Saturday, November 18, 2006

Saturday Night

White Whale - What's an Ocean For


Well, here in Philly things are starting to heat up. Congressman Fattah has entered the mayor's race. I don't think anyone is making many predictions on this race, but he's probably the early, if slight, favorite to win.

Fresh Thread


The Big Money

Consider helping out your favorite bloggers. Not me, advertising money has been good lately (thanks Chevron! thanks Glenn Beck!) but some of the rest of bloggers out there. The largely unsung heroes are the "local bloggers" who focus mostly on local issues and candidates and while they can never hope to have a consistent large national audience can have a disproportionate impact on such things, both by bringing national attention to things and by being able to influence local media coverage. Odds are the traffic will never exist for those sites such that they can be advertiser supported, but they're really where a lot of the important stuff is happening.

I know people think this blogging thing is easy. Aspects of it are. But it takes a long time to not just build up traffic, but reputation. To not just have a readership, but hope to have a wider influence, you have to demonstrate that you're not nuts, that your judgment about what is and isn't important is pretty consistent, that your bullshit detector is pretty good. At least if you're a left wing blogger. If you're a right winger your bullshit fantasies can jump from your page to Drudge to Noron's mouth at light speed.

Most bloggers have to work for a living, their blogs are just a side thing. Few are hoping to have blogging be a full time thing. But every second spent blogging is time away from spouse, away from kids, away from advancing career, etc. Sure, it's "just a hobby," but it's shame if people who have spent time building their sites and reputations, building their networks, eventually recognize that it's something they have to step away from.

Campaigns and candidates and politicians are often still hostile to bloggers. Some of that's understandable as we can be a pain in the ass and they don't know how to deal with us. But lacking the equivalent of He Who Rules Their World and Limbaugh, we're still the best way to try to get around the media gatekeepers to get important stuff out there. Often it's the local bloggers who have the best shot of doing that, but they're mostly toiling away in obscurity.

So give some love to Blue Jersey, or your favorite local/smaller blogger.

God Bless America

I'm so glad racism is behind us:

For years, it was an open secret at North Dallas' Preston Hollow Elementary School: Even though the school was overwhelmingly Hispanic and black, white parents could get their children into all-white classes. And once placed, the students would have little interaction with the rest of the students.

The result, a federal judge has ruled, was that principal Teresa Parker "was, in effect, operating, at taxpayer's expense, a private school for Anglo children within a public school that was predominantly minority."


The judge also had sharp words for the district's attorneys, who argued that segregation would cause no harm to the minority students because their teachers used the same curriculum as those teaching white students.

"The court is baffled that in this day and age, that [DISD relied] on what is, essentially, a 'separate but equal' argument," the judge wrote.

Media Matters

From Jamison Foser.

Morning Thread


Shorter Jeremy Greenstock

There's gotta be a pony here somewhere...

Friday, November 17, 2006

Poor Thomas Edsall

He just wrote a book called "Building Red America." Then America turned Blue.

Still he clings to his script, as they always do.

Speaking of the Quiet Americans

And I actually had such high hopes for Franklin Foer.



This morning, I visited our brave men and women at the Bethesda Naval Medical Center. It is a place of prayers, of honor, of respect, and reflection. And I left there more committed than ever to bringing the war to an end.

I told my colleagues yesterday that the biggest ethical issue facing our country for the past three and a half years is the war in Iraq.

Indeed it is. The Quiet Americans over at The New Republic have helped destroy the soul of this country, as they continue to pat themselves on the back for their moral virtue. Sick people, really.

Friday Cat Blogging

Hard at work.


Jumping into the "why so many Senators" conversation, an additional reason is that the system is rigged in their favor.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee on Friday said potential 2008 presidential rival John McCain's campaign finance reforms gives the Republican senator an advantage over other candidates by allowing him to transfer money easily.

"If you're a senator, you can take the money you raise in a Senate campaign and transfer it to a presidential, but you can't take money you raise in a state campaign and transfer that to a federal campaign," Huckabee, a Republican, told The Associated Press in an interview Friday.

"McCain was very smart in creating a system where he could take all of this Senate money that he had and turn it over to his presidential campaign to give him a distinct advantage over anyone else who ran," he said.

Senators can raise a pile of money before they ever decide to run for president. Governors can't.

Fresh Thread



Ho Ho:

TETON VILLAGE, Wyo. -- Democratic chairman Howard Dean on Friday took a swipe at Washington critics who questioned his strategy of spending money in all 50 states, dismissing them as the "old Democratic Party."

Basking in the afterglow of last week's election victories, Dean told the state party chairmen who were among the biggest beneficiaries of his strategy that it was an approach marked by Democratic wins at all levels of government.

"It was a great win for what I call the new Democratic Party," Dean said in a speech to the Association of State Democratic Chairs. "This is the new Democratic Party. The old Democratic Party is back there in Washington, sometimes they still complain a little bit."


"The people who complain always get the headlines," Dean said, adding there are other high-profile Democrats who support his initiative. "But the fact is that this strategy not only works, it works in states Democrats have given up on for 30 years.

"We cannot give up on anybody."

Better Late Than Never

Or, not really. 12 years later when they're out of power,'s editorial director decides it's time to tell people the truth about the Republican freaks who have been ruling us.

