Saturday, May 07, 2005


George isn't going to like this:

Bush and Clinton, in part because they have worked so closely on fund-raising efforts, have forged a close friendship in recent months, prompting some humor from former first lady Barbara Bush when she introduced the former presidents.

"It's my great honor to introduce America's favorite new couple," she said. "Everyone is talking about the 'odd couple,' George and Bill — or, as I now call him, Son."

Open Thread

Have fun.

On Wingnuttia

From The Poor Man.

Open Thread

Have fun.

John 1: Microsoft Bigots: 0


No one knows how to stir up shit and get stuff to happen better than John Aravosis. Organizations interested in actually accomplishing anything instead of just comfortably maintaining the status quo should keep this in mind.


This is rather arcane, but proposed changes to export control rules would mean that we effectively don't respect the rights of countries to grant citizenship anymore. People would be treated according to their place of birth, and not their current citizenship status. Freaky.

Good News


WASHINGTON, May 6 - A federal appeals court handed a major setback to Hollywood and the television networks on Friday when it struck down an antipiracy regulation requiring computer and television makers to use new technology that would make it difficult for consumers to copy and distribute digital programs.

The unanimous ruling by the three-judge panel, in an important case at the intersection of intellectual property and technology, was a stinging rebuke for the Federal Communications Commission. The court said the commission exceeded its authority when it approved the rules in 2003.

It was a significant victory for libraries, consumer groups and civil liberties organizations. They had maintained that the regulation, known as the broadcast flag rule, would stifle innovation in technology and make it more difficult for consumers and users of library services to circulate material legitimately.

Although an appeal is possible, lawyers involved in the case said the fight would shift in the near term to Congress, which is already weighing legislation. Hollywood executives and their lobbyists warned that if the rule was not resurrected by Congress, studios and broadcasters would sharply limit the digital programming available over the airwaves, focusing instead on channels limited to cable and satellite services, where they have other means to control what can be copied.

When the culture scolds say the Democrats should be standing up to "Hollywood," it's this kind of thing they should be talking about.

Early Morning Thread

Have fun.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Evening Thread


Friday Barcelona Blogging

Here is the entrance to La Boqueria.

bonus pic (no idea what this building is):

Friday Night's Alright



I'm starting to understand what they mean by "sanctity of marriage."

The Horror

Reading Josh Marshall's substitute truly strikes me with horror as I realize just how fucked up the thinking of centrist DC insiders is.

we're doomed.

Open Thread



What Majikthise says. No liberals give a shit that Laura Bush made some raunchy jokes. We just find it a) hilarious that the prudish conservative values crowd has no problems with it and b) are a bit annoyed at the usual liberal media double standard for these things. You know, the suddenly inoperative "Whoopi Standard."

Baptist Inquisition

Baptist church kicks out all Democrats.

Makes sense though, they just kicked out those people who, in the words of Barbara Bradley Hagerty, "believe that asserting Christian values" is "a threat."

I'm sure the Justice Department will get on revoking their tax-exempt status any day now.

(via Blah3)


NPR's religion reporter is usually too subtle. There's usually something wrong, quite wrong, with her reporting - her finger is always on the side of the scale which supports the Christian Right. But, she's usually tricksy enough that you can't quite fault her, even though the overall purpose of her reporting is clear. But, yesterday she really crossed the line.

Smoking Memo

The news that must not be mentioned in the American press:

May 6, 2005 | Are Americans so jaded about the deceptions perpetrated by our own government to lead us into war in Iraq that we are no longer interested in fresh and damning evidence of those lies? Or are the editors and producers who oversee the American news industry simply too timid to report that proof on the evening broadcasts and front pages?

There is a "smoking memo" that confirms the worst assumptions about the Bush administration's Iraq policy, but although that memo generated huge pre-election headlines in Britain, its existence has hardly been mentioned here.


What the minutes clearly show is that Bush and Blair secretly agreed to wage war for "regime change" nearly a year before the invasion -- and months before they asked the United Nations Security Council to support renewed weapons inspections as an alternative to armed conflict. The minutes also reveal the lingering doubts over the legal and moral justifications for war within the Blair government.

But for Americans, the most important lines in the July 23 minutes are those attributed to Sir Richard Dearlove, the head of the British Secret Intelligence Service, or MI6, who in spy jargon is to be referred to only as "C." The minutes indicate that Sir Richard had discovered certain harsh realities during a visit to the United States that summer:

"C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the U.N. route ... There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action."

