The Sideshow

Archive for July 2006

Check box to open new browser windows for links.

Monday, 31 July 2006

Open windows

The reason I know the chickenhawks are chickenhawks is because they never called for a draft. It's been obvious since the beginning that Bush was embarked on a mission that can't be won without a draft, but they've never advocated one because they knew it would be politically disastrous. It's not just that they wouldn't think of enlisting themselves; the politics are almost everything. But we really shouldn't be afraid to give these creeps the white feather.

Karl Rove respects the voters.

"Why Barack Obama can kiss my ass" - PNH leads the discussion after reading about the harassment of the Dobrich family.

I'm not sure I can accept the primary assumptions of "An American Foreign Policy That Both Realists and Idealists Should Fall in Love With", but if you want to call it "Progressive realism" to use some basic common sense, that's okay with me.

More reasons to vote for Ned Lamont next week.

And now, from the annals of the financially imprudent... - Someone is waiting to take away everything you've got.

A nice little tutorial on the Rubber Stamp Republicans.

Unreported Jesus by the uncensored Derek and Clive.

23:52 BST

Snakes and ladders

I don't know why the Israelis are shelling the Lebanese army if their purpose is supposed to be to weaken Hizbolla and strengthen the official Lebanese Army, but I'm afraid they may have opened a Bushian strategy that could lead to their own destruction. Bill Scher says there actually is someone who is trying to make sense of things, but it's doubtful Condi and her friends will pay much attention. (Also: Bill interviews Eric Boehlert about Lapdogs and how the media responded to it.)

There's a good linky post up at Firedoglake you should check out. Prizes include McJoan at DKos with "A Tale of Two Primaries", in which California Representative Jane Harman also received a challenge from the left, and did exactly the opposite of Joe Lieberman.

Shakespeare's Sister on An Epidemic of Hatred against gays in the United States, and Zack links to an article on why we need Al Gore (though the author really needs to see these before repeating all that stuff about how stiff and boring Gore was in 2000), and reminds us why we've got Bush instead.

Busy, Busy, Busy and Max Speak, You Listen! on the WaPo editorial on Lieberman.

"Evangelical, Not Republican" - Xanthippas at Three Wise Men on the Rev. Gregory A. Boyd's rejection of partisanship from the pulpit.

Thanks to KathyF (of) for alerting me to this helpful visual aid explaining Tony Blair's Israel/Lebanon policy.

Turns out that not everyone looks bad in a superhero costume: Power Girl.

18:03 BST


I was reading Steve Gilliard's reaction to the NYT Lamont endorsement, and was reminded again that one of the criticisms that's being thrown at Lamont is that it's anti-Lieberman. Which is similar to criticisms of the support for Kerry, that we were anti-Bush. And I can remember having heard that sort of criticism for a very long time and I've always thought, "My, that's stupid." Look, the only reason to run against someone who is already doing a good job is for your own career, not the service of the public. If you hear people saying, "The Mayor/Congressman/Senator/President is doing a fine job, but I can do a better one," it's rather the same as saying, "Nothing's broke, but I'm going to fix it anyway." That tends to be a disaster. Thinking the public servant you have isn't good enough is the best reason in the world to run. And right now, a lot more people ought to be thinking that way, because it's pretty obvious we have too many in office who are more concerned with their own careers than the effect they are having on the country.

"Psychological warfare" - Mark Benjamin at Salon reports that: The 150,000-member American Psychological Association is facing an internal revolt over its year-old policy that condones the participation of psychologists in the interrogations of prisoners during the Bush administration's "war on terror."

Epicycle alerts us to a story at Ars Technical saying that Rick Carnes of the Songwriters Guild has responded to the EFF's tough questions for the RIAA and MPAA by repeating the usual industry talking points, thus proving that someone who really should have researched this issue hasn't done so at all and is instead taking the word of the same people who routinely rip-off songwriters and performers.

Another good question from John Amato at Crooks and Liars after Chris Matthews discusses a warning he received two years ago when, "King Abdullah of Jordan warned me of what was coming in the Mideast. His prediction was dead on. He spoke of his fears and what the United States was doing in Iraq, toppling one government, electing another, was creating what he called a Shi'a crescent, from Tehran through Baghdad to Beirut that threatened to dominate the Arab world, challenging modern Sunni governments in Egypt and Saudi Arabia and others with an axis of Shi'a power based in Iran." John asks: Why wasn't he talking about this two years ago?

12:46 BST


Triumph Amourette 300 underwired braBra of the Week

Stained glass

This photo is a rather nice concept. (Warning: It's a nude.)

Animated Lenticluar Cloud (Might run slow the first time through but it's really very short.)

Explosions from White Dwarf Star RS Oph - Wheee!

The Poor Man Institute studies Rope-a-dope forever.

Cernig considers The Irgun Conundrum: If neocon policy had always been followed would the state of Israel even exist in its modern form?

Tony Blair actually looked believable, and genuinely distraught, as he said, "What has happened at Qana shows that this is a situation that simply cannot continue." Tony Benn was scathing about how Blair's insistence on doing everything Bush wants since he got into the White House has led to disaster. (I was confused by the political noise about Jack Straw's comments, since what I've seen quoted didn't actually sound much different from what Blair was saying.)

Lately I play a lot of Rogue when I watch TV. I've kind of become re-addicted to it. And, you know, I play these games like a maniac, I just go rushing in and hit things. And I was just thinking that this is actually how the neocons think you handle foreign relations. Talk about your Rogue nation....

I watched Bedazzled again this evening - the real one. I looked for the clip of George telling Stanley what Heaven is like, but couldn't find it. Found the pop star scene, though.

00:36 BST

Sunday, 30 July 2006

They're talking about Joe

This editorial appears in this morning's Washington Post:

Mr. Lieberman's Strength
The Democratic Party needs his ability to bridge the partisan divide.
Look, he's not "bridging" it, he's on the other side of it.
IN HIS BATTLE to win Democratic renomination to the U.S. Senate, Joseph I. Lieberman seems to be getting blamed in Connecticut for something that in Washington is an asset -- and ought to be understood as such by Democratic voters back home.
If it's such an asset, why isn't it working for the country?
No, we're not talking about his support for the war in Iraq. It's true that we regard his steadfastness under pressure on foreign policy questions as an admirable trait, and it seems to us that even those who disagree with him should find something to admire in his fealty to principles, even when he knows there's a political cost.
Leaving aside the fact that I'm not sure which principle his support for "the war" - or rather, for anything George Bush says is needed in support of the war - Lieberman is actually sticking to, I see no reason why I should "admire" his steadfastness anymore than I do the dedication of that guy who used to stand outside Underground stations wearing a sandwich-board that exhorted us to avoid "protein lust". (At least I'm reasonably sure he believed in what he was saying, unlike Joe Lieberman.)
[...] But we are not among those who criticize the antiwar challenge as illegitimate. Ned Lamont, Mr. Lieberman's neophyte primary opponent, is entitled to run an antiwar campaign and even to pour last-minute millions from his personal fortune into the race.
But we mention it only to distract you from the fact that you might not feel the same way about Joe Lieberman's "right" to pour corporate millions into his race and thus make himself beholden to people who are actively trying to deprive you of your rights.
And voters who believe that Mr. Lieberman is wrong on the war and that the war is the paramount issue are entitled to vote for his opponent in the Aug. 8 primary. That's democracy.
Nice of you to say so.
But it seems that Mr. Lieberman is also being pummeled for his ability to work with Republicans and get things done in Washington -- also rare traits -- and that's a criticism that strikes us as shortsighted even from a partisan Democratic point of view.
No, you fools, it's not "his ability to get things done" that he's being "pummeled" for, it's the things he's getting done. If the Republicans in Congress were working to strengthen our security, our economy, and our freedoms, we would all applaud Mr. Lieberman for pitching in to help. But since they are doing the reverse, we don't want him to help them. See how simple it is?

David Broder doesn't - unsurprisingly. Broder actually appears to have been interested enough in the race to do a little bit of real reporting, but he still seems to think he's dealing with a bunch of out-of-touch stoners; Digby notes he appears to be exhibiting a Pathological Fear Of Hippies. Because Broder says things like this:

The people backing Lamont are nothing if not sincere.
We could also be right, of course, but that doesn't figure in the media elite calculus. Why, they'd rather be lied into an insane invasion of the Middle-East than worry about things like that.
But their breed of Democrats -- many of them wealthy, educated, extremely liberal -- often pick candidates who are rejected by the broader public. Many of the older Lamont supporters went straight from Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern in the 1960s and '70s to Howard Dean in 2004.
I'm really tired of having McGovern shoved in our faces as if there was something wrong with backing him. The race would have been tough no matter who the Democrats nominated, but McGovern made a serious misstep when he chose Eagleton and then Shriver as his running-mate. And, of course, Nixon was cheating, illegally spying, and eventually the public realized they'd made a mistake - although too late for the election. A bit like what's happening now. But McGovern wasn't simply the choice of a bunch of lefty teenagers - he could not have won the nomination without much, much broader support within the party. (And it was the Democratic Party, not the broader public, that kept Dean from being nominated. We have no idea whether that broader public would have rejected him or not.)

This part is actually funny:

They helped Joe Duffey challenge Sen. Tom Dodd in Connecticut for the 1970 Democratic nomination on the Vietnam War issue, only to lose to Republican Lowell Weicker in November.
Lowell Weicker, a Republican, was more liberal than quite a number of Democrats. We used to have that in those days. Weicker was so liberal that the Republicans finally got rid of him by supporting a relatively conservative Democrat against him - Joe Lieberman.

It's too bad that Broder and whoever wrote his paper's editorial didn't notice this article from the same paper:

Lieberman's Eroding Base
Many Democratic Faithful Support a Political Newcomer Rather Than the Senator Who Has Not Toed Party Line

By Shailagh Murray
Washington Post Staff Writer

[...] But this year, as Lieberman battles for a fourth term in the Senate, Stolberg has reluctantly endorsed his ally's Democratic primary opponent, multimillionaire businessman and political neophyte Ned Lamont. "It's been a wrenching decision. I've supported him every step," Stolberg said of Lieberman. "But the issues and the principles trump 40 years of friendship."
"You can want to be liked by some people, but there are a few you have to write off," Stolberg said. "Joe wants to be loved by the devil, too."
While laying the foundation for his own presidential bid in 2004, Lieberman criticized Gore for mishandling their 2000 campaign by sounding a populist tone instead of appealing more to centrists. He showed interest in the Republicans' plan for overhauling Social Security, he voted for a Republican energy bill that Democrats decried, he supported federal intervention in the Terri Schiavo right-to-die case, and he helped clear the path for a vote on Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s Supreme Court confirmation -- although he voted against Alito.

Even without the invasion, those would be good enough reasons, don't you think?
But Lieberman has helped his party on many issues. He is a strong supporter of abortion rights,
Not lately. And once he let people like Roberts and Alito come to a floor vote when he knew that meant putting them on the Supreme Court, any other votes on the issue are just misdirection. And then there's that "short ride" business; you don't aid and abet hospitals in your state in refusing emergency contraception to rape victims if you're really working for women's reproductive choice.
opposed the Bush tax cuts, and is considered a friend to environmental, gay and lesbian, and labor causes. Much to his frustration, critics have pushed all that into the background.
Not true. His half-hearted support for those issues is clear from his unwillingness to go to the mat for them. Here's the real Lieberman:
When he took on Sen. Lowell P. Weicker Jr. in 1988, he ran so far to the right of the moderate Republican that conservative icon William F. Buckley Jr. pitched in as a Lieberman fundraiser.
Why, Joe is so far right that even the corporate New York Times couldn't bring themselves to endorse him, and went the other way this morning:
Mr. Lieberman is not just a senator who works well with members of the other party. And there is a reason that while other Democrats supported the war, he has become the only target. In his effort to appear above the partisan fray, he has become one of the Bush administration's most useful allies as the president tries to turn the war on terror into an excuse for radical changes in how this country operates.

Citing national security, Mr. Bush continually tries to undermine restraints on the executive branch: the system of checks and balances, international accords on the treatment of prisoners, the nation's longtime principles of justice. His administration has depicted any questions or criticism of his policies as giving aid and comfort to the terrorists. And Mr. Lieberman has helped that effort. He once denounced Democrats who were "more focused on how President Bush took America into the war in Iraq" than on supporting the war's progress.

At this moment, with a Republican president intent on drastically expanding his powers with the support of the Republican House and Senate, it is critical that the minority party serve as a responsible, but vigorous, watchdog. That does not require shrillness or absolutism. But this is no time for a man with Mr. Lieberman's ability to command Republicans' attention to become their enabler, and embrace a role as the president's defender.
We endorse Ned Lamont in the Democratic primary for Senate in Connecticut.

The New York Times endorsed the challenger in an out-of-state primary. It looks like someone over there just might be getting serious, after all.

14:38 BST

When it rains, it pours

One of Friday's grotesqueries, of course, was passage in the House of the double-edged bill to raise the minimum wage while eliminating the parasite estate tax. Lots of people are calling it a poison pill to kill the two-dollar raise; Republicans see it the other way around.

I'm with Jeralyn on the immigration bill - better no bill at all than what we're seeing. I still say killing NAFTA is the real answer to the problem. (Do Americans actually need to get cheap tech from countries where workers build the stuff at the point of a gun?)

I'm afraid I don't have a liberal link for this, so I'll have to direct you to the actual NewsBuster's page, but the wrong-wing is having an attack-Olbermann moment (no surprises there) for his alleged liberal bias. This is because Olbermann was interviewed by Craig Ferguson and denied having a liberal bias. (Now, I happen to think it's silly to say you're not biased because you don't vote, but no unbiased news person is going to meet with the right-wingers' approval in any event, since they regard it as "biased" to tell the truth.)

The coal business is really worried about global warming - so much so that they have a massive campaign to stop you from knowing about it.

As poputonian knows, one thing we learn from history is that we don't learn nothin' from history. So does Digby, who also observes that the "clash of civilizations" just looks like two sets of nearly-identical genocidal maniacs aimed at each other.

The Heretik looks at the immediate future and final solutions.

Non Sequitur sums up.

12:42 BST

Saturday, 29 July 2006

Late news

Best morning headline: "Struggling Lieberman faces political abyss": WEST HARTFORD, Conn. - Anti-war Democrats bailed in droves. Teachers unions left over vouchers. Men are drawn to his challenger, and women aren't all that crazy about the incumbent, either.

Former NSA employee Russell Tice has been subpoenaed for a grand jury probe of whistle-blowers. If there's one thing this administration wants, it's suppression of people who report on their crimes. The Brad Blog has more.

At Mercury Rising (which also has Charles' latest Mexico round-up), Phoenix Woman debunks The "Hiding Among Civilians" Myth.

BruinKid at Daily Kos says, "Welcome to the Police State: Bush submits new terror bill: A new AP report shows that Bush has now submitted a new terror bill which now says any U.S. citizen "suspected" of terror ties can now be held "indefinitely". Forget the Bill of Rights. Forget due process. Forget the courts of law. Welcome to our own Guantanamo Bay, right here inside the United States. Please ask your reps to scream bloody murder. More at TalkLeft and Drug WarRant.

eRobin at Fact-esque and BooMan at Booman Tribune are not happy with the way the Dems have reacted to the news that Prime Minister al-Maliki of Iraq was scheduled to address Congress.

Reed Hundt's predictions have the smell of DLC brainwashing to them, but maybe he just knows that Joe Lieberman is a good friend of ChoicePoint.

At AmericaBlog, Cliff's "The Week That Was 7/28/06" revels in the Schadenfreude of a bad week for Ralph Reed, Katherine Harris, and Ken Blackwell. (Get it where ya can.) and John reports on the Religious right suing to put porn star in public school as teacher

More must-see TV from C&L when Colbert finds himself making news. (Boy, Jake Tapper has sure come down in the world since his Salon days, hasn't he?.)

23:51 BST

The Beirut of all evil

The definition of terrorism: She described how thousands of people are attempting to evacuate through a landscape where main bridges are reduced to rubble and Israeli warplanes buzz over the fleeing civilians. This causes incredible fear because of the Marwaheen massacre two weeks ago where "an Israeli missile incinerated a car and a small truck full of families leaving their Lebanese border village of Marwaheen near Tyre after the Israeli army used loudhailers to tell residents they had just hours to go. Pictures showed charred bodies of children strewn across the road."

Pacem Terra says: And when Condi Rice appeared in Beirut, Israeli bombing temporarily stopped. Here's a suggestion: send her back to Beirut or 'somewhere in southern Lebanon.

Maha says, "Help Us." Impeach.

14:06 BST

Not with a bang

The Progressive interviewed Gore Vidal:

Q: Today the United States is fighting two wars, one in Afghanistan and one in Iraq, and is now threatening to launch a third one on Iran. What is it going to take to stop the Bush onslaught?

Vidal: Economic collapse. We are too deeply in debt. We can't service the debt, or so my financial friends tell me, that's paying the interest on the Treasury bonds, particularly to the foreign countries that have been financing us. I think the Chinese will say the hell with you and pull their money out of the United States. That's the end of our wars.
We've never had a government like this. The United States has done wicked things in the past to other countries but never on such a scale and never in such an existentialist way. It's as though we are evil. We strike first. We'll destroy you. This is an eternal war against terrorism. It's like a war against dandruff. There's no such thing as a war against terrorism. It's idiotic. These are slogans. These are lies. It's advertising, which is the only art form we ever invented and developed.

But our media has collapsed. They've questioned no one. One of the reasons Bush and Cheney are so daring is that they know there's nobody to stop them. Nobody is going to write a story that says this is not a war, only Congress can declare war. And you can only have a war with another country. You can't have a war with bad temper or a war against paranoids. Nothing makes any sense, and the people are getting very confused. The people are not stupid, but they are totally misinformed.

(Via Alternate Brian.)

03:03 BST

The captive Dems

Man, I really hate having to say this - a lot of people have already laughed at Beinart's article in the WaPo - but I think Beinart may be right for a change when he suggests that the Democratic leadership is all wrong about demanding that Maliki condemn Hezbollah.

This is chest-thumping to show that we are as macho as the Republicans, and it's wrong, wrong, wrong. It makes no sense and, far from making Democrats look strong, it looks like exactly the same kind of weakness that allowed the administration to steam-roll us into Iraq. This is a serious issue and the last thing you want to do is look like you're just playing the campaign game. Quit doing political strategy and start doing what's right.

Be that as it may, Beinart still gets an awful lot wrong, as always, because he's really as bad as they are, listening to Republicans instead of listening to reality. I wish they would all cut it out.

[Update: Elton Beard got there first.]

01:49 BST

Friday, 28 July 2006

Linking up

Linkiest Post of the Day - Good Nonsense with a passel of fine quotes. (And isn't that thing about Chicago and Wal-Mart nice news?)

It's the daily agony of trying to recommend just one thing at Hullabaloo (which I'd still rather just call "Digby's blog", even though it's no longer just Digby). But I understand if you feel you can't just sit down and read it all. So at last read "Bending The GWOT", okay? And please, call it the War of Terror, not the War on Terror, because that's how it is. (And then go read everything else there.)

The Rude Pundit continues his investigation of Republicans Running From Bush with a look at "Homeboy" Steele. C'mon, that has got to be soooo embarrassin'! (Also: We gonna have a hen party, y'all.)

Just a little RNC astroturfing with sock-puppetry on the side. GOP officials - all class and style. Via Norwegianity.

The newly-launched Colorado Media Matters already has plenty of local press atrocities up.

Gary Farber responds to news about a biography of James Tiptree, Jr./Alice Shledon.

I have a theory: It must be bunnies!

True Blue Liberal has the latest Krugman up, "Reign of Error".

"USA Goes Rwandan" at Progressive Gold. (Nice new logo you got there.)

This Modern World explains, well, this modern world. And meet - the Memebusters!