Must See TV

Timmeh's gonna have Webb and Tester on Sunday.

Wanker of the Day

Marty Peretz.

Turd Blossom Out?

Ah, I doubt it.

Fresh Thread


Speaking of Silly People No One Should Listen To

David Ignatius:

The new House speaker, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, had a disastrous post-election week in which her first priority seemed to be settling scores rather than solving these big problems. Shame on her!

I know I'm just an idiot with a cable modem and David Ignatius gets to write for the Washington Post, but for the record the Speaker of the House is currently Dennis Hastert. He's running the show. The Democrats don't take control for another couple of months. If big problems aren't being solved, it's because Dennis Hastert isn't trying to solve them. The Democrats had leadership elections, as did the Republicans. People took sides in those elections. That's pretty normal stuff. Some people won, and some people did not. The Republicans had an incredibly divisive election in the Senate in which John McCain's favorite segregation-loving candidate won by one vote. It's a real shame that McCain, who is currently in the majority in the Senate, apparently spent time on this stuff instead of solving the Big Problems, but hey that's how things apparently work. There's an election which is immediately followed by leadership elections. Then the new leadership takes control in January. This stuff happens every two years. It's not that complicated.


What Greenwald says.

Let me just add that the big problem with most of the nominally liberal-leaning elements of our commentariat is that what they need, most of all, is to be the Smartest People in the Room. They don't care about policy and how it impacts people.

Like Digby, I'm just stunned that it took literally 9 days from the election for them all to revert back to their giggly Washington as High School ways from the 90s. These are very silly people and no one should listen to a thing they say.


The extraordinarily divisive Republican leadership battle has ended, with Boehner becoming Minority Leader. 168-27.


This is not good news.

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) -- Home builders retreated on a massive scale in October, dashing hopes for a quick turnaround in the nation's housing market.
Starts of new homes plunged 14.6% last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.486 million, the lowest level since July 2000, the Commerce Department estimated Friday.
Building permits fell as well, down 6.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.535 million, the lowest in nine years. It was the largest percentage decline in permits in seven years.
Housing starts are now down 27.4% from October 2005 levels, and building permits are down 28% on a year-on-year basis. So far in 2006, starts are down 11.1% compared with the first 10 months of 2005. Read the full government report.
October's decline was much larger than expected by Wall Street economists, who had been forecasting a 4.5% drop in starts to 1.69 million as well as a marginal decline in building permits to 1.62 million. See Economic Calendar.


New low in AP/Ipsos. 31. His Republican approval is below 70, and conservative approval below 50. Lizard brains don't like losers....oops, those are numbers on Iraq, not overall. Steve Simels regrets the error. Overall approval is 36.

(ht desi)


He said this. In Vietnam.

The president said there was much to be learned from the divisive Vietnam War _ the longest conflict in U.S. history _ as his administration contemplates new strategies for the increasingly difficult war in Iraq, now in its fourth year. But his critics see parallels with Vietnam _ a determined insurgency and a death toll that has drained public support _ that spell danger for dragging out U.S. involvement in Iraq.

"It's just going to take a long period of time for the ideology that is hopeful _ and that is an ideology of freedom _ to overcome an ideology of hate," Bush said after having lunch at his lakeside hotel with Australian Prime Minister John Howard, one of America's strongest allies in Iraq, Vietnam and other conflicts.

"We'll succeed," Bush added, "unless we quit."

The Spite Girls Are Back

Yeah, even I thought they'd wait like two weeks. Oh well.
After a thorough discussion of how hapless the Democratic nerds have already proven to be, Mary Ann Akers whispers that reporters all over town are "loving" this story. It's so much fun! All the kidz squealed like schoolgirls at prospect of the merciless going-over they are preparing to give these totalbigfatlosers. ("We're so not being mean or anything cuz they like totally deserve it cuz they just don't get it, ok?")

The spite girls are back in town. It isn't so much a matter of substance. You can argue that talking about the majority leader race is worthwhile and that it says something about Pelosi's leadership style. The Carville sideswipe at Dean is interesting. That's not the problem. It's that the patented 90's style smug, juvenile, derisive Kewl Kidz tone is once again ooozing through everything they say. (I could have sworn I heard the "Friends" theme song in the backround.)

It's as if all these unpleasant events of the last six years never happened and we are back in the days of endless cable bitch-fests filled with sniggering about unauthorized blow jobs and earth tones and "grown-ups" who eat PB&J's and travel with their favorite pillies.

Morning Thread

Rock on.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Evening Thread


No Longer the One

Sue Kelly concedes to John Hall.

The Failed Pelosi Speakership

This has all been very silly. Pelosi backed her friend out of loyalty, he lost, everybody moves on. I can never keep up with whether the Democrats are intolerant of dissenting views or in disarray over disagreement.

Fresh Thread



Still bouncing. Still making Mark Halperin cry.

Bush's own job approval ratings have hit a new low in the aftermath of the elections. Just 32% of Americans approve of Bush's job performance compared with 58% who disapprove.

60% happy Dems won.

A Modest Proposal

Can we put a shark, Gary Condit, and OJ into a tank for a fight to the death?

Now that'd be news.

That Time Of Year Already?

Make your suggestions for the Golden Winger awards.

