Saturday, February 19, 2005


On the train back from DC today there were a bunch of people returning home from the CPAC conference. All the guys either looked like Jonah Goldberg or Ben Shapiro or some sort of weird Jonah Golberg/Ben Shapiro hybrid monster.

Evening Thread


Open Thread

Light posting today. On the road...

Fun at CPAC

You know, even I still get astounded when this stuff gets said, not by the mouth-breathing peanut gallery, but by a sitting Congressman of the United States;

"America's Operation Iraqi Freedom is still producing shock and awe, this time among the blame-America-first crowd," he crowed. Then he said, "We continue to discover biological and chemical weapons and facilities to make them inside Iraq." Apparently, most of the hundreds of people in attendance already knew about these remarkable, hitherto-unreported discoveries, because no one gasped at this startling revelation.

That would be Chris Cox.

Morning Thread

Have fun.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Late Night

Have fun

Open thread.

Olbermann is good, too.

JimmyJeff on Anderson Cooper

At 7.

E&P interviews here...

Friday Cat Blogging


Haven't had the time to comment on this, but I will say that Summers actual remarks were far far worse than they were portrayed in most of the press coverage. I think professor b makes a pretty good start...

and, no, trolls, this is not about a liberal unwillingness to accept even the possibility that there are any genetic causes of differences in male/female outcomes. But, that won't stop you from pretending that it is...

One more thing, as someone who has spent a decent amount of time in academia, I'd like to say that anyone who can't see that there is substantial discrimination that adversely affects women at all levels - how they're treated in the classroom, to their treatment by graduate school advisors, hiring, evaluation, promotion, etc... is just blind. And, no, I'm not saying it's because there are a million extreme male misogynists running around - a lot of it is subtle and some of it even comes from other women - but, added all up it amounts to a pretty big additional hurdle for women.

That Liberal Media

How liberal is CBS? Not at all.

CBS & Gannon

One of Gannon's "scoops" was that CBS producer Mary Mapes was the person who had originally received the documents.

One wonders how JimmyJeff knew that.


Social Insecurity

Given what Josh Marshall has been covering, it's pretty clear that the plan of a lot of Republicans is to essentially lie about their opposition to Bush's privatization plan and then turn around and vote for it.

I Get Letters

Dear Bob,

Come visit with Senator Santorum! Please join your neighbors, local community leaders, and Senator Santorum for a town hall meeting on February 22, and bring along your family and friends. This is an exciting opportunity for you to hear directly from Senator Santorum on Social Security and find out how you can help.

What: Senator Santorum's Town Hall Meeting

When: Tuesday, February 22, 2005, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Where: Widener University
University Center - Webb Room
One University Place
14th Street, between Walnut and Melrose
Chester, PA 19013

Take Action Now!

Prepare for Senator Santorum's visit by signing the Social Security petition, by sending a letter to your local paper about Senator Santorum's discussion on Social Security and by making calls to local talk radio stations. Also, recruit more of your peers to join the GOP Team to build support for President Bush and our Party. The time is now to work together as the President and Republicans in Congress work to build a better America.

Yo Mama

Fafblog provides expert legal analysis of what constitutes treason.

(via Crooked Timber)


It appears Gannon had access to a lot of insider information, and liked to blab.

Wanker of the Day

Stephen Minarik.


Happy birthday to me.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Open Thread

Have fun.

Tomorrow we'll talk about Howie Kurtz's coverage of the Dick Morris hooker scandal...

Gannon's "hard pass"

The Raw Story talks about whether the pass that Gannon is wearing in video stills is a the famed "hard pass." His sources say they don't think it is. I've been told that some of his "colleagues" think that he made a fake hard pass - not one to fool security, but one which looked enough like one so that he could appear to be one of the "in" crowd.

Whack a Mole

Years later, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham are still making the claim that "Al Gore brought up Willie Horton." It isn't true. At this point they have to know it isn't true. They Don't Care.

Lies and the Lying Liars

Josh Marshall should get a comments section. Well, not really, but if he did he'd have more exposure to the ability of those on the right to continue to claim something even after it has been proven to be demonstrably false.

They're just liars. And, no one bothers to hold them accountable, and no one holds them to any standard. be fair, the person in question, Roger Simon, has corrected his post and can thus be taken off the liars list. But, here's a sampling of people who have pushed this idea about Reid supporting social security privatization (not all the links are for such people, but a lot are).

Maybe they're all just honest idiots. Or, maybe they're just taking their orders from Dear Leader Glenn.

All the Gannon News That's Fit to Print

The full Daily Show Clip.

Frank Rich:

"Jeff Gannon" had decided to give an exclusive TV interview to a sober practitioner of by-the-book real news, Wolf Blitzer. Given this journalistic opportunity, the anchor asked questions almost as soft as those "Jeff" himself had asked in the White House. Mr. Blitzer didn't question Mr. Guckert's outrageous assertion that he adopted a fake name because "Jeff Gannon is easier to pronounce and easier to remember." (Is "Jeff" easier to pronounce than his real first name, Jim?). Mr. Blitzer never questioned Gannon/Guckert's assertion that Talon News "is a separate, independent news division" of GOPUSA. Only in a brief follow-up interview a day later did he ask Gannon/Guckert to explain why he was questioned by the F.B.I. in the case that may send legitimate reporters to jail: Mr. Guckert has at times implied that he either saw or possessed a classified memo identifying Valerie Plame as a C.I.A. operative. Might that memo have come from the same officials who looked after "Jeff Gannon's" press credentials? Did Mr. Guckert have any connection with CNN's own Robert Novak, whose publication of Ms. Plame's name started this investigation in the first place? The anchor didn't go there.