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Rinse, Repeat

Another closeted anti-gay Republican.


Fred Speak. You Listen.

Open Thread

UK election results here.


GM has a market cap of $20 billion and has $200 billion in long term debt?


Open Thread

Have fun.

And Two Makes a Trend

So, now we have our second idiot comparing many of the people who actually vote for Democrats to the Benn-era Labour party.

Look, fuck off folks. You were wrong about the Iraq war. Your fault, not theirs. Intelligent people learn from their mistakes and move on (ha ha). Little children and drunks lash out and blame everyone else for them.

Somebody Doesn't Want to be a Senator Anymore

Chafee endorses gutting social security benefits.


Looks like they've really gone and fucked up.

TVC Hearts Witty Horse Masturbation Jokes

And don't let anyone tell you otherwise!!

May 5, 2005 – Last weekend, an anonymous individual created a phony letter with an altered TVC logo on it, to criticize First Lady Laura Bush at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner on April 30 th.

The bogus group called the Coalition for Traditional Values, issued its letter supposedly written by a Rev. Roy DeLong. The phony letter was picked up by the Drudge Report and reported it as fact instead of satire.

TVC’s phone has been ringing off the hook from reporters asking for more information. MSNBC was conned into thinking this was a real group. They called TVC to book a spokesman as a guest based on this satirical letter.

In her satirical statements at the correspondents’ dinner, the First Lady surprised the audience with her hilarious comments and many press reports indicate that she stole the show.

Drudge got punk'd by this...

Theocracy Rising

Non-Judeo-Christian religions need not apply.

And, let's be clear, "Judeo-Christian" is just a polite way of saying "Christian."

UK Election

Well, it's hard to care too much about today's election. One would like Blair to get a smack from the electorate, though it's hard to see that happening. The Tories have spent the last few years playing Democrats ("us too, only a little different!") so it's not hard to imagine why they've failed to capture the support of the voters.

Porky Takes Flight

George Will gets reasonable.

New Thread


Wednesday, May 04, 2005



Brooks, Tierney, et al take a bizarre and unabashedly elitist view of America, in which they incessantly examine the normal, mainstream, middle-class that makes up most of the country as if it were a paleontological specimen before pronouncing, after ten or twenty minutes of deep thought, that their most recent primitive discovery indeed has opposable thumbs, listens to music, or prefers lemon scented dishwashing soap.

They write about mainstream America, and they write about mainstream America from the view of top-tier editorial newspaper columnists sitting in the very midst of the political powerbroker class, every one invited to the correct parties and appearing regularly on the same small set of television shows, and they tell us patiently that their view from this distant closed-circuit perch is much, much more illuminating than the view from our own cars and sidewalks and porches. Because we, living in that mainstream America, don't understand.

Of course, Tom's right about the second half of that, too. These incessant columns aren't directed at any of us, at all; they're directed at the other cocktail-party pundits opining on the exact same fuzzy images of what middle-class life must be like, an unending parlor game of theorizing and counter-theorizing about those odd little people that do not have columns in major newspapers or attend dinners with Colin Powell.

Quango Tango

Alternate Title: Democratic consultants want to party like it's 1994!
Kenneth Baer, muses about prior TPM substitute co-host's question about why New Labour doesn't get much respect from the American Left.

He writes:

The thing to remember is that the main dividing line between New Labour and New Democrats and the more recalcitrant portions of their respective parties is a realization that the industrial age has come and gone and that we now live in a interdependent world which demands different policy responses in order to live up to the values of fairness, equality, opportunity, etc. that progressives cherish. If you drill down past the name-calling and the various issue positions, at the root of the divide is that New Labour and New Democrats are people on the left who have come to terms with -? and even embraced -- the market.

I've never heard of Baer before, but given that he's described as a "a Democratic strategist and the founder of Baer communications" I assume he's someone foolish candidates pay to tell them how to lose elections. The idea this has anything to do with serious contemporary policy debates is ludicrous.

Baer's comments seem to have a lot to do with a misunderstanding about the modern relationship between government and the private sector. While it's true that New Labour broke from its "nationalize everything" past, its flaws have little to do with its embrace of "the market," and good Democrats whether Right, Center, and Left, would do well to get their heads out of their 1994 assses and come to terms with what has happened here and in the UK over the past decade or so.

