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Saturday, 30 April 2005

All life is time travel

Chris Floyd has a post on the web of corruption that ties the Bushes, Ratzinger, and the bin Ladens together. And here's a prophetic quote from the piece he wrote on September 12th of 2001, "That Which Happened" (September 11): But atrocity tends to raze the ground of history. In the aftermath, with the cries of lamentation rising over fresh graves, it is always Zero Hour. "That which happened" - to borrow the poet Paul Celan's phrase for the Nazis' unspeakable crimes - buries what came before, effaces the paths that led us to this place, strips away the cloak of reason (a thin rag in the best of times), and leaves nothing but the bare, anguished call for revenge.

There were, as usual, softball questions at Bush's press conference the other night. But the funny thing is, they weren't all softballs, and there was some follow-up, forbidden though it was. Via Just a Bump in the Beltway, Dan Froomkin notes that they almost acted like reporters a few times. Is the magic slipping? (Meanwhile, read Brad DeLong picking the content apart.)

Isn't Psycho Sensei a neat name for a weblog?

This post at Daily Kos reminds us once again that a lot of the terms conservatives are using are really code words for "Jews". In comments, someone provides a link to Borat's performance of "Throw the Jew Down the Well" - which I just showed to Rob, eliciting the response, "God alive!"

Ohio, hotbed of corruption. Of course, we knew that.

Science.
21:17 BST


Someone else's mail

Last week The Los Angeles Times published an article falsely claiming that Air America Radio was a failing concern. Have a look at the letters responding to that article (the first of which is from AAR's CEO, Danny Goldberg himself), for an instant education in the difference between reality and the conservative spin on the subject.

In The Washington Post, this letter from Patrick Duff:

On April 18, 137 Vietnam veterans were honored posthumously at the annual "In Memory" ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. It's sad that your newspaper did not write one paragraph about this event or those who were honored.

These brave soldiers were willing to die for the freedom of three women to whom you dedicated a whole story ["30 Years Later, Immigrants Shed Vietnam War's Burdens," front page, April 24], and yet they were ignored. When these men returned home after the war, they were greeted by an ungrateful nation.

Thirty-five years later, nothing has changed.

Yes, we now live in the interesting world where treating vets and active-duty troops like dirt is "patriotic". I guess that's because we're so good.
20:03 BST

The voice of barbarity

Limbaugh is a monster. That he is heard throughout the country and is regarded as a major media figure is a disgrace to this nation.
That's Arthur Silber reacting to the anti-American radio personality's celebration of "Abu Ghraib Day".

Faithful Progressive has another complaint about Limbaugh:

Moderate and progressive people of faith have been reluctant to enter into the political arena. Frankly, we're more comfortable volunteering at food pantries, homeless shelters, or helping out others in need. Only recently and reluctantly have we recognized the need to stand up for the values- including being slow to judge others-- that we hold dear. But now Rush Limbaugh has seen fit to insult moderate and progressive people of faith on his top-rated radio program.
Limbaugh said on his program:
"I would submit to you that people on the left are religious, too. Their God is just different. The left has a different God. There's a religious left in this country.

"And, the religious left in this country hates and despises the God of Christianity and Catholicism and whatever else. They despise it because they fear it, because it's a threat, because that God has moral absolutes. That God has right and wrong, that God doesn't deal in nuance, that God doesn't deal in gray area, that God says, 'This is right and that is wrong.'"

Both of these, of course, are examples of what Limbaugh has always done - turning black into white and encouraging division and hatefulness.

If Limbaugh was just some little twerp with a weblog, this would be no big deal. But his show is broadcast widely, his twisted vision of "America" is permeating the culture and reaching even the mainstream media, and his rabid libel of patriotic Americans and non-theofascist religious people is also broadcast on the taxpayers' dime to our troops in the field. FP recommends a national boycott. I think it would be a good idea to contact your reps and demand that Limbaugh be balanced (by Randi Rhodes, for example), on Armed Forces Radio.
15:09 BST


Notes

I was at Brosnan's wake today. Saw lots of people I hadn't seen in ages. Chris Priest told me he'd just seen me favorably quoted in a book by Ludovic Kennedy. I still don't have anything much to write. I hope this will go away soon.

Meanwhile, you can check out The Republican Dictionary for some stuff about what's been going on all week.

Today's pick for right-wing blog to check out for a look at how they explain all this stuff to themselves: Right Wing News. I shake my head in wonder.

Buzzflash has an interview with the excellent Robert W. McChesney.

Josh Marshall says it's all about Bush hitting the third rail. This is a good read, check it out.
02:08 BST


Friday, 29 April 2005

Things you should read

I just don't seem to have anything to say, so go to school on:

Robert Parry's The Left's Media Miscalculation - even MoveOn is continuing to make the mistake of thinking that we can attack individual issues without addressing the problem of the conservative media's overwhelming dominance of message-promotion.

The Skirt, on The Abolishment of Girls' Personhood Act (er, that's the second time this week I've run into that word - doesn't anyone remember "abolition"?), and a let-down by PBS (and a pointer to an article I missed by Eric Alterman on how the right-wingers have damaged public broadcasting).

Drew Vogel on originalism.

The Mahablog, on Sharks, and on Christians vs. "Christians". (And in case you can't remember, these are the The Beatitudes.)

Pandagon, where Amanda says No one's a Christian unless everyone's a wingnut.

Peevish, where Anne Zook has plenty of links to what's going on.

Hullabaloo, especially Born To Rule - but don't stop there.

Antiwar.com on The coming Pax Americana.
12:35 BST


Thursday, 28 April 2005

American battleground

I see at Memeorandum that Al Gore told the truth in plain English, which no doubt presents an opportunity for the right-wing crackpots to go another round of calling him crazy: "This aggressive new strain of right-wing religious zealotry is actually a throwback to the intolerance that led to the creation of America in the first place," Gore said as many in the audience stood and applauded.

In the face of the overwhelming incompetence of the administration, a war we should never have fought and a quagmire that didn't have to happen, terrorism that should not have brought down the World Trade Towers and has now expanded, torture, killing, an empty treasury, high prices at the pump and dwindling energy supplies, not to mention the healthcare crisis and high unemployment, what is the big scandal the right-wingers think we should be focusing on? Yes, that's right, the continuing persecution of Henry Cisneros, who was once a member of - you guessed it! - the Clinton administration: A Dorgan press release summarizes the senator's case for quashing the report: "The Independent Counsel was appointed ten years ago, but has failed to file a report and continues to spend millions of dollars, despite the fact that the subject long ago resigned from office, pled guilty to a misdemeanor, paid a $10,000 fine, and received a presidential pardon." Senators Byron Dorgan, John Kerry, and Richard Durbin want this to stop, but the wingers think that's some kind of a scandal. If they don't think a presidential pardon counts for anything, perhaps they'd like to resume the prosecution of Iran-Contra.

I suppose I could quote some straightforward analysis of Bush's energy plan, but I'd rather let Fafnir explain it: We will research alternatives to oil such as coal, nuclear power, a real big fat guy runnin in a hamster wheel to get to a piece a cake, and more oil. ... New drivers will be encouraged to sign pledges to abstain from drivin big gas-guzzlin cars and commit to drivin clean new experimental cars powered by a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Drivers of big gas-guzzlin cars will be classified slutty and hellbound by the Department of Energy but will still receive lucrative tax breaks. That's probably truer than anyone wants to admit.

The Suburban Guerrilla is puzzled.

Here's a bit of old news I meant to publish before one of numerous browser crashes (now, don't you start!): Pushy bottom gets punished.
16:43 BST


Memes and dreams

Oooh, some excellent news developed while I was asleep: Bush to Hold Prime Time News Conference Thursday: President Bush will hold a prime time press conference on Thursday night, his first in over a year, to offer more details about his plans to overhaul Social Security, the White House announced. He will reach even more of the public with this - and, as we know, the more he talks about it, the more people hate it. And the lower his approval ratings go. Maybe if they get low enough, the media will start looking into that voting machine thing....

I appreciate that John Cole has accepted reality, but I'm not entirely happy with this formulation:

So there are/were no WMD. I was wrong. The UN was wrong. Every Democratic President, Vice-President, and Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidtate (those who won the nomination- Kucinich doesn;t count- although in retrospect he was right) for the last 16 years was wrong.
The trouble is that there was this rather large gap between the period when all those Democrats assumed there were WMD and the moment when we invaded Iraq. See, there were, once upon a time, known WMD in Iraq - not nuclear devices, of course, but certainly poison gas and other biochemical agents. Clinton knew that, and that's why he bombed suspected weapons sites in Iraq. From that moment on, there was doubt about the continued existence of those agents, although no one could be sure they'd been destroyed by the bombing. But that was in 1998. By 2003, those agents would have passed their use-by date. And we had weapons inspectors in Iraq. They weren't finding anything. There was no reason at that time to continue to believe WMD were in Iraq. Got that? Bombs and time had changed the landscape; whatever certainty Clinton may have had about Iraq's weapons in 1998, that info was dated, and weapons inspectors were confirming that. "Every Democratic President, Vice-President, and Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidtate" was no longer insisting we need to get into Iraq because we already had weapons inspectors in Iraq. Democratic candidates were not champing at the bit to invade Iraq; they wanted to let the weapons inspectors complete their work, and they were already at least beginning to doubt that weapons were there to be found.

It's about time: St. Thomas president denounces Ann Coulter's speech as hateful: The president of the University of St. Thomas on Monday condemned a speech at the Catholic school last week by conservative author Ann Coulter, saying "such hateful speech vulgarizes our culture and goes against everything the University of St. Thomas stands for." Thank you, Rev. Dease.

Return to the boring Drudge item. Lots of people on the right-wing side are talking about this stupid thing, but I'm sorry to see that even The Moderate Voice has fallen in with this one, making a firm statement about something he knew nothing about. The bit in question was one that had nothing to do with Randi Rhodes other than the fact that it was aired during her show. She had not heard it - she's in Miami and the bit was produced in New York, and she never heard it until after it aired. Moreover, it doesn't mention Bush and it's unclear what it's about. It was a terribly unfunny bit and I can easily believe someone made a slip and let the thing on the air without checking it out first. (Rhodes has apologized for something so unfunny airing on her show. She also apologized to the Secret Service for any time they had to waste on the subject, and she apologized to Bunnypants if it made him widdle his knickers again.) No More Mister Nice Blog has the right reaction.
14:10 BST


What I've been reading

Raw Story reports that the Republicans are re-writing Democratic amendments to make them look bad. They still have the capacity to make us gape in wonder. Everyone is pissed off - Lean Left, Digby, Atrios, Cookie Jill, you name it. Here's The Left Coaster:

It's come to this: in an effort to make Democrats look bad, House Judiciary Committee chair James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin has directed his GOP staff to rewrite the stated purpose of Democratic amendments without telling the Democratic author of the amendment. Apparently Sensenbrenner is upset that Democrats would even try to amend GOP bills, and has allowed staff to rewrite the purpose of the amendments to damage the Democratic authors.
Arthur Silber agrees that Janice Rogers Brown is Unfit to Serve, but I disagree with both Brown and Arthur that the New Deal was the "triumph of our socialist revolution." No, it wasn't. The minute Ben Franklin invented the Post Office, creating state-run institutions that served the public was a part of what America is. We still have a capitalist society - with a mixed economy in which some functions better handled by federal coordination are handled through the government, and others are up to the commercial sector. The New Deal did not change that, it just added another layer of efficiency and helped to create a healthier and more stable economy. And what we had before wasn't a free market, either.

Racism is over, I learn from South Knox Bubba. Oh, and Bush's friends might be terrorists.

You know, I've been thinking all day about the bizarre fact that Bush took DeLay out with him on his Social Security tour (which, you may have noticed, turns more and more people off as it goes on), and after a while I started to have this fantasy that there was actually a method to his madness: Maybe Bush is secretly trying to destroy the conservative movement forever by making it absolutely clear what it's really all about. This would be the way to do it, wouldn't it?

MaxSpeak: BE IT RESOLVED, WE SHOULD EAT THE RICH. Also, democracy okay in South America.

Phony bastard.
03:10 BST


The landscape

Shamanic at The Unpaid Punditry Corps says Shut 'er down - Yes, let them use their nuclear option, and then shut the Senate down. The more I think of it, the more I wonder why they didn't do it sooner. Think of what we'd have missed if this had been done six months ago: the Bankruptcy Bill! There's one we could live without. Terri Schiavo's Law! That didn't need to be on my television for two weeks. The public could have saved tens of millions of dollars on Bush's Social Security Tour de Phase Out over the last two months since it isn't as though any legislation would be moving through the Senate. Class action lawsuit "reform", which is unlikely to help anyone but corporations. The elimination of the Estate Tax, leaving us with an entrenched aristocracy that need never work. There were a few corporate tax breaks that went through in that time period as well. What a waste of the people's time to have our legislators pouring our tax dollars down the gullets of the already-rich.

Kevin Drum says another threat the Democrats are making is to offer proposals of their own. Frankly, I don't see why they shouldn't be doing that anyway. Yes, we know they won't get anywhere, but forcing the Republicans to refuse to support working families, healthcare, vets, our troops, and their families would be helpful all the same.

Meanwhile, Robert Parry explains for The Washington Post the Mystery of the Democrats' New Spine - it's Air America, and it's you and me, too, because we've finally made room for a real progressive message. But some traditional liberal funders are still holding back, and need to be encouraged. As AAR expands and more sources of liberal media are available on the net, the tide does seem to be turning.

Juan Cole says: We are not the mainstream media, and we are here. Get used to it.

I need this for when I visit the in-laws.
01:12 BST


Wednesday, 27 April 2005

And now, it's time for....

Too expensive, too small, probably no good under a tee-shirt, but kinda cute anyway - the Bra of the Week! (And, most importantly, it color-coordinates nicely with the page.)

Randi Rhodes on the radio right now saying Drudge says she and Air America are being investigated by the Secret Service. (She wonders whether Ann Coulter was investigated for saying that the only question about President Clinton was whether to impeach him or assassinate him.)

Jerry at Red Wheelbarrow has a screen-capture that tickled me, at least in part because I, too, have noticed the problem with trying to restrict students' access to things that aren't "G rated". Most of the mail we get is from both highschool and college students doing papers on censorship or pornography or censorship of pornography, so it seems a bit bizarre to try to protect them from reading websites about this stuff on the net. Meanwhile, Jerry knows where to get a good laugh.

My girl the Suburban Guerrilla has found Ann Coulter slashfic and shares a photo of the sky. If you're feeling generous today, you should send her some money because things are tight for her and she deserves your support.

You know, I read the headline First Lady Says No Plans to Seek Office and I just assumed it was about Hillary. I mean, no one would even think about Laura Bush running for office, would they?

Bill Gates said this: In an interview with The Seattle Times, Gates said he was surprised by the fierce criticism that followed the company's decision to no longer back a state gay rights bill it had supported in previous years. (Really? He was surprised?) Steve Gilliard said this.
21:02 BST


Recommended reading

Matthew Yglesias in The American Prospect on False Gospel: Faith can't disqualify judicial nominees. The way they use faith can.

Via GOTV:
Congressman John Conyers at Daily Kos: 21 Members and I Write DOJ to Stop GA Voter ID Law.
Barry Steinhardt and Jay Stanley on Saving the Internet The wealthy and powerful cable industry has so far succeeded in blocking action to protect the openness of the Internet. Only if citizens demand action can the precious neutrality and independence of the Internet be preserved.

Jonathan Singer discusses the industry's refusal to return VHF to the public, as was required by the Telecommunications Act of 1996 that handed them vast amounts of the digital spectrum for free.

The Mahablog brings us Economic Tribalism, an article in which she cruelly tells us that a must-read article in Harper's is not online, but she'll give us a glimpse. It's a discussion of the history of the "moral" argument for unregulated markets and the tyranny of the rich. Yes, they're essentially Calvinist arguments, but, As Bigelow observes, "The wages of sin are often, and notoriously, a private jet and a wicked stock-option package. The wages of hard moral choice are often $5.15 an hour." This follows a few paragraphs from another Harper's article, by Chris Hedges, on the Christian right's war on America.
17:53 BST


Will the boiling frog twitch?

Stay with me now, because this is the way it is.

Rachel Maddow yesterday on Kristof's missing punchline:

Nicholas Kristof's column today, N.Korea, 6, and Bush, 0, is a good wake-up call about what's happened over the past few years with the threat from North Korea.
[Quote snipped]
But isn't this column missing a punchline?

Who specifically can be held to account for this?

Who's the point person in the administration for weapons proliferation?

Who's, say, the Undersecretary of State for Arms Control?

Also via Rachel's weblog, Delay's Time Spent Living in the Pants of Jack Abramoff.

Not unusually, I concur with Atrios that Phil Carter's A Command Performance makes vital points about accountability at the top and how it affects military discipline all the way down. Carter's response to the astonishing outcome of Abu Ghraib investigation, in which numerous people in the chain of command were let off the hook, is spot on:

Talk about cognitive dissonance. In the Army's leadership schools for officers and sergeants, the doctrinal manual preaches quite a different result from the outcome of this investigation. Bottom line: commanders (and NCOs) are responsible for everything their unit(s) do or fail to do, period. A commander, especially a general officer, is not just responsible for those things he/she ordered, but for those things that he/she knew about - or should have known about. This is the essence of the mantle of command, as reflected in several passages of FM 22-100, the Army's field manual for leadership.
Unfortunately, accountability is not something the current regime thinks applies to those at the top - where the rot starts.

The right-wingers want to pretend liberals are extremists because we watch Michael Moore movies that suggest that things like the Columbine shootings and 9/11 shouldn't have happened. But we're not the ones who are consorting with the KKK. (Also via Atrios.) And here's some links if you want to know about some highlights of their little party last Sunday.

Crazies are in charge, and the American people have noticed. E.J. Dionne has the headline I'd most like to see:

If you were to prepare a list of the top 10 stories you will never, ever read in a newspaper, one of them would surely include a sentence beginning: "Thousands of angry, screaming moderates took to the streets yesterday demanding . . ."
In case anyone was worried about a GOP plan to get rid of the 22nd Amendment, Dionne notes a recent poll that shows Bush losing handily in a presidential match-up between GWB and Bill Clinton. Generally, Americans think the Republicans are way out of line and that far from being "obstructionist", Democrats are doing the people's business when they try to prevent further damage.

That's the good news. But for more bad news, nobody white in Congress is paying any attention to the integrity of the voting machines, and the press continues to behave as if the Black Caucus is on drugs and less credible than the fruitcake fringe. Someone needs to tell them they have this backwards.

Someone should tell the white Democrats, too. The Republicans have been remarkably successful at painting all black leaders who don't work for the GOP as having no credibility, as being just a bunch of paranoid whiners who are trying to distract us with side issues. In fact, the Black Caucus has been raising truly vital questions that need to be heard, and the white folk are being lazy and shif'less and steeped in a criminal culture of graft and corruption. The very idea that a coalition of the GOP and Joe Lieberman can have more credibility than John Conyers and Cynthia McKinney should be treated as the laughable fantasy that it is.
13:41 BST


Art appreciation

Teresa Nielsen Hayden seems to have developed an interest in the authorial weaknesses of Thomas Friedman, thus inspiring responses from readers like John M. Ford and James D. Macdonald, and there's a quote from someone who explains first-hand just how little good Mr. Friedman's fantasy has really done for the developing world. Teresa has also watched the trailer for Serenity.

