Saturday, January 14, 2006

Open Thread

She does pretty well with threads from hell.

Open Thread

She does pretty well with threads from hell.

Open Thread

I think this thread is mostly filler.

Scary Pictures

<a href="
Think Progress I see the scary satellite photos are out.
<img src="">

Everyone can play! Look what I found here in Philadelphia!

<img src="">

Joking aside, I suppose it's necessary that just because I mock the
inevitable rhetoric on Iran from the Bush administration and the
wingnutosphere doesn't mean that I don't think a nuclear Iran thing
would be a less than desirable development. But Iran Talk has
nothing to do with what we're going to about that, Iran Talk is
entirely about domestic politics. There's a difference between
Talking and Doing, even if words have consequences, and the Iran PR
campaign is more about domestic politics than actually doing anything
about the problem.

But, as for how we got here let's remember that George Bush helped
kill whatever reformist movement there was in Iran by referring to
Iran as part of the "axis of Evil," thus making it easy to paint any
Iranian reformer as "objectively pro-American." Much as I don't like
the Bush administration I'm not actually hoping that France invades
to liberate us and I imagine most Iranians feel much the same
way. The Bush administrations "isolate no matter what" tough talk
certainly gives Iran a lot of incentive to get a nuke as quickly as possible.

And, of course, our great Iraqi adventure has made things like air
strikes a wee bit difficult. The people in our new pet
democracy/Iranian client state probably won't be too thrilled about
that. So if there is a weapons development site to be taken out our
hands are rather more tied on that account than they would have otherwise been.

I'll admit I worry less about a nuclear Iran than some. State
sponsored nuclear terrorism/war would require a completely irrational
actor, one even more irrational than North Korea's Dear
Leader. Nuclear proliferation is a concern, but state proliferation
less than the general wandering nuke issue...

I had to write this post by email, so hopefully it isn't all screwed
up as I don't think I'll be able to edit it as Blogger is currerntly broken.

Open Thread

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

How It Goes

Winter/Spring - The clone army of foreign policy "experts" from conservative foreign policy outfits nobody ever heard of before suddenly appear on all the cable news programs all the time, frowning furiously and expressing concerns about the "grave threat" that Iran poses. Never before heard of Iranian exile group members start appearing regularly, talking about their role in the nuclear program and talking up Iran's human rights violations.

Spring/Summer - "Liberal hawks" point out that all serious people understand the serious threat posed by serious Iran, and while they acknowledge grudgingly that the Bush administration has fucked up everything it touches, they stress, and I mean stress, that we really must support the Bush administration's serious efforts to deal with the serious problem and that criticisms of such serious approaches to a serious problem are highly irresponsible and come only from irrational very unserious Bush haters who would rather live in Iran than the U.S.

Late Summer - Rumsfeld denies having an Iran war plan "on his desk." He refuses to answer if he has one "in his file cabinet." Andy Card explains that you don't roll out new product until after labor day.

Early Fall - Bush suddenly demands Congress give him the authority to attack Iran to ensure they "disarm." Some Democrats have the temerity to ask "with what army?" Marshall Wittman and Peter Beinart explain that courageous Democrats will have the courageous courage to be serious and to confront the "grave threat" with seriousness and vote to send other peoples' kids off to war, otherwise they'll be seen as highly unserious on national security. Neither enlists.

Late October - Despite the fact that all but 30 Democrats vote for the resolution, Republicans run a national ad campaign telling voters that Democrats are objectively pro-Ahmadinejad. Glenn Reynolds muses, sadly, that Democrats aren't just anti-war, but "on the other side." Nick Kristof writes that liberals must support the war due to Ahmadinejad's opposition to gay rights in Iran.

Election Day - Democrats lose 5 seats in the Senate, 30 in the House. Marshall Wittman blames it on the "pro-Iranian caucus."

The Day After Election Day - Miraculously we never hear another word about the grave Iranian threat. Peter Beinart writes a book about how serious Democrats must support the liberation of Venezuela and Bolivia.

Oh My God We're All Going to Die

Does the wankosphere ever tire of being wrong?

Iran and Roll

Gonna be deja vu all over again. Fortunately the script hass already been written and all it takes is a find&replace command to switch q for n.

Time to start betting on when the force authorization vote will happen.

There won't be a war, but there will be lots of war talk.

Breaking News

Mick Shrimpton is, despite reports to the contrary, apparently still alive.

Eight other men, five women, and five children, however, are in fact dead.

Medicare Drugs

By all accounts a FIERY WRECK, unsurprisingly. Tried to warn you.

If I were the Democratic version of Grover Norquist, tasked with sending out their weekly telepathic talking points, every single Democrat would be fanning out throughout the land over the next couple of weeks demanding emergency legislation to overhaul the program and fix its problems. Town Halls with seniors, video with weeping granny unable to get her drugs from the local pharmacy, etc...

Wankosphere - Wrong Again

With an assist for ABC News.

eenius meenius

Fafblog interviews Samuel Alito.

+9 Power Sword

Gilliard writes about the wankosphere.

Open Thread

Threads aren't just cute like everybody supposes.

Open Thread

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

Open Thread

When the apocalypse comes... thread me.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Open Thread

I think this thread is mostly filler.

Open Thread

When the apocalypse comes... thread me.

Friday Cat Blogging

Bye Bob

Looks like my bff Bob Ney is going to lose his committee chair. Hastert has asked him to resign.

Ominous Headlines

Drudge screams that Gore to attack "Bush Police State."

Well, when the president decides that he can do whatever he wants in violation of the law, including detaining citizens without charges and spying on citizens without warrants, that pretty much is the definition of a police state. It's the claimed authority that matters, not the extent to which it's used.

Wolcott's Revenge

Another right wing payola pundit.

Open Thread

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


Dead, apparently.


