent in a February 18 poll. Only 36 percent of Pennsylvania voters want to see Specter reelected this year, while 44 percent want a new senator, compared to 40 -- 44 percent for reelecting Specter in the February 18 poll.

But Specter still tops U.S. Rep. Joseph Hoeffel, the possible Democratic challenger, 45 -- 29 percent, compared to 50 --- 31 percent last month.

Obviously, Rep. Hoeffel has a ways to go, but he hasn't yet run any television ads. He currently has low statewide name recognition, but there's plenty of time to change that.

And, the chance that Specter loses the primary to wingnut challenger Toomey is also increasing. The latest poll has them at 47-38. CW says Toomey would be an easier opponent, though I'm not so sure... Still, it would be sort of fun to see Specter go down in flames like that.

Alterman on Miller

I stupidly forgot to set the TIVO so I missed it, but it sure sounds like a lot of fun.

Anyway, what was so weird about it was how professional it seemed until I finally sat down with Miller. It was set up long in advance by the book's publicists. The car came on time. In my dressing room, which was pretty elaborate as such things go, I met with a series of staff members who informed me that Dennis would be wanting to discuss topics such as George Soros and the funding of 527s; whether Bush was exploiting the 9/11 families, and I forget what else, just like a real talk show. Then I go out there and what? I'm talking to a stoned teenager, who can't be bothered to say more than, "Whoh, man, you are so totally screwed up. Like, you really believe that stuff, dude?" I paraphrase, but really, Dennis did not say much more than that. Everyone on staff was extremely apologetic afterward and the word "unprofessional" was used over and over.

I try to avoid most of these guys, though I've been on O'Reilly, and Scarborough and Michael Medved's silly radio program a couple of times but never have I encountered a guy who could not be bothered to make his own case on his own show. Really, what can CNBC be thinking with this guy? His ratings are not just in the toilet they have traveled all the way to the septic tank. And as we all know, they need to pay audience members to show up. It has got to cost more than the Phil Donahue show to produce, given the size of the audience and the set and that was yanked even though it was then the highest rated show on MSNBC.

I used to think I should be given half of Joe Scarborough's show. His ratings aren't so hot and we sort of get along and things could only improve. Now, perhaps I should be patient and just wait for Miller to implode a couple of more times and then offer my services to the machers up at NBC News. No need for lengthy negotiations. I'll take whatever Dennis was getting, plus money for liquor and food for my friends when they do the program

If anyone has a clip or transcript, that'd be great.

Turkee Update

Total Donations: 777
Total Dollars: $65916.79

Thanks everyone! We've hit today's $10,000 goal already... Though, I wouldn't discourage you from pushing that number up to $75,000. 11:15 left in John Kerry day after all.

Oh, and the Kerry people are hiring some tech people. So, if you need a job click here.

(thanks to woot)

That Liberal Media

So, I'm reading through this NYT article about Spain which starts off okay.

WASHINGTON, March 17 -- The Bush administration said Wednesday for the first time that the Spanish government had mishandled early information about the Madrid bombing when it played down evidence that Islamic extremists were behind the plot.

The strongest public statement came from Richard L. Armitage, the deputy secretary of state, who said in a television interview that the Spanish government initially "didn't get what information did exist out to the public."

He suggested that the Spanish government had clung to the supposition that a Basque separatist group, ETA, was responsible and failed to tell the public about emerging evidence that Islamic extremists might have detonated the bombs that killed about 200 and injured hundreds of others Thursday. In separate interviews, he twice said Spain "mishandled" the matter, The Associated Press reported. As a result, he said, the governing party was ousted in elections Sunday.

But then I get to this sentence and feel the need to reach for the bourbon:

At the same time, the White House and its allies tried to halt any notion that other nations might be tempted to follow Spain's example of bending to terrorists.

There you go. The writers, Sanger and Johnston, state unequivocally that Spain did the will of terrorists. Not "Bush administration's belief that..." Not "The belief of some..." Nope, just that it happened.

Freedom Sausage

Poland steps off the ranch.

WARSAW (AFP) - In a first sign of official criticism in Poland of the US-led invasion of Iraq (news - web sites), President Aleksander Kwasniewski said that his country had been "taken for a ride" about the alleged existence of weapons of mass destruction in the strife-torn country.

"That they deceived us about the weapons of mass destruction, that's true. We were taken for a ride," Kwasniewski said Thursday.

He argued however that it made no sense to pull US-led coalition troops out of Iraq.

His comments marked the first time Poland has publicly criticized Washington's argument for invading Iraq and for winning support from Poland and other European allies such as Britain and Spain.

Turkee Update

Total Donations: 719
Total Dollars: $62364.58

...which means, since 12:19 this morning 105 people have given $6,661.60. How eschatonic.

United They'll Stand

Hesiod has a few comments about the Kerry campaign. But, let me add some additional points.

The Democrats have about 250 members of Congress. They have numerous official and non-official allies. They need to figure out how to use them to run this campaign in the 24/7 news cycle in a media landscape which is much more fractured than it was back in 1992. At any point in time, they need to have dozens of people ready to fan out to every possible media outlet and perform the inverse judo flip any time the Bush machine turns on the slime. There should be a small army, including a couple top generals, ready to lend their voice on any subject at any time. They should be briefed and prepped with the latest talking points, and they should be out there screaming them at every opportunity.

