The Sideshow

Archive for April 2007

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Monday, 30 April 2007


Scott Lemieux's "Abortion "Contrarianism"--Still Wrong" discusses another lame suggestion that the court's ruling isn't all that worrying. Scott still has more patience than I do with nitwits who keep saying that letting the anti-abortion people win is good for women's rights. That's kind of like saying we should go back to the days of dead women in back alleys so we can have a good anti-abortion movement again. But I hate these stupid, bloodless tactical arguments in any event. The point is that abortion bans have immorally disastrous consequences for human life, and that's the point that has to be stressed.

Buzzflash interviews Bernie Sanders: "At a time when poverty is increasing and the middle class is shrinking, we have got to pay attention to the vast majority of our people who are in the middle class, who are working families, and not continue to worry about the needs of millionaires and billionaires, which has been the case in the Congress for so many years."

21:06 BST

News and analysis

California Democratic Party calls for impeachment.

The resolution refers to Bush and Cheney having acted in a manner "subversive of the Constitution" by. . .

  1. using false information to justify the invasion of Iraq

  2. authorizing "the torture of prisoners of war"

  3. "authorizing wiretaps on U.S. citizens without obtaining a warrant"

  4. "disclosing the name of an undercover CIA operative"

  5. suspending "the historic Writ of Habeas Corpus by ordering the indefinite detention of so-called enemy combatants"

  6. "signing statements used to ignore or circumvent portions of over 750 Congressional statutes"

The resolution ends by calling for "vigorous investigation" and "appropriate remedies and punishment, including impeachment."

Fact-esque has details on eVoting Whistle Blowers this Wednesday Night on Voice of the Voters, which will include interviews with three people who have become experts on the dangers of electronic voting machines.

Greg Palast had a piece in the LAT the other day on how the US Media Have Lost the Will to Dig Deep. (Thanks to Brock for the tip.)

Fascist America, in 10 easy steps - "From Hitler to Pinochet and beyond, history shows there are certain steps that any would-be dictator must take to destroy constitutional freedoms. And, argues Naomi Wolf, George Bush and his administration seem to be taking them all" (Thanks to Lenny for the heads-up.)

Yeah, I'm an idiot, I met all those people (and saw some old friends) and completely forgot to take my camera out. I blame the Rapture Of The Grocery I got when I was exposed to the Red Hook Fairway.

16:52 BST

Sunday, 29 April 2007

I've been readin'

At Slacktivist, Fred really wants you to help save the free press. (Me, too.)

Duncan Black and Jamison Foser on the banality of evil David Broder. It was a good week for taking the hammer to Broder, actually - even the entire Senate Democratic Caucus (except for Harry Reid) wrote to the Post to complain about his attack on Harry Reid. Glenn Greenwald says that latter represents part of what could be a real sea change.

Wow, do you realize you can subscribe to the actual paper version of The American Prospect for only $20? I regard that as a good deal.

Two interesting notes from Kevin Drum, one on the ludicrousness of Dan Bartlett's claim that the White House had real meetings about whether invading Iraq was a good idea, and one on Dana Perino's excuse for the highly politicized abuse of the civil service - which is, of course, the total lie that Clinton did it too.

I still don't get it that people who were sworn to secrecy couldn't think of some way to tell the American public that they knew the administration was lying. I mean, whatever they were seeing in briefings was also usually on page 17 of The Washington Post, even if it hadn't been announced by Hans Blix or whatever. Besides, most of this is pretty simple: If Saddam had delivery systems and had ever tested a nuclear device, the whole world would have known about it, and if he hadn't, he was not even remotely an urgent threat. So when people start telling you crap about how he could attack us in 45 minutes, this is obviously a great pile of stinking fecal matter. Once you know they are lying about that, you don't need secret intelligence committee briefings to clue you in about the rest. (via)

It is a great honor, and it would be hard for me to improve on the rest of that list - but see my blogroll.

16:49 BST

Paté, cashews, and cannoli

I, um, didn't realize when my brother said we were going to St. Mary's that he didn't mean the Armenian Church in DC, but St. Mary's the college campus down in the other part of Maryland. Kind of ate up my evening. Also my camera's memory - I couldn't believe the scenery. Take a look at the larger versions of these to get a little taste of it. (I especially like the way the trees look like they're on fire in some of them.) Anyway, I pretty much passed out as soon as we got back, and then I had to catch an early train and spend the morning travelling, and then somehow I found myself walking up a long ramp to the top of a big hill and gazing across the harbor. And then I realized I hadn't posted these links yesterday before I left:

As always, lots of great stuff (like this) at Hullabaloo, but here's a short quote from Digby: "Scarborough says that the Democrats are getting killed on abortion in this country and uses the example of an alleged Donna Brazile op-ed in which she said she was sick and tired of having to explain to her relatives why she belongs to a party that supports abortion. Everyone on the panel nodded and sighed in agreement. I'm not sure why a former Republican congressman is considered an authority on this, but apparently everyone in DC agrees. Good to know."

People are talking about light bulbs. (Rich in comments supplied those last two.)

The other day Patrick posted a link to George McGovern's response to Dick Cheney, and today Teresa posted this instructive item.

Paul Craig Roberts says, "The War Goes Ever on: Bush has shown the world that the only difference between American dictatorship and other dictatorships is that, for now, Americans are permitted to remove their dictator after his term is served."

04:31 BST

Friday, 27 April 2007

Links at last

Right, so long trip to Heathrow, tedious wandering around and waiting and queuing and hustling and waiting and etc. at Heathrow, endless cramped hours on the plane, more queuing and dragging around &etc. at Dulles until finally I see my baby bro, load up, breeze through the window, Ledo's pizza!!! and pass out like a dead thing. A couple of days of networking hell before a vast exchange of e-mails with Dominic* cleared up why I couldn't even make an ethernet connection, which finally got me online. (No one has yet figured out why I can't make a wireless connection. But you know what Emily always said: It's always sumthin'.) My body is still totally confused about what time it is. Thank God for coffee.

Anyway, there were a few things I was going to link to a thousand years ago, so let's see if I still like any of them:

Alterman at The Nation on The Real 'Fake News': "The question of Fox's malevolence is settled. What remains is a disagreement among liberals over an appropriate response. ... The proper response to a Fox attack disguised as a question is, 'Well, Brit, I appeared on this biased show of yours to set your viewers straight about the BS you and your fellow right-wingers have been handing them. Now here's the truth...' " Maybe that could work, I don't know. (Meanwhile, Eric says Bloomberg came out for Gore, and Bush is down below 30%.)

I see we're still getting the old Iraqi insurgents will follow us home story from McCain, which you have to assume he knows is bollocks. Look, if we're worried that Iraqis are going to attack us in the US, then we obviously need to beef up our defenses in the US. Who would lure our home guard away from us while we are in danger? Yes, that's right, our enemy. And who did that? No, not Osama, and not Saddam. That was George Walker Bush and his cadre of evil-doers.

And in that same vein: Face it, if the Republicans are in charge, 9/11 happens. And terrorism in America keeps happening.

I think the real thing to remember about all this is that if your entire country seemed to be erupting with Cho-like events and they were all foreigners sent into your country by another nation, you'd be mourning an awful lot of dead and you'd probably feel less friendly every day to the people who were sending you so much grief. The question, of course, is: What kind of monster do you have to be that you can't even see this?

Lots of people have been talking about the Bill Moyers PBS special about the media and Iraq, which I haven't watched yet but sounds like it was good. (via)

My thanks to Thomas Ware in comments for alerting me to Amy Goodman's interview with Katrina vanden Heuvel "about TimeWarner's involvement in making the recommendations for rate hikes that were ultimately followed against the recommendations of Postal officials."

American Stranger says, "Let the subpoenas fly! ... Sure, Rice and Rove's minion will probably ignore the subpoenas, preferring instead to take the matter to court. But there's a downside to doing so. Now, the Secretary of State is under subpoena. Rove's deputy is under subpoena. And they'll probably both try to get out of having to appear. The downside is that this will be 'out there,' and the average American citizen knows what would happen if they tried to blow off a subpoena. That will loom large as time goes by and rice continues to defy Congress.

17:49 BST

Wednesday, 25 April 2007

What a coincidence!

I wish I had time to study on this right now, but I have to finish packing for a trip. Thanks to Brian Earl Brown for passing on this Slashdot link:

Netcraft Shows Smartech Running Ohio Election Servers
Posted by kdawson on Tuesday April 24, @02:02PM
from the something-rotten-in-the-state-of-Ohio dept.

goombah99 writes

"Netcraft is showing that an event happened in the Ohio 2004 election that is difficult to explain. The Secretary of State's website, which handles election reporting, normally is directed to an Ohio-based IP address hosted by the Ohio Supercomputer Center. On Nov. 3 2004, Netcraft shows the website pointing out of state to a server owned by Smartech Corp. According to the American Registry on Internet Numbers, Smartech's block of IP addresses - encompasses the entire range of addresses owned by the Republican National Committee. Smartech hosted the recently notorious domain used from the White House in apparent violation of the Presidential Records Act, from which thousands of White House emails vanished."
Update: 04/25 01:24 GMT by KD : ePluribus Media published a piece called Ken Blackwell Outsources Ohio Election Results to GOP Internet Operatives, Again on election eve 2006, when a similar DNS switch to Smartech occurred. They have been investigating the larger story of IT on Capitol Hill and elsewhere for two years.
And thanks also to Randolph Fritz for alerting me to:
The GOP's cyber election hit squad

by Steven Rosenfeld and Bob Fitrakis

Did the most powerful Republicans in America have the computer capacity, software skills and electronic infrastructure in place on Election Night 2004 to tamper with the Ohio results to ensure George W. Bush's re-election?

The answer appears to be yes. There is more than ample documentation to show that on Election Night 2004, Ohio's "official" Secretary of State website - which gave the world the presidential election results - was redirected from an Ohio government server to a group of servers that contain scores of Republican web sites, including the secret White House e-mail accounts that have emerged in the scandal surrounding Attorney General Alberto Gonzales's firing of eight federal prosecutors.

Recent revelations have documented that the Republican National Committee (RNC) ran a secret White House e-mail system for Karl Rove and dozens of White House staffers. This high-tech system used to count and report the 2004 presidential vote- from server-hosting contracts, to software-writing services, to remote-access capability, to the actual server usage logs themselves - must be added to the growing congressional investigations.

Numerous tech-savvy bloggers, starting with the online investigative consortium and their November 2006 article cross-posted by contributor luaptifer to Dailykos, and Joseph Cannon's blog at, outed the RNC tech network. That web-hosting firm is SMARTech Corp. of Chattanooga, TN, operating out of the basement in the old Pioneer Bank building. The firm hosts scores of Republican websites, including, and

The software created for the Ohio secretary of state's Election Night 2004 website was created by GovTech Solutions, a firm co-founded by longtime GOP computing guru Mike Connell. He also redesigned the Bush campaign's website in 2000 and told "Inside Business" magazine in 1999, "I wouldn't be where I am today without the Bush campaign and the Bush family because the Bushes truly are about family and I'm loyal to my network."

Ohio's Cedarville University, a Christian school with 3,100 students, issued a press release on January 13, 2005 describing how faculty member Dr. Alan Dillman's computing company Government Consulting Resources, Ltd, worked with these Republican-connected companies to tally the vote on Election Night 2004.

(There's more.)

Go ahead, suspend your disbelief some more.

10:41 BST

Get it while you can

Little Thom was already disturbed on discovering that the investigation of Karl Rove was to be run by a GWB appointee, but even more disturbing is the discovery that the investigator, Scott J. Bloch, is under investigation himself for his Bushian practices in the Office of Special Counsel. "Before Bloch was appointed by Bush to take over the OSC, he was a deputy director and counsel at the Justice Department's Task Force for Faith-based and Community Initiatives." What a surprise. "It is a dizzying situation. The investigator investigating officials who oversee the agency that is investigating the investigator. Forget firewalls. This looks more like a basement flooded with backed-up sewage--with the water rising." (Also via Little Thom: Kryptonite discovered.)

"That Cho shooter at Virginia Tech was a liberal," says Rush Limbaugh. Pretty unlikely, given what history teaches us about mass murderers. (via)

Tapped says: "SAVE SMALL MAGAZINES... LIKE THIS ONE The U.S. Postal Service is considering a new rate plan that would burden smaller publishers (like The American Prospect, as well as other great publications like Mother Jones, The Washington Monthly, The Nation, etc.) with higher postage rates while unfairly locking in the best prices for the largest media companies. The rate increase -- which was proposed by Time Warner Inc. (the nation's largest publisher) -- would push many smaller magazines into bankruptcy, and make it almost impossible to launch a new publication. Here at TAP, our postal costs would increase by 21 percent -- tens of thousands of dollars per year. That's money we'd rather be spending on content." Tell the Postal Board of Governors that you object to shutting down the free press.

MediaBloodhound on the Correspondent's Dinner: "Little Sent Into Dinner Without Protective Humor."

Troops hit with enemy marijuana smoke.

01:26 BST

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

The truth is out there

Robert Parry on Gonzales & the 'Mayberry Machiavellis': "Watching the painfully inept testimony of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales brought to mind the memorable comment in 2002 by ex-White House insider John DiIulio, who described how politics dominated everything in George W. Bush's government." Yup, we were warned.

Barry Schenck On the 200th DNA Exoneration in the U.S.: "Today, the Innocence Project launches "200 Exonerated, Too Many Wrongfully Convicted," a month-long national campaign to create state Innocence Commissions and enact other reforms that can address and prevent wrongful convictions. We don't know how many innocent people are in prison. Instead, we ask how many more will have to be exonerated through the hard science of DNA before every jurisdiction in the country enacts reforms that can prevent this injustice from happening in the first place. We owe these 200 innocent people - and ourselves - no less. "

Greg Sargent on Adam Nagourney's confession to helping propagate the "Breck Girl" slur.

My thanks to Alan Braggins in comments for tipping me off to this lovely Boris Yeltsin story.

It's amazing what you can do with a piece of A4 paper. (via)

Kinky men are happier men. (via)

23:26 BST

Made me laugh

Atrios links to this post from Oliver with a brilliant graphic from Bill O'Reilly showing how, through funding from the Evil George Soros, Media Matters for America runs the entire "MSM"! In Oliver's comments, Graculus says: "I think TBogg has supplied the graphic OReilly really wanted to use to explain how the rich Jew Soros uses his rich Jew money to buy up all the media and turn us all into communists."

16:28 BST

Any way we can

I'm listening to The Young Turks on AAR and Cenk just asked retired General Paul Eaton what we have to do about Iraq, and I think I heard him say, "We have to contain this administration."

We do, of course, but it's already very, very late. As I've said before, the rest of the world already had a deadline for us, and it was the 2004 election - until then, they were waiting for us to rectify the mistake we allowed to happen in 2000. After the failure to correct in 2004, the rest of the world moved to contain the United States. They've all been quietly making changes in the way they deal with us (and our money).

No one can afford to pussyfoot around anymore. We need to get out of Iraq and we need to hold this administration accountable. It's up to every one of us to get across to our legislators, at both the state and national level, that this administration has to be stopped at all costs and, as much as possible, the laws they have passed to hurt America must be overturned. Our neighbors do not love us anymore, and we are going to have to rebuild our own house. We don't have time to mess around.

14:10 BST

They're just out to get you

Bush to get Purple Heart. Sort of. Personally, I'm not convinced that someone in the White House didn't originate this idea. I think Bush is still jealous that John Kerry got a real Purple Heart just for getting shot at and stuff in a war zone, when, after all, Bush looks really great (to certain members of the media) in a flight suit.

The really bad thing Clinton really did do. (Well not the only one, but the press didn't pay much attention to any of the others, either.) And an amusing little production number of "Rhapsody in Blue".

Paul Kiel has more on how the administration has screwed the Civil Rights Division.

And then there was the time President Bill and Boris Yeltsin were giving a joint press conference and Yeltsin said something (through a translator) about how the media had characterized the Clinton/Yeltsin meeting beforehand as a "disaster", and now the press had turned out to be a disaster. And Bill Clinton just couldn't stop laughing. (But this pretty much sums up my opinion of Yeltsin.)

CRISIS on Idiot Earths!

The FDA wants to ruin your chocolate.

12:04 BST

Monday, 23 April 2007

Noted and quoted

Steve Clemons: World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz's girlfriend, Shaha Riza, for whom Wolfowitz arranged not only jobs, incredible pay raises, automatic "outstanding" ratings in performance reviews, but also -- apparently -- a security clearance, is probably not a spy. But our system of national security "secrets management" is not based on trust. It's based on multi-pronged, overlapping constant investigation -- human and electronic.

Is it any surprise that the media is lying about what Harry Reid said? Of course not.