Lisa Whiteman's photo-essay on the barbershops of New York (via Monkey Media Report)

Clarity is a great photo. And I didn't know there was a Botany Photo of the Day. Both Via Sore Eyes.
04:27 BST


Notes

Sorry, I was out playing with a MAC11. I'm back now. Here's some stuff I saw:

I like the title of this post at the Grauniad newsblog, but I'm wondering if there's some magic in my browser making it invisible (unless I highlight it), or if you're seeing that, too.

Lance Mannion discovers that Orlando Bloom is Errol Flynn.

Kos says that Frist fell into Harry Reid's clever trap! Is it true? Is the minority leader the best damned poker player in the Senate? Beats me, I'm a pinball player.
00:43 BST


Tuesday, 26 April 2005

Stuff to check out

The prime minister is a war criminal: Like Chamberlain in the 30s, Blair is an appeaser of a dangerous global power. He should be in prison, not standing for election. Running Scared can't argue with that assessment, and isn't happy about it.

Ampersand: In light of the recent proposal by Senator Santorum to outlaw making taxpayer-paid-for weather data available to the public for free, this article from February, pointing out the large benefits the US has gained by making weather data free (compared to Europe, where Santorum-like weather data policy has strangled innovation and research), is worth another look. Amp's post is really rich with some great links, by the way, so go there and check them out.

Glen at A Brooklyn Bridge says a bit about that right-wing meeting where they discussed their clever plan for a backdoor coup d'etat. I like the idea of referring to DeLay as "Tammany Tom".

At Common Dreams (from yesterday's Indy), UN Investigator Who Exposed US Army Abuse Forced Out of His Job: The UN's top human rights investigator in Afghanistan has been forced out under American pressure just days after he presented a report criticising the US military for detaining suspects without trial and holding them in secret prisons. Via The Alternate Brain.

I hadn't even thought about whether a weblog should have an ISSN, but the Library of Congress has.

with power - the John Bolton story (via)
15:02 BST


Working for it

Two-thirds of Americans support Democrats blocking extremist judges, and most also oppose the nuclear option. So, in the face of such public support, what are the Democrats doing? According to the LAT, they plan to take the Broder Option of caving in if the Republicans promise to be nice for the rest of the year. Ahem.

Faithful Progressive asks, "So Who Got The Better of it on Sunday?" There's bad news and good news.

John Aravosis has an even more sickening update to the MS story: Microsoft paying Religious Right leader Ralph Reed $20,000 a month retainer. "Let's hire Ralph Reed to tell us how to get rid of all that cumbersome good will we've built up over the years!"

"It's not about the money!" says Joe Vecchio, but it sure would be a good idea if progressives could get together and support each other instead going off into their own corners to fight their specific causes. The Republicans got that message a long time ago, and have managed to keep each other afloat even though, unlike us, their goals are really in conflict with each other's. The right-wingers actually find ways to pay the people who work for them. The Democratic leadership just asks our folks for more money. Hey, the least you can do is Support Your Local Blogger.

Brian Sedgemore, long-time Labour MP, has defected to the LibDems, urging voters to give Tony Blair a "bloody nose" at the polls. He accused the prime minister of telling "stomach-turning lies" over Iraq and using the "politics of fear to drive through parliament a deeply authoritarian set of law and order measures". Charles Kennedy says this undercuts the only real argument Tony Blair has been able to offer for a Labour vote - the risk of letting the Tories in. Kennedy says it's not a credible threat and that the center and left should feel confident of safely voting for the Liberal Democrats.

See the finalists for MoveOn's Bush in 30 Years contest.
12:42 BST


No Child Saved From Gangs

I guess Laura Bush is now a George Bush stand-in. The USA Today story is called Budget shifts funds for gang prevention and the first graf has the usual "Bush doing something good" sound, but of course it's the reverse, as usual:

Ten-year-old Alex Baeza, a fifth-grader at Reynolds Elementary School in Tucson, took a few tentative steps toward gang membership but ultimately walked away. His counselors credit federally funded counseling in how to set and achieve goals.

The $34.7 million Elementary and Secondary School Counseling program is slated for elimination in President Bush's 2006 budget plan.

Blackamericaweb has a different slant on this item: Bush Cutting Anti-Gang Programs While Touting New Initiative:
Black congressional Democrats say President George W. Bush has seriously undermined his national anti-gang initiative by eliminating nearly $1 billion in social programs designed to offer young adults -- and black boys in particular -- an alternative to hanging out in the streets.

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus maintain that Bush, in his 2006 budget, cut a number of successful after-school programs and grants that were preventing young adults from joining gangs and participating in self-destructive behavior.

Where is the money going, then? Into PR, apparently. The chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Mel Watt (D-NC), says: "We all know what the problem is; we don't need to study it to death. All they want to do is talk. Bush needs to fund the programs that already exist."

Looks like another program to funnel money to people who don't actually know anything but need monetary rewards for being part of the right-wing movement to destroy America.
10:50 BST


The ever-moving center

I don't know where Joe Trippi gets it from, but there's this weird buzz coming off the LAT and Kevin Drum seems to have caught it, since he says:

Ron Brownstein has an odd column this morning. He thinks that both Democrats and Republicans are pandering so heavily to their extreme wings these days that there's a real opportunity for a new centrist party to steal some votes away. What's more, Joe Trippi agrees
The idea is that someone could come out of center field and play on the Internet to catch up with the established parties. I can go on at some length about what's wrong with the idea that weblogs are enough to do the job, but what is this business about "both" parties playing to the extremes? Can anyone give me an example of the Democratic Party doing this?
10:25 BST

Monday, 25 April 2005

Quicknotes

Fun with capitalization: GM Industry Puts Human Gene into Rice. So that's what was wrong with her!

I didn't notice this 'til tonight, so I missed the first one, but folks in New York might be interested in the taping Katherine Lanpher is doing in Soho on May 1st with Jonathan Lethem and Eric Bogosian, in front of a live audience.

Ouch.
23:56 BST


On the page

The WaPo headline that says it all: Unexpectedly, Capitol Hill Democrats Stand Firm: Democrats were supposed to enter the 109th Congress meek and cowed, demoralized by November's election losses and ready to cut deals with Republicans who threatened further campaigns against "obstructionists." But House and Senate Democrats have turned that conventional wisdom on its head. I like that bit about "supposed to" - who said so?

The media rant of the day comes from GailOnline, who has saved me the trouble. I want to add that even on the Air America news I keep hearing the phrase "...which Democrats call 'the nuclear option'" - a dyed-in-the-wool RNC lie that has been accepted everywhere. (And just as I typed that sentence, Bill Crowley's news spot came on and this time he explained that it wasn't Democrats who coined the term after all. Whew, that's a relief!)

At the risk of making you more alert to the crappy writing I do when I'm too lazy or tired to do the job right (or just not proofreading, which is I guess the same thing), Ten Mistakes Writers Don't See (But Can Easily Fix When They Do).
21:09 BST


Worried, yet?

"What if it could happen here?" asks Robert Koehler, who continues:

This is the disquieting question I hesitate to ask because, once asked, it pretty much changes everything. The answer roars in behind it, as obvious as a Florida hurricane, an Ohio twister, ripping up the complacent heart. What if it could? What if it did? I think of my daughter, quickly, guiltily, and the country she'd inherit. I can no longer stay on the sidelines. No breath comes easily afterward.

It's what I would call the spirit of Nashville, where a national conference was held in early April on the issue of vote fraud and election reform - a conference of expert testimony on dirty tricks, uncounted ballots, needlessly long lines, weird numbers and evidence of electronic vote tampering, adding up to a crime against democracy.

As angry as I've ever been with the direction of any given administration's foreign or domestic policy, I never doubted the bedrock premise that the country itself was sound and free, and that political activity - speaking up, attempting to sway public opinion - always had the chance of reversing that policy. I never doubted, even after moving to Chicago in the mid-'70s, with the old Daley Machine ("vote early and vote often") still huffing and wheezing, that elections mattered and could alter the balance of power. I never felt disenfranchised. Now that certainty is gone, replaced by dread.

I know what he means. I recently caught myself thinking something like, "I'm glad I'm not there." I often feel that way when I read something awful about Uganda or Bosnia or Iran or Somalia or wherever, but I had never before had that reaction when reading about my own country.

That story came via Bradblog, which reports that some of the complaints that came out at the conference have actually been getting mentioned in newspapers, albeit not on the front pages where they belong.

Also via Brad, the article I didn't get to over the last few days about how the chair resigned from the committee on federal voting, "saying the government has not shown enough commitment to reform." The guy is a Republican, but apparently he still has some belief left in democracy. I guess he didn't know about the administration's promises and how they avoid keeping them.
16:20 BST


Monday morning miscellany

Action Alert 1: At Rachel Maddow's weblog, they've posted a list of the Senators who are under attack from The Family Research Council and their phone numbers. FRC is telling their people to phone and demand the nuclear option. They need to hear from you about how you feel about ending the filibuster. Call especially if you are one of their constituents, please. (And if you are a believer, by all means let them know that you, too, are voting your faith - and that's why you're a liberal.)

Action Alert 2: MoveOn says Rally to Stop the Judicial Takeover: MoveOn PAC and our partners in the Coalition for a Fair and Independent Judiciary are organizing a massive national wave of protest to stop them, culminating with emergency rallies across the country on Wednesday, April 27, at 5 PM (or earlier in a few cities).

N+1 says Farewell, Hitch: If a hall of fame were established for contemporary book reviewers-well, why not? There's one for ad executives, poker players, and probably porn stars-Christopher Hitchens would very likely be its second inductee. Hitch once looked good to the author, but now is seen in a different light.

And speaking of the Britboy expats, Mahabarb finds that Confusion besets Andrew Sullivan. An excellent follow-up to her specialty, dancing on the head of The Cabbage.

Neil Bush and his pal Joe Ratzinger (via).

Michael Getler doesn't like write-in campaigns - seems FAIR put its readers up to complaining and they all said the same thing. But they were right. (And how come it's okay for right-wingers to do this, and the press responds, but it's not okay when the left does it?)

Soundless sound system

WalmartWatch and Abstinence Only

Separated at birth?
11:36 BST


Open windows

Over at The Liquid List, Tarek offers his Top Ten news items, including this one: I feel very sorry for Senator Arlen Specter, who is suffering from Hodgkin's Disease. His push for stem cell research is admirable. It'll be a shame when Cheney and Rove drop by and tell him that he, in fact, doesn't have Hodgkin's Disease, because it's politically inconvenient for GOP efforts to comply fully with the wishes of its right-wing Christian shadow-leaders. Specter will sputter, "But...I'm Jewish. And I'm dying." And Rove will snap, "Don't ever let me hear you say the j-word in the Senate again, Arlen."

This is a few days old, but just in case, here's Sam Donaldson saying network news is dead.

The other day Bob Herbert wrote about FDR's second Bill of Rights. Ah, the future was so much better, once, and all things were possible. At Sotto Voce, it's still a good blueprint for Democrats today.

The invaluable David Sirota has the evidence that the filibuster is a power that can be used for good and has been. (Hint: Wellstone.) He also provides an introduction to Bernie Sanders (I-VT), who will be running for Jim Jeffords' Senate seat now that Jeffords has said he's retiring, and the interesting news that millionaires think they are middle class. Plus: Because We Need More Out-of-Touch Reporters: Did the New York Times ever stop to consider that this is why the national media/punditry is so insulated inside the Beltway and thus totally out of touch with the concerns of average Americans?

I apologize for failing to dissect Krauthammer, but of course Busy, Busy, Busy has it covered with far more brevity than I could have managed.

Advertising from the future (via Epicycle). Oh, and Unintentionally sexual comic book covers.
00:53 BST


Sunday, 24 April 2005

The press

Newsweek has a delightful story about the charm Bolton brought to his job on previous diplomatic missions, managing to piss off even Jack Straw. The Brits really didn't like him.

David Broder proves once again that he is blinkered beyond all hope, saying - wait for it - that the Democrats need to compromise on judicial nominations. No, really. And how do they do that? Josh Marshall describes it as a suggestion that, "the Democrats give up the lever of power represented by the filibuster in exchange for an unenforceable promise from the Republicans to be nice." The column is so stupid (not to mention it's pro-RNC bias) that Josh returned to the subject a few more times today, here and here and here. Read it all.

A letter in the WaPo explains that it's a myth that FDR hid the fact that he suffered partial paralysis from polio, expressing annoyance that both the History Channel feature on him and the Post coverage are keeping the canard alive.

Bernard Sussman on How Malpractice Suits Keep My Profession Honest: As a neurosurgeon with some 50 years of clinical experience, I can say from first-hand observation that it's often not the patients' claims that are frivolous, but rather the manner in which those claims are treated. There's stuff in there to give you nightmares.

Bewildered Herd is unimpressed with an article in The New York Times that downplays anti-war feeling in Britain and dismisses the numerous deaths the invasion has caused as legitimate reasons for concern. (Thanks again to Helga for the tip.)
23:41 BST


A bunch of stuff

Read Digby: This is another example of the folly of voting for superficial politics. Schwarzenneger is alleged to be a pretty smart guy. I think it was Hollywood hype. He's a hard worker who parlayed his body into a successful Hollywood career. (Many women have done the same before him, and none of them have been called geniuses for doing it.)

Josh has the come-back: The Crybaby option.

Norbizness is accessory to crime. (Oh, dear, so am I.)

In case you missed it, Julian Borger's brief article Rice changed terrorism report: A state department report which showed an increase in terrorism incidents around the world in 2004 was altered to strip it of its pessimistic statistics, it emerged yesterday.

Yesterday's little web event about the laptop theft (we found at Boing Boing) has generated a response from Sore Eyes, which says: It's an enjoyable rant, well worth reading in full, but am I the only person who thinks that the professor is being a wee bit economical with the truth? Epicycle thinks so, too, and also points us to this lovely cartoon summing it all up.

I saw this photo in black & white in the IHT and thought it looked neat, so I looked up the article in the NYT and I see it's in color, but it still looks neat. (Here's the article that goes with it.)
11:55 BST


Blasphemy Sunday

Colbert King on Hijacking Christianity . . .: They are not now and never will be the final arbiters of Christian beliefs and values. They warrant as much deference as religious leaders as do members of the Ku Klux Klan, who also marched under the cross.

Paul Gaston on . . . Smearing Christian Judges: What these self-avowed Christians do not acknowledge -- and what the American public seems little aware of -- is that the war they are waging is actually against other people calling themselves Christians. To simplify: Right-wing and fundamentalist Christians are really at war with left-wing and mainstream Christians. It is a battle over both the meaning and practice of Christianity as well as over the definition and destiny of the republic. Secular humanism is a bogeyman, a smoke screen obscuring the right-wing Christians' struggle for supremacy.

Frank Rich on A High-Tech Lynching in Prime Time: These traditions have less to do with the earnest practice of religion by an actual church, as we witnessed from Rome, than with the exploitation of religion by political operatives and other cynics with worldly ends.
10:36 BST


Saturday, 23 April 2005

Health report

Ezra Klein has a series on The Health of Nations, which compares the various healthcare systems in various countries (and compares them to the US).

He also links to a post by Matthew Holt about Canadian healthcare which shows (about a third of the way through) that the idea that Canadians cross the border to the US in great numbers to get healthcare is a myth.
23:19 BST


This week at the Liberal Oasis

Bill Scher quotes Barney Frank from last Sunday:

I, 15 years ago, had a problem because I behaved inappropriately. The Ethics Committee stepped in.

Newt Gingrich had a problem. He was reprimanded [when] the Ethics Committee stepped in.

The difference between us and Mr. DeLay is, I think, we changed our behavior.

Mr. DeLay changed the Ethics Committee.

Bill also discusses the real attack on people of faith, and provides a C-Span link where you can see how everyone performed during the Foreign Relations Committee meeting on Bolton.
19:57 BST

Hot blogs

From TChris at TalkLeft, Anatomy of a Wrongful Conviction: Anthony Woods was behind bars for 18 years. Add his name to the growing list of innocent defendants who were convicted and sentenced on the basis of a mistaken identification. Woods' innocence was determined on the basis of a DNA test.

Over at Tapped, Matt Yglesias picks up on a Mark Kleiman's "schadenfreude at GM's expense" over the fact that GM's problems are directly due to the absence of a national health care plan - one they fought against when they had a chance to support it. Matt says it's got a lot to do with the fact that the bosses at the top of corporations don't suffer the consequences of the damage they do to their companies.

And from Jeffrey Dubner, also at Tapped, a pointer to coverage at Whatever Already! of the latest in the investigation of the exposure of Valerie Plame's identity as a clandestine operative of the CIA.

The WashTimes has a story about an unexpected alteration in their routine: The students in Vincent Pulciani's seventh-grade class were reciting the Pledge of Allegiance this week when they heard the voice over the intercom say something they'd never heard before, at least not during the Pledge. Instead of "one nation, under God," the voice said, "one nation, under your belief system." (via)

NTodd has a post up at Suburban Guerrilla with an additional reason to be furious about the Santorum weather-info bill that would charge him for information that he gives them for free. (Also, Maya lets her imagination run wild, and Susan provides a gorgeous sunset. Oh, and it's gonna take time.)

Tom Friedman is now claiming that Democrats can learn from Tony Blair. Tony Blair! Armando is completely right about this - Blair will only win because no one wants to risk letting the conservatives in again (and they supported the invasion). Believe me, support for Kerry, even by his Democratic (and Republican) detractors who nevertheless voted for him, was considerably more enthusiastic last year than anything that's in the air for Blair now. Pretty much everyone who plans to vote for Labour is fervently hoping that Blair will lose the leadership soon after the election (with probable replacement by Brown).
16:29 BST


American landscape

Chuck Currie has a report on the teleconference in which religious leaders called Bill-the-cat-killer Frist and told him they "take issue with this cynical attempt to manipulate Christian faith for political ends." The blander NYT version, Frist Draws Criticism From Some Church Leaders, is still pretty exciting. It's about time mainstream religious leaders stood up to this crap.

FAIR notes that George Stephanopolous has framed the charge that Bolton is a bully who treats his subordinates badly as partisan bickering by Democrats, even though he is referring to a statement that came specifically from a loyal Republican.

At Boing Boing, various versions of a webcast of a university lecture in which the last minutes of the class are taken up with the professor explaining to a thief who stole his laptop that he is in a whole heap of trouble. Blast Radius supplies a transcript for those who don't want to bother with the audiovisual stuff. Fascinating details of the means by which the laptop was tracked after the theft. "You have until 11:55 to return the computer, and whatever copies you've made, to my office, because I'm the only hope you've got of staying out of deeper trouble than you or any student I've ever known has ever been in." Via Peek.
14:41 BST


Bad weather

I see from Josh Marshall that Santorum wants to steal the weather report. AP is reporting that Sen. Man-on-Dog has introduced a bill that "would prohibit federal meteorologists from competing with companies such as AccuWeather and The Weather Channel, which offer their own forecasts through paid services and free ad-supported Web sites." Which means that the information your government collects with your tax money and provides to you (on, for example, this page) would no longer be available to you because that competes with the likes of AccuWeather selling you that same information commercially.

