The Sideshow

Archive for June 2008

Check box to open new browser windows for links.

Monday, 30 June 2008

Our ancestors

FDL had a Book Salon over the weekend in which Dan Froomkin played host to Myra McPherson on her All Governments Lie: The Life and Times of Rebel Journalist I. F. Stone. Froomkin mentions that there is now an I.F. Stone Medal to be awarded annually, and also that Izzy's son Jeremy has set up an I.F. Stone website.

Once or twice on this blog, I've used quasi-quotes, and the first time someone thought they were some sort of glitch. They're not; they're a really useful bit of punctuation that lets you give the gist of what someone said even though you can't provide a pure, verbatim quote. They look like this:

And then he said, "We gotta invade Iraq because of 9/11."
They've migrated from fandom and now turn up occasionally in places you don't expect to see them - like law journals. And I didn't know until I read Gary's tribute to Jack Speer that these are one of the many wonderful things Jack invented.

23:13 BST

Oh, man, look at those cavemen go

"El Baradei Says He'll Quit If Iran Attacked [...] And the Straits Times has even more - he told Al Arabiya that a strike on Iran 'would turn the region into a fireball.' and that 'If you do a military strike, it will mean that Iran, if it is not already making nuclear weapons, will launch a crash course to build nuclear weapons with the blessing of all Iranians, even those in the West.'"

Go ahead, tell me how this stupid statement is justified: "As he's said many times before, Senator Obama honors and respects Senator McCain's service, and of course he rejects yesterday's statement by General Clark," said Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton." I see, this is how No Drama Obama is going to change the politics of Washington: by backing down on even more things. Can we kiss Social Security good-bye, too? (Hm, Ezra's blogroll seems to have lost a lot of women....)

Real Swift Boat vets want their good name back. (Also: Toles.)

Dana Perino answers a trick question: "Q: Is it ever reasonable to restrict constitutional freedoms in the name of fighting terrorism? MS. PERINO: In our opinion, no."

"Invasion Of The Snatchless Bodies" is a great title for a take-down of another atrocious piece of writing by Joseph Farah.

Really, the way the entertainment industry just can't resist a failed strategy, it's amazing that they've managed to survive for so long. Dan's Data returns us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear and a long-forgotten foray into home entertainment. (Thanks to Dominic for the tip.)

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain (via)

19:31 BST


Thanks to Anna for alerting me to this important Matt Stoller article on networking progressives. Matt starts by noting that:

On Friday, I was on the phone with Darcy Burner, who told me that she got a call from people affiliated with the conservative Jewish political group AIPAC. They told her to distance herself from the new pro-peace group J Street, which they said is full of radical leftists who believe in capitulation to the forces of the Arab world who would overrun and destroy Israel. Like most conservative arguments, it is utter nonsense backed up by a political threat designed to suppress alternative legitimate political views.


AIPAC's people are backing Darcy's opponent, Dave Reichert, so if they are calling her up and arguing with her, it shows just how confident they are politically at intimidating the opposition. A J Street endorsement is clearly a very risky and scary thing to take, because you'll bring down the wrath of a powerful and well-organized group. I know of several candidates who have refused J Street's endorsements because they don't want to become targets for AIPAC. Darcy Burner, Steve Cohen, Dennis Schulman, Debbie Halvorson, and Mary Jo Kilroy are all showing incredible bravery in doing so; they are not just running as Democrats, they are running as leaders.

And this is how change happens. What's important to understand in calculating where we should direct our resources is how much candidates are willing to lead as candidates, so that we know what kind of risk profiles they will take as office-holders. Every House candidate was offered the opportunity to endorse a Responsible Plan to End the War in Iraq, despite substantial institutional opposition. Every House candidate could seek the endorsement of J Street. Every House candidate could come out for net neutrality. Every candidate could associate themselves heavily with the internet left.

And yet, very few of them actually do this. It's far easier to take PAC money and AIPAC money and telecom money and say 'change' and 'Obama' and fill out some questionnaires. It's easy to go through existing power centers, existing networks, rather than support new ones that are competitive to the ones dominating the status quo. Of course, the cost to the politician of using existing networks is that they have to pretend like attacking Iran is the right thing to do, that the lies the telecom companies tell us have merit, and that liberals are crazy. They have to, in other words, sell their soul and become part of an incredibly corroded establishment process.

Matt goes on to discuss the fact that, though our current Congress actually has more progressives in it than the one that Bill Clinton had, they've accomplished less because the right-wing networks have become so much tighter than those in the (actual) center and left. Thus, even with "control" of Congress, Republicans have managed to keep 70 bills from a vote while the Democrats can't manage to stop right-wing bills from passing.
And so that's a long way of saying what many of us in DC know in our bones but have never been able to articulate with any detail. The density of the networks of the other side spawn the conventional wisdom, the funding channels, and the candidates who carry out a conservative agenda on their side, or on our side, create a culture of middle manager types that vote well on checklists but make sure to ruffle no feathers. When thinking through the Better Democrats page, we implicitly began to gravitate towards candidates that network with each other around anti-conservative proposals, not just checklist liberalism. It is the first product of this new way of thinking about Congress, but not the last.

