Saturday, May 12, 2007

Late Night

Rock On.

(ht susie)

Fresh Thread

Because we haven't had any gypsy shit in awhile.

Okay, Here's a Cat

Something to occupy you.

Blogged Out

I need a nap or something.

Seems Like Haloscan is Back

Chat away.

Fresh Thread

Enjoy. Here's good comment link:



Over there.

BAGHDAD (AP) - Seven U.S. soldiers and an Iraqi army interpreter came under attack Saturday morning during a patrol in a Sunni insurgent stronghold south of Baghdad, leaving five dead and three missing, the military said.

Troops were searching for the three missing, using drone planes, jets and checkpoints throughout the area, according to the statement. Soldiers were also asking local leaders for information.

Here's a good comment link:


Media Matters

From Jamison Foser.

...haloscan's acting up, someone send out the Jeevan signal. Here's a good link to this current thread:


Morning Thread

Just following up the post from last night, it's not entirely clear whether being pro-war, anti-war, or just being split over the war was what "destroyed" the Democratic party after Vietnam, but the real point is that whatever the cause it didn't really destroy it. Nixon got elected twice. That's it.

I'm sure someone has written about this, and maybe it reaches back farther than I remember, but this whole "Vietnam destroyed the Democrats" myth seems to be one which has recently taken hold. I don't remember it from my teens, though I do remember that Jane Fonda sold a very popular line of exercise videos.

Hacks for Jesus

Ms. Goodling has some problems.

Friday, May 11, 2007



Such is the Democratic party’s confidence that some Democrats are talking of bringing about the same kind of splits in the Republican party that so damaged their own party’s electoral fortunes following the Vietnam war a generation ago. “There are a lot of people on the Republican side who are not happy with the situation,” said Trent Lott, a normally hardline Republican Senate leader.

For the record, in the 1974 election, before the full end of the war but certainly after the Democrats had become tainted by antiwarness the democrats picked up 49 seats in the House, increasing their majority to 291-144. In the Senate they picked up 3, for a total of 61.

This did follow the 1972 election where, yes, they lost 13 whole seats in the House, leaving them with only 242 seats. That year they gained 2 seats in the Senate, giving them a total of 56.

And then came the 1976 election, post-war, where Democrats picked up the presidency, 1 House seat, and stayed even in the Senate.

True, in 1978 they lost 15 seats in the House, leaving them with a meager 277, and 3 in the Senate, leaving them with only 58.

And then along came Reagan, though his election had little to do with Vietnam, and those Vietnam-scarred Democrats managed to maintain control of the House until 1995, with Senate control flipping back and forth.

Democrats did ok in '68 and '70 too. So, maybe Vietnam gave us Nixon. That's it.


The gift that keeps on giving.

New charges have been filed alleging that the CIA's former No. 3 official used his influence in that role to support a proposed $100 million government contract for his best friend, a defense contractor, in return for lavish vacations, private jet flights and a lucrative job offer.

The indictment, returned Thursday by a federal grand jury in San Diego, supersedes charges brought in February against career CIA man Kyle "Dusty" Foggo and Poway-based contractor Brent Wilkes. The charges grew from the bribery scandal that landed former U.S. Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham in prison.

Foggo resigned from the spy agency a year ago, after his house and office were raided by federal agents. He is the highest-ranking CIA officer to be charged with crimes allegedly committed while working for the agency.

New Thread

I'm off to comb out the Fez.

Take Me Out To The Ball Game

About to go catch the subway to the stadium.

While I'm out you can watch these many fine panels from the Future of Music Coalition conference.

I thought Jenny Toomey's presentation was fun.

Otherwise, rock on.


And, once again, it's only advocacy if it goes against Dear Leader.

Stupid liberals.


Again, it's only "advocacy" if it contradicts Dear Leader.

Okay, Here's The Other One

They Write Letters

Jebediah Reed writes to Jonathan Alter.

No One Watching Beck's Shitty Show

Mon-Wed ratings, from TVNewser.

The Scoreboard: Monday, May 5

25-54 demographic: (LS)

Total day: FNC: 225 | CNN: 191 | MSNBC: 109 | HLN: 98 | CNBC: 68

Prime: FNC: 343 | CNN: 271 | MSNBC: 148 | HLN: 126 | CNBC: 69
5p: 6p: 7p: 8p: 9p: 10p: 11p:
FNC Gibson: Hume: Shep: O'Reilly: H&C: Greta: O'Reilly:
179 245 325 422 331 277 294
CNN Blitzer: Dobbs: Blitzer: Zahn: King: Cooper: Cooper:
172 275 214 202 279 333 159
MSNBC Hardball: Tucker: Hardball: Countdo.: Scarbo.: Reports: Models:
145 99 115 181 126 136 103
HLN HLN: Prime: Beck: Grace: Beck: Grace: Showbiz:
76/45 79 81 126 108 143 118

The Scoreboard: Tuesday, May 8

25-54 demographic: (LS)

Total day: FNC: 232 | CNN: 152 | MSNBC: 82 | HLN: 88 | CNBC: 58

Prime: FNC: 337 | CNN: 196 | MSNBC: 136 | HLN: 131 | CNBC: 59

5p: 6p: 7p: 8p: 9p: 10p: 11p:
FNC Gibson: Hume: Shep: O'Reilly: H&C: Greta: O'Reilly:

