Saturday, March 05, 2005


The 101st fighting keyboarders spring into action.

Best Songs That No One Ever Heard


Congressman Gibbons Says - SHUT YOUR MOUTH!

Ah, this is great. Gibbons now says he didn't want to send people who kept their mouths shut to their deaths, just the ones who acatually spoke up.


ELKO - The controversy over Rep. Jim Gibbons' speech at Elko's Lincoln Day dinner was splashed onto the screens of television viewers across the nation Thursday night.

Nevada Democratic Party spokesman Jon Summers appeared on FOX News' Hannity & Colmes show to discuss the congressman's remarks.

Gibbons' speech last Friday, which strongly backed the American forces battling the war on terrorism and condemned anti-war activists, has stirred up a national furor.

Summers, in his comments on the cable news debate program, touched on the issue of "human shields" contained in Gibbons' speech.

"Jim Gibbons came out and he said anyone that opposed this administration's policy - and anyone that disagreed with him - ought to be used as human body armor," Summers said.

Elko County Commissioner John Ellison, who attended the Lincoln Day dinner, said Summers twisted Gibbons' comments.

"He did not make those accusations ...," Ellison said. "Gibbons' comments were not directed at Americans who privately have concerns regarding the war, but at outspoken liberal celebrities trying to undermine the troops fighting for this nation."

And, what a little idiot Limbaugh Jr is:

During the program, Summers said Gibbons' speech had been plagiarized from Alabama State Auditor Beth Chapman.

Sean Hannity said that was an allegation.

"It has already been reported on in the Nevada press," Summers countered. "In fact, by the newspaper that broke the story to begin with."

Hannity said he would not allow Summers to "make allegations" without Gibbons being there to respond.


When your lede paragraph is:

Questioning the wisdom of Alan Greenspan in political Washington is akin to challenging the integrity of the pope in Rome, so figures in both parties agreed yesterday that the top Senate Democrat's description of the Federal Reserve Board chairman as a "political hack" was a blunder.

One would imagine the article would contain at least one quote by a Democrat that didn't support Reid.

There are numerous reasons for having a non-partisan independent Fed chairman. There are even reasons for continuing to pretend that your partisan Fed chairman is in fact non-partisan even after he crosses the line. But, Greenspan has abused this courtesy for far too many years.

Can Anyone Explain

How this isn't a blatant violation of federal law?

WASHINGTON - A new Social Security (news - web sites) war room inside the Treasury Department (news - web sites) is pumping out information to sell President Bush (news - web sites)'s plan, much like any political campaign might do. It's part of a coordinated effort by the Bush administration.

The internal, taxpayer-funded campaigning is backed up by television advertisements, grass-roots organizing and lobbying from business and other groups that support the Bush plan.

The president's opponents are organized too, though they do not enjoy the resources of the White House or Treasury to sell their message.

For the administration, the communications effort is being coordinated out of Treasury's public affairs office through the new Social Security Information Center. Three people have been hired, with two more hires possible soon. The first three employees are veterans of the Bush-Cheney campaign or the Republican National Committee.

And, can anyone explain why there isn't a parade of graduates of the Barbizon School of Former Prosecutors on every cable channel discussing this?

Open Thread


So Many Wankers

Ah, wank wank wank.

Speaking of Casey

I think it's a big mistake for the Democrats to try to clear the field for Casey to run against Specter Santorum. This is more about Rendell not wanting the primary to drain away attention and fundraising dollars from his race than anything else. I don't believe Casey is necessarily the best candidate for this race (by "best candidate" I mean "most likely to beat Santorum" and not any other considerations).

Let's take a look at the 2000 election results for Santorum. He ran against an anti-choice Democrat, Ron Klink, who despite being a fairly bad candidate and having no money only lost 53-46. But, where did he lose?

The 4 suburban philadelphia counties are critical in PA politics - Bucks, Chester, Montgomery, Delaware. In these counties, Gore won 51-46.

Santorum got 565083 votes in these counties. Klink got 419439. Leaving off the small party votes because I'm too lazy, that makes it about a 57-43 race for Santorum in these counties.

Basically these counties have a lot of middle of the road pro-choice voters. And, in an midterm election you're going to be asking them to hold their noses and actually go vote for an anti-choice candidate.

If Casey can't win and inspire large turnout in these counties he really can't win the election. A contested primary would give him the opportunity to figure out how to appeal to these voters.

