The Sideshow

Archive for July 2004

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Saturday, 31 July 2004

Recommended reading

You should read this: Triumph of the Trivial is an excellent post by Paul Krugman (no surprises there) which addresses the fact that the news media has failed to provide substantive coverage of important issues. Factacular is an important and also excellent post by Atrios responding to charges by the executive producer of CBS Evening News with Dan Rather that Krugman was inaccurate and unfair. Atrios shows that this response, far from refuting it, really proves Krugman's point.

My God's ex-Boyfriend on how Al Gore really invented the Internet (even though he didn't claim to). (Sorry, I couldn't resist, even though I have no idea who this person is and it's extremely unlikely to be any of my ex-boyrfriends. Yes, I know it's a lame joke.) Via Deborama.

For some light relief, it's time for you now to read Fafblog's convention coverage. Start here and scroll up to each successive post.
17:14 BST

I once was lost, but now I'm found

Bitter laughter at the announcement that the Florida 2002 voting records have disappeared in a computer crash. And then a funny thing happened:

Fla. Elections Officials Find 2002 Data

When the loss was initially reported earlier this week, state officials had stressed that no votes were lost in the actual election. The record of the votes had been believed lost during the crashes in April and November of 2003, and county officials had said they did not have a backup system in place until December.

The lost records marked the latest in a series of embarrassing episodes involving Florida voting since the turmoil of the 2000 presidential race.

Despite the discovery of the disc, local activists expressed skepticism.

"There are now more questions than before," said Lida Rodriguez-Taseff, chairwoman of the Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition. "I certainly want the disc, I certainly wish someone would test the original disc they are now claiming they found and determine when that disc was made, where it came from, whether it's been tampered with and if anyone's opened it."

A team from the state Division of Elections was sent to Miami earlier this week to work with local officials to see what happened and whether the information was retrievable. Kaplan said officials from the machine vendor, Election Systems & Software Inc., were also in the office, though he said it was Miami-Dade officials who found the disc.

This just happens too damned often. And how about this:
Fla. GOP Advises Some to Vote Absentee

Republican Gov. Jeb Bush has tried for months to persuade Florida voters touchscreen voting machines are reliable. His own party apparently hasn't gotten the message.

The state GOP paid for a flier critical of the new technology and sent it to some south Florida voters where a primary election is scheduled next month.

"The new electronic voting machines do not have a paper ballot to verify your vote in case of a recount," the message states. "Make sure your vote counts. Order your absentee ballot today."

That's what Democrats and a coalition of civil rights groups have been saying in legal challenges, trying to force the state to provide a paper trail in case the touchscreen machines malfunction.

"It is insulting that the leadership's own party would believe that the system is broke," said Sharon Lettman Pacheco, spokeswoman for People for the American Way.

A lot of honest people on the right just do not get why the rest of us absolutely do not trust the current Republican leadership. But look at this stuff! And this is on the heels of Jeb Bush's new law forbidding paper trails. Now, what's that about?

Well, come on, folks, what does it look like it's about? When is it gonna be too much for you?

A few of them have figured out that cheating is a Bad Thing, but they assume it's only Democrats who do it. That's why they write books like If It's Not Close, They Can't Cheat; Crushing the Democrats in Every Election and Why Your Life Depends On It. They're never going to ask themselves why it was the Bush team, and not the Gore team, that refused a full state-wide recount in Florida. And they clearly still believe that it was only the Gore team that disputed late or otherwise improper military (absentee) ballots. (Hint: The Gore team did not want to accept those ballots in Republican-leaning districts because they had already accepted Republican disallowal of such ballots in Democratic-leaning districts.) To this day, you still hear the lie that the Gore team demanded one recount after another even though this lie was launched before any recounts had been completed.

So what does it take? I wish I knew.
02:24 BST

More free music

I really should read my mail more often, 'cause this would have fit neatly into my previous post:

Cory Panshin suggested I have a look at your blog and contact you. Alexei Panshin and I have written a number of political and social songs together that I think might interest you and your readers. They have been recorded by my band Radio Free Earth, and mp3s and lyrics have been posted on our web site under the banner "Bad King George and Other Songs for Our Times". Let me know what you think: the link is [link]
I've only listened to one so far (and found it instrumentally proficient), but considering the provenance I figured a lot of you might be interested. Free .mp3s, lyrics provided.

[Update: Yes, you would think I'd have been awake enough to mention that the letter was from Josh Wachtel, wouldn't you?]
00:18 BST

Drugs and music

I don't know what sort of drug you have to take to cause this, but they ain't Smart Drugs.

Many people inaccurately try to compare Ann Coulter with Michael Moore. This is wrong for a number of reasons, but this post at Best of the Blogs finds a closer (though still not right) comparison for the raving drunken barfly: Hunter S. Thompson. The difference being that Thompson had some idea what he was talking about to start with, and also, as the post says, HST is funny. Well, I suppose it's also worth mentioning that you eventually come down off of LSD. (And here - yes, I got one of those invitations from the WashPost, too, and I ignored it.)

Reefer Madness. Another reminder of Arthur Hlavaty's line about how drugs cause insanity in people who don't take them.

Keep the kids doped up and avoid pesky thoughts and feelings.

Katie Melua is too breathy and little-girlish on a lot of these tracks (some nice instrumental work backing it up, though), but you can listen to her latest album, Call off the Search, here. Some of it's actually pretty good, although most of it isn't really the sort of thing I lust to own a copy of. Via Ones and Zeros.
01:00 BST

Friday, 30 July 2004

Bring 'em home

I keep watching BBC2's coverage of the campaign and Kirsty Wark is driving me crazy. I think Gavin Esler is the other one who's making me nuts. I listen to their questions and they are all about exactly the same talking points the mainstream American media is leaning on. They've been over there too long and I sure hope they get someone who is uncorrupted over there for the RNC shindig.

[Disclosure: Kirsty once flew me up to Scotland to do a show on women's sexuality.]
23:11 BST

Media notes

Atrios notes that although Sandy Berger was completely exonerated, the media regards him as last weeks headline, apparently.

The Buzzflash convention blog has posted a whole bunch of reader responses about media coverage of the convention. They have lots of examples of the media spinning for the RNC.

Hey, We Beat Somebody in Afghanistan!

Rittenhouse Review with some media miscellany.
20:34 BST

What the country looks like

Cartographic variations on presidential election maps. The examples are from 2000 but maps based on electoral votes and on population density give you a whole different picture from the one you get in traditional vote maps.

Meanwhile, the Electoral Vote Predictor was updated last night with later poll data and Kerry is down, but these polls don't incorporate the post-convention bounce. It's also worth noting that party identification is returning to pre-9/11 status: America leans Democratic.

And the overnights so far are good: Kerry is definitely already showing a bounce, and even Luntz (who is famous for skewing his focus groups to the right) says some undecideds who were leaning toward Bush are now leaning toward Kerry.

As to the party itself, MyDD argues that Russ Feingold was right about how the campaign finance law would disadvantage Democrats in the race for corporate dollars and force the party to go back to their base. Thank you, Joe Trippi; thank you, Howard Dean.
18:58 BST

Government spam: This is the real one: Copies of the booklet will be sent to all households in the UK throughout August. This is the parody, which, unfortunately, is a lot more sensible: In an effort to worry the public and convince them to vote for us again next year, and because George Bush asked us to, this website includes the common sense advice found in the Preparing for Emergencies booklet, and information on what the government is doing to protect the country as a whole. (Hint: we're praying really, really hard.) National editions of the booklet will be available here when we can be arsed to get translators to put them into your crazy moon languages..

And right after I wrote that, I checked my referrers and found a British site called Irritant which, interestingly, has the same item. But I want to refer you to this analysis of the Labour government that is painfully close to the bone.

Someone else I found in the referrers, also apparently posting from the UK, is Heraldblog. There I found this evaluation of Kerry's speech, but the author is apparently unaware that in fact a lot of people switched to C-SPAN because they really did want to hear what Kerry had to say. (And, as speeches go, there's not really much difference between "45 minutes" and "nearly an hour"; if it's a bad speech, 10 minutes is too much, and if it's a good speech, an hour can fly right by. The consensus I'm getting so far is that Kerry certainly made at least a triple - although I just heard Edwards saying it was out of the park - and he had plenty of applause lines. I didn't get bored.)
17:26 BST

Spin it

I found about five things wrong with Spinsanity's post called Moore's mendacity confirmed, starting with the title. (In the first sentence of the piece, Nyhan says Moore misconstrues the 9/11 report; it's a pretty big leap to "mendacity" from there.) Check it out and see how many you find. Meanwhile, Ben Fritz provides the obligatory attempt at balance by pretending that Paul Krugman was seriously ascribing to George Bush the qualities of his Arabian Candidate. Perhaps Fritz believes this, but if I were saying it, I'd say, "A really stupid, naive, and uninformed reader might actually think so."

There's nothing wrong with the economy, we tell you! WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A campaign worker for President Bush (news - web sites) said on Thursday American workers unhappy with low-quality jobs should find new ones -- or pop a Prozac to make themselves feel better.

Over at Eschaton, Holden reports on How the Post Spins Massive Corruption. Meanwhile, Atrios does his final convention post, in which he compares the media spin with the reality, and also compares the written speech that was handed out with the one Kerry actually gave.
15:57 BST

The 66%


I think Josh Marshall gets it just about right here. The truth about "anti-Bush rage" is, as he says, that it was an anger born from powerlessness. It was anger at Bush, sure, but more than that it was anger at the lack of representation in the political discourse - from politicians or from members of the media - for a large chunk of the population who never particularly felt themselves to be "radicals" or "on the fringe" or, hell, even "angry."
I think this is true. During the '90s, something like two-thirds of the population disagreed with Congress and the media that Clinton deserved to be impeached or even further persecuted for his personal indiscretions. It didn't stop them, though.

Then there were all those people who wanted and expected a new healthcare program and didn't get it - with no help from the media, who made it all sound much too complicated. And then there were the two-thirds of the population in 2000 who wanted - and expected - the ballots in Florida to be counted, while the media, against all reason, took up the call for speed rather than accuracy. And then there were the two-thirds of the population who wanted to let the weapons inspectors complete their work in Iraq before the invasion - and yet, somehow, the media kept cheerleading the call to war.

This week the networks have been claiming they're skipping convention coverage because the public isn't sufficiently interested in it to draw good enough ratings for them. That, of course, is a lie; in fact, C-Span's ratings this week have been through the roof because people do want to see it and aren't prepared to just wait for the network shills to tell them Al Sharpton's speech was bad or that he attacked Bush (he didn't) - they want to see for themselves and make up their own minds. The real reason the networks aren't showing it is because they don't want you to know what Democrats really look like and what we have to say. But you knew that, right?
00:47 BST

Thursday, 29 July 2004

Trial Lawyers

We all know that when the RNC slams "trial lawyers" they really mean "lawyers who try to hold big corporations accountable." Just think how nice it would be for them if insurance companies never had to make payouts for all that malpractice insurance they keep collecting - and keep collecting at steepening rates despite the fact that many states have already capped jury awards for malpractice.

"Trail lawyers" are bad when they fight for ordinary people who have been the victims of corporate fraud or actual malpractice, but they're not so bad when they defend the corporate bandits, in which case the RNC thinks they can get away with pretending they are something else.

The Center for American Progress says this attack on Edwards ain't flyin', even with a lot of Republicans. Maybe that's because of things like this:

The dirty little secret of the White House's trial lawyer attacks is that a cadre of key Republican Senators started their careers as trial lawyers. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is a former trial lawyer. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) was a trial lawyer "in a state where juries have awarded numerous multimillion-dollar verdicts in plaintiffs' cases." And Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) said, "I have a number of trial lawyers that support me personally - they are friends of mine...I don't look at ATLA or trial lawyers as an enemy by any means."
Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is also a former trial lawyer and has publicly called for a cessation of the administration's slurs on the profession, and down in Florida:
The Gainsville, Florida Sun reports that the White House is trying to take its trial lawyer attacks to Florida, but may find some stiff resistance. While Gov. Jeb Bush has been outspoken in his criticism of the profession, promising ''to whack'' the trial lawyers, "even some Republicans say making trial lawyers the 'boogeymen' of this year's election may prove difficult." The leading GOP contender is former Bush Cabinet Secretary Mel Martinez, a successful trial lawyer who was president of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers. Similarly, the president of the state trial lawyers' association is a lifelong Republican, whose father once ran for governor.
Ordinary folk don't seem to be falling for this attack on Edwards, either, especially since the more Cheney & Friends push it, the more room is left for people to talk about Edwards' history as a defender of folks like them who have been egregiously harmed by corporate negligence. Most people don't look at those cases and wonder about the sins of the personal injury lawyer, they wonder why these corporations have to be privately sued when in truth their officers should do jail time for endangering the public.
13:57 BST

Paul Foot

Oh, damn.

I didn't even know he was gone until I saw it at Ken McLeod's page. From the Observer:

The epistles of Saint Paul

At first glance he appeared to be the respectable son of Sir Hugh Foot of Trematon Castle, Cornwall. But his patience told against him. From the early 1960s he was the journalist who would give the victims of injustice a hearing when no one else would listen. MPs, councillors, shop stewards, lawyers, ombudsmen, watchdogs and reporters may have decided that you were mad. Or dismissed you as an obsessive. Or - and this is the most common reason justified grievances aren't taken up - decided it would be too much time and trouble to champion your cause.

Foot was a shining exception, the best hope for thousands who had nowhere else to turn, their court of last appeal.

Paul Foot was a real journalist. We can't afford to lose them.
05:17 BST

Early morning stuff

Text of John Edwards' Speech. And, of course, you can see it here, along with the other big speeches of the evening. (RNC spin on Edwards: He sounded like a fast-talking lawyer.)

The most offensive smear campaign in the election cycle so far: "On the other hand, I did see a "Kerry and Bin Laden, Sitting In A Tree" bumper sticker on somebody's pickup the other day. I'm just so conflicted!"

I've just found another interesting weblog I didn't know about before. It's got a bit of the transcript from the Michael Moore/Bill O'Reilly exchange. And I hadn't realized Aljazeera wasn't allowed to show their logo at the convention.

Dating for people who have no interests

Mike is looking forward to reading a book.
04:29 BST

Wednesday, 28 July 2004

More stuff to check out

Atrios is sounding more like himself today. Check out his post about Scaife-funded smearing. Also Holden's post about Security by Clouseau, which made me laugh out loud.

We wait for John Dean's response: Fred LaRue, a high-ranking Nixon administration official who served a prison term for his role in Watergate and was among those rumored to be Deep Throat, has died. He was 75.

Here's the Zogby poll. I note with interest that Kerry appears to have regained his lead in Florida according to this one, but the Electoral Vote Predictor is showing Bush ahead there. Hm. has a post on what's good at the convention for women.

Michael says: Iraq was the priority from the very start, as is made clear by the 1998 PNAC letter to President Clinton calling for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein; for PNAC, Afghanistan was and is a sideshow.

Someone passed me this link for what appears to be the Hitchhiker trailer, but I can't seem to get it to connect.
22:55 BST

Afternoon webcrawl

And it actually works!
A Lego guitar, via Epicycle

When mommy or daddy comes out of the closet

Nathan Newman has good news from New York, on local activism and the minimum wage.

Donkey Rising ponders some curious recent poll results.

I keep forgetting to mention the DNC's convention blog aggregator.

Interview from earlier this year in The New Yorker with Barack Obama.

A crash course in misleadership

How not to wear a chador
17:24 BST

Vote fraud

And the fraudsters are, of course, Jeb Bush and his buddies. Paul Krugman:

It's election night, and early returns suggest trouble for the incumbent. Then, mysteriously, the vote count stops and observers from the challenger's campaign see employees of a voting-machine company, one wearing a badge that identifies him as a county official, typing instructions at computers with access to the vote-tabulating software.