Scott Lemieux on Edwards' $400 haircut: "Precisely because these narratives are 100% vacuous bullshit, there's no way of avoiding them. If you want to read political significance into ordinary personality traits, a Dowd or a Givhan or anyone else who's won a Pulitzer for degrading our political discourse will find something." Too right. All of the candidates get expensive haircuts, so why penalize Edwards just because his ends up looking better? I mean, it sure seems like the guy just happens to have better hair. Face it, Edwards has the haircut you'd rather see on your daughter's boyfriend. She'd certainly better not bring home someone who looks like Rudy Giuliani. (Pudentilla has more.) So take that, Ezra - you're wrong! Remember in 2000? The same journalists who attacked Gore for wearing a different suit were full of praise for Bush's "ability" to change his costume constantly. And in Bush's case, they were costumes.

Check your knowledge a short, relatively easy (I got 'em all right) quiz that allows you to check your knowledge against that of other people who've taken the same quiz. But you watch The Daily Show and the Colbert Report - and read blogs! - so you know you'll come out on top, right? (via)

23:26 BST

In the sphere

Cernig says Maliki has ordered a halt to the Baghdad wall, but the US is being evasive about whether that will happen. (Also: A sensible redeployment plan, and why it won't happen. And yes, "worm-tongues" is a good name for them. In fact, Mary at The Left Coaster is using it, too.)

Also at TLC, Steve Soto sees signs of a spring thaw when Gore staffers appear to be running a shadow campaign. Al, honey, you know I want you in it, but that doesn't mean we don't need to hear that you are more progressive on a lot of issues than you were in the Clinton administration - especially "free" trade. And Mary says: "Bush's economy was built on believing there is wealth to be found in finding suckers to fleece."

So it looks like something in a link posted at Boing Boing got it censorwared.

Bartcop has some great cartoons up today. He also responds to a a GOP talking point this way: "If more guns is the answer, why do people go thru a metal detector at GOP conventions?"

At The Grumpy Forrester, Jack K. on The Handgun Phallacy.

The thing about Fred Phelps is that no one has to try to make him look bad.

Bob Harris on Montserrat - with pictures.

17:18 BST


Perhaps a smart thing to do today would be to call your reps (Senate, House) and beg them to read Paul Krugman in this morning's NYT:

There are two ways to describe the confrontation between Congress and the Bush administration over funding for the Iraq surge. You can pretend that it's a normal political dispute. Or you can see it for what it really is: a hostage situation, in which a beleaguered President Bush, barricaded in the White House, is threatening dire consequences for innocent bystanders - the troops - if his demands aren't met.

If this were a normal political dispute, Democrats in Congress would clearly hold the upper hand: by a huge margin, Americans say they want a timetable for withdrawal, and by a large margin they also say they trust Congress, not Mr. Bush, to do a better job handling the situation in Iraq.

But this isn't a normal political dispute. Mr. Bush isn't really trying to win the argument on the merits. He's just betting that the people outside the barricade care more than he does about the fate of those innocent bystanders.

Most hostage-takers don't actually want to have to kill anyone, but Bush doesn't care. In fact, Bush often gives the impression that he actively hates the troops. It's disgusting that we don't hear more overt outrage about their treatment by this administration.

But here's something Krugman doesn't say: We have every reason to believe that if Congress does give the Hostage-taker-in-Chief everything he asks for, the troops still won't have what they need. Brown & Root will get more money, and so will Blackwater, but will our troops get what they need? I don't see it; they never have before.

So how should Congress respond to Mr. Bush's threats?

Everyone talks about the political risks of confrontation, recalling the backlash when Newt Gingrich shut down the federal government in 1995. But there's a big difference between trying to force a fairly popular president to accept deep cuts in Medicare - which is what the 1995 confrontation was about - and trying to get a deeply unpopular, distrusted president to set some limits on an immensely unpopular war.

Meanwhile, there are big political risks on the other side. If Congress responds to a presidential veto by offering an even weaker bill, voters may well react with disgust, concluding that the whole debate over the war was nothing but political theater.

Yes! Please, please, please tell your reps that Americans know the difference between then and now, and we are disgusted with the pretence that the two situations are identical. Clinton was protecting Americans; Bush is endangering America.
The fact is that Mr. Bush's refusal to face up to the failure of his Iraq adventure, his apparent determination to spend the rest of his term in denial, has become a clear and present danger to national security.
Absolutely. And he must be stopped.

Read the whole thing at Welcome to Pottersville.

14:24 BST

I saw it last night

Chuck Dupree: "Big Ungay Al's performance at the big table (described by Dana Milbank as chosen and placed to emphasize the witness's short physical stature), though uninformative as usual, was of a piece with the general approach of this administration's unitary-executive mindset. He basically let the Senate know he didn't give a damn about their investigation because they can't do anything to him. ... Clearly Bush is not going to fire Gonzales right now, because that would make him look weak. The fact that everyone knows he is weak doesn't seem to affect his judgments, as long as he's doing what he thinks will make him look strong. As a result, he'd rather wait until after the Republicans lose the election to dump Rumsfeld, thus further alienating his own party, rather than admit that he's going to have to dump Rumsfeld at some point, and taking the hit up front. ... But it's just as obvious that Rove will convince Bush that his legacy is at stake, and he has to jettison Gonzo. The AG will announce, no doubt late on a Friday evening, that he wants to spend more time with his family, take a needed vacation, and play some golf. They might even find a medal lying around somewhere."

A blogger goes to Washington: One of the plaintiffs in the Wal-Mart sex discrimination suit is none other than Alix McKenna, speaking this week on Strengthenin' th'Middle-Class. Thanks to Blue Gal for the tip. (And you might want to check out this Vlog Against Theocracy I saw while I was over there.)

A Stitch in Time - the story of where all those dresses in all those pre-Carnaby Street movies came from, and a helluva woman. (Thanks to Moose & Squirrel for the tip.)

Yes, I know the link to the Roger Ailes post on Dinesh D'Souza just brings up the full archive page for the period, where other posts have since been added. I don't know why, it seems to be working that way with all his permalinks. So just scroll down if you still want to see it.

13:02 BST

The prosecutor says

Elizabeth de la Vega watched the hearings, and ponders The Problem With Alberto:

The real problem with the Bush administration's Department of Justice right now is that it is run by the Bush administration. Gonzales's Justice Department is the Bush administration's Justice Department. Therefore, Gonzales's story about the US attorneys scandal is the Bush administration's story. And even though the Bush White House has come up with some fabulous tales over the past six years, this one is a corker: Amazingly - the White House would have you believe - the list of US attorneys who should be "pushed out" was spontaneously generated without the benefit of human agency! Can you believe it??

Actually, no. Not even the most credulous - or biased - audience can suspend disbelief to that extent, which is why Gonzales struggled so mightily yesterday to convince everyone to stop obsessing about the facts of his account. Rather, Gonzales, as the spokesman for the White House, wanted us all to understand that, notwithstanding the considerable effort that was put into "reviewing" and then replacing US attorneys around the country, the US attorneys are, in fact, irrelevant.

Utah's Sen. Orrin Hatch had apparently been clued in on the talking points. From time to time, he would lob questions to the attorney general along the lines of "Do the US attorneys actually handle the public corruption cases themselves?" The well-coached and grateful Gonzales would then explain that, no, the work in the US attorneys' offices is done by the career prosecutors, who will keep doing their cases no matter who the US attorney is. Indeed, Gonzales offered plaintively, the Office of the Attorney General didn't really even know "that much" about what was going on in the US attorneys' offices.

As one who worked as an assistant US attorney from 1983 through 2004 - in two districts, under four presidents and roughly ten different US attorneys - I can say that virtually every clause, and certainly the overall implication, of Gonzales's claim is false.

Now go read the whole thing. (You might also like her book, United States V. George W. Bush Et Al..)

01:44 BST

Your happenin' world

Austin Cline has a useful post on preventative custody that is well worth reading (and perhaps a bit brave to have posted). The quote from Hermann Goering is a nice touch, of course, and not so far from the subject at hand.

Melanie Phillips wrote a stupid article the other day that all the wingers fell in love with, about how Iraq had WMD after all, and Roger Ailes does a nice job of hammering Captain Ed over it.

George Walker Bush, the man who went off to play golf when his daughter was hospitalized for emergency surgery, says he puts God and his family before his country. Don't you feel better, now? (More words of Wisdumb here.

I hope this headline is true: "Blair Set To Quit On May 9". And then I hope Labour magically comes to its senses and elects a party leader who isn't a creep like Gordon Brown.

"A working definition of chutzpah: a Bush administration prosecuting deserters." - Ian Williams in the Guardian, via Cab Drollery.

Collateral Damage: Bad Medicine in Tennessee: "All about Governor Phil Bredesen's shockingly immoral and deadly cuts to Tennessee's Medicaid program - TennCare. This is a 3-minute trailer of the 25 minute film." (Also: Why won't anyone take Stacy Campfield (R-TN) seriously?)

It's not 1984 until the cameras talk back.

00:13 BST

Sunday, 22 April 2007

More stuff I saw

I forgot to mark 4/20, but my congratulations go to Loretta Nall, who beat the rap. The Birmingham News said: "Nall has long contended that authorities raided her home because she wrote a letter to the editor of The Birmingham News in which she advocated legalizing pot. The letter ran in the newspaper on Nov. 7, 2002. The raid came six days later." (Also: Caption contest.)

Haley Barbour, Baby Killer. Also, clarification for those who are still confused about what kind of abortion the Supreme Court said it was okay to ban.

Tragically white moments.

"Why is the Second Amendment so weird?"

This post from Teresa links to some gorgeous aerial photos of the Lake District that are pretty enough to be paintings, and there are more from all over the world.

Mark Evanier: "Take the old Hanna-Barbera Super Friends cartoon show. Recast with Democrats as the super-heroes and Republicans as the super-villains and what do you have? You have The Challenge of the Super-Duper Friends."

21:08 BST


The Secrecy Pandemic - Wayne Pearce finds an illustration to go with some quotes from Clive Stafford Smith's book (excerpted in the Guardian, "No fairytales allowed"). Here's a bit:

The dissembling disease got worse as time passed. First there was the effort to suppress the truth, with censorship or silence rather than any overt falsehood. Then there was the lie by semantics, where the US military redefined the language to provide plausible deniability. Finally, there was the bare-faced lie. This kind of culture does not germinate in a vacuum. Rumsfeld is responsible for a reconstitution of the English language. I set about compiling a glossary of the Gitmo-speak. The language was so deceptive that I found it appalling and amusing in equal measure.

In a December 2004 press conference, the US navy secretary Gordon England tried to defend conditions in Guantánamo by producing the novel argument that the camp was rehabilitative: "People have learned to read and have learned to write, and so it's not just being incarcerated. We do try to get people prepared for a better life." Prisoners had some difficulty exercising their new-found abilities. Indeed, contrary to England's statement, prisoners in Guantánamo were certainly not considered "people" and the guards were not even allowed to call them "prisoners". One of the escorts told me that, on pain of punishment, soldiers are required to call them "detainees". He wouldn't even say the word "prisoner" out loud. The Pentagon had come to the conclusion that it sounds better for us to "detain" someone for several years, given that he has not been offered a trial. Naturally I set about avoiding the word "detainee".

Prisoners and kidnap-victims.

18:42 BST

Sleepy Sunday

Princesse Tam-Tam Ironie half cup braBra of the Week

So, did Dinesh D'Souza have to slibel Richard Dawkins because of what happened at Virginia Tech? Of course he did.

Us and Them at three years old - Nicole Belle finds yet another study that shows that personality and political persuasion seem to be connected.

Did I actually forget to link Barney Frank's marvellous performance on the floor? Tsk!

If you're familiar with Christopher Hitchens' far more right-wing brother Peter, you might be surprised to know that he really, really doesn't think we should attack Iran, and he's absolutely right. Cernig reports.

Invitation to blogwhore: The Blogrolling stuff is more or less up, and I've got it set to show a limited number of links at any one time. Some of the sections are set to display in random order, but the "More Weblogs" section currently shows what's been updated most recently. So the trick to showing up there is to put up a new post and then ping either or Your blogging software may do this automatically; check your settings to be sure. (I've also got a link up on the sidebar to the Unexpurgated Blogroll, where you can see them all at once.) All of this means that I'm feeling a little more generous about adding links, so now would be a good time to point out to me that you're not on my blogroll. Of course, it never hurts to remember the Sideshow Link Policy. (More tips: When you send me e-mail, always put the address for your blog in your .sig. And put your URL in the address field when you add comments. C'mon, this stuff isn't rocket science.)

11:10 BST

Saturday, 21 April 2007

Sooty island seems to shine

Just remember that the Republicans have always been the party of big government. Remind everyone else, too.

TBogg learns from the experts.

Did I mention that the Bush administration was just a load of graft and corruption? Several years later, even members of Congress are saying so out loud. (via)

Jonathan Schwarz: "How America's Political Class Manages To Be Wrong About Absolutely Everything", and "Here's Hoping We Don't Neglect Our Security On Mars."

Conservative, but human - RIP.

Look! Up in the sky! (via)

The Insect Trust: "Hoboken Saturday Night" (.mp3)

21:07 BST

News and stuff

I think it would be cool if more states did what they did in Vermont. Really, I want to see that word in the news a lot more.

Speaking of which, what are you doing next weekend? If you're not busy, you might want to participate in the April 28 Nationwide Impeachment Actions.

So MSNBC has decided to replace the Imus simulcast with one by America-hating torture apologist Michael Smerconish. This isn't exactly an improvement no Imus, is it?

And speaking of bad ideas for replacements, the fact that Ted Olsen is smarter than Gonzales doesn't mean he's a better choice for the job. Let your reps know now that hard-core political operatives are not an acceptable option for Attorney General of the United States.

At The Poor Man Institute, The Editors continues coursework on The Conservative Soul.

UK: "Scandal that will bring down the curtain" by Andrew Pierce in the Telegraph says Blair's "secret loans" circumvented his own law to clean up campaign financing because these were "commercial transactions".

Rich dropped this YouTube link into comments. Now you know how Bush managed to get several million (probably legitimate) votes.

Advertise your blog cheap on The Cup O'Joe Radio Show.

There may be a message to the Supreme Court 5 in this graffito. Thanks to jello for the tip.

And congratulations to Trifecta for the latest addition.

15:58 BST

Good morning, campers!

The Calgary Herald enlisted The Rude Pundit to help debunk myths about Al Gore - but was it the Herald or The Rude One who was responsible for the misuse of the word "truthiness"? (Also: The Carhart Decision: Keeping Women Moral, in which Dahlia Lithwick helps The Rude One see all the slippery slopes at once.)

Lance Mannion on Orc logic: "At any given moment, any and every day of the week, all over the Right side of the bandwidth, dozens of conservative bloggers have put up posts that all say pretty much the same thing."

And speaking of winger blogs, Mona finds a humdinger.

Henry Waxman is pissed off at Andy Card because he'll talk to Jon Stewart, but not to Congress. And President Bill says Al Gore might run, and Gonzo should go.

Colbert has The Word on the $400 haircut.

Easy is hard - the comedy stylings of David Pogue on making software simple.

11:23 BST

The wolf is at your door

Dahlia Lithwick was a guest on Thursday's Rachel Maddow Show, and she mentioned the lines of communication between the DOJ under Clinton and under Bush. Her Slate article discusses Gonzales' performance, and includes this interesting chart showing that comparison graphically. Gee, I wonder which one is supposed to be the most efficient....

George Bush's most important and influential policy advisor.

If you ever wondered why so many women are willing to believe in obviously fake crap like "snuff movies" and similar nightmares, let this recent Supreme Court decision be a lesson. (And this.)

Fred Clark, in a nice bit of timing, got to the section of Left Behind that explains what reproductive health clinics are for. And is speechless.

Hinkley turns out to be a friend of the Bush family, then the bin Ladens are practically kissin' cousins with the Bush family, and now this. Did Richard Speck know them, too?

I agree with Quiddity about the Cho video - there is such a thing as editorial judgment. (Maybe it's worth remembering that rises in suicide rates among young people correlate with news coverage of a young person's suicide.)


Have I mentioned lately that Bush should just shut up? (I don't even think you can class Cheney as "human".)

Read the 2007 Hugo nominees for free. (via)

02:35 BST

Friday, 20 April 2007

Evening catch

Earlier I heard my favorite Senator on the radio sounding a bit Beltway-ized, to my dismay. He was saying that the public wouldn't go for impeachment and would just think it was a bunch of politics. Tell Bernie that polls show a majority of Americans support impeachment if investigations show crimes have been committed. We know this is different from Monica's dress.

Protecting the children: "As surely as a lie flows from the mouth of a Bush Administration official, useful attempts to Protect The Kids flow from The Threat Of Campus Massacre. What's the local result? Arresting students for opinions stated in class."

Eric Alterman recommends Tom Englehardt's analysis of changes in Bush's war rhetoric.