Every true believing conservative resident of Pennsyltucky will get out and vote for Santorum. Can Casey inspire voters?

Generally, I think the uncontested primary idea is a really bad one for Democrats, though they still cling to it. So, I'm glad that Pennacchio at least is still in the race, even though the press is trying to pretend he doesn't exist.

Wanker of the Day

Peter Beinart:

BEINART. I think one of the great problems in the debates about abortion and gay rights is the perception that liberals are illiberal and nondemocratic. It's remarkable to me how many people still mention the fact that [the anti-abortion Pennsylvania governor] Bob Casey was denied the right to speak at the 1992 Democratic convention. That was an illiberal thing the party did. And there is an important debate for liberals to have about the role of the courts in pushing social change. Finally, I don't think you can separate these questions from people's larger concerns about the culture. Liberals should believe in free speech, of course, but there is no reason that liberals need to believe that everything that comes out of an unregulated free market is good culturally.

The people who still "mention the fact" are Republican hacks who like to perpetuate the myth that liberals are "illiberal and non-democratic." Casey wasn't denied the opportunity to speak because he was anti-choice, he was denied the opportunity to speak because he refused to endorse the Clinton/Gore ticket.

(via Light of Reason)

Morning Thread

Have fun.

Late Night


Friday, March 04, 2005


I think it's a mistake to draw any conclusions from the tragic shooting of the recently freed Italian journalist and the Italian secret service agent who was accompanying her, other than the obvious fact that in Iraq today you run the risk of getting killed by US soldiers. It's quite possible the soldiers behaved appropriately in that if, as claimed, the car was speeding towards a checkpoint then their actions are perfectly understandable. Or, even if their actions weren't really justified, it's still the kind of shitty mistake which is to be expected to happen more frequently than we'd like. It's a war zone.

And, what can be said about the final act of Nicola Calipari, who by accounts died while acting as a human shield for Giuliana Sgrena.

Dreaming of the Ads

Ah, this Social Security thing is going to be the gift that keeps on giving. There's little chance of it passing, and almost every single Democratic challenger is going to be able to run ads saying "Congressman X voted to cut your Social Security benefits..."

Friday Cat Blogging

Open Thread

have fun.

Truth Tour

Just got back from seeing a pack of Senators and Reps. do their Social Security road show. It was good. They're feisty and confident. They're not going to back down.

Possible Suspect ID'd

I hope the authorities take a look at this.

Wankers of the Day

Creators Syndicate, for sending out C&D letter for "unauthorized use of a link."

Stab in the Back

Military recruitment is down because the media actually reports on casualties.

Afternoon Thread

Have fun.

Off the List

I think for now Lieberman has to be taken down from the Wall of Shame, given that he's a signatory to this letter.

The Jobs Over/Under

Barry Ritholtz has something worth reading for econ-geeks about how for quite some taking the "under" position relative to the consensus forecast by economists has been a very good bet.

Today the jobs number was quite good, and the over bet would have been the right one. However, apparently the currency traders were heavily betting not on the over position, but on the WAY over position.

Morning Thread

Have fun.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Dino Ironbody for President

Will set up PAC soon.

Yay Rachel

Looks like there's been a wee bit of shakeup at Air America.


I'm glad the Democrats have realized that Greenspan is part of the problem.

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan generally gets accolades for his public pronouncements. Yesterday he got a brickbat from Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), who blasted Greenspan as "one of the biggest political hacks we have here in Washington."

Reid ripped Greenspan during an interview on CNN's "Inside Politics." He said the Fed chairman has given President Bush a pass on deficits that have built up in the past four years and should be challenging Republicans on their fiscal policies, rather than promoting Bush's plan to introduce personal accounts into Social Security.

"I'm not a big Greenspan fan -- Alan Greenspan fan," Reid said when asked about the Fed chairman's testimony this week urging Congress to deal quickly with the financial problems facing Social Security and Medicare. "I voted against him the last two times. I think he's one of the biggest political hacks we have in Washington."


"Why doesn't he respond to the Republicans and tell them the big problem here is the debt that this administration is created?" he said. "We had a $7 trillion-dollar surplus when Bush took office. Now we have a $3 or $4 trillion-dollar deficit. That's, in fact, what Greenspan should be telling people."

