Saturday, December 31, 2005

Open Thread

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

Chasing Keller

I've found all the Keller defenses rather weird. The Public Editor is not amused:

THE New York Times's explanation of its decision to report, after what it said was a one-year delay, that the National Security Agency is eavesdropping domestically without court-approved warrants was woefully inadequate. And I have had unusual difficulty getting a better explanation for readers, despite the paper's repeated pledges of greater transparency.

For the first time since I became public editor, the executive editor and the publisher have declined to respond to my requests for information about news-related decision-making. My queries concerned the timing of the exclusive Dec. 16 article about President Bush's secret decision in the months after 9/11 to authorize the warrantless eavesdropping on Americans in the United States.

I e-mailed a list of 28 questions to Bill Keller, the executive editor, on Dec. 19, three days after the article appeared. He promptly declined to respond to them. I then sent the same questions to Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the publisher, who also declined to respond. They held out no hope for a fuller explanation in the future

Open Thread

When the apocalypse comes... thread me.

Open Thread

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

Wanker of the Year

Decided by a team of expert kittens and ferrets:

Joe Lieberman, for his November WSJ piece.

As Time's Michael Ware said:

I and some other journalists had lunch with Senator Joe Lieberman the other day and we listened to him talking about Iraq. Either Senator Lieberman is so divorced from reality that he's completely lost the plot or he knows he's spinning a line. Because one of my colleagues turned to me in the middle of this lunch and said he's not talking about any country I've ever been to and yet he was talking about Iraq, the very country where we were sitting.

Counting the Votes


BAGHDAD, Dec. 30 -- As a fuel crisis deepened in Iraq, the government replaced its oil minister with controversial Deputy Prime Minister Ahmed Chalabi, whose poor performance in the Dec. 15 elections was a setback in his recent attempt at political rehabilitation.

The oil minister, Ibrahim Bahr Uloom, was put on a mandatory, month-long leave. He had previously threatened to resign over the government's recent decision to increase gasoline prices sharply, a move that has outraged motorists and sparked attacks on gas stations and fuel convoys.


Based on preliminary results from the December elections, Chalabi received 8,645 votes in Baghdad, well below the threshold a top U.N. official suggested this week would be required to win a seat.

Moussawi said Friday that Chalabi could still end up in the parliament, depending on how officials interpret a technical detail of election rules relating to how remaining seats are allocated after each party meeting a specific threshold is awarded its seats.

"There is still confusion, even today at the election commission, about this, but we are hearing the party will have at least one seat," Moussawi said.

The House That Jack Built

Is about to come tumbling down.

Abramoff's cooperation would be a boon to an ongoing Justice Department investigation of congressional corruption, possibly helping prosecutors build criminal cases against up to 20 lawmakers and their staff members.

Bottom of the Barrel

CNN hires Bill Bennett.

Open Thread

Life?s a thread and we all play a part.

Open Thread

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

Friday, December 30, 2005

Open Thread

Wish I could thread.

Open Thread

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

Open Thread

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


Beinart is such a wanker.


Behind the Times Select Wall, the shrill one writes:

A year ago, we didn't know for sure that almost all the politicians and pundits who thundered, during the Lewinsky affair, that even the president isn't above the law have changed their minds. But now we know when it comes to presidents who break the law, it's O.K. if you're a Republican.

I do so enjoy reading Times' columnists these days, because there's a little present at the end of each one:

Thomas L. Friedman is on vacation.

Torturing Children

I guess this is that moral clarity we keep hearing about.

National Outrage

Remember how Gray Davis was chucked out of office because of an $8 billion deficit that the press kept reporting as a $38 billion deficit (until Arnie took office, then they started reporting the correct number)?

Arnold wants to borrow another $25+ billion.

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger plans to ask for an infrastructure bond issue of $25 billion to $27 billion, the Los Angeles Times reported on Thursday, quoting administration sources.

Reporters in Jack's Skybox

Another blogger ethics panel is required.

Open Thread

Wish I could thread.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Fresh Thread


Speaking of Steno Sue

Here is my favorite recent Steno Sue major error that manages to further the wingnut agenda. 7/10/2004:

According to the former Niger mining minister, Wilson told his CIA contacts, Iraq tried to buy 400 tons of uranium in 1998.