Here in Pennsylvania we actually have a primary race going on for the Senate. Sure there's every reason to think that "presumptive frontrunner" (presumptive, because no one will do any polling) Bob Casey will probably win the primary, but there is in fact a primary and both the other candidates - Chuck Pennacchio and Alan Sandals - are running real campaigns and not just "put my name on the ballot" campaigns.

In any case, Sandals apparently got enough money together for an ad buy as I just watched an ad on CNN regarding an issue that Bob Casey can't really touch - women's health rights. Not sure what these guys have to do to get the press to acknowledge a bit more fully that they exist.

Breaking the Law

Chris Matthews is all for it.


I've never understood the congealed conventional wisdom which says that when Roe/Casey are overturned it'll be a 50 state issue. There's nothing preventing Congress from outlawing it. There's nothing to prevent the Supremos, as Crazy Tom "abortions are only okay when I perform them" Coburn would like them to do, from declaring legal abortion itself to be a violation of the rights of blastocyst-Americans.

If the Supremos do away with Roe/Casey, it will be a long hard and constant slog to preserve abortion rights anywhere in this country.


The really do all have small penises.

(thanks to reader a)

Knock Out

Reid drops a giant stink bomb in DeLay's hometown paper.

In 1977, I was appointed chairman of the Nevada Gaming Commission. It was a difficult time for the gaming industry and Las Vegas, which were being overrun by organized crime. To that point in my life, I had served in the Nevada Assembly and even as lieutenant governor, but nothing prepared me for my fight with the mob.

Over the next few years, there would be threats on my life, bribes, FBI stings and even a car bomb placed in my family's station wagon. It was a terrifying experience, but at the end of the day, we cleaned up Las Vegas and ushered in a new era of responsibility.

My term on the gaming commission came to an end in 1981, and when it did, I thought I had seen such corruption for the last time. Unfortunately, that has not been the case. It is not quite the mafia of Las Vegas in the 1970s, but what is happening today in Washington is every bit as corrupt and the consequences for our country have been severe.

Our nation's capital has been overrun by organized crime — Tom DeLay-style.

Fun with Jonah

Glenn Greenwald has some fun with WATB Jonah Goldberg, who promptly throws a temper tantrum.

One thing Greenwald leaves off is that while Goldberg wrote this:

STRIP SEARCHES [Jonah Goldberg]

I understand the need for following the procedural niceties, but as a plain moral common sense issue, if you are a drug dealer and keep drugs on the premises with your child, you get zero-point-zero sympathy from me if your kids are searched, warrant or no. It may be wrong for the cops to do it. But you are not a victim for choosing a life where you can rationally expect to expose your kids to far greater risks than a search by a polite cop. The kid's a victim -- of bad parents.

In the tantrum Goldberg adds:

the real outrage is when drug dealers ensnare or otherwise put at risk their own children in order to sell drugs.

True, I suppose it's quite outrageous when drug dealers do such things. But that didn't, you know, happen in this case which is why we require warrants for such things. It's why probable cause matters. It's why Jonah needs to go back to 3rd grade civics so that he understands that we're not a country of collective guilt and the fact that some bad guy somewhere stashed drugs on his kids does not mean we should grant agents of the state the right to strip search all kids, include Jonah's own offspring, without warrants. Searching the premises, under someone's bed, is not the same as lifting up a little girl's skirt.

What country do these people want to live in? Jeebus. What the hell were we supposed tbe fighting the Cold War about again?


Why is it that white guys who comb their hair, dress well, and mostly speak in full sentences are presumed to be "decent" no matter what the evidence to the contrary?

Why should we give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he just has some weird blind spot which prevents him from having any sense of real world justice? Why not assume the simpler explanation - that this is what he considers to be justice?

Ehrlich Denied

At first pass this legislation sounds like a good idea, at least as a health care band aid, though I'll admit I haven't given it much thought. But, anything which provides a slap in the face to Governor Ehrlich can't be all bad.

The Maryland General Assembly overrode Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s veto of a bill requiring Wal-Mart to pay more for employee health care yesterday, a measure that has sparked a nationwide debate over the level of benefits an employer should provide workers.

The so-called Fair Share Health Care Fund Act, the first of its kind to succeed in the nation, became a fight between organized labor and business, raising questions about to what extent government should intervene in private enterprise.

Writing Columns is Easy!

If you're Michelle Malkin.

Open Thread

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

Open Thread

We saved the world. I say we thread!

Open Thread

A thread with family and friends. That sure as hell wasn't in the brochure.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Wow. Truth Battles Truthiness!

This Post article is so stunning and I don't just say so because I was going to post the same thing once I got around to it:

This is the third straight year in which the White House has summoned reporters well ahead of the official budget release to project a higher-than-anticipated deficit. In the past two years, when final deficit figures have come in at record or near-record levels, White House officials have boasted that they had made progress, since the final numbers were below estimates.

"This administration has a history of overestimating the deficit early in the year, lowering expectations, then taking credit when it comes in below forecast," said Stanley E. Collender, a federal budget expert at Financial Dynamics Business Communications. "It's not just a history. It's almost an obsession."

Indeed, the dire new forecast came the same day that Treasury Department officials were touting a very different picture: The federal government posted the first budget surplus for December in three years, buoyed by a rush of corporate tax payments that more than offset record spending. On Jan. 6, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported that the deficit for the first three months of the fiscal year was about $119 billion, almost exactly where it stood for the first quarter of fiscal 2005.

The real test will be when, months from now, the administration tries to brag that once again they've lowered the deficit simply because (if it so happens) it comes in lower than inflated expectations the Post writes that up without context.

Open Thread

Threads aren't just cute like everybody supposes.



