Saturday, May 26, 2007


liberal losers.

Worst American Birthdays Vol. XVI

The Daily Kos, born on this date in 2002, is perhaps the most malevolent force in American politics today. Since its establishment, it has done everything possible to silence other voices through the establishment of its diary system, to stop the progress of progressive candidates by bankrolling (with the help of its primary backer George Soros) a series of neo-Nazis like Ned Lamont, and has been openly hostile to the concept of open politics on the internet with its insistence on supporting "net neutrality" and an internet free of FEC regulation.

When historians look back on the decline and fall of America, May 26, 2002, will mark the point when order turned to anarchy, where liberal society turned to fascism, where our political discourse was snatched away from our betters and handed over, without thought to consequence, to the dirty masses whose ignorance and incivility drove our elites into hiding and our country into the abyss.

Happy Birthday Daily Kos
, may Joe Lieberman outlive you so he can spit on your grave.

(with apologies to d at LG&M)

Fresh Thread


The Age of Magical Pony Plans

I thought we'd have gotten past it by now, but even now Brave Pundits continue to try to micromanage the issue of what to do in Iraq and precisely how good patriotic Democrats are supposed to vote on this bill or that in order to demonstrate their degree of patriotic pundit-approvded sensibility. Joke Line sniffs at those who vote against funding, accusing them of supporting a "precipitous departure," even though Bush through his veto and most of the Republicans had likewise signaled their support for a "precipitous departure" just weeks before.

The rest of us understand that it's important to signal any way possible, either through voting against supporting it or cobbling together enough votes for something opposing it, that it's time to start getting out. Starting getting out is the start of a long process, and Democrats won't be causing a "precipitous departure" even if they pass the "Precipitous Departure Act of 2007."

Happy Life Day

Because every now and then I have to remind myself that this is real and not some really bad dream I had.

The Star Wars Holiday Special in 5 minutes.

Afternoon Thread


Contemptuous Snort


Looking Ahead

I'm perusing my Grand Calendar of Perpetual Friedmans, looking at all the Future Friedmans which will come and go, noticed by no one but me. Senator Shelby has a remarkable set of FUs and modified FUs ahead of him, on May 28, July 27, September 30, November 3, and December 3.

It really is very depressing.


I'm not sure what's creepier - Harman's need to apologize to Joe, Joe's unwillingness to say "yes I should have checked the roll call," or his unwillingness to direct his prior criticism of Clinton and Obama at Harman.

But, there you go.


A very frustrating thing over the past few years has been our elite leaders' failure to understand what was going on in Iraq. Bush had declared over and over again that leaving was losing, and it was crystal clear that Iraq was a complete disaster, yet they still clung to the belief that either the pony would appear or that Republicans would force George Bush to start getting out. Neither has happened, neither is going to happen, and those are perfectly obvious things to this dirty fucking hippie

We're Always About to Withdraw

And the press dutifully reports it.

Blind Quote

Who said this on 11/22/05? in September '05?

I don't believe it's smart to set a date for withdrawal. I don't think you should ever telegraph your intentions to the enemy so they can await you.

And Another Friedman Ends

McCaffrey on Meet the Press, 6 months ago:

I—my guess is next four to six months are crucial. If Maliki’s government cannot gain the allegiance of their security forces, cannot find some way to mute the power of the militias—which are, I might add, are—you know, we start talking as if there were two or three militias and one Sunni insurgency. In fact, it’s now splintering. There’s as many as 23 separate militias in Baghdad alone. So the Maliki government’s under the gun, and I think the president’s visit on, on Monday is going to be a very crucial dialogue between the two of them. They have to govern or we can’t sustain a counterinsurgency campaign in the urban areas of Iraq.

Senator Box Turtle, 6 months ago:

CORNYN: I think General Abizaid had it about right. He said he thinks we have about another four to six months to get this right. And I think that's what we're looking at.

Wanker of the Day

Twisted freak MeMe Roth.

Media Matters

From Jamison Foser.

Friday, May 25, 2007


A Swampland commenter notices that Joke Line is still full of it (even more than was obvious).

Attention Jokeline; The original post quoted Rep. Harman in the past tense, meaning the conversation took place after the vote. Why was her staff required to contact you with the facts? Did Rep. Harman forget how she voted during your conversation? Or did you modify the tense to fit a blurb you had already decided to write?

