Saturday, April 30, 2005

French Teenagers

I'm currently surrounded by them. They must be returning from their American safari. They appear to be about as spotty as the homegrown variety, as well as having the same mix of cool/geeky/clueless/shy/bully/etc...

More Thread

There's nothing more fun than an airport.


Yglesias is right. You can't compare a plan which doesn't include a transfer of $2 trillion from the general fund to one that does. The Pozen plan only achieves solvency by transferring $2 trillion from the general fund, and that's on top of whatever additional infusion that private accounts would require. If a Democrat came out tomorrow and propose closing a lot of the funding gap simply by diverting general revenues they'd be roundly mocked by the axis of Russert. But, this appears to be an overlooked feature of numerous Republican plans that are floating around out there. As we know, IOKIYAR.

Good News

Clear Channel:

Clear Channel Communications, the world's largest radio broadcaster, will spin off its live-entertainment unit and sell shares in the billboard business after a radio-advertising slump caused the stock to drop 25% in the past year.

Though not talked about quite as much, a huge problem with Clear Channel has been the cross-promotion of their concerts on their radio stations, putting non-Clear Channel artists/venues at a distinct disadvantage...

Airport Blogging

Ah, 5 hour flight wait...

Please Kill Me

It's now apparently strange that a woman carries money with her.

It's apparently a crime for an adult woman to cross state lines without informing her parents and husband-to-be.

The "kidnapping story" was operative for 3 hours in reality in the wee hours of the morning but operative for a week in the alternative reality of cable news.

CNN now plans to become the 24 hour local news channel, nationalizing every local interest story. Car chases, missing young white women, cats up trees, ...

... and, what must the families of the "4 soldiers killed in Iraq today" think of this being CNN's "top story of the day" and every day... the CNN anchor is wondering if maybe, just maybe, there could be federal charges filed...federal charges? for what?

Missing Bride

CNN, please stop. You're hurting America.


Why does the Times like to publish liars?

Friday, April 29, 2005

Fareed, What Have You Done...

Damn. I think the list of conservatives I can still respect is now the empty set.

The metaphor of a flat world, used by Friedman to describe the next phase of globalization, is ingenious.

I much preferred his essay on the wet martini.

Late Night



Media Matters summarize how much the print press was bamboozled by Bush.


I'm surprised by the number of people in comments below who have signalled that they think it's ludicrous that a family of four can find it hard to live on $90,000. There are several housing markets where they would certainly find it difficult to buy anything resembling a 4 bedroom house - San Francisco area, Orange County, San Diego, increasingly the DC area, Boston, etc... In my post below I meant to write:
There are still many parts of Philly metro area in which "upper middle class" is certainly achievable for $90,000 in household income. Not true for SoCal, or NY, or Boston, or SF,a stretch for Chicago, etc. In much of America 90,000 is more than enough, of course.

which explains some of the response. And, I'm not saying that they couldn't afford to rent something that their family could survive quite comfortably in. But, the original point was that this family certainly wouldn't be "well off" or "rich" or even "upper middle class" by the standards we usually set for these things in terms of media images. We're at the top of a housing bubble (it may not pop, but I can't see it continuing to rise), so it's generally cheaper to rent in these areas than to buy. But, a household income of $90,000 in Orange County, CA at absolute best affords you a "middle middle class" lifestyle, due to the cost of housing (unless, of course, you bought into the market decades ago. )

Risk-Free Way To Lose Money -- Guaranteed!

Stunning. Just stunning.

The Middle Class

I posted (a version of ) this in comments, but I suppose it's worth its own discussion. What is the Middle Class?

To me, "middle class" is a 4 person two income family with health insurance who can afford a 4 bedroom suburban home in a neighborhood where there's a half-decent public school, and one car for each adult. At the lower end it's a shittier house, in a less desirable school district, and shittier cars. At the upper end it's a small mcmansion with some extra doo-dads and a bigger plot of land and more expensive cars.

That's the image of Middle Class in America. Anything below that may not be "living in poverty" or "starving to death" or "homeless" but it doesn't fit within the paradigm of American Middle Class. One doesn't necessarily have to be part of the AMC to have a decent life, either, depending on taste and circumstance.