The warbloggers profess to be outraged, sickened, and appalled by Mideast violence yet increasingly are giving vent to their own violent fantasies directed at domestic foes, whom they consider traitors, appeasers, etc. They fantasize about their least favorite bloggers being beheaded, or hanging liberal traitors from lamp posts should there be another terrorist attack. Sites like Little Green Footballs, Atlas Shrugs, and their ilk have a lynch-mob mentality that has gotten uglier as the situation in Iraq has worsened. They blame Cindy Sheehan (recently voted "Idiotarian of the Year" at LGF), Michael Moore, and liberal Democrats for how badly the war has gone because they don't have the courage and honesty to blame the real architects of failure: Rumsfeld, who went to war with too few troops to carry out an occupation; Wolfowitz and the rest of the neocon brain trust, who assured Americans that the invasion would be greeted with flowers and candy, and the war would pay for itself through oil revenues; the U.S. military, which didn't anticipate a strong insurgency and arrogantly ran roughshod over the Iraqi people early in the occupation, enflaming the insurgency even more; and Bush himself, who in a moment of almost sociopathic hubris, taunted the insurgency with the three words that should be chiseled in disgrace on the wall of his future presidential library: "Bring 'em on." According to a recent poll, 55% of Americans no longer believe the war with Iraq was worth fighting. Are the majority of Americans "defeatniks"? If so, I must be more influential than I thought.

Incidentally, touting the piece on its sorry excuse for a site, Pajamas Media gurgles, "Today in The American Spectator columnist Michael Fumento takes Vanity Fair regular and blogger James Wolcott to task for poor blogosphere ettiquette..."

Before I'm taken to task again, PJ Media might want to learn how to spell "etiquette." With the money sunk into this venture, you'd think they could afford dictionaries for their interns, or at least one dictionary that they could all share.

The Wankosphere Hearts the Moonie Times

I'm disturbed tremendously that such a suspicious story was accepted so uncritically by alleged critical thinkers.

Open Thread

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

Daou Speak

You listen.

Fresh Thread


Who Would General Clark Call?

Americablog knows.

You're next, members of Congress, unless you do something...

( be clear that's of course not a threat, just pointing out the obvious. I don't have any cell phone numbers of members of congress but there are lots of people out there who do have those numbers and probably would be willing to shell out a few bucks to find out just who they've been calling. Even their spouses might decide it'd be fun to find out.)

KPRC Needs To Answer the Question Too

Why are the refusing to run factually accurate ads about Tom DeLay?

(713) 222-2222

"Mrs. Alito"

Mrs. Alito is not the name Samuel Alito's wife goes by. In news reports she's always referred to as "Martha-Ann Bomgardner." I have no idea what her ethnicity is, but her surname doesn't scream Italian.

Houston Stations Refusing DeLay Ads

I'm just curious - can anyone remember a case in the last couple of years where anything Republicans/Conservatives tried to put on the air was shot down?

Watch the ad here.

Oh, and let's express our unhappiness with the situation, one station at a time.

Contact KHOU
. Ask them to explain why they won't run a factually accurate ad about Tom DeLay.

1945 Allen Parkway
Houston, Texas 77019
Phone: 713-526-1111

Open Thread

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

More Alito

Hopefully this post will calm threadbot down a bit.

Open Thread

A thread with family and friends. That sure as hell wasn't in the brochure.

Open Thread

The thread I bear is scorching me.

Open Thread

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

Open Thread

A thread with family and friends. That sure as hell wasn't in the brochure.

Open Thread

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

Open Thread

I think this thread is mostly filler.

Absence of Evidence is Proof!

Crazy Davy's latest is going down in flames even in mostly wingnut-friendly territory. Still, the lunatics persist...

Shorter Mitt Romney

We can't give back the dirty money all at once because, frankly, we don't have anything else to spend.

Start Wearing Purple

Um, just asking, but it's been almost a month since the Iraq election and we still don't know what the final outcome is?

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Un-American Nixonian Paranoia



Just to clarify a previous point, I don't expect Wolf Blitzer or any of the other "objective" anchors to take sides in these debates, but I do expect them to manage to communicate that the debates matter. I admit that Bloviating Biden and his Princeton cap don't make it easy, but no matter what the shenanigans of some of the senators the issues matter.

Whether you think outlawing abortion will make the baby Jesus stop crying or whether it'll relegate women to second class status and end up causing countless deaths from unsafe medical procedures, it matters. Whether individuals have the right to go to court to sue big institutions - corporations or state/local/federal government - and have a chance of winning matters. Whether or not racial discrimination lawsuits have a chance of succeeding matters. etc... etc...

No matter what the show put on by senators or the mockery of the show staged by our media, these things matter.


What the hell is Brian Williams, who is by accounts a devoted Rush Limbaugh fan, going on about.

Open Thread

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

Open Thread

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


Oh jeebus.

...I appreciate that Alito's wife may geuinely find this stressful and bummer for her, but I just can't stand the fact that our media which can't seem to understand that people who support groups which try to reduce women an minorities on campus, who rule in favor of warrantless searches of 10 year old girls, who will likely declare the uterus state property, who shoot down almost any racial discrimination claim, and who support the practice of striking jurors based on their race might cause a few tears as well.

The media keeps declaring these hearings to be just political theater, and then they focus on the soap opera.

This. Shit. Matters. Pretend you care, or get new goddamn jobs.

Black Book

I'm so glad there's no more racism in this country.


John points out that a plurality of Americans don't think Bush should be spying even on people with known terrorist ties without a warrant.

Bush Bounce


Pew at 38/54.

Alito on Korematsu

Give a point to Alito:

ALITO: What I was doing in that talk at Pepperdine was framing that question. And it's a lot easier to frame the question and to ask students to think about it and give me their reactions than it is to answer it.

