Saturday, December 10, 2005

Open Thread

Wish I could thread.

Open Thread

Threads aren't just cute like everybody supposes.

More Joementum

10/4/2003 Washington Post:

In the day's sharpest attack, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (D-Conn.) accused Bush of deceiving Americans over everything from national security to helping the poor. "There has been one value repeatedly missing from this presidency, and that value is integrity," Lieberman said. "By deception and disarray, this White House has betrayed the just cause of fighting terrorism and tyranny around the world." Leaking the CIA employee's name "was the politics of personal destruction at its worst," he said.

Joementum Into Hypocrisy

Lieberman Wednesday:

It’s time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge that he will be the commander in chief for three more critical years and that in matters of war we undermine presidential credibility at our nation’s peril.

Lieberman when he was running for president (oh, I miss those times, all the laughs he provided):

In our democracy, a president does not rule, he governs. He remains always answerable to us, the people. And right now, the president’s conduct of our foreign policy is giving the country too many reasons to question his leadership. It’s not just about 16 words in a speech, it is about distorting intelligence and diminishing credibility.

On Holy Joe

From Ailes.

Early Money

In politics early money matters. For a variety of reasons I tend to shy away from contested primaries, though that policy is always subject to change, but I really hope that people are starting to consider giving early and often to their favorite candidates. Once we get into the new year I'll be more aggressively encouraging people to donate.

Something I was shocked to discover is just how humiliating running for congress is. You're basically encouraged to chain yourself to the phone to make fundraising calls for several hours per day. It's a horrible kind of politics. Every minute spent on the phone is a minute which can't be used to do the kind of meet and greet retail politics which we'd like to think is more important than politics by advertising.

The way to help change this process just a little bit is to give to candidates online. The way to encourage them to spend their time out among the public is to show up when they do, and donate when you can. I, for one, would love it if some of those hours on the phone could be replaced in part by more small donation public events.

The politicians still need the money, so let's help them find ways to get it which don't involve turning them into full time telemarketers.

Local Fundraiser

For Philly folk Patrick Murphy will be at a happy hour type event at the Happy Rooster (16th & Sansom), this Wedneday 5-7.

I've met Patrick a few times and he's a good guy. The primary is still contested. His opponent is Andrew Warren, who until recently was a Republican and either switched parties because was unhappy with its direction or because they didn't slot him in as the candidate in another congressional race.

Both candidates have been participating in Good Works PAC events which involve candidates campaigning by having them and their supporters engage in various public service activities.

I have no idea who, if anybody, the Power that Be support or if you should care.

Not Understanding Innovation

The stupids go to Europe:

Heavyweights like Nokia and Microsoft on one hand, and the grass-roots Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure on the other, are making common cause against wide-ranging legislation proposed by the European Commission that would criminalize all intellectual property infringements, including patents. The law would provide blanket protection to all forms of intellectual property through the 25 countries of the union.


"It's never black and white," he said of patents. "Sometimes third-party patents are so weak that I advise managers to go ahead and innovate because after making a risk analysis we feel we can safely challenge the existing patent."

He added, "But with this law, even if I'm certain the existing patent is no good, the manager involved would be criminally liable."


"This law doesn't make much sense for anyone in the patent world," Mr. Pilch said.

The commission, however, takes the opposite view. "Regarding the substance of the proposal, our view is the reverse of the people you have been speaking to," said Friso Roscam Abbing, a commission spokesman on justice-related issues. "We believe that we need to protect innovators, therefore we want to send a strong signal to those people infringing intellectual property that they face criminal sanctions."

Innovators generally don't work in isolation, they build upon previous work. In fact, part of the patent bargain is that in exchange for getting temporary monopoly rights to the use of your innovation you have to make public just what that innovation is. Patent issues are almost never 100% clear and any inventor is potentially going to be inadvertently violating patents. If they do it make sense that they should have to compensate the original patent holder, but criminalizing such activity would put half the tech community, including the makers of Blackberry, in jail.

Poll #s

It was truly bizarre to watch the media fall all over themselves over the last couple of days to point out Bush's approval ratings have soared to...42%. On the Today show they touted the little bounce in the New York Times/CBS poll (up from 35) despite the fact that they had never previously mentioned the 35% number from the earlier poll

Open Thread

Why do people keep coming to these threads because it's not the snacks.

Open Thread

So when do we destroy the thread already?

Friday, December 09, 2005

Not Just Booby

Jay Rosen discusses the myth that is Woodward. Short version of one of his points is that Woodward doesn't even bother to talk to the dissenters. As Jane writes:

Plan of Attack, Woodward conducted 75 interviews, all of them anonymously sourced except for two -- Bush and Rumsfeld. Nowhere in the book is mention made of, say, Richard Clarke. How are we supposed to evaluate the veracity of this information? Obviously the opinions of dissenters were not cultivated. I can't imagine historians are going to look back on this and view it as the valuable piece of insight Woody imagines it to be -- more like a sadly deluded hagiography by a purveyor of celebrity journalism who couldn't see the abject corruption of the worst administration in US history for his close proximity to it.

But the reason Booby can get away with this is kind of thing has to do with the general culture of Beltway journalism in which Republican "senior administration officials" are privileged over all else. The motives of their critics are called into question much more than the officials themselves. The beltway media for the most part treated claims by people like DiIulio, O'Neill, Clarke, and even the gentle tepid claims by former media darling Whitman, with extreme prejudice. It's the journalism that is valued by the people who matter.

Open Thread

The thread I bear is scorching me.


Wildmon not happy with Foxman.


Oh the shitty shitty people who lead us:

Angela Merkel and Condoleezza Rice were doing a good job of healing the rift between Germany and the US last Tuesday, until Germany's new chancellor made a serious diplomatic gaffe.

The US secretary of state had admitted the kidnap of a German citizen by the American security services was a mistake, Ms Merkel said. As soon as the press conference was over US officials denied Ms Rice has said any such thing.

So it wasn't a mistake to kidnap a German citizen and lock him up secretly for five months even though he wasn't even the guy you thought he was?

I guess the Bush administration truly is infallible.

Doing her Duty

Single Mother off to Iraq:

While most of her friends and neighbors are amusing themselves with Christmas decorations and holiday gifts, Patricia Arndt is fretting over far more serious matters.

The single mother from Medford has been unexpectedly pulled from the inactive Army reserve and ordered to report for active duty by Feb. 5.

As Christmas nears, Arndt, 43, is trying to sell the Medford home she says she will not be able to keep on an Army salary of approximately $60,000 a year, and is searching for someone to care for her 13-year-old son, Shane. She expects to train for an 18-month tour of duty that could take her to Iraq or Afghanistan.

She said she never saw her return to active duty as a possibility. "Never in a million years," she said.

