Saturday, May 21, 2005

Open Thread

It wasn't My Pet Goat

Via Dave Trowbridge, an astonishing story from Yale prof John Gaddis:
Late in June, I had a cryptic e-mail from a former student, now working in the White House speech-writing shop: "the boss has read your book, and has told all of us to read it."

I wasn't quite sure which boss he meant, but soon there was a call from Condi Rice which cleared things up: "The President has read your book, and has told all of us to read it. Could you come down and brief the National Security Council staff?"

And this book was not about the liberal media or how wonderful George Bush's policies are - far from it. Like Dave, I am flabbergasted.

Evening Thread

I just returned from the last (latest?) Star Wars movie and let me just say that near the end I laughed at a particular movie cliche, and those of you who have seen it will know what I am talking about. Someone finds out something bad and they blurt out....


Anyway, I don't want to get too carried away but it made me laugh at how silly it was.*

Now chat away.

*The line, not the movie, you can review that on your own.

Have You Applied for Your Grant Yet?

On public awareness of embryo adoptions:

The Office of Public Health and Science (OPHS) of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announces the availability of funds for FY 2005 and requests applications for grants for public awareness campaigns on embryo adoption. The OPHS is under the direction of the Assistant Secretary for
Health (ASH), who serves as the Senior Advisor on public health and science issues to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). The Office serves as the focal point for leadership and coordination across the Department in public health and science; provides direction to program offices within OPHS; and provides advice and counsel on public health and science issues to the Secretary. The increasing success of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) has resulted in a situation in which an infertile couple typically creates several embryos through in-vitro fertilization (IVF).
During IVF treatments, couples may produce many embryos in an attempt to conceive with several being cryopreserved (frozen) for future use. If a couple conceives without using all of the stored embryos, they may choose to have the remaining unused embryos donated for adoption allowing other infertile couples the experience of pregnancy and birth. Embryo adoption is a relatively new process in which individuals who have extra frozen embryos agree to release the embryos for transfer to the uterus of another woman, either known or anonymous to the donor(s) for the purpose of the recipient(s) attempting to bear a child and be that child's parent.

Killing the messenger

Have a look at MahaBarb's post about the current attack on Linda Foley, national president of The Newspaper Guild, for having stated the obvious: That there have been too many "accidents" resulting in the deaths of journalists.

Good Afternoon

Just popping in. My internet connection is temporarily AWOL, and the local internet shop was closed most of the day, so connecting is a bit hard. Thanks to Avedon and Atta for filling the void...

"Culture of Life Wankers"

Yesterday when informed of this Bush Quote:

"I made it very clear to the Congress that the use of federal money, taxpayers' money to promote science which destroys life in order to save life is - I'm against that. And therefore, if the bill does that, I will veto it.''

I thought somebody should ask Bush, "So how is the research on the new MOAB going?"

The wonderful Susie Madrak at Suburban Guerrilla thinks similarly and Digby sums it up more pungently and effectively.

Open Thread

Filibusters allowed here.

Why Does Bush Hate America?

A metaphor for our time.

This undoubtedly occurred after he proclaimed he was "King of the World".

Friday, May 20, 2005

Useless media

How do they do it? How do they write whole articles about Priscilla Owen without mentioning how corrupt she is? And how do they get away with quoting four of her supporters and none of her detractors in the article?

It's the hypocrisy, stoopid

Arthur Silber finds another killer publisher.

CPB Chief Lies, Media Dutifully Covers Up

Maybe we should convene a panel on liberal blogger ethics or something.

This is ridiculous. The Post is contradicting their own previous reporting on this.

Nazis Everywhere

Santorum says New York Times in favor of Nazis, Fascists, Communists, and Baathists (new video at bottom).

Oddly, this was probably left out of their forthcoming Sunday Magazine profile.

Made Me Laugh

Franken at Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press:

Then he turned toward The New York Times table in the front of the room, where sat Judith Miller, best known these days for two things: her articles on weapons of mass destruction that didn't quite pan out and the possibility she will go to jail for not revealing sources in the Valerie Plame case. "Judy,"" Franken said, "maybe you can find some WMD in your cell." Silence. "OK, I shouldn't have told that joke.

Enormously Unpopular Lame Duck

Apparently 43% doesn't qualify you, but 42% does. fair enough.

Wankers of the Day

Podhoretz and Instapundit. Are they ever right about anything? anything?

More here. Amazing how much homophobic crap our elite media thinks is just dandy.

Friday Catblogging

This is Marcos. He's growing up in the workshop at Alhambra, where they make various replicas of tabletops and furniture and whatnot from the past.

Lacking Clue AND Mirror

To get a new sheet, I shall steal from my own wankerings.

Tommy Friedman, putting words into the mouth of Bush...

"Newsweek may have violated journalistic rules..."

Okay, first of all, there is no way in hell Bush could utter the word "journalistic", he'd say "journamalism" we all know it.

Second, just because you put words in Dear Leader's mouth Tommy, doesn't mean that I do not see incredible irony.

You claim that Newsweek relying on a single senior administration source is "bad journalism", without noting your career habit of dubious quotes from the random taxi driver, waiter, or falafel vendor.

