Saturday, June 26, 2004

Concerts For Kerry

Have a fun night out, and 100% of your ticket price goes to the "Big John Saves the World" fund.

Good show tomorrow (Sun., 6-27) here in Philly. And, hey, if you see some guy...that could be me!

Open Thread

Chat away.

Questions Submitted Beforehand

"The policy of the White House is that you submit your questions in advance, so they had my questions for about three days."
-Carol Coleman, RTE. Watch it here.

Skippy the 3rd

Part 3 of skippy watching Lisa Myers so you don't have to. They re-ran it on Scarborough Dead Intern last night, so hopefully the transcript will arrive shortly.


What a total loser. No class.

THE White House has lodged a complaint with the Irish Embassy in Washington over RTE journalist Carole Coleman's interview with US President George Bush.

And it is believed the President's staff have now withdrawn from an exclusive interview which was to have been given to RTE this morning by First Lady Laura Bush.

It is understood that both RTE and the Department of Foreign Affairs were aware of the exclusive arrangement, scheduled for 11am today. However, when RTE put Ms Coleman's name forward as interviewer, they were told Mrs Bush would no longer be available.

The Irish Independent learned last night that the White House told Ms Coleman that she interrupted the president unnecessarily and was disrespectful.

She also received a call from the White House in which she was admonished for her tone.

And it emerged last night that presidential staff suggested to Ms Coleman as she went into the interview that she ask him a question on the outfit that Taoiseach Bertie Ahern wore to the G8 summit.

Myth Busting

Damn, even I thought the "Robert Casey wasn't allowed to speak at the '92 convention becaue he's pro-life" thing was true.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Greenfield Trashed Moore

Will pull transcript when it's up, but for now we can settle for a Jeff Greenfield flashback!

Even more damning was a "Nightline" report broadcast that same evening. The segment came very close to branding Hillary Clinton a perjurer. In his introduction, host Ted Koppel spoke pointedly about "the reluctance of the Clinton White House to be as forthcoming with documents as it promised to be." He then turned to correspondent Jeff Greenfield, who posed a rhetorical question: "Hillary Clinton did some legal work for Madison Guaranty at the Rose Law Firm, at a time when her husband was governor of Arkansas. How much work? Not much at all, she has said."

Up came a video clip from Hillary's April 22, 1994, Whitewater press conference. "The young attorney, the young bank officer, did all the work," she said. "It was not an area that I practiced in. It was not an area that I know anything, to speak of, about." Next the screen filled with handwritten notes taken by White House aide Susan Thomases during the 1992 campaign. "She [Hillary] did all the billing," the notes said. Greenfield quipped that it was no wonder "the White House was so worried about what was in Vince Foster's office when he killed himself."

What the audience didn't know was that the ABC videotape had been edited so as to create an inaccurate impression. At that press conference, Mrs. Clinton had been asked not how much work she had done for Madison Guaranty, but how her signature came to be on a letter dealing with Madison Guaranty's 1985 proposal to issue preferred stock. ABC News had seamlessly omitted thirty-nine words from her actual answer, as well as the cut, by interposing a cutaway shot of reporters taking notes. The press conference transcript shows that she actually answered as follows: "The young attorney [and] the young bank officer did all the work and the letter was sent. But because I was what we called the billing attorney -- in other words, I had to send the bill to get the payment sent -- my name was put on the bottom of the letter. It was not an area that I practiced in. It was not an area that I know anything, to speak of, about."

ABC News had taken a video clip out of context, and then accused the first lady of prevaricating about the very material it had removed. Within days, the doctored quotation popped up elsewhere. ABC used the identical clip on its evening news broadcast; so did CNN. The New York Times editorial page used it to scold Mrs. Clinton, as did columnist Maureen Dowd. Her colleague William Safire weighed in with an accusatory column of his own: "When you're a lawyer who needs a cover story to conceal close connections to a crooked client," he began, "you find some kid in your office willing to say he brought in the business and handled the client all by himself." Safire predicted the first lady's imminent indictment.

Democrats and Religion

I'm not a big fan of mixing politics and religion. I don't think there are good ways to do it without either being so inclusive as to be meaningless and to actually trivialize religion, or to be insulting to non- or other-believers. But, that's my personal opinion and others are welcome to disagree. And, from a pure vote-getting perspective there are obviously some potential benefits of doing so. Still, when religious people on the Left complain that Democrats are hostile to religion or shy away from it too much, I really get a bit confused.

Myers on Moore

I didn't see it, but a couple have emailed/commented about Lisa Myers report on MSNBC complaining about Moore's movie, without really having any factual complaints. I'll try to TIVO it or track down a transcript (if anyone else finds a transcript let me know).

Of course, as a "journalist" Myers had committed worse sins than anyone sane has ever accused Moore of doing. Since David Bossie has been making the rounds whining about Moore's movie, too, this little Myers/Bossie flashback is a twofer.

You may remember that Bossie was fired from his job on Dan Burton's committee after he leaked doctored transcripts of recordings of Webster Hubbell's conversations in prison. The doctored transcripts implied serious wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton, while the actual recordings didn't. At the time most of our stenographers dutifully wrote the stories up into print. On Nightline, strangely, they played the actual recordings while they put the doctored transcript on screen, apparently without noticing the differences.

Lisa Myers, however, beat them all - including Bossie. She had the tapes, and made some creative edits of her own!

...holden has a full description. Jeebus this is so weird. These people can't distnguish opinion from fact.

...skippy has more - part 1, part 2.

Popsicles in Hell

WaPo has a positive review of the Hunting movie.


Digby has a good post up about Cheney's apparent meltdown-in-process.

You've Got to be Kidding

The EPA produces and runs ads which mocks people who want to drive cars with better gas mileage? Jeebus.

Ryan's Out

Obama would've crushed him anyway, but still it's rather nice to see the political career of someone who had this up on their campaign website in ruins.

Mike's Movie

So, I went to the first showing of Farenheit 9/11 here in town so I could actually know what I'm talking about when it comes up for discussion.

There are basically two movies here. The first is what I imagine Moore started working on sometime between Afghanistan and Iraq, on the Bush administration's use of the war on terror for political purposes, their attacks on civil liberties, etc... And, then, the second is what he did in the aftermath of the Iraq war.

As other critics have pointed out, it's really only the first half that feels like a Michael Moore movie. Even in this part, the nitpicker brigade is really grasping at straws to try and catch Moore in "lies." There's nothing in Moore's movie which is even as close to dishonest as Isikoff's article about the movie's "dishonesty" is.

The second part is really unassailable - there's very little Moore. It's mostly footage from Iraq, and of wounded soldiers, intercut with discussions with a woman who lost her son. I also agree with the many critics who have said that this is the more effective part of the movie - it is. There's little spin here to criticize, the footage stands on its own.

It's good. Go see it.

