Saturday, September 29, 2007

Cashing Out

Of course he did.

Countrywide Financial Corp. Chairman and CEO Angelo Mozilo cashed in $138 million in stock options over the last year, switching his trading plans as the mortgage company went into a tailspin, it was reported Saturday.

Between November 2006 and August, Mozilo changed the plans outlining how many of his shares would be sold monthly, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Mozilo unloaded 4.9 million Countrywide shares, most of which he bought through exercising options.

Hundreds of executives use similar trading plans, approved by federal regulators in 2000 as a way to defend against insider trading allegations. While not illegal, it is highly unusual for the plans to be changed so often in a short period, experts said.


Is, of course, the correct answer.

Afternoon Thread


Mullah Omar

I know I've pointed out how the anthrax attacks have been scrubbed from our basic historical narrative, but increasingly it seems as if the entire period between Rudy Giuliani Day and Let's Bomb Iraq Day has gone down the memory hole. It's as if there's this unbroken temporal link between September 11th and the Iraq war and none of the intervening events actually happened.

I actually had to think for a second to remember who Mullah Omar was. And, yes, he's still there. And being offered a spot in the government, or something.


Newt not running, ensuring that Giuliani remains the undisputed champ in the "most wives" category. So sad.

WASHINGTON - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich will not run for president in 2008 after determining he could not legally explore a bid and remain as head of his tax-exempt political organization, a spokesman said Saturday.

“Newt is not running,” spokesman Rick Tyler said. “It is legally impermissible for him to continue on as chairman of American Solutions (for Winning the Future) and to explore a campaign for president.”

Wanker of the Day

John Boehner.

The Question

I try not to make trend judgments from anecdotes, or even collections of anecdotes, but it certainly seems like being a high school student is, in many ways, an even more absurd experience than it was when I was that age.

"Our Generals Are Betraying Their Soldiers"

So says Fox News.

Still, this isn't like taking out an ad in a newspaper.

Ruck Up And Saddle Up

Wow, it's like a bit of 2002 retro internet wingnut performance art.

Media Matters

From Jamison Foser.


I'm grumpy again. I might just stay this way.

Update: Waxman is even grumpier.

Not Atrios

He Didn't...

Just when you think Rudy has hit rock bottom:
Rudy Giuliani is now saying that he took a cell phone call from his wife in the middle of a speech last week because of--wait for it--September 11.
From here.
Giuliani also addressed a cell phone call he took from his wife, Judith, last week during his speech to the National Rifle Association, an important appearance because Giuliani clashed with the group when he argued for tougher gun control as mayor of New York.

''And quite honestly, since Sept. 11, most of the time when we get on a plane, we talk to each other and just reaffirm the fact that we love each other,'' he said.

''Sometimes if I'm in the middle of a very, very sensitive meeting, I don't take the call right then; I wait. But I thought it would be kind of nice if I took it at that point, and I'd done that before in engagements, and I didn't realize it would create any kind of controversy,'' he said.

Friday, September 28, 2007


Colorado radio wingnut Mike Rosen while interviewing Politico senior political writer David Kuhn:

ROSEN: Sure. [Caller], you have exceptions like Milton Friedman, for example, a brilliant free-market economist who was more libertarian than conservative and one of my all-time heroes. Milton Friedman certainly understood the big picture, but so many Jews who are regarded by people as instinctively good merchants are just that. They're merchants at the retail level and don't have, I don't think, a good grasp of the big economic picture like the people like Milton Friedman did.

Friday Night Thread

Rock harder, damnit.

Mr. Straight Talk

McCain then.
Sen. John McCain argued Wednesday that Americans need to get past Vietnam, spreading blame for the bitter political debate among both presidential candidates, a federal agency and a veterans group attacking Sen. John Kerry's combat record.

"I'm sick and tired of re-fighting the Vietnam War. And most importantly, I'm sick and tired of opening the wounds of the Vietnam War, which I've spent the last 30 years trying to heal," the Arizona Republican said at a lunch with USA TODAY and Gannett News Service. "It's offensive to me, and it's angering to me that we're doing this. It's time to move on."


McCain said Kerry may have opened himself to criticism by focusing on Vietnam. In his own primary campaign in 2000, McCain said, he didn't have to because everyone knew he'd been there. For Kerry, "it's clearly a tactical or strategic move" to shield him against "charges of being too liberal and soft on defense."

And now.

As the ad opens, McCain is seen in a grainy black-and-white recording lying on a cot, smoking a cigarette.

"What's your name," an interrogator asks, putting a microphone close to McCain.

"McCain," he replies.

"How old are you?"

"Thirty-one," he says, drawing on the cigarette.

"In which school were you educated?"

"The Naval Academy."

"What is your rank?"

"Lieutenant commander in the Navy."

"And your official number?"

"624787," McCain replies.

The ad comes the same week that McCain became eligible for matching federal funds for his campaign. He's trying to climb out of dire financial straits.

To be clear I think it's fine for McCain to use whatever he wants in his biography for the campaign and I don't think by doing so he opens himself up to people going on Hardball every night to lie about his service if he does so.

How To Win Friends And Get Promoted In Our Media

A very special Dan Abrams moment with Mike Farrell.

