Saturday, October 21, 2006

Fresh Thread


J. Pod Hearts Borat

Not a subscriber so I can't read the whole thing, but he's right about this:

A cheap-looking and extremely strange movie with an even stranger title--Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan--is opening in a few weeks, and it will make a sensation.


This is one of the four or five funniest movies ever made.

As I wrote before, it will be, for a moment, The Biggest Thing Ever. Whether that translates into actual ticket sales I have no idea, but it will take over everything for its moment.

Sailor Servants

Crazy Curt is such a wanker:

Springfield, PA ­ In his second debate against former Navy Vice Admiral Joe Sestak, Curt Weldon’s temper got the better of him. Weldon, in his opening statement at the Springfield Country Club debate, lashed out in a tirade, taking aim at Sestak’s 31 years of Navy service. In doing so, Weldon revealed his own lack of knowledge about the Navy, and denigrated the hundreds of thousands of men and women who currently serve. Weldon also made a series of inaccurate claims throughout the debate, some of which are catalogued below.

Although the debate was limited to economic questions by its sponsor ­ the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce ­ Congressman Weldon inexplicably used his opening statement to attack Admiral Sestak and his position in the Navy, ranting: “Were you always in the admiral quarter drinking out of your wine goblets and being waited on by your sailor servants?”

“A member of the Armed Services Committee like Curt Weldon should know better than to slander the working sailor ­ officer and enlisted ­ who serves this nation in war and peace,” noted Ryan Rudominer, communications director for Joe Sestak. “In any case, the regulations on alcohol in the Navy are very clear, and are publicly available. In fact, alcoholic beverages on board any underway ship of the Department of the Navy are prohibited.”

Retired Navy Captain Bill Walsh, who now serves as Admiral Sestak’s campaign manager, had the following to say after the debate: “When Curt unleashed that one, I just couldn’t believe it. Referring to any sailor as a servant is just outrageous. It is the officers who serve their sailors ­ that is central to the Navy’s culture and always will be. If Curt’s aware of goblets being used in the U.S. Navy, he should make that known to the Secretary of the Navy as soon as possible. Perhaps the Congressman is referring to some visit he had with the Russian Navy?”


That's some bounce:

While the new poll shows the president with a two-point bump in his approval rating—from an all-time low of 33 percent two weeks ago to 35 percent today—most Americans think Bush is already a lame duck. Fifty-six percent said he won’t be able to get much done in his last two years in office. Only 33 percent believe he can be effective.


The poll found terrorism came fourth as the “most important” issue to voters, at just 13 percent; behind Iraq (31 percent), the economy (18 percent), and health care (16 percent). And a solid majority of Americans want the Democrats to take over Capital Hill, 55 percent, versus 32 percent who want the GOP to retain control—a 23-point margin. And the Republicans can’t count on their biggest name, George W. Bush, to help much. While the new poll shows the president with a two-point bump in his approval rating—from an all-time low of 33 percent two weeks ago to 35 percent today—most Americans think Bush is already a lame duck. Fifty-six percent said he won’t be able to get much done in his last two years in office. Only 33 percent believe he can be effective.

Most worrisome for the president, should the Democrats retake one or both houses of Congress, the American public supports their proposed “First 100 Hours” agenda. An overwhelming majority says allowing the government to negotiate lower drug prices directly with pharmaceutical companies should be a top priority for a Democratic Congress (74 percent, including 70 percent of Republicans); 68 percent want increasing the minimum wage to be a top priority, including 53 percent of Republicans; 62 percent want investigating impropriety by members of Congress to be a top priority; and 58 percent want investigating government contracts in Iraq to be a top priority. Fifty-two percent say investigating why we went to war in Iraq should be a top priority (25 percent say it should a lower priority and 19 percent say it shouldn’t be done.)

Social Norms

One thing which is quite common is for people to attempt to impose their own particular preferred social norms on the internet. I'm sure we'll get a funny dose of this when Sprezzatura Siegel writes his book. It's generally condescending, it assumes a lack of self-awareness on the existing participants in a particular internet subculture, and of course is generally utterly ignorant of how and why things are the way they are.

Shorter me: stop crashing my party and telling me how to act.

Time For Another Blogger Ethics Panel



We in Philly have for some time had to deal with the national joke that is the Liberty Bell/Independence Hall security situation. After 9/11 it was harder to get in there than to board an airplane, and hideously ugly and tragically ironic security barriers were put up everywhere. Independence Hall indeed.

It's slowly improved since, with the road in front of the building reopened and a slight improvement in the cosmetics of the security barriers. Now it sounds like the situation will improve a bit more.

To the delight of activist Ann Meredith, who led the fight to free Independence Mall from proposed six-foot security fencing, National Park Service Director Mary Bomar announced yesterday that the national shrine would remain fenceless.

Bookended by smiling U.S. senators Arlen Specter and Rick Santorum, both R-Pa., Bomar said the Park Service had decided to "eliminate" the proposed fence and to remove the bicycle barriers outside the Liberty Bell Center.

"This is a great day for freedom," Specter said, adding, "Today, we have told the would-be terrorists, we're not going to pay any attention to them" when it comes to limiting public access to Independence Mall.

"There oughtn't to be a fence," Specter said. "People ought to have access."

Still, I wish someone would answer a very simple question - why the hell do people need to go through a metal detector to enter the building? It's ridiculous.

Media Matters

From Jamison Foser:

If you believe what you hear from prominent conservatives and political reporters, the following things are true:

1) Anytime terrorism is in the news, it plays to the political and electoral benefit of the Republicans.

2) Terrorists who are trying to destroy America are trying to help elect Democrats because they think Democrats are weak. The terrorists are doing so by increasing violence in Iraq and otherwise drawing attention to their existence, as the Osama bin Laden videotape released shortly before the 2004 election.

Those two things are obviously incompatible. The latter is based on the premise that increased news of terrorism benefits Democrats; the former is an explicit statement of the opposite. The two are fundamentally inconsistent. (OK, there is a way the two sentiments could rationally coexist -- but it requires us to believe that The Enemy has reached depths of incompetence previously explored by only Wile E. Coyote. And, in that case, why haven't we been able to defeat them yet? This possibility can be safely dismissed.)