The "real" news from CNN was no news at all, but it's not as if any of its competitors did much better. The "Jeff Gannon" story got less attention than another media frenzy - that set off by the veteran news executive Eason Jordan, who resigned from CNN after speaking recklessly at a panel discussion at Davos, where he apparently implied, at least in passing, that American troops deliberately targeted reporters. Is the banishment of a real newsman for behaving foolishly at a bloviation conference in Switzerland a more pressing story than that of a fake newsman gaining years of access to the White House (and network TV cameras) under mysterious circumstances? With real news this timid, the appointment of Jon Stewart to take over Dan Rather's chair at CBS News could be just the jolt television journalism needs. As Mr. Olbermann demonstrated when he borrowed a sharp "Daily Show" tool to puncture the "Jeff Gannon" case, the only road back to reality may be to fight fake with fake.

Sid Blumenthal:

Thus a phony journalist planted by a Republican operation, used by the White House press secretary to interrupt questions from the press corps, called on by the president for a safe question, protected from FBI vetting by the press office, disseminating innuendo and smears about critics and opponents of the administration, some of them gay-baiting, was unmasked not only as a hireling and fraud but as a gay prostitute, with enormous potential for blackmail....

Lifting the heavy Puritan curtain draping Bush's Washington reveals enlightening scenes of its decadent anthropology. Even as Guckert's true colors were revealed, the administration issued orders that the words "gay," "lesbian," "bisexual" and "transgender" be removed from the program of a federally funded conference on suicide prevention. But the transparent hypocrisy of conservative "values" hardly deters a ruthless government.


Thanks to the continued digging by online sleuths, there's now documented evidence that Guckert attended White House briefings as early as February 2003. Guckert, using his alias "Jeff Gannon," once boasted online about asking then-White House press secretary Ari Fleischer a question at the Feb. 28, 2003, briefing. The date is significant because in order to receive a White House press pass, Guckert would have needed to prove that he worked for a news organization that, in the words of White House press secretary Scott McClellan, "published regularly," in itself an extraordinarily low threshold. Critics have charged that while Talon News may publish regularly, it boasts a nearly all-volunteer news team which includes not a single person with actual journalism experience. (The team does, though, have quite a bit of experience working on Republican campaigns.) In other words, the outfit is not legitimate nor independent, two criteria often used in Washington, D.C., to receive press credentials.
Click here

But what's significant about the February 2003 date is that Talon did not even exist then. The organization was created in late March 2003, and began publishing online in early April 2003. Gannon, a jack of all trades who spent time in the military as well as working at an auto repair shop (not to mention escorting), has already stated publicly that Talon News was his first job in journalism. That means he wasn't working for any other news outlet in February 2003 when he was spotted by C-Span cameras inside the White House briefing room. And that means Guckert was ushered into the White House press room in February 2003 for a briefing despite the fact he was not a journalist.

How Are We Doing

Ken Auletta wrote this in December, 2001. I highlight it just to remind us of all the talk after September 11 by the media that they were going to get serious (Aulettta was appropriately pessimistic).

Like so much else, television news changed on the morning of September 11th. Six weeks later, as Aaron Brown, CNN's new anchorman, shifted from a Pentagon briefing to the ruins of the World Trade Center and then to a dissection of the latest anthrax scare, a familiar figure appeared in a box in the right half of the screen: O. J. Simpson on the witness stand. He was testifying in a Florida court, accused of road rage. Brown peered earnestly into the camera and said of the latest Simpson travail, "It is inconceivable to me that seven weeks ago, or six weeks ago, this would not have been carried live." It wasn't now, he said, because "it doesn't matter a whole lot. And here's why it doesn't." The screen filled with rescue workers pulling a body from the rubble of the World Trade towers.

Before September 11th, the evening news, to say nothing of the morning programs and the magazine shows, paid scant attention to foreign news. Instead, the networks filled the air with "weather events," Viagra breakthroughs, reports on various ailments, the murder of Jon Benet Ramsey, the trials of O.J., the death of Princess Diana, the sagas of Monica and Chandra. The networks delivered the headlines of the day, and the dismissive characterization once applied to local television news--"If it bleeds, it leads"--increasingly applied to network news as well. Stories that once might have been noted in passing, if at all, on the half-hour nightly newscasts were now reported endlessly on the nine-o'clock and ten-o'clock magazine shows, which long ago displaced documentaries.

After September 11th, journalists who had grown accustomed to feeling slightly embarrassed by what they did for a living began to look at their jobs with a renewed sense of pride. Even their bosses, who had slashed budgets and trivialized the news in the name of higher ratings and sound business practice, seemed like earnest preachers spreading the gospel of serious journalism. "Over the past ten weeks, we've been reminded why we do what we do," Mel Karmazin, who is the president and C.O.O. of Viacom, the parent company of CBS, said a few weeks ago. Karmazin was speaking at a lunch given in his honor by the Center for Communication, at the Plaza Hotel. He has a fearsome reputation, based in no small part on the demands he makes of his employees. When an executive on the sales force is exhausted and claims that, in the midst of a recession, he cannot sell more ads, Karmazin has been known to reply, "I haven't heard of anyone having a heart attack yet!" But now, at the Plaza, Karmazin aligned himself with a different set of standards. He invoked Edward R. Murrow and quoted Martin Luther King, Jr., on character. Karmazin said, "We want it said of us that when it mattered most we measured up." His peers at NBC, ABC, Fox, and CNN in the audience rose and applauded--both for Karmazin and, it seemed, themselves.

