Saturday, July 15, 2006

Late Night


Morality and Civility

Digby reminds us about what does and doesn't bother the junior senator from Connecticut.

And a commenter over at the Horse's Mouth reminds me of a choice passage from Roth's The Human Stain:

The summer that Coleman took me into his confidence about Faunia Farley and their secret was the summer, fittingly enough, that Bill Clinton's secret emerged in every last mortifying detail—every last lifelike detail, the livingness, like the mortification, exuded by the pungency of the specific data. We hadn't had a season like it since somebody stumbled upon the new Miss America nude in an old issue of Penthouse, pictures of her elegantly posed on her knees and on her back that forced the shamed young woman to relinquish her crown and go on to become a huge pop star. Ninety-eight in New England was a summer of exquisite warmth and sunshine, in baseball a summer of mythical battle between a home-run god who was white and a home-run god who was brown, and in America the summer of an enormous piety binge, a purity binge, when terrorism—which had replaced communism as the prevailing threat to the country's security—was succeeded by (expletive), and a virile, youthful middle-aged president and a brash, smitten twenty-one-year-old employee carrying on in the Oval Office like two teenage kids in a parking lot revived America's oldest communal passion, historically perhaps its most treacherous and subversive pleasure: the ecstasy of sanctimony. In the Congress, in the press, and on the networks, the righteous grandstanding creeps, crazy to blame, deplore, and punish, were everywhere out moralizing to beat the band: all of them in a calculated frenzy with what Hawthorne (who, in the 1860s, lived not many miles from my door) identified in the incipient country of long ago as "the persecuting spirit"; all of them eager to enact the astringent rituals of purification that would excise the erection from the executive branch, thereby making things cozy and safe enough for Senator Lieberman's ten-year-old daughter to watch TV with her embarrassed daddy again. No, if you haven't lived through 1998, you don't know what sanctimony is. The syndicated conservative newspaper columnist William F. Buckley wrote, "When Abelard did it, it was possible to prevent its happening again," insinuating that the president's malfeasance—what Buckley elsewhere called Clinton's "incontinent carnality"—might best be remedied with nothing so bloodless as impeachment but, rather, by the twelfth-century punishment meted out to Canon Abelard by the knife-wielding associates of Abelard's ecclesiastical colleague, Canon Fulbert, for Abelard's secret seduction of and marriage to Fulbert's niece, the virgin Heloise. Unlike Khomeini's fatwa condemning to death Salman Rushdie, Buckley's wistful longing for the corrective retribution of castration carried with it no financial incentive for any prospective perpetrator. It was prompted by a spirit no less exacting than the ayatollah's, however, and in behalf of no less exalted ideals.

It was the summer in America when the nausea returned, when the joking didn't stop, when the speculation and the theorizing and the hyperbole didn't stop, when the moral obligation to explain to one's children about adult life was abrogated in favor of maintaining in them every illusion about adult life, when the smallness of people was simply crushing, when some kind of demon had been unleashed in the nation and, on both sides, people wondered "Why are we so crazy?" when men and women alike, upon awakening in the morning, discovered that during the night, in a state of sleep that transported them beyond envy or loathing, they had dreamed of the brazenness of Bill Clinton. I myself dreamed of a mammoth banner, draped dadaistically like a Christo wrapping from one end of the White House to the other and bearing the legend A HUMAN BEING LIVES HERE. It was the summer when—for the billionth time—the jumble, the mayhem, the mess proved itself more subtle than this one's ideology and that one's morality. It was the summer when a president's penis was on everyone's mind, and life, in all its shameless impurity, once again confounded America.

Sadly, neither Lanny Davis nor Bill Clinton have learned much from that whole affair.

By chance I read the Hunting of the President and the Human Stain back to back, not realizing that the latter was in many ways a retelling of the former.

Saturday Night



While it's funny, we also have to accept the fact that either Bush is a little bit insane or that the people around him have really just stopped bothering to brief him on anything important. Either way, like his BFF Joe Lieberman, he's lost the plot. He's paved Iraq with streets of gold and turned it into paradise, and nothing can shake him of that fact. The administration is no longer taking responsibility for providing any serious leadership on world affairs, with Bush addressing questions about serious issues with pig jokes.

Meanwhile the smart set in Washington still imagines that there must be some recipe for success, that we can just let several more Friedmans pass in order to ease their consciences.

...oy, it's even worse. How long must we wait for the boy king to achieve his dream. here.

Get the Kids Drunk

So, returning to my one man campaign to roll back Liddy Dole's assault on freedom I decided to take a look at teen drunk driving fatalities, as that's the primary reason used to justify the 21-year-old drinking age.

It is true that teen drunk driving fatalties have fallen significantly since the law was passed in 1984, but it's also the case that all drunk driving fatalities have fallen then due a combination of various factors including cultural change, education, enforcement, etc.