Richard Holbrooke shows us how it's done:

BLITZER: Ambassador Holbrooke, thanks very much for joining us. A little revised version of what John Kerry said. He said, "I've met more leaders who can't go out and say it all publicly, but boy, they look at you and say, you got to win. This you got to beat this guy, we need a new policy, things like that." So there is enormous energy out there. The president today said, if he makes an accusation, he has a responsibility to back it up. What do you say?

RICHARD HOLBROOKE, FRM. U.S. AMB. TO U.N.: John Kerry committed an unpardonable crime in Washington: he spoketh the truth. What he said is self-evidently true. There's a new poll out today by the Pew Institute, a worldwide pool, which shows massive and growing anti-Americanism around the world. Now American voters need to make up their own mind who they prefer, George W. Bush or John Kerry. But they also ought to know this administration is isolating us in the world, weakening us. Recent events in Spain, this election are another example.

John Kerry said something everybody knows is true. And, Wolf, you know it's true. And why don't I say just one other thing. Why don't you, instead of staging a silly he said/he said between the White House, which is throwing all this mud at John Kerry after he said something true. Why don't you poll your foreign correspondents on CNN. And ask them who the population and leaderships in the world would prefer to see elected? Very simple."

Kerry's "foreign leader" comment, which he may not have even made, is in the universe inhabited by sane people about as controversial as claiming water is wet. Everybody knows it. Every journalist who has pushed this story knows it. Every person in government knows it. It's only a story because the media keeps reporting it as if it were scandalous. People hear "Kerry...controversy..." over and over again and they asssume that where there's smoke there must be fire, even though there is no story at all.

But, if the Dems can't get their media operation in place they're going to have big troubles. This nonstory shouldn't have played over multiple news cycles. Learn to throw it back in their faces.

More on Race and Politics

Digby has some comments.

New Hate Group

It appears that one of Fred Phelps's kids has branched out and started his own group.

Thursday is New Jobless Day!

Congratulations to the 336,000 new jobless! Lucky duckies, every one.

Not bad news, but again only consistent with a labor market that's just limping along. That's the lowest weekly number since... Bush took office.

But, the bad news is that continuing claims are up over 3 million.


Kevin Drum, over at his fancy new place, takes care of Tom Friedman's latest. I agree with him completely. What I found absolutely astounding about the column, aside from the offensive illogic contained within, was that it truly does sound like a not very bright 8th grader wrote it. Can't the Times do any better?

Happy John Kerry Day!

Well, it's Thursday, and you know what that means. It's the day I bug you to giv some turkee to Jon Keree. Normally the goal is $1000 every Thursday, which we easily exceeded the last two weeks.

But, this week I click over to the main campaign page, and Corporal Cueball is telling us that they're trying to raise 10 million in 10 days. Sounds good - I think they should try to raise a million per day every day throughout the campaign. But, at the very least, I think we can add $10K to the piggy bank over the next 24 hours or so.

Click here to giv turkee to jon keree!

Wednesday, March 17, 2004

You Can Be Fired Simply For Being Gay

This is pretty unbelievable.

Well, it's actually quite believable. But, god I hate these bastards.

1 Year Ago

Reader pm transports us back 1 year ago:

Text Of Bush Speech On Iraq
WASHINGTON, March 17, 2003
My fellow citizens, events in Iraq have now reached the final days of decision.

For more than a decade, the United States and other nations have pursued patient and honorable efforts to disarm the Iraqi regime without war. That regime pledged to reveal and destroy all of its weapons of mass destruction as a condition for ending the Persian Gulf War in 1991.

Since then, the world has engaged in 12 years of diplomacy. We have passed more than a dozen resolutions in the United Nations Security Council. We have sent hundreds of weapons inspectors to oversee the disarmament of Iraq.

Our good faith has not been returned. The Iraqi regime has used diplomacy as a ploy to gain time and advantage. It has uniformly defied Security Council resolutions demanding full disarmament.

Over the years, U.N. weapons inspectors have been threatened by Iraqi officials, electronically bugged and systematically deceived. Peaceful efforts to disarm the Iraq regime have failed again and again because we are not dealing with peaceful men.

Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised. This regime has already used weapons of mass destruction against Iraq's neighbors and against Iraq's people.

The regime has a history of reckless aggression in the Middle East. It has a deep hatred of America and our friends and it has aided, trained and harbored terrorists, including operatives of al-Qaida.

The danger is clear: Using chemical, biological or, one day, nuclear weapons obtained with the help of Iraq, the terrorists could fulfill their stated ambitions and kill thousands or hundreds of thousands of innocent people in our country or any other.

The United States and other nations did nothing to deserve or invite this threat, but we will do everything to defeat it. Instead of drifting along toward tragedy, we will set a course toward safety.

Before the day of horror can come, before it is too late to act, this danger will be removed.

The United States of America has the sovereign authority to use force in assuring its own national security. That duty falls to me as commander of chief by the oath I have sworn, by the oath I will keep.

Recognizing the threat to our country, the United States Congress voted overwhelmingly last year to support the use of force against Iraq.

America tried to work with the United Nations to address this threat because we wanted to resolve the issue peacefully. We believe in the mission of the United Nations.

One reason the U.N. was founded after the Second World War was to confront aggressive dictators actively and early, before they can attack the innocent and destroy the peace.