What is the "Tiahrt Amendment"?: "The "Tiahrt Amendment" is a provision members of Congress have tucked into federal spending bills that restricts cities and police from accessing and using ATF trace data from guns recovered in crimes. Gun trace data helps police figure out where illegal guns are coming from, who buys them and how they get trafficked into their communities."

Watch out, Teresa has certified our right to moderate our comment threads. (And Avram finds out about another creepy law Congress passed a couple of years ago that I hadn't even heard about.)

23:14 BST

Stuff to read

"Cheney's Nemesis" - Matt Taibbi interviews Seymour Hersh. "I think Bush wants to resolve the Iranian crisis. It may not be a crisis, but he wants to resolve it."

Rick Perlstein has a new blog, The Big Con, where he blogs about conservatives for Campaign for America's Future.

Scott Lemieux concurs with Matt Yglesias that Roe v. Wade was correctly decided. As do I.

Steve Soto: "Democrats need to frame this issue clearly. If the party line from this administration and Alberto today is that he was minimally involved in high level personnel issues and pleads ignorance about them, then Democrats need to make it clear that the religious right and Karl Rove are running the top law enforcement agency in the land. Let the public get its arms around that for a few days."
And: "As I said at the outset of this federal attorney sacking debacle and again later, if the GOP really wants to make this issue all about voting fraud, then the Democrats should oblige them by turning the sunlight of many congressional oversight hearings upon the GOP's voting fraud and vote disenfranchisement activities these last six years. Democrats should turn the issue against the GOP by highlighting all these activities and push for a 2008 Voting Rights Act that reverses or significantly amends the HAVA and makes election integrity and vote disenfranchisement a major issue in the 2008 election."

New docs on the DOJ scandal at the Perspectives Document Library.

Instant pizza. (Well, it can't be any worse than what they sell you as "pizza" in Britain.)

19:55 BST

Pro-death movement exposed

Lynn M. Paltrow at The American Prospect, "Miscarriage of Justice":

Perhaps in the only good news that can be culled from the opinion, it constitutes the death knell of one of the anti-choice movement's favorite political ruses. For years the anti-abortion movement has argued that Roe v. Wade was wrongly decided, in part, because it federalized abortion and took power away from individual states to decide how to address the abortion issue. In this way, anti-choice activists implicitly reassured the public that even if Roe were overturned, abortion would undoubtedly remain legal at least in states like California, New York, and Washington.

But in the wake of yesterday's ruling in Gonzales v. Carhart, there is now little to stand in the way of a federal law banning abortions everywhere if Roe is overturned. In other words, abortion is not really a question of states' rights, but rather of controlling all pregnant women regardless of the state in which they live.

The Court also made clear that when it comes to women's health, Congress need not legislate based on scientific or medical evidence. The leading medical experts and the lower federal courts have found that the now-banned procedure is the safest option for some women, and that it is significantly safer for these women than other abortion techniques. And yet, the Supreme Court decision acknowledges, Congress ignored these factual conclusions. Yesterday's decision marks a radical departure from previous Supreme Court abortion decisions that required law-makers to legislate based on facts not politics.

It should also put to rest any suggestion that the anti-abortion movement is pro-life.

Bill Scher at LiberalOasis: "But this ruling is another reminder of what the conservative activists want. They do not want representative government that protects everyone's freedom to make their own personal moral decision. They want elitist government that imposes their moral vision on everyone else. A lot of folks went soft during the Roberts and Alito nomination. There will really be no excuse to roll over for the next conservative activist nominee."

At Firedoglake, Jane Hamsher says, "Don't Reward Failure By Giving Money to NARAL," and Howie Klein says, "Donating To NARAL Is Not Going To Help Protect A Woman's Right to Choice."

14:11 BST

Magic words

Progressive Blog Digest says, "The Emperor Has No Clothes":

This is an incredibly important development. People have often noted the Rovean strategy that says, just when you are looking most vulnerable, act most confidently and aggressively. Never bend, never waver, never compromise, never express a hint of doubt. But I haven't seen a good analysis of why that works. It works because in the DC circuit the perception of power IS power. On issue after issue Bush, his handlers, and a hundred commentators present it as a foregone conclusion that eventually, certainly, Bush is going to get his way. So why go through a bunch of unnecessary ugliness when we all know how it will turn out? The press has invariably aided this perception struggle. Spineless Democrats have often shrugged and said, "I don't like it, but what's the point of hitting my head against a wall? He's going to win in the end." And so, sure enough, he does win in the end.

Bush and Cheney have approached this Iraq funding bill the same way. They want Congress to give them the money, period, with no conditions, and they have repeatedly refused to even acknowledge the possibility that they may need to compromise. In the end, they say, you're going to have to give us what we want, so do you want to do this the easy way or the hard way?

They act as if they still unilaterally control the levers of government. But something is different now. They can veto and bluster, but they can't write and pass this bill. Only the Democrats can do that. And the leaders of the Democrats aren't conceding the inevitability of Bush getting what he wants any more. How magical - just by saying, "No, we won't give you your way," they reveal how little influence Bush actually has.

11:37 BST

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Dinner time

Democratic Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer says, "no, nope, no way, hell no," as he signed a bill. "The move means the state won't comply with the Real ID Act, a federal law that sets a national standard for driver's licenses and requires states to link their record-keeping systems to national databases." Via Kos, via ThinkFast.

Nobody trusts our government. And who can blame them?

The Pravda theory of why Imus got fired. (And I agree, guns on campus are a stupid idea. Especially with how paranoid people are lately.)

Not just misogyny, but dated misogyny.

John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers (YouTube).

17:30 BST

Second cup of coffee

At Alternet's Peek, "Mild-mannered Dem senator flips his lid: Moments after the Republicans in the Senate heeded a call from the White House to vote against cloture on debate for the bill FUNDING THE INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay Rockefeller took the floor, visibly enraged."

At Brilliant at Breakfast, "It's not just radio, it's a community" - Mourning in the morning, and seeing our old friends live at night.

At Schmoo on the run, "cannabis: no victim no crime" - Why should people busted for using cannabis have to pay a fine into the crime victims' fund when the only victim is the person who has been busted?

"The Opposite of Civil Rights" - Under the Bush administration, the Civil Rights division of the DOJ has turned into a rubber stamp for Jim Crow.

This Modern World: Then and now.

13:16 BST

Onward and upward

Cool news from The California Majority Report:

Outraged by the right-way tilt and outright sleaze of the Republican party, maverick former Rep. Pete McClosky has left the GOP and reregistered as a Democrat. McClosky, the author of the original Endangered Species Act, was increasingly out of step with the party line on Iraq, the environment and workers rights.
I saw that one coming as soon as I saw his name back in the news.

There's a lot of other interesting news from around the state in that post, including an item saying that the Governor is apparently trying to run for president despite being ineligible.

11:38 BST

Did you hear?

OK, get this straight: The law does not ban late-term abortion, it bans dilation and extraction, the safest method used for late-term abortion. So what the law does is endanger a woman's health and life by forcing her to use a more dangerous method if a late-term abortion is necessary. SCOTUSblog has commentary and a summary of the opinions in the Supreme's decision.

Cursor: In a 'Pro-Israel Lobby Debate,' Norman Finkelstein and James Petras dispute whether neocons only "become pro-Israel when Israel is useful to them in their pursuit of power," and it's argued that, in the run-up to the Iraq war, "neither side" could possible have told "the unvarnished truth." And also via Cursor, "Tenacity or Pig-headed Petulance?" at The All Spin Zone, where Richard Blair takes issue with Charlie Cook's admiration for George Walker Bush's "resolve".

At Adult Video News, editor Mark Kernes on A View From the Other Riverside Drive.

The lyrics are from Thomas Pynchon's V, the music is by the Insect Trust: "The Eyes of a New York Woman".

00:58 BST

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

Walking on nails

Matt Yglesias: "This is just his view. McCain, like Kristol, or Joe Lieberman and various other people is a kind of anti-pacifist. Somebody who supports war as the solution to anything, and believes that any war can be successfully prosecuted if only it's prosecuted more vigorously. The difference is that people don't take pacifists seriously when they start arguing about specific cases, whereas people who believe the country should be launching dozens of wars at all times are given PBS specials, Washington Post columns, spots as TV commentators, Time columns, etc., etc., etc." (via) I wish we had a word for "a kind of anti-pacifist" that carried the weight that "pacifist" does on the other side. But for some reason, you can't seem to make those people try to disassociate themselves from "war-monger".

Remember those people who were removed from a "public" Bush "forum" because they had an anti-war sticker on their car? Well, their lawsuit proceeds apace, but the lawyers for the thugs that did it are actually arguing that the president's staff can lawfully remove anyone who expresses points of view different from his.

You do understand, don't you, that this is pretty much a license for right-wingers to write laws that murder women?

MahaBarb on Shameless Hustles and Tax Cuts.

At Straight, Not Narrow, progress is slow in Iowa on GLBT civil rights.

Why "civil unions" aren't good enough.

I've been getting some visual pleasure lately at Inkbluesky.

One of the people who was shot at VT was a songwriter named Dan O'Neil, whose website, Resident Hippy, has some of his music.

17:21 BST

American conversations

Just how "controversial" is Nancy Pelosi? The punditocracy likes to project the idea that Americans disapprove of her as much as the Republicans do, but the rest of the country doesn't seem to be buying. (Of course, you could say this about most everything: The "controversy" on most issues these days is not so much within the public at large but between most Americans on the one hand and the media-GOP complex on the other.)

The wingers think they are braver than those folks at Virginia Tech. They're not. Libby's been there.

Jeralyn says, "Gun Control is Not a Cure," and she's right. There's something else going on, and it's not just about guns. It's time we figured out what it is. (It's not about videogames, either.) Jeralyn also alerts us to Rock's 24 most misunderstood songs, and Big Tent Democrat explains what neither one of us likes about Obama's campaign.

If you're smart and articulate and knowledgeable, maybe capable of the occasional sharp riposte, good at fielding stupid questions and turning them to your advantage, reasonably telegenic, and available, it might be helpful if you would try to get on this bandwagon. Try and figure out how to do that.

12:30 BST

Painless posting

It's gotta be aliens. (Click here to get the full effect.) (Thanks to Dominic for the tip.)

I saw this Aero ad for the first time tonight and was amazed. On my television, they actually run through it twice, ostensibly so you can concentrate on the bubbles rather than just the actor. (Article here.)

The Biomes Blog Timewaster of the Week: Unroll the toilet paper.

Well, what do you know, it's The Bra Centenary.

Good news from Corrente: "This morning, the Dallas Morning News editorially renounced its 100 years of support for the death penalty. This is inspirational."

01:27 BST

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Fixing a hole

The Senate is just short of the 60 votes needed to break the filibuster on the bill to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices. This is worth making some noise about - not only might it help get the bill passed, but it'll be politically useful to let the public know who to blame if it stays stalled.

William Greider, "The Establishment Rethinks Globalization: Ralph Gomory, on the other hand, is a gentle-spoken technologist, trained as a mathematician and largely apolitical. He does not set out to overthrow the establishment but to correct its deeper fallacies. For many years Gomory was a senior vice president at IBM. He helped manage IBMs expanding global presence as jobs and high-tech production were being dispersed around the world. The experience still haunts him."

Thanks to MediaBloodhound for mailing me the link to the Kurt Vonnegut page at In These Times.

Lakoff on the Hidden Truths Of Progressive Taxes

The awful event has an sf connection: One of the faculty members who died was Michael Bishop's son Christopher "Jamie" Bishop. John Brownlee at Wired suggests buying one of Michael's books as a gesture in response. I can't think of a better one. My recommendation, if you can find it, is Unicorn Mountain, which is not what it sounds like, honest. (I'm told there is something about this at Making Light, but for some reason I can't get the page to load.)

I'm not writing anything else about it, at least not yet, but it'd be a good time for you to check out Digby et al. just about now.

A couple of Frank Zappa "Classic Album" DVDs are coming out, and include the wonderful SNL performance of "I'm the Slime". ("Take it away, Don Pardo!")

22:08 BST

First, I overslept, and then I saw this

There's a fascinating (and not too long) thread on Jonathan Cohn's discussion of healthcare at TPM Cafe that's worthy of your attention. I don't agree with everything Cohn says, but there's a lot of good info and thinking there. A point to remember: There are fewer doctors per capita in the United States than in most countries because the medical profession deliberately keeps the number of doctors down. That in itself drives the price of healthcare up quite a bit, in addition to the massive administrative costs of our commercialized system.

Paperwight says, "Theocrats are theocrats are theocrats: From the outside, there is no appreciable difference in the goals of the Republican Christian Fundies and the Conservative Muslim Fundies -- they want everyone to live by their religion. And while in domestic politics, Republican Fundies rant on about the Sharislamofascist threat, in international politics, the Fundies are allied in oppressing women, gay people, children, and secularists."

Christy Hardin Smith examines the Honesty of Alberto Gonzales, and Phoenix Woman fights The War on Bullshit at Firedoglake after reading another frightening episode of Mallard Fillmore.

At Drug WarRant, "The logical disconnect in conversations with prohibitionists" - When "a former Michigan lawman" says drugs need to be legalized so they will be regulated by someone besides drug dealers, a sheriff comes up with an interesting rebuttal. Also, How prohibition works.

There are many arresting images at this blog and also some quotes I hadn't seen yet from a raving loon in the post called "Anthem of Ann Coulter", such as: "I think [women] should be armed but should not vote. Women have no capacity to understand how money is earned. They have a lot of ideas on how to spend it It's always more money on education, more money on child care, more money on day care."

You just need to have your eyes startled by this picture at The Poor Man.

16:08 BST

Stuff I saw while not writing about you-know-what

Rah! Charlie Savage got the Pulitzer for stories on Bush's signing statements! A well-deserved award for the important exposure of Bush's unconstitutional approach to giving himself a line-item veto on laws passed by Congress that he doesn't have the guts to veto but refuses to obey. (Glenn Greenwald discusses just how much Savage deserved to be rewarded here.)

Jon Swift, "Is Abstinence-Only Sex Education Too Explicit?"

John Rogers at Kung Fu Monkey looks at Imus' comments from a comedian's perspective, Ezra discusses speaking up when faced with such behavior, Catherine Crier Calls Out Right-Wing Bigots, and Dave Johnson explains WHY They Say Such Outrageous Things.

Iraq now has competing spy agencies: "Suspicious of Iraq's CIA-funded national intelligence agency, members of the Iraqi government have erected a "shadow" secret service that critics say is driven by a Shiite Muslim agenda and has left the country with dueling spy agencies." (via)

Tony Benn's other kid: "President George W Bush's concept of a "war on terror" has given strength to terrorists by making them feel part of something bigger, Hilary Benn will say....And Mr Benn, a candidate for Labour's deputy leadership, will confirm that UK officials will stop using the term." (I've always liked the idea of making war on a tactic. Next, let's have a war on heading them off at the pass!)

Arlen Specter seems not to trust Gonzales - but is he just making another show of it, or does he plan to stick to his alleged guns this time?

Cursor: It'll "make people's hair curl," predicts David Ignatius, who appears to have gotten an advance peak at the much anticipated but embargoed memoir from former CIA director George Tenet, which is expected to take on Cheney and his people on WMD, and on what was supposed to happen after the invasion.

03:39 BST

Monday, 16 April 2007

Best reads

On the heels of a remarkably clear-sighted recap of the last few decades, Phil Nugent writes:

Imus is not a first amendment martyr; he wasn't hounded and clapped in chains and driven to unemployment like Lenny Bruce, he was informed by a couple of major media conglomerates who had been paying him a fucking fortune that they had come to the conclusion that any continued association with his disgusting self was no longer something they wanted to explain to their stockholders. He won't starve, and he probably won't even be gone for as long as some of us would like. But at least his admirers will have to live with the memory of him spending the week crawling on his belly, whimpering and licking every boot he came across in his pathetic bid for forgiveness, a most gratifying commentary on just how much of a ballsy anti-P.C. outlaw the jowly cretin and most of his ilk really are. No, the public excoriation and humilation of Don Imus will not rid the country of racism. But surely a country where the Don Imuses are never publically excoriated and humilated would be a worse place to live.
Definitely read it all. Via Kevin Drum, (via).

Krugman: "But a funny thing has happened on the Democratic side: the party's base seems to be more in touch with the mood of the country than many of the partys leaders. And the result is peculiar: on key issues, reluctant Democratic politicians are being dragged by their base into taking highly popular positions."

23:08 BST

Check this out

Jonathan Schwartz says Paul Wolfowitz: Liar, Not Idiot. (But in my comments, Yonmei says that, "one of the things Wolfowitz did when he accepted the Presidency of the World Bank was destroy his girlfriend's career.")

Belle Waring on stupid winger arguments. (Thanks to Patrick for the tip.)

"Who elected Tim O'Reilly and Jimmy Wales the hall monitors of the Internet?" John Scalzi provides a Blogger Code of Conduct for the people who didn't elect them.