A Patriot Steps Forward

Chris Dodd:

November 16, 2006 202-224-5372
Washington- Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), an outspoken opponent of the
Military Commission Act of 2006, today introduced legislation which
would amend existing law in order to have an effective process for
bringing terrorists to justice. This is currently not the case under the
Military Commission Act, which will be the subject of endless legal
challenges. As important, the bill would also seek to ensure that U.S.
servicemen and women are afforded the maximum protection of a strong
international legal framework guaranteed by respect for such provisions
as the Geneva Conventions and other international standards, and to
restore America’s moral authority as the leader in the world in
advancing the rule of law.
“I take a backseat to no one when it comes to protecting this country
from terrorists,” Sen. Dodd said. “But there is a right way to do this
and a wrong way to do this. It’s clear the people who perpetrated these
horrendous crimes against our country and our people have no moral
compass and deserve to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. But
in taking away their legal rights, the rights first codified in our
country’s Constitution, we’re taking away our own moral compass, as well.”
The Effective Terrorists Prosecution Act:
* Restores Habeas Corpus protections to detainees
* Narrows the definition of unlawful enemy combatant to individuals who
directly participate in hostilities against the United States who are
not lawful combatants
* Bars information gained through coercion from being introduced as
evidence in trials
* Empowers military judges to exclude hearsay evidence the deem to be
* Authorizes the US Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces to review
decisions by the Military commissions
* Limits the authority of the President to interpret the meaning and
application of the Geneva Conventions and makes that authority subject
to congressional and judicial oversight
* Provides for expedited judicial review of the Military Commissions Act
of 2006 to determine the constitutionally of its provisions
“We in Congress have our own obligation, to work in a bipartisan way to
repair the damage that has been done, to protect our international
reputation, to preserve our domestic traditions, and to provide a
successful mechanism to improve and enhance the tools required by the
global war on terror,” Dodd said.

Borat Redux

I think Somerby's general take on Borat is in rough agreement with mine. Mostly it was just a very (to me, your mileage may vary) funny movie. There's enough there to make people want to overthink it, or elevate it into a highly complex social satire, to have it be greater than the sum of its parts. There's the obvious parallelism, or similarly Somerby's basic "Borat is us" take, with a bigoted misogynistic man from a backwards culture coming to wonderfully enlightened America only to find bigotry and intolerance in a backwards. But, reaching too hard to find a grand political message or intellectual foundation for the comedy is mostly a mistake. It was funny. People laughed.

Bain Capital

Looks like it's time for another blogger ethics conference.


Under which law can DVD producers grant an exclusive rental license?

...I thought this stuff was just covered under first sale doctrine. If I go out and by a DVD I can rent it out to you or resell it or whatever.

Fresh Thread


Wankers of the Day

The New Republic.

Comedy Gold

Because we all need a laugh.

[link fixed, I was not asking you to laugh at Majority Leader Hoyer]

Majority Leader Hoyer

149-86 was the vote.

Simple Answers to Simple Questions

Yglesias asks:

Threaten whom? Threaten to do what?

Oh, just about anyone and anything will do.

This has been another edition of simple answers to simple questions.


Spencer Ackerman takes a shot at something I tried to get at when I was on the radio with my good friend Peter Beinart but probably expressed badly at the time.

George Bush is in charge of foreign policy. George Bush is obsessed with staying in Iraq. George Bush equates leaving with losing. We can, as TNR seems to want to do, spend our days constructing magical pony plans for Iraq, and arguing with each other about whether timetables or deadlines or blahblahblahblah are the "best plan." Or we can understand that in this political reality, the best we can hope for is to shift, in a very blunt way, focus from "staying" to "leaving."

The Last Honest Man took swipes at Ned Lamont when Lamont said something like, "I'm for deadlines, I'm for timetables, whatever." But Lamont obviously understands what's going on. The point is not to construct some perfect unwavering plan, the point is to find a way to force George Bush to get us the fuck out of there. TNR people can spend their days patting themselves on the back constructing ever more nuanced fantasy plans, and marveling at how much more serious they are than the dirty fucking hippies, but meanwhile we're still in Iraq. All any of us on the outside can do is try to provide the pressure to switch from "we're staying" to "we're leaving." The rest of it is just wankery.

Speaker Pelosi

Congratulations, Speaker Pelosi. Elected unanimously.

Lies and the Lying Liars

Rich Lowry edition.

Fertility Choices

Adding to what Matt says, given the length of time of getting a degree, the culture of post-docs in the sciences, and the length of time to getting tenure, if a woman in academia wants to have a child she's going to have to do it somewhere in the middle of that.   No matter how enlightened of a spouse you have the physical demands of pregnancy/childbirth/early care probably are going to largely take you out of the game for 6 months no matter how much you try to get back to work.    The game is set up with expectations of uninterrupted attention to research.  Having kids interrupts that, but the only other option is not having kids.

In addition, unless I'm missing something from a quick glance at the study there's no way to disentangle whether having children has actually reduced women's work productivity or whether it's just made their peers more negatively disposed to them.  During my time in academia, the sexism I saw largely manifested itself as bias against women who have children during their pre-tenure years.  Women are fine, but women who waste time having children are unserious about their careers.  I saw this coming from both male and female senior faculty members. 