In some editions of the Post, a July 10 story on a new Senate report on intelligence failures said that former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV told his contacts at the CIA that Iraq had tried to buy 400 tons of uranium from the African nation of Niger in 1998. In fact, it was Iran that was interested in making that purchase, but no contract was signed, according to the report.

Generous Patron

Steno Sue is such a tool.


What Digby says.

Republicans are walking around right now pretending this is a winning issue for them. They like to scare Dems into thinking that anything which makes Bush look like Warrior Daddy, even drunken crazy please take away the car keys Warrior Daddy, is good for them.

They're right, but only because they know they can frighten Democrats into, once again, being nothing but a confused puddle of jello, with an assist from all of the Fox News Democrats talking about just how bad this will make them look. Contra Jason Zengerle, I wasn't pissed that Keller held back on this story because I thought it would win the election for Kerry. In fact, I doubt it would've helped him (in part, of course, because of the puddle of jello dynamic). I was pissed because I think it's the kind of thing the people should know before making an informed decision.

But, anyway, those people who think that in the middle of a metaphorical war the president can do anything he wants as long as he claims it's in the interest of national security, whatever that means these days, including violating judicial orders and congressional statutes, do have principles I guess. They're just not my principles, and not the principles the Democrats should share.

Circle Jerks



Commie Girl on the OC:

I haven’t liked it much here lately. It took me 10 years to realize I was wrong: OC is just as conservative as the stereotype, which I’d denied up and down to anyone listening. Hell, I was surrounded by right-thinking folks at the Weekly and consorted only with museum types, punks and drunkards. John Birch is dead. Long live la raza!

It took Arnold’s propositions, overwhelmingly denied through the rest of the state and overwhelmingly approved here, to make me see just how willingly I’d blinded myself. But it’s not the conservatism that bothers me: principled stands of any kind are a-okay with me. It’s the nastiness. The nattering classes I’d thought were fringy were in fact the opinion makers. The Scrooges on the local blogs went to war lest the OC Board of Supes approve LouCorrea’s motion to insure 20,000 of the county’s poorest kids with an outlay of just $2.1 million. It would, they fumed, create an entitlement. Now, how many millions do you think the supes spend on mailings?

When I lived in Irvine-then-Laguna Beach I always wanted to hang out with Commie Girl because the Orange County she wrote about was always much much cooler than anything I ever saw and always eluded me. That isn't to say there's nothing good about the place, but she always seemed to live in an OC that was just off limits to me.

Oh well, hopefully she comes back in the New Year and keeps defending the OC's honor as despite its flaws it isn't *that* bad.

People and Jobs

Garance discusses variations in costs of living. There has been a lot of discussion about high housing prices lately and of course it should be pointed out repeatedly that the housing boom isn't happening everywhere.

A missing part of the discussion is that it isn't just people who are willing to pay high rents, it's also businesses and firms. Sure some local commerce is going to be generated naturally by all those people who want to live in fine California weather, but local retail generally isn't on its own enough to sustain a local economy except in prime tourist locations. It isn't just people who are willing to pay obscene rents in Manhattan and other high priced cities, it's also businesses.

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

Just on CNN. Bush favorability rating (not job approval) hits all time low in CNN Gallup poll.

46 favorable/53 unfavorable.

What was it Chris Matthews said? Oh yes, it was:

Everybody sort of likes the president, except for the real whack-jobs.

All 53% of us.

Album Sales

Barry provides a chart of recent annual album sales.

Oddly, the years of "peak Napster" were also the years of peak album sales.

Open Thread

If anyone sees my thread lying about, just try not to step on it.

Less Hackery

Bruce Bartlett writes:

I would propose cutting back on contrived debates. Why not interview those with opposing views separately and give each more than a minute or two to make their point without having to respond to another person's debating tactics? And why not encourage interviewers to intervene when blatant errors or falsehoods are offered as facts?

I've commented before that to his credit Wolf Blitzer seems to have been doing just that since he let us all move into the Situation Room. I've noticed he does a lot more one on one interviewing than we're used to seeing, and he achieves the always necessary "balance" by having opposing sides come on in different segments.

Having two sides on for every issue takes the responsibility off the host - it leaves the job of correcting bullshit to the other guest and the host just guides the conversation. Having on just one guest at at time means the host has to take responsibility for any bullshit.

Still Failing

Nice job, oh media!

