Saturday, May 01, 2004

Open thread

It's a Saturday night special

Souter Attacked and Beaten

MSNBC reporting that Justice Souter was attacked and beaten by multiple men while he was out jogging...more to come.

...apparently he's fine. No word on motive.

...story link.

The incident occurred while he was jogging at about 9 p.m. Friday, said Kathy Arberg, a court spokeswoman.

Another source told CNN the incident happened near his home.

Arberg said Supreme Court police escorted the justice to Washington Hospital Center. He was examined and released at about 1:30 a.m. Saturday morning.

He sustained "minor injuries" and is "feeling fine," Arberg said.

She could not characterize the nature or motivation for the attack only that several young men were involved.


I think the entire transcript of this piece from Friday needs to be posted and examined.


In 1960, John F. Kennedy set out to break a historic barrier by becoming the first Catholic in the White House. He won the backing of eight out of 10 Catholics, but he also had a problem, Protestants. Scott Appleby, a historian at Notre Dame, says Kennedy knew he could not win the presidency if Americans thought he was a tool of the Vatican.

Professor SCOTT APPLEBY (Notre Dame): So he made it very clear in this famous speech in Houston that he would not be taking orders from the pope.

(Soundbite of speech)

Mr. JOHN F. KENNEDY (Presidential Candidate): I do not speak for my church on public matters, and the church does not speak for me. Whatever issue may come before me as president, if I should be elected, on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling or any other subject, I will make my decision in accordance with these views.

Prof. APPLEBY: So he was the first Catholic president prominent, attractive, intellectually very sharp, who made a clear distinction between his faith as a private matter and his role in public office.

HAGERTY: Scott Appleby.

Prof. APPLEBY: And that was very important in setting a precedent for Catholic politicians in the United States from Kennedy to John Kerry.

HAGERTY: Kennedy's challenge was to persuade voters that a Catholic could be a good presidential candidate. John Kerry's challenge is to persuade voters that this presidential candidate is a good Catholic.

Why? Where is there any evidence that Kerry needs to convince voters (and, not just Catholic voters), that he is a "good Catholic?" as defined by Hagerty. As for abortion, most Americans are pro-Choice, so presumably Kerry should demonstrate that he's a "bad Catholic" in order to get their votes.

Kerry is reported to go to Mass regularly. He has been married twice, but his first marriage was annulled by the church in 1997 at the insistence of his then fiancee, Teresa Heinz, herself a devout Catholic whose first husband, Republican Senator John Heinz, died in a plane crash. Kerry rarely speaks about his faith, an exception being a recent candidate debate sponsored by CBS.

(Soundbite of debate)

Senator JOHN KERRY (Democratic Presidential Candidate): I believe in God, and I believe in the power of redemption and the capacity of individual human beings to be able to make a difference because, as President Kennedy said, here on Earth, God's work must truly be our own.

HAGERTY: Kerry's work is cut out for him with Catholic voters. John Kenneth White, a political scientist at Catholic University, says in the 1960s as more Catholics moved into the middle class, many became more conservative. By the Reagan years, only 46 percent of Catholics identified themselves as Democrats, down from 82 percent in 1960. Since then, White has seen a new type of divide, a values divide.

Mr. JOHN KENNETH WHITE (Catholic University): The basic division in American politics today is between those that, on the one side, believe in absolute truth, that there is a universal sense of right and wrong. On the other side of the divide, these folks like their morality roots small, meaning that my morality is for me but not necessarily for you.

HAGERTY: Those Catholics who hold to absolute truth follow the conservative moral teachings of the Vatican, and they overwhelmingly vote Republican, much as evangelical white Protestants do. But less orthodox Catholics, sometimes called cafeteria Catholics, gravitate toward the liberal side of church teachings, just as many mainline Protestants do, on the death penalty, on social welfare and justice issues, on war and peace. For these Catholics, White says, John Kerry is a very comfortable fit.

So, wait, do the "orthodox Catholics," who follow the "conservative moral teachings of the Vatican," ignore the church's teachings on the death penalty, social welfare and justice issues, on war and peace? Why does that make them "orthodox?" Why do these Catholics who hold to "absolute truth" apparently ignore their Church on all issues other than sex and abortion? Why are they not "cafeteria Catholics?"

Group of Protesters: (In unison) Two, four, six eight, the Catholic Church is not a state.

HAGERTY: Last week some 300 people protested church doctrine on birth control in front of the Vatican embassy in Washington. Frances Kissling was there. She's the president of Catholics for a Free Choice.

Ms. FRANCES KISSLING (President, Catholic for a Free Choice): Catholics are no different than the rest of Americans. They vote on their pocketbook, they vote on the economic issues, Social Security, Medicare, crime, education and health. They don't vote on the abortion issue.

HAGERTY: Surveys from Georgetown University show that the number one issue for Catholics in 2000 was the economy. Taxing, spending and government programs came in second. Moral issues were a distant third.

(Soundbite from a Mass)

HAGERTY: But tell that to the worshipers at the 8:00 Mass at St. Matthew's Cathedral in Washington. All but one interviewed there on a recent morning said they won't vote for Kerry. They said they knew he personally thought abortion was wrong but that his stand on abortion rights had a larger meaning. Here's Philip Monos(ph), Carrie Gress(ph) and Ted Flynn.

As a helpful reader (sorry, forgot who right now) has pointed out, St. Matthew's Cathedral in Washington has no Sunday 8:00 Mass. They have 8:00 masses every other day of the week. Catholics are supposed to attend mass on Sundays and specific Holy Days - those who attend mass on other days are particularly hardcore conservative Catholics. So, this is in no way a random sample of the Catholic-on-the-street. Just the opposite.


Mr. PHILIP MONOS (Worshiper): It's really character and personal integrity, and a man who does not seem committed to his faith, I don't see why he would be committed to his ideas or necessarily even his country.

Ms. CARRIE GRESS (Worshiper): It seems that he doesn't take his faith seriously, and it's something that it seems like he's using as a political card instead of something that he deeply believes in and is committed to.

Mr. TED FLYNN (Worshiper): I would work very hard against Senator Kerry because I think he is actually, from start to finish, a four-star phoney.

HAGERTY: Another early worshiper, Charles Loveless, a union official, downplayed the abortion issue.

Only one person had their occupation pointed out - a union official (Read: commie partisan Democrat).

Mr. CHARLES LOVELESS (Worshipper): There is a vast array of other social issues for children, for poor people, for things that we Catholics stand for, and in practically every one of these other issues, he is the man.

Group: (In unison) Kerry! Kerry! Kerry! Kerry! Kerry!

HAGERTY: Recently John Kerry went to a Washington rally to receive the endorsement of Planned Parenthood and to call for a new America.

Sen. KERRY: Where women's rights are just that, rights, not political weapons to be used by politicians in this nation.

(Soundbite of cheers)

HAGERTY: Father Richard John Neuhaus says with Planned Parenthood endorsement, Kerry entered dangerous territory. Neuhaus, who is editor of First Things magazine, says some politicians have tried to make a principled argument that Catholic doctrine can be reconciled with political governance. He says Kerry isn't even trying.

Father RICHARD JOHN NEUHAUS (First Things Magazine): It's a very different thing when, as in the case of many of these politicians, they openly, publicly, persistently and defiantly say, in effect, 'I don't give a damn what the church teaches. Here's the position I'm going to take.'

HAGERTY: In Kennedy's time, the bishops bit their tongue when they disagreed with him, but Kennedy did not have to deal with the deeply divisive issue of abortion. Today the Vatican and some American bishops are cracking down on Catholic politicians on this issue, threatening to bar them from Communion.

How many Bishops? Is this the official Vatican position, or is it also just a few within the Vatican?

Father RICHARD McBRIEN (Notre Dame): It would backfire into the most spectacular fashion imaginable.

HAGERTY: Father Richard McBrien teaches theology at Notre Dame. He says American Catholics do not want religious leaders telling politicians what to do.

