Saturday, February 04, 2006


The other night during the SOTU when I was at CAP Action Fund with Sam Seder I was on for a bit with Amy Sullivan from the Washington Monthly. Seder asked us both to name the biggest threat to the Republic, aside from George Bush and Dickey Cheney. Sullivan responded, with all seriousness, Iran.

Look, I just don't get this stuff. I don't want Iran to have nukes. I don't think that's a good thing for the world. I certainly didn't want Pakistan or India to have nukes. But is a nuclear Iran really a threat to us? Certainly an Iran-with-nukes could blow the hell out of a city or two, but an Iran that did such a thing would pretty much cease to exist. It isn't mutually assured destruction, it's you fuck with us a little bit and YOU NO LONGER LIVE BITCHES!

Lying Criminals

The Bush administration:

Intelligence officers who eavesdropped on thousands of Americans in overseas calls under authority from President Bush have dismissed nearly all of them as potential suspects after hearing nothing pertinent to a terrorist threat, according to accounts from current and former government officials and private-sector sources with knowledge of the technologies in use.

Bush has recently described the warrantless operation as "terrorist surveillance" and summed it up by declaring that "if you're talking to a member of al Qaeda, we want to know why." But officials conversant with the program said a far more common question for eavesdroppers is whether, not why, a terrorist plotter is on either end of the call. The answer, they said, is usually no.

Fewer than 10 U.S. citizens or residents a year, according to an authoritative account, have aroused enough suspicion during warrantless eavesdropping to justify interception of their domestic calls, as well. That step still requires a warrant from a federal judge, for which the government must supply evidence of probable cause.

Saturday Night Fun


I Wonder Which Blog That Could Be

The abortion smackdown continues:

Back to the issue of abortion. On one blog, our exchange is labeled: Is Abortion Icky? I think that expresses rather well how lots of people feel about abortion: They may not find it immoral or want to see it made illegal, but it disturbs them. It just seems like a bad thing. ("Icky" is an interesting word choice too—that messy female body!). In my last post, I tried to get at the difference between emotion and morality—and no, I don't think it is a moral reflection if you feel sad because, say, you have all the children you want or can handle, but having an abortion makes you realize you are closing a door. Another woman, in exactly the same circumstances might feel quite differently: She might feel, "Oh Heck, just when I was getting my life back on track!" Similarly, feeling that you've "messed up" is not about morality, either. It's about feeling you haven't taken good care of yourself, that you were careless or reckless. You, Will, seem to be saying that a woman owes something to the potential person—not enough to force her to keep the pregnancy, but something. If she feels bad, it's because she recognizes that she is defaulting on an obligation. I don't think that obligation exists. Because there is no person there for her to have an obligation to. There is the seed of a person, and maybe the idea in her mind of a person. But right now, when she misses her period and takes the home pregnancy test, she is the only person at stake. And the moral thing is for her choose what's best for that person, herself.

Nobody else seems to talk this way, so let me be the one to say it: Legal abortion is a good thing, and not just because it prevents illegal operations. Without abortion, women would be less healthy, less educated, less able to realize their gifts and talents, less able to choose their mates; children would be cared for worse and provided for less well; sex would be blighted by fear of pregnancy, as it used to be back in the good old days; families would be even more screwed up than they already are; there would be more single mothers who can't cope, more divorce, more poverty, and more unhappy people feeling sandbagged by circumstance. We hear a lot now about regret and sorrow, and I know some women who have abortions feel that way, but we don't hear about the regrets and sorrow women feel who went ahead and had the baby, and we don't hear much from women who are just completely relieved and thankful that the clinic was there for them and they can get on with their lives—lives that are good and moral.


After sending a bunch of 24 year olds from the Heritage foundation to help fuck up Iraq, the Bush administration has given 24 year old campaign interns the authority to tell scientists what science is.

A week after NASA's top climate scientist complained that the space agency's public-affairs office was trying to silence his statements on global warming, the agency's administrator, Michael D. Griffin, issued a sharply worded statement yesterday calling for "scientific openness" throughout the agency.

"It is not the job of public-affairs officers," Dr. Griffin wrote in an e-mail message to the agency's 19,000 employees, "to alter, filter or adjust engineering or scientific material produced by NASA's technical staff."

The statement came six days after The New York Times quoted the scientist, James E. Hansen, as saying he was threatened with "dire consequences" if he continued to call for prompt action to limit emissions of heat-trapping gases linked to global warming. He and intermediaries in the agency's 350-member public-affairs staff said the warnings came from White House appointees in NASA headquarters.


The Big Bang memo came from Mr. Deutsch, a 24-year-old presidential appointee in the press office at NASA headquarters whose résumé says he was an intern in the "war room" of the 2004 Bush-Cheney re-election campaign. A 2003 journalism graduate of Texas A&M, he was also the public-affairs officer who sought more control over Dr. Hansen's public statements.

In October 2005, Mr. Deutsch sent an e-mail message to Flint Wild, a NASA contractor working on a set of Web presentations about Einstein for middle-school students. The message said the word "theory" needed to be added after every mention of the Big Bang.

The Big Bang is "not proven fact; it is opinion," Mr. Deutsch wrote, adding, "It is not NASA's place, nor should it be to make a declaration such as this about the existence of the universe that discounts intelligent design by a creator."

It continued: "This is more than a science issue, it is a religious issue. And I would hate to think that young people would only be getting one-half of this debate from NASA. That would mean we had failed to properly educate the very people who rely on us for factual information the most."


Mr. Wild declined to be interviewed; Mr. Deutsch did not respond to e-mail or phone messages. On Friday evening, repeated queries were made to the White House about how a young presidential appointee with no science background came to be supervising Web presentations on cosmology and interview requests to senior NASA scientists.

Song and Dance

Anyway, I was out all day at this event. The thing about such things is that a) they're rather incompatible with keeping this blog going and b) I figure a few people will hear my speak and decide to take a look at this whole blog thing, and then they run home and see 15 open threads and not much else because I've been out all day.

Doubly bad because blogger and threadbot have been going a little nuts slaughtering what little content there has been since last evening.

Sins of the Daughters

Pretty wankerific.

Test the Second

Seeing what happens when I post this...

Blogger appears to just be eating all new posts. Nothing much I can do until they fix it... No idea if this will post or how long it will stay.


Blogger appears to just be eating all new posts. Nothing much I can do until they fix it... No idea if this will post or how long it will stay.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Open Thread

Threading softly to the river.

...apparently, blogger is eating all new posts. So, well, not much bloggy goodness until that is fixed. Apologies...

Open Thread

With thread-like tread.

Open Thread

When you had left our pirate thread.

Open Thread

Poor threaded one.

Open Thread

How beutifully blue the thread.

Open Thread

Oh! Is there not one maiden thread?

Open Thread

When Threadrick was a little lad.

Wanker of the Day

Whiny-ass titty-baby Joe Klein.

It's time we say enough is enough.

No more fake Democrats on TV.

No more fake Democrats in Congress.

Move On Political Action Calls for Special Prosecutor

Sexy new ad.

Ciro Update

$11,323 through the Eschaton page.

$3,407 through the firedoglake page.

$24,010 through the general netroots page.

All goes to the same place in the end.


