The Sideshow

Archive for February 2008

Check box to open new browser windows for links.

Friday, 29 February 2008

In and out of rain

Stupid Hillary ad - One of the main problems with Hillary's entire "experience" thing, which is the basis of her whole campaign against Obama, is that it works even better as an ad for John McCain. "Experience" also translates as "old" and "been in Washington for a long time" - both negatives for substantial parts of the voting public. Another problem is that we already know she was in Washington for the last 15 years - but so what? A lot of ghastly people who shouldn't be there at all have been there even longer. So why spend millions of dollars telling people something they already know? Hillary does have some positives that are special to Hillary Clinton, but she isn't really concentrating on them - and that's been a big mistake all along.

Taylor Marsh (here and here) says she believes the story about someone from Obama's team telling the Canadian embassy not to worry about all the anti-NAFTA talk is true, but Ron doesn't agree. Big Tent Democrat believes it but believes it is a good thing about Obama. SusanUnPC believes the story and says it is consistent with Obama's record that he supports trade agreements that hurt American workers. (Apparently, Clinton voted for an amendment to protect Americans that Obama voted against.) (via)

Bush deplores the idea of meeting with leaders who put people in prison because of their political beliefs because it sends a bad message. 'Cause, like, he'd never do that.

This is a really interesting experiment in expectations and self-fulfilling prophecy that should offer plenty of food for thought for...well, a lot of things. (Of course, self-fulfilling prophecy only goes so far....)

23:38 GMT

Buttered popcorn

Fred Clark discusses subsidiarity with one of his commenters:

"It's once you recognize government as being generally inefficient, and less responsive to the needs of its constituents the further it is removed from them, that you start to think that governmental interference should be the last resort, not the first, and by that point you have become a libertarian."
Actually, by that point you have become Pope Pius XI.
That's a follow-up to an earlier post about a certain libertarian argument.

More on prisons, from Dday at Hullabaloo: "Nothing makes a local legislator smile more than being able to go back to his home district and tell them that he or she just passed a bill to protect their children. It's a bipartisan problem, this disease of having to be seen as "Tough on Crime." But the electoral benefits are just a segment of this. The real issue is the rise of the prison-industrial complex, which at the state level is approaching the power of the military-industrial complex at the national level. For many towns in America, building a prison is tantamount to building a factory in the 1950s. Without a solid manufacturing base, having a stable industry that can create jobs, both inside the prison and in the ancillary businesses catering to it (food and lodging for visitors and support services for families, for example), is very compelling." Of course, the money for all this comes from your taxes, and is a really inefficient way to create jobs. It's breaking state governments, in fact, while doing remarkably little to improve the overall economic situation. Wouldn't it be good if we could go back to making things?

And more still from Bean at LG&M: "Besides being racist, our prison policy is counterproductive. It doesn't ensure community safety. It's crushingly expensive. It doesn't "rehabilitate" people. And as Marie Gottschalk argues in her book The Prison and the Gallows, prisons have become our alternative social "safety net" -- how we deal with social problems like poverty that we don't have the political will to actually address. Instead of providing social services and restructuring our educational system, we lock people up."

We used to be the "Land of the free and the home of the brave", but now that we're sniveling yellabellies who cower in terror because somewhere out there is a Mooslim fanatic!!!!!!11! so we need to throw our freedoms away, and since no one will own up to "Slaves to fear", we need a new motto. (Thanks to beb for the tip.)

Dostoyevsky Comics.

19:21 GMT

Things we read today

Not so glad all over: Mike Smith, who stood up to play his Farfisa (and usually sing lead) with the Dave Clark Five, has died of pneumonia at 64. Here they are when they were young and pretty, doing one of my old favorites, "Because". And Mike in 2003 doing a medley of DC5 hits.

I know eriposte likes Clinton, but I can't remember seeing anyone else ever say that "she gets it". Of course, it then occurred to me that I can't remember seeing a post that said, "Obama gets it," either. Feel free to give me your links. I'm resigned to the fact that one of these two people is going to be the nominee, but right now I don't have enough reasons to be happy if it's Obama, and it looks like that may well be the case. Help me out, here. (And more on their positions on mercenaries.)

Watch Bush lying about FISA and trying to claim that defending your civil rights is just an evil plot by money-grubbing "trial lawyers". What a reprehensible little creep. (Also: C&L's Buddy Miles tribute.)

Thank goodness we have been spared an independent presidential campaign by Mike Bloomberg. It's amazing how much these "independent", "non-partisan" types sound just like Republicans do when they're trying to pretend they aren't.

So, our military's new mission is...nation-building.

Hillary took a swipe at those untaxed hedge fund managers last week, and I didn't even notice.


17:16 GMT

Prison planet

I thought this was old news until I heard Mr. Sideshow exclaiming over it this morning. Yes, America is the great Prison Planet, where one in every 100 adults is incarcerated: "Incarceration rates are even higher for some groups. One in 36 Hispanic adults is behind bars, based on Justice Department figures for 2006. One in 15 black adults is, too, as is one in nine black men between the ages of 20 and 34." This is not about an increase in criminality, but an increase in legislation that leads to arrests and to long-term incarcerations. The disproportionate numbers of blacks and Spanish-speaking people imprisoned is partly about poverty but even more about the targetting of particular neighborhoods and particular communities for arrest. Some people will tell you it's a drug problem, but it is really a police problem. I've been referring to it as "The War on Some Drugs", but I noticed recently someone referring to it as "The War on Some People Who Use Some Drugs", which is perhaps more accurate; after all, it's not as if more blacks than whites are using cocaine, but more blacks are in jail for it. Nevertheless, the drug war affects everyone as the police now have more and more power to assault, arrest, and frame people for any old reason at all, including "respectable" people. Parts of our cities are like occupied territories, but even white, middle-class housewives are starting to complain about an increasingly arrogant and out of control police culture. And yet, few politicians in Washington have the guts to demand that we put a stop to all this. America is not a better place for having become a society where the authorities are at war with the vast majority of the populace.

Glenn Greenwald is staying on McCain's ass for embracing anti-Catholic bigot Pastor John Hagee. Bill Donahue is also enraged, but for some strange reason the corporate media doesn't seem as interested in his dyspepsia over this as they were when he faced the perilous threat of Melissa and Amanda, so Glenn has interviewed him instead.

So, Comcast kept net neutrality advocates out of hearings in Boston by packing the room with people they'd pulled off the streets and paid to take up space. (And in PA, it's no surprise to learn, Arlen Specter is in the bag for Comcast.) (via)

16-year-old Iraqi blogger Sunshine is waiting for something to work, but still has hope. "I didn't know how much Iraq means to me, until I saw It destroyed." (via)

Well, I had no idea that Lea Delaria sings.

12:55 GMT

Housebound blogging

The drugs are nice but I still can't get dressed. How long did it take your strained intercostal muscle to heal?

It's A Jungle Out There - Amanda has written a book.

Skippy is right about this. Even I sometimes have trouble with my willingness to believe the worst of Clinton or her campaign, but it's amazing how much of this stuff is (a) totally untrue and (b) nevertheless taken as true by people who really ought to know better. (And did two people actually get arrested for holding up a sign? Jeez.)

There's been some kind of a rumor-run on whether Obama or Clinton called the Canadian embassy to reassure them that they shouldn't take anti-NAFTA talk too seriously, but there doesn't seem to be anything to it. However, John McCain is taking the opportunity to make bizarre claims about the wonderfulness of NAFTA (scroll to bottom), and even tries to claim that protectionism caused WWII.

Michael Bérubé explains where Obama went wrong in his response to Tim Russert's important question. (Thanks to eRobin for the tip.)

Steve M. says at least the White Nationalists appreciated Buckley for what he was.

Boy, Tim Russert really pissed Charles Pierce off.

Thanks to Alan Braggins for alerting me to "The Subprime Primer" (or how subprime mortgages work, in 45 stick figure slides). Also, this.

I just heard that Matt Gonzales has agreed to be on Nader's ticket. Yikes.

Cuba in a Nutshell

Suzie Bright on abortion, robot sex, and snatch, at her may-not-be-work-safe blog.

01:22 GMT

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Links for dinner

Sam Seder interviewed Samantha Power on last night's Randi Rhodes Show [.mp3]. I found it...dismaying. Power has been pretty good in the past, but now she's Obama's foreign policy maven and I wonder what it means when she talks about the idea that progressives allegedly have that if we pull out of Iraq everything will be "okay for Iraqis." Have you heard people saying everything will be okay for Iraqis if we pull out of Iraq? Everyone I know thinks that no matter what we do, there is and will be continuing bloodshed for some time to come, but at least if we pull out we won't be spending billions of dollars contributing to the bloodbath, our troops won't be getting damaged and killed, and we might be able to repair some of the damage to our military and our position in the world. And once we are out, the Iraqis will at least have the opportunity to begin the process of adapting to a post-occupation environment. That's no small thing, but it's not utopia, either.

Given that the IRS is now investigating churches where there are anti-war sermons, for "political" activity, not to mention investigating the UCC because Obama spoke at it once, one would hope that openly endorsing McCain would be considered worthy of their interest. Bet it's not, though. And, my, aren't these people nasty - is Farrakhan really any worse? (The last I looked, I heard he'd moderated his positions, unlike these right-wing preachers who seem to descend lower and lower into the hateful muck they trade on.)

Another example of creepy program to let the authorities violate our privacy without a warrant is Boston's "Safe Homes" initiative, in which the cops apparently come to your door and ask if they can helpfully search your house to see if your kid is hiding a gun. (Also: Doesn't Obama know why using mercenaries is a terrible idea? No wonder folks like Matt Gonzales don't want to climb on board.)

Your questions answered: Lindsey Graham: Stupid or Evil?

RIP Buddy Miles, dead of congestive heart failure at the age of 60. Here he is with The Electric Flag on "Killing Floor".

17:51 GMT

Food for thought

I'll offer my expertise as someone who has been in debates all over Britain at universities and on broadcast shows for the last 19 years: Yes, I know exactly what Hillary meant, because I always choose to let my opposition speak before me if I possibly can; that's the rebuttal position, and you get to have the last word. When he opened up by giving the questions first to Hillary three times in a row, Russert was giving Obama an advantage right out of the gate. Unfortunately, most people wouldn't have realized that, and therefore it was a mistake for her to mention it. A lot of her comments seem to have confused people because she's seeing things others don't see and there isn't room to explain them, which means it's more of a hindrance than a help to mention them at all.

Diane says the Supremes have issued the second decision in the group of age discrimination cases, and that this time it is a clearer victory for the plaintiffs.

I'm getting tired of people who make their money moving money around telling the rest of us we need to shut up about how bad the economy is for us because it might hurt their games. Yes, a depression will hurt everyone, but they should have thought of that before they decided to rob everyone blind.

I realize others may not feel, as I did, that calling Buckley a long-time Lieberman supporter was itself a strong condemnation of him, but just in case it didn't hit your sweet spot, Patrick and Tristero do the honors.

I hesitate to post this link. I offer it as a data point that many older supporters of the civil rights movement see this race a bit differently than some other people do.

13:59 GMT

Chrome-colored clothes you wear 'cause you have no other

Periodically I like to point out that one really big reason why I regard the anti-abortion position as an anti-life position is that bans on abortion actually lead to more unwanted pregnancies and thus more abortions - but these are illegal abortions and therefore more likely to lead to the deaths of the mothers. Fortunately for me, Chris Floyd is covering the issue this week, so I don't have to repeat myself too much. (Thanks to Bruce F. for the heads-up.) Of course, right-wing religious types prefer the high illegal abortion rates to sensible sex education. (Thanks to Mark for that tip.)

"Dems Jump Ship from "Bi-Partisan" Group Targeting Dems: As we reported Monday, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies launched a national ad campaign lambasting House Democrats for not passing the Senate surveillance bill, which comes complete with retroactive immunity for the telecoms. As of Friday, the group, which claims to be non-partisan, boasted a number of Democrats on their board of advisors. Those were: Donna Brazile, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Rep. Elliot Engel (D-NY), Rep. Jim Marshall, and former Georgia governor Zell Miller. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), listed as a Democrat on the site, is one of five "distinguished advisors." Since the group launched the ads, Brazile, Schumer, Engel and Marshall have all resigned from the group. Zell Miller, well, he spoke at the 2004 Republican National Convention. Our call and email to Sen. Lieberman's spokesman were unreturned."

So the administration now has the American Legion fronting for telecom immunity for them. I realize the AL has always been the right-wing vets organization, but this is grotesque. (And Harry Reid is a jerk on other issues beside FISA, it turns out, proving once again that you can't trust anyone who claims to be "pro-life".)

When you don't want to say "liberal", you can always say "Roosevelt Democrat". (Also: "Diebold Accidentally Leaks Results Of 2008 Election Early" looks entertaining but I can't get it to play.)

Huh, these drugs must be good - there was an earthquake here last night that woke Mr. Sideshow up, but I didn't even notice, though I was already awake.

23:58 GMT

News and stuff

Maybe I've been checking the wrong blogs for info about last night's debates today, because mostly they are just talking about how terrible the questioning was at the debate last night - and especially the awfulness of Tim Russert - but the TPM video compiling Russert's persistent speechifying and hectoring showed me something I hadn't seen anyone talking about yet, which is that Hillary repudiated her vote for the authorization of force for Iraq. (Complete debate transcript and video here.) Which reminds me, one of my commenters corrected me a while back when I forgetfully accused Hillary of having voted for the invasion, and I should correct that. To my knowledge, no one actually voted for the invasion, since that never came up for a vote. What she did vote for was an authorization for the use of force if Saddam refused to allow inspections, and after two votes by the UN. I can believe that many of these Senators naively believed that Bush wouldn't actually violate the law by invading without fulfilling the demands of that authorization. You and I wouldn't have trusted him that far, but in those days anyone who said so was a deranged Bush-hater and a raving paranoid. But the fact of the matter is that we crazy people were right, and those who believed that Bush would abide by the law were wrong. If he had done so, however, there would have been no question of invasion, because the inspectors were finding that there were no WMD and that Saddam was no threat.

TPM also has the news that William F. Buckley has died, and they have a really creepy photo of him on the front page at the moment. Buckley, once one of the leading lights of conservatism and long-time supporter of Joseph Lieberman, was at his home in Connecticut. He was 82.

Is NPR competing with Fox? Really, sometimes they're as bad as CNN. (Also, it looks like Florida is joining the treason in defense of slavery campaign.)

Four former senior level intelligence officers have written to Mike McConnell to tell him telecom immunity is a bad idea and ask him why he's lying about it.

General Casey says there is no reason to doubt Obama's story about the Army captain who told him about equipment shortages.

Diane observes that the Supremes have ruled in the first of the group of age discrimination suits, and that they ruled against the plaintiff, but they did in a way that may be helpful to others bringing such suits.

19:04 GMT

Libruls rule OK

Dear Barack: The proper response to a question about whether as a liberal you are worthy to be president is: "The American form of government is liberalism; no one but a liberal should be running for president of this country." But instead you run from the word:

"Oh, he's liberal, he's liberal," Obama said, mimicking his critics. "Let me tell you something. There's nothing liberal about wanting to reduce money in politics.
Yes, there is.
That is common sense. There's nothing liberal about wanting to make sure [our soldiers] are treated properly when they come home . . . . There's nothing liberal about wanting to make sure that everybody has healthcare.
Oh, yes, there is.
We are spending more on healthcare in this country than any other advanced country, but we've got more uninsured. There's nothing liberal about saying that doesn't make sense, and we should so something smarter with our healthcare system."
Oh, dear, you haven't been paying attention, have you?

Elsewhere:Dems pick up local seat - in district that has been Republican for 100 years.

A new typographical term. (Thanks to Dominic for the tip.)

15:37 GMT

Waking up grumpy

I'm sorry to hear that Darryl Pearce, who was a friend of The Sideshow, has died. We'll miss him in the comment threads.

Atrios, Amanda, Kevin, and Atrios react to the latest eruption of Amy Sullivan castigating pro-choice people for not at least trying to sound a bit more anti-choice. Duncan and Amanda take care of her trouble with terminology, but I really think she and Saletan need to stop this slander about how pro-choice people never try to do anything to reduce unwanted pregnancies. Have these people never heard of Planned Parenthood? Do they understand why so many of us object to abstinence-only miseducation? I'll believe she means what she says when I see more articles from her campaigning for real sex education programs instead of attacking the rest of us for not doing something that, in fact, we've been doing all along. And then maybe she'd like to address the fact that many of us have moral objections to the anti-choice position.

Amnesty International: "As recognized by the UK government, the revelation that US planes, involved in the transfers of detainees, landed in Diego Garcia directly contradicts its own repeated assurances and public denials to the contrary. It highlights the need for full investigations into the USA's detention and rendition practices and any involvement or complicity of European countries," Claudio Cordone, Senior Director at Amnesty International said today. Via Craig Murray, who also discusses Kosovan Independence.

The Imaginary UN of Left Behind.

I really shouldn't link to this, or to this this response, but I'd hate to risk the possibility that any of my readers might be the only people on the intertubes who haven't seen them. And anyway they cracked me up. (Thanks to Mr. Sideshow for the tip.)

11:15 GMT

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Infinitely distractible

Katha Pollitt and Amanda Marcotte warn that beating McCain won't be easy.

I don't think the WaPo even tries to hide it anymore - they're just a mouthpiece for the RNC.

Because everyone knows that the wiretapping program is not saving any lives.

Burning food while people starve - There's something wrong with this picture.

Fred Clark says, "This is a brilliant song.

23:44 GMT

It's already that kind of a day

Yeah, I got to spend the day yesterday wondering if the Clinton campaign folks have completely lost their minds, before they finally said they had nothing to do with Drudge's photograph. I actually do find that more believable than that they did. What I think may have happened is that someone passed the photo to someone on staff with words to the effect that they'd never hear the end of it if a similar Hillary photo existed (remember the noise when Nancy Pelosi wore a headscarf?), and one person passed it to another until eventually it reached Drudge, because there are a lot of people on the net who think the existence of e-mail is a license to deluge all your friends with anything you think is funny or interesting. But this is just how things travel around on the net, not something you need an official campaign to do. All this can happen without the people who run the campaign ever even knowing about it - and probably did.

Karl Rove claims the Siegelman story is "a lie", and the press helps him catapult his propaganda by using his claims as headlines, even though they are patently not true. Even the big news outlets do this, although it is less surprising coming from local Alabama media. I also note with interest that while I was listening to both Sam Seder (sitting in this week for Randi Rhodes) and Thom Hartmann yesterday, two callers phoned in primed with phony stories meant to "prove" Siegelman was guilty.

Conyers to the rescue, makes Justice Department restore Josh Marshall's access to their e-mail press releases.

Fear-Based Initiatives: Capitalizing on Fear & Loathing.

All this time I've been wondering why everyone in Washington seems so stupid, and now I know.

Newsreel: Al Gore, US President, 2001-2009.

16:04 GMT

Stalking the internets

Edwards joins anti-occupation effort: "John and Elizabeth Edwards will be joining a campaign co-ordinated among several liberal/progressive groups who will mount an effort to raise public awareness on the monetary price of remaining in Iraq. The Iraq/Recession Campaign hopes to gain public support by highlighting the connections between the cost of the Iraq occupation and our economic meltdown at home."