Open Thread

No porn talk allowed.

Porn Generation

I'm sure the Virgin Ben spent literally thousands, if not millions, of hours researching his new book. It was a dirty sweaty job but someone had to do it.

I suppose the audience for such a thing is the same as Bozell´s minions or the I Am Charlotte Simmons readers. They want their hot teen sex with a big dose of moral condemnation, because that makes it okay.

Besides, who wouldn´t read a book with additional commentary by Rod Dreher? I hear he had quite the life in college. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Spreading Santorum

Kos comments and swing state project has a good rundown.

Medium Lobster's verdict

Stop Newsweek... Before It Kills Again!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

"Interest groups"

Bill Scher detects the new meme from the right-wing on why Democrats must "compromise".

Open Thread II

Electric Boogaloo!

Open Thread

Rock on.

Little Ricky

Little Ricky recently:

"Senator Byrd's inappropriate remarks comparing his Republican colleagues with Nazis are inexcusable," Santorum said in a statement yesterday. "These comments lessen the credibility of the senator and the decorum of the Senate. He should retract his statement and ask for pardon."

...related from Blogenlust

Brad Speak, You Listen

Three simple points on the increasingly irrelevant Social Security debate which our great and mighty and ethical press corps needs to understand before they should write about it:

It is a clown show, an episode of stupidity of a jaw-dropping magnitude:

1. The administration's Social Security gurus shove Bush out there with talking points saying that we need to act now to pass the Bush plan, because starting in 2017 Social Security will start taking resources away from the rest of the government and that's a very bad thing--and then they roll out a plan in which Social Security starts taking resources away from the rest of the government in 2011.

2. The administration's Social Security gurus shove Bush out there with talking points saying that passing the Bush plan is essential because if we don't the Social Security trust fund balance will hit zero in 2041, and big benefit cuts will then be necessary--and then they roll out a plan in which the Social Security trust fund balance hits zero in 2030.

3. The administration's Social Security gurus shove Bush out there with talking points about the importance of restoring actuarial balance to Social Security--and then they roll out a plan which closes less than a third of the 75-year funding gap (and refuse to specify the plan in sufficient detail to allow anyone to do a longer-run analysis).

The "Move On" Standard

Once upon a time an organziation called Move On (or probably Move On Pac, forget which) ran a little ad creation contest. The initial submissions, of which there were many, weren't really screened by the organization, and a couple of them admittedly crossed the line by making Bush/Nazi comparisons. Those ads were yanked immediately by the organization, but are nonetheless used to this day by the liberal media to smear Move On as an irresponsible "extremist" organization.

Now we have the junior Senator from Pennsylvania comparing the entire Senate Dem caucus to Adolf Hitler. Will the "Move On" standard of the liberal media still apply?


Video here.

Open Thread

Have fun Eschatonians!

Rare Coins

They should've invested in genuine faux diamond mines:
Five Ohio Supreme Court justices announced today that they have recused themselves from hearing two open records lawsuits that call for disclosure of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation complete rare coin inventory.

The justices were not required to say why they recused themselves from presiding over the suits filed by The Blade and State Sen. Marc Dann, a Youngstown Democrat, asking for details of the coin fund operated by prominent Toledo-area Republican Tom Noe.

Mr. Noe and his wife, Bernadette, have contributed more than $23,000 to the campaigns of the recused justices, Thomas J. Moyer, Evelyn Stratton, Maureen O’Connor, Terrence O’Donnell, and Judith Ann Lanzinger.

Market forces

If right-wing media is so popular, how come NRO can't pull in enough money?


Yglesias makes a very convincing argument.

Your Liberal Media


Meanwhile, the Coalition Provisional Authority, which we ran, has lost 8.8 billion dollars. By lost, I mean it’s totally unaccounted for. Not only has Congress not "looked into" this $8.8 billion and who might have it now, but it seems that some members are completely unaware that this staggering sum, which was supposed to go toward rebuilding Iraq, is missing. The Sunday morning after the White House Correspondents dinner, I ran into Senator George Allen at a brunch thrown by John McLaughlin and his wife. Allen had never heard of the missing $8.8 billion, or at least that's what he told me. And he's on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Stunned, I went up to Susan Page of USA Today and her husband Carl Lubsdorf of the Dallas Morning News, two veteran Washington political reporters, and told them about Allen’s ignorance of this huge scandal, which has no doubt contributed to hatred for America and the deaths of our troops. There’s less electricity in Iraq now than there was before we invaded Iraq.

Turns out that Page and Lubsdorf had also never heard of the unaccounted-for $8.8 billion. For a moment I thought that maybe I had been imagining things.

Then I spotted my friend Norm Ornstein, scholar from the American Enterprise Institute. "Would you believe it if Norm Ornstein told you about the $8.8 billion?" I asked Susan and Carl.


I brought Norm over, and indeed I had not been imagining things. "It was a huge story," Norm told them.

"Was it in the New York Times?" Carl asked Norm.

"Yes," Norm assured him.

What in God’s name is going on?