The Rude Pundit on FISA: "The truly complex, difficult position is to say, 'No, you sons and daughters of bitches, you don't give up the very things that make us Americans.' See, 'Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death' isn't a conditional phrase. It ain't 'Well, Give Me the Liberties You Think I Oughta Have As Long As It's Balanced With Your Tortured Legalistic Definitions and Limitations On the Constitution, But, Hey, As Long As You Tell Me We're Still Free, It's All Cool, Yo.'" And he goes on to say what Obama should be saying.

Farewell: Jack Speer was rather a big deal in the history of SF fandom, and I'd hoped to see a more substantial entry on his Wikipedia page. Maybe someone who's good at that fanhistory thing could have a look at that. (via)

16:22 BST

West of Arkham the hills rise wild

Video of Sy Hersh talking about his article, "Preparing the Battlefield", on what the administration is doing in Iran.

Driftglass had a rough weekend watching talking heads on the teevee, and a reminder of why we really don't need no post-partisanship. And thanks, Drifty, for alerting us to 27%er Hugh Hewitt's wisdom: "By the way, I -- I'm still trying to find two tickets to the Ohio State-USC game. And none of the USC people will give up their tickets to me. I'd pay fair price. They -- they know Ohio State's gonna slaughter the Trojans. They know that they're gonna slaughter the Trojans, and therefore they do not want me there at the bloodbath, since it's probably the last football game we'll ever get to see before the United States gets blown up by the Islamists under Obama." How stupid can one man be?

Sally Quinn made a mess of things when she not only took communion, but made it all about her, and Wolcott says, "The self-glorification of the Beltway press corps has reached the messiah stage."

Remember when you used to read about stuff like this happening in the USSR? (Is, "I'm going for a walk," a good answer?) Via Pacific Views, where I also learned about The Moral Matrix.

Obama's advisers want to retain Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense. Andrew Perez likes this. Me, not so much.

An Obama supporter offers Confessions of a recovering sexist. (via)

Many reasons to vote against McCain.

Back when America knew how to earn the good opinion of mankind, he was one of our ambassadors to the world, a jazzman, and a fantasy fan - his name was Willis Conover, and he was world famous. But not in America. (Also, did you know you can get H.P. Lovecraft fonts?)

12:57 BST

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Look Through Any Window

Sy Hersh is saying that the US is 'preparing the battlefield' in Iran: "They believe that their mission is to make sure that before they get out of office next year, either Iran is attacked or it stops its weapons program."

David Ignatius thinks Barack and Sidney should hold a presidential debate in Dubai. And why not? After all, isn't our military being run by a company that's registered in Dubai? (Someone in the comments at Eschaton remarked that this would send a message - that Dubai could buy both presidents. Someone else said that they can have debates when they have elections.)

Skippy made an attempt at a polite query to a journalist, who responded, um, less politely. Via Mike's Blog Roundup, which has more tales from the annals of journalism.

I know the idea of McCain choosing a total crackpot like Bobby Jindal to be his VP seems unlikely, but there used to be a time when it was unthinkable that someone would pick a member of the John Birch Society, too - until GHW Bush chose Dan Quayle.

FrenchDoc observes that some members of the media may have been catching up to what any first year sociology student could tell them - that there's no paradox when a "wealthy" society makes lots of people unhappy. And Vastleft examines the question, "What is today's political "center"?" - "I guess a Liberal supports nine or ten Amendments of the Bill of Rights, a Conservative supports one, and a Centrist supports five."

Thanks to Rich for alerting me to these really neat Pictures from the Sky.

The Hollies (and more Hollies).

23:33 BST

Sunday services

McCain doesn't know the price of gas, and doesn't see why it matters, either. McCain doesn't know why it might be a good idea for a president to know the price of gas. We used to think Republican politicians were the kind of people of whom you could say, "They know the price of everything and the value of nothing," but even that isn't true - they don't know the price of anything, either. Don't forget to tell your Republican relatives that McCain admitted he doesn't know and doesn't care what gas is costing you. Via Jay Ackroyd.

Someone was trying to assassinate Daschle and Leahy, and John Ashcroft (who preferred to pretend it was related to "terrorism" in that new, broad, "your personal life is in danger!!!" way and had nothing to do with trying to assassinate two Democratic Senators), apparently decided it was a guy named Hatfill. Since the Bush administration apparently regarded the DOJ as just another political organization that worked on their behalf, they didn't really seem to care that FBI agents wanted to follow other, more promising leads. But they enjoyed leaking information to the press and ruining the guy's career: "The Justice Department has just agreed to pay $5.82 million to the primary (and apparently the only) suspect in the case, Steven J. Hatfill, who brought a case against the department for its violation of his privacy. The reason for the cave by Justice? It became clear as the case progressed that after nearly six years of dogging Mr. Hatfill they had exactly zero evidence against him."