When the count resumes, the incumbent pulls ahead. The challenger demands an investigation. But there are no ballots to recount, and election officials allied with the incumbent refuse to release data that could shed light on whether there was tampering with the electronic records.

This isn't a paranoid fantasy. It's a true account of a recent election in Riverside County, Calif., reported by Andrew Gumbel of the British newspaper The Independent. Mr. Gumbel's full-length report, printed in Los Angeles City Beat, makes hair-raising reading not just because it reinforces concerns about touch-screen voting, but also because it shows how easily officials can stonewall after a suspect election.

We already know about the little jimmy they tried this time:
This year, Florida again hired a private company - Accenture, which recently got a homeland security contract worth up to $10 billion - to prepare a felon list. Remembering 2000, journalists sought copies. State officials stonewalled, but a judge eventually ordered the list released.

The Miami Herald quickly discovered that 2,100 citizens who had been granted clemency, restoring their voting rights, were nonetheless on the banned-voter list. Then The Sarasota Herald-Tribune discovered that only 61 of more than 47,000 supposed felons were Hispanic. So the list would have wrongly disenfranchised many legitimate African-American voters, while wrongly enfranchising many Hispanic felons. It escaped nobody's attention that in Florida, Hispanic voters tend to support Republicans.

After first denying any systematic problem, state officials declared it an innocent mistake. They told Accenture to match a list of registered voters to a list of felons, flagging anyone whose name, date of birth and race was the same on both lists. They didn't realize, they said, that this would automatically miss felons who identified themselves as Hispanic because that category exists on voter rolls but not in state criminal records.

But employees of a company that prepared earlier felon lists say that they repeatedly warned state election officials about that very problem.

That "repeatedly warned" thing turns up time and again in all of these stories, including the pre-2000 warnings about problems. Over and over. They know they are doing it. They were told.The Kerry campaign says it is working to ensure an honest election, but how? And how can anyone believe the election results if Bush wins? There's just no longer any reason to trust such an outcome, because it's just too clear that too many people have used too many means to fix the election for Bush again. There is only one thing that will give the world any reason to trust the election (and therefore believe in our ability to hold our leaders accountable):

A Kerry landslide.
16:13 BST

What I've seen

Bill Scher did a pre-convention historical round-up before he started his embedded reporting from the con. Since then he's posted a number of items on events at the convention. And early this morning, also known as late last night, he posted his interview with Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and a bunch of pictures and other stuff. He agrees that it was shameful that the networks didn't bother to cover Obama's keynote address. No kidding. I saw a quote somewhere last night in which conservative commentator David Brooks said, "They missed history."

Bill reminds me that Natasha is also conblogging, and she actually took the opportunity to interview reporters about why they were spending so much energy covering the bloggers. She also seems to have some of the better coverage of the blogger breakfast that others have referred to.

And over at Burnt Orange Report, Byron has interviewed some Kucinich delegates.

The American Prospect has a separate page for blogging the convention and the media coverage of the convention. Jeffrey Dubner: FOX NEWS, HANNITY AND COLMES, 9:34 P.M.: And Alan Colmes has officially called tonight's keynote speaker "Barack Osama." Something tells me it won't be recorded in the transcript, but it sure was there. Pure Freudian slip, but still...

And for something completely different: This cursor toy may not be work-safe.
13:54 BST

For kids with funny names everywhere

You can read Barack Obama's prepared remarks here (link via Atrios), but to truly appreciate it I highly recommend you go to C-Span's pages and find the archived clip so you can see how he delivered it. He's really got that charisma thing. Wow.

[Update: The speech is posted now.]
03:44 BST

Tuesday, 27 July 2004

Stuff I saw

I really enjoyed Why I Hate Saturn, and you already know how I feel about Boondocks, so I widened my eyes upon reading this at Uppity Negro: In other news, Birth of a Nation, by Aaron McGruder, Reginald Hudlin and Kyle Baker, will be available for purchase, right off the presses, at the NBM booth at Comic-Con International: San Diego.

Steve Soto managed to get a good post up on The Left Coaster for day one of the convention. Meanwhile, Mary reads Krugman on worries about the legitimacy of our elections, and soccerdad finds this worrying story: In brief, Pfizer one of the biggest drug companies in the world came up with the idea of using churches to promote the use of the Medicare prescription drug discount cards. The churches are trying to help out their members understand the confusing nature of the program. There may be reason for concern with this particular program.

Skippy has been writing letters again, and got mentioned on CNN as a result. Skippy is very proud.

"Doris Day With an Edge" - Julian Sanchez has a find: A poster in my neighborhood for Nellie McKay's debut album was trumpeting a reviewer's claim that she was "rooted in the taut, witty tradition linking Cole Porter, Elvis Costello and Eminem." There's a taut, witty tradition (I puzzled) linking Cole Porter, Elvis Costello, and Eminem? I was so intrigued I decided I had to hear it... and that's just about right. Probably the most interesting, original sound I've heard this year; check her out.

Look, he was AWOL, dammit!

I'm watching BBC2 and just saw Robert Reich saying exactly the same things I heard him say on Air America earlier, and now they're about to interview Al Franken. It's kind of surreal.
23:15 BST

Things to read

Eric Boehlert does duty watching the television coverage. No surprises, really, it's called Networks down: TV coverage of Boston, day one, slanted skeptically against the Democrats -- except for Fox, which couldn't bear to show most of the event. He's got a timeline showing the news programs repeating one RNC talking point after another.

Tom Tomorrow is more experienced at these things than most of the on-site bloggers, and has actually managed to get some words down: You can see down into the Fox skybox from where we are, and here's a fun bit of trivia for you: Bill O'Reilly does not stand up during the national anthem. He's another guy who ran into Michael Moore. And Bob Harris continues posting on the TT blog, and aside from reporting that at least one network is covering the convention (Aljazeera), he recommends this post at A Tiny Revolution.

Why does the Democratic platform no longer contain an endorsement of the death penalty? John Kerry.

Arthur Silber probably has the best post I've seen on the latest Abu Ghraib report. More importantly, Arthur says of another important matter: It is a black day for our country. As a gay man, I must hang my head in shame. Yes, he is responsible for the downfall of civilization. Again.
21:12 BST

Convention blogging

What I want from my bloggers, I have to admit, is a combination heads-up on news and some analysis of what the media is doing with it. The trouble with having so many of my favorite bloggers at the DemoCon is that they're covering the actual convention rather than looking at what the media is doing with it. I don't mind having a few people giving eye-witness accounts, mind, but to a large extent I feel like I'm getting more information from C-Span than I am from their eye-witnessing. (This page appears to have the clips of the speeches, if you missed them. The Carter speech had people cheering and crying. There was a lot of standing ovation and cheering going on. Anyone who claims it's just anti-Bush is wrong - sounded to me like a lot of enthusiasm for Kerry.)

Atrios acknowledges the problem of being able to tell while in situ what the media is saying, and I heartily recommend reading the comments in that thread from viewers at home:

Well, I went to bed feeling good, woke up and soon felt crappy due to the coverage, which mainly was:

"Shove it." Kerry wore a blue paper suit at NASA

Clinton spoke, will he overshadow Kerry?

The Kerry people have control and their limiting the Bush bashing.

As I got ready, I saw nothing of Carter. And the networks aren't even showing any coverage tonight.

And, all in all, I miss David Brinkley. It's not the same without him.
Kurt | Email | Homepage | 07.27.04 - 10:25 am | #

For those trying to parse the "Shove it" story, Teresa Heinz Kerry referred to "unAmerican traits"; a Scaife-rag "reporter" demanded to know what she meant by "unAmerican activities", THK objected that this wasn't what she said, he kept bugging her, and she told him he'd said something she didn't say and told him to shove it. I don't think this is up there with telling someone to go Cheney himself on the Senate floor.

Josh Marshall has been having some trouble adapting to the scene, but he does offer some spin-analysis:

Keep your eye out and you're bound to see this argument -- now floated by many conservative columnists -- that Kerry may win because voters need a breather -- a time-out, if you will -- from the turbocharged a time-out, if you will -- from the turbocharged rush of history we've experienced over the last three years under George W. Bush. The president has simply accomplished so much, bent the world so mightily to his will, that Americans are craving a return to normalcy, as that campaign neologism once had it.

We thirst for mediocrity -- the road more travelled -- and Kerry quenches us.

But, really, how many times has the American electorate punished a president for accomplishing too much? Franklin Roosevelt? Harry Truman? Theodore Roosevelt? Where are the examples?
Rather than taking it on its merits, though, I have a different take on this argument. It's a rhetorical or logical reasoning halfway house on the way to a realization of how badly the president has screwed up what one might generously call his ambitious plans. As with Kubler-Ross's grinding five stages of grief, first we have denial. Then anger. And with this argument we have something akin to that tipping-point stage of 'bargaining' -- the sensible pundits' first tip-toe out onto a serious consideration of the impact of the president's term of office.

So Josh is still doing what he does, although it took him some time. In his previous post, he even managed an unscheduled mini-interview with Michael Moore that seems to have helped him crystallize some un-spin:
When it first occurred to me to write this post I was going to say that partisan Democrats have decided to give Kerry a free hand in appealing to independents and swing voters. But that doesn't get it quite right. That was the case in 1992 when the party's core voters, after twelve years out of the White House, were willing to give Bill Clinton all sorts of leeway with what most viewed as his DLC heterodoxies. But something different is at work here.
As Josh says, to most Democrats the trade-off between policies and broad appeal doesn't really exist. Our polices do have broad appeal, and Bush has been just one long attack on them.

But the problem is getting the message past the gatekeepers in the media. The swing-voters, the late-deciders, will know about that message only through the mass media, and the media has learned its lesson of four years ago when exposure to the Democratic convention gave Al Gore a significant bump in the polls that reversed his fortunes. You remember, don't you, that Al Gore came back from a 15% lag? The media hated the man who had been Clinton's VP for the fact that he had failed to repudiate Clinton sufficiently, and every time the public got a good look at Gore himself, the public liked him more. Gore also wiped the floor with Bush in the debates and the focus-groups all thought so, and the overnights for Gore after the first debate reflected that. So the media had to save the game by completely re-spinning the story - and it worked, bringing the eventual outcome close enough that although Gore still won, it wasn't good enough to keep the results far away from the hands of the utterly bent Supreme Court 5.

Jeralyn is another person whose regular blogging beat is being neglected while she's at the convention, but at least she's doing a little bit better at telling us what she's seeing, even if an awful lot of it is what we could have seen on C-Span anyway. (I have to admit I have been surprised at the number of people who do not realize that they can watch all of C-Span live from their website. And some don't even seem to realize that C-Span has been covering the convention.) And along with everything else, she has the big scoop from the blogosphere, which is the news that our very own Clark Kent is actually Duncan Black, the man in the blue tights with the big red A on his chest. A mild-mannered Senior Fellow for Media Matters for America, his real CV is hiding in plain sight right there.

And speaking of Media Matters, they have a lot of the convention spin on their website at the moment, such as this item on Chris Matthews' obsession with the Evil Conniving Ambitions of Hillary Clinton, not to mention Novak's characterization of Democratic convention delegates as "flesh-eating".

Meanwhile, I was just listening to Air America Radio's Unfiltered, where Lizz and Rachel interviewed Rep. Barney Frank and asked him whether he planned to run for Kerry's Senate seat if Kerry wins the presidency - and they got a scoop. Frank said that if Kerry wins and the Democrats don't take back the House, he will do so, but if the Democrats do take back the House, he'll stay there.
17:06 BST

Remarks of Al Gore

I love this country deeply, and even though I always look to the future with optimism and hope, I do think it's worth pausing for just a moment as we begin this year's convention, to take note of two very important lessons from four years ago.

The first lesson is this: Take it from me, every vote counts. In our democracy, every vote has power. And never forget that power is yours. Don't let anyone take it away from you or talk you into throwing it away.

And let's make sure that this time every vote is counted. Let's make sure that the Supreme Court does not pick the next president, and that this president is not the one who picks the next Supreme Court.

The second lesson from 2000 is this: What happens in a presidential election matters. A lot. The outcome profoundly affects the lives of all 293 million Americans, and people in the rest of the world, too. The choice of who is president affects your life and your family's future.

And never has that been more true than in 2004, because let's face it our country faces deep challenges. These challenges we now confront are not Democratic or Republican challenges; they are American challenges that we all must overcome together as one people, as one nation.

And it is in that spirit, that I sincerely ask those watching at home tonight who supported President Bush four years ago: did you really get what you expected from the candidate you voted for? Is our country more united today? Or more divided? Has the promise of compassionate conservatism been fulfilled? Or do those words now ring hollow?

For that matter, are the economic policies really conservative at all? For example, did you expect the largest deficits in history, year after year? One right after another? And the loss of more than a million jobs?

By the way, I know about the bad economy. I was the first one laid off. And while it's true that new jobs are being created, they're just not as good as the jobs people have lost. And incidentally, that's been true for me too. Unfortunately, this is no joke for millions of Americans. And the real solutions require us to transcend partisanship. So that's one reason why, even though we meet here as Democrats, we believe this is a time to reach beyond our party lines to Republicans as well.

And I also ask tonight for the consideration and the help of those who supported a third party candidate in 2000. I urge you to ask yourselves this question: Do you still believe that there was no difference between the candidates?

Read the rest here.

The NYT has the rest of the evening's speeches linked here.
04:41 BST

More stuff that's not about Boston

Gene Lyons actually read Clinton's book before reviewing it. Whenever Lyons returns to that subject, you learn even more interesting things you didn't know.

Roger Ailes (not that one!) appears to be blogging from his customary spot. He has also written some lyrics of his own to a song you may know.

Digby outlines the Anatomy Of A Smear. The Daily Howler has several posts on the subject, of which this is the latest.

TBogg is not in Boston. He has also found a lovely bit of right-wing crackpottery you can laugh at.

Bush's Brain - watch the trailer.
00:59 BST

Monday, 26 July 2004


I got this off a quotepage at Michael Moore's site:

Mario Cuomo after watching Fahrenheit 9/11 3 times: "I was convinced that it should be viewed and reflected upon by as many Americans as possible... especially young people who, in a few years, might be part of our military forces. I'm committed personally to the proposition, as more than just a lawyer, that everybody should see this film." (Chicago Sun-Times, 6/17)
But this isn't about praising the movie. This is about a convention speech that has been called "electrifying" - Mario Cuomo's keynote speech to the 1984 Democratic convention:
It's an old story. It's as old as our history. The difference between Democrats and Republicans has always been measured in courage and confidence. The Republicans believe that the wagon train will not make it to the frontier unless some of the old, some of the young, some of the weak are left behind by the side of the trail. The strong, the strong they tell us will inherit the land.

We Democrats believe in something else. We democrats believe that we can make it all the way with the whole family intact. And, we have more than once. Ever since Franklin Roosevelt lifted himself from his wheelchair to lift this nation from its knees -- wagon train after wagon train -- to new frontiers of education, housing, peace; the whole family aboard, constantly reaching out to extend and enlarge that family; lifting them up into the wagon on the way; blacks and Hispanics, and people of every ethnic group, and native Americans -- all those struggling to build their families and claim some small share of America.

For nearly 50 years we carried them all to new levels of comfort, and security, and dignity, even affluence. And remember this, some of us in this room today are here only because this nation had that kind of confidence. And it would be wrong to forget that.

So, here we are at this convention to remind ourselves where we come from and to claim the future for ourselves and for our children. Today our great Democratic Party, which has saved this nation from depression, from fascism, from racism, from corruption, is called upon to do it again -- this time to save the nation from confusion and division, from the threat of eventual fiscal disaster, and most of all from the fear of a nuclear holocaust.
We Democrats must unite so that the entire nation can unite because surely the Republicans won't bring this country together. Their policies divide the nation - into the lucky and the left-out, into the royalty and the rabble. The Republicans are willing to treat that division as victory. They would cut this nation in half, into those temporarily better off and those worse off than before, and they would call that division recovery.

