Saturday, February 10, 2007


Somebody get me ticky-tacky's fainting couch, stat.

Fresh Thread

Rock on.

Media Matters

From Jamison Foser.

Michael Gordon

The truth revealed.


To me, one of the biggest barriers to having any kind of honest discussion about religion generally and religion in politics specifically has been in the rise of ecumenical and interfaith alliances of all kinds. While these things were probably well-intentioned, they tend to first divide people into "faithful" and "faithless" camps, and work to obscure the wide differences in religious belief and practice among the "faithful." I can understand the desire to get along and work together where possible, but it seems to have, to a great degree, led to the obscuring ofthe differences which exist and turned religion - at least its representation in our public discourse - into a bland and undefinable thing. The substitution of largely meaningless and undefinable words like "faith" and "spirituality," which merely point to an undefined belief in something, for the more concrete "religion," which connotes a specific set of beliefs, traditions, and practices, has prevented an honest examination and understanding of what religion actually is, in its many forms, in this country.

I tend to try to have a "don't be an asshole needlessly" attitude when it comes to dealing with religious beliefs that no one is trying to impose on me, but there's no requirement for people to share that attitude. Beliefs cloaked in religion shouldn't be granted automatic immunity from scrutiny, and nor should the sometimes powerful institutions run by people, not angels or saints, around which the various religions are organized. While genuine bigotry exists against people of various faiths which is the equivalent to the kind of bigotry which exists against gays or African-Americans (involving unfair symbols or stereotyping rooted in historic oppression, assigning unshared beliefs to an entire group, etc...), mocking or having contempt for actual religious beliefs isn't by any reasonable definition "bigotry." It's simply heated disagreement, and as with disagreements about politics, or sports, or whatever, sometimes people who disagree with each other use mockery and insults in their discourse. Religious people may think that their beliefs about religion are on a different level than these things, but, you know, I don't really agree with that.

And that's the basic issue. We disagree about things. We don't all share a belief in God, or the supernatural, or the spiritual plane, or whatever. Those who believe in these things don't agree on the details. There are a tremendous variety of belief systems in this country and across the world. The tendency to divide people into "faith" and "non-faith" has, as I wrote, obscured these differences, but the fact is that disagreement within "communities of faith" is no different than disagreement between religious and non-religious people. While I think there are those who genuinely believe in a "many paths to God" kind of worldview (and I have no opinion on whether that's theologically sound within the Christian or any other tradition), plenty of people don't actually share that worldview. They believe "other" beliefs are wacky, or stupid, or nuts, or contemptible, or immoral, or likely to lead to eternal damnation, etc.

This is also a reasonable time to differentiate between offensive and "offensive." If something is offensive to you then you have a genuine emotional reaction. If something is "offensive" then you imagine that maybe others have taken offense, or you find it offensive in some abstract sense which hasn't actually caused you any psychic distress. If you find something "offensive," as opposed to actually being offended, then you're probably just seizing on something which you perceive can be used to further whatever agenda you already had.

Obama's Announcement Speech

Didn't catch every word, but it sounded pretty good.

More on Allen

From he who must be destroyed, Matt Stoller.

Wanker of the Day

Mike Allen.

More from the Editors

Game On


Meanwhile, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pennsylvania, chairman of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, said on Thursday that he's planning hearings this spring on executive and congressional travel on military aircraft.

Murtha said he's requested from the Defense Department records on travel and logistics from the past two years. He asked the Defense Department to hand those over within a month.

eat it, punks.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Late Night

Rock on.

More Like This

Fresh Thread


Just Kill Me

Meet the Press roundtable on Sunday:
The roundtable includes Gwen Ifill, Roger Simon, David Broder, and Howard Kurtz.

This Could Happen To You

I haven't yet figured out how much I liked the recent movie The Queen. It was enjoyable enough, at least. One scene which seems relevant now is when QEII says to the Poodle that he helped her simply because he saw the headlines, saw what was happening to her, and realized it could happen to him, too. Whether any of that matches the actual reality I do not know, but it strikes me that it's a lesson that Democratic candidates, or at least the people who run their campaigns, are unable to learn. Any Democratic candidate with a chance will, either during the primary or the general, have a a Donohue problem unless they have a long term strategy of dealing with these things. He delights in stirring up controversy and getting people fired. It's his job.

The List!

Reader rg writes in:

By technorati rank, here's the obvious breakdown, in my view. The A-list is top 200, B-list top 2000, and C-list everybody else.

BTW, the Liberal Avenger ( at 13,653 would fit nicely into your C-list. If not, no big whoop.

There are three blogs you link to that for some reason I can't find a technorati ranking for them - Sadly, No, Unqualified Offerings, and The Big Picture. I'm looking into that. In the meantime here's the list as it exists now:


Dailykos (14)
ThinkProgress (20)
Crooks and Liars (22)
TalkingPointsMemo (77)
Washington Monthly (117)
Unclaimed Territory (147)
MyDD (152)


Firedoglake (247)
Pandagon (329)
Hullabaloo (446)
Feministing (563)
TalkLeft (574)
Crooked Timber (905)
Shakespeare's Sister (925)
General J.C. Christian (963)
Tapped (1054)
Matthew Yglesias (1178)
Tom Tomorrow (1284)
Feministe (1326)
Majikthise (1428)
Orcinus (1530)
Steve gilliard (1539)


TBogg (2686)
Poor Man (2774)
Booman Tribune (2891)
corrente (3325)
Oliver Willis (3762)
Attaturk (4669)
Echidne (5092)
Suburban Guerilla (5619)
The Sideshow (6528)
Altercation (8959)
alicublog (10508)
All Spin Zone (10938)
Pacific Views (12255)
Roger Ailes (15928)
upyernoz (16428)
AmericaBlog (18571)
Will Bunch (26548)
Dependable Renegade (29690)
Whiskey Fire (30531)
Adventus (55158)
She Flies... (59274)

Hope this is helpful.

