Saturday, April 08, 2006

Late Night

Please don't shoot anybody in the face.

Welcome to Our Future

Jack Hitt on life in El Salvador, where even ectopic pregnancies cannot be terminated "until fetal death or a rupture of the fallopian tube."

American Dreamz

Got back from a preview screening of this movie at the Philadelphia film festival. It wasn't bad and had its amusing bits but didn't end up being all that great. Premise: Dennis Quaid plays a somewhat familiar president who on the morning after his re-election decides to, for the first time since his presidency, start reading newspapers. That sends him into a funk and he isolates himself in his room for weeks, as his approval ratings plummet and rumors that he went bonkers are floated in the press. To shore up his ratings, the funny Cheney/Rove/Rumsfeld hybrid played by Willem Dafoe decides to book him as a celebrity judge on the hit show American Idol Dreamz, hosted by Hugh Grant doing a decent Simon Cowell rip. Oh, and throw in a potential plot to assassinate the president by the show's Middle Eastern contestant.

It's probably the kind of movie that seemed edgy and controversial when they planned it, and I'm actually kind of glad that it no longer seems that edgy and controversial, but ultimately the problem is that it isn't edgy enough. It just never really has the courage to make a point. It's a bit of a satire of American Idol, a bit of a political satire, but isn't strong enough on either front for the movie to be satisfying.

Good for a few laughs, and it's nice that we can laugh at these things, but not much more than that.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

PA Senate Debate

Bob Casey, Chuck Pennacchio, and Alan Sandals will be debating this evening at 8pm 7pm. You can watch it on cable on PCN or online here.


Smart politicians should start laying the rhetorical foundation for a moderately likely event - an epidemic of mortgage foreclosures as rates on adjustable rate mortgages jump.


For local people, the Thrilladelphia festival is almost with us. It provides a great chance to check out/support local bands. Not sure how many shows I'll manage to get to, but I'll at least be at the Khyber on the 28th to see The Swimmmers, Grammar Debate, Persona, and Illumina.

Anyone have any other recommendations?

And, on a mostly unrelated note, residents of Chicago, Detroit, Brooklyn, DC, Philly, and Boston should take the opportunity to see Gogol Bordello this week.

...oh, and the new one from the Chicks isn't out for 7 weeks and it's #28 at Amazon...

Where We Are

Why people in the press fail to grasp what Bush and his people state very clearly is beyond me:

This theory, taken to its logical conclusions, gives the President the ability to treat anyone living in the United States, including particularly U.S. citizens, as wartime enemies without having to prove their disloyalty to anyone outside the executive branch. In so doing, it offers him what can only be called dictatorial powers-- that is, the power to suspend ordinary civil liberties protections on his say so. The limits on what the President may do under this theory are entirely political-- the question is whether the American people will stand for what the President has done if they discover what he has done in their name. But if the American people don't know what their executive is doing, they can hardly be in a position to object. And so the President has tried to keep secret exactly what he has done under the unreasonable and overreaching theory of Presidential power that his Administration has repeatedly asserted in its legal briefs and public statements.

Attorney General Gonzales' latest admission should hardly surprise us once we understand how much power the President actually thinks he has. Given that we will probably never know what the President has been doing in our name, we can only hope that he has not actually tried to exercise all the power he (wrongfully) thinks he possesses.

Three Chances

Three chances in CT tomorrow to ask Lieberman if he knows anything about plans to attack Iran.

Target Iran

I wonder if it has occurred to the idiots in charge that nuking Iran would quite possibly lead to our complete isolation by the world community, pretty much destroying the post-war geopolitical structure completely. Or, to put it in language Tom Friedman might understand: The world would no longer be flat.

The good things is that we get to recycle some of our song:

If my polls are falling, bomb Iran,
If my polls are falling, bomb Iran,
If my polls are falling,
and Congress is stalling
If my polls are falling, bomb Iran.

If the GOP is hurtin' , bomb Iran
If the GOP is hurtin' , bomb Iran
If the GOP is hurtin'
And November looks uncertain
If the GOP is hurtin' , bomb Iran

Though the winning verse entry in that was always (modified for the present):

Fool me once.. shame on........BOMB IRAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Regarding this:

In recent weeks, the president has quietly initiated a series of talks on plans for Iran with a few key senators and members of the House of Representatives, including at least one Democrat, the report said.

If you go see Lieberman at the Windsor Town Hall you can perhaps talk to him about his briefing and the consequences of releasing the nuclear genie which we miraculously managed to stuff back into the bottle 60 years ago.

Wanker of the Day

Steve Waldman. Yes, this is a little old but I'd forgotten to address it and then I was just reminded as I was reading B^3.

Reader A sent in a letter written to Mr. Waldman:

There we go again... Yet another attack on secular liberals, where you again go on and on and on about how the Left's hostility to religion is keeping away the religious.

Now, you've been asked many, many times before to name names: Who are these dastardly secular liberals who mock the pious and thereby turn off oodles of potential voters? What are their organizations? How are they so very influential? Where are their mission statements, their press releases? You have never answered.

I won't ask you the same question again. Instead, I'm wondering how you can avoid feeling embarrassed, essentially writing the same piece over and over in different online magazines, while never addressing the basic flaw in your argument: You have no evidence of any secular liberals whose unrestrained disdain for religion has turned off anyone (no, Dawkins, Dennett, PZ Myers, and a few other academics and bloggers with hardly any connection to politics or influence over the Democrats, do not count; no, quoting Michael Lerner repeating your premise with different words, but providing no evidence either, doesn't count; and no, being against theocracy does not make one hostile to religion, only to religious authoritarianism).