214 321 337 351 330 330 289
CNN Blitzer: Dobbs: Blitzer: Zahn: King: Cooper: Cooper:

166 208 213 146 198 243 179
MSNBC Hardball: Tucker: Hardball: Countdo.: Scarbo.: Special: Special:

147 60 85 151 128 131 125
HLN HLN: Prime: Beck: Grace: Beck: Grace: Showbiz:

19/50 76 77 104 79 211 165

The Scoreboard: Wednesday, May 7

25-54 demographic: (LS)

Total day: FNC: 255 | CNN: 139 | MSNBC: 103 | HLN: 75 | CNBC: 72

Prime: FNC: 474 | CNN: 217 | MSNBC: 155 | HLN: 135 | CNBC: 61

5p: 6p: 7p: 8p: 9p: 10p: 11p:
FNC Gibson: Hume: Shep: O'Reilly: H&C: Greta: O'Reilly:

179 297 214 571 456 395 390
CNN Blitzer: Dobbs: Blitzer: Zahn: King: Cooper: Cooper:

124 233 171 210 195 246 180
MSNBC Hardball: Tucker: Hardball: Countdo.: Scarbo.: Special: Special:

128 76 118 248 131 87 96
HLN HLN: Prime: Beck: Grace: Beck: Grace: Showbiz:

33/15 73 105 152 83 170 159

...I see the dates here are screwed up. Ignore them, the days are correct.

Talking About My Generation

What the hell is wrong with us?

Friday Cat Blogging

They're still alive.


Over there:

BAGHDAD - Two suicide car bombers struck checkpoints at Baghdad bridges within minutes of each other Friday, killing at least 23 people and damaging the spans despite increased American efforts to target the insurgent networks planning deadly vehicle attacks.

Radicalizing Moment

In the post below I had meant to prominently include the 2000 election recount/selection as a cause of a major online lefty boom. While that was the time when I began to turn to the web for news/perspectives I couldn't find elsewhere, it wasn't actually until the inauguration that I finally concluded that something was seriously messed up, and that the problem was the media. I never had any illusions that Supreme Court Justices were noble people above reproach or that politicians could be trusted. I did at some point, however, have the sense that the mainstream media - CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, network news - while imperfect wasn't completely broken. It was the coverage of the inauguration that did it for me.

You may remember that this was a cold and rainy day, truly miserable. Nonetheless thousands of protesters had gathered. However, most Americans would have no idea this was happening. Switching back and forth between coverage by the television networks, and the somewhat more raw footage carried by C-SPAN, it was apparent just how much effort the networks were expending to hide this fact from their viewing public. They would frequently cut away from the parade, provide odd camera angles, and do anything to maintain the illusion that the coronation was proceeding blissfully. The following day, for its inauguration coverage, the New York Times published a photo of George W. Bush walking the parade route. As discussed in Dennis Loy Jonson's The Big Chill, this was an entirely staged photo. Bush had been unable to follow in the tradition established by Carter and carried on Ronald Reagan, Bush's father, and Bill Clinton. The presence of the protesters prevented this, and it wasn't until after Bush had left the public parade route, and was behind a barrier, that he could briefly hop out of the limousine and wave for the cameras. The Times had established a practice which impacted much of the media's reporting on the activities of the Bush administration. They signaled a willingness to report things not as they necessarily were but as the administration wished to present them.


Silly Greg, it's only "advocacy" when you go against the wishes of Dear Leader.

Speaking of Lou Dobbs

Given the contents of a survey from them I recently took, he seems to figure prominently in the Unity08 world of potential candidates.

My preferred Unity08 candidate is Al Sharpton.

Making Things Up

People concerned with accuracy and a commitment to truth could pay a bit more attention to our awesome media.

This Could End Very Badly

I suppose someone should point out that as pressure within the administration and the military for things to improve in Iraq, as emphasis shifts from training Iraqis to "pacifying" them and "quelling" violence that there could be a lot of bad ahead.

Bloggity Blog Part the Second - The Vacuum

To the Editor:
A woman I had dinner with the other night said to me that the atmosphere in this country since the Persian Gulf war is like that at a party in a beautiful home, with everybody being polite and bubbly. And there is this stink coming from somewhere, getting worse all the time, and nobody wants to be the first to mention it.

KURT VONNEGUT (to the New York Times, March 27, 1991)

Some of the discussion has been about when and why blogs and the netroots emerged. I'd say, roughly, online liberal activism began with Move On, the online liberal web generally grew in response to the Clinton impeachment and the 2000 recount/selection*, and the liberal blogosphere as a semi-definable distinct movement emerged in 2002 in response to the glorious summer of war.

Political blogging generally was a post-9/11 phenomenon, headed by the ole perfesser under the name "warbloggers." It was a subculture which consisted mostly of people who were conservative and self-described liberals who knew that the 2nd most serious the country faced was the all powerful The Left, which was generally represented by some anonymous poster on Indymedia, Some Guy With A Sign Somewhere, or occasionally Cythia McKinney. Subsequently a few actual liberals such as myself joined in, and for awhile it was a kind of semi-civil amateur debate club with the ole perfesser, the only person with significant traffic, acting as a one-hand-on-the-scales moderator of the conversation. That brief moment of relative comity faded quickly as the Iraq war debate began and people like me were regularly accused of treason, of supporting dictators, of "being on the other side," by our very civil non-swearing friends on the right side of the blogosphere.