Gibbons Speech Plagiarized

Elko Daily Free Press:

ELKO - The speech delivered by U.S. Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., during Friday night's Lincoln Day Dinner in Elko was largely plagiarized from a copyrighted speech by Alabama State Auditor Beth Chapman.

Chapman told the Elko Daily Free Press this morning Gibbons had not requested permission to use her speech, which she said she delivered Feb. 2, 2003, at a Stand Up for America rally in Alabama.

She said Gibbons apologized today for using large portions of her speech.

"I spoke with him this morning and he has apologized," she said.

Chapman, a Republican, said Gibbons told her he did not realize the speech was copyrighted.

During his speech at Friday night's Lincoln Day Dinner, Gibbons did not mention that the speech had been written and previously delivered by Chapman.

"I don't remember where I got it," Gibbons said this morning. "I had no idea it was copyrighted."

Whether or not it's copyrighted is really not the point. Deliberately passing off the words of others as your own is plagiarism, whether it's Betty Chapman's copyrighted speech or Billy Shakespeare's no longer copyrighted plays.

Follow the Bouncing Lie

Novak misquotes Dean twice (since corrected by Judy Woodruff). The RNC puts it up on their site (since taken down). Rush Limbaugh discusses the incorrect quote, as does Cato Club for Growth.

A perpetually silly outfit.

Admin Costs

Max explains why claims of tiny admin. costs for privatized accounts are almost certainly bollocks. I'm happy for someone to argue the other side, but I don't see how his basic point could be wrong -- this would be an almost unbearable burden for genuine small businesses. I'd imagine there'd be numerous law suits too, by workers pissed off that their stock purchases were done a day late.

An Asshole AND a Plagiarist

By now you've heard this story:

ELKO - Patriotic spirits soared as Elko's Grand Old Party had a grand old party Friday night at its annual Lincoln Day Dinner.

The fervor was whipped up by a fiery speech by Rep. Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., during which he passionately proclaimed his heartfelt support for troops waging the war on terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan and voiced blistering contempt for certain celebrities for giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

Let's see some more of what he said:

"We are all here tonight because men and women of the United States military have given their lives for our freedom," Gibbons continued. "We are here tonight not because of Rosie O'Donnell, Martin Sheen, George Clooney, Jane Fonda or Phil Donahue - they never sacrificed their lives for us or for liberty."

Gibbons said it was not movie stars but soldiers and sailors that defended freedom in the deserts of Iraq, the jungles of Vietnam, the sands of Iwo Jima and the beaches of Normandy.

"I say we tell those liberal, tree-hugging, Birkenstock-wearing, hippie, tie-dyed liberals to go make their movies and their music and whine somewhere else," Gibbons said to another burst of applause.

He said if they lived in Iraq or Afghanistan, "Ironically they would be put to death at the hands of Saddam Hussein or Osama Bin Laden."

Gibbons brought the crowd to near feverish pitch when he hit the hot button issue of abortion.

"I want to know how these very people who are against war because of loss of life can possibly be the same people who are for abortion?" Gibbons said. "They are the same people who are for animal rights, but they are not for the rights of the unborn."

He said that they are the same people who wanted to go to Iraq and become human shields for the enemy.

"I say it's just too damn bad we didn't buy them a ticket," Gibbons said.

Laughter rippled through the room, mingled with more applause.

"If they want to be human shields, I say let them serve the men and women of honest integrity that epitomize courage and embody the spirit of freedom by wearing the proud uniform of the United States military," Gibbons said.

"What greater love has man than he lays down his life for his friend - or in this case, his country," Gibbons said in conclusion.

Apparently our fine Congressman is a plagiarist. Here we have a 2003 speech by Alabama state auditor Beth Chapman:

I’m here tonight because men and women of the United States military have given their lives for my freedom. I am not here tonight because Sheryl Crowe, Rosie O’Donnell, Jane Fonda or Phil Donahue, sacrificed their lives for me.


Tonight, I say we should support the President of the United States and the U.S. military and tell the liberal, tree hugging, hippy, Birkenstock wearing, tie-dyed liberals to go make their movies and music and whine somewhere else.

After all, if they lived in Iraq, they wouldn’t be allowed the freedom of speech they’re being given here today - - ironically, they would be put to death at the hands of Sadam Hussein or Osama Bin Laden.

I want to know how the very people who are against war because of the loss of life, can possibly be the same people who are for abortion?

They are the same people who are for animal rights but against the rights of the unborn.

