Saturday, October 15, 2005

Open Thread

These threads are razors to my wounded heart.


This is the least important element of this case, though surely an important one for the press generally:

Mr. Fitzgerald asked about a notation I made on the first page of my notes about this July 8 meeting, "Former Hill staffer."

My recollection, I told him, was that Mr. Libby wanted to modify our prior understanding that I would attribute information from him to a "senior administration official." When the subject turned to Mr. Wilson, Mr. Libby requested that he be identified only as a "former Hill staffer." I agreed to the new ground rules because I knew that Mr. Libby had once worked on Capitol Hill.

Okay, look. You grant anonymity because a source is leaking information they aren't really supposed to. Maybe you grant anonymity in that somewhat comical fashion of "the source declined to be identified by name because of the administration's policy of not commenting" which is ridiculous but at least it's mostly transparently ridiculous. What Libby wanted was to, in essence, grant the entire senior administration "anonymity" by pretending the information was coming from somewhere. No idea if Miller ever granted such a thing, but any reporter who ever did should be fired, along with their editors.

Important Bit About the Newspaper

Main things are that Miller was basically uncooperative with reporters:

In two interviews, Ms. Miller generally would not discuss her interactions with editors, elaborate on the written account of her grand jury testimony or allow reporters to review her notes.

The editors are less than forthcoming:

Asked what she regretted about The Times's handling of the matter, Jill Abramson, a managing editor, said: "The entire thing."

(we did bad but I won't say what!)

The editors had no control:

Within a few weeks, in one of his first personnel moves, Mr. Keller told Ms. Miller that she could no longer cover Iraq and weapons issues. Even so, Mr. Keller said, "she kept kind of drifting on her own back into the national security realm."

There's still information, and Miller is either lying or just not cooperating:

It is not clear why. Ms. Miller said in an interview that she "made a strong recommendation to my editor" that a story be pursued. "I was told no," she said. She would not identify the editor.

Ms. Abramson, the Washington bureau chief at the time, said Ms. Miller never made any such recommendation.

Miller was full of shit from the beginning:

In the fall of 2003, after The Washington Post reported that "two top White House officials disclosed Plame's identity to at least six Washington journalists," Philip Taubman, Ms. Abramson's successor as Washington bureau chief, asked Ms. Miller and other Times reporters whether they were among the six. Ms. Miller denied it.

"The answer was generally no," Mr. Taubman said. Ms. Miller said the subject of Mr. Wilson and his wife had come up in casual conversation with government officials, Mr. Taubman said, but Ms. Miller said "she had not been at the receiving end of a concerted effort, a deliberate organized effort to put out information."

Pinch has heavy influence on the editorial page and is an idiot:
The editorial page, which is run by Mr. Sulzberger and Gail Collins, the editorial page editor, championed Ms. Miller's cause. The Times published more than 15 editorials and called for Congress to pass a shield law that would make it harder for federal prosecutors to compel reporters to testify.

Mr. Sulzberger said he did not personally write the editorials, but regularly urged Ms. Collins to devote space to them. After Ms. Miller was jailed, an editorial acknowledged that "this is far from an ideal case," before saying, "If Ms. Miller testifies, it may be immeasurably harder in the future to persuade a frightened government employee to talk about malfeasance in high places."

Asked in the interview whether he had any regrets about the editorials, given the outcome of the case, Mr. Sulzberger said no.

Get over yourself much? You're in jail, what's the news?

Every day, she checked outdated copies of The Times for a news article about her case. Most days she was disappointed.

Most important things about the actual criminal case are in Judy's version. She's very good at playing the Sgt. Schultz defense. Who knew intrepid Super Reporters had holes in their brains.


Pandagon is dead. Long live pandagon!

Judy Judy Judy

Here's the NYT story. Haven't read yet.

...finished. dullsville. Here's Judy's version. More interesting.

Open Thread

Cry "Thread," and let slip the dogs of war.

Open Thread

Thread more than thou showest, thread less than thou knowest, thread less than thou owest.

Open Thread

The course of a true threading never did run smooth.


Reading Reddhead's walk down the yellowcake road I'm struck by something - exactly why was it so necessary to "get" Wilson? It can't simply be the simply be about the "sixteen words" in the SOTU speech. It must be what all that pointed to - where those obviously forged documents came from...

Running Out Of Ways To Be Wrong

Perhaps it's time for Cohen to retire.

Fun Times Ahead

From that WaPo article:

Wilson's campaign caught the attention of Vice President Cheney's office nearly two months before Plame was unmasked, according to senior administration officials. Cheney's aides pressed the CIA for information about Wilson.

By early June -- one month before Plame was identified in Novak's column -- the State Department had prepared a memo on Wilson's trip that contained a small section about Plame marked "S" for secret. A few days before Novak's column was published, then-Secretary of State Colin L. Powell brought the memo with him on a trip to Africa with Bush and many of his top aides.

Open Thread

To mourn a thread that is past and gone is the next way to draw new mischief on.

Find A Way To Bring Charges

heh. heh. heh. ahahahaah.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Open Thread

The thread 's the thing wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king!

Hackett's In

So he says here.

I have to admit I'm a bit puzzled by the reaction of many to the prospect that Sherrod Brown is in too. Sure there may be an issue with whether or not Brown gave Hackett the "all clear" signal and then changed his mind and perhaps (though I don't put too much stock in the importance of this in this race) some influence by the DC people (denied).

But, generally, I think primaries are a good thing assuming the candidates don't nuke each other (and they shouldn't). In this case we have an establishment candidate, Brown, who has one set of advantages, and we have Hackett who has another set. Let them take it to the primary voters in Ohio. It can only serve to enhance awareness of the race and increase the name reocognition of both candidates.

Let them have a healthy campaign and a healthy debate. As I said - as long as they don't nuke each other a primary is a good thing.

"Save the Rich People First"

Neal Boortz on government priorities during a disaster.

Friday Cat Blogging

I'm too lazy to take pictures of my own beasts, so here's reader c's girlfriend's kitty:

Open Thread

A poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the thread and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Judy Judy Judy

I think the real question about the rumored Sunday Judy expose is not how much truth about her we get it's about how we get about Keller, Pinch, and Abramson.

Rumor is Judy will resign. Will she, and will anyone else?


A protestor wears a condom with the image of U.S. President George W. Bush's political adviser, Karl Rove, during his fourth appearance before a grand jury in Washington, DC, October 14, 2005. The condom reference is made towards the investigation into the leak of a CIA operative's identity. REUTERS/Jim Young


Just on CNN. Rove spent many hours with the grand jury and lawyer says no decision has been made on indictments. But, of course! Last I checked the grand jury and not Fitzgerald actually makes that decision. No matter what he's decided, they have to be on board.

Satan's Domestic Policy

Now I'm curious. What is Lawrence Kaplan's plan for Iraq? TNR sticking most things behind a subscription wall is sillier than the Times doing it.

ah, here's the money quote:

Bush, unlike Nixon, Reagan, and Clinton before him, seems genuinely committed to the cause of battlefield success. But he faces a vastly more skeptical public than either of his predecessors did. Nixon, for one, didn't have to contend with opinion polls showing majority support for withdrawal from Vietnam until 1970-1971, by which time he had enshrined withdrawal in official policy. As for Reagan's experience, in the aftermath of the Marine barracks bombing in Beirut, public support for the U.S. intervention increased. Similarly, when 18 Rangers were killed in Mogadishu, NBC, ABC, and CNN polls found that 61, 56, and 55 percent, respectively, favored sending more troops to Somalia. These levels of support evaporated only as it became clear the presidents themselves no longer backed the missions. Today, the situation has reversed itself: The president supports the mission, but no one else does.

