Saturday, August 27, 2005

Open Thread

Hopefully we are not threading over a cliff.

Open Thread

He draweth out the thread of his verbosity finer than the staple of his argument. -- Billy Shakes

Not For Our Kind of People


Gov. Mitt Romney, who has comforted the grieving loved ones of soldiers killed in Iraq and promoted National Guard recruitment, yesterday said he has not urged his own sons to enlist - and isn't sure whether they would.
The Herald posed the question as Romney - a potential 2008 White House contender and backer of President Bush's Iraq policy -was honored by the Massachusetts National Guard after he signed a bill extending pay for state workers on active duty.
``No, I have not urged my own children to enlist.I don't know the status of my childrens' potentially enlisting in the Guard and Reserve,`` Romney said, his voice tinged with anger.

And, no, I don't think Romney's kids are obligated to do anything because of what their dad does, but he was angered by the question? Sensitive people, these chickenhawks.

(thanks to dave)


Today Bush called for sacrifice. But his supporters won't sacrifice anything.

favorite bit:

One thing you're missing the point on... there are some people..and you need to be more sensitive to it... there are some people here tonight that would like to serve our country, and would like to do it. But, for one reason or another they're unable to. You need to realize there are people out there who would do that, people right in this room. But they can't do it... you're not being sensitive to those people who do not have the opportunity to do that for one reason or another.


Pajamas Media is Dead

Long live whatever the hell it becomes.

Open Thread

Because threads have feelings too.

More on the Bell Curve

From LG&M.

"More Sacrifice"

By whom?

"Our efforts in Iraq and the broader Middle East will require more time, more sacrifice and continued resolve," he said.


Wanker of the Day

Andrew Sullivan:

One of my proudest moments in journalism was publishing an expanded extract of a chapter from "The Bell Curve" in the New Republic before anyone else dared touch it.

No one else?

When the New Republic devoted almost an entire issue (10/31/94) to a debate ...

The Bell Curve was accorded attention totally disproportionate to the merits of the book or the novelty of its thesis. The book and its dubious claims set the agenda for discussions on such public affairs programs as Nightline (10/21/94), the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour (10/28/94), the McLaughlin Group (10/21/94), Charlie Rose (11/3/94, 11/4/94), Think Tank (10/14/94), PrimeTime Live (10/27/94) and All Things Considered (10/28/94).

In addition to the above-mentioned New Republic issue, the "controversy" made the covers of Newsweek (10/24/94) and the New York Times Magazine (10/9/94), took up nearly a full op-ed page in the Wall Street Journal (10/10/94), and garnered a near-rave review from the New York Times Book Review (10/16/94; Extra! Update, 12/94).

Courageous courageous Andy. Covering a racist polemic when everyone else was covering it too.

(thanks to reader j)


The network formerly known as "Nice Polite Republicans" shall be called "Noxious Pudgy Republicans," after having Jonah Goldberg on to replace Daniel Schorr.

(thanks to pseudonymous in nc)

Stay Safe, NOLA

Let's hope Katrina isn't the New Orleans killer...


The Bell Curve always brings lots of people out who defend aspects of the book, though they're alwas quite weird. They sort of going round and round in circles without ever being clear on which "parts" of the book are worthy of defense, or what of interest we actually learn from those parts.

The only truly "uncontroversial" part of the book which was roughly correct and roughly meaningful was the shocking result that people who do well on tests designed to measure how capable you are tend to be capable people and do well in life. I'm shocked, just shocked.

The other sort of "uncontroversial" parts are, as Brad DeLong explains, utterly meaningless and don't support their conclusions.

All of that, of course, was just laying the "intellectual foundation" for the "controversial" parts. Which, as digby described awhile back. Part 1:

It’s true that the authors argued with wide eyed innocence that the book merely said that there are individual and group differences in intelligence and that these differences seriously influence the organization of work in modern industrial societies and that unfortunately they are pretty darned immutable, but golly gosh kerwillikers, that doesn't mean we all can't get along.

Nothing wrong with that, right? It’s just a little reminder that each individual should be judged on their own merits, and that's a good thing.

Unfortunately, the book also said some pretty strange things, even if you accept that IQ is the best indicator of future success and that IQ is immutable, which Herrnstein and Murray do, and even if you use their thoroughly discredited logistic regression analysis that assumes no IQ socioeconomic status interaction (when in fact, IQ and SES are highly intercorrelated) concluding that low IQ causes poverty. In other words, even if you take their completely flawed and discredited analysis at face value, when you get into the book (written btw for the lay reader -- no peer review) it isn't hard to see the real agenda.

In spite of all their studied concern about the “cognitive elite” and the danger to our society of all the smart people conspiring to keep out the odd and unusual smart poor person, we find that what they are really worried about is a supposed downward pressure on the distribution of IQ in the United States, which they call “dysgenic” pressure. They believe that blacks are experiencing much more severe dysgenic pressures than whites and speculate that part of the problem may be differences in reproductive strategies among the races. They blithely mention in passing a theory that blacks have the largest genitals and the highest frequency of sexual intercourse among the three major races but reserve judgment on whether that is relevant, saying that only time will tell.

(Who can really say what effects those huge black dicks have on those lil’ chocolate gals? It’s possible that once they set eyes one of those monsters they just can’t control themselves and those inferior genes just keep on gittin passed down. Better keep them large genitals away from the white wimmin!)

They also conclude that Latino immigration is putting downward pressure on the distribution of American national intelligence. They conclude, "Putting the pieces together--higher fertility and a faster generational cycle among the less intelligent and an immigrant population that is probably somewhat below the native-born average--the case is strong that something worth worrying about is happening to the cognitive capital of the country"

Oh lordy. Those wetbacks are bringing us down.