Fr. McBRIEN: They can make statements all they want. They can express views on public policy issues. But as soon as they try to use their spiritual muscle, so to speak, to punish or to threaten political candidates and legislators or executives in their flock, then people would resent that, and I think it would indeed backfire.

HAGERTY: Catholics have, in fact, become a key swing vote in national elections, one that Republican strategists think they can win and one that John Kerry can scarcely afford to lose. Barbara Bradley Hagerty, NPR News.

Here we get the punchline - those who are moral vote Republican. Those who are not vote Democrat. Kerry is immoral, simply because he doesn't believe all of his personal religious beliefs should be legislated.

Hagerty doesn't bother to consider all of the pro-choice Catholic Republicans. She doesn't bother to find out why all Catholic Politicians aren't clamoring to outlaw birth control, and why the figures within the Church are silent on that. Ditto the death penalty.

Hagerty is a menace. She is NPR's religion reporter and always writes about the hot-button social issues. She's careful - very careful - to not let her reporting appear to be obviously slanted, but it's hideously slanted in a subtle manipulative fashion. The good guys and bad guys are always clear in her stories, even as she seeks to provide "balance." Here are her views on her job:


Journalism informed by a Christian worldview will glorify Christ and make an eternal impact, said Barbara Bradley Hagerty.

Hagerty, religion correspondent at National Public Radio, told students that Christian journalists, by committing to truth, excellence and selflessness, can set themselves apart from their secular colleagues.

"When you or I as Christ-followers go to work each day, we have to perform our jobs in a fundamentally different way from other people because our employer is Christ and everything we do has to be run through the filter of this question: How does Jesus Christ view my performance? It raises the bar higher than the most demanding editor or supervisor could possibly do," she said.

Hagerty highlighted four decisions that Christian journalists can make in order to honor Christ in their work.

First, Christian journalists must decide not to get "tough," or hardened, in their vocations.

Christian journalists have an obligation to ask hard questions and find compelling stories, she said. However, they must resist the temptation to be ruthless and uncaring in pursuit of stories.

"I decided that if I ever found myself growing callous or tough that I would leave the news business," Hagerty said. "It was a serious pact because I really, really did love journalism. But I realized that the very things that helped me as a journalist -- cynicism and toughness and stepping on people to get the story first, sometimes burning people in the process -- while those things might help me get a story, they would cripple my ability to get everything else that I wanted in life."

In the end, though, deciding to treat people with respect has helped her succeed in journalism, Hagerty said.

"This approach -- with compassion and empathy and coming to every interview subject with an open mind -- it's actually good journalism," Hagerty said. "The reason I think that's true is that every single person has a reason for what he or she believes or what he or she does. You don't know what that reason is ... and understanding what makes that person tick is the key to writing a good story."

Second, Christian journalists must decide to make God their primary audience.

Journalists will experience a conflict between seeking to glorify themselves and seeking to glorify God, she said. Christian journalists may have to perform difficult assignments without receiving commendations, but the desire to please God should drive them to complete those assignments with diligence, Hagerty said.

Third, Christian journalists must decide to gain respect from their colleagues by doing excellent work.

A journalist may not have opportunities to talk about Christ directly, she said. But Christian journalists can point their colleagues to Christ by acting in a way that is unexplainably different from the world.

"What's important is that [one's colleagues] begin to think differently about Christianity. And I actually think that's what we're supposed to do as Christians. We're supposed to draw people, through the power of attraction, to Jesus Christ just as He drew people to Himself," Hagerty said.

Fourth, Christian journalists must decide to follow the truth, not the pack.

A Christian worldview sees every individual as having worth in the eyes of God, she said. Because people have worth, they deserve to have the truth reported about them.

"Here's where my Christian worldview comes in. My Christian worldview tells me that every person has an infinite worth in the eyes of God.... I believe that God became man in the form of Jesus Christ to die for [man]. That's how valuable ... anyone is to God," Hagerty said.

"I have a serious responsibility to really get the facts before I begin shooting off innuendoes."

At times, honoring Christ may have short-term negative effects in the business of journalism, she said. That is why "any journalist that's a follower of Christ has to count the cost."

She concluded, "Early in my career at National Public Radio, I decided that being true to my God had to be the nonnegotiable. If it meant loosing my job, so be it. ... In the long run I had to think, is a story or even is a career ... more valuable than my relationship with God and eternal treasure in heaven? And I think the answer is no, and the decisions we make count for eternity."

It's important to understand what someone like this uses words like "facts" and "truth" - what they mean to a great degree are "Facts" and "Truth." Hagerty was affiliated with the World Journalism Institute until fellow traveller Jack Kelley got his ass canned by USA Today, and their mission statement came to light. WJI's mission statement has now been, uh, modified after the attention, but here's what it was:

To accompany reporting with practical commentary on current events and issues from a perspective committed to the final authority of the Bible as the inerrant written word of God (2 Tim. 3:16-17; 2 Peter 3:14-16).

So, as I said, facts and truth are replaced by Facts and Truth. Mandatory statement -- of course religious people should not be excluded from journalism. But, Hagerty's reporting is so biased and slanted - though done very cleverly - that she should not have her job at the liberal NPR.

O'Reilly vs. Canada

The amazing thing about O'Reilly is how truly thin-skinned he is. Most of the other right wing ranters seem to be aware that what they're doing is theater, and when they're playing up the victimization angle it's just a show. But, O'Reilly truly is a whiny little punk. Webgirl brings us up to date, excerpting a bit of a column from up North:

Mr. O'Reilly is not a smart man. He's like one of those old guys you see on the street ringing a bell and shouting about eternal damnation. He talks to his trousers. You know the type. They let wasps nest in their hair so they can lure weasels, trap 'em and eat 'em slow over the summer.

We were supposed to be discussing American deserters fleeing to Canada; instead, he went off on some wild thing about the mayor of Vancouver injecting people with heroin and unless Canada shapes up, "we" will boycott you and destroy your economy, just like "we" did to France.

I said France seemed to be doing fine. He implied that France now looked like Dresden in 1945. I hadn't heard that.

I said the United States couldn't boycott Canadian goods because it would be mutually damaging. "We're your biggest trading partner."

"No, you're not." (We are.) Naturally, I wanted to reply, "Yes, we are," so that he could say "No, we're not," and then I'd say, "Everything you say bounces off me and reflects back on you, so there," but I couldn't regress that far. Mr. Doyle would have been shrieking.

And then he asked me if I was a socialist, and I said, "Certainly," and it was as if I'd said I like donkey semen in my latte instead of milk. He then went into a mad rant about lefties like Mr. Doyle and how I was a typical Globe columnist. I said, no, truthfully, I think I'm regarded as "idiosyncratic" (the first six-syllable word ever spoken on the O'Reilly show), and he erupted again.

It was like talking to a manic child who had eaten 800 cherry Pop Tarts for breakfast. He kept interrupting, so that no point could be made that could win a reply, much less a reasoned response -- not so much a gabble of sound bites as a howling from Bedlam.

Friday, April 30, 2004

Ohio Protest

a reader writes in:

There were about fifty people at the WSYX protest at 5:00 tonight, pretty good considering that it's pouring rain here in Central Ohio. The reading of names of service members killed in Iraq did occur, with volunteer readers trading off at a podium. Many of the casualties were represented only by their ID numbers, since their losses are so recent. Protestors were refused access to the public right-of-way in front of WSYX by Columbus Police and were diverted to the side of the station. That actually was to our advantage, since the station's call letters were clearly visible as a result. Several people carried signs and got a solid response from rush hour traffic with waves and honks- "Why is ABC 6 afraid of Ted Koppel?" and "Censorship is UnAmerican" were on two of them. At least two other local TV stations did on-camera interviews of protestors, along with the Columbus Dispatch and a stringer from the Washington Post. During the protest, we found out that the Ohio News Network (Ohio's cable version of CNN and affiliated with one of WSYX's local competitors) will be broadcasting Nightline statewide tonight, in response to many angry phone calls. Many thanks to JB for organizing this protest!