Indeed, Joe wrote:

Yesterday I spoke with Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-Ca.) just back from Iraq, who voted for the bill--as did a majority of Democrats who are not running for President. "Look, I would love to have cast a vote against Bush on this. We need a new strategy and I hope we can force one in September," she told me. "But I flew into Baghdad on a troop transport with 150 kids, heading into the field. To vote against this bill was to vote against giving them the equipment, the armor they need. I couldn't do that."

Ah, modern journalism.

...adding, it's possible that Klein is quoting Harman accurately, in which case she was inappropriately using the past tense to describe an action which hadn't happened, but it would be rather odd to do so and not find it... odd.


Well, here we are. Drudge:

Bush admin developing plans for for reducing combat forces in Iraq by as much as half next year, NEW YORK TIMES planning to report on Saturday, newsroom sources tell DRUDGE REPORT... MORE.. could 'lower troop levels to roughly 100,000 by the midst of the 2008 presidential election,' paper will claim... Sec. of Defense Gates and Condoleezza Rice proponents of the plan.... Developing...


But only if Congress gives him a free hand until then, natch.

Scary Vaginas

What would we do without Ace.


No, I normally don't spend my Friday evenings watching CNN but this just caught my eye.


And why this subject should be discussed by Kyra Phillips, the African-American communications director for Dana "Got a Secret" Rohrabacher, a Latina "Republican Strategist" and the host of a BET show I do not know.

Please kill me.

Friday Night

Bar's open. Have a drink.

Truth in Iraq


Evening Thread


Taking Us Back

Digby reminds us of the freak show that was the 90s.

2-3 Years

Fitz sez that's what Scooter deserves.

Though the real issue is whether they'll let him stay out pending appeal.

Today on CNN

Truck in river.

Plane still sitting safely on tarmac.

Drivers still driving.

Just in cased you were worried you missed something.

Why We Have To Love GF-R

Quotes like this:

And yes, I know it's the Clintons we're talking about, so that nastiness should never come as a shock, but these are Timesmen, of whom I would expect better, even in their private efforts.

Look, being at the Times doesn't make you an awesome superjournalist by definition. And this isn't just Timesmen we're talking about, but Jeff Gerth, hyper of Clinton bullshit throughout the 90s.

Wanker of the Day

Joe Klein.


There have been 3 presidents during my adult life - Bush, Clinton, Bush - a period of optimism bookended by pessimism. At the end of Bush I there was a recession. It wasn't a very big one but it seemed to be accompanied by growing pessimism about the future. Maybe it was just that I was graduating from college roughly around that time, but there was a sense of diminished opportunity, of diminished options. That changed during the Clinton era, when eventually everything seemed possible. There was something new and wonderful, the internet, and there was the great sense that the future could be bright. Some of this was "irrational exuberance," but some of it was based in reality. Real wages were going up. Inequality was shrinking and black unemployment was declining. The deficit was gone and thought could be given to some positive and necessary things the government could do. The sense of possibility was back.

And then little George turned it all to shit.

I'm fascinated by this 72% wrong track number. I'd like to understand it more. I'm not sure I have sense of the basic reasons why so many people think things are going to hell. We can all come up with various possibilities, and there won't be one single answer, but I still think there's probably a coherent narrative to be teased out. I'm just not sure what it is.


Some people are curious about what advantages density could possibly have. Higher density puts you in closer proximity to stuff and means that more stuff can be economically supported. That is, having lots of people in an area means that you can have shops, restaurants, supermarkets, etc... in an area without needing acres of parking lot in front of them. Combine a walkable neighborhood with a decent transit system - which itself can be more supportable with higher population density - and you reduce the need for one car per driving age household member as well as removing the primary parental job description of "chauffeur." These things are self-reinforcing. Adding more neighborhood amenities/transit reduces the need to drive, which reduces demand for cars and associated parking space, which reduces space given over to automobiles, etc...

But the density needs to be combined with other things for it to work. You need mixed-use zoning in some areas at least so people are mixed in with retail/jobs. You need calmer traffic areas so that being a pedestrian isn't a health hazard. You need a sensible, if not perfect, mass transit system.


Los Angeles is indeed much more dense than many people imagine, in large part because contrary to myth its early development pattern was established by streetcar lines, not roads and urban highways. The urban highways came later and Judge Doom shut down the streetcars. And, yes, bits of it do resemble DC quite a bit.