Alterman has a good column which starts off with this interesting observation:

At a recent conference on the Clinton Administration at Hofstra University, ex-press secretary Jake Siewart made a point that had previously eluded me: It was during the early days of Clinton's presidency that the democratization of instant information made the insider press corps obsolete. To retain their importance and self-regard, these journalists had to invent a new function for themselves, and they did: interpreting, not reporting, the news. But instead of doing the hard work of researching the historical, economic, sociological and political contexts of a given story and then finding a way to explain these in lay terms, they preferred to rely on what came most easily to them: cocktail party gossip, green room small talk, semiofficial leaks and unconfirmed rumor, almost always offered up as if the source had no interest in pushing a point of view.

It soon became clear that the insider press corps had developed a set of values almost completely antithetical to those of the majority of the American people. This disjunction is frequently misinterpreted--often deliberately--as one of snooty liberal elitists versus God-fearing, Darwin-disbelieving, upright common folk. It's almost impossible to find reliable evidence for this characterization, either in what the press corps believes or what the public does. Ironically, the media elite are attacking themselves when they embrace this myth, which is purposely stoked by the far right, as I've demonstrated ad nauseam.

Go read the rest.


Making even more news.

You can help out here.

Kos has more on the Wanker Cuellar.

Chris Matthews Should Come Clean

Indeed he should. His downplaying of DeLay/Abramoff issues really have exceeded his usual hackery.


Are these view well-reflected in the press and punditocracy? Among unnamed Democratic consultants frightened of Karl Rove?

A new Gallup Poll, conducted in late January, reveals that just 39% of Americans approve of the way President Bush is handling Iraq, with 58% disapproving.

Over half (53%) now say the administration "deliberately misled the American public about whether Iraq has weapons of mass destruction," with 46% disagreeing. Gallup notes that this finding is "essentially reversed" from one year ago.

Further, some 51% say the U.S. "made a mistake in sending troops to Iraq." Yet, despite this, only 17% expect a significant reduction of U.S. troops in Iraq in the next year.

(via Mia Culpa)

Open Thread

Hold, threads!

Laughing Liberally

Something for you New Yorkers to do tomorrow.

Mystery Death in Iraq?

For some reason I noticed this awhile back and have keep checking back every few days and I have yet to find any more information. On January 21 it was reported that Katherine P. Singleton was killed in Iraq. There have still been no details released by the military and no further reporting on the subject.

Blogger Ethics

I could spend my life doing blogger ethics panels.

Oddly, though, no one has asked me to.

Overclass Media Bias

This kind of thing is so common that we usually don't even notice it. Not just common, but universal. Business news is reported almost entirely from the perspective of how it will be likely to affect monetary policy first and the stock market second and on not on how it might actually affect most readers of the newspaper.

Speaking of business news, what the hell happened to NPR's Marketwatch? It used to be a pretty decent business show with a slightly different perspective from what you usually get. At least when I've heard it recently it's sounded like it's been taken over by John Stossel.

Unders Win

Once again the under bet wins. It's won almost every time over the past few years. Consensus forecast was 250K new jobs, actualy number was 193K.

It's decent news, but nothing to get excited about. Still we're the closest we've been to a "getting tighter" labor market since Bush took office.


God I hate this shit, and I wish "our side" was better on these issues.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Several consumer, arts and public interest groups today jointly sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee condemning provisions in the Trademark Dilution Revision Act (H.R. 683) that weaken protections for individuals and small businesses that refer to companies by their trademarks. The groups - the American Library Association, Public Citizen, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Knowledge, Professional Photographers of America, the Society of Children's Book Writers & Illustrators, and National Video Resources - also suggested minor changes to the bill that would maintain protection against big companies when people cite their trademarks.

Consumers and artists are currently protected from being sued for trademark infringement by companies if the use of the trademark is for "fair use" - a use that must meet a complex legal test - for news reporting/commentary, or for non-commercial use, but the recently passed House version of H.R. 683 eliminates the current non-commercial protection that the public receives. For instance, when Don McLean sang about driving his Chevy to the levee and finding the levee dry, the songwriter could have been sued for trademark dilution under the current language of the bill. Or when Walter Mondale criticized Gary Hart during the 1984 primaries by using Wendy's slogan, "Where's the beef," the remarks could be considered a trademark violation under the bill as passed by the House. According to the groups, this measure would severely limit small business owners, artists, photographers, illustrators and consumers from mentioning or using references to companies' trademarks. The result would force individuals who are being sued by companies to use a defense that is more difficult to prove.

"Unfortunately, some trademark owners are not content with using trademarks to inform consumers of their sponsorship, but would like to expand the trademark laws to interfere with robust commentary," the letter from the groups said.

The original purpose of trademark law was to protect consumers from confusion, not to protect the sanctity of a brand.

Open Thread

Poor threaded one.

Open Thread

Threading softly to the river.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Open Thread

When you had left our pirate thread.


Barry reminds us that it's time for the monthly jobs report and so I have a chance to make my over/under bet. Consensus forecast is 250K new jobs. I'm going to go with the under bet, though my guess is that it won't be much under. There have been, for this administration at least, some relatively positive labor market noises recently.

We Make News


A well-traveled photograph of U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar being embraced by President Bush prior to Tuesday's State of the Union address triggered a rush of Internet donations to one of Cuellar's Democratic primary rivals Thursday.

Within hours of a call to arms being posted on two liberal-leaning political blogs, the Daily Kos and Eschaton, former congressman Ciro Rodriguez's campaign received 263 cyber contributions totaling nearly $12,000, according to ActBlue, a Web-based clearinghouse for Democratic candidates nationwide.

“This may be billed as a Democratic primary, but in this solidly Democratic Latino-majority district, Republicans needed a Republican in sheep's clothing like Cuellar to have a chance of winning,” the Daily Kos blog post read.

Oscar Sanchez, a spokesman for the Rodriguez campaign, said the photograph of Bush holding a smiling Cuellar's head between his hands struck a nerve among Democrats.

“It really shows that Democrats want a real Democrat in Congress,” Sanchez said.

Making news means making Mo.

You can help here.

Rep. Boehner

What every American, Jewish or otherwise, should know about him.

Shorter Every Blog Reader and Blogger At Some Point in Their Life

Blogs should be different than they are.

More Abortion

I think Pollitt's response to Lord Saletan (scroll down half way to find it) is quite good:

After I sent off my entry yesterday afternoon I asked myself: What exactly are Will and I arguing about? We both agree, after all, that it's better not to have an unwanted pregnancy in the first place than to have an abortion, we both agree that America needs lots more birth control and lots more realistic sex education. We both want emergency contraception to be widely available over the counter. We both want men to take more responsibility—to use condoms, for example. If you and I were actually designing policy, I'm guessing we'd see the practical piece much the same way: Ramp up that funding! Build those clinics! Make health insurance companies pay for birth control like they pay for Viagra. We'd ask stern questions about how that male pill is coming along and about when we might see some new options for women. We'd look at the experience of countries with lower rates of unwanted pregnancy, teen births, and abortion (every other Western industrialized nation); we'd interview experts and study the literature, we'd set up a bunch of pilot programs to see what worked best with what sub-populations.