Read the whole speech here.

Or go to this page to hear him say it.

Some of it may sound familiar.
17:42 BST

Not blogging from Boston!

The convention blogging I've seen so far has been mostly boring travel stuff. As someone who has read numerous sf convention reports, and written a few, I really hope this is gonna be better than that. Meanwhile:

Apocalypse Now -- Why the Book of Revelations is Must Reading, via Pissed Off American.

Read an excerpt from Joe Trippi's The Revolution Will Not Be Televised: Being a political junkie at heart, by the late 1990s I began daydreaming about a campaign that would be run the way these revolutionary companies were being run - not from the top down, with a $200 million TV ad budget and a detached board of directors, but from below: A campaign run by the people. (Thanks to Randolph Fritz.)

Some liberals didn't like F9/11. I think this kind of attitude is a waste of time, even though I, too, am a snob. I'm looking at a media landscape in which the entire mainstream spent a few vital years deleting any news or analysis that might have been unflattering to Bush and his policies, and I think it's a good thing that Moore managed to get people to look at some of that stuff that was edited out. Yes, some of his conclusions are not the same as mine, but the story needed to be presented and the questions needed to be asked. Moore asked them. The rest of the media mostly didn't. You get no prizes from me for hammering the guy who finally did.

Michael recommends these reasons to like Kerry.

Wrong-wing Fox nut Bill O'Reilly decided to start a boycott of the Evil French, and declared himself effective on the basis of data from something called The Paris Business Review. In fact, there is - or was, at least - no Paris Business Review, so someone had to invent it.

Bushes Against Bush, via Scaramouche. And I think I've linked an item about Books for Soldiers before, but I was pleased to see that an ISP has been sending subscribers an announcement about it, which is much more interesting than anything my ISPs ever send me.
14:21 BST

Ethel says

Steven Baum on The Pakistan Connections:

If I weren't already convinced that the present U.S. government would be less perfidious if Al Capone, Sonny Barger and Meyer Lansky were in charge of the three branches, I'd be a bit more outraged, shocked, etc. by the evidence laid out by Michael Meacher. Not only is the evidence for high-level Pakistani involvement in the events of 9/11 categorically more convincing than the thin gruel supplied by con-men and phantoms that's been flogged by the cabal as evidence for Iraqi involvement, but the cabal is actively attempting to and thus far succeeding in suppressing the former.
And from an earlier post, here's a quote from an article that talks about Europe but might just as well explain why American corporatists can't belong to a party of real family values:
In a world where the distribution of wealth is steadily moving upward, workers who think advances in science, technology and commerce should allow them to have somewhat easier and more satisfying lives are told instead that it means less break time to chat with their mates and less leisure time with their families.
It's interesting, isn't it? I mean, for years everyone talked about the leisure that scientific advances would buy for workers, and yet now it is taken for granted that the only benefits should go to the corporations and their owners and executives, and none of it should go to the rest of us. How did that happen?
12:28 BST

At Buzzflash

Buzzflash now has a Democratic convention weblog. They've got a post up about the Salaries of Leading TV Pandering Pundits and why they might not mind Bush all that much.

And, via Buzzflash, Are You the Media? The article was written in anticipation of the FCC's Monterey hearing on the 21st, but it's a good piece about what has happened to radio.
02:15 BST

Sunday, 25 July 2004

I bet you can guess who won the World Stupidty Award

Mini Kiss did not win the award.

Oh, yeah, and they had a show, too. (Answer here.)
23:54 BST

Some real good bloggin'

Our favorite Suburban Guerilla has a good rant on the discovery that the tendrils of the monster have reached, well, everywhere:

I simply can't stress this enough: If you think the FDA is trying to protect you, you're wrong. This administration exists only to further the power of corporations.
In the Pennsylvania ruling, issued Tuesday, the appeals court threw out a lawsuit filed by Barbara E. Horn, who said her husband had died because of defects in the design and manufacture of his heart pump. The Bush administration argued that federal law barred such claims because the device had been produced according to federal specifications. In its briefs, the administration conceded that "the views stated here differ from the views that the government advanced in 1997," in the United States Supreme Court.

At that time, the government said that F.D.A. approval of a medical device set the minimum standard, and that states could provide "additional protection to consumers." Now the Bush administration argues that the agency's approval of a device "sets a ceiling as well as a floor."

The administration said its position, holding that individual consumers have no right to sue, actually benefited consumers.

They masquerade as libertarians, but that's all just rhetoric to fool the unwary. What it's really about is making sure that those in power never have to conform to the letter of their own contracts, never have to keep their promises, never have to answer to charges of fraud. Susan's article concludes like this:
I talked to someone in federal enforcement the other day. He told me Washington now routinely intervenes in any cases involving corporate interests; even his email is monitored.

It's depressing. We are, without a doubt, living under a fascist regime that seized power through a coup, yet no one seems to notice.

I was talking to a friend yesterday about this. "It's as if people won't believe it unless they call a press conference and announce, 'We are a fascist regime who took over through a coup,'" I said. "And until they make that announcement, no one will."

They're scary people, no matter what the subject is.

For example, the Butler Report, which right-wingers keep quoting to try to smear Joe Wilson, but leave out this little item:

American investigators have dismissed the suggestion that Iraq was seeking uranium from the west African state of Niger in a quest for nuclear weapons, because it was based on forged documents. It was also inherently implausible, they added, since Iraq had 550 tons of "yellowcake" - uranium which has undergone the first stage of processing. But the Butler committee accepted the Government's contention that it had separate intelligence, which has never been disclosed, to support the claim.
I've been wondering about this for a while - we know Saddam had the stuff, and the evidence that he tried to have some purchased in Niger is pretty thin to begin with. Why do we never hear this little detail?

Susan also has the story of what happened when Republicans went to see Fahrenheit 9/11. And keep scrolling up and read more great stuff, like the TV show starring the evil HR director.
22:40 BST

News & Comment

Jesus responds to latest GOP attempt to turn church directories into RNC mailing lists: Render unto Caeser is so B.C. I mean, this is the new Christ. In '04 I'm all about not killing babies and making sure queers can't marry. Outside of that, ignore everything I've ever said.

Christopher Brauchli in The Boulder Daily Camera on astonishingly bad judicial appointments, Two more feathers in Bush's cap: It was just an unlucky selection. President Bush had more than 1 million lawyers from whom to choose and thanks to bad staff work he made a couple of really unfortunate choices. He probably doesn't even realize it, but those with concerns about the quality of people who are appointed to the federal bench cannot help but notice. Alas, poor George, he just can't get a break. (Via The Smirking Chimp.)

If you're not worried about what four more years of Bush can do to your country, you have all sorts of alternatives to vote for - why, you can even get Marilyn Chambers as your VP choice.
16:12 BST


In A Parallel Universe, a new Harry & Louise political ad is discussed on The Colmes & Hannity Show; Bill Frist's spin can't fly, and Hannity can hardly get a word in edgewise: COLMES: Come on, Senator. You can stop that inside the beltway talk here on Colmes & Hannity. The fact of the matter is that Bush stopped the best chance to ensure tax relief for real Americans. Imagine. (via)

You can hardly turn around without hitting another third rail in American politics these days. The Left Coaster has a favorite: Israel.

Kevin Drum issues a challenge: Given the theory of supply and demand and the steep rise in CEO salaries compared to everyone else's, explain why the supply of CEOs has decreased, why the demand for CEOs has increased, and that curve is steeper than for "any other commodity on the planet."
12:36 BST

Links to watch out for

Oh, please, make it so. Also, snark points to Susan.

Natasha has a good question.

Play Any George But THIS George! See the trailer for The Crawford Wives! (Via TalkLeft.)

We have all been here before. (And, oh, yeah.)

Non Sequitur
01:10 BST

Saturday, 24 July 2004


In Mother Jones, Gail Sheehy asks, Who's in Charge Here? What the 9-11 Commission Report does not explain is why, on the morning of September 11, 2001, President Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and other top officials were essentially missing in action. (Via The Smirking Chimp.)

Urban League gives Bush a chilly response.

Career profile of the incompetent Condi Rice, Blindsided or blind? by John Prados: Highly qualified but strangely inattentive, Condoleezza Rice has missed the signs of the Soviet collapse, the importance of terrorism before 9/11, and more.

Farewell to a saxman
20:53 BST

News and culture in the land of the boiling frog

Ernest Miller reports on Orrin Hatch's shifting rhetoric on the Induce Act, and also says he's finally found a Senator who opposes Induce - Norm Coleman (R-MN). You know, if you want to save the Internet, you really should be writing to your reps, telling them what you think of it, and asking them where they stand on this thing. (via)

Jeralyn at TalkLeft recommends the ACLU's analysis of the 9/11 report, which points out that some of the new security recommendations are just more civil liberties violations that, truly, we don't need.

That's progress....

I love the way Arthur does this: Lost Philip K. Dick story found
A typical paranoid excess of his later days, this tale imagines his singer/goddess/obsession being dragged from a Las Vegas stage for dedicating a song to someone who made a movie the gummint didn't like.

Ayn Clouter proudly plagerizes Poe: The Purloined Draft.

Music: Simple Fears
14:10 BST

From Altercation

A remarkably short Slacker Friday post, in which Charles Pierce says:

So, it was the acronyms who did it.

CIA, FBI, NSC, but not the NSA, God knows. DOT. DoD. The acronyms did it. Fire all the acronyms.

I don't know at what point my head exploded. Maybe it was when Tom Kean was complimenting Bill O'Reilly on the latter's analytical abilities, or when Condi Rice was waxing all serious with Sean Hannity. Maybe it was earlier, when Lee Hamilton suggested that nobody was reading enough Tom Clancy. (After yesterday, and given the dive he took 20 years ago on Iran-Contra, Hamilton is now the Greg Louganis of the national security state.) I mean, Christ's sweet name, a failure of imagination? Not on the part of Gary Hart or Warren Rudman or Al Gore, or Coleen Rowley, or the people in Phoenix, or poor, dead John O'Neill. Their imaginations didn't fail. In fact, the single most preposterous part of yesterday's report was its tsk-tsking of how the recommendations of previous commissions were ignored. Who ignored them?


It was the acronyms.

Everybody's guilty so nobody is.

Read the rest of that letter, and read Stupid on how nobody's talking about Sudan. Actually, I'm not talking about Sudan, either. The reason I'm not talking about Sudan is that every time someone mentions Sudan I go, "Oh, God," and then I think about Afghanistan and Iraq and think how Bush and Wolfowitz and the gang have pretty much made The Most Powerful Nation in the World helpless to do anything anywhere because we are stuck in, y'know, this qWagmire and sucked our troops dry to the point where we are now re-drafting people in their 60s who have already been honorably discharged. We have no moral authority and we have no troops to send anywhere else and oh god oh god oh god. So I don't talk about it.

As you recall, campaign finance legislation puts caps on how much coverage campaigns can buy, but as I've said before, the networks are free to choose how they will cover the campaign themselves. How is that working out? The Kerry campaign's share of network news coverage has been on a steady slide since the Massachusetts senator all but clinched his party nomination after the March 2 "Super Tuesday" primaries. According to a survey of media election coverage during the first half of 2004, President George W. Bush's share of the nightly newscasts has risen steadily through the year, while Senator John Kerry's image and words faded from network screens. (That link is from an earlier post.)

Another link I found further down in the letters is from The Big Picture, which discusses more changes in radio as listeners leave in disgust and advertising revenue goes with them.
12:03 BST

You read it here last

Pentagon finds Bush's records - sort of.

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Pentagon on Friday released newly discovered payroll records from President Bush's 1972 service in the Alabama National Guard, though the records shed no new light on the future president's activities during that summer.

A Pentagon official said the earlier contention that the records were destroyed was an "inadvertent oversight."

Like records released earlier by the White House, these computerized payroll records show no indication Bush drilled with the Alabama unit during July, August and September of 1972. Pay records covering all of 1972, released previously, also indicated no guard service for Bush during those three months.

Lesbian couple in legal limbo as they seek to divorce (via).

David Corn, The 9/11 Report: Bad News for Bush

Buzzflash interviews Mark Crispin Miller about his new book: I wrote Cruel and Unusual to make the case that Bush & Co. is fundamentally un-American -- an order wholly alien to the spirit of our founding documents. Certainly the regime represents some dark old strains in U.S. history: nativism, white supremacism, theocratic tyranny. But as far as our mainstream political traditions are concerned, Bush & Co. have simply junked them. They've hijacked the U.S. ship of state, and have it on a suicidal course.

Krugman looks at Bush's insurance plan in Medical Class Warfare: First, it offers a tax credit for low- and middle-income families who don't have health coverage through employers. That credit helps them purchase health insurance. The credit would be $3,000 for a family of four with an income of $25,000; for an income of $40,000, it would fall to $1,714. Last year the average premium for families of four covered by employers was more than $9,000.

01:00 BST

Friday, 23 July 2004

Media watch

Bob Somerby speculates on the origins of what he suggests is a quote out of context: As we have noted, that "slam dunk" meeting is almost surely the most cited anecdote from Woodward's book. As typically presented, it shows an alert president challenging the quality of the intelligence, then being (falsely) reassured by a dopy CIA chief. But the story, while pleasing, makes little sense as presented (see THE DAILY HOWLER, 4/28/04). Main problem: Why was this meeting even being held? As Woodward shows, Bush and Cheney had been pushing WMD since August 2002; but the "slam dunk" meeting occurred four months later, on December 21, 2002. Why was Bush getting briefed at this late date? Woodward simply doesn't say. And he fails to say what happened next. If Bush expressed doubts on the WMD, what sort of follow-up occurred? This seems like an obvious question-and Woodward fails to address it.

Rewriting history by Eric Boehlert in Salon: Ever eager to prove it's fair and balanced, the Fox News Channel brags that it broke the Bush DUI story in 2000. Warning: You've entered the spin zone. Via The Hamster.
23:48 BST

Around the web

THE SYSTEM WAS BLINKING RED (PDF). Atrios is right about this: I know we're all supposed to believe that the report is easy on the Bush administration. But, you know, it really isn't. It doesn't come out and say "Bush and Condi really screwed the pooch." But, if you read this chapter, one really comes away thinking "Bush and Condi really screwed the pooch."

Michael Bérubé: But we all know why Ralph wouldn't run in the primary: the whole premise is that the system itself is broken, so there's no point even attempting to play within it. Well, as every savvy progressive and her brother has already pointed out, it's a shame the New Right didn't take that holy attitude toward the GOP, isn't it. Instead, they worked within it and took it over- like good radicals, working from the roots up. (Tom Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas? contains a fine account of how the Kansas GOP of Bob Dole and Nancy Kassebaum became the Kansas GOP of Sam Brownback and Pat Roberts and creationism in just over a decade.)

The Daily Show learns that the Counter-Clinton Library won't tell you who Clinton really murdered.
18:55 BST

Things that were in my mail

(Aside from the people who sent me that link in the update to the post below, that is.)

Sandy Berger. What does it mean? Well, not much. What it really boils down to is that Berger forgot that he was no longer part of the administration and couldn't just stick things in his pocket, so he did what he probably used to do when he was legally entitled to, because that's how he always did it before. He destroyed no documents. He took some copies of documents that he was no longer allowed to walk out with. No big deal. Except that The Republican Noise Machine is saying this proves Clinton is to blame for 9/11 and that Berger was hiding the evidence. Well, no, he wasn't - he removed not a single original document. And it's Bush who failed to prevent 9/11.

