The Sideshow

Archive for January 2004

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Friday, 30 January 2004

Good stuff

I'd rather have blue, though.

I'm not even gonna look at the prices on these. (Via MKK.)

Allen Brill has a passage from Leviticus that you should print out and have handy at all times to quote to Thanatical Christianists whenever they try to tell you what god wants you to do.

At Body & Soul, the Greens stand up and protest Republican sleaze when a ringer is fielded as a "Green" in a local election.

Teresa is behind the curve for a change on the Lieberman=Palpatine thing, but she gets great comments, like this from Kip: I felt a great disturbance in the Joementum. As though 5 to 7 per cent of the electorate cried out in terror, and were suddenly silenced...
18:56 GMT

The fetal dragon

Not your standard fetus-in-a-jar. The story is from the Daily Telegraph, but to see it with pictures, go here. It's rather beautiful, and the odd thing is that no one appears to have ever looked at it to see what it was. Sure, they thought it was a hoax, but didn't they wonder how it was done?

A metal tin found with the dragon contained paperwork in old-fashioned German of the 1890s. Mr Mitchell speculates that German scientists may have attempted to use the dragon to hoax their English counterparts in the 1890s, when rivalry between the countries was intense.
"I've shown the photos to someone from Oxford University and he thought it was amazing. Obviously he could not say if it was real and wanted to do a biopsy."

The documents suggest that the Natural History Museum turned the dragon away, possibly because they suspected it was a trick, and sent it to be destroyed. But it appears a porter intercepted the jar and took it home. The papers suggest the porter may have been Frederick Hart - David Hart's grandfather.

Mr Mitchell said: "The dragon is flawless, from the tiny teeth to the umbilical cord. It could be made from indiarubber, because Germany was the world's leading manufacturer of it at the time, or it could be made of wax. It has to be fake. No one has ever proved scientifically that dragons exist. But everyone who sees it immediately asks, 'Is it real?'"

Yesterday the Natural History Museum said that it was interested in following up the find.

More than a century later they get interested? Museums don't normally throw anything away, but they didn't even have any curiosity about this thing and just handed it to a porter and told him to ditch it? Such Bushian incuriosity is almost Fortean in itself.
18:14 GMT

Things to read

Sidney Blumenthal in the Guardian, In full voice against Bush: For the first time, the United States is hearing sustained criticism of its president and, though the Democratic presidential primaries have been going less than two weeks, the effect has been immediate. Bush was already rattled and preoccupied with his suddenly full-throated opposition even before the Iowa vote. He scheduled his state of the union address to follow it by a day, and it was the most poorly rated in modern times. By last weekend, his approval had fallen below 50% in a Newsweek poll and he was three points behind Senator John Kerry, the new Democratic frontrunner.

How to deal with law-breakers: The Bush administration is looking at waiving some government safety standards at federal nuclear facilities if contractors don't like them — after Congress directed it to start fining the contractors for violations.

At the Smirking Chimp, James O. Goldsborough: 'Wal-Mart vs. America's middle class', Stuart Taylor Jr.: 'Ashcroft and Congress are pandering to punitive instincts', and Katherine van Wormer: 'More evidence that Bush is a 'dry drunk'?'.

From Jane's, Beyond the Hutton Report: The question remains unanswered as to why "undue prominence" was given to the highly controversial intelligence that indicated that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that could be deployed in "45 minutes" or less. It is now established that this intelligence was based on a single source and the evidence to date from Iraq suggests that the claim was unfounded. (Thanks to 56K.)

Fourteen Principles of Fascism: Recognize Any?
14:53 GMT


I keep meaning to mention that Ken MacLeod decided to ask me and a bunch of other fangirls to join him in a blog about fashion, clothing, that sort of thing. It seemed so out of character I had to say yes, even though I haven't been able to find any good new bras lately. It doesn't move very fast and it needs more pictures, but, anyway, it's called Bridesmaid.

What's so bad about genetically modified crops?

2004 election mapping.

I agree with Charles Dodgson that Brad DeLong has this one wrong.

Free drug paraphernalia!

It's 1964. (Via Jim Henley.)

Belle de Jour
14:06 GMT

BBC at War

Greg Palast reacts to the Hutton verdict:

He did not say, "hello," or even his name, just left a one-word message: "Whitewash."

It came from an embattled journalist whispering from inside the bowels of a television and radio station under siege, on a small island off the coast of Ireland: from BBC London.

And another call, from a colleague at the Guardian: "The future of British journalism is very bleak."

That's been the reaction of everyone I know, left or right, who has been following this.

But you know what bugs me? I haven't seen anyone ask Charles Kennedy, leader of the Liberal Democrats, what he thinks of all this. Why the hell not?
02:42 GMT

The Scream

From Buzzflash:

ABC Replays "The Scream" in Context

I don't know if any of you saw it, but ABC news (Peter Jennings) tonight replayed the Dean scream without the effect of the sound-blocking microphone (so the crowd could be heard) and the scream was not audible over the sounds of the crowd. It was stunning. You might want to watch for a story on this.

Diane Sawyer did the story and said they noticed that Dean was using a microphone like they use in the ABC GMA studios, which blocks background sound. So they found videotapes of the event and realized the scream was completely inaudible. Also, all the news organizations admitted they had replayed it too much with one exception -- NBC. Even Fox and CNN backed down, but not NBC.

Why, only last week Gene Lyons was saying that he'd seen the media behaving as it should - for a change - and now this.
02:30 GMT

Thursday, 29 January 2004

Click here.
(Via Bartcop.)

A lot of people are examining the issue of whether Michael Moore went over the top when he declared George Bush a deserter.

The punditocracy seems to be implying that the entire story has long ago been "debunked", but the real question is whether he can properly be termed "a deserter" or just "AWOL". David Neiwert has a detailed look at the matter, and also poses another interesting question, noting that John McCain, Robert Dole, George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford, Barry Goldwater, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John Kerry, Wesley Clark, Al Gore, Jimmy Carter, George McGovern, Lyndon Baines Johnson, John F. Kennedy, and Harry Truman all held military rank before running for president, and asking:

Can anyone name any veteran who has been a major candidate for the presidency in the past half-century who has not released his military records?
His researches so far seem to provide an answer that will not surprise you.

In other news, Gene Lyons says that, contrary to RNC spin, George Soros' willingness to support anti-Bush activity with both his money and his mouth is transparently patriotic:

According to the seers and soothsayers of the right, a terrible new threat confronts America and its inspired leader George W. Bush. Like Shakespeare's Calpurnia, they warn their mighty Caesar of lionesses whelping in the streets, strange omens and portents in the night sky, and they do fear them.

The Wall Street Journal editorial page has waxed apoplectic; James K. Glassman of the American Enterprise Institute foresees "a great threat not just to the re-election of George Bush, but to our truly open society." Even the Washington Post has expressed alarm.

And what's the cause of all this hubbub ? Simple: the Democrats have found a Scrooge McDuck of their own. International financier George Soros, among the richest men in the world, plans to devote a small fraction of his estimated $7 billion to defeating President Bush. The Hungarian-born tycoon, who emigrated from England to the U.S. in 1956, has pledged a reported $18 million to three liberal organizations: $5 million to internet advocacy group, $3 million to former Clinton aide John Podesta's Center for American Progress, and another $10 million toward a Democratic voter registration drive.

Sounds ominous, right? By taking advantage of an obscure constitutional loophole permitting even billionaires to oppose Bush, Soros bids to overturn the natural order. As if that weren't enough, he's taken to writing books and articles and granting interviews explaining why he believes that Bush's re-election would have terrible consequences for America and the world.

Eric Alterman doesn't think much of Howard Dean's chances... but we shall see. He has a good take on the State of the Union address. I can't remember who it was who suggested that we should make "weapons of mass destruction-related program activity" into Bush's "I didn't inhale," (or "no controlling authority"), but it seems to me a good idea.

And, of course, the most important news of the month: Russian girl claims x-ray vision. (Via Epicycle.) Gosh, I wonder how Peggy Noonan missed the importance of this story to the legend of Bush's enormous brilliance. With Peggy, everything proves that Bush is the sexiest, smartest, holiest, and cosmically coolest guy in the history of the world. (In my fantasy, TBogg writes a brilliant post explaining the connection, then somehow convinces Peggy and causes her to generate her own version for her column.)
14:42 GMT


From all appearances, Hutton just refused to accept what the BBC said and accepted whatever Blair said instead, regardless of the fact that it's as plain as the nose on my face that the BBC was right and you'd have to be completely incompetent to believe that stupid "45 minutes" claim. So the head of the BBC fell on his sword, and everyone is supposed to pretend that Blair wasn't full of it. Please.
01:45 GMT


Some virus is spoofing my address again. I just hate seeing all those error messages coming in, all supposedly having bounced a message from me. You know I didn't send it, right? You know I wouldn't be caught dead using Outlook Express.

Yes, I know you think you have an excuse. You have to use it at work, right? Well, maybe you have to use it for work mail, but you don't have to use it to mail me, do you? For real mail, personal mail, you can get a real mail-reader, or use a free webmail account or something, so you never need to put my address in Outlook Express, do you?

But if you really think you have to use OE, you could change the defaults so that I don't get viruses from you, and I also don't get that stupid HTML rubbish from you.

I hate your HTML mail, I will always hate your HTML mail, and nothing you can send me will change my mind. You're not a typographer, you're just someone who can do a lot of stuff with your computer, so you imagine that your HTML layouts are somehow nicer and easier to read. They're not. ASCII plain text is nicer and easier to read.

So will you please fix your damn mail?
00:50 GMT

Wednesday, 28 January 2004

Boiled Frog recipe

Claudia Long at The Great Divide finds something truly terrifying:

For an insight into the sea change currently underway in the United States, take this excerpt from an ad that was run on the op-ed page of today's NY Times. I can't link to it, because it's an ad, but here's the gist of it:
"While most Americans firmly support the war against terrorism, some professional activists and opportunistic politicians began 2004 with a resolution to keep homeland security efforts tied up in a legal straitjacket. And sadly, they are manipulating one of America's most respected institutions -- the judiciary -- to do it.

These ideologues remain convinced that their absolutist view of "civil liberties" must always prevail over Americans' right to live free from terrorism. No aspect of our government's security operations is immune from activists' profitable fund-raising drives. Special interests groups and lawyers then invest their overflowing war chest in lawsuits and mean-spirited public relations advertising opposing everything from major military actions overseas to the review of airplane passenger manifests. Even moves to modernize outdated intelligence gathering techniques have met with paranoid claims that government is running roughshod over everyone....

Idealogical lawyers have convinced some federal courts that unelected judges, and not our Commander-in -Chief, should have the last word on how our military can detain captured enemies. One appeals court in New York City... made the incredible claim that... federal officials must charge a captured terrorist with a crime or release him."

and here's the kicker:
"So it's time to get our priorities straight. Do we defer to the ideologues' rigid agenda of absolute "civil liberties" for all, or do we trust government officials and our military to use their powers wisely and protect us from the horrors terrorists can unleash?"
This is jaw-dropping --and terrifying--on so many levels I hardly know where to start. First, and perhaps most important, this group, Washington Legal Foundation, is comprised of the most powerful law firms in Washington, who represent the largest global corporations.
Got that? Constitutional rights are just some sort of weird, irresponsible, hippie idea. Go read the rest.
20:51 GMT

It's snowing!

It is the one thing that can make my neighborhood look good, and my little postage stamp of a back garden looks downright picturesque. It's beautiful!

Also, I did manage to clear a lot of stuff off of one side of my desk, so at least I accomplished something.
18:38 GMT

A few things

Wild man Novak assaults citizen.

Centrists. Or so they say. But they have LGF on their blogroll.

Via Memory Hole, Dick Cheney's 1997 letter to Al Gore and U.S. Journalist Quits Pentagon Iraqi Media Project Calling it U.S. Propaganda
18:01 GMT

Tuesday, 27 January 2004

Awaiting comment from the Dixie Chicks

The Texas Democrats have their own weblog, Yellow Dog Blog, and they're reporting more dirty tricks from Governor Rick Perry, who apparently gave his hard-right favorite in the upcoming special election advance notice without bothering to inform the other side. The head of the Texas Democratic Party wrote the Governor a letter:

I am writing on behalf of millions of Texas Democrats, Independents, and moderate Republicans to ask that you refrain from playing favorites and announce the date of the special election run-off for Senate District 1 to all concerned parties at the same time.

There is compelling evidence that your favored candidate in the first round of voting was aware well in advance of other candidates and the general public that you had decided on January 20 as the date. Direct mail on behalf of your candidate began arriving in voters' mailboxes fewer than 48 hours after your public announcement. This was an impossibly short time to have designed, printed, and mailed the pieces under the schedule that pertained to all other candidates -- including those from your own party such as Tommy Merritt and Jerry Yost. (...)

Compared with some of what's been going on lately, this seems like small-change, but this kind of thing is increasingly SOP for the Republican Party these days and it's hardly surprising when it happens in Texas.

A somewhat more amusing post (in a disgusting sort of way) has Republicans expressing complete surprise that all the warnings they ignored about university tuition deregulation have proven to be prophetic, with the result that their middle-class constituents are giving them a headache. And they just can't understand how this happened.
23:10 GMT

Oh, freedom....

Riverbend wants to be polite:

I usually ignore the emails I receive telling me to 'embrace' my new-found freedom and be happy that the circumstances of all Iraqi women are going to 'improve drastically' from what we had before. They quote Bush (which in itself speaks volumes) saying things about how repressed the Iraqi women were and how, now, they are going to be able to live free lives.

The people who write those emails often lob Iraq together with Saudi Arabia, Iran and Afghanistan and I shake my head at their ignorance but think to myself, "Well, they really need to believe their country has the best of intentions- I won't burst their bubble." But I'm telling everyone now- if I get any more emails about how free and liberated the Iraqi women are *now* thanks to America, they can expect a very nasty answer.

Which made Diane observe:
You know, shortly before the war started, I saw on the news (a rare occurence—I do not watch the news on television, which seems to me to be completely content-free, even with all of its pictures; if a news program starts on a channel not in the pocket of Viacom, GE, Disney, or ADM, let me know) some story that included an excerpt from the Iraqi state news, which had a female newsreader. Who was not covering her head in any way.

And I thought, I wonder what other Islamic nation we'd see that in?

I want every one of those little twerps who told us we had to support the invasion in order to liberate Iraqi women to apologize to us. I mean it. It's about bloody time.
13:20 GMT


People write to me from time to time and ask me:

  • why I don't have comments. I don't have comments because I don't know how to code them. I could do something like have an open link every day at Avedon's Other Weblog, if people like that idea. But I can't put them here. Tell me whether you think it's a stupid idea to point comments to my Blogspot page.
  • why Dennis Kucinich isn't listed in the Presidential Poll. You'll note I'm not even linking to it. I created the poll when I was fooling around one day before Kucinich entered the race, and also before the provider for The Sideshow Annex upgraded their protocols in a way that distinctly messed me up and I can no longer get into the site to edit or upload or even delete pages. So I can't take it down (which I want to do, because the thing is all freeped anyway). And in case anyone hasn't noticed yet, I'm voting for the Democrat. People who write to me about how they have to "vote their conscience" should remember that if Bush gets to keep doing what he's doing because too many people think - like Bush apparently does - that this is a contest for the job of Messiah, that will be on your conscience.
  • Also, blogging may be light while I'm trying to clean off my desk. I've, uh, left it a bit long.
    05:11 GMT

    Some stuff

    Hear Atrios (and Andrew Sullivan) on the radio last night. And then read Atrios' response to the Sullivan challenge. Sadly, No also makes the case.