Stop Talking Out Your Asses

Excuse me for dusting off the remains of my inner social scientist for a moment, but with all the posturing by the bigwhigs about what worked and what didn't, blah blah blah, how about some actual, you know, data. Or at least information. I don't really know what Howard Dean's "50 state strategy" translated into in practical terms for the election. I don't know how many hired field organizers there were. Or volunteers. I don't know if campaigns which had a greater ground presence did well, or if knocking on doors and dragging people to the polls is a waste of time. Maybe throwing an extra million into TV ads in Duckworth's race, as Rahmbo wanted, would have worked. Or not.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that most of the talk about all this campaign stuff hasn't actually taken a hard look at what actually happened.

I know I prefer a world were TV advertising becomes less effective, where resources are channeled into hiring people and building local infrastructure and networks, where the ground war replaces the air war. That appeals to me. But I don't actually know if that's what works. Some people should figure it out.

Clap Louder!

Ellen Knickmeyer observes that there is no good way to unshit the bed:

BAGHDAD -- While American commanders have suggested that civil war is possible in Iraq, many leaders, experts and ordinary people in Baghdad and around the Middle East say it is already underway, and that the real worry ahead is that the conflict will destroy the flimsy Iraqi state and draw in surrounding countries.

Whether the U.S. military departs Iraq sooner or later, the United States will be hard-pressed to leave behind a country that does not threaten U.S. interests and regional peace, according to U.S. and Arab analysts and political observers.

"We're not talking about just a full-scale civil war. This would be a failed-state situation with fighting among various groups," growing into regional conflict, Joost Hiltermann, Middle East project director for the International Crisis Group, said by telephone from Amman, Jordan.

"The war will be over Iraq, over its dead body," Hiltermann said.

"All indications point to a current state of civil war and the disintegration of the Iraqi state," Nawaf Obaid, an adjunct fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and an adviser to the Saudi government, said last week at a conference in Washington on U.S.-Arab relations.

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.

Morning Thread


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Late Night

A song for George Bush.

We Didn't Bury Kissinger

He got a Nobel Peace Prize and was elevated to Elder Statesman status by his media sycophants. And, no, I don't mean we should've killed Kissinger. But we should've buried Kissinger As Public Intellectual. But, the Grand Old Men of Washington loved him. They still do.

Gordon Liddy is always on my teevee. Chuck Colson is a good moral man.

We also didn't bury the Iran-Contra nuts. Richard Cohen wrote nice things about that nice Cap Weinberger who, whatever his involvement, could've at least helped put the Iran Contra nuts away.

So, we had more crazy illegal foreign policy. Another disastrous war. Hundreds of thousands killed, with Fred Hiatt cheering it on.

So, yes, we're going through it three decades later. And we'll go through it again, because the Establishment gets it wrong every time.

Take An Economics Class!

Whatever the flaws of your typical Econ 101 class, it's actually the kind of class one should take to have the basic literacy necessary to read a newspaper. Our discourse on political/economic issues is entirely dominated by an Econ 101 worldview which while generally not all that complicated does have some nonobvious wrinkles.

So, Matt, go take a class.

As for Mankiw's assertion that economists like him don't care about income inequality, well that's just silly. Or it means people like him are very silly. It's one thing to embrace a positive, rather than normative, focus. But caring about "efficiency" or per capita GDP or some other supposedly "value neutral" metric as the only important metric is a normative decision if you embrace it to the exclusion of everything else. If your social welfare function ranks economies with greater GDP as "better" than ones with lower levels of GDP regardless of income distribution or any other consideration, you have still chosen a social welfare function. It's a pretty weird social welfare function, but a social welfare function nonetheless. You've made a value judgment, just one lacking actual, you know, values.

In other words, if you think an economy where Bill Gates earns $1000 and another 500 people earn $1 is better than an economy where Bill gates earns $500 and another 500 people earn $1.90 simply because in the former there's "more in total" then you're a very silly person.

It's understandable that people want to focus on metrics that don't require value judgments. And it's true that the metrics themselves don't require judgments, but only if you put your head in the sand and ignore all the information available to you.

If you have no other information, being told that you can choose between a society with per capita GDP is $40,000 versus one which has a per capita GDP of $30,000, it's understandable that you'd choose the former. But if you knew that the former number was what it was only because Bill Gates lived there, and that everyone else had an income of $1000, you might change your mind. Unless, I guess, you're Greg Mankiw.


It strikes me that the celebratory mood our side should embrace for awhile has dried up rather quickly. Yes there are lots of things in the world to be pissed about which won't magically be fixed the day we start calling her Speaker Pelosi. Yes the media sucks and our leaders are imperfect. And, yes, George Bush shit the bed and there's no good way to unshit it.

But, no, the future of the Republic doesn't depend on who is elected to be Majority leader, or just about anything else right now.

Relax. Put your feet up. Feel like a winner for a few minutes.

Double Down

Another critical time.

President George Bush has told senior advisers that the US and its allies must make "a last big push" to win the war in Iraq and that instead of beginning a troop withdrawal next year, he may increase US forces by up to 20,000 soldiers, according to sources familiar with the administration's internal deliberations.

Mr Bush's refusal to give ground, coming in the teeth of growing calls in the US and Britain for a radical rethink or a swift exit, is having a decisive impact on the policy review being conducted by the Iraq Study Group chaired by Bush family loyalist James Baker, the sources said.

