Saturday, July 09, 2005



"ATTACK OF THE SABRETOOTH." "Bloodsuckers." "The Man With the Screaming Brain." And, most indelible of all, "Mansquito."

A combination of outrageous genre concepts, low-budget filmmaking and sensationalized titles like the roll call above are all part of the Sci Fi Channel's attempt to establish a presence on Saturday nights, when a good number of potential viewers are out, asleep or watching reruns. The programming strategy has been a major success, with numbers that far exceed anyone's expectations.
"Alien Apocalypse," Sci Fi's biggest Saturday hit, attracted 2.7 million viewers in March. That may be a pittance for CBS or NBC, but it constitutes a major audience for a niche network. And besides, said Steve Sternberg, a television analyst at MagnaGlobal USA, "Friday and Saturday have become very weak nights for the broadcast networks," which, he explained, "have not been able to draw enough viewers with original entertainment series. Cable networks can flourish with much smaller audiences. Original horror and sci-fi movies seem like the perfect programming for Saturday night."

"They're good at the 'D' word, demographics," said Bruce Campbell, a star of B movies who also wrote, directed and starred in the "Screaming Brain" film, to be shown in September. "I think they're micromarketing," he said, "which in this fragmented world makes sense. They're saying, 'Who's at home on Saturday night?' "

The answer might be surprising. Nearly half of Sci Fi's audience is female, and in the highly sought-after 25-to-54-year-old demographic category, Sci Fi is the No. 4 basic cable network on Saturdays, behind TNT, USA and TBS.

Sci Fi's foray into Saturday night mayhem began in 2002, when network executives realized that cheap, independently made genre pictures, an important element of their programming mix, were hardly being produced any more. So, said Tom Vitale, the Sci Fi Channel's senior vice president for original movies "We had a choice of recycling older movies or going out and trying to create original movies ourselves. We went back to these producers who made genre movies, and asked them if they wanted to make them with us."

People like Ken Badish jumped at the chance. Mr. Badish's company, Active Entertainment, will have produced nine Sci Fi movies by the end of 2005, high-concept features like "Mansquito" (experiment gone awry creates man-mosquito hybrid!), and "Alien Lockdown" (government science produces horrific slime thing!).

Shot on budgets ranging from $1 million to $2 million, Sci Fi's movies are made in money-saving locales like Bulgaria, Romania and Missouri. They're cast with B-list celebrities like Luke Perry and Stephen Baldwin, with the occasional big-picture actors - Sean Astin and John Rhys-Davies of "Lord of the Rings" - making an appearance. The network pays $750,000 for domestic TV rights, and the producers make their money back through international and DVD sales.

Open Thread


That's a Translation I Hadn't Heard Before

Robin Cook, former Foreign Secretary:

Bin Laden was, though, a product of a monumental miscalculation by western security agencies. Throughout the 80s he was armed by the CIA and funded by the Saudis to wage jihad against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. Al-Qaida, literally "the database", was originally the computer file of the thousands of mujahideen who were recruited and trained with help from the CIA to defeat the Russians. Inexplicably, and with disastrous consequences, it never appears to have occurred to Washington that once Russia was out of the way, Bin Laden's organisation would turn its attention to the west.

The danger now is that the west's current response to the terrorist threat compounds that original error. So long as the struggle against terrorism is conceived as a war that can be won by military means, it is doomed to fail. The more the west emphasises confrontation, the more it silences moderate voices in the Muslim world who want to speak up for cooperation. Success will only come from isolating the terrorists and denying them support, funds and recruits, which means focusing more on our common ground with the Muslim world than on what divides us.


A trip down memory lane...

The Stupidest Man Alive

It's quite possibly Bruce Tinsley.


Flypaper talk is nothing new but it's a rather offensive thing to say about now:

We will stay on the offense, fighting the terrorists abroad so we do not have to face them at home.

And, as no one other than pesky bloggers seems to point out, this whole "turn Iraq into a terorrist battlezone" plan is rather at odds with the "turn Iraq into a free and stable Democratic society" idea.

But, we will be resolute! Now watch this drive...

While I'm Beating Up on CJR...

Samantha Henning writes:

But if being a reporter has some journalistic standards attached to it, then only those upholding such standards should qualify for the title. (And if those standards don't exist, then, well, we better pack up and find new work.)


Providing fodder for comedy makes you a participant; it doesn't make you a comedian. The same goes for journalism. Just because citizens have a new way of recording and transmitting that fodder hardly means that it's time to call them journalists.

I don't really disagree with the larger thrust of her post, but what are these standards of which she speaks? I know they exist, and I know that some outposts in our media try to adhere to them or at least pretend they do, but, the vast majority of what comprises contemporary journalism doesn't adhere to any recognizable standards or even try to.

If the responsible media wants to elevate and professionalize journalism to a greater extent, I'm all for it. However, if they want to do so they'd be a lot more productive training their guns on the Limbaughs and O'Reilly's and numerous syndicated columnists etc... etc... than on "citizen journalists" or bloggers or whatever. To America, Bill O'Reilly is a journalist. The line between journalism/commentary/opinion/analysis/propagandist/hack was completely blurred by the mainstream media itself long before bloggers came along.