Randolph Fritz tips me to a review of Fahrenheit 9/11 in Aljazeera. A lot of it is fairly lame and poorly-written (I don't even understand what that first bit about the title is supposed to mean), but it did make me think of this: One consistent theme in both Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11 is the continual fear Americans are encouraged to feel - of each other, and of the world.

Rig My Election, Please
Just how far will desperate Republicans go to trick America into another BushCo victory?
- Mark Morford, and he doesn't really sound that paranoid. (Thanks to Hal Davis.)

Ro Nagy was looking at the international ratings for F9/11 (here) and noticed that The Land of the Free actually restricts more people from seeing the film: Certification: Argentina:13 / Australia:M / Canada:14A (Ontario) / Canada:G (Quebec) / Ireland:15 / Netherlands:12 / Switzerland:12 (canton of Geneva) / Switzerland:12 (canton of Vaud) / UK:15 / USA:R
02:28 BST

Thursday, 22 July 2004

Bloody Washington Post

The WP used to have a link on their home page for the image of their paper front page, and I always found that useful because only by seeing that can you know what they actually chose to give the most prominence to. I can't find it now, but you know how blind I am. Did they stop doing that?

The reason I ask is that the current top headline on their website in extra-big type is:

Bush Receives 9/11 Findings

What an active guy! He received the findings, and that's the news! Blimey!

I dunno, maybe it's just that they think they need to record everything Bush does so he can't say later that he never saw it. But we already know he isn't going to read it.

Admittedly, the title of the article when you click on the link is something else - 9/11 Panel Calls for a National Intelligence Chief - but I still don't know what I would have seen on the paper that was on my doorstep when I got up this morning.

In any case, I'm not very happy with that headline, either. This is hardly the most vital finding of the report, and anyway (whether Kerry endorsed that "finding" or not), I'm not entirely sure why we need yet another intelligence chief when, after all, coordinating all the security is what Condoleeza Rice was supposed to be there for in the first place. (OK, I know that's not her real job for this administration, but it's what the National Security Advisor exists to do.)

The commission's final report, released after a 20-month investigation, recommends the creation of a national intelligence director and a national counterterrorism center. But while it faults institutional failures, it stops short of blaming Bush or former president Bill Clinton for failing to prevent the Sept. 11 attacks.
I love that - should it even be a question whether Bill Clinton failed to prevent the September 11 attacks? No, of course not, because he did not fail to prevent them. He prevented the "Millennium attacks", which was his job, because he was president at the time. When the attacks failed to happen on his watch because he stopped them, it became Bush's job to make sure those same plans did not come to fruition on his watch - and he didn't do it. And he didn't do it because no one in his administration seemed to think it was their job.
The most important failure was one of imagination," the report says, according to news services. "We do not believe leaders understood the gravity of the threat."
Yes, that was quite a failure of imagination, after the Clinton administration had told them the threat was serious, and the administration's own intelligence people had told them the threat was dire and immediate. In the circumstances, how could they have imagined that there was a grave threat?

What they were supposed to have imagined was that they were supposed to do their job. Imagine that!

But The Washington Post, apparently, does not want you to think about that, either. That's why they waited until the middle of the article to get to this point:

The report is a broad indictment of the government's efforts to combat al Qaeda before the Sept. 11 attacks. The document identifies as many as 10 opportunities to potentially unravel the plot.
Hm, the article doesn't tell us who missed those opportunities, though. I wonder who that could have been.

And then we have to click for the next page of the online version to see this remarkable quote from the former governor:

"Had we had any inkling, whatsoever, that terrorists were about to attack our country, we would have moved heaven and Earth to protect America," Bush said. "And I'm confident President Clinton would have done the same thing. Any president would have."
"But instead," Bush did not continue, "we sat on our hands and did nothing, unlike President Clinton, who really did stop planned attacks for the turn of the century."

In other media news, from Air America:


Tell 3 Friends:

CBS has decided to shoot the moon. First they refused to air's Superbowl ad. Then they ran the wingnut anti-Clinton ad during Clinton's 60 Minutes interview. Then they caved on the Reagan miniseries. And NOW, they've decided that they will not air Ron Reagan's primetime speech at the Democratic Convention. CBS, Censorship Broadcasting Service!

The WP has that story, too:
CBS News will not cover Ron Reagan's prime-time speech at the Democratic National Convention live and in its entirety because it won't have enough words.
Yeah, right.

[Update: Margaret Young was the first to send me that link, and then Steven desJardins, Dominic Thomas (of Epicycle), and of course the ever-helpful Owen Boswarva (of Also Not Found in Nature); it seems they've just moved it down to the bottom of the list where I didn't catch it. Steve says: The top two headlines on my copy of this morning's Washington Post are "Kerry Has Strong Advantage Among Latino Voters" and "War Funds Dwindling, GAO Warns". Also above the fold are "D.C. Gap In Wealth Growing" and "9/11 Commission Offers Critiques On Many Fronts". Having seen the image, I see the 9/11 Commission story is pretty close to the fold, though.]
16:38 BST


Matthew Yglesias and Ayelish McGarvey argue in The American Prospect about whether Kerry has a religion problem.

Fred Clark at Slacktivist explains why some people think the Bible allows them to ignore the rest of Leviticus while still clinging tenaciously to one single line - "If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination." And why they're wrong.

Since I'm not usually hesitant to condemn Nicholas Kristof for his general refusal to recognize that the showy piety of the Christian right does not define Christianity, I suppose I should have acknowledged that he at least wrote an article admitting that the whole Left Behind sort of religion is just another sort of jihad. (via)
15:11 BST

Seen in Blogtopia

My life is rated NC-17.
What is your life rated?

Walter Cronkite reckons Edwards' experience has to be better than Cheney's, Rumsfeld's, etc. (I mean, he isn't the guy who made such a mess of Iraq.) (via)

LiberalOasis points out that on the Berger story, we're getting conspiracy theories that make Michael Moore seem utterly sober and restrained by comparison.

Republican mask slips; Democrats react: Democrats on Wednesday denounced a Republican lawmaker quoted in a newspaper as saying the GOP would fare poorly in this year's elections if it failed to "suppress the Detroit vote." (via)

Buncha girly men.

There's been a little dust-up in the left-blogosphere over what amounts to the place of progressives in the Democratic Party. Jeanne weaves her tune through themes by Brad DeLong and Max Sawicky.

Just a reminder: How Al Gore invented the Internet.

I want to be sitting here.

MadKane explains why speculation about Cheney being replaced on the ticket won't fly. (Also: Andy Williams sings for John Edwards... and: Catfight!)

Your guide to Barking Lunatics.
04:04 BST

Lunatic fringe

America's Vichy Left vs. Michael Moore: In fact, the main cause for the demise of the American Left is much more sinister than that. The American Left is responsible for destroying the American Left. I don't mean that metaphorically. I mean quite literally that anytime the Left starts to get somewhere, you can be sure that a vigilante mob of other Leftists will rise to the occasion to crush it, to make sure they stay as marginalized and ineffective as always. (via)

World Net Daily says this guy is "America's favorite humorist." Now you know.

Amusing Flash vid from Media Matters (via)
01:17 BST

Wednesday, 21 July 2004

Count the ballots

I noticed last night's Blitzer poll and got a chuckle out of it, but Mark Evanier got the joke. He also used it as a jumping-off point for talking about paperless voting:

The only semi-logical argument I've ever heard against them is that, supposedly, receipts might make it easy for people to sell their vote, in that they could then prove to the person paying them that they'd voted as ordered. The problem with that argument is that absentee ballots make vote-selling even easier and no one is against them.

Nothing annoyed me more about the 2000 election than all the Bush partisans trying to pretend that the irregularities in that election were a minor detail and telling Democrats to "get over it." It was like some of them were afraid that any expressed concern about more accurate voting would further taint their boy's "victory." I have never been convinced that a different guy would have wound up in the White House if every voter who was qualified to vote and wanted to vote had done so and been tallied as per their intent. But I was sure disappointed that I never heard a prominent Republican say that they were uncomfortable with the way their guy got in.

As Mark knows, I disagree that a different guy wouldn't be in the White House if Katherine Harris hadn't thrown thousands of probable Gore voters off of the rolls, and if the people who did vote had all had their votes properly counted. And I think the Republicans know that, too, which is why prominent Republicans did not say they were uncomfortable with the way their guy got in. Prominent Republicans know that deception is the only way most of them can ever get in.

But I also think Mark dismisses worries about vote receipts too easily - vote-selling would not be a new thing. (I do vote by absentee ballot for obvious reasons - yes, I am still a US citizen - but I find remote voting very worrying. I can easily envision a time, especially with the way things are going, when your employer stands over you while you vote online or fill out your mail-in ballot.)

The real argument against receipts is that we wouldn't need to talk about receipts at all if we had real paper ballots. Why shouldn't we have them? Why should there be no actual ballots to count and recount?

Let's think for a minute about what receipts are about: The machine is counting your "real" vote, which is a substanceless electronic pulse that is completely opaque to the ordinary voter. Your receipt may or may not actually contain information about what that pulse says to the counting mechanism. Therefore, the only way your receipt is ever going to be of value is if there is an acknowledged counting error and the paper receipts must be counted. (It should go without saying that said receipts would have to remain on the premises after you vote, because calling people back for their receipts would be a big hassle, as well as making your vote vulnerable to third-party interference.)

The problem in Florida in 2000 was that the ballots were unclear and the machines weren't up to reading them. That problem would easily be solved by using a touch-screen to fill out your voting details and having the machine print out a standardized ballot that is easy for counting machines to read. The machine that prints your ballot could still be able to count votes, if you like, and that would make a nice comparison number for ballots that were counted by the separate machine that counts the ballots.

But it's like this: Your paper receipt is meaningless unless it is actually counted. Your piece of paper.

In my ideal world, we would have the voting machines and the counting machines both independently tally the votes, and we would still require that all ballots be counted by hand. It'd make it a lot harder to jimmy the vote. Accepting the idea of "receipts" just puts the opportunity for cheating where it still has no oversight. I'm, y'know, against that.
16:41 BST

On the blog

I know I'm going to typo or misspell your name so I look for the easy-to-find spot on your page (or even each individual post) where your name is spelled out in proper up-and-down casing and I can just copy it and be sure to get it right. So then I find you have your name nowhere on your page, or you have it only in all-caps, or only lower-cased, or you are Max Blumenthal. Never mind, it's still a great blog, with good reads on Bush's Cuba Distortion, and the plans of theocrats to pray outside both conventions, and a bunch of other stuff. At least Salon has his name spelled and cased properly for his article on The other regime change, which answers the musical question, Did the Bush administration allow a network of right-wing Republicans to foment a violent coup in Haiti?

Billmon tries to figure out why Ralph Nader has gone over to the enemy.

Tom DeLay is The Stripper.

Dwight Meredith discusses the Big Savings from tort reform, and asks, What makes House Speaker Dennis Hastert such a special politician? And don't miss Dwight's series on The Top 10 Ways To Change The Tone in Washington (For the Worse).

Video: This Land Is Your Land.

Music: Red Venus Love Army
14:09 BST

Things I have learned

John Negroponte explains it all for Allawi.

Skippy has written a letter.

Instahack is a liberal. Or not.

All is revealed! You'll never guess who forged the Niger documents.

The former Stonerwitch has a new blog, Locutionist ("A journalism Student's Weblog"), where she has posted the information that the FCC will be holding a hearing on 21 July, in Monterey, that almost no one is talking about.
01:26 BST

Tuesday, 20 July 2004

Hot news

Josh Marshall says the Sandy Berger story hitting the news now is the result of "a malicious leak intended to distract attention from the release of the 9/11 commission report."

I was revolted by two things in Tony Blair's speech yesterday about making war on the '60s - the content and the weird, repeated slogan in the background ("Safe communities") in Bushian style. I agree with this: Mark Oaten, the Liberal Democrats' home affairs spokesman, said Mr Blair was wrong to target the thinking of the 1960s: "I would have thought the culture of the Eighties may have more to do with it."

And I guess Tony Blair doesn't have to worry much about being investigated if he gets to edit the report himself.

At Daily Kos, a sudden opportunity in Congress has opened up with the surprise announcement that: Jim Greenwood, a moderate Republican in Pennsylvania's 8th Congressional district, just announced he will not seek reelection this year, instead removing his name from the ballot. The Democrat, Virginia "Ginny" Schrader, is an attorney who has just $7,000 in the bank as of June 30th. Greenwood's district voted for Gore in 2000 by a decent amount, and the GOP is now scrambling for a replacement. This is a chance to pick up a seat, so y'all get behind Ginny any way you can.

Wonkette: Arnold Schwarzenegger has said he won't apologize for calling California lawmakers "girlie men," even though some have criticized the remark as "sexist and homophobic." We're sort of with the Gov on this one. He shouldn't apologize because "girlie men" is sexist or homophobic, he should apologize because it's lame..

Last night's Daily Misleader was about the rubbishy "facts" behind the administration's refusal to release money to the United Nations Population Fund.
17:36 BST

Somewhere in America...

TBogg has the dirt, found at The Corner, of all places: Bill Timmons lied about Ronstadt:

Mr. Goldberg -- My wife & I were at the Linda Ronstadt performance in question, at the Aladdin in Las Vegas, and quite frankly, Aladdin President Bill Timmins' account of what happened is complete crap. There was mixed booing and cheering at Ronstadt's pro-Michael Moore comment, and that was about the extent of the "bedlam" that supposedly broke out. I saw no posters being torn down or cocktails being thrown in the air, and if people stomped out of the theatre unhappy, it was because 1) that was the last song Ronstadt performed; it was her encore; and 2) she mainly sang her standards repertoire, with the Nelson Riddle orchestrations, and a large part of the crowd wanted to hear more of her rock-'n'-roll stuff; she got the biggest round of applause for doing a lackadaisical run-through of her version of "Blue Bayou."

Frankly, my suspicion is that Timmins is way overdramatizing what happened, in order to justify giving Ronstadt the boot. It simply wasn't that big a deal.

Administration suddenly cares: Unfortunately, unless we see progress in some of these areas, if we see Iran stop supporting the terrorists who have tried to undermine the hopes and dreams of the Palestinians... I guess the administration has been really supportive of Palestinian hopes and dreams all this time. Coulda fooled me.

Moose & Squirrel found the text of Stephen King's acceptance speech for the National Book Foundation's award last year. It's actually worth reading, no matter what you think of King's books. (I think King is a better writer than most people give him credit for, but I don't like being scared.)
14:42 BST

Stuff I saw

Pity they didn't have this in pink.
More buttons

A Democratic television ad (via)

Take the red/blue quiz. I was "in the middle."

Interview with the fabulous TBogg. Contains a line that made me laugh out loud. Recommended even though he didn't mention me, the bastard.

Liberal, liberal, liberal, and the real issue in this election.

At The Man Behind The Curtain

Byrd: Kerry Needs Coal Dust to Win W.Va. (via). And a transcript of Byrd's appearance on Meet the Press (via)

The Electoral Vote Predictor is still showing Kerry way ahead: 322/205.
04:31 BST

Monday, 19 July 2004

Spacey blogging

There was a sighting of actual sunlight, so I went out for a long walk and I overdid it. I am so tired. I thought I would be recovered by now but I can barely type. Go read Bad Attitudes and Corrente. I'd tell you why but I'm just too tired.
20:25 BST

It's your world

"War remains the decisive human failure." A cloud over civilisation - J.K. Galbraith with a first-person account of the how the military-industrial complex works. And what it means: Mass slaughter has become the ultimate civilised achievement. (via)

You may remember we noted earlier that Joe Haldeman was involved in the project to help returning troops learn to express their experiences on paper. Jim Henley has discovered the story and offers his view from his lofty position as Our Favorite Anti-government Crackpot.

It's a free country: Take pictures of your kids, or sit and sketch. But Everyone is a dangerous felon (via I closed whatever page I got this from and now can't figure out what it was).