Maverick St. McCain

For those of us who can remember back 7 years, the fact that McCain doesn't like Rusty all that much shouldn't be much of a surprise. Eric Boehlert back in 2000:

Ever since McCain scored his 19-point New Hampshire victory over Texas Gov. George W. Bush, the conservative talker, heard by nearly 15 million listeners on more than 500 radio stations nationwide, has been shredding McCain hour after hour, day after day. Longtime listeners say for Limbaugh to conduct this kind of sustained scorched-earth policy against a fellow Republican is unprecedented.

And the sharp blows have left more than a few Limbaugh loyalists, who happen to be McCain supporters, scratching their heads in disbelief as the self-proclaimed "Truth Detector" gives McCain the full Clinton treatment; questioning his honesty, his integrity and running parodies that make the senator sound like a stammering, incoherent twit. (By contrast, Limbaugh, a Lincoln Bedroom guest during George Bush's presidency, has found no fault at all with W.)


What Limbaugh has been saying on-air is that McCain is a shameless manipulator who's borrowing "the deceitful politics of Bill Clinton." That there's "intellectual dishonesty" flowing from the McCain camp. That "you can't rely on what McCain says," because he lifts policies "right out of the Bill Clinton/George McGovern play book." And that "McCain is the unsuspecting tool of the Rockefeller Republicans who want to reclaim the party from Christian conservatives."

Limbaugh welcomes callers to his show who denounce McCain as "an intellectual bigot" who "lies, lies, lies" and is a man who "has no set core values." Online, at Limbaugh newsgroups, fans are now posting questions about McCain's Vietnam military service ("Has there been any corroborating evidence by McCain's fellow prisoners that he was 'brutally tortured'?") right next to "Is Clinton a murderer?" rants.

Don't Know Nothing

Saint McCain talks to beliefnet.

A recent poll found that 55 percent of Americans believe the U.S. Constitution establishes a Christian nation. What do you think?

I would probably have to say yes, that the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation.

Wanking Dan Abrams

So, here's the time line:

  • David Shuster makes truthful broadcast.
  • Member of Congress complains that it wasn't truthful
  • Dan Abrams forces Shuster to apologize for fact which was true
  • Truth of fact is backed up by the Department of Defense.
The guiding principle of modern journalism: just don't piss off the wingnuts.

State Limits

Whatever one thinks of our current public finance system generally, the state by state limits on expenditures really seem to be utterly absurd.

Ending the Controversy

Nice job, Dan.

More, from an MSNBC insider: "Shuster strenuously objected to Dan in a heated argument overheard by multiple MSNBC staffers. Shuster asked Dan for more time to check out Blackburn's assertions. Dan refused and wanted to end the controversy.

Your news media, caving into wingnuts on bullshit since I can remember.

Going Personal and Minimal

Looks like the campaigns are ripping each other off. Dodd a couple of days ago:

Obama now:

I think trying something other than the big flashy html emails is a good idea, but these admittedly have a bit of an internet stalker/nigerian email scammer vibe to them.

Controlled Demolition



To atone for my earlier, if understandable, pessimism, let me say that last night's Phillies game was definitely the most enjoyable game I've ever been to, and not just because they actually managed to win the thing. for my transportation to the game: 6 minute walk to the subway, 5 minute fight with crappy Septa token machine, 10 minute/5 stop trip, 7 or so minute walk to the stadium from the station.


Listen to Bruce chat after the opening sax bit.


Apparently Republicans want to set one of those evil timelines we keep hearing about, and have it be based on the US election calendar.

WASHINGTON - A small group of Republicans facing election fights next year have rallied around war legislation they think could unite the GOP: a call for an end to U.S. combat in Iraq, but not until President Bush is out of office.

The legislation was deemed essentially a nonstarter by Democrats Friday and underscored the difficulty Congress has in striking a bipartisan compromise on war policy. What attracts Democrats has repelled Republiicans and vice versa, making it impossible so far to find a middle ground.

But they're moderate and serious!

Most Horrifying Aspect

Holbo's first reading isn't plausible, as he admits, but the only legitimate reading I can come up with is truly horrifying. Medved:

Historians agree that hundreds of thousands, and probably millions of slaves perished over the course of 300 years during the rigors of the “Middle Passage” across the Atlantic Ocean. Estimates remain inevitably imprecise, but range as high as one third of the slave “cargo” who perished from disease or overcrowding during transport from Africa. Perhaps the most horrifying aspect of these voyages involves the fact that no slave traders wanted to see this level of deadly suffering: they benefited only from delivering (and selling) live slaves, not from tossing corpses into the ocean.

Wanker of the Day

Peter Baker.


Shuster corrected an "error" which wasn't actually an error.

And the interesting question is indeed what the backstory for the apology was.


Broder's boy bounces all the way to 34% in new Fox poll.

Barring the Martian bear invasion, Bush's polls will remain sub-40 until he crawls back under the brush.

(ht pony boy)


I admit I'm somewhat sympathetic to the reasons why candidates aren't willing to make complete guarantees in response to stupid Tim Russert questions about the state of play in Iraq in 2013. For one, there are the general rules of serious foreign policy in which no war is off the table any time. But more importantly it is true that no one can predict the future, and for all we know Iraq might be invaded by Martian bears or something in the next few months. I'm being somewhat flippant, but what I mean is that the world could be, for whatever reason, extraordinarily different in January 2009 and thus precomitting oneself to any course of action, no matter how much it seems like the correct one given current reality and expectations, might not feel right.