Jonah Goldberg on why he won't go fight in the war he supported:

As for why my sorry a** isn't in the kill zone, lots of people think this is a searingly pertinent question. No answer I could give -- I'm 35 years old, my family couldn't afford the lost income, I have a baby daughter, my a** is, er, sorry, are a few -- ever seem to suffice.

Glenn Reynolds on his own personal war ennui:

I was tired of the war before the invasion of Iraq and my involvement has been rather more peripheral than GWB's.

Friday Night News Dump?

Things seemed oddly quiet today. Wonder if something's coming. Predictions?


Poor Joe.

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), yesterday on the Bill Press Show: “I’ve spoken to Joe Lieberman and he knows he’s out there alone. I mean, literally alone. Joe is a fine man, he has strong feelings, but he’s just alone. Even Republicans don’t agree with Joe.”


O'Reilly named worser and worst.

Open Thread

There's nothing we can't face except for threads.


Obviously one can't fully comment until the full article is out, but I'm worried Michael Crowley may have missed an important point. E&P preview:

Crowley, a New Republic writer, claims that with the 2006 elections approaching, Democrats are now “trying to use blogs more strategically.” But he concludes by embracing the view of Matt Stoller, an activist who ran a blog for Sen. Jon Corzine during his 2005 race for governor of New Jersey, who believes that next year conservative bloggers “will certain have an upper hand.” Crowley adds: “Again.”

He had opened his piece citing a recent example in New Jersey where talk-radio picked up on personal charges against Corzine airing on conservative blogs, which then caused “damage” to the campaign. “To Stoller, it was proof of how conservatives have mastered the art of using blogs as a deadly campaign weapon,” Crowley writes. Yet Corzine won the election easily anyway.

In fact, Crowley admits that his argument for conservative blog supremacy may seem “counterintuitive,” noting the Howard Dean phenomenon in early 2004 and heavy Web traffic numbers for liberal blogs such as DailyKos. (He does not mention that studies of online traffic show that, overall, there are more highly-popular liberal blogs than conservative ones.) But he explains that “Democrats say there’s a key difference between liberals and conservatives online. Liberals use the Web to air ideas and vent grievances with one another, often ripping into Democratic leaders….Conservatives, by contrast, skillfully use the Web to provide maximum benefit for their issues and candidates.”

Crowley then comments that what really makes the conservative blogs allegedly more effective is the infrastructure provided by Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and others--"all of which are quick to pass on the latest tidbit from the blogosphere."

In a sense conservative blogs are more effective because both the massive right wing media and the mainstream media (remember Kurtz inviting Assrocket on to discuss his picked entirely out of his ass theory that the Republican Schiavo talking point memo was a Democratic forgery) are willing to pick up and retransmit their bullshit. So, the right wing wankosphere are yet another cog in the massive right wing media operation, and in accordance with the self-similiarty of the wingnut function, basically identical in all but scale.

But the liberal blogosphere is a much greater value added for our side because we have such a shitty media infrastructure. If all the wingnut blogs disappeared tomorrow it really wouldn't have any impact on the national discourse. Sure they're there and the Right is better at using them but they don't really *need* them. They have plenty of other ways to launder their horseshit.

Rummy Dum Dum

I don't know what's more disturbing - that Rumsfeld is lying when he claims that he doesn't know of anybody who made cost, casualty, and length predictions about the war or that THE FUCKING SECRETARY OF DEFENSE DIDN'T THINK IT WAS IMPORTANT TO MAKE COST, CASUALTY, AND LENGTH PREDICTIONS ABOUT THE WAR. That isn't to say those predictions would have to be perfect, but at least you would, you know, make them for planning purposes.

War, you betcha. Let's do it! We'll worry about the details later. SHOCK AND AWE BABY!

Exciting Tivo Fun

My Tivo just updated itself and now has lots of new exciting features including accessing podcasts and internet radio. Nice that Tivo has gotten smart and realized they have a box connected to your computer, your TV, and the internet and that they can do lots of fun things with that.

Can It Really Be That Bad?

The big question facing us all is just how could Springtime For Hitler Media be as bad as it is?

Open Thread

She does pretty well with threads from hell.

It's not a bug, it's a feature!

Our NotTorture interrogation techniques were based on Soviet-era methods which were designed to obtain false confessions.

They worked!


An awesome rap!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Open Thread

When the apocalypse comes... thread me.

Open Thread

The thread I bear is scorching me.

More Syriana

Digby offers up a much more positive review of Syriana. I won't say that I've been convinced to change my mind and heartily endorse the film, but Digby does provide a more compelling description of the movie. Digby's review gets at quite well just what the movie was aiming to be. To me it didn't quite succeed at achieiving its vision. Still it's certainly good enough to provoke conversation.

Under the Radar

I just watched Rep. Duncan (R-TN) give a speech on the House floor. He didn't really say anything himself, but instead quoted from a laundry list of pre-war op-eds by conservatives opposing the war.

I hadn't had him on the list of pissed off about the war Republicans, but apparently it's a slightly larger list than I thought. 4 House Republicans have signed on to co-sponsor a get out resolution with Dennis Kucinich - Ron Paul, Freedom Fries Jones, Gregory Meeks, John Duncan, and Wayne Gilchrist.

Republicans in Favor of "Culture of Corruption"

Funny. Pelosi introduced a resolution to denounce the culture of corruption in the House, specifically all the times the Republicans broke the rules. Unsurprisingly, the Republicans refused to support the resolution and are therefore on the record as being pro-corruption.

...Josh has some of the text.

Shorter Dalton Conley

I should not have written that a man should be able to get an injunction against a woman having an abortion when what I meant was that he should only be able to get such an injunction by paying just compensation for the temporary seizure of the women's uterus as determined by independent arbitration.

What. A. Wanker.

Occasional Reminder

Whenever I write one of these posts people always assume something has annoyed me or that I'm whining or being ungrateful or something. I'm not doing any of these things. I just think it's a useful service to provide now and then.

1) My blog doesn't exist to promote your business, your pet cause, your blog, etc... and I'm under no obligation to do so. Having said that I'm always open to hearing about cool and interesting things.

2) If you want to my attention or that of other bloggers the worst way to do it is to send an email which says "please check out my blog" or "please blogroll me." The best way to do it is to send a link to a particular post and include the content of the post in the email. I'm much more likely to read it then.

3) While I read a lot of blogs I don't, as some imagine, have the entire blogosphere jacked into my head. There's lots of good stuff out there that I'm not aware of. I can't read everything.

4) If you're thinking about starting a blog to make money, don't. If you start a blog and manage to make money, great.

5) If you're upset that your blog "only" gets 2000 hits per day you have a strange expectations. You Command An Audience of Two Thousand People Every Day. Holy shit! That's a lot. Nothing wrong with wanting more, but it's still pretty incredible. On 9/11, a record day for him then, Instapundit got about 5000 hits.