And then would come the ad campaign. Mine would have pictures of cheerful girls and women: "At my local Saletan clinic, the doctors are great and birth control is free! They really took time with me and answered all my questions. Best of all, I can call anytime and talk to a nurse in total privacy. Thanks to Saletan, I'll have a baby when I'm ready—but not till then." Yours would show a spiky-haired, pierced, and tattooed girl looking sullen and miserable: "I stayed out all night and forgot to take my Pill. Now I'm having an abortion and it's totally my fault. Go on, hate me, I deserve it! If only I'd listened to the doctors at Saletan." Or maybe you could have a picture of a stern-looking nun standing in front of an abortion clinic: "Birth Control: Because Purgatory's better than Hell."

That seems about right. Whether yours is a purely political goal (convincing wavering pro-choicers to support legal abortion) or an outcome (reducing abortions by encouraging greater use of contraception) I just don't understand how the Saletan version works.

It's basically a Bill Bennett version of the world - use public shaming, if gentle, to make those bad girls behave. Sorry, not going to sign up for that. I have no desire to make women feel any worse about abortions and the circumstances surrounding them than they already do.

It just comes back to the same issue - choice. Whatever its utility as a political slogan, which I admit is probably somewhat mixed, it is still the underlying issue. I want a society where women can make choices about what to do with their uteruses without subjecting themselves to a public scolding by annoying males deciding which are good abortions and which are bad ones.

Saint Whitman

Christie Todd Whitman is one of those people who are treated as saints by the media for some odd reason. She may be in a world of trouble, though this sounds like one of those issues Strip Search Sammy will take care of when he has the chance. Still, the fact that this wasn't a major scandal is as astounding as... well.. all of those other things that should've been major scandals but weren't.

NEW YORK - A federal judge blasted former Environmental Protection Agency chief Christine Todd Whitman on Thursday for reassuring New Yorkers soon after the Sept. 11 attacks that it was safe to return to their homes and offices while toxic dust was polluting the neighborhood.

U.S. District Judge Deborah A. Batts refused to grant Whitman immunity against a class-action lawsuit brought in 2004 by residents, students and workers in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn who said they were exposed to hazardous materials from the collapse of the World Trade Center.

"No reasonable person would have thought that telling thousands of people that it was safe to return to lower Manhattan, while knowing that such return could pose long-term health risks and other dire consequences, was conduct sanctioned by our laws," the judge said.

She called Whitman's actions "conscience-shocking," saying the EPA chief knew that the fall of the twin towers released tons of hazardous materials into the air.

"Consicence shocking" being the legal standard applied in another case as the hurdle allowing public figures to be held personally liable.

Your Bush Administration


WASHINGTON - A former U.S. occupation official in Iraq pleaded guilty Thursday to conspiring to steal more than $2 million and rigging bids on $8.6 million in reconstruction contracts.

Robert J. Stein, 50, of Fayetteville, N.C., admitted that he and his coconspirators smuggled millions of dollars out of Iraq into the United States aboard commercial airliners and laundered cash through multiple bank accounts in Switzerland, Amsterdam and Romania.

Stein was a Defense Department employee who served as a contract official for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, controlling more than $82 million in funds slated for rebuilding the Middle Eastern country.

Not like there weren't any warnings:

The case is a painful reminder of the absolute dearth of planning for rebuilding Iraq after the war. According to reporting by James Glanz in The Times, Mr. Stein was convicted of a fraud-related felony in 1996 and also fired from a job in 2002 for falsifying payroll records and invoices. The American government then sent him to help oversee construction projects in Hilla and the Shiite holy city of Karbala, with $82 million in taxpayer funds.

Rodriguez on the Majority Report

8:20 or so this evening. I'll be on a bit afterwards.

Competing for Ultimate Wanker

More on Cuellar, from the October 27, 2000 Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Two Texas Democratic state legislators picked Thursday, the day Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore campaigned outside Wisconsin's Capitol, to come to Madison to endorse Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush.

Democratic state Reps. Robert Junell and Henry Cuellar, both leaders of their party in the Texas House of Representatives, said their endorsement of the Republican governor resulted from his willingness to work with members of both parties to solve Texas problems. They also said they were angry that national Democratic leaders have unfairly criticized Texas under Bush.

Gore "has been a part of that system" in Washington that has resulted in only partisan gridlock, including the failure of Congress to pass a new federal budget for the budget year that started Oct. 1, said Junell, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee that acts on spending issues.

"We've seen what has worked," Junell said.

Cuellar said Bush has worked with legislators from both parties to find new ways to help minorities. Now, 55% of all first-grade students in Texas are minorities, and more than 60% of all high school graduates who get state scholarships to attend local colleges and universities are minorities, he said.

You can give here.

Open Thread

When Threadrick was a little lad.


Murray Waas:

Vice President Cheney and his then-Chief of Staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby were personally informed in June 2003 that the CIA no longer considered credible the allegations that Saddam Hussein had attempted to procure uranium from the African nation of Niger, according to government records and interviews with current and former officials. The new CIA assessment came just as Libby and other senior administration officials were embarking on an effort to discredit an administration critic who had also been saying that the allegations were untrue.

The campaign against Joseph Wilson continued even after the CIA concluded that Iraq had not tried to buy uranium from the African nation of Niger.

CIA analysts wrote then-CIA Director George Tenet in a highly classified memo on June 17, 2003, "We no longer believe there is sufficient" credible information to "conclude that Iraq pursued uranium from abroad." The memo was titled: "In Response to Your Questions for Our Current Assessment and Additional Details on Iraq's Alleged Pursuits of Uranium From Abroad."

Despite the CIA's findings, Libby attempted to discredit former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who had been sent on a CIA-sponsored mission to Niger the previous year to investigate the claims, which he concluded were baseless.



How Big a Wanker is Cuellar?

Wow. This guy's been under my radar for some reason.

Cuellar was one of several Texas Democrats to support Bush over Al Gore in 2000.

Cuellar later was appointed secretary of state by Gov. Rick Perry before being elected to Congress as a Democrat.

And can this, from Wikipedia, possibly be true?

Cuellar describes himself as a "moderate conservative" and attempted to join the Blue Dog Coalition of House Democrats on Capitol Hill, but was rejected due to his massively low popularity within his own party.


Anyway, you can give here.

Open Thread

Oh! Is there not one maiden thread?

Rodriguez Speaks

Ciro Rodriguez has posted a diary at Daily Kos.

Like what you see and you can donate here.

This is the alternative in the race, a Democrat:

There's no Republican in the race, so the primary winner will basically take the seat.

Obama Makes a Funny

At Wanker Russert's expense.

Boehner New Majority Leader

John "please don't pronounce it like it's spelled" Boehner is in.

Counting the Votes

Funny how these things happen:

House Republicans are taking a mulligan on the first ballot for Majority Leader. The first count showed more votes cast than Republicans present at the Conference meeting. Stay with for updates.

Clean House

Kos tells us that we have a chance to get rid of another loathsome Democrat who just pulled a Lieberman.

For the speech Tuesday, Mr. Cuellar positioned himself along the president's route and grabbed a seat on the Republican side of the aisle. Custom dictates that the Democrats stay to the speaker's right and Republicans to the left, making it easier to gauge party-line splits on applause lines.

"Doesn't really matter," the congressman said. "It's the U.S. Congress side. I didn't see any sign that says Democratic or Republican."