Tommy Thompson is an idiot, but Atrios is a genius.

Bill Maher Blasts Regent Law Schools Transformation of the DoJ.

Introduction by Paul Krugman to The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money, by John Maynard Keynes - for free, via Demosthenes.

Ann Telnaes on the War Czar. (Thanks to D.)

I was dismayed earlier when one of my normally smart commenters responded to "The Rich are not like you and me" by suggesting that I was supporting censorship. I'm really not.

I was always impressed with the title "Mental Floss" that Linda K. (formerly Linda P.) chose for her apazine - just the kind of thing I wished I'd thought of first. I don't know who does the blog by that name, but it's still a good name. Mental Floss.

20:36 BST

It's in the tubes

I was listening to Melanie Sloan on the radio earlier and she was saying that the news media seems to be confused about the missing e-mails - that is, they think it's just one big batch of missing mail. So for clarification: The Presidential Records Act requires that all communications relating to the statutory duties of the president be recorded and fully archived; nevertheless, millions of e-mails are missing from the White House system because the Bushistas have been deleting them (illegally) every thirty days. Additionally, communications relating to the duties of the president were carried out illegally on the RNC e-mail system, and a significant bank of these have also gone missing.

I've had some grumpy things to say about David Obey, but thanks to Atrios for calling to our attention this floor speech, in which he makes clear that The Washington Post is not the best source of advice on how to do Senate business. I somehow seem to have missed it when he originally said it a couple-few weeks ago, but that's not surprising given how much there is going on at any one time with that frenetic bunch of criminals in the White House.

A new poll shows that people who watch The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are the most knowledgeable consumers of news shows. Fox's viewers, of course, still know the least.

Don't miss the fabulous video of John Bolton getting Jeremy Paxmanned. Too bad Paxman didn't point out that what Bolton claims is the main reason to be in Iraq - keeping Saddam's weapons out of the hands of terrorists - would have been carried out far more effectively by staying the hell out of Iraq.

Another catch from Kevin Drum's comments on the voter fraud post, from The Fool: "Hot tip for DOJ: Ann Coulter. She votes in elections outside of the district she lives in. This is a huge story. As it turns out, fully 1 out of every 87 vote fraud cases on the average in the U.S. involves Ann Coulter." This statistic is actually not made up - that's how many cases they managed to find, and Ann Coulter is one of them. (When Democrats make errors when trying to vote, we're always told that either they had felonious intent or were too stupid to vote. Which is it, Ann?)

Heinlein fan bravely declares Heinlein's first novel, "not good."

18:19 BST

A tale of two papers

At The New York Times site, today's top headline is "Nothing to Hide, Attorney General Insists". I congratulate them on knowing what the important story is. It's all a denial without a difference, of course, as Josh Marshall and his readers discuss.

Anyway, it's not 'til you get to the third story in the left-hand column that you see, "Donors Linked to the Clintons Shift to Obama," and when you do, you'll note that the story is about how strong Obama is becoming relative to Clinton.

At The Washington Post, however, the top story is "Clinton's Campaign Has Most Money in the Bank," which is particularly interesting because that story is more than a week old. As we may recall, Clinton's campaign funds were a big story on the day that everyone had to make their report at the end of the quarter, but she was reporting everything in her war chest; Obama reported a day late and made his own headlines by having pulled in nearly as much just in that one quarter - and with twice as many supporters having supplied donations. The Clinton campaign hadn't told us how much of her take was gained in the last quarter alone.

But that headline is particularly interesting in light of what the first paragraphs actually say:

Sen. Barack Obama raised more money than Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton for their Democratic primary clash during the first three months of the year, but Clinton heads into spring with more in her campaign account than all Republican presidential candidates combined.

Obama, a first-term Illinois senator who launched his presidential bid with no national fundraising network, raised $24.8 million for the primary campaign during the first quarter, and Clinton (N.Y.) raised $19.1 million, the campaigns reported last night.

Perhaps the greatest advantage for Obama going forward is that fewer than half of his 104,000 contributors "maxed out" for the primary by hitting the $2,300 contribution limit, meaning he can turn to them again for support. Clinton, by contrast, received nearly three-quarters of her haul from those who wrote $2,300 checks and who cannot contribute to her again unless she is the party's nominee.

But Clinton established a solid overall financial advantage by transferring $10 million from her Senate campaign account and limiting her spending -- in part by carrying $1.6 million in debt, including money she owes to several key advisers. She also raised $7 million that can be spent only if she becomes the nominee.

"Obama won the money race, and it shows he's a real threat to Hillary," said Jenny Backus, a Democratic strategist who is not working for any candidate.

So the news here is that we found out how much of Clinton's money was actually raised in the last quarter, and it's less than Obama got. But that's not what the headline says.

As a matter of journalism, this is a story about Obama's advantages in the race, but that headline was written by someone who wanted to tell a different story. But then, The Washington Post has told me in many ways that (a) it wants Hillary Clinton to be the Democratic nominee and (b) it wants to emphasize that the Clinton campaign is terminally tainted with calculation, greed, and of course the Senator's horn-dog husband, even though they still haven't found the Clintons to be doing anything unusual or disgraceful, let alone illegal.

So, basically, this headline is a story about how Clinton is the front-runner, the nominee-apparent, even though indications are that she has some serious competition with Obama's clear advantage in the current climate and Edwards' lead in Iowa. Obviously, the neocons want Clinton to win the Democratic nomination and lose the general election.

But the kicker to all this is that the next headline is also about electoral politics,* the next is about taxes going up in Virginia,* the next headline is about Diyala,* and there's nothing about Gonzales or the USAtty scandal at all, which the neocons obviously do not want me - or anyone in Washington - to think about.

(And just as I was patching in those headlines, the page changed and Diyala got bumped to the bottom in favor of "Region Surveys Storm Damage", and there's now a little tiny title at the bottom for "Ex-Justice Official's Statements Contradict Gonzales" in very small print.)

13:40 BST

Voting in real life

There's a terrific post at Balkinization on the whole USAtty story, here, that ends with a discussion of the prosecutions for trumped up "voter fraud" charges. And Kevin Drum has a good post about the voter fraud myth in which he asks:

Can we now please put this nonsense to rest? Can we please stop writing stories that treat voter ID laws as if they're sincerely designed to stop voter fraud? There's no longer any excuse.
And in the comments, habitual right-wing nutcase "Al" responds to a post about the difficulty of actually trying to vote more than once in an election with:
Yes, nearly impossible. Unless they have access to the public record (say, is that public?), has the ability to drive the five minutes to another polling place, and has all the skill it takes to give an elderly poll worker a fake name. Surely nobody-- NOBODY!!-- could do all three of those things. And if they did, they would be easily caught, if... um, hrm, well there's no way they would be caught. Good thing that nobody can do those three things!!!
And I bet to someone who has never voted, or who is so antisocial that they don't even say "Hi" to their poll-workers when they check in, that even makes sense.

Except that I remember those elderly poll-workers - and they remembered me, every single year when I walked in. They were from the neighborhood. They greeted my mother by name when she brought me in to vote for the first time, and from then on they greeted me by name, too.

And that, my friends, is the best protection you have against voter fraud, because it's pretty hard to walk up and try to vote as, say, my mother, when those poll workers not only know her face but probably even know she died not that long ago. Actual human-eye face-recognition is still probably one of the very best methods of security we have.

Of course, if you overburden polling places by requiring machines that you don't supply enough of and they break down a lot and you have long lines and confused poll-workers and a bunch of strangers who have come in to help because of all this, you might mess that system up somewhat. So don't do it!

01:44 BST

Sunday, 15 April 2007

When good bloggers blog about bad people

Holy Mackerel! Josh found this story in The Albuquerque Journal:

In the spring of 2006, Domenici told Gonzales he wanted Iglesias out.

Gonzales refused. He told Domenici he would fire Iglesias only on orders from the president.

At some point after the election last Nov. 6, Domenici called Bush's senior political adviser, Karl Rove, and told him he wanted Iglesias out and asked Rove to take his request directly to the president.

Domenici and Bush subsequently had a telephone conversation about the issue.

The conversation between Bush and Domenici occurred sometime after the election but before the firings of Iglesias and six other U.S. attorneys were announced on Dec. 7.

So, like, Bush did it, and of course for all the wrong reasons.

Conservatives like bureaucracy after all. They think it fights bureaucracy.

Can't get Congress to do anything about Darfur? Call a movie star. Man, that beats the hell out of having Tom Friedman writing about things Bush "should" do.

An important announcement from the Freeway Blogger, (via).

Hm, Hillary didn't do so well in the MoveOn Dem Candidate Poll.

There's incompetent, and there's Supreme Court material.

Dispassionate Liberal: "I'm sorry, patriotism does not mean clapping louder to mask the sound of ordinary Americans being ripped off by the corporate media elites clinking glasses full of 15 year-old scotch, paid for by the industrial/military complex and billed to the government under a cost-plus, no-bid contract."

Maru has some cool pictures up at WTF is it now? that I hadn't seen before, in between the usual unrestrained disgust at our political class.

22:50 BST

The Rich are not like you and me

Frank Rich actually wrote this(*) about the Imus flap:

Does that mean he should be silenced? The Rutgers team pointedly never asked for that, and I don't think the punishment fits the crime. First, as a longtime Imus listener rather than someone who tuned in for the first time last week, I heard not only hate in his wisecrack but also honesty in his repeated vows to learn from it. Second, as a free-speech near-absolutist, I don't believe that even Mel Gibson, to me an unambiguous anti-Semite, should be deprived of his right to say whatever the hell he wants to say. The answer to his free speech is more free speech - mine and yours. Let Bill O'Reilly talk about "wetbacks" or Rush Limbaugh accuse Michael J. Fox of exaggerating his Parkinsons symptoms, and let the rest of us answer back.
Oh, we do, we do, Frank, and everyone hears us just as well as they could hear Imus, Limbaugh, and O'Reilly on the radio, right?

This is the kind of thinking these putzes have - those people who already have the big megaphone are always entitled to keep the big megaphone, even if it's on our airwaves (or in our subsidized newspapers). They have the right to have the loudest voices, and we can "balance" that with our virtually unheard voices out here on the sidelines.

I think by "the rest of us" Frank isn't really thinking of you and me - he means him and Tom Oliphant and Howard Fineman and every other twit who is supposed to represent "us" without actually being - or representing - us.

Listen, Frank, Don Imus can still say whatever he wants - he just can't say it on CBS and MSNBC every morning for three hours. He may even end up being a frequent guest on other shows. At worst, he can become another famous blogger - but not one who has to beg for money a few times a year, because he's already a rich man - it's not like he's going to be out on the street next week.

And Mel Gibson is still making movies. And O'Reilly and Limbaugh (and Savage and Beck) still have their jobs.

But where is the nightly television show in which someone who is as far to the left as O'Reilly is to the right gets to pontificate every night? Why did CBS give Imus' time slot to well-known plagiarist and anti-Democrat Mike Barnacle, instead of to someone useful - someone who does think Imus crosses the line? (Like Seder, who was conveniently free.)

So what Rich is really saying is that the "more speech" that is an appropriate answer to Imus' bad speech is this: Imus can say bad things, and "the rest of us" can defend him. But God forbid Imus should actually pay a price for crossing that line.

No wonder Atrios made Rich Wanker of the Day.

19:46 BST

Sunday brunch

At the mighty Correntewire, Chicago Dyke gets an interview with Helen Thomas(and learns, among other things, that Ms. Thomas does a little blog-reading, but not a lot): "Asked about the probability of a Constitutional crisis brought on by the reality of a new Democratic majority, Ms. Thomas isn't bubbling about the Democrats. They are "too chicken" to really "go to the mat on the issues" and too "concerned with the elections (of 2008)," nor are they willing to "stick their necks out" to do what is right. Worst of all, they "don't feel that strongly" about the immorality of the war and other conditions created by the administration. Keeping their positions is the true motivation for most Democrats, and little else."

Your Talking Dog has an interview with award-winning journalist Knut Royce. "He is the co-author (with Peter Eisner) of The Italian Letter, the first book providing a detailed journalistic account of the background of the forged documents that linked the African nation of Niger and its yellowcake uranium to Iraq (care of the Italian intelligence service) and which was one of the justifications used for the Iraq war (as well as the underlying subject of "the 16 words" in the 2003 State of the Union address and eventually of L'Affaire Plame)."

An important catch via David Kurtz at TPM from an AP story: "Six years after declaring the U.S. killing of Korean War refugees at No Gun Ri was "not deliberate," the Army has acknowledged it found but did not divulge that a high-level document said the U.S. military had a policy of shooting approaching civilians in South Korea."

Cernig doesn't know whether to laugh or cry about it: Creationist Museum - Before Adam, "All creatures were vegetarian."

So, why wasn't that USAtty in Milwaukee fired?

Steve alerts me in mail to Scott Horton's NYU speech "Torture, Secrecy and the Bush Administration" at Harper's: "In the balance of that remarkable case, Lilburne established a number of other principles. The prisoner in the dock was to be treated with dignity and respect, not dragged before the court in manacles and an orange jumpsuit. There were to be no ex parte communications between the counsel and the court. He was to have a right to confront all evidence against him (that is, there could be no secret evidence), and the public also was to be allowed to hear it, to form its own opinion of the quality of justice dispensed by the court. He was guaranteed the right of counsel, and for the first time, counsel were permitted to participate in the presentation of evidence for the defense as well."

Anti-feminist Bingo.

13:12 BST

A little clean-up

Fantasie Belle full cup underwired bra

Bra of the Week

A retiring DoJ attorney says: "Actually, I began earlier, in the first Nixon administration, as a college intern in 1971. But I was there again in the Watergate era, when I worked in part of the Attorney General's Office during my first year of law school in 1973-1974, and then continuously as a trial attorney and office director for nearly 30 years. That adds up to more than a dozen attorneys general, including Ed Meese as well as John Mitchell, and I used to think that they had politicized the department more than anyone could or should. But nothing compares to the past two years under Alberto Gonzales." (via) (Also: Charles Pierce says it straight about Imus, Verizon is claiming it patented the Internet, and one of the "special privileges" you get if you're gay.)

At The Left Coaster, Mary on Karl, Abu, and Clearing the Decks.

Snoop Dog explains how it's a whole 'nother thing with Imus.

At Firedoglake, Wolfowitz's girlfriend and the Cheney connection, how the dog ate their homework, and CREW has a question for Patrick Fitzgerald.

Bob Geiger with The Saturday Cartoons - now with Ben Sargent!

01:57 BST

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Party favors
(Flick brought the fizzy pink wine.)

Matt Yglesias finds a shock-horror story about nothing! in Politico that implies there is an Obama scandal.

Faiz smells Cheney behind the Pelosi/Syria smears.

Cernig has been joined by a few other people, so he changed the name from NewsHog to The Newshoggers.

Jim Macdonald treats Governor Corzine's condition as a teachable moment for wearing seatbelts.

I'm impressed with the Minneapolis bill banning predatory mortgage loans and the Maryland living wage bill. It's almost as if American values are creeping back in at the state level.

I'm so old, I can still remember when Bill Cosby used to be funny.

Someone knows how to give the people what they want.

19:19 BST

Friday night document dump

There's no way I can link to all the important posts at the vast and expanding TPM Empire, but there's a string of them tonight on the various documents everyone's been poring over on the USAtty story, and you should just click on the main link up there and check them out. Before I went to bed last night, the post at the top was this one linking to this from NPR: "NPR now has new information about that plan. According to someone who's had conversations with White House officials, the plan to fire all 93 U.S. attorneys originated with political adviser Karl Rove. It was seen as a way to get political cover for firing the small number of U.S. attorneys the White House actually wanted to get rid of. Documents show the plan was eventually dismissed as impractical." But now there's more! And TPM TV, no less, as well. (Check out this one where Josh says all these DoJ hacks turn out to be from the oppo research team the RNC had running during the Bush-Gore debates.)

Abstinence-only report - well, you know why they want to bury this one; it's hardly as if there has ever been any evidence that this program is anything but a disaster. "The tragedy is not simply the waste of taxpayer dollars, it is the damage done to the young people who have been on the receiving end of distorted, inaccurate information about condoms and birth control. We have been promoting ignorance in the era of AIDS, and that's not just bad public health policy, its bad ethics"

Think Progress has video of White House spokesbeing Dana Perino trying to pretend Bush wasn't trying to slip his nasty troop extensions by us to blame on the Democrats; then there's the entertaining bit of back-and-forth between Atrios and Joe Klein when, as usual Atrios is just plain smarter. (Although, frankly, I thought this was much funnier.)

John Aravosis has a post up about the hate "science" conservative groups use against gays.