Some other ranking system would come up with very different results (technorati's is link-based not traffic based). Still, the point is, contrary to the numerous people who have claimed it recently my current blogroll doesn't only have "A-listers." And, no, my blogroll isn't finished growing either.

A Little Help

Could someone please categorize the blogs on my blogroll as "a-list," "b-list," and "c-list" please?

There's Always A First Time

Perhaps someone in the media can explain why the bigot Donohue has, by his claim, refused an apology for the very first time.

The Catholic League has never failed to accept the apology of anyone who has offended us. And this includes recidivists, the repeat offenders. When asked by reporters why we do so, I simply say "we have no other choice." In other words, because Catholicism puts a premium on forgiveness, we must accept any apology that appears to be sincere. It's too bad the rest of the nation isn't more Catholic.

Wanker of the Day

Howie Kurtz.

They Write Letters

Frances Kissling writes to the New York Times.


Things Donohue cares about.

...and, people, the "Liars for Christ" ad above is just my sly commentary on the crazy standards of our public discourse.

Cull Them All

Mark Steyn exhibits glennocidal tendencies.

Bow Tie

Tucker Carlson attacks Obama's religion.



If you're a journalist, and a very senior White House official calls you up on the phone, what do you do? Do you try to get the official to address issues of urgent concern so that you can then relate that information to the public?

Not if you're NBC Washington bureau chief Tim Russert.

When then-vice presidential chief of staff Scooter Libby called Russert on July 10, 2003, to complain that his name was being unfairly bandied about by MSNBC host Chris Matthews, Russert apparently asked him nothing.

And get this: According to Russert's testimony yesterday at Libby's trial, when any senior government official calls him, they are presumptively off the record.

That's not reporting, that's enabling.

That's how you treat your friends when you're having an innocent chat, not the people you're supposed to be holding accountable.

Indeed. I'll be generous and say that as much as we're all horrified by the generally "we're all friends" attitude of the media and the rest of official Washington, I'll acknowledge that some of this is inevitable and I don't think journalists should always be playing "gotcha." But we're not talking about assuming stuff is off the record at social events, or something, we're talking about assuming stuff is off the record, by default, even when it's clear that Russert is in his role as a journalist.

Journalism ceases to be about bringing truth to the public and becomes official court stenography. Russert only reports what people agree to let him report.

More than that, even when reality contradicts what they tell him he doesn't feel that this unburdens him of any confidentiality obligations.

By essentially running administration press releases through a guy like Russert, they launders the information and give it the stamp of Truth from a news guy that people inexplicably trust.

Something is broken.

All Anna All The Time

Think Progress surveys the horror.

Will Bunch reminds us of another sudden tragic death.

At least Jack Cafferty makes a funny.

JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Is Anna Nicole Smith still dead, Wolf?

BLITZER: Yes, we're going to -- updating our viewers coming up shortly on...

CAFFERTY: I can't wait for that.

BLITZER: ... the mysterious circumstances surrounding that, Jack. Thank you.


What we've done.

Aside from the obvious moral evil which led us to this place, it's also important to remember the thinking which brought us there. The people "running" this war were never capable of distinguishing between the vision of the war they were selling to the country for propaganda purposes and the reality of what was happening. Even if torturing people to get "intelligence" was something which actually worked, the premise that such "intelligence" would actually help to solve the situation was based on the fantasy vision of what that problem was. They really believed that there were some evil masterminds with evil lairs - first former Baathists and then various "foreign fighters" - and if only they could find them and kill them then the problems would go away. There was an "enemy" which could somehow be vanquished, and once we did that the ponies would arrive.

This was a cartoon version of the war they tried to sell to the American public, but it was also what was driving their truly barbaric behavior.


Bill Donohue:

I'm going to try to do my job to intimidate the Senate Judiciary Committee so they do their job more carefully.

Does Bill Donohue Speak For You?

I'm not Catholic or Christian, so he doesn't speak for me. But he is the person our wonderful media has designated the spokesmen for American Catholicism. If you're Catholic, he does, in fact, speak for you. If that's an unhappy state of affairs, it's time to start thinking about what to do about it.

...ditto stoller. And here's what Donohue thinks of the "religious left," where he tries to collect scalps from as well.

DONOHUE: Well, Mara Vanderslice in 2004 worked for the Kerry-Edwards campaign. I found out about her background and they had to silence her. Then I got Brenda Bartella Peterson to quit or be fired because of what -- because of her background. What I'm saying is this: These people are somewhat clueless. They're somewhat naïve.
They need to find out who's working for them. You know, you've got to vet these people. You've gotto have a gatekeeper, and [inaudible] they don't have one.


Bill Donohue:

The gay community has yet to apologize to straight people for all the damage that they have done.

Morning Thread



Rock on.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

"Stop chewing on Jesus, you ghoulish fucks."