In the case of Iraq, the Security Council did act in the early 1990s. Under Resolutions 678 and 687, both still in effect, the United States and our allies are authorized to use force in ridding Iraq of weapons of mass destruction.

This is not a question of authority, it is a question of will.

Last September, I went to the U.N. General Assembly and urged the nations of the world to unite and bring an end to this danger. On November 8th, the Security Council unanimously passed Resolution 1441, finding Iraq in material breach of its obligations and vowing serious consequences if Iraq did not fully and immediately disarm.

Today, no nation can possibly claim that Iraq has disarmed. And it will not disarm so long as Saddam Hussein holds power.

For the last four and a half months, the United States and our allies have worked within the Security Council to enforce that council's long-standing demands. Yet some permanent members of the Security Council have publicly announced that they will veto any resolution that compels the disarmament of Iraq. These governments share our assessment of the danger, but not our resolve to meet it.

Many nations, however, do have the resolve and fortitude to act against this threat to peace, and a broad coalition is now gathering to enforce the just demands of the world.

The United Nations Security Council has not lived up to its responsibilities, so we will rise to ours.

In recent days, some governments in the Middle East have been doing their part. They have delivered public and private messages urging the dictator to leave Iraq so that disarmament can proceed peacefully.

He has thus far refused.

All the decades of deceit and cruelty have now reached an end. Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq within 48 hours. Their refusal to do so will result in military conflict commenced at a time of our choosing.

For their own safety, all foreign nationals, including journalists and inspectors, should leave Iraq immediately.

Many Iraqis can hear me tonight in a translated radio broadcast, and I have a message for them: If we must begin a military campaign, it will be directed against the lawless men who rule your country and not against you.

As our coalition takes away their power, we will deliver the food and medicine you need.

We will tear down the apparatus of terror and we will help you to build a new Iraq that is prosperous and free.

In free Iraq there will be no more wars of aggression against your neighbors, no more poison factories, no more executions of dissidents, no more torture chambers and rape rooms.

The tyrant will soon be gone. The day of your liberation is near.

It is too late for Saddam Hussein to remain in power. It is not too late for the Iraq military to act with honor and protect your country, by permitting the peaceful entry of coalition forces to eliminate weapons of mass destruction. Our forces will give Iraqi military units clear instructions on actions they can take to avoid being attacked and destroyed.

I urge every member of the Iraqi military and intelligence services: If war comes, do not fight for a dying regime that is not worth your own life.

And all Iraqi military and civilian personnel should listen carefully to this warning: In any conflict, your fate will depend on your actions. Do not destroy oil wells, a source of wealth that belongs to the Iraqi people. Do not obey any command to use weapons of mass destruction against anyone, including the Iraqi people. War crimes will be prosecuted, war criminals will be punished and it will be no defense to say, "I was just following orders."

Should Saddam Hussein choose confrontation, the American people can know that every measure has been taken to avoid war and every measure will be taken to win it.

Americans understand the costs of conflict because we have paid them in the past. War has no certainty except the certainty of sacrifice.

Yet the only way to reduce the harm and duration of war is to apply the full force and might of our military, and we are prepared to do so.

If Saddam Hussein attempts to cling to power, he will remain a deadly foe until the end.

In desperation, he and terrorist groups might try to conduct terrorist operations against the American people and our friends. These attacks are not inevitable. They are, however, possible.

And this very fact underscores the reason we cannot live under the threat of blackmail. The terrorist threat to America and the world will be diminished the moment that Saddam Hussein is disarmed.

Our government is on heightened watch against these dangers. Just as we are preparing to ensure victory in Iraq, we are taking further actions to protect our homeland.
In recent days, American authorities have expelled from the country certain individuals with ties to Iraqi intelligence services.

Among other measures, I have directed additional security at our airports and increased Coast Guard patrols of major seaports. The Department of Homeland Security is working closely with the nation's governors to increase armed security at critical facilities across America.

Should enemies strike our country, they would be attempting to shift our attention with panic and weaken our morale with fear. In this, they would fail.

No act of theirs can alter the course or shake the resolve of this country. We are a peaceful people, yet we are not a fragile people. And we will not be intimidated by thugs and killers.

If our enemies dare to strike us, they and all who have aided them will face fearful consequences.

We are now acting because the risks of inaction would be far greater. In one year, or five years, the power of Iraq to inflict harm on all free nations would be multiplied many times over.
With these capabilities, Saddam Hussein and his terrorist allies could choose the moment of deadly conflict when they are strongest. We choose to meet that threat now where it arises, before it can appear suddenly in our skies and cities.
The cause of peace requires all free nations to recognize new and undeniable realities. In the 20th century, some chose to appease murderous dictators whose threats were allowed to grow into genocide and global war.

In this century, when evil men plot chemical, biological and nuclear terror, a policy of appeasement could bring destruction of a kind never before seen on this earth. Terrorists and terrorist states do not reveal these threats with fair notice in formal declarations.

And responding to such enemies only after they have struck first is not self-defense. It is suicide. The security of the world requires disarming Saddam Hussein now.

As we enforce the just demands of the world, we will also honor the deepest commitments of our country.

Unlike Saddam Hussein, we believe the Iraqi people are deserving and capable of human liberty, and when the dictator has departed, they can set an example to all the Middle East of a vital and peaceful and self-governing nation.