...and this review, by someone on "our side," has it totally wrong. Consider this pargraph:

But then the film begins to, well, spread out a bit, like a fat man in a big chair. And here Moore gets into trouble. Contradictions run rampant: The war on Afghanistan was a deliberate distraction, but we didn’t send enough troops there; homeland-security policy tramples on our civil liberties but is then too lax; Bush is both a cowboy dummy and a master puppeteer of diversionary wars and a media-fueled culture of fear. Where there isn’t a contradiction, there’s a gaping hole: What, pray tell, are we to do about our very real problems? What should we do instead, in this infernal struggle against fundamentalism, in the mess of Iraq?

Moore's point about both the war in Afghanistan and the civil liberties issues, which can be agreed or disagreed with, was that the Bush administration wasn't particularly serious about combatting terrorism. There was no contradiction in pointing out Big Things the Bushies have done in the name of "fighting terrorism," and then pointing out rather obvious cheap and easy things which they've failed to do. Moore wasn't simultaneously arguing that they're "too tough" or "too weak" - that's the way conservatives frame the issue - it's that they've both been bad at it and done bad things in the name of it.

Live by the Skank, Die by the Skank

World O' Crap on Coulter and Hannity.

Right Thing

A source lies to you, and you find it out, you burn him. Period.

Changing the Tone

Big Time Dick.

...the General has the other side of the story.

Fuck the AMA

Bob Herbert tells us why.

get up get up get get get down, AMA's a joke in your town...

...yes, people, I know 911 is a Joke is by Public Enemy and Fuck the Police is by NWA...

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Strange Mix

Smarter Supremo Watchers than me may know better, but this 5-4 split sure is a weird one to me.

I have no knowledge about this area, but at a first pass I agree with Scalia. Scary.

Solitary, Poor, Brutish, Nasty, and Short

Ted Olson resigns. Probably back to the dirty tricks business where he excels.

"Go Fuck Yourself"

Our Vice President is all class. Dennis Prager says:

As for the liberals who think that using the f-word in public is no big deal, it is good to have them say so. Anything that clarifies the massive values-differences between the Left and the Right is helpful. We who are not on the Left think public cursing is a big deal, because we believe that people can pollute their soul, their character, and, yes, their society, just as they can pollute their rivers and their air and their lungs.


War Mistake - Made us Less Safe.

Say a majority. All the efforts of the 101st Fighting Keyboards have been wasted...


On Scarborough Country:

SCARBOROUGH: Make sure I get a ticket the next time. But I hear that it‘s very provocative and I also hear that it‘s great entertainment. Now, that doesn‘t necessarily make it a documentary.

But, Michael Isikoff, you actually wrote an article in “Newsweek” and you reported the following claims were made in “Fahrenheit 9/11.” Take a look at this, first, that when airspace was shut down after 9/11, the White House approved special charter flights to let Saudi citizens, including some bin Laden‘s, to get out of the country before being interrogated.

Moore claims that that‘s wrong. He says the movie acknowledges that most of the bin Laden‘s were interrogated and the flights happened after airspace reopened. Second, you reported that Moore accuses the Carlisle Group, a firm that had ties to the Bushes and the bin Laden‘s, of having gained financially from 9/11. Moore still stands by that claim. And also he accused you—quote—“of making completely false and misleading statements about facts and issues contained in ‘Fahrenheit 9/11.‘” Michael Isikoff, have you made false and misleading claims about Mr. Moore‘s movie?

MICHAEL ISIKOFF, “NEWSWEEK”: No, I don‘t think so.

I actually think he did make a—it is a very provocative movie. It is worth seeing, regardless of where you come down on a lot of these issues. And some of the footage in the movie—and I wrote about this in the piece—is pretty gripping.

I think in particular, I don‘t think anybody has seen the footage of President Bush when he first learns about the second attack on the Trade Center, on the World Trade Center, and is told America is under attack and how he reacts. And, of course, as—the original White House accounts, Andy Card, who had whispered in his ear, had said President Bush had gotten up not that many seconds later.

In fact, as the footage in the movie shows, he sat there for seven minutes, was reading “My Pet Goat” to the second graders in the classroom in Florida. I think people are going to come out sort of debating a lot and talking a lot about the president and how he reacted and whether that was the right reaction or the appropriate reaction.

But, that said, I do think some aspects of the movie are a bit over the top. The movie clearly leaves the impression that these flights of the Saudis took place during a time when airspace was shut down. It shows Ricky Martin unable to get to the Latin Grammy Awards, unable to fly, and it says, some people didn‘t want to fly and then did fly, the bin Laden family, for instance. In fact, the report from the 9/11 Commission shows -states that the Saudi flights didn‘t begin until after federal airspace was reopened.

That‘s not made clear in the movie. There is an exchange which clearly leaves the impression that these people were not interviewed. Craig Unger, the author of the book called “The House of Saud,” says all that happened at the airport is that they were identified and that their passports were checked. Well, the report from the 9/11 Commission says that, on the bin Laden flight in particular, which seems to be the one that is the most focused on in the movie, I think 22 of the 26 people were interviewed.

And it says, many were asked detailed questions. And, thirdly, the whole sort of crux of that passage is that the White House approved these flights. And we do know who at the White House approved those flights, because there was testimony before the 9/11 hearings on this, and it was Richard Clarke, who actually was a holdover from the Clinton administration who was serving as counterterrorism czar. The thrust of the movie is that the flights were approved because of some special access that the Saudis had to President Bush and his family.

SCARBOROUGH: And, of course, Richard Clarke did testify that he was the one that approved it. And he said, you know what? I would make the same decision again if faced with that same decision.


LEHANE: Can I just jump in here?


SCARBOROUGH: I‘m sorry, Chris. We‘ve got another guest. We want to go to him first.


David SCARBOROUGH: Chris Lehane, you wanted to respond to some of the things that Michael Isikoff said?

LEHANE: Yes. And I have great respect for Michael. He is a wonderful reporter.

But I think, if you carefully look at the words that were employed and the facts that are employed in this movie on that particular portion that he is talking about, you will find that it‘s very, very hard to question it. First of all, we do not say that flights took off when federal airspace was closed.


SCARBOROUGH: Viewers don‘t look at a transcript, though, Chris. You know that. They are left with an impression by looking at images.

LEHANE: Yes, but we are very, very careful. We make very clear that the flights didn‘t take off until after September 13, which is when federal airspace was opened.

And the Saudis that Michael is talking about, there were 140 Saudis on those flights, 142. Only 30 of them were interviewed in a way that was completely inconsistent with usual FBI and Justice Department protocol. In fact, even in the 9/11 Commission report that Michael is referring to, it raises some issues about the length of those interviews and the fact that the vast majority of folks who left the country after this terrible tragedy were not interviewed.

There‘s an FBI agent in the movie who personally talks about the fact that this was not consistent with the practices that should have been employed.



Michael, respond.

ISIKOFF: Well, Joe, I think the point you were saying, that the clear impression of the movie is a little different than some of the particular words that sort of slip by very quickly.