Republican Values

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pennsylvania)

August 17, 1996, Saturday, SOONER EDITION

David D. Smith, president and chief executive officer of Sinclair Broadcast Group, was arrested this week in his hometown of Baltimore and charged with a misdemeanor sex offense. Sinclair owns WPGH, the Fox affiliate in Pittsburgh, and programs most of WPTT.

The Baltimore Sun reported that Smith, 45, was arrested Tuesday night in an undercover sting at a downtown corner frequented by prostitutes.

On Thursday night, Sinclair issued a statement that Smith's arrest was unrelated to company business and ''The company will continue to operate under the direction of its current management.''


Broadcasting official charged in sex stakeout
Sinclair president, woman arrested in company car

Published on: August 15, 1996
Edition: FINAL
Section: NEWS
Page: 2B
Byline: SUN STAFFPeter Hermann


The president of Baltimore-based Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., which owns the local Fox television affiliate, was arrested Tuesday night and charged with committing a perverted sex act in a company-owned Mercedes, city police said.

David Deniston Smith, 45, of the 800 block of Hillstead Drive in Timonium, who also is Sinclair's chief executive, was arrested in an undercover sting at Read and St. Paul streets, a downtown corner frequented by prostitutes, Baltimore police said yesterday.

Smith and Mary DiPaulo, 31, were charged with committing unnatural and perverted sex act. Smith was held overnight at the Central Booking and Intake Center and released on personal recognizance at 2 p.m. yesterday. DiPaulo's bail status was not available.

Officials at WBFF-TV (Fox 45) and Sinclair, one of the fastest-growing broadcasting companies in the nation with 28 television and 34 radio stations, would not comment yesterday. The company had $126 million in sales in the first half of this year.

Police said undercover Officer Gary Bowman, on a prostitution detail, was talking to DiPaulo about 9: 15 p.m. in a car at St. Paul and Read streets. She left the undercover car after telling Bowman that ``she had just seen her regular date driving in the area,'' according to court documents.

Police said DiPaulo ran across the street to a 1992 Mercedes, registered to Sinclair, and got in on the passenger side. Police followed the car onto the Jones Falls Expressway, where they said they witnessed the two engage in oral sex while Smith drove north.

Police said they followed the car back to Read and St. Paul streets, where they arrested Smith and DiPaulo, who lives in the 700 block of Washington Blvd.


Josh Marshall is right that erecting the straw racist to tar critics of what's going on in Iraq is repugnant.

And, the characterization of the US as a "white" country is even worse.

Steno Steno Sue

Swopa slices and dices Steno Sue Schmidt.


Some fine fine hate.

From CAP

About Sinclair:

Tonight, ABC's "Nightline" will pay tribute to U.S. troops killed in Iraq by airing a 40 minute special – the names of the fallen will be read by anchor Ted Koppel as their photographs appear on screen. But Sinclair Broadcast Group – the country's largest owner of TV stations – will not allow its ABC affiliates to air the show. In a statement, Sinclair claims the special "appears to be motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq." While Sinclair claims it is pre-empting Nightline because it is an attempt to "influence public opinion" the record shows that Sinclair media has repeatedly leveraged its control over the airwaves to manipulate public opinion in favor of the President Bush's right-wing agenda.


SINCLAIR REQUIRES JOURNALISTS TO READ PRO-BUSH STATEMENTS: In September 2001, Sinclair Broadcasting required its affiliates to airmessages "conveying full support" for the Bush Administration. At a Baltimore affiliate, WBFF "officials equired news and sports anchors, even a weather forecaster, to read the messages" which included statements such as "[the station] wants you to know that we stand 100% behind our President." Several WBFF staffers objected on the grounds that reading the statements would "erode their reputations as objective journalists" because it made them appear to be "endorsing specific government actions."


SINCLAIR REFUSES TO AIR AD HIGHLIGHTING 2003 BUSH ERROR: In July 2003, Sinclair broadcasting refused to allow WMSN TV – its FOX affiliate in Madison, WI – to air a DNC advertisement that featured a clip of President Bush making the false claim "Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from
" in his 2003 State of the Union Address. Three other Madison stations, including ABC, NBC and CBS, readily agreed to air the ad. The Madison CBS affiliate, WISC, said the advertisement was "no worse than any other political ad."


SINCLAIR PRODUCES CENTRALIZED RIGHT-WING CONTENT FOR 'LOCAL STATIONS': In a controversial business practice, Sinclair broadcasting has fired much of the staff for the local affiliates it owns and produces content for its local stations from a central facility outside Baltimore and airs it on "local" newsbraodcasts. The centralized content features nightly commentary by Sinclair corporate communications chief Mark Hyman. Hyman regularly refers to the French as "cheese-eating surrender monkeys," the so-called liberal media as "hate-American crowd," and progressives as "the lonely left" On one recent commentary, Hyman called members of Congress who voted against a recent resolution affirming the righteousness of the Iraq war "unpatriotic politicians who hate our military." You can see all of Hyman's commentary's this month HERE.
(Read more from American Progress about the problems of media consolidation.)


SINCLAIR AIRS FAKE NEWS BROADCASTS PRODUCED BY BUSH ADMINISTRATION: In March, it was discovered that the Bush Administration was producing "television news stories, written and paid for by the government, which have the appearance of legitimate news segments delivered by independent reporters" and distributed them to local newscasts as a way of promoting Administration policies – including their ill-conceived Medicare prescription drug law. On the broadcasts, a public relations professional named Karen Ryan pretended to be a reporter. Among the stations who aired the Administration propaganda as news: WPGH in Pittsburgh "the Sinclair Broadcasting station that fired much of its news staff in favor of feeds from a centralized newsroom in Baltimore."


SINCLAIR EXECUTIVES MAJOR BUSH CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTORS: Sinclair executives have contributed more than $16,500 to President Bush since 2000. This year, Sinclair CEO David Smith gave President Bush the maximum $2000 contribution. Before soft money contributions became i legal, Sinclair Broadcasting gave more than $130,000 to the President's political allies bu no money to his political opponents.


WOLFOWITZ NEEDS TO WATCH NIGHTLINE TONIGHT: One person who should be sure to tune into Nightline: Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. Appearing yesterday before a congressional committee Wolfowitz was asked how many soldiers had died in Iraq. Revealing a shocking insensitivity about the extent of the casualties in Iraq in the highest reaches of the Pentagon, Wolfowitz replied "It's approximately 500, of which - I can get the exact numbers - approximately 350 are combat deaths." In fact, 722 American troops have died during operations in Iraq – 521 from combat.


Wolfowitz should be strapped into the chair, Clockwork Orange style.

Here's the CAP homepage.

Good for McCain for having the right idea.

Abortion is the Only Issue

A few of you have written in to tell me about NPR's coverage of the Kerry and Catholicism. The report was done by Barbara Bradley Hagerty, NPR's religion reporter, who was once affiliated with the World Journalism Institute.

I think reader k puts it best:

She had a piece this morning on "Morning Edition" contrasting how Kennedy had to prove he wasn't too Catholic to be president, while Kerry seems to have to prove he's Catholic enough. In many ways a decent, straight-up piece of reporting, but her main "expert" was someone who contrasted Catholics who believe in "absolute truth" and follow all church teachings and vote overwhelmingly Republican, with those who feel that their morality is for them but don't see it as a universal standard to be applied to everyone, and of course he brought up the "cafeteria Catholic" label, conveniently ignoring that many of those in favor of "absolute truth" vote for pro-death-penalty politicians and pro-Iraq-war politicians, thus contradicting their spiritual leader. And I'm not in their bedrooms, but I'm guessing they're not all sticking to the rhythm method.

This strikes me as perfect "presuppositional" reporting, because it could be a lot more blatant, but it manages to make the people Haggerty agrees with sound more virtuous and upstanding than the other side.

This is exactly right. There are "true catholics" and then the "fake catholics." "Fake catholics" are those who, you know, no matter what their personal beliefs are don't believe the Pope should be running the country. But, in NPR's world, the more of a theocrat you are, the more you believe in imposing your vision of "absolute truth," the more real you are. But, in this case, there appears to be only one issue that separates the two - and that's abortion.