Matt Stoller on The Corroded Corruption at the Heart of Moving to the Center: "There are several articles today on Obama moving to the center. In the LA Times, Obama is shifting toward the center, several pundits discussed Obama's recent political triangulating. Will Marshall of the DLC, Thomas Mann at the Brookings Institution, and Matt Bennett of Third Way all effusively praise Obama's repudiation of his own earlier statements on NAFTA and FISA. Marshall noted that 'I've been struck by the speed and decisiveness of his move to the center.' Indeed. Bennett commented that Obama is 'doing all he can to make sure people know he would govern as a post-partisan moderate.'" Creepy guys cheering a creepy move even farther to the right.

Hey, did you know Pete Stark has introduced a Constitutional amendment to "establish a right to health care of equal high quality for every American." Not likely to go anywhere, but I love it that he did it.

I hate it when someone tells me there is something visible in an ad that is too small for me to see on my screen. Anyone able to see it? (Although if it's true, it does seem to suggest that someone did want to undermine those ads they were making.)

Street Prophets has a good, fat, linky post, and I'm not just saying that because it links back to me.

13:46 BST

Another Saturday night

Elle Macpherson Boudoir 022 Boudoir soft cup braBra of the Week


Drag queens pose new terror threat.

10 awesome Internet Easter eggs (Thanks, Charles!)

David Carr on Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. (Clips here.)

Errington Thompson on The Failure of the Republican Party to deliver anything for Blacks, and Bill Scher on the difference between Bill Cosby and Barack Obama on responsibility.

"You just can't make this stuff up: Larry 'Wide Stance' Craig and David 'Just a Massage' Vitter are now original co-sponsors of the new Federal Marriage Amendment (aka Marriage Protection Amendment)."

Cheney upset at prospect of peaceful relations with North Korea. Via Eschaton.

Digby alerts us that Bob Somerby has been doing a little tribute to the Russert years at NBC.

Vastleft is looking for help to make the case against McCain, and has already found some interesting links (follow the thread). I rather liked the post at DU that has a useful list, headed, "Do you want McCain appointing..." And the Democratic Party has a McCainpedia.

Carolina Sunrise, and Fireball at Ayers Rock.

Sam Cooke

03:07 BST

Saturday, 28 June 2008

It's a death-trap, a suicide rap

Conyers subpoenas DoJ for Bush interviews in Plame leak: "The subpoena also requests transcripts of Fitzgerald's interviews with former presidential adviser Karl Rove, Cheney's former chief of staff Scooter Libby, former White House spokesman Scott McClellan, former presidential counselor Dan Bartlett and former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card. In addition to the Plame leak, Conyers requested documents regarding a New Hampshire phone jamming investigation during the 2002 election, the replacement of Minnesota US Attorney Heffelfinger, the possible selective prosecution of politicians like Alabama Governor Don Siegelman, and several other issues. The subpoena includes a broad request for information about the opinions of the DoJ's Office of Legal Counsel on issues of national security, war, terrorism, civil rights and others, and cites an October 23, 2001 memorandum concerning the legal authority to use military force to combat terrorist activities in the US."

Diane is fuming at what's going on with Medicare. (And doctors in Texas have withdrawn their endorsement of Cornyn: "Texas Medical Association spokesman Steve Levine said its 43,000 doctors and medical students are furious because Mr. Cornyn voted Thursday night to block Senate consideration of a House-passed bill to stave off 10.6 percent cuts in doctors' Medicare fees.")

Bill Moyers on Worker Safety: "Just last week, the House Committee on Education and Labor heard some disturbing testimony about the reliability of the government agency charged with protecting workers on the job." FRANCO ORDOÑEZ: "The workers would tell me, if there is avian flu here in this plant, we're going to get it. But we really have much more serious problems right here, right now."

Live in Passaic

23:09 BST

My mother told me never to talk about politics or religion

I think I have to disagree with Digby here when she assures me that Obama is lots better than McCain. I mean, yes, I think Obama is lots better than McCain, if only because it's hard to imagine he'd be worse, but: I'm tired of having to make that assumption. I'm tired of just hearing it from his supporters or other Dems who want me to vote for him. Most of all, I'm tired of having to keep saying it to my readers when he keeps doing things that tell me I can't rely on his judgment. He had to be told that voting for Roberts was a bad idea? He actually says out loud that we need this new FISA bill for the sake of our national security? Are you really better than McCain, Barack? Then show me. Do the right thing. Quit sounding like just another fear-mongering, liberal-hating Republican and do the business. No one's going to vote against you for blocking the FISA bill.