There's no doubt that the religious right is what passes for the face of religion in this country. That's not the fault of secular liberals. Indeed, it's you fault. It's the religious left that has allowed the religious right to reign supreme. You idiotically attack fellow liberals who are at worse indifferent to religion, instead of taking on the religious right directly -- and by not challenging the media and the politicians who treat the religious right as the country's official religious authority.

By attacking secular liberals who merely want everybody to be judged by the content of their character, regardless of how pious they claim to be, you are providing aid and comfort to the religious right and the forces of religious and political authoritarianism that are behind it.

Bravo Steve! You managed to join forces with Tom DeLay, since apparently you have the same enemy, the vast anti-Christian conspiracy led by secular liberals. I am surprised you were not a featured speaker on his recent "War on Christians" conference.

Windsor Town Hall

Senator Lieberman has decided, finally, to bless the masses with an actual public appearance. Tomorrow, 11:30, Windsor Town Hall.

If you're in the area, you can ask the Senator some questions. Here's a link to a map.

Maybe One Less Criminal Pervert

Just updating the earlier post, charges have been dropped but investigation is ongoing:

Two weeks after a Defense Information Systems Agency official was arrested on a charge of child pornography, the U.S. Attorney’s office handling the case dropped the charge. But a spokeswoman in the U.S. Attorney’s Office said the investigation is continuing.

“This is an ongoing investigation, so we don’t have any comments,” the spokeswoman said.

Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Where the Hell is Holy Joe?

Joe already said we we'd better not criticize his bff the preznit:

News of President Bush authorizing leaks of intelligence reports to discredit critics of the Iraq war broke before noon Thursday. Democrats quickly lined up to demand a public accounting.

Conspicuous in his silence was Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, D-Conn., the politician analysts say could have benefited most by speaking out.

Analysts and operatives in both parties said Friday they were puzzled that Lieberman, whose perceived coziness with the Republican president is fueling a primary challenge by Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont, found nothing to say about Bush for 28 hours.


"He was conscious and not flying around the world?" asked Jennifer Duffy, who tracks Senate races for The Cook Political Report. "Well, then it was a missed opportunity for him."

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Truth is the Vorpal Sword Which Kills Truthiness


WASHINGTON - The revelation that President Bush authorized former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby to divulge classified information about Iraq fits a pattern of selective leaks of secret intelligence to further the administration's political agenda.

Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and other top officials have reacted angrily at unauthorized leaks, such as the exposure of a domestic wiretapping program and a network of secret CIA prisons, both of which are now the subject of far-reaching investigations.

But secret information that supports their policies, particularly about the Iraq war, has surfaced everywhere from the U.N. Security Council to major newspapers and magazines. Much of the information that the administration leaked or declassified, however, has proved to be incomplete, exaggerated, incorrect or fabricated.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.


Exciting disaster-related opportunities for HUD employees.

Wanker of the Day


Yes, PM

Letter to Romenesko:

Is nothing sacred? George W. Bush plagiarized an episode of the 1980s BBC comedy "Yes, Minister." As fans of that Brit-com will recall, Prime Minister Jim Hacker ordered an investigation of a government leak, demanding that if found the leaker be tossed in jail. After the usual expensive, lengthy inquiry, his staff reportered back -- we've found him. Well who is he, the PM asked? It's you, Prime Minister. (Dialogue from memory.)

P.S. OK, maybe it wasn't plagiarism, it was an homage.

A Modest Proposal

Since the whole sordid affair started at Eschacon, Nim has borrowed this space to ask Jen whether she will have his ham hock in marriage. If she can forgive him for proposing on a blog, that is.

...apparently she said yes.


C&L has last night's clip with Kos.


Another criminal pervert in the administration.

...or perhaps not. I hear an update to this story is coming.


Reporters do a good job getting at the key leak issues.

Nice Work

Crazy Curt's daughter has made a lot of money getting people to pay her to... lobby Crazy Curt.


The compromise bill is a combination of bad and stupid, and that's even before the evil little gnomes in the conference committee strip out whatever might be good so I'm quite happy to see immigration "reform" die for the moment.

What was lost in the coverage of the protests was really what likely motivated hundreds of thousands of people to come out. The tone of most coverage suggested they were mostly undocumented workers which is unlikely to be true. What motivates people is family. Lots of people who are here perfectly legally, and even citizens, have parents/siblings/spouses who are undocumented.

To a great degree it's simply families trying to stay together.

Feel the Nedrenaline!

Reports on the campaign.

Video included.

Robert Stacy McCain

Mike Stark has a little chat with my favorite wingnut, Robert Stacy McCain.

Miserable Failure

New Low in AP/Ipsos poll. 36%.

...and, more importantly:

By a 49-33 margin, the public favors Democrats over Republicans when asked which party should control Congress.

That 16-point Democratic advantage is the largest the party has enjoyed in AP-Ipsos polling.

On an issue the GOP has dominated for decades, Republicans are now locked in a tie with Democrats - 41 percent each - on the question of which party people trust to protect the country. Democrats made their biggest national security gains among young men, according to the AP-Ipsos poll, which had a 3 percentage point margin of error.

The public gives Democrats a slight edge on what party would best handle Iraq, a reversal from Election Day 2004.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Thursday, April 06, 2006


Markos is on the Colbert Report tonight.

Adam Bonin Saves the Internet

Probably much more true than not:

Missed one while I was away: Philly blogger/lawyer Adam C. Bonin saved the Internet from politics.

Not exactly, but he did get a great result in the case before the Federal Election Commission, which was considering regulating political activity on blogs. On March 27, the commission granted a media exemption to bloggers for their election-related activities. Bonin represented A-list bloggers Atrios, Markos Moulitsas Zuniga and Matt Stoller, each of whom testified in D.C.