When will Bill Donohue condemn Michelle Malkin and her hire Allahpundit?

...oh, the hypocrisy. What will we tell the children.

Lies and the Lying Liars

Even self-described Christians lie. I'm shocked.

Thresh Fred

Thopen Read.

Evening Thread



Anna Nicole Smith is dead.

Now this is a real news outlet.


Bill Donohue:

Just imagine if a white guy is performing oral sex on a statue of Martin Luther King with an erection. Do you need to see it to know it's ugly.

3... 2... 1...

Predictably, Donohue the anti-Semite goes straight for the anti-Semitism.

John Edwards has apparently decided that there is more to be gained by aligning himself with the cultural left than by standing on principle and firing the Catholic bashers on his payroll. Had anyone on his staff used the 'N-word,' he or she would have been fired immediately. But his goal is to loot the pockets of the Soros/Hollywood gang, and they—like him—aren't offended by anti-Catholicism. Indeed, they thrive on it.


Bush bounces all the way to 32 in Harris poll.

we're in ur blog tryin' to steal yer stuff


Afternoon Thread


They Write Press Releases

The Edwards campaign releases a statement.

Matalin Calls Back Imus

An hour or so later, Matalin called back Imus to, uh, clarify.

You can't twist our words or mischaracterize our conversation. You said to Kelly just now that I essentially deny this. So let me be clear, crystal clear.

If Scooter wrote it down, then I said it.

I don't remember saying it. I was trying to explain to you what it could have meant. What it does not mean is that Tim literally hates Chris.

But if Scooter wrote it down, then I said it.

So don't say I deny it, or don't characterize it in any way.

If Scooter wrote it down, then I said it.


If he wrote it down like that, whether or not I remember saying it it's irrelevant. If he said that then I said that, and it sounds like something I would say. In the same way I would say Wilson is a snake or anything else.


I want you to understand the gravity of what you’re doing here. In 15 years I have never called you back, when you’re jerking my chain 24-7. I’ve never done this. It’s not about my chain. It’s about clarifying and disallowing you to twist my words. If Scooter wrote it down, then I said it. I’m not contradicting Scooter—Is that clear? Are looking at me? Are you listening to me? Ok.

Any guess on what her talking point was? Discuss.

Jonah is So Cute

Jonah Goldberg today:

Simply as a writer, when I see the nasty stuff now, on both the left and the right, my first reaction is to think how easy — and therefore uninteresting — it is.

Jonah Goldberg-as-soon-as-he-gets-around-to-finishing-it:

Who To Root For?

Russert's being pretty slippery for someone who's supposed to be a Superhuman Truthteller.

...Jane writes in, as their site is focused on the liveblogging:

Russert is now saying that he did not disclose the Eckenrode FBI conversation because it was confidential. Yet in the letter from Fitzgerald limiting Russert's testimony under oath, it says:

"It is the understanding that while the Office of special Counsel requests that Mr. Russert keep his testimony confidential. Mr. Russert will have the same rights or disclose publicly what took place in the Deposition as he would if he had testified in the grand jury."

I can actually see why Eckenrode might not have wanted Russert to talk openly at the time so that they could get Libby on the hook, but once Libby was indicted Russert had absolutely no reason not to report on the Eckenrode conversation. To claim that it was a "confidential conversation" because Eckenrode was giving HIM information is incredibly dishonest. What, Eckenrode is now a source?

Further, Russert now says he didn't want to appear before the grand jury because he didn't want Fitzgerald to go on a fishing expedition, but Russert is admitting that he knew (because he signed an afidavit) that Fitzgerald had agreed to limit his questioning to the July 10, 2003 conversation. Russert says it would have a "chilling effect" on his ability to report if his sources think he would compromise them in such a fashion, but Fitzgerald admitted he did not want to ask about any of Russert's sources.

From Russert's affidavit to Judge Hogan (related to the Motion to Quash):

I understand, on information and belief, that the Special Procecutor is investigating the leak that disclosed to journalists, and then to the public, that Valerie Plame, the wife of former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, worked for the CIA. I further understand that, through his subpoena to me, the Special Prosecutor seeks to compel me to testify that I communicated with a special Executive Branch official on or about July 10, 2003, and to disclose the contents of any such communications. I cannot provide such testimony without violating the understanding that I share with my sources that our communications, including the fact that we have communicated at all, will be held i confidence. As a result, I can neither confirm that I had any substantive communications with the public official at issue during the relevant time period nor can I describe the nature or any discussions that we may have had. I can, however, state unequivocally that I was not the recipient of a leak of Ms. Plame's identity or her status as a CIA operative.

He is sweating and swinging.

Happy Jonah Goldberg Day!

Poor Jonah, always wrong.

More Thread

It's never too early to start rockin'.

More Imus and Matalin


Matalin: We were friends for a really really long time.

Imus: Why do you not like him now:

Matalin: This is not about him or me or liking or disliking. I do not like anyone - I'm being redundant here - who purports to be a purveyor of truth and serving the public by serving the truth out there who flagrantly is making up stuff. To my mind an observation a nightly flagrant bias, an untruthtelling, about the circumstances surrounding this and other things having to do with the Vice President. And I did call his producers to no avail. Chris is to his producers as you are to the world, but you're in a different position.

So it's not what I think about him. I think he's an incredible human being who has overcome a lot. I love his wife and when his show was first on it was must see TV. And now I can't trust... if I know for a fact that everything he's saying about things in which I'm involved are wrong then I can't trust anything else that he says.