The movie stars say they want to go to Iraq and serve as human shields for the Iraqis, I say let them buy a one-way ticket and go.


If they want to be human shields, I say let them shield the men and women of honesty and integrity who epitomize courage and embody the spirit of freedom by wearing the proud uniforms of the United States Military. Those are the people who have earned and deserve shielding.


Throughout the course of history, this country has remained free, not because of movie stars and liberal activists but because of brave men and women who hated war too - - but lay down their lives so that we all may live in freedom. After all – What greater love hath no man, that he lay down his life for his friend,” but in this case a country.

(great tip from reader l)

For the Record

I do believe K. Lo is that stupid.

And while "subpoenaing all abortion records" and "subpoenaing DNA from medical sample of someone not accused of a crime" are not at all the same thing, that doesn't mean that the latter isn't rather problematic as well.

Falafels of Mass Destruction

Bill O'Reilly calls the ACLU a terrorist group.

That Liberal Media

I think the inside the blogs segment on CNN is silly, but its shocking lack of balance is SOP these days...

Cranky Brad

DeLong's a wee bit cranky about Mankiw's hackery.

Thune Bloggers

Greg Beato notices some inconsistencies in the whole Thune/blogger issue.

This whole situation pissed me off because it'll be used as an excuse to pass unreasonable regulations, when it actually points to rather simple guidelines. I wouldn't have any problem with certain types of disclosure requirements.

The End of the Internets

I do think there are ways that some campaign finance law provisions can be reasonably extended to the internet, but what they're talking about now would essentially put an end to all political speech on the internet, with the exception of "established" media organizations.

Bizarre Tech Issue

I just added a device which lets me plug a USB external hard drive into my router so I have a wireless accessible network drive. Works great except for a weird quirk -- when I plug in the iPod, iTunes gets confused and thinks the network drive is my iPod...

...thanks, remapping appears to have worked.

Morning Thread



r i p

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Late Night

Have fun.

Open Thread

Chat away...

What's Next?

If this is true:

Treasury Secretary John W. Snow indicated Wednesday that the White House would accept a Social Security overhaul that does not divert the program’s payroll taxes into personal retirement accounts, a major shift in the administration’s position.

then it's pretty stunning. That's one fast retreat. And, a lovely gift to all the Republican Congressmen they just hung out to dry.

ha ha! [/muntz]

Let's hope that Democrats realize something they've forgotten...

winning is fun!

Denied -- Day 1 Day 2

FishbowlDC can't get a press briefing pass.

...and Day 2.

There is Plan and No Plan

Cute trick.

The AARP, which claims 35 million members age 50 and over, is "against a solution that hasn't been written yet," said House Majority Leader Tom DeLay after a closed-door meeting with the GOP rank and file.


Younger Americans would be allowed to invest a portion of their payroll taxes on their own. In exchange they would receive a lower government benefit than they are now guaranteed, on the assumption that the proceeds of their investments would make up the difference. In addition, though, even younger voters who choose not to establish personal accounts would receive a reduced government benefit under Bush's plan, according to GOP congressional officials who have been briefed on the plan.

Logos and Stuff

Thanks to all who sent in numerous logos and other merchandise designs... Looking over them all...

Reader Survey

It'd be great if you could take the time to fill out a brief reader survey. Results are completely unscientific of course, but they still make the advertisers happy.

Please enter "Eschaton" as the referring blog if you wish.

Clue Stick

One wonders how low they'll sink in the ratings before CNN gets a clue.

One also wonders if they even care.

And, please please either kill or redo the blog reporting segment on Inside Politics. There's nothing more boring than watching other people look at computer screens. If you did a show about talk radio you wouldn't do it by showing footage of people listening to radios.

Morning Thread

Have fun.

Punditocracy Expanded

Regular readers know I've never engaged in serious (as opposed to tongue-in-cheek) blog triumphalism. And, while I haven't written about it all that much, I think the idea that bloggers will replace reporters is just a bunch of wankery.

But, I think it is true that bloggers, much like political talk radio, are a threat to the influence of the punditocracy. And, in the net that's a good thing. I don't endorse a system in which a few select individuals are granted license to pontificate authoritatively on an infinite number of subjects. Breaking the oligopoly by reducing entry barriers, even if doing so doesn't improve the average quality of commentary, has value in increasing diversity of commentators if nothing else.