"It is not an easy prospect for a business to attract advertisers, subscribers or investors when the government is providing similar products and services for free," Santorum said.
Aw, poor things. They get free information on my dime and they can't sell it back to me! Gee, maybe the problem is with their business model rather than with the weather service giving me information I already paid for.

Josh also advises that demonstrations are planned for Tuesday for people who want to express their displeasure with the new attack on Social Security being shepherded by Senator Grassley. Take special note if you live in Iowa, where his constituents are planning to make some noise.

(Also: The Republicans are changing the language again, and the press is taking orders. Having coined the phrase "nuclear option", the GOP now realizes that they've annoyed the public, so they're claiming the phrase was invented by Democrats to smear them.)
11:32 BST


Friday, 22 April 2005

Blogissimo

The Fabulous TBogg on a little bit of non-disclosure from right-blogistan, another lie from Ann Coulter, The Five Stages of Tom DeLay, and Call 1-900-HOT-LESBO.

Father Guido Sarducci suspects something went wrong, via BlondeSense, via Peek.

I'm glad I read slow, because I know people who couldn't survive a long flight on only two books. You just know the kind of airport screener who would do this, don't you? Via Epicycle.

King of Zembla has the latest twists in the Sibel Edmonds case, including the fact that a coalition of media outlets, including The Washington Post, has filed a motion to open oral arguments to the public. Edmonds' attorneys insist there is no reason for the hearings to be closed.

Jack K. finds Greenspan being a hack again, and looks at the injustice of injustice Sunday, and forward to the good old days.

Paperwight explains why Democrats have got to stand for something.

The Just How American Are You? Test, via Eccentricity.

Emily Litella speaks out on the new pope.
21:37 BST


It must be news

In yesterday's LAT, Charles Curran talks about how Ratzinger got him fired for not agreeing with some current church positions. (And he's not the only one, of course.) I've pointed out previously that these positions are by no means eternal, including positions on birth control and abortion. Curran reminds me of yet another one: And until the 17th century, popes, in the strongest terms, condemned loans with interest as violating God's law. The church tendency to hold the worship of Mammon above the teachings of Jesus should give any Catholic pause. Via The Road to Surfdom.

Pudentilla discovers a stupid question in the NYT: Who Pays $600 for Jeans? Her answer: people who want middle class tax payers to save them from the ravages of the estate tax. ($600! And here I'm still stunned to see jeans for forty quid in shop windows.) She also brings to our attention another NYT article on teachers and school districts suing Bush over No Child's Behind Left.)

Xan at Corrente suspects the Republicans are getting their lines from Eric Cartman after reading a knee-slapper in the WashTimes accusing Democrats of voting with Republicans because they have no vision. "Bipartisanship Gets You Respect, Right?" says Xan. Well, right. But what's odd about this is that the Republicans are actually giving the Dems a clue - if they had vision, none of them would ever have supported the bankruptcy bill, for example. Xan recommends sending this article to weak-spined Dems for future reference.

Dwight Meredith says the nuclear option is becoming less likely, and quotes from an article in The Hill that says even Santorum appears to be getting cold feet. He also cites a WaPo story that acknowledges how out of touch the Republicans are with the rest of the country as their constituents demand to know why they are fooling around with junk when they don't have jobs.
13:09 BST


Morning webcrawl

Must read: Naomi Klein says that earlier on, the US deliberately stymied Iraqi plans for a much-desired election because they realized that people would not vote for neocon plunder of their resources. That wasn't part of the plan, and delaying the election was pretty much the final straw that made insurgency seem a necessity. And more: On August 5 the White House created the office of the coordinator for reconstruction and stabilisation, headed by Carlos Pascual, the former ambassador to Ukraine. Its mandate is to draw up elaborate "post-conflict" plans for up to 25 countries that are not, as yet, in conflict. According to Pascual, it will also be able to coordinate three full-scale reconstruction operations in different countries "at the same time", each lasting "five to seven years".

The LAT this morning has quotes from a tape of the right-wing gabfest where the loonies discussed plans to use Congress to defund the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Iraq's murky corpse mystery suggests that there might be some ethnic cleansing going on in Iraq. It certainly looks like there are a lot of people for whom life in Iraq would be much better if Saddam had been left in power.

Don't miss Matt Taibbi's hilarious review of Thomas Friedman's new book, The World Is Flat: Friedman is a person who not only speaks in malapropisms, he also hears malapropisms. Told level; heard flat. This is the intellectual version of Far Out Space Nuts, when NASA repairman Bob Denver sets a whole sitcom in motion by pressing "launch" instead of "lunch" in a space capsule. And once he hits that button, the rocket takes off.

And another weblog I hadn't seen before: Stone Court
11:09 BST


Thursday, 21 April 2005

Something's happening here

Via Atrios, a very important post by John Aravosis says that Microsoft has caved in to the far right on gays.

Microsoft Corporation pulled its support for a gay rights bill in Washington state last month after complaints from a single radical right anti-gay leader, according to an article just published in the Seattle paper, The Stranger (the article is on the news stands already, online Thursday).

My sources in Washington state tell me that the vote on the bill, expected in two days (Friday), is SO CLOSE that Microsoft's actions may be pivotal in KILLING THE PRO-GAY LEGISLATION.

The radical right activist reportedly told Microsoft it had better pull its support for the gays or anti-gay bigots would launch a nationwide boycott of Microsoft, and guess what - Microsoft caved. A single anti-gay jerk, and Microsoft chose to reverse over ten years of policy and bash gays.

It gets worse:
What you just read in the quote above is important for two reasons. First, later on you'll see that Microsoft tries to lie about why it dropped its support for gay civil rights in Washington state.

But more importantly, read what Microsoft is really saying. This isn't just an isolated incident. Microsoft having chucked the gays in Washington is part of a "broader general review of company policy" - i.e., they didn't do this in a vacuum, but rather, this is a sign of a bigger shift in Microsoft's policies, policies that have clearly now moved away from their past support of the civil rights of their gay and lesbian employees.

John recommends calls and mail to Microsoft (he has useful contact details) telling them how outraged you are. I recommend contacting the media, posting about this if you have a weblog, and generally publicizing this as much as you can - particularly since Microsoft's internal reasoning appears to include the belief that, "no one will know."

John is looking at this as scary because this could lead to other corporations also abandoning support for civil rights (and not just for gays).

But it may be even scarier than that. Consider: Why did this happen? Who could convince Microsoft to do this - and how? Has someone been leaning on Microsoft (Microsoft!), and what are they using that could put that kind of pressure on the richest man in the world?
15:15 BST


Stuff I didn't want to write

At Trufen.net:

Other than Dave Locke's original announcement, they have nothing further on Bill Bowers' death. It's been a very long time since I saw Bill but he was an integral part of my fannish life in the US, and a good guy, and I was very sorry to hear that he was gone.

There's also an updated obituary for John Brosnan by Bruce Gillespie. I didn't know John as well, though he was close to many of my friends, but I met him on my first trip to Britain all those years ago and always found him entertaining. And I seem to recall that John once did something I always wanted to do. Roy Kettle is arranging John's funeral/memorial for next week.
12:10 BST


Fun with The Washington Post

I'm getting a laugh out of this page right now, which is an amusing article by Dana Milbank reporting on a recent speech on media by none other Karl Rove:

"I'm not sure I've talked about the liberal media," Rove said when a student inquired -- a decision he said he made "consciously." The press is generally liberal, he argued, but "I think it's less liberal than it is oppositional."

The argument -- similar to the one that former Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer made in his recent book -- is nuanced, nonpartisan and, to the ears of many journalists, right on target. "Reporters now see their role less as discovering facts and fair-mindedly reporting the truth and more as being put on the earth to afflict the comfortable, to be a constant thorn of those in power, whether they are Republican or Democrat," Rove said.

I'm sure that's how the press wants to see themselves. They certainly were when Clinton was President. For the last four years and change, though, they have demonstrated a remarkable deference to George W. Bush and the far-right Congress. Dana Milbank, of course, would rather see this as "oppositional".

That's not the only funny thing on the page, though. There is also:

Wednesday's Question:

What role did John Bolton play in George W. Bush's 2000 election campaign?

Foreign Policy Adviser
Head of Legal Counsel
Vice Presidential Search Committee Member
Vote Recount Lawyer

You don't even have to know who Bolton is to know the answer - just about anyone who is getting these nominations was involved with either the Arkansas Project or the Florida recount.
02:53 BST

Wednesday, 20 April 2005

Recommended reading

At Angry Bear, the series on healthcare continues. Kash points out that many countries with a national healthcare system do not have significant waiting times for elective surgery, and it should be remembered that it's a myth that America has no significant waiting times. And Angry Bear can't find any reason for America's high costs in the usual costs of medical care (hospital beds, doctors, and even drugs). So, obviously, it's somewhere else. I know that a considerable amount of it comes from the additional administrative costs of commercial care, but of course the main thing must be that the minute you make a system a for-profit system, you have to jack up prices to make that profit.

The Abomination of Desolation Seated in the High Place - Roz Kaveney's extensive post on the wrongness and hypocrisy of Ratzinger's falsely-touted "intellectual rigor" and his actual moral relativism. As Roz points out, the real-world consequences of the demands Ratzinger is prepared to make on our real-world teenagers are every bit as serious and real as those he evaded by joining Hitler Jungen, but he's only prepared to make excuses for himself. Moreover, he indulges in considerable revisionism in order to claim that the church's current positions have been held since its first days. Most of all, his view seems to excise the best of Christian teaching on behalf of his absurd view of the importance of the church and of his "eternal" principles. (Roz also has a few more things to say about Andrea Dworkin.)
14:42 BST


A game of thrones

Kevin Drum reckons '08 will be the year of the Democratic landslide. As you know, we have no reason to believe this was not the case in 2004. Orc thinks Democrats are living in a dream world if they think it's the candidate or even the issues that will make the real difference.

And speaking of elections, Rep. John Conyers at Daily Kos reports on the first meeting of the Baker-Carter election commission, which he describes as both "disappointing" and "outrageous". The Baker side was represented by the likes of John Fund, making the case for voter-suppression and lack of transparency: For a moment, I was encouraged when someone appeared to have bumped the phonograph and the broken record of "voter id" suddenly stopped. Instead, a new broken record began repeating "no voter verified paper ballot, no voter verified paper ballot, no voter verified paper ballot."

Paper ballots, hand-counted on the night, folks. It's the only way.
13:12 BST


The biggest activist judge

Adam Cohen in the NYT, Psst ... Justice Scalia ... You Know, You're an Activist Judge, Too

The idea that liberal judges are advocates and partisans while judges like Justice Scalia are not is being touted everywhere these days, and it is pure myth. Justice Scalia has been more than willing to ignore the Constitution's plain language, and he has a knack for coming out on the conservative side in cases with an ideological bent. The conservative partisans leading the war on activist judges are just as inconsistent: they like judicial activism just fine when it advances their own agendas.

Justice Scalia's views on federalism - which now generally command a majority on the Supreme Court - are perhaps the clearest example of the problem with the conservative attack on judicial activism. When conservatives complain about activist judges, they talk about gay marriage and defendants' rights. But they do not mention the 11th Amendment, which has been twisted beyond its own plain words into a states' rights weapon to throw minorities, women and the disabled out of federal court.

The 11th Amendment says federal courts cannot hear lawsuits against a state brought by "Citizens of another State, or by Citizens or Subjects of any Foreign State." But it's been interpreted to block suits by a state's own citizens - something it clearly does not say. How to get around the Constitution's express words? In a 1991 decision, Justice Scalia wrote that "despite the narrowness of its terms," the 11th Amendment has been understood by the court "to stand not so much for what it says, but for the presupposition of our constitutional structure which it confirms." If another judge used that rationale to find rights in the Constitution, Justice Scalia's reaction would be withering. He went on, in that 1991 decision, to throw out a suit by Indian tribes who said they had been cheated by the State of Alaska.
[...]
The classic example of conservative inconsistency remains Bush v. Gore. Not only did the court's conservative bloc trample on the Florida state courts and stop the vote counting - it declared its ruling would not be a precedent for future cases. How does Justice Scalia explain that decision? In a recent New Yorker profile, he is quoted as saying, with startling candor, that "the only issue was whether we should put an end to it, after three weeks of looking like a fool in the eyes of the world." That, of course, isn't a constitutional argument - it is an unapologetic defense of judicial activism.

Among other things....
01:29 BST

Penultimate Pope

From The Prophecy of the Popes:

Following John Paul II, only two popes remain in the prophecy. The next motto is Gloria Olivae, the glory of the olive. This motto has led to speculation that the next pontiff will be from the Order of Saint Benedict or will at least choose Benedict as his papal name. Others think that "olive" may mean that the new pope is somehow connected to Israel, because St. Malachy is known to have used the name "Olive" for that region. Also, Our Lady of Guadalupe is described as being "olive-skinned" as are the peoples of Central America; several papabili currently hail from that area.
The next Pope is supposed to be the final pontiff - the antichrist.

Michael Bérubé says: Ratzinger selected as new pope; promises to end "reign of tolerance". (Here's the WaPo version.) Lean Left really isn't taking this well. Over at Tapped, Sam Rosenfeld worries about the church's further alienation from American Catholics, recommends some other voices (one of them is Andrew Sullivan, who predicts civil war within Catholicism), and wonders what Garry Wills has to say about all this.

I've never forgiven John Paul II for telling liberal and liberationist priests to stay out of politics but failing to say the same to right-wing nuts who insisted against all tradition that John Kerry should not be able to take communion, and I'm not real likely to approve of Ratzinger's reign, either. Especially at a time like this.

And Helga writes in with "what Mike Signorile had to say to the man who is now Pope in 1987":

"Suddenly, I jumped up on one of the marble platforms and, looking down, I addressed the entire congregation in the loudest voice I could. My voice rang out as if it were amplified. I pointed at Ratzinger and shouted: "He is no man of God!" The shocked faces of the assembled Catholics turned to the back of the room to look at me as I continued: "He is no man of God - he is the Devil!"

I had no idea where that came from. A horrible moan rippled across the room, and suddenly a pair of handcuffs was clamped on my wrists and I was pulled down."

Page 57 of Queer in America in case you wonder.

It's a vision! Hm, maybe Malachy was off by one....
00:06 BST

Tuesday, 19 April 2005

Places to go

Read Eric Alterman on the Coulter cover story. When Alterman is disappointed at Big Media, you know it's a sad day. You might like to write to Time and tell them you feel the same way.

Clarence Thomas lied about his extremist beliefs during the hearings for his appointment; he doesn't believe in the Constitution. Mary at Pacific Views is dismayed.

Wall Street Journal soft on criminals - if they are CEOs. Of course, they don't like Eliot Spitzer. I await their condemnation of prosecutors throughout the nation who don't give the accused the benefit of the doubt - no, wait, I don't think I'll hold my breath.

Karl Rove pretends to disapprove of the media style that has so hugely benefited his candidate. These conservatives just crack me up.

From The Biomes Blog, a cool optical illusion and the How Logical Are You? quiz.
22:53 BST


Excitement of the day

Oh, God, it's Ratzinger. I concur with Jeanne.

Martin Wisse observed that all of the Hugo nominees for best novel are British. It's not unusual to see a certain amount of regional shift depending on where the WorldCon is, but Charlie thinks there are larger reasons this year having to do with "the cultural zeitgeist, by the society's own vision of its future." America's recent identity crisis is affecting its science fiction and fantasy. Nevertheless, I congratulate the nominees, and especially Charlie, Iain, and Suzanna, 'cos they're my pals.

Read Julie Saltman on What Social Security is really about, and why Bush's judicial nominations almost don't matter.

Oy to the World - ShaBot6000 invites 50 Cent to join with the Rabbi for Seder. Via Peek.
19:04 BST


Bits of stuff

The Raw Story says there is evidence that more people on the staff of Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) were involved with the Shiavo memo, but Martinez doesn't plan to fire anyone else.

David Neiwert is concerned that Eric Rudolph's "confession" has turned into a presentation of Rudolph's Manifesto.

Liberals Against Terrorism

Nobody with figures like these won a presidential election: American women found their president slightly less appealing, rating him a 2.1. That was Esquire - but Bush didn't do so well in the CBS poll, where he only scored 44%.
16:59 BST


Blog morning

Periodically, when the paid hacks are congratulating themselves on how much more civilized and honest and fact-based they are than bloggers, Atrios posts this reminder of just how atrocious they can be. Someone should ask Howard Kurtz and Jeff Greenfield when they plan to listen to legitimate criticism about this.

There are now 31,000 people on the no-fly list. Are you one?

Stupid conservative sexist tricks - how women lost Bin Laden.

Chicken-powered nuclear landmines. (I just had to type that.)

Draft Hindrocket.

Pretty picture, (via)

I'm trying to think of someone left-wing and loose-cannon enough to balance the cover story TIME gave Ann Coulter. I can't, but in the meantime Billmon has an appropriate response.

But Americablog notices a more interesting story in Newsweek and The Baltimore Sun, in which Sandra Day O'Conner expresses surprise at the viciousness of threats from right-wingers aimed at the judiciary: Speaking before a crowded auditorium at Goucher College in Towson, O'Connor said she never anticipated her work as a judge would be accompanied by violent threats and said "thoughtful citizens" should demand an end to fiery extremism on either end of the political spectrum....
11:51 BST


Monday, 18 April 2005

Infodump

It's been rather a long and not entirely lovely day, so just a few items I've seen on my return:

Cookie Jill recommends the administration take a marketing course.

Arthur Silber agrees that something was funny about the election results.

Benedict@Large alerts me to Tom DeLay's House of Scandal, which comes complete with a nifty chart.

Thank goodness we have Sisyphus Shrugged and Busy, Busy, Busy to help out when Michael Kinsley gets confused.

Jeanne D'Arc thinks the media has a problem with counting the dead.

Privacy Digest is a good site that would be a whole lot better if they fixed their formatting.

What Jim McGovern didn't see in Iraq.

Atrios is undoubtedly right chuffed by the excellent Tom Tomorrow cartoon about The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy.

Watching America has translations of articles written in the foreign press about the US.

Saheli is following the story of the arrests at the RNC last year and the subsequent exonerations.
23:59 BST


Sunday, 17 April 2005

The numbers scream, and are not heard

In The silent scream of numbers, Robert C. Koehler says, "The 2004 election was stolen - will someone please tell the media?"

I just got back from what was officially called the National Election Reform Conference, in Nashville, Tenn., an extraordinary pulling together of disparate voting-rights activists - 30 states were represented, 15 red and 15 blue - sponsored by a Nashville group called Gathering To Save Our Democracy. It had the feel of 1775: citizen patriots taking matters into their own hands to reclaim the republic. This was the level of its urgency.