Susie Madrak wonders if it's a bug or a feature: "Faced with a surge in the number of proposed solar power plants, the federal government has placed a moratorium on new solar projects on public land until it studies their environmental impact, which is expected to take about two years. [...] 'It doesn't make any sense,' said Holly Gordon, vice president for legislative and regulatory affairs for Ausra, a solar thermal energy company in Palo Alto, Calif. 'The Bureau of Land Management land has some of the best solar resources in the world. This could completely stunt the growth of the industry.'"

Abstinence only "sex education" and what's wrong with Democrats: "Let's add things up: abstinence education not only doesn't work, it actually harms our children by putting them at risk for unwanted early pregnancies and disease. It also helps Republicans politically by funding far right organizations. So it's perhaps not surprising that when the Democrats won control of Congress in 2006, the party's long suffering base was optimistic that this monstrosity would finally be put to death. Fools!"

Crazy James Dobson thinks there's something wrong with the fact that Obama's version of Christianity isn't as crazy as his. Also This Week in God, Bush decided to revisit his faith-based initiatives, the US Presbyterian Church got rid of its ban on ordaining gays, and the Texas Supreme Court threw out a jury award to a 17-year-old girl who was injured during an exorcism (!) on the grounds that the finding of damages "would have an unconstitutional 'chilling effect' by compelling the church to abandon core principles of its religious beliefs." (From what I can gather, she was battered by the church because she expressed reluctance to follow in her father's missionary footsteps.)

Thom Hartmann is in Denmark, so when he talked to Bernie Sanders in the first hour of his show Friday about how amazed people there are when he tells them what the American medical system is like - they simply don't believe it. I hear some of that over here, where people imagine that it might not be so bad, until I assure them that you can end up with bills bigger than your mortgage. (And in the second hour, Ravi Batra gave a terrifying diagnosis of our economic situation.)

17:07 BST

Who watches the watchmen?

On Thursday, Glenn Greenwald accused Keith Olbermann of behaving like a Villager after he flip-flopped on his once strong condemnation of the new FISA bill: "Strong and righteous words indeed. But that was five whole months ago, when George Bush was urging enactment of a law with retroactive immunity and a lessening of FISA protections. Now that Barack Obama supports a law that does the same thing -- and now that Obama justifies that support by claiming that this bill is necessary to keep us Safe from the Terrorists -- everything has changed." Olbermann said icky things like, "Senator Obama also refusing to cower even to the left on the subject of warrantless wiretapping."

Olbermann responded at DKos with a defense of the new, not-improved bill, and Glenn takes it apart: "In his Daily Kos response, Olbermann -- just as he has done on his show repeatedly ever since Obama announced his support for the bill -- also suggested that Obama is harboring a Secret Benevolent Plan that he isn't telling anyone about whereby he is supporting the FISA bill so that he can prosecute the telecoms criminally once he's in office" - but, since the new bill eliminates civil liability, this is meaningless, because Bush can pardon everyone involved, thereby immunizing them from criminal prosecution. "Depicting a bill with telecom amnesty when Bush supports it as "textbook Fascism," only to then depict Obama's support for such a bill as "refusing to cower to the Left," is simply inexcusable." The fact is, Obama decided to cower to the right, instead.

Bob Herbert on the Physicians for Human Rights report, "Broken Laws, Broken Lives":"The ostensible purpose of mistreating prisoners is to inflict pain and induce disorientation and despair, creating so much agony that the prisoners give up valuable intelligence in order to end the suffering. But torture is not an interrogation technique; it's a criminal attack on a human being."

The WaPo has a lengthy article on Danielle Allen's search for the source of the Obama e-mail. (It appears on the C section's front page.)

Jamison Foser on The Edwards standard and John McCain: "During John Edwards' campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, media regularly treated his personal wealth as a key to assessing his policy proposals -- a standard that is not being applied to John McCain."

More fake outrage from the wingers over Delahunt's quip at Addington. You know, they may watch C-Span. OMG!

Rick Noriega's campaign responds to Big Bad John's Big Gay Dress-up Video.

14:20 BST

In one eye

Tom Engelhardt, "No Blood for... er... um... Last Thursday, the New York Times led with this headline: "Deals with Iraq Are Set to Bring Oil Giants Back." (Subhead: "Rare No-bid Contracts, A Foothold for Western Companies Seeking Future Rewards.") And who were these four giants? ExxonMobil, Shell, the French company Total and BP (formerly British Petroleum). What these firms got were mere "service contracts" -- as in servicing Iraq's oil fields -- not the sort of "production sharing agreements" that President Bush's representatives in Baghdad once dreamed of, and that would have left them in charge of those fields. Still, it was clearly a start. The Times reporter, Andrew E. Kramer, added this little detail: "[The contracts] include a provision that could allow the companies to reap large profits at today's prices: the [Iraqi oil] ministry and companies are negotiating payment in oil rather than cash." And here's the curious thing, exactly these four giants "lost their concessions in Iraq" back in 1972 when that country's oil was nationalized. Hmmm."