Since the law was passed (I'm not sure how quickly every state changed their laws), teen drunk driving fatalties fell from about 3600 in 1984 to 1536 in 2004 (.pdf) , about a 57% decline.

Over that same period all drunk driving fatalties fell from about 82,000 to 44,000, a 46% drop. (.pdf link)

So, yes, over that time period teen fatalties have decreased by a bit more than for that of the general population, but not by all that much (if I were an economist instead of a lazy blogger I'd normalize these things for population cohort size, and separate one set of numbers from the other, but such is the joy of being a lazy blogger). In other words, at a glance the law doesn't seemed to have improved things all that much over and above over what has been achieved through a general increase in societal hostility to drunk driving.

As a sort of compromise I'd propose the option for the under-21 crowd to choose between a drinking license and a driving license. You couldn't have both until you become 21. We could figure out if this was a one time choice irreversible choice or if switching were possible, and there are some other logistical issues, but it would seem to make sense.

Also it would help to achieve a better policy goal which is reducing the amount of teen driving. I spent way too much time looking for decent historical data and couldn't find good clean numbers, but from what I can tell total deaths involving young drivers declined during the 80s but have been pretty flat since.

Media Matters

From Jamison Foser.

Lies and the Lying Liars

One thing I never want to hear again is about what a noble and ethical man Joe Lieberman is.

Unamerican Assclowns


Morning Thread


...oy, blogger's back to template eating again. Remember, kids, make sure you save a recent copy of your template...

Bonus Kitty Porn

...soundtrack courtesy of Illumina, who probably did and should have grander aspirations for their music.

Late Night


Friday, July 14, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging

They Write Letters

Joe's roommate writes to the LA Times:

I feel I have a special obligation to respond to your July 6 editorial, "Lieberman's run." I am a liberal activist. I was also Lieberman's roommate at Yale.

Lieberman is a good and decent man personally, but he has also become a cheerleader for George Bush's bloody, arrogant and disastrous war on Iraq.

As a friend, I wish for him the best. As a Democratic voter, if I lived in Connecticut, I would be voting for Ned Lamont.


Playa del Rey

(thanks to reader a)

Stabbed in the Back

Harper's has thankfully put this great atricle online. Read it.

Fresh Thread

Sitting in Union Station, waiting for a train...


There goes my 401K.

Another travel day, so light posting until later. Be excellent to each other.

The Media Is The Problem


The reporters who write on these matters literally don't understand the issues they are reporting, even though the issues are not all that complicated. Notwithstanding the fact that this bill expressly removes all limits on the President's eavesdropping powers -- and returns the state of the law regarding presidential eavesdropping to the pre-FISA era, when there were no limits on presidential eavesdropping of any kind -- Charles Babington and Peter Baker told their readers in The Washington Post -- in an article hilariously entitled: "Bush Compromises On Spying Program" -- that "the deal represented a clear retreat by Bush" and that "the accord is a reversal of Bush's position that he would not submit his program to court review."
Anyone with a basic understanding of what FISA was and of the conflicts in play could read the Specter bill and see that the last thing it does is entail "compromises" on the part of the White House. Nobody who knows how to read could read that bill and think that. At this point, I believe they don't even read the bill. It's hard to see how they could read the bill and then write that article. Instead, it seems that they just call their standard sources on each side, go with the White House-Specter assessment that this is some grand "compromise" on the ground that it is a joint view of both warring sides, and then throw in a cursory ACLU quote somewhere at the end just to be able to say that they included some opposing views. But the reporters who are writing about this - and I mean the ones writing in the pages of our country's most important newspapers - don't actually have any idea what they're talking about.
Babington is the same reporter who falsely told his readers on the front page of the Post in March that the Republican "compromise" bill from the Senate Intelligence Committee (offered in lieu of an actual investigation into the NSA program) entailed substantial Congressional oversight of the program, even though a quick reading of the actual bill would have revealed that it entailed no such oversight. Representatives from Sen. DeWine and Snowe's office apparently told him what great oversight their bill provided and so he printed as fact what he was told.
After bloggers pointed out this error, the Post, several days later, was forced to issue a correction (appended to the top of the original article). But the same thing that happened there is happening here - Republican Senators and White House representatives with a vested interest in how the story gets reported characterize the bill in a certain way, and then lazy, uninformed reporters like Babington uncritically regurgitate that version as fact in the newspaper.


Josh writes:

Sorry to the gunners on both sides. But there aren't enough bloggers or blog readers in Connecticut to pull an unknown challenger to even in a primary challenge against a three-term incumbent senator. This is about Connecticut.

But who on my side is making this claim? This is part of why all this discussion has been so silly. No sensible person believes that bloggers have this power, and no blogger has been making this claim.