Of course I'm also quite sympathetic to Eugene Robinson's view:

In geopolitical terms, I think the answer they all gave is wrong; I think this represents the same kind of old-paradigm thinking about foreign policy and America's role in the world that all three candidates claim to reject. In just-plain-political terms, I think such temporizing -- delivered with furrowed brow and an air of wise gravitas -- is, at the very least, unwisely premature. The time for a Democratic candidate to start taking the antiwar vote for granted and scurrying toward an imagined "center" is after securing the nomination, not before. Democratic primary voters are smart enough to recognize the difference between saying you oppose the war and pledging to end it.

I'm also wondering what leads anyone to think that by the time the general election campaign gets underway, anything short of a clear promise to pull the plug on George W. Bush's debacle will look like a centrist position. By then, "U.S. troops out in a year" may look like the height of caution.

With all due respect to Clinton, we have a pretty good idea of what the next president will inherit. I can't imagine that at this point anyone thinks Bush -- who still thinks he's a latter-day Churchill -- is going to change his mind or his basic policy in Iraq. We'll roll into 2008 with a bigger U.S. presence in Iraq than we had at the beginning of 2007, and even if Bush agrees to a series of token withdrawals -- necessitated by the fact that we're running out of soldiers, Marines and guardsmen to send -- it's almost certain that on Election Day we'll still have well over 100,000 U.S. troops bogged down in the sands of Mesopotamia.

Hopefully Robinson mentally boldfaced the imagined in the phrase imagined "center." Given the scare quotes, I imagine he did.

Nothing Has Changed In The Village

The profoundly depressing fact is how little has changed in the Village over the past several years. I'm not simply referring to rather disappointing results of Democratic control of Congress, though that too is of course an issue, but rather the sentiments and conventional wisdom of the political media industrial complex. It shouldn't be a surprise, I suppose, that this static mob would be slow to change and slower still to acknowledge any failures of their own. As Greenwald writes:

The idea that our political press would subject an Iran war march to sufficient scrutiny is only slightly more ludicrous than the idea that this Congress would do anything to stop it. If the administration wanted a war with Iran, there would be some marginally increased opposition expressed by the political establishment, maybe even significantly more opposition.

But if the President decided that he wanted a military confrontation with Iran, would anyone have any real faith in the ability of any institution to stop him other than outright defiance by the U.S. military? It is a fairly sobering reflection of the profound failures of our political and media institutions that this possibility is even discussed.

Morning Thread

Anyone for a Burma Shave?

--sorry, I was just snarking. Here's some real news.

News Flash

Right this very moment there's bad stuff happening all over the world.

I don't always get around to mentioning it all.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Dead Initiative?

Good news, if sorta weird, if true.

Plagued by a lack of money, supporters of a statewide initiative drive to change the way California's 55 electoral votes are apportioned, first revealed here by Top of the Ticket in July, are pulling the plug on that effort.

In an exclusive report to appear on this website late tonight and in Friday's print editions, The Times' Dan Morain reports that the proposal to change the winner-take-all electoral vote allocation to one by congressional district is virtually dead with the resignation of key supporters, internal disputes and a lack of funds.


Haven't watched it yet, but My Name is Earl makes a Scooter Libby funny.

Chickenhawk Squawk

Members of Congress go after Rusty.

Muck the Fets

Ha ha.


Just watch Willard in action:

Evening Thread

Off to go be disappointed by the Phillies.

D00D What's With You

Not exactly a new observation, but Chris Matthews has really really messed up gender issues.

Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week

What a bunch of clowns.


August is probably right about my pessimism being unwarranted, but still it just seems like the Democrats really don't know how to work the media on these issues. It is true SCHIP has the advantage of being easy - "Bush does't want kids to have health care" - and the Democrats have been better at their media push than usual.

I get the sense that Democrats craft these things behind closed doors, try to come up with palatable bipartisan agreements, and then show up on the teevee the day of the vote and announce that they passed it. That's wonderful, if it's a good bill which actually passes and gets a veto override if necessary. What isn't wonderful is if they do all that and it doesn't get enacted into law.

The Republican version would've been to spend 6 months telling people that kids are GOING TO DIE RIGHT NOW UNLESS THIS BILL PASSES and beating the Democrats into submission. That isn't how our team works. Which is fine, if it achieves something. Not fine if it doesn't.

Phony Soldiers

Even the dead ones?


Perhaps I'm just having a negative day, but does anyone else think this is going to be another bad play by Democrats? If they fail to get the veto override vote in the House then they will have failed to pass the bill as well as provided opportunities for lots of Republicans to claim they opposed Bush on something.

And Pedestrians

And, yes, pedestrians can be incredibly stupid, too.

Philly Bike Riders

While I'm hating on various modes of transit, let me give the big raspberry to bike riders in Philadelphia. Increasing numbers of them have decided that all traffic regulations don't apply to them and have abandoned common sense and decency. I'm quite happy for bike riders to bend the rules a bit at times, but they shouldn't act like they own the place any more than SUV drivers should. Things like riding the wrong way down one way streets are stupid, and riding on sidewalks as if pedestrians don't belong there make you an asshole.

South Jersey SUVs

One of the joys of living in Philadelphia is the ubiquitous presence of SUV drivers from South Jersey. Quite often they don't know how to parallel park, and they're allergic to paying lot prices for parking, so you can see them driving around and around, pausing in front of small spaces, deciding they can't quite fit in the small space, rinse, repeat.

One of the not joys is their general lack of awareness of pedestrians.

Soros Media Gestapo

Such a sweet person.

Too Subtle

I agree with Matt that Obama is too subtle. Like Matt, I think I can read between the lines, but it also isn't exactly crystal clear to me. Certainly not so crystal clear that he can expect members of the press to clarify them for people.