L.A. really is a place which is dense in stupid ways, such that the negative aspects of density are enhanced while the positive aspects tend not to exist.

Wrong Track

72% is a big number. Really big.


Awhile back a congressional staffer suggested to me that the Democrats were concerned because they were being "hammered" on a particular issue (I actually forget just what it was). It was true that Republicans were going to the House floor and making their incoherent grunting noises, as they usually do, about the issue, and that wingnuttia was aflame, as it usually is. And, sure, some of that was seeping through to the mainstream media coverage, as it does. But it just was not the case that the Democrats were being "hammered." The Republicans aren't that bright, and they don't always have a very good sense of which issues have traction (see Schiavo, Terri) with the public, or which cute catch phrases will resonate with people. They have a very big amplifer - Fox, Limbaugh, Drudge, Drudge's little sister Politico, big chunks of the rest of cable news, Fred Hiatt's crayon scribble page, the conservative "family" groups and their email lists - but the Democrats don't suffer every time they turn it up to 11 because the American public isn't nearly as stupid as Joe Klein is.

As I said, I forget what this issue was, but it was obvious to me at the time that it had no traction. The Republicans could grunt and squeal, Big Pharma could bloviate, Drudge could put the siren up, and Fred Hiatt could publish an op-ed by little Katie Kagan, age 5, and it wasn't going to matter. The Democrats were not being "hammered," but instead Republicans and their various mouthpieces were just looking like fools.

Democrats need to learn when they are and aren't being hammered.


According to my ex-girlfriend, in my 10th grade diary I wrote about my long term plan to play bass for David Bowie.

Morning Singalong

I was thinking about this song the other day.
--Molly Ivors

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Late Night

rock on

Blurring of the Genders


Fresh Thread


Patrick Murphy to Vote Against Iraq Supplemental

Just heard on local NPR.

Reward good behavior.

Exactly the Dilemma

Thanks oh wise men of Washington for deciding to do it all over again.

The dirty fucking hippies are right again.

Narrative Inconsistency

So, we're fighting "them" over there so we don't fight them here, if we leave they'll follow us home, we're fighting al Qaeda terrorists who want to kill us all, etc... etc... Except if the Iraqi government asks us to leave we'll go home and wait for destruction.

Q Thank you, Mr. President. You say you want nothing short of victory, that leaving Iraq would be catastrophic; you once again mentioned al Qaeda. Does that mean that you are willing to leave American troops there, no matter what the Iraqi government does? I know this is a question we've asked before, but you can begin it with a "yes" or "no."

THE PRESIDENT: We are there at the invitation of the Iraqi government. This is a sovereign nation. Twelve million people went to the polls to approve a constitution. It's their government's choice. If they were to say, leave, we would leave.

I'll resist pointing out that it was a sovereign nation in early 2003 also...

These People

What I tried to link to earlier.

Feingold Gets It

It's rather simple.

Fresh Thread



People hate Bush, hate Republicans, and hate this war. I don't understand these people.

These People

What Rick says. It also says a lot about discourse in this country that it has to be pointed out.

...oy, delinked as I killed the hamsters.

When September Comes

It really is the case that elite opinion has solidified around the idea that come September all the responsible Republicans (who are they? I have no idea) are going to decide that enough's enough and it's time to start putting an end to the boy king's little crusade.

It really is the case that, once again, elite opinion is completely fucking wrong.

For Vicki

Al will be on the Daily Show this evening.

Useful Idiots

Democrats edition.

Useful Idiots

Joe Klein edition.

"Democrats Gave In"

People like winners and hate losers. This basic fact seems to not be understood.

Wanker of the Day

David Broder.

...oh, crap, I forgot I made him Wanker Emeritus. Oh well, one more time.

F.U. Senator

Cornyn with Blitzer:

BLITZER: So how long would 180,000 or 200,000 U.S. troops, according to your estimate, be deployed in Iraq?
How long would this surge last?

CORNYN: I think General Abizaid had it about right. He said he thinks we have about another four to six months to get this right. And I think that's what we're looking at.

That particular Friedman Unit ends on Saturday.