21:30 BST

Big Dog in this fight

While you're catching up on all the news I missed yesterday at TalkLeft, don't miss Big Tent Democrat's guest post, "Clinton's Support for Lieberman Fails to Convince" - which, among other things, also supplies (from an old review of Moynihan's book in Business Week) another reason not to get carried away with fantasies of what a great liberal thinker Daniel Patrick Moynihan was:

[Moynihan] contends that the phony health-care "crisis" was largely imagined by a few health professionals and Hillary Rodham Clinton, who convened a "500-member secret task force" to recast one-seventh of the American economy in the government's image. . . . As for health-care inflation, Moynihan writes: "We were being asked to stop everything to cope with a crisis that was seemingly resolving itself" through the workings of the free market.
Yes, these types of Democrats have been around forever. But the fact is the Democratic Party can't afford these types of politicians in the all out war that is politics today. Supporting Lieberman as a Democratic Senator in today's partisan battles is to believe in bringing a butter knife to a gunfight. In short it is a recipe for disaster.

Bill Clinton, wonderful politician that he was, simply has the wrong conception of what politics is today. His endorsement of the politics of a Joe Lieberman is in fact, in my mind, an indictment of Joe Lieberman. Time has passed them by.

BTD also supplies a link to a defense of Lieberman and demolishes one of the points, but I wish he'd gone after the others, which on the surface look more compelling but in fact are misleading. For example, the charge that critics of Lieberman:
Make sure every vote or statement by Lieberman that you can dredge up is offered as evidence that he is a Republican, without regard to the context and relative significance of the vote/statement in question. If Lieberman voted against something 32 times, and then did not show up for a vote on one amendment, ignore the 32 votes he made and focus on the 1 he didn't.
Well, if the one time he didn't is the only time it mattered, yes, that is significant. Also significant is how recent that one vote is, and how long ago the others were. It's like the Alito vote - the only way to keep an anti-democratic, anti-Constitutional lunatic off of the bench was to filibuster. Nevertheless, Lieberman helped sabotage any hope of a filibuster. Subsequent pretense that his meaningless vote against Alito on the floor proves his loyalty to the many things we will lose if the bench is dominated by ultra-reactionary conservatives (as is quickly becoming the case) is just plain phony; once the filibuster failed, Lieberman's vote did not matter. And he knew that. Everyone knew it. It's why Republicans threatened "the nuclear option" in the event of a filibuster - to neutralize the one and only tool left to serve the people and protect the Constitution. Like Snow and Chaffee, Lieberman veils his actions in a superficially "liberal" cloak by voting with and for the will of mainstream America when it doesn't matter - yet voting with the Republicans if it can possibly make a difference.

Still, BTD is definitely right about the "His friends like him!" defense not being terribly useful. (Laughable, actually. Are you sure this isn't satire? My friends like me, too, but that doesn't mean I belong in the Senate.)

Yeah, so people who know him personally are campaigning for him. (Some people have already suggested that this isn't so much because they like him as because they are trying to corral him into bowing out if he loses the primary - not exactly a matter of love, then.) But what matters to voters - the only thing that should matter - is whether Lieberman's public acts show real, principled support for the things that matter to The People. Since they don't, let's hope they kick him out. His friends are still free to send him a card in the Solistice season.

(Man, it's getting to be too damned hard to tell when something is satire.)

16:37 BST


I'm no fan of Richard Armitage, but though he's a neocon hawk, he's no chickenhawk - he's served four tours and he's been through all this before. And he says:

Don't get me wrong - if I thought that this air campaign would work, and would eliminate Nasrullah and the leadership of Hezbollah, I think it would all be fine. But I fear that you can't do this from the sky, and that you're going to end up empowering Hezbollah, and perhaps introducing an element into the body politic in Lebanon that will take some great period of time to recover from.
Think Progress points out that this story hadn't been covered at all in the mainstream media, and it still hadn't generated anything from the US media when I googled at noon, but this should be a big deal - I mean, this isn't exactly a lefty source we're talking about.

13:13 BST

Time was invented to keep everything from happening at once

A fish with lips (and legs). (I followed a link from the thread and found myself wondering why it is that the people who believe in preserving genetic purity and breeding for brains, and the people who believe that men are polygynous and women monogamous, are on the same team with the people who believe in ID/Creationism rather than evolution - and are sometimes even the same people. No, wait, I think I know the answer. It's kind of like the people who believe that Hillary Clinton killed Vince Foster because they were lovers and she is a lesbian.)

Some people shouldn't be in the Senate.

Someone else who doesn't belong in the Senate.

"July 27, 1974 - Watergate Scandal: The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee votes 27 to 11 to recommend the first article of impeachment against President Richard Nixon: obstruction of justice."

Media Bloodhound and Bob Somerby both notice the weird pathology of Chris Matthews, a man who just can't come to grips with his own strange feelings about Al Gore.

Ezra asks, "Should Jews Have Dual Loyalties?": Gelernter believes that support for Israel is such a paramount concern that not only should it be the main voting issue for American Jews, but they should abandon the wildly pro-Israel Democratic Party in order to send a message to, apparently, Democratic university professors. Gelernter, in other words, is not only suggesting that Jews should have dual loyalties, but that they should let their allegiance to Israel's interests guide their choices in American leaders. Were a prominent speaker to ever suggest that such a dynamic currently exists or is in danger of arising, he'd be roundly denounced as a vicious anti-semite. Too bad excessive philo-semitism doesn't carry a similar stigma.

Gee, and it only took how long for what we all knew to make it to the front page of Pravda on the Potomac? "Homeland Security Contracts Abused": The multibillion-dollar surge in federal contracting to bolster the nation's domestic defenses in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has been marred by extensive waste and misspent funds, according to a new bipartisan congressional report. Lawmakers say that since the Homeland Security Department's formation in 2003, an explosion of no-bid deals and a critical shortage of trained government contract managers have created a system prone to abuse. (Thanks to Stu Shiffman for the tip.)

The Reaction has a good round-up of links to what folks are saying on that story about innocent people being put on watch lists.

Why they hate us

Proof positive of global warming

A map

04:01 BST

Thursday, 27 July 2006

News, and news about news

Bummer: This is one of very few journalists who were smart enough and brave enough to see what was going on from the beginning and actually say so in print. Chris Floyd Sacked from Moscow Times - After Ten Years. Chris provides details here.

At Simply Left Behind, the fact that you have to go to the BBC to hear American news is almost as stinky as the news itself - and it's pretty stinky when "the world" is cheering on Armageddon. (And yes, I've noticed that a few people have suddenly stopped linking to me because I'm not enthusiastic about the enterprise in Lebanon. I'm sorry, but anyone who thinks I'm being antisemitic is not only being a jackass, but a racist. If I can criticize the governments of my native country and my grandparents' native country - and I do - I should be able to criticize the government of the country whose people I identify with even more strongly than I do with my own ethnic group. Everyone thinks I look Jewish, and I've known all my life that if they ever start rounding up Jews again, I will fry with them. But no one gets a pass from me on the basis of their "race", ethnicity, or nationality. Governments aren't "a people", they're governments, and they all do bad things from time to time. Jews and/or Israelis are no different from the rest of the human race.)

Can Blogging Derail Your Career? Bérubé examines the question, along with a few colleagues. (And, really, Michael, it's so cheap to get a cell phone over here that it's not worth it not to.)

A nice linky post at Thomas Nephews' Newsrack also visits the subject of a Constitutional Convention. And there's the Wal-Mart post, too.

At Crooks and Liars, Chris Matthews on pencil-neck foreign policy: "So Israel's now facing a much enlarged, more dangerous enemy than it faced back in 2001. So you've got to wonder if the bottom of line of our foreign policy hasn't been to enlarge the threat to Israel dramatically. I mean, that makes sense to me. I don't know why we've done it, but we've done it." And Howard Stern on politics: It's pretty cool. Lieberman's been a big proponent of the war in Iraq. He's been backing Bush and all that kind of stuff. So all the, know...all the Democrats in Connecticut are like, "You know what? Lieberman's looking a little too Republican for us with all his religious ranting, and all of his, like, morality crap and..."

There's nothing actually wrong with liking Led Zeppelin, of course. I mean, they were brilliant. I still listen to their stuff. But an amazing number of smart young people have never heard them and just think they are, y'know, old fogeys. They are completely unaware of how many of their own favorite bands are just Led Zeppelin imitators. And that's why if I were an MP, I would never answer this question. You can tell just by the tone of the article what a mistake it is.

15:05 BST

Wednesday, 26 July 2006

The confusion of the moment

"Fraud in the Land of Telenovelas, Part III", and coverage of the coverage of the Mexican election. (By the way, have you read this post at Booman Tribune yet? This was echoed by one of Mexico's top statistician, Victor Romero of Mexico's National University. In a Democracy Now! Exclusive Report, Dr. Romero shows Greg Palast a computer printout how the official tallies matched the exit polls, with challenger López Obrador ahead by 2% all night. It was not until the very end, when several precincts came in for Calderón by 10-to-1, and then 100-to-1, giving Calderón the victory.)

Daniel Levy at The American Prospect asks, "Is It Good for the Jews?": The recent controversy over the Israel lobby has focused on how it distorts U.S. foreign policy. Forgotten is whether it helps Israel (and the peace process).

Now Ezra says that Russ Feingold just floated his own healthcare idea.

Via the Making Light sidebar, I see that Soft Skull Press' Sander Hicks, who among other things was the re-publisher of Fortunate Son, seems to be a 2005 contributor to the National Republican Congressional Committee, according to Open Secrets.

Zombies with WMD! Yes, in the name of national security, Zombies were detained ... and kept in jail for a whole weekend. Er, party-goers in zombie costumes. The dangerous devices were, of course, car stereo equipment. Minneapolis is safe. (via)

21:49 BST

On the Infobhan

The story about how Marshals are putting innocent people on watch lists to make quotas is creepy, all right, but watch out for anyone who makes it sound like it's all down to the marshals being lazy and dishonest or whatever. A lot of people were on the no-fly list pretty quickly and a disquieting number of them were obviously there deliberately, not because they were randomly-selected by marshals but because they were precisely the sort of people the administration and their friends are already treating as enemies-they-can't-publicly-treat-as-enemies, such as Green Party campaigners or peace activists. And even were this not the case, bear in mind that the policy is coming from above, and is based on the assumption that there are so many "potential terrorists" passing through our airports that no diligent marshal could fail to find at least one of them every month. That's mad to begin with, and forces people into an untenable position. They can't even complain without being penalized; one person who tried to change the system is reported to have lost his job. It is, as the article suggests, a garbage-in system, by design. Just like everything else our conservative leadership "protects us" with. (Thanks to Dominic (of) for the link.)

Sisyphus Shrugged on the "centrist" Dems: Pshaw. Vote for Democrats and people who don't support the American dream will control congress is a message any party would be proud to rally around. I expect Republicans to be quite enthusiastic about it.

The General is factchecking Sam Seder and Stephen Sherrill's FUBAR - in an extremely manly way, of course. (Also, the Great Leap Backward - illustrated.)

MahaBarb has the Armageddon News Update. Just to show you how crazy the wingers are, they actually think it's funny to suggest that things would be better with a different president. Mind you, that president should be named "Gore" (by the time you get to Kerry, it's too late). But apparently, it is now all Condi's fault. Now. Like she's the Republican Monica who has to be shuffled out of the way. (Also, Power and Free Markets.)

Kos was interviewed by Jake Tapper on Nightline. Transcript here. Kos is really getting good at this, he's honing his patter, but he still thinks worrying about rigged voting machines in Ohio last time is crazy talk.

I sure hope they finish inventing the transparent toaster soon, because I need one. Via the perpetually entertaining Biomes Blog.

17:47 BST

Not really naked lunch

The Newspaper of Record published a dreadful, brain-dead review of Sirota's and Lakoff's books the other day, "Manic Progressives", by someone who appears to be one of their editors and who says, "But does anybody not wearing a tinfoil hat believe that Republicans really want to take the vote away from women, blacks, and non-landowners? Or that President Bush's poorly managed Medicare prescription-drug expansion was a clever ruse to destroy the program?" Savor that for a minute. He works for The New York Times, and you don't. Charles Pierce explains why this is insane, but not how such stupidity got into the NYT in the first place.

And Ezra points out that Hillary upstaged something we should be spotlighting - a healthcare plan that Pete Stark and Jan Schakowsky proposed while the DLC was presenting their tepid shadow-party plan. (I'm not saying I'm in love with the plan. Any plan that contains words like "a deductible of $350 ($500 for a family), a 20 percent copay, and an out-of-pocket limit of $2,500 for individuals and $4,000 for families" strikes me as wasteful and half-hearted. Those words represent a whole lot of expensive administration. Over here, we can afford universal healthcare because we don't dick around with "deductibles" and "copays" and any of that. You save a fortune by making things free at the point of delivery.)

I think I disagree with Atrios and The Poor Man about this. I think they are all one thing.

Rachel found the really weird story Monday about the possible murder in Nevada of the only state official to ever be impeached. Three days later, her husband slit his wrists, but though he survived and was released from the hospital in time, he didn't bother to attend her funeral. Which opened up questions about the somewhat strange death of her previous husband, which had preceded her marriage to her now-widower by only a few weeks. The GOP, my friends, are not like you and me.

Martin Wisse (of) in comments: Closer to home, the primary challenge to Cynthia McKinney seems to not have led to howls of outrage either, even though she is much more of a progressive voice than Lieberman ever was. Or maybe that is the problem? That's right. And next time some Washington Wanker whines about the nasty assault on Lieberman, the words "Cynthia McKinney" should be sent their way.

14:50 BST

All over the map

Hilzoy, "Lebanon: This Has To Stop." Yes indeed: "However, the fact the Hezbollah is wrong does not mean that Israel is right; nor does the fact that Hezbollah started this mean that anything Israel does as a result is OK. If someone attacks you, there's a point at which your response crosses a line and stops being mere self-defense and becomes a horror of its own." (Not actually via Bitch, Ph.D., but her post reminded me that I ought to look there.)

Your Talking Dog has interviewed Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, "a legal advocacy group based in New York City that has spearheaded and coordinated the representation of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and been at the forefront of Guantanamo related litigation. C.C.R. has also handled matters pertaining to extraordinary rendition and handled numerous litigations related to the war on terror, and handled its "usual" extensive caseload in the constitutional and civil rights areas in general": Yet another factor was taking place in the spring of 2004... I remember the argument in Hamdi on April 28, 2004... the Acting Solicitor General Paul Clement was being asked by Justice Ginsberg, "what if there is torture at Guantanamo?" and Clement said "but there isn't... don't worry... trust us!" And then, that very evening, CBS broadcast its story on Abu Ghraib and the pictures of the abuse there.

The interesting news isn't that another paper dropped Ann Coulter. The interesting news is that an editor can still say, "Plagiarism charges were not a factor, said Ryan, noting that those allegations haven't been proved." Well, actually, they have. Jeez, all the work has been done for you (by, for example, the Rude One). It is the work of seconds to compare her writings with their original sources and realize that, y'know, it's plagiarism.

Charles says more about the restructuring of our government into a state run for, by, and of the theofascist.

Steve Soto has some very good questions for the presumptive front-runner and her cronies, starting with "When Will Hillary Offer A Choice, And Not An Echo?" And given that the DLC wants to avoid talking about Iraq, another good question is, "What exactly are the DLC and the Clintons offering America for 2008 for a domestic agenda that will give voters a choice?" Steve looks at their agenda and can't find much there. (Someone really needs to alert these people that the real reason the DLC "won" with Clinton in 1992 has more to do with the fact that the right-wingers hated George H.W. Bush and stabbed him in the back than it does with middle-of-the-road voters being enraptured by Bill Clinton's triangulated politics.)

Also at The Left Coaster, Mary has found a cool widget, via TPM Cafe, for a Pop-Up Politician launched by Sunlight Foundation that supplies you with a cute little mouse-over thingy to give you details of any member of Congress, such as, for example, or . I can't seem to get to work, though.

12:58 BST

Dust My Broom

Media in Trouble reports on our now completely unreliable FDA: This has become sort of commonplace lately. A drug is pushed through the FDA process, where the safety data may not be 100% kosher, but with a little label negotiation and a promise of a safety study, the drug is approved and gets launched into the world market. Then, a few years later, the study is complete and lo and behold, it isn't as safe (or is less safe) than first imagined. The culprit this time is an antibiotic called Ketek. "They got approval the old fashioned way, they said they would put a warning about potential liver failure." (via)

In light of a dopey newspaper article about a Pew-funded study on blogs, Fred Clark says: I'm eagerly awaiting the Pew-funded telephone survey about paper. I know all the buzz about paper suggests its about politics and journalism, but many people only use it for personal diaries and as an outlet for expression. We won't get a good quantifiable sense of what paper is really used for until we see the results of that phone survey.

Cursor says: Israeli columnists are said to be getting worried about the war, as a Haaretz op-ed contributor argues that 'Morality is not on our side,' and with the 'Official Justification for Israel's Invasion on Thin Ice' as well, Ashraf Isma'il analyzes 'Why Israel Is Losing.'

Nine days in September: "Translation: We, the Federal Government, are going to reduce the deficit which gets reported at the end of this fiscal year, by not paying 9 days worth of our debts to you, the hard-working hospitals, health centers, home healthcare associations, hospices and nursing homes of America. We'll pay you after the start of the new fiscal year, when it's easier for us to hide the deficit."

I've been out in the garden again. I can't tell how this rose looks because my glasses make it all 3-D and all, but to me it's kinda neat. And the honeysuckle is exploding all over the place, but it doesn't create that smell, alas. (Jeez, just notice the "More properties" function - I never realized how much data Flickr gets with the files I upload, it knows more about my camera than I do.)

And some Howlin' Wolf.

03:57 BST

Tuesday, 25 July 2006


I'm listening to Senator Byron Dorgan talking on AAR* about his new book, Take This Job and Ship It: How Corporate Greed and Brain-Dead Politics Are Selling Out America, and thinking if the book is anything like the way he sounds on the radio, it's a pity he doesn't have some of the material up on his website.

Lots of gold at FDL, as always. A fun game of guessing why Bill is stumping for Lieberman (complete with a nice little videotape of Joe's big claim to fame - and the horrifying reminder that he is not talking about Bush, there). Barbara Boxer embarrasses herself while everyone else joins Maxine Waters to get behind Ned Lamont.

Via Atrios, another good piece by Chris Bowers on the stupid way the DLC types make Democrats sound untrustworthy by constantly talking about how they have to move to "the center" to get elected instead of just having policies. But the reason the DLC has to do this is that they have nothing else - their policies make no sense for America, so they have to support them by claiming they will get Democrats elected. It's better than having to explain any reason to have those policies in the first place, isn't it?

[Query: Anybody know a good, free, stand-alone application for reading RSS feeds in real time?]

19:44 BST

Language lessons

Once again, Thom Hartmann turns out to have said it before I did in "Reclaiming The Issues: 'Why Is Bush Spying On Democrats?!?' ":

Every time Democrats and progressives speak out about George W. Bush's spying on Americans without mentioning that he may also be spying on Democrats, they're playing into Karl Rove's "National Security Frame" and actually strengthening Republican electoral chances in November.

To short-circuit this, Democrats need to invoke the ghost of Richard Nixon.

Thom reminds us that the Republicans already hacked into Ted Kennedy and Dick Durbin's e-mail a few years ago and got away with it, too. Spying on Democrats is their MO - it's fair to ask if they're doing it.

Meanwhile, Lambert points out that one newspaper (my former employer, I am proud to say) has actually phrased the story of Arlen Specter's capitulation almost as it should be:

"Senator critical of wiretaps to offer bill retroactively legalizing program"
Unfortunately, that was just the sub-head - although at least the headline wasn't about how Bush was supposedly compromising. But Lambert is right that The Baltimore Sun has actually brought the correct term into the light - Specter is trying to retroactively legalize criminal activities on Bush's part rather than hold him to account for his lawbreaking.

15:08 BST

They hate our freedoms

I gather from his comment that Charles didn't feel I'd made the point strongly enough in Unmaking America, so let's let him do it:

The story about the Civil Rights Division is part of a very, very important larger story, Avedon.

A lot of people think that all that has to happen is that the center left needs to win an election or so, and things will simmer down. But those career attorneys are typically there for decades, and if I know my Ashcroft, they are committed partisans who couldn't find election tampering if the shredded ballots were dumped on their desks. I don't know what the average age of those new hires is, but a sound bet is that the retirement date of some of them could be 2050 (with modest rises in retirement age).