The United States with other countries will work to advance liberty and peace in that region. Our goal will not be achieved overnight, but it can come over time. The power and appeal of human liberty is felt in every life and every land, and the greatest power of freedom is to overcome hatred and violence, and turn the creative gifts of men and women to the pursuits of peace. That is the future we choose.

Free nations have a duty to defend our people by uniting against the violent, and tonight, as we have done before, America and our allies accept that responsibility.

Good night, and may God continue to bless America

6 Months Ago

Billmon transports us back 6 months, to a time before Howard Kurtz was born, apparently.

The End of Bob Somerby

I really hope not, but I'm pretty sure this sentence by Ron Fournier might be enough to send poor Bob off a bridge.

Just as Bush convinced many Americans in 2000 that Democrat Al Gore fabricated his biography and record, Bush and Kerry hope to open a credibility gap.

As Bob reminds us regularly, it wasn't the "right wing media" or "the Republicans" who regularly lied about Gore in order to "open a credibility gap," it was people like Ron Fournier who did.

Exhibit A. Ron Fournier in the Associated Press, March 15, 2000.

Gore, who once claimed to have invented the Internet, e-mailed Bush and said Democrats won't air TV ads purchased with unlimited, unregulated donations called "soft money" unless Republicans do so first.

Get Out of Town!

Haha. Brilliant.

PHILADELPHIA - This is the true story of "The Real World" and the city's powerful labor unions. The long-running MTV reality show found out what happens, to borrow its trademark slogan, when Philly people stop being polite and start getting real.

"The Real World" is gone only three weeks after it arrived, apparently because of a dispute over the show's use of nonunion laborers to work on the house where the seven "Real World" strangers were to be thrown together under the unblinking gaze of video cameras.

The city's builders and carpenters unions say the show's production company abruptly picked up and left without trying to negotiate.

"I've got kids looking at me like I killed Santa Claus," Pat Gillespie, president of the powerful Building Trades Council, said Wednesday. "Look, they come into our town and make a decision to avoid union workers. Whether they were prepared for what would happen, it was a conscious decision that they made."

For two weeks, members of the Teamsters, carpenters, electricians and painters unions picketed with signs and a giant inflatable rat. Union leaders said they tried to negotiate with the show's producers, Bunim/Murray Productions, as they've done successfully on projects from TV shows "Hack" and "Cold Case" to locally connected director M. Night Shyamalan's latest film "The Village."

Al Qaeda Endorses Bush

We'd better not do what they want!

The statement said it supported President Bush (news - web sites) in his reelection campaign, and would prefer him to win in November rather than the Democratic candidate John Kerry (news - web sites), as it was not possible to find a leader "more foolish than you (Bush), who deals with matters by force rather than with wisdom."

In comments addressed to Bush, the group said:

"Kerry will kill our nation while it sleeps because he and the Democrats have the cunning to embellish blasphemy and present it to the Arab and Muslim nation as civilization."


From the fine fine state of Tennessee:

The county that was the site of the Scopes "Monkey Trial" over the teaching of evolution is asking lawmakers to amend state law so the county can charge homosexuals with crimes against nature.

The Rhea County commissioners approved the request 8-0 Tuesday.

Commissioner J.C. Fugate, who introduced the measure, also asked the county attorney to find a way to enact an ordinance banning homosexuals from living in the county.

"We need to keep them out of here," Fugate said.

Kerry Speech

Text here.

everyone get ready for tomorrow...John Kerry Day!

Big Baghdad Explosion

Near Palestine hotel.

...completely destroyed one of the hotels. Don't know which one.

...Mount Lebanon Hotel.

...nothing weirder than the juxtaposition of the carnage and Cheney's really inappropriate speech.

The Chattering Classes

Max leads us to these pretty pictures which add one more explanation (there are many) for why there's greater concern about the current condition of the labor force than one would expect given the admittedly not-all-that-high unemployment rate - the number of unemployed college graduates without jobs is now exceeding the number of unemployed high school dropouts. Presumably the trends are partially driven by changing demographics - as a percentage of the population, the number of high school dropouts has been falling over time. But, the point is that college graduates who are less marginalized by society generally and bigger participants in the public discourse are feeling the hurt.

More Spain

Even more truth trickling into US newspapers:

Voters said they were enraged not only by the government's insistence that the Basque separatist group ETA was responsible, despite mounting evidence to the contrary, but they also resented its clumsy attempts to quell antigovernment sentiment.

For example, the main television channel TVE, which is state-owned, showed scant and selective scenes of antigovernment demonstrations on Saturday night, just as it ran very little coverage of the large demonstrations against the war in Iraq last year. It also suddenly changed its regular programming to air a documentary on the horrors of ETA.

That was the last straw for some Spaniards, who said it evoked the nightmare of censorship during the Franco dictatorship little more than a quarter of a century ago.

Prime Minister José María Aznar personally called the top editors of Spain's major dailies twice on the day of the attacks. In the first round of calls, Mr. Aznar said he was convinced that ETA was responsible.

"He said, `It was ETA, Antonio, don't doubt it in the least,' " said Antonio Franco, editor in chief of the Barcelona-based El Periódico de Catalunya, in an interview.