A not so modest proposal for those who consider themselves to be responsible reporters: stop appearing on TV roundtable segments where you're paired with opinion columnists or other people who are allowed to have an explicit agenda. If you think most viewers understand the difference between "reporter for the Washington Post" and "senior editor of the National Review" you're wrong, and if you want them to understand the difference you have to stop allowing yourselves to be placed on equal footing with them.


I'm certainly no fan of the pointless catty Robin Givhan style columns in the Washington Post. On the other hand, they do serve a fairly useful purpose in the age of media celebrity - they occasionally turn the media gun onto media figures in a way which they aren't used to. The press thinks nothing of trashing the personal lives and characteristics of celebrities, which is perfectly fair to the extent that celebrities use their personal lives and image to promote themselves. In the age of media celebrity, it's a rather unfair double standard to assume that members of the media are immune from the kind of pointless scrutiny of their lives which they themselves regularly subject others to. Imagine the squeals if Maureen Dowd's evil twin gave Maureen Dowd the Maureen Dowd treatment twice a week in the pages of a major newspaper - the press would consider it a threat to the Republic itself, arguing that they couldn't possibly do their important jobs if they themselves had to submit to that kind of public humiliation.

So, consider this Steve Lovelady post at CJR, where he somewhat paternalistically complains about Givhan's discussion of Judith Miller's courtroom attire, which was pointless but rather mild, really. Lovelady writes that Cooper wouldn't have gotten similar treatment. There's probably some truth to that, women are always considered to be more "fair game" for this kind of thing. But it isn't entirely true, as, for example, Bolton got the Givahn treatment awhile back:

John Bolton, President Bush's nominee for ambassador to the United Nations, desperately needs a haircut. It does not have to be a $600 Sally Hershberger cut. Bolton simply needs the basics. Tidy the curling, unruly locks at the nape of his neck, tame the volume at the crown, reel in the wings flapping above his ears, and broker a compromise between his sand-colored mop and his snow-colored mustache.

He needs to do this, not because he should be minding the recommendations of men's fashion magazines or grooming experts but because when he settled in before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this week to answer questions about his record, his philosophy and his intentions at the U.N., he looked as though he did not even have enough respect for the proceedings to bother combing his hair -- or, for that matter, straightening his tie, or wearing a shirt that did not put his neck in a chokehold. Bolton was one wrinkled suit away from being an insolent mess.

These are not flaws or imperfections of nature. This is not a cruel attempt to hold an everyday man to the standards of an airbrushed model or a nipped and tucked actor. This is a matter of personal style.

Bolton sat across from his questioners with a thick, dull slab of hair positioned diagonally across his forehead. It is tempting to say that he has a sloppy schoolboy's haircut, but that would malign studious young men and suggest that they are dismissive of propriety and the importance of making a good public impression. Looking back to Bolton's school days at Yale, one notices that he was better groomed in his younger years. In his 1970 class book photo, Bolton essentially has the same haircut, but his locks are not drooping over his forehead as if he'd stepped from the shower and shaken his hair dry in the manner of an Afghan hound. His tie also appears to be straight. Thirty-five years ago, his shirt fit. (Perhaps it is the same shirt?)...[it goes on]

Judith Miller isn't just Judith Miller, Ace Reporter, she's also Judith Miller the media celebrity. When people cultivate celebrity, they also invite the celebrity treatment. Deal with it. I don't remember too many complaints about the obsessive attention paid to Martha Stewart's trial and prison attire.

And, it isn't as if Givahn is going through Miller's trash or doing the extreme paparazzi thing.

The Bed

This post by the Poor Man deserves a rerun.

London Terror

It's fairly obvious, 4 years later, that we as a national collectively crapped our pants and went quite a bit nuts after 9/11. That's certainly understandable, though it's a shame that there are quite a few of us never really recovered. What's rather more annoying is just how desperate our media is for the UK to have the same experience.

This isn't about "London holding up better than America" or anything, the scale and method of attacks in the US as well as the now completely forgotten post-9/11 Anthrax (haven't caught that one, either, by the way) attacks certainly gave us a lot more reason to crap our pants and go a little nuts. It's just rather disgusting that CNN is desperate to tell one story - PANIC! TERROR! FEAR! - which just isn't there.


I do tire of journalists who deliberately misunderstand things so as not to undercut their pre-scripted stories.

Morning Thread


Friday, July 08, 2005

Thread Machine


Pop Quiz

How many members of the scandal-plagued Clinton administration were indicted while in office?

How many members of the scandal-plagued Clinton administration were indicted for actions taken while serving in the administration/

Don't Take Away My Jeebus

I think Amanda is onto something here...

Something to Offend Everyone

Amazing what offends the FRC.

Rehnquist Rumors

Swirling that the announcement is about to come...

so, open thread or Rehnquist retirement thread, depending...

Great Little Racket

Max Blumenthal on the Mann Report.