6) To have a very high traffic blog a necessary condition is that you post consistently a lot. It means that great writers who take a lot of time to craft their prose are unlikely to have a high traffic blog. That is not unfair or wrong or anything, that's just not how you generate consistently high traffic. If you are a tremendous writer who spends lots of time crafting your prose, blogging is perhaps not the best medium for you except as a useful tool for self promotion if your goal is high daily readership.

7) It's quite possible that you have a wonderfully interesting blog to other people that doesn't actually interest me much. I have my own idiosyncratic interests and preferences. Maybe the layout bothers me. Maybe I have a hard time reading it for some reason. Maybe there's something about your writing that rubs me the wrong way. Maybe your focus just doesn't interest me. There's no reason I need to be a fan.

8) Presumably bloggers with less traffic get slightly less email than bloggers with more traffic. It may be easier to get their attention with something good. That should not be interpreted to mean that I'm discouraging people from emailing me, just that I can't always process all of the email I get.

9) If all of the "elite" bloggers and the DLC have conspired to opppress the True Progressive Voices of the Internets then no one has let me in on the plan, and certainly no one has given me a lot of money to help make it happen.


Time for another conference on blogger ethics.

5... 4... 3... 2... 1...

SHITSTORM. Mike Wallace:

Q. President George W. Bush has declined to be interviewed by you. What would you ask him if you had the chance?

A. What in the world prepared you to be the commander in chief of the largest superpower in the world? In your background, Mr. President, you apparently were incurious. You didn't want to travel. You knew very little about the military. . . . The governor of Texas doesn't have the kind of power that some governors have. . . . Why do you think they nominated you? . . . Do you think that has anything to do with the fact that the country is so [expletive] up?

Have Your Fitzukah Menorahs Ready

Maybe light a couple of candles.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald spent more than an hour Thursday morning at a law firm representing Viveca Novak, a Time magazine reporter whose testimony was being sought in the CIA leak case.
Fitzgerald and an associate emerged from the office of attorney Hank Schuelke at 11:30 a.m. ET, declined to answer questions and rode away in a taxi cab. A short time later, a court stenographer left the building.

An hour later, Schuelke escorted Novak from the building and helped her flag a taxi. He declined comment when asked if she had provided sworn testimony in Fitzgerald's investigation of the leak of an undercover CIA agent's identity.

And lots and lots of Manischewitz.

Dean Supreme

John Judis points to all the moments when Cassandra Dean was correct on Iraq, and almost universally blasted at the time.

The marginalization of pessimism on Iraq, not just by right wing hacks and pundits but by mainstream journalism has always inhibited conversation on the subject. You're simply not allowed to do anything but clap louder.

I know there were a couple more examples of this but I've only managed to find one so far. When Dean made his "gaffe" that capturing Saddam Hussein didn't make the country any safer a few Washington types expressed a version of "he's absolutely right but he still shouldn't have said it because we're going to attack him for it anyway!" I give you Sam Donaldson:

DONALDSON: Let me tell you something. I think Howard Dean deserves the bad press. And I'm not against him. I'm not making a case against him.

That one phase, "America is not safer because of Saddam's capture," in context you know what he's saying, which is the war on terrorism is a wide-ranging war in the future and this will not really affect that. But someone on his staff should have said, "Don't use that phrase because every headline and writer, every Donaldson, everybody on television will stick it out, and it's just the wrong message.

Car Share

After being carless for about 2 1/2 years the Atrios household signed up for Philly Car Share. For $15/month per household membership fee you get access to a bunch of cars parked in various spots around town. There's an online reservation system and once you've reserved you just go pick your car at the correct time. There's no paperwork or anything when you do so, you just unlock the car with the electronic gizmo they give you and drive away. Cars are mostly hybrid vehicles which are interesting to drive. You pay $5.90 per hour for the time you reserved, and an additional 9 cents per mile. Gas, insurance, etc.. are included in that. Overnight and daily rates are cheaper.

We've only used it a couple of times so far but we've been quite happy. It's much more convenient than normal car rental, and not really any more expensive (yes you can get bargain daily rentals frequently but if you don't own a car you don't have any insurance so you end up paying the car rental insurance rates on top of that). Useful for those occasional trips to the burbs or to anywhere a cab or public transit isn't a good option.

Feingold to Filibuster

This should be interesting:

Statement of U.S. Senator Russ Feingold

On the Patriot Act Conference Report

“I will do everything I can, including a filibuster, to stop this Patriot Act conference report, which does not include adequate safeguards to protect our constitutional freedoms. The version of the Patriot Act that was signed today is a major disappointment. I appreciate that it includes four-year sunsets on three controversial provisions, but merely sunsetting bad law is not adequate. We need to make substantive changes to the law, and without those changes I am confident there will be strong, bipartisan opposition here in the Senate.

This isn't about stopping Patriot Act reauthorization. The President could sign Patriot Act reauthorization legislation into law tomorrow if the House would just take up and pass the compromise Senate bill that was approved unanimously in the Senate earlier this year – a bill that includes important and reasonable privacy protections. The conference committee had the opportunity to fix many of the provisions of the Patriot Act to which Americans across the political spectrum have voiced their opposition over the last four years. Unfortunately, they decided not to listen. This battle is not over.

McCain Hearts Little Ricky

Click the link to see some hot McCain on Santorum action.


Well, we all knew this to be true but now they can't even pretend to deny it anymore:

WASHINGTON — Although Bush administration officials have denied that they transfer terrorism suspects to countries where they are likely to be abused, a classified memorandum described in a court case indicates that the Pentagon has considered sending a captured militant abroad to be interrogated under threat of torture.

The classified memo is summarized — its actual contents are blacked out — in a petition filed by attorneys for Majid Mahmud Abdu Ahmad, a detainee held by the Pentagon at its Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, facility.

The March 17, 2004, Defense Department memo indicated that American officials were frustrated in trying to obtain information from Ahmad, according to the description of the classified memo in the court petition. The officials suggested sending Ahmad to an unspecified foreign country that employed torture in order to increase chances of extracting information from him, according to the petition's description of the memo.

The precise contents of the Pentagon memo on Ahmad were not revealed, but the memo was described in the petition by New York attorney Marc D. Falkoff, who contested the transfer of Ahmad and 12 other Yemenis in U.S. District Court in Washington this year.

Falkoff's description was not disputed by U.S. government lawyers or by U.S. District Judge Rosemary M. Collyer, who read the actual Pentagon document. The judge ruled in favor of the Yemenis on March 12, and Ahmad has not been transferred from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.

The memo appears to call into question repeated assertions by the administration that it does not use foreign governments to abuse suspected militants — what critics call "torture by proxy."