Bloggers on all sides of the political spectrum squawked that the government threatened to limit free speech and impose limits that writers for MSM outlets escape. Supporters of regulation worried that some blogs were being used to advance political agendas. Earlier Blinq piece here.

While we're beating a dead horse at the moment let me disagree with the basic framing here, which was:

Supporters of regulation worried that some blogs were being used to advance political agendas. Earlier Blinq piece here.

And the earlier Blinq piece:

The FEC rules respond to concerns like those expressed by Richard L. Hasen, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and author of the Election Law blog. He told the Washington Post of a scenario where "somebody is blogging at the behest of a campaign and nobody knows it. If, for example, for are a U.S. Senate candidate and you have a blogger who you're paying to write good things about you and bad things about your opponent, it will eventually come out. But that may not come out until after the election."

Just about every day I can turn on CNN and see some random "political consultant" opine on politics. I don't know who their clients are, and I doubt CNN does either.

I'm all for transparency, but we need to stop pretending that the lack of transparency is a danger unique to the internet.

Anyone know who Bob Shrum's clients are? James Carville's? Me neither.

Fresh Thread

Remember kids, shooting people in the face is wrong.


There are a couple of different issues at play here. The first is, basically, is it an illegal act if the president violates on of his own executive orders? It's a somewhat metaphysical question, and absent an argument to the contrary I tend to think that the answer is "no" unless some statute is being violated as well. However, that's not to say that violating your own executive orders is an appropriate thing to do.

On the issue of document declassification I think the issues are fairly clear. There are well established processes for declassifying information which, in part, involve running the documents by people who supposedly should know whether revealing the information could harm national security or harm intelligence assets or whatever. So, whatever legal right the president has to declassify information at will is separate from the issue of whether any competent president would go about doing such a thing.

Whatever the legal issues, the president bypassed normal declassification procedures - put in place to ensure that revealing information does not threaten national security - in order to wage a political battle. Whether strictly legal or not, it's an act of a man who puts himself above the country. For shame.

DeLay's Goons

Check the video of one of DeLay's goons assaulting a Lampson supporter.

More here.

Schneider Gets It


SCHNEIDER: I think is it very damaging for the president to be seen here to have come out after his political enemies by authorizing -- no crime -- by authorizing the leak of classified information from the National Intelligence Estimate.

Again, we don't know what classified information that was, it's only described in the special prosecutor's report as certain information, key judgments of the National Intelligence Estimate, relevant portions that were aimed at discrediting the published views of Ambassador Wilson, who criticized the administration's intelligence-gathering efforts.

He was out to get his political enemy, to discredit Joe Wilson. And he did it by authorizing intelligence information to be leaked. I think most Americans would say that's a very dangerous and very foolish thing to do.


SCHNEIDER: Well, look, his approval ratings have dropped for any number of reasons. I think where this does him damage is, on the one issue, the one characteristic that has always been his strong suit, Americans have for the most part considered Bush to be honest and trustworthy. That is really the thing that got him elected, at least by the electoral college, in the year 2000.

In January 2001, when he first took office, 64 percent of Americans thought he was honest and trustworthy. President Clinton's ratings was down in the 20s. That contrast was very important for President Bush. But now, questions -- or serious questions are being raised, is he really honest and trustworthy? Does he level with the American people?

You just heard the congressman say he was leaking political -- sensitive intelligence information apparently for political reasons, political reasons, not national security reasons. And that, I think, is going to be very difficult to explain.

Harman on the Latest


"If the disclosure is true, it's breathtaking. The President is revealed as the Leaker-in-Chief.

"Leaking classified information to the press when you want to get your side out or silence your critics is not appropriate.

"The reason we classify things is to protect our sources - those who risk their lives to give us secrets. Who knows how many sources were burned by giving Libby this 'license to leak'?

"If I had leaked the information, I'd be in jail. Why should the President be above the law?

"The President has the legal authority to declassify information, but there are normal channels for doing so. Telling an aide to leak classified information to the New York Times is not a normal channel. A normal declassification procedure would involve going back to the originating agency, such as the CIA, and then putting out a public, declassified version of the document.

"I am stunned that the President won't tell the full the Intelligence Committee about the NSA program because he's allegedly concerned about leaks, when it turns out that he is the Leaker-in-Chief."

Forensic Vagina Specialist

Just click through and then click to listen.


It's probably reasonable that the president can declassify whatever he wants, or at least I haven't really seen an especially strong argument to the contrary, but that doesn't mean that the president can declassify stuff, show it to Judy Miller, and then turn around claim the stuff is still classified. That's where this argument falls apart.

Miserable Failure

Bush hits 36, matching lowest ever in Fox News Poll.

Images Provided by the Pony Playhouse

The Chicks

Amazon pre-order price of $9.98. You know you can't resist.

Listen to "Not Ready to Make Nice" here.


It's difficult to figure out just what the craziest thing about Curt Weldon is. Pinning a Moonie Church medal on Moammar Gadaffi probably tops the list.

Help Joe Sestak get rid of this freakshow. The Philly metro area deserves better. Really, we do.


No shit, Sensenbrenner:

WASHINGTON - The Republican chairman of the House Judiciary Committee pointedly criticized Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Thursday for “stonewalling” by refusing to answer questions about the Bush administration’s warrantless eavesdropping program.

Rep. James Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., said Gonzales was frustrating his panel’s oversight of the Justice Department and the controversial surveillance by declining to provide information about how the program is reviewed inside the administration and by whom.