From the beginning of May until Tuesday, 321 unidentified corpses, many dumped and showing signs of torture and execution, have been found across the Iraqi capital, according to morgue data provided by a Health Ministry official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information. The data showed that the same number of bodies were found in all of January, the month before the launch of the Baghdad security plan.


Lord Shafer lowers himself to engage Al Gore and misses the point entirely. The problem is not that there is celebrity news or sports news, the problem is when trivial stories dominate the entire news narrative. That almost never happens with sports, which gets little coverage on cable news or Matt "Rules Their World" Drudge. The problem isn't that there's a sports section in your newspaper, the problem is when unimportant stuff bleeds into the regular coverage.


Over there.

FALLUJA, Iraq, May 24 (Reuters) - At least 27 people were killed and dozens wounded on Thursday when a suicide bomber in a car packed with explosives drove into a crowd of mourners at a funeral in Falluja, west of Baghdad, police said.

Not Stupid

Don't piss on us and tell us it's raining.

I understand the leadership doesn't have the votes. So say that, and blame those responsible. Declaring victory? Jeebus.

Get Broderella His Smelling Salts

Such awful language is never heard inside the the magical civility barrier known as the beltway.

Morning Thread

For some reason the cats have decided that dawn is when everyone gets up.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


rock on


The movement continues.

Evening Thread



Broder's boy bounces to new low in Diageo/Hotline poll.

Holden gets yet another pony, though he may lose his soul in the process.


Since I haven't seen this elsewhere, from CNN yesterday:

GORANI: Also in the headlines, a U.N. relief convoy got caught in renewed fighting between Lebanese troops and militants holed up in a Palestinian refugee camp. The convoy was bringing badly needed supplies into the camp, trying to take advantage of a truce declared by the militants, when it was hit -- the convoy was hit. Witnesses say several civilians who tried to collect supplies were injured or killed, but those reports have not been verified.

Well, Investigative Journalist Seymour Hersh reported back in March that in order to defeat Hezbollah, the Lebanese government supported Sunni militant groups, the same ones they're fighting today.

Seymour Hersh joins us now live from Washington. Thanks for being with us. What is the source of the financing according to your reporting of these groups such as Fatah al Islam in these camps of Nahr al Bared, for instance? Where are they getting the money, where are they getting the arms?

SEYMOUR HERSH, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Key player are the Saudis, of course, and Bandar. What I was writing about was a sort of a private agreement that was made between the White House, we're talking about Richard -- Dick Cheney and Elliott Abrams, who is one of the key aides in the White House with Bandar. And the idea was to get support, covert support -- money, from the Saudis to support various hard-line jihadists, Sunni groups, particularly in Lebanon, who would be seen in case of an actual confrontation with Hezbollah. The Shia group in the southern Lebanon would be seen as an asset, as simple as that.

GORANI: So, the Senora government, in order to counter the influence of Hezbollah in Lebanon, would be covertly according to your reporting, funding groups like Fatah al Islam that they're having issues with right now?

HERSH: Unintended consequences once again, yes.

GORANI: And, so if Saudi Arabia and the Senora government are doing this, whether it's unintended or not, therefore it has the United States must have something to say about it or not?

HERSH: Well, the United States was deeply involved. This was a covert operation that Bandar ran with us. And don't forget, if you remember, you know, we got into the war in Afghanistan with supporting (ph) Osama bin Laden, the Mujahideen back there in the late 1980s with Bandar, and with people like Elliott Abrams around, the idea being that the Saudis promise us they could control -- they could control the jihadists.

So, we spent a lot of money and time, the United States in the late 1980s, using and supporting the jihadists to help us beat the Russians in Afghanistan, and they turned on us. And we have the same pattern, not as if, you know, there's any lessons learned. It's the same pattern using the Saudis again to support jihadists, the Saudis assuring us they can control these various groups, the Salafis and others, the groups like the one that we're -- that's in contact right now in Tripoli with the government.

GORANI: Sure, but the Mujahideen in the '80s was one era. Have the Americans -- why would it be in the best interest of the United States of America right now to indirectly, even if it is indirect, empower these jihadi movements that are extremists that fight to the death in these Palestinian camps? Doesn't it go against the interests not only of the Senora government, but also of America and Lebanon right now?

HERSH: The enemy of our enemy is our friend. The jihadist groups in Lebanon were also there to go after Nasrullah, Hezbollah. Hezbollah, which, if you remember last year defeated Israel, whether or not the Israelis want to acknowledge it. And so you have in Hezbollah, a major threat to the American ...