Why Does Nader Hate America? I'm sure that if Nader hadn't been in the race in Florida, the Republicans would have found some other way to disappear 97,000 more Gore votes, so I don't really blame Nader for Florida. What I do blame him for, however, is the way he catapulted the propaganda about how there wasn't "a dime's worth of difference" between Bush and Gore - a perception that the GOP depends on trying to impress upon people who might otherwise vote against them.

Si Se Puede: "I saw Joe Trippi speak at a New Democrat Network event this last week, and he said that, win or lose (and we can all see the writing on the wall,) the Clinton campaign would be the last top down campaign in Democratic presidential politics. He said more or less that the model the Dean campaign started in 2004 has matured, and it's going to be about movement politics from now on."

Quiddity figures out what the WaPo means by "bipartisan".

Why Bill Kristol is an incorrigible dick

Flecks of Light, Points of Understanding, and the Gift of Sight: All Things Are Connected.

Is Hillary running against Bill?

Because Tina Fey rocks.

Fred Clark to become sit-com.

00:57 GMT

Monday, 25 February 2008

Heroes and villains

I just heard Scott Horton say that Don Seigelman's lawyers are about to call for a special prosecutor to investigate the illegal persecution of their client. Sam Seder's blog has contact details if you'd like to send Seigelman a friendly note or belated birthday greeting.

The forces of evil are trying to primary Dennis Kucinich, so y'all might want to help him out.

Today's tempest in a right-wing teapot arises from the fact that McCain was part of the Gang of 14 that prevented the filibuster of Constitution-hating Supreme Court justices. As Atrios explains, this makes no sense, unless you remember that it's all about hating liberals. However, it also made sure to preserve the filibuster without allowing the liberals to use it, since it has historically been, and continues to be, the favorite instrument by which right-wingers prevent good legislation from being passed. Isn't it helpful of us to explain to them why they don't have to hate McCain after all?

After reading this, all I can say is take the poll.

Blast from the past - perhaps the most horrific thing I ever saw in The Washington Post. I like to remember that whenever I'm about to have a stroke over some new example of journalistic malfeasance.

A$ $ick A$ It Get$ (Thanks to Hugo for the tip.)

21:50 GMT

Censoring Siegelman

Media chicanery detailed by Scott Horton:

Off the Air in Alabama

I am now hearing from readers all across Northern Alabama - from Decatur to Huntsville and considerably on down - that a mysterious "service interruption" blocked the broadcast of only the Siegelman segment of 60 Minutes this evening. The broadcaster is Channel 19 WHNT, which serves Northern Alabama and Southern Tennessee. This station was noteworthy for its hostility to Siegelman and support for his Republican adversary. The station ran a trailer stating "We apologize that you missed the first segment of 60 Minutes tonight featuring 'The Prosecution of Don Siegelman.' It was a techincal problem with CBS out of New York." I contacted CBS News in New York and was told that "there is no delicate way to put this: the WHNT claim is not true. There were no transmission difficulties. The problems were peculiar to Channel 19, which had the signal and had functioning transmitters." I was told that the decision to blacken screens across Northern Alabama "could only have been an editorial call." Channel 19 is owned by Oak Hill Capital Partners, who can be contacted through Rhonda Barnat, 212-371-5999 or Oak Hill Partners represents interests of the Bass family, which contribute heavily to the Republican Party. Viewers displeased about the channel's decision to censor the broadcast should express their views directly to the station management or to the owners.

Scott has the video up at his site for those who were unable to see it last night. Viewers may want to contact other media outlets in the area to ask them about the story.

14:08 GMT

Everything is politics

Voter Suppression at the DOJ: "Harper's Magazine has released an examination of Republican efforts to politicize the Justice Department and argues that these efforts have propagated a scam on the American public - voter fraud - in order to ensure Republican victories in future elections."

How Framing Differs from Spin (via)

I just don't think that trying to out-butch the men has been a good strategy for Clinton. I suspect I'm not the only person who feels that way.

"Everybody thinks that America is allied with the Taliban."

The NYT's ombudsguy says Keller was a dope for ruining a good story about McCain's overly intimate closeness to K Street by letting it run with a bit of unsourced sex that distracted everyone and made them a target. Meanwhile, libertarian blogger Matt Welsh, author of McCain: The Myth of a Maverick, explains Everything You Want to Know About John McCain's Sex Scandal (via The Concerned Troll).

At The Left Coaster, eriposte on the return of the DLC, and with a couple of comedy videos on how the media is treating the campaign. (And some more commentary from a diarist on the likely reaction from the press corps.)

04:14 GMT

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Blogging with carnations

Chris Floyd: "A few days ago came the news - ignored or buried by almost every venue of that non-stop multi-platform media echo chamber - that the United States has made a very significant, and very permanent, addition its empire of bases: one that American officials freely admit will allow them to project "full spectrum" military dominance over 27 sovereign nations. [...] Yes, the personnel will change - even in the White House. But the commands will remain. And this permanent, force-projecting base is of course just the icing on the imperial cake in the region; the U.S. military already has its boots in the ground all over the area ..."

Your best reporter on Bush's Africa trip is, of course, The Rude Pundit.

More Broken Promises: "I don't know why people still expect the current administration to keep any of the promises it has made. I mean, really: haven't the last seven years taught us anything? Still, I must admit that even I found this NY Times article a bit much." Said article reporting that, though the administration promised to expedite citizenship applications for members of armed forces, they seem to be using a different definition of "expedite" than the rest of us use.

Jamison Foser on how the "Clinton Rules" are the opposite of the McCain rules. (And, as we all know, the word "Clinton" can always be replaced with "the Democratic nominee", or anyone else who isn't basically a right-wing crackpot.)

A simple and obvious response to George Baby Bush's temper tantrum.

Okay, here's your genuine tulip tree. And thanks to Sam for the close-up of a blossom - though, of course, you can find many varieties here.

21:22 GMT


Oh, no: Teresa has a post up notifying us of the death of our friend Robert Legault (a.k.a. readwrite), who we loved for being smart, able, wry, and a lot of other things. Some of you may remember his occasional appearances in the comment threads here, or numerous other places on the web. Good-bye, Robert, and thank you especially for visiting London shortly after I moved here and being with me while I was learning my way around.

Hecate tells us that Rosa Parks' pal and lunch counter sit-in companion Johnnie Carr has died. Carr continued her activism right up to the end. She was 97.

When I heard that Ralph Nader had booked* to be on Press the Meat, I figured he was going to do his traditional announcement of appearing on that show to announce his intention to run for president. Well, lucky us! We can look forward to several months of his sniffing about how if we weren't so stupid we would vote for him. Jerk.

The latest edition of Chain Reaction featured Catherine Tate interviewing David Tennant, to great laughter and applause - and you can listen to the most recent show here.

17:03 GMT

Last night's links

H. D. S. Greenway, "Echoes of 'Nam: In a strictly military sense, Tet was a defeat for the communists. But as Clausewitz, said, "War is a continuation of policy by other means . . . a real political instrument." And politically, Tet showed there was no light at the end of the tunnel, and that to fight on in an endless war was not something the American public was going to stand for. Vietnam showed that we could win every battle and still lose the war. if I am not mistaken, we have never lost a battle in Iraq or Afghanistan."

One Good Move finds some unChristian values: "'A generation ago, populist Christian leaders were among the most aggressive opponents of usurious lending. But today, many Christian leaders take large campaign contributions from the credit industry and no longer support the biblical injunction against usury in public life,' says Chris Peterson, whose research will be published in Catholic University Law Review." Via Mike's Blog Roundup.

Yeah, I had that same thought - McCain needed a little sexy in his image, and now he's got it. And this, too.

Seton Hall Law Students Uncover Proof that Guantánamo Interrogations Routinely Videotaped. (Thanks to Ruth for the tip.)

Turns out Texas is learning to work with wind power - and about time, too. (I understand they also get a lot of sunshine there, as well.)

Reed University just dug up a recording of what appears to be the earliest reading by Allen Ginsberg of Howl, and you can listen to it at their site.

Mmmm, cashmere....

Margaret Cho may not be work-safe.

11:48 GMT

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Eye candy, brain candy

Frilly Intimates Mitzy d+ braBra of the Week

I was looking for a photo of a tulip tree and found this clever thing, and then I noticed that the photographer had a bunch of other gorgeous photos. Close-ups of dew on moss are particularly impressive, but catch the clouds and light over water, too. Many pixels of beautiful flora. (But, just in case you're wondering, a real tulip tree is another matter.)

From comments:

The other candidate in California is an experienced state senator who supports single payer. Maybe Lessig should spend two years building a political organization and run against Feinstein, unless he gets appointed to the FCC, which is the best place for him.
Unfortunately, Dianne Feinstein's (R, Inside-Player) term of office expires in 2012.
joel hanes
Whenever someone says the "if you have nothing to hide" line, I immediately accuse them of having a swastika tattooed on their genitalia -- if they say they don't, then surely they shouldn't mind dropping their pants to prove it.
Pete Guither

23:04 GMT

On the Infobahn

I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but pretty much everyone has broken a law or done something that they'd be mortified to have bruited about in public. Most people don't even realize they are breaking fairly serious laws, or have in their possession innocent items that could be treated as contraband in a court of law. Some people have been prosecuted for child abuse and child porn merely for having taken ordinary photographs of their young children in the bathtub, for example - and life just isn't the same after something like that. And many otherwise law-abiding citizens may have a bit of weed in a pretty box on the coffee table when the police "accidentally" break their door down (which is what the drug laws are for). Just about everyone has said something embarrassingly soppy or icky or kinky to a loved one that they'd never want anyone else in the world to hear - and even the most upright and proper statesman can be made to look tawdry and laughable simply by having them quoted on the evening news. (Remember how uncool the super-cool James Coburn ended up sounding once we knew he wrote love letters containing the phrase, "Baby baby baby baby baby"?) Some things are embarrassing, some things would look worse than they are, and some things can be twisted to look bad by a conscienceless political operative. (I'm sure you can think of a few.) And that's why you don't want an administration to be able to spy on you - because yes you do have something to hide, even if it's not necessarily illegal. The framers and signers of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights understood this, so why doesn't The Los Angeles Times? (Not that our government would ever do such a thing....)

There's a big difference between Bush in 2000 lying about how Clinton left the armed services in a state of unreadiness and Obama pointing out that Bush is wrecking our military.

I always knew that when the time came, I could rely on the right-wingers to make me feel better about Obama. As I understand it, he actually knew people who weren't right-wingers.

Cuomo investigates healthcare price-fixers, but I guess they're not worried. (And, um, has Chris Hedges gone loopy, or did he just want some Oprah time?)

A little preview of the 60 Minutes story on the Siegelman persecution. (That headline is a real dog-bites-man shocker, innit?) And dday and Kagro X have some good things to say on the subject.

And happy 50th anniversary to the peace symbol.

Oh, Elton, why have you forsaken me? And you, too.

20:12 GMT

Taking it back

So, The Issue wants to be a sort of newspaper of the blogosphere. I like the idea, but I'm not sure it works in practice any better than numerous other aggregators or just people who link a lot. (I often think of my own linkier posts as a sort of table of contents for a newspaper that comes out several times a day, and The Issue's front page is a more organized example of that concept, presented as a daily paper's ToC. But I don't make my links open in a dedicated Sideshow frame.) However, I did find some interesting links there, such as "Visions of a Democratic FCC" by publius at Obsidian Wings, though of course there's a good chance I would have found it anyway in my usual web travels.

In any case, I'm reminded by publius' piece that I keep meaning to link to Sam Boyd's article suggesting that Larry Lessig should replace Tom Lantos (found via the sidebar at Making Light). Larry has a nice video, but I think public financing of elections is too rudimentary and ignores the stranglehold the big money interests in our conglomerated corporate media have on political news.

It doesn't really matter that campaigns are publicly-funded if you've got 24/7 force-feeding of a big fat commercial for corporatism, "free trade", tax cuts for the wealthy, deregulation, and our sainted "moderate" politicians, packed tightly with one smear after another of anything liberal and any politician who stands a chance of obstructing the oligarchs. This campaign season, with the League of Women Voters now completely eliminated from running candidates' debates, we actually saw before our very eyes that you could put any number of credible Democratic candidates on the panel, but Wolf Blitzer would be the one who did all the talking - and then he'd only talk to the candidates the media had already decided "counted". You didn't have to guess which candidate they wanted to see nominated - they didn't let the rest of them talk as much; only two of the seven candidates got more talk-time than Blitzer. And then there were the kinds of questions he asked....

So the corporate media is providing right-wingers with free political advertising all day long, every day, complete with adoring lust for Flight-Suit Boy from Chris Matthews, endless repetitions of the "Maverick" and "Straight-Talk" labels for lying toady John McCave, and carefully-constructed slams at any public servant who so much as hints at wanting the government to serve the people. How, exactly, does public financing of campaigns compete with that? Because if candidates know that they are not going to get decent treatment from the media unless they curry favor with the mega-corps, they still aren't going to feel free to do The People's business.

I'd suggest making it illegal for any corporation to contribute or bundle contributions to a political campaign, but I have the impression that Texas already has such a law, and it doesn't really seem to be working, does it?

15:21 GMT

On the griddle

Yesterday Matt Yglesias reported that an anecdote Barack Obama used during the debate the other night, citing words from "an Army captain", had caused another explosion of right-wing nuts insisting that any suggestion that the occupation isn't perfect in every way comes from a liar. As Atrios noted, "One of the most amusing things about the wingnutosphere is that they all claim to be military experts." Later Atrios linked* to Josh Marshall's item in which he reports that:

It would appear that we have another case where the Bush Pentagon, particularly the Office of Public Affairs is forcefully inserting itself into the civilian election process. Earlier today I referenced Barack Obama's anecdote from Thursday night's Democratic debate about an Army Captain in Afghanistan who said his unit had had to get from captured Taliban ammunition they weren't able to get quickly enough through standard Army supply channels. ABCNews' Jake Tapper talked to the soldier in question, who confirmed the story he'd told Obama. Now NBC News also appears to have confirmed the story by talking to the Army Captain in question.

But Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman is telling reporters he doesn't think it's true and that of course they can't confirm it unless the soldier -- still on active duty -- comes forward to discuss the issue with the Pentagon brass, a step that would surely do wonders for his future in the Army.

I don't know how far this is going to go. Phillip Carter, the military affairs writer who's in the reserves and did a tour in Iraq, says that from his own experience in Iraq and discussions with Afghanistan vets who report doing the same thing as the anonymous captain, he finds the story "eminently believable." But this is becoming a pattern in which political appointees at the Bush Pentagon volubly insert themselves into domestic political debate or even election campaigns.

This pattern has, of course, been consistent: Critics who don't conceal their names are dismissed as liars and then hounded and destroyed, but critics who are wise enough to conceal their names are dismissed as liars because they conceal their names, and then such a stir is made that they come forward anyway and they're still dismissed as liars and then hounded and destroyed. Obviously, you'd have to be crazy to forfeit your anonymity if you decide to tell the public the truth about the administration's corruption and failure, but the wingers are very effective in smoking up the atmosphere with claims that these people conceal their identities in order to lie, as if there could not possibly be repercussions for them if they use their real names. Since these same wingers must know by now about the trail of ruined lives that they've left in their wake, I have to assume that they know perfectly well why people don't give their names, and that's exactly the way they want it: People too scared to tell the truth.

More heroes and villains: A video depicting the thrilling adventures of brave Democrats who were able to protect the Constitution in spite of the evil machinations of the perfidious fear-mongers! Thus we see the key to making good things happen: Get the Republicans out of Congress. From our intrepid friends at Crooks and Liars.

Gosh, Michael Bloomberg is dumber than I thought.

Most Americans Face A Lower Standard Of Living In Retirement - but a lot of them don't believe it. (via)

The Jersey Girls are demanding release of classified documents relating to the 9/11 attacks, and say they will go back to Washington with their petition when they have 15,000 signatures. Why, even Noam Chomsky has signed it.


Neat pictures.

13:36 GMT

Friday, 22 February 2008

Bring on the clowns

Supreme Partisanship - There's nothing like a self-proclaimed "Constitutional constructionist" who claims to believe in "judicial restraint" if you want to see real "judicial activism" in action.

Media Bloodhound: "With the John McCain-New York Times story dominating the news cycle, the most underreported political news of the day is the startling breach of security, evidently ordered by U.S. Secret Service, at Barack Obama's Wednesday rally in Dallas. Yes, you read that correctly." That's the sort of thing that might worry people.

We know John McCain has spent an inordinate amount of time hanging out with lobbyists, but no one seems to be able to pin down the facts on whether he was actually sleeping with one. But some rumors are more equal than others. Right-wingers are enraged at the "liberal" New York Times for suggesting that sex played a role in McCain's routine habit of corruption, but they never seemed to mind the baseless stories about Saddam's WMD, and they've been purveyors of slander of Democrats from the front page to the whisper campaign to the broadcast talk shows. Is this New York Times any worse than the one that persecuted Clinton for Whitewater, spreading stories about a president that were no more reliable than the Obama e-mail? I don't think so.

Via Atrios, a victory for free internet speech and citizen journalism.

Who is Usama Rooting For? Prose Before Hos reports that Fox news is push-polling voters to give the right answer.

Chicago 10 - One of the great myths of the time was that it was the defendants who behaved outrageously in the courtroom, but they had nothing on the judge and the prosecutor. And now, they are all literally a big cartoon.

23:09 GMT


Howard Zinn:

I'm talking about a sense of proportion that gets lost in the election madness. Would I support one candidate against another? Yes, for two minutes - the amount of time it takes to pull the lever down in the voting booth.

But before and after those two minutes, our time, our energy, should be spent in educating, agitating, organizing our fellow citizens in the workplace, in the neighborhood, in the schools. Our objective should be to build, painstakingly, patiently but energetically, a movement that, when it reaches a certain critical mass, would shake whoever is in the White House, in Congress, into changing national policy on matters of war and social justice.

Let's remember that even when there is a "better" candidate (yes, better Roosevelt than Hoover, better anyone than George Bush), that difference will not mean anything unless the power of the people asserts itself in ways that the occupant of the White House will find it dangerous to ignore.

(Via Democracy Lover.)

Huh. I'm sure I remember that Big Tent Democrat was leaning toward or supporting Obama, but his post on last night's debate questions (the real policy ones) suggests he is liking Hillary more right now. I do have to say that I like the fact that Hillary is blaming "entrenched opposition to the very ideas that both of us believe in" (that is, real ideological opposition from people who don't believe in them), rather than, as Obama does, "racial divisions and the religious divisions and the regional divisions". I have not noticed that the idea of universal healthcare, for example, is more popular in the north than in the south, or that blacks want it more than whites, or that atheist want it more than Christians. What I notice is that moneyed interests don't like it at all - especially insurance companies and top-tier Republicans. (She did have some nice moments.)

Howard Dean HAMMERS McCain on honesty and ethics - This is great, he ties Bush and the Republicans and McCain and corruption and debt all together in one neat package. (I disagree with dday that our two candidates "can't pay attention" to the real opposition yet because they are campaigning against each other. Either one of them would be far more likely to win my vote if they'd go after the Republicans instead of each other.)

Found in comments* at Eschaton: "PUT A DEMOCRATIC WOMAN IN THE WHITEHOUSE, call Nancy Pelosi @1-202-225-0100 and DEMAND IMPEACHMENT. DC business hours only, call often, and spread it around." - Mike Meyer. (And don't forget to get someone else to sign on for hearings. Maybe throw Wexler a couple bucks, too.)

