The Sideshow

Archive for April 2008

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Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Gotta get my old tuxedo pressed

Greg Palast and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. want to investigate the fact that "One million Democrats attempting to vote in this year's primaries found their names missing from voter rolls. WHERE THE HELL DID THEY GO?" And they want your help. This is important stuff, so see if you can spare some change, pass the word, or any other little thing you could do. "On Super-Tuesday, the number of Democrats missing from voter rolls in New Mexico exceeded George Bush's 2004 `victory' total by 300%. No wonder McCain's campaign says, New Mexico is "in play." The question is who's playing with it?"

Most people don't just go to church for the pastor, they go for the community.* (And, if you're a member of my family church, for the food.) At least you would have thought this controversy solved one problem, but no. Comment at Eschaton* by Warren Terra: "But he still is a Muslim, just like Hillary is a lesbian who killed her lover Vince Foster."

Molly Ivors with more on her favorite subject, the sexually disturbed Maureen Dowd. (Look, we all have our little kinks, but the over-exposure is just plain embarrassing, not to mention destructive to our entire country.) I had to take issue with one sentence, though, and left a comment, because I am a sourpuss lately.

Jeff Goldstein is a racist and a pig.

Ta-Nehisi Coates says Bill Cosby is a race man, and Bill Cosby says, "This Is How We Lost to the White Man."

Neil sent me this link for the Ron English billboard.

My mother used to run around the house singing "Lulu's Back In Town", and I had a sudden nostalgic desire to hear it. I went looking on YouTube for a good version by a female singer, and there aren't many vocal versions at all. The best one I found was by a cartoon. My mother's was still better.

17:12 BST

A few things

I think the funeral procession for Albert Hoffman should have lots of bicycles.

Jerome Armstrong says maybe the whole gas-tax holiday thing isn't as simple as it seems, and that Clinton understands the real issue better - that is, the politics. (Thanks to CMike for the tip.)

Robert Kuttner on How Europe avoided our mess: "None of this had to happen. The credit crisis, which is sapping America's economic strength, was the result of an almost religious belief in deregulation whose excesses are now coming home to roost." And that's not all.

Now Warren Buffett is warning that the "recession" will be worse than "expected". I think it'll be worse than that.

A linky post from Phoenix Woman reminds us, among other things, that America really, really doesn't have the best healthcare in the world.

Note to self: Call Chris Van Hollen and point out that it's time to sign on to the New GI Bill. (Have your Senators and House member done it, yet? Click that link to be sure.)

15:13 BST

Good God I hate this primary

So yesterday I went for a walk, and then I watched a little TV, and when I looked at the web again I discovered, to my disgust, that Obama apparently repudiated Wright some more. I can't pretend I'm happy with the way he has been handling this. Basically, he accepted the right-wing's characterization instead of fighting it and taking the opportunity to make a real show of values. Now that right-wing characterization has solidified into "fact". And it doesn't work. People who have aided and abetted the murder of over a million Iraqis and the destruction of our economy and an American city think they are in a position to condemn Jeremiah Wright. What's that about? How do you let them get away with that? These are people who condemn America all the time, and they think Jeremiah Wright went too far with a few strong (and basically true) words? Hey, he's not the guy who remorselessly killed hundreds of thousands of Afghanis and Iraqis (and over 4,000 US troops) for no good reason. He's not the guy who shrugged off the danger to New Orleans and then made matters worse as the city was washed away. He's not the guy whose economic policies are breaking the backbone of America's middle class. He's not the guy who ignored the warnings of a coming real terrorist attack on America that blasted a big hole into the New York skyline. Nor is he the guy who has been shredding our Constitution and lawlessly torturing people. What the Republicans have been doing is anti-American and indefensibly immoral, and the media has helped, and they think Wright needs to be condemned? But apparently, Obama does, too. I guess we just don't kill enough ragheads and fags. Go ahead, tell me how Arthur is wrong.

Attaturk says he's tired, so he can "only imagine how Clinton & Obama and their staffs feel. Just to save time, maybe they could each get 'two Reject & Denounce' cards in advance." And Eli wonders what Clinton is thinking when her campaign admits that she is planning to follow Obama onto Fox: "I just don't get this. Obama makes the mistake of legitimizing Fox News, and Hillary's reaction is, 'Damn, why didn't I think of that? I cannot allow a Fox News gap! I must appear on Fox immediately, with someone even more hateful and vile! Get me Bill O'Reilly, stat!'"

The Howey-Gauge Poll in Indiana shows Clinton and Obama neck-and-neck among Democrats and says Republicans may decide the contest. But I thought that was already the case when the media refused to acknowledge more than 2½ of the candidates.

12:47 BST

More experiences involving rain

After McCain floats a "gas-tax holiday", Steve Benen is delighted to be able to find real difference between Obama's and Clinton's positions - and no one, including Paul Krugman, likes McCain's or Clinton's position. (Meanwhile, it looks like AP is spinning for McCain - not a surprise, but lying about the anti-McCain ad the GOP is trying to prevent from airing isn't something they should get away with. They're pretty much accepting the position that any ad that is actually critical of McCain should not be aired.)

I hardly know what to say about this. Via Shakes, via a very linky post on corporatism from eRobin.

One thing you gotta say for the Republican Party - they sure have some humdingers. (via) Mark at AVN has more. (Where do you get a middle name like "Hvfvgpd", anyway?)

Chris Matthews Scolds Media For Getting Too Cozy With Bush. Isn't he precious!

Neat pic from Simon Crubellier. And this. And snow from Ruth.

00:10 BST

Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Maybe Digby's glass is half-full, and mine isn't

In comments, Phil says:

Two points. First, McCain doesn't have to win. He only has to be plausible. Then when the fix goes in, the "narrative" can swing into action to explain why so many late voters whom nobody ever clapped eyes on could suddenly turn out and confound the exit polls.

Second point. Assassination is preceded by character assassination, both to desensitise and to ascertain where the presumption of guilt would be laid. When things are at a pitch where a death will so roil the country that my first point holds, watch out. This could be the kleptocracy's last throw.

Digby is feeling optimistic after looking at the upsurge in party identification for Dems, particularly among the younger demographic. I'd like to say, "Me, too!" but it still depends on many things that I don't think we've brought under control. I'm particularly interested in the way polling is all over the map in this primary, and even formerly reliable pollsters have been far, far off the beam. If no one has a clue what to expect from an election, and especially if the race looks close, it makes stealing it easier than ever. The fright-wing has already trashed the reputation of exit polls, and that doesn't leave us with much that you can point to and say, "But what about the figures?" The only thing that will matter will be what the people running the voting machines say, and those people are movement conservatives who hate democracy and don't believe there's anything wrong with lying to get what they want. And then there is the voter ID thing, along with other suppression tactics. And I wouldn't necessarily bank on issues - liberal positions on issues always poll strongly, but it doesn't stop people from voting for Republicans. It's up to the Dems to make the case for those positions, and they've really been fairly weak at doing that. Let's hope they figure out how to get better at it before November.

Buy the Moderation - I wish this was as good as it should be, but it's good to see people putting it out that Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins still vote as their masters on the right require. (OK, I didn't expect Little Eva, but still....)

Obama's running mate

Frost patterns (via).

15:44 BST

Catching up

So, only three members of the Supreme Court thought disenfranchising legitimate voters was more of a problem than a crime that has never happened in the history of the state that passed a voter ID law to prevent nonexistent "voter fraud". Scott Lemieux suspects that Stevens may have had a good reason to go the way he did, but I don't know. I am sure that both Clinton and Obama made inadequate statements in response to the judgment.

Ruth, who actually knows how to grow lettuce in her yard, talks about food, and what it might mean to be hungry.

Fareed Zakaria: "On March 26, McCain gave a speech on foreign policy... the most radical idea put forward by a major candidate for the presidency in 25 years. Yet almost no one noticed... McCain proposed that the United States expel Russia from the G8.... McCain also proposed that the United States should expand the G8 by taking in India and Brazil--but pointedly excluded China from the councils of power. [...] What McCain has announced is momentous--that the United States should adopt a policy of active exclusion and hostility toward two major global powers. It would reverse a decades-old bipartisan American policy of integrating these two countries into the global order... would alienate many countries in Europe and Asia who would see it as an attempt by Washington to begin a new cold war." Via Brad DeLong, who thinks this means Zakaria will vote for Obama.

Jonathan Schwarz has spoken. (He also recommends Jeff Cohen on how war propaganda kicked him off TV, and Stephen Greenhouse on the big squeeze on American workers.)

Lego city of the future - by Norman Mailer. (via)

12:15 BST

It's been a long day

Today I had one of those amusing experiences where, after cooling your heels for way too long, you discover that the staff is all but begging you to please complain, and eager to provide you with details of what the hang-up is and who to write to about it. Now I feel like I have to write a letter or I'll let those nice people down.

And then I come back and discover that there are people being dopes in my comments. Look, I thought I'd made this plain: I will vote for, and enthusiastically endorse, whoever gets the Democratic nomination, when they get it. I also think Obama is going to get it, unless something very strange happens. But they're both so much better than anything the Republicans have to offer that I will have no problem voting for whoever you pick to be the Democratic nominee. Be that as it may, I'll feel a lot better about Obama if he can show me now that it's more important to him to change the discourse into one that critiques conservatism and opens Overton's Window for progressives - and that he's ready to treat McCain with the derision he deserves - and not at all important to him to destroy the Clintons. Clinton should do the same - I've been saying all along that both of them need to stop falling in line with the media narrative and start going after McCain and conservatism.

02:17 BST

Monday, 28 April 2008

Toil and trouble

Family strife: On the pro-Obama side, Tom Hayden on "Why Hillary Makes My Wife Scream" actually tells me some good things about Hillary I didn't know - things Tom believes will be even more problematic for Clinton than Barack's associations with black preachers and '60s radicals. He could be right. (via) On the other side, Reclusive Leftist says, "It's not white working-class voters who won't vote for Obama - It's non-black working-class voters. Big difference." Meanwhile, Big Tent Democrat says Obama's supporters are harming the party with divisiveness - and although he doesn't come right out and say it, there is a certain element where a number of people feel they're being blackmailed into supporting an anti-progressive guy on the make just because he's black and the party owes blacks. Make no mistake: the party does owe blacks, and the working classes, and the destitute of all colors - and it hasn't been delivering. But what that means is that we need a real progressive. For some people, that means trying to figure out which nominee-wannabe is more likely to want to deliver, and many people doubt that Obama is that candidate. If Howard Dean wants to avoid enormous acrimony in Denver, he should rethink his assumptions about whose responsibility it will be to do the healing. Sure, Hillary will have work to do convincing her supporters to rally behind Barack once he's the nominee, but he and his supporters now seem blind to how much resentment they've created, and they are making it harder to accept him as the standard-bearer. He could start by making good on that pledge to John Edwards instead of smearing the Clintons and the Hillary supporters.

Glenn Greenwald says there are exactly two reasons why Bush has been enabled to claim the power to torture: John McCain and the Military Commissions Act. "In September, 2006, McCain made a melodramatic display -- with great media fanfare -- of insisting that the MCA require compliance with the Geneva Conventions for all detainees. But while the MCA purports to require that, it also vested sole and unchallenged discretion in the President to determine what does and does not constitute a violation of the Conventions. After parading around as the righteous opponent of torture, McCain nonetheless endorsed and voted for the MCA, almost single-handedly ensuring its passage."

Madison Guy mourns the death of a progressive newspaper, and good print journalism's withering.

Anna lost the title quiz last night, so here's the song it came from, one of my all-time favorites (although I prefer the more uptempo version that appears on one of the albums.)

13:04 BST

Don't let me sleep too long

Atrios debunks a lie: "With talk of raising the capital gains tax in the air, you're going to hear a lot of conservatives and mainstream media folks blather on about how much this kind of thing is going to be so bad for the "middle class" or "even working folk" because everyone is invested in the stock market through 401K plans, etc. But the capital gains tax rate will never apply to that money. More than that, any capital gains from those plans will be, upon withdrawal, taxed at the income tax rate which for most people will be higher than the current 15% capital gains rate. So wealthier people who have direct investments in stocks and whatnot get to pay 15% on their capital gains, while the rest of us in lowly 401K land will likely be paying a higher rate."

So much crime, so little time . . .: "Some day we may look back at what has been done in our name to save our civilized way of life and lament. To do inhumane things, first you must make your victim less than human. The inhuman do not deserve good treatment. So we are then free to do our worst, which somehow really isn't that bad. Not when you consider what we are up against. The enemy forces us to act this way. So it was in the Philippines a century ago when Americans were found guilty of doing what Americans do today. Some things don't change."

I find it interesting that, even though McCain has the nomination locked up, some Republicans are still turning out to vote against him in primaries, as a substantial number of them did in Pennsylvania. And then there's Nevada....

Pastor Dan at Street Prophets says that Jeremiah Wright "has always had far more theological depth and nuance than his detractors." (via) Contrast that with the right-wing preachers of the Prosperity Gospel.

Squid spawning

That there is some real fine guitar playin'.

02:25 BST

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Caught in the rain

I stood under a shop awning and watched the Sikh festival walk by. There was a lot of orange involved.

It's always worth repeating that the Republicans don't want to cut your taxes, and they also don't want to save you money.

Elizabeth Edwards covers the news: "And the future of news is not bright. Indeed, we've heard that CBS may cut its news division, and media consolidation is leading to one-size-fits-all journalism. The state of political campaigning is no better: without a press to push them, candidates whose proposals are not workable avoid the tough questions. All of this leaves voters uncertain about what approach makes the most sense for them. Worse still, it gives us permission to ignore issues and concentrate on things that don't matter. (Look, the press doesn't even think there is a difference!)"

Maybe the reason people in Tennessee didn't want to vote for Harold Ford was because he was a creepy DLC hack, and maybe that's why Memphis preferred to vote overwhelmingly in the current primary for a strong progressive like Steve Cohen.

A nice little video from J Street.

21:57 BST

Recent discoveries

Hey, look, Teresa is sleeping at the Observer. (And Patrick has posted the unedited version.)

Mike Stark had a few private words with Scalia after his speech, and Scalia gave a nice flimsy explanation for why the Bush v. Gore decision was just fine. No, it wasn't.

Gallup (these days no more reliable than anyone else, it seems) now says Clinton is edging above Obama in national polling, and the Electoral Vote map is showing Hillary beating McCain 291-237, and Sidney beating Barack 269-243. But I can't say I love the look of either map, each showing Dem weakness where there shouldn't be any. (via)

Down in comments, CMike says the flip side of McCain's free media coverage is all that Democratic stuff you don't see - like the fact that while media types talk about the fact that Chelsea Clinton is campaigning for her mom, you don't actually get to see examples of it.

So Republicans got Rush Holt to weaken his paper ballot bill, and he made all the changes they claimed they wanted and they said they supported it, except now they still won't vote for it.

What could be "a tremendous social crisis, greater even than the issue of slavery"? Why, Teh Gay, of course!

Your Mom's Basement has a real find: "YMB's crack investigative team has unearthed the long rumored, but never confirmed, collaboration from 1983 between Marvel's Chairman Emeritus Stan Lee and religious comic tract creator Jack Chick - Galactus is Coming!

13:00 BST

Dig the colors, man

Fantasie Gabrielle balconette braBra of the Week

At Angry Bear, PGL has some clarification on how McCain is full of smoke on his tax-shifting ideas, and that it's all more of the same. And the McSame campaign has also promoted his fantasy about who Hamas would like to see winning the US election into a full-blown endorsement of Obama by Hamas.

Joan Walsh notes that Obama gave a really good concession speech in PA in which he "talked about 'people sitting at their kitchen table paying bills' and peppered it with specifics about healthcare, job loss and the mortgage crisis. He sounded like John Edwards sometimes, and that wasn't just the John Mellencamp soundtrack behind him." I've been looking to hear a bit more of the John Edwards coming from him, and if losing in Pennsylvania was necessary to pull it out of him, well, I'm not sorry Hillary stayed in the race long enough to make him do it. Via Emphyrio, who also alerts me that Al Franken, who had looked like he was catching up, is now losing ground against Norm Coleman, and also alerts me to a cool bit of activism by the angry father of a soldier who came home to obsolete barracks housing - you might want to ask your reps if they've seen this appalling stuff.

How did I miss this Earth Day poster? As a long-time Mucha fan, I have to love it.

Oh, man, there's only one pinball machine company left in the world? (Moshe knows I own one of these so of course I'd be interested, so thanks for the link. Of course, the machine is at my brother's place in Maryland and hasn't been cleaned up in years, so I mostly just miss having a pinball machine.)

Neat pictures of colliding galaxies, via Maru.

00:43 BST

Saturday, 26 April 2008

What's going on

Representative Paul Hodes (D-NH) has sent a letter to the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, asking to hold a hearing on the NYT story on former military officers who became propagandists for the White House: "If these reports are true, it is unacceptable that the Bush Administration would attempt to manipulate the public with false propaganda on matters of war and our national security."

Michelangelo Signorile took Obama's speech on race as an opportunity to have Pam Spaulding come on his show to start having that conversation. Pam has now posted the audio for the first and second of these. (Via Susie, who has posted some text.)

Jamison Foser on John McCain's free advertising from the corporate media, another arm of the GOP. And then there's this ad, obviously an anti-Obama had, running under the pretence that it's only for a local campaign and has nothing to do with the national election campaign. (Of course, one guy hinted that maybe the media are being just a little bit biased in McCain's favor.)

Bob Somerby thinks Olbermann is getting too much like the rest of the corporate media, and so is Rachel Maddow. But he recommends Josh Marshall's analysis of the electability numbers as an antidote to Rachel's. (I gotta say, MSNBC has been taking all the joy out of Rachel, for me.)

Ruth's really wants to stop that library.