The fact that the U.S. political media routinely tell us both of those mutually inconsistent things reveals almost everything we need to know about the state of the profession and the quality of the political information we receive. Almost everything.

Appointment Programming

Olbermann's problem on MSNBC was always that being sandwiched between Tweety and Joe Scar meant that the only way he was going to get a decent audience was to become appointment programming - where people deliberately switch their teevee channel over to MSNBC at 8pm. Larry King and O'Reilly have long managed to accomplish that, but otherwise it's pretty tough thing to achieve on a cable news channel. But, recent ratings - with Keith consistently having a ratings spike - suggest that he's managed to do that.

Of course, stupid people like me have long suggested that the way to counterprogram a right wing news network was not to put on slightly less right wing programming, and that a left-of-center block of programming on MSNBC in prime time would spike their ratings, but no one listens to stupid people like me.

And, no, CNN with The Situation Room, Paula Zahn, Larry King, and Anderson Cooper does not qualify as a block of liberal programming.


I don't know much about the economics of the publishing business - print or online - but Slate seems to have been chugging along fine for all of these years. Now it's owned by the WaPo and has partnered up with NPR. Most importantly, with a few notable exceptions, it's absolute shit.

If I were an evil genius trying to shore up the flagging fortunes of my little scrappy liberal magazine, I'd consider gathering up all the good liberal talent that was floating around out there and putting together a Slate Which Doesn't Suck.

Kneejerk contrarianism was always boring, and now it's become an absurd anachronism from a time when we had the luxury of pointless contrarianism.

Morning Thread


Not Serious

It was when I realized that The Economist had no understanding of American politics - a relatively easy subject to master - that I realized that everything else they told me about the world was probably bullshit.

It used to be a good magazine, even though one had to read it through the appropriate filter. It's been utter crap for the last 5 years+ or so.

Late Night


Friday, October 20, 2006


Just wanted to pull a quote from a commenter at Feministe which gets to the heart of what motivates people who are obsessed with online anonymity/pseudonymity:

The bothersome effect of pseudynimity is that it gives the rest of us the privilege that AB takes for granted. And that’s the real problem: not that it gives others impunity, but that it creates a situation where impunity ceases to be her special privilege.

This is absolutely correct. The ability to participate in the public discourse is something which previously was available only to a select few, and is now open to everyone. Part of what allows that is the ability of people to not attach their name to everything they write. People who have job and income stability (say, tenured professors) take for granted that they can say just about anything in a public space (such as the internets) without fear of consequence. Many other people, not so much.

The only reason to care about the identity of the person at the other end of the internet is to allow for real world consequences for online activity, consequences that some people are largely shielded from.

There's no reason people should worry that their boss is going to get called if they make some whiny asshole upset on the internet, or that their phone number will get posted, or their children brought into the discussion. But there are assholes on the internet who happily do such things on a regular basis, and it's perfectly sensible to hide a real world identity which has nothing to do with what goes on in the virtual world.

If I'd blogged under the name "Roger Smith" instead of "Atrios" no one would have been the wiser. Knowing what they believed to be a real name would they have been entitled to know all of my personal details? Of course not. And, if not, a name really confers no meaningful information.

Certainly anonymity lets people be bigger assholes than they might otherwise be, but for the most part who cares. It's the internets.

New Sestak Ad

Crazy Curt's Hit List

Oh my.

Ann Bartow is the Today's Worst Person In The World

Okay, that's Keith's schtick, but I'm borrowing it this once.


Your GOP, completely unconcerned with what's actually happening in Iraq.


The point of terrorism is, as the name suggests, to terrorize. Not simply to kill and destroy, but to frighten the broader population. It puzzles me why the RNC has found common cause with terrorists in their new ad campaign, and it puzzles me more why they want to highlight the fact that over 5 years after 9/11 George Bush has failed to catch the guy responsible.

It is very strange that they're proud of this.

Get Your Shrill On

I can't make it, but I recommend local people looking for something to do this rainy evening should head out to the North Star Bar and check out The Trolleyvox. Fun guitar-based pop with some added flourishes to make it interesting. And they're shrill, which is very important.

First Up Against The Wall

This passage is from The Note. I really do think they have to stop drinking the tap water in Washington, as it makes no sense.

While some of the network evening newscasts paid homage to the robustish economy, and while the RNC's video press release on terror got some inexplicable "earned" media pickup, consider the iron wall into which such things run these days (based often on the Old Media's near-total inability to find upbeat Republican strategists, but also on the glee some press types feel about the current storyline).

Lies and the Lying Liars

Jerry Lewis edition.

War, What Is It Good For?

What I'm about to write isn't especially insightful, but given that our foreign policy debate these days is almost entirely played out between people who think wars are really great and those who think wars are like totally awesome, perhaps it needs to be said.

There's this attitude out there where one's foreign policy abilities are judged by whether you supported the right wars, with people like Peter Beinart checking off their little lists. The foreign policy hawks see supporting wars as courageous acts, as if sending other peoples' kids off to die and voting for massive defense budget increases requires courage instead of a healthy possession of sociopathic tendencies.

Wars are failures. A primary purpose of sensible foreign policy is to stop them. When wars happen, our foreign policy has failed. That isn't to say there's never a point when they're necessary or justified, but that point is simply an acknowledgment that the people in charge failed.

From Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are dead:

There must have been a moment, at the beginning, where we could have said -- no. But, somehow we missed it.

Well, we'll know better next time.

My Only Hope

Is that Marty Peretz stops sending me emails bragging about the diversity of viewpoints at Joe Lieberman Weekly.

Someone call Brendan Nyhan and tell him there's a job opening.

Wanker of the Day

St. John McCain.

And this is the person the bullshit moose think is a serious foreign policy guy.