I said "metro area" and not "city." There are still many parts of Philly metro area in which "middle class" is certainly achievable for $90,000 in household income. Not true for SoCal, or NY, or Boston, or SF,a stretch for Chicago, etc. In much of America 90,000 is more than enough, of course.


...To be clear, I don't think one needs to be living this type of suburban life to qualify as "middle class," although there's a cultural aspect perhaps to our perception of "middle class" which includes that. What I wrote is "who can afford." One can also choose to forego one of the cars and live in the city, or forego an income and a car voluntarily, or various other possible arrangements. It's the affordability of the arrangement, not whether one embraces it in the particulars. That is, if you wanted given your current job prospects you could obtain the scenario I described.

Certainly there are large numbers of people who don't fit this middle class description who lead relatively comfortable lives by many standards (and large numbers of people who don't). A family of 4 can survive in more modest circumstances and be quite happy. Or not. Depending. But just because they aren't under the poverty line or one paycheck away from eviction doesn't make them "middle class."

Better Off

As Think Progress points out, Bush is now defining people who are "better off" as anyone earning over $20,000/year. When selling his tax cuts, he defined people who were the "lowest income taxpayers" as anyone earning under $100,000.

Look, this is important. Our media is running around talking about how "rich people" are going to have their benefits cut, as if Bush's cunning plan to save Social Security is to take away Bill Gates's check. Social Security benefits currently max out at $90,000 salary. People who earn $90,000/year are generally not portrayed by the kool kids in the media as "rich" or "wealthy" or even "upper income." Obviously people who earn that much are at the higher end of the income distribution, but especially for such people who live in high cost metro areas, they don't have lives which are noticeably distinguishable from what we think of as "middle class.'

More Plan

The Pozen plan maintains solvency in part by mandating about $2 trillion in transfers from general funds. Note, this does not include any sort of private account plan which would be also require significant up front borrowing in order to cover current beneficiaries.

Disability AND Dependent Benefits

Yglesias is hammering home the point that absent some clearly defined other plan, disability benefits would of course be cut in a Pozen-related plan. But, more than that, dependent benefits for widows and widowers with dependent children would also be seriously slashed, as they too are formula-linked to retirement benefits.

The dependent benefits has been the most ignored aspect of social security during this entire discussion, as the bamboozlers want to pretend that the big tragedy is the person who dies when their children are adults. But, for people who have dependent children, when one spouse (even in many cases divorced spouses) dies, social security really does frequently allow the rest of the family to maintain their current economic status. Cuts in retirement benefits would cut these benefits as well, plunging middle class people into poverty when a parent dies.

Afternoon Thread


Oh, Dear

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha (X500)

(via ailes)


Josh gives us a bit from CNN:

Progressive indexing might not sound sexy. But the idea (developed by financier Robert Pozen) of offering bigger checks to low-income retirees, and cutting benefits for the middle class and wealthy, is the most dramatic move Bush has made to broaden his reform plan's appeal since he publicly embraced the largely unappealing private accounts last year. Bush may have addressed millions of TV viewers last night, but his remarks were narrowly targeted to people named Snowe, Chafee, Nelson and Lincoln -- moderates in both parties who say they want Bush to focus less on private accounts and more on shoring up the system's long-term solvency.

This just simply isn't true. Bush has not proposed increasing benefits for very low income workers. He's just proposed not cutting them - and cutting everyone else's a lot.

The Plan

In one paragraph:

President Bush called on Congress last night to curtail future Social Security benefits for all but low-income retirees in an urgent new effort to address the popular program's shaky finances.

Let's be clear, by "low income" we're really talking about "low income." Everyone else gets big benefit cuts. Here's the CBPP analysis of the Pozen plan, which is basically what Bush is embracing.

A "medium" earner, one earning $36,507 in 2005, would see benefits cut by 16% in 2045 and 28% in 2075.

A "high" earner, one earning $58,411 in 2005, would see benefits cut by 25% in 2045, and 42% in 2075.