We've had examples of instance in which the judiciary in the past has had to confront this issue of reviewing factual presentations of the executive in times of national crisis. And there have been instances in which the judiciary has accepted -- and I'm thinking of the Japanese internment cases -- has accepted, which were one of the great constitutional tragedies that our country has experienced -- has accepted factual presentations by the political -- by the executive branch that turned out not to be true and from my reading of what went on were not believed to be true by some high-ranking executive officials at the time.

At the very least he's saying those bastards in the executive branch had better not lie to the Court.

Wonder if Malkin's still a fan.

(thanks to reader g)


Bush is on TV claiming that his illegal wiretapping program involved only incoming calls from phone numbers in the Al Qaeda phone tree which apparently we have. Even Marshall Wittman isn't too stupid to understand that there's no reason he couldn't have gotten warrants from the FISA court to do so.

I remember when lying to the American people was thought to be a bad thing.

silly me.

Wanker of the Day

Marshall Wittman.

Lyin' Arlen

Specter tried to claim he hadn't seen Kennedy's letter, so Kennedy introduced Specter's response to that letter into the record.

Call Arlen Specter's office and ask if this is what the senator considers to be "distinguished" behavior for a U.S. senator.

Washington DC Office
711 Hart Building
Washington, DC 20510
Tel: 202-224-4254

Paging John Tierney

Chile's pension system is a disaster if by pension system you mean "system which provides people with pensions."


The Washington Post ombudsman continues to be awful.


Post says Roy Blunt's wife doesn't lobby for Philip Morris. Altria's lobbying report disagrees.

Facts are so confusing.


Senator Brownback brought up Korematsu as a wrongly decided Supreme Court decision, in stark opposition the the numerous wingnuts who have lately been referring to it as justification for Bush's Dictatorial Powers.

I'd like Alito's opinion on Korematsu. on Korematsu here.

Call Specter's Office

In 2004 he said he'd be a good judiciary chair because he "would bring centrist judges to the bench."

Ask his office if helping to confirm Alito makes him a bad judiciary chair.

Washington DC Office
711 Hart Building
Washington, DC 20510
Tel: 202-224-4254
Email: Contact Form

Timmeh Again

It really was a illustrative moment about Washington pres corps culture when they all fell all over themselves to "out" Richard Clarke as a background briefer as soon as the Bush adminstration told them to. The fact that Fitz picked up on this shows he's a bit more clever than your average bear, which we already knew, but aside from its relevance to this particular case it is something which spoke volumes about the culture of Timmeh and the Gang.

It had nothing to do with high-minded journalistic principles for people like Timmeh. He was willing to throw out the confidential source promise as soon as Rove told him to. It was about maintaining favor with his sources - that is, the Bush administration.

Overturning Roe

Alito refused to say Roe was settled law. This is a big deal because he could say it was "settled law" as Roberts did and still vote to overturn it. His unwillingness to even go there pretty much settles it.

Of course, we already knew that but we're playing by the rules of this ridiculous dance set up by the senators and the media where the senators pretend to ask questions, Alito pretends to answer them, and the media pretends they don't know what the answers mean.

Call the office of Arlen Specter. Ask them if the senator plans on his legacy being the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Washington DC Office
711 Hart Building
Washington, DC 20510
Tel: 202-224-4254
Email: Contact Form

It Doesn't Really Matter

Watching the bobblehead coverage of the Alito hearings - and, frankly, just about everything else they cover - one comes away think that to them it just doesn't really matter. Court decisions don't matter. Policy doesn't matter. None of this stuff matters. It's just a game played between rival high school football teams and they're just happy to go to the homecoming dance.

It's frustrating.

Minorities in the Media

That destructive affirmative action Mickey Kaus keeps telling me about doesn't seem to be working too well.

Wrapping Yourself in the Military

There's something gross about wrapping yourself in the military to cover up the fact that you didn't want women and minorities at your university when you only joined it to avoid going to war.

None of these people have any shame. bad, unethical, corrupt.

Open Thread

She does pretty well with threads from hell.

Open Thread

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

Tuesday, January 10, 2006





Say Anything Strip Search Sammy

Can we really not do any better than this? I mean, aside from Harriet Miers who once upon a time was the MOST QUALIFIED BESTEST NOMINEE EVER. Until she wasn't.

Open Thread

The thread I bear is scorching me.

Open Thread

So when do we destroy the thread already?

Shorter Lindsey Graham

We'll pretend you're not a liar if you pretend we're not liars.

More IQ

Responding to comments to previous posts and Drum I'm still baffled, though I guess I've been around this block before and never get anywhere. First people claimed I misinterpreted what Yglesias wrote - that he didn't write that liberals think that IQ don't measure anything but instead that liberals want to shy away from any discussion which requires IQ tests are important. Drum piles on and agrees that liberals shy away from the topic.
Given that we've had a cross-blogospheric discussion of IQ tests generally and the Bell Curve specifically about a dozen times, much to everyone's boredom, since I've been blogging I just don't know which liberals shy away from talking about IQ tests. The only reason I shy away from them is that every time they're brought up I have to spend about a month explaining yet again why the Bell Curve is crap (cue trolls and "realistic liberals" right now) which requires a bit of remedial everything.

Maybe it's just my background as an economist where such discussions were not taboo, but it was just recognized that any measure of "intelligence" is a dependent, not an independent, variable.


The Washington Post's ombudsman is horrible. Just horrible.

Sometimes I think it's a nefarious plot, and sometimes I just think their brains are just unable to process any media criticism that doesn't emanate from Brent Bozell's orc factory or Rush Limbaugh.

Lies and the Lying Liars

I guess I'd like to know just how many times you get to lie to those distinguished Senators before they decide you perhaps aren't worthy of a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court.

But I won't hold my breath for the answer.

Some ASVAB Sample Questions


question 1
If 6x - 3y = 30 and 4x = 2 - y then find x + y.


question 3
Which of the following sets is not closed under addition?