For instance, an example, Chris says that they never say that it was when federal airspace was shut down. They say it happened after September 13. But it doesn‘t say in the movie, at least not in any transcript I have seen or what I heard when I saw the movie, that that‘s when federal airspace was reopened.

LEHANE: But that‘s not what you wrote in your piece, Michael.


LEHANE: In the piece that you wrote in “Newsweek,” you specifically said that Michael Moore‘s movie stated that flights left while federal airspace was closed. The movie does not state that. Your piece was wrong on that.


ISIKOFF: Does the movie say that it—explicitly say that when federal airspace was reopened? Does it say that?

LEHANE: Did your story specifically state that the movie did state that? Is that what your story said?


LEHANE: This is important, because you wrote this specifically in your piece. And, as I said, you‘re an awesome reporter, but you had that one wrong.

SCARBOROUGH: Michael, did you have that one wrong?


One thing, I actually have asked Chris for over a week now for a full transcript of the movie, and I haven‘t seen one.

LEHANE: And, Michael, did I provide you a transcript of this portion of the movie?

ISIKOFF: A full transcript of the movie would be helpful on this issue.

LEHANE: But did I provide you a transcript of the portion of the movie that you are writing about?

ISIKOFF: You provided me some—a partial transcript of the movie.


LEHANE: And did you write in your story that Michael Moore stated in his movie that flights left while federal airspace was closed, yes or no?


LEHANE: Simple question.


ISIKOFF: As I told you, when we see the full transcript, we will

respond as to whether or not


SCARBOROUGH: Hold on, Chris. Let me ask the questions.

Will you provide Michael Isikoff and will you provide us a full transcript of this movie?

LEHANE: You can come to us whenever you want about any single fact that you want.


SCARBOROUGH: No, no. Answer the question.

ISIKOFF: He‘s not answering the question.


SCARBOROUGH: Will you provide a transcript?

ISIKOFF: Full transcript, full transcript.

LEHANE: You come to me with any issue that you have and I‘ll go over it with you.


SCARBOROUGH: Chris Lehane, will you provide us a full transcript, yes or no?

LEHANE: As I provided Michael Isikoff when he asked, I provided the transcript of the issue that he was looking at.

From Spikey Mikey's article:

The movie claims that in the days after 9/11, when airspace was shut down, the White House approved special charter flights so that prominent Saudis—including members of the bin Laden family—could leave the country. Author Craig Unger appears, claiming that bin Laden family members were never interviewed by the FBI. Not true, according to a recent report from the 9/11 panel. The report confirms that six chartered airplanes flew 142 mostly Saudi nationals out of the country, including one carrying members of the bin Laden family. But the flights didn't begin until Sept. 14—after airspace reopened. Moreover, the report states the Saudi flights were screened by the FBI, and 22 of the 26 people on the bin Laden flight were interviewed. None had any links to terrorism.

Note that Mikey manages to contradict himself. Unger never claimed that none of those on board the flights were interviewd, just that some weren't and those who were interviewed weren't exactly given sufficient attention following proper procedure. Mikey's own reporting tells us that 4 on board the "bin Laden flight" weren't interviewed.

Nice Polite Republicans

From FAIR:

Despite the commonness of such claims, little evidence has ever been presented for a left bias at NPR, and FAIR’s latest study gives it no support. Looking at partisan sources—including government officials, party officials, campaign workers and consultants—Republicans outnumbered Democrats by more than 3 to 2 (61 percent to 38 percent). A majority of Republican sources when the GOP controls the White House and Congress may not be surprising, but Republicans held a similar though slightly smaller edge (57 percent to 42 percent) in 1993, when Clinton was president and Democrats controlled both houses of Congress. And a lively race for the Democratic presidential nomination was beginning to heat up at the time of the 2003 study.

End of Quarter Coming

Won't make any specific plea (other than JK day of course), but I do want to remind people that the end of the quarter is fast arriving. If you've been thinkning of giving to a particular candidate, your personal favorite for whatever reason, now is the time. As Kos keeps telling us, money early translates into more money later - from the DCCC/DSCC, various PACs, etc. So, best to hand some money to your favorite candidates earlier rather than later, whoever they are.


Supremos today:

The president is not above the law, Kennedy wrote, but there is a "paramount necessity of protecting the executive branch from vexatious litigation that might distract it from the energetic performance of its constitutional duties."

(thanks to tc mits)


Almost forgot. You know what to do!


It's not uncommon for the NYT to publish multiple reviews of books, but I did find it rather odd that that one of their PR people found it necessary to send out the following message:

E-mail from Kathy Park of New York Times Public Relations


I wanted to let you know that Larry McMurtry reviewed Bill Clinton's book "My Life." The review is available on now, two weeks before it is to appear in The New York Times Book Review on July 4. (Will be linked from the homepage of tomorrow)

In the review, Larry McMurtry describes "My Life" as..."the richest American presidential autobiography - no other book tells us as vividly or fully what it is like to be president of the United States for eight years."


Over at Bad Attitudes, Tom Street says it perfectly:

After Reagan’s death, the cable channels insisted on reliving the right wing’s fantasy version of the 80s. Now that Clinton’s book has been released, we are now forced to relive the right wing’s fantasy version of the 90s.



BAQOUBA, Iraq - Insurgents launched coordinated attacks against police and government buildings across Iraq Thursday, less than a week before the handover of sovereignty. Sixty-nine people including three American soldiers were killed, and more than 270 people were wounded, Iraqi and U.S. officials said.

The large number of attacks, mostly directed at Iraqi security services, was a clear sign of just how powerful the insurgency in Iraq remains - and could be the start of a new push to torpedo the June 30 transfer of sovereignty to an interim transitional government.

In Baghdad, the Health Ministry said at least 66 people were killed and 268 injured nationwide. However, the figures did not include U.S. dead and injured.

Some of the heaviest fighting was reported in Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, where two American soldiers were killed and seven wounded, the U.S. 1st Infantry Division said. Attackers also targeted police stations in Ramadi, Mahaweel, and the northern city of Mosul, where car bombs rocked the Iraqi Police Academy, two police stations and the al-Jumhuri hospital.

Khalid Mohammed, an official at the hospital, said dozens of injured were brought there. At least 50 people died and 170 were wounded there, he said. A U.S. soldier was also killed and three were wounded in Mosul.

In other attacks, four Iraqi soldiers were killed in an explosion near a checkpoint manned by Iraqi and American soldiers in the southern Baghdad district of Dora. Three U.S. soldiers tended to what appeared to be a wounded American soldier on the road. The soldier's helmet lay nearby. Black smoke and flames shot up from a burning pickup truck.

And, breaking news -- explosion in Istanbul.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Lies and the Lying Liars

Limbaugh's a liar? Shocking!