Mr. Franco's newspaper published a special edition based on Mr. Aznar's call, then Mr. Franco published an editorial rectifying the mistake as new information came to light. "It was shameful to me that the whole world was taking precautions and debating about Al Qaeda except in Spain, where the attack occurred," he said.

At the Spanish news agency EFE, Alfonso Bauluz, a correspondent and member of the agency's union, said, "I received information from my colleagues, who have good sources, about the Al Qaeda hypothesis, but the editor said we don't want that, don't pay attention. On Saturday, the editor wrote a story with his own byline saying all possibilities of an Al Qaeda connection were thrown out."

During Mr. Aznar's second call that evening, he acknowledged that other avenues were being investigated, but discounted them, Mr. Franco said.

Meanwhile, within 24 hours of the terrorist attacks, the Socialists, through their own intelligence and diplomatic contacts in the Muslim world, were already leaning toward the theory that Al Qaeda and not ETA was responsible, two senior Socialist Party officials said.


Some thoughts from that commie. Isn't he French?

So what will the incoming Zapatero government do in regard to security policy? Here's a prediction: Even as he honors his campaign promise to withdraw his country's troops from Iraq, Zapatero will take obvious and commonsensical measures to improve Spain's homeland security. That is, he will tighten up on border enforcement, scrutinize aliens more closely and improve security around public places. And he will even work closely with allies in "Old Europe."

Indeed, Americans might wish to study Spain's alternative approach to national defense. Voters here might wonder why it's a good idea to have 130,000 American troops in Iraq - while our own borders are sparsely monitored and our own rail system is wide open to terror bombing. And why does the Bush administration wish to spend $200 billion to "liberate" Iraq, but just $40 billion for the Department of Homeland Security this year?

Finally, Americans might ask themselves the most basic question of all: Has the invasion of Iraq really made the United States safer?


It appears that Our Dear Scott only addresses political issues when it's convenient.

Tuesday, March 16, 2004


The WaPo really has become like the WSJ - with those who write the editorial page failing to read the rest of the paper. On Spain:

MADRID, March 16 -- In the first frantic hours after coordinated bomb blasts ripped through several packed commuter trains Thursday morning, the government of outgoing Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar undertook an intense campaign to convince the Spanish public and world opinion-makers that the Basque separatist group ETA had carried out the attacks, which killed 201 people and wounded more than 1,500.

Beginning immediately after the blasts, Aznar and other officials telephoned journalists, stressing ETA's responsibility and dismissing speculation that Islamic extremists might be involved. Spanish diplomats pushed a hastily drafted resolution blaming ETA through the U.N. Security Council. At an afternoon news conference, when a reporter suggested the possibility of an al Qaeda connection, the interior minister, Angel Acebes, angrily denounced it as "a miserable attempt to disrupt information and confuse people."

"There is no doubt that ETA is responsible," Acebes said.

Within days, that assertion was in tatters, and with it the reputation and fortunes of the ruling party. Suspicion that the government manipulated information -- blaming ETA in order to divert any possible link between the bombings and Aznar's unpopular support for the war in Iraq -- helped fuel the upset victory of the Socialist Workers' Party in Sunday's elections. By then, Islamic extremists linked to al Qaeda had become the focus of the investigation.

Government officials insist that they never misled the public, and that they released in a timely manner all the information and evidence they had gathered. "We told the truth at all times to the Spanish people," Acebes said on Monday.

In retrospect, however, there were signs that the government was at least selective in releasing information about possible culprits. By 11 a.m. Thursday, police had already discovered an abandoned white van in Alcala de Henares -- a town where the bombed trains passed through -- containing seven detonators and a cassette tape containing verses of the Koran recited in Arabic, officials said later. Sources familiar with Spanish intelligence services said the CNI, the National Intelligence Center, had suspected al Qaeda from the beginning.

Click the link - there's more. It's about time a major American newspaper actually addressed these issues.

And, hey, warbloggers - thanks for pissing on the graves of the dead once again.


Earlier I posted a link to this article about how Bush abandoned Clinton's 'get Bin Laden' program. The reason was that tonight Lisa Myers essentially took the same information and spinned it into a "IT WAS ALL CLINTON'S FAULT" story.

Myers is the worst of the worst. A Republican operative who happens to run NBC's investigative news operation. Let's remind ourselves of her history.

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.

And then there was this little exchange with David Brock:

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?...

Obama Wins in Illinois

Appears that he'll be going up against Jack Ryan, who he'll likely grind into dust. +1 Dems!

You can say hello at his campaign site.

...some info from Harold Meyerson:

But that scarcely begins to describe the distinctiveness of Obama. His father was Kenyan, his mother a white girl from Kansas. The two met and married at the University of Hawaii in 1960 (when miscegenation was still a felony in more than half the states). His father disappeared from his life when Obama was 2; his mother raised him in Hawaii and Indonesia. Obama went to college at Columbia, then moved to Chicago for five years of community organizing in a fusion of civil rights crusading and Saul Alinsky house-to-house plodding. He then went to Harvard Law School, where he became the first black president of the Law Review; returned to Chicago to run a program that registered 100,000 voters in the '92 elections, entered a civil rights law firm and became a senior lecturer in constitutional law at the University of Chicago. (If elected, Obama would be the second liberal Hyde Park academic to represent Illinois in the Senate; New Deal economist Paul Douglas was the first.)