Not so Serious

Not a single question about Rove, yet again.

How Long Must We Sing This Song

Not so long ago I pointed out how post-9/11 we were promised that the silly season would be over in the news business.

Now we have Miles "We're All Muslims Now" O'Brien repeating the theme, echoed after 9/11, that we're going to get serious and THIS TIME WE MEAN IT DAMNIT.

And, Bob Somerby informs us that Joe Scarborough, who turned his show into the Aruba Hour since that story broke, is lecturing everyone else on how they need to be serious.

...never fear. Breaking news on CNN: Beth Holloway Twitty apologizes to Aruba!

Fox News Gone Wild

Chris Bowers has the full list.

Fresh Thread


Classic Moments on CNN

Just now.

Miles O'Brien: Let's get started with Jeevan Deol who is a witness to the bombings yesterday and also a Muslim scholar in London and happened to be right near where the double decker bus blew up. I want to ask you about what you saw but first I am curious what the reaction within the Muslim community is this day after those attacks.

Jeevan Deol: Well, I'm afraid Miles I'm going to have to correct you I am not a Muslim so I think I'm going to have to pass on that question.

O'Brien: I'm sorry I thought it was said you're a Mus- you're not a Muslim scholar?

Deol: No I work on terrorism and security issues in the University of London.

Quote of the Day (Well, yesterday)

Deep inside Dear Leader's mind:

I was most impressed by the resolve of all the leaders in the room. Their resolve is as strong as my resolve.

More generally, I see yesterday's events have returned us to this administration's unofficial slogan, with "determination" and "resolve" being thrown around the fluffosphere like confetti.

The slogan?

Words speak louder than actions.

"Could It Happen Here?"

Are we so insane that we can actually have a news report about terrorism on CNN, talking to New Yorkers about potential terrorism, which is captioned "Could It Happen Here?"

And, can we please just stop being so stupid. If people want to blow up buses and trains, they're probably going to be able to blow up buses and trains. No security precautions compatible with a busy transit system are likely to stop them all the time. If people are willing to kill themselves while blowing up buses and trains, then they're probably going to succeed no matter what security systems are in place.

Security and intelligence may be able to significant reduce the likelihood of truly catastrophic terrorist attacks on transit, but if someone wants to walk into a subway car with a bomb and then set it off, there's really very little that can be done.

Wankers of the Day

The leading lights of the conservative movement, most of whom are too scared of James Dobson to give an honest answer.

Over/Under on Jobs

Consensus forecast on new jobs is 195K. Like Barry, I'll go with the "under" bet.

...+146K. The Unders win again!

Humping Terrorism

Anyone else notice just how excited it seems to make certain members of our mediocracy?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Washington Post Ridiculous Anonymous Source of the Day

Oy, could it get more pathetic?
Today's Golden Patsy Award goes to Peter Baker:

"We're prepared for every contingency," said a senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because Rehnquist has made no announcement. "If it's multiple candidates, we'll be ready."

The Tube

We should take a moment to pay tribute to the Tube, an imperfect and frequently frustrating public transit system, but one which nonetheless has a certain style to it.

The tube map itself is a thing of beauty - 45 and 90 degree angles only. Frequently departs from the reality of the geography of London, but nonetheless the Tube Geography is somehow almost more real. I don't know about native Londoners, but I tended to think in Tube Space while I was there. The map, aside from minor service changes and expansions, hasn't changed all that much since the original 1931 design.

Cities which primarily rest on their public transit system - New York, London, Paris - are fundamentally different from all other locations. A place can't be "that kind" of city without a massive well-functioning subway system, combined with other modes of transport.

The Tube is hot in the summer (no AC), has frequent service disruptions, and never seems to manage to meet its maintenance timetables. But, warts and all, the Tube is a fundamental part of the fabric and personality of London itself.

Mind the gap.

Edgware Road

When I lived in London I lived about 6-8 minutes from Edgware Road tube station, one of the stations impacted by today's terrorist attack. It wasn't the station I normally used for my commute, but it was probably the closest one to me. The neighborhood is as Garance describes it - heavily Middle Eastern, and the center of wealthy Middle Eastern immigrants in London, the ethnic community having been formed when people were getting rich off high 1970s oil prices and buying London property with their petrodollars. While it's a bit much to try to divine the precise intent of thus unknown terrorists, and I can't say if Garance's analysis is precisely correct, it is true that the choice of subway lines/targets is quite interesting - it did follow a path, roughly, from one center of Muslim London, the poor one, to the other center of Muslim London, the rich one.

...since it isn't clear, I'm not suggesting that the main point, the final sentence, provides evidence that Muslims were a primary target, or that this provides evidence that conventional wisdom about the perps is incorrect. It's just that, as Garance wrote, it's rather odd that they didn't target trains going around the circle line the other way - into Westminster - rather than those heading towards "little Lebanon," or some other line entirely. There are lots of potential explanations for this, including Garance's suggestion that it was to some degree designed to target Western Muslims. I don't have any opinion on that. I just think that this observation - "It certainly isn't the set of targets someone would choose if they were going out of their way to minimize the deaths of London's Muslim population" - is probably correct and somewhat interesting, though not necessarily ultimately significant.