Errington Thompson reviewed Free Ride, and he made a point I like to bring up from time to time: "Campaign Finance Reform gave McCain his 'maverick' label. The media painted the picture that he was fighting against the powers-that-be in Washington. They focused on how he stuck by his guns and got a tough unpopular bill passed because he thought it was the right thing to do. That is a nice tale, but doesn't quite tell the whole story. The majority of Americans supported campaign finance reform. The majority of Democrats also supported this measure. He did, however, face some opposition in his own party. The irony of McCain-Feingold is that it choked off democratic money from traditional sources like unions. Republican big donors moved seamlessly to 527 groups. The 527's have infused more, not less, money into campaigns. So, it is hard to see how a label of a 'maverick' really applies." (You might also want to listen to the intro to Bill's show last week where he makes the case for contacting the Sunday shows before they happen to tell them what questions should be asked. If they hear it enough, they might just ask a decent question now and again.)

This clip of shooting Doctor Who in Monmouth may not be up that long, so get it while ya can - if you don't mind spoilers. (via)

18:06 BST

They just seem a little weird

It's funny, Obama's supporters have no problem finding Clinton votes they don't like (including some that never happened), but they forget little things like Obama voting for "tort reform". I also keep noticing that some Obama supporters continue to claim that Clinton voted for the bankruptcy bill. This is not true. Clinton, unlike Obama, voted for every single amendment that would have preserved some protection for consumers - Obama voted against capping interest at 30% - but on the day that the actual bill came to a vote, she was in the hospital with her husband, who was having heart surgery. She did release a statement condemning the bill, however. It was Hillary Clinton, after all, who had convinced President Clinton to veto an earlier version of the bill that had been passed during his term in office.

The story of the murder of Sean Bell and the acquittal of the cops is just another piece of evidence on a long list showing that "law enforcement" in many parts of America is out of control and has become a horrible, bitter joke. Strangely, our candidates don't want to talk about the forces that have been breaking civilization down all over the nation.

I was reading the comments to Diane's piece on abstinence-only education* and I noticed our friend Freeway Blogger had left this message: "hundreds of millions for abstinency only education and they forget to secure the domain name... [Link]"

Hm, the MyDD Poll Watcher shows Obama with 243 electoral votes against McCain's 295, and Clinton with 279 against McCain's 259.


13:06 BST

Short takes

Of course Scalia wants us to forget about his participation in the reprehensible, illegal, and thoroughly corrupt intrusion into the 2000 presidential election. And of course, we are not going to. Everything that's happening has followed from that criminal act.

Oh, gosh, did Nancy and Newt make a commercial together? I'm grossed out. And now John Amato tells us that Newt actually said these words: "the left wing of the Democratic Party, frankly, kind of admires American terrorists." Since most American terrorists are right-wing, that doesn't seem terribly likely, Newt.

"Under the Guise of Religion" - A Methodist minister doesn't want to see his faith used for political purposes. And who can blame him?

What Kos had to say about the candidates in January.

Code Pink wants to thank Jimmy Carter for being a mensch about the Middle-East.

William Shakespeare in the 'verse (via)

01:17 BST

Friday, 25 April 2008

I would tear this building down

At Feral Scholar, "Politics Is Food Is Politics: In recent days, we have seen the rising price of oil and the devaluation of the dollar create two quantum shifts in the economy: the beginning of the collapse of the air travel industry and a global crisis of food-price inflation. These are related in ways that are crucial to understand - because we are seeing the outlines of an historic opportunity to change the terms of theory and practice for a politics of resistance. As air carriers have gone bankrupt, the knock-on effects on travel agents, airports, airport-colocated hotels, "package" vacation resorts, etc. are considerable."

Osama bin Rush Limbaugh called for riots in Denver (via), and some people wonder why he hasn't been investigated by the authorities. After all, when it's Rush Limbaugh, that's the kind of speech that is likely to cause actions.

Words Concealing Bodies - Some questions the candidates should really be asked about, like just how far a "war president" can really be allowed to go.

I rather liked this one.

Yes, this actually appeared on The Wall Street Journal editorial page: "It is by this familiar maneuver that the people who have designed and supported the policies that have brought the class divide back to America - the people who have actually, really transformed our society from an egalitarian into an elitist one - perfume themselves with the essence of honest toil, like a cologne distilled from the sweat of laid-off workers. Likewise do their retainers in the wider world - the conservative politicians and the pundits who lovingly curate all this phony authenticity - become jes' folks, the most populist fellows of them all." Via Skimble, where The scorched economy policy is often tersely chronicled.

It's hard to pick the absolutely stupidest idea for improving the economy, although I reckon making the Bush tax cuts permanent is right up there, but I wouldn't exclude this one from my top twenty.

I can't remember whether I ever saw PP&M do "If I Had My Way" live.

18:26 BST

I get by with a little help from my friends

Digby's opinion of the candidates themselves is somewhat higher than mine, and I'm actually appalled by the way they are campaigning, but aside from that, I do agree completely with her prescription. (Mithras doesn't get where I'm coming from.)

You know that plastic stuff your water bottles are made of? It's also used as a lining for the cans you buy food in. It's called bisphenol A: "Toxicologists' tests on bisphenol A claimed that it was nontoxic at extremely high doses, but Nagel's study showed that bisphenol A was hormonally "active" - meaning it caused an effect - in cells at levels thousands of times lower than toxicologists had previously deemed to be safe." Why, they even found that it causes obesity. But no one is protecting you from this stuff. (Thanks to cgeye and Bruce F.)

"With friends like these . . ." is David Edgar's response to the reactionary "enlightenment" of some leftists in the wake of 9/11. He first observes that, historically, there was a pattern to such conversions: "Most political defectors leave the left because its authoritarian practices stand in such stark contrast to its emancipatory ideals. For many, however, there is a double paradox: on opening their suitcase at the end of the journey, they find not just that the libertarian ideals they left the left to preserve have gone missing, but that the only thing remaining is the very cynicism and ruthlessness which they left the left to escape." But he then goes on to note that, while most lefties of the '60s have not been defectors in the usual way, 9/11 seems to have made a significant number of them feel that rejection of far-right Islam demands a rejection of tolerance and progressivism altogether: "Twenty-five years on from Maydays, I have written a new play (Testing the Echo), which is partly about the temptation - on these understandable grounds - to reject any kind of religious affiliation, to brand fundamentalist Islam as brown fascism, and (thereby) to abandon an impoverished, beleaguered and demonised community."

My, it sounds awfully like the administration is now going all "aluminum tubes" on Syria. (Well, at least this time they are using photographs of something that probably isn't a nuclear reactor instead of producing drawings that could be a unicorn for all the relevance they have to reality.)

The reason the Bush team denies things is that people have already exposed them. But then we always find the smoking gun, after which we will no doubt hear that it was okay for the administration to do anything they want, no matter how odious. So, did anyone really believe that the Israelis suddenly started expanding the settlements without US approval?


Man, these constant line-drops are getting really bleedin' aggravating!

14:29 BST

Video interlude

This Hillary video really made me laugh.

For some equal time, go to the Obama in 30 Seconds site and keep refreshing to see more.

02:04 BST

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Smoked mackerel

Fixer makes a nice point by mentioning the 2nd Amendment in the context of the disappeared 4th Amendment. All those fake libertarians were so up-in-arms (so to speak) about how the evil ACLU didn't defend their view of the 2nd that they were prepared to throw out the rest of the Constitution for it. And it seems to have worked. I guess they can still use their guns to defend rights they don't have anymore.

I'd forgotten about the MyDD Poll Watcher, but I see it's up and running, and if you go to the front page it has the prospective Electoral College votes in general election match-ups for both candidates in the top corners, based on current polling. Right now it's showing McCain beating Obama 311-227, and McCain beating Clinton 275-263. (Also, Jerome on The Popular Vote & MI. Remember when Kos was saying Hillary was smart enough not to let Obama con her into taking her name off the ballot in Michigan, and of course the delegates would be seated?)

At Fact-esque, eRobin has a round-up from people who don't think it's an open-and-shut case that Hillary should get out of the race. Who knows? Maybe they're right. (Also: The Prison Performing Arts piece by Jack Hitt sounds interesting.)

Joe's got a friend running in Washington's 5th: Phyllis Huster. Maybe you'd like to help out.

16:40 BST

Last night's links

An Idea Whose Time Has Ended: "It appalls me that folks are still debating the merits of "abstinence only" sex education programs for teens. Look, folks: the programs don't work. Teen pregnancy rates rose for the first time in years, so have STD rates among teens. Some teens will have sex, and they need the appropriate information to protect themselves. What about this is so hard for allegedly rational people to get?"

I am thrilled to learn from Anna that Tweety says he will be singing the song Orrin Hatch wrote for McShame "on the pillow". Oh, my!

John McLame has an unusual reason for opposing the equal pay law: People might sue to get companies to obey the law! Ooooh, lawsuits, yucky! (Of course, Bush would have killed such a law anyway, but you knew the Republicans were never going to allow this thing to pass.)

Digby on McCain's base - You know, sooner or later, your candidate will have to respond to that whole "Maverick" thing by pointing out that none of those things are true.

Boston Legal - This speech is educational and powerful, but of course it would get your client killed in a real courtroom. But it's all true.


13:08 BST

Things people say

Eric Boehlert on how right-wing bloggers destroy brave journalists: "What's so amazing -- and truly frightening -- about the Bilal Hussein story is that the U.S. government may have actually turned to warbloggers for information. At least one source even allegedly credited the laughable Jawa Report blog for helping put Bilal Hussein behind bars for two years while the U.S. military in Iraq pondered his fate. That warbloggers are right less often than a stopped clock is one thing. That CENTCOM officials have apparently deputized the clueless Inspector Clouseaus in the War on Terror represents a national embarrassment."

Ruth is appropriately offended at being told that the debts so many Americans have acquired because they were trying to take care of their homes and families were merely the result of a "shopping spree".

Buzzflash is pushing Kevin Phillips' Bad Money: Reckless Finance, Failed Politics, and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism: "In short, Kevin Phillips debunks the notion of American economic dominance and reveals that we're living a charade, being sold siren songs of super power prowess that's built on trillions of dollars in debt."

Letter from Here: "The candidates are being transformed into caricatures of themselves, their policy positions lost in the shuffle of gotchas and spin: Obama, the well-spoken elitist who talks a good game but can't close the sale or get anything done. Clinton, the disingenuous opportunist who will do anything to win and refuses to concede that she's lost. Two bright, thoughtful candidates are being eclipsed by cartoon versions of themselves."

Little did I know tomorrow was a Day of Silence.

02:39 BST

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

There's nothing we can't face - except for bunnies

So Virgin's new CEO appears to be bragging about his intention to violate the company's agreement with subscribers and ditch net neutrality. And Charlie is angry about Virgin dropping packets. I've actually been having the same problem he describes ever since I changed routers, and I have a different provider. But I need to find out more about this, since the Alpha Geek says it's actually a problem BT wasn't admitting to, and requires a patch that, alas, my router is too old for - so in theory getting a newer router should fix the problem. None of which means that Virgin aren't being scum, but they may not be the cause of this particular problem. Charlie additionally mentions that Virgin has been getting involved with the disgusting Phorm, which sounds a lot like it must be illegal under the Data Protection Act. The Foundation For Information Policy Research has been putting together documents about this thing (which are unfortunately in .pdf form), and they don't seem to think it's all that acceptable, either.

At Under The LobsterScope, some advice for Barack: "After Hillary's win in Pennsylvania last night, a couple of things are clear: focusing on a low-level gutter campaign against Hillary by Obama is a losing strategy and the real focus for the leading candidate should be the defeat of McCain." I'm sure we can find plenty of agreement with that sentiment.

Reality Check: "On television we can watch as our neighbors devour bugs and worms for money. We can see what happens when a person is asked to answer personal questions in front of friends and family while connected to a lie detector. We can peek in the windows of biracial or homosexual couples. We can be an operating room observer as various surgeries are performed. Through our television sets, it seems, we get nearly every possible opinion and viewpoint on nearly every possible topic. Just not abortion." (Also: "One Size Doesn't Fit All" - Most Catholics still mostly ignore the Church's injunction against birth control. Popes come and go, but human beings stay human.)

I can't really say I'm pleased at how well Rachel Maddow is fitting in at MSNBC, but at least she's there. Anyway, here are videos of her PA primary coverage - Part 3 has the bit Rick Perlstein liked so much.

Anna didn't want me to miss more live Zombies from the same show I linked at Simels' place.

19:28 BST

Not talking about that other thing, yet

Froomkin did a good one the other day, "Duped About Torture", rounding up commentary on how the military official who should have stood up to the torture regime fell down on the job of holding an out-of-control executive accountable.

Harold Ford Not Sure Who Was Right About Iraq. You know, I can't help thinking that Harold Ford could have been tall and blond and still have managed to lose that election. What a putz.

Diane: "What is so astounding is that Abramoff's corruption reached into the Justice Department itself. At the same time, what is so heartening is that there are still some in the Justice Department who take their jobs seriously enough to root out the corruption in their midst." Ruth wondered to me earlier what else Coughlin must be hiding that he confessed to the corruption charges. That just might be a really good question.

Digby surprised me with the news that even Andrew Sullivan has started to realize there's something wrong with the false equivalence of pretending that Matthews and Olbermann are a "balance" against Coulter and Savage. And yet, as Digby also points out, we've come a long way. Gah.

I am so looking forward to having a president who doesn't talk like this.

Molly Ivors reckons Maureen Dowd is losing her marbles trying to decide who to hate more. This primary has to end so she can aim all her sexist crap at one Democratic candidate while somehow making another genuine crackpot Republican with father issues seem all strong and manly.

It's amazing how many ways "making us safe" has made life more perilous, in large and small ways, for ordinary Americans who are just trying to do ordinary things. Like suddenly making your American citizenship disappear.

McShame still hates "gooks".

Maybe people should wear this button.

Hey, Simels found some actual live (un-lipsynched) footage of The Zombies. (Over the weekend, Simels went all piano.)

17:20 BST

This magic moment

An anti-Obama ad that tries to convince you that expanding the death penalty for gang-related violence is a good idea that Obama is against, paid for by some "group" you never heard of.

I don't know how Willard is going to get picked for his VP if he's letting the world know why he's called "McNasty".

Eugene Robinson can't figure out how the Republicans are going to sell McSame as some kind of Dwight Eisenhower. But it seems to me that the media is already doing a good job of making him seem "moderate", and a lot of Dems are most assuredly not helping. I really wish both candidates would stop talking about how much they respect McCain and start talking about how his voting record and speeches show he is at least as nuts as what we've had for the last eight years. Obama is really being silly, to put it kindly, if he thinks McShame won't be worse than Bush. He is, personally, just another spoiled child who thinks he can do what he likes. We really don't need another of those.

Someday a hilarious movie will be made about the cartoon the administration calls the War on Terror. I'm having trouble with casting - is it the terrorists or the government's agents who should be played by Elmer Fudd?

"Most Harmful Democrat: Donna Brazile." I've been saying that for years. She'd go on television and I'd end up wondering when she became a Republican.

"Top Editor Steps Down At Wall Street Journal" - That's one of the news editors, and many people are worried that this presages a decline in the quality of the WSJ's excellent news coverage, as many expect now that the paper is in Rupert Murdoch's hands.

Ron Paul's message of hope (via)

13:14 BST

Wednesday morning, 3:00 AM

The Talking Dog: "Well, this is where we find ourselves, as of 21 April, 2008. Someday, and I suppose I hope to live long enough to see that day, we will look back at these times, and be very ashamed of what has been done in the name of our security. VERY ashamed."

There is just nothing like the intellectual insight of Cokie Roberts.

Roy Edroso reads Derbyshire on Enoch Powell (so we don't have to), and you just know he needed a shower afterwards.

This is correct - No one's going to nuke Israel because everyone knows that whoever nukes Israel can expect to get nuked by the US. That's what that whole "nuclear deterrent" thing is about. It's worked pretty well. Besides - and despite the fantasies the administration likes to weave - Iran probably understands that they have nothing to gain from nuking Israel. If they do want nukes, that isn't what they want them for. (And these are just beautiful.)

Fred Clark says it's time to answer Muley's question: "Who do we shoot?"

We should do this: "We, a family of four, have produced 92% of our electricity usage from the roof of a century-old terraced house in south-east London - laying to rest the idea that Britain is not sunny enough for solar power. It also disproves any suggestion this sort of technology only works in state-of-the-art, modern detached houses." That's the kind of house I've got, so that sure looks attractive. Mind, the subsidy is stingy and it looks rather expensive to fit the house out, but if this can be encouraged, there's that economies of scale thing.... (Thanks to Neil in Chicago.)

Thom Hartman's interview with Mark Crispin Miller (.mp3).

02:53 BST

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

The commenters help out

From Andy in comments:

I'm glad someone is calling attention to the political chicanery that accompanied the passage of the 2001 tax cuts. This has been one of my all-time pet peeves of the perfidy of the GOP and the way it's been ignored by the media.

To make a long-story short, the tax cuts were enacted via the "Budget Reconciliation" process designed to ensure speedy passage of the Budget in emergency situations. Extremely limited debate allowed with no amendments and strict up-or-down vote that is immune from filibuster. Since it is supposedly for "emergency" use, it's enactments cannot be permanent, but limited solely to the length of the current CBO projections (at the time, a ten-year period, since then shortened to five). The idea, as Barlett points out was that the GOP would at some point later go back and revisit the tax cuts and make them permanent, once the "permanent Republican majority" was in place down the road. It never happened. (Ironically, the debate on making the tax cuts permanent was scheduled to start immediately after Labor Day 2005 - and then Katrina struck and the GOP bigwigs decided that the political climate wasn't right to permanently reward the rich while people were suffering in a disaster). Any harm caused by the tax cuts being "temporary" is solely brought about because the Republicans resorted to legislative shenanigans to get them passed in the first place, and were never able to muster the political will to give them the full debate and vote to make them permanent.

Any time that the media or the GOP tries to run with the meme about how the Democrats weren't able to "do anything" since they've had control of Congress, it is totally fair (and essential!) to bring up the fact that the tax cuts are probably the GOP's number one issue and goal - and in all the years that they held Congress they were only able to get them passed by legislative foolery and were never ever able to muster the political will to make them permanent - or even to seriously try.

D. Potter alerts me to Scott Horton's farewell to daily blogging. In a way I'm glad, because I could never keep up with all the good stuff there - and there's been lots of good stuff.