Look, the American role is very simple right now. Condoleezza Rice, the Secretary of State, has been very articulate about it. We're in the business now of supporting the Sunnis anywhere we can against the Shia, against the Shia in Iran, against the Shia in Lebanon, that is Nasrullah, et cetera against -- so the game is really, as you could call it, almost -- the Arabic word is Citna (ph), civil war.

Diary of a Christian Terrorist

From Max Blumenthal.

Davis v. Goodling

Some highlights from today:


As for what the Democrats should do, they should vote against the supplemental. Right now they've established the worst of all worlds: they appear to have lost; they've done nothing to halt the war; they've put up a bogus bill which if they support will allow conservative Republicans to continue to screech while letting Republicans in swing districts vote for it and claim they've done something to tie the president's hands. If this is the bill, let it be a Republican bill.

The Jack Handey Question

Vicki, in comments, suggested there's something Jack Handyish about Obama's tone, and trademark dave came up with this Handeysim:

If you're in a war, instead of throwing a hand grenade at the enemy, throw one of those small pumpkins. Maybe it'll make everyone think how stupid war is, and while they are thinking, you can throw a real grenade at them.

Given the centrality of the Iraq war this perhaps isn't the most appropriate example, but if we see this as a metaphor for politics rather than a meditation on war strategy, the basic question is whether Obama's willing to throw the grenade after confusing them with the pumpkins or if he thinks the pumpkins will be enough.

More and Better Democrats

I once said something along the lines of "all we can do is elect more and better Democrats." That isn't quite true, of course, as there are plenty of other things one can do. One can decide there are other things you can spend your time doing. One can focus on state and local politics. One can try to put pressure on the existing Democrats. One can decide that enhancing the stature of third parties is important. Lots of options.

Still to the extent that Congress has a rather important role, electing more and better Democrats is an important thing to do, if not the only thing. By accounts Darcy Burner is indeed a better Democrat, so consider unloading a few extra pennies.


Andrew Golis

Obama's call for a "new kind of politics" based around this kind of mutual understanding and an end to an active demonization of political opponents discomforts a lot of people on the Left who see echoes of Lieberman-esque capitulation and collusion in the cloak of bipartisanship. And Obama hasn't done enough to calm these worries by staking out his territory on the Left on the policy side.

I went to an Obama fundraiser yesterday at the 2400-or-so capacity Electric Factory (normally a concert venue) yesterday. His rhetoric is interesting, as he seems to be able to seamlessly shift between Liebermanesque what's-most-important-is-that-we-all-get-along rhetoric and radical "let's take to the streets and burn shit down" rhetoric (I'm exaggerating on both sides, of course). The inclusive rhetoric doesn't just worry people like me because of policy concerns, it's that one worries he's confusing idealism with reality.

The crowd was diverse across age and race, and Obama certainly has his fans.

Is This The Beginning of Doddmania?

I'm quite surprised at his willingness to take shots at his colleagues.

John Nichols has more.

Just In

CNN Chyron:


F.U. too.


If you're tired of Ms. Goodling, you can watch Edwards talk about foriegn policy in a minute. Why Lord Weisberg has to preside I do not know, but you go to foreign policy speeches with the MC you have and not the one you want.

Greg provides a bit of preview.

The Worst F.U. Yet

And on and on it goes.


That's me going all Anakin Skywalker on the idea of mandatory national service. It's one of those ideas which appealed to me, not coincidentally, around the time when I would've been too old for it to apply to me. I've never really quite understood why proponents think it's a good idea. I don't especially think we should have some culturally unifying program. I don't think we need a mass labor program to instill a sense of civic obligation. I'm not sure how to put a bunch of 18-19 year olds to work. Non-military options would ensure that elites would not serve in the military if they did not want to.

All Alone

Poor Wolfowitz got dumped.

Show Time

You can watch here (video link) or here.
Christy will be liveblogging.

...adding, a bunch of people have written in to say that it appears that Goodling was given use immunity, meaning that the testimony can't be used against her or used as a springboard to other things but evidence collected by other means can. No immunity for any underlying crimes.


...ah, just a little immunity tango.

Breaking the Law

It certainly sounds as if Goodling was breaking the law. Where's the prosecution?