The Big Money

First of all, what John says about ads. I would certainly never encourage anyone to click through for the sake of doing so, but a lot of the things which get advertised here are actually things you might be interested in so if you happen to let that portion of the screen filter through to your brain every now and then just in case anything might interest you that wouldn't be such a bad thing.

Secondly, go throw some coin to Crooks and Liars. The proprietor does an incredible job posting up all the video clips you actually want to see, something which requires a lot of time and money to do.

More on Cohen

Larry Johnson responds to Richard "the world's ultimate wanker" Cohen.

In Her Shoes

Last Thursday (8 days ago) I attended a special screening of In Her Shoes, a benefit for the Philadelphia Public Library. Adam Bonin, who does lawyerly stuff to help defend the blogs from the intrusive hand of the FEC as well as showing up around the blogs in various guises, knows the author of the book by the same name fairly well and put me on the media list, though as it was a good cause I went ahead and made the donation anyway.

I'd never read any of Jennifer Weiner's books before. They're always talked about in the category of "chick lit" which brings to mind stories in which the plots follow this order:
1) Woman has bad relationship(s)
2) Woman finds independence
3) Woman finds man and true happiness

But all books which are a) written by women and b) about women seem to be slotted into the "chick lit" category, whether they fit the model or not. Rather strange.

In any case, not having read the book I can't comment on it, but the film is of course categorized in the "chick flick" genre. If by that we mean "movie more likely to appeal to women" that's probably fair, but it certainly doesn't follow the 3 part formula established above. It's directed by Curtis Hanson, of LA Confidential fame, and is refreshing in a lot of ways. The movie doesn't follow the formulaic plotting and timing that too many movies have - the story is allowed to move at its own pace, the plot is allowed some breathing room. It makes very good use of on location filming, letting the character of its locations (Philadelphia in and around the neighborhood of Eschaton World Headquarters and Florida) add an extra dimension to the movie. It isn't filled with shocking plot twists, but nor is it a predictable movie - there's a story to be told and it's told without telegraphing everything in advance.

The biggest problem with the movie is the tremendous miscasting of the lead actress, Toni Collete, who too many times we're expected to believe that not only is she less attractive than her sister played by Cameron Diaz, but also quite a bit overweight, which she isn't really even by Hollywood standards. Still, you can just swallow that and look forward to Shirley MacLaine's performance which was very enoyable.

Chick flick? Perhaps, but more "Terms of Endearment" than "Bridget Jones's Diary." Well worth seeing if you're so inclined.


Sometimes it's the only option.

1st Amendment Hero

As much as I disagreed, I could understand honoring Judith Miller when she actually did go to jail to protect her source. But now she's being honored for not protecting her source?

So confusing these journamalists.

Open Thread

All the world 's a thread, and all the men and women merely players.

Open Thread

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your thread; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.

Latest New to Me

If I can't use the awesome power of my might blogs to promote cool stuff then what is it good for.

Check out Murder by Death. Sort of Modest Mouse meets the Cure, if such a thing is possible.



Lotsa good stuff in this one. I'll highlight this bit:

Read the speeches Howard Dean gave before the Iraq war, and compare them with Colin Powell's pro-war presentation to the U.N. Knowing what we know now, it's clear that one man was judicious and realistic, while the other was spinning crazy conspiracy theories. But somehow their labels got switched in the way they were presented to the public by the news media.

Why does this happen? A large part of the answer is that the news business places great weight on "up close and personal" interviews with important people, largely because they're hard to get but also because they play well with the public. But such interviews are rarely revealing. The fact is that most people - myself included - are pretty bad at using personal impressions to judge character. Psychologists find, for example, that most people do little better than chance in distinguishing liars from truth-tellers.

More broadly, the big problem with political reporting based on character portraits is that there are no rules, no way for a reporter to be proved wrong. If a reporter tells you about the steely resolve of a politician who turns out to be ineffectual and unwilling to make hard choices, you've been misled, but not in a way that requires a formal correction.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Catapult the Propaganda

At some point the press is going to have to pay a bit more attention to the degree to which the military, and not simply the civilian leadership, has become another propaganda arm of the administration.

See this press release.

Terry has more on the politicization of the military.

Shocked to Discover that Political Hacks Shill for White House

It's been difficult over the last few years to differentiate the degrees of hackdom in the conservative movement. It's been sort of like differentiating the colors on the SNL parody terror alert chart - off-white, cream, putty, bone, and natural - as there's been so little variation. There have been disagreements in wingnuttia, but even when some found fault they never found fault with Bush himself.

But I probably would've put money on Brit Hume being the single biggest Bush hack in all of the land of wingnuttia. Even the National Review is peeved.

Commander In Chief

He really said this today. Jeebus:

I wish I could be there to see you face to face and thank you personally. Probably a little early for me to go to Tikrit. Perhaps one of these days the situation will be such that I'll be able to get back to Iraq.

Open Thread

A poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the thread and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

The Resignation of the Pinch?

It sounds like that'll be what it takes to make the Times respectable again.

NYT Public Editor Sez: Now



CNN just showed a bit of the pre-interview clip. Rough transcript of Pentagon flunky addressing the troops:

The president's going to ask some questions and he may ask all 6 of them, all 3 of them. He might have such a great time talking to you. He might come up with some new questions. So what we want to be prepared for is to not stutter. If there's a question that the president comes up with that we haven't drilled through today I expect the microphone to go through to you Captain Kennedy.


You know things are bad when they can't even run a photo-op artfully enough that the media doesn't pull back the curtain:

WASHINGTON - It was billed as a conversation with U.S. troops, but the questions President Bush asked on a teleconference call Thursday were choreographed to match his goals for the war in Iraq and Saturday's vote on a new Iraqi constitution.


"I'm going to ask somebody to grab those two water bottles against the wall and move them out of the camera shot for me," Barber said.

A brief rehearsal ensued.

"OK, so let's just walk through this," Barber said. "Captain Kennedy, you answer the first question and you hand the mike to whom?"

"Captain Smith," Kennedy said.

"Captain. Smith? You take the mike and you hand it to whom?" she asked.

"Captain Kennedy," the soldier replied.

And so it went.



Forty-one percent of respondents said Bush's presidency will be seen as unsuccessful in the long run, while 26 percent said the opposite. Thirty-five percent said it was too early to tell, according to the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

In January, 36 percent said successful and 27 percent said unsuccessful.

The Silence of the Pumpkinhead

Eric Boehlert offers up the reminder that for some reason no one expects Russert to come clean about what he knows.


Sure, this is probably just porn for those of us in the anti-Miller crowd, but it's good porn!


I think it's indeed time for the Senate Ethics Committee to do its job.


We know what Bush rewards above all. My money's on Andy Card. Cheney can spend more time fishing.


Uh, perjury and conspiracy are, last I checked, real crimes. Here are a whole bunch of other real crimes too. If the point is one doesn't want Fitzgerald to bring difficult to prove and difficult to comprehend charges - an ambiguous perjury charge or a conspiracy charge which hangs on some slender reed of evidence - fine. But if people involved knowingly deceived investigators, and especially the grand jury, then they should do the time.

...and, let me add, the other reason to bring "non-central" charges in a case is to, you know, encourage people to cut deals and rat out the bigger fish so you can actually get to the central criminal act. This is something that people with crappy public defender representation (no offense to those good public defenders) deal with all the time. It's a part of our legal system which, whatever its merits, should surely apply to those with the best legal representation their money is buying.