A Whole Numbers
B Integers
C Even Integers
D Odd Integers


question 20
The area of a square is 100. The length of its diagonal is approximately:

A 12
B 13
C 14
D 15

The issue is not doubting whether such tests measure something - they provide a measure of what you know/reasoning skills based on that knowledge at whatever age you take them. People who do better on them are, in some sense, "smarter," on average than those who do worse on them. But they don't measure innate intelligence. They don't measure the limits of individual potential. They don't provide a comprehensive measurement of all dimensions of what we might think of as "smartness." They're quite likely culturally biased in some ways. And, most importantly, to a great degree they simply measure your level of education.

Swatting Flies

Jeez I get tired when our side erects our own straw men. Yglesias:

I tend to doubt, however, that this line of criticism will gain any traction, since making the argument requires you to say that IQ tests (which is all the AFQT really is) are an important measurement and most liberals prefer to shy away from the topic.

First of all the AFQT isn't really an IQ test, it's just used as a decent proxy for one because lots of people have taken it and have also put lots of demographic data with their scores so there's good data.

But I don't know these fantasy liberals who don't think that IQ tests don't measure anything. They measure something, certainly, and something we associate with "intelligence," no matter how imperfect a measure of a complicated thing they may be.

What liberals generally don't think is that IQ tests generally and the AFQT score specifically are a measure of "innate" intelligence, and certainly not a measure of genetically-drive-only-innate intelligence.

There's a very simple reason for this: you can teach people to improve their test scores, so it isn't a measure of innate or potential anything.

But I don't know anyone who think that such tests are meaningless. To the extent that low scores reflect low ability, low education, or whatever combination of those things, it's certainly a big deal that the military is letting in more "Category IV" scorers.

Just to illustrate rather easily, the AFQT score is derived from a subsample of the ASVAB test. One part which is used is "arithmetic reasoning" and another is "mathematical knowledge," both being things which most of us aren't born into this world knowing and which we improve upon being taught them. Kaplan describes the "mathematical knowledge" part as:

The Mathematics Knowledge section is a 24-minute, 25-question test of your understanding of a wide range of concepts in arithmetic, algebra, and geometry. You may still see the occasional word problem on the Mathematical Knowledge section of the ASVAB, but in general the questions, while drawn from a wider base of mathematical concepts, are more straightforward than the word problems found on the Arithmetic Reasoning section.

People can have lots of legitimate problems with various intelligence tests and how their results are interpreted without thinking they measure nothing.


I don't know what's been up with Jeffrey Toobin. He's just been awful lately. Today he claimed that Alito was in the majority on the strip search case which he wasn't.

Nothing Like Philadelphia in January

Let's Take a Poll

Please consider donating money so a poll can be commissioned.

Lying Ed Gillespie

I'd been meaning to post this but I couldn't get CSPAN's video link to work so I could confirm the transcript.

When Columnists Attack

Local Philadelphia Daily News columnist Christine Flowers sure is a sensitive one.

The People Paper should take its nickname a bit more seriously.

Note to the Press

When Alito says that no one is above the law it's an utterly meaningless statement if his view of law includes a limitless view of the president's Article II powers which trumps all other laws. Or, as Torture Yoo put it, Bush can crush the testicles of children if he wants to.

In other words, all "no one is above the law" means is that the law, in fact, allows Bush to anything he pleases as long as he claims it's for national security. Including, presumably, lying about blowjobs.

Guess Alito's Freeper Handle

Chris Bowers has a contest.

Wanker of the Day

Marshall Wittman.


Armando sums up Alito pretty well:

After stating again this morning that he had no recollection of joining Concerned Alumni for Princeton, the racist and sexist organization that objected to women and minorities being admitted at Princeton, despite having included it in his job application to work for Ed Meese in 1985, Alito this morning now pretends to remember WHY he joined an organization he says he does not remember joining.

So Alito's story on CAP is that 'he didn't do it, and if he did do it, he doesn't remember, and if he did do it and does remember, then he had a good reason for doing it.'

Strip Search Sammy

What he said today:

I was not pleased that a young girl was searched in that case and I said so in my opinion - that was an undesirable thing.

What he actually wrote in his opinion:

I share the majority’s visceral dislike of the intrusive search of John Doe’s young daughter, but it is a sadfact that drug dealers sometimes use children to carry out their business and toavoid prosecution.

Stop Dancing

We all know the wingnut code, Specter/Alito. Specter gets Alito to say stare decisis is important. Alito says overturning precedent requires special circumstance. We all know what that means.

Nice Timing

Pro-Alito witness is incoming president of organization which says "Alito is not qualified to serve on the Court."


What a fucking tool:

Lawyers for NBC News reporter Tim Russert suspected in the spring of 2004 that his testimony could snare Vice President Cheney's top aide, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, in a lie and Russert resisted testifying at the time about private conversations with Libby, according to court papers released yesterday.

Russert was aware that a special prosecutor probing the leak of a CIA operative's name knew of his summer 2003 telephone conversation with Libby, and that Libby had released him from any promise of confidentiality. But Russert, the Washington bureau chief for NBC News and host of "Meet the Press," and his attorneys argued in previously sealed court filings in June 2004 that he should not have to tell a grand jury about that conversation, because it would harm Russert's relationship with other sources.

The problem isn't that he didn't want to testify - there are some reasonable arguments for that - the problem is that he spent two years on Meet the Press covering this story pretending he didn't know things he knew.


(tip from guy)

Bush Bounce

WEEEEEE! Cnn/Gallup has him at 43/54.

...and new CBS has him at 41/52.

Open Thread

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

Open Thread

Wish I could thread.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Alito the Freeper

Digby nails it.

Althouse v. Althouse

Hilarious, in a non-partisan sort of way.


For months I've known Alito has reminded me of someone and I couldn't figure out who. Finally I remembered! David Hyde Pierce's character in the Fisher King!