    Wasn't Ashcroft complaining about judges who give lower sentences than they have to? Where is he now?

    This is too hard. Hell, even this is too hard! Dammit, they all are. But at least go here and vote for either Silber or Henley. Not that I'm trying to tell you what to do or anything....

    Lis is pissed off at someone who is trying to, um, "protect" the children.

    Is Peter Jennings secretly trying to get the truth out? A modest theory from Elayne Riggs.

    Pre-Emptive Action Against Republican Gay-Bashing: A Modest Proposal

    I wish you a rainbow. (But why settle for that, when you can have a galaxy?) (And this is kinda groovy.)
    04:18 GMT

    Monday, 26 January 2004

    A little bit of hope

    Part of Patriot Act Ruled Unconstitutional

    LOS ANGELES - For the first time, a federal judge has declared unconstitutional a section of the USA Patriot Act that bars giving expert advice or assistance to groups designated foreign terrorist organizations.

    In a ruling handed down late Friday and made available Monday, U.S. District Judge Audrey Collins said the ban is impermissibly vague in its wording.

    I found this link in a comment from Ray Radlein on this post at Talk Left.
    23:53 GMT

    On the web

    Digby advises the Democrats to stop letting the Republicans keep framing the debate: Just as important, we must counter their obfuscatory rhetoric and never, ever adopt it as our own. Any Democrat who uses terms such as "tax relief," "tort reform" or "partial birth" abortion should be fined 1000 dollars per instance.

    Ruy Teixeira discusses some interesting poll results: Among political independents, Bush's approval ratings are almost all net negative: overall (45 percent approval/50 percent disapproval); foreign policy (40 percent/50 percent); Iraq (44 percent/49 percent); and the economy (37 percent/58 percent). Favorability and re-elect figures are much the same. And this is a group that Bush actually won with in 2000. But right now they're not very happy with Bush or with the Republicans, and they are more positive about Democrats as a party. Many people regard independents as the key to winning the election. If this poll is any indicator, Bush is cooked.

    Someone was bound to answer Atrios' call to "adopt a columnist" by starting a blog about Tom Friedman. I love the clever title: "Enduring Friedman". Check out this post from last week examining the evolution of Friedman's position on the reverse domino theory, which he originally seemed to realize was whacky but reached for desperately when all the other excuses for the invasion of Iraq turned to dust.

    Teresa Nielsen Hayden has learned of Something new in Short Creek: Elizabeth Mitchell has pointed me toward a strange little story that's developing in Colorado City (formerly Short Creek) Arizona: The town's children are fleeing. It started less than a week and a half ago, when two girls named Fawn Broadbent and Fawn Holm ran away for fear of being forced into polygamous "marriages".

    Some promising Democratic activity in Georgia

    At the end of 1963 I was hearing Carroll James playing the record on the radio and I liked it. At the time, I thought "exclusive" was only a local phenomenon - I didn't realize that James was the only DJ in America who was playing a Beatles record. But I did learn eventually, after I became a teenager, after it became History. But not 'til now did I know that I owed it all to Marsha Albert. And, hey, the article is written by my old pal Richard Harrington, too.

    Non Sequitur - like it is.
    14:53 GMT

    Sunday, 25 January 2004

    Catching my eye

    A sundog, from a page of wonderful photographs of upstate New York winter, by Neil Colton

    Bernie Saunders says We are the Majority: Corporate America essentially is saying the hell with the American worker, the hell with the United States of America. We will do anything we want in order to make more and more profits. Read it!

    Scripting News has the dope on Dean's "crazy" scream: I was at Dean headquarters on the night of the Iowa caucuses, and I watched the Dean rant on TV in the office, with the other Web programmers. A few minutes before the speech they had a staff meeting in the conference room. Everyone was there except me and another guest. Not being a staffer, I didn't belong in the staff meeting. Several times during the meeting a loud crazy-sounding scream came from the room, everyone was doing it, and it was really frightening. The stuff of nightmares. This was before Howard Dean's rant. I asked Jim Moore what that was about, he said it's an Indian war yell or something like that, they used to do it in United Farm Workers rallies, and they adopted it at Dean For America. A few minutes later Dean let out the famous scream, it was the same scream I heard in the conference room. Oh, so that's all it was. Sheesh!

    David Neiwert discusses the distinction between real conspiracies and conspiracy theories.

    The Blogging of the President, streaming or on your radio, 9:00 to 11:00 PM EST, tonight.
    21:14 GMT


    Patrick offers a warning about accepting the media's spin on the candidates

    Over the years I've seen a few national-level politicians in person, even conversed with a few, and none of them seemed particularly similar to their media stereotypes. "Remote and intellectual" Eugene McCarthy was extroverted and full of backslapping bonhomie. Well-known extremist madman Barry Goldwater was thoughtful and considerate. In 1992 I watched robotic, inauthentic Al Gore deliver a stemwinder strong enough to peel the paint off a refrigerator; I thought the crowd was going to levitate. The Howard Dean I saw a few months ago was full of happy-warrior pizzazz, not this dire "anger" stuff we're constantly hearing about. Okay, there was [nationally famous conservative leader's name withheld for reasons of professional courtesy], who really did seem to be the grating smartypants everyone says he is, but by and large it's pretty clear that we should regard these media tags as having somewhat less credibility than Page 6 gossip. And more to the point, always ask ourselves whose interest is being served when we lazily retransmit them.
    Patrick also links (in Sidelights) to a Guardian story about how an Iranian spy tried to warn the US about 9/11, and to some great photos of Mars.
    20:20 GMT

    Boiling frog reports

    The usual fine array of great posts at Benedict@Large includes an instructive example of how George Bush thanks our troops:

    Well, you know those overtime rule changes that the Chimp said "Screw you" to Congress and the American public and put in anyways? One of the rule changes in there widens the definition of "professional" so that it denies overtime pay not just to those with four-year degrees -- but also those who have accumulated work experience "equivalent" to college. And guess what qualifies as one of those "equivalents". You got it. Military service.
    Benedict also applies the BS-detector to Cheney's double-talk, and serves up a link to Protester=Criminal? at The Progressive. And check out this bit of background on Libya and the games Bushies play, and a look at the question of whether Afghanistan was an optional war. Also, GOP, Inc and the conservative movement explained.
    13:13 GMT

    Saturday, 24 January 2004

    Free music

    Sleater-Kinney (via Strata Lucida).

    (This was actually posted earlier in error - it was a note to myself and I hadn't checked it yet, and I forgot I'd made it when I reposted the page to correct an earlier spelling error. So I ended up posting an even worse error. And also ruined my clever plan to post it in a different context. Oh, well....)
    21:01 GMT

    The truth is out there

    Too angry to be president.

    Howard Dean's Top Ten on Letterman

    The Hunting of the President - the Movie.

    Bush to kill Stars & Stripes - payback for telling the truth.

    Holy Wesley Clark! (This is so much better than Bush's cheap neon halo.) Thanks to Hesiod for the link. And Steve Coffman sent a link to more halos.
    18:10 GMT

    Friday, 23 January 2004

    More disgusting right-wing government

    Thanks to Alice Marie Marshall, who sent me the tip for this:

    Bush & Hager: Danger to American Women

    President Bush has announced his plan to select Dr. W. David Hager to head up the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee. The committee has not met for more than two years, during which time its charter has lapsed. As a result, the Bush Administration is tasked with filling all eleven positions with new members.

    Was letting it lapse deliberate, so they could do exactly that?
    President Bush has announced his plan to select Dr. W. David Hager to head up the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee. The committee has not met for more than two years, during which time its charter has lapsed. As a result, the Bush Administration is tasked with filling all eleven positions with new members.

    This position does not require Congressional approval. The FDA's Reproductive Health Drugs Advisory Committee makes crucial decisions on matters relating to drugs used in the practice of obstetrics, gynecology and related specialties, including hormone therapy, contraception, treatment for infertility, and medical alternatives to surgical procedures for sterilization and pregnancy termination.

    Dr. Hager's views of reproductive health care are far outside the mainstream of setback for reproductive technology. Dr. Hager is a practicing OB/GYN who describes himself as "pro-life" and refuses to prescribe contraceptives to unmarried women. Hager is the author of "As Jesus Cared for Women: Restoring Women Then and Now." The book blends biblical accounts of Christ healing women with case studies from Hager's practice.

    If we didn't live in the Bizarro world, someone might raise a stink about this....
    19:09 GMT

    Goodbye, Captain

    Alan Bostick just IM'd me to say Captain Kangroo has died. I'm completely stunned to hear that he was only 76. That means he must've been only recently out of his teens when we were watching him as children. Gee whiz. Of course, there is only one obituary that really counts, and I know where to look for it: Thank you, Mark.
    18:55 GMT

    Who pays, and who rakes it in

    That thread over at Electrolite has generated more good stuff since last I looked, like this from Stefanie Murray:

    And as long as we're discussing entities who take advantage of government largesse, let's point our fingers in the right place: Ms. Payne is living in state-subsidized housing and getting health care through Medicaid while she is *working* as a cashier. That means that taxpayer money is going to *subsidize the substandard wages of that bloody store*, which otherwise would have to pay its employees enough to pay rent, have health care, and buy food. We are not subsidizing Ms. Payne, we are subsidizing Wal-Mart.
    The thing is, the longer we let Wal-Mart and places like it get away with consuming people's work-lives without giving them a living wage, the more of us who will end up in situations like Caroline Payne's. And you know, what happens when the emiseration of the populace expands beyond the very fringes is that they eventually respond with violence. They don't feel they have any choice.

    What a lot of people don't understand is that the welfare state doesn't just hand money over to people who didn't "earn" it, it pays for your personal security - both economic and physical - in a civilized society, and in a way that having more cops and prisons and federal agents can't. Forgetting that little point has brought more than one nation down. In America, we managed to reverse that trend when it started to eat us up before. This time, we may not get the chance.
    18:06 GMT

    Where I've been

    Gene Lyons sees the RNC playing the race card in every direction while accusing Democrats of anti-Semitism in A matter of decency: The impeccably Republican editors of my hometown Arkansas Democrat-Gazette recently ran a syndicated piece by one Peter Savodnik alleging that Democrats suffer at the polls because party "fund-raisers in Washington often take place in nightclubs filled with black people or Jewish comedians." Also deemed problematic were an appetite for ethnic foods and identification with "hep cats," a phrase I hadn't heard since 1958. Jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie (1917-93) was the last hep cat. Republicans, in contrast, go in for "SUVs, white picket fences, flags, monogamy, organized religion."

    Rittenhouse Review offers the highlights of dinner-party life with Tina Brown and friends. And the winner is: Lauren Hutton!

    Scoobie Davis is inviting people to leave the Democratic Party. This week's choice: Susan Estrich.

    Kevin Drum has some good advice for Democrats on the practice of stagecraft. (My own suggestion is not to write speeches, but to capture some pointed phrases and put good extemporaneous speakers up front who will know how to deliver them in context.)

    Lambert at Corrente has thoughts about the fact that the Republicans have been hacking the Democrats' mail all year, but here's my favorite: 4. I hope all the Democratic candidates are being very, very careful. In particular, I hope they are encrypting all of their email, as well as their files, and their cell phone traffic and wifi. Anything that could be intercepted by Echelon. Meanwhile, the Democrats should consider setting up a secure system off the Hill. Put it in a trailer outside the Capital and surround it with barbed wire. Can't we get a little political theatre going on this one? Also, the Farmer explains New Hampshire newspapers, and Leah looks at Bush's exciting new jobs training scheme.

    Brian Klug in The Nation discusses The Myth of the New Anti-Semitism. The emphasis is on the word "new".

    Interview with Terry Jones, via Mark Evanier, who also has an important announcement.

    Gav has found what he says is "possibly the most useful site I have ever seen" for web design.
    15:01 GMT

    Thursday, 22 January 2004

    Are you pretty enough to be part of the process?

    Mary Kay Kare spent a week on the ground in Iowa as part of the Dean campaign and posted daily to Gallimaufry with her impressions. And she wonders in e-mail why Dean's supporters are being described as especially weird, which she thinks is, "just completely off the wall."

    What the hell is she talking about? Yeah some of them looked a little weird. And some of them were middle aged white folks like me. And some of them were retirees. And and and.
    And we haven't been told what everyone else's troops look like, but I really doubt that Dean supporters are any more funny-looking than anyone else's.

    But what if they were? The culture is pretty a la carte these days, and I don't see why it should be taken as a positive that your campaign fails to reach that segment of the population that does not avidly read the fashion pages or dress to please Maureen Dowd. Isn't it more worrying that the anti-Dean forces are so contemptuous of people who don't look like, well, Bush-supporters?

    Crazy-ass hippies "with things pointing out of their clothes" (whatever that means) can't be any dumber than that guy in the White House - the one whose attire Howard Fineman so admires. And they still have a contribution to make, still have the same concerns most Americans do, and probably know something that your average gets-all-their-news-from-FOX types don't have a clue about. Oh, yeah, and they vote, too. I don't really think it's smart to write those people out of the script.

    (You know, I never wear designer dresses and pearls, either.)
    15:45 GMT

    You may be closer than you think

    Patrick has linked to a nightmare that hovers on the edges of our consciousness. (He also brings into service that Joanna Russ remark I used to use in my Usenet signature.) Down in the comments, he also says:

    Conservatives know that you can't engineer all chance of misfortune and self-created calamity out of society without distorting things so badly that everyone's miserable. Libertarians know that the people who volunteer to be social engineers often harbor teapot-tyrant tendencies of their own. But liberals know that a deep pool of human misery is a recipe for the domination of society by the worst kind of pointy-haired bosses, and they're not wrong.
    We know just enough about what it must be like to fall off the edge that we might just sell the bosses our souls to keep from being pushed there.
    13:52 GMT

    Wednesday, 21 January 2004

    The right to vote

    Think Again: Is the Right to Vote a Criminal Matter? by Eric Alterman and Laleh Ispahani looks at the issue:

    Amazingly ex-felons, unless they used to be CEOs or arbitragers, tend to have few political friends. This helps to explain why they enjoy so few political rights. Much of the public shares the misimpression that after one has served ones time — "paid their debt to society" — all rights and responsibilities are restored. Well, think again. Seven states permanently disfranchise even felons who have fully served their sentences. And because these states do not distinguish between types of felonies or length of sentence, an 18-year-old convicted in Virginia of a one-time drug sale who successfully completes a court-ordered treatment program, and is never rearrested, permanently loses her voting rights unless she obtains a gubernatorial pardon — which is to say almost never.
    Being able to permanently disenfranchise those who have been convicted of a felony is a pretty neat trick. It pretty much means that people who have been sufficiently abused by the system are forever deprived of their ability to get redress at the ballot box. Very convenient for, say, dictators. And look at all the things you can make into felonies!
    23:24 GMT

    Lie by lie

    Dem blog Kicking Ass did some live coverage of the SOTU with instant rebuttal. Well worth the read.
    23:05 GMT


    I have found the word I've been looking for.

    We usually say "religious extremists", which is a neat phrase, I guess, except that it already relies on the idea that the people we're talking about are advocating an extreme version of the religion they claim to espouse - not that they have twisted the faith beyond all recognition, but that they are adhering to it so intensely that they are becoming an annoyance and embarrassment to the larger faith's own adherents. As if all Christians or Muslims should be as "devout" as the Christianists and Islamists want us to be, but we just can't be bothered.