18:48 GMT

News and weather

I don't get it, why is David Ignatius veering toward the truth in "Wall Street Bank Run"? "But that's what it is -- a spreading fear among financial institutions that their brethren can't be trusted to honor their obligations." Yeah, well, deregulation plus lack of oversight is just another way of saying "lawlessness", and that includes things like fraud and contractual obligations, doesn't it? Lousy way to run a system that ultimately requires trust to work.

Diane and Rosa Brooks on AFRICOM,"the most significant U.S. foreign and military policy innovation you've probably never heard of."

I only need to see the first couple of paragraphs of this to know that Alexander Cockburn is a jackass. No, what Hillary did wrong is vote for the damned invasion!

I'm doing my best not to say, "So why didn't you support Edwards?" when I see stuff like this, but it smacks of those people who answer any PC-related tech question with, "You could have gotten a Mac."

Jeremy Paxman, weatherman - They actually tried to make him do weather at the end of his news reports, and he didn't approve. The results were so enjoyable that they stopped trying to make him do it. There's something wrong, there. Also, a less than respectful interview with his own boss. This one is a gag, mixing Paxman's questions from University Challenge (a high-brow quiz show) with answers to questions about policy in an interview with Tony Blair. The interesting thing is that Blair couldn't answer those questions, either, and he should have been able to. (Thanks to Mr. Sideshow for the tip.)

15:04 GMT

Too right

"Organize for power: The sad part is that to organize effectively, it will take a whole lot of money from people who may believe that once there's a Dem in the White House, all our problems will melt away. It's not going to happen that way. So let's hope that there are progressive groups out there now putting together multi-year plans in support of, among other things, Universal Single-Payer Health Care, a progressive tax system, funding domestic reconstruction projects at home, ending the occupation of Iraq and an Apollo program for a renewable source energy economy. A Republican candidate's win would be an unmitigated disaster and require enormous work on our part to contain the damage he would be sure to inflict on the country. If a Democrat wins, we won't have to work any less hard, but at least there will be the chance that our work will pay dividends."

12:29 GMT

Under the ice

I'd like to thank The Editors for reminding me that miscegenation is a communist plot. Man, I don't know how we could have forgotten.

Glenn has the latest fear campaign video from the administration, a bipartisan piece of crap based on a trailer for - yep, you guessed it - 24.

The unkindest cut of all - Charles gets a zinger in against...someone: "McCain's position on torture, in sum: he will risk his career by standing tall on the barricades against the Bush administration's depredations, right up until the moment when whatever he's doing might make an actual difference. And now we start to see why so many Republicans are ticked off at McCain, even though he's got the nomination sewn up, for all practical purposes. In this matter, at least, he could be a mainstream Democrat."

Cernig at The Newshoggers, New Pakistan Coalition To Reinstate Chief Justice: "To the surprise of very few, the two winners of Pakistan's elections have agreed to a coalition government - and are saying one of the new government's first acts will be to reinstate sacked Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry. [...] Both the UK and the US administrations have been backing Musharraf in the wake of the elections, and asking the new coalition government to drop their demands for his resignation and Chaudry's reinstatement. Both have painted themselves into a corner by insisting Musharraf was a staunch ally in the "war on terror", a proposition which has dubious validity at best." (And Libby blames Mark Penn.)

Mark Adams and Joe Gandelman both think Tom Watson has written an article that explains the generational divide in the way people respond to Obama. I couldn't help but remember that, when Dylan was asked about being the voice of a generation, he said something like, "How can I be the voice of their generation? I'm not in their generation." This article suggests that Obama is doing the opposite. And it's working.

It's not just that Kissinger is disgusting, but it's also that Kissinger is a putz. And the Star Wars designer series.

Lance Mannion reviews De Palma's Redacted.

Freakangels is a free, weekly, ongoing comic written by Warren Ellis and illustrated by Paul Duffield, and it's lookin' good. (via)

01:19 GMT

Thursday, 21 February 2008

On the landscape

Scott Horton says CBS will air the story on the partisan persecution of Don Siegelman on 60 Minutes this Sunday. He's also posted on The Great Guantánamo Puppet Theater: "Outside of the United States, 'Guantánamo' is a by-word for torture, authoritarian abuse and injustice. And the fact that the U.S. had elected to put these six detainees on trial before a military commission in Guantánamo drew a predictable review. 'There will not be six persons on trial, but seven,' editorialized the predictably pro-American German newspaper Die Zeit. The seventh, of course, is the Bush Administration and its hopelessly corrupted concept of justice." But the very way they have already constructed the process convicts the administration.

We've come to expect it from Fox Noise, but CNN has come up with a unique spelling of Hillary Clinton's name - it starts with "A". (Oh, and this is cool - Donna Edwards hasn't even been sworn in yet and they've already got her on Hardball - and not to talk about blacks or women, but to talk about Cuba.)

Tim Dunlop at The Road to Surfdom on The price of freedom: "Reliable data about these things is hard to find but it’s widely accepted that the USA spends as much on national defence as the rest of the world put together. You would therefore be forgiven for thinking that this was enough, but you'd be wrong. Apparently when you're The Most Powerful Nation That the World has Ever Known, ‘enough’ is not a meaningful concept in the context of defence spending. " (via)

Diane has hopes for Cuba, Ruth finds out more about bankruptcy for the rich, but not for thee, and I congratulate them on the third blogiversary of their excellent weblog.

Always remembering that a lot of things go on in the background of legislation or other Congressional action that is never actually in these lists of bills and votes, here's a comparison of the work of Obama and Clinton as Senators. I don't actually know enough about other legislation in existence, or the history of some of these things, to know whether some of the differences are as significant as Grassroots Mom thinks they are (there could be things in the lead-painted housing history that aren't obvious from the nature of the bills, for example), but take it for what it's worth.

Gosh, where did people get the idea that the economy is not all that healthy?

A photograph of global warming.

A sophisticated guy.

17:50 GMT

Tuna steak

It's a miracle! As a combination sex-and-corruption scandal rises up to suggest McCain has been in bed with a lobbyist - literally - threatening to revive all the other dirt he was hoping everyone had forgotten, his campaign is threatened, accusations are thrown at The New York Times, and Mike Huckabee's failing candidacy sees the star of hope rise once again.

Glenn Greenwald warns that if you thought the right-wing attack show was going to change, think again, 'cause it's already starting. Obama is a commie and his wife hates America! (Also, "The courts and Congress affirmatively conceal and protect lawbreaking." And on the fun of total war.)

Jeralyn notes that Col. Morris Davis, who now says the Gitmo trials are rigged, was once a strong advocate for the Military Commissions Act (a.k.a. The McCain Pro-torture and Incumbent Protection Enabling Act). (Also, Hillary's speech about NAFTA from Tuesday.)

"Your Corps is Still in the Fight and Your Fellow Marines Need Your Help." Or, shameless lies, hustling, guilt-tripping, and misuse of important symbolism by someone who wants to con marines into re-upping when they're finished. Via a linky post at Fact-esque, which also linked to this from smart commenter Jessica at Brad DeLong's blog: "Whatever Castro has been, the Cuban people have paid a high price and achieved genuine social development. The worst tragedy would be for this to be taken from them in a wave of Thatcher-Reagan-Yeltsin privatization combined with America bringing "freedom" to Cuba the way we have brought it to Iraq."

Neat moon pictures. Plus crabs.

13:49 GMT

Things you could lose sleep over

Okay, I admit I don't actually lose sleep over why the Republicans changed their logo so that the stars are upside-down, but since they are always telling us exactly what they are doing and daring us to believe them, you gotta wonder if it means they've become the party of Satan-worshippers.

At Lawyers, Guns and Money, the horrifying news that the Supremes are going after the exclusionary rule again, why civil libertarians object to "random" searches (because they are never random), what "states rights" means, more evidence that they are not pro-life, and a good cartoon.

Last Shot to Ban Aspartame in Hawaii This Legislative Session: "Consumer Protection efforts to ban Aspartame/Methanol/Formaldehyde as an artificial sweetener in Hawaii have run into curious tactics by lobbyists compounded by indifference and inertia on the part of the key legislators."

You know those "Reagan Democrats" we keep being told we have to move to the right to get back? Well, like Digby says, They Aren't Democrats. But a change has come - that is, the change we were all expecting as Obama swings into the lead for the nomination, and all those conservatives who loved him before have suddenly discovered that he's just empty calories and his supporters are latte-drinking coastal elitist types. And here's a nice quote: "CNN is generally better, although I must say that one of the blessings of the primary coming to a close with Senator Obama as the nominee would be that alleged Hillary expert Carl Bernstein could go back to drinking alone in front of the TV instead of appearing on it."

Susie quotes extensively from Black Agenda Report's Glen Ford, who suggests that white men are getting a message from Obama that isn't directed at the rest of us.

Why would someone like this even be invited to appear on NPR? (via)

Bush finally beats the record for lowest presidential approval ratings. Not just lower than Nixon, but lower than Truman during the Korean war.

02:14 GMT

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Stuff I saw

Just aside from the general monstrousness of their concept of 'justice', do you think anyone in the administration remembers that it wasn't the POWs who were on trial at Nuremberg?

A Clue for American Voters, courtesy of the Australian electorate. (I like the picture, too, MEC.)

Nice catch from Alan Bostick on a study that confirms what you could have guessed - that the internet isn't as dangerous as we're being told when it comes to "internet sexual predators". "The Internet may not be as risky as a lot of other things that parents do without concern, such as driving kids to the mall and leaving them there for two hours," Wolak said.

Madison Guy encountered a different kind of pollster - an Iraq vet who was concerned about the media.

Russia returns the favor and tells lucky duckies to suck it up.

What did he mean? "Last night, Barack Obama, in his speech to the Wisconsin Democratic party top dogs, reported that he's told 'auto workers that they must change their ways.'" What ways are those? The ways of expecting a living wage and a decent retirement? Is that now some crazy liberal idea? [Update: Turns out he was talking to auto makers not auto workers.]

Paul Krassner's meeting with Fidel.

19:32 GMT

Open windows

Of COURSE it's freaking sexist. Look, Obama doesn't believe that Clinton questioned the value of his speechifying because she was "feeling down" - he knows perfectly well that she criticized him because that's what you do in a political campaign, and the idea that his speeches don't demonstrate that he can get the job done (or knows what it is) has resonance for a lot of people. So why did he refer to her "periodically" feeling down? Because he was dismissing her content and saying she only said it because she was on the rag. Now, listen up: I don't give Clinton a pass for voting for the Iraq resolution or for Kyle-Lieberman. I don't give her a pass for voting against the cluster-bomb ban. Or for voting to fund the occupation over and over. And I'm not prepared to give Obama a pass for using language that weakens the fight to preserve Social Security, for dissing Paul Wellstone and the people who loved him, for sitting out the Kyle-Lieberman vote, for helping to prevent a filibuster of two anti-constitutional judges, for voting to fund the occupation over and over, or for using sexist insults. And neither should you. If one of these two people becomes president, I don't want them to get into office and think this kind of crap is going to be acceptable, and it's up to all of us to tell them it's not. Do you really want Obama in the White House dismissing criticisms from women as just being hormonal? Because I can assure you that that's a recipe for disaster.

Village of the Damned: "The Clinton Rules, 2008 edition" from Dave Neiwert at Orcinus, and Bob Somerby on the same intellectual sewer.

Paul Krugman has a very bad feeling. (And what is the democratic thing to do?)

The Rude Pundit slaps Mark Penn around.

Huh, Angry Bear has a new format. Not sure whether it's better or worse; I kinda liked the simplicity of the old one. Anyway, cactus has an interesting post on how little we know about our "success" in South Korea. (And when I heard that Fidel was retiring, I couldn't help thinking of that old French woman who was the oldest person in the world and said she'd quit smoking at the age of 115 because it wasn't killing her fast enough. I thought, "I guess Fidel got tired of waiting for the US to depose him." Anyway, you do have to hand it to him.)

13:22 GMT

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Scattered weather


As the Guardian live blogs 'Election Day in Pakistan,' the Washington Post reports that a "frantic" last minute U.S. scramble to get election observers in place, likened to "electoral tourism" by some experts, "underscores the Bush administration's bid to boost President Pervez Musharraf."

Pakistan's 'beleaguered leader' is expected to be weakened by the election results, despite widespread suspicions of vote rigging, and media restrictions which, local journalists tell (mp3) a CBC reporter, will significantly hamper election coverage.

I don't know why people are talking about the next Supreme Court justice that the next president will nominate as the big turning point. I mean, isn't it a bit late for that? Of the five who voted to overturn the 2000 election, the sanest one, O'Conner, is gone, replaced by an ardent anti-Constitutionalist, and Rehnquist was replaced by someone who is possibly even loonier than he was. There are five of them. That's a majority. If you weren't climbing down your Senators' throats over the last two appointees, you already gave up the fight back then. They already don't believe in the Constitution. You think they're not going to overturn Roe v. Wade? Unless at least one of them is impeached (and I can think there are good reasons to impeach at least four of them), it doesn't really matter anymore; the court is lost. (Although Mark Kernes has another reason to impeach Scalia. I'm all for it.)

But I guess hope springs eternal at the WaPo, where they actually have a decent editorial saying the Supremes need to find against the government on their treatment of Guantanamo cases. Blimey, even they know.

Obama and his campaign are trying to paint Hillary as pro-NAFTA, but the record suggests that Obama is the free-trader, according to Linda SFNM at MyDD. (via)

Oh, no, they're not even a little bit racist.

Tom Tomorrow on the windbags and McCain.

23:29 GMT

A bunch of stuff

Logan Murphy likes Jack Reed's response to the FISA lies, but I think he could have done a better job. After hearing Mike McConnell dissemble about how the telecoms won't cooperate on behalf of their nation's security if they don't have immunity for breaking the law, Reed completely failed to point out that McConnel seemed to have it backwards: that the law requires them to cooperate with lawful warrants, and that they should never be immune from accountability for breaking the law. I'm amazed that Democrats keep failing to use this language. The telecoms broke the law. The administration bribed or coerced them into breaking the law. If the government issues lawful warrants in order to protect our security, the telecoms would be breaking the law if they didn't cooperate. This seems like pretty simple stuff to me. (Perhaps someone else should say that if the Evil Islamofascist Caliphate really does takeover the US, as the wingers apparently fear, it's been mighty helpful of the administration to have a mechanism to spy on everyone already in place, hasn't it?)

Very cool - Josh Marshall and TPM Empire win Polk Award for connecting the dots in the US Attorney firings story. Will Bunch collects some illuminating quotes on the subject - very much worth reading for an insight into how the internet changes the landscape of news reporting. (via)

Fidel announces that he will retire, and Steve Clemons wonders if either of the Dem candidates will improve their lame Cuba policies - and, by the way, Obama's is far better than Clinton's has been so far, but not really good enough.)

"'Border Wall' Preserves Rich Texans' Property, Protects Crony Corporations' Profits: We already knew that the 18-foot-high wall DHS wants to build along the Texas-Mexico border is useless for security. The Texas Observer reports that it will have gaps in it: gaps corresponding, by some strange coincidence, with the locations of rich people's property. [...] The Observer also reports that the 'wall' project is completely privatized. There is no oversight whatever for the project [...] There is also no spending limit. Oh, what a surprise. This is worse than Security Theater. It's another Bushevik scam to drive unrich people from their homes and pour taxpayers' money into corporate coffers." (Oooh, for a mere $349 you can get a wind turbine for your house.)

H. Brandt Ayers in The Anniston Star, "Let's play race card: Welcome to the most polite, eggshell-sensitive presidential campaign in 36 years: SHHHhhhhhhhhhh. You may quietly mention the male candidate's name, but for heaven's sake don't say he's black, which he is, because that would be playing the race card." (via)

I wonder if Bush actually thinks that billions of dollars are needed to tell people not to have sex.

18:24 GMT

Late for breakfast

From Dennis Lensing in Americana: The Journal of American Pop Culture, "Pariah among Pariahs: Images of the IV Drug User in the Context of AIDS ".

Nice little Valentine's Day editorial at The Seattle Post-Intelligencer on pharmacists and Plan B - and if you live in Washington's 8th, you might be interested to know that I got that via Darcy Burner's campaign website. (But, of course, you can support her even if you don't live in the 8th, or even in Washington State. Darcy has the Atrios Seal of Approval.)

Tierra Y Vida on Barack Obama and the 'End' of Racism: "So we stay silent, as a rule, on the job. We stay silent as a rule, in the white world. Barack Obama is the living symbol of our silence. He is our silence writ large. He is our Silence running for president."

Well, what does it mean when Obama's pointman on healthcare is the very same guy who scuttled the healthcare plan last time it came up?

John Amato and the corporate media's treatment of Hillary - and what's coming for Obama.

The insanity spreads to Amtrak. Because too many people were taking the train, I guess.

Burnt Orange Report is doing in-depth Texas primary coverage.

"The Importance of Plant "porn"."


12:44 GMT

A little night linkage

Leslie sent a report on her visit to John Conyers to "plead with you to begin impeachment hearings."

Bill Kristol just can't believe that Congress doesn't trust Bush with the authority to spy on them.

Thanks to CMike for calling my attention to Krugman's further details on poverty, and a disturbing fact about Obama and healthcare.

Why are right-wing nuts doing eulogies for Tom Lantos?

Lowermanhattanite makes a strong statement about a dangerously flawed presidential candidate who sold out his very core. (Thanks, D.) And on that same subject, Rachel Maddow on McCain's pandering, and on Countdown on McCain's torture flip-flop.

"When is Pete Peterson going to stand up and say taxes must go up?" (via)

MadKane wasn't in the mood for humor after seeing A Textbook Case Of Subtle Sexism.

The First Great Work of American Culture Inspired by the Iraq War.

02:27 GMT

Monday, 18 February 2008

I saw this

Krugman today, "Poverty Is Poison." Things don't have to be this way.

Chris Floyd says he's been getting a lot of hacking on his site lately, so if you can't find him there, check out his blogspot site.

Jeez, they took down Wikileaks for whistle-blowing. "Wikileaks claimed that the order was 'unconstitutional' and said that the site had been 'forcibly censored'."

Get ready to be put out on those ice floes, folks, the Supremes are about to hear five age-discrimination suits.

Radley Balko is covering more fake forensics that gets people convicted of murder and other crimes. I realize CSI is science fiction, but some of this stuff isn't even highschool biology class-level work.

Oh, God, I just know we're going to have to hear about bloody Rezko forever just as soon as Obama gets the nomination and someone gives Drudge the word.

You know, if Obama wants to have unity, he could start with the Democratic Party and try to make it up to Florida and Michigan before this whole thing loses the election for us.

Thomas Nephew comes out for Obama. (And a cute Valentine's Day message.)

My apologies to our other favorite porn fiends for referring to Mark Kernes as "our favorite porn fiend". Obviously, I meant to say, "our favorite professional porn fiend. Although I suppose Susie Bright could be in that category, too....

22:48 GMT

You're reading this, aren't you?

Well, I'm completely disappointed in your responses to the Data point post below linking to this article about what a bunch of ignoramuses these kids today are.

Out on the net, I see some people are already blaming video for this ignorance, claiming it is responsible for the "fact" that people don't read anymore. Except that people do read anymore. Every new medium or genre is always the reason why kids today are awful, why things have gone wrong or will go wrong. None of this is new. You should have seen the stuff they were saying when the novel entered popular culture.