10:40 BST


Paul Krugman, "For God's Sake: The infiltration of the federal government by large numbers of people seeking to impose a religious agenda - which is very different from simply being people of faith - is one of the most important stories of the last six years. Its also a story that tends to go underreported, perhaps because journalists are afraid of sounding like conspiracy theorists. But this conspiracy is no theory. The official platform of the Texas Republican Party pledges to "dispel the myth of the separation of church and state." And the Texas Republicans now running the country are doing their best to fulfill that pledge."

They could have had Sam Seder, but instead they're replacing Imus with a noted plagiarist. (via)

Jonathan Schwarz: "In a sense I feel bad for Wolfowitz. He's been a faithful errand-boy for the world's richest people his entire career, providing their various rape-and-pillage schemes with an intellectual veneer they could never come up with themselves. During these decades he must have witnessed scenes of decadence and corruption that would make Caligula blush. Yet when he tries to imitate his patrons on one-millionth the scale, his career is ruined. Life is so unfair!"

Even the best guys we've got keep forgetting that we've been complaining about this for decades, not just the last couple of years. Personally, I've been complaining about it since early in the Reagan presidency when I noticed that the famous Teflon had been directly applied by the Washington press corps itself.

Because if you're a woman, I guess you don't have to worry about things like "what time?" and "which airport"? (Thanks to PNH from across the table.)

00:52 BST

Friday, 13 April 2007

Meandering through the tubes

What Is It With The Obama Campaign? Really, it's a bad idea for people who are involved in a Democratic primary campaign to get all of their information about "the left" from right-wing talking points.

I don't want to have to write about this in my free time, but much as I usually love Chicago Dyke, I have to take issue with the assumptions in this post, which, among other things, misapprehends both who the consumers of BDSM porn are and which roles they may fantasize when they look at it. For that matter, it misapprehends where the fantasies come from and what they are really about. But most of all, I have to disagree with the commenter who thinks that the people who have dominance fantasies are not just all men, but every man. No, they're not, even a little bit.

Michael Tomasky has a piece in The American Prospect on why "it's time for liberal multi-millionaires to get with it and start a cable news channel."

In Beatles news: Neil Aspinall quits Apple at 64, and Beatles settle EMI royalties row.

"Only" 54% of Democrats say they want Al Gore to run, according to Mark Silva at The Chicago Tribune blog. What am I being told, here? Via Norwegianity.

Robert Farley has a nice post up at L,G&M explaining the need for the Treason In Defense Of Slavery (TIDOS) History Month project. And read bean on why DNA evidence isn't enough.

What Bill Scher says about Sam Seder's contribution to radio goes for me, too. (Also, I loved being able to hear Bill - and Duncan - on Sam's show every week.)

22:40 BST

If you can believe your eyes and ears

You're probably not wondering whether to vote for Franken if you happen to live in Minnesota, but if I were you, I'd feel pretty good about electing someone who not only cares about what's going on, but even knows how to ask the right questions. He had a post up at the HuffPo a while back called "What in God's Name is Going On?" that should help, and Bob Somerby wrote this in 1996:

By late 1995, this abusive tone-in support of an indefensible presentation-had become a trademark of the Speaker's appearances promoting the GOP plan.

After the evening's session, Franken is luxuriating in a Hyatt lounge with CNN's Robert Novak, NewsHour correspondent Margaret Warner, and House Budget Committee chairman John Kasich (R-OH), a key member of the GOP leadership. In challenging Kasich on the Speaker's argument, Franken-a humorist-manages to display the technical competence which completely eluded the press corps all year. And this evokes a reaction so remarkable that I reprint the anecdote in full:

At one point Novak was extolling Gingrich's "masterful" speech, and I objected, especially to the patronizing crap about the $4800 versus the $6700. So I turned to Kasich:
"By the way, are those constant dollars?"
Margaret jumped in. "Of course they're constant dollars. They wouldn't be that dishonest."
"Sure they would," I said. Turning back to Kasich, "Are those constant dollars?"
"Al..." Kasich's voice has a touch of annoyance, "we're increasing funding for Medicare."
"But the $4800 to $6700, has that been adjusted for inflation?"
"Al, the dollars are going up."
"I just want to know if those are constant dollars."
"Al, we're going from 178 billion [total Medicare budget in 1995] to 283 billion [total Medicare budget in 2002]." Kasich gave the others an exasperated look. When will this guy stop?
"Look. Gingrich is going like, 'Hey, you're a fucking moron if you can't see that 6700 is more than 4800.' I just want to know how big a moron am I. Are those constant dollars?"
A pause. Then. "No, Al, they're not constant dollars."
Kasich slumped in his chair and admitted, "I guess we're being a little intellectually dishonest about this one." And I took a few victory laps around the table.
Margaret was slightly embarrassed and begged me not to repeat the part about her assuming it was constant dollars. I knew she was kidding, however. She's a terrific journalist and she knows a good story.
Except this was more than just a good story - it was in fact a remarkable story, a stunning picture of the sorry state of Washington journalism, 1995-style. At this point in time, Gingrich had been making his argument in major forums for a period of roughly four months; it had clearly become the principal statement of the GOP case for its Medicare plan. It had also become the principal explanation of how the GOP could achieve its miracle budget - how it could balance the budget, give us all a big tax cut, and increase entitlements by 40%.
(Thanks to Chris in comments for the reminder.)

On a related subject, I'm listening to Sam Seder's last weekday show on AAR (listen now). I hear CBS is looking to fill it's morning radio slot, and I have a really great suggestion....

14:23 BST

What they're saying

Glenn Greenwald wonders how the Bush administration keeps losing documents. Personally, I figure they left 'em all in the park. There have been an extraordinary number of lost files, disks, databases all over the place since those people got into the White House, but an awful lot of their "secret" briefings keep being "found" in unlikely places, too. Glenn also notes that conservatives are now stating outright that the point of the American revolution was to have a president with "near dictatorial powers". And there's an update on the anthrax story.

Max Sawicky asks: "Why do so many bloggers engage in online debates with Jonah Goldberg? He's a gigantic honking ignoramus. He doesn't know anything about anything. I don't get it."

Why do Republicans have to wait until it's too late to admit that Bush screwed up? Like, after they're dead. This week's post-deathbed confession is from Jean Kirkpatrick. "Most strikingly, she argues that the war--with respect to bringing democracy to Iraqis--did more harm than good.

Check out the notice* at Via MediaBloodhound, who also quotes from an interview with the Great Man.

Expenses for a Frugal 4 Person Family: "Thus, the family's absolute minimum expenses come to close to $65K. As reader ddickson reminds us in the thread to the previous post, the four person median income in CA is about $70K. Throw in clothes for the kids, something to entertain them (do kids like playing with string as much as cats do?), the odd emergency and visit to Chuck E. Cheese... I don't think they should move here unless they're going to make well over the median income."

Rachel Maddow spoke at the Conference on World Affairs Wednesday morning at the University of Colorado at Boulder on the topic "Can America Take a Punch: Reactions and Overreactions to Terrorism." Click here to listen to her speech.

Sexism still exists - film at 11:00.

14:00 BST


One answer from comments to the question of what the "war czar" is supposed to be for:

Scorpio (of) said*:

Simply put, the "war czar" thing is so that someone takes on the job without being vetted by the Senate, without being within the scope of "checks and balances" (not that this matters a whit to those criminals). It cuts Gates off from the President, Gates being soft because he wants to close Gitmo and shows some sign of being an almost decent Secretary.

And it frees Bush up to ignore those wars while he concentrates on brewing a new one with Iran.

But Keith says the word for what Bush wants is "Scapeczar" - and given the powers the WaPo says Bush wants to give this "czar", which are of course illegal, that's probably just right: Make someone else take responsibility for doing what might land the culprit in jail. Which is why nobody wants the job, I guess.

10:25 BST

Late news

Digby has two posts on Karl Rove's operation to disenfranchise millions of Americans with his phony "voter fraud" campaign, right into the Justice Department. Go read 'em.

Steve Soto notes that Fitzgerald is the probable reason for the deletion of all those RNC e-mails, and wonders whether Patrick Fitzgerald knows about this, and why he let Scooter and Shooter off the hook.

More evidence that Tony Blair is just another right-wing pig.

James Madison on faith-based initiatives.

I wanted to give props to Ana Marie Cox for her article in Time coming clean about why she appeared on Imus' show, what she got from it, and why she wouldn't do it anymore. That last bit is moot now that CBS has shown Imus the door (which, I admit, surprised me). Now, Al Franken calls for CNN to fire Glenn Beck.

Pedantic Thought for the Day: We have the word "legitimize" already; we don't need to make "legitimate" do double-duty.

02:53 BST

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Open windows

Josh Marshall: "The 'lost' RNC emails story deserves and will get a lot of attention. But tomorrow's Times has another story that will probably generate less heat but is closer to the core of what the Purge story is about. Since President Bush came into office, the Justice Department has made 'voter fraud' prosecutions a high priority. Yet, not for lack of effort, they've barely been able to find any examples of it. The grand effort has boiled down to a program to send a few handfuls folks -- mainly black -- to jail for what are in almost every case notional or unintentional voting infractions."

In Haaretz, "Israel doesn't want peace: Who would have believed it? A high-ranking U.S. official says Israel wants peace talks to resume and instantly her president "severely" denies the veracity of her words. Is Israel even hearing these voices? Are we digesting the significance of these voices for peace? Seven million apathetic Israeli citizens prove that we are not."

Digby on the weird extra-dimensional space of the Imus show, where the Beltway gang get together and show us who they really are: "This is why I'm so repulsed with this Imus mess. Yes, he's a racist, misogynist jerk --- he has smugly made millions shedding crocodile tears each time he "goes off the rails" and everybody knew it. The SCLM eagerly pimped their books on his little public cocktail party and gave us a very valuable window into the way these people relate to one another. It is how we knew exactly what they were doing. We write about it every day, (and are loathed by the elite media for having the temerity to call them on it.) This is the very essence of the leftwing critique of the political press."

Political Wire Quote of the Day, from Hillary Clinton, responding to the question of whether the nastiness of American politics will scare her off: "So what, people are going to say something bad about me?"

Steve Clemons says, "John Bolton Won't Settle for Less than War with Iran."

The Rise of the Religious Right in the Republican Party

The WaPo actually has an op-ed by Liz Cheney about Syria today. Don't click on the link unless you feel you really have to, but I mark this for posterity.

16:05 BST

God bless you, Mr. Vonnegut

It was love at first sight.

It started when someone loaned me a copy of Sirens of Titan....

Sometimes, if I was just too depressed, I used to read Cat's Cradle; it made it all seem funny. I'm not really that depressed these days, even though I know things are a mess, but I recently re-read Jailbird and it seemed downright uplifting.

I was thinking the other day that I wanted to re-read God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater again, maybe use a few quotes for posts. I think I may love that one most of all.

One time in New York Mr. Sideshow and I were wandering down the street with some friends, and as some old man passed us Moshe said, "That was Vonnegut." The funny thing is, I'd seen him, and remembered it when Moshe said it, but it hadn't registered at that moment of contact. None of us wanted to annoy him, but I wish I'd just once thanked him for what he meant to me. (Of course, I could have sent a letter via his publisher. Why didn't I think of that?)

We've all been grateful in recent years for the speeches and interviews where he assured us that he knew what was going on and didn't like it any more than we did.

So I'll say good-bye and be weepy today, but my long love affair with the work of Kurt Vonnegut is not over.

There's only one rule that I know of, babies - "God damn it, you've got to be kind."

13:50 BST

In the air

Man, Michelle Malkin is so lame that even from thousands of miles away I can tell she's completely wrong about whether black leaders have anything to say about rap lyrics. (And, like, it's really effective when grown-ups bang on about how they don't approve of that trash kids listen to today, y'know? Didn't everyone just stop listening to Rock'n'Roll 'cause their parents and priests didn't like it? Yeah. Are teenagers gonna stop listening to the stuff they like because the Revs. Jackson and Sharpton say they should? Please.) But that's all beside the point, because, like Steve M. says: "Michelle Malkin complains that rappers aren't held to the same standard as Don Imus. Excuse me, did I miss the press conference where Rudy Giuliani shrugged off the criticism and said he still planned to spit a verse on Young Jeezy's next jam?" Via Sisyphus Shrugged.

Even Jesus General knows that this is a serious subject. (And here's Media Matters' statement on it.)

But Karl Rove must be loving it, because it's taking people's attention off of the things that are making him squirm. Like:

Norm Coleman doesn't like Rachel Paulose anymore. "Last week, four top staffers to Paulose voluntarily demoted themselves in protest of Paulose's 'highly dictatorial style' of managing. Immediately after the resignations, Coleman's office issued a statement of unqualified support for Paulose [...] With the national media now highlighting the Paulose case, Coleman is backing away from his previous statements of support, saying that Paulose needs to explain her situation 'given the recent issues related to the U.S. attorneys nationwide.'"

So, Who's Behind the Pelosi Smear? Jane Hamsher notices something disturbing about this little group of creeps. (And why doesn't the media just tell the truth about it?)

And, boy, Lee Iacocca sure doesn't like what's going on: "Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, 'Stay the course.'" (Thanks to Mike Walsh for the tip. I also enjoyed the mixed metaphor.)

And then there's the "accidental" missing e-mails, a couple of polls that the White House can't much like, the priceless lawsuit, and the USAtty who nearly got the chop - but was he saved by a spurious prosecution? You can bet those are things the GOP machine is happy to see pushed off the air.

03:22 BST


Tristero has compiled the links to all the Blog Against Theocracy posts from Hullabaloo. And after you read that stuff, Digby's post about latest post about the new powers the Head Spy wants, because apparently the Constitution "ties their hands" too much. And then let your reps no that they have no acceptable excuse if this thing happens.

Paperwight says, "Bill Donohue Speaks for the Cardinal" - because, seriously, all it would take to shut him down is for Cardinal Egan to stand up, and it'd pull the rug right out from under Donohue. Instead, Egan jumped onto Donohue's bandwagon.

The correct response to GOP/White House talking points is: That makes no sense.

John Edwards says, "If he does veto funding for our troops, Congress should send the same bill right back to him. And they should do this again and again, until the President finally understands that he cannot reject the will of the overwhelming majority American people." Right on, right on.

George Walker Bush is soft on crime.

I don't even understand this "war czar" thing. I mean, isn't that what the Secretary of Defense is for?

Wolcott: "Sweet chocolate Jesus, is there a bigger suckup than Tom Oliphant? He's a disgrace to dweeby liberals everywhere." And anyway, Imus is not so funny. And anyway, MSNBC gave him the ax.

00:24 BST

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

It's spring!

Patrick flew in this morning, and he and I have been out enjoying the weather, complete with a walk around Victoria Embankment, camera in hand. They have these bleedin' enormous tulips there (larger image), and I rather liked these branches. I imagine P will post some more to his Flickr page later.

When we got back I checked out Atrios and read out a couple of posts aloud:

Atrios: "Paul Begala just compared firing Don Imus to the death penalty.," I read.

PNH: "Paul Begala and James Carville - they're the people Atrios was put on this earth to kill."

And now we're listening to Hoboken Saturday Night, which I've had on vinyl all along but I've finally got my hot little hands on a CD.

And so it goes....

19:52 BST


Atrios* quoted this post by Athene the other day, which discusses the fact that half the Beltway media has been commiserating with poor Don Imus because he didn't get away with being a sexist, racist jerk on his show on the most recent occasion of doing so. If you didn't read it, do it now, because it's another one of those points we need to be pushing: that it's really pretty sickening having to listen to people who think it makes sense to let conservatives wreck our entire Constitutional and economic system just because they don't like having to restrain their overt bigotry in public.

Look, I get that there have been people who've gotten a bit carried away. Hell, I spend half my life dealing with people who are motivated by an ideological blind alley that is based not only on a stultifying stereotype of women, but an outright libel of men. Mysteriously, though, these people sound more like conservatives than liberals to me, so frankly I'm not impressed by some jackass who really believes that "liberalism" is just a mess of prudish man-haters and black separatist fanatics who want to force you to be gay.

Don Imus and his pal Bernie came right out and suggested that a bunch of young athletes were just a bunch of colored whores. They might as well have said "nigger whores". I mean, just exactly how much more elevated is "nappy-headed hoes"? And yet Fineman said:

Some of the kind of humor you used to do you just can't do anymore.
You couldn't use that kind of humor on the radio pretty much ever. But ever since Clarence Thomas attacked the Senate for allowing Anita Hill to speak (not for believing her - just for letting her speak), and based his entire "defense" against a charge of sexual harassment on the idea that Professor Hill was, well, just another colored whore, this thing has been getting more and more acceptable.

We owe it to our country to push back against this kind of crap.

13:11 BST

Assorted stuff

Cernig says the right-wingers are claiming a liberal Syrian dissident has been complaining about Pelosi's trip. Thing is, he's just another Chalabi.

Thomas Nephew, "Why I read watch TPM before WaPo or the NYT the TV networks"

Another better Democratic campaign strategist: Pastor Dan. (Also: an interview with Phillip Zimbardo on how conservatives turn decent people into bad apples.)