The authors believe that low birth weight and high infant mortality are probably caused by "prenatal negligence" on the part of stupid poor women rather than inadequate availability of medical care. They also trot out some unpublished research the relation between crime and low IQ, and between civility and high IQ. (I guess this shows which side of the bell curve the average dittohead falls on.)

They argue that America's “current fertility policy” subsidizes births among stupid poor women (most of whom happen to be black and latino) and, therefore, for the good of the country, welfare should be eliminated and policies should be put in place to lower the birth rate amongst these groups.

They also believe that our immigration policy is a danger to society because it assumes an indifference to the individual characteristics of immigrant groups.

But, they believe fervently in individualism. They say it over and over again. Once you deal with the birth rate of the oversexed blacks and close the borders to the dumb Mexicans that is.

And BTW: neither author ever conducted or published any research in scientific journals (which are subject to peer review) on the genetic basis of IQ and poverty in his entire career.

and part 2:

One can surely spend a lot of time refuting this nasty book in scientific terms --- it's as a rich target for scholarly ridicule as you can think of -- but common sense will tell you what the book is really all about just by reading the acknowledgements in which the authors declare they benefited especially from Richard Lynn's work and advice, a professor of psychology at the University of Ulster whom they describe as "a leading scholar of racial and ethnic differences."

The esteemed professor Lynn, who helped the authors so much, has been quoted as saying, "What is called for here is not genocide, the killing off of the population of incompetent cultures. But we do need to think realistically in terms of the 'phasing out' of such peoples.... Evolutionary progress means the extinction of the less competent."

Now, one could overlook that and assume perhaps that the authors were merely using his "work" for their(seriously flawed) statistical analysis, but since the book comes to much the same conclusions, albeit in more politically correct terms, it's clear that they were kindred spirits.

I can't speak for other liberals, but when a book uncritically uses the work of someone who advocates the "phasing out" of certain races and then goes on to use a completely flawed statistical model (that fails to take into account socioeconomic status) to prove that certain races have lower IQ's due to their genetics, then I don't think it's unfair to say that it is a political work and not a scientific one.

It's not the liberals who were being "unfair" or "afraid" by rejecting the book out of hand, it was those who pretended that Murray and Herrnstein weren't cynically using the language of science (by treating g theory as "mystical," for instance)to "prove" to their lay readers that blacks and Mexicans were "problems" (and that those problems are immutable because of their race), so no matter what the government or others try to do, they are going to remain a problem unless we get them to stop breeding and immigrating. That is what the book concludes whether anybody wants to admit it or not.

I for one don't think it is "unfair" to reject that kind of racist garbage out of hand but neither am I afraid to discuss racial differences in IQ. But, here in the United States, particularly as it pertains to African-Americans and Mexican-Americans, a genetic definition of "race" is a useless and phony construct. Murray and his ilk apparently don't care to admit that the "blood" of both of these races has been mixed with European "blood" for so many centuries that it is virtually indistinguishable from his own. Whatever differences exist between the races in this country cannot be explained by genetics alone, a fact which The Bell Curve ignores with its dishonest analysis.

As with "Creationism," Steven J. Gould and others were obligated to refute the shoddy science on which the book is based and they demolished it. But, since the book is obviously a racist political document, I find it a bit absurd that in order to be "fair" liberals in general have to argue the underlying scientific conclusions when the political agenda is right up front and clear for all to see.

It is both a work of astonishing scientific dishonesty AND a racist tract. One needn't refute it's scientific conclusions to point out its political intent.

Operation Yellow Elephant: Campus Edition

All fine patriotic college students should get involved in this noble effort.

Plan B

Amanda's right. The only reason to oppose Plan B contraception is to control women's sexuality by making sure that as much as possible for other people sex has "consequences."

Sick bastards.

Open Thread

Because threads have feelings too.

Open Thread

Rarely is the question asked: is our children threading?

Friday, August 26, 2005

Open Thread

Words from the thread on which we string our experiences. --Aldous Huxley

Open Thread

Hopefully we are not threading over a cliff.

Friday Fun


Friday Cat Blogging

The stray duo are back:

And here are the lazy privileged cats:


Arthur tells us about one of the Right's favorite little rhetorical tricks. You see, calling them out on their misogyny, racism, and homophobia is just showing "intolerance." Whatever.

As for Sullivan and the Bell Curve, it is fully clear that he lacks the ability to comprehend any serious critique of the "science" of the book. But, more importantly, anyone who reads that book and doesn't see it for what it clearly is - racism dressed up in a pretty wrapper of pseudoscience - needs to have their detectors adjusted.

Fresh Thread


Pony Trifecta

Another pony for Holden:

A new Gallup Poll reflects further erosion in President George W. Bush's job approval rating, continuing the slow but steady decline evident throughout the year so far. The poll -- conducted Aug. 22-25 -- puts Bush's job approval rating at 40% and his disapproval rating at 56%. Both are the most negative ratings of the Bush administration. Bush's previous low point in approval was 44% (July 25-28, 2005) and his previous high point in disapproval was 53% (June 24-26, 2005).

(thanks to hesiod)

"The Book Held Up"

As I always ask about Bell Curve proponents - bigots, fools, or both? If Andrew Sullivan truly believes that the Bell Curve "held up" as he claims, then he is a fool who is certainly not qualified to offer informed commentary on any issues of science or social science. He never responds to actual critiques of the book, but simply continues to simply stamp his feet and proudly proclaim his embrace of that racist tract and its authors, while declaring critics of their racist promotion industry as "intolerant." What can one conclude?

The Media You Have

Some people wonder why Somerby travels down memory lane so frequently. It's important work. The press we have now is the press that thought Clinton was "moral scum" for getting a blowjob and seem relatively unconcerned about being dragged into war on a lies. The complete lack of perspective by the guardians of our national discourse is made even more nauseating by their clear belief that it's all just an unimportant game. The almost sociopathic lack of empathy present in our media elite is truly frightening.