Imus Talks to Matalin

A few minutes ago. Imus actually asks a question:

Imus: Did you tell Scooter Libby to call Tim Russert because he hates Chris Matthews?

Matalin: I think I said "Tim hates me." Or "Tim hates..." I hate Matthews. Here's, no let me take you inside the room. When I was at the White House...

Imus: Do you know what you said?

Matalin: I know exactly what I meant then.

Imus: Well what did you say?

Matalin: I don't know why i would have said that but I would have said this. All I know is this: the notes that the prosecutor put up of... a characterization of a conversation .. the prosecutor in that instance and the rest of it mischaracterized what was in my mind. here's what was in my mind. So, here's what I know what was in my mind and here's how it works and here's how I did my job and how all these jobs have to be done.

Other than you, and maybe this has happened to you, when anyone else who purports to be an objective analyst goes on the air and bashes your principle as they're called, and in this case it was the vice president, then you call the bureau chief and you complain. In the case of Chris who purported to be on a nightly basis an objective analyst who would get on there and say things which we knew not to be true, as in Cheney saw this report. The Cheney we knew -Cheney didn't know Wilson, Cheney never sent Wilson, Cheney never saw the report, and the report that did exist corroborated the agency's belief that there was some effort by Saddam to procure yellowcake.

So everything he was saying was wrong. And when that is the case then it is our job - the press guy's job - to call up and complain first to the producers of the show. Second, when there's no response forthcoming to the bureau chief. And, finally, in the case of Chris unfortunately - he used to be a friend of mine - to the New York bosses.

So I wasn't working there at the time and I said "you should call." And I don't remember saying, and I don't know that I would ever say that, because I don't know that Tim hates Chris. I think he likes Chris very much. I think he likes everybody over there. But I don't think he likes - and nor does any bureau chief ever like - when they have to take these complaint calls when their people are on the air saying these fallacious things.

a bit more in a bit


I don't always agree with Clemons, but he usually isn't full of shit like this.

Late Night

Rock on.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Iron Triangle


We have here a pretty nice illustration of the iron triangle of right-wing sludge slopping. Queued up by the Moonie press, fed by congressional Republicans and orchestrated by Bush administration officials and then spread far and wide by the gelded mainstream press.

The sad thing is that this nothing new, but most people on our side - the politicians and their people especially - are unable to comprehend how this works. Peter Daou has explained it repeatedly.

More Thread

Rock on.

If You Can Make It There...

There's much which could be said about Garance's post, but I think I'll highlight what commenter Mark writes:

What we should be discussing is the far more interesting and important fact that GFR, a professional journalist, easily admits to: if you wish to rise as a political journalist, you must watch what you say.

The idea that journalists regularly suppress information and opinion that displeases their superiors is something usually voiced only by outsider cynics. It's both refreshing and enlightening then to see this fact established by a bona-fide member of the trade, who presumably practices what she preaches.

...adding, Garance responds:

Actually, I meant politics, as practiced by people who run campaigns and hold elective office. Political journalism is -- or at least used to be -- different.

I'm not really quite sure who qualifies as "people who run campaigns," but over the past few years I've had several people tell me that it's part of the accepted rulebook that low level congressional and campaign staffers aren't subject to the same kind of scrutiny - either by journalists or political operatives - that high level people and actual politicians are. There is a recognition, or was, that barring egregious criminal conduct or similar young people in relatively unimportant positions aren't really "newsmakers" and therefore can't really make news. Obviously blogging and the internet generally has made a mess of what were traditionally understood public and private spaces, but I'm still not sure why anyone working on a campaign is subject to the type of scrutiny which they were previously largely immune from.

Maybe political operatives are going to try to create controversy however they can - again, in the pre-blog days I gather they didn't - but that doesn't mean that Wolf Blitzer and the NYT have to bless their efforts.


They really run any horseshit the rightwingers come up with. I was being a bit optimistic lately, but now I realize the horeshit machine was just in for repairs post-election. It's back, and Wolf Blitzer loves what it serves up.

More Thread



Bill Donohue:

Catholic League president Bill Donohue said lesbians were "something I'd expect to see in an asylum, frankly" when he spoke to Justice Sunday, a gathering of far-right evangelical Christian activists.

There's literally nothing conservatives can say which will get them off the teevee.

Fresh Thread

Rock on.


Russert (not necessarily precise transcript):

My personal policy is always off the record when talking to government officials unless specified.

Bowels Clench

Perhaps Terry Moran could spend some time looking at the collected works of St. McCain's blogger hire.

That Explains A Lot

I generally have a good sense of direction, and handle maps well, but I first need to be anchored, knowing which way is North, etc. Once I establish that I can generally keep track of it pretty well.

Still, the DC taxi maps always mystified me, and I eventually stopped bothering to try to figure out why. Now I know why - up on the maps is not North.

Don't Wanna Go

An official explains why State Department personnel don't want to go to Iraq.

And, I retract my earlier jokey suggestion that such people would be able to spend most their time in the Green Zone. Informed people have told me otherwise.

Potty Mouth Chris


Wanker of the Day

Terry "brother Rick's sock puppet" Moran.

Uh, Edwards Campaign?

I'd suggest not taking campaign advice from the racist Malkin and bigot and professional outrage machine Bill Donohue.