Movie: Alien in 30 seconds. (via)
14:04 BST

Web crawling

I keep meaning to remind you: The bad news is that they did it, but the good news is that they got caught. But keep your eye on the ball - the last time I looked, the names that were illegally purged from the 2000 voting rolls still haven't been restored, and there were a lot more of them. (PS. I don't think they'll have much trouble attacking Elton John.)

Jobs: Even more startlingly, of the 509,000 in new total nonagricultural employment from February to June , 495,000 or an astonishing 97% of the cumulative increase were part-time jobs-- showing why the average work week has been dropping so dramatically. Rejoinder to Nader: So just as the Liberty Party candidate of 1844 tipped the election to a rightwing racist who would launch an imperial war, so too did Nader's candidacy in 2000 tip the election to Dubya and the war in Iraq. GOP Pisses Away Its Political Future. (All this assumes that the ballots are counted, of course.)

The difference between and Which convention will you be attending?

What, we forgot to invade the Gulf of Guinea? We'll have to fix that!

Watch Amy Goodman's Democracy Now segment about Outfoxed

I gotta admit, I'm worried. (I'll tell ya right now, if Kerry's plane just happens to fall out of the sky, or if he ends up dead for any other reason, I don't think I'll be able to suspend judgment.)
01:52 BST

Sunday, 18 July 2004


Patrick found time to write a catch-up post, and also added a couple of things to the Sidelights bar, including this post from Better Angels debunking Rick "Man-on-Dog" Santorum's claim that Denmark's family life has suffered because it allows legal gay unions.

At Pharyngula: He explained that basically there is no problem, as evolution could have been the method employed, and added that only a fool would deny evolution given the evidence. Although he didn't state it exactly like this, his view seemed to be that truth (evolution) cannot contradict truth (Islam). So there is no conflict with Evolution and Islam. Simple as that. Naturally, this is a weblog that gets e-mail from creationists.

How the media would spin President Luthor vs. Superman
18:34 BST

News item

From Metro, 13 July:

INDIA: An elite force of police officers with large moustaches is being assembled to tackle criminals. It is hoped they will turn the tables on thieves and others who use large moustaches to intimidate victims. 'These men will patrol sensitive pockets using psychological tactics against criminals and keeping them at bay,' said a police spokesman in the central state of Madhya Pradesh. The scheme will be launched in other areas and officers will be given an allowance to keep their moustaches in trim.
Why don't they just wear black capes and a bat on their chests?
17:03 BST

Tell everyone!

I love John Sayles. He's got a movie opening in September that I gotta see, too: Silver City. Read the blurb, watch the trailer, see what I mean. And mark it in your calendar - 17 September is when it opens, and if you wanna keep that flick alive, you gotta make sure it has a good opening weekend.

Oh, yeah, click here to see the ACLU dinner, where you can learn about why a series on knitting got someone fired from NPR, and John Sayles talks about Silver City, and Seymour Hersh talks about torture and criminality, and Greg Proops does some stand-up, too. Starts with my girl Nadine "Always Dressed for Dinner" Strossen, and it's all good.
13:19 BST

Saturday, 17 July 2004

Election stuff

Buy some buttons!

At Ain'tNoBadDude, Brian Linse highly recommends a weblog called I Can't Wait to Vote, and so do I. And, hey, there's buttons!

I was just watching this election/terrorism report from The Daily Show and the thought that kept going through my mind is that usually, terrorists kill Democrats. Just a reminder.

Maybe we can pick up some seats. Still, I don't trust anything that talks about Bush's 2000 coat-tails. Bush had no coat-tails in 2000 - he lost the election.
21:04 BST

Absolutely stupid

I was reading a comment at News Hounds when I saw a link posted for a rabid opposition site called Liberals Suck Bigtime. "This should be fun," I thought. Given the title, I really didn't expect to see this in the top post:

Traditional American values under massive attack

Increasing in severity and occurance traditional American values are under a relentless attack from the ultra liberal media, socialist countries ,conspiracy theorists, radical activists,land grabbing local governments..ect. ect. Will we be "America"ten years from now? It does'nt look too promising. What can we do? What are some other things that have done or are doing harm to our country?

For a site that has "suck" in its title and sports a presidential portrait with what appears to be a girl (not a woman) with her head between Bill Clinton's legs (are these the same people who think a president - like Bush or even Reagan's corpse - should "always" be shown the respect of the office?), a plaintive cry about the destruction of "traditional" values seems a bit off the track. (Not to mention the violation of the traditional value of at least an attempt to show willing on the punctuation front. Or even a spell-check. Is this another victim of home-schooling?)

More importantly, real American values really are under attack, but not by liberals - rather by Rolls Royce Republicans who think you should be so grateful to work for them that you daren't even ask for remuneration for your time and sweat. Robyn Blumner sees it, and discusses Kerry's choice of John Edwards as his running-mate in the context of Thomas Frank's What's the Matter With Kansas:

'Today, under George W. Bush, there are two Americas, not one,' Edwards declared in campaign stops over the winter. 'One America that does the work, another America that reaps the reward. One America that pays taxes, another America that gets the tax breaks. One America that will do anything to leave its children a better life, another America that never has to do a thing because its children are already set for life.'
'The leaders of the backlash may talk Christ, but they walk corporate,' Frank writes. 'Values may 'matter most' to voters, but they always take a back seat to the needs of money once the elections are won.

'Vote to stop abortion; receive a rollback in capital-gains taxes. Vote to make our country strong again; receive deindustrialization. Vote to screw those politically correct college professors; receive electricity deregulation.'

The DLC has a lot to answer for in letting all this happen, of course, but it's certainly not economic liberalism that's to blame. Economic liberalism is, in fact, the substance of the American Dream, the very thing that the cheap-labor conservatives are trying to destroy (and not without some significant success).

Thomas Frank himself has provided an article (adapted from the book's conclusion) for TomDispatch, entitled Red-State America Against Itself (via) that illuminates this point a bit more fully:

This is due partially, I think, to the Democratic Party's more-or-less official response to its waning fortunes. The Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), the organization that produced such figures as Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Joe Lieberman, and Terry McAuliffe, has long been pushing the party to forget blue-collar voters and concentrate instead on recruiting affluent, white-collar professionals who are liberal on social issues. The larger interests that the DLC wants desperately to court are corporations, capable of generating campaign contributions far outweighing anything raised by organized labor. The way to collect the votes and -- more important -- the money of these coveted constituencies, "New Democrats" think, is to stand rock-solid on, say, the pro-choice position while making endless concessions on economic issues, on welfare, NAFTA, Social Security, labor law, privatization, deregulation, and the rest of it. Such Democrats explicitly rule out what they deride as "class warfare" and take great pains to emphasize their friendliness to business interests. Like the conservatives, they take economic issues off the table. As for the working-class voters who were until recently the party's very backbone, the DLC figures they will have nowhere else to go; Democrats will always be marginally better on economic issues than Republicans. Besides, what politician in this success-worshiping country really wants to be the voice of poor people? Where's the soft money in that?

This is, in drastic miniature, the criminally stupid strategy that has dominated Democratic thinking off and on ever since the "New Politics" days of the early seventies.

Bear in mind that liberals have never, ever dominated any part of Congress, regardless of which party had a majority. But in the 1960s it became clear that opposing racism was no longer a particularly liberal value - it was mainstream. And civil rights legislation was able to pass not just because some Democrats were behind it, but because a lot of Republicans were, too.

(Anyone who thinks the Democratic Party didn't have plenty of legislators who opposed the civil rights movement has a lot to learn about history. Most of those career racists were leaving the party as a result of the Democratic leadership's recognition that racism was not a winning issue, and became Republicans - Strom Thurmond being the most obvious example. But it should tell you just how far right both parties have moved that the most liberal voting record in the current Senate is held by Robert Byrd, whose early career, though he has since repudiated it (which is why he is still a Democrat), included his membership in the KKK. For most of his career, however, it was still safe to call Byrd a conservative, because that's what he was. He only seems liberal by comparison with his colleagues - on both sides of the aisle.)

Economic issues are the ones that make the real difference in a nation's values. A fair and prosperous nation isn't harmed by a few oddballs and different drummers whose private lifestyles are out of the mainstream. America always had plenty of material space for beatniks and queers (even if no one wanted to hear about it). And even when the largest generation in history hit its teenage years and managed to make a whole lot of noise with its boisterous, colorful, and frequently obnoxious demands, that didn't hurt America's prosperity or even make that drastic a change in the fundamental culture of America; we still believed in our nation's promise and expected true reverence for the Constitutional ideal.

But, despite what you may see on your TV screens, in real-life, corporate-suited America, there is suddenly much less room for eccentricity, for oddballs, for people who march to that different drum or who want to pioneer off to a new frontier. The economy of the mainstream is so tight that the marginal economy is drying up, and with it those spaces that our artists and thinkers - and kids who just hadn't found their niche yet - used to inhabit. More and more, things are about either big money or no money. American upward-mobility is becoming a thing of the past, and is actually more easily found in places like Germany and France. Think about that: France and Germany are the nations of The American Dream?

Look again at that quote from our "traditional" author, and see what he thinks is part of the "liberal" attack on traditional values:

the ultra liberal media, socialist countries ,conspiracy theorists, radical activists,land grabbing local governments..ect. ect.
And after you strip away the name-calling, what is the only actual issue in that list? Land-grabbing local governments.

Land-grabbing local governments? Who on earth does he think the land-grabbing is motivated by and done on behalf of? It's not gay activists and hippies, I promise you. None of this grabbed land is being used to set up abortion clinics.

And if this is the sort of thing you really object to, why on earth would you support someone who made his own personal fortune by scheming to condemn private property and confiscate it to build a baseball stadium at taxpayers' expense to line his own pockets? Remember, this is the only business venture at which George W. Bush did not fail, it's how he made his own money.

If this is what "conservatives" are mad about, it's certainly a fine example of Frank's thesis. They see a few high-profile "liberals" emerge from their (rented) limos and in their resentment they give their allegiance to people who own six expensive cars and will stiff them for the meagre wages they earned by the sweat of their brows (not to mention stealing their land). They don't even notice that the money they routinely pay into their own retirement accounts - yes, that's what Social Security really is - is the money that George Bush has stolen to pay for this insane war that has made us a whole lot less safe than we were on September 12th of 2001.

It's too bad people don't know the real secret of those limousines our liberal-minded media stars turn up to concerts and openings in: They are rented by the corporation. The stars usually assume - not unjustifiably - that all this glam is part of the promotional budget they are paying for (with more than 90% of the money they make for the company); they later find out that in fact the costs are being docked from their royalties (which was only about 7% of what they'd earned for the company to start with).

That's how it is. You work; someone else gets rich. And those people vote Republican. Some of them run Fox News.

[Note: The Robyn Blumner article is via Infoslave, where both the link above and the original from The St. Petersburg Times were provided. But the latter loaded very slowly in my browser, so I opted for the other. However, the original came with a much better title ("A Voice for Working Stiffs") and better punctuation.]
15:39 BST

What I saw this morning

Scorpio picked up on my post about the trial of Saddam and makes a comment of his own. I haven't seen the newscasts of the trial, so this was information I didn't have. Around here they always say, "Justice must be done and seen to be done." But what is this? "Justice should be seen and not heard"?

Oops! Lots of stuff missing at Los Alamos and Livermore: The latest violations occurred not because of innocent procedural mistakes but because individuals deliberately and knowingly flouted security rules, Los Alamos chief Pete Nanos told the regents. Via The American Street.

Bush's running-mate.

The Internet Weekly Report: Weebl and Bob - Politics
This week Weebl and Bob meet Monkey Pants and Michael Moore. What could go wrong?
(Short animation.)

Also via TIWR, Billionaires for Bush, and the antics of Rick "Man-on-Dog" Santorum and his pals reported by Jon Stewart.
12:51 BST

Friday, 16 July 2004

Without representation

Holden found the most infuriating news of the day:

Yesterday during debate over HR-4818 (a bill that would provide international monitoring of the November presidential election) Congresswoman Corrine Brown (D-Jacksonville) was censured by the US House of Representatives for this remark:
"I come from Florida, where you [the GOP leadership] and others participated in what I call the United States coup d'etat. We need to make sure that it doesn't happen again. Over and over again after the election when you stole the election, you came back here and said get over it. No we're not going to get over it and we want verification from the world."
That's bad enough even if you think it just means an official tsk-tsking, but there's more to this story:
Those comments drew an immediate objection from Republican members of the House. Leaders moved to strike her comments from the record. The House also censured Brown which kept her from talking on the House floor for the rest of the day.

Congresswoman Brown responded to the matter in a statement late Thursday night. Congresswoman Brown wrote, "Striking my words from the House floor is just one more example of the Republican Party's attempt to try and cover up what happened during the 2000 election."

Brown also wrote, "When the words of Corrine Brown are stricken from the floor, so is the voice of her 600,000 constituents in Florida's 3rd Congressional District."

The people she was addressing knew perfectly well that what Rep. Brown was saying was true. So now we have a situation where the Republicans can prevent Democrats from representing their constituents if they make truthful statements that happen to expose what the Republicans are up to?

Well, yes, we had that already, but with Cynthia McKinney they at least waited to defeat her at the polls.

I can't think of a better example of why we desperately need to take Congress back. This is crossing a whole new line.

Keep an eye on close races (check Kos regularly) and do whatever you can to help with those races, even if all you can do is write to people you know who live in those areas and encourage them to vote. Send money if you've got it - even if it's only ten bucks. (Oh, and by the way, if you're thinking there's no point in voting for president if you live in a state where the outcome already seems assured, think again: Aside from the fact that there's a lot we don't know about those outcomes yet, your vote also contributes to that very important popular vote total, and it's not an insignificant thing.
22:33 BST

From Rox Populi

Roxanne says: Some students at UCI are conducting a blogger/ blogging/ blog reader poll. Take a few moments now to take this survey so that we don't have to hear the whole "women don't do political blogs" / "women don't read political blogs" thingie again.

Also, the news that Michael Powell has a blog.
21:50 BST

Some liberal media

"The President Has Many Friends Who Are Members of the NAACP". ("My maid's a member of the NAACP, and she's just like part of the family!")

Alterman's latest Center for American Progress column, Fox Outfoxes Itself, is about...well, you know. FAIR also conducted a guest study of NPR, published in June of this year, which found that the station used Republican sources over Democrats by a ratio of more than 3 to 2. (Repeat after me, "What liberal media?").

Matt Yglesias at Tapped: Remember when the existence of large-scale abuse at American-run detention centers in Iraq was revealed and the Republicans quickly promised to get to the bottom of things and figure out how far up the chain the responsibility went? Well, we can forget about that -- the House decided not to investigate at all, the Senate has called off its inquiry, and the military's self-investigations have been delayed and delayed. Matt points to Jonathan Chait's recent article in which he says: Indeed, Congress has ceased to provide a check on the executive branch, functioning instead as the legislative arm of the White House.

These people put an ad in The New York Times today giving five reasons to impeach Bush. You can look at the PDF on their site.
20:58 BST

Politics, media, and money

I know that Katherine Boo's The Best Job in Town is going to depress me when I read it. Just reading what Nigel had to say about it tells me that. I'm also thinking that Nigel's posts lately seem to be more and more the sort of thing that's about to earn him a place on my blogroll. Why, he has even reviewed the actual album by the George W. Bush Singers.

Charlie has discovered the creepy people who literally invest in death. Ick.

The Daily Brew supports Cynthia McKinney's attempt to get her Congressional seat back, and gives you some good reasons why you should, too. I won't recap the whole story, but basically McKinney was run out of congress because she had the audacity, in 2002, to suggest that we investigate the September 11 terrorist attacks, and to point out that people in and around the Bush administration stood to make a lot of money from the war in Iraq.