Look, liberal bloggers have been making the case against Lieberman for some time, crafting a narrative which has been entirely absent from his mainstream media fan club. But it isn't a narrative we invented, it's been based on Lieberman's words and deeds and it's something people who don't read blogs may have actually managed to pick up on themselves. In steps a candidate and campaign who understands that basic narrative. They do smart things. Lieberman does everything wrong. Lamont gets an incredible 35% delegate support at the state convention. Suddenly, we have a very real campaign.

Absent nudging the initial conditions, the real contributions from bloggers have been from the local Connecticut bloggers who have been very successful at influencing the local campaign coverage. But no one thinks that bloggers in isolation can win a race like this. It's a silly straw man, but one which is believed by Lieberman supporters. And that's one reason they have a big problem. Recently Lieberman was whining about "attacks from the blogosphere." He thinks that's his problem. It's not, and no sensible person ever thought it was.

Rich Guys Driving Drunk

Peter Coors was arrested for DUI. If I were rich and liked to drink I'd hire a goddamn driver. It's a complete mystery to me why this ever happens.

In completely unrelated news, my one man campaign to lower the nation's drinking age to a sensible age has failed to take off. Damn you Liddy Dole!


Remember, these are the people who look up to Jonah Goldberg.

So let's tally. Future of the conservative movement: Refuses to fight in a war he's so passionate about, afraid to allow progressive media to cover his conference, shamelessly pans progressive conference without acknowledging that they at least have the courage to let their ideas be critiqued -- something he and his conservative brethren do not.


Bush approval at 36 in both AP and Fox polls. I'll leave it to the smart guys at the Note to explain how popular he is.

Wanker of the Day

Mickey Kaus.

Morning Thread



Like Big Media Matt I'd like to know how Ken Baer knows "both attacks were green-lighted by Iran." Who in Iran? By what process? By whose authority? When? Who told you?


Colbert does Lieberman

Thursday, July 13, 2006


This is either very irresponsibly sloppy journalism, or...

Late Night

Please don't shoot anybody in the face.

John Gibson Explains the Middle East

Apparently Jordan is invading Iraq while Iran leapfrogs over them both to Israel.

Or maybe Jordan's going short while Iran goes long.

Maybe Jordan's getting suckered by Iraq's move, goes for the block, leaving the field open for Iran.

Maybe these people are nuts.

More Thread

I'll be on the Majority Report a bit after 8, talking about wankers and WATBs as usual.

Afternoon Thread


Game On

Plame to sue:

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 13, 2006--Valerie Plame Wilson, Ambassador Joseph Wilson and their counsel, Christopher Wolf of Proskauer Rose LLP, will hold a news conference at 10 AM EDT on Friday, July 14 at 10:00 AM at the National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor, Washington, DC 20045, to announce the filing of a civil lawsuit against I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice-President Richard Cheney and Karl Rove.

Valerie Plame Wilson
Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV
Christopher Wolf, Esq.

News conference to announce filing of civil lawsuit

Friday, July 14, 2006
10:00 AM

National Press Club
529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor
Washington, DC 20045

Dog Shit

Let me just express a hearty "what the fuck?"

Lies and the Lying Liars

Wonder if there's anything Novak can do or say to be chucked out of the "respectable beltway journalist" club.

America's Awful Mayor

Second perhaps only to John McCain, Saint Rudy gets more scrutiny-free tongue baths from the media than just about everyone. This is all due to the incredible ability he showed on 9/11 to get on TV and appear calm and in charge which, while admittedly welcome after the president failed even that meager test of leadership, said little about his ability to actually oversee the competent management of an emergency. And that's before we even got to his boy Bernie Kerik. A new book might put a wee dent in that narrative, but I doubt it. Zombie Narratives are impossible to kill, and thus Rudy will remain America's Mayor.

Giuliani, for instance, detailed an Office of Emergency Management, but then located its headquarters inside what had long been identified as a prime target—the World Trade Center. It was, the authors write, "the only bunker ever built in the clouds."

The heads of various crisis-management-and-response units were political appointees, most in way above their heads. Giuliani and his subordinates were never able to coordinate communications among various fire, police, dispatch, public-health and other agencies; had they been successful, there's a good chance, the authors maintain, that the civilians who were told to stay in place inside the burning towers would have been evacuated, as the fire chiefs had ordered.

The authors' account verges on indictment when they explore why the firefighters' handy-talkies did not work, a congeries of causes ranging from the technological to the political. Suffice it to say that the Giuliani City Hall seems to have been no stranger to sweetheart deals and patronage, so that the employee in charge of emergency broadband communications had a sister who worked as a lobbyist for the phone provider who just happened to win the lucrative contract. That employee later committed suicide.

Just for the Record

It appears Specter is moving ahead with his bullshit bill to provide amnesty for the executive branch's criminal activities, legalize those criminal activities, and then have the FISA court rule on the much more narrow question of whether warrantless wiretapping violates the 4th amendment.