The uniting feature of all of the catalyzing events - whitewater and impeachment, selection, the Iraq war - was that they were moments when it became clear that there was something tremendously flawed with our various elite institutions and of "the liberals" which supposedly represented people like me in them, especially in the mainstream media. They represented tremendous failures of our elite classes.

There were almost no anti-war voices in the media, and the few who were present were basically ridiculed. There were some "war skeptics," but they didn't really question the basic premises of the war - the existence of WMD, the concept of preventive war, the flowers which would follow - but instead nitpicked around the edges. You know, we need more allies, we need the UN's blessing, maybe we need more troops. There were no mainstream media voices who actively opposed the war. Joe Klein did in his heart, he claims, but in public he supported it.

Opposing the war seemed to many of us to be a perfectly non-crazy thing, yet that viewpoint was either completely ignored or actively ridiculed. Even many of our so-called liberals didn't simply support the war or fail to oppose it, but actively "opposed the opposers" by joining in with conservatives to attack and marginalize any one who dared suggest that their Great and Glorious Crusade might be a bad idea. There were only us dirty fucking hippie bloggers.

*added after the fact, though in my mind it was there all along. I blame steve simels.

Bloggity Blog Part The First - The Media

This will be my long rambling response to various things which have been floating around with respect to Chait's TNR article and other related things.

A fascinating thing about the rise of blogs with respect to the media is that for some reason blogs have caused them to confront and deal with all kinds of questions about media roles which they spent a lot of time ignoring. When pressed about their craft, journalists, and especially print journalists, generally retreat into some sort of Platonic Journalist Ideal. They dismiss all of the lesser forms of journalism, those which deviate from this imagined ideal, as being something distinct from what they do. For some individual journalists there's some validity to this, as they mostly stick to their primary role and resist the temptation to go on the teevee and start talking about the news instead of reporting it, but for the media system as a whole these distinctions have long been rather meaningless.

The media system has long included players other than The Journalist. Political hacks get their time on CNN and are (often anonymous) sources for print journalists. Rush Limbaugh does election night analysis for NBC and goes on Katie Couric's show to do commentary. Journalists regularly mix it up with hacks and ideologues (usually conservatives) on the various roundtable programs. Think tank "experts" with overt agendas fill the hours on NPR. Mark Halperin gets down on his knees to beg for Hugh Hewitt's approval. Pat Buchanan is on MSNBC constantly. And, of course, Matt Drudge Rules Their World. All of these players in tandem provide legitimacy to each other, and reinforce the notion to casual consumers that they are in effect all the same beast.

All of this was true before blogs, as was the exisence 35 year conservative attack on mainstream media institutions. Still, there's something about blogs which really bothers them. There are various somewhat unrelated reasons for this I think. One is general anxiety about their profession and a tendency to blame the internets and blogs for those anxieties. Two is that it's perhaps easier to not listen to Rush Limbaugh than it is to ignore easily digested bits of text. Three is that their existence degrades the value of punditry and the elite station of tenured pundits, which has long been the gold watch awarded at the end of a long career doing harder journalism. Four is that they were used to hearing and internalizing the conservative critique of what they do, and they don't know how to react to a sustained critique from the left. Five is that since text is the medium it's more obviously similar to what they do so they feel the need to distinguish themselves somehow.

This last bit (combined with three) is what largely motivates Chait I think. He feels the the need to define what he does as somehow different or more pure than the undifferentiated mass of bloggers. That's fine if it makes him happy, but the distinctions he tries to draw are largely meaningless. Sure what Jon Chait does is different than what I do, but what I do is different than what Markos does, which is different than what Jane does, which is different from what Bob Herbert does, which is different from what Pat Buchanan does, which is different than what Chris Matthews does. There's never been one definable pundit hat and job description. Some are a bit more partisan, some practice a bit more advocacy, some are completely dishonest hacks, some are uninformed if well-intentioned, some do a noble job of making complex issues accessible to readers, some think their navels speak for America, etc... Chait wants to set himself, or perhaps TNR and punditry generally, as distinct from the dirty bloggers. Again, if it makes him happy to carve out some special category of punditry and place himself in it that's fine with me, but what would be more interesting is for media people to take all of these issues and questions they have with blogs and apply them to the media landscape more generally.

The point I'm trying to make is that for some reasons blogs have caused many members in the media to raise lots of questions about just what the proper roles of journalists and pundits are, but instead of directing these questions at themselves and the general system in which they operate they've directed them at bloggers. It's weird, really.

...adding, as was suggested in comments, the elite pundit status really went away when conservative affirmative action kicked in and newspapers started running syndicated columns by people like Malkin and Goldberg.

What Digby Said

This has been another edition of what Digby said.


Now we know that Torture Yoo has never quite understood this whole "civil rights" and "liberties" thing, but even I'm stunned that his argument is that we can't possibly be having a civil liberties crisis when people can just say anything they want to.

Delicate Flowers

The thin-skinnedness has always kind of shocked me, as I assumed that people who both desired and held a relatively public role were sort of used to and could handle criticism. But it isn't actually that way. It's very strange.