Limbaugh has attacked Harkin's amendment, saying that it's akin to censorship. But in a peculiar twist, Limbaugh told listeners on his June 18 show a self-aggrandizing tale about how a senior Republican senator had stepped in on his behalf and helped scuttle Harkin's proposal -- an account the senator's office flatly denies.


More puzzling, though, was Limbaugh's apparent decision to fabricate a story involving Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, the powerful chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Discussing American Forces Radio during his June 18 program, Limbaugh told listeners, "He [Stevens] sent me a fax today with a revised [Harkin] amendment. They've gone in and they fixed the amendment. They -- they've watered this thing down. Whatever the Harkin amendment was, it now doesn't mention my name."

According to Stevens' spokeswoman, Courtney Schikora, the senator did call Limbaugh and fax him a copy of the Harkin amendment. But neither Stevens nor anybody in his office sent the host a "revised" amendment, "watered" it down or removed Limbaugh's name. The last part would have been impossible, in any case, because Harkin's proposal never mentioned Limbaugh. Schikora adds that Stevens does not oppose or want to alter Harkin's amendment, since it simply reaffirms the network's existing mission, specifically regarding fairness and balance.

Nonetheless, on June 18 Limbaugh seemed to relish recounting the now-disputed encounter with Stevens: "I called him and because Ted Stevens is the senator from Alaska. Stevens did something yesterday to revise this and he sent me the -- well, the -- the -- the -- the new amendment. And he said, 'Is this OK?' He said, 'Do you have any objections to this?' [laughter] And I -- I looked at it and said, 'Am I allowed?' [laughter] 'Am I allowed to object to an amendment to the defense appropriations bill when I'm not a senator?' I mean, I can as a -- as a citizen, obviously, but, I mean, any citizen could object. Doesn't matter."

Must be all that hillbilly heroin.

Brave Brave Sir Robin


America was under attack, and somebody had to make a decision. Dick Cheney, huddled in the Presidential Emergency Operations Center under the White House, had just urged the traveling George W. Bush not to return to Washington. The president had left Florida aboard Air Force One at 9:55 a.m. on 9/11 "with no destination at take-off," as last week's 9-11 Commission report noted. Nor had Bush given any known instructions on how to respond to the attacks. [emphasis mine]

Declare Victory!

I guess that's one way of winning.

North Korea

What the Poor Man says.

Poor Bill

He even lies to make an irrelevant point. O'Reilly asked Podesta to give him one example of O'Reilly smearing anyone. Podesta brings up the example of O'Reilly comparing Franken to Goebbels. O'Reilly responds by saying it was Michael Moore he compared to Goebbels. The truth is, he compared both of them...


What a hack.

(link thanks to Attaturk)

Santorum Raising Money for Jack Ryan

First Santorum risks not being given communion for supporting pro-Choice Arlen Specter, and now he's supporting a divorced man who by accounts tried to coerce his wife into having public sex in sex clubs.

Ryan spent part of Monday in Pennsylvania attending fund-raisers in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh hosted by Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.).



I haven't read it (not online), but a reader brings to my attention an article in the May '04 edition of the Believer about Elizabeth McCaughey.

McCaughey, you may remember, wrote an article for even the crappy New Republic about Clinton's health care plan called "No Exit." It was, to put it bluntly, completely full of shit and probably was quite instrumental in killing the plan. The online teaser for the article says:

Elizabeth McCaughey destroyed Clinton’s Health Care Reform Bill. Why is she a celebrity rather than a journalistic pariah?

The more important question, of course, is why is her editor from that time a celebrity rather than a journalistic pariah? Her editor was Andy Sullivan. Andy's quite proud of his little accomplishment, in fact. From his bio blurb on his website:

Sullivan's tenure at TNR was often turbulent, controversial and pioneering. The magazine expanded its remit beyond politics to cover such topics as the future of hip-hop, same-sex marriage, and affirmative action in the newsroom. Writers such as Douglas Coupland and Camille Paglia supplemented more traditional political writing by authors such as Michael Kinsley, Mickey Kaus and John Judis. Under Sullivan, the magazine campaigned for early intervention in Bosnia, for homosexual equality, and against affirmative action. TNR also published the first airing of 'The Bell Curve,' the explosive 1995 book on IQ, and 'No Exit,' an equally controversial essay that was widely credited with helping to torpedo the Clinton administration's plans for universal health coverage. In 1996, Sullivan was named Editor of the Year by Adweek magazine.

Notice what else Andy is proud of -- the fact that "TNR also published the first airing of 'The Bell Curve,' the explosive 1995 book on IQ." Explosive. Yes. In his previous incarnation, he was proud of being the distributor of "Birth of a Nation."


As talking heads go, Aaron Brown is one of the better ones. His biggest problem, however, is the fact that he's overly enamored with himself and the "craft" of journalism. His smugness makes him utterly blind to the reality of the business he's in. Consider this, from last night's show:

It seems the administration has decided that among the enemies in Iraq are the media. Complaining about what he believes is a lack of balance in the coverage, the number two man at the Pentagon, Paul Wolfowitz said this before Congress:

"Part of our problem is that a lot of the press are afraid to travel very much, so they sit in Baghdad and publish rumors and rumors are plentiful." He then said too much attention is paid to violence because the violence is sensational.

First of all, we don't publish rumors. Second, reporters ours and others, travel a good deal. They went to Fallujah during the nastiness there. They were in Najaf. They're in Basra tonight.

They have also gone to schools and hospitals and a lot of other places to present the most balanced picture they can of what life is like but the fact is that life in Iraq today is dangerous.

Listen to what the Iraqis say. Listen to their fears about leaving their homes in Baghdad, for example. Listen to their new government talk about the possible need to impose martial law.

Iraq isn't black or white. It's neither all good, nor all bad, but to argue, as Mr. Wolfowitz implicitly does that security and violence are not the major story, is about as correct as his argument to Congress that the reconstruction would be self financing and that Iraqis would welcome us with flowers.

Now, it's nice that Brown gives Wolfowitz a bit of a smackdown. But, it's rather undercut by Brown's assertion that "we don't publish rumors." The "we" here is media, and not just Brown who probably is less likely than some to report "rumors." But, of course, the media report on rumors all the time. In fact, here's Brown awhile back on the Kerry rumor.

AARON BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening again, everyone.

Here is the question of the night. At what point, if at any point, does rumor become news? There are three ways to answer this I've learned in the last day. If the rumor is about your guy it never becomes news. If the rumor is about the other guy it's news right away. If you're a reporter or an editor the answer is when you feel like it.

Yesterday, the net was abuzz about a rumor involving John Kerry, a nasty rumor at that. We didn't get near it. It wasn't news. It lacked facts but it was all over the net. Millions of people read it and hear it. Conservative talk radio ate it up all day and today the story moved. Mr. Kerry denied it on a national radio program.

So, does that denial make it news? Is it fair to take the denial and use it to spread the rumor because that's what's happening? And, while I feel comfortable about how we're going to deal with this all tonight, I also know that we are pushing up against an uncomfortable line in day when facts and fiction can spread far too fast. That's later in the program.