Level 36 Champion

I couldn't help but read the latest salvo in the Andy-Insty wars because, well, it's just funny. In doing so I discover that Reynolds actually wrote this:

"when Andrew was a champion of the war on terror"

Think about the mind that would write such a sentence. And, more than that, Andy feels the need to defend himself and try to prove that he is still a "champion of the war on terror."

silly silly people.


This is an old post in blogging time, but I thought I'd highlight this bit from Lance Mannion discussing Adam Cohen's recent nonsense:

Old media types look at the mess in Washington. They see Tom DeLay and Karl Rove at work. They watch Bill Frist pandering. They examine the list of right wing crazies Bush wants to put on the bench. They make the connection between Dick Cheney and Haliburton. And then they blame...

The Democrats.


Old media types read---or, more likely, read about---Matt Drudge, Little Green Footballs, Michelle Malkin, Jonah Goldberg, and the FreeRepublic, and they recoil in horror.

Good Lord! These people are racist. They are crazy. They are blinded by ideology to the point where they can't even enjoy a popcorn movie like Star Wars! They are paranoid. They make shit up!

Something needs to be done!

I know. We need to lecture Josh Marshall, Atrios, Kos, Juan Cole and all the other liberal and moderate bloggers on their lack of professionalism.

Seriously. It is stunning. Cohen types his 700 or so words without ever hitting a combination of keys spelling out words like Powerline, the Corner, FreeRepublic, Instapundit, Simon, or Hindrocket. How can he not have typed Hindrocket? It's so much fun to type Hindrocket. It's more giggles than a pot brownie.

I've written this before, but is deserves to be repeated. I find the attention paid to blogs relative to, say, talk radio pretty ridiculous but I don't think there's anything wrong with criticizing blogs - with actual specifics rather than navel-gazing generalizations that don't require the actual reading of blogs. But, the liberal media sure does choose its targets strangely.

Morning Thread


Open Thread

Thanks, moonbats. It was fun.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Has Kevin Drum really been paying attention all this time?


"Thinking About Killing Michael Moore"

Sweet sweet love from the land of wingnuttia.

Free Trade

Without getting into a debate the broader issues, let's just remark that the modern Republican party apparently has absolutely no principles left, except cutting taxes for rich people.

Wanker Stu

Where do they find these people? My God. One of today's wankers:

ROTHENBERG: I simply wanted to add, Wolf, that if you want to know who to blame ultimately for this confrontation that we have now, I think you can almost make the argument that can you blame court, because the court got us into these kinds of issues in the late '60s and early '70s. Before that, when you and I didn't have so much gray hair, we didn't talk about these issues. But the court decide these issues were relevant and individual rights needed to be protected. And so now they've gotten into the whole other area.

Open Thread

Have fun.

The Revenge of the Sith

From the Salon review:

Fans of the light-saber stuff and "You're soaking in it!" dialogue won't be disappointed by "Revenge of the Sith" -- there's plenty of both. But before we all hail George Lucas for raising the level of political discourse in American cinema (and on that score, the accolades have already begun to roll in), let's remember that all of the "Star Wars" movies -- even the genuinely superb "The Empire Strikes Back" -- have a relatively simple piece of rhetoric as their backbone: Good must triumph over evil.

There's nothing inherently wrong with that as a theme for a series of fantasy movies. But it's much too simplistic to be taken seriously as a political statement. And it's the kind of oversimplification that plagues both sides of the current political divide. Neither of the Georges -- Lucas or Bush -- seems to realize that a black-and-white ethos is no template for a world that too often includes shades of gray.

Both sides of the current political divide???

The Top Ten Filibuster Lies

From Media Matters for America. For example:

Falsehood #4: "Nuclear Option" is a Democratic term
Following the Republicans' lead, many major media outlets have attributed the term "nuclear option" as a creation of Senate Democrats. In fact, Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS), one of the proposed measures' leading advocates, actually coined the term.

Read the rest, too.

Wankers of the Day

These two came across the transom at the same time, so we'll have to award a tie.

Nick Lemann, Dean of Columbia Graduate School of Journalism.

Stu Rothenberg (could he have really said that? This one could be revoked, pending transcript...)

Box Turtle

Senator Cornyn, after a judge's family was killed by man whose malpractice suit was dismissed:

I don't know if there is a cause-and-effect connection but we have seen some recent episodes of courthouse violence in this country. Certainly nothing new, but we seem to have run through a spate of courthouse violence recently that's been on the news and I wonder whether there may be some connection between the perception in some quarters on some occasions where judges are making political decisions yet are unaccountable to the public, that it builds up and builds up and builds up to the point where some people engage in - engage in violence.

That judge now:

A federal judge whose family was murdered asked the Senate on Wednesday to condemn harsh remarks about the judiciary by commentators such as evangelist Pat Robertson and members of Congress, saying their words could spark more violence.

"Fostering disrespect for judges can only encourage those that are on the edge, or on the fringe, to exact revenge on a judge who displeases them," U.S. District Judge Joan Humphrey Lefkow told the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Her husband and mother were slain in the couple's Chicago home in February. Bart Ross, a 57-year-old unemployed electrician from Chicago, committed suicide in suburban Milwaukee in March after leaving a note confessing to the murders. He had been angered when Lefkow dismissed a malpractice suit he had filed, authorities said.