Never Mind

Verizon changes mind on NARAL.

Happy Housing News of the Day

New home sales suck.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sales of new single-family homes fell 8.3 percent in August to a 795,000 annual sales pace, its slowest rate in over seven years, while the inventory of homes dropped, a Commerce Department report showed on Thursday.

Analysts polled by Reuters were expecting August sales to fall to an annual rate of 830,000 from July's previously reported rate of 870,000, which was revised to 867,000. The August sales pace was the slowest since a 793,000 rate in June 2000.

Median price also fell 8.3%, and inventory is at 8.2 months.

Why Do We Need An Embassy in Baghdad?

Dana Goldstein:

Bill Richardson takes the unrealistic stance of not leaving "any troop behind."

All serious people know this is "unrealistic," that the US has interests (an embassy!) that must be protected, and to protect it we'll need 5000 troops.

But why? I don't really understand.

The truth is that if we need 5000 troops to protect an embassy we'll need a lot more than that to protect those troops.

Lie Down With Dogs

I'm so glad that Dr. Bill Frist gets to go on CNN under the label of "Clinton Global Initiative" and argue forcefully for Bush to veto the SCHIP program.

That's branding!

Censoring Text Messages

Verizon isn't allowing NARAL text messages on its system.

It's difficult to fathom.


I don't know about you, but I'm really in the mood for some strong primary challenges.

Not Atrios

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Hey, We Have A Bill of Rights?

I admit I'd sorta forgotten.

Hey, Was There a Debate Tonight?

I admit sometimes I'm a bad political junky.

More Free Thread

Things That Won't Happen For $600, Alex

Charlie Rangel, June 1:

WASHINGTON - President Bush will declare victory in Iraq and begin scaling back troop levels in the coming months because Republican lawmakers will repudiate him if he doesn't, Rep. Charles Rangel said yesterday.

"The President knows it's over," Rangel declared in an interview with the Daily News Editorial Board. "The Republicans know it's over."

"I think the President's going to come up with some compromise, and he's not going to admit failure. He'll probably say we've won, but it's going to happen ... and I don't know how many soldiers die while it's happening."

"Republicans are going to make it happen - no, Americans are going to make it happen," he said.

The political die was cast, Rangel said, when a delegation of GOP lawmakers visited the White House recently and put Bush on notice their support for the war is beginning to erode as the 2008 elections approach.

Bush Lied

People died.

But we knew that.

The Evil That Men Do

Joe Galloway:

Once again, the Bush administration is flimflamming the hapless Democratic majority in Congress into rushing an important piece of legislation into law without serious thought or debate about the implications.

Although Congress passed a temporary extension of the FISA law in August that carries it through to February, the administration is already back demanding the immediate passage of a permanent law that permits the government to snoop on all private communications.

They’ve also requested a few “improvements” to the law, including a retroactive waiver of liability for the big telecommunications companies that gave the government unfettered warrantless access to phone calls and e-mail communications in violation of existing law.

The other “improvements” that the White House wants, and our intelligence chiefs say they need, would broaden the already bloated power of the executive branch.

This, even as one member of Congress revealed this week that the temporary extension of the snooping law was jammed through in August when administration officials stampeded legislators by revealing secret information about an alleged terrorist plot to bomb the Capitol. Which, surprise, never materialized.

That was a good one. What will they do to frighten Congress this time? Threaten to send Osama bin Laden the home addresses of every member of Congress who opposes them?

He sounds like a very shrill unserious person.


I don't know why he just doesn't set up a tent at ground zero and invite people to come pay tribute to him.

In a sign of potential money woes, Rudy Giuliani has fired his presidential campaign's chief fundraiser and brought in a top rainmaker for President Bush, The Daily News has learned.

Anne Dunsmore, who took control of Giuliani's day-to-day fundraising operation in May, has been replaced by Jim Lee, a Texas money man and Bush ally who is already one of Giuliani's national finance co-chairs.

The Bully's Tears

One of the weirder things about the rampaging Right's view of the rest of the world is that one senses that deep inside they just want to be loved, and they seem to see political disagreement as deeply personally offensive somehow.

It's weird.

"Misquoted Report"

I do not think that term means what Newsday thinks it means.

The headline of a Newsday article on Bill O'Reilly's controversial remarks about a Harlem restaurant run by African-Americans asserted, "O'Reilly lashes out at CNN over misquoted report," but the article provided no examples of a "misquot[ation]," nor did it quote O'Reilly claiming to have been "misquoted." The article also stated that " released a partial transcript" of O'Reilly's comments. In fact, Media Matters provided the relevant transcript and audio clip of O'Reilly's remarks, which included the full context of his statements.

Rewarding Good Behavior

Congressman, and Senatate candidate, Tom Allen.

"I respect General Petraeus and honor all of our troops. They have done a phenomenal job and done everything that we have asked of them. General Petraeus is a soldier who simply takes orders from the Commander-in-Chief, President Bush.

Unfortunately the President and his Republican allies in Congress have continued to order General Petraeus and the rest of our troops to continue fighting. What we need is a plan to bring our troops home.

I voted against this resolution today because I believe it is the job of the Congress to bring our troops home, not legislate free speech."

Are There Any Republicans Left?

And another one retires.


I do not think Ari Fleischer's brain is wired up correctly.