That didn't last long.

Morning Thread



Daily Show Video

Available here.

and, no, it's not great because I'm mentioned -- it's just a great segment.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Stephen Colbert (nee Ted Hitler) -- Colombian Drug Mule!


The Queen of All Iraq Speaks

Holy crap. I'm speechless.

Miller said she didn't feel she and Cooper were being targeted unfairly, but she found it curious why the prosecutor in the case, Patrick Fitzgerald, had chosen to go after only them and not other journalists who had received subpoenas.

"He was a very aggressive prosecutor against Al Qaeda, and I was an admirer of the zeal with which he went after Al Qaeda," said Miller. "I wish he would continue to do that instead of targeting journalists."

Gannon Subpoenaed?

Gannon claimed to Howie Editor and Publisher that he was never subpoenaed by Fitzgerald's grand jury, but he told his freeper pals that he had ben.

Kudos Where Kudos Are Due

It's nice to see Ramesh Ponnuru being sensible.

For Your Amusement

Here's the full list of complaints to Crazy Davey's place.

Open Thread

have fun.

The White House/Gannon Connection

Dina Powell heads the White House personnel office. Her husband is Richard Powell, who is on the board of GOPUSA, or at least was until all of the information was scrubbed.

(info via Liberal Patriots)

...or maybe not.


What a wanker:

ALBANY, N.Y. Feb 16, 2005 — Howard Dean, the new chairman of the Democratic National Committee, called on the head of New York's Republican Party to apologize or resign Wednesday over remarks linking the Democrats to a civil rights lawyer convicted of aiding terrorists.

Dean called Stephen Minarik's comments offensive, and said, "The American people deserve better than this type of political character assassination."

On Monday, Minarik said that Dean's election shows that "the Democrats simply have refused to learn the lessons of the past two election cycles, and now they can be accurately called the party of Barbara Boxer, Lynne Stewart and Howard Dean."

Stewart is a New York City lawyer convicted last week of helping terrorists by smuggling messages from one of her imprisoned clients, a radical Egyptian sheik, to his terrorist disciples on the outside. Boxer is a liberal senator from California.

Minarik has said he would not aplogize.

Republican Gov. George Pataki scolded Minarik on Tuesday, saying his remark was not "within the realm of appropriate political discourse."

What makes him even more of a wanker is his AOL profile:

Location: Webster NY
Gender: Male
Marital Status: I'm there again
Hobbies & Interests: Golf, Hockey, Sex
Favorite Gadgets: IBM Compatible
Occupation: Electoral Guru
Personal Quote: There's winning, and then there's misery

More Gannon Mystery

A reader sends in this tip. According to E&P, Gannon claims to have attended his first WH press conference in April 2003, "just weeks after starting with Talon News."

But, the Intelligence Squad (don't know who they are) points us to a "Jeff Gannon" posting in the comments of Winds of Change on March 5, 2003, referring to a February 28, 2003 press conference:

This is a question I asked Ari Fleischer at a White House press briefing on Friday:

Q There have been reports out of Maine that the children of deployed
service personnel are being harassed as a result of their elementary school
teacher's expression of anti-war views in the classroom. Could you comment on

MR. FLEISCHER: I'm not familiar with any specific report, but I can assure
you that the President, in all instances, believes that it's important for all
to honor and respect the first amendment.

Not the answer I was looking for, but at least I was able to get the issue in front of the mainstream press.

So, if this was before he was working for "Talon News," under what organization was he credentialed?

...yep, there's our Jeff on Feb. 28, before Talon even existed.

More Hilarity

Take a look at a sample of student complaints that Crazy Davey's "Students for Academic Freedom" is getting. Almost as funny as Freepi vs. Hannity, or would be if wingnuts in government weren't taking him seriously.

...or go read them all here. Warning, you may piss yourself laughing... or, maybe not -- looks like the server can't handle the traffic. oops.


What are federal agents doing going through Scoop Jackson's archives and taking things?


If Dan Rather had grossly and deliberately misrepresented something that Ronald Reagan had said, here's what would have happened:

It would be all over AM radio.

Howard Kurtz would write several columns in the Post and discuss it frequently on CNN.

The New York Post would headline "Rather Kicks Reagan's Corpse!!"

The New York Times would run a prominent feature about it,

Editorial boards from around the country would weigh in on this travesty.

Every columnist - conservative and liberal - would be falling all over themselves to condemn Dan Rather.

It would for years to follow become the reference point for "bad journalism."

Now we have Brit Hume clearly deliberately distorting something FDR said, and several other Foxmonkeys following suit. Will any of the above happen? No. Brit Hume has no standards. Fox News has no standards. And, none of the usual suspects even tries to hold them to any standard.

So, when people ask why the "left" can't collect any scalps, that's why. You can't shame people who have no shame.