Labour gets more fire from the American left for the same reason that Democrats who support the bankruptcy bill get a lot of fire - they're sellouts. Blair's and Labour's problems aren't to a great degree about their heresy against the (non-existent) Marxist orthodoxy of the left, it's about their embrace of corporate Whoreness.

The 90s in Britain in particular saw the rise of wonderful things referred to as "private-public partnerships" and "quasi-non-governmental organizations," or "Quangos." This trend didn't start under Blair, but it sure proliferated. Essentially it was a way to move expenditures off-budget, along with accountability, and hand off government functions to regulated monopolies with highly paid favored executives. The most notorious and disastrous example of this type of arrangement was Railtrack, the company tasked with maintaining the rail infrastructure in Britain. Railtrack was a "private company" which operated in "the market" in theory, but in practice it lived off of government subsidies and government-mandated payments from the rail systems whose track it was supposed to maintain/improve. Of course, it had absolutely no incentive to actually improve the rail infrastructure - their primary money making route involved begging for more money from the government corporate dole. Eventually it was, in fact, re-nationalized, after its executives got rich fleecing the taxpayers.

This "market"/"non-market" distinction is so 1994. Anyone who is trotting it out as a meaningful "New Democrat" manifesto is a silly person who is going to lose us more and more elections, especially from someone posting on "the net" who pre-empts criticism by making snide remarks about netroots.

(all this ignores the obvious wee little Iraq issue of course)

And, what's with this "I know just about nothing about Social Security" crap. How is it possible that someone getting money to be a Dem consultant appears to be proud of this fact? I didn't know much about Social Security until a few months ago when it became the central domestic policy issue of this president, and I learned a few things.

Open Thread

Have fun.

Calling Private Jonah

Your country needs you.

The U.S. Army missed its April recruiting goal by a whopping 42 percent and the Army Reserve fell short by 37 percent, officials said on Tuesday, showing the depth of the military's wartime recruiting woes.

With the Iraq war straining the U.S. military, the active-duty Army has now missed its recruiting goals in three straight months, with April being by far the worst of the three, and officials are forecasting that it will fall short again in May.

The all-volunteer Army is providing the majority of the ground forces for an Iraq war in which nearly 1,600 U.S. troops have died.

The active-duty Army signed up 3,821 recruits last month, falling short of its goal of 6,600 for April, Army Recruiting Command spokesman Douglas Smith said. That left the Army 16 percent behind its year-to-date goal, officials said.

Wanker of the Day

The always useless Jeff Dvorkin.

This one's quite astonishing, really. He's condoning that the press actively engage in coverups. Additionally, this stuff wasn't just posted up by pesky bloggers, it was all over the Italian press.


Adam Bonin, who's helping us draft comments for the FEC's proposed new internet/campaign rules has some comments over at Kos. To me, the primary thing is this:

[S]tart from the principle of parallelism. Don't regulate the Internet any more stringently than any other medium.

To me, it almost starts and stops there. Sure, there are idiosyncratic differences across various types of outlets which may require medium-specific rules, but the basic point is in those two sentences. It's ridiculous that some people desire that a medium which requires no money in which to participate - for which there are no real gatekeepers - be effectively more regulated than radio/tv/print/etc.

LA Mayor

Haven't paid much attention to LA politics since I left Southern California, so I'm a bit confused about why Mayor Hahn appears to be doing so poorly against Villaraigosa. Not only does it appears that Villaraigosa is set to demolish Hahn, but it also looks like he has the support of just about every prominent politician. I assume some of that is just the bandwagon effect, but doesn't Hahn have any friends? Why not?


Presumably part of the reason for having 130,000 odd troops in Iraq is to maintain security. For whatever reason, we're failing to do that. I don't know what the solution is - more troops, less troops, a greater willingness to accept US military casualties, etc... But, we've turned every corner that there is to be turned and the light still isn't at the end of that damn tunnel. At every artificial moving goalpost we were supposed to engage in the Tinkerbell Gambit and clap louder in hopes that things would improve, but they don't. With a strong majority now against the war, can we, 2 years later, start talking about this seriously instead of having it be a domestic politcial battle between optimists and pessimists?

But, hey, it'll only cost you $35,000 for a "safe" 6 mile trip to the airport...

This Should Be Fun

The Stephen Colbert Show:

Comedy Central said yesterday that it was giving Mr. Colbert his own show: a half-hour that is expected to follow "The Daily Show" on weeknights and will lampoon those cable-news shows that are dominated by the personality and sensibility of a single host. Think, he said, of Bill O'Reilly and Chris Matthews and Sean Hannity.