Actually, this is worse than Lieberman - it's the kind of thing people do right before they switch parties.

Fortunately, there's a contested primary and no Republican scheduled to run. Cuellar's primary opponent is Ciro Rodriguez. Rodriguez and Cuellar had a primary fight after DeLay's redistrcting meant that one of them would be turfed out of Congress. Cuellar won, but only by a little bit.

A little bit of additional motivation. That's Bush and his bff Cuellar.

So, Rodriguez gets added to the candidate list. This is an important one. I'd say it would be quite a big accomplishment if the netroots could get rid of Lieberman's twin in the House. Warm up for the big event.

Give early. Give soon. Give now. The Primary is on March 7.

More on Cuellar, who has also been endorsed by the evil Club for Growth.

The Big Money

Our excellent adventure become even more costly:

WASHINGTON - The White House has told Congress to expect requests for about $70 billion in additional funding for the ongoing budget year for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and $18 billion more for hurricane relief, a Senate GOP aide says.


A lot of our trolls came in here yesterday whining that what the Joint Chiefs of Staff were doing by complaining about the Post's cartoon criticizing Rumsfeld wasn't censorship. Never mind that I hadn't claimed that it was, but anyway. It of course isn't strictly censorship, but any time a member of the government complains in this way, behind a government podium or on official letterhead, it does indeed get closer to official censorship. The point is to have a chilling effect. Had Rumsfeld or one of the members of the Joint Chiefs complained on personal stationary it would've been a bit better, though the dishonesty of the letter would've been still made it a bit awful.

The point is there's a big difference between someone like Bill O'Reilly saying "people should watch what they say" and Ari Fleischer saying it. Both are meant to intimidate, but one is an agent of the government and one is not. Both can have a chilling effect on speech, but only one has the official government approval on doing so. Censorship? Not quite. But creeping close to it.


Expanding on another point of Pollitt's:

You want to intensify our culture's already broad, deep strain of sexual Puritanism, shame and blame, and attach it to contraception. It won't work, because contraception is really about other values—pleasure, health, self-expression, self-protection. It comes from a different part of the national soul, the anti-Puritan side that says sex is good, has many meanings from sacred to silly, is a natural part of life, and that women should not pay a price for having a sex life. Anti-choicers mostly don't have this view, and that is why they aren't so keen on birth control despite the obvious fact that blanketing the nation with contraceptives would lessen the rate of something they consider to be outright murder.

And that is why there is no movement of pro-Roe abortion-hating contraceptive enthusiasts, just waiting for Barbara Boxer to sound the trumpet.

Even aside from pro-lifers lots of people are uncomfortable with their sons and daughters having sex. Programs to provide easier access to contraception involve providing easier access in high school and colleges. Access to contraception just doesn't have the universal support that people like Saletan imagine. It's a regular controveresy in high schools and in colleges. People associate contraception with sex and associate easy access to contraception with easy access to sex. A big chunk of this country also thinks "sex is icky" and doesn't like the idea of "easy access to sex" for unmarried people.

Of course married women have a large number of the abortions in this country and expanding contraception availability includes them, but contraception availability implies availability for everyone. That just doesn't make everyone happy, actually.

Is Abortion Icky?

Sam Rosenfeld points us to this Slate debate between Lord Saletan and Katha Pollitt.

I'll say first that basically I endorse Rosenfeld's take on the issue. I've never really understood that expressing the view that the "abortion is icky but it should be legal" is the right politics. I don't know why our side always needs to run from the abortion issue even thought it's one of our most popular issues.

Most people think abortion should be legal. There are people who think that to be true and but who else think that abortion is icky. So, if you give them any kind of out by asking questions such as "should abortion be legal in this circumstance? in this circumstance?" they'll tend to answer no on at least some of them.

I've had exchanges with quite a few people in the "abortion is icky" crowd. I sympathize with them, and they're certainly welcome to their moral beliefs on the subject, but I've also never understood just what they want other than bringing people like me around to their view. They're welcome to try to do that, but it's not clear just how "abortion is icky" translates into public policy.

There are those who think that the public policy it translates to involves caving in on those wedge issues the Right invents - fake scary names for abortion procedures, parental notification, chipping away at late term abortions generally, etc. - but I think that just involves a complete misunderstanding of the tactics the anti-abortion crowd is using. There are an infinite number of ways to chip away at abortion rights by trying to appeal to the "abortion is icky" crowd, providing an infinite number of test cases to send to the Supreme Court. It will never end. Chip chip chip. Usually lost in the debate about the fake "partial birth abortion" issue is that the reason it's unconstitutional is that there's no health exception. That's it. Republicans wouldn't vote for a version which included a health exception. So, how can any pro-choice person support signing on to such a thing just to appeal to the "abortion is icky" crowd, especially when the next plan to further restrict abortion rights will come out the following week.

The real issue is making the abortion icky understand in their hearts what they do understand intellectually - that the issue is simply who gets to make the decision. That's it. It's the same issue as with Schiavo. The question was not whether it was the right thing or the wrong thing to remove the feeding tube, the question was simply who had the right to make that choice. Even the abortion is icky crowd doesn't really want Bill Frist or Tom DeLay making that decision for them.

Again, I really don't know why we talk about this issue as if it is a political loser. It isn't. I think code phrases like "safe, legal, and rare" are quite fine for politicians to use as they throw a bone to the icky crowd, and I certainly don't expect politicians to adopt my "safe, legal, and rare just like appendectomies" modification, but running around saying "abortion is bad, bad, bad but it should be legal" will always lose to "abortion is bad, bad, bad, and it should be illegal" if that's how the debate is framed.


Reader Jim E. writes in:

Cliff May has claimed ever since 2003 that Plame’s identity was an open secret. He has said in print and on TV that he knew about Plame prior to the publication of Novak’s column. According Fitzgerald, though, it appears that May’s repeated claims are not true.

Cliff May has previously written that Novak's July 14, 2003 column about Plame "wasn't news to me. I had been told that." Cliff May claimed he knew about Wilson’s wife when he wrote an anti-Wilson screed on July 11, 2003, but purposely didn't include it "because it didn't seem particularly relevant." (This Cliff May article has relevant links to the above quoted words.)

In the recent Fitz letter to Libby’s defense team, Fitz lists all the known reporters (Pincus, Miller, Cooper, Woodward, and Novak) who knew of Plame/Wilson’s wife prior to July 14. Yet Fitz’s list doesn’t include May. (See pg. 4 of Jan.23, 2006 letter.) Cliff May previously told David Corn that he (May) had been interviewed by the FBI during their investigation of the Plame matter.

Therefore, one can conclude that Cliff May misrepresented his own knowledge about Valerie Plame. He apparently didn’t have much to tell the investigators regarding his own knowledge of the case otherwise he should have been listed in Fitz’s letter. That he wasn’t listed suggests that he *didn’t* know Plame’s identity until Novak published it. Maybe Cliff May has an explanation for this (I can’t wait to read it), but so far he’s been silent at The Corner.

Anyways, I thought this tid-bit was interesting and wanted to pass it along.

Interesting. This is the Cliff May about whom Wolf Blitzer said:

BLITZER: Well, why would Clifford May say that he knew about it?

JOHNSON: Clifford May has been wrong on a whole variety of things.