By 2100, basically everyone earning above $20,000 would earn exactly the same benefit, no matter how great their tax contribution was. You think Social Security provides a poor rate of return now? Just wait.

This turns the system into a modest welfare program.

And, let me add, for most workers this is worse in the long run than the "do nothing" plan - the one which assumes given current projects benefits would have to be cut 28% or so starting somewhere between 2040-2050.

Worst Metaphor Ever

Doesn't anyone (cough editors cough) have the guts to tell Friedman that his new central metaphor is his worst one yet?

Thursday, April 28, 2005


Well, right out of the gate the media go-a-whoring.

Actually, Josh's criticism may (may not?) be too strong. I think he was actually talking in real terms. But, the important issue is that Bush, who is very critical of the rate of return on the Social Security program (conveniently ignoring the insurance benefits), is proposing to drastically reduce the rate of return by making middle and upper income people receive less in benefits per dollar in taxes paid.

Late Night

Have fun.

Thread the 3rd

Have fun.

More Thread

The Wankathon continues...

Document the Atrocities

From the guy behind the podium, and those in front of it...

...okay, here's the basic deal with what Bush is outlining. The Pozen plan cuts benefits for middle and upper income people a lot, not so much for low income. But, over time what will happen is that benefits will converge. Eventually, the link between income/taxes paid and benefits will be totally gone - everyone will receive the same benefit level. For upper income people, this will be a tiny part of their overall retirement income, and Social Security will be fully transformed into a welfare system.

congrats for that douchebaggery. "Are you frustrated?" What kind of question is that.

Why does George II hate George I? Poppy:

Sherman: What will you do to win the votes of the Americans who are atheists?

Bush: I guess I'm pretty weak in the atheist community. Faith in God is important to me.

Sherman: Surely you recognize the equal citizenship and patriotism of Americans who are atheists?

Bush: No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God.

Big Ass Benefit Cuts

Word is Bush is going to endorse the Pozen plan for cutting the shit out of your Social Security benefits. Newman gives a taste here...


To Bamboozlepalooza, TV edition.

Real Time With JimmyJeffGannonGuckert

Yes, he'll be on Maher's show Friday night...

More Thread



Bill Gates a big liar? I'm just shocked.

Maybe God Likes Me After All

I'm not sure which day was my favorite in recent times - when the Limbaugh scandal broke or the O'Reilly one. But, the Limbaugh one is the one which keeps on giving...

The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday declined to consider an appeal from commentator Rush Limbaugh claiming his privacy was violated when his medical records were seized for an investigation of whether he illegally purchased painkillers.

The 4-3 order did not explain the court's reasoning.

Limbaugh's attorney had also objected to the use of search warrants to obtain the medical records in 2003. The documents have remain sealed, pending the outcome of Limbaugh's appeals.

A prosecution spokesman declined to say when his office might begin reviewing the records.

It was unclear whether Limbaugh has any more legal options to stop the investigation. Limbaugh's spokesman, Tony Knight, said attorneys were considering their options.

Like most evil liberals, I object to harsh sentencing for drug offenders and certainly think treatment is preferable to jail. But, Limbaugh has a very prominent platform which he could be using to advocate changes to the laws along these lines, which he doesn't do. Go here and scroll around the page for some of Rush's deep thoughts on drug users.

What Would You Ask Bush Tonight?

Snark welcome, but serious questions welcomed more. If you got to play Jeff Gannon or any of the other distinguished members of the WH press corps for a day, what would you ask the preznit?


Yglesias has this right:

I'll take Roll Call's report that Nancy Pelosi tried to build bridges with House moderates by holding a meeting and that the moderates in question aren't mollified to basically repeat what he said the other day: Can the centrists here please explain what they're doing? I'm leery of efforts to drive people out of the party, and principled disagreement about the issues and tactical opportunism on the part of vulnerable members is a necessary feature of political life. But I've yet to hear a good explanation -- or even an attempt at an explanation -- from anyone in the "centrist" faction as to what the New Dem Caucus was doing on the bankruptcy bill. Make your case on the merits and perhaps we'll just have to agree to disagree. Or try to give some kind of explanation as to why it is that you can't preserve electability in Blue Dog districts without helping credit cards companies squeeze unfortunate consumers to the bone.