Was the election of 2004 stolen? Thus is the question framed by those who don't want to know the answer. Anyone who says yes is immediately a conspiracy nut, and the listener's eyeballs roll. So let's not ask that question.

Let's simply ask why the lines were so long and the voting machines so few in Columbus and Cleveland and inner-city and college precincts across the country, especially in the swing states, causing an estimated one-third of the voters in these precincts to drop out of line without casting a ballot; why so many otherwise Democratic ballots, thousands and thousands in Ohio alone, but by no means only in Ohio, recorded no vote for president (as though people with no opinion on the presidential race waited in line for three or six or eight hours out of a fervor to have their say in the race for county commissioner); and why virtually every voter complaint about electronic voting machine malfunction indicated an unauthorized vote switch from Kerry to Bush.

This, mind you, is just for starters. We might also ask why so many Ph.D.-level mathematicians and computer programmers and other numbers-savvy scientists are saying that the numbers don't make sense (see, for instance, www.northnet.org/minstrel, the Web site of Dr. Richard Hayes Phillips, lead statistician in the Moss v. Bush lawsuit challenging the Ohio election results). Indeed, the movement to investigate the 2004 election is led by such people, because the numbers are screaming at them that something is wrong.

This is where we are: No facts support the idea that Bush won the 2004 election. The evidence is that Kerry won, and nothing tells us otherwise.
And we might, no, we must, ask - with more seriousness than the media have asked - about those exit polls, which in years past were extraordinarily accurate but last November went haywire, predicting Kerry by roughly the margin by which he ultimately lost to Bush. This swing is out of the realm of random chance, forcing chagrined pollsters to hypothesize a "shy Republican" factor as the explanation; and the media have bought this evidence-free absurdity because it spares them the need to think about the F-word: fraud.
And the evidence hasn't quieted - it continues to scream for our attention:
And the numbers are still haywire. A few days ago, Terry Neal wrote in the Washington Post about Bush's inexplicably low approval rating in the latest Gallup poll, 45 percent, vs. a 49 percent disapproval rating. This is, by a huge margin, the worst rating at this point in a president's second term ever recorded by Gallup, dating back to Truman.

"What's wrong with this picture?" asks exit polling expert Jonathan Simon, who pointed these latest numbers out to me. Bush mustered low approval ratings immediately before the election, surged on Election Day, then saw his ratings plunge immediately afterward. Yet Big Media has no curiosity about this anomaly.

GOTV says: "We have a hard enough time convincing lefty blogosphere, nevermind the news media."

She's right. People don't want to know when you point this stuff out. Even if they think we're right, they want to disassociate themselves from what the media wants us to believe is just "conspiracy theory".

But the Republicans were by no means all that secretive about their utter willingness to thwart a fair election - they openly worked to prevent paper trails, they overtly acted to keep adequate voting facilities from being provided where they were needed the most. And after what happened in 2000, what thinking person could disbelieve that they would go as far as they had to in order to retain power?

And for that matter, after the four intervening years, how else would the Republicans avoid facing the music for the litany of crimes they have committed while illegally at the helm of our democratic republic? They have trashed our Constitution and disgraced our nation in the eyes of the world in an act of mass murder and a celebration of arrogance and corruption. They have behaved as if they knew they would never be held to account; what did they know? They could not afford to have power put back into the hands of the people.

All the talk about religion and such is just a distraction used to keep our eye off the reality: that it was not how people voted at all that brought us to this pass. Invisible religious folk did not surreptitiously vote late in the day without anyone noticing. Republicans did not lie to exit-pollsters, nor Kerry-voters hog their attention. Bush was unpopular on election day just as he is now.

Of course the election was stolen. If anyone says otherwise, there's a simple rejoinder: Prove it.

They can't.
14:31 BST


God shed his grace on thee

Faithful Progressive is saying it's It's a tough time to call yourself a Christian. And it is, if you really are one. Many Christians feel uncomfortable saying so because of the way the Republican loonies are misrepresenting the faith. But I don't see much be gained from complaining about secular liberals when the real problem is the Christianists. There has to be some way for Gospel Christians to make public their objection to having our country controlled by Christianists who spit on the teachings of Jesus.

I was going to write about this myself, but Fred Clark is on the subject of how eliminating the estate tax directly cripples faith-based charities. An extraordinary amount of charity giving comes to non-profits from wealthy people who want to make tax-deductable donations precisely because they are tax-deductable, and without an estate tax, they won't have to. Fred discusses the destructiveness of this tax cut, but I'm not so sure it's as perverse as Fred thinks. Bush has already set up a structure for making churches beholden to the government for "faith-based" works funding that allows groups to force-feed repressive religious beliefs on the "beneficiaries" as well as discriminate against workers on the basis of their beliefs. People may become much more dependent on such programs as their money is sucked away into the hands of our owners. And, of course, the immiseration of the populace is actually very much a part of the program of building theofascist aristocracy.

The Disenchanted Forest takes you on a visit to the part of our founding fatherhood that the Republican leadership is following, on The Hamiltonian Express.
13:16 BST


There's plenty to read

Natasha has an enormous post full of hot links at Pacific Views.

At The Left Coaster Pessimist has a comprehensive post on the filibuster. I love this quote from whiny cat-killer Bill Frist: "All of you are covering what they (the Democrats) are saying, while I am simply trying to work across the aisle. Our voice is being lost," he told reporters, in a somewhat plaintive admission." Pessimist also notes that the alleged Republican lock on religion is just another illusion and even Republicans are starting to get pissed off with it.

Also at the Left Coaster, Steve Soto lists the 31 Democratic losers who voted for both the bankruptcy bill and the estate tax cut in the House. Take a look at the states they're from - they "represent" some of the people who will be hurt the most as a result of their actions. Steve also points out that the media income in those districts is $36,000 a year.

Two via Atrios: At the unlikely local of Americablog, John Aravosis provides the skinny on why Enterprise was killed, straight from one of the cast members, who he just happened to meet on the street. And Max strips the spin off the estate tax smoke.
02:24 BST


Dateline New York

Weird and unexpected: The NYT's replacement for William Safire, John Tierney, has a column up claiming that Rudy's strategy of arresting all the graffiti artists and squeegee guys wasn't what brought crime down after all - it was abortion.

At the NYT, they are absolutely professional - and accurate, and reliable, and upright, and all that there. Thank god they are better than bloggers!

Go congratulate Moshe on this and this.
00:59 BST


Saturday, 16 April 2005

A couple of things

The current edition of our papal nominee Joe Vecchio's radio show is a discussion with vote-count activist Phyllis Huster of CountPaperBallots.com about the citizen vote audit currently going on. (Joe's shows are archived at White Rose Society, but Show #96 isn't up yet because it's still current.) I enjoyed the quote from stealth Republican in blue clothing Cathy Cox, who said: "It's not as easy as plugging in an HP printer." Huster's response: "Well, hate to break it to you, Cathy, but it is."

There's a letter in this morning's Washington Post from Christina Villafaņa that has so many RNC talking points in it I have to think it's astroturf. Anyone else recognize it? (In labeling the repeal of an unconstitutional and punitive double-taxation law as a tax break, the April 12 editorial "The Rich Get Richer" made it look as if the repeal will result in giving new money to the super-rich, when in fact its intention is to not confiscate money that already belongs to this group. Christina, honey, money I work for gets taxed; why shouldn't money that you never earned be similarly taxed? Do you think your parents are the only people who ever paid taxes on their income? Anyway, it was your parents who "managed their finances successfully", not you.)
18:38 BST


Here, there, and everywhere

Max has an article at TomPaine.com about The Late, Great Income Tax. He has a plan.

Adam Magazine has the whole Huns in the news thing covered.

Ted Rall: News Talk, via Wendy McElroy

Seth Finkelstein discovers that bloggers might be getting censorwared.

Outsourcing identity theft.

Law-Givers Place The Earth Under Lockdown

A different solar eclipse picture, and then another one. Oh, and stars in a bubble.

Fab gear, forever.
13:57 BST


A few things

As Frist goes theocratic in pursuit of the nuclear option, one is left to wonder if there's any area in which he is not filth. Digby has a good post about this.

Xymphora is pretty sure Raymond Lemme didn't commit suicide. He was the guy from the Florida Inspector General's office who was assigned to investigate Clint Curtis' allegations that Republican Tom Feeney had asked him to write a program to cook the Florida vote. Local police ruled that Lemme, a happily married man eagerly planning his daughter's wedding, had suddenly decided to slash his wrists. At first they said there were no photos of the death scene; but then the pictures turned up on the Internet and were confirmed as authentic by the embarrassed police. The photos clearly contradicted the original suicide report on several points - presenting evidence, for example, that Lemme had been beaten before his death. The investigation was reopened after Curtis' Congressional testimony - and then abruptly shut down after local police spoke to a never-identified 'someone' in the Florida state government." Lemme joins a long list of inconvenient people who very suddenly, and without reason, used unusual abilities (such as being able to check out of a motel while dead) in order to kill themselves - and did so just in time to make life less difficult for certain Republicans. If I were Clint Curtis, I'd be in hiding.

Dan Gillmor has a couple of interesting posts up, one about discussions of the economics of news and another about telecom companies versus communities.

Via Atrios, check out these cute little clips. Made me laugh aloud.
03:21 BST


More bloggy goodness

Thank goodness the paid media is so much more reliable than those nasty little bloggers who always get things wrong. Take, for example, this article from the Sunday Times by someone who obviously did their research on The Lord of the Rings before writing up an interview with Cate Blanchett. Located by the ever-helpful Teresa Nielsen Hayden, who knows where to find a free term paper.

Roy Edroso notices a lack of hipness in South Park Republicans.

MahaBarb knows exactly what the Democrats should do, and maybe they should watch Mr. Smith Goes to Washington while they're at it.

TBogg: Obscure lesser Power Line inhabitant, Deacon Paul, is tired of the two other nom de homo guys getting all the bad press, so he worked and worked and worked to say something profoundly wrong and stupid, and darned if all that hard work didn't pay off.

David Neiwert talks about the mainstreaming of the Minutemen, and I know he's right, because I've heard some pretty partisan liberals talking about them in much the way David describes, and they seem completely unaware of who these people really are. Even more noteworthy, perhaps, has been the mainstream embrace of the far-right extremists operating the Minuteman Project, and the extent to which they are being portrayed both by media and officialdom as jes' plain folks.
00:09 BST


Friday, 15 April 2005

Stuff I saw

The Small Business Survival Committee's list of the movie industry's top ten pro-business films of all time. (I'd have thought The Fountainhead was more pro-prima donna than pro-business, but that's just me.)

Rorschach points out that even the conservative Economist thinks it's time to get rid of DeLay.

Over at Josh Marshall's Bankruptcy Blog, John Edwards has a guest post up about what a horrible piece of legislation we're talking about, and he says: Unfortunately, we know what the outcome today is going to be. But that doesn't mean we should give up the fight-it means we have to fight harder. Via Running Scared.

At Talk Left, Jeralyn reports that a doctor has been given 25 years for giving pain-killing drugs to his patients, and Rep. Sensenbrenner (R-Mordor) wants you to spend five years in jail for passing a joint.
22:56 BST


Apology

Sorry, I was off shooting my gun. Go read Mike the Corpuscle on intelligent design and Kyle McCullough on the real tax plan to kill K Street.
21:44 BST


Blogissimo

Steve Smith on the new bankruptcy rules: As I noted last month, the much-discussed change in financial eligibility has a loophole so broad that any changes to the current practice of bankruptcy law will be limited to the greater amount of money lawyers like myself will be able to charge.

DonkeyRising: Many progressives have lamented the conservative expropriation of faith and patriotism as the exclusive property of the GOP. Democrats, it is rightly argued, must reclaim these powerful themes as central tenets of the party's philosophy.

Dave Johnson at Seeing the Forest summarizes a "diary" post by Rep. John Conyers at Daily Kos: The Office of Special Counsel has purged their career personnel and replaced them with Republican partisans. They refuse to investigate complaints against Republicans, while initiating investigations of Democrats. They won't even respond to letters from Democratic members of Congress asking what is going on.

Also at Seeing the Forest, Gary Boatwright writes about The Religious Prejudice Protection Act: Sen. Kerry and Sen. Santorum have proposed an amendment to the part of the Civil Rights Act that governs unlawful employment practices. The Unlawful Employment Act generally prohibits discrimination by employers based on that individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Kerry. Way to go, you jackass.

Jordan Barab posting at NathanNewman reports on a hospital that thinks it's delivering pizza, but didn't learn from the Domino's experience. The 30 Minute Promise policy sounds like one that is more likely to cost lives than solve any of the problems the hospital was facing. It cost Domino's $78 million.

Ampersand found a study that shows store personnel discriminate against fat women - but not merely because they are disgusted by the fat.

Springer's weblog reports on one of the subjects on Jerry Springer's show today (right now as I write this): But two days ago, in the middle of a political rant on his radio show, Rush Limbaugh used the street term for the kind of oral sex some women perform on some men. Believe it or not, he was attacking Al Gore's new youth TV thing and naturally had to bash Clinton, and he got so excited he said forbidden words. Springer is defending Rush's free speech, but I'd like to know if the FCC is going to go after Rush the way they have over lesser sinners.

A Tiny Revolution celebrates its first birthday by presenting an interview with columnist Chris Floyd, who writes a regular column, Global Eye, for The Moscow Times and The St. Petersburg Times, and who by the way also has his own weblog.
14:29 BST


Disgusting subjects

Dahlia Lithwick discusses the question of whether pharmacists should be able to deny women birth control in Martyrs and Pestles, and Meat-eating Leftist (via The Daou Report) links to this story saying that the governor of Arizona, Janet Napolitano, has vetoed the bill to allow pharmacists to refuse to dispense medicine based on their religious prejudices.

Bill supporters expressed disappointment with the veto of what three Catholic bishops called civil rights legislation for health care professionals and institutions.
Civil rights, right. Here is what an evangelical pill-sorter's rights are: He has the right to sort pills and give them to customers. If he has a problem with that, he has the civil right to get out of the profession and become a priest or a talk-show host or whatever the hell he wants!

As my friend JBC once told me, a pill-sorter refusing to give you medication is like a checkout girl at the supermarket refusing to sell you meat because she is a vegan. Same stupidity.

And coming from people who have no problem with the death penalty, which not only kills people but in many cases tortures them to death, as Steve Bates of The Yellow Doggerel Democrat reminds us, citing The Houston Chronicle:
As many as four of every 10 prisoners put to death in the United States might receive inadequate anesthesia, causing them to remain conscious and experience blistering pain during a lethal injection.
The idea of lethal injections was supposed to salve our conscience by providing a death that was less painful than the electric chair, firing squad, or hanging. Personally, even with the illusion that it's painless, I've always found it even more sickening, but perhaps that's just me. But I also know that the way the drugs are administered only hides the fact that the subject could be in agony - and I have no reason to believe that's not the case.

And finally, the great Tom DeLay quote, in case you missed it:

The reason the judiciary has been able to impose a separation of church and state that's nowhere in the Constitution is that Congress didn't stop them. The reason we had judicial review is because Congress didn't stop them. The reason we had a right to privacy is because Congress didn't stop them.
Holidays 2004 observes that with the Republican leadership expressing views like this and getting away with it, "There are no moderate Republicans left who have influence over the party. Why would anyone vote for a Republican given the way the party is and has been behaving? Republicans support Big Brother government. Republicans support theocratic government. If you love freedom, democracy, and the rule of law-and if you enjoy religious freedom: stand up and oppose these wackos."
03:51 BST

Thursday, 14 April 2005

The best medicine? Not so much.

Kevin Drum says Brad Plumer and Matt Yglesias have a little list. First Brad asks Why Does The Media Hate Single-Payer? The bullet points:

  • 1. Reporters just don't know all that much.
  • 2. Anecdotes count for more than statistics.
  • 3. Health care professionals in single-payer systems have reasons for drumming up "crisis" rhetoric.
These are fleshed out a bit in Brad's post, but Matt's bullet points in The Media on Health Care aren't as informative, so I'll have to give you more
The England Problem. For linguistic and other reasons, the European country Americans are most cognizant of is the United Kingdom which happens to have a health care system (the NHS) which goes very far in the opposite direction from the U.S. system in terms of command-and-control health care and which, consequently, offers a very exaggerated version of the downsides of government-run health care.
Another problem neither of them mention is actually highlighted by this paragraph - that Americans believe a lot of wrong things about British healthcare because people who oppose a universal system spread lies about it.

We have pretty decent care here, sometimes better than you'll get in the US at any price. As I've said before, the furniture isn't always as nice, but the quality can be top-notch - and free at the point of delivery. (My room at Moorefield's didn't include a private bathroom, and it was smaller than any hospital room I remember seeing in the US, but it was certainly adequate, and I got my surgery in what may be the best eye hospital in the world. My outcome was at the top of the known range for the procedure.)

Overall, as Kash shows here and here, and Angry Bear shows here, the UK still delivers a better healthcare outcome than the US despite the fact that they cheap out on it compared to the rest of Europe.

The France Problem.
What Matt says here basically amounts to, "It's France." That is, people are politically hostile to taking advice of any kind from France, and anyway they confuse the healthcare system with other things they don't like about France's labor rules, housing projects, approaches to diversity, etc.
The Canada Problem. The US-Canada health care dynamic is asymmetrical, because wealthy Canadians can travel to the United States to take advantage of the aspects of our system that work better (for relatively prosperous people) than does their system, while working- and middle-class Americans can't go to Canada to take advantage of the aspects of their system that work better than ours. The result is that you have lots of anecdotal evidence of people fleeing Canadian waiting lists to get their hips fixed in the USA, but no anecdotal evidence of people taking their kids to Canada to get affordable, high-quality preventative care for their kids. In the limited domain of pharmaceuticals, this has changed and Americans now can (and do) go to Canada to get cheap drugs. Not coincidentally, I think, this is the area in which you have the most public support for left-wing solutions.

Cost Underestimation. Apropos of the French-style taxes, it seems natural to assume that governments which provide health care for all their citizens are spending more than are government which provide health care to only some citizens. It's natural to assume, but it isn't true. Reporting on the actual composition of federal spending is always dismal, which leads people to grossly underestimate the extent to which your tax dollars are already going to pay for health care, since Medicare is a universal coverage program for the segment of the population that is by far the most expensive to treat.