Drawing Lines in the Sand

Like Yglesias, I really don't get the partition solution. It seems like a really awful idea, though as with everything else on Iraq I'm happy to be wrong. He writes:

As long as that's the case, I just don't see how the President of the United States and the head of CENTCOM are supposed to unilaterally announce that "we" are partitioning Iraq. Only Iraqis can partition Iraq.

Taking the optimistic view, it looks like Muqtada al-Sadr is beginning to do just that, so maybe this partition thing can work after all.*

*lame humor

Not a Civil War

Mahdi Army takes Amara.

Lies and the Lying Liars

Crazy Curt edition:

A scan of the latest Federal Election Commission filings reveals two interesting facts about the 7th District race: The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee finally plunked down the big bucks -- $1.58 million worth of TV ad time on Tuesday alone -- to help defeat U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon.

That much was expected.

But recent FEC reports also raise questions about Weldon’s latest statements regarding the federal probe that has ensnared his daughter and a longtime political associate.

Weldon told reporters Wednesday that an ex-FBI agent heard that Democrat Joseph Sestak’s campaign had inside information about the Justice Department investigation -- and when it would be leaked to the press.

"I’m telling you a retired FBI agent, whom I have named, came to me and said that a (Sestak) campaign worker told him three weeks ago that this was going to happen," he said.

While Weldon identified his source as Gregory Auld, he failed to mention that Auld has been on the campaign’s payroll since May.

Campaign finance reports filed this week show that Weldon Victory Committee has paid Auld & Associates Investigations $25,000 to conduct opposition research.


Much of Weldon’s story didn’t check out with Auld, who said he had heard through a man at a local gym that another man who frequently wore a Sestak shirt said three weeks ago that "something big was going to come down on Weldon" last weekend.

Auld, of Drexel Hill, said he spoke to the Sestak supporter Tuesday, but "he never said they knew" about the investigation before it hit the newspapers.

But This Won't Happen

I don't know if they're saying this stuff to try to force a change or if they're saying this stuff to try to convince pissed off voters that maybe they're going to get a clue but either way nothing is going to happen. This is George Bush's game of Risk, and he's not going to quit.

The growing doubts among GOP lawmakers about the administration's Iraq strategy, coupled with the prospect of Democratic wins in next month's midterm elections, will soon force the Bush administration to abandon its open-ended commitment to the war, according to lawmakers in both parties, foreign policy experts and others involved in policymaking.

Senior figures in both parties are coming to the conclusion that the Bush administration will be unable to achieve its goal of a stable, democratic Iraq within a politically feasible time frame. Agitation is growing in Congress for alternatives to the administration's strategy of keeping Iraq in one piece and getting its security forces up and running while 140,000 U.S. troops try to keep a lid on rapidly spreading sectarian violence.


New ad:


Ho Ho Goes to CT.

Running With Blinders and Carrying Knives

Late night with Jess Klein. Beginning of song missing, but you can listen to it here.

Al Gore Might Have Made Fundraising Calls From the Wrong Phone

Oh, and then there's this:

Moving quickly to implement the bill signed by President Bush this week that authorizes military trials of enemy combatants, the administration has formally notified the U.S. District Court here that it no longer has jurisdiction to consider hundreds of habeas corpus petitions filed by inmates at the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba.

In a notice dated Wednesday, the Justice Department listed 196 pending habeas cases, some of which cover groups of detainees. The new Military Commissions Act (MCA), it said, provides that "no court, justice, or judge" can consider those petitions or other actions related to treatment or imprisonment filed by anyone designated as an enemy combatant, now or in the future.

Immediately after Bush signed the act into law Tuesday, the Justice Department sent a letter to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit asserting the new authorities and informing the court that it no longer had jurisdiction over a combined habeas case that had been under consideration since 2004. The U.S. District Court cases, which had been stayed pending the appeals court decision, were similarly invalid, the administration informed that court on Wednesday.

The administration's persistence on the issue "demonstrates how difficult it is for the courts to enforce in the face of a resolute executive branch that is bound and determined to resist it," said Joseph Margulies, a Northwestern University law professor involved in the detainee cases.

We know what David Broder is more upset about.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Fresh Thread


Things Not To Do On the Internet

Posting elaborate fake terrorist threats is probably pretty high on the list, though in his defense he probably never imagined that The Most Trusted Name in News would spend two days hyping Some Shit Found Somewhere On The Internet.

"A More Observant Jew"


Dead Man Walking

Hasn't Hastert resigned yet?

The former clerk of the House of Representatives, Jeff Trandahl, who testified for more than four hours before the House Ethics Committee today, is believed to have testified that a top aide to House Speaker Dennis Hastert was informed of "all issues dealing with the page program," according to a Republican familiar with the investigation.

The Republican source said Trandahl planned to name Ted Van Der Meid, the speaker's counsel and floor manager, as the person who was briefed on a regular basis about any issue that arose in the page program, including a "problem group of members and staff who spent too much time socializing with pages outside of official duties." One of whom was Mark Foley.

Trandahl's testimony before the House Ethics Committee could provide additional evidence that key members of the speaker's staff were aware of problems involving the page program for years.

Whining A Lot

Joe Lieberman looks in the mirror.

Millions and Millions

I'm glad $5 million is coming into my area even though I'm getting rather sick of campaign commercials. Still, it's a big media market and $5 million doesn't buy as much as one might imagine.


One of the little quirks (deliberate) in the latest round of campaign finance legislation was that money for federal races was completely fungible and could be passed to other federal races. So, money can slosh around between say, Hillary "$16 million cash on hand" Clinton and the party committees or other candidates for federal races. It's ridiculous that Clinton has so much money and it's a major way our campaign dollars are poorly allocated (and not because bloggers raise a few grand for long shot candidates). It's understandable - she's a star, people want to meet her, they're willing to pay big money to go have lunch with her. People aren't giving her money because they think she needs it to win her election, they're giving it to her to spend a little time with her and to support brand Hillary.