It occurs to me that we're at a fascinating moment in political history. Just about all the leading lights of the conservatarian movement in this country are on the record as being in support of the executive branch's right to spy on American citizens, tapping their phone calls, without any judicial oversight. So much for freedom and small nonintrusive government and all that crap.

Nice going, guys. You've sold all your former principles down the river out of fealty to George W. Bush. Authoritarian cultism is rather disturbing no matter who the cult leader is, but... George W. Bush?

What a bunch of whiny ass titty babies.

Who Gets the Best Cocktail Weenies

I think this Noam Scheiber post really lays out, once again, what's eating the boys at TNR. They're obsessed with who is and who isn't perceived as important, and who's getting the good cocktail weenies. It's strange, really, and it's driving them to constantly troll the blogosphere in a self-refuting fashion. You know, if we're not important just ignore us. I really don't care.

And, for the record, I'm reasonably sure I've never written anything which implied that I thought senators were spending their time reading this blog. Still, having said that, TNR's knee-jerk elitism is coming through again. Very little of politics has anything to do with the rarified world they imagine they preside over. There are a variety of communities and modes of discourse and whatever one might think of them they exist and politicians and political movements will ignore them at their peril. Implying the rabble bloggers should be ignored is no different then thumbing your nose at NASCAR fans or whatever the latest (mostly inappropriate) symbol of anti-elitism is. Democrats long ignored talk radio based on similar impulses and look how well that's worked out. I started this blog and adopted this style in part because I thought it was important to introduce a more combative and caustic discourse on our side. I'd be quite happy and comfortable in a world where politics more closely resembled an academic seminar - that is where I come from, after all - but we don't live in that world and it's a tragic mistake to pretend we do.

TNR's game has always been marginalization, and they've managed to marginalize themselves out of a subscriber base. I don't know why they still consider this to be wise business model. I guess it makes them feel good about themselves. Still, regularly writing "Don't read Atrios! He sucks and uses bad words" is really a rather boring endeavor.

Iny case, this provides me with an opportunity to bring up something which I'd been meaning to since the Zengerle Affair. Recently Noam Scheiber claimed he always thought the Iraq war was a bad idea, citing something he'd written 2 years after the fact to justify that claim. Curious, I checked to see if he'd written anything to that effect in the actual pages of his magazine before the war. I couldn't find anything. I also scanned through much their earlier blog, &c, which was mostly written by him and couldn't find anything there either, though if I missed something I'm happy to be corrected.

I think it's pretty odd that someone would think something as important as a war was a bad idea, have a somewhat influential media outlet in which to express that idea, and never bother to do so. Could it be that there's some sort of kingpin at TNR who controls the financial strings, and has an influence over what the people who work there feel they are able to write about? Is it possible that the people who work for TNR aren't the independent voices we were led to believe they are? Is it possible concerns about finances and employment have an impact on their editorial stances? Shocking, I know.

...slight correction, albert reminded me that Senator Santorum claims to be a reader which I probably acknowledged at some point, though I don't actually believe he is. Just in case, hi Ricky!

Submitting to Authority

I really don't understand these people.

Respecting Them for Years

Boehlert writes about the fact-free WSJ editorial board and Greg Sargent writes about Ann Coulter, but they're really the same story.

For years the respectable media has not just failed to acknowledge these people for the destructive hacks that they are, but have actively promoted them. Paul Gigot was for years the "sensible conservative" on shows like the Newshour before fabulist BoBo Brooks took the job.

The editors and anchors and producers who embrace these people are responsible for them.

Morning Thread


Internet Flame Wars

I'm so glad Fox News is reporting the really important stories.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


Watching Mort Zuckerman on Colbert I'm struck by how awesomely he embodies the archetypal silly person who has no idea how silly he is.

Katha Meets Jessica

I've long been a fan of Katha and recently became a fan of Jessica. Now Jessica interviews Katha.

Red to Blue

I understand 3 local races on the Eschaton approved list are all making the DCCC's top tier Red to Blue list - Joe Sestak, Lois Murphy, and Patrick Murphy - which is good. If we can't win it here we ain't gonna win it.

It's July. November is 4 months away.

Time to start digging into those wallets.

Fresh Thread


Radio Fun

Majority Report will have on Ron Suskind and Ani DiFranco, which should make for an interesting show.

Open thread...

Real Republican Candidate for CT

So, as expected, the Republicans aren't just going to sit back and root for Lieberman to win. It appears they're going to put a real candidate in the race, recognizing in a three-way race Principled Joe could probably hand the seat to them.

Puerto Rico for Dummies

Uh, Tucker? Puerto Ricans are born US citizens.