Seven years ago Obama was elected to the state Senate from a district in Chicago's South Side. In Springfield, he developed a reputation as an impassioned progressive who was able to get support on both sides of the aisle. One of his bills created a state earned-income tax credit that has brought more than $100 million to Illinois's working-poor families. Another, conceived in the wake of revelations about innocent men the state had wrongly executed, mandated the videotaping of police interrogations of suspects in capital crimes. There followed "tortuous negotiations with state's attorneys and death-penalty abolitionists," Obama recalls, but in the end the bill passed unanimously.

In October 2002, Obama made an eloquent case against the impending war in Iraq at a rally in downtown Chicago. Declaring repeatedly that "I don't oppose all wars," he distinguished what he termed "a dumb war, a rash war" from a string of just and necessary wars in which the United States had engaged. He is surely the progressives' darling in the field, drawing enthusiastic support from white Lake Shore liberals as well as the African American community. But he's also won the endorsements of virtually all the state's major papers, many of which -- such as Chicago's Tribune and Sun-Times -- note their disagreement with him on the war but hail him as a brilliant public servant nonetheless. Should Obama win, says Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Evanston, who backs his candidacy, he'd "march right onto the national stage and the international stage."

Odds are Ryan will flame out, but I guarantee Republicans will pull out all the stops for this one.

Media Concentration

Alex Alben, who's running for congress in Washington's 8th, has a post up on his blog about his concerns about media concentration. I don't entirely agree with his emphasis, but I'm glad there are candidates who are concerned about this general issue.

I try and stay out of primary races, especially when I know nothing about them, so in the interest of fairness here's a link to his primary opponent, Heidi Behrens-Benedict.

Mebbe some Washington residents can chime in.


Bush completely ignored Bin Laden threat in early part of administration. Stopped flying predator drones.

Though Predator drones spotted Osama bin Laden as many as three times in late 2000, the U.S. administration did not fly the unmanned planes over Afghanistan during its first eight months and was still refining a plan to use one armed with missiles to kill the al-Qaida leader when Sept. 11 unfolded, current and former U.S. officials say.


After the Sept. 11 attacks, the CIA put the armed drones into the sky within days, and they soon played an important role in one of the early successes of the war on terror.

In November 2001, an armed drone helped confirm a high-level al-Qaida meeting in Kabul, Afghanistan, and joined in an attack that killed bin Laden military chief Mohammed Atef, according to officials familiar with the attack.

Nearly a dozen current and former senior U.S. officials described to AP the extensive discussions in 2000 and 2001 inside the Clinton and Bush administrations about using an armed Predator to kill bin Laden. Most spoke only on condition of anonymity, citing the classified nature of the information.

These officials said that within days of President George W. Bush taking office in January 2001, his top terrorism expert on the National Security Council, Richard Clarke, urged National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice to resume the drone flights to track down bin Laden, citing the successes of late 2000.

Bush on Rumsfeld

Apparently, 72 year old men usually don't have naturally non-grey hair.

Bush's opinion of people who dye their hair? He sees them... "equal parts pompous blowhard and preening chameleon, a spineless panderer ready to be anything for anyone." For Bush, this opinion was distilled in a single detail: "The man dyes his hair."

Sharon Caves In To Terrorist Demands

After terrorist attacks, does exactly what Hamas wants.


The Injustice of No Justice

Scandal of the detainees

By Patrick Hennessy, Deputy Political Editor

Serious questions were asked today over how four Britons could be held for two years in Guantanamo Bay - but completely cleared by British police in just 24 hours.

The four detainees flown home from the notorious American prison camp were freed late last night, while one other Briton, Jamal al-Harith, had walked free almost as soon as landing in Britain the previous evening. Today the American government faced the prospect of huge embarrassment as the men prepared to tell their stories and lift the lid on the secretive camp.

Despite being branded "the worst of the worst" by US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the four - Tarek Dergoul, Asif Iqbal, Shafiq Rasul and Ruhal Ahmed - are now free without a stain on their character.

It took only eight hours of "perfunctory" police questioning by anti-terrorist squad officersand brief consideration by the Crown Prosecution Service to conclude there was no reason to put them on trial.

The police did not even use their powers to release the men on bail, indicating there will be no further questions.


Labour peer Baroness Uddin said: "It's about time they were returned. We must step up our efforts to ensure that they are returned to Britain opportunely.

"The fact that the Americans have made the four out to be different from the remaining five is now I think seriously questionable. There's a lot of speculation going on that it is politically motivated."

She said she was "deeply worried" hearing a US spokesman claiming the five had been released as a "charitable gesture" to Britain. "This is deeply flawed," she added.

Lies and the Lying Liars

Hesiod finds the latest in the non-stop stream of propagandists for FOXMURDOCHGOP. God it's all so depressing.

Bullet Sponges

Quote of the day:

We both know that al Qaeda is interested in fighting us in Iraq.


Sometimes I wonder if Perle is even capabable of telling the truth. Ever. Slate informs us that Perle has decided not to make good on his promise to sue Sy Hersh for libel in British courts.

The piece goes on to quote Perle saying, "Lies and distortions do not constitute libel unless one can demonstrate the errors, lies and distortions are willful."