The Malkin Award

Apparently silly Sullivan needs to give one to himself.


Loftus's little Fox News "mistake" reminded me of a couple of old stories. He's a strange one.

Fun Loftus moment #1 (warning, freeper link but just for the transcript at the top)

Fun Loftus moment #2.

Fafblog Interviews the Democrats

Amazing access.

Dukester Going Down


Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham "demanded and received" a bribe from a Pentagon contractor who paid far above market value for the congressman's Del Mar-area home in 2003, according to court documents filed yesterday by federal prosecutors.

Without citing details, prosecutors said in the documents that Cunningham sold the house in return for his influence in Congress, where he serves on the House subcommittee that oversees Pentagon spending,

The allegation is the most specific and damaging that has been made public since a federal investigation was launched into the powerful Rancho Santa Fe Republican's dealings with defense contractors.

(thanks to reader h)

Gitmo America

The Rude Pundit.

Wankers of the Day

Southern Illinois University Daily Egyptian.

I'd like to know more about this story...

Domino Theory

Christ, are beltway pundits this stupid? Forget Vietnam, I'm old enough to remember Domino theory discussion about Latin America. It drove the Reagan administration's entire foreign policy. Uh, Nicaragua anyone?

...memories. 1983 Washington Post:

Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger yesterday referred to the stakes in El Salvador's civil war in terms of global competition between the United States and Soviet Union, saying a communist victory in El Salvador could pressure the United States to pull out of Europe and Asia to defend its southern borders.

Weinberger, interviewed on "Face the Nation" (CBS, WDVM), also said that "there is no question" that with additional U.S. military aid, the Salvadoran army "can prevail" over the Marxist guerrillas.

If that happens, "we'll all be a lot safer than having another communist foothold such as Cuba right on the mainland," he added.

The defense secretary's comments came on the heels of President Reagan's request to Congress last week for an additional $110 million in military aid for El Salvador on the grounds that the conflict threatens U.S. national security.

Speaking yesterday on "Meet the Press" (NBC, WRC), Colorado Sen. Gary Hart, an announced candidate for the 1984 Democratic presidential nomination, said he would oppose further aid to El Salvador unless strict conditions are attached to it because it is not possible to "achieve democracy out of the barrel of guns."

Reagan's view that the Salvadoran conflict threatens the United States was endorsed by Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John G. Tower (R-Tex.). On "This Week with David Brinkley" (ABC, WJLA), Tower said, "I think the domino theory could very well work in Central America. After all, it worked in Indochina."

Weinberger suggested several times yesterday that the Salvadoran civil war poses a threat to the United States' southern borders. "The simple fact is the El Salvadorans have chosen a government, and it is certainly very much against our interests to allow that freely choosen government to be subverted and turned into another very repressive regime that would be then much more in a position to make that kind of communist gain further north up toward Mexico and toward our own borders," he said.

"Their purpose is, as we see it," he said, "to attack the United States in . . . this incremental way, from the south, knowing that as they got closer that would mean that we would have to--or would at least have strong pressures formed--to pull ourselves out of Europe, and out of Japan and Korea, and establish some sort of a Fortress America concept, which would serve the Soviet purposes very well globally."

Even as he cast the threat in such terms, however, Weinberger ruled out more direct U.S. participation in the Salvadoran conflict. "What is essential is to solve this matter at the lowest possible level of participation and conflict by the United States," he said.

He said it is "vital" that Salvadoran troops be resupplied by the United States to match supplies received by guerrilla forces "every night" from Nicaragua, Cuba and the Soviet Union.

Weinberger said U.S. military aid to El Salvador will end when "the democratic effort that is going on in El Salvador is allowed to continue unimpeded and unhampered by adverse, communist-sponsored military activity. Now, I can't give you the hour or the day that's going to happen . . . . " But, he said, the administration "is trying to bring that day closer."

Ah, Eugenicists

I guess old racists never die. The BBC is reporting on shocking new "men smarter than women research" by one Richard Lynn.

Who's Lynn? FAIR gives us a sampling:

What is called for here is not genocide, the killing off of the population of incompetent cultures. But we do need to think realistically in terms of the 'phasing out' of such peoples.... Evolutionary progress means the extinction of the less competent. To think otherwise is mere sentimentality.


Who can doubt that the Caucasoids and the Mongoloids are the only two races that have made any significant contributions to civilization?

Open Thread

He draweth out the thread of his verbosity finer than the staple of his argument. -- Billy Shakes

Open Thread

Better thread than dead.

Walter Reed

Michael Penn Tune (audio .mp3)

Late Night

Snitchens is such an idiot.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Digby Speak

You listen.

Pour yourself a drink first.

Tivo Fun

Yes, like all Tivo owners I get annoying with this stuff. But, the great thing about the new two way video transfers is that it lets everyone hook up a huge external drive and essentially remove any capacity limits from your Tivo. No more need to hack the Tivo box to "put in" a bigger drive if so desired.

And, yes, no one should ever watch TV because it's all bad.

And, yes, for more money and a lot of time I could build a noisy unsightly box which would be four million times better.

And, yes, Replay could do all this back in like 1648.

The Other

I guess we're at the point in the news media that literally every person who is making news, at least someone who is nominally "on the left," must be balanced be an equal and opposite figure, even if that person has to be manufactured by the media itself. David E. has some fun with the loathsome Kurtz, who actually said:

KURTZ: But you also need journalists who are going to give that kind of attention to somebody from the other side.

MILBANK: I think we will see when we see it.

KURTZ: All right.

It isn't clear what "the other side" is here, but goddamnit we will find that person. Luckily, that person won't actually have to bother going and sitting in the sun in Texas for weeks, just by virtue of Sheehan's existence that person, whoever it may be, will be given equal time, no matter how unequal they are.