...adding, I was under the impression that her immunity deal didn't get her a get out of jail free card for all past transgressions, just that the testimony itself couldn't be used against her. Is this incorrect? Actually not having much luck finding details of the deal.

Somehow I Missed This Yesterday

So, the fact that in 2005 bin Laden suggested that maybe Iraq might be a fun place to party is now justification for all of this?

I need a drink.


Mary Jo Buttafuco will be the guest on Larry King tonight.

For the Vanity and Power of Old Men

9 more US troops died yesterday. Thanks for all your wisdom Bob Kerrey! Time to STFU now.

Morning Thread

Happy Monica Goodling day.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Thread, The Fresh

On, The Rock

Fresh Thread

And a tribute to Robert Greenwald.



A group of students from Falwell's Liberty University staged a counterprotest.

And Campbell County authorities arrested a Liberty University student for having several homemade bombs in his car.

The student, 19-year-old Mark D. Uhl of Amissville, Va., reportedly told authorities that he was making the bombs to stop protesters from disrupting the funeral service. The devices were made of a combination of gasoline and detergent, a law enforcement official told ABC News' Pierre Thomas. They were "slow burn," according to the official, and would not have been very destructive.

Open Thread

While I edit my Wikipedia entry to add more fight scenes.

Not Worth Responding To

DOJ v. Conason.

out for a bit

Poor Little Dears

Can't make decisions for themselves.

Wanker of the Day

Bob Kerrey.

Heckuva Job, Bushie

It's as if they can't do anything right.

Al Hurra television, the U.S. government's $63 million-a-year effort at public diplomacy broadcasting in the Middle East, is run by executives and officials who cannot speak Arabic, according to a senior official who oversees the program.

That might explain why critics say the service has recently been caught broadcasting terrorist messages, including an hour-long tirade on the importance of anti-Jewish violence, among other questionable pieces.

Facing tough questions before a congressional panel last week, Broadcasting Board of Governors member Joaquin Blaya admitted none of the senior news managers at the network spoke Arabic when the terrorist messages made it onto the air courtesy of U.S. taxpayer funds. Nor did Blaya himself or any of the other officials at the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees the network.

...use this link for comments if the other one isn't working out for you.


Broder's boy bounces all the way to 31% in new ARG poll.

Holden gets another pony, though he may have to share this one with Athenae.


Broder's boy bounces to a new low in Rasmussen poll.

Holden gets a pony! Be careful with this one.

...use this link for comments if the one below shows no posts.

Very Well Done Filet Mignon?


...use this comments link if the one below shows no posts.

We'd Have Gotten Away With It If Not For You Meddling Partisans!

How the pundits view the universe.


Over there:

BAGHDAD - A parked car bomb ripped through a crowded outdoor market in southwestern Baghdad on Tuesday, killing 25 people despite a 3-month-old security crackdown meant to reduce violence in the capital.


U.S. military officials say that insurgent groups, feeling the pressure from the crackdown, have hit back by stepping up their car bombing attacks with their devastating death tolls.

...try this for comments.

Speaking of Training Iraqi Troops

I shouldn't be so harsh, Maliki's got a whole nine more days to keep this promise:

AMMAN, Jordan - Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said Thursday that his country's forces would be able to assume security command by June 2007 — which could allow the United States to start withdrawing its troops.

"I cannot answer on behalf of the U.S. administration but I can tell you that from our side our forces will be ready by June 2007," Maliki told ABC television after meeting President Bush on Thursday in Jordan.

Maliki was replying to a question about whether U.S. troops could start withdrawing at that time.

...try this link for comments.

Pick a Side, Any Side

The new plan is to train Iraqi troops? What the hell did they supposedly spend the last 3 years doing?

...try this link for comments.

Morning Thread

Thread gone wild.

Monday, May 21, 2007

More Thread

Keep it real.

Speaking of Changing Business Models

I suppose other than history and tradition there isn't necessarily any case to be made that radio deserves to have some special exemption from royalty payments, but I just can't fathom that it would really make business sense to choke off free promotion.

Flip side is that it could be the best thing that ever happened to non-RIAA performers. Maybe the fine folks at Merge Records and elsewhere should support this.

Fresh Thread


Royalties Due

Perpetual Copyright Helprin wrote this book:

Something which might have been impossible for him to do under the scheme he favors.