Online Integrity

Feel it:
With those brilliant responses assembled before him, Instapundit -- who endlessly parades himself around as a righteous advocate of civil discourse, and was one of those who spent the weekend lamenting the terrible language directed to Jeff Goldstein -- also weighed in. He approvingly cited the very high-level resonses from Dan Riehl, Sister Toldjah, and Patterico, and then shared with us: "I'm no fan of Greenwald." (Incidentally, Instapundit, who continues to claim to be an adherent to the privacy-protecting "Online Integrity" concpet, links to Riehl, who currently has posted on his blog satellite photographs of Pinch Salzburger's home along with his home address).

So that's the level of discourse that comes from right-wing bloggers, every one of whom cited here -- each and every one -- doled out solemn lectures this weekend about how terrible it is for people to write mean personal insults on the Internet, only to respond to my post today with the above-excerpted tantrums. And all of that leaves to the side the fact that they were unable to comprehend the actual arguments that were made in the post -- most of them thought the opposite argument was being made -- something which QandO's Jon Henke had to explain to them here and here. But the whiny seems more notable than the lack of comprehension.

Fresh Thread

Feel that Bush boom.

Wankers of the Day

The whiny ass titty babies of the right wing blogosphere.

Our New Constitution

Some time when we were sleeping the whole thing was replaced with one sentence:

The president is always right.

Why do these people hate America?

Too Late

New Haven voters saying Republicans are calling them and asking them to become Democrats so they can vote for Joe.

Too late.

The Destruction of Politics

It's pretty fascinating that over 100,000 people have clicked through to watch a campaign ad. During the whole FEC hearing process one of the big concerns by the people who wanted to regulate the internets was that if we didn't then people (horror!) might put candidate videos and stuff online and that would be bad because... well, I was never quite sure but it was going to be bad.

With Youtube and similar services anyone can slap video online for free. While the video in question is an official campaign video, Lamont supporters have been putting up all kinds of campaign-related videos. It's all good.

Hey Hey, Ho Ho

Harold Meyerson carefully explains the whole Joe thing to his challenged colleagues.

There is another thing, too. I'm really surprised that as far as I know no journalist has ever bothered to follow this one up.

Michael Ware, who was then Time's Baghdad Bureau Chief:

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

Morning Thread


Who's Fighting the Fight?

Kinda sad to realize that the people you thought for years were "the good guys" are happy to not do squat.

Nix's Check Shop

Oh thank God the grownups are in charge.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Late Night




Wanker of the Day

Jon Chait, whose "kids get off my lawn" schtick is getting sillier. Once you pull the delicate butterfly act over those awful bad words, I think you've graduated into cranky old man status.


Yeah, I kinda noticed that too.


Fresh Thread



Adele Stan has a good column about the potential schism in the Episcopal Church.

However tempting it may be to think of these controversies as the mere internecine struggles of individual churches, to do so would be to ignore their significance for the progressive movement as a whole. Ever since the rise of the religious right, liberals have longed for a religious counterpart on the left. But that notion was always dubious, and the recent turmoil within the Episcopal Church should put it to rest for good. Without the wholehearted participation of the mainline Protestant churches, there can be no religious left remotely comparable to the Christian right in Protestant-dominated America. And churches in the throes of schism hardly have the wherewithal to marshal their resources in the service of battles in the secular political arena.

Though, on the surface, my pronouncement may seem disheartening, I must confess to finding a measure of liberation in letting go of the hope for a forceful new religious left. Over the last 20 years, I have witnessed attempts by well-meaning liberal clerics to construct various bodies and alliances in the hopes of creating a parallel movement to that of the religious right. Organizations have come together and drifted apart, leaving a trail of frustration in their wake. The fervent hope for the creation of a vigorous, cohesive religious left has amounted to a vigil for Godot -- the one who never arrives. And now I am grateful he never did.

In seeking to create a counterpart to the religious right, we tried to force our values through a narrow hole. In essence, we bought into the religious authoritarianism of the right, inferring that moral authority proceeds only from religion. In this, we have sold ourselves short.

The Stupids! They Burn!


(via media mogul Klein)


It's a travel day so I'm a bit behind but this is truly awful.


I suppose the fact that the Lieberman campaign makes shit up could be seen as a metaphor for something. Maybe smarter people than me can figure out what.

That's the bumper sticker appearing in the latest campaign advertisement airing across Connecticut in the ongoing Democratic primary battle for U.S. Senate.

The commercial, approved and paid for by Sen. Joe Lieberman's campaign, would have you believe his opponent, Ned Lamont, designed the negative attack on the three-term incumbent. But every detail of the bumper sticker — including its reference — is fiction.

Lieberman's campaign says it is a "metaphor" for the way they believe Lamont is running his campaign. Lamont's campaign calls it "an act of desperation."

"I think this is a desperate effort by a self-centered, career politician to cling to power," said Tom Swan, Lamont's campaign manager.

Saint McCain

We do need to be saved, from the nonstop parade of puff pieces about America's Savior, Saint John McCain, we're going to be subjected to.