The story is about a mother who lost a son in Iraq and went to Crawford to try to get the president, who keeps telling her that her son died for a noble cause, to tell her what that cause is. What's the other side of that? People who don't want to know why we're in Iraq?

Last Throes


To the north, eight of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's bodyguards have been killed in an attack south of Kirkuk on a convoy of cars owned by Talabani.

Police said gunmen attacked a convoy of cars owned by the president, but Talabani wasn't in any of the vehicles. Investigators said 15 bodyguards were wounded. The cars were returning to Baghdad from Kurdistan.

Open Thread

He draweth out the thread of his verbosity finer than the staple of his argument. -- Billy Shakes

Only on Fox

You've got to be kidding.


Hard to know exactly what's going on here. On one hand they've postponed the vote on the constitution, but on the other hand we've got some people saying they don't need to actually vote on the constitution because they already approved it on Monday even though it wasn't complete.

I don't know if that bit of Calvinball is there to just try to sneak the document through (sounds like rather a bad idea) or to prevent the assembly from being dissolved, which seems to be what's required by law (not especially nice, but perhaps the practical approach is better than meeting arbitrary deadlines even if they do happen to be the law).

Time for their Naps


Rachel in the Mornings

For those of us who are, uh, not awake at 5AM, Rachel Maddow's shows are downloadable...

Blankley's World

This bit of contortionism by Tony Blankley was quite hilarious.

Walter Reed

Um, I don't know much about this stuff but I really can't imagine why they'd want to close Walter Reed Hospital...

Santorum Makes the Baby Jesus Cry

Wow, what a liar. All this "lying and killing for Jesus" stuff must be the new Christianity. Or the new old Christianity anyway.

Republican U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum's office acknowledged yesterday that it cannot locate public statements of the senator questioning the Iraq war, despite the senator's claim last week that he has publicly expressed his concerns.

But Santorum said that doesn't mean he hasn't made the comments.

In an interview last week, he said he had publicly and privately raised questions about efforts to contain the insurgency and to limit Baathist involvement in the new Iraqi government. He made his remarks in response to a charge by his leading Democratic challenger, Robert P. Casey Jr., that Santorum has failed to "ask the tough questions" about Iraq.

Robert L. Traynham, Santorum's spokesman, said a search of Nexis, a news database, and the office's press clippings had not turned up any account of those comments. He noted, however, that the office's records are incomplete because the office is unable to record everything the senator says.

"I do a lot of interviews on TV, on radio, with print reporters who don't happen to write everything I say," Santorum said yesterday. "The fact that it hasn't turned up in print doesn't mean I haven't said it."


I'm not quite sure if anyone else has made this point this before, but in any case it's surely correct. The Shinseki recommendation that we needed more troops to do the job in Iraq, the idea seized on by the liberal "if they only did my pet invasion right!" hawks and certain presidential candiates whose names began with the letter K and were two syllables long, could not have actually been a serious recommendation for how to do the war right. It was, as Yglesias points out, just a way of making the point that the war plan just was not feasible given current troop strength.

He wasn't ousted because he told them their war would cost a bit more, he was ousted because he told them it was impossible absent a draft.

Save CNN

Please. Somebody.


Taking "two sides" and giving them equal weight is not "being objective," especially since the Flying Spaghetti Monster was not given equal time. The Right has spent 30 years building the ultimate shit-flinging machine, and the press happily obliges it by giving a "fair hearing" to anything they come up with.



Epidemic? Maybe if we all get our shots we could cut down on the number of missing white women.

Eschacon, The Schedule

Here it is.

uh, 10AM?

Tivo Takes Over the World

New Tivo update lets you stream video (mpeg-2) files from your computer to your Tivo/TV. Works fine over a wireless connection.

Note to Pundits

There are certainly a large number of stories about homeland security measures impacting peoples' lives in ridiculous and even horrendous fashions. I suggest finding some of them, instead of talking about how the tranquility of your island vacation was disturbed.

Open Thread

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

Open Thread

Words from the thread on which we string our experiences. --Aldous Huxley

Soylent Green is Anti-Sheehan Protesters

And apparently they've all been eaten.

(via C&L)

Pop Quiz

What's being burned?

Open Thread

Words form the thread on which we string our experiences. --Aldous Huxley

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Luskin on Oil

(thanks to reader q)

Late Night


Just Kill Me


At the end of a long and mostly innocuous article in the New Yorker about the ups and downs of NBC's Today show, Ken Auletta relates a "late lunch" he had with Katie Couric. Couric was "worried" that hard news didn't appeal to viewers. During a brief chicken-and-egg discussion between Auletta and Couric ("are we giving people what they want?" "Or are people watching what we give them?"). Couric then forthrightly declared, "I always felt it was our responsibility as journalists to explore issues and talk about subjects and have serious stories that people need to know about to be informed citizens." Admirably put, I thought. Then Couric recounted a story of which she was especially "proud," a "terrific story" that was "honest and very well produced."

In this year of endless blood flowing in Iraq, of Rovegate, of the ongoing venality of an administration with almost no constraint on its dishonesty, what was the story in question? You guessed it – Couric's exclusive interview with Jennifer Wilbanks, aka, the "runaway bride."


Popular Presidents

Cenk points out that Clinton's approval rating on the day of impeachment was precisely twice that which George Bush received in the recent Harris ARG poll.

I remember at the time how the press, weeping and moaning that the public just didn't understand how evil Bill Clinton was, kept harping on the fact that his favorability rating was much lower. And, indeed, it was lower than his job approval rating. At the height of impeachment, Clinton had favorability ratings in the 50s still higher than Bush's.

But, people like Bush and didn't like Clinton. Must Not Stop Repeating That.

American Legion Flashback


Read this, too.

Wanker of the Day

Ernest T. Bass, Esq.