Now extrapolate from that one division to see what total politicization of the government would look like. Courts overwhelmingly partisan: check. Independent voices at the CIA silenced: check. Scientific committees corrupted with fundamentalist hacks: check. Labor department staffed with people who hate unions, EPA staffed with coal-friendly managers, neocon warlords in senior military positions... all of these lifetime positions.

The damage is so extensive that I don't think change can be achieved with the rapidity required to deal with global warming, economic decline, and other serious threats (not to mention a billion p--sed off Muslims).

I think that for purely practical reasons, we will end up dissolving the American Republic and holding a Constitutional Convention to completely re-write the rules.

I've been worried for quite some time that these people are going to break the Union, and I think that's a very dangerous possibility. You can talk about having a Constitutional Convention but we really don't know what we will end up with. (And let's not forget that Bush has been moving military bases out of the Northeast and into the South. It's as if they want to refight the Civil War, only first make sure that the South has all the guns.)

I don't know where this is going but it gets scarier every day.

And just in case anyone thinks we're joking about the racism in all of this....

12:54 BST

Bunch of stuff

Bill Scher says the key to understanding the situation in Lebanon - and even solving it - may have been given to us on the Sunday talk shows. (He also has this quote from Laura Rozen: It's hard not to notice that the countries the US is hoping to lean on for help with its diplomatic efforts on Lebanon -- Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan -- are the leading members of the extraordinary rendition outsourcing club, and not exactly pillars of representative democracy. When push comes to shove, Washington values regimes on its side, willing to resist their streets, and cooperate on intel and diplomatic matters.)

Tom Schaller speculates some more on whether Gore is running for President (and offers some bad advice), and Charles Pierce recalls another primary challenge that, strangely, no one seemed to think was an outrage. Ah, but that was someone the right-wingers wanted to get rid of.

Oh, and Scott Lemieux says that the whole idea that controversial court decisions (like Brown v. Board of Education, Roe v. Wade, and the recent NY decision on gay marriage) are bad for the cause is bunk.

Digby decodes Condi Rice. "Birth pangs", eh? Makes me think we should be referring Bush's foreign policies as "abortions". Iran is an abortion. Afghanistan is an abortion. Bush's general destabilization of the Middle-East is an abortion.

Steven Pinker's photos of Cape Cod include gorgeous nightscapes, spectacular skies, details of local life, and marvellous close-ups. (via)

00:42 BST

Monday, 24 July 2006

Some links

Just go read Eric Alterman's Jeopardy answer. I'm sure you'll have no trouble getting the question - it's exactly what I've always believed about him. (I also agree completely with Eric that "Legal Group Faults Bush for Ignoring Parts of Bills" is a remarkably wimpy headline for an article in The New York Times that begins: The American Bar Association said Sunday that President Bush was flouting the Constitution and undermining the rule of law by claiming the power to disregard selected provisions of bills that he signed. It goes on: The bar association panel said the use of signing statements in this way was "contrary to the rule of law and our constitutional system of separation of powers." From the dawn of the Republic, it said, presidents have generally understood that, in the words of George Washington, a president "must approve all the parts of a bill, or reject it in toto.")

A good headline, though, is "NASA's Goals Delete Mention of Home Planet" - at least that's true. Yep, NASA no longer aims "To understand and protect our home planet." I wonder whose idea that was. No, wait - I don't.

Tom Hayden's mea culpa explains why he had no problem being "a friend to Israel" until he made the big mistake of his political career. And: An intellectual dean of the neoconservatives, Bernard Lewis, has long advocated the "Lebanonization" of the Middle East, meaning the disintegration of nation states into "a chaos of squabbling, feuding, fighting sects, tribes, regions and parties." Maybe the administration isn't lying when they say things are going swimmingly; where some people are concerned, they really are.

MadKane was inspired to another limerick by Bush's international gropinating. And I nearly missed Skippy's interview with Quinnipiac's Richard Hanley until I saw her link. Skippy gets down to the cheese: hello professor hanley, i'm a blogger myself, very interested in the lieberman/lamont particular, i'd be interested to know your thoughts on the general dissatisfaction the connecticut voters have w/lieberman, and if you don't see that as having more of an impact on the race than blogs.

Jon Swift is celebrating his e-mail.

Interactive political map

21:49 BST

Unmaking the Constitution

By 8:32 this morning Atrios had already declared Arlen Specter the Wanker of the Day, citing Glenn Greenwald's "Specter instructs us to be grateful to the President", which responds to Specter's op-ed in today's WaPo, "Surveillance We Can Live With," in which he argues from, well, the rabbit hole, that it's all perfectly Constitutional to let the president do whatever the hell he wants. Specter seems to think that a president can decide whether or not the courts can review legislation for its Constitutionality - exactly the job that the Constitution gives to the high courts.

Perhaps Atrios had realized by 9:44 that it rather understates the case to imply that Specter is merely jerking-off, because he then posted a more serious response, noting that, "There's probably no greater threat to America as we grew up understanding it than the bill Specter is pushing," and advising readers to light up our legislators' phones. (The Congressional switchboard is toll-free from inside the US: 888-355-3588.)

Meanwhile, I had been composing this letter:



Reading Senator Arlen Specter's comments in this morning's paper ("Surveillance We Can Live With", 24 July), I asked myself what he and his colleagues must think they are doing when they place their hands on the Bible and swear to uphold the Constitution.

But then I recalled that legislators and representatives of the administration have argued, both in public and in court, that the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance don't actually mean anything - that it is just a ritual phrase with no real content, and thus not forced religious speech.

So this is what they have been telling us all along: Their oath of office means nothing to them, because swearing before God, like pledging allegiance, is "just ritual" - a bit of theater, a charade, devoid of content.

And devoid of honor.

He should be ashamed.

Can he explain why any other law-breaker is not allowed to "negotiate" with prosecutors to make robbery, cocaine use, or murder legal rather than be held to account? Why should a president be any different?

The founders of our country were clear that we don't just take "trust me" as a reasonable check on government abuse.

If George W. Bush cannot explain to a court why he wants to spy on Americans, we should be demanding to know why. There is no court that would not give him a justified warrant to spy on people who are reasonably suspected of being involved in terrorism.

Who is it that George Bush really wants to spy on? They have been spying on peace groups already, even Quakers - people who we know pose no threat to the peace. Nuns who work for peace have been put on the "no-fly" list.

Are the secret targets of NSA surveillance even related to terrorism?

Or is Bush, like Nixon, spying on his political opponents?

At this juncture, it would come as no surprise if that turned out to be the case.

It has happened before, and it can happen again. That's why the law demands oversight.

Is George Bush spying on Democrats?

We deserve to know. And George Bush does not deserve to be protected from our scrutiny - or from paying for such a heinous crime.

17:27 BST

Unmaking America

The excellent Charlie Savage with another story about how our government is turning into a great big right-wing political unit:

Civil rights hiring shifted in Bush era

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration is quietly remaking the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, filling the permanent ranks with lawyers who have strong conservative credentials but little experience in civil rights, according to job application materials obtained by the Globe.

The documents show that only 42 percent of the lawyers hired since 2003, after the administration changed the rules to give political appointees more influence in the hiring process, have civil rights experience. In the two years before the change, 77 percent of those who were hired had civil rights backgrounds.

In an acknowledgment of the department's special need to be politically neutral, hiring for career jobs in the Civil Rights Division under all recent administrations, Democratic and Republican, had been handled by civil servants -- not political appointees.

But in the fall of 2002, then-attorney general John Ashcroft changed the procedures. The Civil Rights Division disbanded the hiring committees made up of veteran career lawyers.
Now, hiring is closely overseen by Bush administration political appointees to Justice, effectively turning hundreds of career jobs into politically appointed positions.
Hires with traditional civil rights backgrounds -- either civil rights litigators or members of civil rights groups -- have plunged. Only 19 of the 45 lawyers hired since 2003 in those three sections were experienced in civil rights law, and of those, nine gained their experience either by defending employers against discrimination lawsuits or by fighting against race-conscious policies.

Meanwhile, conservative credentials have risen sharply. Since 2003 the three sections have hired 11 lawyers who said they were members of the conservative Federalist Society. Seven hires in the three sections are listed as members of the Republican National Lawyers Association, including two who volunteered for Bush-Cheney campaigns.
At the same time, the kinds of cases the Civil Rights Division is bringing have undergone a shift. The division is bringing fewer voting rights and employment cases involving systematic discrimination against African-Americans, and more alleging reverse discrimination against whites and religious discrimination against Christians.

So, instead of civil rights, it's becoming the Right-Wing Privilege division.

This is, of course, what's happening to everything - the right-wing doesn't believe in the things that most Americans do and doesn't want it to perform the functions that the rest of us think we pay taxes for, so they just put people in the jobs who don't want to do them, redirecting their efforts to making life easier for the wealthy and buying the loyalty of the Christianist and white-sheet reactionary fringe.

Meanwhile, you don't have to read too much between the lines of this story to understand that one thing BushCo doesn't want us to be very good at is disaster-preparedness. They think it's alarmist, apparently, even to care. I guess they don't expect their gated communities and isolated villas to be affected.

14:53 BST

Flying on the ground is wrong

My new glasses make lots of comics and photos look 3-D (Spider-man's regular costume is amazing). I'm not sure why this happens, but I could conceivably be entertained by an explanation if anyone knows.

This is brought to mind by the photo Palast has up with his article about Bush's visit to the NAACP, "They Don't Call it The "White" House for Nothing", in which he says: Bush gloated about his convincing the White Sheets Caucus of the Republican Party to go along with the renewal of the Voting Rights Act. But he forgot to mention the fine print. The Southern GOP only went along with renewing the law on the understanding that the law would never be enforced. Think I'm kidding? Check this: in July 2004, the US Civil Rights Commission voted to open a civil and criminal investigation of his brother's Administration in Florida for knowingly renewing a racially-biased scrub of voter rolls. In April 2004, Governor Jeb Bush, of the "family committed to civil rights," personally ordered this new purge of "felons" from voter rolls, despite promising never to repeat the infamous scrub of 2000. The new purge violated a settlement he signed with the, uh, NAACP. (Via our beloved colleague Simbaud at King of Zembla.)

Colbert King is of course more restrained on the subject, but his disappointment wasn't hidden: Bush apparently thought that merely showing up, dropping a few names, mentioning a few programs that address -- but that won't eliminate -- racial disparities, all in just 33 minutes, was enough. In some conservative circles, it probably was.

Just in case you were wondering what they're floating to evade Hamdan, there's a letter in the WaPo from some winger hack trying to pretend that the Hamdan decision is just all wrong. (It's followed by a letter from someone who has a clear eye on the politics, though.)

In other depressing news, TChris updates the story on Gregory Dunagan, the guy who is still locked up in Texas despite the fact that all the evidence points in another direction.

Mr. Sideshow has admitted that he has become addicted to the whole Liberman/Lamont race, even though he is Welsh, and lately he hangs out at the Lamont Blog a lot, in addition to Eschaton and FDL. He was particularly inspired by the Maxine Waters declaration of support (bad video but great audio), and don't miss Your Daily Ned. (And while you're at FDL, check out this week's Book Salon with George Soros.)

"If I Fell" (from A Hard Day's Night), by the Beatles.

13:05 BST

Sunday, 23 July 2006

Reading matter

Ted Rall, Collective Punishment Isn't Self-Defense: Even right-wingers who'd supported the Nazis were appalled. Support for the Germans and their puppet regimes declined with each new campaign of "counterterrorism." Public opinion wasn't decisive; no nation occupied by the Nazis during World War II could solely credit its resistance for its liberation. Still, collective punishment was an unequivocal tactical failure. Resistance groups and their sympathizers hastened the defeat of Nazi Germany.

Did you ever see the statement from Oregon Senator Ron Wyden on net neutrality in the Congressional Record? It sounds downright liberal.

Matt Stoller has an Ohio update that shows Democrats doing well in the polls in two important races. Sherrod Brown has an 8-point lead over DeWine, and would certainly improve the Senate mightily - both for getting rid of DeWine and for putting a real progressive in the upper chamber. Perhaps more heartening is Ted Strickland's 47-to-27 over election-fixer Kenneth Blackwell. The problem, of course, is that Blackwell is running the election, and there's no reason to think he won't cheat even when the polls favor his rival by such an enormous lead. (Also: Matt gets hate mail.)

Eric Alterman's weekly column at the Center for American Progress site, "Watching the Detectives", defends the blogosphere and gives some credit where it's due.

How government doesn't work: In what is being slated as a means to educate, the US Government held its first official meeting on July 13th. The point was to dispel certain perceived myths about RFID, as well as ensuring that the US does not fall behind in terms of global technology. What's interesting, according to Chang, is that during an open-mic session, no one in the audience brought up the topic of either privacy or security-the main complaints against the use of RFID in private and public sectors. Via Epicycle.

Lightning locates The Center.

Arlen Specter becomes Britney Spears.

21:26 BST

Seriously recommended

I didn't post anything last night after I returned from Soho because I suddenly had the urge to watch Robert Newman's History of Oil again. Twice.

I know I've already linked this two or three times since it originally aired, but I keep finding out that there are people who didn't notice.

And, really, that's a shame.

So go see this explanation of why Rob Newman refused to go on Question Time, and why he says World War I should be taught in schools as an invasion of Iraq. (Because you never did get that thing about it just being caused by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, did you?)

And, also, it's pretty funny.

And informative.

So go watch it, already!

15:04 BST


Triumph Shiny Curves strapless underwired braBra of the Week - and it's cheap.

Oh, God, John Bolton, again, and more opportunities for Lincoln Chaffee to be a jerk and of course classy sleaze like Jew-baiting tactics. Steve Clemons is on the case.

Someday it will be declared child abuse to teach kids crap like this, but I certainly hope we can agree it's a crime when stuff like this happens.

So, are you sorry yet, Ralph?

"I cannot read Goldstein. It's like watching a plane full of nuns crash into a kitten farm." TRex interviews Brad and Gav about their evil t-shirt plot against those good-tempered, civil, right-wing bloggers.

A recap of George's week, with Paul Hipp on the gi-tar.

Sara Messenger's "This American City"

12:22 BST

Saturday, 22 July 2006

Political picture

American Microphone features an interview with Rachel Maddow this week, and she still looks like a pretty girl to me even though she claims to look like a boy.

And she makes the useful point that a problem with the Democratic establishment is that, unlike the Republicans, they seem to expect everything from you if you are representing Democrats or liberals.

It's true - the Democratic leadership is constantly busy disavowing anyone, even an entertainer, who doesn't come across as electorally presentable. (Michael Moore is fat for them, too.)

The Republicans rarely disavow anyone short of Fred Phelps. (Although he looks more like them than they'd like to admit.) No matter how whacked out and extreme, Republicans are perfectly happy to embrace anyone they can make use of. (For all I know, they are even paying Phelps to go out and be the extreme they can pretend to be distanced from.)

Democrats, on the other hand, give precious little to their supporters and are quick to put distance between themselves and those supporters if they don't like your t-shirt. Republicans enlisted the loonies at Free Republic and their ilk as fast as they could, but the Dem leadership were at best disdainful of the liberal blogosphere up until very recently (and there are plenty who still haven't gotten the message).

Rachel says the party expects their talk radio hosts to be electable and their think tanks to be marketable. Republicans didn't bother - they just put everyone out there and told them to cut loose, and gave them money to do it.

Rachel says a lot of smart things about how basing it all on candidates, or The Candidate, is bad strategy, too. We shouldn't be blaming previous losses on Gore or Kerry just because they weren't exceptionally charismatic when we never had the infrastructure to get their backs. (The fact that the Democratic leadership couldn't be bothered to try to get their backs didn't help, either, of course.)

The Republicans put people up who are cyphers, it doesn't matter if they have any natural charisma, smarts, style, knowledge, or even basic language skills - George W. Bush is certainly evidence of that. What matters isn't the candidate. What matters is that they have a machine that works to make even a slug like Bush look like a credible, even popular, candidate.

Rachel says some other smart things, too - go and watch.

18:00 BST

Language notes

You know, I'm really getting offended at the way the right-wing (and I include Marshall Wittmann in that - he's still a DLC Republican) keep using the term "swiftboating" to refer to any criticism of another right-winger.

It's kind of like "Borked" - they want to con us that people like Bork and Lieberman are being unjustly personally attacked rather than appropriately criticized for their actual positions and records.

So let's get this straight: Bork was rejected for the Supreme Court - as Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts should have been - for holding anti-democratic and unconstitutional views, not because we thought he was personally creepy or we didn't like his wife. (Let's not mistake the way the Republicans went after the Clintons for the way liberals went after Bork.)

The swift-boaters were lying about John Kerry's record - they weren't just saying they disagreed with his decision to return from 'Nam and criticize the conduct of the war, they were falsely implying that they had personally served with him and claiming he had a phony war record.

Joe Lieberman is not being "swiftboated", he's being held to account for his open and blatant attacks on his own party, refusal to hold our government to account, and failure to stand up for his alleged liberal beliefs; that is, he is failing to represent the people who voted for him, and now they don't want to vote for him anymore.

(Via Taylor Marsh, who also found herself having to explain sexual harassment to The Wall Street Journal after being attacked by one of their anklebiters.)

16:24 BST

Would I lie to you?

Ohio's Coming Electoral Meltdown - Andrew Gumbel says it's probably going to be even worse this time: It would be bad enough if Blackwell were acting merely to benefit his party, as he did in 2004. But in this case he's taking advantage of his office to act on behalf of his own ambitions. Unless something changes between now and November, he will remain in charge of counting the votes -- his own and everyone else's. In a pivotal election in a pivotal state, this is far from reassuring.

Good on Paul Krugman for reminding readers in "The Price of Fantasy" that: Today we call them neoconservatives, but when the first George Bush was president, those who believed that America could remake the world to its liking with a series of splendid little wars - people like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld - were known within the administration as "the crazies." Grown-ups in both parties rejected their vision as a dangerous fantasy. Well, they are still crazy. (And, MoDo, do you mean you knew at the time that George Bush was more suited to the playpen than the Oval Office and you still did what you did? Damn you.)

I almost missed the fact that some reality seems to have crept onto the WaPo front page Thursday. As Jim Henley points out, actually winning - however defined - is no longer on the table: The choice isn't between "staying and fighting" or defeat. We already have the defeat. As I discussed last night, the last presentable war aim - creating a model society to inspire other Arab/Muslim societies - is unattainable now. The choice, as reporters Weisman and Asthana put it, is between staying and "conceding defeat." If we stay we can avoid admitting we've lost. Not avoid losing. Acknowledging. How many American soldiers and Iraqi civilians is that worth to us?

Isn't it depressing to know that even at this late date, there are perfectly distrustful liberals who see Bush do his act and still give him the benefit of the doubt? I remember when he announced his fake AIDS program for Africa and everyone got all starry-eyed as if he were really going to contribute a lot of money to a decent program, but it was just the same old thing - bypassing good, efficient programs so that all the money really goes to Big Pharma and actually starves and hurts existing programs. So now he went and did his little show at the NAACP and someone who really ought to know better seems to be falling for it. John Nichols could do worse than to run his thoughts past egalia before he commits them to print. (Egalia even does her own local reporting when one of her Senators goes completely haywire on the Senate floor.)

More bad faith in Mexico, and Calderon turns out to be a resumé-stuffer.

One of the world's hottest vocalists singing one of the world's hottest tracks: "Would I lie to you?"

13:43 BST

Narratives vs. Facts, Values

I recommend Glenn Greenwald's "Blogs and media narratives," which begins with the flicker of hope in the fact that the Blogwatch at Newsweek actually noted that a right-wing blogger posted an extreme, hateful, and eliminationist remark* about lynching the "liberal" Supreme Court justices. As Glenn points out, they didn't exactly make a Thing out of it, but at least it's an acknowledgement that there might be something over-the-top going on over on the wrong-wing side of the blogosphere.

But what I want to bring to your attention is a comment from Paul Rosenberg that he should have copied to one of his (mostly sleeping) blogs:

As I see it, the underlying situation is simple, if deeply buried:

(1) Among the populace as a whole, liberals and conservatives are far more similar than different. 30+ years of polling by the General Social Survey shows this to be the case on virtually every single question ever asked.

(2) The major reason for this on most issues is conservatives embracing liberal positions--particularly on the core economic issues that matter most to ultra-conservative elites--although a smaller proportion is due to liberals with conservative views.