Matt understates the case, here. It's not just that we don't see the costs of what publicly-funded healthcare we do supply or the real costs of what our employers pay in and our insurance companies cover, it's also that we seem remarkably unaware of where it's all coming from in the first place. For example, Big Pharma claims they need to charge those high prices to cover the cost of their research, but in fact much of that research was performed at taxpayer-funded institutions. The same is true of the development of new treatments and machinery. All that wonderful stuff was developed in government-funded universities, at NIH - and in other countries. (Americans seem astonishingly unwilling to believe that any of these things were created elsewhere, but they're wrong.)
Bipartisanship as Fairness. Perhaps the biggest problem is simply that since single-payer isn't the official view of the Democratic Party. One problem with "he said, she said" writing is that if he is lying, he gets to get away with it. Perhaps a bigger problem is that if he and she agree that we shouldn't do X, it winds up going without saying that X is, in fact, a terrible idea. If a major political official started insisting that France had a great health care system, you might be able to browbeat the press into acknowledging that he was right. But until someone does it, it will simply continue to be taken for granted that it must not be.
This is a significant part of the complaint liberals have with the Democratic Party generally - if they don't stand up for the liberal position, no one is doing it, and the discourse ends up skewing to the right.
Rich Journalists.
That doesn't need much explanation, but again, Matt is wrong to assume that if you're rich you necessarily get the best care in the world in the US. In some things perhaps that is true, but there's a downside to the expensive care you get in the US. Leaving aside the fact that it's doubtful you could get better in America than I got at Moorefield's, there are other problems we don't pay much attention to, like the fact that the over-abundance of cardiac facilities at US hospitals often means that your cardiac team will be one that is underemployed, while my cardiac team will be one that is sufficiently busy all year long that they're constantly being educated and staying in practice.

To me, though, the priceless fact of UK healthcare is this: I pay for it when I can pay, and I get it when I need it. What that means is that, yes, when I'm getting a paycheck, money comes out whether I'm sick or not, but when I'm ill, I get healthcare whether I have money to fork-over or not. I don't feel that money coming out of my paycheck, but believe me, as someone who grew up in the US, I am acutely aware of the fact that when I'm thinking about seeking medical care or advice, I know with a certainty that the price is not an issue.

When I was getting ready for my eye surgery, I didn't forget that even some people I know who have health insurance in the US would have had to write-off their eye if they'd been in my situation because the cost of surgery, two nights in the hospital, and after-care might not all be covered and what they still would have had to produce out-of-pocket would have broken them. Someone with no insurance wouldn't even have been able to consider it. (And that's leaving aside the four weeks I spent house-bound while I kept my head in the necessary position to make sure the procedure works. Would your employer give that to you?)

I get the care I need when I need it, and so far it's been good care. I never have to think about whether I can afford it. Like I say, priceless.

So congratulations on having the best healthcare in the world.
17:21 BST


Things to check out

Individual-iJust click the button.

John-Paul has a thoughtful, though not flattering, piece on Andrea Dworkin, and I have to say I very much agree. Dworkin's politics, ultimately, were insulting to women as well as men, and dehumanizing to us both. And, in the end, it was all about her.

I can't say I admired Rachel Corrie's approach, but Arthur is right about this.

Via Josh Marshall, three people who are either conservative or liberal wrote to the NYT to explain things to David Brooks. (Josh is also starting a collection of examples of Republican anti-semitic attacks on George Soros.)

Detain This! is "A blog for justice for A and T, two jailed teenage girls whose rights are being abused and whose lives are being destroyed by the United States government."

Citizen's Rent on The New Tax and Spend Conservative.

Penguin blogging

How BushCo Supports the Troops. And More eVoting. And the word comes down on environmentalism from BushCo.

Professionals with conscience

London Underground has revamped their Travel News page and even have a Real Time Disruption Map.
03:06 BST


Wednesday, 13 April 2005

Buncha stuff

Make Them Accountable has a bunch of interesting stuff up, like this poster, The Gilded Age Is Back In Vogue by Warren Goldstein in The Hartford Courant, the Buzzflash interview with Barbara Ehrenreich, an editorial from The Minneapolis Star Tribune saying Reject Bolton/He's the wrong guy for U.N. and an appropriate illustration for it from The Daily Scribble, an old item from The Miami Herald saying that Bolton and others were promised payoffs for their part in helping to steal the election (an old Oakland Press story even has a picture!), and a more recent story from The Miami Herald saying Dade studies switch to paper ballots ("Miami-Dade County officials are studying whether to replace an expensive, controversial touch-screen voting system after a series of mishaps.") Among other things.

Faithful Progressive has An Open Letter to Liberal Bloggers: Over the past couple of weeks our theme has been trying to find ways to promote an agenda of economic fairness as a way of expressing our moral values as a society and our religious values as moderate and progressive people of faith. ... Two things are clear from responses to our recent posts. First, many (especially white) secular liberals are uncomfortable with those of us who express our values in moral or religious terms; second, there is a longstanding history of such action among African American church leaders and there seems to be a greater comfort level in doing so in the black community.

Queer and Self-Loathing in Massachusetts - Mike Signorile on the latest from the Roy Cohn Closet of the RNC, Arthur Finkelstein.

Terry Jones in the Grauniad says Let them eat bombs: A report to the UN human rights commission in Geneva has concluded that Iraqi children were actually better off under Saddam Hussein than they are now.
23:57 BST


Stalking the wild weblog

Patrick mentioned to me last night that it seemed everyone was taking the old Political Compass test again, and I see MahaBarb has a post on the subject, in which she compares this one unfavorably to the Schlesinger-Poole Model. The PC, of course, was developed by the Liberal Democrat Party to demonstrate why everyone is really a LibDem, but that's another story. I thought as an experiment I'd post my results over at Avedon's Other Weblog where I already have comments, and ask y'all to take the test and post your results there, just for the sake of comparison.

And then you can go read The Mahablog about John Bolton and the confirmation hearings.

TBogg has another fine example of how rightwingers never let go of a smear even long after it has been debunked.

More in sorrow than in anger, I'm sure, Billmon views with mild alarm the Unitarian Jihad.

Steve Gilliard and Martin Wisse both think that Amy Sullivan is putting herself into the service of the Jew-haters. I gotta admit, this stuff all sounds painfully familiar to me. (Also via Martin, Notes On Rhetoric.)

Chuck Dupree is talking about the rapprochement between Russia and China, among other things.
19:54 BST


News and views

Steve Smith recommends what he calls "Perhaps the best accounting of the sad decline and utter gracelessness of Christopher Hitchens," and further says: Hitchens wrote more passionately, and with greater venom, when he was attacking Clinton for adultery than he did when he accused Kissinger of war crimes.

You may remember that last fall the Sinclair Group political reporter who was fired for telling The Baltimore Sun that Sinclair's decision to air the SwiftBoat Liars' smear of Kerry was wrong. Turns out his unemployment claim was denied after Sinclair challenged it. Kos will be keeping this story in mind for the effort to challenge Sinclair's broadcast license.

Drudge phonied up a charge that Kerry outed a CIA agent; Media Matters reports.

Yesterday's editorial in the post, The Rich Get Richer, and today's Erosion of Estate Tax Is a Lesson in Politics by Jonathan Weisman cover what should be front-page news about how our legislators are again privileging unearned income above that which we work for. This stuff is anti-social and even anti-biblical.

King of Zembla: As we said at the time, it was a massive show of intimidation by the NYPD, with no concern for the constitutionally-guaranteed rights of citizens -- "a trial run by the Bush administration to see what they can get away with."
13:13 BST


Thanks to PNH

Jon Carroll hears the word: Beware! Unless you people shut up and begin acting like grown-ups with brains enough to understand the difference between political belief and personal faith, the Unitarian Jihad will begin a series of terrorist-like actions. We will take over television studios, kidnap so-called commentators and broadcast calm, well-reasoned discussions of the issues of the day. We will not try for "balance" by hiring fruitcakes; we will try for balance by hiring non-ideologues who have carefully thought through the issues. (via)

My Unitarian Jihad Name is: Sister Sword of Reasoned Discussion.

(Oh, wait, maybe I'm Sister Molotov Cocktail of Loving Serenity.)

And there's a newer post about that "Democrats should be more like Republicans" thing.

In other news, Patrick directs my attention to CCC.Revolved: The Beatles' 1966 album, Revolver, mashed for 2005 by ccc. I was particularly entertained by Got To Get You In The Mood by The Beatles and Glenn Miller.
12:16 BST

Various stuff

Ah, a new catalog, and thus a new Bra of the Week!

Via GOTV, FAIR's report of America's Broken Electoral System, and Bradblog on John Conyers to Jimmy Carter: James Baker 'Inappropriate' for Blue-Ribbon Election Commission! God, yes.

While Homeland Security is spying on pacifist groups, look who we might welcome into the US: How can the United States welcome a famous terrorist and drug dealer?: Luis Posada Carriles, "the elusive Cuban exile militant," is a career narcoterrorist who spent time in a Venezuelan jail for the 1973 bombing a Cubana airliner, killing all 73 persons on board.

Gregory Harris liked Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.

Why didn't I want to see Nicholas Kristof explaining how the news media should improve its image? Let Suburban Guerilla be your guide. Or maybe Jesse Taylor, who says: Amazingly, Kristof has achieved a rare feat - he's both completely right and completely wrong. He also doesn't explain why a newspaper with the local market of New York City should cater to "red state evangelicals." Dear Nicholas: Just do your job.

The Dems did a smart thing, according to Army Times: House Democrats unveiled a $100 billion package of military and veterans' benefits Tuesday that they call the "GI Bill for the 21st Century." The plan includes a wide range of initiatives drawn mostly from proposals offered by military and veterans' groups that often have bipartisan support in Congress. Via Blah3.
03:31 BST


Tuesday, 12 April 2005

Rapid eye movement

Helga tells me that Matt Taibbi's gone to hell.

Kicking Ass reports that their fake mugshot of Tom DeLay actually made Newsmax feel forced to say it wasn't real, insisting that he hasn't been arrested yet - even though he's obviously not that tall.

I always have trouble dealing with how blasphemously tacky the religious freaks are.

Avery Ant's Talibant Rant
23:27 BST


Medicine show

Kevin Drum is exposing the secret of "socialized medicine": It works better than the other kind.

I also found these comments in the ensuing thread:

From swamp thing:
If any of us flaming liberals were asked to provide a list of countries that we think makes a good case for progressive, pro-active government, we would probably include Norway, The Netherlands, Denmark, New Zealand, France, Sweden, Japan, Finland, etc. Most all of those places have successful healthcare programs, an educated populace, worker security and so forth.

What I would like to know is-- Where are the successful right wing societies? Which countries would the wingnuts point to as models that prove their political theories are valid?

From Apollo 13:
Can't think of one. Kevin just posted something a few days ago about the Iraqi experiment "for laissez-faire economics" but so far, no cigar.

Well, I guess it depends if you define Pakistan as "successful". There was a period after the fall of the USSR when Russia was also pretty laissez-faire....

Meanwhile, this hilarious comment is a really good example of arguing from ignorance by someone who really, really wants to believe that the US system is the best. (And if you want a good laugh, check out this example of what's considered a "healthcare crisis" in the Netherlands.)
21:21 BST


Hot topics

In the NYT, Videos Challenge Accounts of Convention Unrest. It's not really a surprise to learn that the police made up their reasons for arresting people in New York during the Republican convention, but it's nice to see that videos were taken that directly contradicted police claims, thus allowing judges to throw cases out without too much fuss.

Garance Franke-Ruta at Tapped: It's The Criminal Investigations, Stupid. Conservative defenders of embattled House Majority leader Tom DeLay say they plan to turn the tables on the Democrats and point out that they, too, have taken foreign trips. This strategy seems to be contingent on missing the central point about what's been driving the story about Tom DeLay. It's not "liberal bias" or concerns about junketeering; it's the criminal probes.

Also at Tapped, Matthew Yglesias wonders just what people mean about a need to condemn Hollywood for its, um, whatever it does: The analogy between Hollywood and Democratic willingness to "bash big business" on other topics is directly contrary to the "nobody's talking about censorship" line. Liberals don't "bash" businesses, we regulate them. Regulating the content of publishing and broadcasting is censorship.
19:43 BST


Media whore watch

I'm one of those people who never did like the idea of confusing incompetence and sucking-up to the centers of power with sexual prostitution, because sexual prostitutes are at least doing an honest job. But reporters and news analysts aren't supposed to be hustling for the Man. Still, it's hard to find another term that sums them up so neatly. So in honor of the dear departed MWO, we return to the phrase: Media whores.

And, as some may remember from the old MWO days, John Harris was deep into the media whore philosophy. He hasn't changed, as his recent example of false equivalence demonstrates. He pretends that the Clinton, DeLay, and Berger stories all demonstrate that cover-ups no longer hurt politicians.

I've never been particularly happy with the formulation that cover-ups are necessarily worse and more dangerous than the crimes or other missteps they are meant to cover up. In Nixon's case, the way he covered-up was itself a problem. Those behind the impeachment of Clinton did their best to try to equate Clinton's behavior with Nixon's, but that was never true; Nixon's abuses of power were abuses of presidential power, to begin with. The press simply decided to hold it against Clinton that he hadn't wanted to tell them all about his personal peccadillos, although they had forgiven George H.W. Bush for lying to them outright about his own affair.

Amy Sullivan has the right of this, pointing out that the Berger story was never much of a big deal and was never likely to become one. (Truth is, it wouldn't even have been a story before the dedicated right-wing media took over AM radio.) Clinton was impeached over something that should never have been brought to light, and wouldn't have been in an earlier age - and it was only the attempt to cover it up that gave Ken Starr the artificial foothold into claiming a crime had been committed. Clinton suffered rather severe consequences for what really wasn't all that much of a cover-up to begin with.

As to DeLay, Amy says:

It's far too early to claim that DeLay's strategy of going on the attack is going to help him escape punishment from colleagues or voters. But that's almost beside the point. What we have here is not proof that evasion works but rather that controlling every branch of government, purging ethics committees of independent-minded members and installing your puppets, and invoking divine retribution on those who disagree with you seems to work pretty darn well.
It works especially well if your party has no limits on how far it will go to defend you. I'm having a little trouble imagining the Democratic Party being willing to go along with something like this to defend even Clinton, let alone someone who was actually very, very dirty.
14:22 BST

Blogger's notebook

Click for larger version

In Skippyland, Pudentilla explains that a healthy democracy does not confuse private lives and public duties of office holders and what happens when republicans run the economy.

Fafnir has been kidnapped by judges run amok!

Toast Select Committee for the Investigation of Presidential White-Washes Report

I am slowly becoming aware of Carnival of the Un-Capitalists, which is playing this week at The Green Lantern. This looks like a cool and worthy project. Via Majikthise, which is where the next one will be hosted, this time with a theme: Markets and Health. I'll find that one especially interesting, I expect.

A 21st Century disease - but Melanie can't quite believe it.

It looks like the StoutDem and his cronies have succeeded in ousting the stealth Republicans from their local Democratic Party. If you haven't been following this thing, have a look - it might help lift your depression.

Brad Plumer is working on an economic vision thing for liberals. This is one of those things I come back to from time to time in dribs and drabs - like when I talk about how keeping money moving through the economy (rather than bunched up at the top) is the way to keep the economy healthy - but I haven't really crystallized the language I need to describe the vision I have in my head.

Roger Ailes (no, not that one!) awards the Putzpuller Prize.

That Colored Fella presents: La Shawn B.'s Groundhog Day!
04:18 BST


Monday, 11 April 2005

Girl stuff

Hey, look who's Feminist of the Day today - it's Ben's mom!

Rosalyn Yalow
Member of the National Academy of Sciences, winner of 1977 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
"If women are to start moving towards that goal, we must believe in ourselves or no one else will believe in us; we must match our aspirations with the competence, courage and determination to succeed."

Roz called me today and told me she'd read at Susie Bright's weblog that Andrea Dworkin was dead. Here's what Roz wrote.

I never actually met Dworkin, although like Roz says, we had friends in common who will be mourning her. I did have a third-person encounter of a sort, when someone at BBC World Service thought it would be a good idea to do a show with Dworkin, who was visiting London at the time, and with me. Dworkin apparently recognized my name and refused to participate; an ex-feminist turned Catholic prude was found to replace her and the show went on without Dworkin.

But, as Susie says,

Here's the irony... every single woman who pioneered the sexual revolution, every erotic-feminist-bad-girl-and-proud-of-it-stiletto-shitkicker, was once a freakin' crazed fan of Andrea Dworkin. We all were.
It's true - when Woman Hating came out, it provided permission to be angry that a lot of us hadn't had before. It was a big deal.

But the more she critiqued pornography, the weirder she got. Acknowledging the problematic relationship women have to porn was one thing; turning it all into the evidence against men and against sex was something else again. By the time she came to be advocating actual violence against men, I'd very nearly forgotten I'd ever had any respect for her at all. And, by then, the religious right owed her more than I did.

Although, it must be said, my colleagues and I would never have written all those books repudiating Dworkin's view of pornography if she had not been there to inspire us.
23:41 BST


The business of government

Carolyn Kay of Make Them Accountable asks, Is Tax Money Your Money?, and reminds you that "tax cuts" usually mean that most of us get ripped off. Something good liberals already knew. (And, like me, Carolyn can locate the reason to collect those taxes right in the Preamble.)

Nathan Newman asks What's Wrong With Impeaching Judges? He's saying that it would be a mistake for liberals to argue against the process of impeachment as a check on an unaccountable judiciary, which is true enough. But that's not what the Republicans have been advocating, is it? No, they want judges impeached for upholding the law - and they're suggesting even worse than impeachment.
21:24 BST


The decisive battle in the fight for democracy

The Boston Globe: Kerry urges citizens to defend their voting rights

The Jerusalem Post: Kerry says trickery kept people from polls

The Chicago Sun-Times: Voters were intimidated at polls, Kerry says:

Many voters in last year's presidential election were denied access to the polls through trickery and intimidation, former Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry told a voters' group Sunday.

"Last year too many people were denied their right to vote, too many who tried to vote were intimidated," the Massachusetts senator said at an event sponsored by the state League of Women Voters.

"There is no magic wand. No one person is going to stand up and suddenly say it's going to change tomorrow. You have to do that," he said.

Of course, one way to do that is to keep hectoring your reps to insist on doing something about it, and you have to go after them at both the federal and local level, and you have to start doing it now.

Hillary Clinton spoke yesterday about voting problems too, and insisted that the problem must be fixed and that "we" would do it. I want to see some sign that we're going to get more than just a couple of speeches on the subject. These people have to be shown that there is real grass-roots interest in the subject and that we expect them to do the business. (Senator Clinton's speech is archived at C-Span, where it's currently at the top of the list and easy to find.)

Bella Ciao has a nice collection of election fraud-related audio clips, one of which includes this quote:

"The judge's decision that yes the recount can happen, but it could happen probably when it won't make any difference. The judge suggested that he might not have ruled the way he ruled if Kerry had asked for the recount.

But the Kerry - Edwards campaign filed to be only a party in the lawsuit brought by Cobb/Badnarik. Since Cobb/Badnarik got only 14,000 votes out of 5.5 million cast they wouldn't be harmed by a later recount. If Kerry had tried harder, maybe the judge would have ruled differently."

"It is disappointing that the judge decided not to expedite the recount, he did say an interesting thing. He did say that perhaps if John Kerry had been present there would have been a showing of irreparable harm."