“How can we discharge our oversight if, every time we ask a pointed question, we’re told the program is classified?” Sensenbrenner asked Gonzales near the start of a lengthy hearing on the department’s activities. “I think that ... is stonewalling.”

5 Days

Remember, the special election to replace the Dukestir is in 5 days. If you're in the district make sure you vote. If you're anywhere near the district, consider helping out somehow.

Not One Question

White House Press Corpse in action.

Terrorists and the Federal Government

What a freak.


Come October, voters in Philadelphia and the surrounding counties will be inundated with calls telling them that Casey is anti-choice, which of course is true but it won't stop many voters from deciding that they might as well just pull the lever for the also anti-choice Santorum.

Keating 5

So Republicans now think it's wrong to get support from one of the Keating 5?


With less than a week until the special election to replace former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham, national Republicans launched a television advertising campaign yesterday in an attempt to discredit the ethics credentials of the leading Democratic candidate, Francine Busby.

Busby is making the Republican ethics scandals involving Cunningham and former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, a central element of her campaign to succeed Cunningham, who resigned and was sentenced to prison after pleading guilty of bribery and tax evasion.

The ad, sponsored by the National Republican Congressional Committee, chastises Busby for emphasizing ethics while “taking thousands of dollars of campaign money from lobbyists and employees of government contractors.”

It singles out a contribution from former Sen. Dennis DeConcini, an Arizona Democrat and one of the so-called Keating Five senators. He was politically tarnished by, but not disciplined for, his involvement with a failed savings and loan in the late 1980s. Though the ad doesn't say so, DeConcini contributed $500 to Busby.

“If Francine Busby is making ethics a centerpiece of her campaign while taking campaign contributions from corrupt ex-members of Congress, she's a hypocrite and voters have a right to know that,” said Jonathan Coleggio, press secretary for the Republican committee.

Call the NRCC and ask them if they think that members of Congress who get any kind of support from Keating 5 alum John McCain are ethically tainted:

NRCC Main Number - (202) 479-7000

News Media Inquiries - (202) 479-7070

Never Heard of Him

I'm sure the surprising lack of interest in the DHS sexual predator by our press has nothing to do with his 26 years spent as one of them.

Dear Matt,

But dropping bombs is more fun, and proves how tough you are. If you keep this up Peter Beinart will call you "soft."

Get with the program.



All About McCain

Nice guy you've hitched your wagons too, goo-goo reform groups:

House Republican leaders have struck a deal with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to eliminate restrictions on coordination between national parties and federal candidates, a change in the law that would be of great benefit to the winner of the 2008 GOP presidential primary, according to congressional sources.

Republican and Democratic campaign-finance experts alike believe the change would be a boon to McCain’s campaign, if he wins his party’s nomination in three years, an outcome that political handicappers are beginning to view as a real possibility.

The House voted yesterday to attach legislation eliminating the coordination restriction to a bill limiting the activities of the soft-money groups known as 527s. The groups are named after a section of the tax code and are allowed to raise and spend unlimited amounts of money on political activities. The resulting campaign-finance package narrowly passed the House yesterday evening.

Proponents of campaign-finance regulation such as McCain, Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) and their ally Fred Wertheimer of Democracy 21 consider the lack of limits on 527s a loophole, and closing it has been a top priority for them. But eliminating limits on party expenditures coordinated with candidates has been fiercely contested in the courts for nearly 15 years.


It'll be interesting to see how this plays out. Of course the Republicans will oppose it because they're against other people having sex. The policy is right on the merits but it'll be interesting to see how the politics and media will play out. I doubt that "Republicans opposed to contraception" will ever see the light of day.

On Asshole Rights

From Amanda.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Time for Another Blogger Ethics Panel

A must.

No Comment

I guess Curt is crazy, cowardly, and an asshole:

WASHINGTON - The Democratic challenger to Rep. Curt Weldon said Wednesday that any criticism of his family's decisions on medical treatment for his 4-year-old daughter, stricken with a malignant brain tumor, was unacceptable.

"Any remarks regarding my daughter Alexandria's treatment will not be tolerated," Joe Sestak said. His daughter is being treated at Children's Hospital in Washington.

A story published Wednesday in The Hill said Weldon, R-Pa., suggested in an interview that Sestak should have sent his daughter to a hospital in Philadelphia or Delaware instead of one in Washington.

John Tomaszewski, Weldon's press secretary, said Wednesday that he had no comment on Sestak's statement or the newspaper report.

Saw Sestak talk tonight. I think people will be pleased with his candidacy. Of course anyone's better than Crazy Curt, but I think he's a whole lot better.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Fresh Thread

Could someone give Curt Weldon a call for me? In case my wife ever gets sick suddenly I'd like to know which hospital I'm supposed to take her to.

Time to say goodbye to Crazy Curt.

Iraq Forever!

Leaving is losing, and there's no such thing as success, in Bushworld.

NEW YORK In an Op Ed for The New York Times on Wedsnesday, Sen. John Kerry broke ranks with most of his Democratic colleagues in proposing not one but two “deadlines” for a U.S. exit in Iraq.

A few hours later, the White House, via Press Secretary Scott McClellan, threw cold water all over any pleadings for a pullout. McClellan repeated President Bush's oft-stated assertion that most Americans won’t be satisfied with anything less than a clear cut “victory” in Iraq. Pulling out soon would be "retreating," he said, and "we will not lose our nerve."

Kerry, on the other hand, had recalled that half of those killed in the war in which he served, Vietnam, died after Americans came to believe our strategy was off-course there. He proposed two deadlines this year: May 15 (when Iraqi leaders must form a true unity government or we will immediately exit); and Dec. 31 (if the unity government does come to be, we pull out all combat troops by this date, leaving behind troops to train Iraqis).

