Saturday, May 05, 2007


For dessert.


It's part of a balanced diet.

Even More Thread

Go bet on some horsies.

Afternoon Thread

Rock on.

Meet the New Boss

Freedom. Smell it.

BAGHDAD -- Iraq is hemorrhaging doctors as violence racks the nation. To stem the flow, the Iraqi government has recently taken a cue from Saddam Hussein: Medical schools are once again forbidden to issue diplomas and transcripts to new graduates.

Hussein built a fine medical system in part by withholding doctors' passports and diplomas. Although physicians can work in Iraq with a letter from a medical school verifying their graduation, they say they need certificates and transcripts to work abroad.

No Liberals Allowed On The Teevee

And, let's face it, Keith Olbermann's professed liberalism hasn't gone much deeper than "maybe the Bush administration is kind of shitty," a belief shared by most of the country.


Broder's boy bounces so high Holden gets a new pony.

May 5, 2007 - It’s hard to say which is worse news for Republicans: that George W. Bush now has the worst approval rating of an American president in a generation, or that he seems to be dragging every ’08 Republican presidential candidate down with him. But According to the new NEWSWEEK Poll, the public’s approval of Bush has sunk to 28 percent, an all-time low for this president in our poll, and a point lower than Gallup recorded for his father at Bush Sr.’s nadir. The last president to be this unpopular was Jimmy Carter who also scored a 28 percent approval in 1979. This remarkably low rating seems to be casting a dark shadow over the GOP’s chances for victory in ’08. The NEWSWEEK Poll finds each of the leading Democratic contenders beating the Republican frontrunners in head-to-head matchups.

War is Hell


Great Moments in Modern Punditry

Jon Chait edition.

No matter how badly we might bungle a post-Saddam rebuilding of Iraq--and Bush's record in Afghanistan, alas, suggests little reason for optimism--it is difficult to imagine that deposing Saddam will not greatly improve the living conditions and human rights of the Iraqi people.

Media Matters

From Jamison Foser.

"That's what they call a softball" edition.

Song for a Clock

Friday, May 04, 2007

I think it may be time for...

an open thread!

(Hey, whaddaya think of this ad Plum P. posted in the thread?)


Here's precisely what Juan Williams said earlier on NPR.

I think the direction has been moving more towards the idea that this could be another sort Jack Abramoff style scandal in which you see that women, prostitutes here or call girls, were given to people as part of lobbying efforts, part of efforts to persuade people to do things on Capitol Hill.


Drudge says these were the MSGOP ratings for the debate:



FNC 2,023,000
MSNBC 1,762,000
CNN 599,000

Ratings for the earlier Dem debate:

More than 2.2 million people watch the first 2008 presidential candidate debate on MSNBC Thursday evening.

The Democratic debate attracted an average of 2,261,000 viewers, including 806,000 in the 25-54 demo, between 7 and 8:30pm.

The pre-show from 6 to 7pm had 284,000 viewers with 112,000 in the demo. The post-debate coverage from 8:30 to 9pm delivered 1,816,000 viewers with 636,000 in the demo...

Hmmm. If I were a crack cable news programmer I'm sure I'd learn something from all of this.

More Chait

Henry does a good job dealing with Chait's central points, from which it was easy to get distracted because of all of his other issues.

Great Moments in Modern Punditry

Michael Crowley edition.

Exposed: Glenn Beck's Shitty Show That Nobody Watches

Well, they spent an immense amount advertising Beck's bogus environment show in finer media outlets everywhere.. The ratings are in!

25-54 demographic: (LS)

Total day: FNC: 256 | CNN: 155 | MSNBC: 96 | HLN: 101 | CNBC: 69

Prime: FNC: 440 | CNN: 265 | MSNBC: 170 | HLN: 159 | CNBC: 86
5p: 6p: 7p: 8p: 9p: 10p: 11p:
FNC Gibson: Hume: Shep: O'Reilly: H&C: Greta: O'Reilly:
211 250 271 602 357 360 360
CNN Blitzer: Dobbs: Blitzer: Zahn: King: Cooper: Cooper:
164 260 223 225 282 287 143
MSNBC Hardball: Tucker: Hardball: Countdo.: Scarbo.: Special: Special:
101 82 113 201 121 188 139
HLN HLN: Prime: Beck: Grace: Beck: Grace: Showbiz:
90/48 99 96 200 147 130 152

Data by Nielsen Media Research. Live and same day (DVR) data.