Pentagon officials did not return calls Wednesday seeking comment on the memo.

Ruining Christmas

I know it's all extraordinarily silly, but the wingnuts have succeeded in taking something which most people find to be quite a nice holiday, whether a secular or religious one, and politicized the shit out of it. I don't give a shit whether people say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays or pass the vodka or whatever. The basic reason I tend to say happy holidays for most of the month of December is that it feels pretty stupid saying "Merry Christmas" when it's a month away from the actual date. Come Christmas I'll be wishing everyone a "Merry Christmas," but on December 1?

CNN, in its neverending quest to out-Fox Fox, just did another goddamn segment on this fake "controversy."


I guess if you take the average of upernoz's review and with John's that's about where I fell. I appreciate what the movie was aiming for, and that the ambgiuities in the movie were part of the point. But for that to work the audience has to be really drawn into the movie, almost feel a part of it, to feel those ambiguities. I found the movie really distanced itself from the audience and so people were just left scratching their heads instead of feeling as if they were part of the insanity.'s the transcript of an interview with Robert Baer about the movie.

He's Stupid And He's Ugly And Nobody Likes Him

Hilarious when the preznit can't even get people to come hear him speak... in Washington.

Fitzukah is Coming!


Randall D. Eliason, who headed public corruption prosecutions in the U.S. attorney's office in Washington, said Fitzgerald would not go through the trouble of repeating information to a new grand jury unless he is considering criminal charges or there are significant, potentially criminal matters he wants to resolve.

"The fact that Fitzgerald is going through the effort to re-present is certainly a sign that the investigation is active," Eliason said.

Jane has more.

How the Jews Stole Christmas

I'd been meaning to write that as a parody title, but it's no longer a parody. From Clown Hall:

I am getting the idea that too many Jews won't be happy until they pull off their own version of the Spanish Inquisition, forcing Christians to either deny their faith and convert to agnosticism or suffer the consequences.

(via Ailes)


And another one falls:

Businessman may get plea deal in SunCruz case and testify against powerful lobbyist

By Sean Gardiner
Staff Writer
Posted December 8 2005

New York businessman Adam Kidan is expected to plead guilty next week to federal conspiracy and wire fraud charges in connection with the purchase of the SunCruz gambling fleet from entrepreneur Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis, according to sources close to the case.

If the deal goes through, Kidan, who was looking at up to 30 years in prison, could now face a maximum of 10 years. That sentence could be reduced depending upon the extent of his cooperation as a witness, not only against his co-defendant -- embattled super lobbyist Jack Abramoff -- but also in the prosecution of three men charged in the Feb. 6, 2001, slaying of Boulis, the sources said.

Under the plea deal, Kidan would testify against Abramoff, his longtime friend and mentor. Abramoff is also at the center of several Justice Department investigations alleging improper donations and gifts being accepted by members of Congress.

The loan fraud case can be traced to 1999 when the government forced Boulis to sell his controversial SunCruz gambling fleet by using an obscure shipping law prohibiting non-U.S. citizens from owning maritime interests. One of Boulis' lawyers put him in touch with Abramoff to help find potential buyers. Abramoff met Kidan years earlier through a young Republicans club in Washington, D.C., while Kidan was a college undergraduate and Abramoff a law school student. Liking what he saw in the SunCruz deal, he asked Kidan if he wanted to become a partner.

Jack's turn...

Open Thread

There's nothing we can't face except for threads.

Open Thread

I don't care what time it is, unlock his cell, unstrap him, and bring him to the thread!

Islamic Empire

Cohen's relatively reasonable today, but aside from that I want to highlight this bit:

But I do not fear the emergence of a vast, radical Islamic empire stretching from Granada to Jakarta, and neither do I believe that toppling Hussein dealt a blow to terrorists or made the United States one iota safer.

When I lived in London I rented a room from a guy who had been in the RAF for a long time and worked in a civilian capacity for the British MOD after that. One story he told me - and this was before 9/11 of course - was how immediately after the collapse of the Soviet Union a bunch of hardheaded military/foreign policy types were obsessed with the idea that the fall of the Soviet Union would enable its Muslim parts to unite with the rest of the Muslim world to form a united pan-Muslim empire.

This guy thought all this was incredibly silly, and it was the first I'd ever heard of it, but the concept has driven a lot of the thinking of the lunatics who run our foreign policy. What's amazing to me is how quickly they came up with it once the old enemy died.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Lawyering Up

May be nothing, but Viveca Novak lawyered up.

Muck the Fets



Oh it just gets better and better.

Open Thread

I realize every thread comes with an expiration mark on the package, but I want mine to be a long time from now, like a Cheeto.

Open Thread

Well, our old thread was just fine 'til you went and had it burned down.

Open Thread

I realize every thread comes with an expiration mark on the package, but I want mine to be a long time from now, like a Cheeto.

Ford: Where Hating the Gay is Job One

Anyone else have any good ideas for slogans to give Ford's marketing department? Now that they're rebranding themselves as an adjunct of a lunatic hate group they're going to need them.

...uh, looks like John's campaign may be working a bit too well.

DETROIT, Dec 7 (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co. (F.N: Quote, Profile, Research) plans to cut 25,000 to 30,000 jobs in North America within five years and close at least 10 plants, according to a report in the Detroit News on Wednesday.

Daily Show to Roast O'Falafel

Should be fun.

Open Thread

We saved the thread. I say we have to party.


Boehlert on the Al-Arian verdict:

nyway, the case turned out to be colossal flop, with the feds presenting a confusing mish-mash of jumbled transcripts and a mountain of circumstantial evidence that, according to press accounts, bored the jury to tears. The prosecution took nearly five months to present its case, which included testimony from nearly 80 witnesses. Finally given a chance to respond, here's what Al-Arian's attorney told the judge:

"On behalf of Dr. Al-Arian, the defense rests."

Al-Arian didn't call a single witness on his behalf. That might have been because prosecutors, who had tapped Al-Arian's phone for years and collected 20,000 hours of conversations, failed to present a single phone call in which violent terrorist acts were plotted. As has become something of a post-9/11 custom, the terror indictments were a lot more convincing than the actual terror trial. (See the Lackawanna Six.) And has also become customary, the network news teams looked the other way.

When then-Attorney General John Ashcroft personally announced the Al-Arian indictment on Feb. 20, 2003, in a press conference carried live on CNN (Ashcroft tagged Al-Arian the North American leader of Palestinian Islamic Jihad), the story garnered a wave of excited media attention. ABC's "World News Tonight" led that night's newscast with the Al Arian arrest. Both NBC and CBS also gave the story prominent play that evening. But last night, in the wake of Al-Arian's acquittal, it was a different story. Neither ABC, CBS nor NBC led with the terror case on their evening newscasts. None of them slotted it second or third either. In fact, according to TVEyes, the 24-hour monitor system, none of networks reported the acquittal at all. Raise your hand if you think the nets would have covered the trial's conclusion if the jury had returned with a guilty verdict in what the government had hyped as a centerpiece to its War on Terror.