(3) The major way for ultra-conservative--the prime architects of the conservative movement--to gain conservative support is via false narratives that demonize liberals, and present ultra-conservative goals--such as destroying Social Security--in "mainstream conservative" narrative terms, such as "privatizing," "choice," "ownership society," etc.

(4) But despite the spin, the real political divide, in terms of fundamental value orientations, is that between conservatives--who overlap considerably with liberals--and ultra-conseratives, who do not.

(5) A major means for advancing the ultra-conservative agenda has been the gaming the media, first by pressing for the shift from "objectivity" to "balance," then by manipulating the emphasis on "balance" to gradually marginalize majoritarian positions, while mainstreaming extremist rightwing positions.

(6) This shift requires both the suppression of facts, and the redefinition of values (and "values," the collective labelling of moral concerns as exclusively the preserve of the extreme right.)

(7) Violent suppression is part of implicit core of the ultra-conservative worldview. PNAC's vision of world dominance is a manifestation of this. The "End Times" vision of the extreme right "Christians" is another. And the eliminationist rhetoric that's been written about here recently--and that folks like David Neiwert, Chip Berlet and the Southern Poverty Law Center have been writing about for years. Thus, violent rhetoric on the ultra-conservative right is, in a fundamental way, an expression of its essential nature.

(8) Resistance to subjugation, loss of liberty and denial of dignity is a universal human response. The anger expressed in the left blogosphere is overwhelmingly (though, of course, as David Byron's example reminds us, not exclusively) based on this resistance in the face of ultra-conservative dominance leading us in the direction of a permanent one-party state. It is a resistance that, at bottom, is yet one more thing that liberals and conservative share in common, which is the root reason (deeper than neo-conservatism) that some conservatives have turned against Bush and the Republican Party as it now functions.

(9) The elite media has totally bought into the ultra-conservative narratives, which have been directed as much at them as at the conservative base. This is the fundamental reason why they see the rational, situational anger of "the left" (which has included a number of principled conservatives for at least three years now) as a much more serious and fundamental problem, deserving of constant challenge and absurdist "analysis," when not being dismissed out of hand. And it's why they see the anger of the right as a minor, evanescent matter, when they even acknowledge it at all.

The right, you see, is entitled to it's anger. After all, the elite media itself spends the vast majority of its time implicitly or explicitly mouthing it's narratives. They can readily identify with the anger felt by those on the right. Even when that anger is directed directly at them. Here, then, is the final irony: This is how their "liberalism" is expressed. By understanding and granting unquestioned legitimacy to the viewpoint that they should be shot as traitors.

02:46 BST

Friday, 21 July 2006


Atrios on Lieberman and the press: The thing is that Joe has done Everything Right, according to the Beltway Geniuses, at least before Joe Klein discovered he was for populism after he was against it. He scolded the nasty Clenis, he scolds other Democrats, he supported the Iraq war, he goes on the Sunday teevee shows all the time. He's embraced the "I'm a Democrat but I'm not like those other nasty Democrats" schtick which all cool kids know is the only way to be a cool Democrat. They object to the challenge to Lieberman because they see it as a challenge to themselves and their view of how things should be done.

Nice quote from Kevin Drum: It is, often, not so much war itself that people long for, but the moral certainty that comes with it; thus the venom directed even toward those who are skeptical of war, let alone those who are resolutely opposed to it. It's not that the skeptics prevent the hawks from getting the war they want - they usually don't - but that they deny them the moral certainty they so desperately yearn for. And that cannot be tolerated. Via Interesting Times, via yet another link-rich post at Good Nonsense.

Nico Pitney correcting Bush's speech to the NAACP: President Bush's "death tax" pitch demonstrates his stunning disconnect from the African-American community. According to an American Progress analysis, just 59 African-Americans will pay the estate tax this year, and that number will drop to 33 in 2009. (Is that "disconnect" or just, y'know, a misleading statement?) Meanwhile Charles Barkley figures out that the GOP really isn't the party of tolerance and equality. Wasn't hard; you only had to look here and then here.

18:24 BST

How I spent my morning

I was supposed to get a fasting blood test today but I'd already had a banana smoothie before I woke up enough to remember. Oh, well....

I've been meaning to write a letter to the Boston Globe to thank them and Charlie Savage for their coverage of the "signing statements" story, and I finally got around to doing it this morning. It happens to be decent coverage, but as Lambert points out, "The Globe - unlike Pravda on the Potomac or Izvestia on the Hudson - is actually covering the story." You shouldn't have to thank a newspaper for covering one of the most significant stories of the day, but these are scary times. Lambert is talking about Veto Kabuki and why Bush hasn't bothered to use the no-longer-necessary veto for anything that matters to him, because with Alito's help, he's been re-writing our entire government all along. He can rant all he wants to about Congress' spending and what-have-you without ever refusing to sign-on to runaway expenditure, because he doesn't actually want to stop the hemorrhage. But he doesn't care about stem cell research, either way. It's totally political, pure pandering, so making it the subject of his very first veto is just a lovely piece of theater.

"Bushism Is Not Kerryism" - Bill Scher says that even apparent infighting among Republicans on the front page of The Washington Post is really just another way to blame Democrats for GOP failures, "And they might get away with it, if Democrats don't clearly articulate what their foreign policy principles are, and how what Bush is doing has absolutely nothing to do them." (And, personally, I'd like to see Democrats put a little effort into pressing the point that the Republicants are such cowards that they couldn't even find the guts to override Bush's stem cell veto.)

"Now he needs black America? Bush meets the NAACP" - blksista reports back.

Molly Ivins on The suicide of capitalism - It's not funny.

You know, one guy who was really was as bad as we were told Saddam was is Idi Amin, the late ex-president of Uganda and self-proclaimed King of Scotland. Amin was a classic case of a dictator who crossed every line and was crazy as could be. At one point he tried to get the maker of British medals to give him a Victoria Cross, but they obviously couldn't do that and told him they had an Extra Special one just for him: The Victorious Cross. Amin was well known as a practitioner of torture and was responsible for murdering hundreds of thousands of people. When he was finally kicked out of Uganda, guess who gave him refuge. Yep, it was our very good friends, Saudi Arabia.

14:46 BST

Sleepy blogging

Radley Balko: Today, my paper on SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics is finally released. You can read it here. It's been the thrust of my research for nearly a year, now. It offers a history of SWAT teams, legal background, analysis and criticism of their increasingly frequent use and abuse, and an appendix of cast studies that documents more than 150 cases of botched raids. There's also a map of Botched Paramilitary Police Raids.

So, people are starting to think that even in a three-way race, Lieberman might still lose. There's even reasonable hope that Lamont could actually win the state. Woo! But isn't it odd that where other primary challenges are concerned, none of the pro-Lieberman arguments seem to apply?

Lose Your Home, Lose Your Rights - Rorschach is livid upon learning that victims of Katrina being housed by FEMA have pretty much lost their Constitutional rights and aren't allowed to speak to the press.

Cursor: "The Progressive's Matthew Rothschild reports on the ACLU's documentation of the role of Homeland Security in helping the Pentagon spy on student antiwar groups in California."

"A pantomime president" by Sidney Blumenthal: President Bush was against diplomacy before he was for it.

Dick Cheney's MySpace page

02:59 BST

Thursday, 20 July 2006


Via C&L, an article in the NYT called "Lieberman Finds Favor Among Donors That Usually Support G.O.P." - big corporate business is handing Lieberman their money, and Ned Lamont says, meanwhile, that he will personally match any donations given to him via the Internet - so don't forget.

See, here is more evidence that most supporters of the conservative movement just don't understand how money works: John Derbyshire* suddenly notices that there is a shrinking middle class, and he doesn't like it.

House Conservatives Reveal What God Thinks About Gay Marriage Amendment.

17:06 BST

Stand up - it works

At The Left Coaster, pessimist says the GOP is Ripping at the Seams electorally.

And one way that seems to work is when someone decides not to play the DLC appeasement game. Like in Alabama (Alabama!) where Patricia Todd, campaigning openly as a lesbian, won election to the state legislature, thanks to the efforts of "a broad group of supporters." But, warns pessimist, this could just mean that the "vote thieves at Diebold, Sequioa, and ES&S are going to be very busy this fall."

Do you think complaints about the hackable machines could get some traction if Josh Marshall knew that Jack Abramoff helped push them on us? Dig this:

RFK JR.: Oh yes. Jack Abramoff, and Bob Ney (R-Oh), the principle figure in the Abramoff scandal and he's the author of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). And Diebold contributed millions of dollars to these guys, including hundreds of thousands of dollars to Abramoff to lobby on behalf of HAVA, and to lobby states like New York and the other states, to adopt the Diebold machines.

[Brad Blog]: So HAVA was "created specifically to disenfranchise voters and verification"?

RFK JR.: HAVA was written specifically to require the states to buy Diebold machines. I mean one company basically had control of the whole legislative process. That's why HAVA has a provision in it that discourages vote verification by paper ballots.

So, says Simbaud, we should be prepared for a November Surprise not if Democrats lose, but if we win, as seems tantalizingly within reach. Mark Crispin Miller says to watch out:
If the GOP should lose the House and/or the Senate on Election Day, they will pick out a handful of the "closest" races--as many as they need to hang on to majority control--and start to scream like hell about ELECTION FRAUD.

That's right: the major perpetrators of such fraud will cast themselves as victims of the very crime that put them where they are, and charge the Democrats with having used the very tactics that the Bush Republicans have now perfected: legal/bureaucratic disenfranchisement, e-voting manipulation, hostile challenges to would-be voters, covert efforts at disinformation, countless ballots thrown away, and so on.
This, of course, is how the Busheviks routinely operate; and yet I'm basing this prediction not just on their history as war-propagandists, but on the blunt admission of a certain high-placed GOP insider, who recently told Thom Hartmann that this is the party's plan, if they should lose control of either side of Congress.

And who will be ready this time? Have our candidates promised not to cave in on suspicious results? Are their supporters prepared to make a stink wherever the Ohio scenario begins to play out? Do we have telephone trees and bulletin boards and cadres of supporters of democracy prepared to do whatever it takes to make sure the ballots are counted, that the numbers make sense, that no one skates through on phantom votes and mysterious "errors"?

It's already pretty late, but people must be prepared to let Democrats know now that we have no patience with people who continue to put this on the back-burner and shuffle off the stage at the first sign that efforts are being made to cook the vote in any way.

We will need people to be alert to election-day Jim Crow tricks like moving polling places without warning (on election day itself), GOP operatives trying to intimidate legitimate voters and others trying to cheat the counting process when the polls close. And if things start to smell during the counting process, people need to be ready to show up in person as well as deluge legislators and media with angry phone calls.

In the meantime, how much do you know about whether pre-election voter registrations are actually being processed? Remember, in Tennessee during 2000, which does not remove the franchise from convicted felons, a voter-purge list was used to take alleged convicted felons off of the voting rolls anyway - and motor voter registrations were never processed to put new registrants on the rolls.

They can get away with cheating as long as we let them.

13:27 BST

"The only thing God didn't do to Job was give him a computer."*

Cenk Uygur, "The Ugly Truth: Our President is an Imbecile": You know it, I know it and the American people know it. But everyone is afraid to say it. They say it privately, but people are afraid of saying it publicly because you will be branded as a liberal, elite, intellectual snob. But believe me, you don't have to be an intellectual to see how painfully stupid our president is.

Looks like the Democratic establishment has it in for McKinney. And no, Josh, I don't think they have the right idea.

I just had a lot of fun (and a few surprises) clicking on various states on this map of religious affiliation or lack thereof. Via Washington Syndrome, who got it from Pharyngula, who got it from Digby. And if I were running for office, I really wouldn't want to alienate that huge non-secular bunch, y'know? (Digby: Perhaps the question should broached in this case too. Why do the vast majority secularists vote for the Democrats? Could it possibly be for the same reason that African Americans do? Could it be that the Republican Party is so implicitly or explicitly religiously intolerant that they have no place in it?)

The GOP FEMA credit card - Buy all the dog booties you can't use, and let the taxpayer pick up the tab!

Once upon a time....

12:20 BST

People are talking

Pierce: I don't give a damn how tactically brilliant this may be. I look at this action and this is what I know -- that millions of Americans will die horrible deaths and the government of the United States doesn't give a good goddamn about them. Period. And, no, Senator Obama, I don't have to respect the deeply held beliefs of anyone who condemns their fellow human beings to miserable suffering on the basis of anthropomorphized blastocysts in the service of an anthropomorphized god. Were it in my power, I'd run all those former embryos out of government until they grew the hell up.

Is Jonathan Chait starting to see the light? From this, it looks like he's beginning to feel that itch about Lieberman that causes one to get with...the Nedmentum. (And Zengerle actually has something funny: Ralph Reed is blaming John McCain for the fact that he lost his primary. Hahaha.) (But this thing Peretz posted is nuts.)

What Chavez really said about Israel isn't much like what he was quoted as saying.

I could be wrong, but I'm thinking it's just possible that Shakespeare's Sister really digs Christopher Walken....

01:50 BST

Wednesday, 19 July 2006

Stuff to see

Over at The Patriot Project, Dave Johnson warns that "The Swiftboaters Are Back in the Water": And now, with the 2006 campaign season upon us they are ready to attack again, creating false stories and spreading doubt and mistrust about the more than fifty veterans running for Congress this fall.

I haven't had a chance to listen to it yet, but Cell Whitman is recommending an interview with John Dean in which, according to Cell, Dean "nails G. Liddy, Barbara Olsen, Gingrich, Xtian right."

At the Chimp, Walter C. Uhler says that Bush, Cheney, and Rice are MLAs. Yes, they are.

Glenn Greenwald on the different treatment you get from the media depending on whether you are pro-Bush or not: Many journalists seem to be under the impression that using bad words in a post or an e-mail is not just equal to - but worse than - daily calls to hundreds of thousands of readers in the right-wing blogsophere for journalists and mainstream political figures to be treated as traitors and arrested and/or hanged.

23:28 BST

Things I noticed

Andrew Bard Schmookler at The Smirking Chimp, "How George Bush has weakened America, and how that explains why the world is falling apart": When former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright described the United States as the "indispensable nation," some thought she was presumptuous. But the deterioration of the international system under the power-hungry, arrogant and incompetent Bush administration has proved Albright was right. The international order is breaking apart before our eyes, largely because the world's leading nation has been badly led.

Duncan Black on Independence: If you took a few moments to go read through newspaper editorials from the USA circa 1993-2000, you'd discover that what editorial boards thought was the most important thing to maintain for a functioning constitutional government was having an attorney general who was independent from the president. This stick was used to beat Janet Reno with regularly to encourage her to launch yet another investigation into even more crap which amounted to nothing. Now it's pretty much accepted that Alberto Gonzales is Bush's personal attorney, and that the JD isn't going to bother looking at White House activities. Nor, of course, will Congress.

Jonathan Chait's article arguing that we should actually talk about the fact that Bush is intellectually sub-par shows up under three different names in two publications. At the LAT, it's "Is Bush Still Too Dumb to Be President?" but at The New Republic, the text title is "Bush's Dangerous Anti-Intellectualism. Intelligence Failure" while on the title bar it makes the affirmative statement that "Bush really is too dumb to be president." It's like no one had the guts to just say it on the page. (By the way, my brother drives a pick-up truck, and he didn't vote for Bush, either.)

I'm linking the fourth page of "And on the Eighth Day, Dr. Dobson Created Himself" because that's where the meat is. I mean, this guy's background is sick. And he doesn't seem to have reacted against it in a meaningful way; rather, he seems to think it's how children should be raised.

The DCCC thanks the GOP for making a stink about their recent ad, with the result that 250,000 new people wrote in to offer their support to the Democratic effort.

Anti-choice website LifeNews reports on a tactic you might want to be aware of, buying reproductive health clinics to close them down: Abortion business have been purchased in states such as Kansas, Florida, Tennessee and Nebraska. In one of the first cases the Pro-Life Majority Coalition of Chattanooga outbid a Tennessee abortion business for the right to own a local facility that had long been the sole place in town where abortions were done. The buying of the building forced the abortion center to close and the site now houses the National Memorial for the Unborn, a memorial for all of the babies who died at the abortion center over the years.

17:17 BST

Recommended reading

Simbaud (who also thinks he has found a flaw in Israel's strategy), notes the cost of privatization to American tourists in Lebanon, and alerts us to this reminder that those students in Grenada weren't handed an evacuation bill.

Chris Floyd: Can it be a total coincidence that the hellstorm of murder and mayhem that has now turned Baghdad into "a skeleton of a city" began just after Bush and al-Maliki announced their ballyhooed "security push," pouring thousands of new troops and police into the capital's streets?

Christy Hardin Smith: I'm no longer going to call it "unitary executive theory." For this President, it is more accurate to say "unilateral executive." (And read Jane Hamsher's "When Satire Becomes Irrelevant " on why progressive political foundations don't mirror the right's political infrastructure - and the pathetic coverage in The Washington Post. No, they're not good enough for The Onion, Jane.)

This story is infuriating just on the surface, but it's even more so if you understand how many of the drugs they were force-feeding this kid were known to be very dangerous even before he was born. Thorazine (chlorpromazine), for example, can stop you from being able to talk at all. And that's just one little thing. (And, Libby, you have my condolences about Acidman. I didn't read his blog, but if I didn't know what you mean, I'd probably ignore comments here from our resident liberal-hater, and if I didn't know the power of print-only relationships, well, I'd still be single and half-blind in Maryland.)

If you want to argue about Lebanon, you could go here, because Jason doesn't appear to be tired of it, yet.

15:00 BST

It all looks better in the morning

At least my broadband connection is back.

And the top correction at the NYT this morning is for that stupid story about Hillary:

An article published on the Web site of The New York Times on Sunday reported on a speech by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton in Rogers, Ark. The headline and article said that Mrs. Clinton had criticized Democrats on Saturday for "wasting time" by dealing with issues that helped Republicans turn out voters rather than finding consensus on mainstream subjects. The opening sentence of the article and the headline were based on a misinterpretation of a passage in her speech in which she first referred to the Democrats' agenda in the Senate and then went on to criticize the actions of the Republican majority in Congress.

She was referring to the Republican-led Congress - not Democrats - when she said: "So we do other things, we do things that are controversial, we do things that try to inflame their base so that they can turn people out and vote for their candidates. I think we are wasting time, we are wasting lives, we need to get back to making America work again, in a bipartisan, nonpartisan way." The article used only the phrase "wasting time," not the full quotation. (Go to Article)

There's no excuse for this "misinterpretation of a passage in her speech." I don't mean they don't make one, I mean there isn't one. How stupid can you be if you think it's Democrats who keep wasting time in Congress with all these divisive issues? It's been obvious from the beginning that the Republicans bring them up and use them precisely to be divisive and to prevent any real productive work from taking place. And nothing Clinton said in that speech indicated that she was talking about someone other than the Republicans in Congress when she made that criticism.

But if you keep reading down that page (which appears to be dynamic, so it may have changed by the time you see it), you'll see that it's not just one reporter and it's not just about Hillary or the Democratic Party. Since I've actually done reporting for a real newspaper, I have to say that it's pretty scary when reporters for The New York Times don't know that the AFL-CIO is a confederation of unions rather than "a union" (and no editor catches it), for example. And it shouldn't be that hard to pin down dates that are very much in the public record. It shouldn't be that easy to misrepresent public statements and legislation.

I swear to God, it's like they get their stories from bad translations of the foreign-language press.

12:26 BST

I am waiting for my case to come up

Well, I'm tired of waiting to see if my broadband connection is going to return, so on the wonders of dial-up I checked out Think Progress and found many strange things (which have videos that I'm not even going to try to watch):

White House spokesbeing Tony Snow says to Helen Thomas, "Well, thank you for the Hezbollah view." They just sink lower and lower, don't they?

Representative Lincoln Davis (D-TN) opposes the gay marriage ban on the grounds that it doesn't go far enough, saying the real threats to marriage - divorce and adultery - should be outlawed and that no divorced or adulterous person should be permitted to run for elective office. This would, of course, be especially problematic for Republicans.

Senator Sam Brownback (R-Mordor) has talking stem cells lie to Senate.