Although the panel's work is not complete, its recommendations are expected to be built around a four-point "victory strategy" developed by Pentagon officials advising the group. The strategy, along with other related proposals, is being circulated in draft form and has been discussed in separate closed sessions with Mr Baker and the vice-president Dick Cheney, an Iraq war hawk.

Point one of the strategy calls for an increase rather than a decrease in overall US force levels inside Iraq, possibly by as many as 20,000 soldiers. This figure is far fewer than that called for by the Republican presidential hopeful, John McCain. But by raising troop levels, Mr Bush will draw a line in the sand and defy Democratic pressure for a swift drawdown.

Actually, 20,000 is precisely the number that McCain has called for. Viewed solely through a cynical political lens, this is McCain's worst nightmare. He's gambling that no one's going to take his advice so a year from now he can run against Bush and his bungled war. If Bush follows his advice, that's off the table.

From the rather more important perspective of "reality," sucks for everyone who's going to get maimed and killed because the pride of George Bush, Saint McCain, and the Last Honest Man is more important than anything else.

Wrong About Everything All The Time

Please, just STFU.

If being right meant anything in our contemporary discourse, "Some Guy With a Sign" and "Dirty Fucking Hippie" would have their own TV show.

Your Liberal Media

Still not liberal. In fact, it's filled with bigoted conservative assholes.


Think about it. No Democrat lost this year. Every single cent spent by Republicans to challenge an incumbent Democrat was wasted money.

ha ha.

Draft Kodos

You can throw support behind your favorite candidates whether they're running or not.

The Conservative Consensus

Digby's right that the conservative consensus has dominated our thought and discourse, on economic issues (broadly defined) at least, for quite some time. And, yes, moving forward the Democrats need to break the political model where your job is to deliver tax cuts.

On social issues, while in some ways we've actually made a lot of progress, it's probably the case that the conservative consensus has dominated. We're told it's okay to support abortion rights as long as we feel sufficiently guilty about it, and that on same-sex marriage the values of conservative religious voters should trump ours because, well, they're religious. Backlash politics has trumped identity politics. In spite of this voters in South Dakota just decided that they wanted abortion to remain legal and people can now get their gay marriage on, or a close equivalent, in various states.


Tommy Thompson's gonna run for prez. My only hope for surviving the primary season is that the Republican side of the silly season is at least a little bit sillier than the Democratic side.

The Last Honest Man

In Iraq forever.

The Conservative Agenda

At this point I don't care if we call it liberal, populist, or conservative. Maybe it'll take a guy like Webb to move this conversation forward.


Obviously the "blame Dean" campaign was all wound up and ready to go before the election, but someone forgot to tell Carville that if went through with the plan after winning big they'd look like total idiots.

Fun With Cliff

Cliff Schecter returns to MSNBC.

Minority Whip

As Bunch suggests, Trent Lott's new title is certainly appropriate, though this farker said it best:

Trent Lott selected as Senate Minority Whip, because if there's one thing that Trent Lott likes, it's whipping minorities.

And, yes, that's over the top and highly uncivil. Of course, opposing anti-lynching laws was a bit uncivil too.


And Abizaid says we're in for another Friedman:

Pressed by Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., on how much time the U.S. and Iraqi government have to reduce the violence in Baghdad before it spirals beyond control, Abizaid said, "Four to six months."

(tip from reader b)


Six more American troops died yesterday. Thanks Last Honest Man.

Lottsa Memories

Those who have been around for a long time remember what fun we had with Trent Lott back in the day. Hard to believe that was 4 years ago. I'm not sure whether the most amusing moment was hearing John Podhoretz say nice things about some blogger named 'Atrios' on NPR or Trent Lott going on BET and expressing his lifelong support for affirmative action.

But, anyway, to remind us what that whole thing was about. At Strom Thurmond's birthday party, Lott said:

I want to say this about my state: When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We're proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all these problems over all these years, either.

...oops, corrected, that's actually what he said in 2002. What I had up earlier:

You know, if we had elected this man 30 years ago, we wouldn't be in the mess we are today.

Was what he said in 1980. (h/t wtfwjd)
Scott brings us the Dixiecrat platform from 1948.

And here's a Mississippi sample ballot from their state Democratic party, which broke with the national Dems to support Thurmond over Truman.

Keyboard Kommando Komics

In shrillovision.

All Hail Trent Lott

Well, after being demoted from the #1 Republican spot all the way down to the #4 Republican spot, Trent Lott has triumphantly clawed his way back to the #2 spot.

Fools and Frenchmen

And then there's Richard Cohen.

Accountability-free punditry. Nice work.

There are worse people than Richard Cohen, of course, but one of the most disheartening things about the runup to the Iraq war wasn't simply that so many of the liberal commentariat supported it, it's that so many of them were so desperate to demonstrate that they weren't dirty fucking hippies that they gleefully joined in to "oppose the opposers." If it been about the real world and people getting killed instead of playing out some personal ego drama maybe things would be a bit different now.

Wanker of the Day

Kirsten Powers.

Morning Thread


Go Army

So many patriotic opportunities for unemployed Republicans.