But McClellan, asked by reporters today about fresh calls for a U.S. withdrawal, said, “I think all Americans want our troops to come home. I think most Americans recognize the importance of succeeding in Iraq, as well. And I think most Americans want to see our troops achieve victory. And that's what's important. It's important that the Iraqi leaders continue to move forward and form a unity government that is based on strong leadership and represents -- that represents all Iraqis.

Joe Sestak's Daughter Had a Brain Tumor

The Hill:

Sitting in the oncology ward at Children’s National Medical Center on Jan. 19, retired Adm. Joe Sestak and his wife, Susan, awaited the doctors’ verdict about the condition of their 5-year-old daughter, Alexandra.

She had been diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor last summer and given three to nine months to live. The Sestaks lived for four months in the ward. They watched as their daughter survived three surgeries, and as she endured chemotherapy.

But that winter day, doctors told the Sestaks that Alexandra had done remarkably well and that, although the cancer could reemerge, she could resume living like a healthy girl.

Relieved and grateful, Sestak, who retired as a three-star admiral Jan. 1, after 31 years in the Navy, began thinking about what he wanted to do next.

What does Crazy Curt Weldon say about it?

Weldon attacked Sestak’s decision to continue owning a home in Virginia while only renting in Pennsylvania and questioned why Sestak did not move back to Pennsylvania when he was working at the Pentagon. Weldon commutes from Pennsylvania each day.

Weldon also suggested Sestak should have sent his daughter to a hospital in Philadelphia or Delaware, rather than the Washington hospital. Sestak said that as soon as doctors give his daughter the all-clear, he’ll buy in Pennsylvania.

Here's Sestak's response:

Congressman Weldon's remarks to the Hill magazine in a story published this morning regarding my daughter Alex's treatment are inappropriate. To imply, that I should have sent my daughter to a hospital in Delaware or Pennsylvania for political purposes is beyond the pale.

I understand the political arena. I knew that this campaign would thrust my family into the media spotlight and we are prepared for that. But I want to make it very clear to Congressman Weldon, that any remarks regarding my daughter, Alexandra's, treatment will not be tolerated.

Like many families dealing with illness, we have had our challenges in the last year. Through the grace of God, the many prayers of our friends and family, and the wonderful doctors and nurses, we have made it through this experience with our daughter Alex, who continues to inspire us everyday.

Though we recognize the important work done by the many hospitals in and around Philadelphia, it was our personal choice to have Alex treated in Washington at the Children's Hospital because of its outstanding work on pediatric brain tumors. This decision was based on many things – none of which were political.

This was our choice as Alex's parents and as I have said publicly, I believe these medical choices should be left in the hands of parents and family members throughout the country and not in the hands of beauracrats, special interests and especially not in the hands of politicians like Curt Weldon.

The article makes clear that Weldon plans to use the tried and true "smear the Vet" Swift Boat campaign.

With that, Joe Sestak joins the Eschaton community list.

Crazy Base World

Yes, Christian Right, that's what John McCain thinks of you.


How many criminal perverts (as opposed to good law abiding perverts) do we have at DHS?

Beware the Bloggers

There is something rather disheartening about a political machine so frightened of "outsiders" that it doesn't seem to occur to them that maybe committed Democrats might be useful to have around.

So, screw'em. All good Philadelphians should support Anne Dicker. You can check her out tonight at the Philly for Change Meetup tonight, along with other candidates I believe including Paul Lang, Joe Sestak and Tony Payton Jr.

Tony Payton has a great story. He's in his 20s. He filed to run. The party tried to knock him off the ballot by filing a challenge, so Payton issued a retaliatory challenge. He stayed on the ballot, and the party candidate got knocked off. Oops.

Tweety and Tom

Ho. Lee. Crap.

I don't know what's more interesting: the fact that Tweety keeps saying "I owe you," the fact that DeLay seems totally bored to tears with Tweety's banter, or DeLay's comment that "there's nothing worse than a woman know-it-all."

The Gay Menace

Kudos to Feingold for supporting gay marriage. It's the right thing to do, and we're the party of the gay anyway so we might as well be right on the morality. It's not as if we're gonna capture the hate the gay vote anyway, so it's time we had some political leaders who, you know, lead.

The endless waffling on these issues trying to find some incoherent middle ground makes politicians look bad..

Wanker of the Day

Michelle Malkin.

Walking Through Waas

Murray Waas does great stuff but the simple narrative thread is sometimes obscured by his long articles. Greg Sargent lays it out very simply.

Uh, Snow?



Tom DeLay stayed in the race this long to get more chumps to donate to his legal defense fund.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Kerry on Iraq

As promised:

Iraqi politicians should be told that they have until May 15 to put together an effective unity government or we will immediately withdraw our military. If Iraqis aren't willing to build a unity government in the five months since the election, they're probably not willing to build one at all. The civil war will only get worse, and we will have no choice anyway but to leave.

If Iraq's leaders succeed in putting together a government, then we must agree on another deadline: a schedule for withdrawing American combat forces by year's end. Doing so will empower the new Iraqi leadership, put Iraqis in the position of running their own country and undermine support for the insurgency, which is fueled in large measure by the majority of Iraqis who want us to leave their country. Only troops essential to finishing the job of training Iraqi forces should remain.


Might be a good time (soon) to turn on CSPAN to watch the action...


Another great Lieberman video.

Keep this stuff up. I actually believe that if someone gets creative enough to make *the* viral internet video/audio of the week which just happens to incorporate Lieberman somehow then his career in the Senate will be over.