Clinton on the Press

From his book:
I was genuinely confused by the mainstream press coverage of Whitewater...One day, after one of our budget meetings in October, I asked Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming to stay a moment to talk. Simpson was a conservative Republican, but we had a pretty good relationship because of the friendship we had in common with his governor, Mike Sullivan. I asked Alan if he thought Hillary and I had done anything wrong in Whitewater. 'Of course not,' he said. 'That's not what this is about. This is about making the public think you did something wrong. Anybody who looked at the evidence would see that you didn't.' Simpson laughed at how willing the 'elitist' press was to swallow anything negative about small, rural places like Wyoming or Arkansas and made an interesting observation: 'You know, before you were elected, we Republicans believed the press was liberal. Now we have a more sophisticated view. They are liberal in a way. Most of them voted for you, but they think more like your right-wing critics do, and that's much more important.' When I asked him to explain, he said, 'Democrats like you and Sullivan get into government to help people. The right-wing extremists don't think government can do much to improve on human nature, but they like power. So does the press. And since you're President, they both get power the same way, by hurting you.' I appreciated Simpson's candor and I thought about what he said for months. For a long time, whenever I was angry about the Whitewater press coverage I would tell people about Simpson's analysis. When I finally just accepted his insight as accurate, it was liberating, and it cleared my head for the fight.

Mystery Bracelet

Drudge took it down, but last night he had a photo of Clinton wearing some sort of bracelet, above the headline "Mystery Bracelet." Well, here's what the mystery bracelet is:

We ask him about the red and blue crocheted band around his right wrist -- an incongruous clash with the statesman attire. For the first time in the interview he becomes emotional, the voice catching and his eyes redening. "I've worn it for two years. I went there [to Colombia] and met these unbelievable kids from a village on the edge of the rainforest where the narco-traffickers are dominant," he says. "They sang and danced for peace and I fell in love with these kids. I asked them to perform at the White House one Christmas. They came with the culture minister, a magnificently attractive woman called Consuelo. The bad guys hated these kids because they made them look like what they are. The guerillas couldn't kill these children, so they murdered her ... I can still hardly talk about this.

"Two years ago they asked me back and I said, 'I'll come, but you've got to bring those kids to see me.' So I turn up -- and the children greeted me at the airport, along with the new culture minister -- the niece of the murdered woman. And they gave me this bracelet, which I've never taken off."

Moon over Washington

Moon story finally hits the front page of the WaPo.

They raise the key question:

Use of the Dirksen building requires a senator's approval. Dayton said he gave no such permission, and Stallings said the question of who did so is "shrouded in mystery."

there aren't records of such things?

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Froomkin Speak

You listen.

The latest Bush document dump has more than a whiff of bullshit about it. Froomkin provides a starting place for what the latest revelations do and don't tell us.

Lord Saletan

Digby gets it exactly right.


Anyone want one? First 4 email requests win...

...all gone. sorry.

Remember When...

Lying about a personal sexual indiscretion not material to a civil case was an impeachable offense...almost miss those days...

WASHINGTON - The 9/11 commission is busy writing its final report, but is still investigating critical facts, including the conduct of U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft. NBC News has learned that the commission has interviewed two FBI officials who contradict sworn testimony by Ashcroft, about whether he brushed off terrorism warnings in the summer of 2001.

In the critical months before Sept. 11, did Ashcroft dismiss threats of an al-Qaida attack in this country?

At issue is a July 5, 2001, meeting between Ashcroft and acting FBI Director Tom Pickard. That month, the threat of an al-Qaida attack was so high, the White House summoned the FBI and domestic agencies, and warned them to be on alert.

Yet, Pickard testified to the 9/11 commission that when he tried to brief Ashcroft just a week later, on July 12, about the terror threat inside the United States, he got the brush off.

"Mr. Ashcroft told you that he did not want to hear about this anymore," Democratic commission member Richard Ben-Veniste asked on April 13. "Is that correct?"

"That is correct," Pickard replied.

Testifying under oath the same day, Ashcroft categorically denied the allegation, saying, "I did never speak to him saying that I didn't want to hear about terrorism."

However, another senior FBI official tells NBC News he vividly recalls Pickard returning from the meeting that day, furious that Ashcroft had cut short the terrorism briefing. This official, now retired, has talked to the 9/11 commission.

NBC News has learned that commission investigators also tracked down another FBI witness at the meeting that day, Ruben Garcia, head of the Criminal Division at that time. Several sources familiar with the investigation say Garcia confirmed to the commission that Ashcroft did indeed dismiss Pickard's warnings about al-Qaida.

AP Sues over Bush Military Records

It's about time. I mean, when the Bushies did their little document dump and official Washington decided the story "was over," it was still the case that many of the important questions were left unanswered - including, of course, whether or not all the records were actually released.

WASHINGTON - The Associated Press sued the Pentagon and the Air Force on Tuesday, seeking access to all records of George W. Bush's military service during the Vietnam War.

Filed in federal court in New York, where The AP is headquartered, the lawsuit seeks access to a copy of Bush's microfilmed personnel file from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission in Austin.

Taibbi on Friedman

Poor Tom.

Meanwhile, Friedman is losing his mind. How else to explain passages like this one, from his June 6 column on the Indian elections, entitled "Think Global, Act Local"? Here, he explains the true meaning of the recent ouster of the rightist BJP alliance in favor of the left-leaning Congress Party alliance. Most rational observers interpreted this as a rejection of globalization, but not Friedman:

"They got it exactly wrong. What Indian voters were saying was not: 'Stop the globalization train, we want to get off.' It was, 'Slow down the globalization train, and build me a better step-stool, because I want to get on.'"

Now, think about this. Friedman obviously cannot have voters wanting to stop the globalization train, because that would mean, well, stopping globalization. But in his haste to find a way to get people on the train, he has them putting drop-stools on the ground in order to step onto a slow, but still moving train. One can easily hop onto a slowly moving train, but if one has to first step onto a drop-stool from a stationary position, there's simply no way to do it safely: You're probably going to step onto the stool first and then, in your next step, smack right into the side of the moving train after the entrance has passed.

That's unless, of course, you run just ahead of the entrance, drop the stool a good 15 feet ahead of the door, and then time your step just right, so that you land in the entranceway at just the right moment. I figure that the success rate for this kind of Buster Keaton maneuver on a train platform crowded with the entire dispossessed Indian underclass would be about one in four. Just imagine all those people and all those stools trying this all at once, and what you have is a gigantic fucking mess, the mother of all Who concert stampedes; insanity and carnage to you and me; progress to Thomas Friedman.