    This presentation has long offended me and, worse, I think, gives an unearned legitimacy to these versions of our faiths. I'll leave aside the question of how other faiths' "extremists" wander from the origins of their professed faiths, but I'm pretty familiar with Christianity, and while I recognize its bloody history I also know that most of what is presented to us as "Christianity" by so-called fundamentalists doesn't really have a lot to do with the teachings of Christ, so I feel I'm on pretty safe ground in saying that whatever these people are, they are not actually extreme Christians - they are something else.

    What they have in common with other "extremists" is not their adherence to the fundamentals of the faith, but their willingness to embrace a purely human hierarchy of authoritarianism in the service of a murderously punitive philosophy that worships death.

    Awhile back we found Antonin Scalia rhapsodizing on how Christians supposedly don't fear the death penalty because they know they are going to a glorious afterlife. I doubt many Christians - even his kind - would look forward to execution for a crime they did not commit - or even one they had - but at least we now know that Scalia has what he regards as a justification for his casual attitude toward taking life. He's not interested in establishing guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, as far as I can tell, and he's certainly not interested in allowing sinners the time to find redemption - he just seems to like being able to kill people. There's an awful lot of that going around among his breed of "Christian". John Ashcroft, who also claims to be a Christian, helpfully wanders around the country trying to force the death penalty in violation of state laws that do not allow it.

    The Islamists, as we have seen, have a future filled with 17 virgins to look forward to as a reward for outright murder. And because we are in the business of demonizing Islam these days, it's acceptable to observe that their underlying motivations are much more human than spiritual when they undertake their various kamikaze rituals. But some people are still willing to fool themselves into thinking that the "moral clarity" that inspires our avowedly Christian leaders to drop bombs hither and yon, in addition to enforcing the death penalty wherever they can - even in circumstances where the accused is almost certainly innocent - owes itself to some spiritual guiding hand rather than a stunning moral laxity.

    But the "Christian" foreign policy, based on deliberately trying to stir up Armageddon, is the capper. These people are most assuredly not embarked on a project of beating their swords into plowshares and following the Prince of Peace. Instead, they want a bloodbath to shatter the world. They don't just want to defeat their enemy, they want to commit the most absolute act of genocide that can be imagined, in which everyone but their relatively small sect of believers ends up not only dead but consigned to an eternity in the fiery pits of Hell.

    And then they will be happy. They'll have an eternity of congratulating themselves for killing everyone else.

    They're Thanaticists; death is the basis of their lives.

    I stole the word from a novel I'm currently reading, Brian Stableford's The Fountains of Youth. I say "stole" because this isn't the way he uses it and the book isn't really about that - the Thanaticists are a bit more honest in their worship of death. But it seemed to me that this is the proper word for those people who seem to be so focused on death that they will not allow the rest of us to live. And they're willing to die for it. Or at least send someone else to do it for them.
    16:12 GMT

    There is a Libertopia

    Lightning (who occasionally posts something at Small Flashes) responds to this post with these words:

    Just a note, from one who's not a libertarian, either.

    There is a "Libertopia". It's called Russia.

    When Communism collapsed, the Russians did everything right, according to Libertarian theology. They privatized all of the industries that looked like they might be worth something, started a completely open stock market, dropped any trade barriers, etc. The result should have been a utopia.

    But Russia looks like it's being run by a collaboration between Enron and the Mafia. What happened? Until the Libertarians can explain this (and not just explain it away), they've got a real, fundamental problem.

    Presumably, The Market (the nearest the Libertarians come to God) isn't really a natural law ...

    That's a point - it's the country that surprised Alan Greenspan by not miraculously turning into a wonderland when they experimented on it with their free-market theories. Oops!
    13:57 GMT


    From American Samizdat, a story on lock-ups at Wal-Mart (see also Electrolite on this subject), a look at neocons, and the news that Katherine Harris has dropped out of the 2004 US Senate race from Florida.

    Also at Tapped, Nick Confessore explains why Bush's proposals are bollocks.

    From wood s lot (a title I would like explained to me someday), a maelstrom, and mushrooms.
    13:03 GMT

    The Campaign Trail

    "This has to be nipped in the bud...right now," says Hesiod in e-mail, supplying a link to this post at Counterspin Central, in which he notices that some Deaniacs are going all Nader about the possibility of Dean failing to win the nomination. Look, folks, one of the reasons you were supporting Dean was because, unlike his opponents, he looked like a guy who was more interested in the urgent business of beating Bush than in merely becoming the Democratic nominee. If you aren't interested in that same project of beating Bush, and only care about electing your candidate, you're just plain not serious. And we really don't have time for that.

    Garance Franke-Ruta heard an ominous quote: "The Dean people are crazy-ass hippies with things pointing out of their clothes in places I don't even want to think about. Whatever happened to 'Get Clean for Gene'? There is no get clean for Dean." Ouch.

    Eric Alterman on What we learned.

    And Liberal Oasis says Dean let the attacks get under his skin, and that may have alienated some people.

    Blog for the Future - new, from SEIU - considers the meaning of Dean's poor showing.
    01:51 GMT

    Tuesday, 20 January 2004

    Disapproval and other stories

    Nathan Newman says those figures in orange below give him reason to be hopeful about our chances of beating Bush:

    He's also joining Matt Yglesias in talking about tax policies and inequality, and says a Kerry nomination would be no bad thing. And he recommends this post at Daily Kos to learn why Gephardt's loss is not a loss for labor.
    22:00 GMT


    Patrick Nielsen Hayden had a rush of politics last night and wrote several posts on the subject. Here he links to Robert Kuttner's "America as a One-Party State" - an article that should ruin your stomach for the rest of the day and give you a good case of fear and loathing for Tom DeLay (in case you didn't already have one). And here is his commentary on the caucus result, and then there's just a bit of gloating at the discovery that Josh Marshall agrees with him. (Also, in a departure from politics, check out the IRC Bible, linked from Electrolite's Sidelights.)

    Arthur Silber is doing great posts even though he isn't feeling too well at the moment. Check out his marvellous rant about CBS' claim that they have declined to broadcast the MoveOn Bush in 30 Seconds ad because they have a policy of rejecting advocacy advertising. Yeah, right.

    And here is Lis Riba's briefer (but informative) take on the same subject, along with a snapshot of the economy, another report from the state of boiling frogs, and some amusing bragging about her competence at a skill I do not share but can appreciate.

    Ms. Magazine's blog recommends Ellen Goodman on universal childcare.

    I must remember to check to see if Wesley Clark's Argyle Sweater is still available on e-bay. Admittedly, it's not my style, and decidedly out of my price-range. (Via MWO.)
    18:10 GMT

    Cheney/Scalia - what's *not* getting coverage

    A tip in the mail, in reference to a link I posted earlier as Cheney and Scalia go hunting, from Hal O'Brien:

    There's an important aspect to this incident that hasn't been getting much play.

    Here's a quote from the original AP story on the trip:

    "MORGAN CITY -- Vice President Dick Cheney and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia spent part of this week on a private duck hunting trip with friends in the marshes south Louisiana."

    "Both shot their bag limits on Tuesday three mallards and three teal, Sheriff David Naquin said."

    "The pair and their entourage arrived in Morgan City on Monday on a pair of Gulfstream V jets."

    "Ken Perry, an official at Harry P. Williams Memorial Airport, said, "It just sent chills up my spine" when he heard on the radio that Air Force 2 was on approach. Any airplane carrying the vice president is generally dubbed Air Force 2."

    OK, let's stop right there.

    1) Is this a private trip, or an official trip? If it's private, then *somebody* paid for those Gulfstreams. Cheney made millions with Halliburton, so he *could* have... Except, that would be a private gift to a judge sitting on a case in which he's a principal. Forget the socializing aspect, which is bad enough, gifts big enough to involve 1000-mile joyrides (DC to Morgan City) are what you might call a no-no.

    2) On the other hand, if those are Air Force jets -- which would make them C-37As, not Gulfstream Vs, as such -- then Messrs. Cheney and Scalia were pilfering Federal assets for personal use. I don't think that plays much better.

    Oh, and Justice Scalia's salary as a Supreme Court Associate Justice is in the mid-$160,000 range. So it's not like he could have afforded to pay for a private jet on a whim of his own.

    It's not like this was some dinner at The Prime Rib on K street. Both Scalia and Cheney had to go substantially out of their way to have this meeting, and *someone* had to pick up the tab.

    Going on in the AP article:

    "Cheney and Scalia were guests of Wallace Carline, owner of Diamond Services in Amelia, St. Mary Parish Sheriff David Naquin said. They left Wednesday."

    Diamond Services' web site may be browsed at [Link]. There's also a contact list at that site, with Mr. Carline's direct e-mail address, if you're at all curious about asking him some questions.

    Now... Guess what Diamond Services does as a business.

    No, go ahead -- guess.

    "Diamond Services Corporation is recognized for its expertise in the fields of dredging, pile driving, salvage work, fabrication, pipe rolling capability, and general oilfield construction."

    So, regardless of the cost and provenance of the plane ride, Justice Scalia and Mr. Cheney both received hunting access and time from a company *directly affected by Cheney's task force's policies.*

    I would guess - and freely admit it's a guess -- that Justice Scalia received about $10,000 in what seems to be gifts from the largesse of Messrs. Cheney and Carline, both of whom have a substantial stake in the outcome of the upcoming case.

    But my guess to dollar value comes from the hypothetical: Imagine going up to Mr. Carline and asking, "Hey, Wallace... I'd like to hunt some ducks on your property for about a week. How much would you charge me?" That, and the jets.

    It's the appearance of penny-ante bribery that's the story here -- not the socializing.

    (And I point out the impropriety of the situation, regardless of direction. "Cheney accepts $10,000 gift from Scalia before trial," strikes me as being as bad as, "Scalia accepts $10,000 gift from Cheney before trial." *Both* show Justice Scalia's appearance of partiality.)

    ((An earlier version of this was posted on my blog.))

    I'm not sure there's much to distinguish the gift-giving and the camaraderie of hunting as examples of corruption. The point is that there should be no appearance of bias, no connection so close that a reasonable person could suspect that a judge had an interest in the outcome of the case. The hunting trip itself, even were there virtually no expenditure involved, still suggests strongly that the judge cannot be disinterested.

    The size of the gift is another layer of suborning a judge. The use of taxpayer-funded air travel is obvious corruption, but a mere drop in the bucket of bribery using tax dollars that is a signature of this administration. Obviously, if Clinton or Gore had done this, you'd have been hard-pressed to find anyone who would defend them. But this is the Bush administration and the far right, who can do no wrong because they are defined as Good and therefore anything they do to reach their desired end is morally correct.
    15:06 GMT


    Strata Lucida takes down William Saletan when he "invokes the spectre of Election 2000 as he glibly equates the Iowa caucus counting process with the deeply flawed recount in Florida."

    Just how useless is the NYT's ombudsman? Don't make me laugh. (Via Atrios)

    The real reason for the invasion of Iraq, just in case you were still in doubt.

    I've recently noticed a weblog called nyc99 that's full of interesting things about labor and globalization, well worth checking out. I was particularly interested in learning that legislative movement to curtail out-sourcing jobs to other countries is getting serious.

    Thanks for the mention, Hugo, but it was only via me, since someone else wrote that.

    Note to the proprietors of Making Light, Charlie's Diary, Locus Online, Public Nuisance, Bellona Times, Progressive Gold, Wis[s]e Words, Kathryn Cramer, Gallimaufry, get donkey!, and BertramOnline: How would you guys like to switch to using this link for The Sideshow?
    12:39 GMT

    Singing Dwarves

    You remember back here where I was talking about that odd little experience of hearing bleed-through of the Disney cartoon dwarf song while watching the scene in Fellowship of the Ring where they're in Balin's Tomb? It'd seemed like way too much of a coincidence, so we wondered for a bit if it was slipped in by some wiseguy...but we watched the scene again and it wasn't there.

    Well, the other night I saw an ad - a PSA for teaching, actually - that uses that song. So now I know.
    12:01 GMT

    Monday, 19 January 2004


    I like to remind people of this from time to time:

    Here's a fact I couldn't find anywhere in George W. Bush's $1.5-billion plan to prop up American marriage.

    The pro-Bush red states, especially those in the rural South, have a far higher divorce rate than Al Gore's blue states.

    This is the Bible Belt?

    Actually, it's more like the Divorce Belt, where the pro-marriage president's staunchest supporters tend to congregate.
    "Divorce rates among conservative Christians were much higher than for other faith groups," Barna says flatly.
    These people will soon be telling us how to run our marriages?

    Twenty-seven percent of adults are divorced across the legendarily devout South, pollster Barna found. As for the liberal Northeast? That's the region with the lowest divorce rate, 19 percent.

    It's not nice to laugh at the misfortunes of others, but, y'know, ha ha ha.

    Via Anne Zook, who also wondered why the media doesn't provide cheesecake for straight women the way it does for straight men. As I explained in the comments, it's because men are a whole lot easier to please.
    23:04 GMT

    Why I'm not a libertarian

    The reason I tend to get along well with honest libertarians is that we share a commitment to individual rights, and the reason I don't count myself among them is that I place individuals above any such more remote concepts as contracts and property, and they don't. Give me a conflict between the rights of an individual and the rights of a business or the strictures of an agreed contract and I'll pretty much come down on the side of fairness toward the individual every time. I cannot agree that a single individual, possibly dealing from a position of powerlessness and dire need, can always be said to be making an uncoerced and fair contract with a large, powerful entity that may be holding your very survival over your head.

    And I cannot agree that anything other than force ultimately backs up a contract, and if it's okay to rely on the law (government force) to defend your contractual agreements, it must be equally okay to rely on the government to defend the rights of individuals. And not for a minute do I believe that using economic force is necessarily any different from using physical force when both can harm or kill you (and economic force certainly can kill you.)

    I certainly understand why anyone, libertarian or no, would be wary of government power - I'm pretty wary of it myself, and I'm not in favor of giving government very much of it. But libertarians are perfectly happy to expect government power to enforce contracts, and that means privileging those who have more resources (money, land, the ability to pay pricey lawyers and the time to waste on suing those who can't afford to be sued and laughing in the faces of people they've cheated who can't afford to sue them). Some rob you with a six-gun, some rob you with a fountain pen, and pretending that the guy who uses the latter method isn't just as guilty as the other is just plain muddle-headed.

    Which leads us to a guy who was one of my all-time favorite posters back in my alt.censorship days, Seth Finklestein, who wrote an article a while back called Libertarianism Makes You Stupid:

    Libertarian proselytizers will preach some warm-and-fuzzy story such as
    We believe that respect for individual rights is the essential precondition for a free and prosperous world, that force and fraud must be banished from human relationships, and that only through freedom can peace and prosperity be realized.
    Note the rhetoric is made further meaningless by the "initiate force" concept. When Libertarians think using force is justified, they just call it retaliatory force. It's a bit like "war of aggression" versus "war of defense". Rare is the country in history which has ever claimed to be initiating a "war of aggression", they're always retaliating in a "war of defense".

    The idea that Libertarians don't believe in the initiation of force is pure propaganda. They believe in using force as much as anyone else, if they think the application is morally correct. "initiation of force" is Libertarian term of art, meaning essentially "do something improper according to Libertarian ideology". It isn't even connected much to the actions we normally think of as "force".
    While you might be told Libertarianism is about individual rights and freedom, fundamentally, it's about business. The words "individual rights", in a civil-society context, are often Libertarian-ese for "business". That's what they derive as the inevitable meaning of rights and freedom, as a statement of principles:

    Since governments, when instituted, must not violate individual rights, we oppose all interference by government in the areas of voluntary and contractual relations among individuals.
    The whole idea of a contract is that government enforces relations among individuals. The above sentence is a nonsensical, it's conceptually that they oppose all interference by government in the areas of government enforcing relations among individuals.