Hannity vs. the Freepi




Imagine the media explosion if a male escort had been discovered operating as a correspondent in the Clinton White House. Imagine that he was paid by an outfit owned by Arkansas Democrats and had been trained in journalism by James Carville. Imagine that this gentleman had been cultivated and called upon by Mike McCurry or Joe Lockhart--or by President Clinton himself. Imagine that this "journalist" had smeared a Republican Presidential candidate and had previously claimed access to classified documents in a national-security scandal.

Then imagine the constant screaming on radio, on television, on Capitol Hill, in the Washington press corps--and listen to the placid mumbling of the "liberal" media now.


Has Brit Hume Resigned Yet?

James Roosevelt Jr. says that maybe he should.

Afternoon Thread

Have fun.

"On the Other Side"

The Power Line blog says:

Jimmy Carter isn't just misguided or ill-informed. He's on the other side.

And Yglesias writes:

I don't think it's at all unreasonable to say that Hindrocket owes Carter a serious apology. Flinging this sort of totally unsubstantiated allegation is disgusting and utterly destructive of any effort to have serious debate about anything. Is Jimmy Carter really in league with the jihadist forces responsible for the murder of thousands of Americas? Is this what Power Line's fans and those who link to them believe? That a jihadist agent managed to get himself elected president? That an ex-president turned traitor?

These guys really are unbelievable.


Kevin Drum is writing about The Economist magazine and Social Security, but I think it's a good description of the general phenomenon of "Friedmanism."

In other words, there's no real crisis, the details of Bush's plan are all wrong, and it does nothing to rescue Social Security anyway. But we support it for the same reason George Bush does: because it's one of our ideological hobbyhorses.

And if it eventually becomes law as one of his usual bloated, policy-free, crony friendly monstrosities, they'll be able to point back to this editorial and piously say, We'd never have supported doing it that way. We endorsed the proper version of privatization.

And then they'll move on to enthusiastic support of his next plan.



TEHRAN, Iran - An unknown aircraft fired a missile on Wednesday in a deserted area near the southern city of Dailam in the province of Bushehr where Iran has a nuclear power plant, Iranian state television said.

"A powerful explosion was heard this morning on the outskirts of Dailam in the Bushehr province. Witnesses said that the missile was fired from an unknown plane 12 miles from the city," Iran's Arabic language Al-Alam said.

...appears to have been a dropped fuel tank.

Morning Thread

Chat away.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Save the Koufax Awards

Bandwidth cost problems. Chip in a little bit through this link.

Strawberry Days

Every time you order a copy, Michelle Malkin cries.

Joking aside, Neiwert's a great writer and his previous two books -- In God's Country and Death on the Fourth of July should be read by all of us.

And, if he moves a lot of books he can get on TV and be the anti-Malkin for a bit.

Scalp Moonves

Go to Drudgey-poo for the story. CBS journos might sue. Good for them.

North Koriran

Government funded website labels picture of Iranian nuke plant as being in North Korea...or vice versa. Hard to keep straight.


Obviously what does and doesn't constitute Fair Use under copyright law is somewhat fuzzy, but any company/organization that tries to forbid "deep linking" without making any attempt to put technical roadblocks up are just idiots.

It's called the internets. Look it up...

Republican Senator Praises Filibuster

Link (video).

Wonder what he'll do when Cheney pulls the nuclear option.

I actually kinda hope Cheney does do it. There are several fun ways to slow down Senate business.

Those Damned Dirty Immigrants

Bringing that sickle cell anemia into our clean country.

Afternoon Thread

Have fun.

Please Stop

I don't know why "tax by mile" proposals appeal to so many people. It'd be costly to implement and a likely heavy invasion of privacy, and for what?

We tax gas consumption for two main reasons: 1) to raise revenues and 2) because there are external costs to driving - pollution, congestion, and road wear and tear.

If states are worried about falling revenues due to better mileage, then they can just raise the gas tax.

If you tax by mile instead of by gallon, you reduce the incentives to buy cars with better mileage. Pollution would tend to increase. Cars with worse mileage tend to be bigger so they contribute to congestion more. And, bigger cars do more damage to the roads.

The gas tax isn't a perfect tax -- to reduce inefficient congestion peak period pricing is necessary. But, that can be implemented using EZ-pass type systems on certain roadways on top of the gas tax.


The wingnutosphere has taken to posting up fake personal ads with my picture, as if I'd care... Wahhh! They're trying to convince people I'm (horrors!) gay!

who cares.

Slandered in the Globe

Since the Boston Globe is unwilling to give Alterman enough space to react to charges that he's anti-Semitic, I'll help out by providing some additional space here. You can read about the entire saga from beginning to end here:

To the editor:
It is quite painful for a proud, practicing pro-Zionist Jew who was Bar Mitvah, educated in Israel, lights candles on Shabbat, attend shul regularly, contributes to the Forward, and educates his own child into the religious tradition, to be accused publicly of anti-Semitism. It has happened to me on occasion in extremely obscure, right-wing websites, but only twice in the mainstream media. Both times it has been done by Cathy Young on the editorial page of The Boston Globe. The last time I was denied the courtesy of a response. I hope that will not be the case today.