So why is it that Kids Today don't know stuff that "everybody knows"? It obviously isn't because they don't read, because most of us didn't learn about Pearl Harbor from reading. In my generation, we were told by the adults in our lives, we saw it on TV and in movies - it was part of the popular culture. It was deep in living memory when we were growing up - not our memory, but our parents, older relatives and neighbors, teachers, and legislators. It informed people's attitudes. (I was surrounded by Jews who had German accents. To them, fighting for Constitutional rights was an immediate battle. I don't think they would have put up with this crap we have now.)

And our popular culture was shared to a degree it simply isn't today. For any medium and any genre, there are far more sources than there ever were before. (There's an exception for things that are genuinely dying out, such as material about skills that aren't used anymore, but it's probably easier to find what does exist than it ever was before.)

Everybody used to listen to the same news, watch the same television programs, read the same books and magazines. Sure, there were people reading more specialized stuff as well, but there were things absolutely everyone was exposed to. It didn't matter if you also subscribed to The Nation - you still watched Cronkite and you still read the same news stories in the papers and everyone saw Look and Life magazines. There was no Fox News. There were no spin-tanks designed deliberately to counteract real information. There was no home-schooling. And Ronald Reagan and David Horowitz (who I wasn't joking about) had not actively worked to wreck the civics and history curriculum.

I don't know how things were in the backwoods, but where I grew up, it wouldn't have been possible for 20% of kids not to be able to find America on a world map, because we saw maps of both the US and the world (with the US in the middle, of course) every single day at the front of the classroom in elementary school. But if you reduce taxes and slash school budgets, you lose a lot of that stuff.

I knew one kid whose parents didn't allow her to watch "adult television", but every other kid I knew watched television, and we all watched the same programs, and we referred to them all the time; they were a part of our common culture. We watched them because there weren't a lot of other choices - we didn't even have 12 hours of programming on a network by the time I knew how to turn the TV on by myself. You didn't have to stay up very late to hear the national anthem and then see your screen turn to snow. And I can still remember when we all suddenly discovered the FM band.

And anyway, time goes by. When I was a kid, the old Civil War veterans sitting around talking about their glory days were an enduring joke - it was still part of living memory, but not by nearly as much as Pearl Harbor was for my generation, although most of us don't remember it, either, because we weren't born yet; we just heard it discussed all the time. Kids who don't remember when Kennedy was shot voted for George Walker Bush. Kids who don't remember when John Lennon was shot will be voting in this election.

More than anything else, what it really means when you are shocked that there are adults walking around who don't know what "Pearl Harbor" refers to is that you're older than you think. But it also means the Republicans have managed to make a real mess of our educational system. It is most emphatically not about video replacing reading. There were always plenty of people who didn't read. We always played games and we always watched, or listened, rather than read, for both entertainment and information.

And in the meantime, millions of kids who never would have done so before are not only reading but typing - boys are typing! - because it's the only way to get around on the internet. This isn't a literacy problem.

13:56 GMT

Smoked mackerel and Dicloflex

Thanks to Diane for alerting us that Nicholas Kristof actually wrote an an article about Sami al-Hajj, the cameraman from Al Jazeera who is still being held in Gitmo. As Diane notes, there has been a disturbing paucity of articles in the US media about our shameful treatment of journalists in our war of terror. And, frankly, it's surprising that Kristof, who is often such an embarrassment, has actually written something useful for a change. But he was back on form for the Sunday New York Times, as Tristero discovers, with a nauseating paean to John McCain.

The Reverend Jesse Jackson is a better economist than your legislators.

The King of Zembla finds his candidate.

A Tale of Two Engineers: Why Labor Rights don't matter, until the moment they do.

Apparently, it's no longer fashionable for any Republican to oppose torture, and John McCain has been followed by Lindsay Graham in saying he would have voted for torture if he'd had the chance.

The Meme Prisoner - John Heilemann says Hillary is trapped in a negative narrative that Obama has so far escaped - but that's not likely to last for the latter once the former is out of the picture.

Lambert's trying to get into my bra links again.

If it was my campaign, I'd use this for my theme song.

02:10 GMT

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Data point

Yeah, I guess it's enough to make you feel cranky:

The author of seven other books, she was a fellow at the library when she first got the idea for this book back in 2001, on 9/11.

Walking home to her Upper East Side apartment, she said, overwhelmed and confused, she stopped at a bar. As she sipped her bloody mary, she quietly listened to two men, neatly dressed in suits. For a second she thought they were going to compare that day's horrifying attack to the Japanese bombing in 1941 that blew America into World War II:

"This is just like Pearl Harbor," one of the men said.

The other asked, "What is Pearl Harbor?"

"That was when the Vietnamese dropped bombs in a harbor, and it started the Vietnam War," the first man replied.

At that moment, Ms. Jacoby said, "I decided to write this book."

I blame David Horowitz, myself.

16:16 GMT

It's a beautiful morning

I guess this is the "legal opinion" the White House Excuse Department came up with for why torture is okay - the one that sent chills down the acting Attorney General's spine and that John Ashcroft et al. were prepared to resign over. Horrifying stuff.

Bush got on the radio to spew his usual line of lies to terrorize the public about the expiration of the Protect America Act, but even the right-wing think-tankers at Cato and Brookings say it's no big deal - and the right-wing Washington Times quoted them on the front page.

Ruth called my attention to something that's actually good in this morning's WaPo, by Michael Scheuer, who used to be head of the CIA's bin Laden unit. Written as a speech by Osama bin Laden on The State of the Jihad, it pretty much covers the wonderful work the Bush-Cheney administration has been doing for radical Islamism: "Thanks be to God, brothers, America is hemorrhaging money and ruining its military by trying to fight al-Qaeda's mujaheddin wherever they appear -- or, more accurately, wherever U.S. officials imagine they appear."

Common ground - Julia finds some things we can all agree on.

I gotta admit, Oyster has a great reason to vote for Obama: Mark Penn.

Getcher rock star t-shirts here. (Thanks to Dominic for the tip.)

Yep, it's Young Rascals time again!

12:21 GMT

One of these things is not like the others

Charnos Claudia full cup braBra of the Week

So I'm sitting here listening to the Bob Harris show and Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone are suddenly singing "She's Not There" live in the studio. Cool.

Amanda says there's been a downturn in the perfume market. I haven't noticed - I'm constantly having women walk by me who smell like peaches or vanilla, though I think they're probably wearing oils rather than actual cologne or perfume. But I love it. And since I'm someone who absolutely despises antiperspirants, I started using spray cologne instead decades ago. Started with Avon's and Yardley's respective Lilac sprays, which are still my favorites, and probably would still be using them if they hadn't stopped selling them. Since then I have sprayed some of the world's most expensive perfumes and colognes on my pits - Joy, L'Aire du Temps, Chanel No. 5, Chloe - and also some of the cheapest. A few years ago I found one at the pound shop that made me smell like orange cake and I bought a whole bunch of bottles of it and used them all up. I once worked my way through an entire gallon jug of L'Aire du Temps (I had a friend who worked at a perfume counter). I wear these things not because women are "supposed to smell like" whatever, but because I like those smells. For the record, I can't stand men's colognes and aftershaves, and I regard patchouli oil as a blight upon humankind. (Also: Defend Dear Abby from the Barbarians!)

In his continuing exploration of the sewage in Left Behind, Fred Clark describes a short encounter in sensible shoes that exemplifies what truly awful people these authors really are.

Susie Bright: "I keep telling people that "pornography" in the 1970s was different than the sort of thing you see today."

Albino Rock Crab.

01:37 GMT

Saturday, 16 February 2008

Open windows

One of the things authoritarians do is project their crimes onto their enemies. And they can effectively tar an honest politician as corrupt even when there is no evidence. We all remember how Al Gore was a liar, the Clintons did Something Horrible in Whitewater, and so on. Not to mention Don Siegelman. So General Musharraf's cronies charge Benazir Bhutto and her husband with corruption, you'd think people might suspect there was less to it than meets the eye, wouldn't you? Because there was.

I read things like this, by someone whose work as a blogger I have a lot of respect for, and I think maybe Hillary isn't so bad after all. But I just can't get past things like that cluster-bomb vote. I had all kinds of complaints about Gore's record in 2000, but he at least managed to explain them in ways that made sense of them. Did I miss the explanation of how there was some legitimate reason for Clinton to vote against banning cluster-bombs? And then there's the force authorization....

Neo-Hawk Distortions: When Liberals Love War, at Candide's Notebooks.

Democrats are endangering the Homeland!

Mark Fiore enlists Snuggly the Security Bear to explain the illegal spying program so clearly that even a legislator could understand it. (via)

(And, by the way, Chris Dodd is still committed to fighting the good fight on FISA, but he's saddled with a bunch of debt from his presidential campaign, so how about kicking in a few bucks to thank him?)

Yonmei has more on Nichelle Nichols.

Another Torchwood thing. (Thanks to Mr. Sideshow.)

18:48 BST

Gotta get some sunshine

Sara Robinson is Mythbusting Canadian Health Care over at Blog for Our Future. Like me, Sara has experienced both US healthcare and an Evil Foreign Commie System, so she knows what she's talking about first-hand. Down in the comments, I noticed that The Old Hippie had this scary chart comparing life expectancy and costs of various systems. The US didn't do too well in either category.

I don't know about you, but I've always thought it was laughable that some reporters think not voting is the same as being unbiased. If anything, I have to assume that a reporter who thinks so is one who leans to the right. Conservatives always have some stupid reason why people shouldn't vote, after all.

"Say, What? In one of the most bizarre, poorly-written editorials ever published in the history of sentient beings, the NY Times purports to find a reason for government backed universal health care coverage. Unfortunately, a close reading of the editorial suggests that what the editorialist actually had in mind was actually nothing more than a little old fashioned union bashing."

Uh oh, the current non-partisan head of the non-partisan GAO, a sane person, has announced he is resigning, which means Bush can appoint one of his lunatics to run the Government Accountability Office. Yikes!

I guess it says something that musicians always object to having Republicans use their songs as campaign themes. Gosh, I wonder why they never seem to like songs by Republican musicians?

Christopher Walken's bra. (Ruth says everyone is trying to get into my bra links.)

14:54 BST

Several things

Dave Johnson predicts The Stories You Will Be Seeing In The News.

The Democratic Strategist is talking about electability; Jonathan Krasno reckons Obama is the one who can bring it home.

Cactus' bail-out plan for non-suckers, at Angry Bear.

The Saudis make such good friends. (Also: The Lost Kristol Tapes, in which Bill Kristol is wrong in a whole new way.)

The American College of Physicians calls for marijuana to be dropped from Schedule 1, and "for protection of both doctors and patients from criminal and civil penalties in states that have adopted medical-marijuana laws."

I always thought Nichelle Nichols was the most beautiful woman on television. A friend introduced us once, and I was amazed that, as beautiful as she was on television in the sixties, she was even more beautiful in person, years later. But for many, her appearance on the bridge of the Enterprise was a life-changing fact. Here she is talking about why she stayed there, despite the fact that they'd combined the token black bridge officer and the token female bridge officer and made her a telephone operator.

04:36 BST

Friday, 15 February 2008

Media stuff

Ruth says, "Don't Confuse Them With Facts, Their Minds Are Made Up":

Pardon my mouth for hanging open, but last night's news shows were undeniable evidence that propaganda has become accepted as news. On NBC, the report on the GoPervian walkout of the House of Representatives talked only about the delay in passing FISA legislation. That was the argument advanced by GoPervs to shout down the actual legislation on the floor. It was not the true story.

Not one word was spoken about the actual cause of that walkout - which the GoP is hoping to obscure along with its other blunders such as the war, the economy, the Rule of Law, and politicization of all the executive branch departments. Just to show how totally insincere the FISA stance is, earlier this week the GoPervs voted against extending it.

On the later Newshour, thankfully, I got to hear about the facts - the walkout was a protest of a very good maneuver that would require the Justice Department to charge Harriet Miers and Josh Bolton with contempt of Congress for ignoring subpoenas.

And that's just one little thing.

It's not really surprising when organizations fire people for having blogs - it's the claim that they believe in free speech that makes it sting. But it hardly seems like something that universities and news organizations ought to be doing, does it?

Colbert's writers are back.

Now Tweety is blaming Hillary's press team for the fact that people are complaining about his disgusting sexist, personalized, hateful crap. Thing is, it's not just coming from her campaign, it's coming from the visceral responses of people watching him on their teevees.

Why is the media trying to shove a candidacy down our throats that nobody wants?

And Mark Kernes says his article at Adult Video News about the 5th circuit overturning Texas' dildo law was better than the one I linked. Well, of course - he knows all the juicy stuff.

22:31 BST

Living with the law

More reasons why the rich need to pay more taxes: Because the institutions you're paying for serve only the rich and powerful. Lambert was right when he warned that it's not just the telcos (although it is also the telcos, not to mention the takeover of Article I authority), as the WaPo reports: "Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) has sponsored an unusual [not for long!] provision at the urging of the nation's banks granting them immunity against an active patent lawsuit, potentially saving them billions of dollars. [...] The provision, passed without dissent by the Senate Judiciary Committee [Nice work, Senator Leahy!] in July and inserted into legislation scheduled for a vote by the full Senate this month, is a rare [but not for long!] attempt by Congress to intervene in ongoing litigation, congressional experts say."

And then there's the way there's so much exciting news that people almost didn't notice the whole torture thing - I mean, you'd think Republicans and Bush refusing to oppose torture en masse would be a huge front-page outrage, but it was barely a story. (I've heard people wonder why Hadley suddenly admitted that waterboarding might not be legal "now", but it seems obvious to me that what it means is that they are pretending that it was legal before. It wasn't. It has always been understood to be illegal. The United States of America said so.) Paul Reickoff reacts to the vote, and to McCain's flip-flop on "this critical issue", on the Rachel Maddow Show. Unaccountably (in more ways than one), the WaPo decides that voting against torture was a good thing. For some reason, they didn't find it necessary to say so sooner, when it might have made a real difference.

Meanwhile, with the judiciary being so compromised, who can we trust to hold this administration to account? There's a lot to be done.

Fear itself - Rachel on how Bush keeps us scared, not safe, with a bit of help from FDR. But Paul Kiel says the fear doesn't seem to be working anymore as Congress stands up instead of hiding under the desk.

19:52 BST

The shape of things

Pete Hisey reminded me that back in '04 he interviewed Senate candidate Barack Obama, in a story that isn't available online but which sheba quoted a bit from in a piece at Daily Kos. Since Pete has the unedited text in his files, he sent it to me. I've been dipping into it, and found little tidbits like this:

Then it's time for the main event. On the stump, Obama is far more reserved and even deferential than during the speech that made him a national star. And he is relentlessly positive, at least in public. In private, he grumbles about the "Delay wing" of the Republican party, and has no problem bashing Bush when the name comes up.

But in the sweltering heat in village squares, barns, town halls, libraries, bandshells, and weed-choked empty lots, Bush is not a bad man. "He didn't cause 9/11 or the recession," he tells one crowd. "But he didn't do enough to help."

Good to know.

Meanwhile, Josh Marshall says we may have reached the tipping point on the campaign, in light of this:

In the thick of a campaign it is easy to overrate the importance of an endorsement or a political hit. But it is difficult to overstate the significance of John Lewis' switch from the Clinton to Obama camps because it is a devastating blow on two or three levels wrapped together in a single person. Lewis' historic and moral stature in the African-American community and in the modern Democratic party bulks very large. "In recent days, there is a sense of movement and a sense of spirit," Lewis told the Times. "Something is happening in America, and people are prepared and ready to make that great leap." This is a curious statement as he seems to be suggesting that his earlier endorsement of Clinton was based on his own failure to set his sights sufficiently high. What's more, the willingness of a high-profile politician not simply to endorse one candidate but to switch from one to another (at least in terms of who he believes he'll vote for as a super delegate) is a powerful sign that a tipping point is at hand.

But the most immediate and significant import is Lewis's signal that whatever the basis of his original endorsement he is unwilling to join Clinton in carving a path to the nomination through the heart of the Democratic party. The tell in Lewis's announcement is that he is not technically withdrawing his endorsement from Hillary, at least not yet. He is saying that as a super delegate (which is by virtue of being a member of Congress) he plans to vote for Obama at the convention.

Josh also has some sharp criticisms of Mark Penn, the "genius" of her campaign. I always thought the "inevitability" meme was a bad idea, which started off annoying and has now turned into a thorough embarrassment. (I also think the Clintons - and Carville - were always given too much credit for their campaign savvy. Bill won the White House largely because the GOP had turned its back on his opponent, and Clinton was "slick" not because of skilled navigation past a host of charges from his detractors, but merely because there was nothing to their charges.)

[Update: Josh now says it's unclear that John Lewis actually flipped; he now seems to have said that his superdelegate vote will go to Obama only because that's who his own district voted for.]

Meanwhile, Mark McKinnon, the advisor for McCain who stayed with him while everyone else was jumping ship, reiterated his statement form last June that if Obama is the nominee, he will resign, since he can't bring himself to campaign against him. McKinnon had said that, though he disagrees with Obama, he felt that he'd be good for the country. He said he will still be rooting for McCain - but from the sidelines.

Hillary Rodham Wicked: The Musical - with liberties taken by Susie Madrak.

17:30 BST

It'll feel so good when it stops

Isn't it interesting that the publication that refused to allow Krugman to say Bush was lying in 2000 is perfectly happy to let the word "bitch" be used against a candidate in 2008?

I understand, now. The Republicans hated Tom Lantos because he was a Holocaust survivor.

Steve Clemons wants debates. Libby is troubled by the company Hillary keeps. Ezra is disappointed that Obama's gifts aren't really being used to serve those "hard truths" he's been talking about. MahaBarb says it's Obama, not Hillary, who has the managerial chops. And Lance looks to find a reason to believe.

"Soon only bankers will be able to change their sex."

Free at last, free at last. (via)

Dominic totally disagrees about the cables.

John McCain's Happy Valentine.

Oh, really?

Spirit, "Nature's Way"

12:59 BST

It feels good when they get it right for a change

Two good things via Atrios:
* - House Democrats actually did good in the midst of Republican insanity today, and even Steny Hoyer made the right noises. McJoan notes that Dems actually made the point that Bush and the Republicans are blowing smoke when they claim that "we won't be protected" if Bush's telecoms immunity isn't passed.
* - Silvestre Reyes, Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, wrote a strong letter to The Big Baby on the subject I particularly liked this para: "If our nation is left vulnerable in the coming months, it will not be because we don't have enough domestic spying powers. It will be because your Administration has not done enough to defeat terrorist organizations - including al Qaeda -- that have gained strength since 9/11. We do not have nearly enough linguists to translate the reams of information we currently collect. We do not have enough intelligence officers who can penetrate the hardest targets, such as al Qaeda. We have surged so many intelligence resources into Iraq that we have taken our eye off the ball in Afghanistan and Pakistan. As a result, you have allowed al Qaeda to reconstitute itself on your watch."

In a comment* to my previous post, Dan makes some guesses about this unusual sign of backbone from the Democrats:

Spitballing the drama, here's 3 possibilities:

1. Democrats are faking and the House will schedule another midnight Saturday vote to give maximum cover for their retreat.
2. Democrats are playing a bigger game and trying to slowly heat it up with a goal of bringing it to a boil in late summer/early fall for maximum political advantage.
3. Donna Edwards is already having an effect.

I'd love to think #3 but I'm afraid it will be #1. We'll know in a few days...

I dunno, but maybe something is going on. I mean, Conyers was recently heard to utter something last week about how he didn't consider impeachment to be off the table, too. Think they're waking up? Nah....