Seizing Laptops and Cameras Without Cause: "Returning from a vacation to Germany in February, freelance journalist Bill Hogan was selected for additional screening by customs officials at Dulles International Airport outside Washington. Agents searched his luggage, he said, 'then they told me that they were impounding my laptop." This outrageous, and a direct violation of the Fourth Amendment's assertion of "the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures." They're copying disks for no reason at all, just because they know they're in a position to do so, and that means they're not just seizing a valuable tool, but reading your "papers" without probable cause. "When customs offered to return the computer nearly two weeks later, Hogan had it shipped to his lawyer." Good for him. (via) Russ Feingold and Nicole Belle don't like it much, either. (Also: Barack and Hillary's Unity Moment.)

Eric Boehlert says, "Obama, McCain, and Gershon agree: The press needs to get off the stage."

Jonathan Schwarz has video of our esteemed commenter Bruce F growing food on the roof.

Strange you can believe in.

Pretty. (via)

02:55 BST

Friday, 27 June 2008

A buncha more links

Scalia just ruined the country: "Scalia is arguing much more than the definition of 'right to bear arms' as put down in the 2nd Amendment. He is arguing that fundamental meaning of citizenship in The Constitution is a reaction against the oppression of Protestants by 17c English monarchy! If we accept this definition, we are left with the flawed and violent idea of a American citizenship--with an idea of citizenship grounded in the idea that a tyranny begins with government taking away the guns of citizens. In essence, Scalia is replacing the idea of a fundamental right on which American citizenship is based--booting freedom of expression to second or even fifth place, and pushing to the head of the line a supposed right to bear arms in cases of confrontation."

The Democrats' Risky Strategy: "Democrats are playing a dangerous game. They apparently reason that Republicans will bear the brunt of dissatisfaction over Washington's unpopular policies. That may well be true. [...] They seized control of both houses of Congress but seem oblivious (or indifferent) to the public's anger. Instead they seem to be playing a game of political jujitsu, using the overexertions of the right to give them leverage to flip them totally off the mat. It may be a brilliant tactical move but one with long term risks. First, urgent policy issues fester because no meaningful action can happen under such a strategy. That leads to the second problem, deep dissatisfaction with what comes to be seen as a lesser of two evils. By eschewing opposition the Democrats are creating a pool of thwarted activists." (As Glenn Greenwald likes to remind us, the Democratic Congress is more popular with Republicans than with Democrats, according to polls.)

So remember when Lara Logan went on The Daily Show and talked about how tough it was to get real coverage of Iraq on the teevee, and also said, "If I were to watch the news that you hear here in the United States, I would just blow my brains out because it would drive me nuts"? Well, the freepers have hated her for a long time for showing actual news about Iraq instead of showing the happy utopia our invasion has caused (painted schoolhouses!), but now, suddenly, all the weird stories they've been floating have started turning up in the corporate media.

"I want my white hat back" - military interrogators against torture: "Human Rights First has brought together about twenty pros with significant interrogation experience this week to lobby Congress and the presidential campaigns, and to speak to the public about what works and what doesn't when it comes to gaining credible intelligence - as opposed to unreliable information - from interrogations."

Did I mention that you need to make sure your older, right-wing relatives know about McCain and Social Security?

Okay, that does it - the fiendish Obama has a parking ticket history!

Paul Krugman says the real problem with oil prices is a matter of supply and demand rather than speculation.

Digby joins Glenn Greenwald in chewing on "bipartisanship". As usual, Grover Norquist wasn't lying when he characterized it as "date rape".

We generally like Sheldon Whitehouse around here, but it's time he receives a few WTF? letters.

21:20 BST

Leftover links

Major David J. R. Frakt's Closing Argument in Favor of Dismissal of the Case Against Mohammad Jawad: "With these fateful and ill-advised words, President Bush, our Commander-in-Chief, perhaps unwittingly, perhaps not, started the U.S. down a slippery slope, a path that quickly descended, stopping briefly in the dark, Machiavellian world of 'the ends justify the means,' before plummeting further into the bleak underworld of barbarism and cruelty, of 'anything goes,' of torture. It was a path that led inexorably to the events that brings us here today, the pointless and sadistic treatment of Mohammad Jawad, a suicidal teenager."

They just can't figure out why people are so negative about things when there's no war, and the economy is expanding. (via) But, you know, things really are peachy. Like it says, here: "U.S. stocks plunge; worst June for Dow since 1930" - oh, wait....