Just returned from a great event with the Penn Democrats. Speakers included myself, Chris Bowers, Michael Nutter who is running for Philadelphia mayor even if he can't legally admit that, Joe Hoeffel, Lois Murphy, Patrick Murphy, Dennis Spivack, and Paul Lang.

All the speakers did a great job, especially me of course, and kudos to the Penn Dems for hosting the event and for putting out what looked like a great food spread even though I didn't sample any because I was about to speak.

In my brief talk I mentioned that it was important for candidates and institutions to not just exploit willing young people as volunteers but to also find ways to actually pay some of them, as not everyone can afford to take a summer off without pay. I didn't make clear that volunteerism is a great thing, and kudos to all of the people who do it, but I also think that by relying too much on volunteer labor campaigns end up excluding a huge chunk of the young population from participating in politics.

Money Drop

Republicans just dropped a huge wad of money on the CA-50 (Francine Busby) election.

Wanker of the Day

John McCain.

A hell of a lot of people would pick lettuce for a season for $50/hr. Jeebus.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Loyalty to a Foreign Power


Kerry to Make Iraq News

I hear Kerry's going to make a bit of Iraq news sometime in the next day or so. Be prepared for extra troll poop and get your spittle guards ready - they'll probably bring the Swift Boat Liars out of retirement again.

Christian Politics

Is the defense of Tom DeLay really what the conservative Christian political movement has become about?


Proof once again that right wing blogs will link approvingly to literally anything, no matter how awful, stupid, and inane, which claims to support their worldview, they're all falling all over themselves to push the wacky dorks at Right March and their truly awful song.

Olbermann put together a much better video for them last year.

All About Tom

The idea that Tom made some noble sacrifice for his fellow Republicans is ridiculous. He finally realized he'd never be a star in the party again, and that he had better figure out away to fund the various legal battles he's facing before he's so disgraced that even the most disgraceful conservatives won't get near him.

Net Neutrality

They are trying to kill the internet, yet again.

Whenever I make this point I get a lot of disagreement, but it's a bit of miraculous luck (and, yes, smarts and deliberate efforts by certain people as well) that the internet exists in anything resembling its current form. If outfits like Compuserve and AOL had seen it coming they would've killed it off and we would've had various walled gardens with limited interoperability and no ability by individuals to just slap up their own shingle on the (nonexistent) internets. Remember, they're still fighting goddamn interoperability of instant messaging.

Afternoon Thread

Any other cowardly corrupt Republicans resign today?

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Your Liberal Media

Still Not Liberal.

Though, the fact that conservatives are overrepresented in the media is proof that the media has a liberal bias! [/Kurtz]


I'm so happy for all of the people who donated to Tom DeLay's campaign fund, which will now be used to fund his defense.

Likewise I'm so happy for people who donated to Jim Gerlach's campaign, only to have some of those donations go to Tom.

DeLay snagged $5,000 donations from the campaign accounts of Reps. Kenny Marchant (Texas), Spencer Bachus (Ala.) and Mario Diaz-Balart (Fla.). Rep. Jim Gerlach’s (Pa.) re-election committee chipped in $2,000, while Reps. Steve King (Iowa) and Marsha Blackburn (Tenn.) each gave $1,000.


Apparently there's a fight:

WASHINGTON, April 3 — President Bush and the Senate are at an impasse over the appointment of trustees for Social Security and Medicare, crippling the panel that supervises the two programs.

This, in turn, has delayed the annual reports on the financial condition of the programs, which together account for more than one-third of all federal spending. Under federal law, the reports are supposed to be sent to Congress by April 1.

Since 2000, Social Security and Medicare have had two public trustees: John L. Palmer, former dean of the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, and Thomas R. Saving, an economist at Texas A&M.

Their terms have expired, and Mr. Bush has renominated them, but the Senate has taken no action. Senate leaders of both parties say they want to follow the precedent of having the public trustees serve no more than one term. But the White House said Monday that the Senate should approve the president's nominees.

Memories of Tom

It was just a year ago:

Sponsors of Thursday night's tribute say DeLay is the most effective GOP legislator in Congress, and they can't afford to lose him. "The reason why conservatives are sticking with DeLay is that he has always been for them on issues," says Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform, a sponsor.

Other sponsors include David Keene of the American Conservative Union (ACU), Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Ed Feulner of the Heritage Foundation, Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation, Gary Bauer of American Values, and Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., of the American Spectator - key contacts for conservatives aspiring to higher office.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Great Moments in Punditry

Hugh Hewitt:

A Texas prosecutor with a history of abuse of his office, Ronnie Earle, has indicted Tom DeLay. Earle is a sort of Jim Garrison without the integrity. Soon to follow: Giant MSM coverage, show trial, acquittal and exoneration, DeLay's return to Majority Leader for another 20 years.

Run Away!

DeLay's gonna cheat his way off the ballot:

DeLay said he is likely to leave by the end of May, depending on the Congressional schedule and finishing his work on a couple of issues. He said he will change his legal residence to his condominium in Alexandria, Va., from his modest two-story home on a golf course here in the 22nd District of Texas. "I become ineligible to run for election if I'm not a resident of the state of Texas," he said, turning election law to his purposes for perhaps on last time. State Republican officials will then be able to name another Republican candidate to face Democrat Nick Lampson, a former House members who lost his seat in a redistricting engineered by DeLay.

Nick Lampson gets added to the Eschaton community list.

Bye Tom

MSNBC: DeLay told Matthews that he's withdrawing from race.

...CNN confirms.


But of course we can trust our good friend Chalabi.

A Message We All Need To Hear Once In Awhile

Lighten up, Francis!