One thing that always amuses me about the wingnutosphere, especially the wingnut welfare wannabees, is that they're always stamping their feet and whining that Republicans in Washington don't respect them or what they do.

Derivative Works

I'd say the biggest (though certainly not the only) problem with copyright extensions is that they prevent derivative works. I can sympathize (though not agree) with authors believing that they should have the exclusive right in perpetuity to sell their book as written, but the real importance of the public domain is that it allows bits and pieces to be appropriated and used by other writers. While my "Han Solo Meets Frodo" novel might survive litigation by Lucas and the Tolkien estate, my inability to pay for lawyers to defend myself will prevent me from trying to publish it.

Disney made lots of money stealing from other authors building on past works, and that's not as possible to do.

...what I said plus a bit more actual law and case history here.

From The Things Which Won't Happen File

Andrea Mitchell on tweety's show:

Ms. MITCHELL: And you have the election calendar here, as well, which is
another part of the timetable. But basically, there is no belief in the
region that Maliki, that his government can sustain this. You can't sustain
it militarily and you can't sustain it politically here at home. So the basic
calculation by Republican and Democratic senators is, when General Petraeus
briefs in September, if this thing has not turned a corner, you're going to
start to see withdrawal.

But you won't. Republicans aren't going to back down.

"The Left"

Wonkette (post-Ana Marie) and Andrew Sullivan.


This point has been made over and over since I started blogging and I can't believe it hasn't come to the attention of Reynolds by now.

Dirty Old Men

Lance Mannion joins the ranks.

(ht avedon)

I Hated All That Music

Well, not quite, but I could never really find much to like about music in the 90s. Even when there were individual songs that I liked, it was rare that an entire album was worth listening to.

Guest Workers

Aside from all of the reasons that the guest worker program upsets good liberals like me, it should enrage the Malkin-Buchanan wing of the Republican party. While the "border security" stuff is just pointlessly expensive fantasy, it's a fantasy they cling to for some reason. And there's no point to it at all, even in fantasyland, if you're going to go ahead and let in a few hundred thousand people per year, many of whom will likely just overstay their visas.

The Church of Newt

There are times when it'd be nice if reporters felt comfortable pressing twice-divorced serial adulterers on just what their religious beliefs are.

Drive Shafts

The resistance of many pundits to the notion that we just need to get the fuck out is due in part to their belief that We Must Be Able To Do Something. Things are fucked, and someone needs to fix the poblem. It's understandable that people gaze at a disaster, especially one of our own making, and imagine that there's something we can do to somehow make things better, but that doesn't mean that we can. More than that, our presence is a not insignificant part of the problem even if our absence won't cause the pony to appear.

We didn't have the ability to unshit the bed two years ago, and we don't have it now. More than that, this basic belief is part of what caused otherwise sensible people think we could fix things in Iraq in early '03.

Why The Selling Out Conversation Matters

Judging by the reaction of some commenters there seems to be a wide perception that this is just some college-level conversation about who's keeping it real. There's a bit of that, admittedly, but there are larger issues at play. The music industry is going through a radical change right now, due to technology changes and other issues, and it isn't quite clear what the next equilibrium outcome will be. The revenue, marketing, and distribution models are all changing and what they will finally evolve into isn't yet set in stone. There's no inevitable outcome, both due to uncertainty about future technological developments, as well as the fact that policy (copyright law and DMCA, net neutrality and other internet policies, etc...) could play an important role.

The internet provides for the incredible possibility for musicians to market and distribute their own stuff, though there are limits to that so I think it's important to encourage, not discourage, any other alternative methods of marketing and revenue generation.

The Future of Music Coalition
has a bunch of info on these issues.

Wanker of the Day

Fred Hiatt, for publishing that crap.

Are They Kidding?

No, they aren't kidding. A key feature of wingnuttia is an inability to distinguish between issues which are important to them and issues which are actually popular.

Having said that, a couple of years ago I would've thought immigration would have been a winning issue for them. I was wrong, both because a split within the GOP between the money faction and the nativist faction ensured they'd screw it up and because public hostility to immigration and immigrants was much lower than I thought.

Morning Thread


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Late Night

rock on.