I've encouraged people to try emusic before, and I still recommend them. They're a song download site on a subscription model with various pricing tiers. Basically for $x/month you get to download up to y songs per month. $9.99/month gets you 30 songs. $14.99 gets you 50 songs, etc.

There's a free trial which gives you 25 free songs. I've never had any customer service problems or heard any complaints from people being unable to cancel or change their subscriptions. You're not locked in.

They certainly don't have everything that comes out. If the latest Britney Spears CD is what you're looking for you'll probably have to go elsewhere. But they have a good selection of more independent stuff as well as a pretty expansive classical catalog. You can click here to browse around.

The service gives you .mp3 downloads which have no DRM of any kind attached to them, so the songs are yours to do with what you want, and you keep them even once you cancel your subscription. So while they're on a subscription model, it's really more of a "pay a certain amount for a certain amount of songs every month" model.

They currently have the latest release from groups like The National, Stars, Emma Pollack, The Donnas, The White Stripes, Paul McCartney, Manu Chao, Gogol Bordello, Super Furry Animals, Arcade Fire, etc... As well as lots of back catalog stuff.

And if you sign up for the free trial by clicking the link below I get a bit of a kickback, which helps to make my blogs grow mighty and strong. Happy to get the kickback, but mostly just pushing it because it is a good service.

Wide Stances

CNN says Larry Craig probably won't leave the Senate on 9-30 after all.

Early Money

Kos makes the case for early money. I won't tell you who to donate to right now, but am instead making the case for donating "now" rather than later.

Judging from past experience, as we get closer and closer to election day '08 donations from readers will keep increasing. It'd much much much better if everyone sat down and figured out how much money they expected to donate to congressional candidates over the cycle and then figured out how to give as much of it as early possible.

Wanker of the Day

Katie Couric.

How To Make Friends

Bill O called CNN and "screamed at the top of his lungs for a very long period of time."

Exhuming The Corpse of Brown

Jack and Jill Politics notices that Juan Williams has quickly evolving views on the subject of racial desegregation.

How Big?

Philadelphia Weekly has an article about Philly Car Share having to expand its image to market to a different audience. But this is fascinating.

When PhillyCarShare started five years ago, members were primarily green types—people concerned about their carbon footprints and reducing automotive dependency in urban culture. Today PhillyCarShare has more than 28,000 members, with nearly 3,800 signing up in the last month.

The rate of expansion is tremendous. On the down side, based on personal observation I'd say the expansion of people anecdotally has outpaced the expansion of cars. For awhile there was a tremendous surplus of cars.


Things suck in Iraq but that was expected so it's ok.

BAGHDAD (AFP) - Iraq was on Wednesday rocked by powerful car and suicide bombings that killed 28 people, bringing the toll in a three-day surge of bloodletting across the country to about 70, officials said.

"There was an increase in violence in the past few days," US military spokesman Major General Kevin Bergner told reporters in Baghdad. "We had been expecting it."


I've become rather allergic to gatherings of Very Rich Important People who if only they can be prodded and poked and have their egos stroked a bit more than usual they can Save The World.


Paul Waldman discusses Bill O on the Today Show.

Lots of the usual hilarity about how nasty Media Matters attacks people by daring to put up their own words, but my "favorite" part actually comes right at the end when Matt Lauer, serious journalist, decides to gaze into O'Reilly's soul and informs us that he imagines that if he could he'd have a "do over" for some of his comments.

Things Which Won't Happen for $1000, Alex

David Ignatius, June 2006:

A key part of the Bush administration's strategy is to involve Maliki's government in discussions about withdrawal of U.S. troops. Gen. Casey briefed the Pentagon last week on his hopes to cut the number of U.S. combat brigades in Iraq by more than half by the end of 2007, according to a story in Sunday's New York Times. Casey will soon meet with Maliki to form the joint U.S.-Iraqi committee that can oversee the buildup of Iraqi security forces and the corresponding drawdown of U.S. troops.

Things Which Won't Happen For $500, Alex

Kevin Drum last June:

My guess is that maybe 20% of congressional Republicans will join them in voting to fund a gradual drawdown when September rolls around.

If I Were a Proper Pundit

I'd write more posts noting that the porridge to my left was too hot, the porridge to my right was too cold, but miraculously the porridge in front of me was just right.

Morning Thread

Just until dad gets up.....

--Molly I.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Fifth Deep Thought of the Day

If Rudy is elected president we can rename apple pie as "9/11 pie" and apple pie a la mode as "9/11 pie with a side of Iraqi freedom."


McClatchy takes a look at the freedom agenda.

UNITED NATIONS — President Bush implored the United Nations on Tuesday to recommit itself to restoring human decency by liberating oppressed people and ending famine and disease.

Speaking before the United Nations General Assembly, the president called for renewed efforts to enforce the U.N.'s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a striking point of emphasis for a leader who's widely accused of violating human rights in waging war against terrorism.

Bush didn't mention the U.S. prisons in Afghanistan or at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, the U.S. practice of holding detainees for years without legal charges or access to lawyers, or the CIA's "rendition" kidnappings of suspects abroad, all issues of concern to human rights activists around the world.

"At first read, it's little more than an exercise in hypocrisy. His words about human rights ring hollow because his credibility is nonexistent," said Curt Goering, the deputy executive director of Amnesty International USA. "The gap between the rhetoric and the actual record is stunning. I can't help but believe many people in the audience were thinking, 'What was this man thinking?' "

Fourth Deep Thought of the Day

If Rudy is elected president Independence Day will be moved to 9/11. And there will be fireworks!