Flippity Floppity

Liar liar.

"Any Means Necessary"

Getting a wee bit scary.

NEW YORK The American Legion, which has 2.7 million members, has declared war on antiwar protestors, and the media could be next. Speaking at its national convention in Honolulu, the group's national commander called for an end to all “public protests” and “media events” against the war, constitutional protections be damned.

"The American Legion will stand against anyone and any group that would demoralize our troops, or worse, endanger their lives by encouraging terrorists to continue their cowardly attacks against freedom-loving peoples," Thomas Cadmus, national commander, told delegates at the group's national convention in Honolulu.

The delegates vowed to use whatever means necessary to "ensure the united backing of the American people to support our troops and the global war on terrorism."

The Press and Clinton

Somerby takes a look at Harris's take. Summary:

In our view, this explanation is so bad that it achieves instant hall-of-fame status. Remember, according to Harris, Clinton was savaged by a string of “scandals” which all turned out to be more more-or-less bunk. Beyond that, Clinton was being tormented by trivial stories about his clothes, his friendships and his haircuts—stories which also turned out to be wrong in important instances. Meanwhile, a gang of crackpots were spreading vile stories fueled by a “lurid strain of hatred”—and the press corps failed to confront or challenge them. And why was all this going on? Because Clinton wasn’t cool, like JFK—and because the press had been soured by Vietnam, which happened twenty years before! Alas! As often happens when the press corps pretends to explain its own odd behavior, we receive an utterly strange explanation. The press corps felt disdain for Clinton because of lame jokes that he told!

Iraq's Future

Looking bright.

Sicker and Sicker

So why aren't the twins there?

Liar Liar Pants on Fire

How many commandments will Radical Cleric Robertson violate this week?

Until the Rapture Comes

I don't know if there's anything that can nullify the agreement - such as if Pat Robertson starts raping goats on the air - but ABC bought into a deal which requires them to run the 700 Club free as long as Robertson wishes. They can't easily jettison him.

Open Thread

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

"Why Are There Still Monkeys?"

And, more importantly, why are people dumber than monkeys allowed discuss evolution on CNN?

Bye Bye Divorce

And if you disagree you hate Christians.

Actually, I quite like it when people go after divorce under the banner of Christianity. There's certainly a lot more basis for that in the Bible than going after gay people or abortion.

Shorter Eugene Volokh

Homos are disease-spreading vermin.

What People Care About

When something like this happens:

WASHINGTON, Aug. 23 - The Bush administration is replacing the director of a small but critical branch of the Justice Department, months after he complained that senior political officials at the department were seeking to play down newly compiled data on the aggressive police treatment of black and Hispanic drivers.

The demotion of the official, Lawrence A. Greenfeld, whom President Bush named in 2001 to lead the Bureau of Justice Statistics, caps more than three years of simmering tensions over charges of political interference at the agency. And it has stirred anger and tumult among many Justice Department statisticians, who say their independence in analyzing important law enforcement data has been compromised.

Officials at the White House and the Justice Department said no political pressure had been exerted over the statistics branch. But they declined to discuss the job status of Mr. Greenfeld, who told his staff several weeks ago that he had been asked to move on after 23 years of generally high marks as a statistician and supervisor at the agency. Mr. Greenfeld, who was initially threatened with dismissal and the possible loss of some pension benefits, is expected to leave the agency soon for a lesser position at another agency.

what isn't really answered is, why? What possible reason would the Bush administration have for wanting to downplay this kind of thing? What motivates them to want to cover up this information? The data isn't about anything the administration has direct control over - like the FBI - it's just evidence of disparate treatment by police officers.

The things they care about...

Outta Here

Woman who once said Bush was her "liberator" decides to get the hell out of Iraq.

Another Pony for Holden


ROCHESTER, N.Y., Aug. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- President Bush's job approval
ratings are at their lowest point of his presidency as only 40 percent of U.S.
adults have a favorable opinion of his job performance, while 58 percent have
a negative opinion. This is a decline from just two months ago in June when
the president's ratings were 45 percent positive and 55 percent negative. Much
of this decline can be tied to the public's opinion on important issues. The
war has climbed to the top of the most important issues list and the economy
is now the second most important issue.
These are some of the results of a new Harris Poll of 1,217 U.S. adults
surveyed by telephone by Harris Interactive(R) between August 9 and 16, 2005.


In looking at the ratings of individual leaders in Congress, they hold
pretty steady from June. Both Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House
Majority Leader Tom DeLay have positive ratings of 28 percent, but more than
half of adults (54%) give a negative rating to DeLay as compared to the 49
percent negative rating for Frist. The Speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert,
has a 26 percent positive rating and 46 percent negative rating, and Senate
Minority Leader Harry Reid is at 24 percent positive and 47 percent negative.

Open Thread

I am the very model of a modern major threadbot.

Open Thread

Rarely is the question asked: is our children threading?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Radical Clerics

NBC started their Robertson piece with "This was no extremist cleric issuing a death threat. This was Christian Minister Pat Robertson..."

Watch the clip here.

So, it's a non-extremist cleric issuing a death threat. What do the extremist Christian clerics do?

Dead Wrong

CNN reports on actual news and people watch.


Open Thread

Four score and seven threads ago.

An American Patriot


Bill Moyer, 73, wears a "Bullshit Protector" flap over his ear while President George W. Bush addresses the Veterans of Foreign Wars. (AP Photo/Douglas C. Pizac)

(thanks to reader A)

The American Taliban

Coming soon to a government near you.

The Filter

This lends support to the notion that they just tell junior what he wants to hear:

Q Does the administration's goal -- I'll ask you about the Iraqi constitution. You said you're confident that it will honor the rights of women.


Q If it's rooted in Islam, as it seems it will be, is that still -- is there still the possibility of honoring the rights of women?