BLITZER: But he's a respected guy, Clifford May.

JOHNSON: Well, he's respected by some people. I don't respect him, because I...

BLITZER: I have known him for many years...


BLITZER: ... going back to when he was a reporter for the "New York Times."


Mighty charitable of him:

Christian ministers were enthusiastic at the early private screenings of "End of the Spear," made by Every Tribe Entertainment, an evangelical film company. But days before the film's premiere, a controversy erupted over the casting of a gay actor that has all but eclipsed the movie and revealed fault lines among evangelicals.


Christian ministers were enthusiastic at the early private screenings of "End of the Spear," made by Every Tribe Entertainment, an evangelical film company. But days before the film's premiere, a controversy erupted over the casting of a gay actor that has all but eclipsed the movie and revealed fault lines among evangelicals.


One Web log,, written by Kevin T. Bauder, president of Central Baptist Seminary in Minneapolis, stated in a Jan. 13 entry: "Granted, we must not overreact. And it would probably be an overreaction to firebomb these men's houses. But what they have done is no mistake. It is a calculated strategy."


Greg Clifford, chief operating officer of Every Tribe, said the company, based in Oklahoma, had alerted the F.B.I. there about the Web log. The F.B.I. did not return phone calls yesterday about the matter.

Open Thread

Oh! Threads of dark and dismal fate.

Open Thread

Now Threadrick, let your escort lion-hearted.

Open Thread

When a thread's no engaged in his employment.

Open Thread

Stay, we must not lose our threads.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

So Sorry

So very sorry. Haven't seen such genuflecting since we had to beg for our spy plane back from the Chinese. Or, maybe, since that time a bunch of rich Texans were going for a joy ride in one of our subs and killed about 10 people on a Japanese fishing boat.

Diplomatically, Mr. Bush's ambitious call for the replacement of 75 percent of the United States' Mideast oil imports with ethanol and other energy sources by 2025 upset Saudi Arabia, the main American oil supplier in the Persian Gulf. In an interview on Wednesday, the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Prince Turki al-Faisal, said he would have to "seek an explanation" from Mr. Bush.

I'm sure the Little Green PeePee crowd will be outraged.

Whack A Mole

The Mole.

The paddle.

The Colbert Report

Gets the Ann Altmouse review.

Our Long National Civil Liberties Nightmare Is Over



Yglesias starts to knock down this silly isolationist idea which has been obsessing Peter "prime fighting age" Beinart and now apparently George W. Bush. Go figure.

There have long been isolationist strains on both the far right and far left. In addition, massive foreign policy interventions of any kind are generally complicated and costly and messy with unpredictable results and it's perfectly understandable that people on the left are a wee bit more likely to expect a Democrat to handle these things a bit better and those on the right to expect a Republican to handle it better. Call that bias or partisanship or whatever, but that's the way it is.

So, anyway, even in normal times it would be expected for isolationism on the left to have a wee uptick and isolationism on the right to be reduced. But, now, in addition to that we're at a time when George W. Bush lied to take us into war and then totally fucked it up. Fucked it up more than even I imagined they could fuck it up. Fucking it up so badly that we're constantly having to come up with new words to describe the degree of fuckingupness.

I opposed the Iraq war, in part because I thought the Bush administration was pretty much prone to fucking just about everything up. Call it bias or partisanship or simply a well-informed opinion, but I did. It wasn't the only or most important reason I opposed the war, but much as "fake WMDs" was the "reason for war" all the Bushies could agree on, "everything they touch turns to shit" should've been the reason all the liberal hawks could agree on to not support the war. So much for that.

As I was saying, if you combine standard every day "I don't trust their party's president to do the right thing" with pretty much ironclad proof that "everything Bush touches turns to shit" it's perfectly understandable that those of us to the left of Joe Lieberman are pretty wary of Commander Cuckoo banana's further attempts to stride across the Risk board in his majestic codpiece.

And, when Peter "prime fighting age" Beinart's book appears to tell us how horrible it is that Bush's Iraq's war has made us liberals isolationists, whatever that means, we will just have to remind him that he should've thought of that before he supported the damn thing.


Since the administration has already admitted to Bush lying in the State of the Union address last night perhaps tomorrow during the gaggle the reporters should have Scottie going through the speech line by line, marking "Ts" and "Fs" where appropriate.

Pressure Points

Part of running a successful public campaign is understanding where the pressure points are and how to use them. Part of the reason to use your pulpit to make political endorsements is the implicit threat that those endorsements can be withheld or withdrawn. It's a level of power to be applied where possible.

I wasn't too thrilled with NARAL's way-early endorsement of Linc Chafee over his as-yet-to-be-determined-but-pro-choice Democratic opponent but I didn't think it was the biggest deal in the world. It's premised in the false belief that maybe, just maybe, some moderate Republicans will come along and save us. They never do. They haven't bothered to do that in some time.

There's no reason fo NARAL to support any Senator who voted for cloture especially when their opposition is going to be a pro-choice Democrat who could help flip Senate control to the overwhelmingly pro-choice party. They entire purpose of standing behind moderate Republicans is the hope that they come through on hard votes. Chafee's yes-on-cloture-no-on-Alito vote did nothing but provide him with slim cover on his left flank for his upcoming re-election. He doesn't deserve the support of any organization dedicated to women's reproductive rights.

Wanker of the Day

Jeff Greenfield.

GREENFIELD: The other thing you should know -- Candy was the recipient of this. At least one opposition congressman has put out a scathing attack on the speech. When did you get it?

CROWLEY: I got it about, oh, an hour ago or so.

GREENFIELD: In other words, there wasn't a chance in the world that this congressperson had seen the speech, but he condemned it as filled with empty rhetoric and failing to address our problems.

Greenfield's been in the business for years. Is there any chance at all that he's unaware that the contents of speeches - in full - are usually distributed beforehand.


It never ends.

The central theme of the cartoon is that Rumsfeld is an asshole, which he is. They repeatedly deflect criticism of the civilian leadership by implying it's a criticism of the troops.

Finishing Well

Wingnut code.

Dog Whistle Politics

Last night Amy Sullivan said something interesting. I suppose I've heard version of it before but never quite as succintly. Roughly paraphrasing, she said that Republicans speak to their base in code and then yell loudly to more moderate voters, while Democrats tend to to do the opposite.

I wasn't sure how true much this was or if true what it meant, but I've been mulling it over since. I certainly don't see a lot of yelling loudly to the base by most Democrats, though it's probably true that the few Democrats who do "pander" to the base do so loudly and proudly. It's also the case that many in the media equate anything expressed by Democrats in a passionate and strident way as pandering to the base. Democrats internalize this and think that what moderates/independents is bland moderation, which I don't really think is true.

Anyway, random thoughts, open for discussion.

18 1/2 Minute Gap

Oh my.

Fitzgerald, who is fighting Libby's request, said in a letter to Libby's lawyers that many e-mails from Cheney's office at the time of the Plame leak in 2003 have been deleted contrary to White House policy.

Of course, this is rather unsurpring given that barely remarked upon action by Abu Gonzales:

Washington -- Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Sunday that he spoke with White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card immediately after learning that the Justice Department had begun a criminal investigation into the leak of a CIA operative's identity. But Gonzales, who was White House counsel at the time, waited 12 hours before officially notifying the rest of the staff of the inquiry.