There are certain kinds of criticism that still annoy me, mostly when people who are nominally on my team assume all kinds of absurd bad faith motives on my part, but otherwise you learn pretty quickly to sift through stupid and valid criticism. And, frankly, I'd find this boring without it.

Morning Thread


Wanker of the Day

Lanny Davis.

Former Generals Can Only Say Certain Things

I half overheard a surprisingly decent NPR report the other day which dealt with the issue of what's appropriate for "former generals" to do. While the piece was a bit slanted on the side of "clap louder for tinkerbell" it at least did manage to mention the point that lots of former generals and similar are on the cable networks cheering on the war, so anyone who criticizes former generals speaking up is essentially saying they can only express their opinions in one direction. In addition, while this point wasn't (IIRC) made explicitly, it essentially makes the whole "former general as cable news commentator" position a farcical one at odds with any claimed journalistic pretension, as they're only on if they support current policy.

And that point has just been proven.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Fresh Thread



Freshman Dems who voted against the McGovern amendment, which would've led to withdrawal.


...missed one, Mitchell (thanks to hadenough).

I think I got them all. Someone correct me if I missed any.

Letter To a Young Blogger

Pach offers some advice.

Wanker of the Day

Rudy Giuliani.

He is Small

Greenwald responds to the lesser Klein.

Oh My


The Bush administration has withheld a series of e-mails from Congress showing that senior White House and Justice Department officials worked together to conceal the role of Karl Rove in installing Timothy Griffin, a protégé of Rove's, as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

The withheld records show that D. Kyle Sampson, who was then-chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, consulted with White House officials in drafting two letters to Congress that appear to have misrepresented the circumstances of Griffin's appointment as U.S. attorney and of Rove's role in supporting Griffin.


Several of the e-mails that the Bush administration is withholding from Congress, as well as papers from the White House counsel's office describing other withheld documents, were made available to National Journal by a senior executive branch official, who said that the administration has inappropriately kept many of them from Congress.

The senior official said that Gonzales, in preparing for testimony before Congress, has personally reviewed the withheld records and has a responsibility to make public any information he has about efforts by his former chief of staff, other department aides, and White House officials to conceal Rove's role.

"If [Gonzales] didn't know everything that was going on when it went down, that is one thing," this official said. "But he knows and understands chapter and verse. If there was an effort within Justice and the White House to mislead Congress, it is his duty to disclose that to Congress. As the country's chief law enforcement official, he has a higher duty to disclose than to protect himself or the administration."

Afternoon Thead


More Chait

Because there's nothing more thrilling than navelgazing.

Why do most of New Republic's commenters write like Ticky Tacky? Pretentious gits.

...Klein Le Bon has a rebuttal
to the rebuttal of the rebutted rebuttal.

Too Much Traffic

Following yesterday's brief mention of a congestion tax, here's a description of how it works in London.

It's important to note that the thinking behind a congestion tax isn't simply about "charging people to drive," it's about the fact that driving on crowded roads involves an unpriced negative externality. That is, there's the private cost of driving which you take into account when you drive down the road and then there's the external cost which is due to the fact that the presence of your car slows things down a bit for everybody else. So what happens is that there's too much traffic, relative to what there would be if the full social cost of driving were taken into account when people made the decision to drive to work.

In other words, it's a tax/toll even economists can love.


They won't do anything. Not now, not in September. Not next September, either.

I don't know what's going to happen once the Republicans have a presidential candidate, but right now I can't see how any of them are going to climb out of the rhetorical trap they've locked themselves in.


Just expanding on my point yesterday about abortions and disabilities, my point was really about people who are somewhat on the fence about abortion. That is, those who understand that some abortions should be legal but who nonetheless feel entitled to pass judgment on the reasons others choose for having them. My sense is just that most people, even those who tend towards the anti-abortion side, would want to able to make the choice if faced with the decision. Many people, understandably, are unable or unwilling to make the commitment to take responsibility for someone who is unlikely to ever be able to care for themselves. That's more than a lifetime commitment.

I guess to me it's this kind of issue which brings us into Schiavo territory pretty quickly. People had different opinions about whether the feeding tube should remain in or not, but once they saw Tom DeLay trying to make the choice for them they suddenly understood what the broader issue was. Choice rhetoric on abortion isn't necessarily all that successful, but once the concept is really hit home for people they come around. Many people are uncomfortable with the concept generally, but ultimately they imagine that they would and should have the choice of whether or not to have a severely disabled child. People have the tests for a reason.

Morning Thread.

Til Dad gets up.

Bye bye, Poodle.

Hello Abu Gonzalez.
(View here, too)

-Molly Ivors.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Late Night

Rock on.

Wednesday Roof Deck Blogging

Tasty crustacean edition.


Thread thread thread.

Wanker of the Day

Tom Edsall.


As of those of you who occasionally put on your hipwaders and flip the the radio dial know, there are little Limbaughs all across the country spewing their own particular variety of right wing hate.

A lovely one named Bob Newman said that all Muslim immigrants in the US, including citizens, should be equipped with GPS monitors and be under electronic surveillance at their homes and places of business.

Freedom. Liberty. God bless America.

Congestion Tax

I don't know DC well enough to be sure if it's a good idea, though certainly other related things which would effectively increase the price of commuting by car would be. But, definitely, there's something not quite right about what I've perceived to be the character of much new development in DC. Leaving aside the building height restriction, which I assume will never go away, much of the new residential condo development seems to be happening without the inclusion of neighborhood amenities such as basic retail (supermarkets, etc). So even as residential density might be increasing in spots, it still isn't very pedestrian and transit friendly.