Don't hold your breath. The Fristy folk and the Box Turtle gang think those in black robes are the same as those in white robes.


Apparently Frist thinks filibusters are unconstitutional only when he's not a party to them!


Michelle Maglalang fucks up. I know, we're all shocked.

Oh Lordy

I don't even know where to begin with this...

see here, too. And here.

Oh what a tangled web of wingnuttery the wingnuts do weave when first they practice to deceive...

...roy has more.

The Perfesser suggests that he has done with Sullivan now. Doubtless many other Eagles will also take wing. Thus the scourge of traitors, who could spot an enemy of the Republic by his place of residence, finds himself in exile! I wonder whether, when he looks around his depopulated salon these days, Sullivan thinks of Orwell or of Whittaker Chambers.


Now would be a good time for reporters to push back (bloggered, scroll down to "GOP Nazis.") Or not. Their choice. What they seem to fail to understand is that they spent the last dozen or so years accomodating and encouraging a bunch of people whose goal it is to effectively wipe them out. Reap, sow, yada yada. As many others have pointed out, while criticism from the left (which they ignore) is about making them better, the right is pretty much out to destroy any media in this country that doesn't exist for the sole purpose of encouraging tax cuts, demonizing gay people, and generally supporting the agenda of Dear Leader.

...oh, and ditto what Stranger says.


Thanks to the great guest bloggers who helped out while I was traveling through Andalusia. I'm back in Barcelona (Barca! Barca!) for another couple of weeks, then I return home. My borrowed internet connection is not always as consistent as I'd like, so the guest bloggers are welcome to continue to chime in as much or as little as they want for awhile longer, especially if I'm AWOL at times (and, of course for the US-time evening/night shift), though they of course may have better things to do.

In any case, you can always find them at:

Avedon Carol's the Sideshow

Atta J. Blogwhorus Ceasar Salad Turk's Rising Hegemon

And, Echidne's Echidne of the Snakes.

That's Entertainment!!!

From the Guardian...if only we could have seen it...

Before the hearing began, the Respect MP for Bethnal Green and Bow even had some scorn left over to bestow generously upon the pro-war writer Christopher Hitchens. "You're a drink-soaked former Trotskyist popinjay," Mr Galloway in formed him. "Your hands are shaking. You badly need another drink," he added later, ignoring Mr Hitchens's questions and staring intently ahead. "And you're a drink-soaked ..." Eventually Mr Hitchens gave up. "You're a real thug, aren't you?" he hissed, stalking away.

Oh, baby!


The Strib on Newsweek.

Spikey Mikey

Following up on the post below (I really need to read my own blog) Media Matters covers the fact that the Wingnutosphere, remembering Mikey´s past contributions to their agenda, is blasting the Newsweek editors but not Mikey himself.

Oh, Spikey Isikoff

You're rich.

And from Capitola via Jeff Huber we learn a few things about what Scott McClellan's coming memoir will claim about Newsweek.

Open Thread

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

For your reading pleasure

Complete Galloway speech at Kos:
You will see from the official parliamentary record, Hansard, from the 15th March 1990 onwards, voluminous evidence that I have a rather better record of opposition to Saddam Hussein than you do and than any other member of the British or American governments do.

Open Thread

Have fun.

The Larry and Larry Show

Now we know. Both Scottie AND Larry are liars.

The Larry and Scottie show

One or both are liars...

DiRita - Detainees Desecrated Own Korans!

Ah, winning those hearts and minds, those Pentagon PR flacks are.

Look, this meta-issue has little to do with who did what with which Koran at this point. It's about the administration doing their best to pretend that all their problems are the result of the stab-in-the-back media. To some extent, they may be right - 5 minutes watching Fox News or spent perusing the leading lights of the conservative wingnutosphere is probably enough to cause riots in just about any part of the world.

None of this is about appeasing violence, it's all for domestic consumption like just about everything else they do. You think DiRita knows one thing about making Arabs/Muslims feel warm fuzzies? Or that he cares? It isn't his job. Bamboozling the press and the rest of us is his job.

...oh, and for the record, Somerby is right - Isikoff is a hack who has always been good at making certain details seem more important, and more verified, than they really are. I certainly won't ever defend his reporting, and I find it hilarious that the residents of Wingnuttia are directing their ire not at Isikoff, who is after all one of their own, but at Newsweek's editors. But, the instant this story hit the meta-story became far more important than anything Isikoff actually wrote. I'm not really sure how many liberals are defending Isikoff, but one shouldn't confuse focusing on the big picture with a need to defend him whether his journalistic sin was minor or grave.

The Journalistic Ethics: A Different Take

Will Bunch on Attytood puts it like this:

It's amazing how many journalists are OK with being deceived, as long as they don't have to offend anyone.

Take the editor of the Scranton Times, who when presented a police report showing how a local married congressman who professes family values was himself leading a double life, not only refuses to publish it but writes a scathing assault on the ethics of a nearby newspaper that happens to think that political hypocrisy is newsworthy.