Sara Robinson on Why The Right Isn't Future-Ready. And Robert Borosage says it's Time for a Grand Inquest into Bush's High Crimes.

It looks like Andrew Koppelman agrees with my point in the previous post about "The Worst Thing You Can Do to a Child Short of Murder".

Apparently, turnabout is not fair play when girls whistle at builders.

Another Carlin tribute with lots of clips at MediaBloodhound. And Stephen Colbert has a Word for him.

Benjamin Zander on music and passion at TED, "Classical music with shining eyes" (via)

16:30 BST

The Supreme Court was right about this

I'm sure that there must be abused kids who might have thought that having their father killed was a great idea. Or maybe later, when they grew up, they believed that to be the case.

But I count among my friends a number of women who were once sexually abused by a parent, and not one of them ever expressed to me such a sentiment. What they want is for the abuse to stop and, maybe once that happens, an apology.

And the funny thing is, a few of them have told me that they actually did get exactly that once they simply told their fathers to stop.

Of course, that can't happen if your father is dragged out of the house and imprisoned and you are underaged so you can't insist on visiting him in prison - and then they execute him before you're old enough to visit him there and demand answers.

It wasn't my father who sexually assaulted me, so I can't really say how I would have felt.

But I do know that I'm glad no one was executed "on my behalf" to satisfy adults who, as usual, would have been more interested in their own outrage than in my needs. That would only have added to the burden.

Yeah, I know, it's an outrage when someone sexually assaults a child. We find it inexplicable - especially when it's their own kid or one they know and have in their care. We have every reason to be offended by it.

But you know what? It didn't ruin my life. I have a better life than do many millions of people who were never sexually assaulted at all. I have not lost my ability to feel my heart soar over Beethoven's violin concerto, to be forced to my feet when one of my favorite danceable track comes out of the speakers, to enjoy a good meal or breathe in the aromas of spring, to laugh at his jokes....

I'll tell you what's pretty horrible and shocking, though: having the authorities asking you a lot of prurient questions because they are so obsessed with "getting the guy that did it" that they completely overlook what it's doing to you. I hated that.

And that's all just leaving aside the fact that sometimes they aren't even guilty.

12:18 BST

Glass half-empty

Atrios say, Bad Bill, Bad People:

I think it's easy to think that crazy internet bloggers were unreasonably obsessed about the immunity provision without caring about the fact that the FISA bill is just generally a very bad bill. Immunity became the hook when Dodd said he'd fight any bill with immunity in there, but it isn't the only thing to object to. The point was to use immunity as a way of derailing the rest of the thing. Immunity is bad, but the rest of the bill is bad too, as are the people who support it.

Not change we can believe in, my friends.


And, as he also says, Darcy Burner is a better Democrat to give your money to.

Even Nicholas Kristoff has started to notice that we have not entirely liberated the Iraqis.

New from Brave New Films, Lieberman Must Go.

Onward Christian Soldiers: "According to this article in today's NY Times, the military continues to shove religion down the throats of its soldiers, especially at the Naval Academy and West Point."

Wexler says McCain broke the law: "And one other thing - Senator McCain's not in the position to speak about this. He used his public financing as collateral to get a loan, and then, low and behold, he didn't use it, and he broke the law."

A bunch of air and space photos.

B.B. King's plea for help for Blacks Without Soul.

02:23 BST

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Gloom and doom

Another disgusting thing Obama did this week is disagree with the Supreme Court's death penalty decision. Yes, I realize we've decided as a society that the best way to deal with child abuse is to run around like headless chickens squawking and carrying on like it's the end of the world and we have to kill people right away without regard to any reasonable sense, but that's actually not protecting children very much. There are deep downsides - for the children - of taking this extreme approach, and that's even leaving aside what has been happening to the civil liberties of adults. This administration has actually diverted attention from protecting real children to going after child porn, and no one seems to care. Good (and early) sex education actually does more to prevent child abuse than most of the "remedies" we've been applying, but even the Democrats have been happily supporting abstinence-only miseducation, which does more harm than good. Jeralyn: "Obama mischaracterizes today's decision as a state's rights issue. It's not. It's an 8th Amendment issue of cruel and unusual punishment in which the evolving standards of decency of a civilized nation must be taken into account." Digby: "Bill Clinton raced to Arkansas to sign a retarded man's death warrant in his run in 1992 and now Barack Obama says that he believes the death penalty should be expanded to non-murderers. Not much "progress" on this one, that's for sure."

Julian Sanchez lambasts Democrats for caving in on FISA, and notes that though it wasn't a "compromise", they are compromised. It's my personal feeling that every single member of Congress who voted for this travesty (or for cloture) should be sent a white feather. (Via Attackerman at its new digs on the Firedoglake site.)