00:21 BST

Thursday, 14 February 2008

There's more to the theater than repetition repetition repetition

So the Republicans were so outraged that the Dems wanted to find Harriet Miers in contempt rather than give Bush the right to suborn felonies that they walked out of Congress. Right after accusing the Dems of "grandstanding".

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America is backing Webb's GI Bill, based on the old WWII bill. It would probably do more than anything currently proposed for the economy. Has your Senator signed on as a co-sponsor of S22? John McCain hasn't. I think Hillary and Obama should mention this, don't you?

Another inspirational video: "No, You Can't" - That's your Republicans for you. Via Changing Aging.

C&L has Wexler's floor speech transcribed.

Taylor is having comment problems. Anglachel is still supporting Hillary, too. SusanUnPC is still frightened by Obama's supporters.

You'll never convince me it's not bad for you. Can't you just smoke instead? "My Aspartame Experiment" - A private citizen gave rats the equivalent of one Diet Coke's worth of NutraSweet™ a day, and look what happened. (Thanks to Rich for the tip.)

I think both Obama and Clinton should pay me to edit them for stupidity. They keep saying unnecessarily stupid things, and I could help them. I don't care which one wins the nomination, but I'm sick of them being stupid.

19:39 BST

Happy Valentine's Day

Please, please, please drop the dead donkey and tell us the real news.

Bush jacks up the fear, and claims the telecoms won't obey legal warrants if they don't have a right to break the law.

And speaking of law-breaking it appears the CIA "cleaned up the torture evidence so they could put people on trial using forced "confessions". (And if you were planning to contact Conyers' office about moving impeachment hearings, you'd better fax him and set your machine to keep trying: 202-225-0072. Don't forget to remind them that only if they are impeachment hearings can we be sure there is no executive privilege. (Or, at least, the Supreme Court said so previously.)

Robert Wexler has his questioning of Mukasey up on his site.

The Way of the Hammer - Sam Rosenfeld says Tom DeLay-style hyperpartisanship would be good for the Democratic Party.

Yeah, sure, Maureen Dowd is really worried about the sexism against Hillary in this campaign. Man, I wonder where that came from.

Kagro X chomps down on "bipartisanship", real hard. (via)

The visible hands of "free-market" mavens.

Oh, yum.

13:08 BST

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Working it out

Obama is talking economy, now. Good. If he adds Edwards' stuff in his own style, he can win easy. Not just the primaries, but the general election. Then we make him actually do it.

There does seem to have been a shift in Clinton's and Obama's support ratios, guessing from this. Apparently, Obama is no longer just the youth candidate, but is doing well among older voters, too. White men are going for Obama. Hillary still retains her lead among white women, though it's not as strong as it was, and in other groupings, Obama appears to have caught up. I suspect that a lot of people were hesitant to support Obama because they were afraid a black man could never win the nomination, though they somehow believed Hillary could. I think this is true across racial groups, too - in fact, many black people were probably even less hopeful that whites would be willing to vote for Obama than whites were. But Obama - and the electorate - have surprised people, and that hesitancy to get on board disappears. Add that to a number of strategic errors on the Clinton campaign's part, and she's been severed from a number of people who were originally enthusiastic about supporting her.

Diane congratulates the LAT for getting Blue Cross busted for shady practices toward the nominally insured, and Ruth has a little history of how the right-wing movement started destroying the world in earnest.

Our favorite porn fiend was a spy at the right-wing loony conference, and has posted his thoughts at Adult Video News.

You are a progressive, he's a liberal, and I am a Chocolate candy rainbow.

Donna Edwards thanks Atrios. (And at least Al Wynn showed he had a little class, in the end.)

Shakira's bra (thanks to Ruth).

23:23 BST

Separation blues

Scott Horton on Treating the Constitution as a Doormat: "If things proceed on the course now set by the Bush Administration and its brainless collaborators, and the national surveillance state is achieved in short order, then future generations looking back and tracing the destruction of the grand design of our Constitution may settle on yesterday, February 12, 2008, as the date of the decisive breach." I'd put it several years earlier, at least December of 2000. Or maybe it was just the day William Jefferson Clinton put his signature on the bill that allowed media to go completely insane and treat all this like it wasn't an outrage. "But as Dan Froomkin notes at the Washington Post, "Isn't that the very definition of a police state: that companies should do whatever the government asks, even if they know it's illegal?" Indeed it is." Have you called your Congressbeing to tell them to hold fast against the Senate version of the FISA bill?

I have a terrible feeling that Yonmei's prediction that the administration will drag out the prosecution of tortured terrorists and sentence them to die right before a Democratic administration takes effect - and then leave the execution in the Democrat's hands - will turn out to be right. And that whoever is president at that moment will blow it.

Donna! "LARGO - Donna Edwards, the insurgent candidate from Fort Washington, has defeated the odds and unseated an eight-term incumbent Rep. Albert Wynn in the Democratic primary in Maryland's 4th Congressional District. Edwards' message of change in Congress and Washington resonated with voters who came out overwhelmingly to support her. If elected in the heavily Democratic district in the November general election, Donna Edwards will become the first African American woman in Maryland's Congressional delegation." All right! 60-36!

I went to Whiskey Fire looking to see if Molly Ivors had written her regular beat-down of Maureen Dowd, but she hasn't, so you'll have to settle for Attaturk's Shorter Maureen Dowd, instead.

Howie got me into an Eric Anderson mood, so here's "More Often Than Not", a song I used to perform when I was feeling particularly sorry for myself. However, this is Patrick Sky doing the title song for this post.

How can you have a problem that acts exactly like a hardware problem but is still there even when you change all the hardware, and is also still there when you boot in a completely different operating system? I don't get it.

17:08 BST

Dedicated to the great task remaining before us

C&L has video of Chris Dodd's floor speech (and Dodd gave a name-check to Glenn Greenwald), and a further update after the vote with links to other comment, and a reminder that it's now down to the House to stand firm - call your reps! FDL also has more on that, and asks us all to sign their petition. "What we are facing is a crisis of leadership and character from the people we elect to be leaders." Glenn's article is here. Democrats voting for treason were: Bayh, Inouye, Johnson, Landrieu, McCaskill, Ben Nelson, Bill Nelson, Stabenow, Feinstein, Kohl, Pryor, Rockefeller, Salazar, Carper, Mikulski, Conrad, Webb, and Lincoln. One Senator didn't vote: Hillary Clinton.

Also via Mike's Blog Roundup at C&L, the music weblog Hearsay has a note on 'change'.

Jim Henley has a novel theory on the relationship between the Clintons that makes much more sense than all the others. Patrick concurs. (And via Patrick, Jonathan Coulton's endorsement of Obama.)

Ezra Klein describes "the most powerful arguments I've yet heard for Obama's candidacy." Via Dr. Black. But Ezra has reasons to think Obama is not a lock for the general election.

Return of the Winter Soldier - Iraq Veterans Against the War plans an event for March 13-16 where vets can stand up and share their experiences of Iraq and Afghanistan. "It's not going to be easy to hear what we have to say. It's not going to be easy for us to tell it. But we believe that the only way this war is going to end is if the American people truly understand what we have done in their name." Many people credit the VVAW's Winter Soldier campaign with being the turning point to bringing the war in Vietnam to an end.

Naturally, the guy to go to for personal memories of Steve Gerber, who died Sunday night, is Mark Evanier. All I can tell you is that I enjoyed his work, but Mark actually worked with him.

The Gettysburg Address

01:16 BST

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

On the tubes

Hilzoy asks, "Are We Disappearing Children?" And the horrible thing is that we can even contemplate this at all, something we could once assume we did not do.

We are delighted to see that the King of Zembla is posting more regularly again, but since he is, by his own admission, a despot, he has more sympathy with George Bush's tyrannical behavior than we do here at The Sideshow.

Digby and Down With Tyranny have some delightful posters and buttons and things from the conservative loony conference.

The New York Post made a false claim about Team Obama playing creepy sexist music when Obama showed up at a party in Iowa. People were too quick to believe it. Stop being such dopes! (It doesn't appear that Hillary's pilgrimage to Rupert has worked out all that well.)

Mr. Sideshow alerts me to an online Firefly novel by Steve Brust! Download My Own Kind of Freedom for free.

Nice live version of "Classical Gas" from Tommy Emmanuel.

21:37 BST

Maybe you should make sure your passport is up to date

This would, of course, be an excellent time to get out into the streets and scream at our legislators. Although it would have been more useful to do it first thing this morning. I'm sure the timing of this vote had nothing to do with it being election day. Thanks to Chris Dodd for making a valiant try. No thanks to Pat Leahy for volunteering to stand up when it doesn't count.

The Financial Times says "Military tribunals are not the way: The Bush administration's obstinate attempts to build an alternative justice system, placing foreign terrorist suspects beyond the reach of the rule of law, is not just a moral outrage. It is a legal failure and a spectacular political own-goal." I repeat, that's the Financial Times, not the Great Speckled Bird or Washington Free Press.

Does anyone doubt that Antonin Scalia is an anti-constitutional crackpot? "Justice Scalia says that it is far from clear that torture is unconstitutional and says that it may be legal to "smack [a suspect] in the face" if the suspect is concealing information which could endanger the public." I'm sure Scalia is concealing information which endangers the public.

Ruth doesn't get the relationship between Bush's policies and his favorite philosopher. He skips over the red letters, Ruth.

18:10 BST

He's back, and I'm so relieved

Arthur Silber has returned, first with "Applauding Maestro Fleisher -- With Both Hands" and then, in rapid succession, more about how awful things are, here and here.

Scattered thoughts I had while reading:

The Beatles gave up their awards, but I can't recall anyone in America doing anything similar; the closest was those Vietnam vets who threw their medals in the bin. Artists, not so much.

And I think the real value of individual lives has actually been deeply trivialized by the movement to afford the status of personhood to mere embryos.

And I'd already concluded that if Obama or Clinton really posed a threat to Big Business As Usual, they'd have been shot by now.

Arthur says he has some ideas about what to do. That's good, because I'm all out of 'em.

Update: My commenters are much smarter than me today. I'm not sure whether to blame the pain or the drugs.

The real value of individual lives is trivialized also by putting them below ideology, and politics, and denying living beings needed medical procedures.
Ruth | Homepage | 02.12.08 - 5:01 pm | #

Brando and the Academy Award?
JDC | 02.12.08 - 5:18 pm | #

And I'd already concluded that if Obama or Clinton really posed a threat to Big Business As Usual, they'd have been shot by now.

They didn't shoot John Edwards; they just ignored him until he went away.

(I don't know for sure about Obama, although the way he's been campaigning hasn't been inclined to inspire optimism; but Her Grace the Duchess of the DLC is not likely to pose a threat to Big Business anytime soon.)
Alan Bostick | Homepage | 02.12.08 - 5:27 pm | #

I like the way he disarms his critics who say he's too bitter, too negative by pointing out that he's just asking people to see things as they are and then calling on something all of us have, to varying degrees, courage, to see it through.

As far as giving up awards, what about Muhammad Ali? He became a conscientious objector, knowing that he'd be stripped of the Heavyweight crown. It makes his comeback(s) all the more remarkable.

Plus that line "No viet cong ever called me n****r" still gives me chills.
Bruce F | Homepage | 02.12.08 - 5:27 pm | #

I believe it was only John Lennon who gave up his MBE, not the other Beatles.
mike | 02.12.08 - 5:38 pm | #

The real value of individual lives has been greatly diminished by according legal personhood to the fictional persons called corporations. The story of how this revolutionary legal doctrine came be, as a side-effect of a corrupt court's decision in a California railroad case over a hundred years ago, demonstrates the essentially arbitrary nature of the law.
joel hanes | 02.12.08 - 6:04 pm | #

16:33 BST

Broken morning

Diane pretty much covers my feelings about the death-penalty kangaroo court. I'm sure it will all work out - after all, we've tortured confessions out of them!

It's not just that you can't achieve security by sacrificing privacy, it's that you actually make things worse while giving up the things your security was supposed to secure.

Robert Kuttner explains why a profit-based healthcare system can't work: "Changing demographics and medical technology pose a cost challenge for every nation's system, but ours is the outlier. The extreme failure of the United States to contain medical costs results primarily from our unique, pervasive commercialization."

Who needs terrorists when you have Republicans running OSHA?

Georgetown's Health Policy Institute says that 2,000 American children a day lose healthcare coverage. At Fact-esque, it's a Compassionate Conservative Milestone.

Here's an example of people lying about Hillary Clinton demanding that David Shuster be fired. No surprise, of course, to find it at Slate.

100 years of Simone. (Thanks to Bruce F.)

11:51 BST

Monday, 11 February 2008

"I cleaned a fish, once"

Please do not tell me that your candidate can't say certain things about vital issues - certain things that must be said - because of certain biological facts about them that would not have applied to any of their other competitors for the nomination. We don't need candidates who need to prove they're butch or don't care about jobs and low-income people. If your candidate can't find a creative way to discuss important issues in an intelligent way because your candidate is making being black or female into a handicap in doing the job, then perhaps your candidate shouldn't have entered the race for the nomination to the presidency of the United States.

There's gotta be a way to make the Democratic Party's method of choosing a candidate more democratic.

Did anyone notice that the FT reported last week that GE is moving its financial headquarters to London? "General Electric is moving the headquarters of its core consumer finance division from Connecticut to London in move that symbolises a shift in the US conglomerate's centre of gravity." These people are deliberately hollowing out our country. And GE owns a major American broadcaster (NBC). Think about it. And then read Ruth's article on Wrecker Friendly Economics at Play.

John Ashcroft doesn't understand why people don't trust George Bush to protect our liberties, even though Bush allowed the Privacy and Civil Liberty Oversight Board members' terms to expire without appointing anyone else to it. (Also: Jim Neal has gotta be better than Liddy Dole.)

Sirota on The 2008 Class War.

McCain inspires. This is great. (Full credits are here.)

Why is the Indy trying to make me afraid of my neighbors?

21:35 BST

Stuff I saw

Just for the record: A lot of people are complaining that Hillary Clinton went too far in demanding that David Shuster be fired from MSNBC for his stupid remark about Chelsea. In fact, Hillary hasn't made any such demand. She said:

Nothing justifies the kind of debasing language that David Shuster used and no temporary suspension or half-hearted apology is sufficient.

I would urge you to look at the pattern of behavior on your network that seems to repeatedly lead to this sort of degrading language.

Which is, of course, exactly what bloggers have been saying. (Full text of letter is here, at the bottom of the article. It's short.)

Glenn Greenwald on Dems Conceding John McCain's "toughness" on national security: "Top Clinton aide Terry McAuliffe was on MSNBC this week with Chris Matthews and was asked directly whether McCain was too much of a "hawk" on national security -- meaning: is McCain a dangerous warmonger? McAuliffe's answer is a textbook illustration of exactly the Democratic cowardice that has been so destructive both to the country and their own political interests over the last eight years." McAuliffe, of course, evaded the question completely and said, "I think Sen. McCain's biggest problems are going to be dealing with the issues on the economy." At no time did he grab his chance to question whether being an insane warmonger was actually good for national security. Glenn says, "In general, television appearances by Terry McAuliffe are one of Barack Obama's greatest political assets -- it takes at least 24 hours to begin expunging the sour aftertaste -- but this specific answer by McAuliffe is reflective of exactly what Democrats should want most to reject."

It looks like the writers have a deal and will be voting tomorrow on ending the strike.

The fact that the Army suppressed a RAND study on the Iraq plan is not exactly news these days, and you get no points for surmising that the result wasn't laudatory, but I love the naivety of Michael Gordon's opening graf: "The Army is accustomed to protecting classified information. But when it comes to the planning for the Iraq war, even an unclassified assessment can acquire the status of a state secret." In the Bush administration, what Dick Cheney had for lunch is a state secret - unless they have some politically useful reason to tell you, in which case nothing is too sensitive to reveal. Can anyone have failed to understand this fact? For that matter, it doesn't take an 18-month study to know that the planning for Iraq was crap - that's been obvious since immediately after the invasion, at the latest. The real exposé will come when we see the 18-month study detailing why the media and Congress persisted in acting like there was nothing to complain about and impeachment was off the table.

Ted Rall checks out your candidate through the space-time continuum.

Michael Moore interview by Larry King.

End Prohibition Now!!! (Thanks to CMike for the tip.)

Actually, I've always thought that "open primaries" are a stupid idea. But perhaps that's just me.

Tom Lantos, only Holocaust survivor in Congress, has died after bout with cancer.

15:59 BST

Oh no!

I thought Krugman was going to talk about Rick Perlstein's book in his column today, but then was dismayed to see that he's actually talking about, um, a subject I've discussed here. And, while normally I'm delighted to see insights from blogs turn up in the newspapers, I've mostly regarded this particular topic as a lot of personal creebing. It makes me twitchy to see it emerge in The New York Times.

Yes, a certain subset of the Obama fanclub is a bit creepy, but they aren't actually the only ones who are getting all loaded up with resentments and declaring that they won't vote for anyone else should their candidate not win the nomination. What makes it different is that the Clinton supporters who say stuff like that usually say it among themselves in the comment threads of overtly pro-Clinton blogs, and we don't notice it as much; what has made "the Oborg" so annoying is that they show up elsewhere, attacking anyone who doesn't share their adulation.

I'm not sure what someone running a pro-Clinton blog must have to put up with (the only comment threads I really try to keep up with are my own), but since The Sideshow is not endorsing either candidate at the moment, and has criticized both candidates, it's creepy to be accused of "hating Obama". I've said far worse things about Clinton without being accused of "hating Hillary".

To me, they are politicians, and that means we have to identify their weaknesses so we know where we are going to have to push them. Both of them want to make too much room for the insurance industry in healthcare, for example. Neither of them has actually voted in such a way as to bring ending the occupation any closer. I'm disappointed with both in the kind of language they use to promote - or not promote - liberal policies.

It's stupid to trust either one of them to do the right thing if you're not prepared to get in there and push them. If you just assume you can trust your candidate, I distrust your awareness that you do have to push them. If you get in my comment threads and accuse me of "hating" your candidate because I have criticisms of him or her, I'm bound to think you don't understand this stuff - or that you're really just a Republican trying to alienate Democratic voters from "your" candidate.

These candidates are not polar opposites; they're very similar in policies - they're both parsecs above anyone the Republicans have to offer, and I have every intention of voting for whichever one wins the nomination. But I'd rather Krugman didn't put all this in his column; this is more like an inside-blog post. Although I guess you could say it's the other side of what Frank Rich had in yesterday's paper.

13:51 BST

Sunday, 10 February 2008

Chicken and links

Religious Discrimination in Prisons: "Pagan chaplain Patrick McCollum appeared before the US Commission on Civil Rights in Washington, DC yesterday, to speak at a briefing focused on prisoners' religious rights. His statement presented a chilling atmosphere of religious discrimination in the State and federal prisons that McCollum described as 'endemic'."

Eli noticed something wrong with Matt Taibbi's article about the Democrats and the anti-war movement.

Jim Henley found a couple of interesting articles about military spending at the Cato blog. I shudder when I think about the numbers.

Thers probably deserves some sort of award for coming up with the phrase "the Cheese of Patriotism". And also for writing, "Your Favorite Candidate Sucks."

Why Your Allies Won't Have War With You.

An evil advertisement.

A neat and varied linky post from Libby.

Auroras seen from space.