Via Rising Hegemon, this Knight-Ridder story: R. James Woolsey's role as a go-between was detailed in a classified Defense Department report chronicling how the defector's assertion came to be included in the Bush administration's case for war even after the defector was determined to be a fabricator.

Further apologies from the NYT: And even though this page came down against the invasion, we regret now that we didn't do more to challenge the president's assumptions. You can write to The New York Times and congratulate them for coming clean on this issue. And then suggest that you might even believe they are in favor of good reporting if they would also clear the air about some other issues that ought to be on the front page - such as the real effects of Bush's tax-shifting policies, and his Medicare-breaking prescription drug plan (and the illegal means the Republicans used to pass it, including blackmail), and the fact that Bush really does appear to have been a deserter. And what about that cocaine thing? (And isn't it about time to apologize to Bill Clinton?)

Martha Stewart, sentenced and convicted for obstructing investigation of a crime she was never convicted of, because she had the temerity to say the charges were ridiculous. And because they'd rather go after her than go after Enron, who actually committed serious damage and should lose every penny they made.

Brown Equals Terrorist.
13:35 BST

American stories

Two dozen roses from Organic Bouquet

I'm a sucker for this kind of thing:

A few days ago a friend of mine asked if I wanted to chip in for flowers for Lila Lipscomb, the mother in Fahrenheit 911 who lost her son in Iraq. Although I doubted she'd be able to get an address, I said yes--Lila's story was very moving.

I should have never doubted my friend; she's incredible. She wrote Michael Moore and he forwarded her email to Lila, who was touched that her story had moved people she'd never met. My friend ordered the flowers and when the florist saw the note, he made the biggest bouquet possible and refused payment.

I thought that was a very nice thing for the florist to do, and it prompted me to think that those of us who share similar views should try to do business with each other. I don't know this florist, and he doesn't know I'm going to plug him here, but the next time you send someone flowers, think about sending them through Organic Bouquet. Bookmark it now.

They deliver anywhere in the United States, folks.

The silver lining in the Hollywood blacklist is a bunch of writers who got blacklisted ended up working in Britain because they couldn't get work back home, and did a show that became very popular back home in America, called Robin Hood - a show which, you may remember, had a remarkably, well, socialist kinda theme. I've always thought there was a certain justice in that.
03:24 BST

Doonesbury at war

As everyone by now knows, Garry Trudeau recently gave an interview in which he talked about what George Bush was like in college. He also talks about the war and how he visited Walter Reed as well as exchanging e-mail with soldiers in Iraq in order to get his characters right:

People were even more astonished when B.D.'s helmet came off. It signified his vulnerability and made it all the more difficult for them to accept. I was talking to a soldier in the hospital, and I said, "I draw this comic strip, and I have this character named B.D. who lost his leg." The soldier's eyes widened: "B.D. lost his leg?!" Here's this mangled, broken hero lying in his bed, and he's concerned that this character he knows had such a terrible thing happen to him. It was very moving.
There are no real surprises in what he says about Bush, of course.
00:29 BST

Thursday, 15 July 2004

A few good links

Salon's David Talbot did a phone interview with Ralph Nader; and here are the readers' responses. (via)

They can fight, but they may not be able to vote (from David Bell), and Simbaud commenting on related stories.

Trump tells Bush: 'You're fired' (from Randolph Fritz).

Mal Evans' Beatles legacy
17:20 BST

News of the day

The stupid marriage amendment had insufficient support to make it to a vote, but while our attention was on the Senate, something else was going on in the House: Unable to ban gay marriage, congressional Republicans are working to contain it, advancing legislation in the House to make sure federal courts don't order states to recognize same-sex unions sanctioned outside their borders. Sheesh! Slated to be the more-important-than-national-security-or-the-economy issue on the House floor next week.

Another letter to George W. Bush looking for signatures, this one advocating election monitors. The virtue of these things, of course, is that asking someone for a signature is a way to get them to read about the subject. George Bush certainly isn't going to read it. Content-wise, it would make a nice flyer. I'd do a re-write, first, though.

On the other hand, letters that might be worthwhile could be sent to SlimFast to let them know you object to their firing of Whoopie Goldberg for doing her usual sort of act in the usual sort of way she has been doing throughout her career and getting the attention of the Republican hate machine. What's particularly objectionable here is that they hired Whoopie Goldberg for being Whoopie Goldberg, and now they've fired her for being Whoopie Goldberg because the RNC decided to make her a target. She's always been political and she's always used racy language and she hasn't done anything new. If this kind of thing continues, you'll have to be a member of the state party to get a job. That's what the nasty 29% on the right wants, but it's not America.

I never did like that thing about getting really hungry and feeling like getting up to find something to eat was an insurmountable hurdle and then waking up stuck to the carpet. If it wasn't for that, I would regard this as good news for my night vision. But it might be good news for you. (via)

Hanging out with Dick Cheney is becoming awkward.
16:06 BST

Out and about

I accidentally found this while looking for something else. Given the plot description, I'm surprised I'd never heard of it before. Made me laugh, anyway.

Teresa brings you this year's fashion colors.

Denial is a happy place: "It's pretty obvious," Caldwell said. It may be so obvious that it is impossible to accept.

Bring 'em on.

Palast to testify at US Civil Rights Commission Thursday July 15th

Bob Somerby thinks the press isn't making all-out war on Kerry, so it looks like he'll do better than Gore did - especially since Sally Quinn likes Teresa Heinz-Kerry.

July surprise

Michael Bérubé is just like Ann Coulter!
03:42 BST

Wednesday, 14 July 2004

For the worst reason in the world

I'm absolutely certain I'm the first person on my block to have seen The Hunting of the President.

When Bill Clinton came to town, the Washington Establishment decided he was just some sort of poor white trash and they didn't think he belonged in the White House. Right-wing nuts in Arkansas thought he was "a degenerate" because he was rumored to have had too much sex. Segregationists knew he wasn't one of their own. Anti-feminists never forgave Hillary for failing to change her name at the time she got married.

And famous Arkansas crackpots and con-men like Larry Case, who had an MO of making up allegations that never amounted to anything, saw their main chance.

Case is just one of a number of players who appear in this film based on Joe Conason and Gene Lyon's book, and seeing them gives you an enhanced sense of just how dumb the city-slicker national media managed to be when confronted with these flimflam men. And then there was Larry Nichols, a classic case of the disgruntled employee who blames others for the fact that he was quite justifiably fired - when he was caught breaking the law in a government office. Seeing many of these people condemn themselves out of their own mouths is worth seeing the movie for all by itself.

And there are other revelations you didn't see on the news, like the story of Jim MacDougal and his degeneration. He'd started off as someone with a reputation that was "beyond reproach" and then he'd taken on more than he could handle and started falling apart. When he was literally in fear for his life, Starr offered him a deal, but he was expected to deliver his ex-wife, Susan. And when Susan MacDougal refused to lie about the Clintons, Starr punished her as severely as he could get away with, not only having her locked in prison but making sure she was put on murderers' row where she had to wear the red dress that went with that honor - and since most of the women who were in prison for murder had killed their own children, prisoners who didn't know who she was treated her horribly.

(It's not in the movie, but Susan MacDougal has said elsewhere that the deal her ex-husband had been offered by Starr was that when he went to jail for embezzlement, he would automatically go to a medical facility where his kidney problems would be taken care of. But Starr didn't deliver, either, and Jim MacDougal died as a result.)

As was always obvious, we had a press corps that was full of people who wanted to be Woodward and Bernstein and thought this was their big chance. But they were on the wrong side this time, trying to bring down a president who was innocent of the charges while completely ignoring an Independent Counsel and a Congress who were abusing power for purely partisan purposes and wholly out of control.

Oddly, even Howard Kurtz was stunned by the silence of the press when the Pillsbury Report completely exonerated the Clintons. To this day, the nation's leading newspapers still can't seem to admit that there was never any evidence against the most investigated president in history. Watching members of the same press corps that could not accept that there was "no there there" talking now about how that culture put pressure on them all is itself illuminating.

The film opened last week in only a couple of theaters, but it was sufficiently successful there that it is now opening for wider distribution - a list of theaters is on their page and being updated regularly, and you should find out where it's showing and go see it. But first, a footnote:

In Clinton's recently released autobiography, he says that he gave in to temptation with Monica for "the worst reason in the world." He had done it, he said, because he could.

When I saw that, I remembered an interview he had given a few years back where he'd said that he'd asked Republican members of Congress why, when they knew there was nothing to the charges against him, they were carrying on this persecution. And they had answered, "Because we can."
20:15 BST

In the world

A Bonafide Right-Wing Intellectual Abandons the Flock of Flacks: Francis Fukuyama, who gained praise in the early-90s for pulling the Hegellian Chestnut out to explain we were really at the end of history (OK, not terribly accurate, but neither was Hegel). Well the Owl of Minerva has flown the Bush Coop.

Oh, sure: "You can say I'm a hater," said Senator Rick Santorum, Republican of Pennsylvania and a leading proponent of the amendment. "But I would argue I'm a lover."

If Dick Cheney presented the news.

Er, and what was George W. Bush doing that year?

Library tips.
18:31 BST

In The Washington Past

E.J. Dionne asks, Who's Got the Wrong Values Now? The idea that our country fought a war on false premises is astonishing -- and it has a lot to do with the "values" of this administration.

Dugald McConnell tries to answer the question, What's Behind the Big Grin? Edwards is the same guy on the stump as he is off-the-record, we're told. And: During the primaries he always denied that he was interested in the No. 2 slot, but one time, after his mike was unclipped, he had to admit he would relish a debate with Cheney. "It makes my mouth water to think about that," he said.

There are ways and ways to bribe the media. This is the other one.

Jim Hoagland thinks there might be a difference between TV and reality, and Michael Kinsley notes an interesting development in the position of lobbyists.

If you ever needed proof that Howard Kurtz does not exactly have his finger on the pulse of the nation, you only have to think about how many years ago it was time to ask this question: Is anyone else getting mad about what is laughingly called customer service these days? Welcome to the real world, Howard.
15:04 BST

The religion of politics

Triggerfinger has a contact list of the eight Republicans who changed their votes on amending the Patriot Act. I wouldn't copy that suggested letter (write your own), but if you live in or near one of their constituencies I definitely recommend writing to the local paper and making the point that these guys caved in to political pressure instead of voting their consciences.

"Ralph Nader: I don't believe you."

The Divine Parliament Prayadelic sitting on the Potomac

We Keep Our Word. (More here.)
13:55 BST

Tuesday, 13 July 2004

Words & pictures

Beauty, a La Colorado #2
via Sore Eyes

Dwight Meredith has discovered how we can avoid the slippery slope.

Robert Parry on The CIA's DI Disgrace: To understand why the Central Intelligence Agency's Directorate of Intelligence - or DI - failed so miserably to analyze the evidence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, one has to look back almost a quarter century to when ideological conservatives decided to deconstruct the DI's tradition of objective analysis.

Fox News' Statement on Outfoxed: Any news organization that thinks this story is legitimate is opening itself to having its copyrighted material taken out of context for partisan reasons. Poor things.

Mary Jacoby at Salon on that little debate - Dean hits Nader where it hurts

Max, on something not to look forward to.

22:53 BST

Things I've read

Bruce Bartlett continues explaining why from his view as a conservative, in some ways Clinton is looking pretty good in retrospect - but look at the ad that The Washington Times is running on the page (inside the column).

David Neiwert is on another break, but he recommends a weblog called Emphasis Added, and particularly a post called Defining Dissent Down, which again asks why so much time is being spent by "liberal" commentators attacking Michael Moore when the very idea of liberal democracy is at stake. I can tell you why: The biggest attack point used against Paul Krugman is that he never says anything nice about Bush policies, and therefore is "partisan". That this is a complete misunderstanding of the situation is lost on people like Ellen Goodman and Richard Cohen. So they have to bend over backwards to criticize "both sides", even when there is no equivalence. In a landscape where there is a paucity of liberal loonies to match the right-wing loons, Michael Moore is a "safe" target.

Tommy Chong is is out of jail, and I'm really sorry I missed his appearance on Leno. I see the press release is a short primer on the drug war. (via)

"You'd hate to think he's a liar. But given what he's talking about, you'd also hate to think he's telling the truth..."

"In my fondest dreams, Clear Channel is the subject of a massive Congressional investigation for their blatant pro-Bush bias."

Vietnam Veterans For Bush. Ha ha ha. (via)
13:09 BST

Some stuff

I think it's funny that Ron Reagan will be speaking at the Democratic Convention. As soon as I saw it, I thought, "And all they have is Zell Miller."

Some folks are saying that the Democrats got taken by agreeing to "a wimpy deal that allowed the report to blame the CIA and get Bush off the hook," but Bill Scher says the Sunday talk-show break-down shows the Dems weren't so dumb after all.

We have nothing to fear but people scaring the hell out of us. (It's always hard to pick one thing from TBogg's page, so you could just start at the top.

Two Glasses: The hallmark of today's conservative policies, it seems to me, is not so much that they are wrong-headed - although they are almost uniformly so - but that they are so consistently and positively harmful to the well-being and happiness of humanity. Whether it is the war in Iraq abroad or the war on the poor at home, conservatives seem hell-bent on pursuing the greatest possible misery for the greatest number of people. In fact, it is not a stretch to declare that conservatism amounts to a sort of anti-Utilitarianism.
01:00 BST

Monday, 12 July 2004

Late links

Sorry, I've been busy.

Our favorite Librarian, proprietor of the useful Moose & Squirrel Information One-Stop, is now making another attempt at blogging.

Alun Harries has provided a bit of background on the story behind the shake-up of the BBC's online product.

Atrios is on another holiday and this time Athenae and Holden seem to be doing duty on maintaining Eschaton. Posts like this one by Athenae demonstrate that there's more here than mere linkage. And just in case you were wondering, Holden tells you why it's No Longer Tin-Foil Hat Territory to suspect that the Republicans really are looking for an excuse to call off the election, with this from CNN: U.S. officials have discussed the idea of postponing Election Day in the event of a terrorist attack on or about that day, a Homeland Security Department spokesman said Sunday. Remember, folks, Al Qaeda dislikes our freedoms, but it's the Republicans who really hate them. Meanwhile, you might want to ask your reps why they aren't howling about this. (Or are they planning to wait until it's too late?)

If you're worried about other potential problems on election day, you might want to get involved with these people.

Charles Kuffner says Wow to the latest revelations about Tom DeLay's illegal activities.

I guess this goes with the freedom fries.
19:47 BST


I was over here having my prejudices confirmed and wondering if all my links and images convey enough information (probably not) when I found an example of justifiable use of Flash, at a page that tests your ability to Spot the Fake Smile.

Norbizness says everyone is taking the cultural quiz; Most of my answers were things like, "It depends," or "Which year?" or just, "No," as in either, "No I don't like either one," or, "No, I wouldn't choose between them."

Weapons of Mass Digestion
00:25 BST

Sunday, 11 July 2004

The comics

Scroll to the bottom of this Get Your War On page, where the artist answers the question: "What if I, David Rees, could get away with fucking up Get Your War On the way Rumsfeld gets away with fucking up wars?" (I particularly like the PayPal request.)

My man Huey's got the ESP. (All week.)
18:47 BST

Your happening world

What do you mean "we", media face? - Elton Beard at Busy, Busy, Busy watched Meet the Press and saw the mask slip when Russert stand-in Andrea Mitchell, reporting on Bush's sinking numbers, asked her guest, "So, Joe Lieberman, have we lost the American people?" So the press is objective, eh?

At Suburban Guerilla, Susan finds a role model and learns of some protesters who weren't pushed away to free speech zones.

Alan Bostick found more on those protesters with a first-person report.

Jeanne at Body and Soul reports that Only foreigners and writers are terrorists. Apparently, federal sentencing rules don't define domestic terrorism as terrorism. (Also: Naturally, when Steve Baum of Ethel the Blog collected and decided to share with readers 100 versions of "Body and Soul", Jeanne was interested.)