Long Memory

David Corn gives a well-deserved smack to TNR's pseudo-mea culpa. I had praised Beinart's previously, largely because he had acknowledged the part that his self-congratulatory smugness had played in his decision, but overall the TNR issue (what I've read - not all of it) was just more of the same nonsense. Corn reminds us, and them:

The editorial acknowledges "we should have paid more attention to these warning signs." Yet it reports, "we feel regret--but no shame." That is because the "moral" rationale--liberating Iraq and countering "the forces of ignorance, fanaticism and bigotry" in the Arab world--has not collapsed. While this argument for war may have been mugged by reality, the magazine argues, it has not been negated.

But before the war, TNR had a different take. In an editorial posted on August 22, 2002, and entitled "Best Case," the editors dismissed going to war because Hussein was evil. ("He is not the only evil leader in the world, and we are not proposing to act against other evil leaders.") It pooh-poohed invading Iraq to bring democracy to Mesopotamia. ("But this, too, cannot explain why the absence of democracy in Iraq is more odious and more threatening than the absence of democracy in many other states.") But there was "one spectacular thing" that made the "villain in Baghdad" an appropriate target: "He is the only leader in the world with weapons of mass destruction who has used them....That is the case."

This editorial did not justify war--and the loss of American and Iraqi lives--with references to exporting freedom to oppressed Iraqis. Nor did it limit the "strategic" mission to preventing Hussein from ramping up a nuclear weapons program. The editors essentially accepted the core of Bush's argument: Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (which meant chemical and biological weapons) and he had used WMDs in the past (in the 1980s, while the Reagan-Bush administration was courting and assisting him). Today's TNR, for some reason, is not fully in touch with its wisdom of 2002.

In a subsequent editorial--"Time Out," posted on January 30, 2003--the magazine did focus more on the prospective nuclear threat posed by Hussein. But much of the editorial's energy was directed at "liberals" and "Bush's critics" for promoting "abject pacifism." This editorial did not address the concerns of war opponents who (with good cause) were questioning Bush's overstatements regarding the WMD threat presented by Iraq and the alleged but unproven connection between Iraq and al Qaeda. Nor did it respond to the arguments that Bush and his lieutenants could not be trusted to handle the post-invasion job correctly. Rather than evaluate--let alone ponder--such inconvenient thoughts, the magazine's editors preferred to ridicule opponents of the war.

Pop Quiz

Who said:

[T]he facts are there and people can see the facts and I don't think the facts have seriously been called into question. I know there are issues of motivations and the like. But, the facts are the facts and in my worldview you shall know the truth and you deal with the truth and I think it shall set you free. We shouldn't hide the truth, we should have the truth come out.

...and the answer is... Ken Starr!


I don't spend much time talking about this because, frankly, I don't really care. Whoever can increase Big John's chances of getting elected is fine by me, and while I have opinions about who that might be I don't really have much confidence in them.

I don't have much patience with people who should know better who get all snippy about the possibility that Kerry won't pick a Veep candidate who will appeal to them personally. Look, just about everyone who reads this blog is a bit more informed about this kind of thing than the average person (not because this blog is so brilliant, but because blog readers are news junkies). The Veep choice is about a) electoral strategy and b) choosing someone Kerry can stand to be around. I thought all the McCain talk was silly, not because I would particularly mind if we had a Vice President McCain, but because I thought there was 0 chance of it happening and because I also disagreed with the conventional wisdom that it would be a boost to Kerry and Dems generally.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that who cares of Kerry picks Zell Miller as his running mate (not that he will)? The VP has little real power, and if the media reports say "Kerry VP choice designed to appeal to moderates," well, then, maybe it'll work. This is an election -- who cares if Kerry is currently trying to appeal to you or whichever bloc of voters you imagine you're representative of. It doesn't matter. He needs to appeal roughly 50%+ of the country, depending on the geographic vote distribution. We all should be smart enough to realize that what really matters is a) that he gets elected and then b) what he does once he's elected. We should be smart enough to understand that while everything he does during election season has an impact on his getting elected, it doesn't necessarily have much of an impact on how he will actually govern.

I heard Tim Robbins on the radio complaining about Kerry not doing things to "appeal to progressives" or something like that. Well, who cares? It's similar to Nader voters (and, no, I'm not trying to reignite this fight) who would say things like "Why wouldn't Gore just adopt a part of the Green platform?" What would the point of that be? Platforms are written and then quickly ignored, as is much campaign rhetoric. It doesn't matter if Kerry throws any particularly constituency a rhetorical bone now. What matters is how Kerry governs. And, yes, I'll be the leader of the STFU brigade against anyone who says "well, he does have to worry about getting re-elected in 4 years..."

CNN Update

Here's CNN's updated story on Don "Waterboard Kahuna" Rumsfeld:

The senior defense official who provided the original information to CNN now says Rumsfeld only approved "mild, noninjurious physical contact" with a high-level al Qaeda detainee at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and specifically did not approve a request to use water boarding.

The tactic involves strapping a prisoner down and immersing him in water and making the subject feel as though he is drowning.

The memos to and from Rumsfeld are expected to be released later Tuesday, and will show that while the water boarding technique was on a list of requested aggressive tactics, Rumsfeld did not approve it, officials say.

Stranger and stranger.

How Low Can the Newshour Go?

Pop quiz: how many of these people brought on to discuss Clinton's new book have actually read it?


There's nothing more pathetic than the overly defensive news media. This Today Show interview with Michael Moore is pretty good. You can watch it here, or below is a partial transcript of Moore talking over a very nervous Katie Couric as he manages to get in a wee bit of media criticism.

I have mixed feelings about Moore, but why is it that theocratic corporatist nutballs like Tom DeLay or Jerry Falwell are never called "controversial," but uppity Lefties always are?

COURIC: And wouldn't your movie have been better balanced if you had at least included some about Saddam Hussein's own reputation?

Mr. MOORE: You guys did such a good job of--of telling us how tyrannical and horrible he was. You already did that. What--the question really should be posed to NBC News and all of the other news agencies: Why didn't you show us that the people that we're going to bomb in a few days are these people, human beings who are living normal lives, kids flying kites, people just trying to get by in their daily existence. And as the New York Times pointed out last week, out of the 50 air strikes in those initial days, the--we were zero for 50 hitting the target. We killed civilians and we don't know how many thousands of civilians that we killed. And--and--and nobody covered that. And so for two hours, I'm going to cover it. I'm going to--out of four years of all of this propaganda, I'm going to give you two hours that says here's the other side of the story.

COURIC: In fact, you were highly critical of the media. What do you think was at work there? Why do you believe that the media wasn't more questioning when it came to the build-up to war? Frankly, many of us did try to ask cogent, appropriate, insightful questions. But in general, what do you think was at work there?

Mr. MOORE: I thi--look, to be fair, you--you--we're all Americans and so you wanted to be supportive of the troops and nobody wanted anybody to---everyone wanted them to come back alive. But--but that's a question that really you have to ask the people here at NBC News and the other agencies: Why didn't you ask harder questions? Why didn't you demand the evidence. You know, when I was a little kid I remember President Kennedy going on national television, and with large photographs, with a a pointer showing us, here's the...