Large parts of DC remind me of large parts of LA - dense enough to have many of the downsides of density while not quite dense enough for many of the advantages of density to kick in.

I Doubt It


I would also like to add that the possibility that women may choose to obtain abortions if their children will have severe disabilities (or for sex selection or whatever) is, as Dana suggests, likely to be a major rhetorical strategy for the anti-choice lobby.

I really don't think so. I imagine large numbers of the "abortion is icky" and "pro choice for me but not for thee" crowds would see the abortion of children with severe disabilities as "good" abortions in many cases. I don't think this would be an especially productive strategy for the anti-choice crowd.


Your liberal media at work.

Shame Jim Boyd is leaving the Strib. He's one of the good ones.

Cheney Says It's a Watershed Year

2005 that is.

Nutter Mania Continues

Here in Philly, underdog Nutter has come out ahead in the latest poll, beating the rich guy, two members of Congress, and a powerful state legislator. He's also picked up the support of the Philadelphia Weekly - that's the one that occasionally comments on my tendency to sweat while running - after receiving the endorsement of just about every other media outlet in town.

Still not sure who I'll vote for, though candidates who are wooing my all important vote can consider sliding unmarked bills in a brown envelope through my mail slot.

Key Swing Group

As Mark Schmitt suggests, in basically any non-landslide election almost every nontrivial population subgroup could arguably be the key swing voter group. The key is to find voters you can attract without dramatically compromising on core issues which will alienate other voters who are... part of another key swing voter group.


One has to assume that Greg Mankiw isn't actually this stupid, so...


In this edition, Jay Carney becomes discomfitted when confronted by the woman who he presumed to tell how she should be living her life.

Still waiting for the similar column on Fred Thompson.


Broder's boy bounces so high Holden gets another pony. Record low 33% in Marist poll.

Also remains at record low in NPR poll.

Light Them Up

Do what Christy says.

And for Dems obsessed with what the Washington press says about them, Fred Hiatt just called you all out.


Over at Matt's place, rea comments:

I defended a 17 year old charged with videotaping himself and his 16 year old girlfriend having sex. Under the law, both of them are child pornographers, subject to horrifying prison terms, even though they didn't intentionally share the video with anyone. Fortunately, I was able to get my client probation, but that is more a matter of the prosecutor and judge being unusually sensible than any legal defense.

I don't have any strong opinions about what you do if under 18 teenagers start making porn videos and distributing them (no distribution in rea's case as far as I know). But the point is that teenagers do in fact get charged with this stuff, and the consequences of getting caught up in the legal system can be severe.

The Self-Correcting Blogosphere


Current law does not punish those who are under 18 who participate in porn or streak at their high school football games (except to the extent they get fined for public indecency), and there would be no legal justification for punishing older teens who do so, either, in the unlikely event the age limit for participating in porn were raised.

Teens prosecuted for racy photos...

Teen girl charged with posting nude pictures on the internet...


In the first case, it should be noted that there wasn't even any distribution of the photos involved. They just existed.

Never Mind

So much for that magic September deadline:

U.S. commanders in Iraq are increasingly convinced that heightened troop levels, announced by President Bush in January, will need to last into the spring of 2008. The military has said it would assess in September how well its counterinsurgency strategy, intended to pacify Baghdad and other parts of Iraq, is working.

"The surge needs to go through the beginning of next year for sure," said Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the day-to-day commander for U.S. military operations in Iraq. The new requirement of up to 15-month tours for active-duty soldiers will allow the troop increase to last until spring, said Odierno, who favors keeping experienced forces in place for now.

"What I am trying to do is to get until April so we can decide whether to keep it going or not," he said in an interview in Baghdad last week. "Are we making progress? If we're not making any progress, we need to change our strategy. If we're making progress, then we need to make a decision on whether we continue to surge." [emphasis added]

Morning Thread


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Fresh Thread


Praying for a Third Party Run

One gets the sense that our elite media members spend their days praying for a strong third party run by somebody. There are a few reasons for this. First, the elite consensus is a consensus without much of a constituency so they really would like some validation of their worldview. Second, it gives them a perspective from which to bash the major party candidates, especially Democrats as voters are always apparently dissatisfied with Democrats, without being seen as taking sides. Third, it gives them infinite excuses to spend their time spinning out ever more elaborate horse race nonsense rather than spending time on actual policies and other things which matter.

I don't know if there will be a strong run this time, but anyone "sensible" who makes any noise along those lines will get lots of attention. How much attention has Unity08 - the stupidest idea in history - been given already?

Anyway, off to Drinking Liberally so I can make social connections and become less isolated.

How to Make the Hackery Stop

You can't. They really just don't care.

Wanker of the Day

Chris Carney.

Rodeo Clown

Boehlert on Beck:

For CNN, the repercussions of the backslide are immense and go far beyond the advertising dollars and cents involved.

That's because whereas CNN last year traded away its good name in exchange for debuting Beck's factually challenged and hateful brand of broadcasting, at least CNN execs were getting a ratings boost out of the Faustian bargain. Today, Beck's still making a mockery out of CNN's reputation on a daily basis, as he disparages liberals, gays, Democrats, blacks, immigrants, and Muslims at will. But in return, CNN's now stuck with a Beck program that's trapped in neutral and shows signs of sliding into reverse.