Exactly. Let's stop defining centrism downwards. I'm a centrist on several issues myself. But centrism is not about supporting the latest Republican giveaway to favored corporate donors. There are lots of centrist positions that I disagree with, and there are lots of Democrats in conservative leaning districts who side with such things either because they're true believers or because they feel the need to pander to more conservative voters. I'm fine with that. But, no one can defend the bankruptcy bill on the merits. More importantly, no one can defend it on the basis that supporting it is a vote winner.

There was no better opportunity than the bankrtupcy bill for the Democrats to make a clear stand. This wasn't right versus left, conservative versus liberal. This was whore versus not whore. If Hoyer can't recognize the opportunity such a bill presents, then he's unfit to be Minority Whip.

Afternoon Thread

Play nice.

Wankers of the Day

These people are really the biggest bunch of whining losers on the planet.

In an acknowledgement that fences within her Caucus need mending, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) scheduled private meetings Wednesday evening with leading House Democratic moderates, including Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (Md.).

Pelosi was set to sit down individually with Hoyer, while a similar meeting with Rep. John Tanner (Tenn.), long a leading figure among conservative Blue Dog Democrats, was being rescheduled because of Wednesday evening’s ethics vote. She also had asked for a meeting with Rep. Ron Kind (Wis.), a leader of the centrist New Democrat Coalition.


Sources at last week’s meeting said Pelosi didn’t help repair the rift, and perhaps even inflamed it, when they said she accused moderates of selling out to special interests on the bill and betraying the party by urging the GOP leadership to bring the measure to a vote. Several of those sources said Pelosi has an obligation not only to bring Members together, but also to apologize to the moderates.

“Actions speak louder than words,” said one source from the conservative wing of the party. “No meeting will undo what she did, and it will take a while for her to repair the damage with Democratic centrists.”

Call the offices of Steny Hoyer (202) 225-4131, John Tanner (202) 225-4714, and Ron Kind at (202) 225-5506, and tell them to apologize to Pelosi for being babies and apologize to America for voting for and vocally supporting that bankruptcy bill. Remind them that they did indeed sell out to special interests, we know they did, and we will not stop pointing that out. If they make these decisions, they will be called on it.

Hoyer is minority whip. He's obviously unsuited for the job, as he seems uninterested in doing it. Ask him to resign.


The precious.

BAGHDAD, April 28 (Reuters) - Iraq's parliament approved a cabinet of ministers on Thursday, forming Iraq's first democratically elected government in more than 50 years.

By an overwhelming majority, the 275-seat National Assembly approved the list of names put forward by Shi'ite Islamist Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari.

However, several of the 36 ministries will be occupied by acting ministers until final names are decided. Jaafari will be acting defence minister and Ahmad Chalabi will be acting oil minister, the parliamentary speaker said.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Late Night

be excellent to each other.

Late Night

be excellent to each other.



Of course, most Americans tend to take a right to privacy for granted, but little realize that it exists almost solely, according to Supreme Court rulings, as a Ninth-Amendment "natural right" not enumerated by the Constitution, or as a "penumbra" of other rights that have been written out.

Likewise, they understand that "separation of church and state" -- like "religious freedom" -- exists as a principle of the Constitution, even though the phrase doesn't appear written there. (The educated among us are even aware of the use of the phrase by founders Thomas Jefferson and James Madison in later explanatory letters.)

But what they little understand, for now, is that those rights are in the gunsights of the religious right -- and they are zeroing in even now.

Cower, My Pretties

Submit before my will! Suckle at the presidential teat, oh Gannon! oh Bumiller! Bow before my presidential charm! Dare not question me! For I AM BUSH! And I WILL PRE-EMPT THE O.C., winning me fans nationwide! Fans of Will & Grace will be forced to WATCH ME! For I am the PREZNIT! YOU MUST LISTEN!

New Thread

Party on.