And, no, I'm not calling him a murderer. Just the same creepy quiet rage behind the eyes.

...for comparison, thanks to Kenosha Kid:

Open Thread

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

Even More Cyberstalking

Garance has more on this. I'm not trying to beat a dead horse on this as I don't think the world is going to end because of laws like this. Cyberstalking laws are necessary and I imagine that in general the hurdle to get authorities to look into something like this would be rather difficult and that an uptight pol or a thinskinned blogger wouldn't generally have much luck doing so. But, still, Garance says that I live in a state covered by cyberstalking laws already, which is true, but the law is quite different. PA law:

Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes § 5504 —- Harassment by communication or address:

(A) A person commits the crime of harassment by communication or address when, with intent to harass, annoy, or alarm another, that person:

(1) Communicates to or about such other person any lewd, lascivious, threatening or obscene words, language, drawings or caricatures; or

(2) Communicates repeatedly in an anonymous manner;

(3) Communicates repeatedly at extremely inconvenient hours;

(4) Communicates repeatedly in a manner not covered by paragraph (2) or (3).

(F) Definitions: "Communicates." Conveys, without intent of legitimate communication or address, by written or electronic means, including telephone, electronic mail, Internet, facsimile, telex and similar transmission.

So, the PA law requires either threatening or obscene language or repeated behavior. Sounds about how such laws should be but that isn't actually what's in the federal law.

As for this:

Additionally, the recent F.E.C. decisions to treat bloggers under the media exemption would -- I would think -- greatly complicate attempts by politicians to shut down bloggers by using the online cyberstalking statute against them.

That's not quite true. All we really have from the FEC is an advisory opinion for the Fired Up! group of sites. It's an advisory opinion which would presumably apply to most bloggers, but the FEC has yet to codify regulations regarding the internet as they've been obligated to do. And, since they just got 3 new commissioners who weren't there for the public comment process and because this is an issue where even slightly badly worded regulations could cause a whole bunch of trouble for bloggers this isn't a done deal.

In any case, I don't think federal regulations with respect to federal election law will have much to do with criminal law regarding online activity generally. And, while there haven't been a large number of them that I'm aware of bloggers have been victims of SLAPP suits which, no matter the merits, can be a big pain in the ass. A criminal proceeding would be moreso.

Again, cyberstalking laws are good and I doubt that in practice this law will cause problems, but that doesn't change the fact that it could've been more reasonably written to avoid the possibility of potential abuse by those who have a greater power to get the ear of a US Attorney.

Wanker of the Day

Joe Klein.

He may have actually won the prestigious honor for this column, I can't remember. But it's wankerific enough for him to win it twice!

Your Liberal Media

MSNBC - Democrat and liberal free from 12-4 today!

A Media Matters for America review of MSNBC's live coverage of the first day of Supreme Court nominee Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on January 9 showed that in the initial four hours of coverage, from noon to 4 p.m. ET, the network featured interviews with MSNBC political analyst and former Republican presidential candidate Pat Buchanan; former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie, who has served as a White House adviser for Alito's nomination process; and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN). During that same time span, the network hosted no Democratic or progressive commentators.

Hurray Bush Stock Market!

Only 4.5 years to get the dow back to where it was then!

heckuva job, Bushie!

Stupid Newspaper Tricks

When newspapers run utter horeshit in the "letters to the editor" section I can never figure out if they're really just that lazy/stupid or if they like the opportunity to print horseshit while distancing themselves from it.

Phone Call Not The Same as an Email or a Comment

Garance says cyberstalking bad and that therefore we shouldn't be concerned with the criminalization of online annoying people. If enforced as written I would be quite concerned about the law. I get lots of people sending me "annoying" emails anonymously and certainly there are people who troll the comments section (either garden variety trolls or ones who are literally just trying to disrupt) here with the intent "to annoy" and I don't think their behavior usually comes anywhere close to something I'd want to see criminalized.

The thing is that an anonymous annoying phone call is something quite different from an email or blog comment or, hell, even a blog post. An anonymous annoying phone call is almost by definition right up to the edge of harrassment, especially if it's repeated at all. I can easily see some local pol getting pissed off that a local blogger is on their case anonymously and then trying to use this statute to shut him/her down.

I imagine that the law will either be enforced sensibly or it will be shot down one way or another, but that won't necessarily prevent some people from having a costly and embarrassing legal battle.

I don't agree that the statutory language follows boilerplate state cyberstalking laws - a couple listed are very similar but many others are quite different.

In any case I don't really expect this to be a big deal, but even little deals can have chilling effects.

Media Withheld Name of Abducted Journalist

I don't have any sense of whether this is "right" or "wrong" but I guess the general question is what kinds of guidelines news organizations have for these kinds of things and whether they apply them consistently.

In any case the important thing is that she gets out alive, of course.


Party on, Tom:

The state's highest criminal court on Monday denied Rep. Tom DeLay's request that the money laundering charges against him be dismissed or sent back to a lower court for an immediate trial.

The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied the requests with no written order two days after he announced he was stepping down as House majority leader. DeLay had been forced to temporarily relinquish the Republican leadership post after he was indicted on money laundering and conspiracy charges in September.

The Problem With Arlen

His entire career of making pro-choice noises will be shown to be a sham when he presides over the destruction of Roe v. Wade.

And, thank you, Philadelphia Inquirer editorial board for endorsing him.

Prove me wrong.


Yglesias says there isn't much reason to fight Alito in the grand scheme of things. I think this is wrong. First, no senator is going to lose an election 11 months from now because they fought to oppose Sammy "Who?" Alito. Second, one reason to not oppose Alito is the idea that Bush'll just nominate someone just as bad. However, Alito is that bad, as he believes Bush is King, your daughter can be strip searched without a warrant, the uterus is state property, and his enthusiastic embrace of that which we call "lying" demonstrates him to be pretty much an ethics free opportunist (at best).