3 Hours

So I wonder what Fitz and the grand jury chatted about for 3 hours today.


Bill O'Reilly's still bonkers.

The New Journamalism

Where the reality must be warped to achieve "balance."

Open Thread

There's nothing we can't face except for threads.

Pick a Patriot

Feingold's PAC is going to give $5000 to the candidate you vote for. Yes, like all of these things it's in part a way to build up their email list. But it's a small price to pay if you have a favorite candidate.

I'm going with Lois Murphy.

Take the Poll

Would you vote for Lowell Weicker or Joe Lieberman?

Ford: Hating the Gay Our New Business Model

Yes, that will work.

Idiots. I had thought this was parody, but maybe I was wrong.


So, according to the speech today, we're back to "we're fighting them there so we don't have to fight them here."

Turning another country into a battleground isn't exactly the way to win the hearts and minds.


I understand that sadly Dems feel the need to court The Big Money, though I think they'd be better off thinking of ways to wean themselves off that money. But when a major campaign narrative for 2006 is that Washington has become a corrupt cesspool of Republican congressmen and lobbyists, it's a bit odd to think it to be a good idea to brag about your attempts to dive into the shit.

Steny Hoyer is awful. is, of course, Ellen Tauscher. Here's a flashback to her wankerific wanking about the Bankruptcy Bill.
grrrr. HULK SMASH.

Wanker of the Day

NYU's John Sexton.

I'm a little late to this story, but NYU's treatment of their graduate students is awful. It's certainly the case that academic administrators have the right to be assholes, but I'm not sure they should be able to get away with being such disingenuous ("full of shit") assholes.

Basically Bush's NLRB, which is pretty much on a perpetual mission to shrink the set of workers who are eligible to form unions, reversed a previous decision which had allowed graduate students to unionize. NYU said love ya Bushy, and told its union to FOAD.

I was teaching when then union was forming at UCI. Certainly there are understandable reasons why administration and faculty would be a nervous about such a thing, though the fact that they often are demonstrates just how "liberal" academia can be sometimes. Nonetheless the arguments in the end boiled down to "how dare our employees expect that we treat them like employees instead of indentured servants!" which is basically what the lofty goal of grad students unions is. Not all faculty treated grad students like that, of course, but there wasn't much of a mechanism in place to prevent it from happening either.

And the idea that teaching is "professional development" is nonsense. All work experience can be called "professional development."

Fitz - Back In Court

What fun.

Mel and the Holocaust

I think people too often get this issue wrong and it's important that people understand. Neither Mel Gibson nor his father deny the holocaust exist in the sense that they claim it's a wholly fabricated story. While Papa Gibson has been more outspoken than his son, Mel has never (to my knowledge) distanced himself from his father's views and in fact in the interview in which he supposedly proved he wasn't a holocaust denier he in fact demonstrated that he really was one.

Holocaust deniers for the most part don't claim that it was entirely fiction. What they do is say that the numbers and intention were exaggerated, that World War II was a tragedy all around and the holocaust happened in the context of a war in which lots of people were killed. In other words, yeah some people died but it wasn't the big deal everyone makes it out to be. And, that's precisely what Gibson said to Peggy Noonan:

I have friends and parents of friends who have numbers on their arms. The guy who taught me Spanish was a Holocaust survivor. He worked in a concentration camp in France. Yes, of course. Atrocities happened. War is horrible. The Second World War killed tens of millions of people. Some of them were Jews in concentration camps. Many people lost their lives. In the Ukraine, several million starved to death between 1932 and 1933. During the last century, 20 million people died in the Soviet Union.

As David Neiwert wrote:

It's important, of course, to understand that this is exactly the storyline pushed by Holocaust deniers, namely, that yes, there were many Jews killed in Europe during World War II, but they were only a small part of the total who died in the war, and the "6 million" number is grossly exaggerated. Not only is this exactly what Hutton Gibson told the New York Times, you can find the exact same views at such Holocaust-denial organs as the Barnes Review, the Institute for Historical Review, and the Adelaide Institute.

There's no conflict between creating a miniseries based on a novel which takes place in the context of the holocaust and being what we call "holocaust deniers."

Wank of the Year

The moment we've all been waiting for.

Bye Tom

The WSJ sends a signal.

Open Thread

There's nothing we can't face

Open Thread

Threads aren't just cute like everybody supposes.

Open Thread

Thread makes you do the wacky.

Great Moments in Headline Writing

"Not Guilty Verdicts in Florida Terror Trial Are Setback for U.S."

No. They may be setbacks for individuals in the Justice Department, or for the members of the Bush administration (I'll except the shorthand "Justice Department" or "Bush administration.) They aren't setbacks for the "U.S." unless you either define the "U.S." as the "executive branch" or if the headline writer thinks s/he knows something the jury in the cases didn't.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Open Thread

Listen, should we thread forever Knowing as we do know fear destroys?

General Bush Reports for Duty

Takes the troops to the front lines in the war on Christmas:

What's missing from the White House Christmas card? Christmas.

This month, as in every December since he took office, President Bush sent out cards with a generic end-of-the-year message, wishing 1.4 million of his close friends and supporters a happy "holiday season."

Many people are thrilled to get a White House Christmas card, no matter what the greeting inside. But some conservative Christians are reacting as if Bush stuck coal in their stockings.

"This clearly demonstrates that the Bush administration has suffered a loss of will and that they have capitulated to the worst elements in our culture," said William A. Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights.

Bush "claims to be a born-again, evangelical Christian. But he sure doesn't act like one," said Joseph Farah, editor of the conservative Web site "I threw out my White House card as soon as I got it."

Till We Have Faces

Agree with DeLong and Franke-Ruta. C.S. Lewis's Till We Have Faces is a great book. Never understood why it seems to be so rarely mentioned in discussions of his books.

Memories of Joe

Was about to dig up this Lieberman quote but Digby beat me to it.

Bubble Boy

Shame on CFR:

President Bush will deliver the second in a series of four speeches on his Iraq strategy tomorrow in Washington to several hundred members of the Council on Foreign Relations -- an august group of scholars, policymakers and journalists whose Web site is an Internet hotspot for intellectual foment about foreign policy in general and Iraq in particular.

But rather than probe the group's expertise or even respond to its concerns, Bush is just using it as a backdrop.

In a sharp break with the council's own traditions, Bush is being allowed to speak -- for 50 minutes -- then leave without taking any questions.