Take the painful hand-wringing from top editors that occured when a Spokane, Wash,. paper -- in an era when government and other investigators frequently won't investigate those in power -- went undercover to help prove that the city's mayor had sexually abused minors and misused his position in seeking sex.

Take the editors of the Washington Post. When confronted with a British government memo that showed that President Bush "fixed" the intelligence on Iraq to make the already-decided case for war, the newspaper did nothing for two weeks, then buried the story -- a story that in a different era, one with more courageous leadership, might be seen as an impeachable offense -- on Page A-18. Odd behavior for a business obsessed with "scoops."

And yet, with so many brave defenders of journalistic purity out there, you would think that newspaper circulation would be soaring. Instead, readership is dropping like a stone, the biggest plunge in almost 15 years. Does anyone truly believe its from a lack of "context?" Of course not.

It's from a lack of cojones, of not only not afflicting the comfortable but knuckling under the first time anyone complains.

Newsweek did make some mistakes. But its biggest one was retracting the story, instead of going back and building on the existing reporting from a half-dozen papers -- that there really was Koran desecration at Guantanamo, that the real damage to America's image came not from an aggressive and free press but from official misconduct.

And that's the real "scoop." Tim Porter, Jeff Jarvis, and the editors of the Scranton Times and the Washington Post can rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic of American newspapers and news magazines, if that's what they want.

We prefer to go down fighting.

What's Sauce for the Goose...

How many reliable sources do we need before a story can be acted on? Journalists need at least two, it seems:

Today, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan lectured the media about a "journalistic standard that should be met" before running with a story. Fine, but isn't there also a political standard of accountability that should be met as well? McClellan's issue with the Newsweek story was that it was "based on a single anonymous source who cannot personally substantiate the report."

Remember when we learned that the evidence for Iraq's supposed mobile biological weapons labs came from an unreliable source? What was McClellan's response then?

QUESTION: Does it concern the President that the primary source for the intelligence on the mobile biological weapons labs was a guy that U.S. intelligence never every interviewed?

MCCLELLAN: Well, again, all these issues will be looked at as part of a broad review by the independent commission that the President appointed… But it's important that we look at what we learn on the ground and compare that with what we believed prior to going into Iraq.

[White House Press Gaggle, 4/5/04]

Oh Lord...

I've held off the photocaptions while guest posting, but a person's willpower can only take so much...and perhaps there is only so much disrespect of the office permitted, but...must...make...wisecrack...

"I prefer Laura's."

I look forward to this post being on CNN's Blogwatch, and for the help of the hosts, its spelled A-t-t-a-t-u-r-k.

Photo from the AP.

Not Popular

From Pew via Kos:

Bush approval ratings, now (vs. March 2005)

Approve 43 (49)
Disapprove 50 (46)

Photo courtesy of here.
Less than 40 by the 4th?

Galloway versus "Asshat Man"

Can be heard here, choose 9:30 a.m. hearing.

UPDATE: For those of you that listened and heard many questions implying something nefarious about Galloway's dealings with Fawaz Zureikat, please note that the latter is once again trading in Iraq and making trips to America with the approval of the US authorities.

Crooks and Liars has some of the highlights.


...explanation of "Asshat Man" here.

New Email

To hopefully at least temporarily cut down on the amount of spam, this blog now has a new email address:

NAMEOFTHISBLOGmail at comcast dot net

Fill in the appropriate word for "NAMEOFTHISBLOG". will cease to exist in about 3 weeks time....

Support liberal media

In light of the painful cave-in by Newsweek, I'd just like to say a word in support of here.

These guys do real reporting, they have lots of experience, and they are trying to promote an infrastructure for a real free press. Their work online deserves your attention, but it also deserves our support.

We need good media to counteract what we have now. I'm not sure what Newsweek was afraid of, but we just can't afford to have this happening all the time.

Potty Training

From Corrente a history of Koran versus Commode in the "War on Terror Rationality".

I know it has been in one of the posted links before, but again...I'm sure we all remember when General Dick ("Yes Rummy") Myers said these Afghan protests had nothing to do with the Newsweek story last Thursday don't we?

Too bad our press doesn't seem to have a memory going back more than 48 hours.

Uff da!

Norman Coleman -- not quite a genius, from the Guardian.

The Democratic Staff Report on the UN Oil for Food Program.

...the Senate report found that US oil purchases accounted for 52% of the kickbacks paid to the regime in return for sales of cheap oil - more than the rest of the world put together.

"The United States was not only aware of Iraqi oil sales which violated UN sanctions and provided the bulk of the illicit money Saddam Hussein obtained from circumventing UN sanctions," the report said. "On occasion, the United States actually facilitated the illicit oil sales."

Just in time for a certain guest, George Galloway.


My guess is the New York Times will get a surprising number of subscriptions for its new pay service. It will be hailed as a model for internet subscriptions. But, over time their relevance and influence will seriously wane, hurting both print and internet ad revenues...

This decision will probably over the long run destroy the Times's greatest asset - its influence on the conversation and agenda. You read the Times because people read the Times. Chip away at that, and they'll chip away at what maintains their status.