Thanks to Anna for pointing me to this post at which has a larger image of that atrocious TNR cover. Cripes, it's even worse than it looked in small.

23:43 BST

Excellent blogs

You know I always feel honored by the nice things you say about me, but I also can never decide which book or movie or blogger is better or more important to me than any other. I'm really, really bad at that, because there are so many different things that are so good in so many ways that I can never pick just one or five or ten or whatever. However, HopeSpringsATurtle has given me an award, so take it as read that the sites linked in this post are all award-winners in my book.

I'm sure you've noticed that I've recently fallen in love with Cab Drollery, where Ruth and Diane both do great work. For example, Diane has had a surprise today: "Which DFH Wrote This? The answer to the question posed by the header is Bruce Bartlett, who was a Treasury Department economist during the George H.W. Bush administration. His op-ed piece published in today's Los Angeles Times was a bit of a stunner. He actually took Republicans to the woodshed for their blatantly political maneuverings with respect to the tax cuts enacted in 2001."

Paperwight used to post more often, and I miss that, but there's still good stuff up there. Here's a post that notes that there are no liberal altruists using their money to force good books onto the curriculum the way the right-wingers do books that promote their viewpoint. (And could you prove you're American at a moment's notice? If you can't, you could be locked up for days waiting for them to figure it out.)

At The Left Coaster, Turkana reminds us that we need the government to back up big projects to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and Mary wonders what it is with op-ed pages lately after Rupert Murdoch mirrors the NYT by suddenly hiring someone whose views are inconsistent with the supposed stereotype of a paper and its readers - Thomas Frank for The Wall Street Journal.

Citizen Carrie at Brilliant at Breakfast warns that Republicans are trying to bring back the SKIL bill - that's the one that allows employers to import a lot of foreigners to do your job more cheaply than you can so they don't have to train or hire Americans who they might have to treat like human beings. (One good thing The Daily Show did during the writers' strike was highlight the fact that resident aliens with these special work visas are not allowed to strike.) And Jill wonders, "And what happens when Rupert Murdoch owns every newspaper in the country?"

There are few sites that offer a better digest of a wide variety of news stories from the non-insane sources than Cursor. It deserves more than this paltry award, so if you have a few bucks to spare, why not drop 'em in the tip jar?

Jack Balkin at Balkinization on Prosecution as Prevention in the National Surveillance State: "Since the 9/11 terror attacks the FBI has adopted a strategy of attempting to nip potential terrorist plots in the bud by bringing prosecutions against suspected terrorists based on relatively sparse evidence of criminal conspiracy. This strategy, the FBI contends, has prevented possible future terrorist attacks, but it has resulted in very few convictions, creating a new set of difficult choices for law enforcement and a new set of potential dangers for civil liberties."

One of our favorite members of the Loyal Opposition, Jim Henley (a libertarian who really means the individual liberty part) at Unqualified Offerings, observes that Joel Surnow has a lot to answer for, but he really can't be blamed for the fact that people swallowed 24 and refused to acknowledge that, like many television shows, it operates on many false premises. (Hey, entire plotlines in daytime soaps depend on the viewer believing that not giving birth in a hospital is dangerous because you might have no emergency treatment available for problems that only result from hospital-induced labor.)

Kevin Hayden at The American Street on where the real racists are. (And someone who has a sub to TNR should really provide us all with a big enough version of that cover shot [.pdf behind the paywall] so the rest of us can read what it actually says.)

Bruce Schneier explains the difference between "secret" data and "personal" data to Michael Chertoff.

The other other war: Most people are still unaware that we've created yet another disaster with the help of US bombs. That's what the story is about, but Chris Floyd reckons no one is interested, so he called it "New Britney Spears Sex Tape Bares All!"

Those aren't my top ten blogs, those are just the ones I had lined up to link anyway. But they're pretty excellent.

17:20 BST

The bounty of the internets

I can't help but suspect that Turkana's prediction is correct: "on Wednesday, people will be screaming for Hillary Clinton to drop out of the race. It won't matter whether she wins by 20 or loses by 5, people will be screaming for her to drop out. In fact, I have a hunch they'll be screaming loudest if she does win by 20!" (I also applaud Turkana's bravery in broaching the subject of Israel. I happen to agree with that position.)

Radley Balko reports that a prosecutor actually refrained from pressing a stupid prosecution: "A Florida prosecutor has decided not to press charges against a guy arrested for videotaping an undercover police officer." We could use more of that.

The Bush administration continues in its unique way of supporting the troops.

That'll show him! "To teach Castro a lesson, a state legislator is fighting to ban American doctors, educated in Cuba, from practicing medicine in Florida, and already a committee has acted to move this proposal forward. This story, about a small and largely symbolic issue, speaks volumes about how Fidel-o-phobia can cause even our most well-meaning public officials to do the strangest and most self-defeating things. I don't think well-meaning officials would come up with an idea like this. Americans study medicine in Cuba because it's a good education for free and allows them to come back and take care of under-served communities instead of having to work where the money is to pay the enormous costs of American medical schools. Yet Rep. Eddy Gonzalez says he believes Americans who would study in Cuba "do not possess the basic judgment and character required for the ethical practice of medicine in Florida."

The Fabulous Life Of John McCain - No sacrifice from us is too great to allow the rich to keep getting richer.

Watertiger celebrates Bush's new record-breaking disapproval numbers . 69% beats Truman during the Korean war.

Don't stay a virgin: "I will make love with every virgin who defends the Internet." Now there's a woman who really cares about net neutrality. And sex.

I like the light on this shot of a bluebird on a stormy morning.

14:48 BST

The consent of the governed

PA voters might want to check out the cool webtool Digby found for reporting voting problems of any kind. Like she says, this will be very useful in November, so people should make a note of it.

Jonathan Weisman of The Washington Post did a webchat and claimed McCain was a Maverick because he bucked his party on tobacco regulation. But, as Ben at Think Progress points out, McCain has been voting the party line on tobacco lately, just as with everything else. It's almost embarrassing that these so-called reporters still believe these myths.

Does he ever actually make phone calls? Or does someone else have to do it for him? (via)

Greg Palast says that while no one is looking, the people who really run the world are consolidating their hold. Soon America will be just like Brazil.

Transcript of Untelevised Portion of ABC Debate: "GIBSON: That is a quote from The Beatles drug-inspired anthem "I Am the Walrus." Senator Obama, exactly how stoned were you the first time you heard this song? And did the bong hits, combined with the tabs of acid you ingested, make this song less or more enjoyable?"

Oh. My. God. [Decoded.]

11:59 BST

Peach and frog

Via Mark Adams I learn that Marcy Wheeler has connected the Plame affair to Rent-a-General.

I don't wonder why Joe gets pissed off, and I worry about the same outcomes (even though I am in much better economic shape than he is). There's a lot of hard work. I hope we can make it.

Jack K. is writing about things that have nothing to do with the primaries.

Kate Harding stomps with both feet on the idea that Obama is a progressive. Thomas Newphew says he looks forward to a similarly skeptical post about Senator Clinton - but, I gotta ask: Is there some question of whether she's been criticized, already?

Bill Clinton never did this. That's what it means to disgrace the office of the presidency.

The FundamentaList: "Evangelicals may have excluded political leaders from the drafting of a new manifesto, Huckabee launches a PAC, and the fight for religious freedom at the Air Force Academy."

What chocolate to buy.

Thanks for the useful T-Shirt.

The blogger awoke before dawn. She put her socks on.

01:36 BST

Monday, 21 April 2008

Snakes and ladders

Ugh - It's pretty unpleasant to see a headline like "And Al Gore Helps John McCain into the White House" after a Gore spokesperson says, "Former Vice President Gore thinks that both candidates are very strong. Both of them have offered plans to address the climate crisis ... as has Senator McCain." An unhappy Matt Stoller says, "And there we go. If you want to know why John McCain is trusted, it's not just that he has a base in the media. Democratic Party elders - including Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton - just fall all over themselves to praise him (he's met the commander-in-chief threshold how, exactly?)."

After The Fact - how John Yoo aided and abetted a series of crimes that includes torturing over a hundred people to death. (Also: Heckuva Job, Dubya: "In an op-ed piece for Pakistan's Daily Times, former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami takes a look at 'Bush's New Middle East' and concludes that this administration accomplished the exact opposite of what it had intended for this part of the world.")

How to grow food in the city.

The DNC has their first general election ad out, asking if you are better off. (Also: The Troops Support.)

Even after all this, the Democratic Party leadership still wants to hold hands with Joe Lieberman? Sheesh.

Every "He's Dead, Jim" Line from Classic Star Trek (and thanks to Ruth for the tip).

I thought it was odd enough when Mr. Sideshow came in and told me there was a movie based on Ionasco's Rhinoceros starring Jenna Jamison, but then he explained that it was called Zombie Strippers.

20:46 BST

There are many here among us who think that life is but a joke

Oliver Willis on the Plight Of The Black Cons.

Given that the project seems to involve atheists trying to support religion in order to maintain control of the masses, it would be interesting if people like William Kristol were challenged on whether or not they believe in a god at all.

This is a simple explanation of what the UK's "10 pence tax band" is and what Gordon Brown wants to change. This pretty much sums up what everyone thinks of Brown's plan.

Classic: After weeks of the Obama campaign hectoring Clinton because she hadn't released her tax returns early, the Clinton campaign is engaging in a bit of turnabout and asking why Obama hasn't released his returns for '97-'99, and someone at the Economist blogs is saying this is the last straw. "Notes like that should come with a little kitchen-sink icon pinned to them." Yeah, sure - when his campaign does it, it's a request for transparency, but when the Clinton campaign does it, it's that "kitchen sink" thing. Why aren't they all talking about Cindy McCain's money?

Now the WaPo is whining about Bush's environmental policies. Ha bloody ha. But it's okay, because Joe Lieberman and John Warner have a bill to make breathing possible by 2050, and we'll have a bright and shiny new pro-environmental president next year, and everything will be groovy!

Via Digby, a little story about Maureen Dowd that may supply some insight. And yes, we all choke when Dowd writes that she's not bitter. Like Hell.

Toles explains why you need to vote for the Democrat in November.

The Family Values of Gor

13:52 BST

Political whirl

The Daily Howler: "No, McGrory never got around to discussing the new dispute about the nation's health care. But then, very view journalists ever discussed it-except as a vehicle for promoting their scripted narrative about Gore's and Bradley's alleged characters. (In this novel, Bradley was too noble to live on this earth; Gore was a nasty attack dog.) The sheer stupidity of McGrory's column was an insult to American voters. It was also an announcement of the press corps' emerging plutocrat culture."

Suburban Guerrilla alerts us that Scott Horton told Mark Crispin Miller that Karl Rove does appear to be in a state of panic.

These days it almost seems superfluous to object to government-sponsored propaganda, but the NYT's article on just such a campaign has generated a lot of good cold analysis and hot outrage that is, well, gratifying to see. (Me, I'm still seething over the way Bush used that boat and our troops for his little codpiece display of "Mission Accomplished" in the first of his stream of faux-military costumes.)

Dan reminds us that the right wing scoffed when it was suggested that people were getting their ideas about torture from a TV show.

Thanks to Lenny Bailes for finding me Butterfield's October 14, 1966 concert at the Fillmore, which for some reason I couldn't locate, at Wolfgang's Vault.

02:47 BST

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Little bits

From Cursor: "Afghanistan's Supreme Court confirms more than 100 death sentences, raising fears about the fate of a student journalist on death row, and heightening anxieties about the country's legal process and 'a possible return to Taliban-style morality rules.'"

Neil Gaiman alerts us that the Gordon Lee case has been dismissed. Lee was the victim of overzealous prosecutors who were a bit more concerned with getting him than with whether anyone was harmed when a minor accidentally got hold of a Free Comic Day comic. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (join or contribute here) spent about a hundred grand over four years to make it stop.

Believe it or not, a PSA from the Three Stooges.

Wolfgang's Vault is featuring Hendrix at Winterland (October 10-11 '68 gig). I keep waiting for them to feature Butterfield, but I wasn't able to find any of his concerts in their lists.

22:38 BST

I found it on the intarweb

At The Next Hurrah, RonK provides a little primer on impeachment in "Publius SHOUTS". What Publius (Alexander Hamilton) shouted was, "The power of the President, in respect to pardons, would extend to all cases, EXCEPT THOSE OF IMPEACHMENT."

Lawrence Lessig and Ben Scott on why the Public must fight to maintain net neutrality: "Just two years ago, telecom executives went before Congress vowing never to interfere with the open Internet. Their broken promises are exactly why we need net neutrality laws back on the books. Fortunately, members of Congress from both parties have introduced legislation that would do precisely that." (via)

Here's a really good example of keeping your eyes off the prize. When you start putting Ron Dellums on your "Enemies List", you've pretty much gone over to the other side.

Flip-Flop McCain - Mr. Straight Talk reverses himself on the economy within a day.

Cursor: "In a report that Spencer Ackerman sums up as '"Bin Laden Determined To Strike In U.S." Pt. 2,' the GAO concludes that the "Bush administration has failed to develop a comprehensive plan to eliminate al Qaida and its sanctuary in Pakistan's remote tribal region," 87 months after Richard Clarke first sounded the alarm."

18:59 BST

In words and pictures

It's Sunday, a good time for some liberation theology. (Watch this priest run rings around a Fox reporter.)

I see Atrios has his own domain name, now.

All I can hope for is to have a president who doesn't say stuff like this.

You could've fooled me, but Roy Edroso is now claiming to be a reactionary: "One reason I enjoy covering Rod Dreher is that he rekindles my love for America. We are surrounded by conservatives who insist that they love America, and describe it as a horrible place where the unfortunate deserve only the back of the hand of power, which must be maintained by endless wars. After a bellyful of their patriotism I sometimes begin to doubt my own. Maybe they're right, I begin to think: maybe the ugly America they celebrate is the real America, and I have only deluded myself that it was something better."

I didn't receive this e-mail, but I can always use economic advice.

Best political interview evah - Johann Hari talked to Britain's most popular Tory, currently running for mayor of London, and Boris said he is "a polymorphous pervert" while desperately trying to walk back all the weird anti-gay stuff he has said previously. Mr. Johnson, who is known for his game-show performances, expressed certain regrets about Eton.

Another front in the war on Christmas.

I can't read Miss Welby's blog, but at least it has some sexy pictures.

The Beer Launching Fridge

12:50 BST

Murky waters

Fayreform Vitality Balconette braBra of the Week

The Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility says it is investigating John Yoo's memos, and may even take the unusual step of releasing the results to the public (if Mukasey lets them, which is in serious doubt, of course.)

Atrios has posted the video - again - of Tom Friedman's "explanation" for why we attacked Iraq. If you've never seen this, go take a look, it's one of the sickest examples of what it means to be a "serious" person in the establishment lexicon.

I'm not sure it's accurate to call it "Boehlert's Revenge", since it's not an outcome Eric Boehlert wanted, but he was rather warning us against - but if Democrats were silent or even happy to applaud when the media treated our other candidates like dirt, they should have understood that they were encouraging the media to think it would be fine and dandy to do it to Obama. Where was the outcry when more than half of the candidates were virtually ignored in earlier debates? Why weren't the stupid questions aimed at other candidates - including Clinton - just as outrageous? Boehlert was right that it's just plain dangerous to pretend that such ill-treatment of Democrats is acceptable unless it happens to be your candidate that's being abused. We should have been letting them know early that no Democrats should be treated this way.

The Clinton campaign wants you to take this quiz. I have noted that both candidates have been destructive, but some Obama supporters appear to doubt that non-Obama supporters can have any reason to be as suspicious of Obama as they are of Clinton. They really should spend some time looking at how other Democrats/liberals see the Obama campaign.

It's good for you (if you're a guy). (via)

00:20 BST

Saturday, 19 April 2008

More and more stuff I saw

The Handmaidens of Torture: Last week a remarkable truth emerged - we need to have a torture debate. On Friday the President admitted that we are now a state sponsor of torture and an amazing thing happened: Nothing."

If people have been reading Eschaton on RSS via the feedburner link, note that it may be broken and you'll probably have better luck with this one from the Atom feed.

There's been a lot of argument over whether Krugman has this right about whether Obama's "bitter" remarks were accurate. I think there's a good argument for the case that Americans do vote on economic issues, but the Democrats just haven't been very good at giving a voice to the kinds of policies people are waiting to hear about. Certainly, that's the very complaint that progressives have had about them all along. In the meantime, some of the party's leading TV faces actually vote for horrors like the bankruptcy bill, and most never make progressive arguments. If people have hesitated to jump on the bandwagon, that could be why.

I must admit that it has been refreshing not to have to listen to Republicans bragging about how they are going to win Congress back. Can we really be this lucky?

Diane takes a break from reporting bad news about California: "Today, however, I've got some good news. The state stepped forward in the battle against health insurers who rescinded policies when the policy holders naively filed claims under the policy." And Ruth continues to highlight things that ought to be covered aside from the primaries, like defining failure as success.

The Oldest, Cheapest Jokes Are the Best.

"Mission Accomplished, Baby!" Listen or read the transcript to Rachel's fine rant.

Al Gore's new slide show from TED. (via)

19:06 BST

Last night's linkage

Steve Clemons on the apparent need of all three candidates to get outside pressure to take certain positions. But what's really going on, there?

I concur with Kevin and Ezra - the Clinton campaign's decision to jump on "bittergate" was a downright amateur error at best. Both candidates seem to lack the ability to seize on opportunities from the right end. But Clinton seems to be especially bad at it. It's not that Obama isn't just as destructive, but he's much slicker at it and he's getting away with most of it - but the RNC will be creating plenty more like this one as the months drag on. And our candidates, apparently, will continue to help them. They'd be smart to run against McCain instead of each other - nothing is stopping them - but they've made it personal, now, because, let's face it, the media chose them for us.

The Rude Pundit reports on Ratzinger's visit.

One of the horrors of living in the commie hell-hole of Britain is that this never happens to me.

Down in my comments, CMike suggests that fairness requires a link to an excerpt from Manufacturing Consent.

Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. interviews Don Siegelman on GoLeft TV.

The poster for Joss Whedon's online musical, Dr. Horrible. We can't wait! (Thanks to Anna.)