Well played, CNN.

Iraq 4ever!

Glad they're finally being honest about it.

Tuesday Roof Deck Blogging

Because it's a nice day.

...just another day in Baghdad on the Delaware.

(pic by watertiger)


I suppose this is "supporting the troops" Fox News style.

...Tom Tomorrow reminds us that they've been using this "bait" argument for 4 years. Morris just put it in relatively clumsy terms.


It's almost a forgotten chapter of blog wingnuttia, that oil for food scandal which was going to take down every politician in the world that the wingnuts didn't like, or something. It was never quite clear. Anyway, maybe it'll get one after all.

Chevron, the second-largest American oil company, is preparing to acknowledge that it should have known kickbacks were being paid to Saddam Hussein on oil it bought from Iraq as part of a defunct United Nations program, according to investigators.

The admission is part of a settlement being negotiated with United States prosecutors and includes fines totaling $25 million to $30 million, according to the investigators, who declined to be identified because the settlement was not yet public.


According to the Volcker report, surcharges on Iraqi oil exports were introduced in August 2000 by the Iraqi state oil company, the State Oil Marketing Organization. At the time, Condoleezza Rice, now secretary of state, was a member of Chevron’s board and led its public policy committee, which oversaw areas of potential political concerns for the company.

Ms. Rice resigned from Chevron’s board on Jan. 16, 2001, after being named national security advisor by President Bush.

My Preferred Method is Kneecapping

Though I think Oliver's a fan of cigarette burns.

Fresh Thread

At the risk of reigniting the great sammich war of ought seven, for local peeps Pumpkin Market on South Street makes nice sammiches.


I was interested in this comment by weboy over at Chez Klein Le Bon:

In reality, people are more isolated than ever before, finding it harder to make social connections...

I guess I'm curious about why this is, if so. You certainly see this kind of sentiment a lot, both casually and in books like Putnam's Bowling Alone, but I'm a bit puzzled by it nonetheless. There are certain institutional, economic, cultural, and legal frameworks which do encourage the kind of neighborhood development which is often listed as a partial cause of this, but ultimately people are making their own lifestyle choices, though of course these choices are subject to the various constraints they face.

Ace Reporters

Wingnut bloggers sure are funny.

Friedman Forever

The WaPo is crystallizing September as the supposed Iraq drop dead date for Bush. But it won't be. A few more Republicans will be peeled off, but that's it. The major Republican presidential candidates will still be telling people that if we leave Iraq the terra ists will be hanging out at their local Applebees. Bush is going to cling to his pet war until the end. Movement conservatives will set up yet another stupid web site about victory. Bill Kristol and the rest of the conservative pundits will still be on board.

It ain't gonna magically end in September.


Over there.

BAGHDAD - Suicide bombers killed 13 people in a pair of attacks Monday around the Sunni city of Ramadi in what local officials said was part of a power struggle between al-Qaida and tribes that have broken with the terror network.

In all, at least 68 people were killed or found dead nationwide Monday, police said. They included the bullet-riddled bodies of 30 men found in Baghdad — the apparent victims of sectarian death squads.

Morning Thread


Monday, May 07, 2007

Why Matt Blogs

This is why.

I do for different reasons, somewhat anyway. That's true of everyone I imagine.

Oddly, initially at least I probably had more in common with how Jon Chait fancies himself than with Stoller. While politics and policy outcomes matter to me, my initial motivation was really more about ideas for ideas sake - or at least their public representation - than a strong desire to influence policy. I was reacting to the media's coverage of politics, to their portrayal of reality. I was repulsed by the contrast between reality and how the media portrayed it. It was a desire to correct the record, more than a desire to influence reality, that originally motivated me to start blogging.

Fresh Thread

Rock on


No one watches his shitty show.

Thunderous Helping of Nuttitude

The Mittster is confusing scifi with reality.

Uh, Guys?

I hate to break it to you, but Johnny Ramone died almost 3 years ago.


Charlie Peters:

I'm very fond of Mike [Kinsley]. He's genuinely brilliant, but I think there has always been a tension between Mike and me, in that I sense he is embarrassed by passion. Mike's detachment has notably decreased since his marriage and the onset of Parkinson's, both of which had a pronounced humanizing effect, but his more sardonic imitators have become a major problem in journalism -- very bright people who seem too concerned with being bright.

(via alterman)


I also don't know what it will take to kill the "bloggers are children" idea. They're wedded to it, and nothing will dissuade them from it.

What a Movement

Apparently there are only 8858 Voices for Victory. Congratulations to Tbogg for being #29 on the signature leaderboard.


Evan, do you like movies about gladiators?

55 Days

I do appreciate conversion, but I'm a bit puzzled how the LA Times can go from mocking "General Pelosi" to calling for a pullout in just 55 short days.


Now this is a boycott I can wholeheartedly support. Stay away, haters! Besides, it's more dangerous than Baghdad here, or something.


This is some great discussion of Lileks and related newspaper industry issues.

(via roy)

Unmarried Women

I meant to link to Tom Schaller's column from a couple of days ago which points out things people know but pretend not to, namely that the "center" is largely dead, comma, and unmarried women is the population segment where Dems have tremendous opportunities.