Though this is the moment Democrats have been craving — winning a majority so they can help shape politics and policy — some senior aides are now tempted to leave Capitol Hill to become lobbyists and potentially quadruple their salaries. At the same time, some Republicans began receiving materials on unemployment benefits this week as the party sheds thousands of jobs, relinquishing staff committee assignments and leadership posts in both chambers for the first time in 12 years.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

One Is The Loneliest Number

Chris Shays is the last Republican House member from New England.

Courtney Wins

Just in case 2000 wasn't enough to teach you that every vote counts. Up by 91.

Questions for the HRC

They should be answered.

I believe I've given them one modest donation, and I get more telemarketing calls from them than anyone.

Fresh Thread


Great Moments in Chyron Writing

"Iran as Superpower" on CNN.

I really think we've lowered the bar for entry into that club.

Bring'Em All Down

Hey, if they've got the goods on Dems then escort them to the courtroom.

Convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff is scheduled to report to federal prison tomorrow, over the objections of federal prosecutors who say they still need his help to pursue leads on officials he allegedly bribed.

Sources close to the investigation say Abramoff has provided information on his dealings with and campaign contributions and gifts to "dozens of members of Congress and staff," including what Abramoff has reportedly described as "six to eight seriously corrupt Democratic senators."

The sources say Abramoff was about to provide information about Bush administration officials, including Karl Rove, "accepting things of value" from Abramoff.


The stupid! It burns me!

Yes there are too many murders in my city, but what the hell. And yes that's two links to Think Progress in a row.

Lies and the Lying Liars

Washington Post edition.

The Biggest Loser in the World

Mark Halperin:

"If I were them [Democrats], I'd be scared to death about November's elections."

-- Mark Halperin, director of ABC News' political unit, June 22, 2006

The rest of the Boehlert's article, about the media's unwavering belief in Roveal Infallibility, is worth a read.

Simple Answers to Simple Questions

Yglesias asks:

Has Glenn Reynolds lost his mind?


This has been another edition of simple answers to simple questions.


As with McCain, the media is Giuiliani's base - I think Chris Matthews has a bigger mancrush on him than he does on either McCain or Bush - so Rudy will get an immense amount of free media attention. He's also an utterly unprincipled man, so we can see him throwing his old positions - and old friends and roommates - under the bus as he proves he can hate the gay as much as the next Republican candidate for president.

He won't win, but he might get enough attention to grab a bunch of the McCain vote. Then hello candidate Brownback!


What Kos says, especially this:

Running an ad doesn't imply endorsement. But, if I start rejecting ads, THEN every ad that DOES run has an implied endorsement.

I don't know why some people fail to understand this simple point.

Ho Ho

Someone finally gives Dean some props.

On a more depressing note, while hunting for something I came across this article Yglesias wrote. In May. Of 2004.

I can't believe we're still having the same goddamn conversation.

Where We Are


As always, the most extraordinary and jarring aspect of cases like this one is that these principles -- which were once the undebatable, immovable bedrock of our political system -- are now openly debated and actively disputed by our own government. By itself it is astonishing -- and highly revealing about where we are as a country -- that such precents even need to be defended at all.

peeance and freeance.


I started to do a lame humor post about how I thought the Iraqis were going to stop the violence now that they'd achieved their goal of putting Democrats in power, but it's all too depressing.

GUNMEN wearing Iraqi police commando uniforms kidnapped about 150 staff from a government building in central Baghdad yesterday, the head of the parliamentary education committee said.

Alaa Makki interrupted a parliamentary session to say that about 150 people, both Shiites and Sunnis, had been abducted in the 9.30am raid on the Higher Education Ministry building.

However, a public servant who saw the raid said the gunmen checked identity cards to sort Sunnis from Shiites, then drove off with only Sunni men.

Bye John

Well, no more crackpot libertarianism on the NYT op-ed page. Until they hire their next crackpot libertarian.

Morning Thread


Great Moments in Modern Punditry

Scott's link was messed up, so here we go. Amy Sullivan now:

Early in the 2004 campaign, John Kerry caused an uproar among pro-choice supporters when he told an Iowa newspaper that he believed life begins at conception. But, at the same time, he lost pro-life support when a handful of conservative bishops suggested he be denied communion because of his history of voting against abortion restrictions. And his abortion answer during the second presidential debate didn't make anyone happy. George W. Bush found it easy to shoot down Kerry's version of the Mario Cuomo I'm-personally-opposed-but-can't-do-anything-about-it-as-an-elected-official formulation, immediately replying: "I'm trying to decipher that."

Amy Sullivan then:

IN DEFENSE OF KERRY'S ABORTION ANSWER....John Kerry's answer to the rigged question about abortion in Friday night's debate struck me as almost perfect (he really should have ignored the specific question--about government funding of abortion--and stuck to the general issue of abortion). And I'm not just saying that because he used the opportunity to remind everyone that he's a Catholic...give me a little credit. What was more important in terms of picking up those moderate Catholics who are still not in the Democratic camp yet is that for the first time in recent memory, the Democratic candidate expressed respect for pro-life views and acknowledged them as legitimate in a political forum.

More on this over at today. And before you send messages denouncing me as a traitor-to-the-pro-choice-cause/baby-killing-sinner (take your pick), please read the entire piece. What I'm advocating makes strategic sense, but it also happens to be the right way to conduct political dialogue about difficult issues.

I, for one, hope Kerry sticks with it.