Yes, it won't happen without us, but we obviously can't do it alone. Kerry let us down. What is he doing now to tell us that he won't keep falling down on the job?
15:57 BST

Sunday, 10 April 2005

It might be news

The talk of the town is Michael Isikoff in Newsweek, With Friends Like These... , on how rats are leaving the sinking Abramoff and maybe DeLay is in trouble. Best quote: "Everybody is lying," Abramoff told a former colleague...."Those S.O.B.s," Abramoff said last week about DeLay and his staffers, according to his luncheon companion. "DeLay knew everything. He knew all the details." Kevin Drum wonders where the quote came from and why - and then offers "the Powerline version." Josh Marshall says that Chris Shays (R-CT) is saying publicly that DeLay is, "an absolute embarrassment to me and to the Republican Party," and that he said it to constituents. Charles Kuffner is fantasizing about Abramoff turning state's evidence: How sweet that would be, and how deserving. I'm picturing it as a Law & Order episode, with DeLay sitting stonefaced in the defendant's chair as Abramoff confirms everything DA McCoy says. Oh, yeah. Kos, of course, is enjoying the Intercine War.

Daniel Okrent says the story that jumped the gun was against the rules, a bad idea, incomplete reporting - and, alas, par for the course, these days, thanks to a passion for scooping the competition. But the saddest thing about this story is that it sounds like it wasn't a real scoop - rather, just some PR everyone was getting, but with the NYT offered the chance to have it a day early if they didn't check for reactions. Now, what does that tell you? Why would a source offer The New York Times an early option on a story as long as there was no opportunity for anyone to argue or cast doubt on the source's version? And why would the Times even think of taking them up on it? Listen, guys, the real way to get a genuine scoop is to go out and find the important stories no one else is covering and then properly research them and print them. I could think of a really big story the Times could cover....

John Dean says: It Seems Likely the "Nuclear Option" Actually Will Be Used. Via Crooks and Liars.
23:59 BST


Tracking the smoke machine

David Neiwert has a rumination of the "self-correcting" nature of the blogosphere, particularly with regard to Powerline and the Shiavo memos, but not forgetting the "Rathergate" story, and he links to this article in CJR explaining once again why it is not appropriate to assume that any of the Killian memos were forged. (Also: David asks whether anyone really wants to go down that road to allowing discrimination against people who practice "chosen behaviors".)

Ezra Klein has a lovely post on whether Powerlie has jumped the shark that contains some of the most entertaining metaphors we've seen in quite a while.
20:47 BST


Democrats

On Slacker Friday, Altercation printed this letter from frequent correspondent Stupid of Chicago:

Hey Eric, it's Stupid to play Monday Morning Quarterback. What if a year ago, by magic, you were told that the Democrats were going to lose the 2004 Presidential election as well as some seats in Congress regardless of who they nominated or how they campaigned? If you knew that, what kind of campaign would you have run against Dubya? I'm reminded of a history professor who swore that the seminal figure of the Democratic party was Al Smith, because his 1928 campaign set-up the New Deal coalition of the future. I remember thinking that there was that little matter of the Great Depression, but comparing Smith's campaign to Kerry's is revealing. 1928 had its own polarizing hot-button issue: Prohibition. Hoover called it "noble," Smith favored repealing it. Some things never change: Protestant conservatives raged a slime campaign against "Al-choholic Smith," the New York City sinner (and Roman Catholic). Like 2004, Democrats were conflicted and most shied away from the issue and focused on Smith's proactive (for then) government plans to boost the economy and education. (At least Kerry didn't wear his Northeast roots like Smith, whose campaign song was "The Streets of New York.")

Smith got trounced, or so it appeared. Hoover won 58% of the vote, and won the electoral vote 444 to 87. However turnout was huge: Smith got as many votes as the victorious Calvin Coolidge four years earlier, and reversed the GOP's hold on all the major cities. Catholics and Jews saw that they had a home in the Democratic Party. Moreover -- and here's my point -- Prohibition was a bad policy and over time it became more and more unpopular. Voters identified Democrats with the alternative policy, just as they did with FDR's New Deal (Hoover in the 1932 campaign also proposed government programs to help the Great Depression -- voters went for the real thing. I don't blame Kerry for trying to position and craft a message to win - the stakes were high enough. But the Dems are paying a price: the public doesn't remember Cheney dissing energy conservation, it doesn't know we spend $4 billion per month in Iraq. They aren't the alternative, they're the mumbling dissenters. Arguably the elections aren't the time to "heighten the differences" but what's the excuse now?

Someone should send that to every Democrat in Washington.
16:43 BST

Things I found in my mail

Okay, time for one of my occasional checks of my inbox. Lessee, Dave Weis alerts me that The Smirking Chimp has posted the Harvard Crimson article by Yoshi Tsurumi, George Bush's old econ prof at Yale The Harvard Business School,* Hail to the Robber Baron.

Three good articles by Norman Solomon:
At FAIR, Beyond the Narrow Limits of News Coverage
At Common Dreams, A Quarterly Report from Bush-Cheney Media Enterprises
At AlterNet, Little Reporting on Paranoia in High Places - this is particularly useful, reminding us that the word for the style of government Bush has been practicing is not merely "unilateral" and certainly not "strong", but actually "paranoid".

At TomPaine.com, Patrick C. Doherty looks at DLC Misleadership - "Major announcements last week showed the danger of the centrist obsession with Islamic extremism."

At Center for American Progress, Eric Alterman has a rundown of the big stories the media underplayed while Ms. Shiavo and the pope hogged all the coverage.

At The Moscow Times, Chris Floyd's Global Eye column says: Let's face the facts. The game is over and we -- the "reality-based community," the believers in genuine democracy and law, the heirs of Jefferson and Madison, Emerson and Thoreau, the toilers and dreamers, all those who seek to rise above the beast within and shape the brutal chaos of existence into something higher, richer and imbued with meaning -- have lost. The better world we thought had been won out of the blood and horror of history -- a realm of enlightenment that often found its best embodiment in the ideals and aspirations of the American Republic -- is gone. It's been swallowed by darkness, by ravening greed, by bestial spirits and by willful primitives who now possess overwhelming instruments of power and dominion. Ouch.
_____
*I knew that. A cow flew by. Thanks to Bob Oldendorf for the wake-up call.
11:46 BST


In the towers

An advantage of reading the paper version of the IHT at the end of the week is catching those little things that went right by me when I scanned them online. For example, this item on how the Pope was dressed up the final week of his show:

Tucked under his left arm was the silver staff, called the crow's ear, that he had carried in public.
A decent reporter would at least have asked, "How do you spell that?"

Kevin Drum has an amusing summary of the current state of affairs with the Powerline/Martinez denials of the existence of the Shiavo memo, with a brief history of Martinez's habit of claiming it was all the fault of his aides (proving, I guess, that he sure can pick 'em), and ending with: Martinez had a copy of the offending memo in his pocket and Republican aides in other offices confirmed that they had received copies too. Is that a smoking gun proving that Martinez and other Republican senators had also read it? Technically no. But let's face it: you have to be pretty naive to believe anything else. The jig is up, folks. He also says the Sandy Berger business turns out to have been...no big deal, just like I said at the time.

LiberalOasis has an Open Letter To The Media that you ought to read and then send to every real newspaper (as opposed to The Washington Times) and real reporter you can think of. They really do need to know that there is a very serious difference between the right-wing blogosphere's attack on "the MSM" and the liberal blogosphere's critique of Big Media's editorial/journalistic weaknesses.

At Tapped, Garance Franke-Ruta advises us to take a longer look at the astonishing story in the WaPo detailing how Tom DeLay is not only as dirty as can be, but seems to have been working for Russian security while he was at it. Look, this guy didn't just go home with the waitress....
01:50 BST


Saturday, 09 April 2005

Because I still love Laura Nyro

Shooting Star: Laura Nyro Remembered will air tonight (or this afternoon, depending on where you are) at 9:30 PM BST (1:30 PM Pacific, 4:30 PM Eastern), on BBC Radio 2. Streaming live and also archived so you can pick your time.
19:48 BST


Weblog wank

Cernig lists the four bloggers he'd have for his continuing talk series if he had his own show on CNBC, and I must say I'm startled that anyone would deliberately put Michelle Malkin in front of human beings. (Well, I might, if the others could grill her mercilessly about her creepy views - one of them would have to be David Neiwert, of course.) I wouldn't have Glenn Reynolds, either - if I want a libertarian, I'll have a real one, like Jim Henley. Joe Gandelman is okay as the middle-of-the-road guy, but I think if it were my panel I'd prefer to give voice to people who aren't so credulous about the conventional wisdom when I know that all too much of it is created by partisan smoke-machines - I heartily recommend that both Cernig and Joe read How you became crazy two or three times to get a better understanding of why the CW is not a good guide to sane and moderate thinking.

I'm happy with the four-guest format, though, and I certainly agree that Jesse Taylor is a first-class choice. But for a whole year of talk, I'd prefer a bit of rotation and I want eight choices, and three of them would have to be Barbara O'Brien of The Mahablog, Digby of Hullabaloo, and Susan Madrak of Suburban Guerrilla. I'd want Henley and Silber, too, and of course my cosmic twin Jeralyn from TalkLeft. And now I find myself thinking of all those other good people I didn't pick yet and I think it would be good every week to have one of them as a one-shot guest - say Natasha of Pacific Views, Dwight Meredith of Wampum, Mark Kleiman, Nathan Newman, Steve Soto and Mary from The Left Coaster, Leah from Corrente, Max Sawicky, Jerome Doolittle of Bad Attitudes, Andrew Northrup of The Poor Man and of course Atrios and Dave Neiwert. Wait, why am I limiting myself? It's a daily show, I can just run through my blogroll until I run out of people who can talk and will agree to appear on TV.

I keep Digby on that list, by the way, in spite of the fact that he listed me to follow in his footsteps for The Book Meme Game. I'm very bad at this "choose a limited number" thing. I try to avoid circumstances under which I would be marooned on a desert island, and I can't help the feeling that if I was marooned on a desert island, I probably would not be in any position to pick my top ten pieces of music or books or whatever to take with me. If aliens come out of the sky and insist on sending me to a desert island and ask me what books I want, I'm going to have to say that I want the rest of George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series - the ones that haven't been published (or, I suspect, written) yet, because I haven't had a chance to read them yet. In addition, my memory of the circumstances in Fahrenheit 451 is that your choices would be limited to whatever books happened to be found at the scene, so on the question of which book I'd save, I'd have to say, "What are my choices?" I mean, it's possible that the best book in the cache is Less Than Zero, which I've not only read but I hated, in which case I'd look for the book(s) I hadn't read yet in the hope that it'd be an improvement. If I had to commit one book to memory - a book to be, in the terms of F451 - it'd be To Kill A Mockingbird, but that's a different question. The only easy question on the list is what book I'm reading, because at the moment I'm actually only reading one book (or three, depending on how you look at it): The Lord of the Rings. And as to what three people I would victimize by putting them on the spot about answering the questions from The Book Meme Game, I'm having an all-volunteer army - play if you want, but I won't force it on you. Digby used it as an excuse to say nice things about three other bloggers, but I do that all day long around here, and I've named quite a few in just this post, so that's all ya get.

But as I started to say, I want Digby on my TV show in spite of this evil thing because he writes things like Eine Kleine Mock Music, the must-read piece of the day so far, in which he rips into the annoying Joe Klein with great paragraphs like this one:

There must be some kind of computer program you can buy in DC that scolds Democrats like a drunk and bitter stepmother no matter what the circumstances. If there isn't, I'm going to invent one so that Joe Klein can spend even more time kissing the flatulent asses of sanctimonious Republican gasbags who insist that James Dobson and his zombie nation represent "real" America
I mean, how can I not forgive the guy who wrote that?
17:20 BST

Interesting stuff

Anders Schneiderman directs my attention to a story on The New Child Care Movement at Unite To Win: I thought this story might appeal to your readers. After a ten-year long struggle, 49,000 Illinois child care providers have finally joined a union. What this will mean for the lives of these mostly female workers, their families, and the 200,000 children they take care of? Check out this blog entry by Angenita Tanner, a Chicago childcare provider who stepped up and took on the fight 10 years ago.

Via Monkey Media Report, Harper's has posted The Apocalypse Will Be Televised, Gene Lyons' run-down on the bizarro world of the Left Behind series. Lyons thinks it's bad Christianity; MMR says it isn't even good fiction.

And here's an oldie but a goodie from The Catholic Times - Pope fears Bush is antichrist.
05:06 BST


Friday, 08 April 2005

Surprise, Surprise!

Consortium News says:

For the first time, we are posting the "confidential" Russian government report about the 1980 "October Surprise" case. The report -- a rare case of Moscow cooperating with the United States on an intelligence investigation -- asserts that Reagan-Bush campaign officials did secretly negotiate with Iranian leaders behind President Carter's back. But the report was kept hidden from the American people until discovered by reporter Robert Parry in a Capitol Hill storage room.
Read Russian Report on 'October Surprise' Case. And then read the response to the latest investigation of intelligence failures: CIA 'Reform' -- or Just Sack 'Em All, calling for accountability from well beyond the intelligence communities.
22:30 BST

Anti-American

It's been bugging me for the last couple of days that there's a presidential delegation to the Pope's funeral. We've never done that before. It freaks me out.

Then last night I got home and turned on AAR and Fran Lebowitz, who isn't happy with it, either, is saying Bush ordered that flags be flown at half-staff as well. Ouch.

Yes, I know about this:

By order of the President, the flag shall be flown at half-staff upon the death of principal figures of the United States Government and the Governor of a State, territory or possession, as a mark of respect to their memory. In the event of the death of other officials or foreign dignitaries, the flag is to be displayed at half-staff according to Presidential instructions or orders, or in accordance with recognized customs or practices not inconsistent with law.
But that last clause, "accordance with recognized customs or practices not inconsistent with law" means taking into account that a pope isn't just a friendly foreign dignitary and there's a good reason why we've never made official recognition of the death of any other pope.

On the long list of outrages from the Bush administration, this isn't a big one (I mean, it doesn't kill or impoverish anyone, for example), but it's not that long ago that no one would have let a president get away with this.
12:49 BST


Out of sight

Arthur Silber alerts us to The Ignored Story that James Wolcott is writing about - and, I warn you, this is not a funny story. It's about how, with the help of the maladministration in Washington, Vicente Fox and the PRI "are attempting today [...] nothing less than a pre-emptive coup d'etat: a political assassination, dressed up in legal technicalities no more serious than a parking ticket, to remove Mexico's leading presidential candidate from the 2006 contest."

How they know there's inflation

Where Are The Good Christians? Mark Morford knows they're out there.
02:53 BST


Thursday, 07 April 2005

Maru brings us this picture by Allan Bee, along with a few words about that out-of-control activist liberal judiciary.

Helen Thomas reads Ari the Liar's book: Fleischer devoted a whole chapter to me and our back-and-forth discussions at White House briefings during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. He said he believed the outcome was a draw. And speaking of Helen, she got a zinger in at a briefing last week, on the heels of the day's blogger asking a real question and getting the usual rubbish from McClellan.

Mahabarb: Thus, when Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, the part about "all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness," he was drawing on a philosophical tradition going back to the Greeks. But the next sentence - "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed," was far more radical. This was no "conservative reaction" to anything. This is pure and unadulterated liberalism. (Also: Maybe They'll Like Us Better Now.)

At Alicublog, Roy Edroso sees the face of modern conservatism.

Frank Zappa warned that the biggest threat to us was not communism, but "moving America toward a fascist theocracy." Bill Berkowitz worries that we are lurching in that direction.

Wotisitgood4 finds a discrepancy in reports of a Zogby Poll that has Sugarland voters saying they'd rather vote for someone other than DeLay by 49% - or is it 45%? Sumfin' funny goin' on, there.

A different magnetic ribbon
14:47 BST


In Blogtopia
Yes! Skippy invented that word!

Atrios has the floor statement of Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) in response to Bush's outrageous suggestion that U.S. Treasury Bonds are worthless IOUs. Definitely worth reading for the full flavor of the irresponsibility of this RNC talking point.

Liberty Street finds that even people on the right agree that new passport rules supposedly being proposed to make us safer will in fact just make us much more annoyed and inconvenienced.

Lance Mannion has been enjoying Bérubé enough to get in on the analysis of why arts and humanities professors are liberals. More fun!

Michael himself is writing more seriously after having words put in his mouth - and ours.

Ahistoricality has discovered an opportunity to break Canadian law online.

Posted on this thread by Anonymous: Since the New Deal, Republicans have been on the wrong side of every issue of concern to ordinary Americans; Social Security, the war in Vietnam, equal rights, civil liberties, church- state separation, consumer issues, public education, reproductive freedom, national health care, labor issues, gun policy, campaign-finance reform, the environment and tax fairness. No political party could remain so consistently wrong by accident. The only rational conclusion is that, despite their cynical "family values" propaganda, the Republican Party is a criminal conspiracy to betray the interests of the American people in favor of plutocratic and corporate interests, and absolutist religious groups.

Via Elayne, the very neat Zoomquilt. Just set your cursor on the red pathway and...zooooom!
01:56 BST


Aces

The Uberblonde at Suburban Guerrilla provides yet another reason to give money to bloggers now that the effort to corrupt public broadcasting with conservative bias has been ramped up further, and no reason to be happy about the appointment of new FCC chair Kevin J. Martin.

TBogg is unhappy about missing the Pulitzer this year, but that's okay, I'm already nominating him for next year. Possibly for this catch about the Rev. Dobson lying about judges. Go read more.

At Body and Soul, Donald Johnson guest-posts an analysis of Thomas Friedman's It's a Flat World, After All with its usual lack of understanding of how globalization hurts people. Meanwhile, Jean explains why there's no reason to coddle pharmacists who put our health at risk.

The fabulous Digby tackles that annoying Brooks article and says a whole lot of true things about conservatives. And via Digby I also learn about this remarkable piece of live-blogging an anti-Arnold demo at Swing State Project (where I also learned about a new website called Drop the Hammer).
00:20 BST


Wednesday, 06 April 2005

Recommended reading

Check out Lawyers, Guns and Money today, first for Threat:

It's possible that Rummy said this with a straight face:
"I don't have any evidence..." that Venezuela will turn over some of the weapons to Colombian rebels, Rumsfeld told the Herald.

"All I said was, I asked the question ... what in the world (is the threat) that Venezuela sees that makes them want to have all those weapons?"