12:42 BST

On the Infobahn

I've never gotten over the shock of the Bush-Kerry debates. It was horrifying watching the alleged president of the United States drooling on national television, but it was a real walk into the Twilight Zone when no one in the media even mentioned it. I mean, he actually drooled. Saw it with my own eyes. So I guess nothing the media does in this campaign should really surprise me. And yet, somehow, they always manage to leave me stunned. (Anyway, a bunch of decent journalists complained, this time.)

As you know, David Brooks has been telling us what real people supposedly think. Glenn Greenwald and Thers have both, in their ways, responded. (Thers didn't think much of Juan Williams, either.)

Karl Rove has written an outraged letter about Dan Abrams actually having the temerity to report on Rove's criminal conspiracy to get Don Siegelman thrown in the slammer.

Well, I guess it must be all over, now - Sam Nunn has endorsed Obama. Just as well, I suppose, now that Clinton has gone up front about hating us just as much as Obama does.

Real life musical, via the indispensable Biomes Blog, which also has a pretty picture of a waterfall.

01:24 BST

Friday, 18 April 2008

Odds and sods

"Just What Do You Think You're Doing?!? [...] Of course, we've been seeing for some time now that when a business shows losses, the geniuses in charge can save their stock from plummeting by cutting the workforce. If the cuts were in the executive suites, it would make better business sense since that's where the failure to improve actually occurred. But no! in high finance circles, the rewards continue unabated in executive-land when losses show up on the books. It's only those who did the job they were assigned that get the boot. And like today in that financial realm alternate reality, the stock goes up."

There is no stretch too far for the party that insists that Hillary Clinton is a lesbian who was having an affair with Vince Foster.

Michael Bérubé seems to be suggesting that calling them "the corporate media" is actually too kind.

Cliff Schecter has some more really good questions that Stephi can ask McCain on TV this week. There are so many questions.... (Actually, though, I think it would be a good idea to send them along to ABC.)

Josh Marshall says, "Hmmmm: Remember that woman from the debate last night who the moderators showed videotape of asking whether Barack Obama "believes in the flag"? Her name is Nash McCabe. I remember thinking it was sort of odd to have a couple one-off uses of ordinary voter questions when it didn't really seem like it was part of the format. But I was too distracted by the general inanity of the debate to focus on this issue too closely. Well, it turns out TPM Reader JL did give it some thought. And he came up with something very interesting (see JL's post at the DrexelDems blog). He did a little googling and found out Nash is pretty popular with the traveling press now in Pennsylvania. It turns out McCabe was featured in an April 4th story in the Times..." And they went out of their way to find her just so she could ask him this stupid question on the air.

20:09 BST

Time for some sex

Testosterone alert - He can say what he likes, but Joe Scarborough walked off the set for one reason only: because Rachel Maddow, a mere female, did not let him walk all over her verbally. He expected her to defer to him so strongly that he just couldn't cope when she responded as an equal who had just as much right to talk as he did.

John Aravosis has some excellent questions that George Stephanopoulis can ask McCain when he's on his show this Sunday. (But John, honey, about the age thing: My father would still make a better president than McShame, and he's dead.)

Since people are being either worried or gleeful that Obama may have given Hillary the finger, you probably want to watch the full clip to judge for yourself. (Thanks to CMike for the Yglesias link.)

Will McCain distance himself from the Log Cabin Republicans? Obviously, some people want him to, but he seems reluctant to do so - so far. (And Amanda reminds you why a certain art project is obviously not the real thing.)

Oh, sorry, did you think I meant something else by "sex"?

16:02 BST

Just another Friday blog post

One of the biggest shocks to my system when I first got onto the internet, after being mostly cut off from a substantial part of the American political conversation since moving to Britain (where for the first several years, I was trying to absorb a sense of things through the slivers of the International Herald Tribune), was the discovery that at least an entire generation had grown up thinking that Social Security was called "the third rail" of American politics for reasons that had nothing to do with the fact that it's a good, sensible program that works with remarkable efficiency and keeps the whole country much more prosperous than it would otherwise be. As Dwight Eisenhower himself had pointed out, very few people still refused to support the program, "and they're stupid." Unfortunately, those people were appointed to the White House in 2000, but even they were unable to convince many people that we'd be better off without Social Security. Because we wouldn't. That fact should be a conversation ender for anyone with any brains, but I guess that doesn't include idiots like Joe Klein and Joe Lieberman. It's not "moderate" or "centrist", let alone sensible, to think getting rid of good programs that improve our lives is a reasonable goal. (And I sure am glad I didn't have to support my parents after they retired; the thought makes my blood run cold.)

The National Defense University has released a report by career defense honchos saying that Iraq is "a major debacle". They seem to blame Rumsfeld, but it takes more than one idiot to create such a disaster - especially when his boss seemed perfectly happy with his actions.

Diane celebrates the departure of thoroughly corrupt HUD Secretary Alfonso Jackson, who practiced the Republican version of Affirmative Action with impressive vigor.

Eric Alterman says Tom Shales' review of the debates said it better than he could. Eric also provides the first torture link of the day, to his own article on the subject at Center for American Progress.

I was enjoying the pretty pictures in Phila's Friday Hope Blogging post, but I rather liked this, too: "It'd be terrible if blacks voted for Obama simply because he's "one of them," instead of looking at more important whether or not they'd like to have a beer with him, or how well he bowls, or whether he prefers orange juice to coffee, or how many times he mentioned Jesus in a speech."

12:48 BST

Some exciting opinions and facts

Well, David Brooks may have thought the debate questions were really great, but most people were disgusted, and ABC got so many thousands of complaints that George Stephanopoulos actual felt he had to respond - although he doesn't think he did anything wrong. (And the LAT is so excited about the long thread following their article about it that they actually sent out an e-mail to bloggers to call our attention to it.) One of the more amusing aspects of last night's debacle is the number of people who imagine that, because Steph was once a member of the Clinton administration, he is in the tank for President Bill's wife, and that's why he was so mean to Obama. These are people who don't remember that Stephi was undermining the Clinton administration even while he was still in it and left to write a book that drove a deep wedge between himself and the Clintons. He has never spent a day since being anything but another media conduit for right-wing memes. There's no particular irony in the fact that he really did ask questions that came to him from Sean Hannity. (For those who missed the debates, Crooks and Liars has put together some lowlights.)

Down With Tyranny! reports that The Boston Globe has fallen out of love with John McCain, only a few months after having endorsed him. And Smerconish endorsed Obama.

Scott Lemieux on The Centrist Assumption Fallacy notes that "centrism" doesn't seem to have anything to do with having views that are anywhere near the center.

At the only source of Fafblog!, Giblets is the voice of the people: "Well Giblets knows the real Americans of the heartland, Barack Obama. He has flown over them and driven past them and grimaced amiably in their direction on the way to hotel rooms on numerous occasions, and in that time he has come to appreciate their primitive yet unique culture. These salt-of-the-earth folk don't need your condescending liberal elitism to tell them how they feel! They need Giblets's condescending conservative elitism to tell them how they feel!"

Congratulations to Digby, who isn't just a great woman blogger, but a first-rank writer and thinker. Yes, we do love you.

02:47 BST

Thursday, 17 April 2008

A few more things

As soon as I finish the book I'm currently reading, I'll be reading Little Brother by Cory Doctorow. It sounds like a book we should all be able to get something out of. It's also got an amazingly hip provenance - and a recommendation from Neil Gaiman.

Hm, I wonder what would happen if lots and lots of people called their newspaper and said they're suspending their subscription until they start doing serious coverage of Bush's torture admission. Call it a Torture News Strike. Think it could happen? Maybe you could start...

You just knew that those British troops Iran picked up weren't where they were supposed to be. But then, I guess nothing much looks the same from the other side of the street.

Security creep - They always say they are trying to protect us from terrorists or people who kidnap children to use in child porn, but no matter how they promise they won't misuse the law for other things, you know it's going to happen.

17:04 BST

Good stuff

Ezra Klein has some great stuff up at his blog, where he discusses, some of the causes of high healthcare costs, the personal aspects of the argument among Jews over Israel's policies, and a good ad from Wyden about the downside of employer-based healthcare, and a new plan to create healthcare you can take with you. And he also recommends this post:

"Do you think if Barack Obama had left his seriously ill wife after having had multiple affairs, had been a member of the "Keating Five," had had a relationship with a much younger lobbyist that his staff felt the need to try and block, had intervened on behalf of the client of said young lobbyist with a federal agency, had denounced then embraced Jerry Falwell, had denounced then embraced the Bush tax cuts, had confused Shiite with Sunni, had confused Al Qaeda in Iraq with the Mahdi Army, had actively sought the endorsement and appeared on stage with a man who denounced the Catholic Church as a whore, and stated that he knew next to nothing about economics -- do you think it's possible that Obama would have been treated differently by the media than John McCain has been? Possible?

And -- this is fun to contemplate -- if Michelle Obama had been an adulteress, drug addict thief with a penchant for plagiarism -- do you think that she would be subject to slightly different treatment from the media than Cindypills McCain has been? Anyone?"

I think y'all can answer that one.

15:15 BST

Debates run by Skrulls

Last night I had this nightmare that two aliens who resembled pretend liberal George Stephanopoulis and Charles Gibson asked Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama questions written by Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly. Then I woke up and found that, um, I hadn't dreamed it at all. I really heard that stuff.

Not that it wasn't all predicted:

"Will Charlie Gibson ask Clinton and Obama for their thoughts on Dubya's admission that he authorized torture? Will he simply ask them if they repudiate and denounce it, or will he ask if they will investigate and prosecute? There is no question I want answered more, and I suspect that a lot of Democratic voters feel the same way."
Nice fantasy, eh? Will Bunch said that this ad on the subject was supposed to air after the debate - did anyone see it?
"Will Charlie Gibson disgrace his profession as thoroughly as Russert and Williams did?"
"Will he ask questions that aren't based on right-wing talking points? Will he ask anything along the lines of, "Jeez, what a godawful mess you'll be stuck with - how do you plan to fix it?""
No and no.

There were a few good moments from the candidates in the debate, but to be honest, I was disappointed with the way they let right-wing talking points float right by as if they were true. Taxes aren't "bad for business" - America's businesses were most productive, creative and prosperous back in the days when businesses paid over 30% of the tax bill rather than the paltry 6% they pay now. Our strongest period of growth was when the top marginal rate was over 70%. It would sure be nice if a Democrat would bother to say anything about that some day.

This is what a real existential threat to America looks like: an administration that treats the Constitution like toilet paper, wrecks our economy, and pretty much deletes "the good opinion of mankind", and a press corps that doesn't report it and clearly doesn't care. Torture, lawlessness, mass murder, impoverishing the American people - none of that matters. The only thing Gibson was outraged by was having to pay taxes on his unearned income.

12:20 BST

Items of interest

Ghost Busted: "Now here's a bit of news guaranteed to make you choke on your Cheerios: a major drug company apparently drafted "research articles" and then found doctors to sign on as the papers' authors so that the articles would be accepted for publication in reputable journals."

I just found this great idea for how the celebrity press corps should spend their vacation time.

It's just like old times - Driftglass learns that we're all commies again! I'm sure they're more comfortable with this than trying to pretend that a bunch of raving queers and feminists are actually supporters of far-right Islamist extremists, which never did make any sense, even for them.

WNEW has been posting some interesting things from their archives that you might want to give a listen to. (Thanks to Susie Madrak for the tip.)

03:14 BST

Wednesday, 16 April 2008

In and on the media

Ruth Marcus seems to have jumped the shark by arguing that John Yoo should continue to teach Constitutional law at Berkeley. This is the guy who spent 81 pages explaining why the Constitution isn't the law. Is that what law students should be taught? And should they have this man in front of them, a tenured professor, as an example of the rewards of betraying the law? Ruth answers that question, and a few more about the kind of people who are being turned into "authorities" and "experts".

Another failure: "A judge has declared a mistrial in the retrial of six men accused of plotting terrorist acts with al Qaeda. The decision comes after 13 days of deliberation and marks the second time government prosecutors have failed to convince a jury that the six defendants were guilty of terror-related charges."

Alterman: "When we wrote about jailed AP photographer Bilal Hussein yesterday, it was in reference to whether the United States was going to follow an Iraqi court's order and release him. Good news: they will. Remember, though, the problem isn't solved -- according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, 'Hussein's detention is not an isolated incident. Over the last four years, dozens of journalists -- mostly Iraqis -- have been detained by U.S. troops ... some for weeks or months.'"

Eric Boehlert says sexism pays: "What's so depressing for the journalism profession is that the Times profile barely takes a moment to even ponder what contribution, if any, Matthews is making to journalism. The article certainly doesn't suggest Matthews has a unique talent. Yes, he's ubiquitous on television and appears to have no filter between his brain and his mouth. He's also obnoxious and self-centered, which the article makes perfectly clear. But those are personality flaws, not journalism skills." And his real contributions are: misogyny and Clinton-hatred. Why is it being rewarded with a profile in The New York Times Magazine?

Atrios has this absolutely right - Corporate media's interest isn't just "selling news", it's also selling their own larger interests. For example, if you happen to be owned by General Electric as NBC is, you have an interest in promoting war and other corporate-based interests. And it should be obvious that ratings alone have little to do with it - else why keep Tucker Carlson and Glenn Beck despite their pathetic ratings, although they killed their most popular show when they fired Phil Donahue?

19:03 BST

People are talking

Tristero gave an answer to BooMan's question the other day, and says that while bloggers should certainly support efforts along the lines of BooMan's suggestion, we should concentrate on what we're best at: making the case that the media keeps ignoring. And that case is that, (1.) "There is no longer the shadow of a doubt that the torture of prisoners was planned at the highest levels of the US government with the explicit knowledge and approval of the president. How do we know this? Bush himself admitted it." And (2.) that, "torture is profoundly immoral. Furthermore we should make it clear that among the numerous reasons that torture is profoundly immoral is that torture makes societies who torture less safe. Specifically, there is no correlation between torture and accurate, actionable intelligence, despite Bush's lies and the propaganda fed to the American public in shows like '24.'"

Daniel Ellsberg and a couple of hundred other people held a rally for impeachment yesterday in Concord to try to influence a vote on a resolution in the New Hampshire House. Via Froomkin. (If you missed Jon's assessment of Iraq the other day, you can catch that, too.)

Military using personality disorder diagnoses to deny veterans benefits: "Support the troops has become a cynical rallying cry when the Bush Administration has chosen to run the "war on terror" expensively abroad fattening the pockets of the military contractors like Brown and Kellogg, and the weapons manufacturers who put him in office, and on the cheap at home cheating veterans out of their benefits by using psychiatric diagnoses of "personality disorder" to refuse them benefits."

Thers really really really doesn't like Bloggingheads. He makes a good case.

Another form of torture: "The US Supreme Court has rejected a challenge to the use of lethal injections to execute prisoners.

I haven't gotten around to watching the Tim Robbins speech yet, but I hear it's really good. (And I hear it from more people than just Anna, too.)

15:56 BST

Wednesday morning reading

An unnatural act - Chris Matthews "interviewing" John McShame is a stomach-turning failure of morality, as usual. Digby reports: "Of course this is Matthews so McCain the manliest man, unlike those hippy Democrats Barack and Hillary, needn't be questioned any further. For instance, there's no need to ask why he just voted two months ago to allow the CIA not to follow the Army Field manual interrogation guidelines. Certainly, there's no need to question why he helped the Bush administration pass the Military Commission Act which allows the US to not follow the Geneva Conventions at the president's discretion."

The one thing Jeremiah Wright said that was absolutely wrong was when he claimed Hillary had never had her intellect dismissed when she was the smartest person in the room. Of course she has. Rebecca Solnit's "Men Explain Things to Me," is just a hint of how it goes. Susie Madrak is on it. And Thers goes full steam on an anti-feminist woman who thinks the appropriate response to the article is to tell Solnit to just shut up.

I'm with Hecate - I think we need to give those GIs the chance to go to college on our dime. We owe it to them, and to our country. The original GI Bill didn't just educate some of "our boys", it also did wonders for our economy, and we could sure use some of that again.

Amnesty's death penalty report is out: "The figures also show an increase in executions in a number of countries. Iran executed at least 317 people, Saudi Arabia 143 and Pakistan 135 - in comparison to 177, 39 and 82 executions respectively in 2006. Eighty-eight per cent of all known executions took place in five countries: China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the USA."

11:59 BST

Assorted fruit and nuts wants to Impeach Bush and Cheney for Torture. So do I.

J Street - and this time, the J stands for "Jews", the kind that don't support AIPAC, which is most of 'em. "It's the first time that there has been a political arm for those of us who are pro Israel but pro peace, and who believe that reaching a negotiated settlement in the Middle East is absolutely essential for the security of both Israel and the United States," Jeremy Ben Ami, the executive director of J Street and J Street PAC told me. "That is the reason for this effort. We believe the majority of American Jews and many other Americans friendly and supportive to Israel really do recognize that a policy both here and there that would be geared towards really pushing for a two state solution is in Israel's and the U.S.'s best interests."

Avram Grumer finds a classic example of right-wing defenses of authoritarians getting out of control. I shake my head.

(Ayn) Rand To The Rescue.

The Myth of Ronald Reagan - it was midnight in America, but nobody knew it.

Bob Herbert wants Americans to ask themselves, "How is the war in Iraq helping me?"

Little did I know that Steve Benen does a weekly radio show called Poli-Sci-Fi Radio.

Thanks to Jeff smith for the heads up about this neat APOD.

Guess what this is.

00:27 BST

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Murmurs and rumors

RAB in my comments says:

Reading the NY Mag article and Rebecca Traister's piece in Salon on the same day really did my head in:

["Hey, Obama boys: Back off already!]

In science, when two researchers independently replicate one another's findings, it's considered an important step in verifying the theory.

It's interesting that even these young, Obama-supporting women are getting sick of listening to the Hillary-hating. Clinton has never been particularly popular in the liberal blogosphere, but the outright venom certainly has been...creepy.

Diane says it's time to talk about paying our dues: "I've been lamenting the fact that politicians at all levels of government have resisted the one action that might actually help this nation recover economically and physically: raising taxes." And Ruth says the Republicans are blaming Democrats for the mess the GOP made while holding us all hostage for oil.