Maybe someone should figure out where these mythical creatures congregate and convince them to vote.


Hugh Bailey smacks Joe Lieberman around:

It may be hard to understand for someone who thinks of himself as above all that, but politics is partisanship. People align themselves with different parties because they have different beliefs, and different ideas. Not everyone agrees on the best way to, say, fund education or conduct foreign policy — or prevent terrorism. What kind of a political world are we looking for with no partisanship?

Maybe he wants the kind we had for most of the past six years. With one party running the legislative and executive branches, there was no oversight, no accountability, and now we're stuck in the middle of a war — we can't stay and we can't leave. Maybe more partisanship could have avoided all this.

Lieberman leads the Senate committee on government affairs, but apparently avoiding the "partisan politics of polarization," as he calls it, is a good excuse not to do his job. Campaigning last year, he said he would make sure the Bush administration turned over records on internal White House deliberations — likely to embarrass the president — from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. After the election, he changed his mind.

"We don't want to play 'gotcha' anymore," Lieberman said in January when word came out he was backing off his pre-election promise. "We want to get the aid and assistance to the people of the region who need it," as though the two were mutually exclusive.

The leader of the House version of Lieberman's committee is Rep. Henry Waxman of California. Armed with subpoena power, Waxman has already delved into the Pentagon propaganda operation, which fictionalized the stories of Jessica Lynch and Pat Tillman; he's investigating the parallel e-mail system that may have allowed White House political staff to avoid laws on preserving communications; and he wants answers from the top about the lies leading up to the Iraq invasion. There is no chance of seeing similar investigations in the Senate committee — Lieberman knows which voters got him back into office last year, and they weren't Democrats. But he can take credit for one achievement. He succeeded in getting Republicans and Democrats to alternate seats with one another around the dais when they meet in committee, rather than splitting up on one side or the other. All the better for civility.

If the self-appointed arbiter of all things bipartisan is going to turn his back on doing the job he was elected to do, he can at least make sure everyone is nice to each other.

Blog On!

On the news of James Lileks' new job while hunting for something I came across an old post I wrote in October of 2002.

I've come around my friends. My good friend the Rottweiler, who I linked below, has made me see the error of my ways. It's a simple choice, really. If I continue along the path that I'm on I will wake up one morning to find that after being incinerated in a nuclear bomb blast dropped by one of Hussein's drone planes I will be condemned to a life in hell for my liberal views. It isn't yet clear which is hotter - the heat from a nuclear blast or from the fires of hell - but I don't want to be the one to find the answer that burning (ha ha!) question.

So, onward to Iraq I say. The sooner the better.

This decision did raise another question - how best can I serve my country in this righteous endeavour? Don't worry - I haven't wasted much time on it. The answer is clear. I could enlist and fight for my country, but the truth is my skills are needed at home. My readers need me.

I will continue to blog, as blog I must. My blogs will speak truth to power - to the 5th columnists and the liberal media. My blogs will inspire others - perhaps not to serve, but they will at least help to drum up the righteous fury necessary to win this holy war. As my new ideological soulmate James Lileks said in a recent column, 'This war is not for the faint at heart.' Never fear, fearless readers - my heart will never be faint, and my blogs will ensure that you too will never have the treasonous thoughts that your faint hearts, led astray by liberal propaganda, might inspire.

So stay with me as I blog for God and Country, for our fallen soldiers, for the soon to be liberated Iraqi children and yes, my readers, their soon to be liberated puppies. The ones that survive our righteous fury, at least.

Blog on. Let's roll.

Groundhog Day indeed.


Newt's discovered the problem.

"The problem is not broad strategy and policy, it's that the bureaucracy is so inefficient and there's been so little follow-up that the machine doesn't work," former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said. He believes red tape in Washington is the biggest obstacle to winning in Iraq.

This is about the search for the "war czar," because neither the Commander in Chief, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the Secretary of Defense, nor the National Security Adviser is capable of cutting through that bureaucracy over 6 years into the Bush presidency and over 4 years into this war.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Late Night

Rock on.

More Thread

Not corrosive.

Fresh Thread


Everybody Hates Mitt

Speaking of Mitt, I have yet to see any of the Very Serious People address the fact that he's frighteningly (to him anyway) unpopular. I don't think I've ever seen a national matchup between pairs where a named Democrat beat a named Republican by 37 points. And that's just Edwards. Obama beats him by 29 points, and Clinton by 22 points. He's dipping into Dick Cheney territory and losing even some of the die hard lizard brains.

The Europe of the Past

The extent to which Republicans live in some alternative reality of their own construction is really creepy.

In France, for instance, I'm told that marriage is now frequently contracted in seven-year terms where either party may move on when their term is up. How shallow and how different from the Europe of the past.

Wake Me Up When September Ends

While we've been here before, elite media people seemed to have settled on the notion that September is the drop dead date on Iraq, that Republicans have been making genuine noise that it'll be time to abandon Bush on Iraq then. The September date gets repeated often enough that it seems to have been circulated at enough of Sally Quinn's parties. That doesn't mean it's genuine, of course, as we should never underestimate the all powerful Friedman Unit Generator, but it seems a bit more real than it ever did before.