Technorati Post

I do have to give the Washington Post credit for adding the automated technorati blogging links. I'm not enough of a blog evangelist to get all weepy and start talking about how the WaPo is embracing the future of journalism or some such nonsense, but it does provide a handy set of links to people talking about a wanker Cohen is.

Lyin' Scotty

Of course today's "discussion" was scripted, except for the moments when Bush screwed things up by going off script. Questions - and those who would answer each question - were chose in advance.



It'll be interesting to see if the voters of Colorado vote to pretty much destroy their state, as all good wingnuts hope, or if they vote for a bit of sanity. Sometimes it's hard to not root for the wingnuts in a bit of reap what you sow schadenfreude, but that would be wrong.

The War On Christmas

It's apparently being led by General Miers.

How Things Change

Dick Polman summarizes the situation pretty well:

We are now witnessing, in activist Ed Morrissey's words, "a conservative civil war" over the Miers nomination, with many leaders on the right declaring that they no longer can take President Bush at his word. They're demanding that Miers answer the kinds of questions that they considered out of bounds just a few weeks ago. They're even circulating these questions among themselves.

They want to know (among other things) whether Miers, as an evangelical Christian, had moral qualms about running the Texas Lottery Commission. They want to know why she sympathized with people with AIDS while serving on the Dallas City Council. They want to know why she helped create a lecture series that brought famous liberal feminists to Southern Methodist University in 1998.

Jan LaRue, chief counsel at Concerned Women for America, a conservative grassroots group, said yesterday: "My goodness, we keep being told to just believe the President. I was on a conference call - everybody was - with [GOP national chairman] Ken Mehlman, and the whole message was 'Trust us, trust us, trust us.' But we've never had to just rely on trust before. There was always credible information to look at before. But, with this nominee, I can't determine what she really believes in, and I can't find anything in her record even remotely related to constitutional law."

Hence, the conservatives' desire to probe Miers' background for any signs of ideological purity, in the hope of determining whether she is truly committed to moving the high court rightward - even if it appears that their questions are just as intrusive as the Democratic questions they have typically denounced. Just weeks ago, for instance, there was an uproar among conservatives when liberal activists raised questions about nominee John Roberts' ties to the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group.

Of course nothing will stop them from changing their view of what's appropriate once the next nominee comes up.

Quote of the Day

"I wish I could be there to see you face to face and thank you personally. Probably a little early for me to go to Tikrit. Perhaps one of these days the situation will be such that I'll be able to get back to Iraq."

Teleconferencing With the Troops

Worst. Photo op. Ever.

Couldn't he, uh, pay them a visit?

...Think Progress has a screenshot.

...Is anyone in the press going to point out that they didn't even bother to try to pretend the Q&A session wasn't entirely scripted?

Wanker of the Day

Richard Cohen.

It's all there. The insider's anger at being kept out of the loop. The Beltway class's belief that they are above the law. Clinging to the fantasy that this case is about press freedom. The pundit's arrogance that he knows what's best for Washington. The lazy pundit's equation of things which are not the same - two year long investigation by a special prosecutor and a decade long investigation by an independent counsel. The claim, without irony, something good coming out of the Iraq war might be that the beltway press might realize it's important to do their job.


...casey has more.

Open Thread

There 's daggers in men's threads.

Open Thread

All the world 's a thread, and all the men and women merely players.

Bob Herbert is Shrill

Yes I know we shouldn't link to times select articles, but we must nonetheless welcome Bob Herbert into the order.

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Bob Herbert R'lyeh wagn'nagl fhtagn!!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005



Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) has been subpoenaed to turn over personal records and documents as federal authorities step up a probe of his July sales of HCA Inc. stock, according to sources familiar with the investigation.

The Securities and Exchange Commission issued the subpoena within the past two weeks, after initial reports that Frist, the Senate's top Republican official, was under scrutiny by the agency and the Justice Department for possible violations of insider trading laws.

(thanks to bkny)

...just in case, I'd better put bottle #4 in the fringe. We now have bottles named Scooter, Turd Blossom, Big Time, and Kitty Kevorkian. I'm hoping that by the middle of next week there might be one in there named "Ari."

Fess Up

27 of you ordered the Playmobil Security Checkpoint.

Whigged Out

Know your Whigs.

Proud Democrat for Congress

Last election I was a bit surprised at the number of Democratic candidates for Congress who did their best to hide their party affiliation, or at least not advertise it very loudly. I can see the wisdom of the argument for doing this - it's the competitive districts you're focusing on and competitive districts require wooing independents and people from the other side. I'm not sure it's all that smart a strategy, and it's certainly a flawed strategy from the perspective of building the party brand over the longer term, but I can't say that it doesn't make sense in some districts.

However, with polls having Democrats up 9 points nationally maybe it's time to rethink?

Judy Judy Judy


Her appearance Wednesday, which lasted about an hour and 15 minutes, won her a judge's order releasing her from the contempt-of-court citation that landed her in jail. The contempt order was still in place until her testimony was complete.

"I am delighted that the contempt order has been lifted, and Judy is now completely free to go about her great reporting as a very principled and honorable reporter," said Robert Bennett, Ms. Miller's attorney.

The lifting of the order is significant, because it opens the door for Ms. Miller to disclose details of her story and her testimony to the Times, which has been criticized for not being more forthcoming on what it knows about its reporter's involvement in the case. Bill Keller, executive editor of the Times, said on Tuesday that once Ms. Miller's "obligations to the grand jury are fulfilled, we intend to write the most thorough story we can...."

Reached Wednesday afternoon, Ms. Miller declined to say whether she would be giving an interview to the Times.


Well, the biggest Apple news today wasn't that they came out with a video IPod, it was that they've begun partnering with ABC to sell a few of their television shows, one day after broadcast, through their online store. The IPod itself will have a cradle with a TV out, so if the little screen isn't what you're into you can just watch the shows on TV.

Big loser in this is probably Tivo, as their much-rumored (and presumably true) partnering with Netflix to sell videos, downloaded to your PC and then copied/streamed to your Tivo, has yet to materialize. But, at least we're finally moving to a world where this type of thing becomes more common.

Congratulations to the Editors

Let's hope the old ball and chain lets him come out for a beer now and then.

High Crimes and Misdemenaors

I haven't had anything yet to say about Bush's little comment about Miers' religion being part of the reason he chose her. I'm not sure I agree that it really qualifies as a "religious Test" as mentioned in the constitution, but it certainly isn't too farfetched to think it's in violation of thhe 1964 Civil Rights Act as well as the Civil Service Reform Act, as Will Bunch says.


Unpopular president.

WASHINGTON - It has been weeks since Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast; since gas prices began spiking to record highs; and since Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in Iraq, held her antiwar vigil outside President Bush’s Texas ranch. But, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, the fortunes of the Bush administration and the Republican Party have not yet begun to recover.

For the first time in the poll, Bush’s approval rating has sunk below 40 percent, while the percentage believing the country is heading in the right direction has dipped below 30 percent. In addition, a sizable plurality prefers a Democratic-controlled Congress, and just 29 percent think Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers is qualified to serve on the nation’s highest court.

"Any way you slice this data, I think these are just terrible sets of numbers," said Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted this survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff.

Only on Fox


Building Up

When I earlier wrote about building taller buildings I noticed that some people assume that "tall building" means "apartment tower." But, it can just mean adding a couple of extra floors current building heights in the neighborhood. I'm not sure I like the look of this building which will be built not so far from Chez Atrios, but it has the right idea in terms of function - street level retail to integrate it with the rest of the street and underground parking. It isn't about demolishing existing blocks of houses, either. This development is replacing a surface parking lot.