As most people are aware, the accusation of anti-Semitism, like that of anti-Americanism, can be employed by people to stifle debate and stigmatize points of view with which they disagree. In this case Cathy Young seeks to silence anyone who recognizes the reality of Jewish responsibility for Palestinian suffering. This is unfortunate, for many reasons—one cannot hope for peace in the Middle East without a mutual recognition of the pain the conflict has caused—but more to the point, phony accusations of anti-Semitism have the effect of weakening societal strictures against the real thing. By employing this slander against me, now twice, Cathy Young is actually aiding and abetting the anti-Semites by robbing the term of any coherent meaning.

Here, for the record, is the entire text of the blog text that has led Young to call me these horrid names. .

“I’m a Jew, but I don’t expect Arabs to pay tribute to my people’s suffering while Jews, in the form of Israel an its supporters—and in this I include myself—are causing much of theirs. Would Andrew [Sullivan] want to go to a service in honor of the suffering of gay bashing bigots? (Wait, don’t answer that. Would a gay person who didn’t regularly offer his political support to gay bashing bigots want to go?) Anyway, I’m sure what I’m saying will be twisted beyond recognition, and so I suppose that makes it stupid to do, but I’m sorry. The Palestinians have also suffered because of the Holocaust. They lost their homeland as the world—in the form of the United Nations—reacted to European crimes by awarding half of Palestine to the Zionists. They call this the “Nakba” or the “Catastrophe.” To ask Arabs to participate in a ceremony that does not recognize their own suffering but implicitly endorses the view that caused their catastrophe is morally idiotic—which is why, I guess, I’m not surprised Andrew’s doing it. Also via Little Roy, here’s another conservative Jew joining David Horowitz in endorsing Mel Gibson's anti-Semitism and even William Donahue’s disgusting anal-sex-obsessed anti-Jewish attack, which was broadcast on MSNBC and implicitly endorsed by Pat Buchanan. “

You can see from the above while the item does recognize the political folly of demanding that Arabs who have suffered their own catastrophe at the hands of Jews, be demanded to pay fealty to Jews without any recognition of their own suffering, the item also contains an attack on the genuine anti-Semitism of both the Passion of the Christ and the Catholic League’s William Donahue blaming America’s moral ills on “Hollywood’s secular Jews,” whom he informed MSNBC’s Buchanan, “like anal sex.” Nowhere do I, as Young accuses, hold “Jews responsible for ‘much’ of the suffering of Muslims everywhere,” as I was clearly talking about Palestine, and nor, for the same reasons can I be accused of arguing that “every Muslim is justified in viewing every Jew as the enemy.” As for her accusation that I actually blaming “long-dead Holocaust victims,” well, it boggles the mind that your editors would allow this hateful poison into your newspaper, whatever Young’s motives may be for spreading it.

That a newspaper with the reputation of the Boston Globe would allow itself to be used for Young’s vicious vendetta against me, now twice, is both shameful and shocking. I would appreciate a retraction and apology.
Eric Alterman
New York, New York

The Corporate State

What is there to even say about a deal between Wal Mart and the DOL which gives Wal Mart notice of any complaints about their labor practices?

And, apparently they now have creative control of DOL's press operations.

Miller to the Grand Jury


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court ruled on Tuesday that two journalists must testify before a federal grand jury about their confidential sources in an investigation into a leak that exposed the identity of a covert CIA operative.
The three-judge panel ruled that New York Times reporter Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper of Time Magazine must comply with a subpoena from a grand jury investigating whether the Bush administration illegally leaked the officer's name to the news media.


So, I'm reading Rep. Paul Ryan's discussion of his plan to "save" Social Security which involves private accounts. He made this assertion which I thought was pretty astonishing:

Evaluating legislation I introduced last year, the chief actuary of Social Security determined that large accounts would even erase Social Security's $10.4 trillion unfunded liability — what the program promises today's workers but cannot pay. To deal with the "transition costs" of diverting money into private accounts, we should make offsetting cuts in other government spending.

I thought, wow! He must have a really impressive plan if it actually does that. So, I took a look at the plan to see exactly how the rather meaningless $10.4 trillion "unfunded liability" gets erased.

He erases it by mandating transfers from the general fund whenever necessary.

Problem solved! be clear, I don't think that funding trust fund shortfalls out of general revenues is a bad idea, but it's a way to "solve" the "problem" by acknowledging that it doesn't exist.

Morning Thread

Chat away.

Wanker of the Day

Jeff Greenfield.

JEFF GREENFIELD, CNN SR. ANALYST (voice-over): If you don't notice that the great majority of NBA players are black, you almost surely have a vision problem. More than 75 percent of the players are African American.

You might also notice that in general, in general, black ballplayers play a different style of game than their white counterparts. The dribbles, the drives, the slam dunks just don't seem the same.

But does this tell us anything about genetic hard-wired distinctions? That's at best an Olympic-sized leap. And, speaking of the Olympics, ever since 1968, the marathon run at the Olympics and just about everywhere else has been dominated by the Kenyans, specifically Kenyans who come from the Calingen (ph) tribe.

Altitude, diet, tradition, socioeconomic factors explain much but an article in a scientific journal last fall says that such success also points to a possible genetic component. Now, does that make you a bit uncomfortable?

Or, what about the fact that as biologist David Page (ph) has written, the genetic difference between males and females absolutely dwarfs all other differences in the human genome and that one of the most obvious differences is that the average man is substantially stronger than the average woman. (on camera): We're uneasy about such assertions because we know our past when so-called experts blithely asserted complete falsehoods about racial, gender and ethnic differences designed to perpetuate, even encourage blatant discrimination.