Bernie Sanders had won the vote to overturn the clause in the Patriot Act that forced librarians to allow the government to secretly violate their patrons' privacy, and then the Republicans got dirty until they could bring the vote down to a non-passing draw. "Shame! Shame! Shame!" said Bernie. Annatopia has the video; go watch. (via)

DHinMi at Daily Kos makes it crystal clear that Bush's non-appearance at the NAACP is sending a very nasty message - on purpose.

The Gadflyer says his shameless shilling for George Bush puts John McCain on the Straight balk express, imperiling his reputation for integrity. I say it shows McCain up for what he always has been. There's more to integrity than sometimes being honest. The Bushies just set the bar so low that it happened to make this guy look good.

John Emerson puts his money where his mouth is - he is sure the Bushies will play games with the election, and he'll betcha ten bucks. How sure are you that he's just wearing the tinfoil hat?

Simbaud at King of Zembla is glad someone's wearing that tinfoil hat, because without it, no one would have noticed that some criminals weren't purged from the voting rolls in Florida - in a presumed Republican constituency.
10:56 BST

Saturday, 10 July 2004

News from the world

Remember when we used to think there were things they couldn't do because "The whole world is watching"?

Mr. Sideshow saw it on TV, but in my usual clumsy way I haven't been able to find it on the web. The story is about calls to ditch some part of the BBC's web presence on the grounds that most of the people who are using it are doing so from abroad. Given that Auntie Beeb is paid for by (and for) people who live here, this may sound reasonable, but there are a lot of good reasons to shudder at the thought.

Meanwhile, Elayne Riggs catches the ominous portents in this news:

From next week the estimated 20,000 foreign journalists stationed in the US, who used to be able to renew their visas with ease in any major city, will be forced to leave the country to do so. Rather than applying to renew their visas in Washington or New York, they will be forced to leave the country and re-apply at a US embassy or consulate abroad, delaying their application for between four weeks and six months.
So, what happens to America when the whole world isn't watching?
22:36 BST

In Blogtopia
Yes! Skippy etc.!

They hated America so much they even had a flag for it.

Neocons who haven't lost their nerve

Oh, but ain't that America

Why Ken Lay is still smiling

It was anti-corporation night at Epicycle. (Also: Smart customers are too expensive and other stories.)

This might just cheer you up (and do follow the links).

Fools on the Hill, and a winning strategery, and those uncivil Democrats.
19:27 BST

Judgment at Baghdad

It's true, I just haven't been able to say anything about the trial of Saddam Hussein. Maybe this is because I don't feel like forcing myself to do the "Saddam is a bad man" obligatory chant one more time. (Maybe I thought having said it for decades already was enough.)

Or maybe it's because hearing these right-wing maniacs who used to try to disagree with that sentiment saying it now inexorably brings to mind the instinctive response, "Compared to what?" It's no good saying that at least Bush isn't as bad as Saddam when it turns out that even Saddam doesn't appear to have been as bad as Saddam.

So it seems he may not actually have gassed his own people after all, and you don't get the moral high ground on torture just by assuming that Being America Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry. By all reports, we're doing things that even Saddam didn't stoop to, so this "not as bad as Saddam" thing gets pretty weak the minute someone asks just exactly which thing we're not as bad as Saddam at. I've never heard it claimed that Saddam would kidnap someone's family and hold them hostage to try to get him to give himself up, for example.

But I guess the thing that's really bugging me is that I expected to see something more akin to what we did after World War II - and we were trying real, genuine, not-a-metaphor, not-hyperbole Nazis that time.

I guess I'm not the only person who is feeling that lead weight in the belly. Saddam is right about one thing: This looks less like a trial in a court of law than like a disgusting charade - and that's putting it kindly. It's pretty clear that the last thing our leaders and their puppets want is a real public airing of the history, the facts, of what has been going on in Iraq since the last time we put someone (Saddam) in power over Iraq.

Scheer is absolutely spot on when he says that Even a tyrant is entitled to due process:

Has anyone noticed that the charges leveled last week against Saddam Hussein bore no relation to the reasons offered by President Bush for his preemptive invasion of Iraq? Not a word about Hussein being linked to terrorist attacks on the United States or having weapons of mass destruction that posed an imminent threat to our nation's security.

That is because after seven months of interrogation, the United States appears to have learned nothing from Hussein or any other source in the world that supports the president's decision to go to war. Washington turned Hussein over to the Iraqis without charging its infamous prisoner of war with any of these crimes. And even the Iraqis did not charge him with being behind the insurgency that almost daily claims American lives.

It's a travesty, if you think about it. The fact is that the United States, which holds itself up as the exemplar of democracy for the entire Middle East, held Hussein in captivity for seven months, virtually incommunicado, without access to lawyers of his choosing and without charging him with a crime or releasing him at the end of the occupation, as required by the Geneva Convention. If the U.S. believes, as most of the world does, that Hussein committed crimes against humanity, then he is entitled to the same international standards of due process that the U.S. and its allies applied to top Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg. It is well established in such cases that justice will not be served by turning Hussein over to be tried by his former political rivals or his victims.
We have already grossly violated the standard of Nuremberg laid down by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson: "That four great nations, flushed with victory and stung with injury, stay the hand of vengeance and voluntarily submit their captive enemies to the judgment of the law is one of the most significant tributes that power has ever paid to reason." But the four great nations Jackson was referring to, led by our own, were not guilty of committing aggression but rather of stopping it. The first principle of the Nuremberg trials was to hold nations accountable for crimes against peace.

It is therefore fitting that the preliminary indictment holds Hussein responsible for his aggression against Kuwait, which precipitated the 1991 Gulf War. How disturbing that in the current war it was the United States that committed aggression by invading Iraq based on false premises, thereby violating the Nuremberg principle.

There is even some question about what would come out if the inconvenient details behind the invasion of Kuwait were to be dragged into the open. But fat chance on getting George H.W. Bush in the dock, eh?

So forgive me if I find myself unable to cheer on the so-called trial and pre-ordained verdict and sentence in this repellent little show. Soil your own hands if you want, but I don't want the stink on mine.
14:33 BST


"This will not be an election between tweedledum and tweedledee."

The mote in Krauthammer's eye

Why Pete Townsend is ticked off at Michael Moore

A workplace death that's no mystery.

I suppose congratulations are in order.

Another cursor toy: Bears, courtesy of Hal Davis.
04:48 BST

Friday, 09 July 2004


I have finally seen Fahrenheit 9/11, and I thought it was pretty good. Having seen the trailer and numerous reviews, a part of me felt like I'd already seen it before I walked in, but there was still something in it that even I didn't know. But, even knowing it was coming, it hurt watching the members of the black caucus voicing their objections while Al Gore told them the rules were the rules. Michael Moore was kind to Gore in those scenes; he never tells you why not one single Senator would sign the complaints.

I need to catch up on the news, now, so here's a few quick links in the meantime:

Why Kerry/Edwards is the dream ticket

New rules

Wage slavery
23:09 BST

Reads of note

Eric Alterman (who also has declared Iraq officially "A Terrorist Woodstock"), has an article up at the Center for American Progress called Think Again: Media Concentration: The Repudiation of Mr. Powell about how the courts have handed Michael Powell another defeat that represents a new lease on life for his opponents (that's you and me).

Bill Scher: To LiberalOasis' eye, the interesting thing about this week's The New Republic scoop was not that the Bushies are pressuring Pakistan to deliver "HVTs", or high-value Al Qaeda targets, before Election Day. What's interesting is that the Bushies are still outsourcing the Get Osama operation.

The American Prospect explains why John Ashcroft recused himself from the Plame leak investigation.

Paul Krugman says that if voters ever get to hear anything in the campaign about policy issues, they "will realize that they face some stark choices. Here's one of them: tax cuts for the very well-off versus health insurance."
16:03 BST

Doing Howard

I was just looking at some of Janis Ian's old Advocate articles and was entertained by this one:

I did Howard Stern last year and joined the ranks of the Politically Incorrect.

Well, I didn't actually do Howard Stern. I just did his show. And that was quite enough, thank you!

I love doing Howard. I've done his morning radio show, his E! television show, and his disgusting New Year's Eve special. I like Howard. He treats me with courtesy, and he recognizes my relationship as valid. He always asks how Pat is doing, what she is doing, and who she is doing lately. In fact, he tried very hard to find an appropriate term for introducing my partner. After rejecting "Mr. Ian", "Mrs. Ian", and "Her Better Half", he finally settled on "Mr. Lesbian", a term we find appallingly funny and poignantly correct.

There's some illuminating stuff there about various types of bigotry and the history of her career.
00:17 BST

Thursday, 08 July 2004

Stuff to read

Center for American Progress has updated their President Bush: Flip-Flopper-In-Chief page with a more comprehensive list of flip-flops.

Anne Zook is on coffee and has a little list, including Terry Jones on the triumph of Iraqi democracy.

No Class Bush.
17:40 BST

Sign up for a free bumper sticker.

The Republicans have this new fantasy that they are now the party of "democratization" while the Democrats are just into "Realpolitik". I don't know any Democrats who believe this, especially given the complete absence of any evidence that Bush has the slightest interest in actual democracy. Josh Marshall and Kevin Drum see it my way.

You already know how much I loved that book, that movie, that character, and that actor, right? So you know it's saying something good about Edwards that I'm not the least put out when Slacktivist equates him with Atticus Finch. (And do I remember correctly that Dick Cheney was also a lawyer - but the other kind?)

The current issue of The American Prospect has a whole raft of items on the death penalty: Going It Alone (The rest of the civilized world has abolished the death penalty. Will the United States follow suit? ), The Unique Brutality of Texas (Why the Lone Star State leads the nation in executions), Death's Dwindling Dominion (Public opinion is shifting against the death penalty. What will it take to abolish it?), Courtroom Contortions (How America's application of the death penalty erodes the principle of equal justice under law), and a few more.

In The Washington Post, George F. Will provides a laughable review of Thomas Frank's What's the Matter With Kansas?

In the Guardian:
Fahrenheit 9/11's mom with a mission, Lila Lipscomb, is interviewed.
Sidney Blumenthal sees more than just a running-mate in Edwards, saying, The battle for the south has begun.
13:37 BST

July surprise

Dig this:

A third source, an official who works under ISI's director, Lieutenant General Ehsan ul-Haq, informed tnr that the Pakistanis "have been told at every level that apprehension or killing of HVTs before [the] election is [an] absolute must." What's more, this source claims that Bush administration officials have told their Pakistani counterparts they have a date in mind for announcing this achievement: "The last ten days of July deadline has been given repeatedly by visitors to Islamabad and during [ul-Haq's] meetings in Washington." Says McCormack: "I'm aware of no such comment." But according to this ISI official, a White House aide told ul-Haq last spring that "it would be best if the arrest or killing of [any] HVT were announced on twenty-six, twenty-seven, or twenty-eight July"--the first three days of the Democratic National Convention in Boston.
This story comes from no less a source than The New Republic. (Ah, I see Josh Marshall quoted the same paragraph that I did.)
02:23 BST

Culture notes

News Hounds ("We watch FOX so you don't have to") finds Neil Cavuto stooping "a little low." But, um, is this new?

At The Washington Post, Harold Meyerson notices something interesting about Brando: A Dangerous American:

Quite instructively, something that should have happened didn't happen in the nation's capital over the past few days. None of our nation's leaders -- of any political tendency, so far as I could see -- paid any notice to Marlon Brando's death, or life.
That Brando's death went unmarked by power is a testament not to his failings but to his success; not to his failings but to ours.
John Emerson does a further riff on the attacks on Fahrenheit 9/11.
00:09 BST

Wednesday, 07 July 2004


David Broder falls in line with RNC spin about Edwards' lack of experience:

The choice had everything to do with Mission One, winning the election, and precious little to do with governing the nation.

In that respect, it is -- as Republicans were quick to point out -- a vivid contrast to the choice President Bush made four years ago in selecting Dick Cheney for his ticket.

The reason people said so much about Cheney's experience four years ago is that the top of the Republican ticket was filled by a man with virtually no experience - and what experience he did have was marked largely by failure; the Kerry ticket doesn't have that problem.

But there's no evidence that Edwards is less fit to govern than either Bush or Cheney - the former goes out of his way to inform us that he has learned nothing from the last few years, and the latter is a maniac who has learned criminality all too well. Edwards, by contrast, appears to have done something neither one of them have experience at: making a success of himself without screwing the rest of us.

Broder is "balanced" - he says some nice things about Edwards as he gets toward the end, but he starts off sounding like he was taking dictation from Ed Gillespie.

E.J. Dionne says Edwards is The Best Choice, and quotes Republicans (including Hatch and McCain) from the 2000 campaign to prove it. Dionne is talking mostly about the politics of the choice, but let's be real: Even a yaller dawg knows not to pee on the Constitution, but Bush and Cheney don't.

Media Matters has a nice round-up of how the media is carrying RNC disinfo on the campaign ("Edwards pack") - some of them made me laugh out loud.

Meanwhile, we're looking pretty good in the electoral vote race, but for the House and Senate, MyDD says we still don't look like we can take either. I'm hoping the coattails are gonna work for us....

16:58 BST

Air America weblogs

A few things I found on the Morning Sedition weblog (on this thread):

Posted by Jared in Chicago, a link to the transcript of a Bill Moyers interview with John McCain:

SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: I demanded that the lame duck democrat be replaced by Senator Daschle's nominee, which was the way that we usually operate, a Republican and a Democrat. And guess what? The administration gave me their word that they would appoint her as a recess appointment because they had done that with the other Republican.

And they waited until after the regulations were issued before giving her a recess appointment despite the fact that in writing I had gotten their word that she would be recess appointed in October.

BILL MOYERS: If you can't trust them, why can we?

SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN: I don't...I can't answer that, except to say that in 20 years around this town I've never had my word...I've never had people break their word to me in this fashion.

posted by RagingBQ: The tort reform "debate" reminds me of two women/men fighting over the one man/woman two-timing both of them. Neither side ever seems to figure out that the problem is the one in the middle (here the insurance industry, which is lying to both sides and the public).

Here's a site for Iraq Coalition Casualties.

Some stories linked from the Unfiltered weblog:

From The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (free registration required), Even as a war mechanic, Bush in a fix.

From My Way, AmeriCorps Agency Loses Suit on Religion.

Inquiry Confirms Top Medicare Official Threatened Actuary Over Cost of Drug Benefits.

And links to both the NYT and WashPost stories on the same story:
9/11 Panelists Rebut Cheney on Information.
And I think this is the WashPost version of the same story, except that suddenly their site refuses to recognize me. Hmph!
14:58 BST

In media

In The American Prospect, Richard Byrne looks at the political winds that Neil Young has moved with, and says that, in his latest album, Young has found his voice once again.

Right-wing shills would be less of a problem if what The Daily Howler calls "good guy pundits" wouldn't read from their script, too. This week, The Howler looks at how Ellen Goodman and Bill Press fell in line with it.

And at the Center for American Progress, Eric Alterman observes:The media, apparently, have finally decided to take a stand for truth in reporting. Their target? Alleged America-hater Michael Moore and his apparently epoch-making "Fahrenheit 9/11."

It was already a good thing that Thomas Friedman went on a long vacation, but it's a great thing that Barbara Ehrenreich is sitting in for him.
10:30 BST

Issues and politics

Dave Johnson at Seeing the Forest says the Middle-Class Estate Tax is 100%.

LiberalOasis says that when it comes to Democracy, Bush doesn't put our money where his mouth is.

You should go right now and read the letters from Charles Pierce (on why he never became a Reagan Democrat) and from Stupid (on the government's plan to increase the threat of bioterrorism) in Alterman's Slacker Friday post.