On issues like this Democrats too often seem to think their job isn't to do the right thing, or convince voters they're doing the right thing, but to convince the Brodereseque crowd inside the Beltway that they're doing the right thing, whatever that is. And, frankly, who gives a shit what Fred Hiatt thinks?

Alito's a bad guy, he should be opposed. As for the "nuclear option," well, if the Republicans want to wrap themselves in the constitution as a pretense for cheating I say let them. It's long past time for the Democrats to stop playing the faux civility game in the Senate.

Hearing Thread

Take a drink every time a senator decides that "Q&A" means give long boring grandstanding speech.

Open Thread

We saved the world. I say we thread!

Fresh Thread

Anyone else hear the rumor that Fitzgerald is planning to indict Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame for stealing money from Indian tribes?

The End of the Internets

Oh, great, crappy congress with more crappy unconstitutional laws.

It's no joke. Last Thursday, President Bush signed into law a prohibition on posting annoying Web messages or sending annoying e-mail messages without disclosing your true identity.

In other words, it's OK to flame someone on a mailing list or in a blog as long as you do it under your real name. Thank Congress for small favors, I guess.

Who will be the first head up their ass blogger to try to get one of their trolls in trouble with this law...

Your Liberal Media

Miles O'Brien, just now:

The Senate is a dignified place, but there's also talk about a filibuster. How dignified could that be?

The Alito 3-Step

Froomkin (brother of WaPo Froomkin) set out the basic problems with Alito:

Roe/women's issues, "he'll say anything to get a job," and life-long spear-carrier for the imperial presidency.

But, basically, the guy has said Roe should be overturned and more generally he, as Lord Saletan says, treats "women like girls" under the parental control of their husbands. He's an admitted liar - says he lies to get jobs and he lied to the Senate on other issues. And this "highly qualified judge" seems to have missed the revolutionary war and the constitution.

Open Thread

She does pretty well with threads from hell.

Open Thread

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

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Open Thread

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

He Said It!

Bill Schneider yesterday:

This could be a big change and it could well be that these new leaders could include some who are not particularly loyal to the White House and the White House agenda with an unpopular president. They have to face re-election this year. You could find a Republican majority that's going to try to seek its own way and not simply follow the White House.

Bill Signing

It isn't just terrorism or national security. Bush has repeatedly asserted his authority to reinterpret or disregard laws he doesn't like.

Why do they hate America?


Senator Sanders sure does have a nice ring to it.

Open Thread

When the apocalypse comes... thread me.

Beard Transcript

Dean with Blitzer:

BLITZER: Let's talk a little bit about Iraq. The president sought to reach out to some of his critics earlier in the week, bringing in some former secretaries of state, including Madeleine Albright, among others -- William Cohen, the former defense secretary during the Clinton administration.

Are you satisfied right now that the president's getting enough information from a variety of sources to better move forward as far as the situation in Iraq is concerned?

DEAN: Well, most of the reports that came out of that meeting, Wolf, were that the president engaged in a filibuster of his own in there. He talked at them for some time and then went in for a photo op and really didn't bother to ask most of them for their advice at all.

So, I think these photo op ideas that he's going to get advice and they're really nothing more than photo ops -- I think we're in a big pickle in Iraq.

The president, frankly -- I was disgusted when I read in the New York Times yesterday that 80 percent of the torso injuries and fatalities in the Marine Corps could have been prevented if the Pentagon, the secretary of defense and the president had supplied them with armor that they already had.

They requested that from the field; the Pentagon refused. You know, I, two years ago, thought Secretary Rumsfeld ought to resign. He ought to resign.

These people are not qualified. They haven't served themselves; they don't know what it takes. They ought to protect our troops. Our troops are doing a hell of a job and they deserve better leadership in Washington than what they're getting.

I was incensed when I saw that story, 80 percent of the torso- based wounds that led to fatalities in the Marine Corps -- surely our Marines are worth something more than that.

BLITZER: About a month ago, Senator Joe Lieberman, the former Democratic vice presidential nominee spoke out, urging his fellow Democrats, including yourself, to restrain themselves in criticizing the president's position on Iraq. Listen to what Lieberman said.


SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN (D), CONNECTICUT: 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.


BLITZER: What do you think? Is that advice good advice from Senator Lieberman?

DEAN: No. This president has lacked credibility almost from the day he took office because of the way he took office.

He's not reached out to other people. He's shown he's willing to abuse his power. He's not consulted others. And he's not interested in consulting any others.

And I think, frankly, that Joe is absolutely wrong, that it is incumbent on every American who is patriotic and cares about their country to stand up for what's right and not go along with the president, who is leading us in a wrong direction.

We're going in the wrong direction, economically, at home; we're going in the wrong direction abroad.


BLITZER: Should Democrats who took money from Jack Abramoff, who has now pleaded guilty to bribery charges, among other charges, a Republican lobbyist in Washington, should the Democrat who took money from him give that money to charity or give it back?

DEAN: There are no Democrats who took money from Jack Abramoff, not one, not one single Democrat. Every person named in this scandal is a Republican. Every person under investigation is a Republican. Every person indicted is a Republican. This is a Republican finance scandal. There is no evidence that Jack Abramoff ever gave any Democrat any money. And we've looked through all of those FEC reports to make sure that's true.

BLITZER: But through various Abramoff-related organizations and outfits, a bunch of Democrats did take money that presumably originated with Jack Abramoff.

DEAN: That's not true either. There's no evidence for that either. There is no evidence...

BLITZER: What about Senator Byron Dorgan?