And, more generally, the reporter didn't bother to ask any questions about the numerous pro-Choice Catholic Republicans.


I'm not one who puts the UK press on a pedestal - I've lived abroad enough to know that it too occasionally has an on-again off-again relationship with the truth. But, it is pretty sad that we have to turn to the Guardian to learn a key detail about the prison torture story:

A military report into the Abu Ghraib case - parts of which were made available to the Guardian - makes it clear that private contractors were supervising interrogations in the prison, which was notorious for torture and executions under Saddam Hussein.

One civilian contractor was accused of raping a young, male prisoner but has not been charged because military law has no jurisdiction over him.

So, there you go. We hire people to oversee our security and interrogation operations, and they're completely outside the law.

Rape rooms indeed.

(via Body and Soul)

John Kerry Day Final Tally


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Thursday, April 29, 2004

Uh, Ben?

Feel free to, you know, skip a blackjack bet and drop a couple bucks into the paypal link on the left.

We're all in this together after all.

Plant Runner

I have to admit that I'm a wee bit shocked that a Bush-hater like me has never seen this one before. Over at Trippi's new digs, Change for America, Adam Mordecai brings us this excerpt from a 1999 WaPo article:

We weren't looking for someone, but I thought this would be a talented guy we should hire, and he was available," Gow said. In early 1971, Gow gave Bush a job as a management trainee. He was required to wear a coat and tie and dispatched around the country and even to Central America, looking for plant nurseries that Stratford might acquire. The newly buttoned-down businessman also moved into a garage apartment that he shared with Ensenat off Houston's North Boulevard, an old 1920s neighborhood close to downtown.

"We traveled to all kinds of peculiar places, like Apopka, Florida, which was named the foliage capital of the world," said Peter C. Knudtzon, another Zapata alumnus who was Stratford's executive vice president and Bush's immediate boss.

Once or twice a month, Bush would announce that he had flight duty and off he would go, sometimes taking his F-102 from Houston to Orlando and back. "It was really quite amazing," Knudtzon said. "Here was this young guy making acquisitions of tropical plants and then up and leaving to fly fighter planes."

So, wait, Bush was using his government plane to shuttle back and forth between Houston and his job in Florida. And, then, he was flying to Central America to locate high quality "tropical plants?" WTF?

Kerry Update

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Kaus - Sleeps With Goats

In my eyes, I have to say, it's likely that it's true. Any claims by Kaus to not have carnal knowledge of goats will just be more evidence that the man is a liar.

Planned Parenthood Plans to Protest Hughes Book Tour

Demand apology.

Click here for more information.

Stations Pulling Nightline

Apparently, honoring the fallen is "contrary to the public interest". (thanks to Athenae)

Contact the Sinclair Broadcast Group at 410-568-1500 and ask them why they refuse to acknowledge those who have served this country honorably.

You can also contact your local affiliate:

WXLV, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, High Point NC 336-274-484
WEAR, Pensacola 850-456-3333
KDNL, St. Louis
WSYX, Columbus OH 614-481-6666
WLOS, Asheville NC 828-684-1340
WCHS, Charleston, Huntington W VA 304-346-5358
WGGB, Springfield MA (413) 733-4040
WTXL, Tallahassee (850)893-4140 [WTXL will run it, according to their contract which forbids pre-emption]

Be polite with them - recognize that it isn't their decision but you're nonetheless calling to voice your objection.

...more on Sinclair's mission to tell you that it's wonderful that soldiers keep dying in Iraq as long as they don't have to tell you about it.

In comments reader JBL writes:

I'm trying to organize a reading of the names in front of WSYX here in Columbus, beginning at 5:00. (Just in time for the local newcasts.) Folks who are interested in joining in, please meet at WSYX, 1261 Dublin Road. I plan to bring an American flag and dress in the somber attire appropriate for a de facto memorial service.'s some more contact information courtesy of a reader:

Sinclair CEO:

VP of Programming and Promotions:

John Kerry Thursday!

Click to make the greenshirts cry.

I normally try to ignore the whole Nader issue, but I'm really getting tired of their "mommy he hit me back!" whining. It seems go something like this:

Greenshirt: Kerry is worse than Hitler!

Democrat: Um, you realize that you're just helping to re-elect Bush.

Greenshirt: How dare you insult me! Kerry can't win without my vote!


..just a comment. Look, not all Greens are "greenshirts." Not all people who, for reasons mysterious to me, intend to vote for Nader or some other 3rd party candidate are "greenshirts." It's the purer-than-thou Nader trolls who pollute the comment boards with their anti-Kerry rhetoric then react as above if someone strikes back.

Some Good News

Maine passes domestic partnership bill. I'm not sure what it offers other than improved inheritance rights, but at least it's something.


Corruption is so endemic in this administration that the people don't even understand that they are corrupt. It'd disgusting, and people are dying.

WASHINGTON ? A senior Defense Department official is under investigation by the Pentagon inspector general for allegations that he attempted to alter a contract proposal in Iraq to benefit a mobile phone consortium that includes friends and colleagues, according to documents obtained by The Times and sources with direct knowledge of the process.

John A. Shaw, 64, the deputy undersecretary for international technology security, sought to transform a relatively minor police and fire communications proposal into a contract allowing the creation of an Iraq-wide commercial cellular network that could generate hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue per year, the sources said.

Shaw brought pressure on officials at the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad to change the contract language and grant the consortium a noncompetitive bid, according to the sources.

The consortium, under the guidance of a firm owned by Alaskan natives, consisted of an Irish telecommunications entrepreneur, former officials in the first Bush administration and such leading telecommunications companies as Lucent and Qualcomm, according to sources and consortium members.

Shaw's efforts resulted in a dispute at the Coalition Provisional Authority that has delayed the contract, depriving U.S. military officials and Iraqi police officers, firefighters, ambulance drivers and border guards of a joint communications system.


In interviews, Shaw said he had a long-standing personal relationship with at least one member of the consortium, but had no financial ties or agreement with the consortium for future employment. One other member of the consortium's board of directors is under contract with his office as a researcher.

Shaw said he was trying to help the group because it could quickly install the police and fire communications system, and because the group was using a U.S.-based cellphone technology called CDMA that had lost out in what he called a "rigged" competition last year for commercial licenses in Iraq. Three companies using European-based technology won contracts.

Additionally, Shaw said that he had been contacted by Rep. Darrell E. Issa, a Republican whose San Diego County district was packed with Qualcomm employees, and the office of Republican Sen. Conrad R. Burns of Montana, the head of the Commerce Committee's communications subcommittee, urging him to ensure that U.S. technology was allowed to compete for cellular phone contracts in Iraq. Issa confirmed they he had contacted Shaw on the issue. Burns' office did not respond to inquiries.
Qualcomm, is used in the United States and some countries in Asia. Its rival, a standard developed by Europeans called GSM, is used in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East.


"Hey, we won the war," Shaw said in an interview. "Is it not in our interests to have the most advanced system that we possibly can that can then become the dominant standard in the region?"

So Sad

April 28, 2004 — The Pennsylvania National Guard has seen is first guardsman killed in action since World War Two. Thirty-year-old Sherwood Baker was killed Monday.

He was searching for weapons of mass destruction around Baghdad when a suspected chemical warehouse exploded. Sergeant Baker was raised in Philadelphia's West Mount Airy section.

Baker leaves a wife and nine-year-old son JD in Luzern County. Baker grew up in Philadelphia, attended Roman Catholic high school where his peace activist mom Celeste Zappala says Baker protested the first Gulf war. Zappala says she raised all her sons to oppose war. She is bitter about the Iraq War calling it Bush's false war.

So how did the child of a pacifist family end up in an armored regiment in Iraq? His family says to supplement his income as a social worker and help his community Baker signed up in the National Guard 7 years ago. When ordered to Iraq a month ago Baker live up to his commitment to his unit.

So as the rest of Zappala family marched against the war, believing it is a war about oil. Sgt. Baker did his duty and said little.