    The key to understanding this, and to understanding Libertarianism itself, is to realize that their concept of individual freedom is the "whopper" of "right to have the State back up business". That's a wild definition of freedom. If you voluntarily contract to sell all your future income for $1, they then oppose all government "interference" with your "right" to do this. It's a completely twisted, utterly inverted, perfectly Orwellian statement, almost exactly "Freedom is Slavery".
    One of the seamiest and ugliest aspects of Libertarianism is its support of turning back the civil-rights clock to pre-1964 legal situation for businesses. "I am not making this up". They're very explicit about it:

    Consequently, we oppose any government attempts to regulate private discrimination, including choices and preferences, in employment, housing, and privately owned businesses. The right to trade includes the right not to trade -- for any reasons whatsoever; the right of association includes the right not to associate, for exercise of the right depends upon mutual consent.
    That's "rights" according to Libertarianism. Whites-only lunch counters, "No Jews or dogs" hotels, "we don't serve your kind here", "No Irish need apply", "This is man's job", etc. All this is a "right of association" in Libertarian theology.

    Such a weird position is not just the purview of some position-writers in a corner, but a surprisingly common trait of Libertarians. It's one of the surest way of identifying one, if they justify such a reactionary position from abstract considerations.

    It must be stressed that a) Libertarians ARE NOT racists, sexists, etc. and b) The above is not meant to comment either way on the much more controversial affirmative-action debate. Libertarians can go to town whenever they're called racist, sexist, and so on for the above (gee, how could anyone ever get that idea?), proclaiming their great personal but private commitment to equality. Of course, they never have to do anything much in this regard since events have passed them by. But they want make sure you know they fully support the ideals, even if they think that all the past decades legal effort should be repealed as immoral and unprincipled. They also love to switch the debate to affirmative action, because that's far more contentious than anti-discrimination. But the position's very plain. Drinking from the wrong water fountain would presumably be "initiation of force", allowing retaliation of force to eject the malefactor.
    What Libertarians have the luxury of doing is sitting back and saying "All the problems will be solved if we just let Jesus, err, property into our hearts, err, politics". What they do tactically is to focus on incidents or areas where the political process is at its worst, and peddle their snake-oil theory, contrasting the gritty reality with their pristine fantasy. Of course the fantasy looks better then!

    The reason they get away with this is partly that there is no Libertopia, so we don't have a constant series of rile-'em-up stories to point out where Libertopia is an atrocity. Sometimes I think of writing a fictitious "Dispatches from Libertopia" for this sort of stuff. Such as:

    "Today, Judge Rand ruled that the so-called "child-slavery" provision of the standard employment contract between MegaCorp and all employees was valid. As parents have the control of their children until eighteen, the signing-over of their labor until age 18 to MegaCorp was ruled a valid exercise of parental authority. Judge Rand, in his opinion, stated "The government is not to interfere with economic arrangements, absent a showing of fraud or force, as per the Fundamental Law of Libertopia. All parties with the legal right to contract consented, and that is the sole standard of evaluation. The fact that MegaCorp said it would fire any worker who did not agree to this provision is of no consequence, as that is entirely the right of MegaCorp."

    "The separate individual child contracts were also ruled to be valid. Although the children were told if they did not sign, Mommy and Daddy would lose their jobs and the whole family might starve, this was regarded as simply the employer's right to hire and fire as he or she sees fit. No force, coercion, or fraud within the meaning of Libertopia Law was applied." Junior Warbucks, a MegaCorp spokesman, said "Do you make your children do chores? What's the difference?"

    But of course this can be attacked in various ways, because Libertopia is pure fantasy, and the real-world rarely stacks up well to a fantasy, especially a political one.

    A Libertarian can blithely argue that all problems would be solved by private charity, by people of goodwill, or if government would just get out of the way. It's a common tactic:

    If there's a problem, our first question is not, "How can government solve this problem," but "What government program must be eliminated to improve this situation?"
    Since there's no Libertopia, they never have to admit being in error as to what will happen under their proposed regime. That's a great debating advantage.
    I've seen all of the arguments Seth discusses occurring in real time, and I've always admired Seth's willingness to confront them head on. He's a bit kinder to libertarians than I am, because I know that some of them really are racists and sexists and that these arguments, whoever is using them, are really the fruit of that poisoned tree. But, obviously, the libertarians I hang out with aren't in this category. In practice, they spend most of their time sounding exactly like liberals. They just have this naivety about how money and power work when not constrained by regulation.
    And finally: "You're a Communist"

    Not at all. I think business and markets are just great in a lot of areas. But I don't think that is the sum total of civil society. Being against business-worship is hardly the same thing as government-worship. It is the inability to understand this idea which is the ultimate proof that Libertarianism Makes You Stupid.

    I don't think the libertarians I count among my friends are stupid, but it does feel sometimes like they are aiming their intelligence at a really stupid purpose.
    20:57 GMT

    Reading room

    Joe Conason really liked Al Gore's speech on the environment.

    CBS Poll: Bush's Approval Sinking

    Remember when Lysenkoism had a bad name?

    Michael Moore's letter endorsing Clark (via BeatBushBlog)

    James K. Galbraith on The no jobs president

    Judah Ariel, formerly of Stage Left, can now be found at Aspasia. The Bloviator is posting there too - check out his post Politicized Science.
    13:58 GMT

    Sunday, 18 January 2004

    Food for thought

    Max says: The concession to Islamic supremacy over secularism is not some short-term slip out of pragmatism. It is fundamental to U.S. hegemony in the Middle East, and always has been. Theocracy is one of the U.S.-aligned Oil Cartel's weapons against secularism, nationalism, and democracy. The other one is expansionist Zionism.

    William Burton looks at Bush policy and declares it vaporware.

    Liberal Oasis on the spinning of Bush's not-very-good poll numbers.

    Norman at Pacific Views found Bishop Shelby Spong doing a take-down of George F. Will's "dark places where bigotry and prejudice hide".

    Atrios notes that the place to get decent coverage of the campaign isn't from the professional media, but from ordinary people writing up their first-hand observations in the blogosphere.
    21:57 GMT

    Another view of Clare Short

    Charlie Stross read this Guardian article about Clare Short's recent outburst and wonders if this isn't just The Sun making a mountain out of a molehill again:

    This is a non-story. It will have little effect on Short, who shows an indomitable spirit in holding her ground. Nor is it likely to affect Sun sales; a vendetta against a 57-year-old grandmother who has earned considerable public affection for her forthright views is unlikely to haul in more readers, however many breasts on the front page.

    But where it does have an impact is that this kind of bullying attempts to kill off public debate about the way women are portrayed in the mass media - and to a considerable extent succeeds. It takes a brave individual to stand up to a thuggish Sun, and one wonders how many other volunteers, apart from Clare Short, would be now prepared to put their heads above the parapet.

    Anyone who criticises some of the images of women which routinely appear in newspapers or adverts, is accused of being a killjoy or interfering or both. It becomes impossible to advance the case that there are standards of decency worth fighting for, and that the newspaper industry's distance from the porn industry is also worth maintaining.

    The author is right to the extent that some parts of the media (well, most parts, actually) have a tendency to deflect and distort public discussion with a lot of hype - and certainly The Sun is famous for having done so. But talking about banning "Page 3" isn't going to do sexual equality much good and doesn't even do much for standards. The fact of the matter is that those images of bare-breasted women are not replacing any higher standard of journalism on the third page of The Sun.

    Other portrayals of women in the media are far more diverse today than they were back in the late '60s and early '70s when the conversation of representation of women in media got started, and sexual imagery does not harm women. What's really hurting women right now is considerably more complex, and about much more concrete issues like transport, daycare, and jobs. Trying to divert our attention at a time like this with pointless attacks on "topless" images is at best a waste of energy. At worst, it continues to promote the idea that there is something dirty about women's bodies - and that can't be good.
    21:00 GMT

    A bunch of things

    Kurt Nimmo: 'Bush's police state: Going after the left, not al-Qaeda'

    The Columbia Journalism Review has a new campaign desk page.

    Mad cows and why "nobodies" read The Nation

    Real WMD in the hands of real terrorists - in your backyard. (And here is a pretty reprint of "The Political and the Personal".)

    Can a progressive be electable?

    Greg Greene on the value of the 'net, as opposed to, say, really lame mainstream Big Media.

    I want to keep seeing stuff like this, but I guess not.
    17:05 GMT

    Can Bush win?

    Kevin Drum at CalPundit has been writing posts about the state of the Democratic campaign and what the best strategies are, and they generate long threads. Most of them seem to be pleas for political moderation that seem ill-placed to me, since all of the campaigns are relatively mainstream, and the so-called "radical liberal" of the frontline, Howard Dean, is clearly a fiscal conservative without any remotely leftist positions.

    In fact, one of the most interesting things about Dean is that he has managed to energize the base without taking any unusually strong liberal positions. It is actually less surprising that so many Republicans are moving in his direction (and they are), since his positions are pretty consistent with northern Republicanism as it was before that party became overwhelmed by the radical right.

    Threads at Calpundit on this and related themes all seem to center around the idea that there is an out-of-touch liberalism driving the Deaniacs, which strikes me as exactly wrong. What's been wrong with the Democratic Party for quite some time is a cowardly retreat from the liberalism that most of the country actually supports - universal healthcare, good public schools, Social Security and such are both more popular and more economically sound than the actual programs Bush and the Republicans have been pushing (and passing). By failing to stand up for the liberal position on these issues, Democrats have been making themselves irrelevant to ordinary voters. What we need is not to soft-peddle or ignore these positions, but to let people know we are behind them.

    And Americans are slowly waking up to the fact that Bush has not been very good at the national security game. Here is a tiny indicator: While pundits and his primary opponents attacked Dean for saying that the capture of Saddam did not make us safer, 60% of the country agreed with Dean. And that fact isn't just something that will endear those people to Dean, but it also helps drive a wedge of dissonance between their perceptions and their acceptance of what the pundits and pols have to say about these issues; if they are so at odds with the media about something so obvious, it gives them that much more reason to doubt what they hear from them about national security as well as what is said about Dean.

    Some of the strongest support Bush had in 2000 came from the armed services. But that support is quite a bit softer today, as I think is shown neatly in this comment by Hal O'Brien:

    Put it to you this way. A joke I heard from an NCO buddy of mine in the Army:

    Q: What's the difference between Dubya and Jane Fonda?

    A: Hey, at least Jane went to Vietnam!

    If jokes that compare Bush negatively with Jane Fonda are becoming popular among soldiers, I think it's an understatement to say that they are not in love with George W. Bush.
    11:12 GMT

    Saturday, 17 January 2004

    The Headlines

    At Media Whores Online:

    Krugman's latest, Who Gets It?, explains what's really going on in this campaign: The real division in the race for the Democratic nomination is between those who are willing to question not just the policies but also the honesty and the motives of the people running our country, and those who aren't.

    Bush Installs Perjurer/Cross-Burning Advocate Pickering: A day after facing humiliating protests while visiting Martin Luther King's grave for a photo op on the way to a $2000-a-plate fundraiser, the Unelected Fraud has installed a cross-burning advocate to the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. (Their Yahoo link for the story on that humiliating protest seems to be dead, so read Skippy's how to use a first amendment zone instead.)


    • Lou Dobbs is using a Drudge-generated lie to claim that Wesley Clark actually supported the invasion of Iraq.
    • NPR Ombudsman apologies to blog readers and learns what "astroturf" means.
    • Mickey Kaus edits Lucy the Bat's fake defense of Dean
    • Bush's space fraud
    • Heads-up on Alterman and Franken appearing on Book TV Sunday afternoon on C-Span2.
    • Bush's War Assures Elimination of Women's Rights, Status
    Please take that last one and pound it over the heads of every one of those dopey Iraq hawks who whined about how regime change in Iraq was going to liberate Iraqi women and how us anti-invasion types just didn't care about those women. No, boys, we just understood that invading Iraq would make things worse for them. Because we're smarter than you are.

    At Talk Left: CBS Says No to MoveOn but Yes to White House Drug Ads: CBS is out of line. It told MoveOn they would not accept an anti-Bush ad for the Super Bowl because they don't allow advocacy advertising--but they are going to air those insidious White House anti-drug ads. How can they say the White House ads aren't advocacy?

    In an update, an action alert from NORML with a sample letter of complaint to CBS.

    Also, Cheney and Scalia go hunting.
    20:08 GMT

    Some fair and balanced media

    I was going to type out another quote from Joe Conason's Big Lies, but I'm too lazy, so go read this review instead.

    A War in Search of a Reason

    Norbizness has a new and improved address, but don't forget that We are screwed. Also, take The Tom Friedman Quiz!

    The Bible in 50 Words (via Localfeeds, via Edgewise)

    Conflicts of Interest

    Briefs. (Well, I had to, didn't I?)

    Facts from talk radio, and why we are Principle Skinner.

    Palestinians of Dune, and why secrecy is more important than civil liberties.

    Reference Sources of Terror: Does Tom Tomorrow read Making Light? (Well, I do, and appreciated Teresa's quick reviews of the winners and runners-up for the Bush in 30 Seconds contest.)

    I miss Bill Hicks.
    16:09 GMT

    How did I ever survive without this?

    Pholph's Scrabble Generator

    My Scrabble© Score is: 17.
    What is your score? Get it here.

    Via Elayne Riggs
    13:30 GMT

    Friday, 16 January 2004


    The Great Divide looks to be a spanking new weblog with a lot of promise, apparently by someone called Claudia Long who hasn't worked out that thing about linking to the article being cited, yet. But with, among other things, a post asking a question about what "liberal" means in its current rather curious context:

    "Liberal Hawks Reconsider the Iraq War" reads a Salon headline today. But I am puzzled... what exactly, is a Liberal Hawk? Christopher Hitchens -- a liberal? On exactly what? And Pollack?

    What is to be done about this muddledness? Let us put it this way. Anyone who says they are a 'liberal' and still thought it was a dandy idea to blaze in and blow away thousands of people, occupy their country, seize their resources, and tell them precisely what form of government they may now enjoy, is perhaps not a liberal. Perhaps a LINO. Same as those Democrats who call themselves 'centrist' -- which, translated, means "I'll vote for corporate interests over yours anytime."

    Well, yes, and that's why a lot of liberals call themselves "progressives" instead, a word Long had no problem coming up with a definition for. And after having already discovered what the unifying principle of the Republican Party is, too. In other definitions: Aubundance of caution.
    19:07 GMT

    You think you know

    I can tell things are back to normal whenever we get more overhyped child porn headlines, and it's been that kind of week, here. Amazingly, The Times has an intelligent article on the subject, by Mick Hume:

    Child porn is being 'normalised' by panic merchants

    Like most of you, I have never seen any explicit images of adults having sex with children. Of course, the idea is repulsive. But I am also sickened by those seeking to prey on our emotions by turning child pornography into an all-purpose moral panic for our times.

    In a report published yesterday, the children's charity NCH announced a 1,500 per cent increase in child pornography crimes since 1988, blamed the internet for spreading child porn everywhere, and said that internet-connected mobile phones could make things even worse.

    If anybody claimed such an increase in any other crime, the statistics would be considered suspect. Yet such is the concern about child porn that most took the 1,500 per cent figure at face value. NCH compared the 35 people against whom police proceeded in 1988 with the 549 charged or cautioned in 2001.

    Given that 1988 was the first year in which it became a specific offence to possess child pornography, it is hardly surprising that the numbers convicted of the newly-invented crime were so low. And given the cultural and legal fixation with child porn in recent years, the only wonder about the later figures is that they are not much higher.