21:12 BST

It's politics

I look at stuff like this, and after I have a bout of wanting to smack the DNC around for a while, I think the only answer is to have a do-over for Florida and Michigan. There is just no other way to be fair about this - every alternative means Democrats in these two states have been and will be disenfranchised. It was stupid of the DNC to try to kill these primaries, it is stupid for them to say they won't seat the delegates, but it's equally stupid to seat them after the distortion they created by trying to quash them altogether, and simply splitting the votes is another way to make them meaningless. No matter what they do, they'll be infuriating the locals and pretty much writing off those states in the general election, which they simply cannot afford to do. Maybe we should all dial 202-863-8000 and tell them to have a do-over for Florida and Michigan.

Meanwhile, congratulations to Barack Obama for his impressive wins in Louisiana, Nebraska, and Washington. Obama's results are quite impressive, no doubt about it. But I do worry about things like this, and I can't help but wish that neither one of them had thought this would be a great time to get in there and divide the party. (Check out my interesting commenters.)

But just in case you've forgotten, a little reminder from qla over in Atrios' "comments: Listening to rethugs and Dems campaign you'd think there really are two Americas. Not between the rich and the rest of us, but between those who want to get their jollies being afraid 24/7 and those who want to see America move forward and fulfill some of the egalitarian promise that we once held so dear. The disconnect is very stark."

No need to click on the following couple of links, since it's only Maureen Dowd, but I swear she's one of the people who wants to make me vote for Clinton in spite of myself. Here she writes: Team Obama refers to the Clinton campaign as "Jaws" because "just when things are quiet, they keep trying to come back and capsize the boat." Who could imagine that a candidate in a campaign would actually be evil enough to campaign? It's an outrage. And here, with no sign of reflection: "But her pitch is the color of pitch: Because she has absorbed all the hate and body blows from nasty Republicans over the years, she is the best person to absorb more hate and body blows from nasty Republicans." I have the urge to append, "and nasty Maureen Dowd."

Wow, the Library of Congress has a Flickr account with hundreds of photos going way back. Cool. (Thanks to Bruce F for the tip. I do love the commenters, except for the ones who want to commit geronticide.)

14:08 BST

There are oceans and rivers enough to cross

Adore Flirty three-quarter cup balconette braBra of the Week

Tell me if this changes.

Personally, I don't see why they don't just let Afghanistan grow poppies and sell the dope to the NHS for pain-treatment. (Thanks to Ruth for the tip.)

Ron Paul won't win the nomination - but will he back McCain?

Chris Bowers threatens to quit the party if the superdelegates overrule the will of the voters.

Matt Yglesias thinks Hillary will win the nomination - not because of superdelegates, but because of the people: "I think the college educated men who dominate punditland have spent a lot of time missing the fact that there actually are enthusiastic Clinton fans out there -- they're just mostly working class women and thus mostly not in the room when this CW gets hashed out."

If you don't believe that Obama will win Utah, restore the economy, and get affordable healthcare for all Americans just by making nice with the Republicans, you're a cynic!

Is MoDo's face red! (Thanks to apikoros.)

I wonder who McCain would blame for his disgusting Chelsea Clinton joke if the media actually decided to mention it.

If you were going to write a parody of those stupid articles on why your feminist lifestyle bites, it would look exactly like this thing Amanda found.

Mike Luckovich on the Republican primaries.

Butter made easy - so easy that even I might try it.

Women in art, mostly naked.

Jackie DeShannon

00:58 BST

Saturday, 09 February 2008

Awkward instants

Laura Flanders: "The key questions are: Will progressive activists use the continuing primary race to raise solid policy demands about peace, justice, the environment, and healthcare -- and will whoever turns out to be the Democratic candidate actually listen? Let's keep in mind that those hopeful base voters aren't doing all this work simply in order to get a change of personnel in the White House. It's change in their lives and their communities, as well as in the country at large that they need and want. Even a shift of power in both chambers of Congress in November 2006 has brought them precious little of that." (via)

Jim Henley disagrees with me. He appears to make the mistake of (a) assuming I'm talking about the 1970s and (b) forgetting that a company that moved to another country paid a much higher price for the move than the cost of moving: tariffs. The current order actually uses taxation to facilitate moving overseas, whereas it used to make it a whole lot more expensive not to be a US company. (But cactus agrees with me.) Also, I note that one of Jim's commenters thinks unemployment was worse in the '70s. That simply isn't true. These days, the art of making large numbers of the unemployed invisible has become a science. I guess a lot of people don't remember the scandal when they started only counting people who were collecting unemployment as "unemployed". Then they kept shortening the period for which you were entitled to unemployment compensation. But the fact is, a higher proportion of people were employed back then. You didn't even hear stuff like this in after-midnight bull-sessions. And didn't see much of this, either.

I suppose I have been lucky because it took me so long to figure out how to (ask Steve how to) put comments on a hand-coded blog, so I never built up the huge comment community that some other blogs have, with the result that I can usually keep up with my relatively short threads and look with amusement on the nutbars who don't generally stick around for very long. But I have to say that I don't remember this kind of personal invective from the 2004 race (and, certainly, Digby never felt the need to turn off comments before), and I worry about what kind of people Mr. Charisma is bringing to the party. I mean, they sound exactly like the Bushistas I've seen appearing in Atrios' threads from time to time, full of triumphalism, arrogance, and insult, unwilling to engage respectfully or even read what you actually said or linked to before popping off about how evil you are. And we already know where that kind of thing leads, right? People who are so personally invested in their candidate that even if he betrays every single principle they thought he represented, they will excuse and forgive until the day comes when they'll insist that only a traitor would even defend those same principles. We've spent eight years with this guy who could spit-roast and eat babies on national television without losing his supporters, and I sure don't want to have to put up with another one. (However, I don't want to suggest that all Obama supporters are in this category; we also have some quite sane ones, as well, who are highly valued, here.)

19:49 BST

On the intertubes

It's hard to argue with The Rude Pundit's endorsement of Obama, but it reminds me of something I've seen or heard several times just in the last 24 hours that I need to respond to: I'm getting pretty sick of people implying that mentioning Jessie Jackson's win in SC is a racist statement. I'm getting sick of it because it buys into all the racist right-wing memes about Jesse. (And, Rude, honey, are you joking about "something in Bill or Hillary's recent or distant past that hasn't been vetted and dissected"? Really? As if there is anyone in the world who has been more investigated, and anything they could have missed? Jeez.) Elsewhere, Robin Morgan endorses Hillary.

Bill Scher says the hit on Obama for his "present" votes on abortion is a false one, since he merely went along with a strategy devised by Planned Parenthood. But I'd need to know a lot more about this strategy and how it worked to evaluate whether the Democrats who did so were really making a smart move or just showing bad judgment. As we have seen, the organizations we have historically trusted on reproductive freedom have not lately been living up to their previous strength on the issue, making moronic moves such as NARAL's continued support for Lieberman in 2006 despite his duplicity in making "good" floor votes after he had helped to assure bad outcomes. If the plan was to fail to defend abortion rights just to help Democrats who had to run in conservative districts, maybe it wasn't such a good plan after all - it hasn't done any good for Democrats nationally, remember.

More News From Club Guantanamo: "After months of absolutely no coverage on things Gitmo, the press is suddenly providing a surge of articles on the US prison camp. For example, on February 6, an AP article refers to the finally-acknowledged a "secret" cell block, one referred to as 'Camp 7.'"

Did you know that, in the event of martial law, private contractors have been told they can shoot to kill? "Then they said when -- not if -- martial law is declared, it was our responsibility to protect our portion of the infrastructure, and if we had to use deadly force to protect it, we couldn't be prosecuted," he says.

t14:11 BST

Res ipse loquitur

Charles Pierce (emphasis mine):

For the past couple of weeks, they've just gotten blatant about it. The administration of George W. Bush is bound by no law, bound by no precedent, bound not even by the forms of democratic self-government, let alone its actual substance, which is being used as a throw-rug in John Yoo's den these days. They will torture and the Congress can do nothing. Their powers to spy, to search, and to seize are unlimited and Congress is not remotely entitled to know even what those powers are. They can imprison without trial. They can force corporations -- and, indeed, individuals within the government -- to violate the law. They are not subject to treaties. They are not subject to oversight, nor even subpoenas. Read this swill from yesterday. Through his actions, and from the mouths of his minions, George Bush is now claiming fully the powers of a tyrant, by any reasonable definition of the term.

This is the only issue in the presidential campaign. It is the only truly existential threat to the country. Everything else -- health care, climate change, campaign finance, the deficit -- mean nothing if we fail on this fundamental issue. I don't know where the two Democratic contenders fall on this stuff -- their campaigns have been damnably vague about it -- but I know John McCain will be immeasurably worse. His anti-torture bill allowed torture. His "compromise" on judicial nominations allowed the Democrats to maintain the right to filibuster as long as they promised never to do so. This allowed Roberts and Alito to skunk through in order to deface the constitutional order, likely for the rest of my lifetime, and McCain has promised to let a theocratic loon like Sam Brownback to help him pick his own judges. He's always had a sweet tooth for executive power; his line-item veto was so nakedly unconstitutional that even William Rehnquist noticed. And, yesterday, he got up in front of the CPAC crowd that earlier had cheered every single one of the steps toward tyranny that the administration had undertaken. A while back, said unkind things about a soldier in a newspaper ad, and the entire capital got the vapors. The Congress of the United States was moved to resolve to condemn the newspaper ad. Democratic politicians rushed to sign on. Now, a group of very obvious extremists -- Dick Cheney is an authoritarian bully and a personal coward. His approval rating is 19 percent in the country and 100 percent in that hall. Res ipse loquitur. -- gathers in Washington, and not only do the party's most prominent political figures truckle and beg, your liberal media puts the worst of them on the air, as if they were serious people and not simple public vandals. Jesus Christ in Air Jordans, what in hell was David Bossie, a thug and a hoodlum, doing on Jim Lehrer's program last night? Tom DeLay is under indictment, for pity's sake. Why was he on MSNBC, grinning at Chris Matthews and lying about climate change? Mitt Romney's speech was a sprawling landfill of demagogic swill. It was treated as, well, statesmanlike by people who believe that John McCain is not conservative enough. This is plainly nuts, and any respectable conservative would work tirelessly to wring these crackpots out of the movement before the whole mess goes over the cliff again. Somebody should, you know, take out an ad or something.

And in reference to a link from Charles: I actually find it amazing that people are actually suggesting that Jim Webb should be the VP choice for whoever wins the top spot. I can't help thinking it had to have started with Republicans who want to get him out of the Senate so they can take his seat back and shut him up. It's just a stupid idea.

00:58 BST

Friday, 08 February 2008

Stuff I saw

Dan at Pruning Shears says we need to start calling them authoritarians, since there doesn't seem to be any conservatism - or anything else - involved in their present ideology. (Actually, there's war-mongering, of course, but authoritarianism works better if you have lots of war going on.) Dan naively says something about how they stopped being fiscal conservatives, but I don't think they ever were. ("Fiscal conservatism" is the excuse they give for not spending money on people rather than on corporate welfare and war.) They might legitimately have been called conservatives back when they wanted everything to stay the same instead of having the Revolution, but things weren't staying the same anyway even then, which is why people decided to throw tea in the harbor rather than allow an international corporation to supplant local enterprise.

Digby says the Republicans are never going to let us fix anything. I can't say what I'm thinking.

The War Against Justice continues, as Jeralyn reports that a highly-respected ethics lawyer in Florida has been indicted on what looks like a carefully constructed frame. This looks like exactly the sort of person that the Republicans need to get rid of. You know - voting rights. Ethics. They don't like that stuff.

I kind of skimmed too quickly over that Bradley Whitford article and failed to notice that you can actually watch the (fairly short) film Supreme Injustices right now.

19:36 BST

Truth and lies

I always wonder how the right-wingers get away with the amazing fantasy that people work harder if you give them a tax cut. I've never even heard anecdotal evidence that this happens. I suppose you could call it a theory if it was based on any data at all, but it isn't. Historically, some corporate tax cuts generated jobs because they were targetted tax cuts: You only got the tax break if you created more jobs. If you give companies no-strings tax cuts, it doesn't create any jobs at all. People on high salaries don't suddenly become smarter and more productive just because you cut their top marginal rate, either. What it really means is that more of the money that should be circulating in the economy gets hoarded at the top. That's not good for jobs, not good for the economy, not good for product innovation. It actually corrupts the system. What it creates is third-world countries, where a small oligarchy or nobility controls the nation's wealth, while there is only a small middle-class and wages for most workers are at subsistence levels. (Remember, Bob Cratchit was a trained, educated man with a "good" job.) It's damage in a democracy, which is why in the United States, we used to tax Big Money heavily. It's the only way to protect the freedom and liberty of everyone else.

In the Year of the Rat, conservatives take for granted that they can skate on their corruption by claiming it was just incompetence.

I knew it wasn't accidental! Anyway: TMP Muckraker, Scott Horton, and dday on torture. More torture.

Whoopi Goldberg, having promised to support the first candidate who promises to end tax breaks for companies that send jobs out of the US, shifts her endorsement from Obama to Clinton. And Hillary Clinton on NAFTA, from last March.

Gal Beckerman at CJR watched both candidates in person. Obama told the audience, "At some point in the evening, a light is going to shine down and you will have an epiphany and you'll say, 'I have to vote for Barack.'" But Hillary merely walked on the earth - and maybe that is preferable.

12:34 BST

Thursday, 07 February 2008

Accidents of freedom

The allegedly accidental admission that the administration has tortured people was seen as an opportunity for those who thought they could placate Dems and human rights types by saying we don't torture anymore. But, says Paul Kiel, it may not work out that way.

So, is it really just an accident that communication cables for the Middle East have been cut? Or is it a nefarious plan for nefarious purposes? (via)

Josh Lyman Bradley Whitford and Alliance for Justice have made a movie, Supreme Injustices, about how our highest court screwed women in the Ledbetter case. He says it "details Lilly's story and tells the stories of other ordinary Americans who have already been harmed by the Supreme Court's rightward tilt since Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito took the bench."

Conservative love - er, well, not for McCain.

Buzzflash has a quick primer on The Washington Times for those who haven't been following the work of John Gorenfeld (who has a lovely slide-show up at his site).

Winners: Which pollster won the race? Zogby had it at Clinton 36%, Obama 49%; SurveyUSA had it at Clinton 52%, Obama 42%. And the actual result: Clinton 52%, Obama 42%.

Oh, thank goodness there's a recent amendment. I was really getting worried. If you have any money to spare, I'd really appreciate it if you'd send it Arthur's way. Yes, I know he will be brutal about how useless we are all being, but we probably deserve it.

17:11 BST

Criminal justice

Buzzflash has a new interview with Elizabeth Holzman up. For those who came in late, Holzman was on the Congressional committee that ran the impeachment hearings for Richard Nixon. Read the interview and think about the fact that the administration has admitted to torture and its minions insist that that's okay. And then call Congress and demand that they begin impeachment hearings.

At the NYT, some chump change: "A North Dakota manufacturer has agreed to pay $2 million to settle a suit saying it had repeatedly shortchanged the armor in up to 2.2 million helmets for the military, including those for the first troops sent to Iraq and Afghanistan." They deliberately endangered our troops for money. Harry Truman said war profiteers are traitors. You don't just fine traitors. (Thanks to Mark for the tip.)

But hey, what's the surprise? Bit by bit, conservative courts are establishing the principle that only wealth can buy you 'justice'.

Mary at The Left Coaster alerts me to even more rogue US Attorney activity in Alabama - I mean, it's not like Don Siegelman is their only victim. Now they've even brought a federal prosecution against a school teacher for not completing her teaching plan - for a nongovernmental organization, no less. That in itself is breathtaking, but as Scott Horton tells us, there is so much more.

15:00 BST

It's all up to what you value

Monkeyfister has been liveblogging the storms, which no one had been noticing with the other news going on. There's some footage at the Danger Collie Storms page. And MF has details of how you can help.

Taylor Marsh and Lambert have more questionable statements from Obama. Earlier, I saw where someone I can't now remember said, "Hillary campaigns against the Republicans, Obama campaigns against the Clintons." Maybe that's true. Or maybe Obama's criticism of Bill Clinton is in some ways a fair cop - but I'm not so sure this is the time and place to be making it.

Lieberman Has "Superdelegate" Status Stripped Because of McCain Endorsement - Ever since Zell Miller endorsed George Bush, they've had a rule for situations like this.

The criminal administration admits to war crimes; they say they tortured and they might just do it again. Well, they said they waterboarded, but everyone knows that's torture - and The United States of America has always said so. But now they've given a green light to the world to torture people - even our troops.

Also in America's war on everything: "One of the things that has always puzzled me about al-Haj's detention is that it has gotten so very little notice by the US press. One would think that journalists would be outraged that one of their own is being treated so despicably, but, apparently, one would be wrong. [...] Something else, however, puzzles me. Why have the candidates been allowed to remain silent on the issue of Guantanamo Bay and all that it stands for? Sadly, Mr. al-Haj's story is not unique. How many violations of basic human rights are tolerable? If all of the candidates are so big into "change," perhaps this is one area they might consider doing something about."

"It's What You Value."

12:17 BST

Primary the bum!

E-mail from Jim Dean of Democracy for America:

DFA-List candidate Donna Edwards is working hard to win her primary battle next Tuesday, February 12 against Bush-Democrat Al Wynn. She knows that the heart and soul of the Democratic Party are at stake.

So does the incumbent, Rep. Wynn. That's why his "I'll do anything to win" campaign sent out misleading mailers last week. The mailers included unauthorized photos of Vice President Al Gore implying his endorsement of support.

Here at The Sideshow, we would love to see Donna Edwards unseat Al Wynn in Maryland's 4th district. They're putting out the call for people who want to come out and spend some shoe-leather, so you might want to give them a call, or at least send her some bucks.

00:45 BST

Wednesday, 06 February 2008

Today's dither

Earlier on* I said, "I just want to know, if one of them gets into the White House, which one is most likely to listen to us when we hammer them for not doing what we want." And Vast Left responded*, "I'm guessing it's the one that doesn't walk on water. That one might need a life preserver from us one day."

That might actually be true, assuming the media would stay in love with Obama. (Not a safe bet; they were in love with Bill Clinton during the '92 primaries, remember. I'm sure they'll stay in love with Obama if Hillary wins, and they can go on forever about the Golden Age that was lost because the Dems were too stupid to nominate their angel.) Of course, if the media play true to form and turn on the Democratic nominee like a jilted lover, as they did with Bill, Obama might need us, too, and suddenly discover that maybe trying to alienate his party's base is a stupid idea. Or, he could just do what Bill Clinton did, and keep trying to give conservatives what they want in the vain hope that they will quit hammering him.

At The Left Coaster, eRiposte made some interesting points in a post evaluating last night's results that almost made me feel somewhat more positive about how I'd feel about a Clinton nomination, including the fact that Clinton is drawing in a lot of new voters in much the same way Obama is - although of course those voters aren't as important since they're only wimmin and in-between-color people. (This is a fairly meaty post, btw.)

I'm still not endorsing anyone. I'm as susceptible as many other people to the energy that Obama seems able to generate - the "aura" that so attracts people and makes me think I'm listening to an inspirational orator when he talks, even though when I actually read his speeches there doesn't seem to be so much there. It's hard not to want to get on that train - it's a real "People get ready" feeling. But in a way that scares me; when his supporters seem to be so personal about it that they declare they will not vote - or will vote for McCain! - if Hillary is the Democratic nominee, it creeps me out. What do you actually believe in, and why are you voting for Obama, if that's the way you feel? I mean, what are you actually voting for? Is he Valentine Michael Smith?