Hell in Aspen

The horror.

(via Corn Muffins)


Be nice.

Hume's First Thought

Only on Fox.

Fresh Thread


Sirota Speak


The idea that, because our troops are in Iraq, terrorists will only attack us there and not "in the streets of our own cities" is, first and foremost, an insult to our troops because it treats them as if their entire mission is to serve as bait for terrorists. That's not what our troops – or America – was told this was all about.

And, Holden gives us Andrew Sullivan's Greatest Hit:

Far more advantageous to fight terror using trained soldiers in Iraq than trying to defend civilians in New York or London.

Hey, Rubes!


Conservative vs. Liberal Approach to Terrorism

The post explains, but the pretty picture near the bottom sums it up nicely.

London Terrorist Attack "Works to our Advantage"

Fox News. Who else?

Shun Novak

Jay Rosen says shun Novak. Of course that should have happened 2 years ago. But why would they start now?

Not only did CNN allow Novak to stay on, they let him continue to "report" on the story until his lawyer told him to shut up about it. And, remember, after "outing" Plame he compounded the sin by outing the CIA front company she officially worked for.

From the October 3, 2003 "Inside Buzz with Robert Novak":

WOODRUFF: Again, these are internal tracking polls in the Schwarzenegger campaign.

All right, moving on to the story you've been very aware of this week, and that is that the administration officials leaked the name a CIA operative to you and perhaps to other journalists.

First of all, you've got some information now about Joe Wilson the former ambassador. The money that he's...

NOVAK: I don't -- I think it's interesting, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) important. But I deal in interesting things a lot. Joe Wilson, the -- everybody knows he has given campaign contributions in 2000 to both Ford -- I mean to both Gore and to Bush. He gave twice as much to Gore, $2,000, $1,000 over the limit. The government -- the campaign had to give him back $1,000. That very day, according to his records, his wife, the CIA employee gave $1,000 to Gore, and she listed herself as an employee of Bruster, Jennings and Associates (ph).

There is there no such firm, I'm convinced. CIA people are not supposed to list themselves with fictitious firms if they're a deep cover. They're supposed to be real firms, or so I'm told. So it adds to the little mystery.

He was "convinced." The administration subsequently admitted that, yes, Brewster-Jennings was a CIA front firm...

"A Reminder That the War on Terror Is Not Over"

So says Pataki.

What Pataki just said is a reminder that we are truly ruled by morons who have so debased our discourse for political purposes and who have no idea how reality actually operates.

More Thread


The Big Story

John Gibson of Fox:

All day long people have been saying to me, "Wasn't it great they didn't pick Paris?" And I've been saying, "No, no, no."

Paris was exactly the right place to pick and the Olympic committee screwed up.

Why? Simple. It would have been a three-week period where we wouldn't have had to worry about terrorism.

First, the French think they are so good at dealing with the Arab world that they would have gone out and paid every terrorist off. And things would have been calm.

Or another way to look at it is the French are already up to their eyeballs in terrorists. The French hide them in miserable slums, out of sight of the rich people in Paris.

So it would have been a treat, actually, to watch the French dealing with the problem of their own homegrown Islamist terrorists living in France already.


But, alas, they picked London. I like the Brits. I like London. I hate to see them going through all this garbage when it would have been just fine in Paris.

C'est la vie. Goes to show the Olympic committee doesn't recognize the perfect opportunity when it presents itself.

That's My Word.

(this was written yesterday, I didn't mean to imply otherwise. It's extraordinarily awful no matter when it was written.)

Times vs. Post


Mr. Cooper's decision to drop his refusal to testify followed discussions on Wednesday morning among lawyers representing Mr. Cooper and Karl Rove, the senior White House political adviser, according to a person who has been officially briefed on the case. Mr. Fitzgerald was also involved in the discussions, the person said.

In his statement in court, Mr. Cooper did not name Mr. Rove as the source about whom he would now testify, but the person who was briefed on the case said that he was referring to Mr. Rove and that Mr. Cooper's decision came after behind-the-scenes maneuvering by his lawyers and others in the case.

Those discussions centered on whether a legal release signed by Mr. Rove last year was meant to apply specifically to Mr. Cooper, who by its terms would be released from any pledge of confidentiality he had made to Mr. Rove, the person said. Mr. Cooper said in court that he had agreed to testify only after he had received an explicit waiver from his source.

Richard A. Sauber, a lawyer for Mr. Cooper, said he would not discuss whether Mr. Cooper was referring to Mr. Rove, nor would he comment on discussions leading up to Mr. Cooper's decision.


One of the government officials Cooper talked to during that period was Karl Rove, Bush's chief political adviser, according to Cooper's notes and Rove's attorney, Robert Luskin. Luskin has said that Rove did not identify Plame to Cooper and did nothing wrong.