Not Everything The Matter With Kansas


TOPEKA, Kan. - Voters on Tuesday upheld an ordinance that prohibits discrimination against homosexuals in municipal hiring, turning back a repeal movement led by a minister known for picketing the funerals of AIDS (news - web sites) victims.

One of the minister's granddaughters, meanwhile, fell far short in her efforts to unseat an openly gay member of the City Council.

The Rev. Fred Phelps Sr. was seeking to remove from the books a city ordinance that prohibits discrimination against gays in municipal hiring. The repeal measure would also bar Topeka from reinstating such protections for 10 years.

In final, unofficial results, 53 percent opposed the repeal, with 14,285 voting "no," and 12,795 voting "yes."


About a week into owning my very own 40Gig Ipod (thanks to a generous if frequently annoying reader) and so far I'm fairly impressed. The sound quality with headphones is for some reason less than is desired (and worse than my flash mp3 player), as many critics have said -- though, piped into my fairly crappy stereo system via the dock the quality seems better. ITunes is overall pretty good software -- the autosync is a nice feature and unlike other such programs it doesn't seem to try to take over your entire system when you install/run it.

The clickwheel interface and menu system deserves the kudos it's gotten. Haven't had it long enough to know if some of my nitpicky interface complaints are just a result of my lack of familiarity.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Better than Expected

I'm glad a significant portion of our country is still sane:

Finally, the option of using “nuclear weapons to attack terrorist facilities” drew the support of 27% of adults, with 72% opposing, which would shatter the taboo on using these weapons militarily since the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Experts agree that the power of today’s weapons, their range of damage and the peril of drifting radioactive fallout far exceeds the bombs used against Japan. That support has declined 7% since 2001, however.

Open Thread

Have fun.



A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll conducted Friday to Sunday said 38 percent of Americans feel major changes must be made in Social Security within the next two years. In January, that number was 49 percent.

Bush has made reforming Social Security, which includes a contentious plan to put some of the program's money into the stock market, a key part of his second-term agenda.

Other numbers in the poll don't play out so well for the president, either. Forty-seven percent of those polled trusted the Democratic Party to deal with the issue of Social Security benefits, while 37 percent trusted Republicans.

And, CNN just flashed up on the screen that Bush approval/disapproval on Social Security went from 43/48 a month ago to 35/56 now.

So, why would any sane Democrat even think about trying to give him a victory on this issue when there's no chance of a reasonable plan making it out of a conference committee?


Ed Kilgore says:

My last, sunnily optimistic post about Bush's likely defeat on Social Security has already been interpreted by Matt Yglesias and Atrios as an effort to provide "political cover" for Joe Lieberman's reported effort to cut a bogus "deal" with Lindsay Graham. Wrong-o, folks.

What I actually said, not very ambiguously, is that one of two Dems ain't going to save Bush's bacon on this. After acknowledging that I might be right (or wrong) about that, Matt argues that the possible irrelevance of Lieberman's deal-sniffing is "no excuse for doing it." I agree entirely.

Fine, I suppose. I never though Kilgore supported Lieberman's potential move, just that by downplaying its significance it provided cover. But, if that wasn't his motivation then I stand corrected. But, what's this about?

Right now the blogosphere is full of talk about litmus tests and purges, whether or not they contribute to either of those goals. And if the email I'm getting about Lieberman is any indication, we're getting close to litmus tests and purges about litmus tests and purges ("Are you now, or have you ever been, opposed to kicking Joe Lieberman out of the party?").

Perhaps the blogosphere is full of such talk, but it's not something you actually see any of on, you know, this blog or over at Big Media Matt's place, so I'm not sure what the relevancy is.

But, while it isn't coming from Ed himself, this kind of rhetoric is actually coming from, you know, his boss who is regularly and loudly chastizing the Dem establishment for not running screaming from everyone to the left of [insert favorite DLC Senator of the week], and who does advocate actively purging large portions of the party's activist base, writing "You've got to reject Michael Moore and the MoveOn crowd." Note he's not talking about Michael Moore or MoveOn themselves but their "crowds." It isn't simply Moore and MoveOn which the party needs to purge, but their supporters!

Ed concludes with:

Maybe the hellish pressure on Lieberman to step back from a bogus deal will work, maybe not. If he goes ahead, let's make it clear he does not speak for other Democrats, and minimize the potential damage instead of acting like Bush has already won. And after we win, there will be plenty of time to play back the tapes and pin the tail on errant donkeys, in a calmer climate.