Scrub scrub scrub...

The Worst Person in the World

Olbermann performs a public service.

Standing O

The only good moment at the SOTU.


His hackery knows no limits.

You can tell him what you think here.

Ricky Keeps Lying

And every time he does the baby Jesus cries.

Open Thread

A rollicking band of threads we.

Open Thread

When the foeman bears his thread.

Ned Lamont

Connecticut residents, especially, sign up to help Ned Lamont.

A wee reminder from last year.

The Man Who Will Never Be President

Joe Biden.

Fantasy Land

Drum outlines the basic HSA proposal that the preznit didn't even bother talking about last night. Check out #5. Now that's comedy!

And, contra drum, these don't actually sound like appealing ideas. 4 seconds in any hospital and you've blown through your deductible. The fact that your deductible is deductible doesn't actually save you that much money. That fact that your out of pocket expenses are deductible doesn't actually save you that much money. Making things deductible only saves you whatever your marginal tax rate is. So, what, 15% discount? 20% discount? Big whoop!

I have no idea why the idea that you get to save money tax free so that you can spend it when you get sick is appealing. I have no idea why going to see medical personnel without the bargaining power of your insurance company behind you is appealing.


What the hell was that all about anyway?

Open Thread

Now for the threads' lair!

Open Thread

How beutifully blue the thread.

Open Thread

When you had left our pirate thread.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Open Thread

When the foeman bears his thread.

Open Thread

Thread! Thread! Not a Word!


Off to CAP Action Fund/Think Progress for some fun. You should be able to watch it there if you're interested, or just listen in on Air America, or whatever combination works for you.

And, don't forget to listen for...

Mars, bitches!

Your Liberal Media

CNN SOTU coverage will be done by 1 progressive and 3 conservatives.

If the opposite ever happened it would be like someone crossed the streams.

One CNN Center, Box 105366, Atlanta, GA 30303-5366
Phone: 404-827-1500
Fax: 404-827-1906

"Approximately 11 International Laws"

Wow, we've found a magnificent new wanker.


Russert's doing a great job, if his job is to keep the public misinformed.

Not Like Those Nasty Democrats

Scott Shields very nicely hits on what enrages people like me about Fox News Democrats and their ilk.

More Matthews

It's stunning how far he'll go to protect his friend Tom.

Tell him what you think.

Open Thread

How beautifully blue the thread.

Open Thread

Oh! False one, you have threaded me.

Brain Trust

One does wonder how K. Lo manages to tie her shoes in the morning. Reid's position is roughly the position I know. I'm sure if pressed I could find more things in the Patriot Act that would annoy me, but I also realize that, you know, with 45 Senators the best that can be done is to fix it around the edges, which is precisely what bipartisan groups in both the House and Senate are trying to do...

Travel Day

So, light posting. Fortunately there are many many other fine blogs on the internets!

Open Thread

Stay, Threadrick, stay!

Gonzales Lied to Congress

Man, I remember when the beltway media would care if the attorney general was a liar. Oh well, good enough story for page A7 at least.

The Liberal Media

In yesterday's PDN, Media Matters' Paul Waldmann has a column about the lack of actual liberals on cable news and CNN's hiring of Glenn Beck. I do disagree with his characterization of Olbermann as a "progressive" as whatever his strengths Olbermann doesn't really have an ideological show and he's not out there advocating for a progressive policy agenda. Olbermann, like Dan Froomkin and Jon Stewart, recognize that it's basically their job to call bullshit on the people in power whoever they happen to be. I imagine he's probably more liberal in his politics than, say, Tucker Carlson but it rarely comes through on his show.

During the Lewinsky nonsense Olbermann was the only cable news host who understand the power dynamic, until he quit. While Clinton was president and certainly had a lot of power, the real "power" on the Lewinsky issue was the Republican Congress, the conservative media/movement, Starr's OIC, and the Washington press generally. So, Olbermann, when he could, called bullshit on that.

I'll Take That Bet

Count me in for $10. Whether or not the crazies are running our Iran policy or not is beside the point. The Politics of Terra Terra Terra will dictate that Iran gets mentioned in tonight's SOTU, no matter what our policy is. Of course one problem with that is red meat domestic politics from our leaders ("Iran is evil!") makes sensible diplomacy as difficult as Iran's version of domestic red meat politics ("Holocaust is a myth!") does.* But I don't expect that to bother Bush's speechwriters much, or him.

*Obligatory troll dislcaimer: not equating the two statements, just comparing the role they play in each country's respective domestic politics.

Why Does Chris Matthews Heart Tom DeLay?

This one is really a mystery to me. Matthews of course is generally quick to bash Democrats and defend Republicans, but on this issue it seems more personal. He really is going out of his way to provide cover for DeLay. It's weird.

Wanker of the Day

Jonah Goldberg.

What $7 Million Gets You

Stupid reporters.

Open Thread

Threading softly to the river.

Open Thread

Thread! Thread! Not a Word!

Open Thread

When Threadrick was a little lad.

Open Thread

I am the very thread of a modern Major-General.

Red Google

Lately I've been getting a bunch of emails from outraged right wingers who aren't happy with the degree of attention paid to their latest pet cause - Google's establishment of a search engine which to some degree caves in to the Chinese governments demands for censorship. Certainly this sounds fairly bad in principle, though whether in practice "china with no google" or "china with censored google" is a better thing I have no idea.

But I have no desire to defend Google; I just have no idea what the controversy is. Every company which does business in a "bad country" plays by their rules. In lots of cases their rules include a lot worse things than simply censoring search engines. You know, general labor abuses and stuff.

But aside from that, what about your hero, Rupert Murdoch?

MURDOCH THE APOLOGIST FOR DICTATORSHIPS: Time Magazine reported that while Murdoch is supposedly "a devout anti-Soviet and anti-communist" he "became bewitched by China in the early '90s." In an effort to persuade Chinese dictators that he would never challenge their behavior, Murdoch "threw the BBC off Star TV" (his satellite network operating in China) after BBC aired reports about Chinese human rights violations. Murdoch argued the BBC "was gratuitously attacking the regime, playing film of the massacre in Tiananmen Square over and over again." In 1998 Chinese President Jiang Zemin praised Murdoch for the "objective" way in which his papers and television covered China. [Source: Time Magazine, 10/25/99]

MURDOCH THE PROPAGANDIST FOR DICTATORS: While Murdoch justifies his global media empire as a threat to "totalitarian regimes everywhere," according to Time Magazine, Murdoch actually pays the salary of a top TV consultant working to improve the Chinese government's communist state-run television CCTV. As Time notes, "nowadays, News Corp. and CCTV International are partners of sorts," exchanging agreements to air each other's content, even though CCTV is "a key propaganda arm of the Communist Party." [Source: Time Magazine, 7/6/04]

MURDOCH THE ENABLER OF HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATORS: According to the LA Times, Murdoch had his son James, now in charge of News Corp.'s China initiative, attack the Falun Gong, the spiritual movement banned by the Chinese government after 10,000 of its followers protested in Tiananmen Square. With Rupert in attendance, James Murdoch called the movement a "dangerous" and "apocalyptic cult" and lambasted the Western press for its negative portrayal of China's awful human rights record. Murdoch "startled even China's supporters with his zealous defense of that government's harsh crackdown on Falun Gong and criticism of Hong Kong democracy supporters." Murdoch also "said Hong Kong democracy advocates should accept the reality of life under a strong-willed 'absolutist' government." It "appeared to some to be a blatant effort to curry favor" with the China's repressive government. [LA Times, 3/23/01]

Again, I'm not making a two wrongs a right argument. I don't like what Google is doing in China. I don't like like what lots of companies are doing in lots of countries. And, I'm not just making an apples-and-oranges comparison here. Whatever basic sin Google is accused of - censorship on behalf of the Chinese government - is something Murdoch has been doing for years.