In an interview yesterday, he said Rove was not the source who called Cooper yesterday morning and personally waived the confidentiality agreement.

"Karl has not asked anybody to treat him as a confidential source with regard to this story," Luskin said.

New Thread


...awful, if true, though we shouldn't trust early reports too much.

WASHINGTON - At least 40 people have been killed in the explosions in London, a U.S. law enforcement official said Thursday.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because British officials have yet to make public the death toll. U.S. authorities learned of the number from their British counterparts, according to the official.



Two people have been killed and scores have been injured after at least seven blasts on the Underground network and a double-decker bus in London.
UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said it was "reasonably clear" there had been a series of terrorist attacks.


One caller to BBC Five said his friend had seen "the bus ripped open like a can of sardines and bodies everywhere".

Loyita Worley, who works for a City law firm, said she was on the underground train when an explosion took place in the next carriage, while it was in a tunnel.

The 49-year-old said: "All the lights went out and the train came to an immediate halt. There was smoke everywhere and everyone was coughing and choking, but remained calm. We couldn't open the doors."

Once the doors were opened they were taken along to Liverpool Street station.

She said the carriage where an explosion happened was "black on the inside" and she saw people who appeared to have their clothes blown off.

She saw bodies lying inside the carriage.

Open Thread

To infinity thread and beyond!

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Open Thread

Hopefully we\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'re not threading over a cliff.

Catpocalypse Now

The horror.



July 4 (Bloomberg) -- Record oil prices may increase to $80 a barrel this year, options contracts on the New York Mercantile Exchange show. Investors are speculating OPEC won't produce enough oil to compensate for any disruption to supplies.

New York Mercantile Exchange data show 6,900 options contracts outstanding that allow buyers to purchase oil for December delivery at $80 a barrel, compared with an average of 77 contracts in January. The probability that oil will top $75 a barrel when the December crude contract expires is 21 percent, according to Adam Sieminski and Michael Lewis, strategists at Deutsche Bank AG, up from 5 percent at the start of the year.

I think this would be better stated as "participants in the market believe there's a 21 percent chance oil will top $75 a barrel when the December crude contract expires." "prices reflect market expectations that there's a 21% chance oil will top $75 a barrel when the December crude contract expires." But, nonetheless, there's a significant bet on the table that oil's going to go up quite a bit in the next 6 months or so.

Lock Her Up

Philadelpia Daily News journalist Will Bunch on why Judy should be in jail.

Judy Judy Judy

Still proved fucking right!

Miller told the judge that if U.S. troops could risk death in their fight for freedom in Iraq, "surely, I can face prison to defend a free press."

"I have chronicled the dark side of the world, where the law is an arbitrary foil that serves the powerful," she said in court, Washington Post staff writer Carol Leonnig reported. "I also know that the freest and fairest societies are . . . those with a free press . . . publishing information the government does not want to reveal," Miller said.

um, Judy, I'll let your little Iraq comment go for the moment. The issue here is that you were being used by the government to publish information they wanted you to publish (which you didn't, though what else you did with the info we do not know) in order to destroy enemies of the government. That's, uh, not really what "freest and fairest" societies are about.

Buoy Toy

Comedy gold.


Just when I think the right wing get can't get any stupider.

Miller Ordered To Jail Immediately

"Suitable jail in the metro area." Don't know what that means.

Cooper to Testify

This is getting silly.

..NYT says:

Cooper took the podium in the court and told the judge, "Last night I hugged my son good-bye and told him it might be a long time before I see him again."

"I went to bed ready to accept the sanctions" for not testifying, Cooper said. But he told the judge that not long before his early afternoon appearance, he had received "in somewhat dramatic fashion" a direct personal communication from his source freeing him from his commitment to keep the source's identity secret.


Open Thread

Rarely is the question asked: is our children threading?

Pig in Shit

Jerome Doolittle on Ellsberg, Vietnam, and Iraq.

The Trial of the Century

One wonders how the media will treat, if it happens, the criminal trial of Rush Limbaugh.

WEST PALM BEACH — Some of Rush Limbaugh's medical records may be in the hands of prosecutors this week, jump-starting anew the criminal investigation of the conservative talk-show king and ending his 19-month battle to reclaim them.

A judge indicated during a hearing Tuesday that he's nearly done reviewing the seized records. Circuit Judge Thomas Barkdull III asked for evidence bags for the records' transport. "Three of them," he said.
Barkdull said nothing about what portion of Limbaugh's records he would put into evidence.

Limbaugh's lawyers were in court Tuesday fighting to restrict who in the state attorney's office will view them. Attorney Roy Black asked that just a few prosecutors and investigators be allowed access and talked of holding them in contempt if they publicly disclose what they see in the records.

"Not My Business"

I'd like to think that if I were a governor running for re-election I'd find a country club that wasn't an all white club to rent out for fundraising events.

Of course, I'm not Governor Ehrlich.

Wanker of the Day

Septa. Start the damn route 15 trolley now.


skippy leads us to this story about Pataki's son.