Total viewers: (LS)

Total day: FNC: 867 | CNN: 465 | MSNBC: 261 | HLN: 222 | CNBC: 229

Prime: FNC: 1,902 | CNN: 903 | MSNBC: 466 | HLN: 451 | CNBC: 325
5p: 6p: 7p: 8p: 9p: 10p: 11p:
FNC Gibson: Hume: Shep: O'Reilly: H&C: Greta: O'Reilly:
968 1,084 1,197 2,801 1,475 1,429 1,199
CNN Blitzer: Dobbs: Blitzer: Zahn: King: Cooper: Cooper:
577 878 634 812 1,088 810 354
MSNBC Hardball: Tucker: Hardball: Countdo.: Scarbo.: Special: Special:
316 251 379 669 416 313 235
HLN HLN: Prime: Beck: Grace: Beck: Grace: Showbiz:
238/148 212 298 688 373 291 340

Al Gore's movie took in $25 million at the box office, and the lesson CNN learns from this is that they should spend a bunch of money promoting the anti-Al Gore.

Maybe they should consider producing Al Gore's Happy Treehugger Hour instead.

Reader Survey

If you missed it yesterday, please consider taking the time to fill out this reader survey. Yes the primary reason for it is to tell advertisers who you, my pawns of Madison Avenue, actually are, but it's also good to have the data to dispel the various myths about dirty fucking hippie children blog readers.

More Garance

Garance says she wasn't talking about criminalizing adult nudie pictures, but give people more legal control over their nudie pictures as well as forbidding under-21 pictures for commercial purposes.

To the extent that we define commercial purposes as "I pay you for naked video which I then sell" this is less unreasonable, but the problem is that internets are increasingly redefining what distribution and commercial purposes mean.

Also she suggests that there are consent issues surrounding the intoxication of girls in GGW videos. Sure I agree with that, though I have no idea what the current legal situation is there. My guess is "you got me drunk and I signed that form without knowing what it was" would hold up in court if one had the money to hire a laywer, go to court, etc. Of course, the internets have also made it difficult to put the cat bag in the bag, so...


There's no crying in government!

May 4 (Bloomberg) -- A former U.S. Justice Department official and central figure in the firing of eight U.S. attorneys tearfully told a colleague two months ago her government career probably was over as the matter was about to erupt into a political storm, according to closed-door congressional testimony.

Monica Goodling, at the time an aide to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, sobbed for 45 minutes in the office of career Justice Department official David Margolis on March 8 as she related her fears that she would have to quit, according to congressional aides briefed on Margolis's private testimony to House and Senate investigators. The aides spoke on condition of anonymity.

In The Interest of Improving Employee Relations at Time

I thought it'd be useful to re-run this. It's good to have all this stuff out in the open.

Apologies for my absence yesterday, I was up in Boston, pretending I know something about politics. Also there: Mark Halperin, late of the Note, who gave a brown bag talk at Harvard's Institute of Politics about the "problems" present in modern political journalism, as observed by him and from his talks with actual campaign professionals.

Shockingly, "absurdly kowtowing to whoever happens to be in power" was not on the list. He did lay into bloggers, who apparently sometimes "taint" their analysis by "engaging in ad hominem attacks." Also, the blogs of "mainstream" publications are not up to Halperin-approved journalistic grade. Did you know, for instance, that the "New York Times regularly puts stories on its website that don't make it into the next day's paper"? Halperin suggested that this disparity stems from the online stories not living up to the printed edition's rigorous standards.

Halperin also told the group that the MSM does a disservice to its readers when they ascribe "only political motives" to politicians. He cited coverage of Bush's border policy as an example, saying "all you hear is that Bush is trying to appeal to Hispanic voters," rather than, for instance, that Bush does care deeply about border protection as a national security issue. Said Halperin, "I guarantee you most of these politicians take these positions because they believe it's for the good of the country."


Oh the humanity.

Regarding this:

BRODER: Since I would never question their motives, I have to assume that they spontaneously and simultaneously chose to express their confidence in their leader on the same day last week. I have a copy of their letter, with all the signatures, and it is gfoing up on my wallo. A semi-historic document to pass on to the grandchildren, as a testament to what a dope their granedfather was. I love it.

Um, were you a "dope" or did you, you know, make shit up? You claimed "long list of senators of both parties" weren't happy with Reid. It's possible that was true and the Dem caucus letter was CYA on their part, or it's possible the Dean of the Washington Press Corps made shit up. I'd kinda like to know. At another point we have:

Asheville, N.C.: You wrote in your column of April 26 that Senators in both parties (indeed, a long list of them) were dissatisfied and embarrassed, etc. about Harry Reid. What Democratic senators were on that long list? What was your source? Do you stand by what you reported in that column?