Sweet Sweet Fidel

I know I saw this somewhere around the internets a couple of days ago, but the photos available online weren't good enough for verification. From Time:

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. And sometimes, according to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a cigar is an economic prop to a brutal totalitarian regime. Arguing against loosening sanctions against Cuba last year, DeLay warned that Fidel Castro "will take the money. Every dime that finds its way into Cuba first finds its way into Fidel Castro's blood-thirsty hands.... American consumers will get their fine cigars and their cheap sugar, but at the cost of our national honor."

DeLay has long been one of Congress' most vocal critics of what he calls Castro's "thugocracy," which is why some sharp-eyed TIME readers were surprised last week to see a photo of the Majority Leader smoking one of Cuba's best—a Hoyo de Monterrey double corona, which generally costs about $25 when purchased overseas and is not available in this country. The cigar's label clearly states that it was made in "Habana." The photo was taken in Jerusalem on July 28, 2003, during a meeting between DeLay and the Republican Jewish Coalition at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem.

Even More Man Date

Someone at the Dallas Morning News is funnin'.


The Poor Man warns of the Emerald Menace.

(via noz)


Just when you think they can't get any worse, they think of new and even more creative ways to be Douchebags of Democracy....

Afternoon Thread


Winning and Losing

Outdated contacts concepts, apparently.


He no likey the black ones, but he likey the white ones.

Four years ago, Perkins addressed the Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), America's premier white supremacist organization, the successor to the White Citizens Councils, which battled integration in the South. In 1996 Perkins paid former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke $82,000 for his mailing list. At the time, Perkins was the campaign manager for a right-wing Republican candidate for the US Senate in Louisiana. The Federal Election Commission fined the campaign Perkins ran $3,000 for attempting to hide the money paid to Duke.

As the emcee of Justice Sunday, Tony Perkins positioned himself beside a black preacher and a Catholic "civil rights" activist as he rattled off the phone numbers of senators wavering on President Bush's judicial nominees. The evening's speakers studiously couched their appeals on behalf of Bush's stalled judges in the vocabulary of victimhood, accusing Democratic senators of "filibustering people of faith."

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

More on the Internets

Most (all, really) media outlets have a major online presence now (including, of course, several internet only outlets). It would really benefit them all to understand that special internet requirements would require them all to subscribe to internet disclosure rules. Joe Trippi appears on Scarborough? MSNBC posts the transcript? MSNBC has to post his client list online.

Or, who knows, the rules may not work this way, but fuck if I can figure out why not.


Was Bolton spying on Bill Richardson?

Crappy Journal

At some point readers of the WSJ are going to start revolting against the serious misinformation about important economic issues they get from the editorial board. It's one thing for them to make up shit which is basically political, and another for them to wade into the sphere of EconoBollocks. It isn't what their readers pay for.

Anyway, I take a swipe at Media Matters and Drum has a very good complementary piece. Between the two you'll get smarter, unlike those who are only subject to the nonsense from the editorial board.

The Internets

A bit behind here, but I want to highlight something Markos wrote:

I don't understand how he can say that blogs should be able to "do whatever they like, say what they want, and link to whoever and whatever they want, with no interference", when just a sentence or two later he says that bloggers should have to disclose ties to campaigns. That's unacceptable, and something that applies to no other medium. There is an issue of fairness involved. Because last time I checked, I didn't see Luntz disclosing his clients while on TV, or Carville. Or any of the lot with their tangled conflicts of interest.

This is the key issue. It isn't about whether the internet should have some sort of exception that the rest of the media doesn't enjoy - the rest of the media already enjoys it. The question is why the internet should be singled out for disclosure requirements that other outlets for expression aren't subject to. The consultant/pundit class would be shut down if they had to list off all their conflicts of interest every time they appeared in print or on radio/tv. I think transparency is always a good thing, but that's very different from having a legal disclosure requirement which only applies to internet activities.

To put it another way, let's say I turn my blog over to Joe Trippi for a few weeks. Would he have to post up his full client list on the blog? Doesn't sound unreasonable, except for the fact that he never had to do so when appearing on MSNBC or any other outlet. Not picking on Trippi, just making the point that these kinds of disclosure requirements would be, contrary to what seems to be conventional wisdom, unique to the internet.