Jews were not as smart as gentiles. Blacks were genetically linked to primates. Women were incapable of rational thought. They were also said, by the way, to be incapable of sexual enjoyment.

(voice-over): So, no wonder Harvard President Larry Sommers got into hot water for suggesting that innate differences might explain the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) of women among professional scientists or engineers. The problem lies in the fear that acknowledging these differences could lead to certain social policies.

For instance, if most women are weaker than most men, it tells you absolutely nothing about allowing women to be firefighters but it may mean there will be a lot fewer women in the ranks. In New York City where women have been taking the same test as men for more than a decade, there are 28 females in a force of more than 11,000.

By contrast, the U.S. Army holds men and women to distinctly different standards. A 21-year-old man must to at least 40 pushups, for women it's 19, gender-norming critics call this. No women in combat units, the brass reminds them, so maybe the tests don't have to be exactly the same.

But this discussion gets even more intense in matters of race. Why do black students tend to under perform in academic settings even when those students come from affluent, stable families?

Peer pressure not to achieve, the legacy of discrimination, low expectations from their teachers that could undermine their own self- confidence? And, if we acknowledge this, does that somehow imply that everything from affirmative action to outreach programs are doomed to failure?

We live in a time when we're fully prepared to acknowledge, even laugh about differences in how we walk and talk and mate and pray and raise our kids but the whole conversation is so loaded with our knowledge of past ugliness it's no wonder we approach the topic as though we were walking through a minefield.

Jeff Greenfield, CNN, New York.

Monday, February 14, 2005

No Shame

There's a lot of chatter these days about how blogging's all about "collecting scalps" and that the right wing bloggers are better at it. Well, I never knew that was what blogging was for - I don't judge the success of this blog by the big events, it's the day to day small influences on the discourse that I'm proud of.

But, as for the basic question -- why do right wing bloggers manage to hound people into retirement and left wing bloggers don't? Well, one reason is that right wingers and the people who employ them have no shame. Jonah Goldberg continues to write for the Washington Times, despite the fact that no decent person should have any association with a publication that regularly publishes the ravings of avowed racists, especially one who is married to its managing editor. Another one of its editors, we shouldn't forget, is also a racist southern secessionist who once wrote:

[T]he media now force interracial images into the public mind and a number of perfectly rational people react to these images with an altogether natural revulsion. The white person who does not mind transacting business with a black bank clerk may yet be averse to accepting the clerk as his sister-in-law, and THIS IS NOT RACISM, no matter what Madison Avenue, Hollywood and Washington tell us.

Jonah doesn't mind getting money from racists, and the racists in charge don't mind paying for his column. And, Jonah complains about anti-Semitic emailers (which, if true, should be complained about) but has little to say about the Times accepting numerous ads for anti-Semitic outlets.

There's no way to shame these people into resigning because no one involved has any sense of shame.

And I didn't even get into the views of the guy who actually OWNS the Moonie Times...

Dear Aaron Brown and Howie Kurtz

This is not my blog.



Gonna Party Like It's 1998

Regarding the latest Gannony goodness, Digby says:

So many questions so few answers. Just why did JimJeff get such special treatment? It's not like they didn't already have a bunch of ready made shills to ask softball questions. Les Kinsolving's been throwing partisan bombs for years. They certainly didn't need JimJeff to transcribe RNC talking points when they have the Beltway Boys to do it on national television.

Scotty said that the president called on JimJeff of his own volition. A coincidence? Or did someone request that JimJeff get a special treat that day?

And has it ever been logical that this nobody from a vanity web site would get access to the Plame story? Why him? JimJeff claims that he never actually saw the Plame memo, yet he clearly knew of it. Could it have been pillow talk?

I don't have a clue. But, I do know that if this were 1998, we'd be knee deep in congressional investigations into the gay hooker ring in the White House. Every news crew in the DC area would be camped out on JimJeff's front lawn. A wild-eyed Victoria Toensing and panting Kelly Ann Fitzpatrick would be crawling up on the Hardball desk rending their silk teddies and speaking in tongues while Matthews'exploding head spun around on his shoulders.

But, it isn't 1998 and it will probably not even be mentioned. And I'm not a Republican so I don't think, as they would, that it's necessary to dig into every single White House staffer's sex life to find out who leaked a confidential memo to a gay hooker.

As a Democrat, however, if gay hookers are running around the White House I do find it somewhat frustrating that we have to put up with this shock and horror bullshit from the right wing about average Joe and Jane gay person wanting to get married and have a family. Please.

It's odd that the media is suddenly skittish about this. Would they run under the table if it came out that on her free weekends Dana Bash could be rented out for the small sum of $1200? The Daily News said he quit due to a "gay prostie link" before there was any evidence of such a link. I wonder if they'll even follow up now that there's evidence he is indeed a "gay prostie."

And, the Editors chime in with what the real story is:

Think about it: what are the chances that a media whore like Gannon would turn out to be an actual whore? It's impossible. It boggles the mind how infinitely unlikely this is. It's like if you found someone pirating CDs, and it turns out he actually had a peg leg and a parrot on his shoulder and sailed around the Caribbean saying "arrrrrr!" and plundering booty. You wouldn't believe it. But there it is: impossible, but true. Impossible truths are miracles, and only God can work miracles. Ergo, God exists. Q.E.D.