With supreme guts and righteousness, President Bush went into Iraq," Gov. Pataki told the Republican National Convention last August. The place erupted with applause. It was all very stirring.

Almost one year later, Pataki's son Teddy is, with supreme guts and righteousness, seeking a three-year law school deferment from the Marines, which last week commissioned the recent Yale grad as a second lieutenant.


During the run-up to the invasion, Pataki was one of Bush's biggest war whores in the Northeast, taking his pro-war stump speech on the road to warn New Yorkers about the imminent threat posed by Saddam Hussein. Since the governor's support for the war has yet to waver, it is more than a little annoying to hear him publicly wishing for his son's deferral.

If the cause in Iraq is even half as important as the governor has led us to believe, then surely his son is more needed in Fallujah than in some Cambridge lecture hall. If, on the other hand, the governor no longer considers the war important enough to justify his son's immediate contribution, then he should speak up as loudly as he did in the winter of 2003. Which is it, George?

While I certainly sympathize with the sentiment in the final paragraph, I'm also confused about precisely which chain of circumstances led him to get a commission in the first place?

...ah, Marine corps ROTC. (tip from Sexneat)

Deferment? What a wanker.

New York Times Ridiculous Anonymous Source of the Day

I think we'll make this a regular feature. Sources granted anonymity so that they can, under cover, push the administration message.

A senior White House official who spoke on condition of anonymity because most staff members are not authorized to speak about the vacancy, said the push against Mr. Gonzales would not influence Mr. Bush's thinking. "He has talked at some considerable length about his view on who he thinks would be qualified to be a Supreme Court justice," the official said. "And he's going to make his decision in a deliberate manner."

The official added, "At the end of the day, the president is going to decide this based on those principles, not from any pressure from the groups."

No Olympics for New York

No surprise, but you never know with these things.

...London wins. Hopefully it provides a catalyst to speed up some much-needed transport improvements in the city.

Open Thread

Hopefully we\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'re not threading over a cliff.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Judy Judy Judy


Fitzgerald may learn more details from Cooper's notes. Sources close to the investigation say there is evidence in some instances that some reporters may have told government officials -- not the other way around -- that Wilson was married to Plame, a CIA employee.

Fuckin' right.


I was struck by this paragraph in this NYT article about Cuba:

The subtler approach is gaining favor. Cuban-Americans have grown more politically aware since the Elián González episode, many say, when their fervor to thwart the Clinton administration and the boy's return to his father in Cuba drew national contempt. Americans who had paid little attention to the policy debate over Cuba tended to support sending Elián home, polls showed, and were put off by images of exiles blocking traffic and flying American flags upside down in protest.

This was certainly true, and known at the time, but was nonetheless almost entirely absent from the 24/7 cable coverage of the situation. Another case where the DC media conspired with a fringe group to interfere with what should have been a family court issue. A position that Al Gore took and for which he was much derided.

On Labor

Digby says what needs to be said, but let me add a few things.

The current model of politics is unlikely to be overturned anytime soon. The netroots may complement it and may supplement it, but they're unlikely to replace it. Unions can do what is necessary - put bodies in position at key moments. When a candidate is running for local or statewide office, it's absolutely vital to get bodies at events. Bodies equal audiences, audiences equal press coverage.

That certainly isn't the only role unions play, but it's one which is hard to duplicate.

The National Plot to Steal Your Uterus

I've been saying this for some time, but there's no solid reason I've ever heard to believe that post-overturning Roe that abortion would become a state issue. Michael Dorf discusses why it wouldn't necesarily be. Whether or not a voting bloc could be maintained to outlaw abortion at the federal level is one question, but it would certainly be a political issue in federal elections.


Apparently Rumsfeld actually has to provide some information to Congress.

Drinking Liberally

Just returned and want to recommend it to all fine people. Locally we're grabbing more and more new people and semi-regulars (and hopefully future regulars) which is great, or find your local chapter here...

Open Thread

Too many threads spoil the soup.

Open Thread

Habit is a cable; we weave a thread of it each day, and at last we cannot break it. --Horace Mann


jesselee hits the nail on the head.

Protesters Not Patriotic

Your liberal media at work.

Deep Thoughts by Rick Santorum


But unlike abortion today, in most states even the slaveholder did not have the unlimited right to kill his slave.

Behind Bars

Well, Fitzgerald says Cooper and Miller have to testify even after Time handed over the notes. This shouldn't be too surprising, and the spin that Time did what they did, in part, to spare Cooper a jail term was always a bit dubious.

Open Thread

How much thread would a threadbot bot if a threadbot could bot thread.


The influence of radical feminism has led to women actually wanting to work outside the home.

Against PP

Harry Shearer updates on the latest political developments in Spain. I'd mentioned the election in Galicia previously, but at the time there was some chance that the expat absentee ballots would flip power back to PP. They didn't, so Zapatero's PSOE party will rule in a coalition with the Galician nationalist party.


Newspaper prints threatening letter to own columnist.

Nothing Really Matters

Surveying the lockstep Supreme Court coverage we see a few themes.