COURIC: Well, didn't Colin Powell do that before the United Nations?

Mr. MOORE: No, he didn't. That's my poi--he--he went to the United Nations with cartoon drawings, with computer graphics. The--the--do you remember those little--the mobile labs and all this--they were all--looked like a 7th grade computer class did them, and then they had like two pho...

COURIC: Weren't they satellite photos?

Mr. MOORE: No, they had two photos then of--of, like a couple of, you know, cinder block buildings. Kennedy showed us the missiles.

COURIC: Let's talk...

Mr. MOORE: Where were the--where was the evidence to take us to war? I mean, you guys should have really demanded this. To send our kids off to war--over 800 dead now. If only the questions had been asked, and demanded and said, 'No, wait a minute.' If one of you--any of you--and I don't mean this to you personally--but just if anyone here had just said, 'Wait a minute. These are our children. You're not sending them to war unless you prove to us that our nation is under threat of attack, and that's the only reason we go to war.'

COURIC: Well, I don't want to get into this too much, but certainly with the reported Saddam Hussein, 9/11, al-Qaeda connection and some of the other intelligence information that the press was given...

Mr. MOORE: Which wasn't--now we know--yeah.

COURIC: Well, in hindsight, we know that now...

Mr. MOORE: You were given--I know, but why...

COURIC: ...but at the time we didn't.

Mr. MOORE: So you were given it and then you just reported it as fact. Why didn't anybody just say here, 'Whoa! Wait a minute.' If I just walked in here and said something like that, you'd go, 'Are you crazy? There's a connection between al-Qaeda and Saddam?' But if the administration says it, it's, 'Well, it must be true. It's coming from the White House.' I mean, come on, guy...

COURIC: Let--let me...

Mr. MOORE: We--I'm--I'm--my film is a--is a silent plea to all of you in the news media to do your job. We need you. You--we--you're our defense against this. If--if we don't have you, what do we have? And I just think a disservice was done to the American people. You know--you know what's great about this country? You and everyone else here gets to ask any question you want. Literally, you can ask any question you want. No one can stop you. You...

COURIC: And certainly that is what we try to do every day.

Mr. MOORE: Well--yes, hope...

COURIC: Let me get to an e-mail question, Michael, because obviously if we are the--the voices of the people let's get to some of the things that they want to say.

Mr. MOORE: OK. All right. All right.

Bizarre CNN Report

Maybe I misunderstood, but CNN's Pentagon correspondent us was just on to make sure we all understand that Big Don Rumsfeld had not, I repeat NOT (did I say NOT?), approved such interrogation methods as waterboarding. And, while, previous memo releases had made it seem that he had, they will release memos later today which will disprove that. And, they're oh so sorry that they had given us the wrong impression previously and once they get these additional memos they'll have more details. But, they haven't seen the "new" memos yet?

Again, maybe I misunderstood. But, the beginning of the report made it sound like they'd seen these new memos, but by the end it sounded as if they would see them later? Huh?

...and now these stories from Google News have been disappeared.

Good Thing His Name Wasn't John Smith


An allegation that a high-ranking al Qaeda member was an officer in Saddam Hussein's private militia may have resulted from confusion over Iraqi names, a senior administration official said yesterday.

Former Navy secretary John Lehman, a Republican member of the commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, said Sunday that documents found in Iraq "indicate that there is at least one officer of Saddam's Fedayeen, a lieutenant colonel, who was a very prominent member of al Qaeda." Although he said the identity "still has to be confirmed," Lehman introduced the information on NBC's "Meet the Press" to counter a commission staff report that said there were contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda but no "collaborative relationship."

Yesterday, the senior administration official said Lehman had probably confused two people who have similar-sounding names.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Boehlert on Kakutani

Good read.

Post vs. Post

Why oh why won't those who write for the editorial page at the Post read what's on their news page before they embarass themselves?

Another Clinton Hater Gets Busted

The power of the Clenis was too much for him.

RICHMOND -- Former radio talk show host Jon Matthews pleaded guilty today to a charge of indecency with a child in a plea agreement with prosecutors.

Matthews, 59, who resigned from his position at KSEV-AM 700 last year, was to go to trial June 28 but decided to accept the agreement after rejecting it last week, said Fort Bend County District Attorney John Healey.

Stan the Man

I'm not going to put out the call for donations -- I've been doing that too much lately. But, I do want to say that Stan Matsunaka has it exactly right. Marilyn Musgrave's entire reason to be in politics is to encourage, embrace, and exploit hate. I hope enough people in his Colorado district recognize they can do better than that.

Economic Innumeracy at the Post

The Post owes John Kerry an apology. They called him a liar because they were too stupid to know he was telling the truth. Will the apology come?

Don't hold your breath.'s a correction.


Republican pollster and strategist Frank Luntz, who for some reason also makes regular appearances on NBC and hosts his own show on MSNBC, something no Democratic pollster and strategist does, regularly issues talking points. Here's what he issued for talking about Iraq and 9/11. Check them out! I'm not sure how new or old this is.

Big John Pulls Ahead!

Yes, I know there are other polls which aren't quite as nice but let's pretend they don't exist. From ABC:

For the first time in ABC News/Washington Post polls, more than half of Americans, 52 percent, say the Iraq war was not worth fighting. Seven in 10 call U.S. casualties there "unacceptable," a new high. And there's been a steady slide in belief that the war has enhanced long-term U.S. security; 51 percent now say so, down 11 points this year.

Bush, moreover, has weakened in his once-strongest area. Approval of his handling of the U.S. campaign against terrorism has fallen to 50 percent, its lowest yet — down eight points in the last month and 29 points below its immediate postwar peak. In a hazardous turn of fortune for Bush, Democrat John Kerry now runs evenly with him in trust to handle terrorism; Bush had led by 13 points on this issue a month ago, and by 21 points the month before.


Evaluating Bush's overall job performance, 47 percent of Americans now approve while 51 percent disapprove, inching over half for the first time in ABC/Post polls. In head-to-head matchups among registered voters, Kerry has a slight four-point lead over Bush when independent candidate Ralph Nader is included, and a larger eight-point lead with Nader out of the contest.

You have to go all the way to the end and then read the paragraph upside and backwards to realize that the poll also has Kerry over Bush, 53-45.

(thanks to reader T)

Hating Peggy

Reagan speechwriter civil war. Ha ha.

Peggy came late, arriving in Reagan's second term, and was quickly identified by the other speechwriters as being dedicated to self-promotion. While the others were self-effacing and avoided taking any credit for a speech of the president's, Peggy would never fail to call up every media contact she had to make sure any speechwriting of hers was fully publicized.

For all her self-promotion, the facts are that she never wrote many major presidential speeches and had quite limited access to the president. The Reagan speechwriters were the ultimate Reaganauts in the White House, and Peggy was an outsider....

ha ha ha. (via Ailes).