Well, if he does go ahead who is going to make sure that he does not speak for other Democrats? These things don't happen in a vacuum -- unless it's established beforehand that this is indeed an issue in which party discipline is required, and that the consequences of straying will be harsh. Ed may be right that we'll win anyway, but it's not just about winning the battle. "Bush social security" should replace "clinton health care plan" as shorthand for presidential domestic policy meltdown. This is about winning the war.

Finally, what is this "calmer climate" that he speaks of? The wheels on the bus go round and round...

The Lie Factory

Robert Novak lies, and the RNC loves it so much that they post it on their site.

And, if I worked for the Cornell Daily Sun I'd be a bit annoyed that Robert Novak was lying about what was in my newspaper.


Ed Kilgore, presumably running defense for Lieberman writes:

Sure, no one should misunderestimate the ability of the White House to push this thing right up to the gates of delerium, but let's also remember Bush's M.O.--he'll act like he's headed for victory right up to the minute he suddenly decides tax reform or the budget or some other element of the "ownership society" is suddenly more urgent.

He's going to lose this fight, folks, whether or not one or two Democrats in the House or the Senate give him "cover" by offering some sort of deal that neither party will accept.

But the point is to not let Bush and the Republicans run away. The point is to win the battle, make anyone who was on the losing side be embarassed to admit they had been on that side, and to publicly humiliate them (including Bush) as long as possible.

Any bipartisan cover makes that rather difficult, especially when it comes from one of the media's favorites.

If You Can't Say Anything Nice...

I missed that Samuel Francis died.

A sample of his writing...

Times Replaces Safire With Tierney

Just what the Times needs. A columnist for the Tech Central Station crowd.

(via E&P)

Well, at least Media Matters will be kept busy...

Al From - Man of the People

Don't bother getting mad about this - it's actually quite funny in a pathetic sort of way.

And, as for Marshall Wittman -- anyone who says "if he belonged to a party, it would be the McCain-Lieberman Party" is a very silly person indeed. Aside from success at being media hounds by portraying themselves as "mavericks" the two have very little in common.

Bankruptcy Bill

I haven't said much about this because it's just too depressing to contemplate. I was shocked that they managed to put down this beast earlier, and don't imagine the Dems will block it. I wish they'd surprise me. Dionne writes:

If Democrats sell out on the bankruptcy bill, they will, alas, show which side they're on.

This is a pure corporate whore bill. Unlike even "tort reform" which gives the GOP base orgasmic pleasure for some bizarre reason, there is no popular support for this thing. Not one voter is going to decide to vote against a Democrat because s/he voted against this thing. It's a horrible bill, and shame on anyone who votes for it.

Wanker of the Day


Morning Thread

chat away.

Late Night

blah blah blah

Monday, February 28, 2005

On Notice

Begala surprised me today:

BEGALA: ... a senator and very popular. We'll have lots of conversations about Hillary, I suspect, in the days to come.

A new poll for the Associated Press shows that a solid majority, indeed 55 percent of Americans, oppose President Bush's plan to privatize part of Social Security, despite Mr. Bush's relentless stumping for it. The GOP chairman in Hawaii says -- quote -- "I think Social Security as it is has served its purpose" -- unquote. That is the Bush Republican view.

It is not, however, the American view. Most Americans do not want Mr. Bush to borrow $2 trillion to cut Social Security benefits and replace guaranteed benefits for seniors with guaranteed fees for stockbrokers. That's why, in a recent NPR poll, just 31 percent of Americans, only 31 percent, support Mr. Bush's privatization plan.

And yet rumors abound that Democrats, perhaps even former vice presidential candidate Joe Lieberman, will find a compromise that allows Mr. Bush to succeed in privatizing part of Social Security. Look, any Democrat who rescue Mr. Bush's assault on Social Security ought to be defeated in a primary and allowed to begin their own retirement early.

Take the hint, Senator.


So, Bob Novak totally lied about what Howard Dean said. And, to prove he didn't just misspeak, he lied about it again today.

NOVAK: Since he was elected Democratic national chairman, he has been -- they've been keeping him out of the national spotlight. No major television interviews on national networks are scheduled for the next couple weeks, I'm told, and maybe the reason is that they've got to really get Howard under control.