Wingnut War

Interesting. Just as the most socially conservative senators are lining up to oppose Miers, Radical Cleric Robertson puts them on notice:

On today’s “700 Club” broadcast, the Rev. Pat Robertson responded to criticism from the Right regarding the Miers nomination and also offered a stern warning to those conservative senators who might be thinking of voting against her. Rev. Robertson suggested that people should look at who is supporting Miers before they doubt her conservative credentials. He named James Dobson, the Rev. Jerry Falwell, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, Jay Sekulow of the Robertson-founded American Center for Law and Justice, and himself as proof of support for Miers’ nomination from the Right. Robertson concluded by noting: “These so-called movement conservatives don’t have much of a following, the ones that I’m aware of. And you just marvel, these are the senators, some of them who voted to confirm the general counsel of the ACLU to the Supreme Court, and she was voted in almost unanimously. And you say, ‘now they’re going to turn against a Christian who is a conservative picked by a conservative President and they’re going to vote against her for confirmation.’ Not on your sweet life, if they want to stay in office.”

How Big a Tax Hike?

In places like Southern California, New York, and yes even my little Philadelphia, $500,000 doesn't necessarily buy you much of a house. Wages in such places tned to be a bit higher, but so are home prices.

I was curious how much of a tax hit people would take if the mortgage interest deduction only applied up to a mortgage of $350,000. If you took out a 30 year $500,000 mortgage at 6.2%, you'd be paying roughly 3 grand a year more in taxes in the early years of your mortgage.

Closet Heterosexuals

John Byrne says that reporters have confirmed to him that concerns about Dreier's sexuality were a factor in preventing him from replacing DeLay but that they didn't have enough to write a story. It was obvious from the reporting at the time that this was the case, as no news article actually stated in any clear terms just what the problem was with Dreier. Claims that he wasn't thought to be conservative enough were, you know, belied by his actual voting record. Reporters were just dancing around what the truth was. Whether or not Dreier is gay it seems to be quite an important story that concerns that he's gay might have been enough for Republicans to stop him from obtaining the leadership position.

But, this is your liberal media at work.

John has more on closet heterosexuals in Radar.

Strong Executive

Harold Meyerson informs us that Andrew Card was trying to soothe Miers nomination fears by emphasizing her belief in an executive immune from meddling by those other pesky branches of government which have apparently been made obsolete. I really don't understand this. Certainly the conservative movement wants the George Bush White House to have free rein as a practical matter, but I really wasn't aware that this was a genuine conservative principle. Occasionally there are enough people who hate America and they actually vote a Democrat into office. At which point presumably all that strong executive talk will fade away. Do they really want Hillary Clinton to have unchecked power?


So, here's your bold new Republican party plan for 2006: make home ownership and health care more expensive.

party on!

Judy Two Sources

Jane's right - it appears that either Judy's a big liar or Fitz was starting to wave indictments in her face as a motivational tool.

If Bolton is source #2, then that puts a rather interesting twist on his little jailhouse visit...

...or maybe not. Greg Mitchell of E&P suggests that this is just a bad headline from CNN, and I think he's right.

Why It Matters

RedHedd talks about why outing a CIA agent may not be such a nice thing to do. That's something which has been largely absent from the discussion in the press who are rarely able to think in terms of the real world consequences of the actions of government. What's just a game of politics to much of the beltway crowd - whether it's tax policy, energy policy, foreign policy, or political hit jobs - actually impacts the lives of people in a very serious way.

Open Thread

All the world 's a thread, and all the men and women merely players.

How They Want to Pay for Paris Hilton's Tax Cut

I think it's time to start getting Republicans on the record about this cunning plan:

The drama in Washington today centers on efforts to get to the bottom of conversations, and the ultimate result of one such effort may be the indictment of one or more Bush Administration officials, which would be a big deal. But don't lose sight of something that might be of greater immediate interest to the public: the fact that President Bush's tax reform panel, which is expected to send him its recommendations by November 1, is proposing to scale back two of the nation's most popular tax breaks, for home mortgage interest and employer-paid health insurance.

The panel is proposing the rollback as a way to compensate for its also-proposed elimination of the alternative minimum tax, which is affecting more and more middle-class taxpayers every year and is in serious need of fixing. Still, as one Washington-based economic analyst points out to First Read, while this may be good policy, it won't play well in town halls. Unless these recommendations somehow go away between now and November 1, tax reform may not look so much like the savior of the GOP domestic agenda.


I don't eat at Marathon Grill because they're notorious even in an industry which is notorious for this kind of thing:

Marathon Grill, the popular Philadelphia restaurant chain, has agreed to pay nearly $21,000 in back wages to workers - half of them Mexicans - who were not paid overtime or were not paid at all, the U.S. Department of Labor said yesterday.

Also yesterday, Community Legal Services filed the first of what it said would be several complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging that Marathon Grill discriminated against its Mexican employees by failing to pay them overtime.


"We've seen a pattern of them cheating employees out of their last paychecks - nickel and diming their way to higher profits," said Nadia Hewka, the Community Legal Services lawyer who filed the EEOC complaint. Her nonprofit agency represents low-income clients.

Some employees who quit or are fired return two or three times to the restaurant to collect their checks but are turned away, she said. "They are counting on people giving up."

And, she said, "in my experience, the workers who were not paid overtime were always the Latinos." They were also the ones, she said, who were too scared to file public complaints.

On Whig

Digby reminds us what Whig was responsible for, concluding:

This story has never been fully aired to the public for reasons the mainstream press has to answer for. If the Iraq Group (WHIG), which implicates all the big players in this, possibly even the president, becomes a part of a federal criminal case, it will likely also become the subject of intense media scrutiny.


Open Thread

What's in a name? That which we call a thread by any other name would smell as sweet.

Open Thread

The thread 's the thing wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king!

Talk Dirty To Me


If Fitzgerald has lassoed this operation into a criminal conspiracy, the veil of protective secrecy in which the whole operation is still shrouded will be pulled back. Depositions and sworn statements in on-going investigations have a way of doing that. Ask Bill Clinton. Every key person in the White House will be touched by it. And all sorts of ugly tales could spill out.

Blog Babes

I thought this was pretty funny. CNN:

JACKI SCHECHNER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kyra, we thought this was interesting. Yesterday we show you on the SMU Web site how all of Harriet Miers' published information was online. People going to check it out. We went today to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission where the latest correspondence came from.

They are not posted online over there. We spoke to somebody. They don't plan on putting them up either. What the are doing is releasing them freely to the media, and it will be up to media organizations like CNN and others to release them as they see fit. But we thought it might be interesting to check out and see if they were online. Just for your information, they're not. What is online is blog reaction as you might imagine. And because we don't have much information about Harriet Miers, these are the things we have to go on from the Carpetbagger Report, they're venturing into unseen hero worship territory with this correspondent saying things, like, do you imagine they wrote BFF in each other's yearbooks?

Also from Gally Slaves quoting things like, "you're the best governor ever," saying they're worried by the fact she put quotes around the word cool. Something that was pointed out by Josh Marshal at Talking Points Memo, we would be remiss if we didn't mention it, it sounds a lot like the Harriet Miers parody blog. This has been circulating around the blogosphere for some time now. It was awfully silly and we didn't know that we were going to show it to you.

But the correspondence that's come out now is very similar in tone to this, things like I've always been 111 percent for President Bush going down to the bottom and saying in case you're wondering, PS, I won't ever-change I promise. PPS ever, ever. So it's awfully juvenile but not that different in tone from some of the correspondence we are seeing coming out today.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Jeebus, I'm gonna have to buy a whole case of the bubbly.