At Feral Scholar, "From Glass-Steagall to starvation." (Thanks to Bruce F. for the tip.)

Will Bunch reports that Obama has left investigations on the table. It's not a very strong statement, but at least he didn't Pelosi it. (via)

I don't know, but this doesn't sound like Jon Stewart to me.

19:39 BST

The truth about McNasty

The ubiquitous Steve Benen alerts us that the Associated Press is talking about how people don't realize that McShame is a right-wing crackpot. Okay, they didn't put it quite like that, but as long-time readers of The Sideshow may recall, this is something that has been worrying me for quite a while, and it may have something to do with why some people express their aggravation with Your Candidate by swearing that if their candidate isn't the nominee, they will vote for this raving right-wing loony, as if he is not, in fact, a right-wing loony who is whole parsecs farther to the right than even the other Democratic hopeful you don't like is.

But even the wonderful Steve Benen himself seems to be at least partially under this illusion.

The next question, of course, is why McCain can vote like a conservative and be perceived as a moderate.

First, McCain used to be far less conservative than he is now. There's a reason he considered leaving the Republican Party in 2001 and joining the Democratic ticket in 2004. He worked with Dems on a variety of left-leaning caucuses, including campaign-finance reform and a Patients' Bill of Rights. McCain's rise to national prominence came in 2000, when he ran away from the GOP's far-right base. McCain came to believe, however, that he couldn't win the Republican nomination in '08 as a moderate, so he conveniently went through an ideological transformation. The problem is that most Americans aren't aware of the shift, and still perceive McCain as he was, not as he is.

No, no, no. McCain was always a right-winger, but he associated himself with Feingold and with a couple of popular positions as part of a charade to clean up his image after he appeared to be terminally-tainted in the Keating Five scandal. Being known for bribery and corruption isn't really great on a politician's resumé, but this didn't mean he'd suddenly become Mr. Clean - on the contrary, campaign finance, despite the way the right-wingers talk about it, is a relatively harmless diversion in a media milieu where the Republicans already have 24/7 advertising for themselves on the airwaves, and they don't even have to buy the airtime.

What's really happened is that McCain has moved farther to the right as he's made his slow progress toward the nomination, and now he even votes for torture and hugs religious loonies. But he has never veered anywhere near the real center, and he's never going to. He may say he supports certain popular ideas (and, occasionally, when it doesn't matter, even vote for one or two of them), but on any measure where it counts, you won't find McCain behaving like he shares the values of ordinary Americans - or even ordinary career military people. He might give lip-service to it, but he votes against improving educational opportunities for veterans. He opposes any legislation that would place the rights of ordinary Americans above, or even at parity with, those of large corporations. He's not interested in helping the jobless, or those who were forced into predatory mortgage schemes, or the many who will die because of conservative policies. He thinks our troops are sissies because they don't want to kill and die and be maimed for no good reason. He has never changed his tune about his opposition to reproductive freedom. He doesn't even pretend to support universal healthcare.

Further reading: McCain: The Myth of a Maverick, by libertarian author Matt Welch.

Free Ride: John McCain and the Media by David Brock and Paul Waldman.

The Real McCain: Why Conservatives Don't Trust Him and Why Independents Shouldn't by Cliff Schechter.

In other news, I agree with everything Bill Scher said in his intro for last weekend's show. Now sign the petition.

15:48 BST

Brain-stuffing and eye-candy

Molly Ivors tells us to discuss Amanda Fortini's article on The Feminist Reawakening that Hillary Clinton's campaign, and the reaction to it, have generated. Meanwhile, Bob Herbert has Some Perspective on 'Bitter', and says Obama messed up. But Rachel Maddow thinks it was better than it sounds.

Your candidate bites when it comes to separation of church and state. Also: Re-elect Prefident Adams.

Maru may have found the best campaign ad ever, but it might not be work-safe. (And this is just pretty.)

A photograph

This is a great set of photos of Cardiff Bay with some terrific shots of the waterfall tower and other features you may have glimpsed while watching Torchwood or Doctor Who (or may see at some point in the future), along with numerous other architectural oddities, gorgeous sunrises, smashing cityscapes, cloudscapes and whatnot. I recommend clicking the slideshow feature and setting it to "Fast".

13:27 BST

Linking for freedom

Blue America candidates respond to the news that Bush approved a Torture Nation.

The Federal Pie: Where Your Income Tax Money Really Goes. And some horrifying details. (Thanks to Bruce F.)

How long until the press finally asks Perino about White House approval of torture? (Also: Doug Feith still stupid. Plus! The Gay Agenda!)

Ampersand has a good post up on The War On Voters of Color, and how Republicans use the idea of "voter fraud" to keep likely Democratic voters away from the polls.

It's nice to know that The New York Times can at least notice threats to a free press when they involve their own reporters.

I know there are people who don't think net neutrality is an issue in Britain, but they're wrong.

Lapel pins for Republicans.

Hey, eRobin just sent me Three Trillion Dollars to go shopping!

01:30 BST

Monday, 14 April 2008

Doing our transmission thing

Get the button. Because there are some things good people simply don't do.

The governor of California still thinks Republican ideology is more important than schools and other services.

Monkeyfister has posted Taxi To The Dark Side for your viewing, um, pleasure.

I am pleased to say that not everything that happened in Congress last week made me want to tear my hair out, even though some of it still did. (But not as much as the things they didn't do.)

We're number one - at defense spending. By a long lead.

I had some fun reading about religious crackpots at The Pagan Prattle today. Looks like Arizona was saved from getting a British loony priest, and Doctor Who fans got a bargain.

Tom Burka has another hot exposé: Entire Liberal Blogosphere Actually Just One Incredibly Prolific Man. It must be true, because he confessed. Via one of Libby's linky posts.

Chris Whitley, "Dust Radio".

18:31 BST

Stand up

John Amato makes the call:

Where's the outrage over Bush's knowledge and approval of torture? Please join C&L and the ACLU: Time to write...

Please join the ACLU and CrooksandLiars and demand a call for an Independent Counsel to investigate the Administration's approval of Torture and Abuse.

ACLU has a pre-written letter, but you should do your best to put it into your own words and make it more individual.

Or you might want to start from scratch to contact the media, your House member, and your Senators. And don't forget The Committee Caller.

If it were up to me, people would also be demonstrating every night at their local NBC affiliates (I had to pick one, so I picked them), just to make a noise.

By the way, your candidate bites. I haven't heard your candidate say anything about this, yet. Why is that? You should climb down their throat and tell them you want to hear them demanding hearings about this criminal administration's torture regime.

15:16 BST

Coffee with links

This should be on the front page, but it's only on A3: "Administration Set to Use New Spy Program in U.S. The Bush administration said yesterday that it plans to start using the nation's most advanced spy technology for domestic purposes soon, rebuffing challenges by House Democrats over the idea's legal authority." They're just gonna break the law. They don't care. Who's gonna stop 'em?

Krugman: "Our bleakness partly reflects the fact that most Americans are doing considerably worse than the usual economic measures let on. The official unemployment rate may be relatively low - but the percentage of prime-working-age Americans without jobs, which isn't the same thing, is historically high. Gross domestic product is up, but the inflation" But nothing will be fixed "unless the next president is someone who understands what went wrong. And right now, that doesn't look at all certain."

Dan has a very short post that phrases it exactly right: America is now a state sponsor of torture.

Don't be cowed by Scary-Voiced Announcer Man!

Have I mentioned lately that Wexler Wants Hearings? Get someone to sign up today.

13:33 BST

Why aren't you out in the streets?

Digby: "I think we know what was happening now, don't we? The "principals" were all sitting around the table devising torture techniques based on the previous episode of "24" (or their favorite S&M website), and when Powell meekly objected, they called him a faggot. In the White House. If Bush wasn't in the room, he was listening on speaker phone. This has codpiece written all over it."

Chris Floyd on Too Much of Nothing: Crime Without Punishment, War Without End: "The President of the United States has openly, proudly admitted that he approved the use of interrogation methods that are by every measure -- including the measure of United States law -- criminal acts of torture. It is one of the most brazen and scandalous confessions of wrongdoing ever uttered by an American leader -- and it has had no impact whatsoever. No scandal, no outcry, no protest, no prosecution. [...] No, it's obvious now that we must drink this bitter cup to the dregs. The sleepwalkers have encompassed us all in their nightmare. And how terrible, how terrible will be the awakening."

Brad DeLong responds to Sandy Levinson's question about whether John Yoo's rationalization that the situation after 9/11 was as dire as it was for the US and Britain in 1939-40 holds any water. Of course not.

I'm taking a certain delight in the idea that you could completely shut out the world of white people just by using a black-oriented search engine. Yeah, I bet black folks will be so locked-up in the echo chamber that they will have no idea what white people are saying! Apparently, Jeff Jarvis thinks this can happen. (In other right-wing idiot news, Jim Henley has collected a bunch of links to articles on stupid right-wing stuff, and they aren't written by DFHs, either!)

Gary Farber points out that Chip Delany's "About Five Thousand Seven Hundred and Fifty Words" ("arguably the most important essay on reading and writing science fiction ever written") is online (in nice, unencumbered HTML).


A neat photograph from Elaine.

03:12 BST

Sunday, 13 April 2008

Tangled business

At FDL, looseheadprop on Scalia, Yoo and Fitzgerald: "John Yoo thinks that detainees subjected to torture are not suffering cruel and unusual punishment as prohibited by the 8th Amendment because they are not being "punished" [pdf] for a crime since they were never found guilty of anything. From page 10 of the memo." He's wrong. And there's also a little bit of history to go with it, in Deja Vu All Over Again? US v. Joseph Altstoetter: "In 1949 the Court in Nuremberg heard the "justice" case. This prosecution was of lawyers and judges for actions taken to provide a gloss of legality to atrocities committed by the Third Reich."

The Washington Post has a story on the Siegelman case, "Former Ala. Governor Turns Tables on Justice Department", on page A2 - although they put it like this: "Siegelman is seizing on a theme that is newly popular with politically connected defendants: turning the tables on a Justice Department vulnerable to accusations of interference because of missteps last year under then-Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales." Makes it sound like rapists claiming the porn made them do it or something, but the thing is we already know that the DoJ has become completely politicized, and that includes prosecutions. It's not an accident that they've launched far more investigations of Democrats, often with little or no evidence, than they have against Republicans (even when there is evidence all the way down to the smoking guns).

The Dems are filing a lawsuit against McCain for his violations of the public financing rules, but it's unlikely to get anywhere during the campaign.

Sam Seder on Where it stands with Randi, him, and AAR.

Oooh, awesome Amundn does it with clouds. Yum.

22:13 BST

The sad decline of a good ombudsman

It's sad, really. Clark Hoyt started off as a pretty good ombudsman for The New York Times, but first he was lame defending the hiring of William Wing-Nut Kristol as an op-ed columnist, and now he has gone well beyond lame in "explaining" why the paper completely failed to cover the Winter Soldier hearings. Even leaving aside the ludicrous statement that no one at the paper seemed to know it was going on and anyone they were too busy that day, there's this stuff:

The Times also did not cover an announcement the following day by Vets for Freedom, a group supporting the war and claiming more than 13 times the membership of Iraq Veterans Against the War, the group which organized Winter Soldier.

One group was emphasizing what it charged were war crimes, war profiteering and war mismanagement. The other group was protesting what it charged was the failure of the media to report more fully on signs of progress in Iraq, such as rebuilt schools and infrastructure.

Vets for Freedom? Who are they, you might ask? Not that you need to - the idea that there are more vets complaining that their exploits as painters of schools aren't being covered than there are vets who have complaints about the conduct of The Great War of Terror and of the occupation itself is ludicrous on its face. Who complains about the lack of coverage of school-building? The right-wing chickenhawks, that's who. It's a popular refrain with the administration's flacks, and it's nuts, because our troops shouldn't be rebuilding schools in the first place. That's a job for the Iraqis. And, sure enough, it turns out that there is a significant difference between the Winter Soldiers and the so-called Vets for Freedom - and that is that you don't actually have to be a vet to be in Vets for Freedom. The one group is real vets who are talking about their real experiences in 'Dad, Afghanistan, and Abu Ghraib, while the other is a bunch of RNC flacks and their minions (including, no doubt, many members of the 101st Keyboarders) pushing the administration line.

Perhaps even loonier, there's this:

News organizations like the Times, with its own substantial investment in independent reporting from Iraq tend to prefer their own on-scene accounts of the war, rather than relying on charges and counter-charges at home by organizations with strongly held political viewpoints about the war.
That's pretty rich coming from a newspaper that not only is full of quotes from other people not on staff about events which were certainly not witnessed by their reporters, but one which frequently doesn't even name those quoted sources. Or, as FAIR quite rightly puts it:
Hoyt's claim that "news organizations like the Times, with its own substantial investment in independent reporting from Iraq, tend to prefer their own on-scene accounts of the war" is akin to asserting that reporters on the police beat prefer to write about crimes they have seen themselves rather than talking to eyewitnesses. Given that Times reporters, like all Western journalists in Iraq, have great difficulty travelling freely outside the Green Zone, it is hard to imagine that they could provide a full and accurate picture of the war without interviewing people who have participated in it. And of course the paper does often interview U.S. military personnel about what they've seen, though when they are whistleblowers trying to call attention to what they describe as "the human consequences of failed policy," the Times suddenly has much less interest in what they have to say.

The New York Times' decision to assign one of its two available correspondents to tour with the Secretary of Defense instead of hearing the first-hand accounts of the Winter Soldiers demonstrates a very strange notion of "independent reporting."


(Via The Impolitic.)

19:40 BST

If you don't like the weather, wait a minute

Man, I hope this Alzheimer's cure turns out to be for real - it seems too good to be true.

At Cab Drollery, Diane on how the world is watching the cowardly behavior of the Land Of The Free And Home Of The Brave, and Ruth on how business can't sell to consumers it won't pay.

Piles of good stuff at Echidne's place right now:
Olvlzl on surrogacy and people becoming objects of commerce;
Suzie on the poor record of newspapers in correcting errors;
Olvlzl on trade agreements.

Troutfishing on How You Can Fight, Help Expose US Gov. Torture Programs.

Brad at Sadly, No! on Working class GOP pollsters.

It's bad for you.

Meet the Mets.

16:26 BST

Make it happen

A serious question from the BooMan:

The ACLU wants a special prosecutor to investigate Bush's admission that he authorized torture. I think that is a swell idea that is likely to go nowhere.

I hear John Conyers asked an assembled crowd today in Philadelphia whether any of them would object to impeaching the president. No one objected. Then he asked whether anyone would object to impeaching Cheney. Again, no one objected. I don't know the full context of Conyers' remarks, but the timing indicates it is related to Bush's admission.

If you were strategizing a blogswarm to get Congress, the press, and the administration to do something, what would you suggest we focus on? Should we focus on the lack of media coverage? Should we focus on getting a special prosecutor? Should we focus on getting the administration to comply with requests for documents and testimony from congressional committees?

I'm asking because I'm not sure what we should do, only that we should do something.

The administration isn't going to acknowledge anything short of impeachment - and there is no "executive privilege" in impeachment. The Democrats have been afraid to impeach because they assume they would lose in the Senate ("If you're going to kill the king, you have to kill the king"), but of course they don't have to worry about that if they just remember that (a) hearings demonstrating serious malfeasance have a way of picking up more votes to impeach, and (b) impeachment doesn't have to stop at the end of term. Above and beyond that, everyone should be contacting national and local media outlets right now to demand better coverage of these crimes and call for prosecution of these criminals.

In other news:

Nobody wants to hire Abu Gonzales: "Alberto R. Gonzales, like many others recently unemployed, has discovered how difficult it can be to find a new job." Having everyone know you're a criminal probably doesn't help, either.

Even Ratzinger won't break bread with Bush.

12:52 BST

Things "elites" don't worry about

Fayreform Candid balconette braBra of the Week

Eli, hearing George Bush say that, "[The amount of money being spent on war in Iraq] pales when compared to the cost of another terrorist attack on our people," asks the excellent question, "Really? What is the cost of another terrorist attack on "our people"? What were the costs of the most wildly successful non-governmental terrorist attack in the history of humanity...?" Strangely, not nearly as much as the costs of the war on Iraq.

What kind of lawyer advises a client to simply pretend he is above the law in order to facilitate torture? And what kind of press corps yawns when they learn what he knew and when he knew it - and that he knew everything, all along?

Last week, while everyone else was pretending to admire Martin Luther King, Weldon Berger wondered, "Who would Martin Luther King support for president today?" - and who would embrace him.

Cernig is Disgusted: "Yesterday the incumbent President of the United States casually admitted to ordering torture and only then ordering legal advisors to cook something up to cover his and his officials' asses...and instead the media and bloggers are following after a bunch of rich snobs telling them they should pile on Obama for being a rich snob. [...] Let me ask you something - why aren't Clinton, Obama and the tortuous flip-flopper McCain all over Bush for this? Do you really want to elect President Schultz?"

The Rude Pundit on Republicans, Petraeus, and fellatio.

"Is David Petraeus Dirty? Ted Westhusing Said So, and Then He Shot Himself...Why Has This Been Kept So Quiet?" Via our revered monarch at King of Zembla.

So now they're preventing wounded vets from registering to vote. Man do they know how to support the troops! Via Mike's Blog Roundup.

00:51 BST

Saturday, 12 April 2008


Mary has a good point - if nuclear energy was a goer, private industry would be putting money into it. But private industry is only interested if the taxpayers are footing the bill.

Thomas Nephew has a report-back on a Netroots Nation fundraiser, and Russ Feingold and January 21st.

Air Safety Theater, or trying to make you mad at regulations. It's not really likely to work, especially when the Security Theater is so much more in need of a fix.

When good news is bad news - or why Afghanis may just decide to grow wheat instead of poppies after all.

Why Wal-Mart should be nicer to their contractors, and how life was easier in 1978.

Right-wing nutjobs. Pretty thing to help wash your brain out.

23:37 BST

Saturday afternoon (Won't you try?)