His family says Sgt. Sherwood Baker was an American True believer, a patriot who gave his life in an unjust, unneeded War.

While his personal views of the war haven't been presented, it's hard not to infer that he wasn't exactly in support of it. But, nonetheless he went and did his duty, much like John Kerry did.

I don't want to politicize Baker's death. It's a horrible tragedy, like every other death in this war, and my thoughts go out to his family. But, the point I'm trying to make is that some people understand the concept of "duty" far more than the couch potato warriors and the chickenhawks who have attacked Kerry. To them, the fact that Kerry served in a war he didn't believe in and then came home and protested that war is a somehow a contradiction or character flaw. One can believe in living up to, and even transcending, the obligations of citizenship even when those obligations are in conflict with each other. One can serve and protest.

...more on Baker here and here.


How many times will the White House lie before the press realizes that, you know, they LIE.

Yesterday's big news: There will be no full record of the session, even by the White House.

Elisabeth Bumiller and Philip Shenon write in the New York Times: "The White House said on Tuesday that there would be no recording or formal transcription of the historic joint interview of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney by the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. . . . "

John Roberts reports for CBS News: "The White House today claimed that commission interviews with Bill Clinton and Al Gore were not transcribed.

"But in fact, CBS News has learned, those sessions were recorded and will eventually be transcribed.

10 More Dead


The Triumphant Return of John Kerry Thursday!

Just think about Karen Hughes having the nerve to flat out lie about him and click here to wipe the smirk off her face.

Buy This Book

Joe Wilson's book about to ship.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

Severin Sponsors

As promised on air, here's a list of email addresses of advertisers on Severin's show, compiled by Hesiod of Counterspin.

Poll Results


Just 32 percent, the lowest number ever, say Iraq was a threat that required immediate military action a year ago.

Less than half, 47 percent, now say the U.S. did the right thing taking military action in Iraq, the lowest support recorded in CBS News/New York Times Polls since the war began.

There are growing concerns about the long-term impact of the war. 41 percent now think the war increased the threat of terrorism against the U.S. 71 percent say the Administration’s policies have worsened the U.S.’s image in the Arab world.


For now, only 31 percent believe the Administration has a clear plan to turn over power in Iraq; 32 percent say it has a clear plan to rebuild the country.

The struggles in Iraq appear to have hurt assessments of the President. His overall approval rating (46 percent), his rating on handling Iraq (41 percent), and his rating on handling foreign policy (40 percent) are at the lowest points ever in this Administration. In each case, more disapprove than approve. 53 percent of voters are uneasy about Bush’s handling of international crisis, figures unmatched since before 9/11.

Majority Report

I'll be on tonight. Don't worry - not for 3 hours. 9:40-10:15 or so.

Where Left and Right Should Agree

The abuse of eminent domain is one issue that should anger people all across the ideological spectrum. Florida's going to legalize a massive land grab:

Florida’s constitution allows governments to take your land for a public purpose, such as a road or school, as long as you receive a fair price.

But legislation — which could be approved this week — would allow a city or county to take an individual’s land, with fair compensation, and sell it to a private developer for a shopping center or office building.

Opponents of the proposed law say it’s little more than a government-sponsored land grab for developers.

“This bill is a shocking grant of wholesale power to counties to condemn very large amounts of property just to assemble it for private development,” said Dana Berliner, senior attorney at the Washington, D.C.-based Institute for Justice, a public interest law firm.

Frank Schnidman, a professor of community and economic development at Florida Atlantic University and an expert in land planning, agreed.

“They basically want to loosen up the definition of public purpose so land can be taken for development,” he said.

Proponents say it’s necessary so that communities such as Cape Coral and Lehigh Acres, which have thousands of small residential lots and not enough commercial land, can ensure they have enough property for future businesses.

“For some of these communities it’s absolutely essential,” said Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, the Senate bill sponsor.

No it isn't absolutely essential. Developers can assemble smaller pieces for commercial property and offer more money to get people to sell. The issue is that the land will be worth more after conversion to commerical use. Developers want to pay what it's worth before conversion, homeowners understandably want to get what it's really worth for the developers.

...john d'oh informs us that the eminent domain provision was removed. Judging from this article, I'm actually not quite sure of that. Looks like one senator was running around saying "trust me." We'll see...


Go Lautenberg!

Now we can look forward to another round of befuddled conservatives not quite understanding what a chickenhawk is.

Reward good behavior.

Coggeshell for Congress

I'm not sure why, but I sorta like this guy...

... check this out.

Repealing the 17th Amendment

What the hell is with this latest right wing idea that keeps getting batted around? Zell's the latest, but there were a couple hinting at it least week I think...

And So It Begins

The Hoeffel campaign comes out swinging:

Traveling across this state the past 10 months, it's clear to me that most people recognize that what Arlen's been doing in the last few years just isn't working anymore. That's why it doesn't matter whether Republicans call it "bringing home the bacon" or wasting money on pork -- it's small potatoes compared to big problems we face. Pennsylvanians understand that giving a check for a new bridge through town isn't enough when there are no jobs to drive to -- because down in Washington, Arlen Specter is supporting policies that encourage companies to ship those Pennsylvania jobs abroad.

He's turned his back on moderation, turned his back on working families, and, most disappointingly, turned his back on a woman's right to choose. That's why George Bush and Dick Cheney came in here to prop him up. We all saw those the TV ads. Now more than ever, he's their Senator, not ours.

Specter seems to think that after 24 years in office and three years of supporting a failed agenda at home and abroad, all we have to do is more of the same.

But Pennsylvanians know that we're on the wrong track and need a change in course. That's why I've been fighting for the big ideas that worked so well for our economy and our local communities in the 1990s - fiscal responsibility, a balanced federal budget, strong environmental protections, more funding to make college affordable, common sense gun safety, a national investment in putting more cops on the street, and support for family planning that protects a woman's right to choose.

I'm running because we have to build a future that works for Pennsylvania.

Click the link above for more. And, check out the Specter Two-Step!

Comments Down

I've pulled them to decrease load time. Will return them when Haloscan comes back to life.


God I hate Jody Wilgoren.

But, more importantly, I hate her editor who lets her publish this crap.

Guest Post from Morris Meyer

The Morris Meyer camapaign asked to send a message to all my readers, and I happily obliged. Meyer is running against a truly toxic Texan, Joe Barton. So, here's Meyer making his case for your support:

Congressman Joe Barton is now the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce - which puts him in control of the funding for the EPA. He has a decades long record of putting polluters before people. We recently scored a victory against Barton by keeping the pressure on to keep his home county with its polluting cement plants in the EPA non-attainment area.

We are fighting a man with complete disregard to human life. In 2002 when Barton was told that the radioactive casks stored in the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste site were defective he uncaringly replied "We're all going to die".

After the explosion at the UN headquarters in Iraq, "Smokey" Joe Barton claimed that the UN is on the side of the terrorists.

Congressman Joe Barton recently testified as a character witness during the trial of a congressional staff worker who later plead guilty to raping a homeless young mother at gunpoint. The staff worker was allowed to use resources from the congressman's office to mount his defense.

We received 74 more votes in the Texas primary than Barton, an early near endorsement from his hometown paper and are on track to take back this seat because "Smokey" Joe is such a horrible piece of work. We need $100,000 by May 15th to impress the DCCC and the large Democratic donors that this race can be won and send Tom DeLay's chief thug home for good.

Please send us some turkee!

You can check out Meyer's campaign site here.

Loser Frist

Big Media Matt is right that the reason Frist would rather engage in silly food fights than have the Senate actually do anything is that Frist is actually a very horrible Majority Leader. The only way he manages to not get steamrolled by Dems (believe it or not) is that DeLay's minions in the House manage to strike everything positive in conference.

So, we're going to have a do-nothing Senate in 2004. I say, great!

Big Interest Rate Hikes?

Creepy possibility.