At The Poor Man, Advanced methods in Clinton-did-it.

States are turning down stupid money for Abstinence-only programs: "If the state is going to spend money on teaching and protecting kids, the governor believes it's better to spend it in a smarter, more comprehensive approach."

I have no idea why people have such an investment in not believing in PTSD.

I've always believed that freedom and flappers go together.

Max Blumenthal says, "Through Monica Goodling, the Press Discovers Pat Robertsons Real Influence.

Why Howard Stern is better than Don Imus. And via Susie, this Quote of the Day from Howard Dean: "Our object was not to get you into power because we are Democrats -- our object was to get you into power so you actually do something."

What Maru said.

Hillary joins the party - declines to debate on Fox.

The packaging for this condom is just wrong.

The DLC Doesn't Lead - it just picks up GOP frames and runs with them.

Jonah Goldberg's ahistorical analysis of why Americans supposedly don't like a welfare state.

"The Universal Manufacturing Company can prove John F.Kennedy shot himself, so long as we are paid in advance."

Jon Swift on Smearing Matt Drudge.

Tell me if this works for you. Via Biomes Blog.

02:34 BST

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Linky goodness

Ah, I do like John Conyers, who got tired of all the delaying tactics and issues a subpoena for the documents on the USAtty firings.

Ezra: "CEO PAY VS. WORKER PAY. Over at the Consumerist, there's a really good graph comparing the growth in CEO pay, corporate profits, and worker's compensation. It's one of those pictures tell a thousand word type things. It reminds me, though, of a question I've long had: How much money actually goes into CEO pay in a year? We know the growth rate, but do we know the absolute value?"

Jonathan Cohn at TNR, "What Jacques Chirac could teach us about health care: But is it actually true that universal coverage results in worse care? That's a very different story from the one that conservatives tell."

Mary has found a sign of shrillness in the corporate media.

So, this is who they are replacing Sam Seder with. I've never heard him, but judging from the comments, I'm going to start getting a lot more walking done during that slot.

Just in case you missed hearing something a little more positive on Easter, here's something for those who need it.

Jeez, even Chris Wallace couldn't swallow Gingrich's bull. And it was nice watching Richard Holbrooke set David Gregory straight.

Best online poll ever.

The women of Iraq didn't used to have to cover their heads, but now they do.

How right-wing nuts get rich.

It's great if our Fighting Dems are good on Iraq, but they should be good on America, too.

Note to The New York Times: Keep up at the back!

X-Files: State-Sponsored Terror in the Western World

23:52 BST


A better Democratic strategist - Tori Amos: "The way to really combat the right wing is to not be subservient to them on any level, particularly when it comes to ideology," she continued. "Therefore, you better offer up another ideology that can combat theirs, and as a preacher's daughter, I understand their ideology inside and out. Frankly, they've all hijacked Jesus and his message. I'm sorry, but 'Love thy neighbor as yourself' is nowhere to be found, especially in our current regime, who, in the name of God, is sending our young men and women to die over there [in the Middle East]."

I hear on Thom Hartmann's show that the e-mail with the fake "truth" about Social Security is going around again while the Republicans ramp yet another push to destroy the program. (Apparently, the current version is the one with the introductory paragraph claiming to be from a neighbor of the Roosevelt children, who claims they complained that the program had been altered - by Democrats - from their father's program.) The letter makes claims such as that the program was meant to be voluntary (not possible), that the Democratic Party under Johnson started taking money out of the Trust Fund (it was Reagan who started borrowing from it), that Jimmy Carter started giving Social Security annuities to illegal immigrants (!!!), and so on - all lies. Snopes has the letter and the debunking here. (What they don't discuss is the fact that Ronald Reagan doubled your Social Security taxes.)

I took the Blogrolling blogroll down for a bit because they seemed to be messing with it. Now it's back up. If you want to fight to try to get to the top, post something and then ping them.

20:41 BST

A little bit of soap

Now that the Democrats are investigating the Republicans the public likes Congress more.

From Think Progress, "Elliott Abrams behind Pelosi attacks? Jim Lobe writes, "There is little doubt among Middle East analysts here that [Deputy National Security Adviser Elliott] Abrams is playing a lead role in White House efforts to discredit Pelosi for meeting with Assad," just as he did in a similar incident in 1987."

Max explains where the White House found that hidden economic recovery.

Congress wants to see what's on the RNC server, and there are many signs that these guys have some extremely interesting e-mail.

Here's a good one: Why would anyone investigate the thoroughly corrupt Jim Gibbons (R-Nevada)? Why would the WJS run stories about his corruption? Well, it must be because the Democrats paid them to. Yep, Gibbons is just the victim of a vast, left-wing conspiracy.

16:38 BST

The morning paper

So, let's see what's on The Washington Post op-ed page today....

Well, there's this disappointing eulogy for John McCain's campaign from E.J. Dionne, who seems to perceive the manifest evidence of McCain's lack of character as merely a symptom of bad political choices. But I suppose you could interpret it as a very polite way of saying McCain made his deathbed and he has to lie in it.

Broder has a predictable call for Democrats to compromise with Bush on Iraq. Since it's obvious that the only "compromise" Bush will ever make is that he gets to stay in Iraq indefinitely and that Congress has to write him a blank check, Broder is proving as usual that he's just a mouthpiece for the GOP. Broder will never, ever say that it's time for Bush to start doing some compromising.

Richard Cohen chooses to make excuses for Monica Goodling, pretending that taking the Fifth is just a way to avoid being tripped up in well-intentioned, good-faith testimony. But that's not what invoking the right not to incriminate yourself means; it means you have knowledge of your own guilt in criminal matters. But Richard Cohen has already established his credentials as one of the cheesiest men in print journalism. You gotta give him credit: he re-establishes his claim to that status regularly; at least he isn't resting on his laurels.

Eugene Robinson talks about Imus in "Misogyny in the Morning", and points out that what got Imus in trouble more than anything else is that he's not as bad as his colleagues. While Imus has been suspended for two weeks, and people are calling for his firing or resignation, Robinson says, "But I'd rather lock him in a room with the parents of those Rutgers kids and let him try to explain himself." You know, that might actually accomplish something.

13:57 BST

More stuffed justice

Check yet another weird US Attorney story in this morning's WaPo, "Six U.S. Attorneys Given 2nd Posting in Washington":

A half-dozen sitting U.S. attorneys also serve as aides to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales or are assigned other Washington postings, performing tasks that take them away from regular duties in their districts for months or even years at a time, according to officials and department records.
Interestingly, these people are drawing only their salaries for their local jobs and not for the DC postings.
The growing reliance on federal prosecutors to fill Washington-based jobs also comes amid controversy over the firings of eight other U.S. attorneys last year. One of them, David C. Iglesias of New Mexico, was publicly accused by the Justice Department of being an "absentee landlord" who was away from his job too much.


"It's a double standard and it's hypocritical," Iglesias said. "Not one judge from my district wrote a letter to main Justice saying I was gone too much. . . . Most of my absences were military-related."

This is messing things up at the state offices as the people who are supposed to be running them aren't there to do it, generating a lot of complaints about the disarray it's causing. Like with Mercer from Montana:
His regular absence from the U.S. attorney's office in Billings has caused severe friction between Mercer and U.S. District Chief Judge Donald W. Molloy, a Clinton appointee. Molloy wrote a letter to Gonzales in October 2005 demanding that Mercer be replaced.

Molloy wrote that Mercer's absence had led to "a lack of leadership" in the Montana office and created "untoward difficulties for the court" and for career prosecutors. The judge also questioned whether Mercer complied with residency requirements.

Gonzales wrote back the next month that Mercer was handling both jobs admirably, and suggested that Mercer's absence would be short-lived.

Well, of course - to Gonzales a job that is not being done at all is being done "admirably". They like guys like that in Washington these days:
Relations between Mercer and Molloy have not improved since. Molloy berated Mercer during a court hearing last year, accusing him of bringing weak cases to court to pump up statistics and telling him: "You have no credibility -- none."

"Your lawyers are not getting their briefs in on time," Molloy said. "You're in Washington, D.C., and you ought to be here in Montana doing your work. Your office is a mess."


Mercer has figured prominently in the U.S. attorney firings, in part because he told prosecutors in Arizona and Nevada they were being removed to make way for new Republican loyalists.

Have I said it lately? Impeach them all.

(Thanks to Apikoros in comments for the tip.)

12:14 BST

A few things

Jonathan Schwarz: "The most significant story in American politics is how the corporate media has moved from its standard historical hatred for progressives to hatred for regular centrist Democrats. (See Clinton, Bill; Gore, Al; and now Pelosi, Nancy.) Meanwhile, the Democrats still don't get it, even as CNN and the Washington Post beat the crap out of them every day, and refuse to fund competing media."

Little Thom has found another few nuggets in the USATT scandal - around Medicaid fraud - that even involves a couple of US Attorneys being found dead in Texas. Jeez. And it turns out Carol Lam was also investigating Medicaid fraud.

Someone please tell Carl Levin to stop helping Bush.

01:10 BST

Monday, 09 April 2007

In the discourse

Ana Marie Cox has an article at Time called "Don't Laugh at Al Franken" that quotes a load of right-wing talking points that she appears to completely fall for. Girl, don't talk to those people, they will only lie to you.

Paul Krugman, "Sweet Little Lies: The Clinton years were a parade of fake scandals: Whitewater, Troopergate, Travelgate, Filegate, Christmas-card-gate. At the end, there were false claims that Clinton staff members trashed the White House on their way out. Each pseudoscandal got headlines, air time and finger-wagging from the talking heads. The eventual discovery in each case that there was no there there, if reported at all, received far less attention. The effect was to make an administration that was, in fact, pretty honest and well run - especially compared with its successor - seem mired in scandal."

A lot of people are fighting over Rush Holt's bill does too much or too little to safeguard our vote.

I see via Think Progress that Barack Obama has finally joined John Edwards in announcing that he will not participate in the Fox-sponsored CBC debate. With any luck, that kills it right there. (Also: State Dept. Blows Off Waxman's Niger Inquiry, Falsely Claims Rice Has Answered In Full.)

Dean Baker says, "NPR Thinks It's Good for Low Income People to Lose Their Life Savings In a Home." And he also explains "how so many public companies could suddenly become hugely profitable when they are taken private" - debt. Plus: why advising Germany to be more like America is bad advice.

From late 2005, Michelle Goldberg's piece on Bush's impeachable offense.

23:49 BST

Fruit of the web

The invaluable Cursor is having a fundraiser. This is one of the oldest surviving non-right-wing sites in the news-o-sphere, and I've always admired the way it simply presents, in highly-compacted paragraphs, quick summations of what the talk is in a wide variety of a print media. Such as:

To put the debate over Iranian interference in Iraq in context, Noam Chomsky asks 'What If Iran Had Invaded Mexico?,' and David Edwards notes echoes of pre-war media commentary on Iraq by Western journalists for whom "Iranian history began with the 1979 hostage crisis." Plus: 'Chalabi: The Iranian Sequel?'
Throw 'em some bucks. (Tax deductible!)

Ratzinger remembers that war is bad.

I just want to say that I'm really pissed off that AAR is getting rid of my favorite show and moving Sam Seder to Sunday-only. This bites! Sam's announcement is here, and he says this is his last week in his current spot and the new weekly show won't start for another month. Damn! (Also, I liked being able to hear Atrios and Bill Scher on the radio.) *grumble*

So, did Orrin Hatch face any consequences for smearing Carol Lam? Did he hell.

UK: Ministry of Defence predicts the death of liberalism.

Hecate on what the Christianists are up to.

Jack Cluth supplies a message from Bill Maher and a Dumba$$ Award to Bill Kristol.Shorter David Broder.Bush fights global warming, via Multi-Medium.

17:20 BST

Old news

We've been saying this all along, but some people seem to think we're paranoid: Yes, they do put people on the terrorist watch list who are unequivocally not terrorists but who are the reverse - that is, people who don't approve of Bush's war on America. Attaturk linked this post from Balkinization, and for good reason: "I presented my credentials from the Marine Corps to a very polite clerk for American Airlines. One of the two people to whom I talked asked a question and offered a frightening comment: "Have you been in any peace marches? We ban a lot of people from flying because of that." I explained that I had not so marched but had, in September, 2006, given a lecture at Princeton, televised and put on the Web, highly critical of George Bush for his many violations of the Constitution. "That'll do it," the man said." Now, you might say that it's just too bad if someone wants to get into political tussles, and if they were just going about their business, they wouldn't have these problems. But, you know, that's how it is in most dictatorships - if you don't call attention to yourself, you usually don't have your travel papers revoked, or get dragged off by the secret police.

DownWithTyranny asks and answers one of our favorite questions: Why Don't So-Called Moderate Republicans Abandon Their Hateful Extremist Party? Because "The Moderates" Are Wingnuts Too

The magic of the Surge!

Another glowing moment in the history of advertising. And also, via Hugo, The Real News.

Pete and Dud in Superthunderstingcar!

12:30 BST

Sunday, 08 April 2007

Rumors of spring

Fantasie Smoothing underwired balconette braBra of the Week - Looks like a good T-shirt bra, reasonably priced for Britain.

I took a long walk. I mean, the weather is great!

And, OK, I'm experimenting with Blogrolling, so we'll see how this works out. I've subjected both the "Friends' Weblogs" and "More Weblogs" sections to it without changing anything else. While I was doing it, I noticed a couple-few weblogs hadn't updated in a while so I left them off. (I have saved the old blogroll to a file, but we shall see.) If you get all weepy about this, start updating again and tell me and I'll put you back on.

Austin Cline on Bush's Abu Ghraib Doctrine of Foreign Affairs.

Why Nancy went to Syria.

Fighting Hypocrisy At The Dallas Bar Association.

Inflammatory Headline

Bad loans - Is your college in on the scam?

Oh, man, I forgot to Blog against Theocracy this weekend.

20:36 BST

WaPo joins the terrorists

Yes, indeed, Hiatt actually published this insane crap by right-wing loony Kathleen Parker (check out her Wikipedia page for some friendly rape apology, too), in which we are informed that we have problems with Islamic fundamentalists because we are not enough like them:

On any given day, one isn't likely to find common cause with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He's a dangerous, lying, Holocaust- denying, Jew-hating cutthroat thug -- not to put too fine a point on it.

But he was dead-on when he wondered why a once-great power such as Britain sends mothers of toddlers to fight its battles.

This is increasingly a refrain from the right, and after seeing lefties being accused of being commies because we weren't capitalist enough - and therefore, supposedly, too much like The Enemy - it is difficult to know how to respond when hit with exactly the opposite kind of argument: that we are "traitors" because we are too different from The Enemy.

One thing you can say for the wingers - they have no fear of becoming their enemy. They already are.

Brad at Sadly, No! declares it the Worst Op-Ed Page Ever and goes to town on it.

12:26 BST

Saturday, 07 April 2007

Shakespeare Saturday night

I love it when Doctor Who is in season these days. "London" looked so good it made me want to go see Warwick.

We're all dying to know who replaced facts with fiction in the WaPo version of the EFP story.

Sometimes I just can't believe how stupid right-wingers are. Just aside from the misattribution and fantasy that no one complained about him, since when is Don Imus a liberal?

And speaking of that sort of thing, why is CNN being so nice to Bush and the GOP?: While endlessly repeating the dog-bites-man story of Republicans criticizing the Democratic speaker of the House, media virtually ignored a man-bites-dog-story: Republican Congressman Darrell Issa's criticism of President Bush. Issa, who met with Syrian President Assad in Damascus on April 5, responded to Bush's criticism by saying "President Bush, is the head of state, but he hasn't encouraged dialogue. That's an important message to realize: we have tensions, but we have two functioning embassies." Likewise, media paid little attention to comments by Republican Congressman Joe Pitts, who also went to Syria. After returning from Syria, Pitts said, "Dialogue is not a sign of weakness. ... It's a sign of strength." Or to Republican Congressman Frank Wolf's defense of his trip to Syria: "I don't care what the administration says on this. You gotta do what you think is in the best interest of your country." Historically, it has always been the Republicans who try to countermand official US policy. Newt Gingrich did that when he went to China. And: "when he was speaker of the House, Dennis Hastert urged Colombian military officials to circumvent the Clinton administration and work directly with the Republican Congress. In other words: The media criticized Pelosi for something that even a Republican member of Congress says she did not do, while ignoring the fact that Hastert did do it."

Bill Scher calls Bush's propensity for making recess appointments of uncomfirmable incompetents and criminals to destroy our civil service "Recesspool".

Florida police arrest activist for feeding homeless - and yes, they waste undercover cops on this project, because obviously they have nothing else to do.

Well, at least Matt and Trey have noticed that Bill Donohue is a creep.

Is Matt Lauer a werewolf?