Look, I'm pretty sure that the United States isn't going to be invading Venezuela anytime soon. Then again, you never know with this crew.
And then for its consideration of the question:
Is Jonah Goldberg a liar or just a moron?
Seems Jonah wants us to believe that academe is rife with people who "would think "Transgressing the Boundaries: Toward a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity" was really onto something if it hadn't been exposed as a hoax." No, I haven't met any, either.
21:02 BST

Deep insight

The RNC's blogosphere arm (known around here as Powerslime - and no, I'm not linking to them) is all upset because their penetrating analysis of a photograph was apparently ignored by the Pulitzer committee. Clark Stooksbury observes:

Being a blogger means never having to hold your self to the standards you demand of the big media, or so it seems for some. I noted last year how several bloggers were boasting about their various takedowns of the dreaded MSM, especially over this photo from the Associated Press which "proved" that that organization was guilty of working with terrorists because, I think it was Hindpocket at Power Line who said, "the photographer was obviously within a few yards of the scene of the murder, which raises obvious questions, such as 1) what was the photographer doing there; did he have advance knowledge of the crime, or was he even accompanying the terrorists? and 2) why did the photographer apparently have no fear of the terrorists, or conversely, why were the terrorists evidently unconcerned about being photographed in the commission of a murder?" Also, an anonymous source told Salon that the photographer might have been tipped that something was going to happen on that street. High Pockets treats that as an admission of guilt by the Associated Press.
Wait 'til they find out about the invention of the telephoto lens, eh? Via Unfair Witness.
19:42 BST

Food for thought

Is Paul Krugman guilty of false equivalence? I think so. PZ Myers presents it as a "quibble", but it generated a lot of interesting comments to the post, along with some interesting discussion of conservatism.

Julie Saltman has more fun with David the Cabbage, and also alerts me to the fact that Publius has returned to posting - check out the one on the outrage industry.

Conservatives argue by polling dead people, says Arthur Silber. Arthur is one of the very best writers on the net, good, passionate, thoughtful, and smart, and his health is failing. Send him some money, dammit, or you won't get to read any more.

Shameless Agitator recommends Chalmers Johnson's Wake Up! (on "Washington's alarming foreign policy"), with some distressing economic analysis, and Joe Bageant's A Republic of Pickle Vendors ("Bageant takes a look at the mindset of the business and owning classes in America, and shows how it is responsible for the much of the misery of the working classes.")
18:03 BST


Curtains!

Wow, I went to bed before the hot news broke, I guess. I wake up and turn on Air America and find DeLay is on the ropes. The NYT is reporting that Political Groups Paid Two Relatives of House Leader, and the WaPo has A 3rd DeLay Trip Under Scrutiny. (Links via Memeorandum.)

So it looks like the GOP has decided to cut him loose as quickly as possible so he won't be available for Democrats to use against them in next year's elections.

The radio also tells me that DeLay's sudden disappearance as keynote speaker from an attack-the-judiciary conference in Washington is the result of a sudden need for him at the Pope's funeral. The All Spin Zone has the dope. (Link via Atrios.)
14:31 BST


Yes, it was really, really stolen

Cannonfire has a good post up about the US Count Votes study of the 2004 election, and another - Leto-Hoffman study of Snohomish County, Washington, which also supports the analysis that there was vote-fixing with the machines counts.

Cannonfire directs our attention to another analysis of the USCV study by Newsclip Autopsy, with this quote:

The exit polls for the 2004 election not only tabulated views from the Presidential election. It also received information about the voters intentions for the U.S. Senate races. Guess what?! Yup. Strangely enough, the exit polls were far more accurate at determining who would win for Senator. As history shows us, there is no precedent for widespread "ticket-splitting" in other elections. That is, if you vote democratic for President, there is an overwhelming probability that you would vote democratic for the Senator. US Vote Counts summarizes this peculiarity this way:

"There is no logic to account for non-responders or missed voters when discussing the difference in the accuracy of results for the Senate versus the presidential races in the same exit poll."

No logic, indeed. Unless this is a nation where "multiple personality disorder" is present in epidemic proportions!!! To allay that particular fear, this report confirmed another startling finding which was observed in a previous report by the same group. Exit polling accuracy was dependent on whether the election ballots were hand-counted or not!! This is a highly significant finding, considering that, in Ohio, only a non-random 3% of the ballots were hand recounted. Many of these instances had recounts which were different from the machine counts.

Also from the same post:
This report, if read carefully, is damning. I was particularly intrigued by their investigation of Diebold's strange insistence that the power cords for the voting machines be "daisy chained." Most people don't realize that data can be transmitted over power lines.
You know, it's really not paranoid to think all these sneaky things were happening because they intended to cheat, and did. Newsclip Autopsy is pretty sure Mitofsky's internal investigation deliberately whitewashed their results, too.

Via Xymphora, who also has a few things to say on the subject, most notably:

The Democrats swore up and down after the 2000 debacle that they would never let that happen again. All the 'reforms' did was make it easier for the Republicans to cheat in 2004. It is almost beyond belief, but it appears that exactly the same thing is happening again. The 'reforms' passed as a result of the 2004 election will end up making Karl's job even easier in 2008. If insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result, the Democrats are certifiable. Some Americans said they won't leave for Canada as the honorable thing to do is stay and fight for the country. If you don't fight this, what's left to stay and fight about? The time to fight is now, not, like the last time, three weeks before the election when the damage is too late to correct.
It really is time for y'all to start hectoring the newsmedia non-stop on this subject, and to ask your local Dems why they refuse to do anything about it. It's not like there's any point in going to all the trouble to run candidates if the Republicans are going to keep getting away with this.

(Thanks to Helga for another fine tip.)
01:44 BST


Tuesday, 05 April 2005

Your happenin' world

Steve Stiles! Steve Stiles! Steve Stiles!
Guess who finally has a website.

Another great page full of pictures and quotes and links (including a response to my remarks about the Mommy Party and the Deadbeat Daddy Party) from Gail Davis, who says: I really wish the god that George W. Bush believes in would make sure he (Bush) ends up feeling the grip of the vice in which he (Bush) is placing the rest of us. The god I envision would never do this, but Bush's god would. And don't miss Freeway Blogger's Fun With Hate Radio.

Jeffrey Dubner: Social Security privatization is failing and the president's polling numbers are slipping. So why don't Democrats seem to be making headway? Matthew Yglesias has a simple answer: It's because liberals won't stop bemoaning the Democrats' failure to make headway.

Jonathan Senchyne needs to learn about permalinks. Scroll down to read "Freedom Is Costly: Public Property In An Orwellian Sense." There's some nice photos, too. (And your room looks pretty tidy to me, Jonathan. I have more paper than I know what to do with, it's taken over the whole house.) Update: That was fast.

At Reptile Wisdom, more music and Privatized Jesus. (Hey, I get my own music! Neat! No wonder you're a Nobel Prize nominee, honey!)

Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY) is rockin' and explaining why the House rules under Republicans explain how they keep the rich getting richer and the rest getting poorer.

Ginger Mayerson finds another disturbing thing.

Helga recommends Michael Dickinson's And Jesus Said: "Call No Man Your Father", but I refuse to talk about that subject. For now, at least.

Al Gore's TV network is now officially Current, and has the winners for its contest up. And, apparently, a new contest happening. Here's a news story about it.

The increasingly tiresome David Brooks has another silly article in which he divides everything into two groups and gets it wrong. Jesse Taylor takes him apart nicely; Mahabarb jumps off from it into a smart essay - go read. (Also: Tom Tomorrow on dog-whistle politics and Yoosta Bees.)
21:04 BST


Re-activist judges

Last August, Dahlia Lithwick's Activist judges? What's in a name? appeared in The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, and she said this:

There is probably nothing I can do or say to convince you that the words "activist judge" have no more meaning than the words "hectic smurlbats." You've heard "activist judges" so many times -- from the president, from Congress, from the angry guys on the radio -- that you can define it right along with me. Together then: Liberal activist judges make law, as opposed to interpreting it. They ignore the plain meaning of texts to invent new rights. Superimposing their moral views onto their legal reasoning, they brazenly advance the cause of the fringe liberal elites in the culture wars.
[...]
We can disagree about outcomes, but we have, at least as a matter of political language, internalized the fiction that liberal judges "make" law, and conservative judges "interpret."

A modest proposal, then: Let's invent a new term right here, today, for judges or judicial nominees on the right, who claim to be merely "interpreting" the Constitution, even when they are refusing to impose settled law; law they deem unsettled because it was invented by "liberal activist judges." And while I am open to better suggestions, here's a tentative offering: "Re-activist judges."

I'll go with that. (via)

So pay attention.
17:02 BST


A few things

What happens when the only pharmacist in town refuses to sell birth control? C'mon, you know this one.

Natasha at Pacific Views has called my attention to an interesting MyDD post on A 10,000 Member House of Representatives? (This might actually be a good idea, and possibly even workable.) She also continues with Part 2 and Part 3 of "A Canticle For Lieberman".

What would you pay for an alternative to TV?
13:13 BST


They're with the terrorists

The sickening attack on judges that started with Tom DeLay continues. Americablog reports: GOP Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) says violence against judges is understandable.

Senator John Cornyn should resign immediately.
[...]
We now have Republican Senators making excuses for terrorists. Explaining why terrorism is understandable. Why terrorists have legitimate concerns. Justifying why the victims of terrorism are really to blame for these heinous crimes. Wonder what Senator Cornyn thinks of rape victims?

This is utterly outrageous. Outrageous. The GOP is now embracing domestic terrorists who are trying to undermine our democracy.

You wouldn't expect it from a guy with this in his resume:
As Texas Attorney General from 1999-2002, John Cornyn directed many initiatives vital to the interests of Texas families. Cornyn served for six years as a District Court Judge in San Antonio before being elected to the Texas Supreme Court in 1990, where he served for seven years.
Atrios adds:
We get so used to hearing this kind of wingnuttery, and while it's wrong when Michael Savage says something like this, it's certainly way beyond any standard of decency for a United States Senator.
Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has responded on his blog:
This apparent effort to rationalize violence against judges is deplorable. On its face, while it contains doubletalk that simultaneously offers a justification for such violence and then claims not to, the fundamental core of the statement seems to be that judges have somehow brought this violence on themselves. This also carries an implicit threat: that if judges do not do what the far right wants them to do (thus becoming the "judicial activists" the far right claims to deplore), the violence may well continue.
I can't wait to see David Neiwert post about this.

Look, folks, this is the kind of thing that really, really deserves a full-out phone & fax campaign to media outlets with a demand that they explain how we have come to the point that members of Congress are practically advocating terrorism and getting away with it. Not that it would hurt to encourage your reps to speak up about it, either.
03:08 BST


Buncha stuff

Our congratulations to Nick Anderson, who actually won a Pulitzer, and deserves it. Here's more.

Interview: Keith Giffen talks about Countdown To Infinite Crisis.

Helen Thomas, Screened Audiences, Fake News Promote Bush Agenda: Asked why the president speaks only to his supporters, White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Bush's intention is to "educate" the people. He probably meant "indoctrinate."

Dancing with the Wolf: If the World Bank's board had applied the same kind of "due diligence" to Paul Wolfowitz that they purport to apply to major development projects, they might have uncovered a significant conflict of interest that could have led them to rethink their embrace of the architect of the Iraq war.

Book Review: The Limbaugh Code - Dahlia Lithwick looks at another embarrassing bulk-buy for people who don't really like to read.

I just heard Janeane announce this guy as a guest and I thought, "Gosh, that sounds so amazingly like..."

Take Wesley Clark's Survey.
00:29 BST


Monday, 04 April 2005

Some stuff that isn't about you-know-who

At Tapped, Dave Meyer muses on Russ Feingold's principled positions on a president's nominees, and Matt Yglesias delivers his usual Shorter Weekend Op-Ed Columns but says the one you really need to read is Ashton Carter's A Failure of Policy, Not Spying in the WaPo - and he's right, of course, since Bush's only policies were to invade Iraq and ignore intelligence.

Also, Sam Rosenfeld on how the Republicans are now writing legislation no decent human being could support, in order to make sure no Democrats will vote for it (and then they can be called "obstructionist"). He's recommending the NYT piece by Nick Confessore on the decline of the "centrist" Democrats. Funnily enough, The Washington Times has an article (but use the Common Dreams link) on how the DLC are declaring war on the rest of the party (again).
23:23 BST


Recommended

Cheney's words may be a first step On the Road to Hell, warns Arthur Silber: I suggest that, for your own peace of mind, you not ponder for too long exactly what it means that we've arrived at the point where the Vice President finds it necessary to say that "he opposes revenge against judges" for their judicial decisions. Remember the pattern from history: first, introduce the idea tentatively...

Epicycle reports: And talking of swine, media giant MGM has egg on its face following the accidental discovery of some internal PowerPoint slides revealing the fat 60% profit margin they make on movie DVDs. The slides came to light following the equally surprising discovery of a browseable collection of box art from MGM's DVD catalogue - one enterprising visitor worked his way back up the tree to find a whole raft of internal briefing documents and management presentations. The web site's sloppy security seems to have been fixed as I write this, but of course the cat is well and truly out of the bag now...

Dwight Meredith has used the occasion of that Michael Kinsley article to provide an update to his Just For the Record series - which, as you may recall, was reproduced on a single page at The Sideshow Annex.

What's up with C-SPAN, anyway? David Neiwert finds they are remarkably friendly to treating Holocaust denial as a reasonable contribution to the debate.

Cup O'Joe presents his campaign to be the next Pope. I endorse this nomination on the grounds that he says he'll give me money if he wins.

Just in case you wanted to read something that might potentially be interesting on the pope thing, try Tim Francis-Wright, Josh Marshall, and Jonathan Dresner.

See trailers and teasers for the new series, and classic clips, from Doctor Who.
18:35 BST


News you need

Action alert: Today's topic is Debt Slavery (you didn't think I was gonna talk about that other thing, did you?). The Black Commentator has an article about it, and Democrats.com says Tell Congress to Vote NO on the "Debt Slavery" Bankruptcy Bill.

And here's ProtectYourCheck.org, "a non-profit advocacy organization established to oppose the White House's effort to dismantle Social Security, the most successful retirement and anti-poverty program in our nation's history." (via)

Read this stuff. Especially, read this response to a letter the (Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-nominated) author of Today in Iraq received from the sort of person we usually refer to as a "ditto monkey".

Middle Earth tech: Troubleshooting the Mithril disc-recording lathe. Via lies.com
14:05 BST


And the nominees are....

Pulitzer and Nobel prize nominee Jeralyn Merritt at TalkLeft, Report: Sanchez Authorized Iraqi Prisoner Abuse: The Independent reports that newly released documents show that Lt General Ricardo Sanchez authorized coercive prisoner practices banned by the Geneva Conventions. It appears that Sanchez may have committed perjury in prior testimony by denying that he authorized the techniques.

Pulitzer Prize nominee Anne Zook has been reading publications I didn't even know about and, as usual, it has made her Peevish.

At Nobel-nominated Suburban Guerrilla, Bishop loses a pile gambling and tries to make it up by docking the priests' salaries. Also, who really screwed up the Iraq intelligence.

Bill Maher on the kind of chastity you get with abstinence-only sex ed: Is there any greater irony than the fact that the Christian Right actually got their precious little adolescent daughters to say to their freshly scrubbed boyfriends: "Please, I want to remain pure for my wedding night, so only in the ass. Then I'll blow you." Well, at least these kids are really thinking outside the box. Via The Hamster.

I can only agree with future Nobelist Kevin Hayden, who noted TBogg's nominees for new Pope and asked, "but where's Don Novello?" I think Father Guido would make a cool pope, especially if he sings "Parco McArthur" again. (And future Pulitzer-winner Mahabarb picks a winner, but not for that.)

Link me or the kitten gets it.
00:37 BST


Sunday, 03 April 2005

Not my "Daddy Party"

As readers of The Sideshow already know, the party of big government is the Republican Party, and the party of fiscal responsibility is the Democratic Party. Michael Kinsley is just finding this out. But what bugs me is that this business is still making the rounds, even showing up in a Kinsley column:

It was the TV talker Chris Matthews, I believe, who first labeled Democrats and Republicans the "Mommy Party" and the "Daddy Party." Archaic as these stereotypes may be, they do capture general attitudes about the two parties. But we live in the age of the one-parent family, and it is Mom more often than Dad who must play both roles.
I don't know what kind of a dad y'all had, but both of my parents brought home the bacon and paid the bills on time. They didn't run up a lot of debts and they looked after their children to the best of their ability, taking care of us when we were ill, making sure we got a good education and had decent clothes to wear and good food to eat. I won't pretend they were flawless at it, but I just can't imagine my father being as irresponsible as the Republicans have been.

Perhaps we should call them what they are: The Deadbeat Daddy Party.
22:02 BST


Only the best

Epitaph for DeLay from the Pulitzer Award nominated Think Progress: "Rule of Thumb: If Cheney says you've gone over the line, you've gone way over the line."

Nobel Prize nominee Tild~ discussed His Dark Materials for her Easter weekend god-blogging, but go on over and look at the whole page for all those Estrogen Month posters. And you might want to check out The Human Clock from her sidebar.

MVP Paige not only nominated me for a Pulitzer and a Nobel, but also for the 2005 American League Cy Young Award!

Nobel nominee Michelangelo Signorile on Log Cabin's Drug Money. Who would you sell out for Big Pharma's money?

Nice little April 1st post from Pulitzer Prize nominee Hugo.

Nobel nominee Riverbend is absorbing American Media.

Pulitzer nominee John-Paul explains why the conservative New Republic is just wrong.

Nobel Prize nominee James Wolcott recommends HBO's Left of the Dial, which I would like to see if anyone can get me a copy.

Nobel nominee Julie Saltman explains why Sin City critics are hypocrites.

Pulitzer nominee Roxanne did herself proud for April 1st.

Nobel nominee Ron Beasley (who is handing out more nominations) on how the Patriot Act is unpatriotic.

(Don't expect me to keep this gag running forever, folks, get it while it's hot!)
19:31 BST


King of the world

At TPM, Josh Marshall notes that Bush is staging a special event to emphasize the idea that it's okay for him to: default on Social Security:

But it would certainly make sense for the supporters of Social Security to raise this question again now in the clearest terms: Does the president believe that those Treasury notes are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States and will he guarantee those funds will be repaid?
This would be a very good time for people to call or write to every news organ they can think of and demand to know whether Bush plans to violate the full faith and credit clause. If our word is our bond and our bonds are no good, well....

Gloria R. Lalumia reports on a public appearance by Seymour Hersh:

"The President," Hersh sighed. "Bush is as absolutely convinced he's doing the right thing," just as journalists are who think of themselves as white knights think they are doing the right thing. "Even if we have another thousand body bags, it won't deter him."

"This is where he is. He believes he won't be measured by today, but in 5 or 10 years" in terms of the Mideast. With regard to Iraq, "he thinks it's going well." Iran, according to Hersh's contacts, is "teed up." "This is his mission," he continued. "What does it mean?"

And then he delivered the most chilling comments of the evening. "Nothing I write" is likely to influence Bush, he said. "He is unreachable. I can't reach him. He's got his own world. This is really unusual and frankly, it scares the hell out of me."
[...]
"That 8 or 9 people can change so much...Where was the military, the Congress, the press? What has happened raises the question about the thinness of the fabric of democracy."

In the Guardian, Robin Cook on Why American neocons are out for Kofi Annan's blood:
This brings us to the solid concrete roadblock in the path of the Annan reforms. The world is confronted with a choice between two competing models of global governance. The direction signposted by Kofi Annan is to a regenerated UN with new authority for its collective decisions. However, collective decision-making is only possible if there is broad equivalence among those taking part. And there is the rub. The neocons who run the US administration want supremacy, not equality, for America and hanker after an alternative model of global governance in which the world is put to right not by the tedious process of building international consensus, but by the straightforward exercise of US puissance.