Here's what Bill Donohue wrote to Mark Foley after Foley said he'd been molested by a priest:

[W]hy didn't you just smack the clergyman in the face? After all, most 15-year-old teenage boys wouldn't allow themselves to be molested. So why did you?

Not that it should even make a difference, but Foley claimed it began when he was 13.

Any campaign which doesn't know how to deal with these people should just shut itself down.

I Agree With Mickey And Sully

Truly a dark day.

Spies Like Vince

Innocent until proven guilty, of course, but removing Vince Fumo from our local political scene would be a blessing to the city and sate.

It reads like pulp fiction: a powerful political boss spying on his enemies, ex-lovers and even his own family.

And you paid for it.

From his state Senate discretionary fund, Vincent J. Fumo paid a private investigator more than $215,000 to dig up dirt on Ed Rendell, then a candidate for governor; union leader John Dougherty; and an ex-wife and former girlfriends, the federal government alleges.

The tale of Fumo's alleged five-year spying operation is one of the most surprising portions in the 267-page indictment handed up yesterday by a grand jury.

"Taxpayers are paying for a state senator to hire a former police inspector to follow around ex-girlfriends," said U.S. Attorney Patrick L. Meehan. "To me, that's scary."

Fumo never addressed the spying allegations when he rose on the Senate floor Monday to declare his innocence.

Morning Thread


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Free Advice

Zack Exley has some advice for Obama, which with obvious variations could apply to any generic candidate.

Anyway, I hope all candidates get smarter about using the internet, not because I think it's the only medium that matters, but because it has the potential to make politics and campaigns better.

Operation Yellow Elephant

Well, I think the grand total of recruits from Operation Yellow Elephant has been 0. Oh well. None of them will join the military, but fortunately there are other opportunities for them to "Win" The Most Important War Evah. The State Department needs civilian employees to go to Iraq.

WASHINGTON, Feb. 6 — Senior military officers, including members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have told President Bush and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates that the new Iraq strategy could fail unless more civilian agencies step forward quickly to carry out plans for reconstruction and political development.

The complaints reflect fresh tensions between the Pentagon and the State Department over personnel demands that have fallen most heavily on the military. But they also draw on a deeper reservoir of concerns among officers who have warned that a military buildup alone cannot solve Iraq’s problems, and who now fear that the military will bear a disproportionate burden if Mr. Bush’s strategy falls short.

Among particular complaints, the officers cited a request from the office of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice that military personnel temporarily fill more than one-third of 350 new State Department jobs in Iraq that are to be created under the new strategy.

No boot camp, and I imagine you have a pretty good chance of spending much of your time in the Green Zone.

Fresh Thread



I assume Kevin's question is half rhetorical, but nonetheless an answer would be nice. Lots of prominent pundits were apparently against the war but didn't bother to share that with the rest of us. Joe Klein's got a prominent spot in a major magazine, and he's not such a bad writer when he actually has something to say. A nice essay on why someone who was opposed to the war in private failed to do so in public might teach us rabble something.

How about it, Joe? Not too late to show a bit of courage. Baby steps.

Fresh Thread

Rock on.

Shorter Right Wing

The American Left is in league with the islamofascists to destroy the American Left.

or something. They don't even try to make sense anymore.

Changing Expectations

As I always try to do when this subject comes up, let me remind people that a few years ago the idea that you could put up a personal web page and spout off about politics and people would actually come and read it on a daily basis was a pretty absurd one. You could still impress a reporter by telling them you'd gotten 20,000 hits - not in one day, but over the life of your website.

Sure, maintaining a site which manages to keep 50,000+ visits on a sutained basis takes work, innovation, or group/community, but back in the dark ages of the blogosphere no one expected that would be a realistic goal. I certainly understand that people want to attract a greater readership to their sites, but on the other hand some of those "little bloggers" actually have pretty damn impressive readership. I mean, 2000 strangers come back to your site day after day? That's pretty impressive.

More Klein

Arianna responds to Joe.

Afternoon Open Thread

Rock on.

They Write Press Releases

Obama, Thompson and Murphy Introduce Plan to De-Escalate and End the War in Iraq

Senator Barack Obama Along With Congressmen Mike Thompson and Patrick Murphy Introduced Legislation That Stops President Bush's Escalation and Sets a Timeline for Redeployment From Iraq

(Washington, D.C.) - Today, Senator Barack Obama (D-IL), Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-PA) called for a stop to President Bush's escalation in Iraq and for an end to the war. At a press conference in the U.S. Capitol, Senator Obama and Reps. Thompson and Murphy discussed the Iraq War De-Escalation Act of 2007 - legislation they introduced in the Senate and the House which puts forward a plan to stop the recent escalation in forces and a plan to redeploy American troops from Iraq starting May 1, 2007. Senator Obama introduced the bill in the Senate and Reps. Thompson and Murphy introduced the companion legislation in the House of Representatives. Congressman Thompson is a Vietnam Veteran and a former U.S. Army staff sergeant/platoon leader with the 173rd Airborne Brigade and Congressman Murphy is a former U.S. Army Captain and Iraq war veteran.

"Our troops have preformed brilliantly in Iraq, but no amount of American soldiers can solve the political differences at the heart of somebody else's civil war," Senator Obama said. "That's why our plan not only stops the escalation of this war, but begins a phased redeployment that can pressure the Iraqis to finally reach a political settlement and brings all U.S. combat troops home by March of next year."