Cheney Cheney Cheney

Another bottle goes in the fridge. There are three in there now. I've even given them names - Scooter, Turd Blossom, and Big Time. HuffPo:

The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg are working on stories that point to Vice President Dick Cheney as the target of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into the leaking of CIA operative Valerie Plame's name.

Judy Judy Judy

Back for more:

NEW YORK After meeting again with the federal prosecutor in the Plame leak case, New York Times reporter Judith Miller must testify again before the grand jury on Wednesday.

The prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, had summoned her for the meeting today after she reportedly remembered her previously unknown June 23, 2003, meeting with I. Lewis Libby, and sent the prosecutor the notes of the meeting. But it was not known if he would actually ask her to testify again.

The news emerged in an e-mail sent by the Times' executive editor, Bill Keller, to staff this afternoon, which was obtained by E&P. Keller hit back at "armchair critics" in the memo.

Open Thread

There 's daggers in men's threads.


Oh man.

WASHINGTON - Outside the blind trusts he created to avoid a conflict of interest, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist earned tens of thousands of dollars from stock in a family-founded hospital chain largely controlled by his brother, documents show.

The Tennessee Republican, whose sale this summer of HCA Inc. stock is under federal investigation, has long maintained he could own HCA shares and still vote on health care legislation without a conflict because he had placed the stock in blind trusts approved by the Senate.

However, ethics experts say a partnership arrangement shown in documents obtained by The Associated Press raises serious doubts about whether the senator truly avoided a conflict.

Bye Scooter

Looks like he's gonna be in a wee bit of trouble.

Every Child's Dream



Little Ricky's folks are desperate to make him seem hip.

Humiliated in Public

In a PR Week UK interview, Lord Weisberg says:

When you make a mistake now, there's almost no chance of it going unnoticed. And when it is noticed, you'll be humiliated in public. Blogs have made entities like The New York Times more accurate and forthcoming about acknowledging errors that occur. ... It's a kind of fact checking that you'd never get from a [media] fact-checking department. Certainly the idea of publishing first and fact checking second makes a lot of people uncomfortable for good reason. It's certainly not the approach that Slate takes. We make every effort to ensure everything we publish is absolutely true, as much as any print publication. I would put our record for accuracy up against just about any publication. I would also put our forthrightness and transparency in acknowledging and correcting errors up against just about any publication. My point is that it's a hobby for a whole group of people to catch the mainstream media out. People love to find mistakes, and we're on the receiving end of that as well. We invite readers to find mistakes in Slate. And when I write something now, I am much more careful than I ever was in my years as a print journalist at double-checking everything and not assuming it's true. You just know now if you try to gloss something over, you'll get caught, and it's going to be embarrassing.

I now proceed to humiliate PR Week UK (not Weisberg) for writing:

Before blogs, Craigslist, or Google, there was Slate. The web magazine, created in 1996 by Microsoft, has been at the forefront of web publishing and has helped drive the nascent medium's credibility.

Craigslist was founded in 1995. ADVANTAGE BLOGOSPHERE!!!

Oh, just consider this an open thread.

Probably A Nice Time To Get Out of Dodge

Bigtime's chief spokesman runs away.

Classiest "Loser" in History

Now this really pisses me off. Iowa's top political dog writes, in the course of recommending a Kerry rerun:

He was a classy loser. Unlike Al Gore, who skulked off to grow a beard, Kerry withdrew quickly and honorably.

That sentence doesn't even make any sense - how does "skulked off" contrast with "withdrew quickly" - but Gore's concession speech was about the classiest thing I've ever seen.

(via kos)


So far the chattering classes have been talking as if there's an interoffice war that Bush is somehow above. Will Bunch says it's time to take seriously the possibility that it's actually Bush and Cheney who have had the falling out.

Not Impressed

Sorry, the fact that about 25+% of Americans don't approve of interracial dating is not something to applaud.


I think the thing which drove us liberal nonhawks nuts as we were heading into war was that the Bushies were very obviously not especially concerned with weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Sure it was their stated reason. Sure it was a surprise to them that they found absolutely nothing which could've been a ridiculous justification for the war (given our media at the time a bottle of bleach sitting next to a bottle of ammonia somewhere probably would've been enough). If it hadn't been clear before the fact that the Bush adminstration mocked and obstructed the UN weapons inspectors (Those losers can't even find the weapons! They're everywhere! We know where they are but we won't tell them!) made it rather obvious.

I suppose there were some liberal hawks who believed in WMD and thought some sabre rattling to force the inspectors in to find them would be a good idea. Though how any of them really believed that the Bush administration wasn't going to go to war no matter what I don't quite get. And, more to the point, plenty of the liberal hawks didn't give a shit about the mystery weapons either. They wanted people to go fight "Tom Friedman's war" or whatever fantasy game of geopolitical chess they thought they were engaged in.


And the wingers wonder why we don't all crap our pants like they do whenever we get one of these warnings.


Nathan Newman is quite correct here. I'm not unsympathetic to concerns about neighborhood character, but I just think that generally neighborhood character (the part that matters) can be preserved while still throwing up some tall buildings. One can build tall buildings that integrate with the streetscape and do so without razing entire city blocks. Frequently tall buildings, especially residential ones, aren't built in such a way, but that doesn't mean they can't be.

Meanwhile in center city Phialdelphia, the building continues.

That was the message that Paul Levy, executive director of the Center City District, touted in his agency's annual analysis of housing trends, released yesterday. By 2010, Levy said, Center City could have 110,000 residents, which would be up from 73,121 in 1980, 78,000 in 2000, and an estimated 88,000 today.


The boom started in 1997, when City Council and Mayor Ed Rendell approved 10-year property-tax abatements to promote conversion of a growing number of vacant or underused old office and manufacturing buildings. Two years later, the tax break was extended to new construction.

By the end of this year, 8,235 residential units will have been developed in Center City since the tax break was enacted. An additional 3,574 units are under construction, all scheduled for completion by 2008, Levy said.

Deeper Point

Can't wait to find out.


Writing over at Balknization, Scott Horton discusses Don Rumsfeld's preferred method for dealing with difficulties:

When all the baseless suspicions against Yee were disproved, the Pentagon turned to its favored technique to punish him. He was accused of improper sexual conduct. In American society today, these words generally relate to conduct that is abusive – unauthorized sexual contact. Not in Donald Rumsfeld’s Pentagon: there they relate to consensual sexual relations between a man and a woman. The consistent factor is that one of the sexual partners has made it on to the Pentagon’s black list for one reason or another.

The Rumsfeld Pentagon has developed destruction of the character of those who get in its way to an art form. Those viewed as troublesome become the target of a special investigation. Wiretaps are applied to their telephones and their emails are read. An evidentiary case is built and humiliating leaks to the press occur.

Let’s stop for a moment and ask: when the persons in question are two-, three- and four-star generals, at what level must this be authorized? In fact, the targets have included two-, three- and four-star generals, and the authority or impetus for such action has almost certainly come from the Office of the Secretary of Defense. The charges brought have tended to fall into two baskets: charges of petty dereliction and sexual misconduct. In the former case, we have seen charges that officers kept classified documents on their laptop computers – when the documents turned out not to be classified; and we have seen charges of petty errors and oversights in contract administration. (Conversely, serious cases of contract misadministration involving billions of dollars and Halliburton are resolved by persecuting the whistleblower.) But the favored technique clearly lies in bringing charges of improper sexual conduct, invariably involving consensual sexual relations.