    So is child pornography really such a major, and growing, social problem? Campaigners always claim that the relatively few prosecutions are "only the tip of the iceberg". Yet even those who specialise in researching child porn admit they don't know that much about it. Professor Max Taylor, director of the respected Combating Paedophile Information Networks in Europe (Copine) project, told an international conference that "it is difficult to find another area of substantial policy development that has been based on such little empirical evidence".

    Extraordinary claims about child porn are pretty much par for the course, with the police and child protection groups often making astonishing claims that simply cannot be supported - and make no sense. Much of it is in direct contradiction to everything we do know about paedophilia and child abuse.

    But the success of all this hype relies on exploiting our strong emotional reaction to the horror of child abuse and our general ignorance about the subject. Not a single child is protected by it, but a lot of people make a very nice living off of blasting a combination of horrifying anecdotes and inflated numbers to keep the panic rolling. It's shameful.
    16:38 GMT

    Quick hits

    Government by time bomb

    Your computer won't work if you fill it with potatoes.
    15:15 GMT

    He says it so well

    Why write something myself when Skippy beat me to the punch?

    al gore gave a speech about awol's environmental policy (we know, we know, isn't that an oxymoron? well, if awol's involved, it's some kind of moron).

    you can see a webcast of the speech or get the transcript here, both courtesy of we love nazis and we drink the blood of white women's sorry, we mean,

    Gotta love that boy.
    14:58 GMT

    Parsing the rubbish

    At The Agora there's a series of posts covering the various revelations of administration perfidy leading to the invasion of Iraq. This one cites some curious remarks by Glenn Reynolds saying the whole thing was perfectly all right since going after Saddam showed everyone else how tough we are.

    This leads me to all sorts of thoughts about who I should kill in order to show how tough I am. Operating on the invasion-apologist theory, I - like Mr. Bush - need only kill someone who everyone already assumes I can kill - perhaps an elderly invalid or a small child - just so you'll all know I'm real tough. I will be happy to choose someone who is annoying just so the Chickenhawks can rationalize it by saying that my victim needed killing anyway so it's all right.

    And here's a post that examines the "It's Clinton's Plan" defense and how absolutely lame it sounds in the context of having been told that we invaded Iraq because "9/11 changed everything." And here's the post pointing out that it wasn't Clinton's plan, anyway.
    00:34 GMT

    Thursday, 15 January 2004

    Did you see?

    No link right now, but this time I got the news direct via my telephone from various radio stations and newspapers that wanted my comments over the fact that - and I can hardly believe it - Clare Short has suddenly revived her campaign to ban "Page 3" photos.

    You know about "Page 3", right? "Topless" pictures that appear on the third page of certain daily tabloids, especially those called The Sun? Which Short introduced a bill to ban in the heyday of overblown anti-porn rhetoric, more than a decade ago, and still couldn't pass?

    Why is this fruitbat raising this issue now? It's hardly as if there aren't more vital matters for our elective officials to concern themselves with. (And did I hallucinate that Short gave an interview a while back saying that the whole Page 3 thing had been overblown and she was never that fussed about it? So why is she doing this?) Hell, even if she wanted to brush up her credentials on women's issues, I can think of several things of far greater import.

    In any case, the phone has been ringing since about 9:15 - the morning radio shows wanting comments - and I thought they were done at lunch time but of course then they came back for the afternoon shows, and even The Sun itself, having heard me on the radio, decided it would be cool to get a statement from Feminists Against Censorship. So I haven't had much time for blogging, and I'm not going to editorialize about these things I was looking at last night:

    A great reason to support Wesley Clark

    An exercise in e-democracy

    The American Street

    Eric Boehlert on The media vs. Howard Dean

    I am jealous.

    Matt Drudge working hard to create Dean scandal.

    A bunch of Hitler comparisons - to Clinton.

    What Good is the Bill of Rights? (via Wil Wheaton)

    Vintage cigarette ads (via More Like This)
    14:43 GMT

    Wednesday, 14 January 2004

    Margaret Cho's hate mail

    Atrios points to a letter from Cho's manager discussing mail to her client:

    Because Matt Drudge posted an incomplete and edited transcript of Margaret Cho's set (about 2 mins. out of the 20 min. set) at the show Monday night, I have received nonstop hateful e-mails (I have over 100, and they're coming in at the rate of 1 per minute).

    I believe that many people who read the transcript didn't even realize she is a comedian because they mentioned her "speech."

    Most of my traffic has come directly from a site called which posted the transcript from Drudge.

    Although people were offended by and commented on different parts of the transcript, it seems that Margaret's biggest crimes are being fat, Asian-American, GLBT supportive, and possibly female.

    Here's one that seemed downright civil compared to the others:
    Given your recent comments about President Bush at the awards, you obviously have no problems with personal attacks. Therefore I thought I'd take a moment to let you know that most people think you are a no talent, fat, washed up a-hole.
    Quite a few of the messages refer to that fat thing. Well, she looks pretty good to me.

    Meanwhile, Ms. Cho has a way to solve the economy's problems - by legalizing gay marriage.
    23:42 GMT

    Mr. Charisma

    Sasha hasn't been posting much so far this year but last month had a moment of crystallization:

    I had a rare insight watching Mr. Rumsfeld preening and crowing on 60 Minutes. Leslie Stahl kept asking him how the capture of Saddam Hussein was going to change the likelihood of terror, how it made us safer. And, as he usually does, he started to get huffy and strident, clearly annoyed that she would dare ask him such a question. Eventually he stammered out answers that covered his leadership and finally, weakly, pointing to the money he had with him. In my view they were all weak, silly arguments.

    But he seemed to be reflecting an belief, widespread in the administration, that a single leader can make a huge difference in the political climate. *sound of my hand slapping my forehead* That's why this mattered so much. Without the charismatic leader they actually believe any opposition to the US will melt with the capture of Saddam Hussein. By the same token, the Supremes appointment of our very own charismatic leader was supposed to dissolve all opposition to his will. No wonder he is so pissed off at upstarts who dare to challenge his will. Doh.

    It's true that a charismatic leader can drag a nation up or down in a way that a milquetoast probably can't, but it's also true that a charismatic leader may accomplish nothing but more-of-the-same if their vision doesn't depart much from the SOP of their nation and culture. And if you have a culture that is already based on authoritarian hierarchy in which strongmen operate to cement their control, the guys who rise to the top are likely to be the guys who are already good at that - so getting rid of one of them just makes room for the next one.
    22:31 GMT

    Greenspan on the Titanic

    Ordinary Savers Drown, Not Us!

    You have to listen to what they say when they are live on TV because the really important things they say are never repeated in the later bulletins.

    So it was today, when Alan Greenspan, Chairman of the Federal Reserve spoke to his Central Bankers hosts in Berlin.

    And when you listen to what they have to say, you have to understand the implications of what they are saying, the underlying meaning. (Rayelan is right - this is where the chocolate is hidden.)

    What I am about to tell you will not be repeated in the financial papers or on Bloomberg. And if it is briefly mention in the DJ, most won't get it.

    During a Q&A following his speech, Greenspan was asked about the dangers of an economic crash, the collapse of currencies and the risks of collapses in the banking sector in the modern deregulated world economy. This was in context of concerns about the weak dollar and the burgeoning US current account deficit.

    Casual and relaxed, almost in slow motion, Greenspan explained how deregulation had allowed the formation of a complex deriviatives sector in which risks to banks could be spread across borders and to pension funds and insurers. "Not one bank has collapsed under this deregulated system," he gloated from the bridge, hands firmly on the wheel as he peered with his watery eyes at the darkness.

    He explained just how the risks had been farmed out to pension funds and insurance funds. They had taken the brunt, not the banks.

    He didn't even bat an eyelid.

    Now let's think about this for a moment folks. What is he actually saying?

    What he is saying is this. "Hey, things got tough for a little while after 9/11. But look friends we're sitting pretty. None of us big fat cat bankers suffered.

    "All those losses were farmed out to pension, insurance and mutual funds. We didn't lose our multi-million dollar retirement plans. Instead those suckers, the riff-raf who have to work for forty years for a measly pension lost theirs.

    "So what are you worrying for? It's never us that pays, it's THEM!"

    So...everything is peachy, then?
    02:13 GMT

    Imagine if Bush did this

    Just before he went to bed, Mr. Sideshow suddenly remembered to tell me about this.

    Tony Blair Live on LBC 97.3FM

    Tony Blair brings his 'Big Conversation' to LBC 97.3FM

    For the first time ever, a serving British Prime Minister is to host his own radio phone-in show...on LBC 97.3FM.

    Pity he couldn't have remembered in time for me to actually listen to it.
    00:59 GMT

    Tuesday, 13 January 2004

    For the eyes

    I was hoping the Valentine's Day sale would save me - and those cute little Beau sets, too! - but, alas, thumbnails of sets don't have quite the same visual impact, and the range is too small, anyway. Hmph. (Here's something that's not on sale but looks fairly tasty all the same.)

    For some good visuals in another category, go to GailOnline and scroll down. Actually, follow the links on her page, too - she may not be blogging hard, but she still finds good stuff.
    23:53 GMT

    Busy Busy Busy is up!

    Elton Beard has posted a whole passel of "Shorter" takes on the pundits' clueless columns, including a very silly mea-culpa-not-really from the Iraq Hawks, in Slate (also nicely hit by The Poor Man), and yet another astonishing symptom of Charles Krauthammer's repetitive spurious analysis syndrome.
    23:00 GMT

    Stuff I finally got around to reading

    I'm in a crummy mood after a crummy day of stupid mail and stupid telephone calls and a visit to the dentist, so here's my uncreative contribution of the moment:

    Why does George Bush hate Americans?

    Why Democrats must not abandon the old stronghold

    Ted Kennedy defends Tom Daschle.

    MI5 did it. Who'da thunk it, eh?

    Who's Pravda now?

    The man who cancelled Firefly
    21:41 GMT

    Monday, 12 January 2004

    Had enough?

    Thanks to DrBill from the Bartcop chatroom for the image.

    "Republicans want smaller government for the same reason crooks want fewer cops: it's easier to get away with murder." - James Carville.

    23:16 GMT


    Sowing the Seeds of GOP Domination Conservative Norquist Cultivates Grass Roots Beyond the Beltway (via Amygdala)

    Via Atrios:

    Air Passenger Code Plan In Motion. What I want to know is whether I'll just be able to call my travel agent and find out whether I am cleared to fly or don't need to bother planning the trip. I sure don't want to spend £300 and find out when I get to the airport that they won't let me board. Or go back home later.*

    Free the White House press corps! Yet George W. Bush tells New Yorker writer Ken Auletta: "No President has ever done more for human rights than I have."*
    22:54 GMT

    Those Nazi comparisons

    Kathryn Cramer is picking up the thread:

    But OK, I guess the RNC wants contrasts between Bush and Hitler, not comparisons. So lets oblige them: Hitler probably had syphilis, whereas Bush probably doesn't. Hitler killed millions. Bush hasn't. (Shall we insert a Bushian yet?) Hitler was a much better public speaker. Shall we continue?
    A little bit of help from Bryan in the comments:
    Hitler was a decorated veteran of WWI.

    Hitler went to prison for his political views and wrote his own book.

    Hitler's family was not wealthy.

    But Kathryn knows exactly what causes those Nazi comparisons to the Bush administration:
    Hitler was Hitler for decades before killing millions. If we learned anything from the Nazi era it should be to stop fascism before it gain control. Many of those comparing Bush to Hitler are not simply out to defame him, but rather want to halt America's emergent fascism.
    It's worth remembering.
    19:33 GMT

    The Iron Law

    William Pfaff: The price of globalization

    Ricardo, however, had a second theory, which he called the "iron law of wages." You do not hear much about the iron law, in part because you wouldn't want to hear about it, and also because experience has seemed to prove it untrue. But times are changing.

    The iron law of wages is also simple and logical. It says that wages will tend to stabilize at or about subsistence level. That seemed inevitable to Ricardo, since while workers are necessary, and so have to be kept alive, they have no hope of any better treatment since they are infinitely available, replaceable, and generally interchangeable.

    Ricardo's wage theory has seemed untrue. The supply of competent workers in a given place is not unlimited; neither workers nor industry are perfectly mobile, and labor demonstrated in the 19th and 20th centuries that it could mobilize and defend itself. The iron law of wages would seem to function only if the supply of labor is infinite and totally mobile.

    Unfortunately that day, for practical purposes, has now arrived, thanks to globalization.

    Globalization is removing the constraints imposed in the past by societies possessing institutions, legislation, and the political will to protect workers.

    That'd be things like, oh, unions, for example, and laws that prevent import of goods produced under unacceptable worker conditions, and that old stand-by, import duties. Fantasies about free trade are all very nice, but if ultimately they mean stabilizing wages at subsistence globally, you're not doing much good with it for anyone but that small handful of nobility at the very top.

    During the '90s you had all these economists who should know better claiming that the modern economy had somehow magically risen above everything that had gone before and that now there could be no down-cycle. And I said, "No. It doesn't work that way." And I was right. So now when economists are rhapsodizing about the wonders of free trade and how it will make everything better for us all, I'm again saying, "No."

    Globalization is good if it means retaining high standards of treatment for workers at home and exporting those standards to other nations when we trade with them, but not if it means exporting American jobs without the encumbrance of those standards. You don't have to be a genius to work this out, you just have to be able to separate the hype from what you can see with your own eyes.
    12:12 GMT

    Down No-memory Lane

    For Immediate Release
    Office of the Press Secretary
    February 27, 2001

    Q Ari, according to India Globe, the Taliban in Afghanistan, they have offered that they are ready to hand over Osama bin Laden to Saudi Arabia if the United States would drop its sanctions, and they have a kind of deal that they want to make with the United States. Do you have any comments?

    MR. FLEISCHER: Let me take that and get back to you on that.

    11:19 GMT


    Why Texas is just different.

    Is America Becoming Fascist?

    The year in Moon

    Oh, sure, it's just an accident that he keeps getting photographed with a halo.

    Hey, cool, I got nominated for a Koufax!

    And Rehnquist vs. Amerind Law
    02:30 GMT

    The other right

    I was just trawling around at Liberty Post where I noticed something of interest:

    Why Churches Do Not Demand Peace: The IRS' Role In Controlling Churches
    By Charles E. Carlson

    In the first two parts of this series we examined the corruption of the so-called evangelical Christian movement (self professed Judeo-Christianity) by deliberate sabotage of its doctrine. This final part examines political compromises that have all but completed the destruction of America's churches, and reach into ever denomination.
    By agreeing not to see, hear or speak, even when political acts or legislation is unspeakably evil, Judeo-Christian leaders (as they call themselves) give up their ability to exert moral leadership.

    This is a site where a certain type of conservative hangs out when they become sick of the Bush style of conservatism but have no place else to go.
    01:17 GMT

    Beat the rush

    Shop now for next year's wrapping paper and avoid the holiday rush.

    Lis Riba sent me that tip, but you might want to check out her post quoting a Zogby interview disputing rising popularity of the Republican party among Jews.
    00:12 GMT

    Sunday, 11 January 2004

    Reality is never plausible

    We just finished watching the extended DVD of Fellowship of the Ring.

    A very odd thing happened.

    During the scene where they are in the Mines of Moria where they stop to listen for the Orcs coming, we heard some musical bleed-through from the television receiver. (At least, we think that's what it was.)

    It was faint, but clear:

    "Hi ho, hi ho...."

    (Can't find anything in the TV listings that explains it, though.)
    23:48 GMT

    Stuff I saw

    Hesiod says The Cincinnati Enquirer has removed Boondocks from its pages permanently.

    Man, I'm glad I don't work for that guy. (And here's a longer article on that 60 Minutes interview.)