David S. Broder: Yes, I do. The senators will have to speak for themselves, but his record speaks volumes.

Which doesn't actually answer the question.

Oh well, just another day in the life of the press corps for which truth is more important than anything.

Cocktail Party Chatter

Just caught Juan Williams on NPR discussing the cocktail party chatter - apparently it does exist! - about the "DC Madam" story. He says the chatter is that the direction the story is likely to go in is going to be Abramoff like in that it'll come out that escort services were handed out as part of general influence peddling activities.

Can't guarantee that was exactly what he said, but something close to it.


Look, college-aged people are adults. I really hate the tendency to deny people - especially young college women - agency. Plenty of young college-aged women aren't even in college, and at 18 have full legal and economic responsibility for their own lives. It's doubly disturbing to expressly advocate for laws based on the idea that they would "sometimes honored in the breach more than the observance." Laws which are arbitrarily enforced open up the possibility for abusive and targeted enforcement. They're bad laws.

More than that, most college aged men and women have sex, and some of them probably like taking naughty pictures of their partners.


Barry points out that the latest job numbers include 318K phantom jobs, a way the statistics are massaged using a model designed to capture job gains/losses not immediately picked up by the data. That model might in fact be awesomely capable of capturing reality, though the extra 49K construction jobs it's producing this month don't inspire too much confidence in that number.

Drunk Rich Guys

"Cardinals relief pitcher Josh Hancock was legally drunk last Sunday when he plowed his car into the back of a tow truck parked on Highway 40."

One of the great mysteries of the universe is why wealthy people are unwilling to just hire drivers.

All the Same

No, frightening ignorance about The Most Important Issue EVAH!!!!!!!! will not, in fact, cause any problems for Republicans. All that matters is that they have manly auras, scary stares, steely resolve, and big codpieces.

Nutter Mania

Well, the Philadelphia mayoral election is almost with us. The primary, anyway, which is what matters. Michael Nutter seems to be getting endorsed by every local publication - Inqy, Daily News, Philadelphia Magazine, City Paper - though whether that reflects well on him I have no idea.

The election is pretty weird. I wouldn't have predicted a Knox-Nutter showdown, which is what polls say it is right now. You basically have a rich guy with not much gov't experience and a wonky ex-city councilman beating two members Congress, one of whom basically runs one wing of the Philadelphia machine, and a prominent state legislator.

I still don't know who I'm going to vote for, but it's been interesting to watch.

Old Men

While I no longer teach regularly, while I did it had the frightening benefit of keeping me way too aware of the ever evolving gulf between my basic cultural-historical frame of reference and that of my students. The incoming college class of 2011, roughly 18 years old this coming Fall, will have been born in 1991 1989. The Clinton presidency will be but a dim and vague memory for them. In a couple more years, given the tendency to not spend much time on recent history in high school, the Lewinsky scandal will be something which will have to be explained to college freshmen.

All this is my roundabout way of saying that all this Reagan worship is getting a bit dated. Sure I suppose it'll appeal to some conservative primary voters, but it'll also highlight how old and out of touch these guys are for the most part. At 35 I remember the Reagan era, but those who are 30 and under really don't.

Who's They?

It would certainly be more fun laughing at these mental midgets if they weren't basically running the country, so instead I'll engage with one of the myriad complications in Iraq - who the hell is the "they" we're supposed to beat.

In Iraq we have a variety of people who are contributing to the violence. There are those who are resisting a foreign occupation ("Wolverines!" for you conservatives) for all the normal reasons people tend to resist such things. There are people engaged in sectarian conflict for both power/influence reasons and for general feud and revenge killing reasons. There are those who see this as an opportunity to wage war on behalf of radical Islam.

And, for Lord Chait, this is what we're talking about when we talk about chickenhawks - people who will apparently do anything to lengthen their pet war except put their asses on the line.

Uh, Ew?

Do all of our pundits have really fucked up gender perspectives?

And why did Ted Stevens shove his Hulk tie into the intertube connecting me to Think Progress?

Unders Win!

+88k jobs in April, below expectations.

Rate the Candidates

Wow, people really hate these guys. Except Ron Paul. Weird.

Our Discourse

I didn't watch, but I gather the questions tonight were something along the lines of "Tell us why you're awesome and Democrats suck."


Dad's gone. No reason not to get mellow, though.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

More Thread

I've learned tonight that Ronald Reagan invented optimism. Too bad FDR was such a sourpuss.

Evening Thread



The question which probably won't be asked of St. McCain this evening:

Senator, 3 months ago you said in response to a question about how long you were going to give it to work Iraq:

MCCAIN: I think in the case of the Iraqi government cooperating and doing what’s necessary, we can know fairly well in a few months.