-- Forty-one percent (41%) of U.S. adults believe that Saddam Hussein had
"strong links to Al Qaeda."
-- Twenty-two percent (22%) of adults believe that Saddam Hussein "helped
plan and support the hijackers who attacked the United States on
September 11."
-- Twenty-six percent (26%) of adults believe that Iraq "had weapons of
mass destruction when the U.S. invaded."
-- Twenty-four percent (24%) of all adults believe that "several of the
hijackers who attacked the United States on September 11 were Iraqis."

However, all of these beliefs and others have declined sharply since the
questions were asked in February 2005. For example:
-- Those who think Saddam Hussein had strong links to Al Qaeda have fallen
from 64 to 41 percent.
-- Those who believe that Iraq was a serious threat to U.S. security are
down from 61 to 48 percent.
-- Those who think Saddam Hussein helped plan 9/11 are down from 47 to
22 percent.
-- Those who think Iraq had weapons of mass destruction are down from
36 to 26 percent.
-- Those who think Iraqi hijackers attacked the United States on 9/11 have
fallen from 44 to 24 percent.

Getting a bit better.

The Great Fear

Stranger writes about this horrible extended piece CNN keeps running which can basically be described as "Israel has smart intrusive security and Americans are idiots for not doing everything they do."

It's truly bizarre.

Wanker of the Day

Marshall Wittman

Open Thread

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

Question for the Media

When is an issue "controversial?"

When does an issue "divide the nation?"

When is it appropriate to describe a person by saying that some people love them and some people hate them?

I've never manged to see any pattern regarding what poll numbers justify such descriptions. I've seen 50-50 splits on issues described as "dividing the nation" and I've seen 75-25 splits described the same way.

Stop it.


Grimaldi and Steno Sue, October 18:

Ney and Abramoff, whom DeLay once described as "one of my closest and dearest friends," crossed paths as early as 1996. That year Ney took a trip to Montenegro sponsored by a foundation that had links to Abramoff, who was a lobbyist for Montenegro.

Grimaldi and Steno Sue, today:

DeLay, a Christian conservative, did not quite know what to make of Abramoff, who wore a beard and a yarmulke. They forged political ties, but the two men never became personally close, according to associates of both men.

What are even to make of this construction? It would be unthinkable that the good and honorable and wonderful conservative Christian DeLay could be friends with big Jewy Jew Abramoff?

Not Above the Law

Crazy ideas from the ACLU.


Mark Weisbrot tells us about Venezuela. There are certainly reasons people should be less than enamored by Chavez, but the degree of American media bullshit peddling about what goes on in that country, especially about supposed media crackdowns, is amazing.

Lies and the Lying Liars

When will reporters learn that Republicans lie:

Media reports that U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay had convinced the state's highest court to hear his appeal were as widely circulated as they were, well, wrong.

Justices for the Texas Court Criminal Appeals agreed merely to consider hearing DeLay's money laundering case. They never said they would accept the case, said Edward Marty, the court's general counsel.

The erroneous media reports, which the San Antonio Express-News published in a wire story and displayed online, come from DeLay's spokesman, Kevin Madden, in an e-mail sent to reporters Tuesday evening, after courts had closed for the night.

"FYI-Breaking news out of Austin, TX," the e-mail stated. "The state Court of Criminal Appeals has agreed to hear Mr. DeLay's habeas motion that was filed at the end of last week. The court has set a one-week deadline for briefs to be filed by the parties involved. The court could essentially decide to end Ronnie Earle's prosecution after hearing this motion and the facts presented."

Madden said this afternoon that he made an error and never intended to "spin" the story.

"In an effort to be instantaneous, I wasn't precise.....My understanding (of the decision) was correct. The way I relayed it wasn't," he said.

Open Thread

So when do we destroy the thread already?

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


A farce.


Apparently this blog has 20048 posts, and only half were open threads.

Wanker of the Day

Kathleen Parker.

Fresh Thread


Count Me in the 64%

I mean, yeah, I'm all for getting warrants for the surveilliance of "terrorism suspects." I'm just not for unnecessary illegal warrantless searches by our criminal president.

I'm also for rounding up and arresting all the people "who have a history of blowing up commuter trains, weddings, and churches" and I'm a bit puzzled why the Bush administration isn't doing so.

Unplugged All Day

What'd I miss?

Open Thread

Life?s a thread and we all play a part.

Open Thread

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

A Brief History of the Conservative Movement

From Roy.

Year in Review Quiz

From Roger Ailes.

Open Thread

I think this thread is mostly filler.