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Fresh Thread

Joe Lieberman say anything stupid yet today?

Meet Your Trustees

By law, the Social Security Trustees are the Treasury Secretary, Labor Secretary, HHS Secretary, the Social Security Commissioner, the Deputy Social Security Commissioner, and two public Trustees - outsiders.

Apparently Bush renominated the public Trustees last November to a second term, as their terms were expiring, but they haven't been reconfirmed yet. One of the excuses for not having a report being floated by Treasury is the fact that not all of the Trustees have been confirmed. It's difficult to see how lacking a full slate of Trustees would prevent them from issuing a report, especially as the "uncofirmed" ones just haven't yet been reconfirmed, but there you go...

...Yglesias notes that the delay is not without precedent, and if there are any political concerns they could also be due in part to a mismatch between administration/SSA immigration projections.

Wanker of the Day

Fred Hiatt.

Pretty Damn Fishy

Yglesias tries in vain to get more information about the missing Trustees Report.

I recognize that failing to meet a statutory deadline on something like this doesn't result in the trustees being carted off to jail, but nonetheless there is a statutory deadline and it'd be nice to know why they've failed to meet it and if anyone in Congress knows or cares.

And, yes, I'm nostalgic for the good old days when blogging was all about the Social Security, man. Good times, good times.

Gigantic Trophy

Heh. Indeed.


I hope these will just be anecdotes and not an epidemic:

For 45 years, Robert and Lorraine Brown have lived in their ranch-style home in Florissant, Mo. One of their four children was even born there. But for the past eight months, the couple have been locked in a sleep-wrecking race to keep up with their rising mortgage bills. They've switched to cheaper phone service, cut back on groceries and sometimes put off ordering medicine.
When they refinanced their home two years ago to pay off some bills, Robert, now 78, was working as a deliveryman. But his employer went out of business last April. Now he and Lorraine, 72, a retired nurse, are both seeking work. The rate on their mortgage has jumped from 7% to 10.5%.

"We were having a hard time meeting bills at the time we refinanced. It seems once you get behind, you do desperate things to catch up, and you never do," says Lorraine, trying to hold back tears. "At the time of the loan, they tell you, 'Well, it may go up, but it's probably going to go down.' You want it to be so, so you believe it."

Now, the real estate market is cooling, interest rates are rising and tens of thousands more Americans are starting to have trouble paying their mortgages. Nearly 25% of mortgages — 10 million — carry adjustable interest rates. And most of them went to people with subpar credit ratings who accepted higher interest rates, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

First, 10.5%? Wow. Second, if whoever issued them the mortagage told them it would "probably go down" then that's one dishonest agent.

Breaking the Law?

I looked into the statutory obligations of the Social Security Trustees as set out in the Social Security Act and this is what I found:

The Board of Trustees shall meet not less frequently than once each calendar year. It shall be the duty of the Board of Trustees to—

(1) Hold the Trust Funds;
(2)[11] Report to the Congress not later than the first day of April of each year on the operation and status of the Trust Funds during the preceding fiscal year and on their expected operation and status during the next ensuing five fiscal years;
(3) Report immediately to the Congress whenever the Board of Trustees is of the opinion that the amount of either of the Trust Funds is unduly small;
(4) Recommend improvements in administrative procedures and policies designed to effectuate the proper coordination of the old-age and survivors insurance and Federal-State unemployment compensation program; and
(5) Review the general policies followed in managing the Trust Funds, and recommend changes in such policies, including necessary changes in the provisions of the law which govern the way in which the Trust Funds are to be managed.
The report provided for in paragraph (2) above shall include a statement of the assets of, and the disbursements made from, the Trust Funds during the preceding fiscal year, an estimate of the expected future income to, and disbursements to be made from, the Trust Funds during each of the next ensuing five fiscal years, and a statement of the actuarial status of the Trust Funds. Such statement shall include a finding by the Board of Trustees as to whether the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund and the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund, individually and collectively, are in close actuarial balance (as defined by the Board of Trustees). Such report shall include an actuarial opinion by the Chief Actuary of the Social Security Administration certifying that the techniques and methodologies used are generally accepted within the actuarial profession and that the assumptions and cost estimates used are reasonable. Such report shall also include an actuarial analysis of the benefit disbursements made from the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund with respect to disabled beneficiaries. Such report shall be printed as a House document of the session of the Congress to which the report is made. A person serving on the Board of Trustees shall not be considered to be a fiduciary and shall not be personally liable for actions taken in such capacity with respect to the Trust Funds.

Unless I'm missing something it appears they're in violation of statute.

Maybe Saddam Hussein Smuggled It Into Syria

The fact that the report is late and the Social Security Administration is being less than forthcoming with the release date of the Trustees Report should definitely not serve to fuel conspiracy theories about political pressure to cook the books.

The reason to cook the books is that productivity gains for 2005 once again came out far ahead of predictions. At some point by their own stated methodology (which I can't locate at the moment) the high productivity gains in recent years should serve to revise upwards the long run productivity growth estimate, at which point Social Security will be declared solvent until the end of the universe.

And we can't have that.

Stumbling Across the Finish Line

That seems to be the strategy of top Democrats. It can work, if you get lucky, but it does nothing to build up long term brand and party identification. It turns every election into another round of trench warfare in which the Democrats are outgunned.

Wasting your Money

IRS happy to do it.

Tweety No Longer Hearts Allen?

I recognize that people can change their minds, but what caused our Tweety to sour on George Allen after a mere 24 hours or so?

Where Is That Counfounded Report

In 2001 the Social Security Trustees released their annual report on March 19.