Monday, November 13, 2006

They Write Letters

The General writes a letter.

More Thread



Make Her Stop

Please. Amy Sullivan. Just Stop.


Yep, thanks for helping us out.

I really never understood why they had Bush out campaigning for anyone. Except in places where the candidates were going to win anyway Bush was a big negative. No one - not the cable news nets, not Karl Rove, and certainly not Bush himself - seems to be able to internalize the simple notion that people basically can't stand the president.


Write script. Insert story.


Noe found guilty on numerous counts, including (I think) multiple counts of forgery, document tampering, and money laundering, and one count of 1st degree felony theft...

...he's got 27 months of a federal sentence, to be followed by at a bare minimum 3 years for the 1st degree felony theft conviction in state prison.

All Hail Keith

MSNBC learned once that if you put someone on to the left of everyone else on the teevee you might actually get some viewers. Then they fired him. Dan Abrams' predecessor was wedded to the idea that CNN was for Democrats, Fox was for Conservatives, and therefore MSNBC's target audience was moderate Republicans. All 5 of them.

Hopefully Abrams is a bit smarter than that:

Suddenly, everyone wants Olbermann. Last week, he and political veteran Chris Matthews teamed up to anchor MSNBC's midterm election coverage.

The result? Abrams called it "a major turning point for this network.'' Ratings were up across the board and the coveted 25-to-54 age demographic increased 111 percent from the 2002 midterm election.

What's next? Expect to see Olbermann in even more mainstream settings. The one thing he is resisting, however, is pressure to produce more "Special Comments.'' He has to feel them, he says. "Otherwise I will turn into a cartoon of myself.''

Certainly it is the passion that carries the day. As Abrams says, "Keith isn't faking this, and the viewers can see that.''

Wanker of the Day

Tim Russert.


Still bouncing.

WASHINGTON — President Bush's job approval ratings have slumped in the latest USA TODAY/Gallup poll, with the president's rating hovering near the lowest of his tenure.

In the poll, taken Thursday through Sunday, 33% of Americans approve of Bush's job performance and 62% disapprove. That compares to 38% approval and 56% disapproval in a USA TODAY/Gallup poll taken Nov. 2-5, just before the Nov. 7 midterm elections.

Judy Judy Judy

Judith Miller:

"I'm worried about bloggers," she said. "(A post) starts as a rumor and within 24 hours it's repeated as fact."

While she advocates a federal shield law to protect mainstream journalists from divulging their sources, she doesn't favor extending that to bloggers who don't follow the standards and ethnics [I assume this should be ethics] of the journalism industry.

Still, she wouldn't restrict a blogger's right to publish online. She said some bloggers have been invaluable in uncovering government flaws.

"I'm glad to welcome them as long as they agree to the standards," she said.

Standards. From Judith "I was proved fucking right" Miller.

A Tale of Two Covers

Your liberal media. Still not liberal.


This is funny.

The Case for Primaries

Yglesias says the lesson is that primaries test candidates and can reveal good ones. I think this is true. Insiders tend to not like primaries because a) they worry the more liberal candidate will win and be unelectable in the general election and b) if the primary turns nasty the candidates will essentially nuke each other in a mutually assured destruction campaign.

Point b) is a genuine concern, but I really don't think point a) is for the basic reasons suggested by Schmitt and in the post below.


Mark Schmitt writes:

Is there a lesson here? It's not a big sample size, but it suggests that in a district where a Republican was vulnerable to defeat, a plain-spoken progressive could do it at least as easily as a focus-grouped moderate. Perhaps even better.

I think the big issue here is the perpetual confusion of "independent" and "swing voters" with some concept of "centrist" or "moderate" which is generally put out by the press, when in reality these people are often low information voters who are likely to vote for someone "who knows what s/he stands for" instead of someone who has mushy middle distinctions-without-differences policy positions. There are tribal Democrats, tribal Republicans, and some genuine "can be convinced on the issues" voters. But most of the people up for grabs "in the middle" aren't really in the middle in any sense that we understand it. Instead, they vote their gut and are proud of it.

Besides, if you run a mushy middle candidacy, they're still going to run commercials calling you a crazy liberal who's going to make your son marry a dude and raise taxes to 100%. I see it happen over and over.


Unsurprisingly, it was a conservative nutjob who was allegedly sending white powder to prominent liberal figures.

Your Liberal Media

It's okay if the president lies to us!

How things change.

Radio Fun

I'll be on the Brian Lehrer show with my good friend Peter Beinart in a few.

Morning Thread


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Late Night

The Decemberists - O Valencia


This post by TPM Reader DK reminds me of the days when speculation about my identity ranged from Sidney Blumenthal to Some Gym Teacher. The latter was closer to the truth, but the former type of speculation was based on the prejudice that anyone with something to contribute to the discourse must be some sort of insider. Not so.

Fresh Thread


Making No Sense

Can I point out that what McCain is advocating makes no sense?

Here's McCain today:

We’re either going to lose this thing or win this thing within the next several months.

Here's McCain a couple weeks back:

Roughly, you need another 20,000 troops in Iraq, but that means expanding the Army and Marine Corps by as much as 100,000 people," the Arizona senator told reporters after a campaign event for Republicans in New Hampshire's North Country.