Of course, this is completely untrue. Perle had threatened to sue in British courts, where the standard for libel is entirely different. The standard that libelous statements must be both deliberate and malicious is an American one.

Iraq on the Record

Henry Waxman commissioned a report detailing all of the administrations false and misleading public statements about Iraq. It can be found at this website.


Josh is jumping the gun a little bit with his post about the Illinois Senate race. The primary is today, and while Obama is the presumed frontrunner it isn't over yet.

But, having said that the situation in Illinois provides a wonderful lesson about why the Democratic party organizations, and not just the candidates themselves, need money. The presumed Democratic candidate flamed out spectacularly after some nasty information about his past came to light. Fortunately, this happened before the primary. These kinds of things can happen at any time in the election cycle. Something can happen, a candidate can stumble - either ours or theirs - and only the party organzations are in a position to capitalize on the shifting campaign fortunes by placing money strategically. Only they can really make a sudden money drop into a race when it might matter.

It's this flexibility and ability to look at the entire campaign picture which makes them an essential part of the process. Every Democrat is trying to get elected, but only the DNC, DSCC, and DCCC are focused entirely on the bigger picture goal of winning majorities in the House and Senate.

I try to limit the fundraising begging here as much as possible. But, our side needs money. Feed them turkee, and they will grow stronger. With strength comes confidence, and with confidence victory. I'm tired of reading news reports about how poor the Democrats are, and how behind they are in fundraising.

So, if the mood strikes - throw some nickles to:




And, if you're not in the mood to donate you can just go and read their weblogs. Kicking Ass is the DNC's, From the Roots is the DSCC's, and The Stakeholder is the DCCC's.

One more thing on Illinois - after divorcing Jeri Ryan, the presumed Republican nominee has probably lost the critical Star Trek fan vote.

Race Matters

I was a bit surprised to read about this new book in the Economist, which is generally fairly contemptuous and clueless of racial issues and government poverty relief efforts. And, the authors Alesina and Glaeser aren't exactly known for being wild-eyed liberals.

Racial diversity in individual states is correlated with the generosity of welfare. For instance, the authors find that in 1990 Aid to Families with Dependent Children ranged from over $800 per family per month in mainly white Alaska to less than $150 in Alabama and Mississippi, where almost one-third of the population is black. Even after adjustment for inter-state differences in average incomes, the correlation with race remained strong. Across countries, too, racial diversity goes with low government spending on poverty relief.

The reason, argue the authors, is that "race matters," and they marshal statistical evidence, much of it from opinion surveys, to back this up. People are likely to support welfare if they live close to recipients of their own race; but are antipathetic if they live near recipients from another race. The divergent attitudes of Europeans and Americans to the poor are underwritten by the fact that the poor in Europe tend to be ethnically the same as most other folk. In America, their skin is often a different colour.

The authors say that "political entrepreneurs," eager to use race as an excuse to turn the poor against redistribution, shape attitudes to race and to poverty. At different times, America has had its share. Is Europe immune? Look at the successes of the likes of Jorg Haider and Pim Fortuyn, and wonder. The recent evolution of Europe as a destination of mass migration, much more ethnically diverse than America's in most of the past century, will test the durability of the European welfare state.

More Spain

A little bit of truth manages to shine through on the Newshour:

MARGARET WARNER: Mr. Checa, what is your reading of what was the number one thing behind the outcome? In other words, was it Aznar's support for the war against Bush or those people, or was it this public perception that he was trying to withhold information about who was behind the bombing?
NICOLAS CHECA: Margaret, I really think what the key issue here is the handling or mishandling of public information in the 48 hours after the tragic events of last Thursday. I think it bears mentioning that the election was a statistical dead heat, according to public polls the morning of the tragedy on Thursday morning well within the margin of error, one or two points. And it was really not until Saturday evening, as Keith in your set-up shared with us, that the government decided to come forward with information as to the arrest of these five suspects linked to al-Qaida.

As an example, it took a personal call from Prime Minister Elect Zapatero to the interior minister, the Spanish homeland security secretary, informing him that the Socialist Party was aware of the arrest and that he was prepared to move forward with that information. It took that kind of information to get the current government to come forward and announce to the country at large that in fact it was not the ETA lead that would generate success down the road in the investigation, but rather the al-Qaida route.

MARGARET WARNER: So you're saying it more than just a public suspicion that they were withholding information, in fact the Zapatero campaign had to essentially pressure the government to release this information?

NICOLAS CHECA: Precisely. Yet there was a report earlier in the afternoon on Saturday coming out of Spanish intelligence agency saying that they were 99 percent confident that ETA was not responsible for the attacks and that all the avenues of the investigation pointed into al-Qaida.

In the early afternoon after the arrests had already been made, the director of the Spanish CIA denied those reports and it was after that that the campaign manager for the Zapatero campaign had to come forward and basically inform public opinion that there was information that was not being shared with the population.

...Law and Politics has a good roundup.

Miserable Failure

Big Media Matt in TAP Online:

For all the big talk, then, 9-11 appears to have changed nothing for the Bush administration. Their priorities remain the same as before the attacks: missile defense and Iraq, symptoms of a state-centric worldview incapable of really grasping global terrorism. The only difference was that they started saying their policies were directed at counter-terrorism. John Kerry was on the right track in his Feb. 27 national security speech: "I do not fault George Bush for doing too much in the War on Terror; I believe he's done too little." The sentiment is exactly correct, and needs to be repeated. Often. And with specifics.