I'm not optimistic. I'd put it at 10% that there will be veto-override levels of Republican defection, and put it at 1% that the elite media will notice that they were suckered again when those defections fail to appear.


Over there:

Six U.S. soldiers and a civilian journalist killed near Baghdad


BAGHDAD (AP) - Six American soldiers and a civilian journalist were killed Sunday in a roadside bombing northeast of Baghdad, the military said, raising to 11 the number of U.S. combat deaths reported.

Not sure if that's 11 killed today or just 11 reported today. Either way.

More Hamell

To keep you occupied while I'm out for a few hours.


And On and On

Boehner today:

"Over the course of the next three to four months, we'll have some idea how well the plan's working. Early signs are indicating there is clearly some success on a number of fronts," he said.

Boehner, 1/23/07:

BOEHNER: I think it will be rather clear in the next 60 to 90 days as to whether this plan is going to work. And, again, that's why we need to have close oversight, so that we just don't look up 60 or 90 days from now and realize that -- that this plan is not working. We need to know, as we -- as we're -- we move through these benchmarks, that the Iraqis are doing what they have to do.

Strolling in Baghdad

Hamell on Trial

Out of Room

Perhaps some Republicans should sacrifice some office space.

Oh, wait, "Republicans sacrifice?" Never mind.

More Great Moments in Modern Punditry

Meet the Press edition:

RUSSERT: And we are back. Lots of discussion this week, group, about presidential imagery. I want to show you some tape and let’s come back and talk about it [tape of Bush on USS Lincoln]. USS Lincoln, and coming back holding his helmet after being co-pilot, greeting the sailors and Marines aboard that plane. Now [tape of Michael Dukakis in tank], contrast that to 1988, Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis driving in a sound bite and photo-op that was widely criticized and ridiculed. David Broder, what’s the difference? What happens? Why is one perceived as real and the other as— [group laughter]

BRODER: It has something to do with physical posture and so on. This president has learned how to move in a way that just conveys a great sense of authority and command, which Governor Dukakis never did. But the other thing is that it has something to do with what they had done before they got to that moment. This fellow’s won a war, and Dukakis, to the best of my recollection, never did win a war.

RUSSERT: Bob Novak?

NOVAK: Well, I think he looks good in a jump suit. A lot of people don’t, Tim. Maybe you and I wouldn’t look that good in a jump suit as a fly-boy.

RUSSERT: Maybe an orange prison garb for you there, more likely.

NOVAK: But I would say that the response by our Democrats that, well, he missed a lot of National Guard meetings, that is not going to do the trick. The other thing is that the leader in some of the polls by a fairly wide margin, is Joe Lieberman. Could Joe Lieberman get into a jet pilot’s jump suit and look credible? I doubt it, so this is one little advantage that George W. has.

RUSSERT: Doris, take us through history. Presidents have always tried to cast themselves riding horses, Rough Rider Teddy Roosevelt or Abraham Lincoln, log cabins. This kind of imagery, how important is it to projecting an image for the American voter?

DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN: Well, you see, I think what worked about the speech the other night was not only the imagery. The imagery is a kind of static thing, even the plane going in, but what made it work was partly what David said. There’s a war behind it. It was a real event, and by speaking to those soldiers who were on their way home, it gave it such an emotional connection between him and the soldiers, just like when Reagan spoke on the anniversary of D-Day before that incredible rock. And people had climbed up that rock and those rangers were there. There’s a connection then between the commander in chief and the troops that you cannot take away.

So I think it is crazy to criticize it. I think it was a good thing he did for himself, for the country and the Democrats have plenty of other things to criticize, but it’s silly to go on about that.

Wanker of the Day

Sally Quinn.

Though, as always, she does provide a useful window into that Washington cocktail party circuit us paranoids dream about.


Over there:

BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A car bomb killed at least 35 people and wounded 80 on Sunday next to a crowded market in a Shi'ite district of Baghdad which has been a repeated target of attacks blamed on Sunni Islamist al Qaeda.

Which brings us to another Great Moment in Modern Punditry:

The soft version of this argument is that the delay in finding weapons of mass destruction proves we should have given the U.N. weapons inspectors more time. Hans Blix intimated as much when he archly noted that "it is conspicuous that so far [U.S. troops] have not stumbled upon anything, evidence." The reason U.S. troops haven't yet found anything is that Hussein worked assiduously to hide his proscribed weapons. Iraq moved weapons around the country in tractor-trailers, buried them in out-of-the-way places and so on. The lesson is that finding Hussein's weapons isn't as simple as pulling over to the side of the road and peering into suspicious-looking buildings. It requires cracking open the elaborate secrecy apparatus surrounding them. That's something Blix was never going to be able to do. The difficulty of locating weapons of mass destruction doesn't prove that inspectors should have been given more time. It proves that inspections could never have worked while Hussein remained in power.

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

ABC's "This Week" — Former Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C.; Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo.
CBS's "Face the Nation" — Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y.; former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.
NBC's "Meet the Press" — Former CIA Director George Tenet.
CNN's "Late Edition" — Sens. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; former Gov. Jim Gilmore, R-Va.; Syrian Ambassador Imad Moustapha; Iraqi Ambassador Samir Sumaidaie; Egyptian Ambassador Nabil Fahmy.
"Fox News Sunday" — Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn.; House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio; the Rev. Richard Land, president of Southern Baptist Convention's public policy arm.