We should remember that this man who is going to save us from coarseness once quipped:

"Why is Chelsea Clinton so ugly?

Because her father is Janet Reno."

Of course, many in the press know that they must save Saint McCain - and by extension us - from himself.

The fact that McCain had made the tasteless joke was reported in major newspapers, as was the vain attempt by his press secretary to initially deny what McCain had done. But in several major newspapers, the joke itself was kept a secret. When McCain subsequently apologized to President Clinton, the Washington Post, in its personality section, noted the apology but said the joke "was too vicious to print."

The Los Angeles Times, in its Life & Style section, provided an oblique rendering of the joke that did not fully convey its ugliness. When Maureen Dowd penned a column in the New York Times about the joke, she wrote that McCain "is so revered by the press that his disgusting jape was largely nudged under the rug." But Dowd chose not to relay the joke, either.

The joke did appear in McCain's hometown paper, the Arizona Republic, and the Associated Press did report the joke in full, so everyone in the press had access to McCain's words. But by censoring themselves, the Post, the Times and others helped McCain deflect flak and preserved his status as a Republican presidential contender.

Chelsea was just 18 at the time.

Travel Day

So, light posting...

Morning Thread


Monday, July 10, 2006

The Stupid Rays, They Burn Us

They burn us here.

And they burn us here!


Kill Them All

While I'd like to be wrong, I believe Josh is missing the message here. This is not Lawrence Kaplan admitting "the whole idea and concept and program was upside-down-wrong in its essence." This is Kaplan saying the only option is to exterminate the brutes.

I'd like to be wrong, but Kaplan's recently been mocking Democratic desires to withdraw. So, staying doesn't help. Withdrawing is a silly idea. The other alternative is?

Monday Night Thread

I'll resist the temptation to unleash a youtube bomb.

The Party of Joe

Shoulda just called it "Lieberman for Lieberman"

HARTFORD, Conn. -- Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman filed paperwork Monday that will allow him to collect signatures to petition his way onto the November ballot if he loses an August primary.

Lieberman's campaign announced the move in an e-mail to reporters.

The three-term senator faces a tough Aug. 8 primary challenge from Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont. Lieberman, who has been criticized by fellow Democrats for his support of the war in Iraq and a perceived closeness with President Bush, is popular among many unaffiliated and Republican voters in Connecticut.

Lieberman also filed papers with the secretary of the state's office Monday to create a new party called Connecticut for Lieberman.


Funny new ad.

All About the War

The funny thing is that for Lieberman supporters it is all about the war. There are a lot of people out there who either supported the war or who have friends who supported the war. They imagine themselves to be smart, well-intentioned, decent people. They don't like coming to terms with the fact that they fucked up big time, and they don't like the idea that anyone should suffer any consequences for that. No harm, no foul, they want to say. We meant well. Bygones.

For us Lamont supporters it isn't just about the war, of course. I highly recommend listening to To the Point when the archive version is up. Matt Stoller did a great job, and Chuck Todd did an excellent job explaining what The Trouble With Lieberman is.

Oddly the wanker Chait seems to think this is about obtaining power - that supporting Lamont is some sort of power grab by the netroots, and he worries we'll take over the Democratic party.

It's a weird view of things. I really don't have much interest in being a kingmaker, and I'm too lazy to run much of anything. I do what I do because I actually give a shit about stuff, not to glorify myself (though just in case George S. is reading, I'm happy to be enriched.) Giving a shit seems to be alien to too many beltway pundits.


Things not going so well for Joe. Can't even get people to turn out.

And, yes, Biden returned from Iraq in time to chat with the press for articles appearing both Saturday and Sunday.

The Green Lantern Theory of Geopolitics

Yglesias has a good post about how conservatives (and certain senators named Joe) see foreign policy. It's truly twisted for a variety of reasons over and above its prima facie stupdity. It's the animating force behind the 101st Fighting Keyboarders. It's what gets Andrew Sullivan through the day, imagining that he's someone fighting a noble war. It's the belief that what differentiates them from those who aren't so thrilled about sending other peoples' kids off to die is their personal courage, when in fact it's nothing more than rank cowardice. It animates the "wishes are ponies" views of Friedman and the gang. It's what has caused the prominence of the Tinkerbell Approach.

It allows weak people to imagine they are strong in the comfort of their homes. I'll leave the pop psychology to others, but these people creep me out.

Hope is Not a Threat

Apparently Zengerle has joined the manufactured victimhood game that the Right plays so well these days, with an assist from the Boston Globe. There's a big difference between a hateful nasty email and one which contains an actual threat of murder. Expressing hopes for violent ends for people is obviously not something I endorse, but it's in a different universe from an actual death threat. A real death threat would make you actually fear for your life, and it's why sensible people who receive such things contact law enforcement authorities.

It's just part of the standard script whenever someone gets well-deserved criticism from bloggers. "I received death threats! Oh my!"