"Our troops have done an amazing job, but success in Iraq will only be achieved by the Iraqis themselves," said Congressman Mike Thompson. "Sending more troops into the heart of Iraq's civil war will only put more American lives at risk. This legislation provides a practical plan for ending the war as safely and quickly as possible."

"As someone who served in Baghdad with the 82nd Airborne, I can tell you that what's needed in Iraq is a surge in diplomacy, not an escalation of force. This legislation seeks a much-needed political solution and puts forward a tough and sensible plan to end the war," said Congressman Patrick Murphy. "We shouldn't be sending American men and women to referee a civil war. Our troops have done their job, now it's time to start bringing them home and to force more Iraqis to come off the sidelines and fight for their country."

The binding legislation ends President Bush's escalation by capping the number of troops at January 10, 2007 levels, puts forward specific benchmarks for success in Iraq and establishes a timeline to redeploy our troops. Redeployment, according to the bill, would begin no later than May 1, 2007, with the goal of all combat brigades redeployed by March 31, 2008 - a date consistent with the recommendations of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group. Troops would be sent either home to their families in the U.S., to Afghanistan where more troops are needed to fight the war on terror or would remain in the region to train Iraqis, protect against more violence and perform counterterrorist activities. The Iraq War De-Escalation Act will refocus the efforts of American armed forces on Afghanistan and the hunt for Osama bin Laden and urges the president to send, within 60 days, a Special Envoy to Iraq to begin the important work of diplomacy with key nations in the region.

In addition, if the Iraqi government meets certain political, diplomatic and reconstruction benchmarks outlined by the Administration, the plan allows for the temporary suspension (for no more than 90 days) of troops redeployments, however only with congressional approval.

Thompson is a Vietnam veteran who served in combat with the U.S. Army as a staff sergeant/platoon leader with the 173rd Airborne Brigade where he was wounded and received a Purple Heart.

Prior to being elected to Congress, Patrick Murphy served as a Captain in the U.S. Army and was deployed to Bosnia and to Iraq with the 82nd Airborne where he was awarded the Bronze Star. He is the first and only Iraq war veteran to serve in Congress. He is a former West Point professor and criminal prosecutor.

Summary of the Iraq War De-escalation Act of 2007 (HR 787

Requires congressional approval for sending any additional troops to Iraq beyond the number in Iraq on January 10, 2007.

Commences redeployment of US troops no later than May 1, 2007 with all combat brigades out by March 31, 2008.

Allows for a limited number of US troops to remain as basic force protection, to engage in counter-terrorism, and to continue the training of Iraqi security forces.

If the Iraqis are successful in meeting the 13 benchmarks for progress laid out by the Administration, the plan allows for the temporary suspension of this redeployment (for no more than 90 days), subject to the agreement of Congress. The President must provide Congress with a full explanation of why he is temporarily suspending redeployment.

Requires the President to submit quarterly reports to Congress describing and assessing the Iraqi government's progress in meeting benchmarks and the redeployment goals.

Conditions future economic assistance to Iraq on significant progress toward achievement of benchmarks. Allows exceptions for humanitarian, security, and job-creation assistance.

Requires Iraq to fulfill its commitment to spend not less than $10 billion for reconstruction, job creation, and economic development without regard for the ethnic or sectarian make-up of Iraqi regions.

Recommends the President appoint a Special Envoy for Iraq to carry out this diplomacy within 60 days. Mandates that the President submit a plan to prevent the war in Iraq from becoming a wider regional conflict.

And, with that, it's time to start rewarding good behavior. We helped Patrick Murphy get into office. He ran as an anti-war candidate despite receiving much contrary advice. And he's doing what he can, so if you've got a few extra nickels consider contributing to his re-election fund. I'll continue to add other freshman to the incumbent list going forward.


In this edition, Joe Klein asserts that his assertion of support for the war was a one time "moment of stupid weakness on the brink of war."

Well, how about this appearance on Hardball?

Mr. KLEIN: Yeah.

MATTHEWS: Do you think the president and his people still want to try to avoid a war, or are they using this weapons inspection program as a pretext to go in there?

Mr. KLEIN: I--I think--I--in all likelihood we're going to go to war with Iraq, but I think we're already...

MATTHEWS: No matter what Iraq does?

Mr. KLEIN: Well--but--but we're in--but we're in a war. And--and this has to be seen in the context of the larger conflict with--with radical Islam. I mean, we're at the beginning, I fear, of a very long religious war.

Ms. VANDEN HEUVEL: But--but a war with Iraq is a distraction from the fight against terrorism. The consequences of destabilization in the region undermining the real fight. The anti-Americanism it's going to breed

Mr. KLEIN: Not if it's going to be right.

Mr. CARLSON: Well...

Ms. VANDEN HEUVEL: What is it doing right...

Mr. KLEIN: Not--not if it's done right.

Ms. VANDEN HEUVEL: Re--regime--but the--the whole preemptive--but...

Mr. KLEIN: This guy has some really terrible stuff and you've got to get rid of it.

So he was against the war even though "This guy has some really terrible stuff and you've got to get rid of it."

Maybe we were going to zap it out of there with a Star Trek transporter?

Stop It

Clinton was in DC on 9/11. And, yes, the Pentagon was hit as well but that has little to do with the Senator from New York, as opposed to being from elsewhere.