Beauty is Skin Deep

But ugly goes right to the bone, as they say. Normally I try to be above such things, but I'm struck by the Corner's Kathryn Jean Lopez insulting of the [edit - should read - LINKING TO THOSE WHO INSULT THE] looks of the women who attended the March for Women's Rights this past weekend. According to K. Lo [edit - SOMEONE SHE LINKS TO], "these were some ugly wimmin."

I thought I'd saved my picture of K. Lo to disk, to have it in my back pocket just in case they need ever arose. But, I'm unable to find it. Let's just say there's a reason that one cannot find a picture of her anywhere on the internet - and, in fact, she seems to have taken pains to have them removed from internet archives.

Ugly is as ugly does.

...okay, my bad, sorry, posted before coffee. A reader points out that K. Lo didn't say it, she just linked approvingly to a blogger who posts a bunch of pictures from the march, containing editorial comments on the looks of the people at the march. Apologies.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Toomey Wins!

14 votes to 12!

Oh, wait, only 1 precinct reporting...

53/47% Specter with 11% reporting...

...61/39 with 52% reporting... [number might be philly only, unclear]

...52/48 with 30% reporting from other sources... [if the number above is philly only, then toomey still in this]

...Toomey concedes. Suicide watch over at the Corner.

Karen Hughes is French!

Shocking. Born in Paris.

Open Thread

Primary Results Soon.

Nightline Friday


From Nightline’s 4-27 daily email (tonight’s show is on the Cheney Supreme Court case):

Now I want to tell you about this Friday’s broadcast. We’re going to do something different, something that we think is important. Friday night, we will show you the pictures, and Ted will read the names, of the men and women from the armed forces who have been killed in combat in Iraq. That’s it. That will be the whole broadcast. Nightline has been reporting on the casualties under the heading of “Line of Duty.”

But we realized that we seemed to just be giving numbers. So many killed in this incident, so many more in that attack. Whether you agree with the war or not, these men and women are serving, are putting their lives on the line, in our names. We think it is important to remember that those who have paid the ultimate price all have faces, and names, and loved ones. We thought about doing this on Memorial Day, but that’s a time when most media outlets do stories about the military, and they are generally lost in the holiday crush of picnics and all. We didn’t want this broadcast to get lost. Honestly, I don’t know if people will watch this for thirty seconds, or ten minutes, or at all. That’s not the point. We think this is important. These men and women have earned nothing less.

One point, we are not going to include those killed in non-hostile incidents. There’s no disrespect meant here, we just don’t have enough time in this one broadcast. But they are no less deserving of our thoughts. I hope that you will join us for at least part of “The Fallen” on Friday.

Leroy Sievers and the Nightline Staff Nightline Offices ABCNEWS Washington D.C.

From Drudge

Scalia, without a hint of irony apparently...

Justice Antonin Scalia warns about opening [Republican] presidents to snooping outsiders and worrisome lawsuits...

Concerts for Kerry

Events in NYC, Philly, New Orleans.

Heavy Shelling in Fallujah

CNN bobbleheads sweaty with excitement.

Brain and Eye Injuries

This stuff is just so horrible. I really hope Kerry gets out in front of this and proposes massive increases in VA funds. You can have my goddamn tax cut back. I'd rather pay out the money that way and get some quality care for these people than throw it into their change cups a few years from now.

I hate what these bastards have done, and I hate that they'd rather bankrupt the government than take care of the mess they've made. Assholes.

Head Fetish

What is with Bush rubbing heads?

Low Turnout in Philly Region

Not good for Specter.

...don't forget to help out Hoeffel!


Go read.

Gaze on the soul of your millionaire press corps! They’re moved to cheer for only one thing—the repeal of Teddy Roosevelt’s tax on multimillion-dollar estates. Meanwhile, their “professionalism” keeps them from raising concerns until the two parties permit them to speak! Why did they bungle the run-up to Iraq? We were just too professional, Ignatius says! Has history ever rewarded a nation which allows such fops to serve in high places? Disaster awaits if these people aren’t countered. That’s why decent people like E. J. Dionne must stand on their hind legs—and fight.

Where's the Pickler When You Need Her

When Dick Cheney criticized John Kerry for voting to cut defense and opposing many weapons systems, he failed to mention that he was lying about many of those weapons systems and that Cheney himself had voted to cut defense and gut certain weapons systems.

Apologize, Karen

Planned Parenthood demands an apology from Karen Hughes.

Karen Hughes is the darling of the Kool Kids. She can compare a majority of Americans to terrorists and she'll get a pass.

Specter Pulls Anti-Toomey Attack Site

Specter, hoping that if he wins the electorate will forget the nasty and hard-right ("Santorum supports Arlen Specter...") primary campaign that he waged against Toomey, has pulled one of his campaign websites, Toomey's Troubles.

Google has it cached, of course...


Roger Ailes has the best update.


Let me join the chorus of people who are utterly flabbergasted at the ridiculousness of the new flag. Just when I think they can't get any more incompetent...

NPR's report on this was quite good.

Off the Kuff

Charless Kuffner of Off the Kuff has a guest post over at the DCCC's blog, The Stakeholder.

Pennsylvania Primary

After going back on forth on this issue, I've decided to heartily endorse Pat Toomey for Republican Candidate for U.S. Senate! Go Toomey!

And, with that comes the launch of Hoeffel's active campaign tomorrow morning. Let's help Hoeffel take this one!

Monkey Mail

Hesiod gets some great monkey mail. He was kind enough to leave off the work-related email address.

Fundraising Links

Awhile back after the silly smearjob on Kos, I pulled back on having any candidate links - advertising or fundraising. Well, a few weeks have gone by and I've changed my mind. There isn't really any big reason. Mostly I think after a wee cooling off period and a bit more awareness of how these games are played something like that well be less likely to happen next time.

In any case, I never pulled the links to "punish" anyone, as some have thought, just to not involve candidates in any sort of miniscandal. But, I'm confident that those who advertise here are aware of the possibilities - which is all that really matters.

Monday, April 26, 2004


Ungar writes about a certain odd redaction in Bush's records.

The records released by the White House last month fail to answer that question, but they do add one compelling fact to the story -- namely, that Bush was not the only man in his unit to be suspended for failing to take the physical, and that someone else at Ellington Air Force Base in Houston was suspended for exactly the same reason at almost the same time. However, in the documents, the second man's name was inexplicably redacted -- raising new questions.

Throughout the reams of documents released by the administration, standard practice was to allow each National Guardsman's name to be printed in full. Why did the White House make an exception in this case? Why would the Bush administration want to make sure this name in particular did not make it into the public eye?

The White House declined to answer these questions. However, the same document that was redacted by the White House had been the subject of a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Marty Heidt [sic], who was investigating the story before the 2000 presidential election. In the same document that the White House selectively censored for release to the public, the name of the man who was also suspended with Bush is clearly printed. His name: James R. Bath.

Heldt. Marty Heldt.

Anyway, here's the doc which the blogosphere had previously addressed.



Mr. Chalabi, whose own political fortunes in Iraq may be threatened by the United Nations plan, appeared this week on "Fox News Sunday" with another view of Mr. Brahimi, who put together the Afghan government two years ago.

"Mr. Brahimi is an Algerian with an Arab nationalist agenda," said Mr. Chalabi. "He already is a controversial figure in Iraq. He is not a unifying figure. He is supposed to be a unifying figure, so he can choose a government that will be effective."

Lessons Learned

Kerry unaware his mic was on, just after his appearance on GMA on ABC:

Geez... They're working for the Republican National Committee.

Yes, Senator. They're all working for the RNC. It's time to come to terms with that.

Welcome to my world...

Kerry Strikes Back

Kos has the details.

Jim Doyle for VEEP

I agree with Lead Balloons. I know nothing about Doyle, but he deserves the highest honors we can confer on him for doing this.

Fortunately for Dr. Lamkin below, Governor Doyle may overtake him as hate radio's #1 object of hate.


Hale Guilty:

White supremacist leader Matthew Hale, whose gospel of "racial holy war" was linked to a follower's deadly shooting rampage five years ago, was found guilty Monday of trying to have a federal judge killed.