Except, well, he didn't.

Does actual truth matter at all to the people TNR pays? Apparently not.

Rewarding Good Behavior

I really want to postpone most discussion of presidential politics until at least November of this year, but let me break with that desire for a moment.

There are a bunch of politicians who will run for president, some of whom are generally liked by the type of people who read blogs like this and some of whom aren't. Those politicians tend to do the kinds of things politicians do. They give speeches, they hold fundraisers for themselves and others, they sponsor legislation, they appear on the teevee, they write opeds, etc... Sometimes those politicians will do and say things I like. They might be doing those things that I like because they are operating out of some core convinction, or they may be pandering to people like me, or as is usually the case some combination of the two. They are politicians. Politicians do politics. Some readers might perceive the fact that I say something nice about a potential candidate as some implicit endorsement of their candidacy, or be concerned that my saying nice things about someone they don't like might increase their chances of being the presidential nominee by .00000000000001% or something.

It's important to remember that the presidential primary season isn't just about electing a nominee. It's also when we have a national conversation about the direction of the party. Candidates will be pulled in various directions on issues by the people they're trying to please and by members of the media with their inevitably bad avice, and will also be pulling at each other. Some candidates will enter the race almost entirely to try to shift the debate in a certain direction.

If I see politicians moving in a direction I like, I believe in praising them for their good behavior. It's important to do so. I'm not going to weigh all my words about them based on some silly calculation about their marginal impact on their chances to be a candidate for president.

I have no idea if I'll ever decide to throw the massive power of my mighty blog behind a single presidential candidate. It's possible, but odds are I'll do what I did in 2004 and generally express my opinions about the unfolding process as it happens. And, yes, that includes praising candidates who aren't necessarily near the top of my list if they do things I like.

Huckleberry Graham

It's a bit of an outrage that the outrageous behavior of Huckleberry Graham and Kyl hasn't inspired a bit more outrage.

Spies Like Us

Sadly, it appears that the only thing which may make little things like "laws" important again is the self-importance of certain asshole members of Congress.

I'm not optimistic that'll be enough.


Rumor is Biden's a no show to stump for Lieberman, claiming he missed his train. If true that's hilarious. There's a train from Wilmington to Stamford about every 45 minutes in the morning.


Vote for your favorite candidate to determine who Mark Warner does a fundraiser for. Yes this is an evil plot by the Warner PAC to harvest your contact info, but if you consider that a small price to pay for helping out your favorite candidate then please do so. I kind of like these "vote to tell us who to support" things, as they do provide a direct outlet for online organizing.

I recommend Patrick Murphy, but of course Generalissimo Markos will ultimately decide who should win. Until that time you're free to vote for who you want.

BFF Bob Ney in Trouble

Poll shows him behind Zack Space, whose name must be made up. Bob Ney plans to turn the race around by warning voters of liberal fatcat Chris Bowers.

Occasional Reminder

Sometimes I don't write about things because I don't have anything to add. Sometimes I don't write about things because I neither know enough about them nor have a sense of who does know enough about them for me to link to. Sometimes I don't write about things because I just don't care about them.

Shorter Jon Chait

From B^3:

I hate it that Joe Lieberman embraces a president I hate with a passion, but what I really cannot abide is other people who feel the same way as I do.

Can't We All Just Get Along

Hey, maybe we can sometimes.

U.S. Rep. Sherrod Brown will finally win the endorsement today of his former Democratic rival for U.S. Senate, Mr. Brown's campaign said late yesterday.

Mr. Brown, a Democrat from Avon who faces incumbent Republican Mike DeWine this fall, is scheduled to receive the endorsement of primary election opponent Paul Hackett at a "unity rally" in Cincinnati, the Brown campaign said. Mr. Hackett could not be reached for comment.

Getting it Wrong

While support for Lamont is much more to do with Lieberman being an enabler for Republicans than his support for the war per se, I do find it bizarre that being completely and totally wrong about that catastrophic foreign policy blunder, and continuing to be in fully support of that disaster, is considered to be off-limits by official Washington for judgment. Lieberman didn't just vote the wrong way, he continues to justify the invasion. I'm not sure why it's somehow rude for voters to think that maybe that such a person isn't deserving of re-election.

The kicker is, of course, Lieberman's claim that he supports this war "out of principle."

What goddamn principle is that?

Late Night

There are fundamental truths I understand that you do not. Discuss.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


Just for old time's sake.