3 months later, do we yet know anything fairly well?


Monthly jobs report out tomorrow. Consensus forecast is +100K, below the 150K or so needed to keep up with the growth of the labor force.

I'll take the under bet.

Reader Survey!

Time for the annual survey. If you're so inclined, please spare a few minutes.

...yes, it's long. Do it as long as you can stand.

"Officially Entered the Post-Bush Era"

Candy Crowley, discussing tonight's Republican candidate debate.

More Thread


However This Ends Up Playing Out

As I should have communicated a bit more clearly earlier, I have no idea if what the Washington Post is reporting is accurate.

The important thing, politically, is for the public to understand that the Democrats are doing what they can to stop CooCoo's war. And, sadly, "what they can" does have to take into account the fact that they have 51 senators and only a slim House majority, especially once one excludes the wanker caucus.


One of Lord Chait's obsessions appears to be that us liberal bloggers don't criticize each other much. There are two issues here. One is the general Kos-centric view of the blogosphere, which Chait (and many others) seems to have which I don't really share. Sure the Great Orange Satan has a very popular site, but Markos's voice hasn't dominated it in a long time. While many seem to imagine that Markos spends all of his time promoting Markos, it isn't actually true.

But, anyway, no I don't criticize Markos every time he writes something I think is dumb because I don't think "what Markos writes" is generally very important. More than that, if you want to see immense amounts of Markos criticism the best place to find it is often... at the Daily Kos.

That would change if Markos started regularly advocating for things which were politically relevant and I thought were important. If, for example, he'd been all pro-Social Security privatization I would've criticized/argued regularly. Back during the summer of War I used to say all kinds of mean things about Josh Marshall and Kevin Drum.

The other issue is a tendency to not bother criticizing views "to the Left." I think our political discourse has been harmed by the fact that there aren't more prominent voices to my left, even when they have views I disagree with. If The Left suddenly became all powerful and was successful at promoting views and legislation I disagreed with I'd certainly be more critical of it. But we live in a world where Joe Klein is about as "left" as you get and I have no desire to battle his dirty fucking hippies. He spends enough time doing it himself.


I know I'm not a crack cable news programmer but I do see patterns here.


The Scoreboard: Monday, April 30

25-54 demographic: (LS)

Total day: FNC: 224 | CNN: 185 | MSNBC: 96 | HLN: 105 | CNBC: 66

Prime: FNC: 273 | CNN: 236 | MSNBC: 190 | HLN: 148 | CNBC: 46
5p: 6p: 7p: 8p: 9p: 10p: 11p:
FNC Gibson: Hume: Shep: O'Reilly: H&C: Greta: O'Reilly:
178 273 232 324 243 250 228
CNN Blitzer: Dobbs: Blitzer: Zahn: King: Cooper: Cooper:
180 264 191 128 223 356 222
MSNBC Hardball: Tucker: Hardball: Countdo.: Scarbo.: Special: Models:
139 77 99 261 150 157 167
HLN HLN: Prime: Beck: Grace: Beck: Grace: Showbiz:
37/37 35 90 136 97 210 194


The Scoreboard: Tuesday, May 1

25-54 demographic: (LS)

Total day: FNC: 249 | CNN: 175 | MSNBC: 100 | HLN: 89 | CNBC: 64

Prime: FNC: 435 | CNN: 258 | MSNBC: 215 | HLN: 126 | CNBC: 102
5p: 6p: 7p: 8p: 9p: 10p: 11p:
FNC Gibson: Hume: Shep: O'Reilly: H&C: Greta: O'Reilly:
163 300 309 482 488 335 275
CNN Blitzer: Dobbs: Blitzer: Zahn: King: Cooper: Cooper:
154 221 252 144 345 287 250
MSNBC Hardball: Tucker: Hardball: Countdo.: Scarbo.: Special: Investig.:
124 -- 145 250 192 203 166
HLN HLN: Prime: Beck: Grace: Beck: Grace: Showbiz:
67/68 45 68 108 114 156 133

The first thing we notice is that nobody watches Glenn Beck's shitty show. The second is that Olbermann trounces the shows that come before and after, and is the only time when MSNBC beats CNN. These are the 25-54 numbers which advertisers care about.

...and, argh, I get tired of saying this, but like just about every other media outlet on the planet, ads are ads and content is content and they are not the same. That's why Time Warner gets to waste money advertising Glenn Beck's shitty show on this site and I get to continue to call it "Glenn Beck's shitty show." Ads are not endorsements.