In 2002 it was March 26.

In 2003 it was March 17.

In 2004 it was March 23.

In 2005 it was March 23.

It is now April 3. I want my damn report.

Hating DST

I don't understand all the daylight savings times haters. I say put the clocks ahead 2 hours.

Meanwhile, From the Department of Paste Eating

Noted military strategist Glenn Reynolds:

Glenn Reynolds

1. Did you support the invasion of Iraq?


2. Have you changed your position?

No. Sanctions were failing and Saddam was a threat, making any other action in the region impossible.

3. What should the U.S. do in Iraq now?


The Good News

I was honestly sitting here thinking "hmm... didn't notice all that much news about violence in Iraq this weekend. Maybe things were a bit calm." I have CNN on, usually with volume off/captioning on, basically all the time when I'm sitting at the computer. But, it seems, the good news in Iraq is being relegated to deep inside the Washington Post.

BAGHDAD, April 2 -- At least 50 people were killed Sunday in Iraq in a catalogue of violence that included a mortar attack, military firefights, roadside bombings and other explosions.

In addition, the U.S. military reported the deaths of six soldiers and airmen, including two who were killed when their helicopter apparently was shot down during a combat air patrol southwest of Baghdad on Saturday

Not About Blogs

What Stoller says. Right wing blogs merely duplicate the storylines and basic rhetoric you can find all over the conservative media.

Glennocidal Tendencies

From Sadly, No!

Bye Scottie

CNN says Scottie's gonna say byebye.

Unlike Ari, you could always tell that Scottie didn't really like lying. Not that it stopped him.

New York Times Site Redesign Review

"It stinks!"
[/Jay Sherman]

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

"Whatever It Takes"

I'm not sure if Kevin is being coy or if he really doesn't understand what "whatever it takes" means, especially when it comes from a man who has portrayed genocide as a misfortune for which the victims have responsibility.

Peter Beinart is Making Sense

You have no idea how hard it was to write that.

Still, it drives me a little nuts that Peter Beinart even has to explain this. The idea that the more strident participants in the discourse can provide the rhetorical space for formerly "crazy ideas" to become suddenly not so crazy is such an obvious one. It's also part of the reason why the various "purge the Lefties" calls from Beinart, aside from being hideously offensive, have been so politically idiotic.

There are layers of discourse and they all can serve a purpose.

The Schools!

Three years later is it okay to point out, first of all, that the top priority of "rebuilding schools" was an idiotic idea put in place to provide a talking point for domestic politics and not, actually, a sensible priority in the grand scheme of things.

Secondly, providing quality health clinics would've been a good idea but apparently that was "hard work" and didn't actually happen.

But, the company contracted will still get its money. It's the American away, George Bush style...

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Our Brand is Crisis

Just saw it.


First, we fire all the consultants. Please, someone, make sure Tad Devine never gets near a camera again.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Slow Day

Must be Spring.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Local Event

Penn Democrats are having a fundraiser on Tuesday, April 4, 7pm, in College Hall 200 on the Penn campus.

Speakers include Patrick Murphy, Lois Murphy, Joe Hoeffel, Michael Nutter, Chris Bowers, and myself.

Suggested contributions: Host $250, Friend $50, Student $10.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Yearly Kos

Well, I signed up to go. I'll be on some sort of panel, though there will be many more much cooler panels to go to plus drinking, gambling, and general debauchery. Oh, and ponies. Lots and lots of ponies.

Hopefully it'll be fun despite the presence of all those damn kossacks (just kidding!)

Ad Nags Responds

Ad Nags speaks.

McCain the Chameleon

georgia10 writes:

What we saw in that interview was the death of McCain the Maverick, and the birth of McCain the Chameleon. If there was any doubt that McCain is--with his eye on a presidential bid--a politician to the core, this interview should snuff that doubt out. Flapping about like a fish out of water, McCain showed America that he will sacrifice his principles to pander to the religious right, and that he will do anything to remain in good favor with the President. He wants the 2008 nomination--badly. But with interviews like this, the Presidency is slipping further and further away from his grasp.

Watch McCain say that Falwell is no longer an agent of intolerance.

Feel the Nedrenaline!

Another good piece on the campaign in the Hartford Courant:

Lieberman campaign manager Sean Smith said this past week when asked about supporting the winner of the August primary, “This is a campaign, man, we are in this to win. We’re not thinking about those contingencies.” Note to Sen. Lieberman: You may want to have someone who doesn’t speak like a Valley Boy issuing your statements. This is 21st-century Connecticut, dude.

Lamont takes a sunnier view of the post-primary climate. His campaign manager, Tom Swan, says, “Ned Lamont will support the Democratic nominee.” A switch in roles is taking place in the Senate race. Lamont sounds like the confident front-runner, Lieberman like the nervous and petulant challenger.

It isn’t the first role reversal of late. Much has been made of Lieberman’s disputatious appearance on WTIC radio’s “Bruce and Colin” program. The 18-year Senate veteran sounded peeved with a column by co-host and Courant columnist Colin McEnroe. His anxieties over the race with Lamont started to show.

Not as widely noted was Lamont’s appearance on the program not long after. He’s become a polished ad-libber in the two months since I interviewed him at his Greenwich office. His set piece announcement speech was a typical mix of slogans, jargon and rah-rah rhetoric cooked up for the newly converted. On his own in a radio studio fielding calls, a common battlefield in campaigns, Lamont is a pro.

If you're in or near Connecticut here are some events you can attend.

Straigh Talk

McCain's appearance on Russert should kill that idea.

Not that it will.

Wankers of the Day

Dough-P and J-Pod.

Sunday Morning Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.

Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.