"Obviously, we strongly suggested -- certainly made the case -- that it would be in the interest of the president and in the interest of our membership that the president take questions," council vice president for communications Lisa Shields told me this morning.

"But true to his format, they declined."

Open Thread

What you gonna do when the thread strikes and hits you?

Open Thread

Our thread is our world, our life.


I have no idea if al-Arian is innocent or guilty though he has been aquitted in several charges.

TAMPA, Florida (Reuters) - A federal jury on Tuesday found a former Florida professor not guilty of funding a banned Islamist group in a verdict likely to be seen as a stiff blow to the U.S. government in its attempts to prosecute terror suspects.

The jury in Tampa, Florida, took 13 days to deliver its verdict against Sami al-Arian, who along with three co-defendants was accused of raising money for Palestinian group Islamic Jihad.

The panel, delivering verdicts six months to the day after the trial started, found al-Arian not guilty of conspiracy to murder, providing material support to a terrorist group and obstruction of justice.

The other men, Sameeh Hammoudeh, Hatem Fariz and Ghassan Ballut, were also cleared of most of the charges against them.

The jury was deadlocked on several other charges and U.S. District Judge James Moody declared a mistrial on those counts.

But it reminded me of one of the most inane Washington Post editorials ever on the subject (which has oddly disappeared from their internets). Remember this started as an academic freedom issue when Fox News went after him to try to get him fired. Only later were any charges actually filed. Then the Post wrote:

The government's long-running investigation, like the university's actions, has been troubling at times. Mr. Al-Arian's brother-in-law, Mazen Al-Najjar, was held on secret evidence for nearly four years while the government pursued his deportation. But the indictment suggests that many people were too reflexive in their disbelief that an urbane, politically active professor -- one who had been to the White House and who regularly talked to journalists -- could be a genuine terrorist, and in their automatic assumption that he must be a victim of university railroading and FBI abuses.

No sensible person not intimately involved in the case would claim to have any idea if he were guilty or innocent. The guy was being fired from his tenured job before any charges had been filed after Falafel O'Reilly went after him. That was the issue.

Wanker of the Day

Fred Wertheimer who apparently thinks the real lesson of the Abramoff scandal is that we need to regulate the internet.


It's one of those rather obvious things, but it nonetheless should be pointed out again and again. Productivity is up! Hooray! But real compensation is down. Boo. Which do most of us give a shit about? Real compensation. Which do the headline writers care about?

The former.


Greg Sargent:

The decision to support or oppose the Iraq war wasn't about doctrine. It was about judgment. Many of those who backed the war fell prey not to ideology, but to a massive judgment failure. They were unswayed by mounting evidence that at least some of the case for war was based on lies -- and yes, there was plenty of evidence of this before the war. They were similarly unmoved by those who argued -- perhaps with better judgment than they -- that such an enterprise was undoable. And as for those who have adopted the fallback position that no one could know just how incompetent the Bush team would prove, that too constituted a judgment failure, not a mere accident. There were plenty of people who before the war argued -- and here we can be certain their judgment was better -- that the ideological blinders Bush and his neocon advisers had donned meant Bush and company weren't to be trusted with this enterprise.

Saying the decision was about judgment, not doctrine, is not mere semantic quibbling. It goes to the heart of what the opinion-making trade is all about. Readers often turn to columnists and pundits because they trust them to sift through conflicting facts to make solid judgments or help them form their own. And as for Kevin's assertion that "the world comes in shades of gray and neither success nor failure was quite as preordained as you might think," he's right -- the case either for or against wasn't clear cut. But I'd argue that it's precisely when a decision comes in "shades of gray" or when an outcome isn't "preordained" -- that is, when a decision is hard to make -- that the good judgment of opinionmakers becomes more crucial than ever. (After all, why would we need pundits to help us make decisions in situations which are black-and-white or whose outcomes are preordained?) If we look at those who are now mea-culpa-ing about the war and see their decision retrospectively as having been driven by doctrine or ideology, not judgment, it absolves them of professional failure.

Mad as a Hatter

I think it's generally irresponsible to throw around casual accusations that someone is, in fact, bonkers. I don't mean bonkers or nuts in the casual every day conversation way (Rick Santorum is nuts!) but in the genuinely mentally ill something is quite wrong with his/her melon way.

But I really agree with Stephen Pizzo. Something is not right with Rumsfeld.

Open Thread

More in the mind than the body this feeling, a sense at the end Of a circular thread.

They Give Speeches

The text of Rick Perlstein's speech to conservatives.

Do They Ever Tell The Truth?

Alito's "immigrant" father not so much an immigrant.

Alito Sr. either was born here or came as an infant, so why did the Christian Science Monitor tell me this?

"His father came [from Italy] as a 14-year-old immigrant, and by the time he was in his 20s he was teaching high school English," says Jack Lacy, a former Hamilton Township councilman and family friend for 50 years. "To me that is quite an accomplishment, considering he came here speaking Italian."

Open Thread

There'll be no mutant enemy we shall certify. Political threads of sad remains will die.

Open Thread

Threads to the left of you threads to the right speak when you are spoken to don't pretend you're right.

Open Thread

Lost in trance of dances as thread takes another turn. As is my want, I only reach to look in

Open Thread

Threads to the left of you threads to the right speak when you are spoken to don't pretend you're right.

Weicker for Senate

He'll have my endorsement:

HARTFORD, Dec. 5 - Former Gov. Lowell P. Weicker Jr. on Monday criticized Senator Joseph I. Lieberman's continued support of the war in Iraq and said that if no candidate challenged the senator on the issue in the 2006 election, he would consider running.

"When you've become the president's best friend on the war in Iraq, you should not be in office, especially if you're in the opposing party," Mr. Weicker, 74, said in a phone interview from his home in Essex, Conn. "I'm going to do everything I can to see that Joe Lieberman does not get a free pass."

He said that Mr. Lieberman, a Democrat, currently had no challengers, either from within his party or from Republicans, in his campaign for a fourth term. Mr. Weicker said he believed that no Republican would challenge Mr. Lieberman on the war.

"If he's out there scot-free and nobody will do it, I'd have to give serious thought to doing it myself, and I don't want to do it," added Mr. Weicker, an independent, who said he had been opposed to the war from the beginning.

Shorter Nick Kristof


Because the only "intellectuals" I know are the ones who are my colleagues in the Times newsroom, it's apparent to me that intellectuals are basically total idiots.

Money paragraphs:

A year ago, I wanted to ornament a column with a complex equation, so, as a math ninny myself, I looked around the Times newsroom for anyone who could verify that it was correct. Now, you can't turn around in the Times newsroom without bumping into polyglots who come and go talking of Michelangelo. But it took forever to turn up someone confident in his calculus - in the science section.