Probably wouldn't be such a bad thing if James Yee sold a few copies of his book.

DRM Suckers

This is a pretty interesting and probably correct analysis. Tim Lee argues that the pointless DRM that the music labels insist on putting into Itunes does nothing to help the labels but actually does a lot for Apple by locking people into their hardware.

Romney Warns of Theocracy Danger

You can tell the reporters were giggling as they wrote this.


Wow, this Times article proves the Harriet Miers blog is real.


Right Wing Talking Point of the Week

Arresting anyone in the Beltway club is "criminalizing politics." As I wrote in comments yesterday, this is both a talking point and a reflection of their inner beliefs. It's been a long time since anyone of note in the club got tangled in the legal system. The Clintonites, who mostly got in trouble for stuff they did before they got to Washington, weren't really part of the club. Back during the Reagan years indictments were flying around like confetti, but not so much since. They've gotten used to being, along with their pals in the political industrial complex, immune from pesky details like following the law.

Defining McCarthyism Downwards

Yeah, what Kos says. I have no idea where the slander in this post is. The point was simply that Lieberman has odd priorities. He can choose how he spends his time and if he spends it celebrating the history of the National Review I see nothing wrong with drawing attention to that.

Open Thread

Cry "Thread," and let slip the dogs of war.

Open Thread

How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless thread!

Monday, October 10, 2005

Modern American Christianity

Is this really what it's all about? NPR's Barbara Hagerty:

HAGERTY: Pederson says Miers is intensely private about her faith. They never discuss issues like abortion and homosexuality. She adds that Miers has been, quote, "confounding expectations" her entire career. Take, for example, the years she served on the Dallas City Council.

Ms. PEDERSON: I think people thought she'd be a mouthpiece for the business establishment, but she was not. She voted with what you would call the business line when she felt it was appropriate. But if it wasn't, she didn't. And I think she surprised some people.

HAGERTY: Miers was on record saying she supported civil rights for homosexuals, but not the repeal of the Texas sodomy law. She also served on the board of a Christian ministry to help ex-convicts re-enter society. Religious conservatives like Tony Perkins at the Family Research Council draw little comfort from the fact that she attended two or three anti-abortion dinners a decade ago. On MSNBC's "Hardball," Perkins said that's not nearly enough.

Is contemporary Christianity only about homosexuality and whether or not the state owns your uterus? If not, why does NPR's Hagerty reduce it to these issues?


No, it's not lost on me that when Amanda says that I'm as "articulate and impressive in person" as I am on the blog she's taking the piss out of me. Anyway, I also think she is as articulate and impressive in person as she is on her videoblog.

Fresh Thread


What You Do Not Who You Are

I'll never understand the stupidity behind the discussion about whether bloggers are or aren't journalists and whether they should or shouldn't get protections from a federal shield law or similar.

If a source tells me something newsworthy and I put it on the blog then I'm practicing journalism and I should get the same protections as anyone else practicing journalism. It isn't about creating a special class of people who are above the law, it's about understanding that certain types of activities deserve certain protections because it's in the public interest to preserve the ability of people - all people - to engage in those activities if they so choose. That should apply whether I write about my scoop on my blog, put it in the pages of the New York Times, reveal it during a segment on the Majority Report, stand on the street corner and announce it with a bullhorn, or print it out in newsletter form and stick it under the windshields of all the cars on my street.

Wanker of the Day

Bill Keller.

You know, even if we granted Keller his assertion that "Bloggers recycle and chew on the news," that pretty much describes 65% of what cable news networks do (and about 80% of what they do in prime time), 95% of what columnists do (including BK himself not so long ago), and 99% of what talk radio hosts do.

I welcome a long hard look at what the news media has become, but it starts with having an awareness of what the institutional media has become, and not with taking broad brush potshots at bloggers.


A few people wrote in to say that a little while ago on Hardball, Tweety and the gang were suddenly taking the whole Fitzgerald investigation very seriously. Anyone see it? They could be just reflecting the congealing conventional wisdom among the kool kids or they may actually know something, but either way it signals a major shift in the winds.

Open Thread

To mourn a thread that is past and gone is the next way to draw new mischief on.

Sure, This Will Work


Congress passed the Real ID Act last May and gave states three years to implement it. It laid out minimum national standards for licenses, which will have to include a digital photo, anti-counterfeiting features and machine-readable technology.

States will have to verify all documents presented to support license applications, such as birth certificates, Social Security cards and utility bills, with the issuing agency, and will be required to link their license databases so they can all be accessed as a single network.


Another Real ID Act requirement is that a person's license and Social Security card must bear the same name, which must be the real name -- not a nickname or shortened version.

Bobo's World

Oregon Christian Coalition edition:

NEW YORK After news broke that local law enforcement officials were investigating complaints that Louis Beres, longtime chairman of the Christian Coalition of Oregon, had molested three female family members when they were pre-teens, The Oregonian in Portland went out and interviewed Beres' family members.

Two told reporters that Beres, indeed, had molested them. All three said they have been interviewed for several hours by detectives.

"I was molested," said one of the women, now in her early 50s. "I was victimized, and I've suffered all my life for it. I'm still afraid to be in the same room with [Beres]."

The coalition led by Beres, 70, champions socially conservative candidates and causes. Its Web site describes the group as "Oregon's leading grassroots organization defending our Godly heritage." The group opposes abortion, gay rights, and stem cell research. It is affiliated with the national Christian Coalition, which was founded in 1989 by television evangelist Pat Robertson.


Elizabeth Warren gives us the latest on the horrible bankruptcy bill.

Plame Game - the Early Years

I thought it'd be useful to back to the original WaPo article which had a senior administration official, as well as other sources apparently in the administration, ratting them out:

Yesterday, a senior administration official said that before Novak's column ran, two top White House officials called at least six Washington journalists and disclosed the identity and occupation of Wilson's wife. Wilson had just revealed that the CIA had sent him to Niger last year to look into the uranium claim and that he had found no evidence to back up the charge. Wilson's account touched off a political fracas over Bush's use of intelligence as he made the case for attacking Iraq.

"Clearly, it was meant purely and simply for revenge," the senior official said of the alleged leak.

Sources familiar with the conversations said the leakers were seeking to undercut Wilson's credibility. They alleged that Wilson, who was not a CIA employee, was selected for the Niger mission partly because his wife had recommended him. Wilson said in an interview yesterday that a reporter had told him that the leaker said, "The real issue is Wilson and his wife."

A source said reporters quoted a leaker as describing Wilson's wife as "fair game."

The official would not name the leakers for the record and would not name the journalists. The official said there was no indication that Bush knew about the calls.

One thing lost in all of this is that quite likely the senior administration official, as well as potentially the other "sources familiar with the conversations" have told everything they know to Fitzgerald.

And, the last part, the "not name the leakers for the record" bit, tells us that Mike Allen, who wrote the article, most likely knows the two senior administration officials named, even if he didn't have clearance to print it.

That doesn't mean this original reporting gets the whole story - whoever this official is may not have known or disclosed the whole story - but it's nonetheless worth reminding ourselves of.

Margaret Hearts Atrios

So flattered.

Balanced Journalism

One of the things I said repeatedly this weekend to various people is that that the press has been listening to the wrong type of criticism while ignoring more legitimate complaints. I have mixed feelings about whether the model of "balanced journalism" that we have in this country is really the best model, but the ultimate result matters more than some theoretical discussion about what the best model is. While I certainly think from my perspective that shrieks from the Right about "liberal bias" in the media have led to journalism being overly sympathetic to conservatives and Republicans, more important than the political tone of the coverage is the fact that the press has internalized the notion that the highest ideal is not to report the truth in a way which educates people, but the ideal of appearing unbiased. This isn't balance, it is simply braindead stenography. And, more importantly perhaps, it's the kind of braindead stenography which favors views and viewpoints which are backed by powerful well-funded interests. Anyone who can "catapult the propaganda" into the press can get their views legitimized, no matter how wrong.