Of course, there's one other major federal office - president. And, yes, Clinton's senate campaign cash can slide smoothly into her presidential campaign fund if that time comes. This little quirk rigs the presidential game in favor of high profile senators at the expense of governors, who can't funnel money from either their gubernatorial campaign fund or from a leadership PAC (Mark Warner couldn't have converted the money in his PAC into a presidential fund). So they get to have a jump on fundraising if they're considering running for president.

Still, what's more important? Taking Congress or sitting on piles of campaign cash that you don't really need.

Fork it Over

$100K? That's chump change Mr. Bayh. What's that I see? Oh yes, those presidential prospects receeding faster than my hairline...


According to reader b, Limbaugh just said that Lieberman is "seething inside" and has "payback in mind" for the Democrats if he wins.

We've tried to warn you...

The Last Honest Man

The view in Connecticut.

War of the Words

Part 3 - "Well, Not Accomplished Exactly, So Much As - Look, Just Shut Up, Okay?"


As Ezra suggests, more liberal academics - economists or otherwise - should join the public debate one way or another. There are a variety of reasons for their unwillingness to do so, but they should do so nonetheless.


We are truly ruled by people with the emotional maturity of not very precocious 5 year olds. Conrad Burns says we have a secret plan to win the war. Chris Shays says we should've invaded Iraq before we did, but not because they were any threat to us. Our pundit class seems unconcerned that they enabled this believing they were "right to be wrong" because they're unwilling to admit that anybody but dirty fucking hippies like me could have possibly come to the conclusion that this was a stupid idea based on what we knew at the time.

It's all very depressing.

Call for Change

Want to do something positive which doesn't even require you to get up off your ass? Join Move On's Call for Change program.


Brendan discusses Philly mayoral candidate Michael Nutter's visit to Drinking Liberally. I wasn't there because I was away.

Wanker of the Day

The doughy pantload.

Uh, Dave?

I like Dave Davies (not the guy from the Kinks) but this column is a bit absurd. The reason to suspect - rightly or wrongly - that the Justice Department had it in for Mayor Street when they were investigating him before the 2003 election was that the JD is currently run by... Republicans. All civil service operations have a combination of professional civil servants (some corruptible and some not) and a top layer of political appointees who may or may not exert inappropriate pressure for some cases like this.

I think a column along these lines would've been fine, but it's absurd to leave that little fact out.

Fork it Over

Bowers is right. There are a lot of incumbents who have no trouble raising money who are sitting on mountains of cash they don't need. I don't think it's realistic to them to hand all of it over, but there's no reason they can hand over a good chunk of change. One would think it would be in their interest. If they want to win, they should, you know, try.

Lies and the Lying Liars

So, the RNC is on record as saying that they're not only pro-liar, but are happy to spend a lot of money to spread those lies. I know this won't come as a shock to Eschaton readers, but perhaps some reporters should take note (I'm looking at you Howard Fineman):

Washington- The Republican Party last night refused to cancel commercials that claim Sherrod Brown was a longtime tax scofflaw - even though the state of Ohio says the ad's claim is untrue.

Brown, the Democrat running against incumbent Mike DeWine, paid the tax bill years ago, soon after receiving a tax lien, according to newly released records from the Brown campaign and authenticated by the state.

But the Republican National Committee, supporting DeWine's reelection bid, is running commercials saying that Brown "didn't pay his unemployment taxes for 13 years."

DeWine ran his own commercial all day Wednesday with a DeWine family friend saying that Brown didn't pay "an outstanding tax bill for 12 years."

Hours after Brown campaign lawyers complained, DeWine spokesman Brian Seitchik said last night that the campaign would change its ad "as soon as possible," but that it still would reflect the fact that Brown "failed to pay a delinquent tax bill."

The RNC, however, said last night that it had no plans to change its ad.

Morning Thread

Well, we're back to "vote for Democrats and the terrorists will win!"

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Fresh Thread


And Another

I believe Dana Milbank knows what this is about.

Bye Conrad

We'll miss you:

HELENA, Mont. -- Democrat Jon Tester widened his lead against Republican Sen. Conrad Burns in a poll released Wednesday.

Tester led 46 percent to Burns' 35 percent, with a majority of respondents saying the incumbent's ties to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff were an issue in the campaign.

Good Debate Coverage

Stoller trips the light fantastic.

More Thread



NBC/WSJ poll:

WASHINGTON - Just 20 days until Election Day, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds approval of the GOP-held Congress is at its lowest mark in 14 years, the Republican Party's favorability rating is at an all-time low and President George W. Bush's approval rating remains mired in the 30s -- all ominous signs for a party trying to maintain control of Congress.

In fact, according to the poll, Republicans are in worse shape on some key measures than Democrats were in 1994, when they lost their congressional majorities.

"There is not a single number in here that would suggest the Democrats will not have their best showing in a decade -- and maybe two decades," says Democratic pollster Peter D. Hart, who conducted this survey with Republican Bill McInturff.


In the survey, Bush's approval rating is at 38 percent, a one-point decline from a previous NBC/Journal poll released earlier this month after the Foley news first broke. Perhaps more revealing, only 16 percent now approve of the job Congress is doing -- its lowest mark since 1992.

Both sets of numbers suggest that the Republican Party is on more unstable ground than Democrats were in 1994, when they lost 52 House and 8 Senate seats. In October of that year, President Bill Clinton's approval rating among registered voters was at 46 percent, and 24 percent approved of the job the Democratic-controlled Congress was doing.


Moreover, 52 percent say they prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress, compared with 37 percent who want Republicans to maintain power. It is the first time ever in this poll when a majority has sided with one party on this particular question. Earlier this

Junior Not Ready for Prime Time

This is hilarious. Tom Kean dodges 23 Iraq questions.

This I Want to See

From today's not yet broadcast debate:

Schlesinger: If you had someone doing a job for eighteen years, and after eighteen years, their record was one of complete failure, what would you do? What do you think should happen with that person?. . . Ned, you're a businessman: what would you say about someone like that?

Lamont: I'd say, "It's time to go, Joe!"

Secret Plan

I'm glad we won't have to listen to the ramblings of Senator Burns for much longer.