I don't think Charlie Black made a "gaffe", I just think he's wrong. It's not a gaffe because the media simply doesn't pay much attention - Kristol has been on television for years telling the public just exactly how the conservatives plan to destroy America, and none of them ever connect the dots. They can always admit up front that what's bad for America is good for Republicans, and you just don't hear the media finally wake up to the fact that the meaning is obvious: What's good for Republicans is bad for America. But a lot of ordinary people are catching on, and I think if there is another successful attack on America, people are going to notice that it happened again on the Republicans' watch.

Cenk discovers more hypocrisy when an anti-choice Republican pays for his girlfriend's abortion.

Baby turtle forges ahead, alone.

17:26 BST

Kiss your sweet rights good-bye

Oh, that wily Harry Reid pulled off a sweet little feint by claiming FISA wouldn't be coming to the floor 'til maybe July, then all of a sudden the cloture vote happened - apparently after I went to bed last night - and only 15 Senators voted against it. You can probably guess who most of them were (please call and thank them!), but here's an interesting surprise: Byrd and Kennedy didn't vote. Neither, of course, did McCain, Clinton, or Obama. Understand that this means it's pretty much over unless Reid decides to leave the bill off the agenda indefinitely - because if he brings it to the floor, it will pass. Period. I suppose it must be possible for the plaintiffs in the suits against the telecoms to get the Supreme Court to declare the bill unconstitutional, but I'm sure not going to hold my breath.

Again, we can't expect any knowledgeable discourse on this from the media, who, as Eric Alterman notes, don't regard the 4th Amendment as an important part of the issue.

Even at The Moderate Voice, the prognosis is poor. Damozel may not be as angry as I am, but can't find justification for Obama's position.

I toyed with the idea of swiping the new bumper sticker available at The Poor Man Institute to head this post, but I warn you that Sifu Tweety Fish is being pretty damned depressing. Meanwhile at the HuffPo, Sam Stein says the honeymoon's over between Obama and the netroots. And Kevin Hayden withdraws his endorsement: "Sure, Obama's better than McCain. I will still have to consider voting for him. But I won't attach my name and expend any effort on his behalf. I consider not voting to also be a viable option. I've never considered it important to be on the winning side, politically. I don't seek a 'pure' candidate that I'll save my vote for. But Obama has compromised on a key point for me: defending the Constitutional rights of all." It breaks my heart when people talk about not voting at all. Listen, even if you can't bring yourself to vote for Obama, I beg you to go to the polls and (a) vote for all the down-ticket Dems and (b) if you absolutely can't pull the trigger for Obama, vote for Cynthia McKinney. At least that way, no one can claim you didn't care enough to vote, or count you among the errors, or claim you were being a racist, eh?

NTodd explains why you should be fighting tooth and nail against every effort to dilute your rights - because this is how they take them all away, and the Constitution is what gives us real security: "This nation survived an invasion of a superpower in the early 19th century when the country was young and rather defenseless. It survived a civil war that killed more Americans than every other war we've fought. It survived the War to End All Wars. It survived the most destructive conflict this planet has ever seen. It survived the Cold War and all its attendant small wars. And now, when faced with box cutters, we decide that our civil liberties are a burden, that the Constitution is a scrap of paper, that our ideals are quaint? NFW."

13:23 BST

Not that hard to parse

Greg Sargent has a couple of good points about Obama's dreadful position on the FISA bill:

Asked specifically why he's supporting the current FISA bill when he'd promised months ago to support a filibuster of an earlier version of the bill, Obama suggested flat out that "national security" overrides the question of telecom immunity...


Obama's line on national security here seems to be affirmation of something that many understood already: That he will support the bill even if telecom immunity isn't stripped from it, despite his promise to try to get immunity out of the legislation. If the issue of telecom immunity doesn't override national security, he'll of course vote for the bill with or without it.

Obama doesn't understand that the 4th Amendment is national security, and he's prepared to throw it out for some illusory Republican-defined "toughness" because he hasn't got the guts to actually be tough in defense of our country. When it comes to pushing Overton's Window back into some less distorted position, Obama is not your guy. (Yes, you still should vote for the Democratic nominee, but you should put all of your other efforts into doing things like getting people into Congress who will try to keep him in line - and doing things to make them want to keep him from these continuous forays into right-wing territory. You were always going to have to do that, no matter who the nominee was.)
Separately, the developing politics of this are interesting. Today Harry Reid announced that he will oppose the bill. Many Democrats are now asking, What will Hillary do?

Tea leaf readers note that Hillary's New York colleague, Chuck Schumer, also announced today that he's voting against it. Will Hillary follow suit? It seems like a huge opening for her to repair relations with progressives angry with her over her treatment of Obama during primary. On the other hand, some Dems note a complicating factor: If Hillary votes against the bill, it could cast a bit of a shadow over the planned "unity" Hillary-Obama event on Friday.