So, we need to increase the size of the Army and Marine Corps by 100,000 people. Then we can send 20,000 more troops to Iraq. And we're going to do all that in time to find the pony sometime in the next several months?


Operation Yellow Elephant

Military recruiters should find plenty of willing recruits at the Capitol and the House/Senate office buildings.

Teh Stupids


They were also sometimes poor judges of what will sell in the larger political marketplace; most of the 19 netroots-supported candidates listed on ActBlue, an online clearinghouse for donations to Democrats, lost on Tuesday.

For the millionth time betting on winners wasn't the point. The "obvious" winners would have plenty of backing from the big money people.

But, in any case, let's see how the powers that be did. Rahmbo's first Red to Blue list had 22 names on it.

Darcy Burner (Wash. 8th)*
Phyllis Busansky (Fla. 9th)
Francine Busby (Calif. 50th)
Joe Courtney (Conn. 2nd)*
John Cranley (Ohio 1st)
Jill Derby (Nev. 2nd)
Tammy Duckworth (Ill. 6th)
Brad Ellsworth (Ind. 8th)
Diane Farrell (Conn. 4th)
Steve Filson (Calif. 11th)**
Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y. 20th)
Tessa Hafen (Nev. 3rd)
Baron Hill (Ind. 9th)
Mary Jo Kilroy (Ohio 15th)*
Ron Klein (Fla. 22nd)
Ken Lucas (Ky. 4th)
Patricia Madrid (N.M. 1st)
Harry Mitchell (Ariz. 5th)
Chris Murphy (Conn. 5th)
Lois Murphy (Pa. 6th)
Heath Shuler (N.C. 11th)
Peter Welch (Vt. At-large)

Bolded are wins, non-bolded are losses
*race not yet resolved, listing reflects current known vote count.
**Was defeated in primary by Jerry McNerney, who went on to win.

So, the sentence which was not written but which could have been was:

They were also sometimes poor judges of what will sell in the larger political marketplace; most of the top 22 candidates supported by the DCCC, the party organization dedicated to winning House races, lost on Tuesday.

There were subsequently more races added to the Red to Blue list (I haven't gone through them all yet), but that was the first crop and most of them lost. So, we can conclude that Rahm and pals are "poor judges of what will sell in the larger political marketplace."

Not Going to Save Us

What John says.


How pathetic are you when major magazines are running stories about how you're the president of the United States and your daddy has to come fix your mess.


Dems to push for redeployment:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democrats, who won majorities in the U.S. Congress in last week's elections, said on Sunday they will push for a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq to begin in four to six months.

"The first order of business is to change the direction of Iraq policy," said Sen. Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat who is expected to be chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee in the new Congress.

Levin, on ABC's "This Week," said he hoped some Republicans would emerge to join Democrats and press the administration of President George W. Bush to tell the Iraqi government that U.S. presence was "not open-ended."

At which point McCain and his ventriloquist's dummy, Joe Lieberman, will whine that if only we'd sent MORE troops we would have found the pony. Of course, the president has had the option to send more troops forever and hasn't done so. In fact, there's little the Democrats are likely to do which would stop the president from sending more troops. So McCain/Lieberman will pretend the Dems thwarted the plan for victory, even though the president will be the one who won't let them find the pony in Iraq.

Lovely game they're playing. Lovely that they feel this is a game.

Critical Time

McCain says "we’re either going to lose this thing or win this thing within the next several months."

Several's a delightfully ambiguous term, but I figure "seven" is a reasonable enough estimate. So, one McCain = 7 months = 1.17 F.Us.


Glenn Greenwald gives a well-deserved smacking to the pantheon of wankers we are forced to deal with.

Good Times

Yes, it was certainly fun when liberal bloggers and ultimately Pelosi and Reid bucked the sensible liberals and the elite consensus to demolish Bush's Social Security reform.


Well, reading the tea leaves it's pretty clear what's going on. The Iraq Study Group which Democrats have decided is going to save them is going to recommend either sending in more troops (McCain/Lieberman position this morning) or beginning to bug out. Elite Consensus will tell us to double down one more time, send in another 30,000 troops or so, while condemning the Democrats as defeatists. There won't be enough Democrat support to use what little levers of power they have (not many) to force the administration's hand. So more American soldiers will have their lives disrupted and families torn apart, more of them will die, more Iraqis will die, so that soulless Joe "no one wants out of Iraq more than I do" Lieberman can prop up his feeling of self-importance.

God I hate these people.

The Last Honest Man

Did Joe Lieberman really just say he was an independent in the spirit of Harry Byrd? Harry Byrd the man who strongly opposed desegregation? Harry Byrd the man who condemned Brown v. Board of Education? Harry Byrd the author of the Southern Manifesto?

Oh Lordy...

Feingold Not Running

Put away your Russ '08 buttons.


Over there:

BAGHDAD, Iraq - A suicide bomber blew himself up outside a police recruiting center in Baghdad early Sunday, killing at least 33 people and wounding 56, police said.

Crowds of recruits were gathering outside the center in western Baghdad's Nissur Square when the bomber detonated explosives strapped to his body, police Lt. Maitham Abdul-Razaq said.

And Tim Russert will have Joe Lieberman and John McCain on to debate whether the war is the awesomest or just superawesome.

Rest of the bobbleheads here. As always, document the atrocities.