Rich businessmen are bribing universities to make Ayn Rand required reading.

Dave Johnson thinks McCain should denounce Michael Reagan after he accuses Democrats of being on the side of al Qaeda. Meanwhile, McCain advocates privatizing Social Security, but his advisors insist he didn't mean it. And he's got a bit of Petreaus theatre to prop himself up with, too.

Cory Doctorow says some cities are deliberately making traffic lights less safe in order to make more money. Also, Austin Mitchell, MP, wants to protect my rights so I can take pictures in London. Write to your MP to get 'em on board. (And: It's about time the EU had to publish the secret list of the things you're not allowed to take on planes - and a bloody stupid list it is, too.)

The address for The Randi Rhodes Show now points to Nova M. I don't know what she's done with her site in the meantime. It wasn't a regular AAR site and I vaguely recall that it pre-existed her joining Air America, but at the moment it doesn't seem to be available - which is a shame, because she had a lot of useful resources posted there.

Gosh, we never got field trips like this when I was in highschool.

Avram directs our attention to a really over-the-top bookcover. (I can't believe he doesn't normally leave the sleeves at home when he reads - is it just me?)

It was Big Ben's 150th birthday this week, so there were numerous stories about it in the press. The company that made the bell (along with the Liberty Bell) is still in business and got some of that coverage. If you check out the CNN and ITN videos, you can even see a bit of footage of the shop, the owners, and a couple of the people who still make the bells today.

18:05 BST

In one eye

In another typical Republican performance, Bob Schaffer, a staunch defender of the sweatshops in the Marianas, now pretends he is anti-sweatshop. Yeah, right.

Molly comes out of the closet as someone who is only recently ex-Catholic, and says Ratzinger was the deal-breaker for her.

Gordon Brown has obviously learned a lot from George Bush - like about blocking oversight of corruption. Strangely, the judges disagree with this idea.

Sam Seder had a good discussion last Sunday of the 81-pages of torture excuses with Glenn Greenwald and Christy Hardin Smith. Worth a listen.

The GOP and their tame media have tried to make us forget, but most of us know that we're still wasting blood and treasure in Iraq. (Of course, we still don't like to think much about hunger.)

Jesurgislac finds Snopes isn't keeping up and worries that they've gone partisan, but the truth is that they've never been very quick to debunk lies against Democrats, particularly those named "Clinton".

I'd almost forgotten that I had this picture of Robert Legault jamming with Patrick and my brother.

14:00 BST

Cutthroats, bull-dykes and methodists

OK, McCain - the same McCain who just voted against educational benefits for veterans - is now campaigning on how much he supports educational benefits for veterans. What a little creep. Listen to Rachel on McCain's record on veterans' affairs.

Somerby praises Krugman for not only returning to the Trina Bachtel story, but pinning the tail on the press for being interested in her case only long enough to mischaracterize it as a falsehood from Clinton - and then the dropped it as soon as it turned out Clinton wasn't wrong after all.

Dday reports: "The Dean of the Boalt School of Law, Christopher Edley, Jr., has written a brief defending his decision not to fire war criminal John Yoo, as he has been prodded to do by the National Lawyers Guild, among others. The most craven part is when Edley makes up the reason that Yoo didn't actually do the torturing himself, or something."

So it turns out that some of those war profiteers are... in Congress.

Ah, yes, the bright side of recession. Really, is Larry Kudlow supposed to be an economist?

Return of the Freeway Blogger - again!

Oh, and Richard Belzer will be sitting in at Randi Rhodes' ex-spot on Monday.

And the title source.

01:36 BST

Friday, 11 April 2008

Red Leicester with links

Awesome. Dick Cheney thinks he's in a position to tell us what is appalling. Yes, that's right, war criminal mass-murderer and torture fan Richard Bruce Cheney finds it appalling that someone said our (Cheney's) foreign policy damns us.

Eli finds useful analogies to help you explain things to your dumber friends. Plus! A really stupid question from Michael Gerson, and a cool photo of a crater on Phobos.

I haven't had a chance to check for myself, yet, but Thoreau claims that MTV is really, really shrill.

Skippy finds another example of a right-wing kid faking an assault on herself and creating a stir before being found out. Also: How will you spend your tax rebate?

Thanks to Anna for supplying the link for the pure SammyCam record of last night's RR/SS spot.

19:43 BST

Nectarine and links

Democracy Now! - Telecom Whistleblower Discovers Circuit that Allows Access to All Systems on Wireless Carrier-Phone Calls, Text Messages, Emails and More: "Babak Pasdar is a computer security expert who was hired in 2003 to help restructure the tech infrastructure at a major wireless telecommunications company. What he found shocked him. The company had set up a system that gave a third party, presumably a governmental entity, access to every communication coming through that company's infrastructure. This means every email, internet use, document transmission, video, text message, as well as the ability to listen to and record any phone call." (Read transcript or stream.) Via Mercury Rising, where I also found this article on Japan and those who still harbor militaristic dreams.

Benjamin Wallace-Wells on how the end of Martin Luther King Jr.'s Civil Rights movement marked the beginning of liberalism's crack-up.

So all those kids were rescued from these Eldorado people, but will they be better off in the hands of Texas' child protection services?

With Democrats pressing him on the issue, Mukasey has amended his claims about the mystery phone call, but without actually making any more sense of it.

Listen to yesterday's Sam Seder session in Randi Rhodes' timeslot here (.mp3).

16:55 BST

Breakfast of champions

So Randi Rhodes has quit Air America Radio and signed with Nova M, who say she will be in the 3PM-6PM (Eastern) slot as of Monday. Some listeners have said they thought Rhodes had been trying to break her contract with AAR all along and that's why her behavior had become more erratic/extreme. In any case, it's certainly a good time to write to and point out that they already have a real star in Sam Seder who is being underused - but I hope they'll choose to put him back in his old slot, when I can listen live. I've always had to miss Randi's show because it's right smack in the middle of our household TV-watching period. Having Sam sitting in for her has been a major frustration for me.

Torture and typecasting: "Typecasting Peter Lorre ( pictured) in this administration would have improved it so much, artistically. His remarkable gifts would have expressed so well the enjoyment of the macabre that they practice. It's torture to listen to them mouth principals while practicing their opposites, indeed. But the torture is ingrained, and comprises the inner spirit of the worst administration in history."

Jeralyn reports that Bush has signed the Second Chance Act, making this possibly the first actual liberal thing he can be said to have done. There must be a hidden poison pill in it someplace.... Meanwhile, the Senate passed the bill extending immigration law to the Marianas - the bill Abramoff and DeLay worked so hard against because they wanted to keep the sex-slavery going.

Student sees political bias in high school text - conservatives feel comfortably lying to students about things like climate change and prayer in schools, unsurprisingly. (via)

Could the Republicans Pick the Democratic Nominee? -- The Untold Story of How the GOP Rigged Florida and Michigan. (via)

12:23 BST

Thursday, 10 April 2008

Bananas and cream

Atrios has posted a nice anti-McCain ad from

Remember that AP photographer who the right-wing bloggers kept calling "unAmerican" until he was finally arrested? Well, Digby reports that Bilal Hussein has been exonerated and ordered released - although knowing our freedom-loving administration, they might very well prevent his release because of, you know, "security" concerns.

Rorschach says he has no trouble believing charges by anti-war Democrats that the Bush administration is trying to leave the Iraq quagmire in the next president's lap.

Ah, if only I could believe that Obama was the raving left-winger that the right-wing nuts believe he is.

Yep, they're making up exactly the same kinds of stories about Clinton as they did about Gore, and using the same storyline to bolster it. (And don't get too comfortable about Obama - leaving aside that he's made as many "misstatements" as Hillary which I'm sure they are holding in reserve, they will certainly be happy to make up new ones about him once he has the nomination. Honestly, I don't get how some Obama supporters think the media hasn't been biased against Clinton. It defies credulity. They've played up Hillary's errors at the moment because they hate her, but once she's out of the picture there are plenty of these things from Obama they can use against him. You just don't hear about them at the moment because it's not convenient for them to tell you.)

Adult Video News is reporting that John Stagliano has been busted for obscenity.

16:53 BST

On the Infobahn

Just aside from simply asserting without evidence that Iran is the big problem with Iraq (again), our "non-partisan" military geniuses also confirmed that the administration is continuing to press for an illegal pseudo-treaty with the Iraqi government. History says that if his parliament won't give Maliki what Bush wants, he'll ignore them, anyway, just like Bush is ignoring Congress. (Also: I used to Post With Alarm about Hillary's ties to the creepy right-wing prayer group that infests the Hill, but no one seemed interested. However, since candidates' ministers are in the news, here it is again.)

A lot is made of McCain's service in uniform, but it's hard to avoid the impression that he thinks he's better than all the other troops, and that he mostly just hates them. He's certainly no friend of our troops, based on his voting history.

Pretty much everything you know about Medicare costs is probably wrong, but it wouldn't hurt to learn more. (Meanwhile, I'm sure you are unsurprised to learn that trials for the kidnap victims and POWs at Gitmo are severely handicapped not just by an absence of proper procedure, but a dearth of lawyers equipped for the job.)

"Sources: Top Bush Advisors Approved 'Enhanced Interrogation' [...] According to a top official, Ashcroft asked aloud after one meeting: 'Why are we talking about this in the White House? History will not judge this kindly.'"

What is "coming soon"? Is Huckabee getting back into the race, or what? [Update: Oh, of course - tax day.]

14:13 BST

Last night's links

Atrios: "Between this type of polling data and the right track/wrong track polling data, it's clear that something's up in this country. I haven't yet seen politicians really tap into it. Sure you get some policy proposals for this and that, but a really smart politician would figure out how to tap these sentiments, channel them into a coherent narrative, and use that to propel an agenda forward." And six months ago, we were all talking like that was a real possibility. What happened?

For some reason, John Yoo didn't seem to be aware of the Supreme Court case that spelled out the fact that there are still limits on presidential powers in wartime.

Quiddity caught the NYT lying about free trade again. (And don't you love the way they conflate "trade" with "free trade"? The way "protectionism" is an automatic dirty word - like there's something wrong with trying to protect your workers and your nation's economy?) Also via Quiddity, The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class.

Hey, wait - did Petraeus tell Carl Levin that no one's in charge?

Your Talking Dog has interviewed Joanne Mariner, the Terrorism and Counterterrorism Program Director at Human Rights Watch.

Bernie Goldberg has a new book, and he's apparently upset that the crazy lefties didn't spend enough time celebrating the fall of Saddam. He didn't explain how he was supposed to know about it, since the lefties, unlike the righties, were not on TV.

12:21 BST

Wednesday, 09 April 2008

If you can believe your eyes and ears

Intel Dump says Petraeus overplayed his hand: "I don't think that Petraeus and Crocker justified our enormous investment of blood and treasure with their testimony yesterday. But I also think that responsibility is above their paygrade. The real answers to these grand questions must come from the White House and Pentagon -- and they must be argued convincingly enough to earn the support of the American people and their elected representatives. Yesterday's testimony highlighted our strategic drift, and how Sisyphean our efforts in Iraq have been for the past five years. We owe something more to our men and women serving in Iraq, and to the Iraqis."

To no one's surprise, Lee Hamilton says that he's not aware of Michael Mukasey's mystery phone call. In fact, no one on the 9/11 Commission seems to have heard of it. No one in Congress has heard of it. Let's face it, the real reason Mukasey choked up when he said it was because he knew it was an obvious lie, that everyone would realize it, and that, like Colin Powell, he was throwing what was left of his reputation down the tubes for all time by uttering these outrageous words.

It's been a long time since I was last in South Philly, but they kept feeding me pasta and saying, "Are you sure you're not Italian?" (via)

Charles II has more on Haiti, including this amusing update: "Prime Minister Preval had said, disingenuously, on radio that if the demonstrators wanted to protest the price of food, they should come and get him to lead the demonstration because his wife was paying the same ridiculous prices they were paying. So, they rushed the palace to go get him to lead the demonstration."

An Economy Developing in Afghanistan - It is, of course, the opium trade. (The sad thing is that this could be a good thing if they were allowed to sell the dope to the NHS, which actually needs it.)

Elizabeth Edwards prefers Hillary Clinton's healthcare plan.

You got that right, MadKane.

21:14 BST

Can I get a witness?

Uh oh, The General's spring fundraiser was a flop - help him out if you can, 'cause you know we need a good laugh to keep our spirits up. (Besides, you wouldn't want to miss the upcoming sex advice column, would you?)

Over at Fact-esque, Mick Arran wonders, "Is Globalization On the Way Out?" Oh, I hope so. Jefferson and that crowd had to have a whole revolution to get rid of it when it became the hot new reality in their day, and those things can get so messy.

To some of us, it was always obvious that cutting taxes could only end up in a reduction in much-needed services. The mania started in California, and now the seams are really starting to pull apart.

Martin Wisse, noting that Haitians are losing their patience with the occupation there, has a A quick question about peacekeeping: "has there been any post-Cold War UN intervention that hasn't either ended in failure (Somalia, the French intervention in Ruanda) or a seemingly endless occupation peacekeeping mission (Bosnia, Cambodia, Kosovo, Darfur, Congo, Haiti, etc)? Have there been any countries that had a peacekeeping force which just left, or has every "successful" intervention so far ended in a semi-colonial protectorate?"

Stories of Love and Hate - At The Left Coaster, eriposte reminds us of what was done to Al Gore - and points out that we're now holding our candidates to a standard that would have destroyed the candidacy of FDR himself. Is this really what we signed up for? (And did we want to get rid of Broder, or did we just want to be him?)

Condoms for Catholics - Brazil is doing even more to protect its people.

The Freeway Blogger hits LA!

Sing it for me, Dusty!

15:42 BST


Like dday says, Joe Biden Obliterated Every Administration Argument About Iraq when he forced Ryan Crocker to admit that if you want to deal with Al Qaeda, you deal with Al Qaeda where they really are - on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan: "Game over. Every single argument that the Administration and their lapdogs like John McCain have made or are making break down after that answer. The Ambassador to Iraq just admitted that Iraq is not the central front in the war on terror. He just admitted that the potential for Al Qaeda to gain a beachhead in Iraq should the United States withdraw is miniscule compared to the already-established beachhead along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. He admitted that the global fight against terror is currently misdirected."

Quite right. You'd think it'd be front page news, wouldn't you? Oh, no, instead we have The Washington Post still trying to polish up the idea that if we just keep staying in Iraq, we can win. The whole editorial looks like it's designed to provide some cover for McCain's 100 Years of Stupid, and of course they trot out their usual magic words: "What hasn't much changed is the partisan debate over Iraq, which as Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) lamented, remains resistant even to established facts. Republicans tended to follow Sen. John McCain yesterday in arguing that "success is within reach" and that American goals can be achieved "perhaps sooner than many imagine." Democrats, including presidential candidates Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Mr. Obama, remain locked within the "this war is lost" prism the party adopted a year ago." We lament that the WaPo and Joe Lieberman remain resistant even to established facts. One of them is that wanting to stay in Iraq is nothing but partisan - because except for a lunatic right-wing fringe, getting out of Iraq is what everybody recognizes must be done.

Not that the Democrats seem to have found sure footing, yet, of course. What does it mean, exactly, when they decide they should force the Iraqis to spend their oil money on rebuilding? Meaning, of course, that they want to force Iraq to sell its oil when it might not be in their best interest to do so. And what happened to the whole "we broke it, we fix it" idea?* We can only fix it with guns? Maybe it's time to seize the assets of war profiteers and make them restore what they've been stealing from both the Iraqis and US taxpapers. We can start with Dick Cheney, a traitor if ever there was one.

*To clarify: The normal way you "fix" something you broke that belongs to someone else is not to sit there forever trying to physically repair it, but you give them the money so they can deal with it themselves. This, it seems to me, is the only thing we can do in Iraq - the longer we stay, the more we break, so we need to get out.

13:56 BST


I've been wondering about this for a long time - what is "deeply divided" supposed to mean when Americans overwhelmingly support a single position? I mean, at this point, there are almost more atheists in America than there are people who want to stay in Iraq - and, let's face it, the people who do want to stay in Iraq are loonies who shouldn't be allowed out.

And speaking of atheists - sort of - Amanda Marcotte reports on a shameful performance by Rep. Monique Davis (D-Stupid) who told a witness that he had "no right to be here" testifying on a church/state issue because he was apparently an atheist. Sickening.

Matt Yglesias thinks Cliff Schecter's story about McCain's abusive language toward his wife is too thinly-sourced to be taken as fact. (Thanks to Dan.)

So Cargill and Archer Daniels Midland are lobbying to make forced child labor okay. Maybe we should all be growing our own produce from now on.

Some good links here from eRobin, in particular Dean Baker's Subprime Borrower Protection Plan, and Turkana on a black American patriot who decided to serve his country and eventually became a member of his president's medical team before eventually retiring to become a religious leader. Also, Paperwight on another way you've become much less safe.

The GOP and the Blue Dogs have been murdering trade unions south of the border - and it helps to weaken workers at home, too.

Reviewing the facts about Iraq.

Media misogyny.

Susie Bright's site may not be work-safe, but I was fascinated by her Paris trip report. Yes, in many ways, Europe is much more square than you'd expect.

01:55 BST

Gotta get out

Getting closer:

"And, you know, Sen. McCain is a friend of mine, I obviously respect his service to our country," Clinton said. "But the failure of leadership here is the Bush administration. It's the failure to continue this conflict, it's the failure to recognize that there is no military solution."

And what happens if Iraq, with a U.S. drawdown, falls into "what a lot people believe is an inevitable civil war," Smith asked.

"Well, there's a low-grade civil war going on right now," Clinton said. "It's Shiite on Shiite, it's Sunni and Shiite. And I think that of course there are very difficult days ahead and the consequences are going to be challenging. But one thing we know for sure is continuing the Bush policy, the Bush-McCain policy now is not a recipe for success."

That's not bad - she put Bush and McCain together and suggested that the cost of staying is at least as bad as the cost of leaving. I would have liked a stronger, sharper statement, but that's a good start.