Murdoch, a devout anti-Soviet and anti-communist, became bewitched by China in the early '90s. The Chinese leadership, while liberalizing in terms of economics, still attempted to control information; satellite broadcasting seemed an obvious threat to its ideological stranglehold.

To try and persuade the Chinese he was not a danger, Murdoch threw the BBC off Star. He argued that it was gratuitously attacking the regime, playing film of the massacre in Tiananmen Square over and over again. He also pointed out that since the BBC broadcasts only in English, almost no Chinese could understand it. In 1998 he ordered his British publishing firm, HarperCollins, to drop the memoirs of Chris Patten, the last governor of Hong Kong and another fierce critic of Beijing. The reward came last December when Chinese President Jiang Zemin praised Murdoch for the "objective" way in which his papers and television covered China.

When I put it to him that he was betraying his anti-communist values to ingratiate himself with Beijing, he said: "I don't think there are many communists left in China. There's a one-party state and there's a communist economy, which they are desperately trying to get out of and change. The real story there is an economic story, tied to the democratic story." He argues that Western entertainment, even without Western news, will help further dilute the regime.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Pajamas Media

I won't link to it directly as Charles "I'm not reponsible for my comments" Johnson doesn't just delete/ban aggressively he also redirects links from people who criticize him.

So, cut and paste and see the kind of people who hang out at the site of Pajamas Media cofounder Squeaky Johnson.

oy, link too long. Try this tinyurl for now, though it probably won't last long.

Best Post-Mortem

Unsurprisingly from Digby.


I rarely do this, but I thought you might like to see some courageous reports from the front lines by the 101st Fighting Keyboarders.


The only thing stunning about Amanpour's statements is that they're even controversial.


Chris Matthews says that Mrs. Alito, who started to cry when Huckleberry Graham was talking to her, was molested by Ted Kennedy. Someone who he, as far as I know, never even addressed directly, let alone groped.

This sounds a bit closer to molesting to me:

Matthews once got confessional about his own wandering eyes and hands. Last May, in one of his highest-profile bookings, he confided in his guest, George W. Bush, about his reasons for quitting drinking (he's been sober six years). A roomful of the traveling press corps -- as well as a live audience surrounding the two -- could hear their conversation, as Matthews rambled on during a commercial break. "It was one of these parties, Sam Donaldson's daughter's party," he said to Bush, relating three hours of afternoon drinking. "And I am gone at about six or seven at night. I've got my hand on somebody's leg. Where's this going? Who am I kidding?"

Bush nodded and said simply, "Yeah, yeah," remembering the mike was live.

"I don't mind occasional disasters, but I was heading in the wrong direction," Matthews said. Bush assured him he did the right thing by cutting himself off the booze. By occasional disasters, Matthews meant only flirting, he says months later by way of explanation.

But then he wants to know why I asked. He knows that he has enemies, that some have told me that Matthews's anger toward Clinton has a weird dissonance with his own insensitivity toward women in his workplace.

"There's two governing emotions in this city: jealousy and fear, and you can't tell 'em apart," Matthews says. Maybe he was mean one day to an underling, snapped at a hairdresser, he admits. Maybe he's reached a height where bigger guns are aimed at him.

"What's the bounty on Chris Matthews?" he asked me in our first lengthy phone conversation. "What do you get for bringing back Chris Matthews in a bag?"

Tell Chris Matthews what you think.

Got Their Backs

Here are the 25:

Bayh, Evan (D-IN)
Biden, Joseph R., Jr. (D-DE)
Boxer, Barbara (D-CA)
Clinton, Hillary Rodham (D-NY)
Dayton, Mark (D-MN)
Dodd, Christopher J. (D-CT)
Durbin, Richard (D-IL)
Feingold, Russell D. (D-WI)
Feinstein, Dianne (D-CA)
Jeffords, James M. (I-VT)
Kennedy, Edward M. (D-MA)
Kerry, John F. (D-MA)
Lautenberg, Frank R. (D-NJ)
Leahy, Patrick J. (D-VT)
Levin, Carl (D-MI)
Menendez, Robert (D-NJ)
Mikulski, Barbara A. (D-MD)
Murray, Patty (D-WA)
Obama, Barack (D-IL)
Reed, Jack (D-RI)
Reid, Harry (D-NV)
Sarbanes, Paul S. (D-MD)
Schumer, Charles E. (D-NY)
Stabenow, Debbie (D-MI)
Wyden, Ron (D-OR)

No matter what their motives for doing so they did the right thing.

Of them, those facing re-election in 2006 (I think I've got them all - someone correct me if I screwed up here):

Debbie Stabenow.
Edward Kennedy.
Dianne Feinstein.
Hillary Clinton.
Bob Menendez.

It's an interesting list, really, given those who are running in 2006 (note this list is a bit out of date and also note retirements, but it gives a flavor).

The electoral calculus is clear. Dems are up several-dozen points in a generic ballot. Bush is at 40ish% approval. And they still all fear Radical Mullah Dobson.

Polls Inching Up

If by up we mean "even" or "down."

The survey, which was conducted from Jan. 26-29 of 1,011 adults and which has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, shows Bush’s approval rating at 39 percent, which is unchanged from last month’s NBC/Journal poll. (Other recent national surveys have shown his approval rating to be slightly higher, in the low 40s.) In addition, only 25 percent say they want to see Bush take the lead role in setting policy for the country, while 49 percent say they prefer Congress.

Open Thread

Oh! Threads of dark and dismal fate.

Pinata Update

Appears to perhaps be a hoax.

Cloture Thread

I'm off to go waddle on the treadmill for a bit. Let me know how it ends.


The Center for American Progress Action Fund/Think Progress is hosting a little SOTU party in conjunction with the Majority Report tomorrow night. Sam Seder will be broadcasting basically as normal from 7-8. From 8-9 there will be a panel discussion video webcast at Think Progress/broadcast on Air America, and from 9-10 during the speech Sam Seder and I and whoever else might be around will be MST3King the speech, without robot helpers.

Open Thread

All is prepared! Your gallant thread awaits you!

Jesse Jackson Piñata

That's classy.

Dance With the Devil

Accepting the premise that AARP played ball with Bush on the Bush/DeLay Medicare drug scam because they thought that they would be able to work with him more on others... what the hell were they thinking?

Stupid Is as Stupid Does


Wankers of the Day

The Senate "gang of 14" whose entire reason to be is to explicitly endorse the expressed right of Bill Frist and the rest of the Senate Republicans to cheat in order to ignore Senate rules.

A most unprincipled unethical bunch. Shame on them.