Why does the NYT let him get away with it?

In Good Hands

Nothing to worry about here.

At Yale University, Jay Hallen majored in political science, rarely watched financial news stations and didn't follow the stock market.

All of which made the 24-year-old an unlikely pick for the difficult task of rebuilding Iraq's shuttered stock exchange. But Mr. Hallen, a private-sector development officer for the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority, was given the job immediately after arriving in Baghdad in September.

The headquarters of the old Iraqi exchange, where brokers in blue vests scribbled trades on boards, was looted after the war and is now occupied by squatters. Several listed companies no longer exist, and many Iraqi companies' majority shareholders -- Saddam Hussein and his friends and relatives -- are either dead or in prison. A new exchange is supposed to open in temporary quarters next month, but impatient brokers already meet privately in their homes and offices to trade shares.

Mr. Hallen admits that he wound up in Iraq rather by accident. In 2002, he began pursuing a White House job, and though none materialized, he stayed in close contact with the man who interviewed him, Reuben Jeffrey. When Mr. Jeffrey went to Iraq last summer as a senior economic-development adviser, Mr. Hallen e-mailed to ask whether there were any job openings. "Be careful what you wish for," Mr. Jeffrey, who is now an aide to Iraqi administrator Paul Bremer, told him in reply.

A few weeks later, Mr. Hallen got a phone call from a Pentagon personnel officer, who told him he had been given a job in the Coalition Provisional Authority and needed to be in Baghdad in less than a month. "Needless to say, I was in a mild state of shock," he says.

Mr. Hallen, who graduated in 2001, has spent the past few months in a crash course in high finance. He has worked with a team of volunteer financial experts and lawyers from the Securities and Exchange Commission and the New York and Philadelphia stock exchanges to revise and modernize the trading rules and disclosure requirements for the new market. He has created a watchdog agency for the exchange modeled on the SEC, and an association of Iraqi securities brokers. He has met with every Iraqi company that wants to be listed on the new exchange.


God it just gets worse and worse. They're working harder than they were in 2000. I don't think they'll be as successful, at least not with these kinds of trivialities, but our media whores sure are trying.

Karl Rove is probably passing out the golden kneepads for a weekend of excellent service to Dear Leader.

Nominee Been Practicing Law Without License

Can't these clowns do anything right?

Thomas B. Griffith, President Bush's nominee for the federal appeals court in Washington, has been practicing law in Utah without a state law license for the past four years, according to Utah state officials.

Griffith, the general counsel for Brigham Young University since August 2000, had previously failed to renew his law license in Washington for three years while he was a lawyer based in the District. It was a mistake he attributed to an oversight by his law firm's staff. But that lapse in his D.C. license, reported earlier this month by The Washington Post, subsequently prevented Griffith from receiving a law license in Utah when he moved there.

They really just think that rules don't apply to them.

Dear Mary

Group is (fairly) targetting Mary Cheney. She's earning $100,000 a year to support the "hate the gays" administration. Note to journalists: she isn't simply "family," she's a member of the campaign. If she wasn't on the campaign payroll or otherwise publicly campaigning I'd say leave her alone, too.

Lies and the Lying Liars

Dick Cheney lies. What will we tell the children?

...Borger dropped the ball, but if we had a real press they'd right now be declaring all future statements by Dick Cheney to be "suspect," at least until he or his staff issues a clarification and apology.

...FAIR had this a couple of days ago.

Rowland to Resign

Another fine Republican goes down.

Since we're on alternate histories and Connecticut -- imagine if Gore had been given the office which was rightfully his, and Rowland had appointed Lieberman's Senate campaign opponent, now-convicted pedophile Giordano, to the Senate.

Back Online

The Comcast cable company rep came when they said he would, and installed things with no problem and no charge. People rarely say nice things about their cable company, so I figured I'd give kudos where kudos were due.


(from woot)

Fact Free Kurtz

According to Howie:

Some obvious caveats: Reagan, despite the Iran-contra scandal, left office a popular figure; Clinton's departure came two years after he was impeached and was clouded by his wave of last-minute pardons."

Of course, Clinton left office with a higher approval rating than Reagan, but facts are like Kryptonite to Kurtz.


When Isikoff complains about all the things that Clinton leaves out of his book, he neglects to tell us that he was the recipient of numerous illegal leaks from the OIC.

Newsweek has Isikoff review the book? Jeebus.

Monday Morning Open Thread

Some breathing room until Atrios is back online full time.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Alternate History

I'm curious what would have happened if the following scenario had played out: Clinton had admitted in his grand jury testimony Jones deposition that he'd been intimate with Lewinksy. It goes without saying that this information would have been leaked. How would the media have played it?

...Matthew Yglesias's description of The Man Show Meet the Press makes clear, whatever genuine legal issues did or didn't exist, for the Kool Kids of the Beltway it was and will always be about the sex.

God I wish these people had gotten a bit more in high school.

More Times Hooey

The NYT says Michael Moore may be criticized for things which are true even though the White House has denied them.

Yay Inky

Inquirer comes out swinging hard against the Bushies and Iraq.

I think this line is important:

First, preparation for the invasion's aftermath was tragically inept. That easily predictable failure has cost many Iraqis, Americans and others their lives.

Al Gore said something rather similar which made the usual suspects (almost everybody in the media) go apeshit. You know, "Gore blames Bush for deaths of Americans!!!!!"

But, look, it's clearly true. They did screw up. Those screwups have led to more deaths - American and Iraqi, civilian and military - than their would have otherwise been. This is pretty much unarguable. Why this line of thought is generally considered to be beyond the pale is beyond me. Failures of consequences. No one who points this out is arguing that Bush personally planted the roadside bombs which killed our soldiers, but planning and failures of planning have consequences. The failures of the Bush administration include putting our soldiers' in harms way without adequate armor, failure in the immediate aftermath of the war to provide decent security in Iraq, and failure in reconstruction planning which has helped to turn the population of Iraq, which was once largely supportive, almost entirely against us. Those failures, and others, have indeed led to preventable deaths.

Lies about Real Estate

Kakutani has a habit of penning error-filled screeds against any books by Clinton defenders. A chance to go after the Big Dog himself is something she must have been dreaming of for years. Her construction doesn't actually say who is lying about "real estate," but the implication of course is that the Clintons had been lying about it. What lies?

Make Kakutani cry. Make the Big Dog rich. Order his book.

...and, yes, as Dave points out the biggest lies about real estate were the ones in Kakutani's paper, the New York Times, which has yet to correct the record. And, Timesfolk continue to defend their fraudulent reporting.


Just got the final update on Hoeffel fundraising. Hoeffel week took int $8107.13, beating the goal by over $600! Thanks all!

Sunday Morning Open Thread

Weekends like this I realize what a 24/7 thing this has become. Carry on...

My only internet access right now is a very weak hotspot accessible from the local Starbucks...