At Tapped, Garance Franke-Ruta wonders where all that ABB anger will go if Bush manages to stay in the White House.

Early today, even before Kerry had announced Edwards as his choice, I noticed a link on one of the Air America blogs for this thread on an aviation forum, which begins with this: John Kerry"s 757 was in hgr 4 pit tonight John Edwards vp decals were being put on engine cowlings and upper fuselage. Reading further into the thread, I see we have some of the GOP talking points on Kerry (he's rich!) and the beginnings of the Evils of The Wife v.2: Heinz has factories in other countries! The RNC apparently wants you to believe that this represents the export of jobs, as if people in other countries don't use ketchup.

Bush's "boom" turned out to be a damp squib, and Paul Krugman asks: When does optimism - the Bush campaign's favorite word these days - become an inability to face facts?.
02:27 BST

Tuesday, 06 July 2004

Campaign weather report

I'm a little weirded out that it's finally happened: Someone on a national ticket is younger than I am. Ouch.

High Desert Skeptic cheers, and provides a photo that demonstrates that Edwards does, in fact, look like he's 50. (Also, this.) And HDS recommends A VP Who Sticks Up For The Little Guy at The Talent Show.

Kevin Drum seems pleased, and says the VP-choice roundtable at TNR seems to be, too.

Matthew kinda wishes Edwards were at the top of the ticket, instead. But he still said, "Yay!"

TalkLeft is ecstatic and provides a further round-up of reactions. That includes Eric Alterman, who is a happy man and says Edwards is a better campaigner than even Bill Clinton.

Josh Marshall: happy. Also noting that CNN is dancing to the RNC's tune.

Kos: way happy, and he's found McCain's endorsement for Edwards, too:

20:51 BST


It was finally sunny, so I went out for an idle wander and enjoyed the weather in case it goes away again. Also, I read this stuff:

Bérubé on patriotic music

Jesus and the Patriots

Who owns

Why terrorists fly first class.
18:41 BST

It's Edwards

But this morning The New York Post had this story:


John Kerry has chosen Rep. Richard Gephardt, the veteran congressman from Missouri, to be his running mate, The Post has learned.

In real life, Kerry Taps Edwards for Running Mate , and I can't say I'm particularly unhappy with this choice. His understanding of foreign policy issues is better than most people realize, and his fervent support of working people will resonate firmly with the people.

RNC LIE being floated: "John Edwards made his fortune as a malpractice lawyer." No, he didn't, he's never been a malpractice lawyer. He did back a lot of ordinary people who were being screwed by corporations - he's a shining example of why we don't want RNC "tort reform", and why they want it so bad. He's a hero.

Update: The NYP seems to have taken that story down, now, but Corrente has a picture.
13:25 BST

Take a good look

Nathan Newman spells out once again why Bush's incompetence is losing the fight against terror.

The Goddess says this ain't what Jesus would do. It's what James Dobson and a lot of other right-wingers would do, though, which is why Atrios is smart to keep his identity to himself.

I keep noticing that the right-wingers (including a lot of the right-blogosphere) still seem to think that the real scandal is the oil-for-food story. They like this story because it makes the UN look nearly as corrupt as George Bush. Josh Marshall takes an old piece of advice: check your source.

Ampersand finally understands what's behind anti-gay marriage thinking.

"I would have expected that one couldn't go wrong with chicks wearing tv parts. I was mistaken." (via)
12:37 BST

Monday, 05 July 2004

All the news that's bits

Ooops! (via)

TBogg says that this is "Possibly the most honest review of F9/11." (Also: Kerry apparently unashamed to be associated with Langston Hughes.)

John Kerry's old rock band, at Ask Mr. Music (via)

Dominic Thomas (of Epicycle) wonders where to get one of these, though he is not convinced it really exists. (Not enough room on my desk for one, anyway.)
23:31 BST

Watching the defectives

Matthew d'Ancona says, in the Telegraph, that The hawks have only themselves to blame for Michael Moore's success. The author appears to believe that the problem with the war is that people just don't understand the complexities of and magnitude of the War on Terror, that Blair and the Bushistas just didn't explain it well enough. And because of this failure, Moore is getting away with it:

Moore is the most powerful spokesman of the myth that gripped the Spanish people when they elected Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero as their Prime Minister in the wake of the Madrid bombing: namely, that if we oust specific politicians from office - replace Bush with Kerry, Blair with Brown - the Islamic fundamentalists will leave us alone. It is, of course, psychologically reassuring for voters to be told that they have this power, that there is something quick and clean they can do about their collective predicament. But it is also a fantasy. The theocratic guerrillas of al-Qaeda and its associates who, it emerged last week, were planning to bomb a British primary school in Madrid and, on Friday, promised fresh attacks in Europe, will not be appeased by any number of political scalps. Their ambitions for the world are much greater and more terrifying.
Like most of those who persist in pretending Bush has not created a disaster, d'Ancona completely misapprehends - or at least utterly misrepresents - the position of those who want to get rid of Bush. No one thinks that merely changing faces is going to convince Al Qaeda to leave us alone. In fact, most opponents of the administration probably believe that reducing the threat from Al Qaeda will require a great deal of work and will be a long, slow, hard process. But it certainly requires some serious policy change, and Bush seems, at best, slow to embrace the idea that maybe he hasn't got it right. More importantly, the rest of the world is unlikely to trust him even if light ever dawns, in which event one hopes he would be smart enough to realize the only thing he can do is get out of the way.

But above and beyond that, it seems clear that Bush is not trying to fight terrorism; if he'd wanted to do that, he would have stayed out of Iraq altogether and cleaned up Afghanistan while he had the chance to do some good. Instead, he went looking for another war and further destabilized the entire area. Clearly, getting rid of this administration is the vital first step toward taking terrorism seriously, but it's only a first step. Bush has done a lot of damage on several fronts, and only some of it can be undone, but no one in their right mind thinks Bush is the man to undo it.


Mark Evanier has a look at Dick Cheney's "values".

The Poor Man has been doing a series on the lies, possibly inspired by Kristof.

Francis Fukuyama now wants to Bring back the state because 9/11 ended the Reagan/Thatcher era.
18:19 BST

HTML lessons

I get mail:

Owen Boswarva (of Also not found in nature) sent a solution to the black-out question I had for David Bell's Miranda tee-shirt design:

No need to use cells - you can simulate blacked out text in HTML using a one-pixel image file and the height and width properties of the img tag, like so: [link]
(Go to the page and View Source to see how it's done.]

And Lightning found an even easier solution:

The way to do it is as black text on a black background. In the <head> section, put a style definition:

.blackout {background-color: black; color: black;}

Any time you want to black something out, surround it with <span class="blackout"> ... </span> tags.

This has the advantage (?) of letting people feel clever by reading the "blacked out" parts by selecting them. Hey, just like the real thing (only a lot easier, of course!)

Neat, and just what I wanted, but isn't that CSS rather than vanilla HTML?

Anyway, I like it. Makes it easier to do this, too.
15:42 BST

Patriotic Stuff

How Brad DeLong celebrated the 4th of July

TalkLeft celebrated the 4th by going to see Fahrenheit 9/11 (and says that Back to Iraq is reporting that Michael Moore has approved free downloads of the film. Also: Moore himself on the whole F9/11 phenomenon.) And some more good news for patriots: Americans like the 1st Amendment again.

Jesus' General has found the video (RealPlayer) of Colin Powell's performance of "YMCA" with his back-up group. Uh, don't quit your day job, guys.

The General also has a product line, with a tee-shirt idea that actually fits on your chest - the revised list of American values. (Thanks to Stefanie Murray for the heads-up.) You can also get his Republican Jesus line, along with items for the Bush/Pinochet campaign and other manly, patriotic features. Damn, that mousepad is out of stock.
12:28 BST

Sunday, 04 July 2004


Tested the new scanner/printer by pulling an ancient editorial cartoon off the wall. Reagan was still president when it went up there.
22:43 BST


I have come to the conclusion that The Bill of Rights 2004 isn't going to make a good tee-shirt, although it could be a good poster or flier. However, David Bell wrote to suggest using the Miranda rights with all of the important words blacked out like the result of a Freedom of Information request. (If there's a way to represent that in HTML, I don't know it. It probably involves cells or something.)

Kevin Drum notes that the Republicans want people to ignore what the press says about how bad things are going in Iraq, and says: Wow. These guys have $2.8 million to spend solely to convince people that they shouldn't believe anything they read in the papers? That's remarkable.

Cancer rising - hey, maybe smoking protects you from cancer. (Dontcha love correlations?)

Reagan Pyramid Nears Completion.

TBTM: Flipper
18:22 BST

World without law

Brigadier General Janis Karpinski gave an interview last week in which she pointed the finger right up the chain. And she said this:

Karpinski: One of the members of [Miller's Guantanamo] team was a JAG officer, a lawyer from down there. And I said to her - she was a lieutenant colonel, I believe - and I said to her, "You know, we're having problems with releasing some of these prisoners. What are you doing?" And she said, "Oh, we're not releasing anybody." And I said, "What's going to be the end state?" And she said, "Most of these prisoners will never leave Guantanamo Bay. They'll spend the rest of their lives in detention." And I said, "How do they get visits from home?" She said, "These are terrorists, ma'am. They're not entitled to visitors from home."

I was stunned. I thought, we'll never get out of Iraq at this rate.

Via King of Zembla, where I also learned a few more details about Saddam's defense team. Look, if everyone is so sure this guy is guilty, what's the harm in letting him have a proper legal defense? (Hey, maybe we should give him a change of venue to Simi Valley - I hear they have a lot of respect for law enforcement over there.) Ah, but we all know what's really important, don't we? I guess these people are enemy combatants, too.
10:59 BST

Saturday, 03 July 2004


Kevin Drum and Matt Yglesias play a duet after Grover Norquist reacts badly to MPAA's hiring of a former Clinton hire to replace Valenti as their lead shill. Both wonder if having Republicans out to get the MPAA could present a change in the rabid attacks on file-sharing from the legislature. Oh, yeah, bring it on!

Matt also says:

  • It is very strange that the media is more concerned with Michael Moore's invalid argumentative techniques than with the extremely similar techniques employed by the president of the United States.
  • It is very strange that the media is more concerned with the fact that Michael Moore is a polemicist rather than a journalist presenting a balanced view of events than with the fact that the Fox News network and a small army of conservative radio hosts are doing the same thing.
  • It is a very strange thing indeed that the media does not provide outlets for stridently liberal commentary in lieu of the fact that Fahrenheit 9-11 clearly demonstrates that there is a large audience for such things.
  • What liberal media?
(I think Matt meant "in light of" rather than "in lieu of" up there. Whenever I start to beat myself up over the numbers of typos and mindos I produce on this page, I go over and read Matt's stuff so I can feel better.)

So there you are.
19:55 BST

Bizarre news

AP has photos:

US Secretary of State Colin Powell (news - web sites), right, with other unidentified US diplomatic delegates perform a version of the Village People hit song 'YMCA' at the conclusion of Asia's largest security meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Friday July 2, 2004. Powell took to the stage, dressed as a construction worker Friday, with other unidentified US diplomats to deliver their rendition of the 1970's hit song to an audience of Asia Security meeting delegates. (AP Photo / APTV)
Don't miss the rest of the slideshow. (via)
12:24 BST


Atrios: Remember that time Biden courageously took the lead on an issue? Me neither.

Dear Ralph is a website that has a mission and a plan to encourage Nader to get out of the race.

Personally, I love shellfish, but God Hates Shrimp.
04:17 BST

Friday, 02 July 2004

From the Washpost op-ed page

E. J. Dionne says:The intense polarization of politics, aggravated under the Bush presidency, should require Bush and Kerry to explain not only what they will do for the next four years but also how, in the current climate, they propose to get it done. This presupposes that what Bush claims he will do has any relationship to reality.

Krauthammer: Al Gore is off his meds so it's okay for Dick Cheney to use foul language on the Senate floor (and anyway it gives CK a chance to pretend to hip literacy).
23:54 BST

A couple things

Moore's Public Service by Paul Krugman: There has been much tut-tutting by pundits who complain that the movie, though it has yet to be caught in any major factual errors, uses association and innuendo to create false impressions. Many of these same pundits consider it bad form to make a big fuss about the Bush administration's use of association and innuendo to link the Iraq war to 9/11. Why hold a self-proclaimed polemicist to a higher standard than you hold the president of the United States?

Media Wins in Florida Felon Voting List Case: A state court judge in Florida ordered Thursday that the board of elections immediately release a list of nearly 50,000 suspected felons to CNN and other news organizations that last month sued the state for access to copies of the list. Can't wait to find out how accurate that list is. (via)
19:34 BST

Items of interest

Naomi Klein's Shameless in Iraq: The dream was for multinational firms, mostly from the United States, to swoop in and dazzle the Iraqis with their speed and efficiency. Iraqis saw something else.

Republican gets caught.

Jim Hoagland exposed by the magnificent Brad DeLong.

Coulter vs. Colmes

Artificial Sweetener May Disrupt Body's Ability To Count Calories, According To New Study (via Boing Boing, via a post full of other great links at Pacific Views).

A gorgeous sunset

Which Firefly character are you? (via)
12:43 BST

Thursday, 01 July 2004

Big stuff

Heavy-duty lingerie

Everybody sneered at that draft story, but not me. And I don't think Charles Dodgson has been sneering, either.

David Neiwert says Bush really really is a deserter. QED.

In deference to Elton I was holding back on the Kristof thing, but I can't resist: The Poor Man and Tim are heroes.

Not much has been said about Kerry's speech to the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. Except for Bill Scher, of course, who wants to make sure that when people say, "Why doesn't Kerry talk about the issues?" you'll know the answer is that he has.

And yes, they really are looking for excuses to call off the election: The government needs to establish guidelines for canceling or rescheduling elections if terrorists strike the United States again, says the chairman of a new federal voting commission. (via) Quick, how many elections were called during the Civil War?
23:16 BST


Oh, god, it's July already. I was going to build a tee-shirt for the occasion but I don't have enough peripherals installed at the moment and couldn't figure out how to turn this into an image to upload to Cafe Press.

Anyway, I just got into a grim mood after reading a post at Seeing The Forest called George IV is worse than George III:

Abu Ghraib and the recent Supreme Court decisions have brought attention to the Bush Administration's horrible civil liberties record, but I think that the picture never quite gets talked about as a whole, and is worse than anyone realizes. (The fact that they went beyond what Justice Scalia was willing to accept tells you a lot).
So he spells it out, and oh, god, it's all true, and I am bummed out.

I imagine they may try to tie it together with "liberation" in Iraq, but who believes that? I just can't figure out how anyone let these people make such mess of things. Jeez!
13:39 BST

Check it out

Art by Al Sirois

Susie Bright, unfortunately lacking proper permalinks, has been dissed by the Supreme Court.

Gene Lyons: Now and then, something happens that causes our esteemed Washington press corps to exhibit its collective posterior to a wondering nation. Send copies of this column to the NYT and The Washington Past.

A Level Gaze: a fair question from Michael Moore.

Bad Attitudes: Read Cybergate Scumbag and Class A whiner Manuel Miranda's piece challenging his former boss Sen. Orrin Hatch to a fistfight while mocking Hatch's outlandish theory that there is something wrong with stealing thousands of secret Democratic memos.

TalkLeft: Kennedy Commission Recommends Less Reliance on Incarceration and The Morning After: Another View of Supreme Court Cases

Man, he is so good. Digby and Digby. Just read it.

Peacetree Farm, which has changed its address, reports that the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine has reported the results of its "decidedly unscientific" presidential poll: 80% Kerry, 5% Bush, 15% undecided.

John Cleese announces his new website. Wear a hat. Oh, yes, it's bilingual. (via)
04:06 BST

Avedon Carol at The Sideshow, July 2004

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

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