    An explanation for Republican thinking (if you wanna call it that).

    Andrew Northrup is funny, in a bitter sorta way, about Colin Powell's sudden willingness to tell the truth about the absence of any connection between Iraq and 9/11: Nobody cares whether or not Iraq is the central front on the war on terror, because nobody cares about the war on terror, and nobody cares because there is no such thing. We're in the kind of war where you cut everyone's taxes and go to Mars - it's a different kind of war, you see, the kind of war that doesn't really exist.

    How Bush is plundering Social Security to close the deficit.

    Charles Pierce has another great letter up at Altercation, about the chickenhawks.

    Note to Jim Henley: The police have to buy lots of expensive equipment and spend all day looking for child porn on the Internet, Jim, didn't you know? (And I don't see what having a gun has to do with it - I can only shoot people if I know they are there.)
    16:43 GMT


    Sometimes reading Talk Left is like being stuck in a horror movie. I mean, look at this stuff:

    Is the U.S. Using Electroshock Torture on Iraqi Prisoners? We so hope this isn't true. If it is, it's sickening. Yet, we're hard-pressed to come up with another explanation for the electroshock burns on this man's feet and arms and face. Go look at the pictures for yourselves.

    When the prosecutor breaks the law, arrest the defense lawyer: This needs publicity. Please pass it on. Osceola Circuit Judge Margaret Waller had a Public Defender arrested in court because she couldn't proceed on a case in which the prosecution had failed to turn over the documents.

    Does anyone ever say, "It's a free country," anymore?: LAPD wants to ban ski masks from demonstrators' wardrobes reports that the Los Angeles Police Department is seeking the fast track for new laws to ban face coverings, gas masks or even goggles at public demonstrations.
    10:26 GMT

    Saturday, 10 January 2004

    I'd always wondered

    In the early hours of New Year's Day, Kieran Healy had a look around to see how some right-wing bloggers were closing out the year:

    Meanwhile Tacitus closes 2003 with a variant on one of the most popular themes of the year, viz, "I've noticed a disturbing tendency on the American left…" Yeah, me too. It barely exists. I hope you won't stop reading Crooked Timber now that Tacitus has shown that "the American left" relies wholly on "murderous racism based on junk economic theory."
    (Wow, talk about projection!)
    Another of our sins is noted by Steven Den Beste, who observes that we at CT think "white men don't actually matter." In case you haven't twigged, CT policy is that white males are only good for use as the sexual playthings of rich and beautiful women. Email me for more details about this.
    I'm sorry to report that most of the snappy one-liners I came up with in response to this contained too many arcane referents to work for more than three people in the world, and the rest were too obvious.
    20:20 GMT

    Colin Powell: No better than he should be

    "No better than he/she should be" is one of those nasty old phrases that used to be applied regularly to people of the lower orders when they lived down to expectations. But in Colin Powell's case, I mean not the origins of his birth but the history of the man himself and the craven loyalties that have exemplified his entire career. His public stature was always an artifact of Bush-family spin on his greatness. If you weren't already aware of what he was really made of, Sidney Blumenthal provides all you need to know in the first paragraph of his article on Powell:

    Shortly before the holidays, just before he underwent surgery for prostate cancer, US secretary of state Colin Powell gave a forlorn and illuminating interview to the Washington Post, published only in one brief excerpt. In it he explained that there was no matter of principle over which he would resign and depicted tenure as a long mission of retreat and loss.
    Not exactly a parallel for Lee Atwater's death-bed conversion, eh?

    Powell implies that taking the job is a responsibility you don't walk out on just because you don't like all of a president's decisions. But the conditions of his service are not those of a man in a position of responsibility to the republic, but of a man who serves no one but the Republican leadership. His loyalty is not and never was to his country and its people.

    From My Lai to Iran-Contra, this history was known. His failure to stand up for America against the Bush regime was the predictable behavior of a man who had lived his life on this path. So, no surprises:

    I don't agree with Josh Marshall, via Sidney Blumenthal, that Colin Powell is almost a tragic figure in all this. (Apparently he sees himself as one.) Powell gave a veneer of legitimacy to Bushco's systematic lying to justify a shameless, cynical policy which he, Powell, personally opposed. He was in a position to stop the train, at least slow it down, and he didn't.

    Truly he put himself, and what passes for his conscience and sense of "duty," ahead of those who served and trusted him and those, American and Iraqi, who had no voice in this catastrophe. He's still falling on his sword for this villainous administration, which dropped him long ago when he ceased to be of use. But Powell has as much blood on his hands as the rest of them, the blood of the ones who didn't know better than to believe the lies and who had no choices in this.

    And it was always going to happen that way.
    19:22 GMT

    What am I supposed to think?

    This link will expire quickly so here's gist:


    Saturday 10 January 2004 11:34am

    A Pakistani court has sentenced two French journalists to six months in prison for visa violations after they travelled to an area near the Afghan border without official permission.

    The men, reporter Marc Epstein and photographer Jean-Paul Guilloteau, working for the French L'Express magazine, were also fined 100,000 rupees (£650) each.

    Judge Nuzhat Ara Alvi ruled that the men had violated Pakistan's immigration laws by travelling to the south-western city of Quetta without permission.

    Police say the Frenchmen's visas only allowed travel to Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi.

    Pakistani officials have also said the men were involved in making a fake documentary showing Taliban rebels sneaking into Pakistan from Afghanistan - a sensitive issue in Pakistan - but they were not charged with any other offence.

    Here is a later story saying the lawyers applied for and got a one-week suspension of the jail time (but not the fine) while they appeal.
    13:50 GMT

    Watch this

    Miami federal court has 'secret docket' to keep some cases hidden from public: "We don't have secret justice in this country," said Lucy Dalglish, executive director of The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. The Washington-based journalists watchdog group is asking the appellate courts to open up two Miami federal cases it says were litigated in secret. [...] "In recent months, it has become evident that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida maintains a dual, separate docket of public and non-public cases," Dalglish wrote in a brief filed late last month in the 11th Circuit appeal of convicted Colombian drug lord Fabio Ochoa Vasquez.

    Former Vice President Al Gore will deliver a major address attacking the Bush Administration's policies on global warming and the environment at the historic Beacon Theatre in New York City on Thursday, January 15. The speech is being co-sponsored by and Environment2004.
    05:25 GMT

    On the campaign trail

    Norman Solomon: Eight years ago, I spoke at a news conference in California supporting the launch of Nader's presidential campaign. Four years ago, in venues including national TV and radio, I criticized the sparse quantity and defamatory quality of mainstream media coverage of his 2000 presidential campaign. This year, I have no intention of supporting Nader if he runs. [...] Along with the clearly diminished support for a Nader run this year, a parallel question also looms: How would such a campaign help to defeat George W. Bush?

    Don Waller at TBTM: Manufactured Outrage: The Whining Never Ends. Republicans' 'outrage' can't mask their fear of liberals who fight back.

    Michael Hammerschlag: 'Dean and the world' - says Dean is way better then you know (and makes an interesting suggestion for his VP slot).

    Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin endorsed Howard Dean for president on Friday, calling him the "kind of plain-spoken Democrat we need" and giving a key boost to the embattled front-runner 10 days before the state's kick-off caucuses.

    Ariana: I swear, if I hear one more Democratic honcho say that Howard Dean is not electable, I'm going to do something crazy (maybe that's what happened to Britney in Vegas this weekend). The contention is nothing short of idiotic. [...] "He could be intemperate and impulsive... the image of wrath—his forefinger pointing, his fist pounding his palm, his eyes ablaze." Sean Hannity on Howard Dean? No, Theodore White on Bobby Kennedy in The Making of the President, 1968. (This piece is great! Inspirational! Except for one thing....)
    06:38 GMT

    Friday, 09 January 2004

    Oooh, pretty!

    Thanks to Scott Legg for the tip.

    Sun halo

    19:01 GMT

    Kilroy show axed

    As someone who has survived appearing on the Kilroy show more than once (can you believe he gives out autographed pictures of himself to guests?), I can't say I'm sorry to see the smarmy old phony go in any event, but his article in the Standard was really disgusting.

    BBC halts Kilroy for race 'rant'

    The Kilroy programme will be taken off air immediately following comments made by Robert Kilroy-Silk in a newspaper article, the BBC has announced.

    The presenter branded Arabs "suicide bombers, limb amputators, women repressors" and asked what they had given to the world other than oil.
    Mr Kilroy-Silk's article included comments saying the toppling of despotic regimes in the Middle East should be a war aim, and questioned the contribution of the Arab nations to world welfare and civilisation.

    He said Arabs "murdered more than 3,000 civilians on 11 September" and then "danced in the streets" to celebrate.

    The MCB secretary general Iqbal Sacranie wrote in a letter to BBC One controller Lorraine Heggessey that Mr Kilroy-Silk had failed to distinguish between the terrorists behind the 11 September attacks and 200 million "ordinary Arab peoples".

    Mr Sacranie condemned the "bigoted and ill-informed ideas" in the piece, which he said was "ignorant, extremely derogatory and indisputably racist".

    Thank god these people won't be calling me up anymore trying to get me to go on that show.
    18:08 GMT

    Primary notes

    In The Case for Howard Dean, Jonathan Cohn looks at the apparent contrast between Dean's conservative stewardship of Vermont and his campaign rhetoric, and observes that, like Clinton, Dean was indeed doing what amounts to damage control after the excesses of the '80s had threatened the economic security of both the nation and the individual states. In fact, not only had Republican policies damaged the nation materially, but their rhetoric had already begun injecting toxic memes into the public discourse. In Washington and in Vermont, responsible Democrats were trying to clean up the fiscal mess and do one other thing:

    None of this is to say Dean has not transformed himself; it's just that, at this point, the transformation has more to do with rhetoric than policy. A man who spent his career in state politics fighting liberals in his party is now championing the "Democratic wing of the Democratic Party." In Vermont, Dean was popular in the business community because he made deals with them that alienated the state's environmentalists. Now, on the campaign trail, Dean rails against business and quipped in one interview that it's time to "reregulate" U.S. industry. As governor, Dean governed like Clinton--only to pronounce, in a recent, high-profile policy speech, that it was time to get past the "damage control" of the Clinton years.

    But, however politically convenient in the Democratic primaries, those statements represent a logical updating of Clintonism rather than a rejection of it. For one thing, a primary rationale for Clintonism was to restore faith in government so future Democrats could put it to good use. As Clinton himself suggested in a November 2003 interview with The American Prospect's Michael Tomasky, "Democrats ought to all pocket some of the gains I made." More important, Dean's modest departures make perfect sense given what has happened in the last few years. After all, what sane person familiar with Enron and other corporate scandals wouldn't argue for increasing the regulation of business?

    Besides, after three years of President Bush, it would take a great deal of "reregulation" just to restore corporate accountability to its Clinton-era levels. As Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser pointed out recently in The New York Times, the Bush administration official assuring the country about the safety of the nation's beef supply last week was none other than a former beef-industry lobbyist. And that's just one example of how far Bush has moved politics to the right. Undermining Social Security to finance tax cuts for the wealthy, turning Medicare into a voucher program, subjecting regulations to cost-benefit analyses that favor industry--these ideas were all dismissed as radically conservative when Newt Gingrich included them in the Contract With America. Now they are law or on the way to becoming it. In other words, Dean's not the extremist. Bush is.

    For all their attendant controversy, Dean's pronouncements on foreign policy fall into the same category: They seem radical only if the policies of the Bush administration count as mainstream, which they aren't. True, the case for a radical departure in foreign policy is greater than in domestic policy: Our understanding of the world really did change on September 11, 2001. But the question is not whether the United States should adapt to the post-September 11 world, but how--and here Dean's vision is more sensible than his angry tones might imply. Dean is certainly prepared to use military force to defend U.S. interests: He says he supported every major U.S. foreign policy intervention since Vietnam except the Iraq war. (That includes the first Gulf war, a conflict Dick Gephardt and John Kerry opposed.) Dean's caricature as a peacenik is a product mostly of the fallacious argument that opposing the Iraq war was tantamount to always opposing the use of U.S. power abroad. In fact, it is perfectly reasonable to believe there are occasions for unilateral action while holding that ousting Saddam Hussein was not one of them--just as it is possible to argue that fighting Saddam soaked up resources that might have been spent pursuing Osama bin Laden or fortifying homeland security, both more essential to fighting terrorism. Dean has said all of these things.

    Of course, publishing this article didn't stop The New Republic from endorsing Lieberman.
    17:38 GMT

    Watching the Junta

    Benedict@Large: The real reason for the public school voucher program. Well, one of them. The other is that educated people make lousy slaves. Slaves, you remember, were not permitted to learn to read.

    Under a Blackened Sky: One problem, though: What if the comparison isn't unwarranted?

    Slacktivist: "It's like they don't even remember how to be ashamed anymore."
    16:12 GMT

    Thursday, 08 January 2004

    Did you see?

    The Cheating culture (via Atrios)

    Liberal Oasis introduces Bush in 41.2 Seconds. (And it plays a lot faster and smoother than those damned MoveOn things.)

    Also at Liberal Oasis, why the GOP is pretending to be outraged at the MoveOn ad.

    MoveOn's statement in response to RNC attacks.

    John Dean: Why Did Attorney General Ashcroft Remove Himself From The Valerie Plame Wilson Leak Investigation?

    Josh Marshall provides the administration's explanation of the proposed immigration policy and says: Here's a question: how many people actually think the president expects to or even wants this 'policy' to pass?. Josh also says that George Harrison's family is pissed off at a self-aggrandizing doctor. And a look at the "almost comical" cynicism of Bush's 2005 budget.

    Is it true that Bush's occupation forces have tortured Iraqi POWs?

    Eisenhower's farewell speech (In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.)

    Helen Thomas on things that shouldn't have been said.

    Gary Hart considering Senate run against Ben Nighthorse Campbell.
    14:11 GMT

    Early morning surf

    Reporter Mistakenly Covers Issues of Presidential Campaign: NASHUA, NH - The calm of the presidential campaign today was disrupted by an unprecedented event. White House press secretary Scott McClellan called the event "disturbing", and promised it would "be looked into at the highest levels of government". At approxiamately 2:34pm (EST), reporter Mo Godwin of the Topeka News Tribune filed a story about the presidential campaign consisting only of perspectives on policy issues. "I don't know what I was thinking", said a visibly distraught Godwin, "I didn't say anything about the money race or tv airtime or Dean's irritability. I simply wrote about the economy, health care, Iraq, and -- Lord help me -- the environment".

    Driving through anti-Dean country

    Bad Attitudes tells Democrats to stop snivelling and stand up to the bully.

    Emma is back, and explains where she's been.

    In case you get hungry
    03:05 GMT

    As the frog boils

    Jimmy Breslin: I knew after these sirens would come rules. You can't go here, you can't go there. This location is frozen. And it took a while, much longer than I thought it would, but finally last night, here was Ms. Lisa Virtue being fingerprinted and now the whole thing was in front of you: the placing of this beautiful country into a cage.

    White House Seeks Secrecy on Detainee: WASHINGTON - In an extraordinary request, the Bush administration asked the Supreme Court on Monday to let it keep its arguments secret in a case involving an immigrant's challenge of his treatment after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

    Creepy Dean-hating comment round-up
    01:44 GMT

    Wednesday, 07 January 2004

    Nazi comparisons

    A thread running through both sides of the discourse is that the other side resembles Nazis in some way. It's bound to come up any time someone expresses support for heavy-handed tactics, I suppose, but from where I sit the conservatives have a much harder case to make, though that doesn't stop them.