My prediction: short term moderate success, long term Worst Business Decision Ever.


Read the whole thing, as the kids say.

They Write Letters

Media Matters writes to the New York Times.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Open Midnight Thread

The Moyers speech

Bill Moyers Responds to CPB's Tomlinson Charges of Liberal Bias: "We Were Getting it Right, But Not Right Wing" - transcript, .mp3, and streams.

Let's do something different

Sex education.

And a little reminder

From Think Progress:
Before the Newsweek report even hit the newsstands, the Associated Press was already noting a "revived Taliban-led insurgency" and the Agence France Press said there was "an upsurge in violence by suspected Taliban rebels" which had left two U.S. Marines dead.

August sums it Up about Right

Following up on what Avedon posted earlier. August Pollak sums up my feelings on the cutesy phraseology the right-wing brigade is using about the Newsweek piece.

So now there's a bunch of right-wingers who are pitching the desecrated Koran riot story with the line "Newsweek Lied, People Died."

Get it? It's funny, because it's making fun of what all the anti-war people said when 1,700 Americans were killed based on lies they were warned about but didn't listen to. What, don't you have a fucking sense of humor?

This isn't even not caring. It's beyond not caring. It's taking pride in not caring.

What is Science?

The way to get creationism into school science curricula used to be by trying to make creationism look like science by calling it "intelligent design". Now there is a second approach: redefine science:

The Kansas school board's hearings on evolution weren't limited to how the theory should be taught in public schools. The board is considering redefining science itself. Advocates of "intelligent design" are pushing the board to reject a definition limiting science to natural explanations for what's observed in the world.

Instead, they want to define it as "a systematic method of continuing investigation," without specifying what kind of answer is being sought. The definition would appear in the introduction to the state's science standards.

The proposed definition has outraged many scientists, who are frustrated that students could be discussing supernatural explanations for natural phenomena in their science classes.

For some of the old-fashioned type of science, see Pharyngula's post.

Afternoon Open Thread

"Grassroot" Support for Ending the Filibustering Option in the Senate

Ken Mehlman has been mobilizing the Republican grassroots on the filibustering issue:

Seeking to counter a similarly aggressive Democratic campaign to preserve the filibuster, Republicans are writing op-ed columns, booking Bush surrogates on cable news channels and deluging reporters with e-mails.
"We've been mobilizing our grass roots on this issue," said Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman. "This is an incredibly important priority."

And the results from the grassroots mobilization are flowing in. This is a letter appearing in one local newspaper:

The proposal Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist sent to his Democrat colleagues this week could not have been a more fair compromise to end Democrat obstruction of President Bush's highly qualified judicial nominees.

Leader Frist's proposal would guarantee President Bush's nominees a fair up or down vote on the Senate floor while allowing all Senators an opportunity to have their say through a guaranteed 100 hours of debate. This is a reasonable resolution to the Democrats' unprecedented use of the filibuster against President Bush's nominees, and will ensure that the filibuster remains intact for use against legislation.

Democrats are obstructing President Bush's nominees because they know that these nominees will strictly interpret the law — not legislate from the bench. Democrats have even gone so far as to say they will "shut down" the Senate if they do not get their way on judicial nominations.

One of President Bush's nominees, Janice Rogers Brown, grew up as the daughter of Alabama sharecroppers and became the first African-American woman to serve on the California Supreme Court. In 1998, Californians re-elected her with 76 percent of the vote and the majority of Senators support her nomination for a federal judgeship, but Democrats are standing in the way of her receiving an up or down vote on the Senate floor.

A fair up or down vote for highly qualified judicial nominees is too important for Republicans to stand by as Democrats sacrifice decades of Senate tradition for partisan gain.

It is also a letter in here, here, here, here and even in this discussion forum! And in many other newspapers, always with different signatures.

The origin of the letter is here. It seems to have been written by Ken Mehlman.
Tip from Riesz Fischer.

Well goodbye bashing Bobo and Tierney

This is half my act. If the NRO starts charging for the intersection of "Banality Street & Elastic Waistband Avenue" (aka the Corner), it's going to be photocaptions 24/7!

The New York Times Co. (NYT) on Monday said that, starting in September, access to Op-Ed and certain of its top news columnists on the paper's Web site will only be available through a fee of $49.95 a year. The service, known as TimesSelect, will also allow access to The Times's online archives, early access to select articles on the site, and other features. Home-delivery subscribers will automatically receive the service, the NYT said.

Please show due respect for

President Cuckoo Bananas

Enjoying 46% approval according to Time. Thanks to Holden.

Photo via Reuters

The real story is censorship

That's what Arthur Silber says - and he's usually a pretty astute observer. I also agree. This is what they have been after all along - to turn the press into nothing more than a propaganda arm of the ultra-right movement.

None Dare Call It Wanking


Right-wing steamroller watch

Since it seems to be the media-wank story of the morning, watch out for right-wingers to try to drag Isikoff down. Yes, Spikey. For, if you can believe it, irresponsible reporting.

I've written about it here.