Why Did We Invade Iraq?

I still don't know, but Chris Shays thinks we should have done it sooner. Why? He doesn't say.

Perhaps somebody could ask him?


I'm a bit less annoyed than Kos about people sending me random stuff in email, I really appreciate that people take the time to send me things they think I might find interesting. But if you're considering adding me to your "email forwards" list where you send every random thing you think is interesting out to your list of friends and family, please don't. If you're working for an organization or candidate please think twice before putting me on your spam list as I can't help but tune out most things written in press releaseease. Reach out personally instead. Most of all, if you're ever feeling the need to send me an email to ask me why I'm not writing about [insert topic here] or insist that I must write about [insert topic here] just don't. Really. People who do that get a one way ticket into my spam filter. This blog does not exist to write about or promote everything interesting or important under the sun. If you really think something important is being underaddressed by me or the world at large the tools exist for you to try to convince people that your pet thing is important. Lead, don't whine.

They Write Letters

Harry Reid writes a letter.

Clap Louder!

Isn't it about time someone points out that they're not even trying anymore?

Shorter David Ignatius

It is very troubling that people who disagree with me are allowed to speak, and that people who do not share my political views may get elected.

Shorter shorter David Ignatius:

I am wonderful.

Your Liberal Media

There are days when I know that the media can't collectively be this stupid, that they slant and emphasize stories to create false balance even when there's no story to the story. This is one of those days.


Thanks to Avedon Carol, Attaturk, and Echidne for helping out while I was gone, and they should free to keep posting if they have any left over brilliant thoughts that didn't make it up yet. Had a bit more time to check in than I expected to because of, you know, rain.

Peter Boyles

There are little Limbaughs all around the country, spreading hooey to unsuspecting listeners and no one pays much attention to them. In Colorado they have Peter Boyles, and Colorado Media Matters is paying attention. If you're subjected to his nonsense consider signing the petition.

Wanker of the Day


Open thread

Is it just me, or is Blogger being really slow?

Anyway, have at it, you orcs!

(Hm, must be something wrong, the window isn't showing me the usual little function buttons.)

19 Days...cannot come soon enough


WASHINGTON - In an ominous sign for the GOP, a Gallup Poll out yesterday says the public's approval of Congress remains at lows not seen since 1994 - when insurgent Republicans kicked Democrats out of power.

The survey found only 23% of the country approves of the job the GOP-led Congress is doing, with 71% saying they disapprove. In 1994, a Gallup Poll done from Oct. 22 to 25 before the Republican revolution election found the virtually identical anti-incumbent opinion.

The overall climate has Democrats eagerly anticipating Nov. 7 this year.

I'm glad Karl & the Gang are acting confident (what would you expect them to do?). It will make it that much sweeter.

Still a lot can happen. I guess this is where Atrios says give some money to people.

The Worst Musical of all time

An updated, all wanker edition, of "On the Town", set in Baghdad. And what a catchy refrain...

Iraq, Iraq, it’s a helluva mess.
The Green Zone’s bad, and we’ve fucked up the rest.
600,000 dead means 40 games of chess.
Iraq, Iraq, it's a helluva mess!!

More Like This

Hey, some religious leaders think torture is bad. Glad to know.

STRATFORD, Conn. -- Weighing in on Connecticut's hotly contested congressional races, a group of religious activists have unveiled a giant billboard off busy Interstate 95 that accuses four candidates of voting to allow torture.

The billboard in Stratford names Democratic U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman and Republican Reps. Christopher Shays, Rob Simmons and Nancy Johnson as supporters of the Military Commissions Act of 2006.

Democrats, It's Time

Lieberman is behaving just how we warned you he'd behave. Stoller:

For my money, this is Joe Lieberman slapping Chris Dodd and the Democatic Party in the face. Say what you will about Dodd, but this Dodd cares about John Bolton's nomination. Dodd was the whip on the vote, and successfully blocked Bolton's confirmation. Dodd played the good soldier to Lieberman's campaign in the primary, campaigning for him and starring in one of Joe's ads. Even before the primary ended and while Dodd was campaigning for Joe, Joe stopped taking Dodd's calls, and he wouldn't talk to him on primary night, sending an aide to deal with Dodd as Dodd stood outside Joe's hotel room. Joe hates Dodd because Dodd treated Joe like he deserved to be treated, as the loser of the Democratic primary.

In other words, Joe is angry and vindictive, and is starting his retribution early. Just today he reversed himself and said Democrats should win Congress (he demurred a few days ago), but that Democrats need to change their tone. Lieberman essentially threatened Dodd on Pajamas Media, a right-wing media site. And now on Bolton, Lieberman is just stabbing Dodd and the rest of the Democrats in the front. He's not even bothering to stab us in the back anymore.

Bolton represents everything Democrats dislike about Bush's cowboy policy. It was Bolton's shop at the State Department that pushed the faulty WMD intelligence. You can see video above of Bolton getting grilled and denying responsibility for his underlings' work on this point. Bolton was also atrocious on North Korea, severely damaging our ability to negotiate years ago, and recently putting together a resolution that everyone knows will be ineffective. Bolton doesn't actually believe in diplomacy, and has no achievements to his name. He's also egregiously partisan and vitriolic; the only blog he's granted an interview is a right-wing anti-Islam hate site.

So why would Lieberman adopt Bolton now, after rejecting him twice before? It's probably the same reason Joe is selling out net neutrality, going back on his promise to support it by offering to help Senator Ted Stevens in the lame duck session pass a bill that would in all likelihood get rid of net neutrality.


Hey Democrats, time to come out for Lamont. We're all in this together.


Just adding on to the last post from Attaturk, this is serious foreign policy that Joe Lieberman has been supporting. November 5.:

The ambassador [ed. Zalmay Khalilzad] argues that U.S. policy is finally on track. "We do have the beginning of adjustments that I think puts us on the right path," he told Gwen Ifill of PBS in one of his few on-the-record interviews. In addition to his own diplomacy, which has persuaded Sunni parties to compete in upcoming elections and Shiite and Kurdish parties to agree to post-election negotiations, there is, at last, a concerted counterinsurgency campaign underway, aimed at clearing areas of militants and then holding them. Khalilzad believes Baghdad should now be systematically secured, starting with the airport and then moving into the city. But the process will be slow and hard: Just pacifying the capital could take a year.