Open Thread

You know there are quite a few American threads that are highly underrated. This, unfortunately, is not one of them.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Underpants Gnomes

Your Republican party.

Blowing Up Weddings and Churches

Wow, you'd think the Bush administration would arrest some of these people.

Wonder why they don't.

Music Rec

Tbogg recommended this Matt Pond Pa CD awhile back and I thought I'd second it. Great stuff.

Making Stuff Up

It's all they've got, really. But, hey, they're just feeling the news at us, truthiness style:

WASHINGTON -- The television commercials are attention-grabbing: Newly found Iraqi documents show that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction, including anthrax and mustard gas, and had "extensive ties" to al Qaeda. The discoveries are being covered up by those "willing to undermine support for the war on terrorism to selfishly advance their shameless political ambitions."

The hard-hitting spots are part of a recent public-relations barrage aimed at reversing a decline in public support for President Bush's handling of Iraq. But these advertisements aren't paid for by the Republican National Committee or other established White House allies. Instead, they are sponsored by Move America Forward, a media-savvy outside advocacy group that has become one of the loudest -- and most controversial -- voices in the Iraq debate.

They are indeed media-savvy. Chumps.

Open Thread

Threads aren't just cute like everybody supposes.

Chronic - What?

Just in case you haven't seen it yet, ITunes is handing out SNL's "Chronicles of Narnia" video for free.

Perhaps the coolest video since Sabotage.

(via Barry)

Fixing FISA

More right wing bullshit. Full time job.

Feeling the News At You

The Post embraces truthiness.

Wanker of the Day

Cass Sunstein.


This is pretty stunning, really. The self-styled leader of the Iraqi exile movement can't even get them to vote for him.

Chalabi's supporters here had hoped he would do well among exile voters who were allowed to cast ballots overseas. But results announced Monday showed he received just 0.89 percent of the "special vote,'' from Iraqi citizens in foreign countries, hospitals, the army and prisons.

BTW, are we still paying his Iraqi National Congress group tons of money?

Criminal Administration

It's been over 4 years since 9/11. There are no excuses. Bush has admitted ordering criminal activity repeatedly.

Open Thread

So when do we destroy the thread already?

BoBo's World

Texas edition.

Follow Up

Baby boom generation, generally defined as those born between 1946-1964, or those who turned 18 years old between 1964 and 1982.

Median age of first marriage:

Year --- Men --- Women
2003 --- 27.1 --- 25.3
2002 --- 26.9 --- 25.3
2001 --- 26.9 --- 25.1
2000 --- 26.8 --- 25.1

1999 --- 26.9 --- 25.1
1998 --- 26.7 --- 25.0
1997 --- 26.8 --- 25.0
1996 --- 27.1 --- 24.8
1995 --- 26.9 --- 24.5
1994 --- 26.7 --- 24.5
1993 --- 26.5 --- 24.5
1992 --- 26.5 --- 24.4
1991 --- 26.3 --- 24.1
1990 --- 26.1 --- 23.9

1989 --- 26.2 --- 23.8
1988 --- 25.9 --- 23.6
1987 --- 25.8 --- 23.6
1986 --- 25.7 --- 23.1
1985 --- 25.5 --- 23.3
1984 --- 25.4 --- 23.0
1983 --- 25.4 --- 22.8
1982 --- 25.2 --- 22.5
1981 --- 24.8 --- 22.3
1980 --- 24.7 --- 22.0

1979 --- 24.4 --- 22.1
1978 --- 24.2 --- 21.8
1977 --- 24.0 --- 21.6
1976 --- 23.8 --- 21.3
1975 --- 23.5 --- 21.1
1974 --- 23.1 --- 21.1
1973 --- 23.2 --- 21.0
1972 --- 23.3 --- 20.9
1971 --- 23.1 --- 20.9
1970 --- 23.2 --- 20.8

1969 --- 23.2 --- 20.8
1968 --- 23.1 --- 20.8
1967 --- 23.1 --- 20.6
1966 --- 22.8 --- 20.5
1965 --- 22.8 --- 20.6
1964 --- 23.1 --- 20.5
1963 --- 22.8 --- 20.5
1962 --- 22.7 --- 20.3
1961 --- 22.8 --- 20.3
1960 --- 22.8 --- 20.3