But there's an even larger challenge than anti-intellectualism. And that's the skewed intellectualism of those who believe that a person can become sophisticated on a diet of poetry, philosophy and history, unleavened by statistics or chromosomes. That's the hubris of the humanities.

Shorter Atrios:

Uh, Nick, who the fuck are the people "who believe that a person can become sophisticated on a diet of poetry, philosophy and history, unleavened by statistics or chromosomes."

Relentless Sweeping Assault

I like Franklin Foer but I honestly don't understand what he's talking about here:

I agree that the conservative blogosphere has exacted a greater toll on the media. (It's telling that the New York Times, for instance, has landed in most troubling for bending over backwards towards the right--in the cases of Iraqi WMD and Wen Ho Lee.) But I think he's making too fine a distinction, and he goes way too easy on the liberal bloggers. Many of them are also guilty of glibly assaulting the credibility of the MSM. Of course, MSM institutions often deserve abuse, with their phony stabs at "even-handedness" and their failure to call the Bush administration's bull-shit. And these failures need to be pointed out. But the reckless, sweeping assault on important institutions--especially The New York Times and The Washington Post--that emanates from large swaths of the liberal blogosphere will have a devastating long-term effect. These are irreplaceable institutions.

I guess this is one of those "name some names damnit!" things. Look, I'm highly critical of individual elements of the mainstream media and of certain cultural aspects of the beltway media but I've never had any idea to tear down the basic institutions of newspapers. Generalizations are always going to fail us, which is why I can't defend liberal bloggers against such a generalized smear (so, name some names), but I've never seen most liberal bloggers making a "reckless, sweeping assault" on the Times and the Post. They aren't just institutions, they're outlets run (cough keller cough) and staffed (cough miller bumiller nagourney bruni cough) and published (cough pinch cough) by individuals.

Liberals tend to argue that the Times and Post are far from the "liberal" reputation that they have and they're far from flawless generally. It's silly conservatives and idiots like Jeff Jarvis who imagine that the cheeto eaters are going to replace journalism as we know it with reports on the quality of cheeto production.

Nonetheless, institutions only deserve the respect that they... well, deserve. Until Conrad Black bought it the Telegraph was a fine, if conservative-leaning, newspaper in Britain. It then became a pile of steaming crap. If idiots destroy institutions there's no reason to continue to respect them.


Congrats to Nitpicker - soldier, patriot, pen dispenser, and newly minted college graduate.

Monday, December 05, 2005

The War On Christmas

Finally it's official.

Ad here.

Credit Where Credit is Due

Almost all the things Bush proposes which sound nice at first and then eventually turn to shit so I'm not going to hold my breath for this, but if he's genuinely serious about this then we will give him the presidential head pat he deserves.

Now for the good of the workers, we need to strengthen the rules governing private pensions, as well. You know, most Americans work for private companies that offer traditional pensions. And most companies, like this one, are fulfilling their obligations to their employees and their retirees. But too many companies are not putting away the cash they need to fund the retirement promises they're making to their employees. In other words, they're saying, we'll make sure you got a retirement system, but they're not funding it. Therefore, when -- if the company were to get into financial trouble and go bankrupt, their failure to live up to their promises, their failure to fund their pensions will leave retirees with pension checks that have been slashed.

Now, the federal government insures these pensions, and that means that if more and more companies fail to meet their responsibilities, the federal government might have to step in and bail them out. In that case, it would not only be the retirees who are harmed by the companies not fulfilling their obligations, but it can mean the taxpayers, as well. Every American has an interest in seeing to it that this system gets fixed. So whether you're a worker at a company with an under-funded pension, or a taxpayer, it's what I want you to understand.

In our society, we've had some companies -- big companies go bankrupt, and workers at those companies know what I'm talking about. And so my message to corporate America is: You need to fulfill your promises. When you say to a worker, this is what they're going to get when they retire, you better put enough money in the account to make sure the worker gets that which you said. (Applause.)

The government's current pension rules are confusing and misleading -- they allow companies to technically play by the rules and yet still not fund the promises they've made to their employees. And so Congress needs to straighten up these rules so that there's no confusion, so that everybody understands what I just said. I said, if you make a promise to a worker, you put enough money in the account to fulfill that promise.

So we proposed reforms to the pension rules that say this, that say that companies must accurately measure and report the financial status of their pension plans to make sure they're fulfilling the promises they make. This reform plan would give companies that under-fund their pensions seven years to catch up. That seems reasonable to me. We're going to give you a little time to do what you said you're going to do, but you're going to do what you said you're going to do.

Open Thread

As I see a new thread in me, I can also show if you and you may follow.

Open Thread

What you gonna do when the thread strikes and hits you?

Lord of the Flies

Pass the popcorn.

Open Thread

Have you heard of a thread that will help us get it together again? Have you heard of the thread that will stop us going wrong?

DeLay News

Judge throws out conspiracy charge, doesn't throw out money laundering charge...

Open Thread

Threads speak much louder than words.

Economy Happy Talk

I have to say I find Bush giving a speech touting the economy at this point in time rather a strange thing to do. There are things which make sense in the context of a first term, a presidential campaign, a major policy to sell, or if there is an heir apparent (like Gore in 2000). But basically either people are happy with the economy or not and no speechifying by Bush is going to change their minds. Sure he's nominally pushing to make his tax cuts permanent, but he's not going to shift anyone on that issue either.

Weird, really.

Iraqi VP: Bush Big Liar

Our colonial subjects are misbehaving:

The training of Iraqi security forces has suffered a big "setback" in the last six months, with the army and other forces being increasingly used to settle scores and make other political gains, Iraqi Vice President Ghazi al-Yawer said Monday.

Al-Yawer disputed contentions by U.S. officials, including President Bush, that the training of security forces was gathering speed, resulting in more professional troops.

Bush has said the United States will not pull out of Iraq until Iraq's own forces can maintain security. In a speech last week, he said Iraqi forces are becoming increasingly capable of securing the country.

You Write Letters

John Aravaosis has an important action alert.

Shystee Interviews Sam Hamm

Interesting stuff.

Automotive Innovation

The failure of big industry to actively lobby for universal health care was always a big mystery to me. I'd long thought that if we ever get it such support will be the cause, although I guess if all those companies go bankrupt they won't be in the lobbying business anymore.

In any case, it's good to see Ford Motor Company adapting to the times with some innovative new products.

Mars, Bitches!

With Bush running away from a tax reform plan, one has to wonder just what we'll hear about in the upcoming State of the Union Address. Social Security destruction is dead. Iraq is a disaster. Katrina showed us our federal government is incapable of responding to a terrorist attack (yes, trolls, I know Katrina was a hurricane but the response to a disaster doesn't depend much on what caused it). The Medicare drug plan is universally hated and hideously expensive. Bush's immigration plan, while not something I like much, makes the Republican "bash the immigrant" agenda a bit harder to do.