"What No One In America Knows: What's almost unknown in America is that al-Sadr isn't just demanding US withdrawal at the point of a gun. The Iraqis who want us to leave - ie, the great majority - have been trying to make it happen with words and the law for some time. They've followed all the rules of democracy and "won," but...we're still there." (Thanks to Bruce F.)

Juan Cole at Informed Comment: "So let us get this straight. Sayyid Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army fought off thousands of regular Iraqi army troops in Basra and Baghdad, and perhaps thousands of those troops deserted rather than fight. So the Mahdi Army won big and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki lost. Also the US military trainers of the Iraqi troops lost face." And here, Gary Kamiya interviews Cole, in Salon.

00:03 BST

Tuesday, 08 April 2008

I heard it through the grapevine

Scott Horton tells A Tale of Three Lawyers - the first of them, Matthew Diaz, has received the Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling for bravely exposing the names of some of our Disappeared (which got him imprisoned, bankrupt, jobless, and the continued victim of attempts by the administration to further destroy him). He's a hero. But John Yoo and Jim Haynes have so far escaped any punishment for the serious crimes they have aided and abetted.

The Republican Congress "gave" Michael Chertoff the power to waive laws in order to build the "security" fence, but nothing has been done yet to undo the problem. Diane suggests sending Adam Liptak's column on the subject to "every member of Congress and to every candidate running for national office in November as a fundamental primer in Constitutional Law 101." And Ruth waited for one question to be asked before writing her piece on today's Petreaus testimony. He still can't swear we're safer.

Eric Boehlert points out that the media have decided that "Americans" are no longer interested in the subject of Iraq, even though Americans have not lost interest in it.

The latest claim is that Hillary is a liar because she has been repeating a story about a woman who was denied treatment at a hospital. But Ann Kornblut says, "Clinton Told True Tale of Woe, Says Kin." Carolyn Kay reminds us that Kornblut "was the only national reporter at the time not to have been taken in by the ridiculous White House vandalism story," too.

Another way to keep people in control is to make it increasingly easy to get your children thrown into our rancid juvenile "justice" system.

Molly Ivors is outraged about John McSame's family values. Man, I'm glad I was raised by liberals.

17:04 BST

Who is the tall, dark stranger, there?

Just in case you wondered where the wingers get their phony claim that bleeding-heart liberals caused banks to have lax standards when lending to minorities, Tapped explains the supposed basis for the claim and why it is, of course, a load of old cobblers.

Early-ish yesterday I read a post by one of my favorite bloggers in which she used the phrase, "this phenomena". Later, I saw another blogger use the phrase, "a phenomena". Then just before I went to bed I saw this post containing the word "phenomenas". It's actually Big Tent Dem on how Obama and NBC managed to convince everyone that delegate counts are "the Holy Grail", but, gosh, this is getting really bad. Is it an age thing? Is it another, "I'm so old, I know the difference between 'phenomenon' and 'phenomena'," or what?

Good lord, The Editors is reporting that Jim Henley has seen the liberal light on a world court where human rights can be defended (and Bush/Cheney could be put on trial and locked up forever).

Man, McCain is such a gentleman, ain't he? Why, he's more Cheneyesque than Cheney himself.

Cinnamon is good for you.

By an amusing coincidence, it turns out I happened to mention James Garner on what happened to be his 80th birthday. Obviously, that calls for a celebration. Everybody sing along! (It also turns out his wife is named Lois Clarke, and he's a Kucinich supporter.*)

12:40 BST

Buncha links

MahaBarb, discussing the damage Mark Penn has done to Hillary Clinton, is right on why many progressives don't want to support Clinton. Six months ago, when there seemed to be an array of choices, it was easy to dismiss Clinton on numerous grounds. Of course, it was easy to dismiss Obama, too.

We know that The Blithering Idiots of the DC Establishment will oppose a genuinely sensible plan, but we really do need to get out of Iraq. All the way out of Iraq.

Jerome a Paris examines another bunch of crap from The Economist. I always thought it was strange that so many of my liberal friends thought this was an intelligent magazine.

Dean Baker wonders whether anyone at the NYT has heard of the housing bubble. And Ezra Klein examines the question of revoking John Yoo's tenure at Berkeley.

Quote: "But on Saturday, Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement: 'John McCain is not a warmonger and should not be described as such. He's a supporter of a war that Senator Obama believes should have never been authorized and never been waged.'" Yeah, he's a warmonger.

The TSA regrets the error.

Hillary Clinton, castrating bitch. (More bitches here.)

I just saw the trailer for Auntie Beeb's Medieval Season, and had to look right away to see if I could find it on YouTube - and I did. And the hi-def version is even better.

01:44 BST

Monday, 07 April 2008

Almost like spring

Do me a favor and help out Weldon Berger, who seems to be in a bit of a jam. I'm not sure what happened but it appears to have come up rather suddenly.

It's not just that the Bushistas are filling the DoJ with right-wing loonies, it's that there is an all-out assault on anyone who might help Democrats.

Grains Gone Wild - Paul Krugman says we can say good-bye to cheap food, too - and, um, the invasion of Iraq didn't help. Oh, and none of the candidates are really any good on this, either.

The Rude Pundit can't decide which part of the torture memo is the most horrifying.

Lambert says Hillary has been drawing sharp contrasts all along, while Obama continues to shut Overton's Window on our fingers. And Glen Ford says progressives have allowed themselves to be made irrelevant by giving their fealty while asking for nothing. (That last link from a very linky post at Sherry Chandler's place.)

Why didn't you ever tell me how awesome The Americanization of Emily was? Thanks to Libby, I am now horrified that I have never seen this movie. (And how did I not know that James Garner makes that wonderful speech?)

18:35 BST

Matters of interest

Ezra makes a suggestion: "Howard Gleckman isn't what you'd call a radical. As a fellow at the centrist Urban think tank and a member of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, he's about as careful as economists get. So when he surveys the current state of American capitalism and declares it "a game with which I am not familiar," people should listen, and listen closely. Capitalism, after all, isn't a state of nature. It's the system that happens when the economic rules and rewards are arranged in a certain way. One of its requirements is that those who gamble on reward also bear responsibility for risk. The question Gleckman asks is whether that rule is still in place, and if not, has anyone really thought through the implications of the change?" And I see PNH recommends the same article: "What libertarians (and the softheaded quasi-libertarian burghers of science fiction fandom, most of whom think the Economist is a voice of reason) need to learn is that capitalism is never about free markets, or in fact 'freedom' of any sort; it's about using the power of the state in order to make it easy for large amounts of capital to get together and rearrange the rules for its own convenience. 'Privatize the profits, socialize the losses' is the logical consequence of capitalism's prime directive. What we wind up with is socialism for the powerful, and tough shit for everybody else."

Lee Atwater's Diseased Patriotism Continues to Infect American Politics.

I dunno, how much faith can I have in anyone who, at this late date, can say, "I don't think anybody predicted 9/11"? Unless by it they mean, "I don't think anyone could have predicted that the United States Supreme Court would stop an election to appoint some maniacs to the presidency who would deliberately ignore the warnings of a predictable terrorist attack."

How Pregnancy Happens - This is pretty good, pass it on, show it to your kids, and everyone else.

Rachel Maddow's big night on Countdown - Sitting in for Keith through the whole show; includes golden oldie clip of Keith's explanation of how many rights we don't have left. (I'm sure that idea must've been stolen from me.)

15:07 BST

News, analysis, etc.

The other day a friend and I were debating whether Axelrod was just trying to destroy Mark Penn or whether he wanted to destroy Clinton as well for hiring Penn instead of him. I guess now that Penn has left the Clinton campaign, we might get a chance to find out.

Morons campaign against the environment.

Jamison Foser observes that the corporate media has jumped to McCain's defense: "But what is most notable about the coverage of McCain's 100-years comments is that while news organizations like the Times and the Post have rushed to McCain's defense with reports pointing out what McCain didn't say, those reports have failed to explore what he does mean. [...] Not a single article examines whether McCain's desire for a long-term military presence in Iraq similar to the presence we have in Germany and Korea is even remotely plausible."

You remember in those pre-9/11 days when we had that embarrassing screw-up with China? Lawrence Wilkerson remembers that, and other things, reports Emphyrio.

I think it would be really good if everyone would contact the big papers and networks [list] and demand to know why McCain has not yet signed on as a co-sponsor of the new GI Bill.

00:05 BST

Sunday, 06 April 2008

Sunday dinner

Roger Ailes presents a couple of prize winners.

Now bloody Newsweek trots out the image of Goldwater telling Nixon to resign or be impeached? Now? "Who will tell Hillary Clinton that the time has come to fold her tent? (Or, in a less likely scenario, Barack Obama?) It almost surely won't be Howard Dean, the head of the Democratic Party." They prescribe Rahm Emanuel. Why not just have David Axelrod do it? After all, he's been so good at everything else. (Thanks to Dan for the tip.)

Douglas Feith vs. Homer Simpson

At Liberal Oasis, a good ad from Clinton attacking McCain, unfortunately a bit late. And a strong response from Obama to questions about ending the occupation and McCain's 100 years in Iraq. (Chris Matthews is still apparently in love with Obama; if it lasts past Obama actually winning the nomination, that would be really nice.) Bill Scher suggested in the first segment of his radio show that Obama is ready to bring up real contrasts between himself and McCain, which may be the best case I've heard for him yet.

19:17 BST

A brief trawl

I woke up and it was snowing. It didn't really stick, of course, but for a few hours it was fun to look out the window and see the flakes flowing down. April. Figures.

Ruth and Diane had a big Foreign Policy Day over at Cab Drollery, with Diane on Bush and Putin and on Condi and Israel, and Ruth on North Korea and nukes - or, really, just a round-up of bad diplomacy.

"Blackwater is Special [...] Because nothing is greater proof of a nation's sovereignty than allowing foreign corporations from an occupying foreign power to be immune from local laws." (Also: If you're happy and you know it, vote McCain!)

Rah! Fred Clark has returned to explain the Passionate sincerity in Left Behind. Missed you while you were moving, Fred.

Down in comments*, Mithras incorrectly assumes that I meant that Hillary will be the nominee when I said that, "If Obama can't get his campaign to discourage this crap, we will lose in November, and it won't be the Clintons' fault." But of course, I am, like most people, assuming that Obama will be the nominee, since that's what the current calculus appears to indicate - although not as strongly as certain people would like to maintain. (See this comment, too.) No, the point is that if Obama is the nominee, he's not going to make it over the finish line without help from the entire party, and his campaign has a lot of fences to mend. He's the man riding the Unity Pony, so he'd better start showing he can make it work in his own party or it's going to be an even more unconvincing story come November.

13:34 BST

Out of the fever

Lunaire Versailles seamfree jacquard underwired braBra of the Week

And thanks to jody in paris for alerting me to this bra. I don't think I'll be trying that one on.

Top 10 Darrell Issa Hall of Shame Moments

Certain Democratic frontrunners should be taking note of Krugman's "Voodoo Health Economics" article, and particularly this point: "Sure enough, Mr. McCain wants to privatize and, in effect, dismantle the V.A. Naturally, this destructive agenda comes wrapped in the flag: 'America's veterans have fought for our freedom,' says the McCain Web site. 'We should give them freedom to choose to carry their V.A. dollars to a provider that gives them the timely care at high quality and in the best location.'"

"Liberal blogosphere or Bush administration hack: Who would you trust?" I'd trust Athenae all day long when it comes to the subject of Doug "stupidest man alive" Feith.

One minute I want to smack Bill Maher, and the next minute he says something smart about the primaries.

Chris Floyd follows the money.

If I hadn't been in a coma, I would have suggested to people listening to Rachel's Thursday show before it was replaced, but it turns out never to have been posted on the free stream anyway, so the only way you could hear it is via their paid subscriptions. Which is a shame, because she did a terrific interview with a furious Louse Slaughter, who had finally received the report on our troops' armor that she'd requested two years ago. That report told us yet more about just how well Republicans support our troops. (However, the last one up has Rachel's fine rant on the torture memos, so you might still want to click to listen.)

An ironic coincidence of anniversaries, and the history of that song.

Not photoshopped.

Live from the courthouse lawn - the Flying Spaghetti Monster (and colleagues). (via)

02:05 BST

Saturday, 05 April 2008

Shock and awe

Jonathan Turley was on Countdown the other night explaining to Keith Olbermann that there is no legal leg to stand on in the Yoo memos on torture. Sam Seder, sitting in on the Randi Rhodes show, said,

I've had this theory...that following the 2000 election, the decision by the Supreme Court was so contrary to every legal precept - to stop the counting in Florida - that it shocked the vast majority of our legal establishment - like, literally traumatized them... [Lawyers]... perceive the law to be a higher calling. They perceive the law to be the linchpin of society, the thing that holds it together, the thing that is immutable - not the law itself, because the law does evolve - but it's place in society, the notion that ...we are a country of laws, and not a country of men, that the power of the law, the rule of law, is immutable in this country ... and when the Supreme Court - because there was nobody, if you go back and look at the press reports, you could not find a single lawyer or a single commentator - nobody thought the Supreme Court was going to handle that case. Nobody. The right wing didn't, nobody thought - nobody could imagine they would be that nakedly political. ... And I'm convinced that 11 months later, the legal establishment of this country still had not regained their footing from this unbelievable act.
(You can hear that here [.mp3 - discussion of torture starts around the 95 minute mark] - and if you do, kick in a few bucks to The White Rose Society if you can.)

Glenn Greenwald on the establishment:

Here are the number of times, according to NEXIS, that various topics have been mentioned in the media over the past thirty days:

"Yoo and torture" - 102

"Mukasey and 9/11" -- 73

"Yoo and Fourth Amendment" -- 16

"Obama and bowling" -- 1,043

"Obama and Wright" -- More than 3,000 (too many to be counted)

"Obama and patriotism" - 1,607

"Clinton and Lewinsky" -- 1,079


Every day, it becomes more difficult to blame George Bush, Dick Cheney and comrades for their seven years (and counting) of crimes, corruption and destruction of our political values. Think about it this way: if you were a high government official and watched as -- all in a couple of weeks time -- it is revealed, right out in the open, that you suspended the Fourth Amendment, authorized torture, proclaimed yourself empowered to break the law, and sent the nation's top law enforcement officer to lie blatantly about how and why the 9/11 attacks happened so that you could acquire still more unchecked spying power and get rid of lawsuits that would expose what you did, and the political press in this country basically ignored all of that and blathered on about Obama's bowling score and how he eats chocolate, wouldn't you also conclude that you could do anything you want, without limits, and know there will be no consequences? What would be the incentive to stop doing all of that?

I've probably heard of The Guantánamo Blog without checking out before, but here it is.

21:55 BST


No use being in denial anymore, but this isn't a cold, it's the 'flu. So I've been sleeping a lot and feeling out of it the rest of the time. Strangely, this makes it really hard to blog. And then I go to my favorite blogs and have to scroll down through lots of sports and cats just to find a substantive post of the sort I like to read and link to. Maybe that's why I keep falling asleep.

Before I fell into my coma, I was going to link with venom to a stupid Michael Gerson piece in the WaPo in which he revives some lies about why Bob Casey was not invited to speak at the '92 Democratic convention, and walks out some more lies about what makes "abortion extremism", but fortunately, Scott Lemieux has done it all for me.

Scott linked to this Bob Somerby post which starts, but doesn't stop, with that Gerson article. Somerby goes on to talk about the narratives that accompany the Clintons wherever they go, particularly in the press corps. These days, though, they have escaped out into the same blogosphere that used to exist largely to stamp out these lies. Gerson was going after Obama in that article, but Gene Robinson is going with the "Clintons will do or say anything to win" story, despite the fact that there is no evidence for it.

Maybe I'm more sensitive to this because I never loved the Clintons all that much, but I could see what the conservatives/Republicans were doing to the Clintons in the '90s, and I knew which side of that I was on. The fact that the same falsehoods about the Clintons are now showing up in the supposedly-progressive threads of supposedly-progressive blogs/sites isn't making me feel good. Of course Clinton's supporters are horrified by it - as a non-Clinton supporter, I'm horrified by it, too. Destroying the Clintons does not help the party, and will do it serious harm in November. If Obama can't get his campaign to discourage this crap, we will lose in November, and it won't be the Clintons' fault.

16:14 BST

Always a sliver lining

Noam Chomsky finds the bright side in Iraq, pointing out that, "Both Parties well to the right of the population on major issues," which means that the rest of us are to the left of them. (When I moved to England, people used to talk about how the US had "a right-wing party and a far right-wing party", but that was before the Tories took over Labour.)

Thing is, it's not just us pampered, liberal Americans who have those left-wing values about, y'know, not wanting to be bombed out of your home or dragged from your bed by the secret police. For example:

The December 2007 report did not mention other good news: Iraqis appear to accept the highest values of Americans, which should be gratifying. Specifically, they accept the principles of the Nuremberg Tribunal that sentenced Nazi war criminals to hanging for such crimes as supporting aggression and preemptive war-the main charge against Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop, whose position in the Nazi regime corresponded to that of Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. The Tribunal defined aggression clearly enough: "invasion of its armed forces" by one state "of the territory of another state." The invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan are textbook examples, if words have meaning. The Tribunal went on to define aggression as "the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." In the case of Iraq, the murderous sectarian violence and ethnic cleansing, the destruction of the national culture and the irreplaceable treasures of the origins of Western civilization under the eyes of "stuff happens"-Rumsfeld and his associates, and every other crime and atrocity as the inheritors of the Mongols have followed the path of imperial Japan.

Since Iraqis attribute the accumulated evil of the whole primarily to the invasion, it follows that they accept the core principle of Nuremberg. Presumably, they were not asked whether their acceptance of American values extended to the conclusion of the chief prosecutor for the United States, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, who forcefully insisted that the Tribunal would be mere farce if we do not apply its principles to ourselves.

Needless to say, U.S. elite opinion, shared with the West generally, flatly rejects the lofty American values professed at Nuremberg, indeed regards them as bordering on obscene. All of this provides an instructive illustration of some of the reality that lies behind the famous "clash of civilizations."