Third Deep Thought of the Day

If Rudy is elected president, then every year we can sing 9/11 carols around the 9/11 tree.

Second Deep Thought of the Day

If Rudy! is elected president we can mint a special coin worth exactly $9.11.

It'll double as tokens to his fundraisers, of course.

Dark Side

Shorter O'Reilly:


Not Popular

TV advertising star Chris Bowers writes:

But returning to Republicans, do they even care how out of step they are with America on things like Iraq and SChip, even though last year it cost them control of Congress and right now it looks like 2008 will be even worse? I am starting to wonder if Republicans are bored with governing, and want to get back to what they do best: relentlessly attacking liberals and attacking the media. The MoveOn distraction showed that they are better set up to do that than govern, anyway. They must look back on the 1993-1994 years of the Democratic trifecta, and the post-9/11 build up to war, as the good times. Back then, there was no responsibility, just relentless attacks.

Aside from "low taxes" and promises to kill nonexistent programs which provided free Cadillacs to minorities, the Republican agenda has never been popular. When they're in power that becomes apparent.

Hatchet Job

I love how when someone provides the full context of O'Reilly's remarks, including audio and transcript, it's a "hatchet job."

Pile On

Don't forget to give all your money to Donna Edwards through this link. If the kossacks beat us, the terrorists will have won!

Extremely Generous

I just learned on NPR that "until recently" GM employees had health care benefits which were "extremely generous" because... get this... you could include your wife and children essentially for free.

Ah, those crazy times decades ago when salaried employees got health care for their families and apparently America was a much wealthier nation.

The Very Serious Joe Lieberman

Would someone please just buy him a penis pump or something.

Whining Lying Bad Democrats and Gullible Reporters

And Wynn was given a 67 in 2005. So, yes, unless there's some other LCV, he's lying. He did get 87 and 86 in the prior two terms, but still not a 97.

How Conventional Wisdom Gels

Why do we need "weapons against Iran?" Rhetorical or otherwise?

GOP Daddies

I don't know what the Washington Post is doing here, subtly suggesting that maybe the greatest person to ever walk the Earth, and the human embodiment of the glory of the US military and America itself, cooked the books.

Barbara Boxer would not approve.

Still, a more important issue is that a liberal interest group took out an ad suggesting that maybe the sainted General was cooking the books.

Bloggers in Ads

Playing in New Hampshire.

Better Democrats

Jim Dean sends out an email:

Dear Duncan,

Kick a Bush Democrat out of office, Support Donna Edwards for Congress with $15 right now!

If it were up to Beltway Democrats, there wouldn't be primaries. When it comes to democratic incumbents, they want us to sit-down, shut-up, and support the status quo. I'm not a Beltway Democrat and neither are you.

We know primaries matter.

Today, we can play a pivotal role in the fight to make Congress progressive. Support Donna Edwards for Congress with a $15 contribution right now:

We know where Donna Edwards stands. She is the consistent progressive in the race we can count on to fight for our values everyday, not just during election season. Yet, her opponent Al Wynn has been on the run, flipping positions and double-talking his record since the campaign started.

While Donna has stood up against the war in Iraq since the beginning, Congressman Wynn voted with Bush on Iraq from day one. In fact, Al Wynn voted for the Republican bankruptcy bill, Dick Cheney's energy bill, and to increase exceptions to the Clean Air Act for big polluters.

With Democrats like Al Wynn, the GOP doesn't even need to run a Republican. Support Donna Edwards today with $15 and let's kick Bush Democrats out of Congress:

Whether it is knocking on doors, making phone calls, or recruiting new volunteers, local DFA members have made this a people-powered campaign working to win. It is up to you to deliver the power of the nation to take Donna over the top.

Thank you for turning your contribution into action.

Jim Dean

Contribute through those links, or this one.

GOP Daddies

It's worth noting that until just recently McConnell was a GOP Daddy in good standing, spoken about with reverence by all serious Democratic senators.

I don't know why they need GOP daddies, but they could at least show some better judgment in picking them.

Suck On This You Tube

Apparently the video of Little Tommy Friedman saying we went to war because we needed to tell Iraqis to "Suck On This" because of 9/11 has been taken down from You Tube for violation of TOS, even though it was simply a clip from a Charlie Rose video... freely available on You Tube.

Oh well.

Anyway, here's their version. The entire insanity begins at 2:45 and lasts about 3 minutes.

Deep Thought of the Day

It'll be so awesome if we elect Rudy Giuliani president, because then we could celebrate 9/11 every day!

Magical September

Four months ago today a "Deadline-Free War Funding Bill" was passed. This bill was passed after Bush started going on the teevee saying that if Congress didn't pass it quickly then troop deployments would have to be extended. This didn't make any sense, but that didn't stop the media from reporting it. Then someone at the Pentagon leaked the fact that troop deployments were going to be extended anyway. At which point everyone forgot that Bush was trying to blame this on Congress.

Since then, approximately 354 US troops have been killed looking for little Tommy Friedman's ponies.

No More Friedmans

While Little Tommy Friedman, age 9, is out, it's worth remembering how many thousands of US troops have been killed or maimed while kept urging them to find the ponies.

The Beginning


Diyala province -- which sprawls north and east of Baghdad -- has been a major front in the Iraq war since the U.S. troop escalation called the "surge" began earlier this month. U.S. and Iraqi forces in recent months have embarked on offensives targeting al Qaeda in Iraq.