He spoke at Cornell University last week, and the only paper that covered this was "The Cornell Daily" student paper, and he said, yes, Social Security has a big problem. Over the years it's going to lose about 80 percent of the benefits. That, Judy, is not the Democratic line. The Democratic line is there is no problem.

So Howard Dean says what he thinks is the truth. Often it is the truth. He's going to be a lot of fun as national chairman.

Shouldn't we, you know, have a conference on journalistic ethics or something?

email Novak and ask him to stop lying about what Howard Dean is saying:

Call CNN and demand they run a retraction and apology:

This Just In

Senior administration officials have informed Fox News that according to the latest intelligence, Osama bin Laden opposes Bush's plans for Social Security privatization.


Good News

Some of you may remember the case of Lauren Rainey. It appears there's been a good outcome:

MOBILE, Ala.) February 26 -- It looks like a severely handicapped Mobile girl will maintain her at home nursing care. For months NBC-15 has reported on Lauren Rainey’s battle with Alabama Medicaid. The state agency indicated last fall that it was drastically reducing nursing for Lauren.

Lauren is 13- years-old. She is a dwarf, is deaf, has an artificial airway, a weak immune system, and severe bone abnormalities. After NBC-15's Bruce Mildwurf profiled Lauren's story, Medicaid was flooded with e-mails and phone calls from around the world.

Medicaid then held a 90-day investigation period and has now decided to change its regulations so that Lauren and dozens like her will continue to receive adequate help. The new policies will go into effect in May. NBC-15 will continue to follow the story.

Bobo's World

Bobo edition.

Afternoon Thread



Yglesias notices that conservatives are surprisingly quiet on Egypt making a bit of noise about making baby steps towards Democracy. I know liberals are rather quiet because these things have a habit of not actually happening. It's not exactly the same, but I remember the good old days when babies were being ripped from incubators in Kuwait by Iraqi soldiers when we were promised that women in Kuwait would get to vote real soon now. And, then we were promised that again in 1999. And, hey, again in 2004. Well, at least they're still talking about it. They sure do keep talking about it, even proposing bills and whatnot. But, amazingly it doesn't happen.

But, the more interesting question is why conservatives aren't jumping up and down about this. I think it's pretty obvious -- most aren't particularly concerned with spreading Democracy around the world. George Bush might actually be sincere in his new mission, though I don't think he has a deep grasp of what "democracy" is, but most of the rest of them aren't.

Republicans have never stopped being isolationist and anti-nation building (true of most of the US population, actually). They don't think tyranny leads to terrorism (nor am I claiming there's necessarily a strong connection), and don't really want to expend any treasure helping out "the other." What they do like is killing bad guys, and when George Bush says "spreading freedom and democracy" what they hear is "killing bad guys." They like killing "bad guys," and they're a bit lost without an enemy, so the actual spreading of democracy just doesn't excite them that much.

Though, yes, they rarely fail to grasp the latest bit of news to beat up on those freedom-hating democrats, so it's a bit puzzling why they haven't at least done that.

SSA Politicization

Ah, I remember when the media spent months discussing the all-important issue of which telephone Al Gore made fundraising calls from. Good times, those.


Kill Them All

Rep. Sam Johnson has made a lovely suggestion for our Syrian policy (sub.req.):

Now we know where Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) thinks the weapons of mass destruction are buried: in Syria, which he said he’d like to nuke to smithereens.

Speaking at a veterans’ celebration at Suncreek United Methodist Church in Allen, Texas, on Feb. 19, Johnson told the crowd that he explained his theory to President Bush and Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) on the porch of the White House one night.

Johnson said he told the president that night, “Syria is the problem. Syria is where those weapons of mass destruction are, in my view. You know, I can fly an F-15, put two nukes on ‘em and I’ll make one pass. We won’t have to worry about Syria anymore.”

The population of Syria is about 17 million. And, for those who are on board with any "only good Muslim is a dead Muslim" religious war policy, about 10 percent are Christian.

(via the Carpetbagger report)

Morning Thread

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Open Thread

And, steveeboy, if you're out there, send me an email...

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Afternoon Thread

Make your Oscar predictions.


Okay, have we had enough distance between now and the Iraqi elections that the patriotically correct police won't freak out if I suggest that the violence in Iraq isn't exacty getting any better?