Right now campaigns can, in theory, hire thousands of people to spend their time calling talk radio programs, writing letters to the editor, etc... None of these activities currently would require disclosure, other than the normal FEC filing requirements of the candidates. However, people think that paying someone who runs a blog or paying people to troll message boards somehow is more important - that every message board poster affiliated with a candidate should put a disclosure after every post, when that same talk radio caller would not have any legal obligation to do so.

Astroturf type campaigns of all sorts are a little seedy, but they're not new to the internets. more thing -- I don't think the internet should be exempt from all FEC regulation. I think a blog which was essentially an extension of a campaign - that is, someone is hired to blog to elect a candidate would qualify as an explicit advertisement, and requiring disclosure on advertisements is fine by me. Sure, there are potential grey areas here, but that's always the case. But, the idea that internet speech which isn't explicit advertising should have disclosure requirements which don't exist anywhere else is just ridiculous.


Shocked. Just shocked.

Lobbyist Jack Abramoff gave expensive gifts to key members of then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay's staff, which the aides accepted in apparent violation of House ethics rules, according to two sources who worked at Abramoff's law firm at the time Abramoff made the gifts. The gifts included high-end golf equipment, tickets to sporting events and concerts and, in the case of one high-ranking DeLay staff member, a weekend getaway paid for by Abramoff's own frequent flyer and hotel points, two sources who had direct knowledge of the transactions tell TIME.

The two sources say that one recipient of the gifts, including the weekend trip and expensive golf clubs, was Tony C. Rudy, who worked for DeLay for five years and served at various times as DeLay's press secretary, policy director, general counsel and deputy chief of staff when DeLay was House Majority Whip. When Rudy left DeLay's office in 2002, he joined Abramoff at Greenberg Traurig, the firm that hired Abramoff in December 2000. Rudy now works at Alexander Strategy Group, a lobbying firm headed by former DeLay Chief of Staff Ed Buckham.

More Man Date

Abdullah at the Ranch.

and, uh, this is just wrong, but...


Rove Lies.

Scotty Lies.

New Thread

have fun.


This is quite fascinating. I don't find the actual result surprising, but I think it's yet another indictment of our media. They've all collectively agreed to pretend there was no dishonesty, despite all evidence to the contrary.

NEW YORK Half of Americans, exactly 50%, now say the Bush administration deliberately misled Americans about whether Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, the Gallup Poll organization reported this morning.

“This is the highest percentage that Gallup has found on this measure since the question was first asked in late May 2003,” Gallup observed. “At that time, 31% said the administration deliberately misled Americans. This sentiment has gradually increased over time, to 39% in July 2003, 43% in January/February 2004, and 47% in October 2004.”

Also, according to the latest poll, more than half of Americans, 54%, disapprove of the way President George W. Bush is handling the situation in Iraq, while 43% approve. In early February, Americans were more evenly divided on the way Bush was handling the situation in Iraq, with 50% approving and 48% disapproving.


Phil Carter is all over the latest absolution of senior officers over Abu Ghraib. Something Carter hints at is worth expanding upon:

We trust commanders to do the right thing, and to make sure their units do the right thing. And we impose a very high legal standard on them when they fail to do so — we hold them liable for the actions of their subordinates — both for what they knew about, and what they should have known about as commanders.

Isn't this really going to do incredible long term damage to our military? Changing the culture in this way - transferring responsibility from the top to the bottom - will chip away at the willingness of soldiers to trust and obey orders. I'm sure there are plenty of bad orders out there, and they certainly shouldn't be obeying clearly illegal orders, but even I recognize that the integrity of the entire system requires soldiers to obey orders absent some clear and obvious illegality.

Bamboozlepalooza Tour Extended!

Bush must really like these fake events.

Bill Gates Hearts Ralph Reed

Reed's one of the most odious men on the American political scene. Maybe I'll switch to Mac after all...

Monday, April 25, 2005

The WMD Are In Jonah Goldberg's Pants

Well, they've gotta be somewhere...