So the surge began in September! It all makes sense now.

(ht dc)

Wanker of the Day

Andrew Rosenthal for continuing to publish this crap.

Cowman, Damnit

I cannot believe Richard Cohen wrote that paragraph.

Shoot Me Now! Shoot Me Now!

Richard Cohen, Serious Person, offering a Serious Rationale for Joe Biden's Very Serious Plan for partitioning Iraq:
The main virtue of the Biden-Gelb plan is that it does not stand athwart history. It enlists it. The volcanic eruption of nationalism and sectarianism that drenched the 20th century in blood -- the Holocaust above all -- has not yet run its course. The farmer and the rancher, to put things in Rodgers and Hammerstein terms, will not be friends.
If I were his editor, I'd shoot him in the face.

Monday, September 24, 2007



No sooner did tens of thousands of African-American demonstrators depart the racially tense town of Jena, La., last week after protesting perceived injustices than white supremacists flooded in behind them.

First a neo-Nazi Web site posted the names, addresses and phone numbers of some of the six black teenagers and their families at the center of the Jena 6 case and urged followers to find them and "drag them out of the house," prompting an investigation by the FBI.

Then the leader of a white supremacist group in Mississippi published interviews that he conducted with the mayor of Jena and the white teenager who was attacked and beaten, allegedly by the six black youths. In those interviews, the mayor, Murphy McMillin, praised efforts by pro-white groups to organize counterdemonstrations; the teenager, Justin Barker, urged white readers to "realize what is going on, speak up and speak their mind."

It's late so I just offer this up for conversation.

Humping Corpses

Um, ew?

WASHINGTON - A supporter of Rudy Giuliani's is throwing a party that aims to raise $9.11 per person for the Republican's presidential campaign.

Abraham Sofaer is having a fundraiser at his Palo Alto, Calif., home on Wednesday, when Giuliani backers across the country are participating in the campaign's national house party night.

But Sofaer said he had nothing to do with the "$9.11 for Rudy" theme.

"There are some young people who came up with it," Sofaer said when reached by telephone Monday evening. He referred other questions to Giuliani's campaign.

Bush Doggery

Bush Dog circulated "compromise" memo, which places more emphasis on members of Congress agreeing with each other than actually changing policy in Iraq. Which it doesn't do. But it's very serious!

Bipartisan Compact on Iraq Debate


We agree that the U.S. Congress must end the political in-fighting over the conflict in Iraq and commit immediately to a truly bipartisan dialogue on the issues we are facing.

We agree that efforts to eliminate funding for U.S. forces engaged in combat and in harm's way in Iraq would put at risk the safety and security of our service members.

We agree that there must be a clearly defined and measurable mission for our continued military involvement in Iraq. This mission must be further and continually defined so that the military and the country are aware of the end goal of our mission in Iraq and what progress toward that goal is being achieved.

We agree that the Government of Iraq must now be responsible for Iraq's future course. The Government must continue to make progress on the legislative benchmarks outlined in Section 1314 of the recent Supplemental Appropriations Act (PL110-28).

We agree that it is critical for members of the U.S. Armed Forces, including members of the reserve components, to have adequate rest and recuperation periods between deployments.

We agree that a safe and responsible redeployment of U.S. Armed Forces from Iraq, based on recommendations from our military and foreign policy leaders, is necessary to transition the combat mission over to the Iraqi forces.

We agree that the continued military mission of U.S. combat forces must lead to a timely transition to conducting counterterrorism operations, protecting the U.S. Armed Forces, supporting and equipping Iraqi forces to take full responsibility for their own security, assisting refugees, and preventing genocide.

We agree that U.S. diplomatic efforts should continue to be improved and that the U.S. State Department must engage in robust diplomacy with Iraq's neighbors in the Middle East to address the Iraq conflict.

Note the language. "We agree." That's all that matters. Agreement! Congress should stop disagreeing! And then they'll agree! And that'll be so awesome! Because we elect people to congress so that they hang out and play mini-golf and agree with each other! Disagreement makes me so sad!!!

Because political in-fighting is teh suxx0r! Actual fighting with guns? Awesome! Members of Congress glaring at each other across the cafeteria? HORRIBLE! US troops getting their brains blown out? AWESOME!

These are the worst people in Congress, but they're the most serious!

And this is all you need to know about the Village.

Fresh Thread


Lightning Hammer III?

And the progress continues.

A suicide bomber struck a reconciliation meeting of Shiite and Sunni tribal leaders and senior provincial officials in Baqouba on Monday, killing at least 15 people, including the city's police chief, security officials said.


I know it's impossible for any of our elite press to actually consider news events from an alternative perspective, but it'd be nice to think for a few minutes about how Iranians - and their leaders - react when "is the US about to bomb the shit out of Iran" is a fairly regular topic of conversation in our media. And, apparently, in the oval office.

Simple Solutions To Big Problems


GM says it needs to cut costs. Perhaps it would like to work with the Democrats and the Unions to get universal health insurance. It would be good for their workers, good for the country and good for the bottom line.

This is true. The failure of big business to step up in this area has long mystified me. It can't be explained by anything other than cultural biases of the men with money.


Please tell Jessica Pressler to stop writing about all the fresh jawns in Philly. This is an awful horrible city. Go away.


UAW begins nationwide strike against GM.


Here's what the Pentagon says. I won't question them, because I'm not allowed.