Iraq has nothing to do with 9/11, never has, never will. It's historically inaccurate and, frankly, racist to suggest otherwise. And, no, the senator from New York who was in DC that day doesn't have any special insight or perspective on the subject.


Bush still bouncing all the way to 32%.

What Are They For?

I'm sure most readers know why I highlight the absurdity that is Joe Klein on a regular basis, but maybe I should explain. The institution of Elite Punditry is premised on the notion that there are smart people with good judgment who have the unique ability to distill the complexity of the world, and nuance which is potentially not present in straight news stories, into an understandable narrative. Their role isn't simply to opine, but to provide guidance and analysis - tempered by that supposed good judgment - for people who presumably have less time than they do to sort through the all of the news of the day. And, at times, especially when they go on the teevee on roundtable or other situations when there are a variety of viewpoints being expressed, they are there to represent, if not parrot, an ideological position. So, when Shields and Brooks go on the Newshour every Friday their role is, in part, to represent the liberal and conservative viewpoints at least in broad terms.

Klein has failed on all of these counts. On Iraq, he failed to have, or at least express, good judgment. On the teevee where he plays "the liberal," he not only didn't take the anti-war position, he actually took the pro-war position.

Even worse than that, he wants to absolve himself of any responsibility, undermining the entire premise of Elite Punditry - That Words Mean Things and They Matter. If Joe Klein thinks there should be no accountability for the positions held by Elite Pundits, that their influence is unimportant and irrelevant, then it isn't clear what exactly they're for. His judgment sucks and that doesn't matter, Klein seems to think. He had a chance to take a stand when it mattered, and he didn't, and that doesn't matter, Klein seems to think.

Fine. So why the hell should anyone listen to him?

1, 2, 3, What Are We...

From CNN:

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A man sentenced to death in Kuwait for the 1983 bombings of the U.S. and French embassies now sits in Iraq's parliament as a member of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's ruling coalition, according to U.S. military intelligence.

Jamal Jafaar Mohammed's seat in parliament gives him immunity from prosecution. Washington says he supports Shiite insurgents and acts as an Iranian agent in Iraq.

U.S. military intelligence in Iraq has approached al-Maliki's government with the allegations against Jamal Jafaar Mohammed, whom it says assists Iranian special forces in Iraq as "a conduit for weapons and political influence."

Mark Your Calendars

CNN just informed us that Bush was giving a speech, and that if we wanted to watch it we could go to their Pipeline site to do so.

I can't claim it's the first time, but it's the first time I've noticed that they didn't carry a Bush speech live.

I never had a problem with them carrying speeches live. I think 24 hour news channels should show more unfiltered news like that. The problem has been, for years, their unwillingness to ever grant the same access to anyone with a D after their name.


In this edition, Joe Klein tries to equate "expressing skepticism" with opposition.

Um, ew?


Wanker of the Day

David Broder.

I hate these people.

Morning Thread


Monday, February 05, 2007

Shorter Joe Lieberman

If Ted Kennedy tries to turn off this awesome war movie I'm gonna be pissed!

More Thread



Our Lady of the Internment Camps makes Pam Atlas look stable and well-adjusted.

Happy Colin Powell Day

Mary McGrory:

I don't know how the United Nations felt about Colin Powell's "J'accuse" speech against Saddam Hussein. I can only say that he persuaded me, and I was as tough as France to convince.

Their Baby

Well, Republicans+Lieberman-Coleman-Collins voted to support Bush's war.

It's all theirs.

More Thread


Happy Colin Powell Day

Has it really been 4 years already? Time flies.

Let's remember. William Safire:

It isn't the crime that gets you it's the cover-up.

Defenders of Saddam Hussein demanded absolute smoking-gun proof of illegal Iraqi possession of terror weaponry. Contrary to U.N. Resolution 1441, which demanded active Iraqi cooperation in demonstrating disarmament, Saddam's protectors place the burden of proof on the U.S.

To their surprise, Colin Powell made the case, with a half-dozen smoking guns, of a huge Iraqi cover-up. In criminal law, that obstruction of justice would be called hiding incriminating evidence, spying on law enforcement officials and intimidating witnesses.

Prosecutor Powell laid out on tape and in photographs hard evidence that would convince any jury. A colonel is overheard telling his superior: "We have this modified vehicle. What do we say if one of them sees it?" The general, amazed at the stupidity of failing to remove equipment purchased from a known weapons-systems company, replies: "You don't have one of those, do you?" The panicked colonel, to reassure his boss, blurts, "We evacuated everything." Concealment of evidence. Cover-up.

Another tape from a different obstructor of inspectors: "We sent you a message yesterday to clean out all of the areas. . . . Make sure there is nothing there. . . . After you have carried out what is contained in this message, destroy the message. . . ." Destruction of evidence. Cover-up.

And then, contrary to all expectations, there was an "Adlai Stevenson moment": The U.S. secretary of state displayed to the world aerial photographs showing trucks next to a bunker storing what signs say are chemical munitions. Behind the truck is what he called "a signature item: It's a decontamination vehicle in case something goes wrong."

Then he showed a photograph of the same area just as U.N. inspectors are arriving. Gone were the trucks and the telltale decontaminators. The area had been sanitized for inspection, not only showing cover-up but also demonstrating that the U.N. team has been penetrated by Iraqi wiretaps and bugs.