Jodi Wilgoren tells us how she sees her job:

I don't consider myself a creationist. I don't have any interest in sharing my personal views on how the canyon was carved, mostly because I've spent almost no time pondering my personal views -- it takes all my energy as a reporter and writer to understand and explain my subjects' views fairly and thoroughly.

One of the complaints journalists have with bloggers is that they don't do "original reporting." But, now we see that "original reporting" has, for some journalists, become nothing more than finding people who have opinions on stuff and telling readers what those opinions are. And, amazingly, according to Wilgoren, she expends no effort in contemplating the credibility of those views. Apparently her editors are happy with this.

Jeebus. As PZ Myers writes:

Who needs facts, ideas, and research? The reporter's brain is like an empty sponge, free of content, which just soaks up everyone's opinions indiscriminately and without judgement, and is then wrung out over the pages of the newspaper. Actually thinking and evaluating those opinions in the light of evidence isn't possible with a sponge for a brain.

When did journalism come to this deplorable state?

When did the NY Times decide that porosity, permeability, and flocculence were important job qualifications?

I think this is what decades of redefining objective journalism as "journalism free of any perception of bias" has done to us. Reporters have decided their job is to simply have no opinions on anything, or at least pretend to. They pretend to take themselves out of it entirely. I don't think they really have no opinions, but they nonetheless feel the need to do their jobs in such a way as to pretend this is the case. Of course, whenever there's beltway "conventional wisdom" on a subject they feel free to violate this even when that conventional wisdom is bollocks.


Congrats to Aumann and Schelling for receiving this year's Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2005, commonly known as the Nobel Prize in Economics.

While certainly aware of both of their work - Aumann's stuff filters into any graduate student's microeconomics training and Schelling tends to show up in a variety of places - the closest tie to what I did in my former life was Schelling's work on segregation. His basic insight, which has much broader implications than the narrow context of housing segregation which was the focus, is that even very mild preferences for living with one's "own kind," however defined, will tend to result in stark segregation by type.

More info from Sawicky and Cowen here and here.

The Colbert Report

Howie has a pretty good article on the show that will keep us up 'till midnight.

When Colbert talks about skewering hypocrites, he makes clear that, like Stewart, he cares about politics as more than a punch line. He recalls Vice President Cheney, in a CNBC interview last year, being asked about having said it was "pretty well confirmed" that terrorist Mohammed Atta had met with an Iraqi official in Prague -- part of a White House attempt to demonstrate a link between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda. Cheney denied making the comment, but "The Daily Show" later aired a tape of a 2001 "Meet the Press" interview in which the vice president had said the Atta meeting was "pretty well confirmed."

"When Dick Cheney says, 'I never said that,' and then we play the tape, why did we do it?" Colbert says. "Why wasn't it done broadly? Because he wasn't speaking about something inconsequential. It wasn't like we were playing gotcha journalism over some quibble. It was over weapons of mass destruction. That's not advocacy journalism. That's objectivity in its most raw form."

Open Thread

Thread more than thou showest, thread less than thou knowest, thread less than thou owest.

Open Thread

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your thread; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Not Bad for a Chick

So says Brit Hume.


Joe's priorities.

It's important to note that this is about celebrating the National Review's birthday, 50 years ago. So, it's not simply about honoring its present-day incarnation, but also its early history.

National Review editorial, 8/24/1957, 4:7, pp. 148-9: The most important event of the past three weeks was the remarkable and unexpected vote by the Senate to guarantee to defendants in a criminal contempt action the privilege of a jury trial. That vote does not necessarily affirm a citizen's intrinsic rights: trial by jury in contempt actions, civil or criminal, is not an American birthright, and it cannot, therefore, be maintained that the Senate's vote upheld, pure and simple, the Common Law.

What the Senate did was to leave undisturbed the mechanism that spans the abstractions by which a society is guided and the actual, sublunary requirements of the individual community. In that sense, the vote was a conservative victory. For the effect of it is--and let us speak about it bluntly--to permit a jury to modify or waive the law in such circumstances as, in the judgment of the jury, require so grave an interposition between the law and its violator.

What kind of circumstances do we speak about? Again, let us speak frankly. The South does not want to deprive the Negro of a vote for the sake of depriving him of the vote. Political scientists assert that minorities do not vote as a unit. Women do not vote as a bloc, they contend; nor do Jews, or Catholics, or laborers, or nudists--nor do Negroes; nor will the enfranchised Negroes of the South.

If that is true, the South will not hinder the Negro from voting--why should it, if the Negro vote, like the women's, merely swells the volume, but does not affect the ratio, of the vote? In some parts of the South, the White community merely intends to prevail on any issue on which there is corporate disagreement between Negro and White. The White community will take whatever measures are necessary to make certain that it has its way.

What are the issues? Is school integration one? The NAACP and others insist that the Negroes as a unit want integrated schools. Others disagree, contending that most Negroes approve the social sepaation of the races. What if the NAACP is correct, and the matter comes to a vote in a community in which Negroes predominate? The Negroes would, according to democratic processes, win the election; but that is the kind of situation the White community will not permit. The White community will not count the marginal Negro vote. The man who didn't count it will be hauled up before a jury, he will plead not guilty, and the jury, upon deliberation, will find him not guilty. A federal judge, in a similar situation, might find the defendant guilty, a judgment which would affirm the law and conform with the relevant political abstractions, but whose consequences might be violent and anarchistic.

The central question that emerges--and it is not a parliamentary question or a question that is answered by meerely consulting a catalog of the rights of American citizens, born Equal--is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not predominate numerically? The sobering answer is Yes--the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced ace. It is not easy, and it is unpleasant, to adduce statistics evidencing the median cultural superiority of White over Negro: but it is fact that obtrudes, one that cannot be hidden by ever-so-busy egalitarians and anthropologists. The question, as far as the White community is concerned, is whether the claims of civilization supersede those of universal suffrage. The British believe they do, and acted accordingly, in Kenya, where the choice was dramatically one between civilization and barbarism, and elsewhere; the South, where the conflict is byno means dramatic, as in Kenya, nevertheless perceives important qualitative differences between its culture and the Negroes', and intends to assert its own.

National Review believes that the South's premises are correct. If the majority wills what is socially atavistic, then to thwart the majority may be, though undemocratic, enlightened. It is more important for any community, anywhere in the world, to affirm and live by civilized standards, than to bow to the demands of the numerical majority. Sometimes it becomes impossible to assert the will of a minority, in which case it must give way, and the society will regress; sometimes the numberical minority cannot prevail except by violence: then it must determine whether the prevalence of its will is worth the terrible price of violence.

The axiom on which many of the arguments supporting the original version of the Civil Rights bill were based was Universal Suffrage. Everyone in America is entitled to the vote, period. No right is prior to that, no obligation subordinate to it; from this premise all else proceeds.