And then, of course, there is Alberto "Torture R Us" Gonzales testifying that Bush blocked investigation of his illegal activities. Well, what a surprise. Modern Republicans, as we know, are committed to the ideal of having the fox guard the henhouse.

I did also manage to check out "Why the Left Is Furious at Lieberman" in the LAT, by one of America's finest explainers of things, Duncan Black.

00:09 BST

Tuesday, 18 July 2006


I reckon AltHippo has the best take on Dana Milbank's disingenuous review of Helen Thomas' book. What is it with these people that they turn whole paragraphs into short sentences without even bothering with those three little dots?

From The Seattle Times, Froma Harrop makes the comparison: Many conservatives are amazed that Democrats haven't made more hay of their superior record in containing the size of government. (via)

I see The Washington Post is still trying to declare a winner in the Mexican election, as they call Obrador the runner-up. Ahem.

Len Hart on "American conservatives are dead wrong and why it matters": That Goldwater and Eisenhower would be called liberal today reveals the polarization that has taken place in this country. A radicalized right wing is a cancer upon the body politic; its roots are found in the left overs of Nixon's utterly failed administration. This is something about which Dean can write authoritatively. It was Dean, after all, who warned a President of a cancer on the Presidency.

Well, I guess it's not just us paranoids who believe the administration is spying on their political enemies.

Remember that guy who does the uninvited "friendly" touching and when you react he says, "Whuh? I was jus' bein' friendly!" all hurt and confused, like? Just think how surprised Angela Merkel must have been to find herself having to deal with him in front of cameras and everything.

Why this is happening - Gee, no wonder* they're so pissed off.

"The Big Iraq Candy Mountain"

12:49 BST

Just how bad was that WaPo story?

I knew it! Thanks to Little Thom down in comments for tipping me off to the back story on that EMT who said she refused to supply an ambulance for someone for an elective abortion because of her moral principles. Via Austin Cline, The Chicago Sun-Times filling in the blanks:

The EMT, Stephanie Adamson, said her Christian beliefs prevented her from helping after she learned that the woman, who had abdominal pain, was to be taken from a Chicago hospital to a clinic for an elective abortion. ...

The ambulance company, however, said Adamson, 35, wasn't fired for her religious beliefs but because she had created a threat to the patient's safety. The company said the patient was in severe pain and that the delay caused by Adamson's refusal to assist led to the patient being taken to the emergency room rather than the clinic.

Gee, I wonder why the WaPo left that little tidbit out of their story....

Shakespeare's Sister: Asking for on-the-job exemptions from primary duties based on religious beliefs is nothing less than the "special rights" conservatives are incessantly accusing the LGBT community, women, and minorities of seeking. Those groups just want baseline equality. Christians who want to use their interpretation of the Bible to rewrite their job descriptions want an inequality that caters to their personal whims. Particularly in the field of medicine, where lives depend on people who don't hesitate, who put patients' needs before their own desires, such a willful dereliction of duty is contemptible.

There's another thread with some creepy horror stories over at The Mahablog.

01:48 BST

Monday, 17 July 2006

Media notes

I just saw the movie of V for Vendetta. It's a good movie, but it's not the same story as the comic. It couldn't be. That story came out of Thatcher's Britain, and we've gone far beyond that, now. (However, I just realized that, having read the comic as it was published, it's been a very long time, and I've never just sat down and read it all at once, which would be a good idea.)

I'm sorry, I still think Bush sounds like a nitwit with his suggestion that all would be cool if Kofi would just "get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop" doing what they're doing. I'm not 14, I don't care about that word, it's just that it's yet another example of how Bush just doesn't seem to understand how people work. It's dumb. And Ezra is right about the reporting, too.

Media Matters has the video of Hillary Clinton critiquing the Republicans. I hear Drudge headlined this story as liberals objecting to Hillary attacking Democrats, rather than as people who can hear and read criticizing the NYT for falsely claiming that Hillary was attacking Democrats.

Ombudsthingie - Me, I just don't see how one story ended up on page 1 and the other didn't. Seems to me the murder of someone who was running for office is still a pretty big deal. Someone who works for someone who is running for office isn't quite the same. So why did the latter end up on the telegraph page, while the other didn't?

God, does this mean that rich liberals are finally putting money into media projects? Really? At last? Oh, please, please let it be true. (The DLC whining is just gravy.)

I agree with everything Steve says in this post about patients as good critics of their doctors, and bloggers as critics of Matt Bai (of whom I have previously written*). Also: Red state culture - when they're not divorcin' and child abusin' and that sort of thing, right-wingers make art. Oh, dear.

23:40 BST

Democracy 101

At The Nation, John Nichols says the "GOP's Got a Problem With Voting Rights": How will African-American voters respond to the House GOP's assault on what Conyers refers to as "the crown jewel of our civil rights laws"? Perhaps they will react as did Georgia Representative David Scott, one of the most moderate members of the current House, who said of his Republican colleagues: "Their goal has been one thing and one thing only: to kill the Voting Rights Act."

John Ireland at In These Times on the qui tam lawsuit Mike Papantonio has going against election thieves, "Blowing the Whistle on Diebold."

Lambert (and a lot of other people) noticed this while I apparently didn't: Executives at ChoicePoint Inc. - which bought the company whose list Florida officials used to prevent thousands from voting in the 2000 presidential election - were among the biggest contributors to U.S. Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman's re-election campaign from January to March, records show. I guess it's better to have them with you than against you, eh, Joe?

Brent Budowsky at the HuffPo, "The Most Important Investigative News Story in America: Voting Machines": The essence of freedom and democracy, the actual counting of votes to allocate power and governance, is not another proprietary product. It creates a grave danger to democracy itself, to keep secret the very means of protecting the integrity of the vote. [...]This is not to charge, or refute, allegations of what may have happened in the past. This is to propose a mission for the investigative journalists of America: To fearlessly, honestly, and objectively gather together in long form all facts that are clearly provable; to define without fear or favor the objective interests of those who seek to count the vote through secret means; to initiate a great debate about whether secrecy should be acceptable or unacceptable in this matter; and to put before the public those who believe reforms are needed, those who believe reforms are not needed, and therefore honor the First Amendment vision of an informed citizenry making the core decisions that govern our democracy.

19:56 BST

In writing

It's actually a pretty big deal when Hillary Clinton gives a speech criticizing the fecklessness of Republicans in Congress and the headline in The New York Times is: "Clinton, in Arkansas, Says Democrats Are 'Wasting Time'." In fact, as Atrios shows, the article dishonestly cuts all reference to Republicans to suggest that Clinton is attacking Democrats for concentrating on issues that, in truth, Republicans won't shut up about. It's certainly not Democrats who keep introducing legislation about banning gay marriage and flag-burning and about Terry Shiavo. (Mcjoan says the author makes a habit of it.) You can go to this page and click on where it says, "Send an E-Mail to Anne E. Kornblut," or write a letter for publication to, or write to the news editors at - but after you read the article and then pull yourself together enough to write without melting anything.

Paul Krugman takes us on a walk down memory lane in "March of Folly." I particularly like the Tom DeLay quote at the end. And Bob Herbert recognizes "The Definition of Tyranny: There is every reason to be alarmed about the wretched road that Bush, Cheney et al. are speeding along. It is as if they were following a route deliberately designed to undermine a great nation.

Tristero is doing a series of posts on The One Percent Doctrine. I've always thought the most ironic sentence in the quotes I've seen from the book is this one: "If there's a one percent chance that Pakistani scientists are helping al Qaeda build or develop a nuclear weapon, we have to treat it as a certainty in terms of our response," Cheney said. It seems to me the 1% solution must be the opposite of what has been represented by both this quote and Suskind's analysis, because we attacked a country that had no more than perhaps a 1% chance of being involved in the 9/11 attack, but instantly declared Pakistan, where the madrasses were and are, to be our ally in the fight against terrorism.

16:36 BST

When right-wingers talk...

...they talk bollocks.

For example, I don't understand this story:

When the dispatcher called, Stephanie Adamson knew this might be the run she had feared. But it wasn't until her ambulance arrived at the hospital and she saw the words "elective abortion" on the patient's chart that she knew she had to make a choice.
An ambulance for an elective abortion? What is she talking about? And who is this nitwit "Catholic neurologist" who says he refuses to work with embryonic stem cells because, "I believe it's destruction of a human life. It's wrong." Didn't anyone tell him what happens to those cells if he doesn't work with them? I get the feeling these people are operating in a hallucinatory world.

Everyone's having a good laugh over Putin telling Bush that Russia wouldn't really like Iraq-style "democracy", but I'd like to know why no one ever disputes the claims about religion being illegal in the USSR and in Russia. My mother went on a choir tour of churches in the USSR back in the '70s. No, not secret basements. Churches. Perfectly public, perfectly legal churches, just like we have back home. They'd been there all along.

The time-travel president - I am forever astonished at the amazing power Clinton had to be a bad president long before he was ever inaugurated. If only this man could be stopped! First it was giving secrets to the Chinese back in the '80s, then it was Ruby Ridge (August of 1992), and now that 1992 tax increase. Any minute now he is going to go back in time to cause the Challenger disaster.

12:37 BST

Look through any window

Elle Macpherson Intimates Casablanca underwired braBra of the Week

I thought the editorial in The New York Times called "The Real Agenda " was going to be good, because it starts like this:

It is only now, nearly five years after Sept. 11, that the full picture of the Bush administration's response to the terror attacks is becoming clear. Much of it, we can see now, had far less to do with fighting Osama bin Laden than with expanding presidential power.

Over and over again, the same pattern emerges: Given a choice between following the rules or carving out some unprecedented executive power, the White House always shrugged off the legal constraints. Even when the only challenge was to get required approval from an ever-cooperative Congress, the president and his staff preferred to go it alone.

So, yeah, they may be starting to wise up. But then as an aside, they said this:
While no one questions the determination of the White House to fight terrorism...
Really? Why not? Is there any evidence that the administration is determined to stop terrorism? What makes the NYT think so? Personally, I'd be very surprised to learn that the White House was interested in stopping terrorism. (via)

The Brad Blog says: In a harshly worded statement, the DNC's Voting Rights Institute has issued a statement condemning the administration of the recent U.S. House race between Democrat Francine Busby and Republican Brian Bilbray, joining a growing national outcry in calling for "a swift and verifiable 'manual count' of all 150,000 ballots cast in California's 50th District's 'bellwether' June 6th special election." (via)

Good Nonsense reports on a story in Newsday pointing out that there's still no winner in the Mexican election. I hadn't been aware that the results don't even have to be certified before September, so they've got plenty of time to hand-count the ballots. And: "Among other respected institutions, the Catholic Church in Mexico has defended López Obrador's right to contest the vote count before the Federal Elections Court and even to call for public protests - such as the one that drew hundreds of thousands of supporters to Mexico City's central square last Saturday. Peaceful protests are indicative of an engaged citizenry unwilling to accept the type of chicanery that long dominated the country's political system.

There's also more on Mexico at Mercury Rising, as well as the story on Haiti the way the Guardian did not manage to tell it.

Skippy is enjoying the story of Katharine Harris and the dead girl in Joe Scarborough's office. Well, we all are, really.

The Smirking Chimp has a cornucopia of articles on why we need some compassionate impeachment:
Dave Lindorff: 'They broke the law and people died' - Funnily enough, the law says that if someone gets killed during the commission of a crime, it's murder. So when the Supreme Court says Bush broke the law to allow abuses of prisoners so severe that some of them have died, isn't that...?
Ed Naha: 'BushCo. frags the world' - A forced metaphor if you ask me, but justified anger.
Anthony Wade: 'Hypocritical bluster from the party devoid of any moral authority' - Well, the real reason they don't want us showing those flag-draped coffins is that we're not supposed to be able to remind people that there's a real cost in blood and treasure to this little adventure of Cheney's merry band of maniacs.
John Graham: 'Hiding incompetency: Secrecy and the Curtain of Oz' - What you get when there's no accountability.
Morton H. Halperin: 'Bush: Worse than Nixon' - He's not the first one to say it, but it's always worth saying again.
Allen L Roland: 'Bush's exit strategy: Escalate, dominate and eliminate' - in other words, there is no exit strategy, no plan to get out, nothing - except a plan to open up another front in Iran.
There's more, of course.

A gorgeous sunset

02:54 BST

Sunday, 16 July 2006

Don't it make my brown eyes blue

If you want to read something thoughtful and meaty, check out Big Tent Democrat's guest post at TalkLeft, "What Barack Obama Needs To Learn From Richard Hofstadter, Abraham Lincoln and FDR," which is also smart enough to give you another chance to read that great stuff Digby wrote about Lincoln and the tribal divide.

For an alternative approach, you could check out "Dems Lack Spine; Sun to Rise in Morning" at The American Street. And while you're there, don't miss the Friday Funnies, which includes the exposé on the crack team working on the GOP's battle plan for the next election.

"The Big Dog" is so over.

The Heretik exposes some "Secrets" and sings the Democracy Blues.

14:13 BST

Saturday, 15 July 2006

Some more links

Terry Curtis Fox has some interesting questions in "What if Gore had been more like Obrador?" One of them is, "Why didn't we ignore Gore and Kerry's cries for calm?" And that, perhaps, is more important. How many people are ready to go to the next Florida, the next Ohio, and protest until the votes are counted, regardless of what the candidate says? It's what we (Jesse Jackson included) should have done in 2000, and in 2004, after all. It's no good sitting at home and typing, "We're not gonna take it," which is indistinguishable from, y'know, taking it. Outside the Beltway, we seem to see what's going on more clearly than do those who spend too much time on the Hill, so why weren't we there? If they won't lead us, we obviously have to lead them.

And speaking of Mexico, Charles continues to keep us up to date.

David Neiwert is having a holiday and posting a pretty picture or two, along with new personal lessons about beauty and death, but before he left he did write about Nazis and the military, and I'm looking at it and thinking, "Maybe the rest of us really ought to be studying martial arts." I used to do that, once upon a time.

I saw someone in a comment thread whining about "flourishing far-left antisemitism" and I asked for a cite, and he just sent me a rant in which he pointed me to this Paul Craig Roberts piece. That's right, I said, "Paul Craig Roberts." As to the content, you be the judge.

Political history, the graphic novels. I'm rather charmed by the idea of a comic about the SDS, or about the Wobblies.

Drawings from the Doctor (different one).

Several people have posted the trailer for the movie of Chris Priest's book, The Prestige. The one I watched is here. It apparently opens in October (though I'm not sure where). This is all rather exciting - maybe London fandom will make an event of it.

21:10 BST

In the news

Walter Pincus thinks it's time for Fighting back against the PR presidency:

But I believe a new kind of courage is needed in journalism in this age of instant news, instant analysis, and therefore instant opinions. It also happens to be a time of government by public relations and news stories based on prepared texts and prepared events or responses. Therefore, this is the time for reporters and editors, whether from the mainstream media or blogosphere, to pause before responding to the latest bulletin, prepared event, or the most recent statement or backgrounder, whether from the White House or the Democratic or Republican leadership on Capitol Hill.
There's some very useful background here on how the press coverage got stupider when Reagan got into the White House, and why it has stayed that way, that has nothing to do with party or ideological affiliation:
At the end of Reagan's first year, David Broder, the Post's distinguished political reporter, wrote a column about Reagan being among the least involved Presidents he had covered. The result was he received an onslaught of mail from people who repeatedly said they had seen him every night on TV working different issues. The often told Deaver story is that one night CBS News correspondent Leslie Stahl met him after narrating a particularly critical piece on Reagan, and Deaver told her as long as the President was on camera smiling it didn't matter what she had said about him. When President George H.W. Bush succeeded Reagan and occasionally drifted off the appointed subject, criticism began to appear that he "couldn't stay on message." When Bill Clinton arrived and as President did two, three or four things in a day, some critics went after him for "mixing up the daily message."
So, being able to walk and chew gum at the same time became a bad thing. No wonder Bush can only talk about the pig.

A story so sensitive and embarrassing to the administration that it was released on a Friday afternoon: Public schools are actually pretty good. That's where we are, folks - when the part of the Vast Evil Government that is meant to serve the public does something good and does it well, these people don't want you to know. Via Steve Gilliard.

Roz and I were talking about how rotten child labor is. Some of us make excuses for it and sound for all the world as if they expect that working in a sweatshop is an entry into something better for these children, when it really isn't. Even Paul Krugman doesn't quite seem to have gotten a handle on this one, yet. A lot of kids would actually rather be the "victims" of sex tourism, and be better off for it, too. (And I'm getting pretty tired of the people who act like the whole sex tourism thing should be our biggest priority in countries that are being wrecked by the IMF. After all, there are worse fates.)

Comic relief: "GOPers Lament", via FDL.

15:29 BST


John Dean, "The Bush Administration's Adversarial Relationship with Congress ": In truth, Bush himself does not have a clue about what he is doing, for this ploy is being guided by Vice President Cheney's office; I am told it is David Addington leading the way. Though carried out by Bush, it is best seen as another of Cheney's undertakings to enhance presidential power by neutering Congress. And it is working.

Bob Geiger on "Pro-Choice Groups' Out-to-Lunch Endorsements" and Matt Stoller on "Losing the Next Alito Fight" - Somehow, we have to get it across to people who say they are pro-choice, including members of NARAL and Planned Parenthood, that they have chosen a strategy that is worse than no strategy. And if they can't, it's time to form a new group to replace NARAL, because this just will not do.

Bob P at The Hue and Cry ponders the dance of the compliant press with the bumbling chimp in the burning house.

Jack Heneghan takes the first steps to looking at the immigration issue through the right side of the telescope. Next step, Jack: Find out what all those tariffs were for.

"Our khakis are so rock and roll! Buy a Hummer!" - Amanda Marcotte faces the growing problem of non-ironic irony.

I see the United States is making yet more contributions to world peace. I wish I could say I was surprised.

Misneach on the separation of law and justice from actions, with pictures.

Apparently, my blogger code is B9 d+ t++ k+ s+ u-- f++ i o x e+ l- c-- (whatever that means). (via)

14:08 BST

Notable and quotable

Dan Rather: Yes, I have baggage. I have the baggage of being a graduate of the journalism school out of the University of South Vietnam. I have baggage from the Civil Rights movement in Birmingham. I have baggage from Watergate and covering, as the White House and lead correspondent for CBS News, on the only President in history who resigned. I have baggage from Afghanistan when the Soviets invaded it. I have baggage from two interviews with Saddam Hussein. You bet your life I've got a lot of baggage. And make no mistake, I'm proud of it. Yes, I'm biased. I have a very strong bias toward independent journalism, italicized, underlined, put in bold caps. (Thanks to D. Potter for the tip.)

The phone-jamming story creeps closer and closer to the Oval Office. (Thanks to Eric in comments for the tip.)

Charles has more stuff on the Mexican election and joins me in declaring Noam Scheiber a wanker.

Atrios recommends Kevin Baker's Harper's article, "Stabbed in the Back!" - Indeed, the right has distilled its tale of betrayal into a formula: Advocate some momentarily popular but reckless policy. Deny culpability when that policy is exposed as disastrous. Blame the disaster on internal enemies who hate America. Repeat, always making sure to increase the number of internal enemies.

Egalia at Tennessee Guerilla Women reports on a blogger in Lebanon who is watching it all (and taking pictures) from the kitchen window.

As usual, I agree with every word Atrios writes about Specter and all the phoney "small government" and "libertarian" types who are enabling George Bush's illegal and dictatorial activities.

Shades of Ashcroft: Nothing more important for the EPA to do than cover up nudity in murals. Rachel has the visual. She also says Republicans are "offended" by this ad from the DCCC.

Leah says the Hamdan decision is an opportunity for the Dems. I say we can take a page from Rove over the whole security issue - only we won't be cheating and lying like he does, because the Republicans' "strength" has always been snake oil: They are not strong on national security, and it's time everyone started pointing out that they are not doing a damn thing to protect us from terrorism - or any other threats to our nation. (And you knew this was going to happen, right?)

Think Progress has video of Rumsfeld refusing to answer to the troops about the ratty old equipment they still have while the new stuff is sitting around in New York. (Also - good round-up on Specter's fake "compromise".)