Welcome to Dean's Jungle (.mp3)

The Rabid Lambs of the Blogosphere


As you are so fond of explaining to the rabid pre-teens on the internets what is really good for them, let me explain what's good for all of you: NOT calling the exercise of democracy "fascism" or "purging." Some people with websites do not hold the reins of governmental power. They do not direct party funds. They don't run the military. They have, in other words, no actual power. What they have are opinions and some facts. Sort of like yourselves. When they advocate the election of Ned Lamont, the only ability they have to effect this is to convince people that he is a worthy candidate. Worthy of votes, donations, and word of mouth to Connecticut voters. The voters of Connecticut will decide whether they agree. This is the point you seem to be missing. If enough voters in Connecticut decide that their views will be better represented by Ned Lamont than by Joe Lieberman, he should be elected. Right? This is how democracy works. If you disagree, you are just as free as Markos, or Jane Hamsher, or Atrios, to make your argument why Joe Lieberman is the better choice.

Let me suggest, however, that "Joe follows his conscience" and "Joe is bipartisan" may not be compelling reasons for a voter who does not agree with Mr. Lieberman on the substance of his beliefs. And when you attack the rabid lambs of the blogofascisphere, you're insulting and denigrating not the purported kingmakers of the internet, but the people who read and contribute to these sites. This is the second mistake you've been making. Markos, Atrios and the rest do not have monopolies on truth any more than you do, and their audiences are quite aware of this. What the popular bloggers provide is not the shining light of truth, but fora. They're basically glorified party hosts, and if the party ends, or the host starts acting like an ass, the party will go elsewhere. But it won't go away. It could even end up back on your doorsteps, if you had opinions and information that were of interest.

In the meantime, however, I have not seen any of you offer a compelling reason why a Connecticut voter should cast his or her ballot for a candidate that does not represent that voter's views as well as another candidate. Maybe competence or ethics would be a good reason, but nobody has offered any evidence that Lamont would be unethical or inept, apart from the fact that he would be new at the job. Which, of course, every officeholder is at some point.

Fresh Thread


Fat Cats

Glad I finally found out the truth. Chris Bowers is buying the drinks from now on.

Lies and the Lying Liars

The Lieberman campaign is making stuff up in one of their TV ads. And not the usual campaign spin, a complete fabrication.

Typical for someone who movement conservative David Brooks thinks is the best person ever. All you need to know about Lieberman and his core constituency. They love and embrace dishonesty in service of their agenda.

It's all they've got.

Afternoon Thread

Congrats, Italy.

Binging and Purging

My, I hope that one day Jon Chait explains to me the difference between "supporting one candidate against another candidate" and "purging."

It's very normal for insiders to bemoan the powers of incumbency. Oddly, when incumbency is challenged, they bemoan that too.

I'm really getting confused about all this stuff.

What's even weirder is Chait's entire formulation: Lieberman is bad, but some people who support Lamont are worse, therefore I must support Lieberman.

Does spending time writing for TNR do something to your brain? It's all very strange.

...adding, as any sentient being would have understood the reason Lieberman's statement about having loyalties higher than party was absurd was not because it's absurd to have loyalties higher than party, it's because it's an absurd way to justify his course of action.

Fresh Thread

beware of liberal fat cats


There's an interesting article in the New York Times about theater producers finally getting that the web can be useful marketing tool, and not just in terms of buying ads. I think the more general point is that for some strange reason quite often companies are at best indifferent to and quite often actively hostile to their fan base, whether we're talking fans of bands, TV shows, movies, theater, whatever. Fan communities have often been treated with hostility by companies who failed to understand that these are precisely the people who are going to promote their crap for free, and that it was therefore rather silly to do things like go after them for copyright infringement

The internet, I suppose, amplifies the potential for word-of-mouth and similar promotion.

The comparisons to politics are somewhat obvious... And, oh, I'll take some free theater tix if anyone's offering.

"Massive Intellectual Failure"

More than that, it's baseless propaganda of the crudest sort from a documented fabulist (sexy word for "one who makes shit up")who thinks he's entitled to manufacture reality to fit his narratives.

Something for a blogger ethics panel, perhaps.

Have To Admit It's Getting Better

Somewhere in comments Atta J. Turk pointed me to this:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Gunmen roaming a Baghdad neighborhood on Sunday killed at least 40 unarmed Iraqis as soon as they identified them as Sunnis, emergency police said.

Ala'a Makki, a spokesman for the Iraqi Islamic Party -- Iraq's main Sunni political movement -- said the victims included women and children.

can't get no worse...

An Open Letter to the Daily Kos Community

Dear Kossacks,

It's not your fucking blog.



Now That's a Good Question

DK at Josh's place:

Question: does Hoekstra really want to oversee what the Administration is doing or is he distancing himself from the nastiness that will eventually come out?


Why is official Washington up in arms about the Lieberman primary but unconcerned about the Chafee and Akaka primaries?

Bobo Brooks has put on his concern troll hat yet again. I am so glad he's always thinking about what's best for the Democratic party. As a conservative movement activist that's his primary job, after all.

Bobo didn't feel the need to write one single word of concern when Pat Toomey almost beat Arlen Sepcter in the Pennsylvania primary in 2004.

Odd, that.

The whole thing is odd.

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.