Voting restrictions in each state as at 5/31/2006. Maine and Vermont do not appear to disenfranchise felons at all, while only three states - Virginia, Kentucky, and Florida - deprive ex-cons of voting rights in perpetuity. But Florida's Governor Crist is changing that. Many states do not allow those on parole or probation to vote, although as of the time of that article, Rhode Island was talking about allowing convicts who were not actually in prison to vote. I gather we won that one.

20:43 BST

Things we said today
(Okay, maybe not necessarily today, but I still like the song.)

Jimmy Carter says Bush ordered him not to go to Damascus: "I have known President Bashar al-Assad since he was a college student, and I thought it might be helpful if I went and urged him to support the peace process in the Middle East. But for the only time in my life as a former president, I was ordered by the White House not to go."

It's completely unsurprising news that as time goes by, the population becomes decreasingly anti-gay. As it currently stands, most Americans do not oppose gay civil unions, for example, and they seem to be less worried about gay marriage than they were even a few years ago. (Also: We know the wingers are being dishonest about their intentions, but is it possible that teaching the Bible in schools could be a good idea? Well, it depends who's teaching it. When I was in elementary school, we got Bible stories all the time. They didn't teach us all the horrible stuff, though.)

You might be interested in the Catholic Boy post at A Blog Named Sue, but I was particularly charmed by the fact that it has a Mel Cooley Index. (Reference) (Wow, I just learned that Rob and Laura lived in Carl Reiner's house.)

So, it turns out that the Brits Told Bush To Back Off - He offered to start a war for them, but they thought they saw an easier way to get their people back. Fancy that. (Also: A prediction that McCain won't make it to Iowa, and don't miss the latest Instahoglets post, checking out other blogs. And please end this stupid War on Some Drugs.)

Glenn Greenwald picks up on the way right-wingers look down on the Iraqis while simultaneously projecting on the left the perception of Iraqis as untermenschen. (Kinda the same way we are liberating them and protecting them but they are "the enemy".) They have always done this. We said that you can't expect Iraq to turn into a free democracy without the giving them the institutions that make a free democracy (but instead installing a kind of neocon free-market chaos), and they accused us of racism; then they turned around and said we should bomb them to smithereens because they are uncivilized and ungrateful. And so it goes.

At Lawyers, Guns and Money, Scott Lemieux is shocked to discover that "assertions about operational connections between Iraq and Al-Qaeda turn out to be...completely bogus!" - but d suggests we not jump to any rash conclusions.

Have I mentioned The Sideshow link policy lately? I should update it by pointing out that after the first 50 links, they tend to devalue (both in eye-track quality and Google rankings), and my blogroll is already too long. (I'm always grateful if readers inform me of a dead or moribund link.) On my wish list: A way to automatically rotate different sections of the blogroll on a daily basis (within the "Other Weblogs" section), so that every blog would have its moment at the top of the list. Or maybe a widget that just shows a different section of the blogroll each time you reload. Hm....

17:07 BST

Evening webcrawl

Slacktivist on the lesson the punditocracy took from the Philippines.

The graphic truth, via Hellblazer.

Did CNN stop lying about Pelosi, yet? If not, tell them to fix it.

Set the Wayback Machine way back to 2004, and remember this monstrosity, and why it's another thing we need Congress to overturn.

You're either with us, or you're with the terrorists. BushCo. picked the terrorists.

Blimey! Joe Klein says Bush is unfit to lead. Gosh, he noticed! (Also: religious in hats and shoes.)

So, which side of the debate will Jonah be on? I mean, if the proposition is, "This house regrets the founding of the United States of America." Because he sure doesn't seem to like it very much.

Michelle Malkin objects to acknowledging what a real terrorist in the "homeland" is likely to look like - because it's not politically correct. (And please, let's not pretend that what Malkin is doing isn't demanding Political Correctness. She's just got a different definition of what is "correct".) Also: The Neiwert Awards for 2006.

I see Cheney made words come out of his mouth again. Remember the words of Molly Ivins, who said of him, "His head still tilts over more to the right when he lies."

00:46 BST

Friday, 06 April 2007

At TalkLeft

If you haven't been to TL lately, my girl Jeralyn has some interesting stuff up:

Jeralyn posted yesterday about something that is near and dear to the hearts of both of us - Florida Governor Charlie Crist is restoring ex-cons' right to vote. Very few states don't return the franchise to people once they've served their sentences. Personally, I think every citizen who has reached the age of majority should be able to vote, no matter where they are - after all, it's not like they no longer suffer the repercussions of what politicians do just because they've been convicted of a crime. And one reason our prisons are so inhumane is that politicians don't much care about people who can't vote. But in Florida, we may recall, this revocation of the vote was used as an excuse to excise many thousands of legal voters from the rolls in the last few elections, and it's obvious states can't be trusted with that power. (Of course, in Tennessee, they don't have that power, but they used it anyway in 2000.) Like Atrios, I don't know much about Crist, but this could be a sign that he's a much better man than the one he replaced.

On the other end of the spectrum, though, Jeralyn says Florida is housing sex offenders under a bridge. That's how many restrictions there are on where they can live. So there they are, without electricity, no running water, and no protection from the elements.

Jeralyn also asks, "Where are the Democratic Candidates on the Drug War?" Good question. This issue has actually hurt the Democratic Party for years, far more than they seem able to realize. Although Republicans have been far, far worse on this issue, the Republicans have used any evidence of any Democrat not pushing against the drug laws to suggest that Democrats are the party that likes to take away your freedoms. But most of the Dem candidates have said things in the past that would only reinforce that position. Most Americans, on the other hand, don't much like the drug laws, so it's really time the Dems came out and said enough is enough.

Also, Giuliani Backtracks on Publicly Funded Abortions and Geraldo Sticks it to Bill O'Reilly. (And that's just Jeralyn - there's also some good stuff from Big Tent Democrat.)

16:50 BST

Links for lunch

In Which the Freepers Make Melissa Laugh - by congratulating Mary Cheney for not getting an abortion.

So, is April Glaspie in Mogadishu?

MahaBarb on Privatization Gone Wild, and on The Inevitable Candidate.

Brent Budowsky on The Republicans' Pinocchio Problem: "Now Mitt Romney lies about hunting. The former Massachusetts governor said he had been a hunter for just about all his life. Almost immediately his staff reminded him he had only been hunting twice. Presumably Mr. Romney forgot about all the times he never hunted." (via)

The mystery of Bush's sudden February visit to Chattanooga.

Digby on armchair heroes (and why I wish they would all be kidnapped by terrorists and show us how bloody brave they are).

Bill Scher: "You know what sends mixed signals to Syria? Working with Syria to torture our detainees for us, then attacking Syria for sponsoring terrorism."

Avram Grumer with Iran smalltalk.

Will Bunch: "They gave him the bullet": The Iraq vet who died from poor government care - "Meanwhile, Washington is all hung up these days on what it means to "support the troops" currently in Iraq. Whatever that phrase means to you, there is something seriously wrong with a country that doesn't support them when they come home."


Report on Peak Oil

The Rude Pundit with more Coulter-watching

Alan Bostick alerts me in comments that Tommy Thompson held his trysts in the WisCon hotel! Well, I can't fault his taste in hotels, anyway.

Thanks, Charles.

12:18 BST

News you can use

So, Orrin Hatch has apologized for "misspeaking" about Carol Lam. Sort of. Rachel thinks it's because she wrote an open letter. I think it's because the story got linked at Eschaton. (Meanwhile MadKane commemorates the event in her usual way.)

So, oddly, it turns out that Bill Donohue isn't all worked up about Rudy Giuliani's pro-choice, pro-gay positions. Man, it really is all about the authoritarianism, isn't it? (Or do they just assume he's lying - sorta like all those Labour hacks assured everyone that Tony Blair was only pretending to be a right-wing creep to get elected, but once he was in office, well, then we'd get a return to sane government....)

John McCain's tourist dollars bought this: "The latest massacre of Iraqi children came as 21 Shia market workers were ambushed, bound and shot dead north of the capital. The victims came from the Baghdad market visited the previous day by John McCain, the US presidential candidate, who said that an American security plan in the capital was starting to show signs of progress." When you think of it, a lot of people tend to die when Republicans shoot their mouths off, don't they? (Thanks to PSoTD (of) in comments.)

Was Reversed Wisconsin "Corruption" Case Related to Partisan Politics at US DOJ? State Senator Suggests, Yes. Why the big story may still be the USAtts who weren't fired: "The case against Thompson appeared to be woefully thin: a state travel contract was given to a state vendor that was essentially the low-bid vendor (or tied with an out of state vendor). Many who followed the case, which figured prominently in the unsuccessful Republican candidate Mark Green's election campaign against Gov. Doyle, were shocked when a conviction was entered. It appeared to be a case of a US Attorney convicting the proverbial ham sandwich."

Little Thom has it from Sky News that the Brits Were "Gathering Intel" on Iran. (Bear in mind that Sky is Murdoch's UK satellite operation.)

It occurs to me that a few of you may not have recognized the word "ansible".

02:06 BST

Thursday, 05 April 2007

On still needing a better ansible

Just as a point of reference: I tried for two days push that story about Orrin Hatch's lies about Carol Lam, and aside from Little Thom, no one seemed to notice. In despair, I tried doing the "diary" post at Kos. Nuthin' - didn't even rate a diary rescue. It wasn't until I noticed the comment counter for the last open thread at Eschaton veering up over 800 and linked to Thom's post for a new thread last night that it got any traction - and then suddenly Kos himself picked it up, and so did Think Progress, Josh Marshall, and Hilzoy. And only today did I hear the story on Sam Seder and Thom Hartmann's Air America shows, even though the original spark for the story was Rachel Maddow's show - and she'd also been trying to push the story.

I'm not saying this as a criticism of individuals, but I thought this was a good story and I have to say I find it frustrating that if Atrios hadn't given me the keys to his rig ages ago, it probably would have disappeared. I really wish I knew a better way to get a story out - this is the kind of thing Peter Daou used to use as a lesson in message spread. The Sideshow is one of the more well-known of the "smaller" blogs, but the story didn't move at all - even though it started on Air America - until it hit Duncan's front page. (It's proliferating, now.)

In other news:

In The New York Times, Tony Sachs and Sal Nunziato explain how the recording industry is "Spinning Into Oblivion" with its idiotic policies. Via Atrios.

Scrutiny Hooligans has moved.

17:50 BST

The more things change...

How Hatch and Limbaugh become confused - Hilzoy traces back and finds that they appeared to be applying someone else's history to Carol Lam.

Charlie and the pirates - How the paranoia of the publishing industry is crippling the commercial e-book market, and why they really ought to remember the word "libraries" and remember what they do.

In Connecticut: Chris Dodd is really pissed off at Bush for giving Sam Fox a recess appointment, and thinks maybe that giving it to him after withdrawing his name from consideration may have made it illegal. Meanwhile, The Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut releases new ad.

Invictus explains the case against global warming.

Phoenix Woman catches AP Burying the Lede on the Pelosi-in-Syria story.

"I am Michelle's hood."

Change your link: Shakespeare's Sister is now Shakesville.

Think Progress is hiring.

13:56 BST

On the landscape

Eric Boehlert notes the curious departure of Mark Halperin from The Note.

Eric Alterman has been under the weather, with the result that his "The Bell Curveball" series, on the appalling Charles Murray book that made it acceptable to be a racist in public again, is posted at Altercation instead of new work - Part I, Part II, and Part III.

Flashback: I'd had the feeling it was going to be a long, hot summer that year, and we had decided it was time to get out of DC in the next day or two. We were a musicians' house, the only white people in the neighborhood. They used to send their kids over to play with our hair to get them out of theirs. Then before we'd even started packing, I heard through the window over someone's radio that Dr. King had been shot. Neighbors came around and warned us that we'd probably be safer somewhere else. We got out that night. It was a scary time, and a cold time to travel, but people were kind, and no one ever seemed to hold it against us that we were white.

How Circuit City killed capitalism.

Ezra says that Peter Baker's page one article in the WaPo demonstrates that the press really is turning away from its love affair with Bush. He might just be right.

Some diaries at DKos:
No Indictment for Rep. William Jefferson? Why Not?
Actually Folks, THIS is the most under-reported story.
Draft Gore Movement Heats Up
Seeking a New Generation of Engineers
And I did round-up post on the Orrin Hatch thing there, in case anyone is interested. MBW added a point in the comments.

Dominic sent me a link to these nifty Hubble shots, which include a cool supernova.

02:20 BST

Wednesday, 04 April 2007

Intereweaving the Internet

Bob Geiger has an interesting job for you: start asking Senators how they will vote on the Feingold-Reid bill. (And let your own Senators know that you want them to support it.)

Bookslut: In May 2005, Cary McNair told the St. Andrew's Episcopal School in Austin, TX that if they did not remove Annie Proulx's short story "Brokeback Mountain" from its 12th grade reading list, he would pull a donation of $3 million to the school's rebuilding fund. St. Andrew's board of trustees opted to leave the story on the reading list and let McNair keep his money. Board member Bill Miller said, "St. Andrew's has a policy not to accept conditional gifts, whether it's $5 or $500,000." The school's decision caught the attention of author Lisa Yee, who posted the story on a listserv for young adult fiction authors. Two other authors had the same immediate response. Jordan Sonnenblick said, "[Mark Williams] and I posted back at the same time, 'We need to all send books to that school to support them.'"

Joan Walsh has been doing some interesting things at her Salon blog. Recently, she followed-up on the statement by Andrea Mitchell that General Petraeus had met only with Republicans to discuss the occupation? (And that Republicans said many amazing things.) Walsh now notes that Mitchell returned to Hardball to "clarify" her statements, and indicated that members of both parties were present. I wonder if there were any actual Democrats, though - did she just mean Lieberman? (Also: Joan responds to letters responding to her "Men Who Hate Women on the Web" piece.)

Have I reminded you lately that Dave Neiwert's excellent series, "Rush, Newspeak and Fascism", which you can find links to at the top of his page at Orcinus, is also available here in HTML at the Cursor site?

17:04 BST

Things to read

Well, well, well, it seems that Orrin Hatch's lies sound remarkably similar to Rush Limbaugh's lies about Carol Lam. And Limbaugh throws in added spice with the claim that Lam was a Clinton appointee. Now the question is whether Hatch got his lies from Limbaugh or they just both got the same memo. Kudos to Little Thom for the catch.

Cookie Jill is right - the WaPo article "How Bogus Letter Became a Case for War" came years' - and thousands of lives - too late.

Via Skippy, a good piece on the virtue of blogs over the paid punditocracy, "And Who Elected These Guys Anyway?: Essentially, there is an elite that influences policy and is unaccountable to anyone. As Bob Bauer notes, politicians in both parties have always detested the 'intermediary' role that the punditocracy plays. However, the press can only see this effect via the camera obscura of the 'unaccountable' blogs."

Interesting article from the Booman on how the DLC works, and why they are so hard to get rid of: "What this really amounts to is the purchase of the Democratic Party by international corporations. At the same time, there are a plethora of formerly liberal journalists and talking heads that monopolize the public debate for the left. You won't see populists or union activists or truly progressive minorities speaking for the party on your television and you won't read them very often in your newspapers. They are implacably opposed to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party and will use every opportunity to denigrate and marginalize us, or to buy us out. And the problem is, aside from the fact that they haven't brought us electoral success in recent elections, this pro-business, pro-interventionist wing of the party has capitulated entirely in the era of George W. Bush. They are nearly as responsible for our present catastrophe at the neo-conservatives that took their project off its rails. ... This is what Hillary Clinton offers us in the 2008 presidential elections." (Also: "Keep Pushing that Overton Window, Senator Reid.")

13:55 BST

Rachel Maddow is on a story

As you may recall, on Monday's show Rachel noticed that Orrin Hatch made up a story about Carol Lam being the former Clinton campaign manager for southern California.

Tuesday she checked with Carol Lam's people, who said that not only had she had nothing to do with the Clinton campaign, Hatch was also, um, misspeaking, when he said she was a former law professor with no prosecutorial experience - she had 15 years worth of experience, though she'd never been a law professor. The Clinton campaign people didn't know her, either. So Rachel's been pestering Hatch's office all day to find out what his source was - and they just don't seem to want to return her calls.

Video of Rachel discussing the story is here. And this link streams the most recent edition of her daily radio show. Tonight's show also included an interview with Russ Feingold, so you might want to listen when it's posted (should be up around 10:00 PM).

Update: Little Thom reports Rush Limbaugh telling the same lies - with the addition that Lam was appointed by Clinton! - and Hilzoy figures out where it came from.

Update: Orrin Hatch regrets the error.

03:07 BST

Quick post

Broadband is on and off again tonight, I think I'll try to keep it short.