THE PRESIDENT: I talked to Condi, and there is not -- as I understand it, the way the constitution is written is that women have got rights, inherent rights recognized in the constitution, and that the constitution talks about not "the religion," but "a religion." Twenty-five percent of the assembly is going to be women, which is a -- is embedded in the constitution.

Condi said so! Nyah!


We've waited a long time for this, but finally the time has arrived. Ann Coulter brings hating New York back into the mainstream, and not a moment too soon. I was getting tired of having the rest of the country pretend they gave a shit.

The hate America Right, proudly on display...

Anti-War Extremists

It appears that Norah O'Donnell and her husband are prime candidates for Operation Yellow Elephant. O'Donnell says people who oppose the war, and those at Camp Casey, are "extremists."
What a lovely couple. Prime fighting age, too. Just barely over thirty.

Trouble in Wingnuttia

Senators criticize Robertson:

Aug. 23 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. Senators Norm Coleman, Republican of Minnesota and Mel Martinez, Republican of Florida, said a call by U.S. televangelist Pat Robertson for the U.S. government to assassinate Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was ``irresponsible'' and ``incredibly stupid.''

The senators, visiting Brazil to meet with government and business leaders, spoke with reporters today in Rio de Janeiro.

``It was an incredibly stupid statement and has no reflection on reality,'' said Coleman, the chairman of the Senate's Foreign Relations subcommittee on the western hemisphere. ``I met with President Chavez on my last visit a couple of months ago and he related that concern to me, about how the U.S. was out to assassinate him. I told him not to lose any sleep about it.''

No Criticism Allowed

Sounds like it's time for another damn blogger ethics panel.

On Volokh

Arthur has a view words.

Open Thread

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

Radical Cleric Robertson

The amazing thing about what Robertson said isn't that he suggested assassinating a head of state would be a good idea. It's what the alleged infraction by this head of state which makes him deserving of execution is. Robertson isn't accusing him of being a tyrant, or of killing his own people, or of violations of human rights (the rights of Christian people in Pat's world), or genocide, or anything else which might normally inspire people to condemn a foreign leader to death. Nope, here is, to Pat Robertson, the capital crime of Hugo Chavez:

You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. And I don't think any oil shipments will stop. But this man is a terrific danger and the United ... This is in our sphere of influence, so we can't let this happen. We have the Monroe Doctrine, we have other doctrines that we have announced. And without question, this is a dangerous enemy to our south, controlling a huge pool of oil, that could hurt us very badly. We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.

He's got oil, and if he won't give it to us we'll just have to kill him.

Refreshing honesty, in a way.

Shorter Eugene Volokh

Why do all these homosexuals keep sucking my cock?

...I've unearthed the first draft of Volokh's post here.

Casey's Kids

Just when you think...

Open Thread

Too many threads spoil the soup.

Open Thread

I am the very model of a modern major threadbot.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Thanks for the Credit

An interesting thing about working with Media Matters is seeing when media outlets do and don't credit our stuff. I'm actually fairly sympathetic to when things aren't properly credited - on TV, especially, there isn't really time - but frequently it's fairly clear that our stuff gets used in venues when it should be, such as this AP story on radical cleric Robertson.

I've never been annoyed when stuff is ripped off from the blog, but MMFA has done all the things it needs to do to "get respect," so to speak.

Wanker of the Day

Clusterfuck Ledeen.

More From the Hate America Crowd

Sad, sad, people.

Fresh Thread


Smarter Economists Please

Max has a bit of fun with everyone's favorite freakeconomist regarding peak oil. This kind of stuff I don't really get. A bit of half-assed econ-101 level graphic analysis combined with a wee bit of common sense (adjustment to equilibrium is not instantaneous, once you hit capacity temporary local supply disruptions are to be expected, price shocks can be tremendous and, well, shocking at least over a not very short short run, etc... )can get you a long way to understanding what the issues. In fact, I think I did something along those lines, which is roughly right, here.

On Race

At best Judge Roberts is a pampered white guy who had quite a bit of snarky contempt for anyone who wasn't and had little empathy for anyone outside his social circle, at worst, well, he's quite a lot worse than that.

Holden's Pony

2-4-6-8 Who Should We Assassinate?

Radical Cleric Pat Robertson calls for the assassination of Hugo Chavez.

It's the Christian thing to do, after all.

The Anti-American Right

The lovable folks at Move America Forward have launched a "You Don't Speak for Me, Cindy" anti-Cindy Sheehan nationwide tour. Of course, Cindy Sheehan has never claimed to speak for all Americans or, really, to speak for anyone but herself. People are quite free to disagree with her, and as far as I know she hasn't suggested otherwise.

So, speak up against the president of the United States and a well-funded right wing group will... speak out against you.

The first set of pro-war rallies, back in 2002, were the same. They weren't pro-war or "pro-American" rallies, they were explicitly anti-American. The "supporters" carried signs expressing hatred for their fellow Americans (Dixie Chicks, Susan Sarandon, etc...) for daring to disagree with them.

They're only happy when they can have a personal enemy, the weaker the better the little cowards.


Okay, I cried foul before and was wrong but now I think I'm crying foul legitimately. CNN's claiming (and I think it's true but Blitzer keeps confusing things) that they have a "draft" of the constitution which satisfies the Iraq transitional law, and they haven't voted to push the deadline ahead, but they will vote on a final completed version in 3 days.

This is silly. The law requires clearly requires "the draft" to be completed by the assembly by the deadline, not "a draft." That is, "the draft" which is to be voted on by referendum on October 15.

Given the proper votes the assembly can extend the deadline, but let's not pretend they met it with a "fake draft."

Policy and Posture

Yglesias says there are genuine policy differences about Iraq in the party and we should therefore welcome a genuine argument about that. Fair enough, to the extent that it's true. But, look there are two issues here, even though they tend to be confused.