The rest of the story is that God prefers his metaphors about as subtle as a David Byrne art concept or, equivalently, getting clocked on the head with a cinderblock. Yeah, "whore". It's a "big suit", David. We get it already. I think brainless plankton on Neptune get the symbolism here. Jesus.


Now here's an interesting development. I've been banished from the Googleverse. This website will not appear in any searches. be clear, I'm not saying there's necessarily anything malicious here. Google changes its search algorithms regularly, etc... And, it appears that if one tries hard enough the site will pop up. But, the degree to which I've suddenly been "disappeared" is rather interesting...


Thanks for those who helped out while I was on the road. I did manage a couple extremely exciting posts while I was at the airport, but apparently blogger ate them. Bad blogger. Normal service is returning.

Open Thread

Hope you've all had a good V-Day.

Stay steely.

Even tonight's NewsHour is having a segment on blogs and their effect on the media.

Open Thread.

Man, you guys sure are obsessed with Jeff Gannon. (Completely harmless sound file.)

Democratic Policy Committee Investigates the CPA

Everyone else seems to be chipping in while Atrios is out, so I guess it's time for me to do my bit.

Check out the fine work of the Democratic Policy Committee chaired by Senator Byron L. Dorgan (D-ND). The committee is investigating the way the Coalition Provisional Authority handled billions of your tax dollars (and monies in the Development Fund for Iraq that belong to the Iraqi people), a topic that Republicans in congress have chosen not to investigate.

Four individuals are providing testimony before the committee today.

Franklin Willis, who served the CPA as Deputy Senior Advisor for Iraq’s Ministry of Transportation and Communications,and as Senior Aviation Official July - Dec. 2003.

[W]as waste of taxpayer’s and Iraqi DFI [Development Fund for Iraq] dollars what it had to be? Were inefficiencies at a high level inevitably mandated by the circumstances? I would give a firm“No” to both questions.

Click here for coverage of Willis' desription of how the GOP-connected security firm Custer Battles was paid with $2 million in cash stuffed in a gunny sack.

Alan Grayson, an attorney who represents whistleblowers in a civil suit filed against Custer Battles. A suit the Justice Department has declined to join, even though the suit alleges that Custer Battles defrauded the CPA of millions of your tax dollars, because the Department claims the CPA is not an agent of the U.S. government.
I wish that I could tell you that the Bush Administration has done everything it could to detect and punish fraud in Iraq. If I said that to you, though, I would be lying. In our case, the Bush Administration has not lifted a finger to recover tens of millions of dollars that our whistleblowers allege was stolen from the Government.

Steve Ellis of Taxpayers for Common Sense, who demolishes the DOJ's rationale.
The rhetorical argument that the Coalition Provisional Authority is not a U.S. federal agency and therefore need not be subject to oversight and increased congressional scrutiny exists only to avoid further accountability and oversight. We believe this debate was settled when the President signed the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Actfor the Reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan on November 6, 2003. The Conference Report accompanying this legislation describes funding the CPA “in its capacity as an entity of the United States government,” and further states that any unused funds “shall be transferred back to this appropriations.”

Don North, a journalist hired to help create the CPA's Iraqi Media Network.
My Iraq journalist friends tell me that CPA’s “Code of Conduct,” which bans “intemperate speech that could incite violence,” is “selective democracy,” similar in spirit if not in effect to censorship by Saddam Hussein. Iraqi journalists also tell me they suspect it was at the urging of CPA that the Iraqi Governing Council banned Al-Jazeera and Al Arabiya satellite news from its news conferences for two weeks last October, which only served to further diminish credibility for the council, already regarded with suspicion by many Iraqis. Since then, Al Arabiya’s office in Baghdad has been closed bythe CPA and the Governing Council.

Click here to read about how the the Iraqi Media Network became an "irrelevant mouthpiece" for the U.S. Coalition Provisional Authority.

If you're not outraged by now then you're not paying attention.

No True Glory

Harrison Ford is making a film called "No True Glory: The Battle of Fallujah":
Ford is set to play Jim Mattis, the General who led the US assault on Fallujah following the murder of four Americans.

"No True Glory: The Battle for Fallujah" was written by former marine and assistant secretary of defence for international security affairs Bing West.
Based on the description it looks like the film will be about the first battle of Fallujah last spring, not the second one last November. I wonder if the film will mention that the U.S. lost that particular battle.

(hat tip to Nur al-Cubicle)

Youngbyon, Iran

Who knew that Iran and North Korea were in the same place?

CNN has two different stories about bad countries and their nuclear plants. They have supposed aerial photos of those nuclear plants.

The photos are of the the same damn plant.

Now, will CNN tell us who fed them at least one bogus photo?...

The Perfesser


More Gannony fun soon.

Lucianne's Little Boy Hates Feathers

Jonah didn't really mean that he was afraid to go fight in the war he supports. Nor did Jonah really mean that his little girl deserves a father with arms and legs any more than the little girls of all those fathers already over in Iraq or at Walter Reed. Nor did Jonah mean that financing his comfortable lifestyle was more important than the lifestyles of many reserve families who make real sacrifices so that their wife or husband can continue to serve term after term in Iraq. So, it's not really very clear exactly WHAT Jonah did mean. One thing, however, is crystal clear. It turns out that what Johan REALLY meant was that he just doesn't appreciate any criticism at all.