Hale, 32, was found guilty of four of the five charges against him. He was found innocent of one of two counts of soliciting the murder of a federal judge. The judge was not attacked.

Prosecutors said Hale was furious after U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow ordered him to stop using the name World Church of the Creator. Lefkow had ordered Hale to stop using the name because it had been trademarked by an Oregon-based religious group that has no ties to Hale.

Hale sat with his hands clasped on the table as the verdicts were read. He dipped his head slightly but showed no other reaction.

Farting in Church

Cheney gave a speech on a college campus and embarrassed the hell out of its president by spending much of the time blasting Kerry. The man has no manners. Here's the full text of the letter the president sent out campuswide:
Dear Westminster Students, Faculty and Staff:

I would like to thank each and every one of you who were so courteous and respectful to Mr. Cheney during his visit and speech. Frankly, I must admit that I was surprised and disappointed that Mr. Cheney chose to step off the high ground and resort to Kerry-bashing for a large portion of his speech. The content and tone of his speech was not provided to us prior to the event -- we had only been told the speech would be about foreign policy, including issues in Iraq. Nevertheless, I was extremely proud of the students, staff, and faculty who represented the College so well during the organization of the visit and during the speech itself -- inside and outside of the gym.

For those of you who perhaps did not receive tickets or were not able to get into the gym before the secret service shut the doors, please accept my apologies. We were given a specified allotment and only one day to distribute them. Likewise, the security checkpoint by the secret service inside the entrance of Westminster Gym simply did not move the people through as fast as necessary for the volume of people in line. Please understand that for a high-level event of this nature involving top government leaders, we had to conform with the protocol, timelines and security measures that were required by the advance team and by the secret service.

We will be making available videotapes of Cheney's speech in our library by tomorrow afternoon, on reserve for the Westminster community to check out and view. Also, I want to remind and encourage you to attend the debate being held on Tuesday evening organized by the College Democrats and College Republicans.

Finally, I want to make it clear to the Westminster community that, in the interest of balance and fairness and integrity, we will strongly encourage Senator Kerry to take advantage of this venue to make his views known as well. In fact, I have already stated this invitation publicly via members of the media immediately after Mr. Cheney's speech. In the framework of academic freedom and balance, I would expect and demand that our campus community treat Mr. Kerry with equal courtesy and respect should he decide to visit here. It is my sincere belief and commitment that this college will continue to be world-class venue for international leaders who want to speak to the world via Westminster.

--Fletcher M. Lamkin, Ph.D.

I hope someone has warned Dr. Lamkin that he's about to become Public Enemy #1 on hate radio. Well, he'll find out soon enough...

Open Thread



Ah, Josh Marshall discovers the source of the bogus Kerry/medals story.

...more on Vlasto here and here.

Gonzo III

Call the offices of Rick Santorum and ask them what the Senator's position on the birth control pill is. Does he think it should be legal to prescribe it? What about condoms? Vasectomies?


This should be fun.

The Free Market

The thing about Free Trade agreements is that developed countries always manage to convince developing countries to cut their trade barriers and subsidies while failing to do it themselves. Take NAFTA -- the North American Free Trade Agreement imposed a very precise timeline for a 15 year rollback on Mexican tariffs on U.S. corn. It simultaneously included a general non-binding promise to roll back agricultural subsidies whenever the US feels like it. As a consequence, NAFTA has devasted Mexican farmers and agricultural workers because our subsidies let us export super-cheap corn to Mexico with the new low trade barriers.

I'm a "free trader" - but what we call 'Free Trade' rarely is.

Gonzo Journalism II

Your mission, if you choose to take it, is to call the offices of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a pro-Choice Catholic Republican, and ask them some of the following questions:

1) Is it the Governor's position that pro-Choice politicians should not be allowed to take communion?
2) Does the governor himself take communion when he attends church?
3) Does the governor attend church regularly? Did he attend church yesterday? Did he take communion?

Phone: 916-445-2841

The point here is not to harass pro-Choice Catholic politicians. The point is to highlight the inconsistent treatment by the media of John Kerry. Kerry has not made his religion a central part of his campaign - all he's done is gone to church as he apparently does regularly. Now, suddenly, the media aided by right wing operatives and some opportunist Bishops, have decided that only pro-Choice Catholic Democrats should have their lives and activities within a church scrutinized.

The media only feel the need to ask these questions of Kerry, so we can ask them of other politicians.

Gonzo Journalism

Your mission, if you choose to take it, is to call the offices of Governor George Pataki, a pro-Choice Republican, and ask them some of the following questions:

1) Is it Governor Pataki's position that pro-Choice politicians should not be allowed to take communion?
2) Does the governor himself take communion when he attends church?
3) Does the governor attend church regularly? Did he attend church yesterday? Did he take communion?


Sunday, April 25, 2004

Finally, a Wee Bit of Balance

From the WaPo:

A question has been gnawing at Frank A. McNeirney since he read that some Roman Catholic bishops want to deny Communion to Catholic politicians, such as Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kerry, whose public positions are at odds with church doctrine.

"Does this only apply to abortion?" asked McNeirney, 67, of Bethesda. "What about the death penalty?"

After retiring as a trade magazine editor a dozen years ago, McNeirney founded a nonprofit organization, Catholics Against the Death Penalty, which has 1,200 members across the country. It's a mom-and-pop operation, run by McNeirney and his wife, Ellen, out of their home on a shoestring budget. They are the first to acknowledge that it has nowhere near the political clout or public visibility of the nation's antiabortion groups.

But McNeirney is not alone in questioning whether the church's political vision has become myopic, focusing too narrowly on abortion.

Some Catholic publications, educators and elected officials are also warning that church leaders may appear hypocritical or partisan if they condemn Kerry because he favors abortion rights while they say nothing about Catholic governors who allow executions, Catholic members of Congress who support the Iraq war or Catholic officials at all levels who ignore the church's teachings on social justice.


Sirota pre-empts the latest Cheney hypocrisy:

With Vice President Cheney set to attack his opponents Monday for supposedly wanting to cut defense spending in the 1980s, I wanted to pass along this quote from Cheney from the same time period. According to the 12/16/84 Washington Post, as a House leader, Cheney went on record and specifically attacked President Reagan for not cutting defense spending:

If Reagan "doesn't really cut defense, he becomes the No. 1 special pleader in town...The severity of the deficit is great enough that the president has to reach out and take a whack at everything to be credible...If you're going to rule out the other two [Social Security cuts and a tax increase], then you've got to hit defense."
- Dick Cheney quoted in the Washington Post, 12/16/84

How can Cheney attack others for supposedly wanting to cut defense in the 1980s, when he was leading vocal attacks against a President of his own party for not cutting defense?

...and Phredd provides:

Copyright 1990 Federal Information Systems Corporation
Federal News Service
LENGTH: 38836 words


SEC. CHENEY:[Introductory remarks omitted]
To give a quick history, Mr. Chairman, since I became Secretary last spring, we've been through a fairly major process of reducing the defense budget. In the package that we submitted last spring that I think was approved in broad outlines by Congress, we cut almost $65 billion out of the five-year defense program. The package that we're submitting today for '91 involves taking another $167 billion out of the defense program, for a total of about 231 billion [dollars]. That's roughly the difference between the Reagan line in January of '89 and the Bush line that's being submitted in January of '90.
The Defense Management Report contains reductions of 39 billion [dollars]. That's part of the 167 [billion dollars] above it. And the reductions in '91 amount to about $22 billion. Now, that is computed based upon taking the program that Congress approved for '90, just last year, running it into '91 -- that's 28 divisions for the Army, the 561 ships for the Navy, the B-2, and all of the other problems that were authorized in the budget by the Congress for Fiscal Year '90 -- and pricing them in '91; comes to about $317 billion. We're submitting a request for budget authority of 295 [billion dollars] -- roughly a $22 billion reduction in '91 numbers.

Severin Update


"I have spoken to Jay Severin and he knows we take this seriously and do not condone offensive remarks toward any religious groups and he will be apologizing on his show Monday afternoon," said Mills in an e-mail. "He did not intend to offend anyone."