The first issue is whether the Iraq war, and supporting it, was a good idea. We'll allow some wiggle room for hindsight conversions, as in "if I knew then what I know now..." but basically that question is still out there. War supporters don't want to come back to that issue, preferring to brush it under the table in favor of debating the "what we should do now" question. But, as a matter of political posture, the only way for the Democrats to be the "anti-Republicans" on the Iraq war is in fact to take the position that the war was a bad idea. I actually can't fathom why unity on this matter is so hard to achieve, other than the fact that the Democratic political industrial complex which supported the war can't admit error.

Then there is the genuine "what should we do now" policy issue, about which I acknowledge there can be legimitate differences of opinion. There are very few people who have a genuine extreme opinion, at least publicly. "Get out now" doesn't really mean "get out now" - impossible to do with 130,000 troops - it means "there's an emphasis on getting out fast" because of some combination of not wanting more troops to die and believing that getting out fast is actually a better way to achieve a secure and stable Iraq because our presence there is actually a large part of the problem. "Stay the course" doesn't mean "sit in Iraq until the end of time" (leaving off the table The Military Bases Which Must Not Be Named), it means "we shouldn't pull out too soon as our presence there is necessary for achieving stability in Iraq so we can't leave until we do."

The Democrats may not want to be the "Iraq was a bad idea" party. But, frankly, that's the only real coherent political posture available to them. And, while bloggers and pundits and everyone else can figure out where on the spectrum between "get out now" and "stay the course" they actually sit, it's largely a pointless policy debate. Given the complexity of the situation, the only real policy position is "put competent people in charge." We didn't manage to do that in '04, and I don't imagine that the "we should've gone to war but then not fuck it up" posture will work any better in '06 and '08. Given the rising anti-war sentiment in this country it will certainly do worse.

"Get out now" and "stay the course" are also postures. In fact, they're really more postures than policies. I'll admit to having some sympathy for the idea that the "stay the course" posture is the best politically, even though I think the "get out now" policy is best (recognizing that there really is no conflict between having one as policy as one as posture). I'm not sure of that. But, either way the only real way to be "not Republicans" on Iraq is to think the whole adventure was a bad idea.

Yglesias points out that Hackett has both a "bad idea" posture and a "stay the course" posture. Maybe this is a winning combination. But, it isn't really a serious policy discussion. I don't think there is one. The basic issue with Iraq is "get out as soon as possible" and the only thing we really disagree on is the meaning of "possible." As for political posture? Maybe Hackett has the right combination. Maybe he doesn't.


Keep digging, morons.

The Noble Cause

I guess this is what they died for:

The draft, slated for action by a Monday deadline, would be a sweeping rejection of the demands of Iraq's disaffected Sunni minority, which has called the proposed federal system the start of the breakup of Iraq. Shiites and Kurds indicated they were in no mood to compromise.

"We gave a choice -- whoever doesn't want federalism can opt not to practice it," said Shiite constitutional committee member Ali Debagh. Debagh acknowledged the Sunni minority would be unlikely to accept such a draft in a national vote scheduled for October, saying, "We depended


Key provisions of the draft would formalize an already autonomous Kurdish state in the north, under a federal system. The rest of the country also would be allowed to form federal systems -- opening the way for the demand by the dominant Shiite Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq to create a southern Shiite sub-state out of up to half of Iraq's 18 regions.

Sunnis and others say such a state would be under heavy influence from neighboring, Shiite-ruled Iran.

The draft also stipulates that Iraq is an Islamic state and that no law can contradict the principles of Islam, Shiite and Kurdish negotiators said. Opponents have charged that last provision would subject Iraqis to religious edicts by individual clerics.

The Shiite and Kurdish negotiators also said draft calls for the presence of Islamic clerics on the court that would interpret the constitution. Family matters such as divorce, marriage or inheritance would be decided either by religious law or civil law as an individual chooses -- a condition that opponents say would likely lead to women being forced into unfavorable rulings for them by opponents demanding judgments under Islamic law.

Moronosphere Triumphant

Sad that we have to pay attention to these people. Once upon a time they'd have been handing out hand-scrawled incoherent pamphlets on streetcorners about black helicopters and the New World Order, and now they're taken seriously by the establishment.

Divided They Fall

This is what happens when you have a minority whip who doesn't seem interested in doing his job, several senators jockeying for the position of presidential candidate by catering to the only voters they understand, the beltway pundit class, and a bunch of people who think that they're "saving face" by not admitting their mistake in supporting the Iraq fiasco.

I do think the press is going overboard in exaggerating "divisions" within Democrats, but it is certainly the case that there's very little (save Social Security) that they've manage to construct anything approaching a unified and coherent position about.

What do the Democrats stand for? About time they figured it out...

Liberals Rule

The evidence is in. It's irrefutable.

Holden Gets a Pony

Red Alert:

George W. Bush's overall job approval ratings have dropped from a month ago even as Americans who approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president are turning more optimistic about their personal financial situations according to the latest survey from the American Research Group. Among all Americans, 36% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 58% disapprove. When it comes to Bush's handling of the economy, 33% approve and 62% disapprove.

Among Americans registered to vote, 38% approve of the way Bush is handling his job as president and 56% disapprove, and 36% approve of the way Bush is handling the economy and 60% disapprove.

Bait and Switch

CNN had an interestingly deceptive advertising campaign for last night's "Inside An Intelligence Meltdown," right down to its title. It was billed as another "CIA fucked up story," when it was in fact a radical narrative about the runup to the war. By radical, of course, I just mean "at odds with the standard beltway convention wisdom" which one has after receiving the obligatory cranial-rectal inversion surgery. That narrative is "poor Bush misled by an evil CIA intent on going to war," despite the fact that before the war the narrative was "stupid CIA is trying to stop Bush from going to war."