    As we know, liberals are Nazis because Bill Clinton and Janet Reno staged a Nazi raid on Ruby Ridge (even though George H.W. Bush was president at the time). Women who want careers and think their partners ought to pick up after themselves are, of course, "feminazis". People who think you should be ashamed to call black folks "nigger" and burn crosses on their lawn are "against free speech", so they are Nazis. Atheists, agnostics, Jews, Muslims, Wiccans, Buddhists, and even Christians who don't want the right-wing version of Christianity shoved down their throats all the time on their tax dollars are Nazis for "suppressing religion". Anyone who disagrees with "neocons" is just using "neocons" as a "code word" for "Jews", so they are anti-semites and therefore Nazis. Etc.

    So they rail against the "Northeastern intellectuals" (which really is a code phrase for "Jews"), and promote a doctrine of Children, Kitchen, Church for women. They pass laws making it easier and easier to suppress dissent, and harass or even round up Americans of a certain religion and treat them as "enemy combatants" who are not entitled to basic due process. They launch unprovoked wars on smaller nations for no apparent reason other than to flex their muscles and annex their resources.

    And then they post things like this on right-wing websites. And they even compare leading Democratic candidates with brownshirts, and Al Gore to Hitler(!), in their newspaper columns.

    Meanwhile, some idiot uploaded an entry in the Bush in 30 Seconds contest. This ad was not approved, you understand, but somehow the usual suspects learned of it pretty quickly and next thing you know there is an uproar about the evil MoveOn and all their fellow travellers. The Anti-Defamation League is in full outcry, naturally.

    Now, here's the thing: All these comparisons of Nazis with liberals and Democrats have been in the air for quite some time without a grumble from these people, but the minute someone catches some low-profile apparent lefty doing it, it's good for a whole lot of tsouris from the ADL, and Ed Gillespie of the RNC going on the talk shows to complain about what nasty evil people are. And, interestingly, MoveOn were not even invited on to defend themselves.

    Personally, I think everyone should be writing to shows like Inside Politics and Hardball and complaining about the lack of balance, and while you're at it ask why Ed Gillespie isn't expected to take responsibility for things like that graphic I referred to above.

    On the bright side, Hesiod (from whom I got all of these links) managed to get enough people writing letters that, at last, the Anti-Defamation League did muster up a letter of complaint about the most recent example of right-wing columnists making the Nazi-to-Democrat comparison. That's something, I guess.
    17:03 GMT

    In the mail

    Julia wrote:

    Subject: yeah, that jesus. what a hardass

    remember when he told the thief on the next cross he was going to hell for commandment breaking?

    or, you know, something like that.

    Presumably that refers to one of my posts on the Republican version of Christianity.

    56K sent along a recommendation for a "terrific article about the dollar crisis at the Levy Institute" (PDF).

    Eric Grevsta of Drastic Verge sent apologies for the fact that all the links in his Geek boutique post are messed up, and advises that the Sound Bug, which he reviewed for his day job, has terrible sound quality. Andrew Plotkin also wrote with much the same evaluation. (Don't worry, guys, I wasn't going to buy it anyway, it just amused me as an idea. And frankly, I didn't honestly believe it could work as well as described.)
    14:39 GMT

    On the web

    Benedict finds another angry Republican.

    AP Kills Limbaugh Painkillers Story: Please kill the story Limbaugh-Painkillers, V9991. Rush Limbaugh has not been charged with doctor shopping. A kill is mandatory. Make certain the story is not used. (Via Factivism.)

    Best greeting card of the season

    Skippy has found a handy explanation of HMOs that demonstrates just why American commercial medicine is so vastly superior to Evil Socialized Medicine.

    Josh Marshall dissects the latest smear tactic by right-wingers, who claim that any criticism of the neocon agenda is anti-semitism.

    Jesse reviews movie reviews. (And, Ezra, everybody knows where that little ditty came from.)

    Red Ken back in Labour Party: Tony Blair admitted his prediction that Livingstone would be a "disaster" for London had been proved wrong.
    12:51 GMT

    Movie notes

    I think my favorite so far of the Bush in 30 Seconds ads I've seen is What are we teaching our children? We're now at the finalist stage so you might want to check 'em out.

    And we went and saw Return of the King in the afternoon. I assume the sounds system at the Genesis is responsible for the fact that I found a lot of the dialogue difficult to make out. Other than that, I thought it was a good flick, and Mr. Sideshow agrees. So there.
    01:06 GMT

    Tuesday, 06 January 2004

    Money money money

    Josh Marshall has what seems to me to be an important post about America's economic position. He quotes from an interview with Peter Drucker in Fortune:

    FORTUNE: You sound fairly sanguine about the state of the U.S. economy. Do you see any danger signs?

    DRUCKER: Oh, yes. The biggest problem I see is our total dependence on foreign money to cover our government debt. Never before has a major debtor country owed its debt in its own currency. It is unprecedented in economic history. Japan, by contrast, owes all its foreign debt in dollars. Now if you devalue the dollar, the Japanese economy benefits, because their imports become much cheaper. And the value of their debt goes down also. The individual Japanese companies that invest in dollars would lose, but the overall Japanese economy gains. But we have no experience about what will happen here when we owe so much debt in our own currency and we're forced to devalue the dollar. Sooner or later, we're going to find out.

    What's more, there is an enormous amount of surplus capital in the world for which there is no productive investment. The supply greatly exceeds the demand. So there is a very jittery body of excess money that is desperately in need of returns, and it could become panic-prone. We have no economic theory or model for this.

    Well, yeah, I would call that worrying. And consider this in the context of the neocon goal of (however ineptly) securing America's preeminence:
    FORTUNE: Does the U.S. still set the tone for the world economy?

    DRUCKER: The dominance of the U.S. is already over. What is emerging is a world economy of blocs represented by NAFTA, the European Union, ASEAN. There's no one center in this world economy. India is becoming a powerhouse very fast. The medical school in New Delhi is now perhaps the best in the world. And the technical graduates of the Institute of Technology in Bangalore are as good as any in the world. Also, India has 150 million people for whom English is their main language. So India is indeed becoming a knowledge center.

    I'm not exactly sure what this means - Josh seems to think it is good for America, but I just don't know. I can see a big potential downside in this, but I think I want more data and I'd like to see what folks like Max and Brad have to say about it.
    21:13 GMT

    More stuff

    Another annoying morning, this time on the phone. Turns out the insurance won't cover the laptop. (No, it wasn't my laptop. I don't have a laptop worthy of the name. That's why Dr. Plokta loaned me his laptop so I could look straight down at it after my eye surgery. I was hoping our coverage would at least provide a little something to reimburse him. If it had been our antique laptop, we were covered, but it isn't worth anything.) So thanks very much to Atrios and Jeralyn and you-know-who-you-are. (Other annoying phone stuff is too trivial and boring to mention, but suffice to say that I'm grumpy about it, though still right chuffed that people wanted to help out about the laptop thing.)

    A few bits from webcrawling:

    Nathan Newman: From global warming to medical studies, the Bush Administration has systematically set out to destroy scientific peer review of policy. Now the scientists are telling the administration they won't participate in their dog-and-pony shows any more. (Also, Nathan says Matt Yglesias has a terrible idea.)

    Kinks' Ray Davies shot while thwarting robbery attempt (Via Atrios.)

    Whatever happened to Bill Watterson? (Via Yawl.)
    13:22 GMT

    Some links

    The Bloviator has links to round-ups of the candidates' positions on health care.

    Liberal Oasis decided to forgo the Sunday Talk Shows in favor of taking a look at the latest Dem Debate.

    I don't care what anyone says, Pete Rose should be in the Hall of Fame.

    Free speech zones: Denise Lieberman of the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri commented, "No one could see them from the street. In addition, the media were not allowed to talk to them. The police would not allow any media inside the protest area and wouldn't allow any of the protesters out of the protest zone to talk to the media." Oh. My. God. Oh, by the way, you're now a terrorist. (Via Talk Left.)

    The Horse is back, and asking whether there are actually any Democrats who support Joe Lieberman. The press' Atrocity of the Year has already been chosen, but you can vote now for the Whore of the Year. (Or maybe I should say, "The Horse is back /and that's a fact. /Do Dems like Joe? /And who's the biggest ho?")
    03:05 GMT

    Monday, 05 January 2004


    I've just spent an extraordinary amount of time at the police station filing a really simple report. About an hour of that was standing in a queue. There were not many people in the queue, but they can only interview one person at a time, and they have to do it according to what appears to be a really clumsy and inflexible data entry design, so it all takes forever. The reason they can only interview one person at a time is that increases in the public's frustration and anger, due to cost-cutting measures, have made the job so much more dangerous that they don't dare allow more than one person near the counter at a time - they've built a wall around the area to separate themselves from the people who are queuing.

    And the hell of it is, there was absolutely no reason at all why I couldn't have given them this same information over the phone (where I wouldn't have had to spend two bloody hours standing). That's also a cost-cutting measure - instead of sending someone out to the scene of the crime, the way they used to do, they make people come to the station. (On the bright side, I'm sure the walk did me no harm, but if I was in slightly worse condition it would have been a bit much.) So this poor guy has to sit at this stupid terminal in this stuffy room talking to one person after another without even being able to stretch his legs, or get some fresh air and a change of scene, or an offer of a cup of tea.

    And why is that? Well, because lots and lots of money has to be diverted to the trendy new machinery that some idiots think can replace ordinary policing. But of course what's really happened is that the police have started acting like calling them to report an ordinary crime is oddball behavior, because they don't really seem to be set up for that sort of thing. And of course, a lot of people don't have the energy to pursue it, so they end up not filing a complaint. (One guy who was queuing was there so much longer than he expected that he had to leave to pick his kids up from school before he was seen.)

    And what does that mean? Why, it means crime is down because they are receiving fewer reports! Success!
    18:11 GMT

    Things that cheered me up

    A nice campaign slogan

    Tom Rush, still doin' it

    A cute idea I wouldn't mind trying, something that would come in handy, and something I just like.

    Tuli Kupferberg interviewed by Roy Harper

    Neat 1941 color photos of NY (Via pnh)
    04:35 GMT

    Grumpy news

    So I sit down to watch some television and notice that the laptop isn't in its accustomed place. "Where's the laptop?" I said to Mr. Sideshow, who replied, "I had a feeling something was wrong. Is that your glove?" and he points to a strange men's wool glove that's on the floor near my feet. Well, no, I've never seen it before. And the interesting thing is, the house has not been empty since the last time the laptop was used - any time one of us was out, the other was here. So someone slipped in here while we were home and swiped the laptop. They didn't touch any of the DVDs or CDs or any of that, but it's still pretty depressing.

    And then I get a note from my domain seller saying they want £80 for late renewal fee, although in fact I paid the required £14.98 to my host a month before it was due (and they sent two messages confirming payment). Well, no chance, mate.

    Other things that make me grumpy:

    2003 Media Follies! Annual survey of the year's most overhyped and underreported stories

    Democrats: Caucus poll reports risk inaccuracy

    Tom DeLay: A most successful blackmailer

    More blackmail to screw you out of overtime pay

    The insanity offense
    00:13 GMT

    Sunday, 04 January 2004

    Dean vs. nuts finds the fruitbats giving religious advice to Howard Dean:

    Jesus taught that unless you obey God's Old Testament laws to the letter, you don't have a fighting chance at getting into heaven. He taught that it all comes down to one question: do you rely on faith alone in God to save you, or are you counting on your own efforts?
    Well, I decided to do a quick check in the Bible, and in Luke 16:16, it says "The law and the prophets were until John [the Baptist]: since that time the kingdom of heaven is preached." It also says in Romans 6:14 that "Ye are not under the law, but under grace", and in Ephesians 2:15 it points out that Jesus "Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances". It seems like the New Testament is trying to point out that you no longer have to obey the laws of the Old Testament -- wasn't it called the New Covenant? Maybe your fact-checker can research that.
    Christianists believe in Leviticus more than they believe in the teachings of Jesus, but even when they quote the Gospels they get it wrong, preferring to believe that Jesus was campaigning against sex, against estate taxes, against peace, and against charity of any kind. They excoriate those who try to "pick and choose" which bits of the Bible they want to believe in, though in fact they pick and choose which parts of the Bible they want to believe in. Even John Ashcroft and Pat Robertson shave every morning, after all. So, for that matter, does Matt Grills, the author of this annoying piece of dung, who said:
    Is anyone else weary of this "Jesus was a revolutionary" line Dean and his ilk feed voters? Brace yourselves, people: Jesus wasn't at all like Gandhi, Confucius or even Martin Luther King Jr. He didn't have a "dream," and he didn't walk around talking about love and peace – at least not liberals' idea of love and peace.
    Truth? Jesus didn't have a lofty goal of uniting the people of the world together, hoping to plant the seeds of self-actualization that would guide humanity toward creating a utopia.
    Well, can't we just set aside both views and call him a great teacher? Wrong-o. Jesus' teachings aren't a salad buffet. You don't just pick what you want. You can't hold onto "do unto others as you have them do unto you" and ignore the fact that Jesus said he sits at the right hand of God and that he'll return someday. Believe it all or don't believe at all.
    Dean talks about Jesus as if he were one of the Democrats' lawyers at the 2000 election fiasco in Florida. "Christ was someone who sought out people who were disenfranchised, people who were left behind," he gushes.

    Let's clear this up: people sought Jesus more often than he sought them. And he didn't just run with the poor. What about Matthew the tax collector? He wasn't doing so bad before he decided to follow Jesus.

    Like Cal Thomas, Grill is disturbed by the fact that Dean's wife is Jewish, too. We can't help thinking that these constant reminders of the Jewishness of candidates' families are there for less than honorable reasons.
    13:44 GMT

    Things to read

    The Right Christians on two views of religious wars in America. (I left a comment.)

    The Mathematics of Risibility (at a site that should be called Press Enter.)

    US mission lands safely on Mars

    Sex Across the Color Line: Marcus Dixon, Emmett Till and the New/Old South

    Pete McCloskey (former Republican Congressman) says: Something dark and onerous has happened since the Republicans took over the House.

    Republicans lose interest in states' rights
    13:06 GMT

    Max v. Greenspan

    Max got to ask Alan Greenspan a question:

    When question period came up, I managed to get called on. I asked, "What is your estimate of the current level of the minimum sustainable unemployment rate, and what is its relevance to monetary policy?"

    AG shuffled up to the dias, paused for about three seconds, then said: "I've been trying to avoid that question for many years. Thank you." Then he sat down, provoking general merriment. I laughed too, but I was crying on the inside.

    And so it goes.

    Max on the results of mass arrests at demonstrations:

    Among other pluses, this sends a wonderful signal to American youth. Come to Washington to protest, get stoned, get laid, get arrested, and get $10,000.

    And don't miss Max's excellent take-down of Tacitus' silly anti-communist post. A good line found in the comments, by SW: "The problem with the right is that they want to use the fall of the Soviet Union as a rhetorical argument against the New Deal. When in reality the fall of the Soviet Union represents yet another triumph of the mixed economy model."
    12:31 GMT

    Saturday, 03 January 2004

    Some things

    I got distracted and forgot to post. Oh my!

    Bill Scher at Liberal Oasis has some advice for Democratic candidates about pounding the Plame scandal: And as Newt once vowed to say "Monica" over and over, Dems should be saying "criminal" over and over.

    Mike Finley defends liberals on a charge of being soft on communists, but falls too easily for the straw man argument.

    Oh, look, David Neiwert has added comments at Orcinus.