As Sam Rosenfeld explains, there's a different between the corporate whore caucus and legitimate ideological disagreements by centrist Democrats. I can see the "moderate" or "centrist" label being applied to a bunch of positions on economic policy questions, such as opposing increases in the minimum wage or supporting passing general business friendly laws (As opposed to industry or company specific giveaways). I may or may not agree with any of these things, but I'd be willing to say that those Democrats who vote for them could be legitimately called "centrists." But, for something like the Bankruptcy Bill, we're just talking about a split between Whores and NotWhores.


Our media is so in the tank.

If I were the Dems, I'd start insisting that it be called the "fetus destruction option." Or, maybe, just for giggles, the "David Broder fellatio option."


If this previously mentioned WaPo poll is not a serious statistical outlier it's really stunning. Only 26% of the country support "changing the Senate rules to make it easier for the Republicans to confirm Bush's judicial nominees?"

I'm one who pegs Bush's base support at about 35%. By base, I mean "would rather eat shit and die than oppose dear leader." So, to get anything falling below that is truly stunning.

Hot Fresh Sexy Thread


Bad Judges

According to Drudge, a new poll has 60% siding with Dems on the filibuster issue. This is very good news, because it most likely isn't the result of some deep understanding of or fondness for Senate procedures, but instead means that 60% of people have internalized the idea that Bush is trying to appoint some scary judges.

Man Date

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Bring 'Em On

Reid today:

They’re great with names… On Social Security, they’ve been trying to call private accounts “personal accounts.” They can talk about the constitutional option all they want. It’s privatization, and it’s the nuclear option. They created those terms, and they’re going to wear them around their necks from now till Doomsday.

Armando has more. I was deep inside the mother ship so I couldn't be on the call sadly.

More Thread

Back later...

Morning Thread

Travel day, so light blogging...

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Prescient Heston

Soylent Green is people!

Is it Irresponsible to Speculate?

It is irresponsible not to, thus sayeth the Magic Dolphin Lady.

And while I will not speculate, I will encourage others to do so by linking to this.

And then to this.

And then to this.

(thanks to bill for the inspiration)

Dr. Who Hates America

Well well well, the latest Doctor Who episode is an allegory about the Iraq war and includes an attack on the media for covering up the real story...

bad Auntie Beeb.


Our media is at another pivotal moment - report the truth or cave? Today, Frist said:

Now if Senator Reid continues to obstruct the process, we will consider what opponents call the “nuclear option.” Only in the United States Senate could it be considered a devastating option to allow a vote. Most places call that democracy.

On November 14, 2004, there was the following exchange on Fox News:

WALLACE: Well, let me ask you about one of them, because some Republicans are talking about what they call the nuclear option, and that would be a ruling that the filibuster of executive nominees is unconstitutional, which would require not 60 or 67 votes but only a simple majority of 51.

FRIST: Yes. That's right.

WALLACE: Are you prepared to do that?

FRIST: Oh, it's clearly one of the options. I've always said it's one of the options.

What it basically -- it's called the nuclear option. It's really a constitutional option. And what that means is that the Constitution says you, as a Senate, give advice and consent, and that is a majority vote. And then you vote on that, and that takes 50 votes to pass.

On November 16 he said to NPR:

Sen. FRIST: If we continue to see obstruction where one out of three of the president's nominees to fill vacancies in the circuit court are being obstructed, then action would be taken. One of those is the nuclear option. The Constitution says advice and consent is the Senate's responsibility; the president's responsibility to it is to a point, and therefore, if the Constitution says `advice and consent,' by 50 votes you can decide to give advice and consent. Will we have to do that? I can't tell you, but I can tell you if obstructions are to continue like they have in the past, that clearly is an option that we have on the table.

JimmyJeff A Frequent White House Visitor

Wellwellwell...this is indeedy, and I mean heh-indeedy, kinda news.

Perhaps more notable than the frequency of his attendance, however, is several distinct anomalies about his visits.

Guckert made more than two dozen excursions to the White House when there were no scheduled briefings. On many of these days, the Press Office held press gaggles aboard Air Force One—which raises questions about what Guckert was doing at the White House. On other days, the president held photo opportunities.

On at least fourteen occasions, Secret Service records show either the entry or exit time missing. Generally, the existing entry or exit times correlate with press conferences; on most of these days, the records show that Guckert checked in but was never processed out.