Growth? Isn't that another word for "wart"? Ezra helps explain what economic "growth" means today, inspired by Paul Krugman's latest, "Left Behind Economics". Krugman says that things are great for the very rich, but, "For most other Americans, economic growth is a spectator sport." Ezra: In fact, it's no longer just the middle class and the poor who're falling behind. The distribution has grown so uneven that the 95th percentile is making meager headway -- even the merely rich are falling behind. It's the richest of the rich making headway.

Wow, this really is a popular subject.

01:55 BST

Friday, 14 July 2006

News and opinion and stuff

Bill Scher says Israel is Letting the Militants Win and the neocon loonies are champing at the bit to really get Armageddon rolling.

And Where's George?

Atrios: I started this blog and adopted this style in part because I thought it was important to introduce a more combative and caustic discourse on our side. I'd be quite happy and comfortable in a world where politics more closely resembled an academic seminar - that is where I come from, after all - but we don't live in that world and it's a tragic mistake to pretend we do. (The truth, of course, is that Obama and every other Democrat would be very wise to read Eschaton, but most of them just aren't that smart.) Atrios also provides this outstanding Colbert clip on The Word: "Inquisition".

Conservatives hate you because you work for a living. Also, with the Wilson's suing over the outing of Valerie Plame, we may finally see Ann Coulter and her little friends having to eat all their arguments in favor of civil suits against a sitting president. I hope people are scouring the archive of news shows and papers for quotes about why it was okay for Paula Jones to sue Clinton during his term of office, just in case the Plame case reaches the Oval. And quote this everywhere you can: If Joe is all about transparency, maybe he won't mind releasing a list of Haddassah's clients? Haddassah is a lobbyist for Big Pharma. Joe has pushed through many Big Pharma windfalls, and is the biggest recipient of campaign money from Pharmaceuticals in the Senate. Much, much more attention needs to be paid to this.

I know Katha Pollitt's book must be very cool because her articles in The Nation usually are and anyway she's the only professional journalist to ever give me a name-check (and a hot-link!) in one of her columns. Anyway, I haven't read Virginity or Death! yet but Jessica (of) apparently has and got to do an interview with Pollitt for Salon.

Simply Left Behind is having A Democratic Day - that is, a day of posting about Democratic politics. There's even some good news.

Ken Lay, martyr.

Tyger is a neat little short animation (with a big puppet) inspired by the Blake poem, recommended by Magpie.

16:37 BST

Admit it: The thing that's hurting America is called "conservatism"

The exile comments below on an article I linked earlier, Paul Waldman's "It's The Conservatism, Stupid" (which you really should read):

Waldman brilliantly encapsulates what I've been trying to argue for years. The rethugs have built a movement on linking every American's innermost personal frustrations, angers, fears, and hatreds to the liberal bogeyman. Back in the 30s it was our side that did that effectively, blaming Herbert Hoover for every American's troubles. Now we've forgotten how. I'm not saying we have to be as bad as the rethugs, but we do have to demonize the other side in a way that resonates with people's own frustrations. Why, for example, did liberals slink away from the Clinton healthcare debacle with their tails between their legs? Why did the rethugs pay no political price? Why didn't we continue the fight, every single day, pointing out that each dollar each American shells out-of-pocket for a doctor or a drug is the direct result of Conservatism?

We need to change and we don't have much time, because the Rethug candidate in the 2008 elections, mark my words, will be an anti-Bush Pat Buchanan paleocon running on the immigration issue. We only have 2 more years to tar them all with the same brush.

And the difference is, they'll deserve it. They are responsible for all those high prices everyone has to pay for the things we need to live. They are responsible for why it's harder to find jobs and harder to keep them when you get them.

And they are responsible for the fact that the world is becoming a more dangerous place.

13:44 BST

Happy Bastille Day

Just read this Perlstein thing Digby has. No, read this, too, especially since I may need another day or two to absorb the whole thing with Israel and am currently in hide-under-the-bed-and-wail-ohmygodohmygod-a-lot mode. (Also: It's perfectly clear that anyone with such powers of prediction must have been dabbling in the occult, and thus an agent of the devil. Who could have predicted it, otherwise?)

Gosh, who do you think would be doing this? I'm gonna guess that it's not Al Qaeda.

I feel incredibly stupid about having forgotten to include this story about Mark Cuban's media project, since it's what actually inspired my interest in Cuban in the first place. I mean, that's the point - he's doing this non-corporate media thing that, yes, sounds promising.

"Oh, I read New Republic and Nation, why, I feel like I'm almost a Jew!" (All right, that allusion really doesn't make any sense, but reading Matt's article made me want to start "Jews Against Lieberman" until I remembered that I only look Jewish.)

Oh, gods, would someone please make him shut up.

Echidne instructs you to take this test.

03:20 BST

Thursday, 13 July 2006


John Fund Goes On Trial.

O'Reilly and Ingraham bash the NYT over old non-news and Novakula calls Murray Waas a liar. A conservative talk show host argues with Ann Coulter about whether the "liberals" Coulter describes in her book actually exist, and says she was wrong to attack the Jersey Girls.

Lanny Davis hearts Joe Lieberman and calls the rest of us bigots and liars. Never did like you, Lanny.

Big protest against The New York Times!!!

Mexico: After careful consideration, I think Noam Scheiber is the biggest wanker in this post. He's certainly a big wanker in this one about Obama.

16:55 BST

Auntie Beeb didn't tell me about Mark Cuban

I've been completely oblivious to Mark Cuban until now, but it finally penetrated. Who is this guy? Why do I keep hearing his name but I still don't really know who he is?

So, just in maybe the last week, I have started to notice the name "Mark Cuban". I looked him up and learned that he owns the Mavericks, which is not the sort of thing I would notice. (There are sports I do and sports I watch, but the only sport I read about is bridge. Well, except for checking the stats in the IHT all summer to see how New York is doing, of course.)

Turns out Cuban's also been backing a lot of other things I am interested in, but again, just far enough offstage that I didn't pick it up because, well, I don't usually notice backers unless I already have some reason to notice who they are. In the normal course of events, I probably wouldn't have noticed Mark Cuban unless Jonathan Ross had him on his show. But suddenly the people I do pay attention to are talking about him and I'm learning that, well, maybe Jonathan Ross should try to get him, because boy he seems like an interesting guy.

Cuban financially supported Grokster in the Supreme Court case, MGM v. Grokster.

As of August 9, 2005, Cuban had begun spearheading ventures in both the social software and distributed networking industries. Cuban is an owner of IceRocket, a search engine which scours the blogosphere for content. Cuban is also a partner in RedSwoosh - a company which uses peer-to-peer technology to deliver rich media, including video and software to a user's PC.

Mark Cuban was also the seed investor in Weblogs, Inc. which was acquired by AOL 12 months after his investment.

George Clooney persuaded Cuban to co-finance Good Night, and Good Luck, earning him executive producer status.

Jeez, how did I miss this?

And this morning I heard that he's backing another interesting thing: will scrutinize the people behind the companies and the stories behind the stocks.

We're looking for companies that were built for fraud, for executives who are enriching themselves at shareholder expense, and for businesses whose behavior runs counter to their stated objectives or to the public interest.

That's actually kinda cool.

He says he's a libertarian. I didn't find anything on his blog about how Bush is God and liberals are Evil, so it's probably true. I did rather like his piece, "Im sorry for what I make you cover":

In my naive days I used to think that news stories were meant to be stories of interest. That they were uncovered topics that were being revealed to a public thirsting for information and knowledge.

Now, Im coming to realize that there is something more to how stories are selected. Im just not quite sure what that "something " is.

I keep on reading commentary about how Ozzie Guillen "makes himself the story" . That "Mark Cuban made himself the story". It reminds me of the days that everyone wanted to know what color Dennis Rodmans hair was going to be. "Dennis made himself the story"

Is this something like "The Devil made me do it ?". Is there some invisible editor in the ether doling out assignments ? How does someone "make themselves the story ?"

Worse than being "made to cover", it becomes a process as inevitable as a gerbil's progress on his wheel.

Once everyone writes the story that "was made", the inevitable follow up is for the same media that wrote the "made story", to complain that they are covering the "made story"

Its a shame that Mark Cuban continues to make himself the story of the NBA Finals.

Its a shame we are still covering Mark Cuban, who continues to make himself a story.

Its a shame we had to spend so much time covering Mark Cuban, who made himself the story.

So i have a question for the media. If you dont want a person to be "the story", then why do you write or talk about it ?

Kinda like the way John Kerry "made his military record the story" in the 2004 campaign, even though he didn't.

Yes, we often have this same question.

I do have another. I lived in the United States for 33 years and read lots of amateur writing, unedited manuscripts, even student papers, and I never once saw anyone who had trouble knowing where terminal punctuation goes. I moved here and started occasionally seeing it, but when I got on the Internet, I started to see it with troubling frequency, and sometimes coming from Americans. When did that start? Why don't people know better than to put spaces before question marks and exclamation points and what-have-you? This isn't semi-colons, people, this is the simple stuff. What happened?

(PS. I know what "jagoff" means.)

14:48 BST

Life on the internets

This is a question on the latest Zogby poll:

What would you say is the most important characteristic for the Democratic nominee for president to have?

Says what he/she believes
Agrees with you on the issues
Has the right experience to be president
Cares about people
Can beat the Republican
Will change the direction the country is headed
Shares your values
Not sure

Jeez, how do you answer that?

This article has follow-up phone calls to Ron Paul (R-TX) and his office querying just exactly what Paul meant when he said, "I would have trouble arguing that he's been a Constitutional President, and once you violate the Constitution and be proven to do that I think these people should be removed from office." He doesn't want to actually do anything about, you see, because (Republicans imagine) some Democrats might support impeachment for the wrong reasons. Like that should matter.

"The President is always right." - Steven Bradbury, head of the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, addressing Congress

William Haynes II: not just no -- hell, no: As general counsel to the Pentagon, William Haynes II has been an integral part of the illegal and amoral process of encouraging torture and inhumane treatment by American military personnel. And we really have to keep him off the bench. Really.

"Is Honking Horns Worse Than An Illegal War?"

Great op-ed from Harold Meyerson in the WaPo with the simple, commonsense explanation of Lieberman's Real Problem: He is not being opposed because he doesn't reflect the views of his Democratic constituents 100 percent of the time. He is being opposed because he leads causes many of them find repugnant.

Jim Hightower has a new website.

Dominic sent me the metal shoes and space fashion links, so I posted them at Bridesmaid. And over at Epicycle, he links to designer tinfoil hats. Meanwhile, he tells us, Tony Blair is still pushing for his crackpot ID scheme even though pretty much everyone at this point says it can't work, costs too much, etc. (This is going to be like the Dome, right? Just one big, stupid, kickback scheme for his friends at our expense.)

03:00 BST

Wednesday, 12 July 2006

Stuff to read

"It Ain't Over Till You Count the Friggin' Votes" - Arthur Silber on Mexico and why it's All One Thing.

Via Mike's Blog Round Up at C&L, Cernig reminds us that not that long ago he was predicting that India would be our next foreign policy disaster. Meanwhile, Laura Rosen believes House intelligence committee chairman Hoekstra is telling us that the Republican leadership is working for the terrorists. Or something like that. (I believe it. I mean, who knows more members of the Mujahadeen they do?)

Print this out and mail it to your local Planned Parenthood office as well as the national office. Do it now.

"Welfare-To-Nothing" - Heather Boushy at says the new rules make it harder to go from welfare to work.

And Paul Waldman says, "It's The Conservatism, Stupid."

20:29 BST

When do we get to call it "treason"?

Please don't miss Glenn Greenwald's article, "The paramountcy of neoconservatism and Joe Lieberman." In it, Glenn argues that Lieberman is nothing less than a neocon, and that the real political argument of our time is essentially the neocons against the rest of us. It is wholly militaristic and authoritarian and in its cause no outrage, no barbarity, no enormity is beyond the pale:

Neoconservativsm is rarely defined but its central tenets are, by now, quite clear. At its core, neoconservatism maintains that the greatest threat to America is hostile Muslims in the Middle East, and the only real solution to that problem is increased militarism and belligerence, usually with war as the necessary course of action. Our mistake has been excessive restraint, a lack of courage, and a naive and cowardly belief that measures short of war and all-out aggression are effective in dealing with this problem. This threat is not just uniquely dangerous, but unprecedentedly so, such that Islamic extremists render prior American ideals and principles -- both foreign and domestic -- obsolete, and only radically more militaristic approaches have any chance of saving us from destruction at their hands.
More than anything else, this ideological realignment is what accounts for the intense passions ignited by the Joe Lieberman Senate seat. Despite his history as a life-long Democrat and a "liberal" on the predominant 1990s issues, Joe Lieberman is a pure neoconservative, which now matters much more. On the predominant issues of the day, his political comrades are Bill Kristol, Lawrence Kaplan, National Review, The New York Sun, and Dick Cheney.

Those who are most supportive of Lieberman and angry about the challenge he faces are people like David Frum and David Brooks. Why would hard-core Republican neoconservatives be so emotionally attached to defending Democrat Joe Lieberman? Why do pro-Bush, highly conservative Republicans such as blogger Mark Coffey proclaim themselves to be "huge fans" of Lieberman? Because far more than he is a Democrat or a "liberal," Joe Lieberman is a neoconservative and therefore -- on the issues that matter most -- is their ideological and political compatriot. In the 1990s, Joe Lieberman's positions on the dominant issues of the day may have rendered him "moderate to conservative," but on the issues that matter most now -- in light of the ideological realignment we have had in the wake of 9/11 -- he is nothing of the sort. He is a neoconservative, and therefore the political enemy of those who oppose that philosophy. Why would opponents of neoconservatism possibly support the re-election of a neconservative?

And Glenn is right. In their "with us or against us" world, they know that we - that most people, including most Americans - cannot possibly support their program, because we actually believe in the principles set down in the Constitution of the United States. We are not with them. And so they are against us.

This is not "liberalism" versus "conservatism" in the traditional American sense, which first and foremost takes as a given the essential liberalism of our form of government. Within that framework, arguments between "liberals" and "conservatives" are mere tweaking of the details of how the demands set out in the Preamble will be carried out. Presidents are just civilians, armies can be mustered only by those who govern with our democratic consent, and government itself serves at the pleasure of the people and does so only for the people, not for the glory of our leaders.

This is, however, liberalism versus conservatism in the larger, historical sense, in which conservatism means an empire that exists by crushing most of its own people into fodder for the military under the heel of a powerful oligarchy with a monarch at its head, not first among equals but gods over men. And "liberalism" means the United States of America - a nation "conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal" in which we all have inalienable rights that make each of us the equal of any president, and of any king.

Joe Lieberman opposes the very fabric of what made us a free people. He is part of a movement by a small number of malefactors of great wealth to take peace and freedom away from us. He is neither a democrat nor a republican, and no tent can be big enough to keep a place for him in the democratic process he does not believe in, let alone the Democratic Party. (via)

13:08 BST

The Piper at the Gates of Dawn

I believe there is a master-key. One to unlock the whole world. I call that key The White Bird. -- Richard Cowper
Can't really say good-bye to Syd Barrett, so I guess I'll say something a few thousand people have already said: Shine On You Crazy Diamond.

04:08 BST

Flavor straws

Digby: One of the things I think has not been discussed is the value of Joe not being elected as a Democrat if he wins the general election as an independent. Him not being allowed to speak for the party is a positive, he only hurts the ballclub. He'll have to join the GOP team and just be one of a large crowd of rabid liberal haters. I'm sure it will not be nearly as ego gratifying. That's a shame. (Also, check out "Pulitzer Prize Winning Senators" on the scandal at the bar, and "Change Agents" about how we can win by telling it like it is - and fighting them where they live, with more from poputonian.)

Publius reckons there's more going on than meets the eye with Hoekstra's sudden concern with Bush's failure to inform Congress properly. (And check out this excellent post on bad right-wing math and history, linked earlier by Atrios.)

I don't know how I forgot to include the Olberman interview with John Dean in the item on Dean's book, but there you are. Dean actually suggests that deliberately provoking terrorists is part of the plan.

The whole Mexican election thing gets more and more exciting. Charles says the FT recommends counting the votes, but the White House has already congratulated FeCal - after all, why should they care if an election was so obviously stolen? It's even more brazen than the bourgeois riot in Florida, ballots lost and ballots found everywhere, all sorts of people caught in the act of cheating, cheating, cheating What makes it different from the USA? Well, in Mexico, that's news.

Not a laudatory movie review: "I, Robot" in a nutshell.

The most amazing place on earth. Almost makes me want to go there.

01:13 BST

Tuesday, 11 July 2006

I got the radio on

Leah takes exception to the CW (Corporate-media 'Wisdom') that the Hamdan decision is somehow "a problem" for the Democrats. On the contrary, it is an opportunity, and if the Democrats step up, it could have a devastating effect on the Republicans. But only if the Dems have the brains to understand the urgency of the moral issue and speak up. Meanwhile, we watch with interest as even Republicans rethink the Bush-Cheney doctrine of executive infallibility (and remember that there is no statute of limitations on war crime).

Meanwhile, I've been worrying that administration will just ignore the decision in Hamdan, but the Financial Times says that policy is being reversed as a result: The Pentagon has decided in a major policy shift that all detainees held in US military custody around the world are entitled to protections under the Geneva Conventions, according to two people familiar with the move. I fervently wish to believe this, but I don't know if I can. (via)

Former CBS News correspondent Marvin Kalb appeared on Fox News' Journal Editorial Report and slammed Wall Street Journal editorial page editor Paul Gigot for his decision to accuse The New York Times of treason for printing a story that was also carried by the WSJ: "I think you declared war on another American newspaper without due cause. It is mean. It is mean-spirited." Kalb later added: "I don't know that you have a right, on the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal, which was also fed this story by the government, to accuse the Times of treason. That's terrible."

Guest blogging at MyDD, Spencer Overton, discusses a Critical Moment for the Voting Rights Act: When I started writing Stealing Democracy: The New Politics of Voter Suppression over two years ago, I knew that important parts of the Voting Rights Act would expire in 2007, and that Congress would probably debate the issue in 2006. But I didn't imagine that in July 2006 we'd be so unsure about the future of the Voting Rights Act.

John Dean still regards himself as a Goldwater conservative, and started a book with Goldwater years ago about what has gone wrong with conservatism. He's doing the rounds for that now-completed book, Conservatives Without Conscience. There's a review at Scoop, and you might want to read two of Dean's articles at FindLaw, "If Past Is Prologue, George Bush Is Becoming An Increasingly Dangerous President" and "The Conservative Case for President Bush's Exercise of Presidential Powers: Why It Fails to Convince, and Ignores Mainstream View on the Constitution ".

Virginia's governor clears convicted witch - Okay, it was 300 years ago, but I rather like the way he did it. Via Rachel's blog.

Mexico: Fraud in the Land of Telenovelas continues.

15:14 BST

Republican'ts call it "principled"

Thoughts while listening to Matt Stoller, Jonathan Chait, and others discuss the Connecticut primary challenge by Ned Lamont of Joe Lieberman on To the Point (here):

Joe Lieberman is the frontman for the advertising campaign that says, "They're all the same; there is no real difference between the parties."

Functionally, Joe Lieberman's job is to get up there in front of everyone and be "the Democrat", and then pretend that his virtually uncritical support of George Bush and the Republicans in Congress is "principled" rather than opportunistic.

At the same time, Lieberman stands in the way of the liberal project that is democracy and freedom in the United States. He votes for corporatism. He puts the idea that George Bush should be able to appoint judges who hate the Constitution to the Supreme Court above his oath of office and the security of the nation.

He also claims to support "the war" while in fact supporting nothing other than George W. Bush.

Whatever it is Lieberman supports in Iraq, it cannot be democracy, peace, or freedom, or he would have been critical of the administration's performance in that project from the beginning. After the first days of the invasion, every effort that Iraqis themselves were making to create for themselves a free and cooperative democracy were shot down by the administration's minions. Bush-Cheney decided that Iraq was fertile ground for war profiteering and "free-market" experiments that did not include Iraqis as actors in their own economy. To this very day, no real criminal justice system has been instituted in Iraq because the Bush administration did not regard it as useful to their project.