Where "The Daily Show" and its host, Jon Stewart, generally spoof the headlines of the day (and the anchors and reporters who deliver them), Mr. Colbert's program will send up those hosts who have become household names doing interviews and offering analyses each night on the 24-hour cable news channels. The program, which is expected to begin appearing on Comedy Central as soon as early fall, is being produced by Mr. Stewart's production company, Busboy Productions.

New Thread


Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Open Thread


Jerking Off a Horse


Internalize This

Now, oh media, may be the time to start wondering why:

Fifty-seven percent of those polled said they did not believe it was worth going to war, versus 41 percent who said it was, according to a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll of 1,006 adults.


It's rather silly that we should be thankful that DC bureau chiefs are begging and pleading for the WH to stop anonymous background briefings. Over at Romenesko, Jay Rosen gets started on this:

I read it twice but I still don't understand Joe Strupp's story, particularly the part about the big bureau chiefs pleading with the White House press secretary. "Those in attendance said they asked McClellan to end the background-only briefings, citing a need to have more openness in their reporting." Odd. Why does the press have to ask McClellan to end these stealth briefings, when it could end its own participation at any time? The method for doing so isn't complicated:

PODIUM: Don't forget, background briefing at 11 am, previewing the
President's remarks with a nameless deputy press officer

REPORTER 1. Great, that will give me time to answer my e-mail.

REPORTER 2: Scott, when does the working part of the day resume?

That would be ideal, but let me add a couple of other suggestions. First, if anonymous background briefings are here to stay, then the press can legitimize them to some degree by adopting one new standard of behavior -- if the background briefer later contradicts publicly something said at the briefing, the anonymity is gone.

And, second, back to Jack Shafer's longstanding suggestion -- just leak the damn names to pesky bloggers like me. Most newspaper readers will lack the relevant information, but those who care to know can find out.

As ridiculous as they are, the anonymous background briefings aren't the real problem - it's the Judith Miller pressjob, in which reporters dutifully report administration official pronouncements as newsworthy, whether or not they contain any truth, believing their job is "not to collect information and analyze it independently."

Jeb Loses

Activist judge declares 13 year old's uterus is not actually the property of the state and Jeb gives up the fight.

Thank You Tom

The Dems always had a wee bit of a problem in that no one knew who the best candidate for Evil Face of the Republican Party was. Well, now almost everyone knows who Tom DeLay is!

Freedom's Messy

Sure is.


Natural beauties, every one.

Open Thread

Play nice.

Wanker of the Day

David Shaw.

Where's Tom?

I hate to use these horrible situations to make crass political points, but beneath the crass political point there's a serious one:

(/02/05 - HOUSTON) — A baby's life support battle continues but time is running out for baby Knya. The five-month-old is on life support at Memorial Hermann Hospital. The deadline to stop treatment is Sunday.
Could the sad case Knya Dismuke be entering a new phase? Her parents are certainly hoping so. The child is currently slated to be removed from medical treatment at Memorial Hermann Hospital next Monday.

Knya was diagnosed with leukemia in December. She underwent treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center, but was later returned to Hermann Hospital, about three months later.
A committee at Hermann Hospital has decided to discontinue medical care. With chemotherapy, doctors say the child has about a 5% chance of survival. Without it, she has about two weeks to live.

Morning Thread

Chat away.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Journamalisming is Hard

I'm shocked to discover that the CPB's new ombudsmen are staunch conservatives. I'm even more shocked that the liberal New York Times though that its readers were undeserving of this information. What will we tell the children?

Sucker's Game

Let me just second what Sam Rosenfeld is saying - the Democrats really should hope to "do nothing" about Social Security right now, though they could benefit from explaining exactly why.

The only thing "to do" about Social Security is to improve its long run solvency. The only reasonable way to improve its long run solvency is to pre-fund the Trust Fund. But, we have a president running around claiming the trust fund is just a file cabinet, and a bunch of Republicans in Congress who agree. So, throwing more money into the "file cabinet" is just a way to throw more money at tax cuts for the rich. That is, in fact, what the president has told us.

Pre-funding is a sucker's game as long as the president is a liar. Well, he's a liar. Not about blowjobs, of course, but about unimportant things like your retirement. It isn't even a particular pressing issue by any standard. But, even if it was -- pre-funding the trust fund is just funding tax cuts for the wealthy as long as these people are in charge. Bush has declared that your payroll taxes should pay for Bill Gates's tax cuts. Why continue to enable him?