But you recognize this pattern, right? It's the fabulous Karl Rove poison the messenger approach to news. Don't like reality? Make up a new one!

Remember: The facts are biased against Republicans.

Update: Sure enough, here's Kurtz:
Newsweek apologized yesterday for an inaccurate report on the treatment of detainees that triggered several days of rioting in Afghanistan and other countries in which at least 15 people died.
Again, we don't know if the story was accurate, and Newsweek only said that their source suddenly backed down on confirming that the information came from a particular document (but now claims to have misremembered it from seeing it in some other documents). Note also that Kurtz takes for granted that the riots were caused by the Newsweek story. It is certainly probable that the story inflamed demonstrators, but without the problems with resources, it is doubtful the riots would have occurred at all.

Pay attention, wingers: This is a distraction from the fact that things in Afghanistan are a mess, and they're a mess because somebody thought haring off to Iraq was more important than finishing what we started in Afghanistan.

And more at Daily Kos (thanks to DWD in comments).

More from Juan Cole, highly recommended.

"Hearts & Minds"

From the Washington Post, we learn that Operation Matador was pretty much the opposite of what the Pentagon claims, a bunch of bull if you will:

..."Where the [expletive] are these guys?" Maj. Kei Braun exclaimed in frustration.

It was noon Friday. The Marines had swept Arabi and found only frightened Iraqi families hiding in their homes. They had found more bombs in the roads, but no enemy to fight...So, within sight of Syria, they searched caves in the high, sheer rock escarpment that circles part of Arabi. Seeing a man come out of a cave, look out and go back in, a U.S. helicopter crew shot a Hellfire missile. Commanders came on the radio. Those were ordinary Iraqis hiding inside the caves, the commanders said. Hold off.

Chalk up another Vietnam analogy. The Iraqi people are victims and our soldiers are victims of the folly of a group of craven ideologues, headed by this fool:

But must not question our leaders, must not ask for accountability, must find way to look for other scapegoats.

Photo from the Last Minute.

Open Thread

Sunday, May 15, 2005

An Open Thread Or On Bill Moyers

As you wish. Bill Moyers gave a blunt speech at the Conference for Media Reform this weekend in St. Louis. A snippet:

"The more compelling our journalism, the angrier became the radical right of the Republican Party,'' he said. "That's because the one thing they loathe more than liberals is the truth. And the quickest way to be damned by them as liberal is to tell the truth."

You can hear the speech here, via Hummingbird on Kos.


Nevermind Godwin, as Billmon knows, it is not like this bunch is really governed by all generally applicable laws.

A suggestion

She was not a Catholic, then, but a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints - a Mormon. But the Mormons have excommunication, and when it came to a matter of conscience, she did a very unusual thing. Today's Catholics may want to consider the same. Ladies and gentleman, Teresa Nielsen Hayden's 1980 fanzine article God and I.

UPDATE: Or, it has just been suggested to me, stay in the church and join up with Dignity.

And on this Sunday

Supporters of gays, lesbians and transgendered individuals did not receive Holy Communion at the Cathedral of St. Paul:

A Roman Catholic priest denied communion to more than 100 parishioners Sunday, saying they could not receive the sacrament because they wore rainbow-colored sashes to church to show support for gay Catholics.

Before offering communion, the Rev. Michael Sklucazek told the congregation at the Cathedral of St. Paul that anyone wearing a sash could come forward for a blessing but would not receive wine and bread.

A group called the Rainbow Sash Alliance has encouraged supporters to wear the multicolored fabric bands since 2001 on each Pentecost Sunday, the day Catholics believe the Holy Spirit came to give power to Christians soon after Jesus ascended to heaven. But Sunday's service was the first time they had been denied communion at the altar.

Archbishop Harry Flynn told the group earlier this month that they would not receive communion because the sashes had become a protest against church teaching.

Join the club of pro-choice politicians! In other religious news, via Raw Story, Fred Phelps plans to picket a Massachusetts intermediary school because a twelve-year-old student there wrote an essay on the openly-lesbian Ellen de Generes.

We Are Sorry, So Sorry...

The Newsweek magazine today said that maybe they erred in their reporting of the Koran desecrecation at Guantanamo Bay:

We regret that we got any part of our story wrong, and extend our sympathies to victims of the violence and to the U.S. soldiers caught in its midst," Editor Mark Whitaker wrote in the magazine's latest issue, due to appear on U.S. newsstands on Monday.

Whitaker said the magazine inaccurately reported that U.S. military investigators had confirmed that personnel at the detention facility in Cuba had flushed the Koran down the toilet.

The report sparked angry and violent protests across the Muslim world from Afghanistan, where 16 were killed and more than 100 injured, to Pakistan to Indonesia to Gaza. In the past week it was condemned in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Malaysia and by the Arab League. On Sunday, Afghan Muslim clerics threatened to call for a holy war against the United States.

The weekly news magazine said in its May 23 edition that the information had come from a "knowledgeable government source" who told Newsweek that a military report on abuse at Guantanamo Bay said interrogators flushed at least one copy of the Koran down a toilet in a bid to make detainees talk.