    Jake Rosenfeld: So was the right right? Sure, if one defines success in terms of shrinking the welfare rolls -- which is exactly how the debate has been framed. Like most issues of this sort, however, the actual picture is much more murky. (And Amy Sullivan has some advice for Tom Daschle.)
    23:59 GMT

    Fashion note

    We regret that we have not found a sufficiently attractive item to feature as the Bra of the Week during the holidays. Our research continues and we hope to alleviate this problem soon. In the meantime, Drastic Verge supplies some new items you can't live without at the Geek boutique. (And I meant to mention the Hallowe'en poem at the time, but, well, I forgot.)
    23:12 GMT

    Friday, 02 January 2004

    The Horse, of course

    It's the new year, and once again we are waiting for the end of the long hiatus at Media Whores Online. Meanwhile, if you're looking for media contact info, you know the place, right?
    19:09 GMT

    News and Views

    Dwight Meredith sorts myth from fact on malpractice insurance and tort reform: : For the year 2002, the total of all payments (in 2002 dollars) made pursuant to medical malpractice judgments was $228,726,987. Total malpractice payouts were $4.2bn, but we're talking settlements, there, not the outcome of trials.

    The Agonist: The United Nations has effectively handed over control of Iraqi funds it administered to the US-led occupation force.

    Josh Marshall: So let's stop the charade. They're guilty as sin. It's now crystal clear that from the very beginning the folks at the White House have known who did it. And pretty clearly the president didn't see anything wrong with it, or didn't care, because he didn't try to do anything about it.

    Paul Krugman: The party's rank and file want a candidate who is running, as the Dean slogan puts it, to take our country back. This is no time for a candidate who is running just because he thinks he deserves to be president.
    18:03 GMT

    Shifty George

    Jerome Doolittle comes up with a nickname:

    Over the holiday break, I came to a realization about the fundamentally shifty nature of W's fiscal and tax policies. The policies amount merely to a shell game: money is neither created nor destroyed, just shifted away from Americans who work, to people who don't need to work, like Shifty George.

    Shifty George calls his policies a tax cut, but as I've blogged before, the costs created to you and me far outweigh any cut. Instead of referring to the The Bush Tax Cut, we should say The Bush Tax Shift.

    He is shifting the tax burden from corporations to individuals.

    His so-called tax cuts also contribute to the ongoing state budget crises. In other words, he is shifting taxes from the federal to the state and local level.

    And unlike "Slick Willie", this nickname is based on reality.
    05:20 GMT

    Field of Vision

    This Modern World: Dean Can't Win

    Fiore Presents: Halliburton

    360 degree view of London taken from the top of St. Paul's Cathedral (Via Epicycle. And if you think he's overstating the case about the Underground privatization, you're wrong. My spies in the system tell their friends to take the bus.)
    04:21 GMT

    Words of wisdom

    From Interesting Times:

    It comes down to this

    Dean supporters think their candidate is the best capable of short-circuiting the Republican plan to stereotype the Democratic nominee.

    Clark supporters think their candidate is the best capable of short-circuiting the Republican plan to stereotype the Democratic nominee.

    The good thing in this is that both camps understand that the basic plan of the Republicans is to run against a stereotype, not against whoever actually gets nominated.

    As long as the supporters of either candidate don't presume that there is anything about their guy that automatically immunizes them from such attacks then I think either one of them can win.

    That's important to remember. Not being good on security, not a terrific track record, not being from the south - nothing can protect them from the GOP lie machine. There can never be candidates so perfect that the Republicans won't make stuff up about them.
    03:37 GMT

    Dean's John Gummer moment

    OK, I know that's a British reference, but we've already been through the Mad Cow thing over here. It's really a story about Dean talking about religion, but there are a few other campaign tidbits:

    On a day that took Dean to campaign stops across eastern Iowa, Dean used a lunchtime break to offer his thoughts about mad cow disease. At Morg's diner in Waterloo, Dean took a big bite of a hamburger, and mugging for television cameras, declared, "I think the nation's beef supply is very safe."
    Via Lambert at Corrente.
    00:27 GMT

    Rehnquist good for something (but not enough)

    From Talk Left:

    Chief Justice William Rehnquist ripped the PROTECT Act in a year end report and said the Act comes too close to intimidation for federal judges involved in sentencing decisions.
    And Jeralyn also links to a chilling post from Arthur Silber, FROM THE HORSE'S MOUTH: THE PATH TO DICTATORSHIP, which says:
    We have now been informed as to Bush's "reasoning" with regard to cases such as the Padilla one -- by none other than Bradford A. Berenson, "a Washington lawyer, who was associate White House counsel to President Bush."
    What it seems to amount to is that George W. Bush just needs to be able to declare people guilty without a trial, and from that follows everything else. Arthur's language really isn't extreme, you know.
    00:01 GMT

    Thursday, 01 January 2004

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    Happy New Year!

    Lots of politics

    Atrios says Democratic contender can win the general election without a single southern state:

    I too am tired of this obsession with Democrats and the South. It's a constant media theme, and at least when it comes to presidential politics (not the only thing I realize) it's really just irrelevant. A Democrat can *easily* win without winning a single Southern state.

    It took me 5 seconds with an electoral vote calculator to come up with a winning group of states. Roughly from Left to Right - HI, WA, OR, CA, NV, NM, MN, WI, IL, MI, OH, WV, PA, NJ, DE, NY, CT, RI, MA, VT, NH, ME.

    Are all those states a lock? Of course not. But, going by 2000 results they're all either a lock or within clear reach. Additional possible winners include - AZ, IA. That's all without the South (WV doesn't count).

    He also suggests that (optimistically) we even have a chance at a few southern states - and that's without even mentioning MD, I see, a state that is technically below the Mason-Dixon line although it tends to vote Democratic (I think I was in highschool the last time we had a Republican Senator). And then there's Florida, the state that, despite illegally removing over 50,000 legitimate (and likely Democratic) voters from the rolls, still went for Gore in 2000. Of course, we all know that how people vote in Florida doesn't seem to have all that much to do with who gets the state's electoral votes, but that just means it's urgent that we do what we can to make sure we can win without them - and that we also do what we can to try to stymie the continuing attempts by the governor of Florida to disenfranchise Democrats.

    Atrios also discusses what the falling dollar means as well as the fact that as the US becomes less reliable, the possibility of a mass world exodus to the euro becomes increasingly likely. The potential devastation of the US economy is painful to contemplate. Over the last few decades we've gotten away with a lot because the world in general wanted us to succeed and figured they could trust us economically, at least. Thanks to Former Governor Bush, all bets are now off: our word is now worthless, our economic credibility is dust, and we are no longer any sort of beacon of liberty, so why should they play nice with someone who is continually smacking them in the face? You can push people too far.

    But for the big topic of the day, we are back to hate, anger, and insanity. At Pandagon, Jesse has read an article in The Washington Post and is serving up some Haterade:

    The number of people who "hate" Bush is about 3%. The number of people who currently "hate" Sen. Hillary Clinton is 5% - nearly double. Therefore, Bush hatred is emblematic of a serious problem on the left, and they've been driven crazy by his success, while Clinton-hatred is just whatever.

    In addition, Bush-hatred is constituted by such offenses as "stuff that I've heard", "criticisms of his policy from people who don't agree with it", and "agreeing with the 3% of Americans who say they 'hate' Bush on any, some, or most issues, even if the tenor's not the same".

    The ongoing rhetoric about Bush-hatred is dismantled by anyone who cares to observe for more than the fifteen minutes it obviously took to write this piece of cognitively dissonant trash. It's supported mainly by a sum total of two articles from Salon and TNR over the past three years, and some random Internet posting.

    It's a sad-ass little trick, and it plays the Krauthammer game, which is debate your opponents by first making sure everyone in the room knows they're crazy. I'm pretty sure that during at least one of the debates, Republican staffers will "jokingly" hand out Prozac to Democrats in the audience. Classy and germane, don'tcha know?

    The majority of this comes from a driving effort to prove that the 90s weren't an aberration, that it wasn't just them. If you can retroactively justify the disgusting abuses of power and the wholehearted abdication of responsibility by the media, the GOP and their supporters by claiming that the victims (the Democrats) have become the victimizers, it basically allows you to rewrite the history of political attacks starting from whenever it's convenient.

    And while Robert Samuelson does admit that Bush-hating probably still isn't as virulent as Clinton-hating, he does say some mighty odd things:
    A small army of pundits and talking heads has now devoted itself to one story: the sins of Bush, Cheney and their supporters. They ruined the economy with massive tax cuts and budget deficits; the Iraq war was an excuse for corporate profiteering; their arrogance alienated foreign allies.

    All ambiguity vanishes. For example: The economy is recovering, stimulated in part by huge budget deficits; and many traditional allies of the United States like having Bush as a political foil to excuse them from costly and unpopular commitments.

    Newsflash: When Americans worry about "the economy", they mean jobs, not stock dividends. So, no, it isn't getting better. And the reason all those other nations appear to find us untrustworthy these days is because they know we have become untrustworthy. Lying to them and spitting in their faces is bound to generate that kind of thing. And get this:
    In the end, Bush hating says more about the haters than the hated -- and here, too, the parallels with Clinton are strong. This hatred embodies much fear and insecurity. The anti-Clinton fanatics hated him not simply because he occasionally lied, committed adultery or exhibited an air of intellectual superiority. What really infuriated them was that he kept succeeding -- he won reelection, his approval ratings stayed high -- and that diminished their standing. If Clinton was approved, they must be disapproved.

    Ditto for Bush.

    No, the anti-Clintons hated him before he was elected. The Arkansas segregationists hated him and spread their hatred outward. They hated him for the fact that his wife didn't change her name when she married him, too. They hated him for wearing blue jeans, for playing the sax, and for admitting that he didn't support the Vietnam war. They loathed the fact that he was a Rhodes Scholar and had gone to Oxford. Most of all, they hate people who can beat them in a fair argument (that's why they love Rush Limbaugh).

    There was nothing Clinton ever could have done that would have prevented them from hating him. The fact that he won the White House that they think they own was just the final straw for them. That's why they started trying to find some ruse to impeach him long before they'd ever heard of Monica Lewinsky and tricked him into telling his one and only lie.

    Bush is something else. It's bad enough that he wasn't qualified for the job in the first place, but frankly I think most ordinary people would have risen to the occasion better than Bush has. That he permitted Al Qaeda to blow a hole in the New York skyline is by itself unforgivable. We're not just talking about jizz stains, here. He is responsible for the deaths of thousands of people, and he should be held accountable.

    Look, I'm not asking for revenge - not that I'd cry if Bush and his criminal cadre ended up in jail where they belong, which would only be justice - but I sure as hell want him out of the White House.

    But P.M Carpenter says liberals have a right to be angry:

    Akin to politically motivated charges of rising liberal incivility is the seductive, if not surprising, topic of very real liberal anger: seductive, because pondering its origins is fun; surprising, because anger seems so out of character with liberals' rather spineless image they themselves allowed to prevail. When liberals got fingered by militant detractors for unraveling America's moral fiber (a neat trick the liberals pulled off with satanic glee, of course), they abruptly laid low and even cowered to the point of denying their identity.
    Well, I suppose some did, but what I suspect is that most liberals just never thought the threat was real until it was too late.
    Some say liberals are ticked because the rest of the country hasn't yet conceded that George W. is a duplicitous bumbler with emperor envy. Some say it's only because liberalism has suffered a long decline. Others say a stolen election, a seedy impeachment, an illegal war and the pack-mentality media account for liberal wrath.

    All these are true. But there's a more seminal cause of liberal anger. In view of it, the only surprise is that the anger took so long to erupt.

    The post-Watergate movement of the "New Right" – a well-orchestrated confederation of political action committees, think tanks, neoconservatives, religious rightists, social-conservatives and libertarians – introduced into American politics a fresh supply of advanced disingenuousness. In a 1980 Washington Post interview, one of its founding strategists, John Terry Dolan of the National Conservative Political Action Committee, described its tactical approach as "the cutting edge of politics."

    New Right activists fueled by massive infusions of cash, Dolan injudiciously bragged in a self-satisfied and rare moment of truthfulness, "are potentially very dangerous to the political process." We "could be a menace," he boasted. We "could amass this great amount of money and defeat the point of accountability in politics. We could say whatever we want…. A group like ours could lie through its teeth."

    And that's just what Dolan's group, "Nickpack" – along with dozens of likeminded groups – did. To discredit what it liked to call the failed Liberal Establishment, the New Right bullied opponents with outrageously false attack ads, painted differing opinions as disloyalty and contaminated America's political consciousness with an unprecedented barrage of innuendo, half-truths and whole untruths about liberal motives, the "liberal media" and the liberal agenda in general.

    Paul Weyrich, a right-wing PAC-man contemporary of John Terry Dolan, effused in 1980 that the fight against liberalism was "the most significant battle of the age-old conflict between good and evil … that we have seen in our country." That zealous excess inspired the right to bar no holds. Any expediency drafted in the cause against godless liberalism was legitimate. The end, quite simply, justified the means.

    Success soon followed. The new conservatism flourished like no political movement ever flourished before – leading to the Reagan and Gingrich revolutions and the revolution now in progress – because the New Right "could," and did, "lie through its teeth."

    And, in the immortal words of Procol Harum: Still there will be more.

    Of course, some people look at all that gleeful smugness and get downright scared. Can't blame 'em, really.
    22:25 GMT

    Why we fight

    Media Free America really needs to do something about their page layout (how about some margins, some permanent links to articles, and like that there?), but offers a useful advisory for the coming year:

    America has always thought of itself as a nation of laws and not men, but that comforting assumption is under challenge from President George W. Bush. The optimistic outlook for 2004 is that we'll see more of the series of recent reversals where Bush has been forced to back off of several of his key initiatives in both foreign and domestic arenas because they violated the US Constitution, federal law, or international agreements. We will wake the population up to the fact that Dubya, Condi, Rumy and Cheney all knew that a 9/11 was about to happen. Let's make sure this year that those who lied to get us into an illegal war are exposed and made to pay.

    Let's work to take back our country and replace this administration with people who represent the best of America. Let's have a great 2004!

    So, who do they support? I do like this slogan:

    14:51 GMT

    About that Daschle thing....

    Monkey Media Report is much less forgiving than I might be - and with good reason, it appears:

    Someone obviously thinks Tom's strategy is smart, but from here it looks perfectly designed to do absolutely nothing while protecting Daschle's campaign donations so he can get reelected in the oh-so-representative state of South Dakota. Buzzflash nails it:
    Tom Daschle acts like a "Trojan Horse" Democrat -- whatever his real intentions -- who is helping out Bush more than he is positioning his party to lead a rebirth of democracy, prosperity and national community in 2004.
    Amen. But what's with the "real intentions" bit? Why the hell is Buzzflash bothering to suggest that the Senate's minority leader has "real intentions" that don't involve selling out the left-leaning ideals of the Democratic Party? Good lord, how much more evidence do they need that Daschle's main interest in politics is protecting his own ass? Oh, I'm sorry; there is one other interest that does seem more important to ol' Tom: protecting his wife Linda's income as a lobbyist for Baker Donelson, a company that boasts of being called "one of the top 10 most powerful firms in Washington." It's headed by ex-Reagan chief of staff Howard Baker, by the way.

    Let's take a moment to refresh ourselves about the spouse of the person who's supposed to be the most powerful Democrat in the country. This Jan/Feb 2002 Washington Monthly story, "Tom Daschle's Hillary Problem, describes in detail Linda Daschle's pre-9/11 work to lower airport security standards as well as her post-9/11 work on the disgusting airline industry bailout.

    And it gets even worse, go read the rest.
    01:45 GMT

    Avedon Carol at The Sideshow, January 2004

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    Is the media in denial?
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    And, no, it's not named after the book or the movie. It's just another sideshow.