John Conyers noticed that the mainstream media thinks runaway brides are more important than a secret agreement between the US and UK to attack Iraq before the new product was even rolled out....

God and Pat

Apparently God may cause natural disasters, but only when Pat asks him to.


There's one inviolable rule for the beltway press - never ever acknowledge you played any role in spreading horseshit.

Against People of Faith

Robertson and Sheldon. Shocked, really. Just shocked. Robertson supports a religious test for higher office. Why does he hate our constitution? Why does he hate America? What does he have to say before this bigot is shut out of the public discourse?

fucking hell.

Spreading Democracy!

Oh, wait, that actually had nothing to do with it.

George Bush's America

We just live in it.

Judges Worse Than Terrorists

At some point someone will answer the question of how people on the Right can get away with saying this stuff while people on the left can't get away with saying the equivalent. More importantly, when someone on the left makes an equivalently ridiculous statement not only are they drummed out of the public discourse, the entire Democratic party has to engage in weeks of self-flagellation.

Federal judges are a more serious threat to America than Al Qaeda and the Sept. 11 terrorists, the Rev. Pat Robertson claimed yesterday.

"Over 100 years, I think the gradual erosion of the consensus that's held our country together is probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings," Robertson said on ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."


Confronted by Stephanopoulos on his claims that an out-of-control liberal judiciary is the worst threat America has faced in 400 years - worse than Nazi Germany, Japan and the Civil War - Robertson didn't back down.

"Yes, I really believe that," he said. "I think they are destroying the fabric that holds our nation together."

Consider what would happen if I wrote:

Rick Santorum is a more serious threat to our country than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings.

Methinks my career as a pseudo-pundit would be over.

The Reality Based Community

Jonah Golberg is proudly not a member.

I always imagine Jonah's "internal reality" to be much like Homer Simpson's.

Morning Thread


Too Stupid to Breathe

It'd be funny if it wasn't about to become a right wing talking point. Hell, it probably already has.


It helps if the antenna wire of your internal wireless card is actually connected...

Smearing Santorum

Little Ricky thinks he's gonna lose. I think he might be right for once.



The officer's comment was a harbinger of the gratuitous violence that, according to Mr. Delgado, is routinely inflicted by American soldiers on ordinary Iraqis. He said: "Guys in my unit, particularly the younger guys, would drive by in their Humvee and shatter bottles over the heads of Iraqi civilians passing by. They'd keep a bunch of empty Coke bottles in the Humvee to break over people's heads."

He said he had confronted guys who were his friends about this practice. "I said to them: 'What the hell are you doing? Like, what does this accomplish?' And they responded just completely openly. They said: 'Look, I hate being in Iraq. I hate being stuck here. And I hate being surrounded by hajis.' "

"Haji" is the troops' term of choice for an Iraqi. It's used the way "gook" or "Charlie" was used in Vietnam.

Mr. Delgado said he had witnessed incidents in which an Army sergeant lashed a group of children with a steel Humvee antenna, and a Marine corporal planted a vicious kick in the chest of a kid about 6 years old. There were many occasions, he said, when soldiers or marines would yell and curse and point their guns at Iraqis who had done nothing wrong.

(via LOR)

Early Morning Thread

Have fun.

Sunday, May 01, 2005


Gotta love Ohio Republicans.


Gotta love Ohio Republicans.

Tough Kid

The 13-year old whose uterus Jeb Bush has declared state property knows how to stand up for herself.


Would someone tell our military how to correctly create redacted .pdf documents so that they can't be unredacted...

Another Great Meet the Press Moment

From Senator Allen (R-VA):

And moreover, in the event that a personal savings account approach is taken, allowing them to invest in a home in addition to right now it's stocks, bonds and other financial instruments, if people can invest in their own home, they'll know it. They'll understand it. They'll take care of it. And they'll enjoy it and they don't have to worry about mergers and acquisitions and scandals and market share. And by the time they retire, they're going to have a pretty good nest egg there and they don't need as big a house, usually, because they don't want to be cutting grass and trimming hedges, and that is good for the economy as well.

Settling In

Well, the wireless connection I'm, er, borrowing is a bit on the inconsistent side. Perhaps I'll find the ultimate sweet spot soon, and blogging will resume normally...

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities...

Open Thread

One more airport and then, jetlag.

(Posted by Mrs. Atrios)