DEAN: Senator Byron Dorgan and some others took money from Indian tribes. They're not agents of Jack Abramoff. There's no evidence that I've seen that Jack Abramoff directed any contributions to Democrats. I know the Republican National Committee would like to get the Democrats involved in this. They're scared. They should be scared. They haven't told the truth. They have misled the American people. And now it appears they're stealing from Indian tribes. The Democrats are not involved in this.

BLITZER: Unfortunately Mr. Chairman, we got to leave it right there.

Howard Dean, the chairman of the Democratic Party, always speaking out bluntly, candidly.

The transcriptionist didn't bother to put in Blitzer's DEEP SIIIIIIGGHH before his last comment.

Open Thread

So when do we destroy the thread already?

Dean Shaves the Beard

Oh man, Dean totally destroys the beard in this clip (video link) from CanOFun.


Murdoch empire buys Myspace, and then destroys it.

It's simple technology. It can be easily duplicated. They bought a community, not a platform, and the community will scatter when you start censoring stuff...

Althouse or Altmouse?

It really could become the quiz game which sweeps the nation.


Steve Soto Eriposte spends some time to try to explain the obvious to the idiot Goldstein.

But this is just a version of what I've been saying for some time. Bush and his defenders have defined leaving Iraq as losing. Period. It's one reason crazy people like me think that may having some sort of arbitrary timetable or rough events-triggered withdrawal is a good idea - because there will never be some magical day when the Iraq security situation suddenly improves. There will never be a day when George Bush can wake up in the morning and decide, again, "Mission Accomplished!" without some arbitrary guidelines for when that is. There will never be a day when George Bush can credibly say "things are better today than yesterday" and therefore we can start to leave.

We will never leave Iraq while George Bush is president, because they've decided that leaving is losing.

And, so, people continue to die.

...Brzezinski's op-ed is pretty good along these lines I think.

"Victory or defeat" is, in fact, a false strategic choice. In using this formulation, the president would have the American people believe that their only options are either "hang in and win" or "quit and lose." But the real, practical choice is this: "persist but not win" or "desist but not lose."

Victory, as defined by the administration and its supporters -- i.e., a stable and secular democracy in a unified Iraqi state, with the insurgency crushed by the American military assisted by a disciplined, U.S.-trained Iraqi national army -- is unlikely. The U.S. force required to achieve it would have to be significantly larger than the present one, and the Iraqi support for a U.S.-led counterinsurgency would have to be more motivated. The current U.S. forces (soon to be reduced) are not large enough to crush the anti-American insurgency or stop the sectarian Sunni-Shiite strife. Both problems continue to percolate under an inconclusive but increasingly hated foreign occupation.


"Victory or defeat" is, in fact, a false strategic choice. In using this formulation, the president would have the American people believe that their only options are either "hang in and win" or "quit and lose." But the real, practical choice is this: "persist but not win" or "desist but not lose."

Victory, as defined by the administration and its supporters -- i.e., a stable and secular democracy in a unified Iraqi state, with the insurgency crushed by the American military assisted by a disciplined, U.S.-trained Iraqi national army -- is unlikely. The U.S. force required to achieve it would have to be significantly larger than the present one, and the Iraqi support for a U.S.-led counterinsurgency would have to be more motivated. The current U.S. forces (soon to be reduced) are not large enough to crush the anti-American insurgency or stop the sectarian Sunni-Shiite strife. Both problems continue to percolate under an inconclusive but increasingly hated foreign occupation.


The real choice that needs to be faced is between:

An acceptance of the complex post-Hussein Iraqi realities through a relatively prompt military disengagement -- which would include a period of transitional and initially even intensified political strife as the dust settled and as authentic Iraqi majorities fashioned their own political arrangements.

An inconclusive but prolonged military occupation lasting for years while an elusive goal is pursued.

Bug Man

Booman has the rundown of the "kill DeLay after he's dead" stories in the press. This jumped out at me:

Of the former exterminator, a Republican close to the President's inner circle says, "They have always seen him as beneath them, more blue collar. He's seen as a useful servant, not someone you would want to vacation with."

Now, that just couldn't be true of the man of the people that Chris Matthews always tells me about? Tom DeLay too "blue collar" for Prince Bush?

Frank Rich

behind the wall:

Given that the reporters on the Times story, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, wrote that nearly a dozen current and former officials had served as their sources, there may be more leaks to come, and not just to The Times. Sooner or later we'll find out what the White House is really so defensive about.

Perhaps it's the obvious: the errant spying ensnared Americans talking to Americans, not just Americans talking to jihadists in Afghanistan. In a raw interview transcript posted on MSNBC's Web site last week - and quickly seized on by John Aravosis of AmericaBlog - the NBC News foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell asked Mr. Risen if he knew whether the CNN correspondent Christiane Amanpour might have been wiretapped. (Mr. Risen said, "I hadn't heard that.") Surely a pro like Ms. Mitchell wasn't speculating idly. NBC News, which did not broadcast this exchange and later edited it out of the Web transcript, said Friday it was still pursuing the story.

If the Bush administration did indeed eavesdrop on American journalists and political opponents (Ms. Amanpour's husband, Jamie Rubin, was a foreign policy adviser to the Kerry campaign), it's déjà Watergate all over again. But even now we can see that there's another, simpler - and distinctly Bushian - motive at play here, hiding in plain sight.

That motive is not, as many liberals would have it, a simple ideological crusade to gut the Bill of Rights. Real conservatives, after all, are opposed to Big Brother; even the staunch Bush ally Grover Norquist has criticized the N.S.A.'s overreaching. The highest priority for the Karl Rove-driven presidency is instead to preserve its own power at all costs. With this gang, political victory and the propaganda needed to secure it always trump principles, even conservative principles, let alone the truth. Whenever the White House most vociferously attacks the press, you can be sure its No. 1 motive is to deflect attention from embarrassing revelations about its incompetence and failures.

Open Thread

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

Open Thread

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

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

Wish I could thread.