And, um, I seem to remember that our two most recent presidents were also unity candidates. You remember Bill Clinton, the guy from Hope? He was into the "unity" thing. And then there's that Uniter-not-a-divider guy. That didn't work out so well, did it?

I'll be waiting to hear if Michelle Obama finds a convincing way to walk back on her stupid comment about how she'd "have to think about" voting for Hillary if she wins the nomination. If she and her candidate don't know what Job One is, we could be in even more trouble than we thought.

Anyway, eRiposte has made the case for not committing suicide if Hillary is the nominee. Now, if only Obama's supporters could give me a reason to feel better about all the messages I get from their candidate in which he tells me he doesn't actually want my vote....

On the bright side, Rush Limbaugh admits that McCain, Clinton, and Obama are not going to "surrender the country to Islamic radicalism or the war in Iraq," so it's safe to vote for any of them. Ahem.

23:31 BST

Staring down this broken land

When you call your reps about not backing down on the stim-plan, don't forget to tell them they really, really need to call LIHEAP something else.

Rest In Peace : "It finally happened: a detainee held for nearly five years at Guantanamo Bay has died of natural causes, which in his case means cancer. Abdul Razzaq Hekmati died on December 30, 2007, according to this article in today's NY Times. The fact that it took well over a month for the news of his death to be reported in a major US newspaper is a horribly fitting ending to the story of the last years of Mr. Hekmati's life." Of course, everyone knew he had nothing to do with terrorists, but that didn't help him. It never does.

AARP has been making its bucks selling insurance, so any moves away from commercial healthcare make them twitchy. And they seem to be doing something about it, to the detriment of their members. This won't be the first time they've acted in their own commercial interests to hurt the people they are supposed to serve. (Also: Members of the military are giving their money to anti-war candidates.)

Oh, look, I got a name-check from Tobin Harshaw at the NYT's Opinionator blog.

19:09 BST

On the Infobahn

Harold Meyerson is, I think, a classic example of people who have been fooled by the wolf in sheep's clothing that is John McCain. Meyerson sees his ascendency as a repudiation of Karl Rove, but he's not; he's another far-right conservative who pretends to moderation, just as Bush was eight years ago. Mitt Romney is a more obvious phony than McCain, but they are both phoneys. In fact, Mitt is the more moderate, as a man whose only interest is climbing up the power ladder and who will change his stated views at a moment's notice if it will help him up that ladder. McCain wears a few convenient talismans of moderation, but his real asset is his ability to charm the celebrity press who have talked up his "straight talk" incessantly despite his blatant flip-floppy pandering. So here's the thing: McCain is a far-right conservative. He happened to be running against Karl Rove's True Love in 2000, but today he's not, and he's the right-wing nut who has the best chance of being able to beat a Democrat, which makes him exactly what Karl Rove wants. Not a problem for Rove. (Thanks to Ruth, who has a good post up at her place on the evil that is George Bush's budget.)

In honor of yesterday's unpleasant anniversary, Jonathan Schwarz put together a comprehensive post detailing Powell's deception: "Clearly, Powell's loyalty to George Bush extended to being willing to deceive the world: the United Nations, Americans, and the coalition troops about to be sent to kill and die in Iraq. He has never been held accountable for his actions, and it's extremely unlikely he ever will be."

It's amazing how bad protectionism is, and how good "choice" is, until you ask a giant corporation to deal with real competition: "Latest word is the protectionists, led by Monsanto, want to make it illegal for people to buy ice cream from milk that was produced by cows not given growth hormones. According to an AP article, Monsanto has been lobbying state legislators to prohibit Ben and Jerry's and other ice cream makers from labeling their product as free of milk from cows that were given growth hormones." Why? Because advertising that your product comes from hormone-free cows implies that Monsanto milk might not be the best possible kind of milk, and therefore is bad advertising for Monsanto. And you're not allowed to advertise that your product might be better than Monsanto's. Isn't capitalism wonderful?

Patrick finally came out and endorsed Obama, and notes that Katherine and Hilzoy have, as well. I can argue with his logic, but I won't. He could be right. He could be wrong. I'll support the Democrat, whoever it is, in November. I just hope that when the nominee becomes president and then starts doing things that mere weeks ago you would have condemned out of hand, you don't do what Glenn Reynolds et al. did and suddenly find reasons why all of those things are now okay. Love the issues, people, not the candidates. They're only human, and they are only as good as we are at forcing them to do what needs doing. (Also via Patrick, the autism pill, or Vinge's "Focus" for real.)

Our esteemed commenter QrazyQat posted a few more shots of Thailand - some beautiful (and I have never seen a poinsettia bush before), and some not-so-beautiful spots. And a new set from Luang Prabang, Laos.

14:49 BST

Lots of work, and no easy answers

President John Fitzgerald Kennedy produced actual photographs to show that Fidel had WMD. Photographs - at a time when there was no photoshop. Colin Powell had a drawing. Just think, you could draw Richard Cohen a picture of that bridge you want to sell him, and he'd buy it. A hell of an anniversary, innit?

Oh, Jeez, I missed the bit where Bush's "budget", which starves WIC, veterans' care, and other life-or-death programs, does increase money for some things - like abstinence-only propaganda.

McJoan has a run-down on what's been going on with FISA. And, "In addition, there are some key House members to contact to make sure they hold tough on the already passed RESTORE Act. It's critical that they don't fold under pressure from the Senate to weaken their bill. Here's the list of targets, either because of their committee assignments or their previous votes, in the House to call and to tell to fight for the RESTORE Act." If the House holds, the Senate may just have to think again. (via)

"Redistribution of Wealth, Upwards Edition #4812" - Why do rich people think the rest of us should pay for their toys?

It's kind of awesome to know that people who think Puerto Ricans are foreigners are in government. (And yes, they did stop teaching civics during the Reagan era.)

"At the very least, we know what they stand for."

Of course, Jonah Goldberg sees the "Yes I Can!" video and thinks he's watching Triumph of the Will. But you could see that in just about any politician's routine.

Emphyrio: "My feeling is that the next President may be a lot like FDR -- a middle-seeking corporate-acceptable choice who by necessity of economic emergency will be forced to adopt many ideas of the Progressive movement. Unless, of course, he's a Republican. Then he can skip all that stuff and just go on to another World War."

Meteor Blades and DHinMI came out for Obama, but Emptypockets chose Hillary.

01:22 BST

Tuesday, 05 February 2008

Muddling along

So, I should support Obama because Andrew Sullivan says Hillary isn't a good feminist? And why is that? Oh, she apparently has feelings. Well, can't have that, can we? Putz. Fortunately for Obama, there are some people who can talk him up without having to talk women down. And some make you ache to believe.

Here's Hillary's message to the LGBT community. And here's a reminder of her vote on banning cluster bombs.

But what does Obama mean by mocking Edwards' interest in fighting poverty?

Errington Thompson endorses Obama, and Lambert endorses Hillary. I just want to know, if one of them gets into the White House, which one is most likely to listen to us when we hammer them for not doing what we want.

D. Potter alerted me to this, ah, eulogy for Edwards and other things, and I'm not sure how much I agree with.

Bush submits budget to Congress that's so radioactive it glows in the dark.

Iraq is now full of crap.

Another dystopian alert. (Thanks to Jeff for the tip.)

20:12 BST

Readin' and procrastinatin'

I want someone to ask Hillary Clinton, "If you are elected, are you going to make the same stupid mistake your husband made and refuse to prosecute the criminals who preceded you in office?" (Not that I trust Obama not to make that mistake, either....)

It used to be that cosmetic companies made cosmetics, biscuit companies made cookies and crackers, shoe companies made shoes, builders built things, broadcasters aired broadcasts, and newspaper companies published newspapers. It was illegal for companies to be "diversified", and we liked it like that - especially where the news media were concerned. But those days are gone.

I guess Driftglass must be a racist, because he referred to the little Fox faces as "children". Man, I'm glad that network doesn't come into my house. (Thanks to D.)

Crunch time for pollsters: Zogby has bet on Obama (49%-36%), and Survey USA has bet on Clinton (42%-52%).

Blair's bid for presidency viewed with alarm.

Roz had a busy day yesterday. I enjoyed going to the launch for her book and seeing people I hadn't seen in 20 years or more. And she also did a long post that includes a review of Banksie's Matter and her speech about history and transsexualism.

14:39 BST

In the nighttime

Marcy Wheeler liveblogged the FISA debate. And here's Christy Hardin Smith on state secrets.

It just amazes me how, every day, both camps come up with reasons why I should not vote for their own candidate.

Glenn Greenwald says that Republicans have become the credibility-free party - so why are Democrats afraid of them?

Jeff Cohen on Stepford Republicans, once just like humans, now robotic repeaters of right-wing corporate babble and culture war policies.

Wolcott: "Is our Republicans Learning?"

Echidne discovers The White Woman Problem.

Man, I almost missed Greg Mankiw's birthday. And the poor guy is worried that his kids won't cover their Social Security obligations for him.

I can't repeat what a friend said when he saw the headline about how Tony Blair wants to be President of Europe.

Dave Johnson wants to clear up the myth that Hillary was a corporate lawyer - she didn't do corporate law at the Rose Law Firm.

Bob Somerby isn't impressed by the press corps' accusations of racism against the Clintons.

The editor of Adult Video News endorses Hillary Clinton.

Sam Seder covers the Straight Talk Express (via)

Susie Madrak tells me her pal Jim Boggia is playing in London this month.

03:00 GMT

Monday, 04 February 2008

B.A.D. review

I occasionally like to remind people that it's a problem for me to keep the blogroll links up to date, and I don't like adding too many to the front page because it actually does make things more unwieldy. However, you'll notice I've added a link near the top-right of my sidebar for the Unexpurgated Blogroll, and there's a Random Selection of three from the big list that shows up just below it. Nudge me if you want to be added to that one - and please don't try to rely on my memory for who you are and what your URL is when you do nudge me, eh? Meanwhile, here are a bunch of Blog Amnesty Day posts with links to other blogs you can explore:

The Newshoggers
The Brad Blog had Skippy sit in.
Media BloodHound
Suburban Guerrilla
The Impolitic

18:10 GMT

Muddy terrain

Today Diane covers some Business As Usual: "Housing Secretary Alfonso Jackson runs his department the way all of the Bush appointees seem to do: they take care of their friends and steamroll those who dare to complain about the cronyism. This article in today's Washington Post is another fine example of BushCo's way of conducting the people's business."

Jane Smiley says we don't really know what to expect from the candidates, but there's an important consideration: "The underlying question of this primary and this election and the next four years is this -- was it the Clintons themselves who aroused the ire of the rightwing to such an extent that the administration they formed was unmercifully harassed from before the inauguration of 1992 to after the 2000 election, or were the Clintons simply the Democrats who happened to be there when the rightwing decided to take over? Everything the rightwing (and the media) latched onto about the Clintons, from Travelgate to the runway haircut to Monica Lewinsky seemed to me at the time to be merely a gambit in a slow-moving coup d'etat that was crowned in 2000 with the Supreme Court selection of the unelected George W, Bush. [...] It would actually be nice if the Fellow Wehner is telling the truth, that it is the Clintons personally that are the problem, because then the election of Obama would indeed signal a change. But if the goal of the corporatocracy is what it has seemed to be -- the permanent replacement of American democracy with a global imperialist empire and oligarchy of wealth, then Obama doesn't have a chance -- he will either be corrupted or destroyed."

This explains why so many progressives are angered by Obama's anti-Hillary healthcare ad.

Harry Reid does it again, and now eRobin is having another bad day. Yes, all this stupid stuff the Democrats are doing isn't even about making deals, it's about the damned election; life is on hold until November, didn't you know? They actually let the Republicans get away with this crap because they think it will help them win the election. And that's the real crime they've been committing for eight years: "Bipartisanship" for partisan gain.

DFA wants to be your wireless provider.

16:19 GMT

Stuff to check out

Paul Krugman, again trying to explain Obama's and Clinton's health insurance plans: "But the big difference is mandates: the Clinton plan requires that everyone have insurance; the Obama plan doesn't." Obama is trying to argue that mandates only make it tougher, but what he's really arguing is that it's all too hard, because you can't really have a cost-effective system if only the sick buy into the insurance plan. But, as Atrios says, Clinton's language is wrong: "'Raise your taxes' is actually more politically palatable than 'make you buy it.'" Indeed. Everyone already knows we're paying for it from taxes. What they don't know is that they're already paying for it and not getting what they pay for.

Media BloodHound: "I recently co-wrote five articles on the Jose Padilla case with veteran Chicago investigative journalist Lew Koch, who covered the trial. The talented and prolific Rick Perlstein published this series on Campaign for America's Future. The mistreatment of Jose Padilla, a U.S. citizen, is unprecedented in our nation's history. The series begins on the day of his sentencing, less than two weeks ago, and weaves its way back through a case eerily reminiscent of Kafka's The Trial. These articles explore Padilla's hellish journey at the hands of a Bush administration bent first on a big counter-terrorism victory and later on saving face, even if it meant the systematic destruction of a human being and the trashing of our Constitution: Citizen Padilla (Part I: Judge Cooke's Torturous Sentence), Citizen Padilla (Part II: Manufacturing a Terrorist Mastermind), Citizen Padilla (Part III: The Radioactive Patsy), Citizen Padilla (Part IV: A Veil of Ignorance), Citizen Padilla (Part V: Judge and Jury)."

Jake Tapper's little bit of editing to have Bill Clinton "say" the opposite of what he said is now making the rounds, even on ABC - and even the right-wing blogs are saying it's an unfair hit!

This video of Ann Coulter explaining why she will support Clinton over McCain is just... awesome.

Panoramic view of an Airbus cockpit.

13:35 GMT

Late links

Big Tent Democrat says The Blogosphere Should Not Have Candidates: "It should try to persuade and/or pressure Dems, candidates and officeholders, on the issues that matter to them. In 2007, I was very critical of the blogs' performance on withdrawal from Iraq. Why? Because it was candidate centric, not issue centric." Yeah, so from now on I want the candidates to know that I want free healthcare for all, the infrastructure rebuilt (and no privatized projects, either), no invasions or occupations, Constitutional government with habeas restored and a full panoply of rights for every individual in the United States and everyone the United States acts toward, no corporate personhood, and punitive taxation for any American company that moves offshore to avoid taxes. Oh, paper ballots, hand-counted on site in full public view on the night. And, of course, impeachment hearings.

Can Do - Americans are still capable of doing what needs doing if they just decide to do it, even if the Republicans would rather we think of ourselves as a can't-do nation. Diane finds a good example.

Scott Horton on An Anniversary to Ponder: "On January 30, 1933 - seventy-five years ago today - the power of the state fell into the hands of Hitler and his Nazi party, what Germans know as the Machtergreifung, literally 'seizure of power.' "

This is almost scary - HuffPo has a map of who is donating money to which politicians. You can type in your zipcode and see who in your area is giving money to candidates you can't stand, and if they run a business, make a note to yourself (and tell your friends) not to patronize that business. Or your can make an note to give your business to someone who is supporting your favorite candidates. Or crazy right-wing fruitcakes can look to see who you've donated to and find out where you live. (Also: A tiny photo of Jessica Alba with no clothes on.)

Lieberman Debunks An Obama Rumor ... Sort Of.

Mind the gap.

here's another blog I've never seen before: Stephen Views the News.

01:46 GMT

Sunday, 03 February 2008


I must quote for all eternity this revolting and ignorant thing that soullite put in the comments:

Those who think this is just the usual generational struggle, remember this: Every generation views those that come after it as frivolous and selfish. However, only the boomer's are considered such by both those who came before, and everyone who has come after. Your post makes a better argument for death-camping the baby boomers then it does for accepting their grievances.
No, soullite, you're wrong; every generation views those who come after and before them that way. The Boomers are not an exception - or did you think all those protest marches were against the reasonableness and generosity of our elders?

However, our generation has had forty years of right-wing media slander to contend with, as well. Just how stupid do you have to be, at this late date, to believe it?

Elsewhere, Jonathan Schwarz reviews other stupidity.

20:44 GMT

In Blogtopia

At TalkLeft, Jeralyn Merritt has two examples of Obama's political leadership that worry me a bit: "Obama Used to Favor Decriminalization of Marijuana," but now he has "flip-flopped the wrong way." So maybe I should like him better before he was running for president. But then there's nuclear leaks, where he negotiated it all away. Says Jeralyn, "It's the casting of Obama as the top liberal I have a problem with. His record just doesn't seem to support it. I don't want a President who reaches out to Republicans when he should be fighting them."

Then again, the old "we attacked Iraq because Saddam kicked the inspectors out" lie doesn't sound any better coming from Hillary Clinton than it sounds coming from George Bush.

Still, a reminder from Lance Mannion of why, in the end, we are going to have to vote for one of those Democrats, and that, of course, is the alternative: "If the Government is a car setting out to give every one a ride to work, then for 40 years the Republicans have been puncturing the tires, pouring sand in the gas tank, stealing the distributor cap, and, whenever they can get their hands on the wheel, driving it straight into the nearest ditch and then, pointing to the wreckage as the tow truck backs up to it, saying, See, this proves that people were meant to walk. And they do this so that they don't have to chip in on gas."

I haven't been to a donut shop in about a hundred years, but twice in the last decade I've been waiting for a train and seen a donut cart. I have to painstakingly explain to the donut-maker that I want them to make the donut and give it to me without putting anything on it. I usually have to say it two or three times, because this idea that you have to put chocolate or sugar or cinnamon on it seems to have become universal, but I'm only interested in the flavor of plain, fresh donut. I tell you this only to explain that, when right-wing evangelicals decide to stop the hatin' and do what Res says, I'm not interested in any Krispy Kremes. Also, I want cream in my coffee. Via Hecate, who also posted this pretty picture.

However, some people are both beyond the pale and extremely unlikely to start reaching out to people who aren't as crazy as they were, so I'm with Tristero: "Any religious faith that glorifies ignorance, excuses lies, and encourages behavior as disgraceful as the release of a serial rapist to society based upon political calculation would deserve derision. But, of course, Huckabee's religion teaches no such things.* So it is not I who derides Michael Huckabee's faith, but Huckabee himself. I deride only Huckabee, who has said and done the stupidest, most repellent things, and then cynically deflected criticism by hiding behind priestly vestments. " And much the same can be said of all these wingers, and if Kristof hasn't noticed it... well, there has always been something seriously wrong with Kristof.

18:27 GMT

Reading The Washington Post

Just when you think the WaPo is nearly hopeless, they publish two op-eds on the same day from people who ought to be in the paper a lot more often. Granted, it's only the Sunday paper, but at least they are there.

Rich Perlstein on why we're not going to get past the '60s:

I realize it anew just about every day of this presidential campaign -- most recently when a bevy of Kennedys stood behind Obama last week and spoke of reviving the spirit of Camelot, and when the conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks responded by making fine distinctions between "the idealism of the generation that marched in jacket and ties" -- the "early-60s," which he took Obama to represent -- and the "late-60s," defined "by drug use and self-indulgence," of which the Clintons are the supposed avatars.


It's easy to find hundreds of pictures of the national student strike that followed Nixon's announcement of the invasion of Cambodia in the spring of 1970. Plenty of pictures of the riots at Kent State that ended with four students shot dead by National Guardsmen. None I could find, however, of the counter-demonstrations by Kent, Ohio, townies -- and even Kent State parents. Flashing four fingers and chanting "The score is four/And next time more," they argued that the kids had it coming.