Joe Lieberman, November 29:

Does America have a good plan for doing this, a strategy for victory in Iraq? Yes we do. And it is important to make it clear to the American people that the plan has not remained stubbornly still but has changed over the years. Mistakes, some of them big, were made after Saddam was removed, and no one who supports the war should hesitate to admit that; but we have learned from those mistakes and, in characteristic American fashion, from what has worked and not worked on the ground. The administration's recent use of the banner "clear, hold and build" accurately describes the strategy as I saw it being implemented last week.

23 American troops have died since Saturday, and who knows how many Iraqis. How many more people are going to die so pathetic vain old men desperately clinging on to their power and egos can feel good about themselves.

Remarkably Well


A roadside bomb killed four U.S. soldiers west of Baghdad, the military reported Wednesday, raising the number of U.S. troops killed this month to 62...


In other "Remarkable" news:

A roadside bomb killed a provincial police intelligence chief in southern Iraq early Wednesday, police said. The military reported nine U.S. troops killed in bombings and combat a day earlier, raising to 67 the number of U.S. troops killed in October.

So that's five on top of the prior four.

Meanwhile, in comments Cal refers us to this Atrios post from November 5, 2005:

The ambassador [ed. Zalmay Khalilzad] argues that U.S. policy is finally on track. "We do have the beginning of adjustments that I think puts us on the right path," he told Gwen Ifill of PBS in one of his few on-the-record interviews. In addition to his own diplomacy, which has persuaded Sunni parties to compete in upcoming elections and Shiite and Kurdish parties to agree to post-election negotiations, there is, at last, a concerted counterinsurgency campaign underway, aimed at clearing areas of militants and then holding them. Khalilzad believes Baghdad should now be systematically secured, starting with the airport and then moving into the city. But the process will be slow and hard: Just pacifying the capital could take a year.

As noted by Cal, there's only 18 days left in those two Friedman Units (or as I have always called such periods an "F.U.").

Naturally, our "ADD" afflicted media will not note this when "celebrating" the surprise verdict that Saddam was quite a bastard this November 5.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Late Night

The Wallflowers cover Warren Zevon

National Character Counts Week 2006

That's what we have, right now:

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 15 through October 21, 2006, as National Character Counts Week. I call upon public officials, educators, librarians, parents, students, and all Americans to observe this week with appropriate ceremonies, activities, and programs.


If you already have enough character, how about some nice kitty pictures, here and here?

And yes, this is an open late-night thread.

I hate dial-up

I can't even get The Brad Blog to load.

I don't suppose y'all would want to help out by going over there to have a look and tell me what's going on, would ya?

Rallying Wingnuts

This is funny. Focus on the Family founder James Dobson and Gary Bauer, chairman of American Values and the Campaign for Working Families, and similar radical Christianists have been trying to talk the so-called "values voters" to go to the polls on November 7 and to vote Republican. Bauer:

"You are Ted Kennedy and Nancy Pelosi and big media's worst nightmare," said former presidential candidate Gary Bauer. "You are values voters, and you intend to vote."

"There's an effort underway by the radical left and big media to suppress the Christian vote this year," said Bauer, chairman of American Values and the Campaign for Working Families. "They believe we are stupid enough to fall for it, and I believe with every fiber of my being you are smarter than all of them."

Mmm. Sort of like the war against Christmas, this effort?

In any case, what's funny is this:

The event was originally scheduled in arena with tickets to be sold, but later was moved to a church and free admission. Monday's crowd was substantially smaller than a "Justice Sunday" event held two years ago in the same church.

The Last Honest Man

Everybody's fault but Joe's.

Dare to Dream

I'm tempering my optimism, but I do have this lovely vision of so many Republican Reps. and staffers being turfed out of their jobs that there isn't enough wingnut welfare for them all.

The Grim Freeper

Shows up at his favorite location for "hard-hitting" interviews, Blue Pills Limbaugh -- consult your physician:

On Iraq, Mr. Last Throes states:

If you look at the general overall situation, they’re doing remarkably well.

I'd call Cheney a lying sack of shit except that it denigrates three things I hold in higher regard than him.


I don't think the country can take much more of being ruled by these imbeciles.

Dr. Falafel

I certainly hope none of you ladies are going to Papa Bear for your OB-GYN advice and care.

They send letters

"They" being the voter-suppression mob, who want to convince legal immigrants who are naturalized citizens that they aren't entitled to vote. Ezra found this one:
The state attorney general's office is investigating a letter received by some Southern California Hispanics that says it is a crime for immigrants to vote and tells them they could be jailed or deported if they go to the polls next month.[...]

The letter, written in Spanish, tells recipients: "You are advised that if your residence in this country is illegal or you are an immigrant, voting in a federal election is a crime that could result in jail time."

IDIOTS! We are governed by IDIOTS!


Take Representative Terry Everett, a seven-term Alabama Republican who is vice chairman of the House intelligence subcommittee on technical and tactical intelligence.

“Do you know the difference between a Sunni and a Shiite?” I asked him a few weeks ago.

Mr. Everett responded with a low chuckle. He thought for a moment: “One’s in one location, another’s in another location. No, to be honest with you, I don’t know. I thought it was differences in their religion, different families or something.”

To his credit, he asked me to explain the differences. I told him briefly about the schism that developed after the death of the Prophet Muhammad, and how Iraq and Iran are majority Shiite nations while the rest of the Muslim world is mostly Sunni. “Now that you’ve explained it to me,” he replied, “what occurs to me is that it makes what we’re doing over there extremely difficult, not only in Iraq but that whole area.”

Good thing you think about this NOW shitheads (and only because you are prompted)!