Whether you believe that we have to fix it because we broke it or you are committed to the idea of liberation and democracy for the Iraqis, you cannot support Bush's policies in Iraq. You must be highly critical of his performance because he has made all of those goals impossible. And if there is yet a shred of hope left that this disaster can be ameliorated, it can only be done with trust, and no one has any reason to trust George Bush. Therefore, saying things about how Bush will be president for a few more years and we have to support him is not supporting success in Iraq, but continued failure. Support for success in Iraq depends, more than anything, on getting these known liars and thieves out of our government. You can support the mission or you can support Bush, but you cannot support both.

But does Joe Lieberman even believe in democracy? Apparently not - he is outraged that the people of Connecticut are failing to acknowledge his right to incumbency despite the fact that he is not representing their will. He represents corporations pretty well, which might be the explanation for why he so avidly supports George Bush, the titular head of the nation of international corporatists. But that body is in opposition to the United States of America and its Constitution, and is owed no fealty from the voters.

Joe Lieberman is emblematic of the kind of politician who thinks it's all about his own career and expects the voters to put his career first, too. But a politician's career is only of interest to me to the extent that that politician serves my interests as an American. When he has failed in his duty to protect the Constitution, his interests are no longer mine, and he deserves to be removed from office. It's that simple.

Via Crooks and Liars. The Bush Pilot is short and entertaining, too.

12:39 BST


Lambert learns that you still can't expect good reporting from the WaPo on the Mexican election, and Charles finds some unusual pottery.

The new and improved Taliban nation, (via).

If you get depressed reading Billmon's rumination on the decline of Enlightenment thinking in America today on the heels of seeing An Inconvenient Truth, let Susie Madrak offer you some hope. Thanks, Ms. Uberblonde, I was feeling a bit that way myself. (Also: Impeachmint.)

Sophia's still got it. (via)

"Everything Works If You Let It."

01:12 BST

Monday, 10 July 2006

A little night linkage

Chris Bertram at Crooked Timber on "'Asymmetric warfare' and ethics" - it does rather seem that only the strongest nations are entitled to fight the "just war".

Ian Welsh at The Blogging of the President on Schumer, Rahm and Dean - The 50 state strategy and the lump of money fallacy. (And Chicago Dyke on the party that likes to have sex.)

Devious or clueless? You be the judge.

The Change Function Flavor of the Month, or negotiating the territory between following a fad and getting into a good new idea, whether it's growing a mullet or deciding that preemptive war is a brilliant idea.

Atrios quoted an excellent post addressed to the TNR crowd's strange opposition to democracy (Let me suggest, however, that "Joe follows his conscience" and "Joe is bipartisan" may not be compelling reasons for a voter who does not agree with Mr. Lieberman on the substance of his beliefs. ... "Lieberman deserves support, because he votes against your beliefs and interests." That's basically what you're saying. Think about it), so I had a look at a few of the other posts at The Ham Hock of Liberty, wondering why I haven't heard of this weblog before - and then realized that it probably has something to do with the infrequent posting. Shame, really.

Remind me to print out Mark Morford's article about how even Republicans are embarrassed by Bush so I can carry it around and show it to people who think Americans support Bush. Via TGW.

Dominic (of) alerts me in comments to this depressing story, so I'll just say that if I have to live in a police state, I'll take the one that has universal healthcare, thanks.

And kelly b. (of) brought this to my attention. Um.

22:40 BST

Isn't it obvious?

Jonathan Weiler:

... our national debates continue to be framed according to the premise that, while it might be over-reaching and contemptuous of our constitution, the Bush administration is undeniably single-minded in its commitment to make our country, and the world, safe from terrorists.

But, why should we assume this? We know that the administration diverted resources from the hunt for Bin-Laden in 2002-03 to prepare for the invasion of Iraq, whose connection to Bin Laden was far more dubious than was Bin Laden's obvious connection to himself. We know that the administration had Zarqawi in its sights during the same time period, and looked away so as not to undermine a key rationale for said invasion. We know that homeland security funding, whether concerning port security, or giving funds to obvious potential targets like New York or Washington DC, has followed, to put it benignly, a highly illogical pattern from the standpoint of actually safeguarding America.

[Paragraph break inserted by editorial fiat of The Sideshow.]

It's a pity we don't have - oh, I don't know, leading politicians, or bigshot candidates for office, or someone like that - who could be drumming this point home: The fight against terrorism is not being fought. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that Bush is much closer to the bin Laden family than he is to ordinary Americans, but Bush is not fighting terrorism. The Republicans don't care about protecting our country from terrorism. They aren't merely "the gang that couldn't shoot straight," they are the gang that isn't even interested in the target.

11:55 BST

Soup to nuts

Gossard Daisies Basics underwired braBra of the Week - Hey, it's actually under twenty quid.

Oh, look, Anne Coulter's publisher can count.

I still get homesick, but not the way I used to. Because of things like this. Yes, we had a real subway bombing here, but no one searches me or my belongings when I use the Underground. I used to worry more about the UK than the US becoming a police state. Not anymore. (I like the bag, though.)

Mona is a physician working in a hospital in the Gaza Strip. She says casualties are increasing and now they are worried about fuel for power, too. Her blog is called From Gaza, With Love.

Gosh, poor Grover Norquist, he seems to be losing friends now that he's been caught in the Abramoff net. Tsk.

Lieberman bears false witness: Bill Scher says Joementum is running an ad using a fake Lamont bumper-sticker to claim that Ned's only message is, "No More Joe." (And here's something else Joe has been BSing about.)

Jonathan Chait leaps to the defense of the poor beleaguered Lieberman, and Digby explains for the hard-of-thinking why these silly excuses won't do. It would be nice if Lieberman really did have loyalty to something higher than the Democratic Party, but as far as I can tell, his loyalty is to the GOP, which is not really likely to impress Democrats. (And, you know something? Next time I see someone write something like, "Even though all but the loopiest Democrat would concede that Bin Laden is more evil than Bush," I'd like them to explain why they think so. Since no one died and made me God, I don't generally concern myself with whether individuals - as opposed to acts - are actually evil. As I believe I have previously pointed out, I'm not here to judge anyone's immortal soul. But where exactly is the yardstick by which we measure the relative evilness of Bush and Osama and find Osama rates higher? What are the criteria, exactly? I wanna know. After all, Bush is the "Commander-in-Chief" on whose watch this callous evil has become the norm.)

"Can you tell the difference between fallacious logic and cunning linguistics?" - Ahistoricality on behavioral economics.

There were some really good editorial cartoons yesterday.

02:34 BST

Sunday, 09 July 2006

In a democracy, they count the ballots


As Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador vows to challenge the official election results and his supporters demand a full recount "vote by vote, ballot box by ballot box," Felipe Calderon, the proclaimed winner of the Mexican elections, insists in an interview with the Financial Times that "the box must not be opened."

Eugene Robinson sees evidence that Lopez Obrador has "studied the playbook from the Florida debacle in 2000," Greg Palast remarks on some familiar discrepancies in the official tallies before booking a flight to Mexico City, and it's reported that bloggers and 'math geeks' are analyzing data for evidence of fraud.

The trouble, of course, is that even Eugene Robinson seems to have bought into the idea that there is something almost mercenary and dishonest about wanting to count the ballots:
Calderón is asking the question that Rodney King asked: "People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?" AMLO is following the precepts of that other noted political philosopher, Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis: "Just win, baby."
In what world is, "Just win, baby," the appropriate translation of, "Count all the ballots"? Ah, of course, that'd be WaPo World. Not for nothing do I call them Pravda on the Potomac.

Yes, we've heard all that before, too, from back in the day when Al Gore wanted the ballots to be counted because he would "do anything to win" - even go to such authority as the will of the voters. Gods! How craven can you be? (If there's an afterlife, I bet Michael Kelly is sorry he helped propagate that fraud, being one of very few who actually paid a price for this deceit.)

Lambert at CorrenteWire, is on the case, and reports that Al Giordano has more details for us, including the fact that the anointed winner's brother-in-law wrote the vote-counting software - and that it has already been hacked. Giordano also says that statistical analysis shows a million-vote lead for the alleged loser if the ballots were actually counted.

Charles at Mercury Rising has been steadfastly keeping an eye on the news from Mexico, and has a solid round-up of pretty much everything that's wrong with the way the election has been run and reported. He carefully digests the Giordano article and puts what may be the most conclusive graph right at the top, showing that the "explanation" for the sudden late turnaround in results can't really be explained by the fact that ballots in one area were counted late. Especially since votes for the "winner" seem to outnumber actual voters in those areas. (Nonexistent people always seem to vote very late in the day.) And The Raw Story tells us that ballots were found dumped in the garbage, too.

And also doing duty on the story, The All Spin Zone, which has the photo of what democracy looks like.

So, folks are saying that maybe the good guys will win this one, in spite of everything. That would be nice. Maybe they're right. After all, the story even got a bit of front-page space at Daily Kos (though not from Kos, of course).

But don't expect much help from the corporate media, who can be relied on to support "democracy" Bush-style. Again.

16:54 BST

Sunday brunch links

Roy Edroso has "More Helpful Advice From Your Mortal Enemies" on the wonders of the New York ruling against gay marriage, and he's right - when conservatives tell you that having court rulings go against you is a good thing for the liberal cause, just laugh and say, "Nice try!"

Has anyone counted the number of gay guys in the Republican leadership? I know most of them are at least half-in the closet, but it's kind of amazing just how open they seem to be about it, in their semi-closeted way. Not that it does any good for gay rights issues or anything, but is Roy Cohn the role model for these guys or what? Via a very linky post at Good Nonsense, who also points to Chris at Booman Tribune reflecting on a scientific study of libertarians by The Poor Man Institute. And a few words about inside-the-Beltway arrogance right there, too.

13:32 BST

Late notes

"They seem the same because they are the same," says Lambert, directing me to "Mexican election: The only thing missing is James Baker getting red-faced": Mexico 2006 = Ohio 2004 = Florida 2000. And shows us why.

Altercation warns: The smart boys at The Note say that the weekend will be dominated by North Korea. This is true, perhaps in large measure because of the Heisenberg Note Principle that operates on the herd of notso independent minds that cover "politics" in this nation. If The Note says it's news, it's news, up to an including the fact that Bush enjoyed his breakfast yesterday. But they won't be telling the true story of the Koreas.

Mahabarb observes that "The Bush Doctrine Is Dead" and he's saying the word "diplomacy" a lot, now that he has no choice: The problem isn't just that Bush should have started diplomacy six years ago. It was that shortly after he became President in 2001 he trashed years of diplomacy that had gone on before. And he did this because he is an asshole.

Oh, yuck, Josh Marshall finally got rid of that stupid Winfix thing and now I'm getting it from The Raw Story. I'm sorry, I can't not read either one of them, they're too good. Like now, Larisa Alexandrovna has the scoop on how the plot to blow up the Holland Tunnel was really just Internet babble. Via Maru, who also says: "Bush says he'd rather be right than popular. Well, so far he's 0 for 2."

01:53 BST

Saturday, 08 July 2006

Words and pictures

E.J. Dionne has helpful advice today for the Mexicans in their election. Oh, wait, I don't think he's really talking about the Mexican election, is he? Hm, I wonder who he means....

It's a funny thing about that subway terror plot. I mean, if you want to connect unconnected dots.

I see Krauthammer is re-writing history again in defense of suspending civilization. Apparently, after World War II nobody noticed that Roosevelt had gone overboard by interning the Japanese. Oh, okay. So, since Al Qaeda hasn't been completely and unquestionably stamped out yet, we should go on like barbarians indefinitely. Gotcha.

Froomkin isn't convinced by Bush's latest "new" media strategy: Now, I could be wrong in scoffing at Bartlett's insistence that Bush wants to hear what's on the nation's mind. Maybe this time, Bush won't take his bubble on the road. And, from the evidence so far, it doesn't look like there have been any changes there. And only an idiot would have expected any.

Over at C&L, Mike's Blog Round Up links to 2 Political Junkies and says, "Holy Crap." I know what he means. I'd heard most of these stories but when you put them together it's like people walking on your stomach. However, this listing of the homes of right-wing loonies you can terrorize is actually funny.

Billmon's eye says it's probably not an accident that this piece of photography makes Bush seem to blend in with the troops.

Colbert King says Mahmudiyah is "Not Just Another Abuse Scandal", but at Cannonfire, there are suspicions that we have "Rape, murder -- and conspiracy" that fits right in with the view that terrorizing the Iraqis is official US policy: We also have good reason to suspect that someone made the decision to scapegoat Green. Initial reports in the American press, as well as detailed reports in the foreign media, reveal that Green had plenty of accomplices. Why have no other names floated to the surface? Why do all fingers point to one guy? [...] I do not dismiss the higher figure, and I refuse to believe that one man -- one private -- could order soldiers into such an action. Who led the unit? This matter must involve someone of higher rank. (via)

My fabulous (but mercifully short) Boop behind bars series on Flickr. (The quick way to look at these is to click "View as slideshow" and then use your right-arrow key to progress; click the picture to show title and captions. You can still go to next or previous using the arrows in that mode, but you need to go back to the page for the photo to leave comments.)

I'm sick of y'all saying "adverse" when you mean "averse". Cut it out.

17:42 BST

rich brown

I heard from Patrick Thursday night that rich brown had died. He'd learned it from Lenny.

I can't remember exactly when I met rich or any of that, but he became part of my circle of friends and thus, as with all of us, I often found myself marvelling at how he could be this really warm guy with a twinkle in his eye and, at the same time, such a butthead.

I'm not as shocked as Ted White seems to be. When I saw him at CapClave last year, perhaps because I hadn't seen him in a few years, I was acutely aware of how bad he looked and, frankly, I didn't expect him to last much longer. I'm sorry I only got the one blurry picture of him being silly - perhaps if I'd listened better to my instincts I would have made him hold still for a better one.

13:38 BST

Feed your head

Steve Soto at The Left Coaster asks "Who Inside The Administration Leaked The New York Subway Story?" and condemns a lazy press corps for continuing to spout the GOP line that "Democrats are divided on Iraq" when the public is just as divided. Steve also says the Democrats need to stand up with a policy of no permanent presence in Iraq - something most people everywhere agree on.

Bill Scher is back at LiberalOasis, and says Ned Lamont had it all over Lieberman in the debate - and has some advice, as always. (It was an honor to serve, Bill. But we missed you.)

Treason and liars and spies - Oh, My! - just who's foolin' who in this tale of stories about stories and the NYT and the CIA and Zarqawi's wife and Osama Who?

John Curley takes some great pictures in and around San Francisco. Why, there's even an angle on the Golden Gate Bridge that I've never seen before. The photo of fog on the hill looks like a fantasyland.

John Scalzi's list of The Top 50 Personal Blogs in SF/F.

"At Woolton village fete I met him. I was a fat schoolboy and, as he leaned an arm on my shoulder, I realised that he was drunk." (via)

12:31 BST


"Senators Kyl and Graham's Hamdan v. Rumsfeld Scam: The Deceptive Amicus Brief They Filed in the Guantanamo Detainee Case" by John Dean, on how two US Senators presented a fabricated script of a Senate debate to the Supreme Court to justify the claim that the Court had no jurisdiction in Hamden.

"Why are Bush supporters celebrating today's leak of classified information?" by Glenn Greenwald, on how the right-wingers flip-flop on whether leaking classified information is treasonous or perfectly acceptable depending on where the story appears.

"Hey, Rubes!", in which Roger Ailes (the good one) discusses Bob Somerby's sudden tone-deaf reaction to Ailes (Ailes!) calling Joe Klien and Cokie Roberts "Republican reporters".

"Hate Groups Are Infiltrating the Military" - John Amato highlights two significant paragraphs from the NYT article "Hate Groups Are Infiltrating the Military, Group Asserts" by John Kifner detailing The Southern Poverty Law Center's report that, in a reversal of our military's usual care to keep the Aryan Nation types out of the armed services, they are actively recruiting them, and the neo-Nazis are jumping at the chance to get training to fight the future race war.

Greg Sargent is absolutely right in his condemnation of Norah O'Donnell's screechy interview with Cindy Sheehan, but when Greg injects what he appears to believe is an obligatory distancing of himself from Sheehan, Arthur Silber says, "I Give Up: Go Ahead and Lose, Dems." (Too right. The right-wingers want us to repudiate people like Cindy Sheehan and Michael Moore because they are effective voices reaching the public with the truth, and that hurts the right wing. The wingers are trying to disarm us; don't help them.)

Photobreak: This is the Chancery Lane tube station area, with the Prudential Building, one of my favorites, on the left, and the building that is not mock-Tudor on the right (and down at the bottom, just barely visible above the Underground sign, is the famous dirty gherkin building). This is a daylight pictures of the Pru, and this is the night-time picture (and this is the front entrance).

And these are just pretty.

01:51 BST

Friday, 07 July 2006

Short story time

I was out showing Kathy of What Do I know? the sights, so I haven't had much time to catch up. Before Kathy arrived, I checked out the following:

The General called it on the Lamont/Lieberman debate - the same guy who rolled over debating Cheney was an attack dog when facing a Democrat. Lieberman declared that he was not George Bush and then proceeded to enunciate precisely the same opinion on the invasion that George Bush was stating on Larry King at the same time. Toast had a fast recap, and FDL covered it here and here and here. Digby watched and said Lieberman looked just like an arrogant wingnut, with a delusion we needn't humor. Ben Adler wonders if Bush was trying to help Joe out, and Charles Pierce gives us the bottom line.

In more important news, the cure for chafing thighs, from Nalo Hopkinson. No, really.

15:37 BST

Scattered showers

Suburban Guerrilla: Digby thinks John McCain is trying to use his "attacks" on K Street as his campaign reform credential. Myself, I think it's mostly for show. Because my day job touches on some of this, I can tell you it's pretty widely believed that McCain actually used his position to steer the Abramoff investigation away from much more explosive stuff, making sure not to connect certain dots and thus, lining up IOUs for later. (And read this, too, on how the authorities keep people incarcerated by claiming they "can't find" supposedly-misfiled crime scene DNA samples that are, in fact, exactly where they are supposed to be.)

Frederick Clarkson: After the family gathering; after the picnic, after the fireworks, it is worth considering something. It is something about the way that the so called culture war, is partly a struggle over American history.

Just read Arthur on how we have become A Land of Evil (complete with some great quotes from Paul Craig Roberts).

Katrina bloggers: At Your Right Hand Thief, a suggestion for a real-world contribution to saving the Big Easy.

I have the same reaction to Ken Lay's death as I had when Princess Diana died: What? The story can't end there! Of course, there are those who are already questioning whether he's dead, whether it was suicide (so the court couldn't take his money from his family), whether it was murder (same reason and a few more), etc.

Mexican vote: graphic obscenity.

01:27 BST

Thursday, 06 July 2006

In one eye

Slacktivist: That's why whenever you hear someone say that the Bible is "inerrant" and "infallible," what they're really saying is that "My reading of the Bible is inerrant and infallible." What they're really claiming is, "I am inerrant and infallible." What they're really claiming is, "I am God."

Stranger says that Cernig is a big skeptical skeptic for not believing that the failed missile was a Taepongdo-2. And they're probably both right. Meanwhile, dedalus says George Bush has created a medal "so special he might as well just give them out in boxes of Cracker Jacks."

"The American Workplace: Leave Your Rights At The Door": You remember all of those rights we fought over 230 years ago, like freedom of speech and freedom of assembly? Well, you can still take advantage of them - until you walk through the workplace door - unless you're protected by a union. This is a story for all of those who think that 21st century American workers don't need unions.

Gene Lyons: Reasonable people never want to believe that extremists believe their own rhetoric. But quit kidding yourselves. This is mass psychosis. The next terrorist strike, should it happen, will be blamed on the enemy within: treasonous "liberals" who dissent from the glorious reign of George W. Bush. Unless confronted, it's through such stratagems that democracies fail and constitutional republics become dictatorships.*

UFO Breakfast Recipients: With an arriviste upper class that has all the pretensions to aristocracy, and no aspiration to its graces, however apocryphal, schemes to harvest souls so cracked that the Psychoceramic League disbanded in awe, and the cult of bullying grown large enough that a scholar can write an entire book on it, without straining, I naturally wonder when the left will come to terms with its past and apologize for all the harm it's done.

The General approves this movie.

12:21 BST

Wednesday, 05 July 2006

Something to see

It rained this morning so I went out and took a few pictures. Then there was another downpour that lasted about 10-15 minutes.