Bowers makes the obvious-but-needed-to-be-made point that generic liberals are going to eat your babies messaging is going to impact support for any Democratic candidate and therefore there's nothing special about how it impacts Clinton and Obama (or how they impact downticket races).

Which is why if Cillizza and the Devil had run this tidbit from a Republican pollster it wouldn't have been as offensive, at least if they'd written it up a bit better. Clinton and Obama are the current frontrunners, so Republicans pointing out poll-tested messaging which hurts Democrats would be fine, if a bit of a dog bites man story. But here we have a pollster for a rival Democratic candidate, not labeled as such, using the information to imply there's something about the specific candidates, when it's really just a generic exploitable narrative about all Democrats.

Our Hideous Discourse

Apparently what's really important is whether Ahmadinejad admires George Bush and whether the word "fuck" appears in a college newspaper.

One of personal pet peeves, something which comes up at panel type things, is when people blame "the masses" for their ignorance, or something similar. The masses hate George Bush and hate this war and don't really think the appearance of the word "fuck" in a college newspaper deserves endless media attention. They've arrived at these views largely all by themselves, despite the bizarro reality conveyed by our elite press.


Barbara Boxer says I can't consider whether this is honorable behavior.

Creating Facts

Re: Ahmadinejad.

CNN: "His state even sponsors terrorism... in some cases even against US troops in Iraq."

Followed up by Henry Kissinger (??!!) condemning him.

At least Newt managed to come up with a cogent case against the guy, though a case which would be equally applicable to our pals in Saudi.


3 months ago (June):

BAQUBA, Iraq, June 24 (Reuters) - U.S. forces believe the initial combat phase of a major offensive to clear al Qaeda from the Iraqi city of Baquba is nearly complete and any militants left could be confronted in the next 24 hours.


The military said the original Operation Lightning Hammer -- August 13 to September 1 -- ousted militants from the Diyala River valley, northeast of Baquba, the capital of Diyala province.

...and the sequel:

About 26,000 U.S. and Iraqi forces are taking part in an offensive against al Qaeda in Iraq in northern Iraq, the U.S. military said on Thursday.

The operation, Lightning Hammer II, is an extension of an earlier operation in Diyala province.

About 14,000 Iraqi security forces stationed throughout Nineveh province and 12,000 U.S. soldiers are conducting the operation, which started Wednesday evening.

...and on and on...

Adventures in Latin America

This is true, but this part of our history has been so scrubbed from memory that such comparisons will largely not be understood.

Getting More Surreal

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Late Night

rock on.

Primary Crossfire

Just in case it isn't clear, I don't really care if Democratic primary candidates, or their surrogates, take potshots at each other. It's an election! It's politics!

What I do care about are a) Democrats who reinforce bogus right wing frames about Democrats generally and b) A lackey press weaned on doing the same. Add a little bit c) which is the tendency of the Beltway press to have a seizure about perceived blogger conflicts of interest while dutifully ignoring those of their favorite sources.

Late Night Thread

Have fun.

Wankers of the Day

The New York Times.

Propaganda Poll

Over at Matt's place a bunch of commenters are saying we're stupid for calling it a push poll. They're sort of right, but I just called it that because it didn't really fit any of the categories neatly. It isn't really a push poll, but nor is it a "message testing" poll as suggested. It's a "conduct a badly worded poll designed to get a specific answer in order to get your willing pals at the Washington Post to get the result you want out into the press" poll. So, fine, not a push poll. A propaganda poll.

I say it isn't really a message testing poll because it's along the lines of "Some people claim Barack Obama is a child molesting terrorist lover..." The impact of the question wording on the response is rather obvious.

Leaf Raking?

The joys of being yardless.

Dick n' Dove

But will the dove have to apologize?

Afternoon Thread


Blogger Ethics Panel

So why is "Democratic pollster" Celinda Lake running push polls about Obama and Clinton? Why are Cillizza and the Devil running them as news? More importantly, why isn't Cillizza telling us that Celinda Lake works for the rival Biden campaign. I know he knows this, because he told me himself.

More Bobblethread


The Devil Reports on Push Pulls

This is really getting absurd.

While the average lead of Democratic House members stands at 19 percentage points in the 31 vulnerable districts -- all but two of which are part of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's incumbent-protection program known as Frontline -- that number sinks considerably when the lawmakers are linked to either front-runner.

"Some people say [your Democratic incumbent] is a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton and will support her liberal agenda of big government and higher taxes if she becomes president," the poll stated, before asking respondents whether they would still vote for their incumbent or choose a Republican candidate.

Whether the question named Clinton or Obama, the Democratic incumbent's lead shrank to an average of six points: 47 percent to 41 percent with Clinton leading the ticket, 44 percent to 38 percent with Obama as the nominee.

"The images of the two early favorites are part of the problem," Lake and Gotoff wrote. Clinton has a "very polarized image" in the districts, while Obama's "image is soft, and one-fifth of voters do not have a firm impression of him."

Not surprisingly, the Obama and Clinton campaigns sought to play down the poll's findings.

Sunday Bobbleheads

Document the atrocities.

# Meet the Press" Guests: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.

# "This Week" . Guests: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and filmmaker Ken Burns.

# "Face the Nation" Guests: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y.

# "CNN Late Edition" . Guests: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y.; Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt; French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner; Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb.; former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski; former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.

# "Fox News Sunday" Guests: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., former House Speaker Newt Gingrich; and filmmaker Ken Burns.

Morning Thread

Welcome to the Tower of Bobble.

--Molly I.