There are ways in which this power can be displayed more subtly than by dispatching an aircraft carrier. Over the past six months their influence has been deployed in heavy press briefing against Kofi Annan, to their shame faithfully taken up by rightwing organs in the British press.

There is a breathtaking hypocrisy to the indictment of Kofi Annan over the oil for food programme for Iraq. It was the US and the UK who devised the programme, piloted the UN resolutions that gave it authority, sat on the committee to administer it and ran the blockade to enforce it. I know because I spent a high proportion of my time at the Foreign Office trying to make a success of it. If there were problems with it then Washington and London should be in the dock alongside the luckless Kofi Annan, who happened to be general secretary at the time.

But there is a deeper level of perversity to the denigration of Annan by the American right wing. They have long clamoured for reform of the UN. Kofi Annan has just proposed the most comprehensive overhaul of the UN in its history and is the general secretary most likely to deliver support for it. If they persist in undermining him they are likely to derail his reform package. The suspicion must be that they would rather have a creaking, ineffective UN to treat as a coconut shy than a modern, representative forum that would oblige them to respect collective decisions.

The eccentric selection of John Bolton as Bush's ambassador to the UN is consistent with such a strategy of sabotage rather than reform.

Oliphant

The message from the White House to almost everyone has been that it really doesn't matter if we are "with them or against them," since, if we are not actually Them, they are against us.

All of us. It doesn't matter what country we are from or even if we are Republicans who ardently support Bush. If we are not actually among their wealthy, powerful cronies, they will happily take everything we have and leave us bombed-out, destitute, whatever strikes their whims. We are spiders whose legs they can pull off for fun, frogs they can torture, toy soldiers to send off into pointless wars, little pockets of money and property to be plundered for their own purposes. They don't care what happens to us - any of us. In fact, it's fun for them to stick it to us. I'm not even sure they think it's more fun to stick it to their opponents than it is to betray the trust of their supporters.

We are their real enemies, of course - not because we are fighting against them (because many of us aren't), but because our interests are so different from theirs that there is always the possibility we will eventually notice that they have more in common with our enemies, and more common cause with them, than they do with us. We are only their cannon-fodder and their prey.

Everything is theirs for the taking, and no constraints are on them. After all, they have divine right.
13:30 BST


Sceptered Isle stuff

According to a Locus Special Report, Charles Stross Attains Posthuman Status: At exactly 1:07 PM GMT on March 31, 2005, noted science fiction author Charles Stross ceased his existence as a baseline human being and entered an unknowable posthuman condition. (via)

From The Week, 2 April 2005: In his day, the Tory Whip Lt Col Sir Walter Bromley-Davenport was famous for his military bearing and stentorian voice. But he was also accidentally responsible for Ted Heath's rise to fame, says Geoffrey Wheatcroft in his new book, The Strange Death of Tory England. One evening in 1951, Bromley-Davenport spotted a well-dressed man leaving the Commons. Taking him to be a recalcitrant Tory escaping the vote, the whip ordered him to halt - and when that failed, physically booted him down the stairs. When the stranger turned out to be the Belgian ambassador, Bromley-Davenport was relieved of his post, and Ted Heath took over as whip.

Avery Ant hearts Camilla.
00:36 BST


Saturday, 02 April 2005

A couple things

Kevin Drum has a post about that moronic George F. Will column advocating a lunatic tax "reform" scheme, and got an interesting comment from powerpuff: The 'unintended' consequence of black markets is the main reason Republicans and corporate Democrats like the idea of a flat tax regime. Prohibition lined the pockets of politicians, police, and the mob, and so has the 'drug war,' which should be renamed the criminal justice welfare state. Everything establishment politicians do is aimed at enhancing their relationship to graft. Utilitarianism is dead.

Pupna, the search engine that retrieves exactly what you are searching for, and nothing else, via Lis Reba.
23:30 BST


Nominations

I'm sick of it. I can't stand Hannity anyway. I hereby nominate everyone on my blogroll, and everyone who I have approvingly linked to, for the Nobel Prize and a Pulitzer Prize. There. You can all refer to yourselves as Nobel and Pulitzer Prize nominees. I hope you'll do the same for me.
21:07 BST


It's about power

And it's not about "life":

Juan Cole: If hierarchy is gendered, then the persons over which control is sought are always in some sense imagined as powerless women. Powerful non-fundamentalist men and uppity Third World countries that won't do as they are told are ultimately no different from feminist women seeking an abortion. All must be subdued, in the view of the Christian Right. It is about hierarchy, power and control. It is not about life. (Via Suburban Guerrilla.)

Drew Vogel: Just like the abortion debate, there's only one real issue at play in this controversy: who chooses? You or the government? I know where I stand on that question. It doesn't make me pro-abortion, and it doesn't make me pro-death. It makes me a true Terri Schiavo supporter.

Do read both of those pieces for the full flavor, please.
19:01 BST


Stuff from blogs

The wingers have been extremely interested in the fact that Sandy Berger has pled guilty to removing copies of classified documents. This still doesn't look like much of a big deal to me, but to them it proves something. I think Joshua Canel of It's In There puts it in perspective simply by not getting too excited about it.

"Will Florida ever get it right?" asks TalkLeft, referring to an article in the NYT: A computer glitch caused Miami-Dade County's electronic voting machines to throw out hundreds of ballots in a special election March 8 and raised questions about votes in five other municipal elections, officials said. The problem came to light when officials noticed a high number of undervotes in the election on whether to have slot machines at tracks and jai alai frontons. That measure was defeated. Undervotes are ballots with no recorded votes. Also: Anti-Drug Soldiers Busted For Drug Smuggling.

Feministing reports on a Candida Royalle presentation on female-friendly porn. (I hope it was better than the stuff she showed us when she was here - but that was a while ago.) Via Trish Wilson's Blog.

The situation in microcosm, at Rhode Island Policy Reporter.

Wow, here's something cool to take on a long trip with you: .mp3s of Feynman lectures.
17:22 BST


Unconstitutional

I often forget that there is actually something good in Slate, and it's Dahlia Lithwick's articles about the Supreme Court. Jack Heneghan, on the other hand, remembers that she's there, and linked last month to her article Take Two Tablets - The Supreme Court picks through the rubble of its Ten Commandments jurisprudence:

What caught my attention was a quote by Justice Scalia. I sure hope that there was some other context he was using.
Scalia's point here: "When someone walks by the commandments, they are not studying the text. They are acknowledging that the government derives its authority from God."
I can't understand how any Supreme Court Justice could believe that the government derives its authority from God. From the Declaration of Independence to the Constitution of the United States, it is We, The People, that authorize the Government. The Government derives its authority from The People.

Can you even graduate from Law School without having that drummed into the very core of your being?

Alas, I often get the feeling that the definition of a "conservative judge" is one who doesn't regard the law as relevant to the outcome he seeks. I know this is what right-wingers like to suggest is true of liberal judges when they talk about "judicial activism", but it's always been clear that this claim of a concern over method is just a means to obscure the fact that they are concerned over the outcome of the individual cases. Much like the "states' rights" argument, a veil over out-and-out racism, it's all double-talk so we won't notice that what bugs them isn't corruption of process but just getting outcomes they don't like.

And, also like the states' rights argument, their arguments don't even support their conclusions. The secessionists weren't claiming states' rights within the borders of each state, but rather the right of slave states to impose their slavery laws inside the borders of other states by force of the federal government. The same is true with the objections to Roe v. Wade, where the Court was supposedly "activist" in finding for individual privacy; conservatives argue against the existence of such a right in the Constitution, but the Bill of Rights pretty much spells out the fact of a right of privacy.

I am not saying that there is necessarily anything wrong with a focus on outcomes, just that the conservative claim to respecting process and the law is a dishonest and false one. The fact is that liberal outcomes happen to be more consistent with process and law than conservative outcomes are, and the conservative insistence that their objections are not merely a defense of slavery, racism, sexism, or corporatism but to an abuse of the courts is a lie. The Constitution is a liberal, and liberalizing, document, and that's what they don't like. They don't like it that the process allows liberal outcomes in the first place. That's what their current attack on the court is about.

This becomes obvious whenever conservatives loosen their tongues and say what's really on their minds. One of the things that makes Antonin Scalia so objectionable is that he allows us to see his gears spinning. Lithwick again:

Throughout the morning it becomes increasingly clear that Scalia is the only member of the court who is being truly honest. His position: Sure, the display is religious and not secular. Let's put up some crosses, too, and have a revival meeting. In this sense, Scalia represents the vast majority of the protesters outside. They are not venerating the historical secular influence of the commandments, whatever the lawyers inside the courthouse may say. They just really like God.

Chemerinsky tries to tell Scalia that "government can't make some people feel like insiders and some like outsiders." Kennedy says this "seems like hostility to religion." (Hello? Justice Kennedy? Didn't YOU invent the, um, "Coercion test"?)

Justice Stephen Breyer seemingly wants to decide these disputes case by case, and he suggests that the Texas monument isn't all that divisive. (Hello? Justice Breyer? Roy Moore?)

Kennedy-who truly has found religion over the years-says, "You are telling us the state can't accommodate religion. You are asking religious people to surrender their beliefs."

Greg Abbott is the attorney general representing Texas, and he takes an unlikely hit from Scalia when he suggests that posting the commandments differs from posting a 6-foot crucifix because the former sends a secular message. "But it's not a secular message! If you're watering it down to a secular message I can't agree with you," says Scalia. (Told you he's honest.)

Yes indeed. Scalia doesn't like arguments about how we have to allow religious coercion by the state because it isn't really religious; he likes religious coercion because it is religious. He wants to overturn the Constitution he is sworn to protect because he wants to turn our country into a theocracy. He isn't even worried about such public demonstrations that he is unfit to serve on the court, so sure is he of his own righteous cause.

Justices are most often drawn from the rest of the legal profession. Check out the quality of the pool:

Ginsburg tries to go a different route, distinguishing the cases at hand from the court's historic indulgence of "In God We Trust" on coins. That "minimal reference" to the divine is quite different from "a powerful statement of the covenant God is making with his people," she says. Staver replies that the references to God in the commandments are minimal, too.
That's a pretty remarkable statement from someone who is attempting to defend them on behalf of the government.
"Have you, um, read the first four?" queries Ginsburg.
They don't read the law or the Bible, but they are confident that they can interpret both for us.
15:49 BST

Headlines

Wolfowitz Turns Down World Bank Post
Neoconservative Accepts Blame for Intelligence Errors

(More April 1st stuff)

Neil Young Recovering From Brain Aneurysm

Reading A1 disagrees with Susie Bright about J. Gannon/Guckert.
04:13 BST


From the notebook

Dan Froomkin has a round-up of the various media reactions to the latest intelligence report. Generally, everyone infers from it that the problem starts at the top, but Bush's hand-picked jury provided the evidence without actually holding him responsible. With the exception of of The National Review, who thinks somehow that you and I should be more embarrassed by the report than the man who created two of America's biggest national security failures, most people want to know if accountability is dead.

TChris at TalkLeft calls our attention to an AP story about a government "advice" website that miseducates the public about gay "lifestyle" and abstinence-only and blah blah blah. More than a hundred organizations have asked that the site be amended for greater accuracy, although the headline suggests they are just opposed to abstinence.

Randall Terry has had a high-profile in recent events. He's usually identified as an anti-abortion (or "pro-choice") "activist", but he's oh, so much more. Helga reminds me of some of his more choice quotations.

eBay turned down this great deal, explains Ideopolis.
01:02 BST


Friday, 01 April 2005

In the bloggerhood

Look, I just feel horrible that this ghastly thing most of us live in fear of happened to this woman, this family, all these people, and then stupid politicians got involved and made it all that much worse. My thanks to Billmon for the most satisfying response. (But it wouldn't hurt you to read everything else at Whiskey Bar, too.)

The Mahablog muses on the bunker mentality at the White House.

Reason #359 Why One Ought Not Date Republicans

Terrorized: Remember when the fear was still fresh - and the terror was relatively new - and it was possible to be shocked and awed in Iraq?

Young Person's Guide to Democracy: And finally, eighteenth, never forget this: your mind and your body and your heart are not charitable donations you need to spend the rest of your life being grateful for; they are the price the world has to pay you for dragging you into this life. The world doesn't own them. You do. They are the wages of life. Don't be a fool and end up spending them on somebody else's crap.

Joe Vecchio disagrees with Krugman, but forgets to mention the anthrax.

Seeing the Forest has a new address.

Spacecrab joins me and Kung Fu Monkey in being really pissed off at DC messing up more of our favorite characters.
19:56 BST


Keeping America safe

While members of past Nader campaigns, Quaker activists, and other obviously harmless types are put on the no-fly list and the FBI investigates other peaceniks, the real terrorists in America are a powder keg and our elected officials are doing their best to light the fuse.

But it's not just paranoia on my part that it looks like they care about terrorism less than they care about terrorizing. Think Progress alerts us to a Department of Homeland Security paper reported by Congressional Quarterly which makes this pretty stark:

It also lists left-wing domestic groups, such as the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) and the Earth Liberation Front (ELF), as terrorist threats, but it does not mention anti-government groups, white supremacists and other radical right-wing movements, which have staged numerous terrorist attacks that have killed scores of Americans.
I wonder how many of those people who said they voted for Bush because they thought he was "more likely to keep us safe" had been lying in bed at night terrified of what might be done to them by pacifist nuns.
16:17 BST

Is there life on Mars?

Just in case you didn't think to check the Astronomy Picture of the Day, do check out Water on Mars.
15:26 BST


Memes and themes

It's funny - the other day, Bill Bradley was saying in the NYT that the Republicans had been smart enough to create a structure in which they had a pyramid with the president at the top, and therefore replaceable as long as the rest of the structure was solid - but that the Democrats had become A Party Inverted, balanced atop whoever the president or candidate is. But over at the Daily Kos, jesselee seems to be saying that Tom DeLay is trying to make the GOP focus on supporting him: But the bigger picture is this: for decades now, Tom DeLay has earned the reputation as one who will put party before country every time. Now he is putting himself before the party. And of course, it was probably always so. (via)

George F. Will has written a silly article pushing Rep. John Linder's (R-GA) creepy bill to replace all other taxes (and all income credits) with a 23% national sales tax ("on personal consumption" - I guess that means corporations won't have to pay that one, either), which he says will get rid of the IRS, and that this will magically get rid of K Street! Much as such an outcome is desirable, there is just no reason to believe that's what would really happen. PSoTD helps explain.

The Yellow Doggerel Democrat remembers hearing Goldwater's famous words about extremism in defense of liberty, but he also remembers Goldwater saying that those who seek absolute power are the ones who create tyrannies. YDD quotes Paul Krugman on the construction of our current theocratic extremist tyrants.

Kung Fu Monkey gives us Sweet Four-Color Vengeance: After long hours of thought, this is the only scenario I could come up with which can possibly justify the current attitude towards comics of the DC Editorial Team when one takes both Identity Crisis and the Countdown books into account.
13:23 BST


"The American people usually get it right." - Al Gore, 2000

I'd like to ask all the bloggers out there to delete the following meme from their repertoire: "53% of Americans were so stupid or hateful or frightened that they actually voted for Bush."

We have no evidence that 53% of Americans voted for Bush. We have no evidence that he won the election.

Let's just excerpt a little of this .pdf:

National Election Data Archive Project
Response to the Report Evaluation of Edison/Mitofsky Election System 2004

Executive Summary
by Josh Mitteldorf

[snipped text]

[image]

In the above plot, each green block represents one state. Many more states are shifted to the left than to the right of the expected distribution (blue line), but the distribution is not wider than expected. The plot indicates that the difference between exit polls and official results was due to bias rather than random error.

Our conclusion is that the data appear to be more consistent with the hypothesis of bias in the official count, rather than bias in the exit poll sampling. No data in the report supports the E/M hypothesis that Kerry voters were more likely than Bush voters to cooperate with pollsters and, in fact, there is some indication that the opposite may have been the case.
[...]

Conclusion

The many anecdotal reports of voting irregularities create a context in which the possibility that the overall vote count was substantially corrupted must be taken seriously. The hypothesis that exit polls accurately reflected the will of the people and the official tally is in error is a theory with some support in the Edison/Mitofsky data, while the same data casts doubt on the opposing hypothesis (that more Kerry supporters than Bush supporters cooperated with the pollsters). A thorough investigation and careful, exhaustive recount in key states would be an appropriate response.
Every statistical analysis of the discrepancy between the exit polls and the tallies has come to the same conclusion. It's the people who believe Bush actually won the election who are wearing the tin-foil hats. (Via Eccentricity).
04:20 BST

Many, many questions

If it was absurd for Eason Jordan to suggest that soldiers in Iraq may have targetted journalists, why is it so hard to get an accounting for the deaths of journalists there?

12thharmonic finds Even more holes in US Sgrena story:

Naomi Klein interviewed Giuliana Sgrena in her hospital bed and discovered even more holes in the US version of events. Holes as big as the one made in Sgrena's lung by a four inch long tank bullet when her car was fired on from behind, in fact. Democracy Now interviewed Klein on Friday. This is from the transcript:
[...]
One of the things that we keep hearing is that she was fired on on the road to the airport, which is a notoriously dangerous road.
[...]
What Giuliana told me that I had not realized before is that she wasn't on that road at all. She was on a completely different road that I actually didn't know existed. It's a secured road that you can only enter through the Green Zone and is reserved exclusively for ambassadors and top military officials. So, when Calipari, the Italian security intelligence officer, released her from captivity, they drove directly to the Green Zone, went through the elaborate checkpoint process which everyone must go through to enter the Green Zone, which involves checking in obviously with U.S. forces, and then they drove onto this secured road.
And that's just one little thing. We've been hearing a lot of smoke about how this was just a routine situation, the driver was going too fast and ignored warnings on this very dangerous road. Klein was very surprised to learn how serious Sgrena's injury was, something else that the stories have minimized.
And the other thing that Giuliana told me that she's quite frustrated about is the description of the vehicle that fired on her as being part of a checkpoint. She says it wasn't a checkpoint at all. It was simply a tank that was parked on the side of the road that opened fire on them. There was no process of trying to stop the car, she said, or any signals. From her perspective, they were just - it was just opening fire by a tank. The other thing she told me that was surprising to me was that they were fired on from behind. Because I think part of what we're hearing is that the U.S. soldiers opened fire on their car, because they didn't know who they were, and they were afraid. It was self-defense, they were afraid. The fear, of course, is that their car might blow up or that they might come under attack themselves. And what Giuliana Sgrena really stressed with me was that she - the bullet that injured her so badly and that killed Calipari, came from behind, entered the back seat of the car. And the only person who was not severely injured in the car was the driver, and she said that this is because the shots weren't coming from the front or even from the side. They were coming from behind, i.e. they were driving away. So, the idea that this was an act of self-defense, I think becomes much more questionable.
Boy, it's a good thing those right-wing bloggers got rid of Eason Jordan so reporters will know not to try to answer those questions.
02:14 BST

Avedon Carol at The Sideshow, April 2005


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