The Senate really just has to do what the president wants, because I say so.

Even if Bush nominates a right wing nutjob, he probably will turn out to not be a right wing nutjob. Don't worry, be happy!

Democrats are not allowed to ask questions about... well, as far as I can tell, anything. All questions of a nominee are inappropriate.

Open Thread

How much thread would a threadbot bot if a threadbot could bot thread.

Open Thread

Better thread than dead.

Monday, July 04, 2005


Don't have the energy to go into all the reasons why, but articles like this make me feel like it just isn't fucking worth bothering.

Wanker of the Day

Armstrong Williams.

Blog Anonymous

I've been thinking about this quite a lot lately, and I have some advice for new bloggers: do it anonymously, at first at least.

There's a distinction between private/public figure which isn't always perfectly clear, but it's something that the internet totally destroys. If you write something on the internet, it's public. A big blog links to it, suddenly you go from 50 hits per day to 5000 in one day. 5 hours later, CNN puts it on their "inside the blogs" segment, and suddenly you've gone national to a non-blog reading audience who are perhaps unaware of conventions of blogging.

I think that until you blog for awhile it's hard to quite get a handle on how much you want to be public versus being private, and how easily blogging and the internet and the media can tear down that wall in a way you never expected.

I'm not saying that everyone should blog anonymously forever, but until you get a better idea of how it fits into your life, I really suggest starting out that way.

Open Thread

No cord or cable can draw so forcibly, or bind so fast, as love can do with a single thread. --Robert Burton

Open Thread

I am the very model of a modern major threadbot.

Bring'em On

Two years later.

Open Thread

Habit is a cable; we weave a thread of it each day, and at last we cannot break it. --Horace Mann


Let's hope the consequences of this aren't what they could be.

You can call the Omaha World Herald and let them know what you think.


Executive Editor Larry King
Managing Editor Deanna Sands

Face Time

Here's a discussion of Europe vs. US work habits/attitudes.

During my summers doing temp office work I was always astounded by the culture of "face time" - the need to be at your desk early and stay late even when there was no work to be done and doing so in no way furthered and company goals. Doing your work and doing it adequately was entirely secondary to looking like you were working hard as demonstrated by your desire to stay at work longer than strictly necessary.

Of course this didn't apply to an hourly worker like me, but for salaried workers it appeared that one could get away with doing absolutely nothing as long as one spent a lot of time doing it.

Don't Know Nothing About...

Geography lessons from Rush Limbaugh.

Open Thread

Quick! To the threadmobile!

Our Only Hope

Baltimore Sun:

THE ARMY can't find enough recruits. Could there be a clearer expression of Americans' disenchantment with the war in Iraq?
This is democracy where it matters. No one should doubt that young Americans would willingly go to war if they believed in it. But this is a war of choice that began with fabrications and has been marked by blunders at the highest level -- blunders that have resulted in many lives lost. Over two years, the aims of this war have shifted like dunes in the desert. President Bush, moreover, has told Americans they need not make any sacrifices; to the contrary, he has pursued tax cuts. This is not inspiring. This is deceptive and dishonorable. Yet the Army expects young idealists to sign up anyway, for hazardous duty in a treacherous country, where the violence shows no signs of letting up and the generals show no signs of knowing what to do about it.

It's no surprise that the idealists are staying away. Certainly, the sons and daughters of the unimpeachably idealistic neoconservatives who prayed for the war and brayed for what they stupidly supposed was victory back in 2003 are staying as far away from it as they possibly can. So now the Army's recruiters, who reached their goal in June for the first time in five months, but still expect to fall short for the year, have another plan.

What they're essentially saying is that the continued survival of the American empire depends critically on the success of Operation Yellow Elephant. Please, Young Republicans, do not let us down. I myself am feeling rather optimistic, because according to the head of the Young Republicans:

Most of our members either serve, have served, or plan to serve in the United States Armed Forces, or have participated in events or projects supporting the United States Armed Forces. We will not be intimidated.

There you go. Most serve, have served, plan to serve, OR HAVE PARTICIPATED IN EVENTS OR PROJECTS, such as Operation Drink a Beer for the Troops, Operation Burn a Dixie Chick CD, or Operation Put a Yellow Ribbon on my SUV, supporting the United States Armed Forces.

Email Mr. Taylor at for more details about how he is serving his country.

Open Thread

Quick! To the threadmobile!

Open Thread

Because NTodd demands it.

Open Thread

To infinity thread and beyond!

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Ad Nags Whores Anonymous

There are reasons for anonymous sources. This is certainly not one of them.

A senior White House official, who insisted on anonymity in discussing the early phases of the nomination, echoed Mr. Sessions and other Republicans on the Judiciary Committee, saying, "There has been a long-term standard that the appropriateness of questioning does not include asking judges to take specific sides or positions regarding cases they may hear one day."

Administration officials pushing the official administration line should never be allowed to maintain anonymity. Why a lowly online magazine publisher needs to point this out is beyond me...

Open Thread

Rarely is the question asked: is our children threading?