Yet, Mills also acknowledged to CAIR that if Severin had said the same thing about African-Americans that he would no longer be on the air.

They go on to make a distinction between "all Muslims" and "all Muslims outside the US" as if that's somehow meaningful. But, hey, why don't we take up a collection to parachute Rambo Severin into the general vicinity of Mecca and see how he does.

...hesiod provides usa list of advertisers we can call tomorrow.

...You can send email to the radio statio here.

...and you can call Eric Coldwell of WTKK at (617)822-6828 tomorrow during normal hours and you can email him at

RNC Amway

Apparently the CREEP strategy is to run it as a massive cult-like multi-level marketing firm.

The Memory Hole

Russ Kick of the Memory Hole explains that he specifically requested that the photos of NASA astronauts were not to be a part of his FOIA request.


Kudos to all who attended.

...only about 1 million? Damn, that's only about 1/3 of 1% of the population. Obviously not many people support women's rights. [/instapundit.]

Pro-Choice=al Qaeda

So Sayeth Karen Hughes.

Some Misconceptions

First. What patriotboy says.

But, more generally many of the things I wrote in this post have been greatly misinterpreted. I'll assume good faith on the part of those who did so and therefore conclude that the problem was with the writer and not the reader.

Some have reacted to my use as "liberalish" in describing "Christian liberals," thinking that I meant "Christian liberals can't really be liberals, so I'll call them liberalish." That's not what I meant at all. I meant "liberalish" as "representing a wide spectrum of political beliefs from moderate to left." I was aiming at a broad group of people, not attempting to marginalize or denigrate anyone.

Some have also taken my post to mean that nothing good has ever come from Christianity, or that Christians individually never do anything good, charitable, and that Christians have never been a part of social justice movements, etc... I'm not sure where that's in the post, but I never meant to claim or imply that.

Chuck Currie chastizes me for not mentioning, for example, the work of the Reverend Barry Lynn as head of Americans United for the Separation of Church and State. Fair enough - my initial post should have been more clear that I was aware of activities by him and other people. Partly, the problem is that I incorrectly assume sometimes that people reading this site read and hear every word I say and write. I had mentioned Lynn while discussing this issue on Air America the other night.

My tone generally was too harsh in places, and as is all too frequently the case I painted with too broad a brush - but, on the other hand when people throw a punch they shouldn't be too upset when someone punches back. I think people who read my words charitably, as I would hope people roughly on "my side" would tend to do, would have a clearer understanding of what I meant to write, even if the writing wasn't always clear.

I should have made clear that I think gratuitous swipes at religion for no particular purpose are both unhelpful and potentially genuinely offensive for reasons others have stated. However, I just don't think it's particularly important in the grand scheme of things. If liberalish (that is, from left to moderate) Christians and Jews and others are concerned that such things may scare voters from voting Democratic, then it seems to me that time is best spent pointing out the truly offensive, bigoted, and anti-religious freedom rhetoric and policies coming from the Republican side of the aisle.

That doesn't mean we can't criticize people on "our side," but there's a difference between "I don't like what Marc Maron said on the radio," and "OH MY GOD DEMOCRATS ARE ANTI-RELIGIOUS BIGOTS AND THIS IS A SERIOUS PROBLEM." Democrats are not anti-religious bigots, by and large. Most Democratic voters are religious. Most Democratic politicians are religious. It's just another issue that the Right likes to raise, knowing that some on the Left will play right into it.

In the end, it's all about emphasis. I don't think Democrats pose a threat to religious freedom - in fact, they're our best hope for preserving it. And, nor do I think the comments of one radio host, no matter what we think of them, should lead us to discussing the Big Anti-Religion Problem In The Democratic Party. It doesn't exist. It's time to stop letting the Right tar the entire "Left" with a few random statements and sentiments of a tiny minority. No one will ever ask members of the Right to do 3 weeks of soul-searching after Jay Severin's advocacy of genocide.

And, yes, more generally I wish moderate and liberal Christians would devise a coordinated media and PR strategy to counterract both the influence of the Christian Right on politics as well as its influence on the public face of Christianity. I say both because it benefits my agenda - maintaining the Church/State wall, and because I perceive (though, as a secular person this is less my business) that moderate and liberal Christians are being tarred by the actions of everything done in the name of Christianity. That isn't to take away from the notable actions of individuals and groups who are doing just this, but rather pointing out the obvious fact that it hasn't been a particularly well-funded or coordinated or successful effort. Need someone to talk about religion on CNN? Call Pat Robertson!

While I respect the work of the Reverend Barry Lynn - I think he's an excellent advocate for the mission of his particular group - his reticence to discuss his personal religious beliefs limits his effectiveness in other areas. We need more people who are outspoken about both their religious beliefs and about politics to counterract the rhetoric and political force of the Christian Right. As a secular liberal, there isn't much I can do about this issue.

I think some think that I personally don't pay enough attention to this issue - that I, as someone with a moderately sized megaphone, could bring more attention to the types of issues I'm talking about. There's a reason I don't - there's something not quite right about me as a secular person highlighting the actions of my "favorite Christians." Religion isn't my domain - media and politics are. And, while I of course highlight the political actions of the Christian Right and the Republican Party (one and the same, mostly, these days), I'm not all that comfortable linking to something and saying "I agree with this" when, well, what we're talking about to some degree are Biblical interpretations. I'm fine with people integrating and resolving their politics and their religion, and while I can agree or disagree with the politics, the religion really isn't any of my business.

I would suggest that some of the reason some on the Christian Left feel somewhat that their religion marginalizes them from other liberals is something which impacts us all - Religion Is a Very Sensitive Subject. Unless you are an extreme evangelist or in a group of extraordinarily like-minded people, discussion of deeply held but not universally shared religious beliefs is almost always problematic. Some people just don't consider it to be appropriate dinner party conversation.

...and everyone should read this post by Tristero.

Boston Radio Host Advocates Genocide


A national Islamic antidefamation organization called Friday for the firing of Boston talk-radio host Jay Severin after he allegedly suggested in his afternoon talk show that the United States should "kill all Muslims."

The statement -- made during Severin's show Thursday on WTKK-FM -- was allegedly part of a discussion about how Severin believes Muslims want to take over the world, said Rabiah Ahmed, a spokeswoman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

She said he then remarked, "I've got an idea, let's kill all Muslims."

The Future of White Journalism

From Pitts:

What does this mean for the future of white journalism?

Granted, you've pontificated about our damaged credibility. You've felled forests with your weighty ruminations about what this portends for the future of our profession. But, evidently cowed by political correctness, you've ignored the most vital issues.

Did USA Today advance a moderately capable journalist because he was white? Did some white editor mentor him out of racial solidarity even though Kelley was unqualified? In light of this fiasco, should we re- examine the de facto affirmative action that gives white men preferential treatment in our newsrooms?

Certainly, no one had to beg for these questions to be asked a year ago, when Jayson Blair got his sorry backside in hot water. Blair, as you hardly need to be reminded, was a black reporter who initially came to the New York Times via a slot in an internship program the paper was using to increase newsroom diversity. It turned out that the only diversity Blair represented was that which is to be found between lies and damned lies.

Still, some observers felt the circumstances of his hiring were almost as important as the reason for his firing. Columnist Andrew Sullivan claimed Blair got away with snookering the Times because his editors feared offending a black journalist.

Columnist Richard Cohen told us Blair enjoyed "favoritism based on race.'

Jennifer Harper, a reporter for the conservative Washington Times, wrote that the Blair episode made the New York paper a "case study on the effects of affirmative action in the newsroom.'

A computer search Friday indicates that Sullivan, Cohen and Harper have thus far been silent on the racial dimensions of the Kelley incident. In fairness to those worthies, I'm sure they're warming up their laptops even as we speak.

Namely, that this is (with apologies to the Four Tops) the same old song. When a white person screws up, it ignites a debate on the screw up. When a black person screws up, it ignites a debate on race.

Pitts fails to mention the Hack Triplets - Mickey, Glenn, and Howie.