A January poll by World Learning/Aspen Institute found that "75 percent of Americans believe U.S. foreign policy is driving dissatisfaction with America abroad and more than 60 percent believe that dislike of American values (39 percent) and of the American people (26 percent) is also to blame." The perception is inaccurate, fed by propaganda. There is little dislike of Americans, and dissatisfaction abroad does not derive from "dislike of American values," but rather from acceptance of these values and recognition that they are rejected by the U.S. government and elite opinion.

That's certainly my experience. As long as no one thinks you're a Republican, you're just treated like a normal person.

Go read the whole thing. (Thanks to Bruce F.)

12:58 BST

Friday, 04 April 2008

I saw this

The New York Times notices something's wrong - "There Were Orders to Follow: "You can often tell if someone understands how wrong their actions are by the lengths to which they go to rationalize them. It took 81 pages of twisted legal reasoning to justify President Bush's decision to ignore federal law and international treaties and authorize the abuse and torture of prisoners. Eighty-one spine-crawling pages in a memo that might have been unearthed from the dusty archives of some authoritarian regime and has no place in the annals of the United States. It is must reading for anyone who still doubts whether the abuse of prisoners were rogue acts rather than calculated policy." They're also pumping for Rush Holt's bill for a voter-verified "paper record" of votes, completely missing the point that such a thing should properly be what's known as a "ballot", and that it doesn't matter what a piece of paper the machine gives you says if the machine is counting to a different drum and no one is eye-balling the ballots themselves to make sure the count is correct.

It's not socialism when Republicans do it - but kelly b has an idea of what a real economic fix would look like. (via)

Hauling off America - We're a scrap-metal palace, now.

Whenever you hear someone talk about how the media is always trying to get big stories (and that's why the piddling little story you think is important just doesn't get any ink or airplay), remember this: "I can hardly believe the fact that, apart from the courtroom participants, only Memphis TV reporter Wendell Stacy and I attended from beginning to end this historic three-and-one-half week trial. Because of journalistic neglect scarcely anyone else in this land of ours even knows what went on in it. After critical testimony was given in the trial's second week before an almost empty gallery, Barbara Reis, U.S. correspondent for the Lisbon daily Publico who was there several days, turned to me and said, 'Everything in the U.S. is the trial of the century. O.J. Simpson's trial was the trial of the century. Clinton's trial was the trial of the century. But this is the trial of the century, and who's here?'"

I never could stand Donna Brazile.

I hate this cold, I can't stay awake.

21:02 BST

Open windows

Diane says her computer seems to be dead - but there's no PayPal button at Cab Drollery to direct people to. Not sure what to do about this. Meanwhile, Ruth has a post up, and it's hard to believe that some people think Alan Greenspan bears no responsibility for the mortgage mess.

Buying Republican votes with FEMA money - that is, with your money. (Thanks to apikoros.)

John Conyers et al. have written to Mukasey to ask him if he was making it all up and whether he really believes all of the obviously untrue things he said about how the law works.

Legislate In Haste, Repent At Leisure - Congress was panicked into passing a lot of weird legislation after 9/11, but does anyone remember what it was supposed to be for? Not judging by how it's being used.

Hillary Clinton asks the people of NC to talk to her about issues.

Tribute to a NOLA blogger - Ashley Morris, RIP.

Lance Mannion and Susie Madrak are talking about why Rocky didn't lose.

Yes, I had pretty much this reaction when I saw that Feiffer cartoon.

One thing you can say for Gravel, he doesn't pull back from the strangeness. (via)

13:22 BST

Eddies of power

Jonathan Schwarz clarifies for us the threat of WMD held by other nations: "A good example is in this little-known January, 2001 memo from Donald Rumsfeld. As you see, Rumsfeld is concerned "regional powers" possessing WMD. But the problem isn't that they'll use them to attack us in a first strike, but rather that WMD will allow them to deter us and therefore deny us "access" to rest of the planet." Also, Tom Tomorrow on neocon regrets. (And, gosh, Feiffer is back at the voice?)

Ted Rall says, "Don't Move On. Start Over - Next Prez Must Make Bush an Unperson: Bush v. Gore gave us an illegitimate president. Bush presided over an outlaw government. If we sit on our asses, as we've done since that weird, soul-crushing day in late December of 2000, illegality will be hardwired into the U.S. government. The country itself will become, like the Soviet Union and its wonderful freedom-guaranteeing constitution, a caricature of itself. "What is the difference between the Constitutions of the USA and USSR? Both guarantee freedom of speech," the old Russian joke went. "Yes, but the Constitution of the USA also guarantees freedom after the speech." A gangster regime presiding over the trappings of law and order is a vicious joke-illegitimate and ultimately doomed."

Glenn Greenwald has more about Mukasey's lie and the refusal of 9/11 Commission members to respond to questions about it, and a lot of useful links (including some for contacting relevant people. It might also be worth your while to listen while you can to his second discussion on Rachel Maddow's show of this subject [Dynamic link to most recent show]. I don't know why they keep saying that it's either that Mukasey is lying or that we were left unprotected on 9/11 by an administration that couldn't be bothered to protect us, since it's obvious that both of these things are true. Let's not gloss over Operation Ignore, shall we? Yes, we know the Bush administration started spying on Americans illegally pretty much as soon as they got into office - but they were never interested in stopping terrorism, before or after 9/11.

00:59 BST

Thursday, 03 April 2008

Almost awake

Richard Blair at All Spin Zone is looking at progressive blogs and notes that there seems to be a decline in hits on Obama-partisan sites - or at least on Americablog and MyDD. I'm looking at my own stats over the last month, and it's hard to tell because for half of it I've been offline or had guests or given a party or whatever, in addition to having this cold that makes me sleepy a lot. But given all that, I still seem to be getting more or less the same traffic when I'm actually awake and posting, and over the last few months I'd say traffic is a bit higher.

TomDispatch has Howard Zinn, "Empire or Humanity? What the Classroom Didn't Teach Me About the American Empire: Have not the justifications for empire, embedded in our culture, assaulting our good sense -- that war is necessary for security, that expansion is fundamental to civilization -- begun to lose their hold on our minds? Have we reached a point in history where we are ready to embrace a new way of living in the world, expanding not our military power, but our humanity?"

"How Long Does Good Sex Last?" Depends on how you define "sex", I guess. Oh, you mean intercourse. Hm. I liked the commenter who said, "Seriously, I thought the article was going to say, 'Three years, five with no kids.'"

Randi Rhodes suspended for over-the-top Hillary-hating, Sam Seder sitting in.

22:04 BST

Later that day...

Bernard Chazelle on Saving the American Left: The Case for a New Progressive Creed: "True, as a drive for free markets, globalization, deregulation, privatization, elimination of economic distortions, deunionization, and market-driven policymaking, neoliberalism is no more a theory of social justice than greed is a theory of property rights. It did not supplant the progressive creed so much as let it shrivel into a mere quest for decency-a noble pursuit to be sure, but one that is doomed without a set of principles to guide it. It's not enough to have your heart in the right place: your brain, and especially your will, must be there, too. [...] The perspective from the left is one of justice, not charity. Note how the direction is reversed. Charity is centrifugal: it proceeds from us toward the outer fringes of society. Justice is centripetal: it starts at the periphery and pulls back toward us. Society must care for the disadvantaged not because they are the Other but precisely because they are not." (Thanks to Bruce F. for the tip.)

Diane on gutting the news: "When a large corporation has a bad quarter and loses a lot of money, employees can pretty much count on one thing: cost cutting measures that involve lay-offs and outright terminations. And those lay-offs and terminations will not involve people at the upper management level, but rather those employees who do the actual work to provide the product or service the corporation is selling. The country's news organizations, which are, after all, large corporations, operate the same way..." Anna has a good first-person observation in the first comment.

I seem to have a very strange cold. It's messin' with me.

18:50 BST

It's no secret

Just like old times - For those of us who remember what it was like before there was any sex education, it's a real thrill knowing that we're getting the same effect now by spending billions of dollars to do what we used to do for nothing. No, it's not; it's heartbreaking. This is what I've spent my entire adult life trying to get rid of, and it once looked like we were getting somewhere with it, but now we have this same crap again.

Julia warns that the enemy of your enemy might not be your friend after Ron Fournier breaks from his previous laudatory coverage of Obama mixed with Hillary-trashing to declare that, "both Obama and his wife, Michelle, ooze a sense of entitlement."

Yikes: "Our office recently concluded that the Fourth Amendment had no application to domestic military operations," the footnote states, referring to a document titled "Authority for Use of Military Force to Combat Terrorist Activities Within the United States."

On April 1st, the joke was on the people of Wisconsin, who didn't know what they were losing.

Discussions of Glenn Greenwald's new book, Great American Hypocrites: Toppling the Big Myths of Republican Politics, by Matt Stoller, Digby, and Jane Hamsher.

Sacred Life Form at Cab Drollery.

Oooh! Ahhh! Wow....

Listen to the Jefferson Airplane live at the Calliope Warehouse, San Francisco, 1965. (And there's more.)

04:33 BST

Wednesday, 02 April 2008

Staring at screens

I didn't even know that the WSJ had a health blog, but it should be no surprise that they got the whole Doctor of Nursing Practice degree thing wrong. Annie offers corrections.

Michael Bérubé reports on the Obama Lama problem. (Thanks to David W.)

Back in 1967, someone named Arthur Miller (no relation) wrote an article on the dangers of giant national data bases to personal privacy, published in The Atlantic. It was a real find for a poster at Modern Mechanix - as Cory Doctorow agrees, it got everything right, and could easily have been written today.

How to Disagree. Also, we could all use one of these. (via)

Neat photo of the South Bank.

22:43 BST

Walking on nails

Prisoner 53 - an innocent detainee, free after five years as an "enemy combatant", from 60 Minutes.

Sifu Tweety says, "Lying got us into this mess, lying'll get us out of it: So, since nobody actually understands the risk that banks (and fakey non-banks like Bear Stearns) are taking holding mortgage backed securities, the current plan is just to, like, punt, and make up a value for those assets? One which will keep the stock price up? Again, not an economist, but that seems like great thinking to me."

A Vast Right ...No, Left. Wait,...No, More Sorta Rightish, Kinda Leftish -Wing Conspiracy - TBogg finds a "life-long Democrat" who sounds remarkably like a Republican operative, ripe with "proof" that Hillary tried to prevent the impeachment of Richard Nixon.

It looks like Obama got the message about campaigning against John McCain. And Clinton is campaigning on issues: "The latest reports have her detailing a plan to create jobs while rebuilding our infrastructure. Without getting into any debate on the plan itself, this is the sort of campaigning that helps the party and makes a much more compelling case for her remaining in the race for the long term." (Also: Legitimacy and Motivation in Iraq.)

Iranian Who Brokered Ceasefire Is On U.S. Terror List.

You know, I really should be running for president. For one thing, I'm not in favor of more murder and mayhem. For another, I have never performed so poorly in a bowling alley, even when I was a little kid. 37! How?

Patrick's trip to Amsterdam, with photos. (More here.)

19:13 BST

Never discuss religion or politics

I have historically tended to avoid writing very much about Israel, because the subject seemed to turn normally sane people into raving lunatics. Of course, that was before the concept of WMD in Iraq turned normally sane people nuts, and then the Democratic primaries turned people nuts. So, I wonder how dangerous it is to post a link to a piece from Eli that includes both Obama and Hamas.

John Yoo's Memo - He just threw out everything going back to George Washington, on the theory that war nullified all the rules - even though those rules were formulated in war. (Also: A useful review of Mistakes Were Made, reminding us that disagreeing with you doesn't make the other person a Bad Guy.)

Flying Spaghetti Monster takes up residence at county courthouse - right in there with cross and nativity scenes in front of the Cumberland County Courthouse in Tennessee. Plus! What if Charles Schulz created the Watchmen?

16:19 BST

Truth or dare

Logan Murphy on Mukasey's lies: "Mukasey claimed that the U.S. received a phone call from a terrorist safe house in Afghanistan prior to 9/11, but couldn't trace the call because the FISA laws were too restrictive - which is, of course, a lie. Mukasey was a Federal Judge, he knows that. Olbermann says that someone in the House or Senate needs to haul the Attorney General in and question him and find out whether he was lying to make a political point, or if the Bush administration really did receive such a call and chose not to act on it, leaving the country vulnerable to attack." And video of Rachel and Keith, too.

Editorial in The Washington Post on Ignoring the Supreme Court: "THE BUSH administration never had any intention of doing what the Supreme Court commanded it to do a year ago today: regulate greenhouse gas emissions. We infer this because, even though President Bush ordered his agencies last May to work together to meet the court's directive, and even though the Environmental Protection Agency delivered to the White House last December its finding that those pollutants endanger public welfare, a prerequisite for regulation, EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson announced last week a plan to seek public input starting in the spring on how best to limit the emissions. Translation: punt to the next administration. This giant step backward is the starkest example yet of the chasm between the words and deeds of Mr. Bush on climate change." No, it isn't - there is a very long and much starker list, with this as with everything else. He's already spent years weakening state laws protecting the environment, fought them tooth and nail. And that's just on the environment. There's also "freedom", "democracy", "humble". (Oh, and I hear Jesus is his favorite philosopher, too - that'd be for his philosophy of enriching the rich while impoverishing everyone else, starting wars, and being out only for himself.) But it's nice of you to notice.

The presidency is no place to resolve the emotional baggage of your youth. And McCain has lots of baggage. (But be sure that you aren't working out the baggage of your youth, either - whether it's being an angry feminist or an irritated post-boomer.)

13:47 BST

A little night linkage

Ruth provides some expert witness on making legislation happen.

In the Rolling Stone, Ben Walle-Wells on "Destiny's Child: No candidate since Robert F. Kennedy has sparked as much campaign-trail heat as Barack Obama. But can the one-term senator craft a platform to match his charisma?"

Via Atrios, David Kurtz at TPM on The Admiral That Can't Shoot Straight: "It doesn't take much to gain a reputation in Washington as a straight-shooter, and it takes a lot to lose it. Adm. Mike McConnell came in as the Director of National Intelligence with a rep for being professional and non-partisan, a calling card the Bush Administration has put to its own uses."

At last, someone is seriously campaigning against John McCain, and on healthcare no less. It's...Elizabeth Edwards.

The NYT still has amnesia over anti-invasion protests all over the world.

The Rude one gives Wal-Mart the treatment.

Caro wonders whether the Republicans are screwing with the Dem primaries even more than we've realized.

New Baptist John McCain Returns to His Old Episcopal High School. (And a useful t-shirt.)

02:45 BST

Tuesday, 01 April 2008


Fafblog! It's back!

(Thanks to Anna for the heads-up.)

18:37 BST

Expecting to fly

Get rich quick: Start a religion with a school attached in Florida, where Jeb Bush's friends are still trying to crash the wall between church and state: "Last week the commission proposed an amendment that would let religious institutions get state funding, overturning a ban that has been in place for over a century. The proposal, which got the minimum 17 votes required to send it to the statewide ballot in November, needs 60 percent voter approval to pass."

George W. Bush acknowledges the taste of bread.

Heh: "Clinton was the only top-tier candidate to refuse the ultimate Iowa and New Hampshire pander by removing her name from the Michigan ballot. That makes her essentially the de facto winner since Edwards and Obama, caving to the cry babies in Iowa and New Hampshire, took their name off Michigan's ballot. Sure, the DNC has stripped Michigan of its delegates, but that won't last through the convention. The last thing Democrats can afford is to alienate swing states like Michigan and Florida by refusing to seat their delegates. So while Obama and Edwards kneecap their chances of winning, Clinton is single-mindedly focused on the goal." - Kos, in January. Via Suburban Guerrilla. Also, how insurance companies are clogging up Social Security. And this would explain a lot about some of the dumber bloggers and trolls on the net.

Texas: where strip clubs with underage dancers don't get shut down, but where you can't buy a damn vibrator.

Welcome to the Richard B. Cheney Autopsy Room for Service Members, and another lost decade.

Political Lunch TV

17:40 BST

Notes and notices

Digby has a good, long post discussing what she meant at Eschacon when she talked about the liberal blogosphere as being at war with the corporate media. She's responding in part to a post by Jay Rosen who, strangely, didn't get what this means. But Digby is right - we have always been here as a response to the failure of the media, and our efforts to heave a great big heaping reality check at them has in many ways had the character of a metaphorical war.

I already linked this Krugman re-post on Social Security, but I wanted to quote one paragraph again. After explaining that Social Security continues to have enough money in the trust fund even after its income from payroll taxes becomes lower than its payouts to recipients (because it continues to collect interest on its huge and growing surplus, which keeps it flush), he says: "Now it's true that rising benefit costs will be a drag on the federal budget. So will rising Medicare costs. So will the ongoing drain from tax cuts. So will whatever wars we get into. I can't find a story under which Social Security payments, as opposed to other things, become a crucial budgetary problem in 2018."

Obama on sex ed - Jeff Fecke says that, given political reality, Obama gave a decent response. It wasn't bad. (Still could have been better, but then you'd need someone like me to give him the big lecture - or write his material.)

The Talking Dog seconds Zuzu on Why calling out misogyny matters.

Dating Tips from Wingnut Bloggers

Cernig and the gang have moved Newshoggers to a new address.

14:20 BST

Floating into view

Scott Horton on Gitmo and the G.O.P. Election Effort: "In Karl Rove's playbook, no turf is free from politics. The more sacred and by tradition the more beyond the political fray, the better suited for partisan grist. National security, for instance. The military. Foreign conflicts. So why not stage-manage the prosecution of terrorists as a media spectacle to serve as a thematic backdrop for the upcoming presidential campaign?" (via)

Lance Mannion on how Bush's economic rescue plan is just Further attempts to give the store away.

"As Jobs Vanish and Prices Rise, Food Stamp Use Nears Record: Driven by a painful mix of layoffs and rising food and fuel prices, the number of Americans receiving food stamps is projected to reach 28 million in the coming year, the highest level since the aid program began in the 1960s." (via)

Adam Gadahn II - This guy sounds even flakier than the first one, and less real.

Hm, Jack Straw wants to switch the voting system in Britain to the alternate ballot, but a lot of people don't like that idea.

The Booze Test. Hm, I know an awful lot about booze for a person who does so little drinking. (via)

01:12 BST

Avedon Carol at The Sideshow, April 2008

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