It's time for the statutorily required evaluation of how RMC Research Corp. has been handling Reading First, part of No Child Left Behind. RMC Research is already looking pretty shady after its failure to screen subcontractors for conflicts of interest. Who did the government hire to do the evaluation? RMC Research Corp.

Iraqis don't believe McCain, either.

Man, I'm glad I was white and middle-class when I was in school.

Why is RedState still allowed near scissors unsupervised?

The bill I really want them to pass is one demanding a full accounting of where all the money that was voted for Iraq has gone, with criminal penalties for any official or contracting company that in any way impedes such an accounting.

00:58 BST

Tuesday, 03 April 2007

The rule of law

Ted Kennedy spoke about Restoring the Rule of Law recently, and recommended Alliance for Justice's film Quiet Revolution (which you can watch or download from that link, or order a copy to be sent to you).

Finally, and above all, we must remember what this process is all about. It's nice to hear that a nominee has a loving family, faithful friends and a sense of humor. It's important to know that nominees possess the intellect, life experience and discipline to make a good judge. But it's essential that we learn enough about their legal views to be certain that they will make good on the simple promise engraved in marble over the entrance to the Supreme Court: "Equal Justice Under Law."
And on that subject, the depressing story of the Supremes' denial of a hearing for the Guantánamo POWs who were challenging the authority of federal judges to hear challenges to their loss of Constitutional rights. (I'm sorry, I don't recognize "enemy combatant" as a legitimate term, and I'm planning to stop using it. These people - many of whom were not combatants at all and some of whom were abducted from their homes, were taken as what is ordinarily called "prisoners of war", and that's what we should call them.) This could only happen because of what Kennedy was talking about in the item above - the Republicans have put people on our judiciary who are hostile to the Constitution.

19:28 BST

Does this sound like a problem? Versus Its Members - At After Downing Street, David Swanson notices another push poll:

The Congress that was elected to end the war just voted to fund the war. Congresswoman Barbara Lee was not permitted to offer for a vote her amendment, which would have funded a withdrawal instead of the war. Groups that supported Lee's plan and opposed Pelosi's included United for Peace and Justice, Progressive Democrats of America, US Labor Against the War, After Downing Street,, Peace Action, Code Pink, Democracy Rising, True Majority, Gold Star Families for Peace, Military Families Speak Out, Backbone Campaign, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Voters for Peace, Veterans for Peace, the Green Party, and disgruntled former members of

True Majority was a late addition to the list. The organization polled its members. Did they favor the Pelosi bill to fund the war but include various toothless restrictions on it, or did they favor the Lee plan to use the power of the purse to end the war by the end of the year? Needless to say, True Majority's membership favored the Lee plan.

MoveOn polled its membership without including the Lee alternative, offering a choice of only Pelosi's plan or nothing. Amazingly, Eli Pariser of MoveOn has admitted that the reason MoveOn did this was because they knew that their members would favor the Lee amendment.

Yet MoveOn is using their poll results to suggest that the Lee plan is less popular than the Pelosi plan.

16:25 BST

A bunch of stuff

I was reading Brent Budowsky's "Toensing Doesn't Know Dick About Val" at No Quarter, and I thought about the fact that since I don't actually get the talking head shows, I'd never heard of Victoria Toensing before she became a mouthpiece for the administration's denials of the exposure of a covert CIA agent. So I looked her up at Wikipedia and found out what her claim to fame was: "Toensing and her husband made regular appearances on television claiming that they were the target of investigations by Clinton Administration." There's a link to this profile of the partisan power couple and their emergence on television as Clinton victims, in which Howard Kurtz seems to suggest that this was just more of the usual unfounded paranoia we got from wingers during the period.

Rachel Maddow is curious about a claim Orrin Hatch made during his defense of Gonzales on Press the Meat (transcript), that Carol Lam, who was appointed by George Walker Bush as a US Attorney, was "the former campaign manager in Southern California for Clinton." This seems highly unlikely, and Rachel suspects that Hatch was deliberately injecting confusion in to the discourse. (You can still stream Rachel's show from her page until the new show is posted around 10:00 PM Eastern if you want to hear her analysis.)

Two stories from E&P - one on what seems to be a shift of ownership at Tribune newspapers to the employees. This has a lot of attractive possibilities and it will be interesting to see whether we get better papers as a result. They could do very well if they remember that young people are actually reading more newspapers - online.

Charles Kuffner has been covering the story of a privatization scandal in Texas. But then, privatization is virtually always a scandal once people find out what's going on.

Sit through the Salon ads for:

13:42 BST

Annoying local news

I went to bed early after reporting to my provider that broadband was down, but it seems to have been fixed, now. Meanwhile, crazy stuff is going on in the UK:

Teachers drop the Holocaust to avoid offending Muslims

Schools are dropping the Holocaust from history lessons to avoid offending Muslim pupils, a Governmentbacked study has revealed.

It found some teachers are reluctant to cover the atrocity for fear of upsetting students whose beliefs include Holocaust denial.

There is also resistance to tackling the 11th century Crusades - where Christians fought Muslim armies for control of Jerusalem - because lessons often contradict what is taught in local mosques.

The findings have prompted claims that some schools are using history 'as a vehicle for promoting political correctness'.

That's just brilliant. (And when did "governmentbacked" become a single word?) (Thanks to Neil for the link.)

And just to make my life even more complicated, the Home Office has a new brainchild:

Consultation on the possession of non-photographic visual depictions of child sexual abuse

This consultation paper outlines the concerns about non-photographic visual depictions of child sexual abuse, i.e. computer generated images (CGIs), drawings, animation, etc, and seeks views on proposals to make its possession an offence.

Under current law it is an offence to possess indecent photographs (including videos) and pseudo-photographs of children. However, it is not an offence to possess non-photographic visual depictions of child sexual abuse. The police and children's welfare groups report a growing increase in interest in these images, including an increase in websites advertising this sort of explicit material.

Police and children's welfare groups are concerned that these images could fuel the abuse of real children by reinforcing abusers' inappropriate feelings towards children. These images, particularly as they are often in a cartoon or fantasy style format, could be used in 'grooming' or preparing children for sexual abuse.

Under current law owners of these explicit images could not be prosecuted for their possession, nor could the images be forfeited by the authorities.

The purpose of this paper is to seek a wide range of views on the issues set out in the document and in particular the proposal to make the possession of these images an offence.

The closing date for responses to the consultation is 22 June 2007

God alive! Now people will be afraid to draw pictures of their kids bathing. So, no more claims that we're banning this stuff because actual living beings may have been harmed in the making of it, or because people may be harmed by having pictures of their own abuse in circulation, or even because it's difficult to tell the difference between "pseudophotographs" and real photographs. (Thanks to Dave in comments for the heads-up.)

12:05 BST

When worlds collide

Sam Rosenfeld has a post up at Tapped on the deleterious effects of our system of mass imprisonment, and it's significance as "a piece of the inequality puzzle". Meanwhile, Jeralyn reports that another man who was wrongly convicted is being freed after 22 years.

Suspicion Of Cheney Intervention Surrounds Guantanamo Plea Bargain: "In February, Vice President Cheney traveled to Australia to visit with his close ally Prime Minister John Howard. At the top of Howard's agenda was a plea to release Australian Gitmo detainee David Hicks. Last Friday, Hicks became the first person to be sentenced by a military commission convened under the Military Commissions Act of 2006, accepting nine months of imprisonment and a gag order that will not allow him to discuss the case for 12 months." (But I'll probably go to hell for laughing at this.)

Oliver Willis says, "Somebody Will Misinterpret This Polling Data." I have no doubt. You know this one: "Newsweek: The latest Newsweek poll shows that 91 percent of American adults surveyed believe in God - and nearly half reject the theory of evolution."

Linton Weeks says in The Washington Post of that dinner : "The Gridiron is a dubious leftover from a time when journalists and politicians pummeled each other by day and partied together by night."

Arthur Silber: "God Almighty, I hate us, with regard to our foreign policy and the unforgivable suffering we have inflicted and continue to inflict on entirely innocent people, all for the detestable goal of ensuring our global hegemonic role. We have become a loathsome nation, one that murders and tortures all day, every day, somewhere in the world. And almost no one even tries to stop it."

Nicole Belle is really enjoying Feingold and Reid's version of the funding bill. But Obama is dorking out on this one. Did no one teach him how to haggle?

At Lawyers, Guns and Money, d reminds us of the meaning of Treason in defense of slavery month.

02:28 BST

Monday, 02 April 2007

People are talking

Lambert has a really good reason to subpoena those emails now.

I'm a day late for The Talking Dog interview with Donald Rumsfeld. More seriously, Seth explains the David Hicks plea, and interviews Mark Falkoff who has clients in Gitmo who were rated as not a threat years ago.

Fox Noise did an exciting push poll that included questions suggesting that that ol' "far left" was really mean to force Democrats not to let Fox host their presidential debates. Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow discussed it all on Countdown.

Catherine Crier, The Crier Wire: If George Were King!

And here's a picture of the mysterious peace symbol on the Capitol lawn.

Michael Ware has embarrassed both Joe Lieberman and John McCain by telling the truth about the situation on the ground in Iraq. The right-wing noise machine has responded with a phony claim that Ware publicly heckled McCain (or "McCave", as Sam Seder calls him), and now all the usual suspects are Drudging it up. But the truth is out there - on video.

23:14 BST

From the liberal agenda

I see that Feingold and Reid are introducing a Senate bill "that will effectively end the current military mission in Iraq and begin the redeployment of U.S. forces." But not before March of 2008. Personally, I'm hoping that Bush vetoes the current spending bill and the Democrats say, "OK, no more money, then - we'll just have to bring them home now. (via)

Make this stop!

Fred Clark says, "These are not good people."

Christopher Hayes on The Sum of Our Fears - There are bigger threats to children than the usual folk devils.

OK, the media and the Dem consultants are out of touch, but it's nice to know that most Americans aren't. I'd hate to think everyone was happy with all those people being deprived of their rights. Also: If another Supreme Court seat opens up, could we be ready this time?

Bill Scher's Weekend Watchdog Wrap-up at Common Sense looks at unanswered questions from the Sunday Talk Shows. Clearly, he had higher hopes. (Also: Cheap Labor First, Healthy Families Last.)

You know, it's funny, but a week or so ago I was thinking that since people no longer seem to get the symbolism of burning the flag, maybe we should try to make the same point by having public flag-washings. I think maybe someone else had the same idea.

18:53 BST

I saw this

Krugman says that since they've messed America up and don't have an interest in fixing it, they "Distract and Disenfranchise: Remember that disenfranchisement in the form of the 2000 Florida "felon purge," which struck many legitimate voters from the rolls, put Mr. Bush in the White House in the first place. And disenfranchisement seems to be what much of the politicization of the Justice Department was about."

Dave Neiwert has a long and interesting post about the minutemen, "Borderline Personalities. And everybody wanted to get rid of Richard Pombo - and that was a success. But now it looks like the Bush administration is negating the election. (Not just there, of course, but....)

Echidne gives a first-person report on Ellen Goodman's speech at the Women, Action And Media conference.

Despite the fact that Republicans are going to Syria, the Republicans have been attacking Nancy Pelosi for going to Syria. Meanwhile, John McCain takes a nice, safe stroll through Baghdad.

Christopher Phelps on The New SDS: "They seek continuity with radical history but value the name Students for a Democratic Society as much for the future it projects as for its fabled past. They find it a compelling name for an inclusive, multi-issue student group seeking social transformation. Emerging from a post-Seattle, direct-action culture defined by negation--"anticapitalist," "antiwar"--they value its forthright, positive aim of democracy. The new SDSers admit, however, that the name does not always evoke the associations they intend. "Oh," said a friend to Yale University senior Micah Landau, 21, "so you want me to join the guerrillas?""

Immaculate confection - Thought Theater has a post rounding up some good stuff on the latest Stupid Donohue Story, including Tom Waits singing "Chocolate Jesus".

14:03 BST

Sunday, 01 April 2007

Meat and potatoes

Young Attitude Sabine balconette bra

Bra of the Week - I really don't like this picture, but for something that sheer that comes in up to a 38G at under thirty quid, it's still a bit of a find. Too fussy for me, though.

Bush calls for immediate Iraq withdrawal.

Over at The Left Coaster, paradox is Waiting for Al, but definitely not waiting for Bush to get it right.

It's always breathtaking when these people who worked so hard for George Bush suddenly express surprise that he's just what he looked like. Look, the guy went to a business school where they teach you to get in, grab everything you can, and then get out before you have to go down with the ship you've been sinking. That's what "CEO President" means. You don't put a guy like that in charge of something you actually care about. But Digby explains that Dowd was part of the problem.

Elizabeth Holtzman and Cynthia L. Cooper have some Questions for Karl Rove - and President Bush. Like, "What did he know, and when did he know it?"

Thanks to Rich in comments for the link to Money as Debt. I'd be fascinated to see what people have to say about it.

I love these M&S ads that seem so perfectly out of time. ♪ "It's all so beautiful..." ♪

22:53 BST

Sunday brunch, cinnamon coffee

I have noted with interest that all of the things Republicans claimed to believe in over the last 30 years, including the sex stuff, seem not to really matter in the current campaign season. Oh, sure, you can't come right out and say you support gay marriage or abortion rights, but as long as you're prepared to be suitably hedgy on the subject (because you will still have to look "moderate" in the general election, allegedly), you've shown you know the name of the game. And the name of the game is not limited government, states' rights, individualism, family values, or anything but this: authoritarianism. Which just proves that hippies were right all along to think of Republicans as the extra-repressive squares' party, no matter what the hugely deluded libertarians thought. I say again: Conservatives were never cool - they were either monsters or dupes.

Mona on Newt: "We are now all agreed that today's Bushistas/Republicans are parody-proof, are we not?" And Jim Henley reviews his 2003 war blogging, and it makes genuinely interesting reading. I particularly liked, "I slagged off Hillary Clinton and by extension the Democratic Party leadership for energetically supporting the war in defiance of their own base. On Hillary specifically that's rightness that has stood the test of time. Gandhi famously said Christ sounded great but "I do not much like your Christians." When it comes to Democrats I'm in the reverse situation. I did chide the bloggers who became the Netroots as follows: "they were letting their political team get away with less effort against the war than they themselves are making.""

TRex at FDL has yet more evidence that Michelle Malkin does not know what she looks like.

Gary Farber has a problem with black ops: "One shouldn't be for this stuff simply because it's kewl, and you like 24, and trust the government with the power to kidnap, imprison, kill, and keep it all secret; neither should one assume it's all evil and doing nothing but torture, and rounding up innocent people: but how can it be examined and judged in a democratic society, outside of putting a lot of trust in your reigning politicians to undertake wise, thorough, and effective oversight?"

At least there's some good news: Shaquanda Cotton has been freed. The "15-year-old black teenager who spent more than a year in the state's distressed juvenile prison system for shoving a teacher's aide in a case that raised questions of racial bias, was ordered released Friday." Via Eccentricity.

15:08 BST

Midnight snack

I don't seem to be able to convince my right-wingnut commenter that something unseemly happened after 9/11, so maybe he'll believe this:

While the former mayor of the nation's largest city was widely lionized for his post-9/11 leadership - "Churchillian" was one adjective, "America's mayor" was Oprah Winfrey's assessment - city firefighters and their families are renewing their attacks on him for his performance before and after the terrorist attack.

[...]- A November 2001 decision to step up removal of the massive rubble pile at ground zero. The firefighters were angered when the then-mayor reduced their numbers among the group searching for remains of their lost "brothers," focusing instead on what they derided as a "scoop and dump" approach. Giuliani agreed to increase the number of firefighters at ground zero just days after ordering the cutback.

More than 5 years later, body parts are still turning up in the trade center site.

"We want America to know what this guy meant to New York City firefighters," said Peter Gorman, head of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association. "In our experiences with this man, he disrespected us in the most horrific way."

To people who know the truth about Giuliani's other "virtues", that's just classic Rudy. But most folks aren't aware that his war on squeegees had nothing to do with the reduction in crime during his tenure, nor do they realize that if Giuliani hadn't been such a jerk in the first place, he would have been in the emergency command center on 9/11 instead of wandering around the rubble. But, like a moron, he'd insisted on putting the command center right in the very place that terrorists had already tried to blow up before.

Terry Jones doesn't think the Iranians are getting with the program. "Call that humiliation? No hoods. No electric shocks. No beatings. These Iranians clearly are a very uncivilised bunch." Yes, why can't they treat their prisoners the same way we treat people who were kidnapped from their homes for no good reason?

It would be nice to have a photograph of the peace symbol that mysteriously turned up on the grass in front of the Capitol building. "The grass mark is the same size - and located in the same place - as a childrens peace quilt placed on the Capitol lawn for 15 minutes during the demonstration. Eitner said no fertilizers were used, and added that the quilt has been placed there before." Ooh, that sounds downright fortean.

Everybody hates Dick.

00:53 BST

Avedon Carol at The Sideshow, April 2007

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