I seem to have missed the reason for this story suddenly being back in the news again now. I understand why it went away - because it wasn't consistent with "the storyline" of how 9/11 changed everything and all that, but I'm quite certain we knew a long time ago that it was a lie that the illegal domestic spying was instituted on the heels of 9/11. But there's been a new report on it, so in a changed atmosphere it has legs. Good. These people have been violating our rights, attacking the Constitution, and weakening our country, from the very moment they stepped into office, and 9/11 has nothing to do with any of it. (Also: Small world.)

Cursor says: Although a judge from the Wall Street Journal awards Mexico's election "a near 10," the Federal Electoral Institute is urged to count the rest of the votes and publish the mysterious "archive of inconsistencies."

Have you been to Consortium News lately? Robert Parry, who has the long view of all this from way back in the Iran-Contra days, is just the guy to go to at a time when the news media is under assault from the right-wing, when The Washington Post smears critics of the war, and when people still just talk instead of doing something about creating a real liberal media infrastructure. (Also: "Osama Helped Bush in '04": But behind the walls of the CIA, analysts had concluded the opposite: that bin-Laden was trying to help Bush gain a second term.)

20:45 BST

And I Awoke and Found Me Here on the Cold Hill Side

Translated from French: "A few days after the arrival of the German soldiers, I began to really understand the meaning of war: One of my Mom's uncles rode by our house on his bicycle. He was going to work and waves at us as he went by. At the street corner, helmeted German soldiers, wearing visors, boots and long gray green coats, shouted: "Halt!" Unfortunately, my uncle was born deaf and continued on his way. The punishment was swift: a burst of machine-gun fire laid him down on the ground. I remained horrified in front of his lifeless body. A large pool of bloodstain appeared around him. I wanted to shout, but my mother put her hand on my mouth for me to stop me. She held me very tightly in her arms and pushed me inside the house, while murmuring: "What a tragedy! Poor France! Poor us!" My grandmother, behind the window, between two sobs, cursed God to allow such a infamy. " Via Progressive Gold. (Also, Guys to watch out for: David Addington. This administration sure does know how to bring the scum to the top.) (And: "Psycho Blogger, Qu'est Que Ce?", on Argentina, with help from David Byrne's blog.)

Osama bin Forgotten - forever. Somehow I knew when he started on all that "Dead or Alive" stuff that it was nothing but bluster. Was it as obvious to you as it was to me? Some people seemed to believe it.

Who needs credibility when you've got a flame-thrower? - The incredible barking dogs who shape our media discourse really don't care about the truth. (via)

Phoenix Woman takes the pledge.

Dr. Squid's video of the week is the seasonally timely "It's OK." (Last week it was too cute.)

The indictment

Guitar girl.

12:17 BST

Content provided

Braving the Elements: Anyway, I'm miffed because she won't admit she voted for the smirking chimp. She claims she didn't vote, I talked to her Nov 3, 2004 and she admitted she'd voted or Bush (boy, was I pissed...Ironically enough, my brother's wife was pissed at him for voting Bush...I've learned not to talk that level of "who did you vote for" with relatives...digressing again). Fess up, say "I was wrong" and "I'll think more carefully..." yada yada yada. It's human nature I guess. Nixon won overwhelmingly in 1972 but two years later try to find anyone who voted for him...Carter won over Ford in 1976, but by the end of his Presidency his supporters were dust on the wind. I know it's human nature but it's still annoying. Jerome Doolittle: Before much longer it will turn out that Bush never received any votes at all.

The Rude Pundit on Hamdan.

Charles Pierce on blind quotes to the WaPo: Here's a hint, guys and gals. They hate you. They will always hate you. They will hate you if you help them transmit their slanders and they will hate you if you don't. Look at the last week if you don't believe that. Judy Miller's newspaper hauled before the public bar for treason. You owe them nothing. You owe the country more courage than this.

At The Poor Man Institute, Hitler reconsidered - because, as Atrios reminds us, there really is nothing a conservative can say that is going too far for the "respectable" press.

Sold out again: So to sum up, this was a trade pact that included protectionist provisions to keep pharmaceutical industry profits high, but made sure to have no basic protections for workers and the environment so as to provide yet another government-sponsored incentive for companies to ship American jobs overseas, and reward an undemocratic dictatorship in the process. In other words, this is a trade pact that America's bought-and-paid-for Congress has become comfortable passing. So who were the key sellouts that voted for this pact? [...] Sadly, there were also 10 Democrats who sold out and voted for this trade pact. They were Baucus, Cantwell, Clinton, Kerry, Landrieu, Lieberman, Nelson (FL), Nelson (NE), Obama and Salazar. Thanks for the help, folks.

NewsHog Independence Day post.

It is amazing to be amazed at an op-ed in The New York Times defending freedom of the press, but what the hell took Kristof so long? And why aren't we seeing more of this?

It's all true - to the extent that I have to explain to people that it's not American interests Bush is pursuing. (If only he were.)

Seymour Hersh in The New Yorker, "Last Stand": A retired four-star general, who ran a major command, said, "The system is starting to sense the end of the road, and they don't want to be condemned by history. They want to be able to say, `We stood up.'"

The BooMan explains why inhumane treatment is stupid to Special Ed. Via a whole passel of links at Good Nonsense.

Watching a country flush its cultural heritage, because of stupid copyright laws. (Note to Scott: No, Kennedy is a staunch conservative. Alito is a far-right fruitcake, just like Scalia and Thomas.)

At The Nation, Katrina vanden Heuvel with "A July Fourth Declaration": It is clear that the American Constitution is in grave danger. It is time to make the defense of the Constitution a national theme for all candidates in this year's electoral contests. Yeah, I'm for that.

For net neutrality.

01:22 BST

Tuesday, 04 July 2006

I saw this

David Sirota says Joe Klein actually has decent piece on the Senatorial race in Montana with some intelligent insights on how out-of-touch the DC people are. He also reckons that with Chris Dodd and Chuck Schumer both refusing to confirm they will support the winner of the Democratic primary in Connecticut, we can expect the DC Dems to fight Ned Lamont instead of helping him. But Atrios thinks Lieberman is going to find out he has no friends in either party.

Skippy reports that the airforce is spending lots of money studying blogs to help them fight the "War on Terrorism". Look, your mother already told you how to do this: Stop pissing people off! (And I also find it hard to believe that guy has anything to do with Internet-related legislation.)

23:02 BST

"A republic, if you can keep it"

I was listening earlier to Rachel Maddow doing "a special 4th of July edition" of her show about the executive power-grab and how our entire system of government is changing under Bush-Cheney, with an interview with John Nichols, whose article in The Nation, The Rule of Law versus The Rule of Cheney (link via The Smirking Chimp), apparently an excerpt from his book on Cheney*, says it all goes back to Iran-Contra:

Cheney was the prime defender of the "right" of the executive branch to disregard Congress and the Constitution during the Iran-Contra scandal of the late 1980s, contributing a chilling dissent to the bipartisan Congressional report that accused the Reagan administration of "secrecy, deception and disdain for the law."

In that dissent, the man who then represented Wyoming in the House chastised Congress for "abusing its power" by seeking to limit the ability of the president and his aides to spend money as they chose in support of the Nicaraguan Contras. "Congress must recognize that effective foreign policy requires, and the Constitution mandates, the President to be the country's foreign policy leader," argued Cheney, in what remains one of history's most dramatic misreads of the Constitutional mandates with regard to the Constitutional system of checks and balances.

The danger was recognized then and there, but the Democrats were largely responsible for the fact that no serious move was made to impeach a president who had so grossly betrayed the Constitution. And though Cheney had made his own position clear at the time, none of them kept alive the memory of what a threat he presented to the republic, even when he nominated himself as vice president. (I think you're supposed to be able to stream Rachel's show free for 24 hours after it's compressed and posted, and they may even put up a special free link for it. If you can, try and listen to it - it's very, very good, and also includes an interview with Charlie Savage.)

In less terrifying news, Joss Whedon's Equality Now speech, and why he writes "those strong women characters". Even with the intro by Meryl Streep, it's short. Via A Life in the Lowlands, where I also found a link to John Scalzi's "SCOTUS to POTUS: RTFM" ("I try to spin scenarios in which a Hamdan-like decision comes to the Court in a Democratic administration, and Scalia and Thomas don't vote against it, and I just can't.")

15:11 BST

Items of note

Back during the 2000 campaign, I started referring to certain political reporters as "The Spite Girls". Bob Somerby reminds us why I was inspired to do so.

And, speaking of Spite Girls, Charles alerts us that Cici Connolly's coverage of the Mexican election includes this: The headline from one blogger on the Guardian's Web site was equally hyperbolic -- "Grand Theft Mexico." That'd be "one blogger" whose work appears on the print pages of the Observer and on BBC television's news programs.

What's wrong with school prayer - I'm not sure what the weirdest part of this story is, but by the time I got to the end of it I had to scroll back up to see if I'd misunderstood which state was involved: The crowd booed an ACLU speaker and told her to "go back up north." [...] Callers to the local radio station said the family they should convert or leave the area. Someone called them and said the Ku Klux Klan was nearby.

Oh, and look, an editor is considering the possibility that maybe Ann Coulter is over the top and shouldn't be carried in his paper.

11:43 BST

Posted at LiberalOasis: "Protecting the Terrorists by Attacking a Free Press"

"Protecting the Terrorists by Attacking a Free Press" (addressing some familiar themes), has been posted at LO, and there are no comments there, but you can comment here.

01:20 BST

Monday, 03 July 2006

A few more links

Via Caro (of), Greg Palast on Stealing it in front of our eyes - whether the election is Gore v. Bush, Kerry v. Bush, or Lopez Obrador v Calderon: This past Friday, we reported that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation had obtained Mexico's voter files under a secret "counterterrorism" contract with database company ChoicePoint of Alpharetta, Georgia.* Video is promised.

Uh oh, Elton Beard didn't like that Obama speech, or E.J. Dionne's article about it, either.

18th Century blogging - how Burgoyne saved America from the rebel George Washington and prevented the Yankee Doodle terrorists from winning.

Gnomes' mysterious visit in Arkansas

Christian fish not so Christian.

Recommended reading: Steven Gould's Jumper, and the sequel, Reflex.

"Splendid Isolation"

20:50 BST

Buncha links

Skimble: Who knew? Apparently there's a whole industry of people whose job is nothing but to spot the tics of corporate liars, and to help their hedge fund clients profit from the resulting investment implosion by shorting the stock. Maybe US Senators who are planning to run for president should hire these guys to warn them when they're about to get conned into signing extremely wrong legislation.

There is something sick about the idea that Ana Marie Cox gets to review Katha Pollitt. (And I don't.) Atrios has more. And Amanda has even more. I went over to the Jimmy Choo site and concluded that my feet are cuter than those shoes anyway.

Atrios also directs our attention to the must-see Tom Tomorrow cartoon about the Right-Wing Nutcase pundit.

I've been meaning to post this episode of Countdown in which Keith Olberman and John Dean discuss the Supreme Court's decision in Hamdan. Aside from being a good primer, I hope it reminds people that you don't need hundreds of pages to have known that the administration's approach has been unconstitutional all the way down the line. The Constitution is pretty straightforward on the force of treaties - that is, they have the force of US law - and that means we are obliged to follow the equally clear Geneva Conventions. You have to be one hell of a "judicial activist" to find otherwise. (You do not have to be a judicial activist to believe that the Constitution grants unenumerated rights such as are the bone of contention for right-wingers in Roe v. Wade.)

Last week's Grand Old Police Blotter, from Roger Ailes (the good one).

An unusual week indeed when Howie Kurtz discusses the attacks on The New York Times for doing their job and only one of his four guests is a partisan hack for the GOP. (There was, of course, no partisan hack for the Democratic Party, but given the sort of people the party sends to talk shows, that's probably a good thing.) Meanwhile, on Meet the Press, Dana Priest did a pretty good job of showing up Bill Bennett for the fatuous oaf he really is. (I hope she gets better at public speaking, she has the points down already.)

Edith Bunker for President.

13:15 BST

Sunday, 02 July 2006

Wobbly blogging

I wanted to write about it all but I feel a bit overwhelmed. I started this post but I feel like the vampires got me. I think I'll go read a book for a while and see if it helps. Here are some links I found before I lost my ability to face reality:

Gary Farber is wishing us all a happy 4th of July weekend upon learning that Arnold Schwarzenegger's homeland security is protecting California against anti-war protestors and other dangerous fiends. Digby keeps reminding us: If we build it, they will use it.

Share the fantasy: Four Legs Good of Plush Life really enjoys Billmon's daydream of BushCo. on trial for war crimes.

I'm pretty sure this is satire but it's getting so hard to tell.

They say Karl Rove is Bush's brain, but Mikey says Bush is Rove's tool.

And Jeralyn found a short clip from "Memo From Turner", though not the whole thing. We'll have to work on that. (I was lucky - I had a friend working at the Janus 1&2 when it was showing there, so first he told me I had to see it, then he told me I had to see it again. I think he let me in about five or six more times before it finished there.)

23:52 BST

Open windows

Triumph Flower Curves underwired braBra of the Week - You really need to click on the enlarged "zoom" picture to see what I like about this one, but there's also the fact that it's fairly low-priced for Britain.

Net Neutrality: Keep the pressure on. Handy list of important names and contact numbers, too.

Time actually has an article by Karl Rove. Really. I'm speechless. Let Charles Pierce do it (even though I think baseball caps are the unsexiest fashion since droopy trousers).

I still don't get it: Why did anyone ever call the Swift program "secret"? It's not a secret. If it's secret, why didn't they arrest Bush years ago for announcing it? Everyone agreed, loudly and publicly, that it was important to track money through the banking system to locate terrorists' funding sources and choke them off. Democrats were even complaining because the administration didn't want to do this. In fact, the administration still doesn't want to go after the people who are most likely to be doing this. The complaint exposed by the NYT story isn't that they're doing it, it's that they're not looking at likely terrorists, they're looking at everyone, and it's neither legal nor productive. It's just one more example of how the administration would rather spy on you and me than actually pursue likely terrorists. So ask this question: Why is the administration protecting the terrorists? Because that's what loading on all this extraneous data really means. You don't find a needle in a haystack by building a bigger haystack.

It's not that I'm in love with John Edwards or anything, but I do like his message about working Americans a lot, and if we had a decent press corps they might just make a bigger deal of the fact that he gets standing ovations for it.

A Democracy-Forcing Option: "If America want to nullify the Geneva Convention, then by God let's force our noble Congress to stand up and cast a vote publicly against one of the greatest collective agreements of human history. Let's have this debate out in the open rather than in David Addington's office."

Golf as a macroeconomic indicator.

Happy birthday, and thanks for the photos.

Greg was disappointed by the new Superman movie.

I can't believe no one has posted "Memo from Turner" at YouTube, yet. (But John Amato has this.)

12:49 BST

Saturday, 01 July 2006

Read it and weep

Sorry, it was a day for errands and gardening. And I have finally ordered a new pair of glasses because Moorefield's says I'm all healed and stuff.

Check out Jonathan Schwarz at A Tiny Revolution, where he's been doing some great stuff, like the one on why he refuses to believe that Mary Lynn Rajskub is dating Rush Limbaugh, or the one quoting Nir Rosen, the bravest journalist in the world, on what it's like to be an American walking around Iraq looking like an Iraqi, or the one on how the clever NYT plan of trying not to be a liberal paper is working for them, or the one that quotes a brilliant 13-year-old girl in Jenin who says she wants to be a nuclear physicist so she can blow up America, because, "When someone comes to fight you in your home, you have to fight him back, isn't that true?" And you can feel it all bleeding away....

Dave Johnson quotes Sheldon Drobny saying that gasoline is only a by-product of refining oil, where the real profits are in things like tar, asphalt, lubricating oils, paraffin wax and such. If we didn't suck it up for them to use for fuels, they'd have to spend quite a bit of money disposing of the stuff. Wow.

Nathan Newman discusses a good Supreme Court decision: The Supreme Court upheld that fine, which means that companies can't steal pay from workers, intimidate them, then just give the money they stole back when called to account. Now they have to pay a fine if they try that. Why, it's almost like employers will be held to contracts they make. Will wonders never cease? Amazingly, this was a 9-0 decision.

Rachel at Alas, A Blog notes that the HPV vaccine is being referred to now instead as a vaccine for cervical cancer. Hm....

"I don't care if you know I'm lying... but please, warn me if you can prove it." Swopa finds another amusing moment in dissembling.

22:53 BST

Faith of our fathers cynical consultants

I am disappointed to see that an awful lot of people didn't seem to get what it was about Obama's speech that upset many progressives - including people of faith.

Look, I got no problem with politicians who want to say that their faith has something to do with what they believe. That's not the problem. Unless their faith is in something that is provably not true, and it is provably not true that conservatives exemplify a Christian ideal that progressives, Democrats, liberals - whatever you want to call them - do not. If Obama wants to talk about faith, he should be asking why conservatives seem so goddamn anti-Christian. I can't respect the faith of people who clearly would rather stone The Good Samaritan to death and then demand instant conversion from the Jew before rendering aid (and letting him die otherwise). They seem to have interpreted the loaves-and-fishes story a little differently than I did, I'll tell ya - I don't recall Jesus saying, "Teach a man to fish...", let alone following up by trying to get rid of education.

The trouble with Democrats isn't that they don't express their "faith", it's that the Democratic leadership is too afraid of the right-wing media to stand up for anything real. When they can do that, we'll all stand up with them and shout, "Hallelujah!"

Contra Nathan, I have seen no one criticizing Obama for what he said about abortion or gay rights; I've seen them criticizing Obama for suggesting that it's Democrats who have the problem with faith. It's not faith that's the problem. I'm bloody uncomfortable with the idea that a President of the United States* can say in public, "No, I don't know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots. This is one nation under God." (See what happens? In a moment of hysteria, the phrase "under God" gets inserted into the Pledge of Allegiance, and next thing you know we have a president who seems to think it's in the Constitution.) Where's your faith that everything is under God, including atheists? Why would anyone even say a thing like that? It's not an expression of faith, it's an expression of otherness and exclusion. It's anti-Constitutional and it's morally wrong.

Let's get another thing straight: By and large, the people who have sued to get rid of prayer in school or other forced "expressions of faith" haven't usually been atheists or progressives, they've been Seventh Day Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses. But they are doing a service to all of us, whether we believe or not: They are helping keep organized religion out of government, which is a good thing for government and a good thing for faith.

(Via Scaramouche.)

In other news: George Bush is The Understander (via), and Wingnuttia hates the NYT (but not the WSJ).

11:45 BST

Blogging in my sleep

Mahabarb liked that letter to the media from American Stranger, and presents Dear Media, Part I: Diagnosis. Part II is promised soon. (And I wish I could remember enough key words to find the link to an article Digby wrote a while back about how some of today's conservative movement operatives got started because they were frightened by kids in the '60s and thought they were going to tear the whole system down. The irony is that those kids had no such intention - their battle cry was mostly to the effect that their elders should actually live up to the values they had taught. But the conservative movement - they seem set to break the union.)

Gary Farber reports that, of all people, Ted Olson is arguing for shield laws for reporters.

Mikey says: So the next time one of my fellow lefties suggests that what we are working for is more tolerance with regard to, say, gay people, I'm going to say, "No, not more tolerance. Tolerance can be withdrawn at any time. What we are working for is a society that understands and respects liberty, for liberty is something that cannot be withdrawn without offending the rights of man."

I'm glad I'm not the only person who freaked out about what Israel is doing to the Palestinians this week. James Wolcott and Steve Clemons aren't too happy about it, either.

As they see us - "Another Communique from The Iraqi Resistance Army": "Life under dictatorship is far more safer than behind the bars of your democracy."

It's hard enough to keep track of all the corrupt Republicans, but now we have to deal with their evil twins?

August J. Pollak checks the lists of things that do and do not endanger our troops.

Chris Bowers at MyDD has a complaint: The longstanding practice of progressive organizations to exploit their most dedicated workers by forcing them to live ascetic lives in order to help "the cause" is being repeated with the way many progressive organizations and campaigns are now treating the blogosphere and the netroots.

02:38 BST

Avedon Carol at The Sideshow, July 2006

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

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

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by