1959 --- 22.5 --- 20.2
1958 --- 22.6 --- 20.2
1957 --- 22.6 --- 20.3
1956 --- 22.5 --- 20.1
1955 --- 22.6 --- 20.2
1954 --- 23.0 --- 20.3
1953 --- 22.8 --- 20.2
1952 --- 23.0 --- 20.2
1951 --- 22.9 --- 20.4
1950 --- 22.8 --- 20.3

1949 --- 22.7 --- 20.3
1948 --- 23.3 --- 20.4
1947 --- 23.7 --- 20.5
1940 --- 24.3 --- 21.5

1930 --- 24.3 --- 21.3

1920 --- 24.6 --- 21.2

1910 --- 25.1 --- 21.6

1900 --- 25.9 --- 21.9

1890 --- 26.1 --- 22.0

Kipmas is Here


Go Read Tbogg

He links all the things I was about to, including Wolcott and firedoglake.


Amanda writes about changing norms.

Open Thread

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

Monday, December 26, 2005

Open Thread

She does pretty well with threads from hell.

Poor Little Ricky

He's stupid and he's ugly and nobody likes him.

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.

Retire, Lott

I meant to put this in the last post but forgot before I hit publish. The other thing is that presumably Lott is in a good position to start a Gulf Coast reconstruction "consulting firm" and take a piece of all the money that flows into that state. A good opportunity for him to cash out.

Novakula on Lott

The prince of darkness has some interesting things to say:

WASHINGTON -- Trent Lott within the next week plans to decide between seeking a fourth term in the U.S. Senate from Mississippi or retiring from public life.

That could determine whether Republicans keep control of the Senate in next year's elections. For the longer range, Lott's retirement and replacement could signal that Southern political realignment has peaked and now is receding.

Mississippi, one of the reddest of the red Republican states, has not even been on the game board of the Washington analysis forecasting the 2006 Senate outcome. But in Mississippi, prominent Republicans are worried sick. They believe Lott will probably retire. If so, they expect the new senator will be a Democrat, former State Attorney General Mike Moore. Republican politicians in Mississippi believe Rep. Chip Pickering, the likely Republican nominee if Lott does not run, cannot defeat Moore.

I imagine Lott's doing a little dance here to see whether they'll depose Frist and give him his old job back. That'd be pretty funny, really, for a variety of reasons. Conservative bloggers were thrilled at their claimed role in helping to hound Lott out of office. My guess is they'd acknowledge his return with a shrug.

I found the last bit of Novak's column interesting, too.

When George W. stood aside while Trent Lott was tossed out, I wrote on Dec. 23, 2002, that the secret liberal theme behind his defenestration was that "the GOP's Southern base, the bedrock of its national election victories, is an illegitimate legacy from racist Dixiecrats.

Now, three years later, that bedrock may be eroding.

Partisan Squabble

It's amazing how any issue can be easily reduced to just another partisan food fight.

Open Thread

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

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Open Thread

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

Open Thread

When the apocalypse comes... thread me.

Open Thread

If anyone sees my thread lying about, just try not to step on it.

Open Thread

Thread makes you do the wacky.

Beyond the Imperial Presidency


President Bush is a bundle of paradoxes. He thinks the scope of the federal government should be limited but the powers of the president should not. He wants judges to interpret the Constitution as the framers did, but doesn't think he should be constrained by their intentions.

He attacked Al Gore for trusting government instead of the people, but he insists anyone who wants to defeat terrorism must put absolute faith in the man at the helm of government.


But the theory boils down to a consistent and self-serving formula: What's good for George W. Bush is good for America, and anything that weakens his power weakens the nation. To call this an imperial presidency is unfair to emperors.


The government easily could have gotten search warrants to conduct electronic surveillance of anyone with the slightest possible connection to terrorists. The court that handles such requests hardly ever refuses. But Bush bridles at the notion that the president should ever have to ask permission of anyone.

He claims he can ignore the law because Congress granted permission when it authorized him to use force against Al Qaeda. But we know that can't be true. Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales says the administration didn't ask for a revision of the law to give the president explicit power to order such wiretaps because Congress--a Republican Congress, mind you--wouldn't have agreed. So the administration decided: Who needs Congress?

What we have now is not a robust executive but a reckless one. At times like this, it's apparent that Cheney and Bush want more power not because they need it to protect the nation, but because they want more power. Another paradox: In their conduct of the war on terror, they expect our trust, but they can't be bothered to earn it.

Open Thread

I think this thread is mostly filler.

Open Thread

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