Richard Cohen:

The evidence he presented to the United Nations -- some of it circumstantial, some of it absolutely bone-chilling in its detail -- had to prove to anyone that Iraq not only hasn't accounted for its weapons of mass destruction but without a doubt still retains them. Only a fool -- or possibly a Frenchman -- could conclude otherwise.

George Will:

In estimating the impact of Colin Powell's U.N. presentation on persons who believe that there is no justification for a military response to Iraq's behavior, remember the human capacity for willful suspension of disbelief. Remember this: People determined to believe that a vast conspiracy assassinated President Kennedy believe that the absence of evidence of the conspiracy proves the vastness and cleverness of the conspiracy.

People committed to a particular conclusion will get to it and will stay there. So the facts that Powell deployed, and the pattern they form, will not persuade people determined to be unpersuaded. But Powell's presentation, its power enhanced by his avoidance of histrionics, will change all minds open to evidence.

Thus it will justify disregarding the presumptively close-minded people who persist in denying . . . what? What are people denying who still deny the need for force? That Iraq has weapons of mass destruction? Or that Iraq is resisting the inspections? No, they are denying only that force is needed. They say an enhanced presence of inspectors will paralyze Iraq's weapons programs.

Jim Hoagland:

To continue to say that the Bush administration has not made its case, you must now believe that Colin Powell lied in the most serious statement he will ever make, or was taken in by manufactured evidence. I don't believe that. Today, neither should you.

Washington Post editorial board:

AFTER SECRETARY OF STATE Colin L. Powell's presentation to the United Nations Security Council yesterday, it is hard to imagine how anyone could doubt that Iraq possesses weapons of mass destruction. Mr. Powell left no room to argue seriously that Iraq has accepted the Security Council's offer of a "final opportunity" to disarm. And he offered a powerful new case that Saddam Hussein's regime is cooperating with a branch of the al Qaeda organization that is trying to acquire chemical weapons and stage attacks in Europe. Mr. Powell's evidence, including satellite photographs, audio recordings and reports from detainees and other informants, was overwhelming. Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., the senior Democrat on the Foreign Relations Committee, called it "powerful and irrefutable." Revealing those tapes and photographs had a cost, as Iraq will surely take countermeasures. But the decision to make so much evidence public will prove invaluable if it sways public opinion here and abroad. At a minimum, it will stand as a worthy last effort to engage the United Nations in facing a threat that the United States could, if necessary, address alone or with an ad-hoc coalition.


Powell's Dud.


Well, Rudy's going to run.


In this edition, Joe Klein demonstrates that he thinks the meaning of the word "consistent" is precisely the opposite of its actual meaning.


The resemblance is uncanny.

Not Actually Surprising

I don't know why it's surprising that a poll shows that Hillary would destroy Rudy in New York. Unlike in much of the rest of the country, New Yorkers actually know something about the guy, and more than that New Yorkers like Hillary quite a bit.


The Bush administration has declared it that it expects all troops to be withdrawn from Iraq by 2010.

Conservative Comedy

Really funny stuff.


Over there:

BAGHDAD, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Three car bombs killed 24 people and wounded scores in Baghdad on Monday, and gunmen attacked two Sunni areas, clashing with residents and setting houses on fire.

The violence came on a day when the military command centre that will oversee a planned offensive by Iraqi and U.S. troops in the city was due to become operational. U.S. officers said on Sunday that the crackdown would begin "soon thereafter".

In the worst blast on Monday, a car bomb targeting a petrol station in the religiously mixed southern neighbourhood of Saidiya killed 10 people and wounded 62, while eight people were killed and 40 wounded when a car bomb exploded in a garage.

A car bomb exploded near a childrens' hospital in Andalus square in central Baghdad, killing six and wounding nine.

Most Trusted Name in News

CNN spent 5-10 minutes on the decor in the Pentagon press room.

Wanker of the Day

Danny "not the actor, and not much of a journalist either" Glover.

I Know It Shouldn't Shock Me

But it appears that there are still people who walk the Earth who are clearly too stupid to breathe who manage to actually get through the day without suffocating.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Go Eagles!

Next year...

...adding, nice shadow schlong, Prince.

Mas Futbol


Football Thread


Bye Vince

One of the leaders of the Philadelphia machine is about to have a wee bit of trouble:

The four-year investigation of State Sen. Vincent J. Fumo is coming to an end, and lawyers familiar with the case expect him to be indicted soon, possibly as early as Tuesday.

Fumo, one of the most powerful politicians in Pennsylvania, last year received a target letter - a formal notice that he is likely to face charges related to the fraud and obstruction-of-justice probe.

Fumo recently told people close to him to brace for an indictment, and has assured them that he will vigorously fight the charges.

To Friedman or Not to Friedman

That is McCain's question.

He's utterly incoherent at this point.

And by incoherent, I of course mean "maverick straight talker."


And, anyone who has spent 5 seconds paying attention to state and local government should have known that this was an inevitable result of the "privatization" movement.

Wanker of the Day

Bill Kristol.

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities:

Meet the Press" Guests: Former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C.

• "This Week" Guests: Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Chuck Hagel, R-Neb.; Sarah Ferguson, the duchess of York.

• "Face the Nation" . Guests: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

• "CNN Late Edition" Guests: White House budget director Rob Portman; former Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack; former Lebanese President Amin Gemayel; Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Richard Lugar, R-Ind.; consumer advocate Ralph Nader.

• "Fox News Sunday" Guests: Sens. Jim Webb, D-Va., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C.

Gone Daddy Gone