...reddhead says Ed Henry, whose reporting consists almost entirely of passing on whatever Republicans tell him, may be full of shit. In any case my criticism still stands if not the proximate cause for it. The establishment of the "gang of 14" enshrined the right of Republicans to cheat at will, no matter what any of them do subsequently.

Bi-Partisan Opposition to Alito

Chafee says he'll vote against. Though, unless Chafee votes against cloture this says more about his political calculation - more vulnerable in the general election than in the primary he'll be facing - than his principles.

Polls are Inching Up

If by up, we mean down.

U.S. President George Bush has 42 percent of popular support and a 56-percent disapproval rating in an ABC News/Washington Post poll published Monday.

If journalists want to make claims about poll trends they should stick to some methodology. There are plenty of options. Only use your own institutions poll. Choose a basket of regularly taken polls and compare averages from month to month, or some sort of moving average. There are ways to do it which are consistent and precise.

From what I can tell Bush's poll numbers are basically flat at about 42 approval and that's about where they've been since December. If anything they've fallen a bit since December because that month contained a couple high outliers, but basically he's stuck at 42 now.


Always wrong. Only total whack-jobs think this guy has any brains.

Interesting Results

I've seen some of the super-secret poll results that Chris Bowers has been teasing us with. They really are quite fascinating and while obsessing poll examination isn't usually my favorite thing to do I've been looking at these with some interest. So far the most interesting results I've gotten to (lots of x-tabs to go through and try to think sensibly about) are about whether or not people think the federal government's emergency responset to an attack/natural disaster would be good. Republicans have *much much* higher confidence than do Democrats, as do those classified as fundamentalist/evangelical versus other religious classifications.

The Biggest Problem Facing Americans: Too Much Health Insurance

That's what we'll find out at the State of the Union. That and, presumably, that Osama Bin Laden is operating out of Ted Kennedy's Senate office. No fear, Bush has a plan! Make sure we have less health insurance!

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 — Millions of low-income people would have to pay more for health care under a bill worked out by Congress, and some of them would forgo care or drop out of Medicaid because of the higher co-payments and premiums, the Congressional Budget Office says in a new report.

The Senate has already approved the measure, the first major effort to rein in federal benefit programs in eight years, and the House is expected to vote Wednesday, clearing the bill for President Bush.

The general debate, about HSAs and whatnot, is going to be a bit trickier. It'll be easy for Bush to do much what he did with Social Security - never actually propose a plan as the Broders of the world demanded the Democrats propose a plan to fix what wasn't broken - by framing it in nice terms like choice, and tax cuts, and some bogus stats pulled from a non-specified plan which will prove that x million new people will be "insured" under his non-plan, of course that insurance won't actually cover anything.

Open Thread

Oh! False one, you have threaded me.

Open Thread

Awa, away, my thread's on fire!

Open Thread

When you had left our pirate thread.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Get B.A. On An Airplane

Time for the weekly wanker.

Open Thread

Pour, oh pour the pirate thread.

Open Thread

What ought we to do? Gentle sisters, thread!


Some people get to pick and choose. Some don't:

The photograph hit the world on Nov. 10, 2004: a close-cropped shot of a U.S. Marine in Iraq, his face smeared with blood and dirt, a cigarette dangling from his lips, smoke curling across weary eyes.

It was an instant icon, with Dan Rather calling it "the best war photograph in recent years." About 100 newspapers ran the photo, dubbing the anonymous warrior the "Marlboro Man."

The man in the photograph is James Blake Miller, now 21, and he is an icon, although in ways Rather probably never imagined.

He's quieter now -- easier to anger. He turns to fight at the sound of a backfire, can't look at fireworks without thinking of fire raining down on a city. He has trouble sleeping, and when he does, his fingers twitch on invisible triggers.

The diagnosis: post-traumatic stress disorder.


"There's a lot of Vietnam vets ... they don't heal until 30, 40 years down the road," Miller said. "People bottle it up, become angry, easily temperamental, and hell, before you know it, these are the people who are snapping on you."

Jessica interrupted. "You're already like that," she said.

She recalled her own first glimpse of the Marlboro Man -- an image seen through tears of relief that he was alive, and misery at how worn he looked.

"Some people thought it was sexy, and we thought, 'Oh, my God, he's in the middle of a war, close to death.' We just couldn't understand how some people could look at it like that," she said. "But I guess for some people it was glory, like patriotism."

She looked at her quiet husband through the smoke drifting from his right hand.

"But when it comes out and there's actually a personality behind that picture, and that personality, he has to deal with all the war, and all he's done, people don't want to know how hard it actually is," she said.

"This is the dark side of the reality of war. ... People don't want to know the Marlboro Man has PTSD."

Open Thread

With thread-like tread.


Let me second what Josh says here and add something. I get very tired of Democrats using their very limited TV time to say things like "we need to do better" or "we need to do a better job explaining our views to the America." Just do it! Start explaining! Do better!

Nobody Likes Him

A frequent refrain during the height of impeachment when the press needed to justify the whole thing was that while Clinton had high job approval ratings, he had low personal favorability ratings which meant that everyone thought he was the icky horrible bad man that they keept saying he was.

While Clinton's favorability ratings during that time period were lower than his job approval, they're pretty much comparable to where Bush has been for the past few months.

With Clinton we were told this meant people thought he was the ickiest person ever. With Bush we're told by people like Matthews:

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

Open Thread

Now Threadrick, let your escort lion-hearted.


Ah, I see the obvious purpose of the world's worst website ever is being noticed.

It certainly isn't to make money from advertising.

Open Thread

Climbing over threaded mountain.

"Beginning to Inch Up"

I'm getting very tired of New York Times journalists writing about Bush's rebounding support without evidence. Sheryl Gay Stolberg asserts that the SOTU will be a big Bush boost Alito vote will likely be a big boost for Republicans. and claims that the poll numbers are "beginning to inch up."

Look, there's no evidence of positive momentum on Bush's poll numbers. They tanked into the 30s in November and then settled at about 41-43 ever since, except for a couple Holiday season outliers which were higher. Those high outlier polls were trumpeted as a claim that Bush's poll numbers are up and now they're being ignored so that they can claim once again that... Bush's poll numbers are up. It's amazing how they can keep going up and be stuck at 41 simultaneously. It's similar to how the Bushies do their budget accounting PR.

Woodruff in Iraq

From ABC News, anchor Bob Woodruff and a camerman were injured in Iraq. Reported to be in serious condition, in surgery for head injuries.

Open Thread

Climbing over threaded mountain.

Open Thread

oh, better far to thread and die.

Open Thread

Stay, Threadrick, stay!

Aaaiii! Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Sullivan R’lyeh wagn’nagl fhtagn! Aaaiii!!!! Aaaaaaaaiiiiiiiii!!!!!!!!!!

I'm not one to pat Andy Sullivan on the head every time he says something reasonable. Sullivan's "greatest" contributions to the public discourse as writer and editor include mainstreaming racism, lying about Hillary Clinton's health plan, minimizing the tragedy of the AIDS epidemic, deciding the lesson of 9/11 was the need to follow in Joe McCarthy's footsteps, and, of course, helping lead us into the disastrous war Iraq.

But, still, I was struck by the fact that this post is probably more shrill than anything I've ever written.