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- A major oil fire raged Saturday after insurgents blew up a pipeline in the north of the country. The family of an anchorwoman for a U.S.-funded state television station -- a mother of four who was repeatedly shot in the head -- found her body dumped on a street in the northern city of Mosul.
Insurgents, meanwhile, killed two civilians in a roadside bombing west of Baghdad, a suicide car bomber killed an Iraqi national guardsman and injured seven people southwest of the capital and the U.S. military announced the death Friday of an American soldier killed in a massive security sweep in the Sunni Triangle.

As part of the offensive, residents in Ramadi, the Sunni-dominated city 70 miles west of Baghdad, reported clashes between insurgents and American forces, but the military provided no details. U.S. troops have been conducting an offensive in the region for nearly a week.

The U.S. military said an insurgent was killed and another was injured trying to build a bomb in an abandoned house in Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's hometown and the site of a Thursday suicide bombing that killed 15 Iraqi police.

The body of Raiedah Mohammed Wageh Wazan, the 35-year-old news presenter for the U.S.-funded Nineveh TV, was found dumped along a Mosul street six days after she was kidnapped by masked gunmen, according to her husband.

Dumber Than Dirt

Doug Schmitz writes:

Recall the hissy fit the media leftists threw about Fox News White House Correspondent Carl Cameron when he was traveling with the Kerry campaign: Cameron, who’s one of the best White House correspondents in Washington, referred to John Kerry as a “metrosexual” in a private e-mail about Kerry’s over-the-top grooming habits. But it was inadvertently posted on and, subsequently, the pro-Kerry media pounced.

But these same leftist reporters never said a word when New York Times reporter and Bush-hater Adam Nagourney posted, in his “personal diary” on his Web site, false allegations about Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present for for your viewing pleasure "Ad Nags - The Private Diary of Adam Nagourney."

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

Deal Cutters

All the Democratic Senators looking to cut a Social Security deal need to read this from Big Media Matt:

DEALING WITH THE DEVIL. Josh Marshall hints that some dastardly Democrat is contemplating a deal with Lindsey Graham wherein "current payroll tax revenues are left in place for now and private accounts are funded in whole or in part from new payroll tax revenues generated by raising or even lifting the payroll tax cap." This is a moderately bad idea on policy terms, and a simply terrible political idea.
Most crucially, the House Republican leadership has already ruled it out. Thus, the only possible effect of brokering a compromise of this sort with moderate Senate Republicans would be to create a conference committee in which whatever concessions the GOP makes to turncoat Democrats will be purged from the bill. Then, having already conceded the high ground on the need to "do something" and on the point that the "something" ought to involve private accounts, turncoat Democrats will be forced to argue that the only problem with the conference report on the phase-out is that it doesn't raise taxes. This will, at best, transform a political winner for the Democrats into a political loser and, at worst, lead to the passage of a bad phase-out bill.

Democrats are winning this fight, and should accept nothing less than surrender. Once the GOP has given up on phasing out the plan, we can either start a serious conversation about finding a balanced approach to Social Security reform, or else move on to addressing more pressing fiscal issues. Until then, trying to compromise with a party that knows no procedural or ethical restraints on its conduct and that's led by a president who's apparently hell-bent on destroying Social Security is a losing deal.

and then this from Josh Marshall:

The real bottom line in this article, however, is the crew of Dems eager to toss a life-line to the president just as the American people are turning hard against phase-out. Take Rep. Shaw's possible compromise deal, as described in the Post: Republicans give Dems some of their add-on accounts and in return the president agrees to phase-out less of Social Security than he initially wanted -- 2 percent of payroll rather than 4 percent.

Such a deal! Republicans at their town halls are getting treated like off-pitch singers on the Gong Show and the Democrats should cut a phase-out deal that gives the president what until a couple months ago was supposed to be all that he wanted (i.e., 2 percent of payroll)?

Whoever these Fainthearted Dems might be, please pass a law barring them from negotiating the price of their next automobile, right? I mean, maybe they think Enron stock is undervalued too and primed for a comeback.

and then, just shut the hell up.

Bobo's World


WICHITA, Kan. — He called himself a monster, but in 31 years of hunting the serial killer known as BTK, Wichita police made it clear they were searching for a man who appeared in every way ordinary. On Saturday, they announced they finally had caught him.

Dennis Rader, 59, a church-going family man, a Cub Scout leader, a dog-catcher for the trim suburb of Park City, is in custody on suspicion of torturing and killing seven women, one man and two children from 1974 to 1991 — including two victims linked only this week to BTK.

Late Night

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