But Newsweek said the source later told the magazine he could not be certain he had seen an account of the Koran incident in the military report and that it might have been in other investigative documents or drafts.

The acknowledgment by the magazine came amid a continuing heightened scrutiny of the U.S. media, which has seen a rash of news organizations fire reporters and admit that stories were fabricated or plagiarized.

The Pentagon told the magazine the report was wrong last Friday, saying it had investigated earlier allegations of Koran desecration from detainees and found them "not credible."

The May 9 report, which appeared as a brief item by Michael Isikoff and John Barry in the magazine's "Periscope" section, had a huge international impact, sparking the protests from Muslims who consider the Koran the literal word of God and treat each book with deep reverence.

Desecration of the Koran is punishable by death in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Um, ok?

Behind the Curtains

Things don't always come to pass. For example, the Wisconsin cat killing proposal failed. And the Texas bawdy cheerleaders proposal isn't going anywhere, either. And in Missouri, the most pro-life state of the union, new pro-life legislation didn't get through:

``I am profoundly disappointed in the leaders of Missouri Right to Life for their efforts to defeat two good pro-life bills that would have become the law and protected the lives of unborn children but for the group's tragic and bizarre tactic of working against pro-life legislation,''[Governor] Blunt said in a statement announcing the special session.

Anti-abortion lawmakers claim 128 of the 162 House seats and 28 of the 34 Senate seats.

``We have the largest pro-life bipartisan majority ever elected, and they could not get pro-life legislation through, and this to me is attributable to Governor Blunt,'' Missouri Right to Life President Pam Fichter declared.

Anti-abortion groups asserted the failed legislation did not go far enough in its abortion restrictions. A broader bill previously passed in the Senate had been pared back in a House committee at Blunt's urging; a separate House-passed bill was similarly scaled back in a Senate Committee.

Blunt said he intervened because the bills had stalled - and he expressed concerns about a provision that he feared could negatively affect stem cell research.

This Missouri case is especially interesting: first cracks in the wingnut solidarity. Maybe we can help them along?

No news fit to print

Some of our trolls have been whining in comments about the "liberal media" again. It's a sad commentary on the mentality of the right-wingers that they still think the corporate media has anything to do with liberal media. Liberal media, of course, is The Nation, Air America Radio, and a handful of other organs most of them have never heard of.

So, for your reading pleasure, Where's All the News That's Fit to Print?

PS. Fiore

More on the religiosity right

Since I've been on the subject, I would be remiss in not directing your attention to Rules for the Religious Right, at a familiar location. (No one made me write this, by the way.)

Open Thread

I could curse the fates that my excellent new wireless router does not work with my laptop & new wireless card -- though they work fine everywhere else in the world. I did get a chance to chat with a nice support person for an hour and a half...and things are great over in India. So at least I'll have those memories.

Anyway, carry on, I know I will have to. I guess I could make this peek into my daily life even whinier, but I'd really have to work on it.

But enough about me, chat amongst yourselves.

Green Light

I wonder whether Bush's dropping approval ratings will actually make the neo-Con fantasy of trying to take Iran out "while they can" more likely? It appears that they think they may be able to do it on the cheap. That was Seymour Hersh's conclusion a few months ago.

From the Times on Line:

ISRAEL has drawn up secret plans for a combined air and ground attack on targets in Iran if diplomacy fails to halt the Iranian nuclear programme.

The inner cabinet of Ariel Sharon, the Israeli prime minister, gave “initial authorisation” for an attack at a private meeting last month on his ranch in the Negev desert...

The plans have been discussed with American officials who are said to have indicated provisionally that they would not stand in Israel’s way if all international efforts to halt Iranian nuclear projects failed.

Tehran claims that its programme is designed for peaceful purposes but Israeli and American intelligence officials — who have met to share information in recent weeks —are convinced that it is intended to produce nuclear weapons.

Surely we can get the Islamic world, and certainly the Shi'ites, even angrier? The Bush foreign policy, "keep poking with that stick, there's got to be more hornets in that nest".


It's Sunday, and time for our study of religion and wingnuttery. Hottest link on the subject, of course, is Frank Rich's Just How Gay Is the Right? - a further exploration of the homophobic closet-queen phenomenon.

Next up, Kristof on Liberal Bible-Thumping, noting that, "After all, the Bible depicts Jesus as healing lepers, not slashing Medicaid." A nice departure from his usual implications that Christianity is owned by the right. But when is he going to notice that the press, much like Kristof himself, mostly just ignores the Christian left, even when they are putting out press releases, starting new organizations, and generally doing things that ought to be covered in the press?

In any case, Gospel-based Christians (as opposed to the other kind that just ignores the teachings of Jesus) are getting mad and organizing to try to combat the takeover of Christianity by what can most accurately be described as "hate groups". Too bad Kristof isn't writing about that.

Our Dear Scottie

Real good sense of humor:

The United States maintains a military base in Uzbekistan that is used to support its operations in Afghanistan, and the Bush administration considers this Central Asian country of 26 million an important ally. In Washington on Friday, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said, "The people of Uzbekistan want to see a more representative and democratic government, but that should come through peaceful means, not through violence."