The Madrid attacks seem to have hurt Spain's conservative governing party badly at the polls, and rightly so. When bad things happen under a government's watch, the officials responsible ought to be held accountable. The American right is quite correct to say that the terrorist threat remains serious; this is, however, less a reflection of our enemies' strength than of the simple fact that the Bush administration hasn't bothered with doing much of anything about it, preferring to offer tough talk as a rhetorical smokescreen for an unrelated agenda. Don't they know there's a war on?


600 AWOL

600 soldiers have avoided service in Iraq.

when he was AWOL Here's what Bush did :

For much of 1972, the 26-year-old Bush lived, worked and played in Alabama, mostly in Montgomery. He came to town to work for Blount at the urging of his father and with the help of a family friend, GOP political consultant Jimmy Allison of Midland, Texas. And he lived in a two-bedroom, one-bath cottage in Montgomery's historic Cloverdale neighborhood, the furnished home of a 68-year-old widow.

That's what the Smith family remembers most about Bush, how he left their aunt's home damaged, dirty and dumpy.

"He was just a rich kid who had no respect for other people's possessions," said Mary Smith, whose family found damaged walls, broken furnishings and a chandelier destroyed after Bush left the house. A bill sent to collect the damages went unpaid, the family said.

More Spain

One of the facts which hasn't been percolating around the US media much (at all) is that the leaders of the anti-terrorism police threatened to resign after the Aznar government's continued insistence on the involvement of ETA was impeding their investigation.

In Spain, there was only one media outlet (Cadena Ser) which almost immediately, just hours after the attack, began reporting that their sources were telling them that the ETA storyline was crap. They were mocked and blasted by the rest of the media and members of government in Spain, including the government run stations which had been beating the ETA ETA ETA drum nonstop, even after those government officials knew better.

I suppose it makes perfect sense that those who equate the war on Iraq with the war on terrorists also find believe the Aznar government, which showed no interest in finding the real perpetrators of the 11-M attack, is "serious about the war on terrorism." These are the same people, after all, who aren't disturbed by the fact that the Bush administration prevented our military from going after Zarqawi because doing so would've made going to Iraq more difficult.

...Juan Cole has more.

...Liberal Oasis has more.

...Jacob Levy has more.

...Tom Tomorrow has more.

Knowles for Senate

Tony Knowles, Democratic candidate for Senate in Alaska, has staked out a surprisingly strong pro gay rights position.

There's one thing I think many Democrats have forgotten -- that leaders can lead. One wouldn't expect Alaska to be a hotbed of gay rights related program activities. And, to be honest, Knowles hasn't exactly started officiating gay marriage ceremonies. But, he has drawn an important line in the sand. And, given his location, we should applaud his willingness to take the lead on this issue.

Click to donate.

Monday, March 15, 2004

Spain 101

This Salon article is the best thing I've seen in the US on contemporary Spanish politics, largely because it provides useful historical and cultural context.

Franken USO

In Mother Jones:

My wife said to me before I left, "You don't see Bill O'Reilly doing a USO Tour."

"That's not fair, honey. O'Reilly has no talent."

Rummy Rum Tum Tum

Watch him lie.

I Live in This Universe

I know that on September 11 some right bastards hijacked four airplanes and killed a lot of people. I know that we determined that al Qaeda and Bin Laden were responsible. I remember sending troops to Afghanistan to topple the Taliban and uproot and destroy terrorists.

Juan Williams lives in a different universe. In that universe, Saddam Hussein was responsible for a massive terrorist attack on the US on March 16, 2003, killing thousands. Immediately following, we launched an invasion of Iraq, beginning our war on terror on March 19, 2003.

Juan Williams, today on NPR:

Obviously, and one of those difficulties is that this is the anniversary week for the war on terror, and so what happens is the Bush team is going to get its big guns out.

Our Wonderful Press

Go read this story. Then go to this website. Make sure to watch the commercial starring Pete the Porno Puppet. Then giggle yourself to death about how stupid our journalists are.

(thanks to reader e)

...some people think this is "real." Well, I suppose it could be, though what it's trying to accomplish I have no idea.

More Wacky Fun

H. R. 3920
To allow Congress to reverse the judgments of the United States Supreme Court.


March 9, 2004

Mr. Lewis of Kentucky (for himself, Mr. DeMint, Mr. Everett, Mr. Pombo, Mr. Coble, Mr. Collins, Mr. Goode, Mr. Pitts, Mr. Franks of Arizona, Mr. Hefley, Mr. Doolittle, and Mr. Kingston) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Committee on Rules, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


To allow Congress to reverse the judgments of the United States Supreme Court.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the ?Congressional Accountability for Judicial Activism Act of 2004?.


The Congress may, if two thirds of each House agree, reverse a judgment of the United States Supreme Court?

(1) if that judgment is handed down after the date of the enactment of this Act; and

(2) to the extent that judgment concerns the constitutionality of an Act of Congress.


The procedure for reversing a judgment under section 2 shall be, as near as may be and consistent with the authority of each House of Congress to adopt its own rules of proceeding, the same as that used for considering whether or not to override a veto of legislation by the President.


This Act is enacted pursuant to the power of Congress under article III, section 2, of the Constitution of the United States.