Wolfowitz Reloaded

Billmon discovers that Wolfowitz did not actually say what I claimed he said here, though he said something substantially similar. I *did* hunt this one down a lot, trying to distinguish between the original Times paraphrase and the actual quote, and found many sources claiming that he did say exactly what I wrote, but apparently it is not so.

Pink Floyd Blogging Online Magazine Publishing

Roger Ailes informs us that one of the Reverend Moon's minions thinks the greatest album ever made, The Final Cut, was "dismal," and The Division Bell (which was admittedly better than the awful Momentary Lapse of Taste) was "excellent."

Life Goes On

The truth is, it wouldn't surprise me if the right wing radio hosts (see below) come back undeterred from their belief that life in Iraq is much better than the media portrays. As I wrote (holy crap!) 19 months ago, I think for some people it's hard to imagine anything inbetween "normal life" and "crouching under your bed in fear." Even when things are shit, life goes on, and unless a couple of IEDs go off near them, they'll decide Iraq isn't 24/7 Hell On Earth and that it's therefore Peachy.

Open Thread

How much thread would a threadbot thread if a threadbot could bot thread.

Onward to Iraq

Hey, if these people spend more than the time it takes them to get to and from the airport outside of the green zone, then more power to them. However, I expect they're going to visit "Iraq" which is being built on a back lot in Hollywood somewhere.

WASHINGTON — A contingent of conservatives talk radio hosts is headed to Iraq this month on a mission to report "the truth" about the war: American troops are winning, despite headlines to the contrary.

The "Truth Tour" has been pulled together by the conservative Web cast radio group and Move America Forward, a non-profit conservative group backed by a Republican-linked public relations firm in California.

"The reason why we are doing it is we are sick and tired of seeing and hearing headlines by the mainstream media about our defeat in Iraq," Melanie Morgan, a talk radio host (search) for KSFO Radio in San Francisco and co-chair of Move America Forward, said.

Morgan said the media is "imposing a Vietnam template on this war."

"This is not Vietnam," she said. "War is war, and it's dangerous, and the killing is taking place all of the time. At the same time, where there is danger, there is success and there is a mainstream media that is determined to shut out that success."

She said the group is going to Iraq to support American troops, who see a disconnection with what they experience and what's being reported in the United States. She said the incongruence is leading to "morale problems."

Later in the article they claim they're not going to be doing what they deride as "hotel journalism." Good for them if true.

And, assuming they are actually going, they're braver than Peter "fighting age" Beinart.

"This is the most pathetic thing I've heard in a long time. They should be ashamed of themselves," Peter Beinart, editor of left-leaning The New Republic magazine, said.

"They have no idea what journalism is, and to pretend they are journalists is laughable," Beinart said. "You do not achieve victory by not facing reality. I think these are the kinds of people that will lead us to lose there."

Open Thread

Because NTodd demands it.

WiFi Wars

This is creative.

Open Thread

Because there is never enough thread.

Remembering the Wolfowitz

When historians look back at this time period they'll wonder how on Earth we let ourselves get into this war when one of its chief architects said this:

There is no history of ethnic strife in Iraq.


[[[post update, correction, here]]

More Rove

O'Donnell gently suggests that Rove's lawyer is pretty much a liar, something the WaPo water carriers couldn't be bothered to figure out.

A Little More Skepticism Please

It's quite possible that Rove's lawyer is telling the truth, but it's also quite possible that he's lying. More importantly, he couldn't say anything else - if he knows his client was lying to the grand jury then he can't sit on that. The tone of this WaPo story makes it sound as if the definitive truth.

Karl Rove, President Bush's chief political adviser, spoke with Time magazine's Matthew Cooper during a critical week in July 2003 when Cooper was reporting on a public critic of the Bush administration who was also the husband of a CIA operative, his lawyer confirmed yesterday.

Rove is identified in Cooper's notes from that time period, which Time turned over Friday to special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald -- under court order. Fitzgerald is investigating whether senior administration officials leaked CIA operative Valerie Plame's name to reporters in July 2003 as retaliation after her husband, former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV, publicly accused the Bush administration of twisting intelligence to justify a war with Iraq.

Rove's lawyer said Rove never identified Plame to Cooper in those conversations. More significantly, Robert Luskin said, Fitzgerald assured him in October and again last week that Rove is not a target of his investigation.

This *may* be true, but the journalist needs throw in a layer of skepticism. I understand that there's no "other side" here, as Fitzgerald isn't talking, but it's a bit ridiculous to write a story like this without providing, somehow, a bit more balance. Just a water carrying story.

As for the Queen of All Iraq, I do think Swopa is on to something regarding her role in all this. Perhaps Cooper's notes won't say "Rove told me that Wilson's wife is a CIA operative." Instead, they'll say "Rove told me to talk to Judith Miller."

Still Here

It's nice to know that the Live 8 crowd didn't burn down the city after the show.

But, yeah, man the TV coverage set a new low for covering a live event.

Open Thread

Because there is never enough thread.

Open Thread


Open Thread

Because there is never enough thread.