I guess all that's left is...


Media Matters has a spiffy new website.


Rice was just in Europe giving them the full stink-eye treatment. Heard her on the radio claiming that the US does not torture. Of course we don't. That is, we don't do anything which causes organ failure or death, unless, oopsy, it does.

No one believes US foreign policy has ever been pure and innocent, but we at least used to credibly pretend to have ideals.

Open Thread

On the darkest night so painful do you hunger for thread midst the torture of being one?

Open Thread

No thread can take your place, you know what I mean. We have the same intrigue as a court of kings.

Sunday, December 04, 2005


Krugman's Monday column is about why American's aren't thrilled about the Bush boom. To me it's rather simple.

I'm just barely old enough to remember the early 80s recession which came at the tail end of the economic upheaval of the 70s, something I studied in fairly large detail throughout my academic career. The 70s were a time when one set of workers were seeing their perceived social contract being demolished as union manufacturing lifers found themselves out on their asses. The early 80s recession hit everyone hard, and while the subsequent recovery and "Reagan boom" wasn't all that impressive except as measured by the performance of the stock market, for a time people perceived that opportunities remained, that their kids could go to college and get nice white collars jobs. It wasn't quite "morning in America" but certainly there were people in the 80s who were making money - not just Gordon Gecko but a lot of the people who worked for him.

The belief in that sort of opportunity fizzled with the Bush I economy/recession. People talk a lot about how the economy had started to recover before the '92 election rolled around, and that's certainly true. It wasn't an especially deep or long recession in any case. However it just cemented a feeling which had been developing over some period of time, that the American economy didn't offer enough opportunities. College graduates who had been promised that they wouldn't have the problem the previous manufacturing generations had were facing rather abysmal starting wages and more importantly rather abysmal career paths. The future just did not look so bright.

The tech boom changed all that. When I graduated college ('93) it was hard to score a job, and when I started teaching ('98-99 or so) people had multiple offers without even applying. The labor market was tight, and opportunities were everywhere. Maybe not everyone would get rich, but everyone would get a good job offering them good experience and improved future opportunities.

We're back now to a period where opportunities are fairly limited, like they were in the late Bush I/early Clinton years. More than that, we're in a period where it's becoming conventional wisdom that "perks" like medical insurance and retirement benefits are unreasonable demands (unless you're Marc Cooper of course) and declining standard of living for many is once again perceived to be inevitable. Not only that, but those "perks" which at least provided security, if not riches, such as quality health insurance are falling out of favor.


Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it) there are many more than 12 days of Kipmas!

Cooper Follies

Marc Cooper has always been a wanker, but he's now heading into Hitchens territory. I'm all for people having the freedom to criticize the publications they work for - in fact I welcome it - but this kind of Reynoldsesque smearing isn't really something sensible editors should put up with. Of course they put up with it from Hitchens for years, so...

Open Thread

your eyes.

Fresh Thread


Secretary Lieberman

It's hard to imagine a worse choice for Secretary of Defense, except maybe the stupidest fucking guy on the face of the earth, but rumors are apparently floating around the ether that he may replace Rumsfeld. Schieffer said it on Face the Nation, Sullivan on Chris Matthews' show, etc.

It'd be a smart move for the Bush administration. The press loves them some Lieberman, and they love them some "bipartisanship." Rumsfeld's clearly mad as a hatter these days and needs to go for reasons going beyond mendacious incompetence. Connecticut has a Republican governor at the moment and could appoint a Republican replacement in the Senate, making it easy for the new "incumbent" to win the seat in an election.

And Holy Joe's already gone throgh his bit of ritual hazing, demonstrating his willingness to put his name on a pack of lies in service to the Bush administration.

Politics aside, though, what a nightmare.

Wanker of the Day

William C. Bradford:

William C. Bradford has resigned as an associate professor at Indiana University School of Law-Indianapolis, effective Jan. 1.


Bradford, 39, maintained that two left-leaning professors were leading the charge for political reasons. They disliked him because he was an Army veteran who supported the war, he said.


Donnelly had long been suspicious of Bradford's background, he said. What really piqued his attention was the Silver Star claim -- "it is a pretty high award for valor, and not many were awarded in Desert Storm."

Independently, Donnelly and I requested Bradford's service record from the Army. It showed he was in the Army Reserve from Sept. 30, 1995, to Oct 23, 2001. He was discharged as a second lieutenant. He had no active duty. He was in military intelligence, not infantry. He received no awards.

Meanwhile, Bradford promoted himself. He blogged on the law school's student Web site. He did radio interviews. He went national on "The O'Reilly Factor." David Horowitz, a champion for conservatives, took up his cause.

Fortunately for Mr. Bradford I'm imagine the military would be more than happy to give him an opportunity to serve in combat. Sounds like he could use the job, too.


Smell it:

BAGHDAD — Private security contractors have been involved in scores of shootings in Iraq, but none have been prosecuted despite findings in at least one fatal case that the men had not followed proper procedures, according to interviews and documents obtained by The Times.

Instead, security contractors suspected of reckless behavior are sent home, sometimes with the knowledge of U.S. officials, raising questions about accountability and stirring fierce resentment among Iraqis.

Thousands of the heavily armed private guards are in Iraq, under contract with the U.S. government and private companies. The conduct of such security personnel has been one of the most controversial issues in the reconstruction of Iraq. Last week, a British newspaper publicized a so-called trophy video that appears to show private contractors in Iraq firing at civilian vehicles as an Elvis song plays in the background.

The contractors function in a legal gray area. Under an order issued by the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority that administered Iraq until June 2004, contractors suspected of wrongdoing are to be prosecuted in their home countries. The contractors have immunity from Iraqi courts and have so far not faced American prosecution, giving little recourse to Iraqis seeking justice for wrongful shootings.

Can we acknowledge that there are at least a few people in Iraq who have good reason to be a wee bit annoyed at the American presence?

Open Thread

How can the thread with its arms all around me?

When In Doubt Blow The Brains Out

I'm often quite sympathetic to cops who end up shooting suspects who turn out to not be a threat. Not regularly being in the business of facing down armed criminals I'm not going to substitute my judgment for theirs about when they perceive a threat in any given situation. That isn't to say there aren't trigger happy cops or situations where they've gone too far, but I'm certainly one to give them the benefit of the doubt.

However understanding that occasionally a bad shooting is going to happen is something entirely different from endorsing as a matter of constitutional principle that cops have the right to shoot any fleeing suspect.

Alito. What a fucking piece of work.

Open Thread

If we reason with destiny, gonna lose our touch. Don't kill the thread.

Open Thread

On the darkest night so painful do you hunger for thread midst the torture of being one?