TSA Stole My PBJ

While an excellent song title, a rather sad development in Congressman Ryan's food stamp challenge.

fresh thread


2 F.U.s From Now

Just finished chatting with Ellen Ratner and Lawrence O'Donnell on Seder's show. O'Donnell's under the impression that a year from now the Republican candidate for president will be against the war, or at least talking about getting out of it. I disagree, as I don't think there's any way they can climb out of the rhetorical trap they've placed them selves in (surrender dates, defeatocrats, have to fight them there, etc...) given that George W. Bush won't provide them with an opening for that.

O'Donnell's comparison point was Nixon in 1968, but Nixon didn't have President Bush sitting in office defending the war until the end, decrying any attempts to begin ending the war. And I don't think Liebermanish "no one wants to end the war more than I do but we can't..." crap is going to fly.

I think whoever it is, save Ron Paul, will be all in. For many more Friedmans.

Killing Recess Appointments

Good for Reid.

Sam Seder Returns

Listen here.

"They need to prove, not merely assert, their right to an opinion."

How some people see the world.

Buy a CD! See a Show!

The real issue is that living costs money, doing stuff like writing/recording songs and touring takes time and money and they have tremendous opportunity costs, even bands which reach moderate levels of success and notoriety are unlikely to make much money or have an extended career. So if you like stuff support it with your wallet.

I very much enjoyed the Pretty Girls Make Graves show I recently attended, and they're breaking up presumably in part because at some point you have to get on with your life.

More Selling Out

It's true that while I don't think there's anything inherently wrong about "selling out," it's also the case the rock bands are also brands in and of themselves so turning half their catalog into commercial jingles for canned soup might negatively impact their brand. The issue isn't "how dare they sell out to Big Soup!!!" it's that maybe their fans don't want to be at their concerts thinking about dancing soup spoons.

Like other commercial enterprises bands have a brand to protect, and associating that brand with other things might have negative effects. But that's a different issue than objecting to them making a buck.

Post inspired by email from Brendan, who used to play with this band.

who apparently once sold out to "Big Felicity."

Afternoon Thread

Listen to some sellouts.

More Selling Out

Amanda's take.

The basic issue is that licensing songs for commercials, or teevee shows, or whatever, allows bands - most of whom aren't making much money - to continue to make albums and tour.


Over there:


Training Wheels


President Bush sought to rally Republican lawmakers around his Iraq plan Thursday, saying Iraqis are ready to "take the training wheels off" by assuming some political power.

He warned that violence is likely to worsen as that transfer approaches, and after it passes.

That was 3 years ago today.

Pony boy reminded me of that.

Sell Out

Count me among those who think that bands should take the money where they can find it. Obviously bands who have been peddling a message of counterculture/anticommercialism/etc... might find this a bit problematic, but otherwise take the money and run. What's the problem?

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

This Week with George Stephanopoulos. Topics: Iraq war funding, immigration, and the first five months of Democratic control of the House of Representatives. Guests: Nancy Pelosi, House speaker; Senator Mitch McConnell, Senate minority leader. \

Fox News Sunday. Topic : immigration. Guests: Senator Charles Schumer, New York Democrat; Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina; Sandra Day O'Connor, former Supreme Court justice; Paul Hays, former House reading clerk.

Meet the Press with Tim Russert. Topics: Iraq; the newly published "The Reagan Diaries." Guests: Senator Chris Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut; Newt Gingrich, former House speaker; Douglas Brinkley, editor; Michael Deaver, Reagan White House deputy chief of staff; and Ed Meese, former attorney general under Reagan.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer. Topics: Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; the Iraq surge. Guests: Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania; Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California; Fred Kagan, military historian; retired General Paul Eaton.

Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer. Topics: Homeland security; Iraq war funding; Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; immigration debate; 2008 presidential election; turmoil in Gaza; and nuclear Iran. Guest: Michael Chertoff, Secretary of Homeland Security; Carlos Gutierrez, Secretary of Commerce; Senator Carl Levin chairman, Armed Services Committee; Senator Mel Martinez, Republican National Committee chairman; Representative Brian Bilbray, chairman, Immigration Reform Caucus; Representative Ron Paul, presidential candidate; Shibley Telhami, senior fellow, Brookings Institution; and Vali Nasr, adjunct senior fellow, Council on Foreign Relations.

Why is Fred Kagan on my teevee?


Count to 12 and wait for dad.