So, please, all you mean people. Quit emailing white feathers to Jonah. Really. Right now. He really doesn't appreciate them. It's Valentine's Day. It would be evil to keep sending those feathers to Jonah.

Thanks to attaturk and Tena for the headsup.

These People Screw Up Everything They Touch

Gee, it was impossible to see this one coming at us like a freight train barreling down the tracks. Tomorrow, when the sun rises in the East, the morons at the WH will profess themselves completely shocked. Hey, Americans! Here's a clue, free from me to you: the neo-cons haven't been right about one single thing. You need to kick them to the curb soonest!

The NYT Does Oscar Wilde

Wow. The NYT finally figured out that running giant deficits might not be such a great idea..


The Importance of Being Earnest

Published: February 14, 2005

For all its talk of deficit reduction, President Bush's 2006 budget is a map of reckless economic policies and shows how they have backed the United States into a precarious position in the global financial markets.

Mr. Bush needs to convince foreign investors that he's serious about cutting the budget deficit. Here's why: Each day, the United States must borrow billions of dollars from abroad to finance its enormous budget and trade deficits. Without a steady stream of huge loans, the country would face rising interest rates, higher inflation, a dropping dollar and slower economic growth. The lenders want to see less of a gap between what the government collects in taxes and what it spends, because a lower budget deficit always eases a trade deficit. A lower trade deficit also implies a stronger dollar. And a stronger dollar would reassure foreign investors that dollar-based assets remain their best choice.

As it is, their belief is being sorely tested: in 2003, the European Central Bank lost $625 million to the weak dollar and reportedly stands to lose $1.3 billion for 2004. Japan's central bank, which has the world's largest foreign stash of dollars - some $715 billion - could lose an estimated $40 billion if the dollar weakened to around 95 yen, a level many analysts expect to see this year.


In circles less glamorous than those occupied by Oscar and the NYT, we call this shutting the barn door after the horse is already out. But, hey, everyone got to spend their tax cut at Walmart, right?

Wanker of the Day

Jonathan Weisman

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Eating and Drinking Went on Late into the Night...

Grammys. Pizza Pizza. Purgatory or Inferno? We report, you decide.

Oh, and crazy bread for everybody.....

A MoDo Valentine

Love Lit 101

Published: February 13, 2005


There are many angles for romance.

Still, my ears perked up when I recently heard the tale of a New York journalist who gave his wife an unusual birthday present: a list of books from A to Z that would help her better understand him.

I decided to adapt the idea for Valentine's Day, and get some lucky guy the books from A to Z that would help him better understand me.

I prowled Borders, but the more I looked, the more I fretted. I could start with "All the King's Men," but it's pretty obvious that I'm interested in the nexus between politics and dishonesty.



LOL. Go read the rest.

More Thread

My hotel is grammy central. Nothing uglier than a stretch Humvee limo, except perhaps Jonah Goldberg.

And, if you need something to read, Wolcott spots the Democrats having a bit of fun.

Open Thread

Late afternoon/ early evening edition

The Chilean Miracle

LA Times:

Social insecurity

In any given month, only about half of Chileans with personal retirement accounts contribute to them. And most participants had accumulated less than $3,500 as of September 2004.

Chilean workers' participation in private accounts

Not contributing: 51%

Contributing: 49%

Breakdown of private accounts by size

$3,481 or less: 59%

$3,482 to 8,702: 19%

$8,703 to $17,403: 11%

More than $17,404: 11%


Source: Chile's Superintendent of Pension Fund Administrators

Los Angeles Times

If you want other stories on this

Don't Forget

If you're happy about the choice of new DNC chair, give a little

Oh, Jonah...

11 Children, off to Iraq:

NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) -- Johnnie Chennault has no regrets about joining the Navy Reserve, even though it means he's going to Iraq later this month.

But he does worry about not being around to help take care of his house full of 11 kids.

"Leaving my children, leaving my wife for so long -- you're going to miss all the little things as the kids grow up," he said.

Chennault and his wife, Ronda, have a full range of children of all ages growing up at their home in Springfield, a small town about 30 miles north of Nashville: Terr'i, 17; Stephen, 15; Jobie, 14; Joshua, 12; Zakari, 8; Johnnie IV, 7; Mikal, 6; Syerra, 4; Gracee, 3; Jakob, 1; and Nikalus, 8 months.

Open Thread

Have fun.
It's amazing to listen to whores like Howie crying about liberal bloggers digging into Gannon's "personal life." You know, the "personal life" that he spread all over the internets. Sorry, Howie, but I read the Starr Report, and I sure don't remember the same outrage over that incursion into personal lives. Gannon made himself a public figure and left himself wide open. Maybe a little less "bathed in the blood" bragging coupled with fewer escort websites would have served Mr. Gannon's (new-found)desire for privacy.

The whine-fest is particularly risible coming, as it does, on the same week that Maryland's faux-family-values Governor Erlich had to fire his aide for getting caught spreading FALSE rumors about the family life of a potential opponent. . One of his favorite fora for dishing this made-up dirt? FreeRepublic.

Hey Mr. Erlich! Here's a clue, free from me to you. If your political ideas are so great and if you've done a such great job in your first term, you don't have to send your aides to FreeRepublic to make up lies about your opponent's marriage. Besides, people with real, you know, values, don't tell lies.


No time to write at length, but these posts by Big Media Matt are very important and deserve great attention.

Late Night

Have fun.