Anyway, the show is pretty good. Some highlights throughout the day.

PETA, Hippies, Naderites

Mike Allen on who's at Camp Casey (from Face the Nation):

However, Cindy Sheehan's gone but the camp up here is even bigger. More and more people are coming from around the country. They now have this enormous setup, Camp Casey. Used to be a couple pup tents, now it's this enormous--we call it the Cirque du Soleil tent with eight spikes, catered meals, a Cindy shuttle, a peace shuttle that takes people up and down the mountain. Right now it's PETA, hippies, Naderites. The question is, if it becomes the Little League dads, Pop Warner moms, then the White House has a big problem.


CNN says that Bush is once again going to "remind" the country of 9/11.

I, for one, don't have much trouble remembering it.

Open Thread

Words from the thread on which we string our experiences. --Aldous Huxley

Open Thread

Hopefully we are not threading over a cliff.

Open Thread

I am the very model of a modern major threadbot.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Open Thread

Hopefully we are not threading over a cliff.

Fawlty Democrats

shh... Don't mention the war.

Open Thread

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

On Women

PNAC flunky on MTP:

In 1900, women did not have the right to vote. If Iraqis could develop a democracy that resembled America in the 1900s, I think we'd all be thrilled. I mean, women's social rights are not critical to the evolution of democracy. We hope they're there. I think they will be there. But I think we need to put this into perspective.

There you go. "Democracy"* an end in itself, no matter what it means for the rights of women and minorities.

*"Democracy" we put in quotes as lately it seems to mean any system of government in which people go into booths and vote for something, preferably with purple fingers.

via Wolcott, who reminds us that the warbloggers will quickly abandon their recent affection for the rights of women.

Damn Hollywood Celebrities

Why don't they just STFU. No one cares what they think. The latest is Andrew McCarthy.

He says:

For what it’s worth, this is where I get off the bus. The principal mission of the so-called “war on terror” – which is actually a war on militant Islam – is to destroy the capacity of the international network of jihadists to project power in a way that threatens American national security. That is the mission that the American people continue to support.

As those who follow these pages may know, I have been despairing for a long time over the fact that the principal mission has been subordinated by what I’ve called the “democracy diversion” – the administration’s theory that the (highly dubious) prospect of democratizing Iraq and the Islamic world will quell the Islamists. (Aside: go ask Israelis if they think the fledgling “democracy” in Gaza and the West Bank – which is very likely to bring Hamas to power – promotes their national security.)

Now, if several reports this weekend are accurate, we see the shocking ultimate destination of the democracy diversion. In the desperation to complete an Iraqi constitution – which can be spun as a major step of progress on the march toward democratic nirvana – the United States of America is pressuring competing factions to accept the supremacy of Islam and the fundamental principle no law may contradict Islamic principles.

Oh, wait, wrong Andy McCarthy...

Pop Quiz

Who wrote:

The government has apologized and provided cash compensation to victims who were forced into camps. There is no denying that what happened to Japanese-American internees was abhorrent and wrong.

Answer here.

(via Digby)

Open Thread

I am the very model of a modern major threadbot.

Shorter Jodi Wilgoren

Shape of the Earth -- Views Differ.

Open Thread

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


Your liberal media at work.

I'm surprised we didn't read about the "Patriotic man who ran over hundreds of memorials to fallen soldiers..."



The most prominent smear victims have been Bush political opponents with heroic Vietnam résumés: John McCain, Max Cleland, John Kerry. But the list of past targets stretches from the former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke to Specialist Thomas Wilson, the grunt who publicly challenged Donald Rumsfeld about inadequately armored vehicles last December. The assault on the whistle-blower Joseph Wilson - the diplomat described by the first President Bush as "courageous" and "a true American hero" for confronting Saddam to save American hostages in 1991 - was so toxic it may yet send its perpetrators to jail.

True to form, the attack on Cindy Sheehan surfaced early on Fox News, where she was immediately labeled a "crackpot" by Fred Barnes. The right-wing blogosphere quickly spread tales of her divorce, her angry Republican in-laws, her supposed political flip-flops, her incendiary sloganeering and her association with known ticket-stub-carrying attendees of "Fahrenheit 9/11." Rush Limbaugh went so far as to declare that Ms. Sheehan's "story is nothing more than forged documents - there's nothing about it that's real."

But this time the Swift Boating failed, utterly, and that failure is yet another revealing historical marker in this summer's collapse of political support for the Iraq war.


As Ms. Zappala noted with rage, her son's death came only a few weeks after Mr. Bush regaled the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association banquet in Washington with a scripted comedy routine featuring photos of him pretending to look for W.M.D.'s in the Oval Office. "We'd like to know if he still finds humor in the fabrications that justified the war that killed my son," Ms. Zappala wrote. (Perhaps so: surely it was a joke that one of the emissaries Mr. Bush sent to Cindy Sheehan in Crawford was Stephen Hadley, the national security adviser who took responsibility for allowing the 16 errant words about doomsday uranium into the president's prewar State of the Union speech.)

Mr. Bush's stand-up shtick for the Beltway press corps wasn't some aberration; it was part of the White House's political plan for keeping the home front cool. America was to yuk it up, party on and spend its tax cuts heedlessly while the sacrifice of an inadequately manned all-volunteer army in Iraq was kept out of most Americans' sight and minds. This is why the Pentagon issued a directive at the start of Operation Iraqi Freedom forbidding news coverage of "deceased military personnel returning to or departing from" air bases. It's why Mr. Bush, unlike Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, has not attended funeral services for the military dead. It's why January's presidential inauguration, though nominally dedicated to the troops, was a gilded $40 million jamboree at which the word Iraq was banished from the Inaugural Address.

Open Thread

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

Open Thread

Better thread than dead.

Open Thread

Too many threads spoil the soup.