That, of course, is demagogy. Twenty-year-olds do not generally have the vote, and it is not seriously argued that the difference between 20 and 21-year-olds is the difference between slavery and freedom. The residents of the District of Columbia do not vote: and the population of D.C. increases by geometric proportion. Millions who have the vote do not care to exercise it; millions who have it do not know how to exercise it and do not care to learn. The great majorit of the Negroes of the South who do not vote do not care to vote, and would not know for what to vote if they could. Overwhelming numbers of White people in the South do not vote. Universal suffrage is not the beginning of wisdom or the beginning of freedom. Reasonable limitations upon the vote are not exclusively the recommendations of tyrants or oligarchists (was Jefferson either?). The problem in the South is not how to get the vote for the Negro, but how to equip the Negro--and a great many Whites--to cast an enlightened and responsible vote.

The South confronts one grave moral challenge. It must not exploit the fact of Negro backwardness to preserve the Negro as a servile class. It is tempting and convenient to block the progress of a minority whose services, as menials, are economically useful. Let the South never permit itself to do this. So long as it is merely asserting the right to impose superior mores for whatever period it takes to effect a genuine cultural equality between the races, and so long as it does so by humane and charitable means, the South is in step with civilization, as is the Congress that permits it to function.

Joe! Joe! Joe!

Open Thread

Thread more than thou showest, thread less than thou knowest, thread less than thou owest.

Gold Buggery

It's true that gold has hit its highest price since 1988, but controlling for inflation it's actually worth about 40% less than it was then.

Going Local

Greensboro, where I was over the weekend, is notable for its thriving blogging community. There are a lot of local bloggers who focus a great degree on local issues, and there's interaction with the local paper and candiates. Greensboro101 is the aggregator, and they're even trying (and succeeding) to sell ads to local businesses, something not all that appropriate for a "national" blog.

The emergence and growth of "local blogging" is I think the vital next step for a variety of reasons which I'll get around to discussing eventually. First, I started to think about what local bloggers can contribute to local media, which led me to start thinking about what was lacking in my local media - what I wanted from the local newspapers that I'm not getting.

What I would like in my fantasy newspaper is a paper which tells the story of Philadelphia. As with any city or town, big or small, it's like an epic novel with a giant cast of characters. There are villains and heroes, the powerful and the weak, rising stars and has-beens. The characters aren't just people, they're also institutions and neighborhoods and buildings and streets and buses. Everyone and everything has a fascinating backstory, and new characters enter all the time. There's politics and crime and gossip and intrigue and tragedy. A great newspaper would be telling a great story, with a new eagerly awaited chapter every day. I want to read that story, and it's not being told comprehensively enough.

Blogger Ethics

CBS shows us how it's done.


Interesting. Getler takes a parting shot at the editors (and, no, not The Editors).

As I've noted in previous columns, The Post contributed a fair number of stories that raised questions about the issue of weapons of mass destruction. But too many of these were placed well inside the paper. Several other stories that challenged the official wisdom and unfolded in public were either missed or played down. I have attributed this mostly to what seemed to me to be a lack of alertness on the part of editors who at the time were also undoubtedly focused on preparing for the coming war.

Editors up and down the line are the key to this and, in my view, at times are the weak link between reporters and readers. Reporters are as good as they've ever been. But editors set the tone. They should be experienced and as informed as reporters. They need to contribute to, and transmit, the sense that there are very important stories out there -- whether war or health care or budget deficits or other subjects that affect our lives and future -- and that there is a determination and commitment to get to the bottom of them in a timely fashion.

The prewar Iraq situation also provided a unique test because the subject was complicated and classified. The administration was enormously skillful and disciplined at getting its message across while keeping other things secret. It made effective use of our concerns and reactions to the scary post-Sept. 11 world. Some journalists or news organizations may have been intimidated by the atmosphere. I don't think The Post was.

Rather, it seemed to me that editors didn't have their eye on, and didn't go for, the right ball at the right time. It's a lesson that ought to be etched in the culture here as deeply as Watergate.

(via the Sideshow)

Memories of an Interview

Carole Coleman:

At the studio I handed over the tapes. My phone rang. It was MC, and her voice was cold.

“We just want to say how disappointed we are in the way you conducted the interview,” she said.

“How is that?” I asked.

“You talked over the president, not letting him finish his answers.”

“Oh, I was just moving him on,” I said, explaining that I wanted some new insight from him, not two-year-old answers.

“He did give you plenty of new stuff.”

She estimated that I had interrupted the president eight times and added that I had upset him. I was upset too, I told her. The line started to break up; I was in a basement with a bad phone signal. I took her number and agreed to call her back. I dialled the White House number and she was on the line again.

“I’m here with Colby,” she indicated.


“You were given an opportunity to interview the leader of the free world and you blew it,” she began.

I was beginning to feel as if I might be dreaming. I had naively believed the American president was referred to as the “leader of the free world” only in an unofficial tongue-in-cheek sort of way by outsiders, and not among his closest staff.

“You were more vicious than any of the White House press corps or even some of them up on Capitol Hill . . .The president leads the interview,” she said.

“I don’t agree,” I replied, my initial worry now turning to frustration. “It’s the journalist’s job to lead the interview.”

It was suggested that perhaps I could edit the tapes to take out the interruptions, but I made it clear that this would not be possible.

As the conversation progressed, I learnt that I might find it difficult to secure further co-operation from the White House. A man’s voice then came on the line. Colby, I assumed. “And, it goes without saying, you can forget about the interview with Laura Bush.”

(via Gilliard)

Judy Judy Judy

Billmon's latest take. He gives us the important reminder that Judy is probably more than free to tell us exactly what the prosecutor is interested in.


What Max said. The Medicare drug bill is going to be a nightmare for all involved and the Democrats should get out in front to remind people just who created that monstrosity.

Open Thread

The thread 's the thing wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king!

Sad Times at the Times

The Jayson Blair scandal was never the big deal that the mediocracy made it out to be. Young reporter makes some mostly harmless stuff up and does his reporting while watching TV. Compared to the much more serious (and much more interesting) Jack Kelley scandal at USA Today, or the Times' own problems with Jeff Gerth's various misdeeds and Judy's WMD reporting, it really was a minor event which should've amounted to nothing more than an amusing sideshow. But, as David Corn writes, the credibility of the entire organization is on the line:

Reading the Times on this critical story has unfortunately become like reading a state-owned newspaper on the conduct of its government-owner. Why cannot the Times tell us how these "newly discovered" notes were discovered? Or what they say? As HuffPost Head Honcho Arianna Huffington has noted once or twice, Time's Matt Cooper has told much--though not all--about his involvement in the case. Yet the Times comes up with a formulation bordering on magic--"newly discovered"--to describe (without explaining) the appearance of new evidence in this case.

Karl Rove or other top Bush officials may be staring down the barrel of an indictment. This all could become the Big Story of the day. Yet the Times seems to have tied itself up in a straitjacket. Why? To protect Judy Miller? To protect itself from Judy Miller? I don't know. Prior to the Plame/CIA leak scandal (a.k.a. the Rove scandal), Miller had already tainted the paper's reputation in a more significant manner than had Blair with her war-greasing stories on WMDs in Iraq that--whaddayaknow--didn't exist. These days she appears to be causing the Times to screw up its coverage of the most significant scandal yet to strike the Bush administration. Now this, we can say, is a journalist who has an impact.

Praying for Terrorism

It's hard not to notice just how excited a certain segment of wingnuttia gets whenever there's a terrorism alert. Their worldview has taken a beating lately, and as for many of them there political worldview is entirely shaped by the events of 9/11, a few dead New Yorkers might just help make them feel that sense of importance they oddly latched onto after 9/11.

JimmyJeff Goes Dancing

If I were writing the novel the cockheaded manwhore would indeed be at the center of it all.

Open Thread

How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is to have a thankless thread!

Open Thread

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your thread; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.

Open Thread

Cry "Thread," and let slip the dogs of war.