Robert Farley:

We're obviously beyond the point where one could say with any degree of originality that Christopher Hitchens is a morally and intellectually bankrupt sociopath. He is the true heir to the Stalinist left that he relentlessly rails about; there is no limit to the death and destruction that he's willing to tolerate in service of his revolution. What's more important now is to note that those who willingly associate themselves with people like Hitchens and Bill Kristol should be viewed in the same light. To paraphrase Yglesias, even if we were to find something of value in the Euston Manifesto or the work of PNAC (and this is a tremendous "if"), associating with the people who press these intellectual projects is, in itself, evidence of a lack of seriousness about foreign policy.


I think it should be obvious to everyone who doesn't leave in Washington, DC that the closer for this election is Iraq.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A poll conducted for CNN over the weekend suggests support among Americans for the war in Iraq is dwindling to an all-time low. Just 34 percent of those polled say they support the war, while 64 percent say they oppose it.

Women led the opposition, with seven in 10 saying they oppose the war. Twenty-eight percent say they support it, which is the lowest support among women in any CNN poll taken since the invasion more than three years ago.

Boy, I feel all Warm & Fuzzy

Seeing the Four Republicans of the Apocalypse show up for the signing of the "Torture Bill".

Let's see there's Famine, War, Pestilence and Cheney.

(AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

Bye Crazy Curt

Maybe he should've gone to Iraq to look for those weapons:

A grand jury, impaneled in Washington in May, has obtained evidence gathered over at least four months through wiretaps of Washington area cellphone numbers and has scrutinized whether Weldon received anything of value, according to the sources. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the investigation.

The investigation focuses on Weldon's support of the Russian-managed Itera International Energy Corp., one of the world's largest oil and gas firms, while that company paid fees to Solutions North America, the company that Karen Weldon and Sexton operate.

The congressman, for example, intervened on Itera's behalf when U.S. officials canceled a federal grant to the company. He also encouraged U.S. companies to do business with Itera at a time when its reputation had been sullied by accusations of Russian corruption.

Read Arthur Silber

I always find him thought-provoking and passionate. Read this:

The Dynamics of Rising American Fascism

Early Morning Thread

Who has the better meltdown...

Denny Green or "Dear Leader" on November 8, 2006?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Better Tracking

This isn't especially important, but I've long been somewhat surprised by the fact that politicians don't seem to pay much attention to exactly how their Act Blue contributions arrive. I don't mean in the sense that I want to be given credit - the Eschaton community page is a community page - but the point is that the community wants to be given credit. So, it was nice to get a fundraising form email from Jon Tester which began:

Dear Duncan,

I wanted to send you a quick note to thank you for your contribution to my campaign through the Eschaton page at Act Blue last quarter.

Thanks to committed Democrats like you, we set a record -- raising over $2.1 million in 3 months, the strongest showing ever by any Montana candidate.

A small thing, but the first time I've noticed it.

Fresh Thread

Have at it.

Schlesinger for Senate

Apparently Schlesinger made quite a splash at the debate. Good for him. I have to admit the funniest - though not the most desirable - outcome of this election would be Schlesinger taking it all. That way Joe would've been beaten by both the Democrat and the Republican. Not that it's likely to happen, but if Schlesinger manages to shift some attention his way Lamont should take this...

I believe the man says "WHEEEEEEEE!"

New CNN poll on Bush announced:

36% approval, lowest ever for that poll.

UPDATE: Liquid Paper points out I may be mistaken and it is the 61% disapproval that's the all-time high. In any case, let us come to the real point, Bush sure is "peaking" just before the elections. Good job Karl.

Ad Good

...adding, I've spoken to Patrick Murphy many times, including discussing his time in Iraq. He was always incredibly careful about being very precise about what he did and didn't do there and the idea that he'd misrepresent his service there in any way is ludicrous.

Grand Old Police Blotter

Former FDA head charged.


More on Crazy Curt's mounting troubles.

Congressman Joe Sestak. That has a nice ring to it.

So Curt, care to comment on that investigation now?

I understand that when not on fabulous Soros-sponsored vacations at Commandate Kos's secret island hideaway, Atrios lives in some place called Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, this seems like awkward news for another Keystone Non-Cop, Curt Weldon:

Federal agents raided the home of the daughter of U.S. Rep. Curt Weldon (R., Pa.) and his longtime friend Charlie Sexton this morning.

The agents departed Karen Weldon's three-story brick home on Queen Street in Philadelphia with arms loaded with boxes.

Thanks to Attytood.

Values In A Nutshell

Krugman's newest column contains a nugget of wisdom for the ages on the values-party and then the party which actually has values, if by values we mean justice, fairness and concern for others. It is this one:

The current Congress has shown no inclination to investigate the Bush administration. Last year The Boston Globe offered an illuminating comparison: when Bill Clinton was president, the House took 140 hours of sworn testimony into whether Mr. Clinton had used the White House Christmas list to identify possible Democratic donors. But in 2004 and 2005, a House committee took only 12 hours of testimony on the abuses at Abu Ghraib.

Krugman also points out this about Joe Lieberman:

In a recent interview with The Hartford Courant, Senator Joseph Lieberman said something that wasn't credible. When the newspaper asked him whether America would be better off if the Democrats took control of the House of Representatives next month, he replied, "Uh, I haven't thought about that enough to give an answer."

Uh, indeed.

Just what I needed

Maybe it's a kind of tit-for-tat after someone made a whole TV series out of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, but now we have The Hunt For Osama Bin Laden, by our favorite TV series writer. Oh, God.

I was already in a bad mood, too. I still can't get them to give me my broadband connection back, which means no YouTube! Thank goodness I have a large supply of Fats Waller and and a copy of The Ultimate Rascals.

Aw, that's nice...

The "Green Zone" Prime Minister over the weekend:

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said in an interview with USA TODAY that his government will not force militias to disarm until later this year or early next year, despite escalating violence in Baghdad fueled by death squads and religious warfare.

And from the "Twilight Zone" President this morning:

President Bush assured Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki on Monday that the United States had not set any deadline for the Iraqi government to bring the violence under control, the White House said.

Stay away from a course.