In March, 2003, Guckert left the White House twice on days he had never checked in with the Secret Service. Over the next 22 months, Guckert failed to check out with the Service on fourteen days. On several of these visits, Guckert either entered or exited by a different entry/exit point than his usual one. On one of these days, no briefing was held; on another, he checked in twice but failed to check out.

(item replaced with corrected raw story text)

The Whoopi Standard

Joe in DC is absolutely correct about this.

Open Thread

Have fun.


Josh Marshall writes this, but it's stunning that he even has to bother.

Broder's reference to the power of the president's bully pulpit as the lever that will shift public opinion against the Democrats is just another example of his inability to grasp that the public turn against the Republicans in late 1995 and early 1996 was a reaction, on the merits, to Republican excesses, not the result of some inscrutable black magic Bill Clinton managed to pull off with a few press availabilities.

The more obvious flaw in Broder's reasoning stems from another bit of Washington myopia. What killed the Republicans on the government shutdown, in addition to the pure recklessness of the stunt, was that the government did shut down. National parks closed. Various government services and functions stopped operating. It had an immediate and direct effect on people's lives.

Most people really don't give a shit if the Senate is operating smoothly or not. They won't notice, they don't care. Shutting down business in the Senate is not shutting down the operation of the federal government. The fact that Broder and the Note's mystical "gang of 500" are unable to comprehend this (plus, as Marshall points out, their cheerleading of Newt's bold action back in the day) does mean it's time for them to put down their pens and go into a line of work which is less damaging to the rest of us.



Pope Benedict XVI faced claims last night he had 'obstructed justice' after it emerged he issued an order ensuring the church's investigations into child sex abuse claims be carried out in secret.
The order was made in a confidential letter, obtained by The Observer, which was sent to every Catholic bishop in May 2001.

It asserted the church's right to hold its inquiries behind closed doors and keep the evidence confidential for up to 10 years after the victims reached adulthood. The letter was signed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who was elected as John Paul II's successor last week.

Lawyers acting for abuse victims claim it was designed to prevent the allegations from becoming public knowledge or being investigated by the police. They accuse Ratzinger of committing a 'clear obstruction of justice'.

If Clinton Had Done This...

Yes, it's a tired refrain, but I'm just getting sick of all these things which would've blown up into a 7 week orgy of hate on Hardball with "constitutional scholar" Ann Coulter bloviating about the immediate need for impeachment:

New York ­ The Inter-American Telecommunication Commission meets three times a year in various cities across the Americas to discuss such dry-but-important issues as telecommunications standards and spectrum regulations. But for this week’s meeting in Guatemala City, politics has barged onto the agenda, TIME’s Viveca Novak and John Dickerson report.

At least four of the two dozen or so U.S. delegates selected for the meeting, sources tell TIME, have been bumped by the White House because they supported John Kerry’s 2004 campaign. The State Department has traditionally put together a list of industry representatives for these meetings, and anyone in the U.S. telecom industry who had the requisite expertise and wanted to go was generally given a slot, say past participants, TIME reports.

Only since the start of Bush’s second term did a political litmus test emerge, industry sources say. The White House admits as much: “We wanted people who would represent the Administration positively, and—call us nutty—it seemed like those who wanted to kick this Administration out of town last November would have some difficulty doing that,” says White House spokesman Trent Duffy. Those barred from the trip include employees of Qualcomm and Nokia, two of the largest telecom firms operating in the U.S., as well as Ibiquity, a digital-radio-technology company in Columbia, MD, TIME reports.

One nixed participant, who has been to many of these telecom meetings and who wants to remain anonymous, gave just $250 to a Democratic account supporting Kerry. Says Nokia vice president Bill Plummer: “We do not view sending experts to international meetings on telecom issues to be a partisan matter. We would welcome clarification from the White House.”

Bobo on Bobo

Bobo confronts himself in the mirror:

The shallowest people end up blissfully happy and they are so vapid they don't even realize how vapid they are because vapidity is the only trait that comes with its own impermeable obliviousness system.

Morning Thread