The '60s were a trauma -- two sets of contending Americans, each believing they were fighting for the future of civilization, but whose left- and right-wing visions of redemption were opposite and irreconcilable. They were a trauma the way the war of brother against brother between 1861 and 1865 was a trauma and the way the Great Depression was a trauma. Tens of millions of Americans hated tens of millions of other Americans, sometimes murderously so. The effects of such traumas linger in a society for generations.

Given the number of people who are still fighting the Civil War, none of this is surprising. The interesting thing is that the people who most loudly and effectively have claimed the mantel of the True Americans are the ones who want to kill other Americans and can't even remember which flag they are wrapping themselves up in.

Also interesting is Perlstein's reminder that some of the most divisive figures of the '60s were touted at the time as being people who would bridge divisions and unite us. But that certainly didn't happen.

A President Obama could no more magically transcend America's '60s-born divisions than McCarthy, Kennedy, Nixon or McGovern could, for the simple reason that our society is defined as much by its arguments as by its agreements. Over the meaning of "family," on sexual morality, on questions of race and gender and war and peace and order and disorder and North and South and a dozen other areas, we remain divided in ways that first arose after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. What Andrew Sullivan dismisses as "the symbolic battles of the Boomer generation" do not separate us from our "actual problems"; they define us, as much as the Great War defined France in the 1920s, '30s, '40s and beyond. Pretending otherwise simply isn't healthy. It's repression -- the kind of thing that shrinks say causes neurosis.
Of course, they have to ruin it with an opposing view from someone who says the Boomers should get out of the way and make room for the bright optimism of people who just don't get that what's past is prologue. I left this comment:
The difference between the '60s and now is that in the '60s articles like this appeared in student newspapers or underground newspapers. The Boomers had the same idealism and the same contempt for the mess their elders had made - and the belief that when their generation came to power, they would do a better job.

That generation never really came to power, of course, because generations had nothing to do with it. People who have those beliefs never have the edge when it comes to getting power. The problem is not "Boomers", the problem is who has the power. If you don't know what your enemy is, you cannot fight it.

I'm sure the powerful are very happy to know that you think your enemy is "Boomers".

But - is it Christmas? - they also have Barbara Ehrenreich, explaining that The Boom Was a Bust For Ordinary People:
It begins to sound a bit naughty -- all this talk about the need to "stimulate" the economy, as if we were discussing how to make a porn film. I don't mean to trivialize our economic difficulties or the need for effective government intervention, but we have to face a disconcerting fact: For years now, that strange stimulus-crazed beast, the economy, has been going its own way, increasingly disconnected from the toils and troubles of ordinary Americans.


We like to attribute our high productivity to technological advances and better education. But a revealing 2001 study by the consulting firm McKinsey & Co. also credited America's productivity growth to "managerial . . . innovations" and cited Wal-Mart as a model performer, meaning that our productivity also relies on fiendish schemes to extract more work for less pay. Yes, you can generate more output per apparent hour of work by falsifying time records, speeding up assembly lines, doubling workloads and cutting back on breaks. That may look good from the top, but at the middle and the bottom, it can feel a lot like pain.


So thoroughly is the economy decoupled from ordinary experience that according to a CNN poll, 57 percent of Americans thought we were already in a recession a month ago. Economists may complain that this is only because the public is ignorant of the technical definition of a recession, which specifies at least two consecutive quarters of negative growth. But most of the public employs the more colloquial definition of a recession, which is hard times. And -- far removed from whatever happens on Wall Street, the Nikkei, Dax, or the curiously named FTSE -- most Americans have been living in their own personal recession for years.


But you can't jump-start a car that lacks a working battery. We need less titillating talk about "stimulus" and more commitment to some fundamental repairs -- higher wages, a real safety net and a return to progressive taxation among them. The challenge isn't just to prop up stock prices but to rebuild an economy in which everyone shares the good times -- and no one is consigned to a permanent recession.

Even the usually unreliable Jim Hoagland is spilling some beans about some rogue diplomacy in Afghanistan that sounds suspiciously like what the Reagan-Bush team pulled during the 1980 campaign when they conspired to undermine Carter's efforts to free the hostages, for their own political gain:
Last weekend, Karzai abruptly pulled out of a carefully developed plan to install a high-powered U.N. special representative in Kabul to consolidate lagging reconstruction efforts. To make matters worse, the about-face was reportedly abetted by an American diplomat's free-lancing on Karzai's behalf.
I say "hints", because he never really explains that second sentence, but the smell is awfully familiar, and has "October surprise" written all over it.

In the letters column: Next time someone tells you horror stories about the evils of universal healthcare in Europe, do remind them that even in down-market East London, I don't have problems like this.

15:07 GMT

She'll look the same except for bionic eyes

Rogue Columnist has a pretty good article up about What's really wrong with newspapers that pretty well goes to the heart of the matter, and it's ultimately content. There are a lot of reasons why content has become crappier, but the bottom line is that if you allow all those forces to control content, you wake up in a world where it's easier to wait until Michael Moore makes a movie or Marcy Wheeler publishes a book about the subject than it is to find it in your morning paper. (Via Making Light, where Teresa also provides more thoughts on blog commenting.)

In Afghanistan, where we have brought freedom and democracy and, most importantly, liberated the women from oppression, a 23-year-old journalism student has been sentenced to death for downloading and sharing a report on the oppression of women in some Islamic societies.

There is no "third way".

How to survive the writers' strike: read the news. Also: Robert Heinlein's house.

War pig

I'm ready for my upgrade - I've always fancied the Varley version, myself. And after they fix my knees, my wetware could use a lot of work. And people are shining colored lights at Yorkminster, which is neat. (Thanks to Dominic for the tips.)

Last wave of the golden frog. (Thanks to Ruth for the tip.)

13:13 GMT

Tracking with close-ups

Panache Eliza underwired balconette braBra of the Week

Glenn Greenwald asks, "Is Michael Mukasey prioritizing the harassment and imprisonment of journalists? Yesterday, the NYT reported that Jim Risen was served with a grand jury Subpoena, compelling him to disclose the identity of the confidential source(s) for disclosures in his 2006 book, State of War. The Subpoena seeks disclosure of Risen's sources not for the NSA program (for which he and Lichtblau won a Pulitzer Prize), but rather, for Risen's reporting on CIA efforts to infiltrate Iran's nuclear program. Nonetheless, Risen's work on State of War is what led to his discovery that the Bush administration was illegally spying on Americans without the warrants required by law." This is absolutely shocking. Will the editorial page that screamed about freedom of the press over Judith Miller leap to the defense of a real reporter who is being persecuted for trying to inform the American people? Why not write and ask? (Or perhaps it would be more tactically useful to write a couple of short paragraphs expressing your own outrage at the appalling behavior of an administration that would rather be criminal than stop criminals.)

Jamison Foser on the appalling debates and the double-standards in the questions the candidates are asked.

Buzzflash ponders whether Obama or Clinton is best at framing the issues.

You can forget every single Republican on important technology issues, but Clinton and Obama both say they support net neutrality.

Have I mentioned lately that I think Richard Posner is one of the most dangerous men in America?

The more I think about Obama's Harry and Louise episode, the more I think we should mention more often that if healthcare is your issue (and it's certainly one of the most important ones), maybe you should be supporting Hillary Clinton. Certainly, most healthcare experts are not happy with Obama on this. It makes me wonder if this power can be used for good.

Fossils: "Tim Russert is the detritus that molds around the guests, creating an unnatural history of formerly semi-important people."

00:58 GMT

Saturday, 02 February 2008

The magic "moderate"

In the right-wing column of The Blog Report, I notice a link to a story about John McCain's 2001 flirtation with party-switching, which the author takes as evidence that McCain isn't a "real conservative".

The story shines an unwanted spotlight on the basic problem of McCain as GOP standard bearer. The party remains at least nominally conservative, but McCain has built his presidential aspirations and image on an angry regimen of poking sticks in the eyes of conservatives on basic principles by working to advance liberal goals.
Of course, what McCain really does is throw up a bit of "moderate"-looking smoke that confuses many people into thinking he's not the raving right-wing crackpot he really is.

For example, caught on the hook of a bribery scandal as one of the Keating Five, McCain participated in the charade of campaign finance reform, co-sponsoring a bill with Russ Feingold, one of few senators with fairly reliable liberal credentials. Anyone who has thought the thing through knows that the legislation in question does nothing to counterbalance the extraordinary conservative influence that the media has on political campaigns, but a number of conservatives were fooled just as much as the non-movement types who thought McCain had demonstrated with his support of this bill that he was a man of integrity. For that alone, many conservatives have never forgiven him.

Additionally, McCain does a wonderful song and dance about how, having suffered it himself, he can never support torture - a performance that actually conned many liberals and many Senate Democrats into believing he would not ultimately vote with other Republicans to turn America into a torture nation.

True, McCain's loyalty to the Republican Party has been faint on more than one occasion. Some of us may remember rumors during the 2004 campaign that had McCain in talks with John Kerry about joining the Democratic ticket. McCain's camp implied, with the media's connivance, that Kerry had begged McCain to be his VP, but numerous sources over time have confirmed that the overtures to Daschle and to Kerry both originated with McCain; he was rebuffed by Kerry. What McCain wants is his own advancement, more than he cares about his party. But for conservative movement types, that shouldn't be a real problem, since what McCain wants to do with his power is advance an extremist right-wing agenda, just like they do.

But, even forgetting the evil campaign finance conspiracy with Feingold, conservatives remember that he was the anti-Bush during the 2000 campaign, he argued publicly against some Bush policies in the interim - including the right-wing sacrament of torturing Muslims - and they feel that he is Not One Of Them. As Digby notes, Rush Limbaugh sure doesn't think so.

The trouble is, there are also a number of left-leaning independents and Democrats who aren't particularly alert to the stuff that's going on in the background of what they hear in the news who have thoroughly fallen for this straight-talking man-of-integrity schtick McCain has been skating on. And the more the right-wingers whine about how right-wing he's not, the better his chances are come the general election.

I wonder if the wingers know that....

17:12 GMT

Your happenin' world

Moritori Te Salutant: "Are you feeling like the new black gold? because what is replacing the manufactured goods that in the industrial age made the U.S. prosperous? Look in the mirror."

"Zanan" means "woman" in Persian. Zanan magazine has survived in Iran for 16 years, and now, suddenly, the press board has revoked its license in shady circumstances. "So the question of how it all happened is an important one to ask, the answer to which raises the possibility that individuals identified as supporters of President Ahmadinejad are tying to give the impression of a fait accompli without the legal authority to do so or even without the support of other institutions and individuals in charge of supervising the press."

In his latest installment on how the Democrats want to pretend that giving Bush everything he wants on FISA is a a "victory" for Dems, Glenn Greenwald includes damning quotes from Lincoln Chafee's book in which he excoriates the Dems in terms worthy of a liberal blogger: "The top Democrats were at their weakest when trying to show how tough they were. They were afraid that Republicans would label them soft in the post-September 11 world, and when they acted in political self-interest, they helped the president send thousands of Americans and uncounted innocent Iraqis to their doom."

HTML Mencken (possibly my favorite all-time screen name) has posted the third part of his analysis of Uber-Wingnut Rich Lowry, a man who believes we are winning in Iraq and Bush never lies.

The NYT video of the January 31st debate between Clinton and Obama has the transcript scrolling as it plays. Via Biomes Blog.

12:57 GMT

Quick links

So, how come the media isn't talking about how the Florida result was a defeat for right-wing religious nuts?

Glenn Greenwald on the miracle of eating your brains bipartisanship - with actual data! (Plus: why they fight.)

Jon Swift and Skippy celebrate the first anniversary of Blog Amnesty Day.

Al Franken takes the lead over Norm Coleman in Senate race.

Better killing through chemistry.

Harper's Favorite Son Declares His Race for the Presidency.

Keith Olbermann's Special Comment on FISA and the telecoms.

Fan candy.

04:12 GMT

Friday, 01 February 2008

You're gonna lose that girl

Digby says she was halfway through a post analyzing the Edwards campaign when she read Leah's post on the subject. Go read.

Paul Krugman: "If Democrats manage to get the focus on their substantive differences with the Republicans, however, polls on the issues suggest that they'll have a big advantage. And they'll have Mr. Edwards to thank."

More economic collapse. I think this guy is overly optimistic, myself. And then there's this.

Lee Atwater gave us Harry and Louise, and now so does the Obama campaign. (Thanks to amberglow.)

Trying to Put the U.S. Beyond Repair - a tribute to Molly Ivins, and more evidence that her words were always spot on.

The curious interview with Scott Pelly.

Remember when some people thought that once Mukasey was confirmed he would be independent and demonstrate his integrity? It never seemed likely. And now we're well over the cliff.

When I get irritated with people who say that if Hillary is the nominee, they won't vote for her, I can always console myself that the wingers are saying the same thing about McCain. In fact, Coulter is claiming that if McCain is nominated, she'll vote for Hillary. Now that is over the top.

How can you put any faith in a study that claims Obama and Clinton are more liberal than Feingold and Sanders?

Folding money - folded so that the faces are all wearing silly hats. (via)

23:57 GMT

Linkin' and breathin'

Charles Lemos has a pretty likely analysis of why John Edwards withdrew from the race immediately after Florida, and it is exactly like the analysis Thom Hartmann delivered on his show immediately after the news slipped out: "Florida was indeed the catalyst but it was not John Edwards' results that drove his decision to suspend his campaign but rather McCain's. By winning Florida and getting Rudy Guiliani's endorsement and now California Governor Arnold Scharwzenegger's endorsement as well (who sat next to Nancy Reagan I might add as an additional signal as to what Ronald Reagan might have thought), McCain is on the way to wrapping the nomination within the month. As long as Edwards remained active in the race, the risk increased that the Democratic side would not be able to pick a candidate quickly. The decision is based on the hopes that the Democratic Party can settle on a nominee quickly and without bloodshed." (Thanks to Emphyrio for the tip.)

So, I suppose we just have to bite the bullet and get behind a candidate. I just wish the damn Obama supporters would stop saying things that make me want to vote for Clinton. (via) And, just to be clear, I don't believe the Clintons were doing anything racist; I just believe Bill Clinton should have seen the lay of the land and realized that the Obama campaign and the corporate media had successfully made that connection in people's minds, so Clinton needed to be more careful about saying anything that a dishonest viewer would treat as racially loaded - and the words "Jesse Jackson" have already been made so by the right-wing media. (Apparently, we weren't supposed to have noticed already that Obama is black.)

Another astute comment by Dr. Black: "All of this cultural "shame" stuff is nonsense. But bankruptcy laws exist largely for the benefit of creditors, not debtors, and if you don't make it a reasonable path for people who are underwater to take then they'll choose another course. And so they send in the keys and walk away from the house."

There's a name for it, at last - we're already familiar with the well-known Straw Man argument, but something that is discussed mainly in the blogosphere is the Weak Man argument. (via)

If there's someone who is always sending you those e-mails the Republicans keep sending around, don't forget to send them John Gray's "Day in the Life of Joe Middle-Class Republican" in return.

17:28 GMT

Lookin' for clues

You know a newspaper has lost what was left of its soul when it advocates government propaganda to undermine arguments about slowing down on frankenfoods. (Thanks to Ruth for the tip.)

Yesterday's Wanker of the Day was Jake Tapper, who managed to completely mischaracterize something Bill Clinton said by leaving half of it out. Just imagine a claim that Bill Clinton advocated slowing down the economy!

Nice catch by Diane - looks like Michael Kinsley woke up from his stupor and realized it was time to remind people what Reagan was really like: "But the biggest fairy tale about Reagan is the most central one: about taxes and spending. It is one thing to sit in a North Vietnamese prison in the early 1970s, dreaming of a California governor who one day will balance the federal budget. It is another to imagine that it actually happened." Of course, the other dirty little secret about Reagan was that, while he cut taxes for the rich, he shifted them to the rest of us with the largest single tax-hike in history.

I meant to post this last week - Susie has William Greider's prescient 2003 piece from The Nation about how we have been building up to a depression. To some extent it's been building ever since Nixon undercut efforts to create a universal healthcare system. (Ironically, the wingers have tarred Nixon as "liberal" for the way he co-opted that effort.)

"Reading a right wing blog is like picking up a wet towel on your laundry room floor during earwig season."

Simels has gone all percussive, and has five good songs - including a neat little Beatles clip I'd never seen before. "Ringo Starr's first genuine breakthrough -- nobody, at this point, had ever done a recorded drum part that sounded so huge and yet was actually so musically minimalist."

14:10 GMT

Still, I look to find a reason to believe

Weldon Berger says that now Edwards is out, he's endorsing Obama - but he's clearly not head over heels. To get to his conclusion, he takes a little walk through history that may be illuminating to those who've forgotten. For example:

It was 44 years ago this month that Lyndon Johnson used his first State of the Union speech to declare "unconditional war on poverty in America." Johnson said that his budget and legislative proposals, which included the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964, were "designed to help each and every American citizen fulfill his basic hopes - his hopes for a fair chance to make good; his hopes for fair play from the law; his hopes for a full-time job on full-time pay; his hopes for a decent home for his family in a decent community; his hopes for a good school for his children with good teachers; and his hopes for security when faced with sickness or unemployment or old age."

The poverty rate stood at nearly 20% when Johnson inherited the presidency; a decade later it was barely more than half that, a historic low which hasn't been matched since.

Edwards acknowledged the time warp when he said that "I don't know when our party began to turn away from the cause of working people, from the fathers who were working three jobs literally just to pay the rent, mothers sending their kids to bed wrapped up in their clothes and in coats because they couldn't afford to pay for heat."

Weldon thinks he does know when our party turned away from the cause of working people - in March of 1985.

Taylor Marsh has always supported Hillary, and now that Obama may beat her, she wants to believe, but she's having a lot of trouble. For one thing, she remembers what he told The New York Times about the Iraq vote: "But, I'm not privy to Senate intelligence reports. "What would I have done? I don't know. What I know is that from my vantage point the case was not made." It was obvious from way out here across the ocean that there could have been nothing in those reports that made the case for using force and distracting the country from what was already started in Afghanistan to attack a nation that was hostile to Al Qaeda (and vice versa). More importantly, it was obvious without looking at those reports what Bush had in mind and that he could not be trusted to adhere to any restraints Congress might place on him. He was, after all, already screwing up in Afghanistan. He doesn't know what he would have done? I don't know what he would have done either, but judging from his actual performance in the Senate, I have no reason to believe he wouldn't have voted the same way Bush and Edwards did - and for the same reason.

But, again, most of this doesn't matter. What matters is that whoever we nominate is only as good as we force them to be. We need to put as many progressives in Congress as we can, and we need to push and push and push to make them do what we need them to do. Anyone who is hoping we can just elect someone and let them take care of business has missed the point.

03:22 GMT

Avedon Carol at The Sideshow, February 2008

January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005
May 2005
April 2005
March 2005
February 2005
January 2005
December 2004
November 2004
October 2004
September 2004
August 2004
July 2004
June 2004
May 2004
April 2004
March 2004
February 2004
January 2004
December 2003
November 2003
October 2003
September 2003
August 2003
July 2003
June 2003
May 2003
April 2003
March 2003
February 2003
January 2003
December 2002
November 2002
October 2002
September 2002
August 2002
July 2002
June 2002
May 2002
April 2002
March 2002
February 2002
January 2002
December 2001
November 2001
Is the media in denial?
Back to front page

And, no, it's not named after the book or the movie. It's just another sideshow.

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by