Shorter "40 games of Chess" Bush --- "YAHTZEE!"

Away for a Couple Days

For a rare wee vacation. Not sure how much I'll be checking in, but in any case you'll be in the capable hands of Attaturk, Echidne, and Avedon Carol, depending on time and desire on their side.


Richard Pombo is taking good care of our shared assets: the oil shale leases on public lands:

Tucked into a massive energy bill that would open the outer continental shelf to oil drilling are provisions that would slash future royalties owed to the federal government by companies prospecting in Rocky Mountain oil shale deposits.

Sponsored by Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Stockton, and passed by the House earlier this year, the bill would amend an existing requirement that the federal government receive a ``fair return'' from oil companies that hold oil shale leases on public lands. Instead, Pombo's bill would reduce royalties from the customary 12.5 percent of annual revenue to 1 percent.

Cheap at half the price? And how does Pombo justify this move? This is how:

Pombo stands by his provision, a spokesman said.

"The chairman and the majority of the members of the [House Resources] committee feel that it is the right thing to do because it is such a massive resource that it could provide relief for consumers and strengthen our economy," Pombo aide Brian Kennedy said.

Hmm. This guy must go.

Just what kind of Gym is Tony Snow Going to?

Transposed a tad:

There were no mean words about Democrats. Mr. Snow, aware of his delicate balancing act, has vowed to “stick to factual defenses and advocacy for the president.”

Here was Mr. Snow on working in the White House: “The most exciting, intellectually aerobic job I’m ever going to have.” On the nature of the American soul after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11: “There is an ember of greatness burning in every heart.” On the intellectual acumen of his boss: “He reminds me of one of those guys at the gym who plays about 40 chessboards at once.”

Bush the chess player...40 boards where he constantly has to be reminded the "horsey" moves in an "L" shape.

"King Me!"

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Late Night

Vienna Teng - Signal Fire


I haven't paid any attention to this race. Anyone have good insight into why we might take this seat?

Fresh Thread


Teen Spirit

Continuing, it's good to see that that, for the moment, the kids are alright but I fear Democrats have done little to really earn that support other than generally not being as repulsive as Republicans. One would hope that such support will last a lifetime, but a hefty dose of disillusionment could fix that. There are a whole host of issues with young people relevance that I like to pretend the Democrats are the good guys on, but they aren't always.

My Cohort

So it seems people roughly my age and a bit older are the most Republican of all. Apologies. I'm not really surprised, though whether my take on why has much merit I'm not sure. But, FWIW:

These people came of age at the confluence of a few events. The anti-PC backlash was in full swing. People like Morton Downey, Jr. and Andrew Dice Clay were seen as rebellious figures, and of course there was the rise of Rush Limbaugh who was also seen similarly. The rise of rap and hiphop as prominent elements of pop culture, but before it had really penetrated white suburban teen culture, combined with a time of high urban crime rates led to somewhat of a racial backlash (add in fears of damaged crack baby epidemics). College campuses were getting hit with a wave of prohibitionism, which while not necessarily the fault of Democrats was generally associated with them as nanny state stuff often is. Pop culture was extraordinarily bland overall.

So, yeah, I'm not surprised.

Game On

Well, the NRCC has started shelling Patrick Murphy and Lois Murphy with nonstop attack ads locally. Not sure they're especially effective, but who knows...

Passive Voice

From Reliable Sources today:

KURTZ: Mark Halperin, you repeatedly refer in the book to political coverage of politics campaign as "the freak show". If it is a free show, whose fault is that?

HALPERIN: Well, it's the fault of everybody involved in the process. It's the fault of the polarized system we have driven by politicians and activists and interest groups who have every incentive, we write in the book, to be polarizing, to be negative, to not care about substance.

It's the fault also, though, of the press, which began the old media has lost its way, infected too often by the new media, which cares more about gossip and scandal and attack. And it's the fault, frankly, of voters and readers and viewers who don't demand yet, at least, a type of dialogue in our country which is one in which facts do matter and where attack politics and polarizing politics aren't the order of the day.

There's a lot of blame to go around, and we do try to be optimistic. But the current trend lines are all in that direction.

We make it very clear in the book, again, that this system in presidential politics favors conservatives. They have got every incentive to keep it going, and liberals are pretty much now following that same passing.

Consider that this comes from the guy who writes The Note. I need a drink.

Fresh Thread



Still hunting for ponies:

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Suspected Shiite militiamen killed at least 46 Sunni Arabs in a weekend rampage of revenge killing in a city north of Baghdad, an Interior Ministry official said Sunday, raising the toll in the latest sectarian bloodletting there to 63.

A string of bombings in the northern city of Kirkuk killed 10 people, including two girls who died when a man detonated explosives strapped to his body in front of the al-Mallimin girls high school in downtown Kirkuk, police officials said.

The U.S. military reported the deaths of a Marine and four soldiers. The Marine was killed in combat in Anbar province, the Sunni heartland west of Baghdad on Saturday.

I can't believe we're still talking about this shit.



Now, Karl Rove may call me a defeatist, but can anyone living in the real world deny that these statistics are heading in the wrong direction? Yet despite this bleak record of performance, the president continues to stand by his team of failed architects, preferring to prop them up instead of demanding accountability.

Democrats are fighting a war on two fronts: One is combating the spin and intimidation that defines this administration. The other is fighting to change course, to do things better, to substitute smart, disciplined strategy for dogma and denial in Iraq.

That's not defeatism. That's our duty.

Democracy! Whiskey! Sexy! Purple Fingers!

Or, you know, not.

Brooks: Not really, no I don't. I think they're looking at policy options. One of those options is trying to replace the current government which seems to be doing nothing.

Wanker of the Day

Joe Lieberman.

We've tried to warn all the big guns in Washington that Joe no longer thinks of himself as a Democrat, but they won't listen. Between being unable to say if the country would be better off if Democrats take control of the House and sending out mailers referring to the "Democrat" party, Joe is a Republican.

It's time for his good friends in the Senate to figure that out.

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

Late Night