Digby still believes, as I do, that there's more going on with the FISA cave-in than just bribery, but it can't be denied that bribery is a big part of the picture - especially now that we've seen that numerous Dems who originally opposed telecom immunity switched to the other side after receiving increased contributions from the telecoms.

Watch the trailer for TILT: The Battle to Save Pinball. (Thanks to Dominic.)

01:16 BST

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

The law in its majesty

Jeralyn is Awaiting the Supreme Court's Second Amendment Decision: "Will today be the day the Supreme Court issues its long-awaited opinion in D.C. v. Heller, deciding the constitutionality of D.C.'s handgun ban and settling the question of whether the Second Amendment conveys an individual right to bear arms?" Not yet, it appears. Court watchers are expecting Scalia to write the opinion, striking down the handgun ban.

"Supreme Court Hands ExxonMobil A Big Payday: If there were any doubt about the corporate-friendly stance of the U.S. Supreme Court, this should put it to rest. It's been 19 years since the ExxonValdez disaster, which destroyed the livelihood of thousands."

Marty Lederman notes that in his dissent in the Boumediene habeas case, Scalia appears to have been confused about the distinction between our kidnap victims at Guantanamo Bay and the POWs we held in World War II: "In this conflict, by contrast, the U.S. has detained thousands of persons without very reliable assurances that they are, in fact, dangerous. Its detention practices, in other words, have been much more indiscriminate and uncertain -- and motivated principally by a design to interrogate as many persons as possible who might conceivably be able to offer some actionable intelligence, rather than (primarily) for the traditional purposes of incapacitating and weakening the enemy. When you're looking for a needle in a haystack, you tend to collect a lot of hay. That is exactly why the military itself has released such a high percent of the GTMO detainees: because its criteria for detention in the first instance were so permissive." Historically, military tribunals were held immediately after the battle so that civilians could be sorted out and returned to their civilian activities - and the military wouldn't be bogged down with having to retain custody of countless cab drivers and fruit vendors who had nothing to do with the fight. We didn't do that, instead carting hundreds of people off the battlefield (or even kidnapping them from their homes) and even to other countries, and then dragging our feet about getting around to that sorting, with a little torture thrown into the mix.

Supreme Court Rejects Death Penalty for Child Rape, in a 5-4 decision: 'The death penalty is not a proportional punishment for the rape of a child,' Justice Anthony M. Kennedy wrote for the court. He was joined by Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer." Good.

NEGISLATION (n): A legal act which, by design or accident, achieves the opposite effect to that which it purportedly intends. Examples include the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, and the Travel Promotion Act (jocularly known as the Mickey Tax Act) of 2008. See also negulation."

17:26 BST

The dogs that intermittently bark

I won't be waiting for the press to sound the alarm about the complete destruction of the foundations of our form of government, but dday says we gotta Block That Kick, because: "Senator Reid just informed his colleagues on the Senate floor that, because of all the other bills in the queue (like the housing bill, and the Iraq supplemental), FISA may not get a vote until after the July 4 holiday recess."

FDL has the list of targetted Senators, with their phone numbers, so you can spend the month giving them a call and telling them that if it never comes up at all, that'll be fine with you.

Meanwhile, this prediction found in Eschaton comments:

OT, I was thinking today about Obama being asked in a debate what he'd do as president in a 'terrorism emergency,' and how his answer would be scrutinized and picked apart for the slightest misstep. Anything, any nuance that the rightwing smear machine could take and twist and slap a 'he's not ready to be commander in chief' charge on him

Then the following imaginary scene came into my head: a presidential candidate is asked at a debate, 'if there were a simultaneous attack on NY and DC, how would you as commander in chief be prepared to react?'

'Well, Brian, first, I'd sit in my chair staring for minutes on end, then I'd get in a plane and fly aimlessly around the country...'

Now, what exactly would the mainstream media's judgment be as to whether this person had or had not catastrophically sunk his candidacy?

I'd like someone to bring that up, when Obama's response to a question like this gets the 'omg he's not ready to lead' treatment.
fourmorewars | 06.25.08 - 6:40 am | #

Yes, the press corps that didn't bother to mention that:
  • early in his presidency, Ronald Reagan was suffering from Alzheimer's, as was visible to anyone who saw him on television;
  • George Bush clearly demonstrated during debates with Al Gore that he couldn't defend his own policies and was reciting memorized sound-bites without sufficient comprehension of their content to be able to re-state them when challenged (even delivering the wrong sound-bite in response to one question), in addition to lying outright;
  • Congressional staff from Republican offices had been flown down to Florida to stage a riot to illegally prevent votes from being counted;
  • the Supreme Court was illegally intervening in a state's election to prevent votes from being counted - and some members of the court actually had a personal stake in the outcome and should have recused themselves from the entire issue in any event;
  • the Bush administration had allowed the United States to be successfully attacked despite numerous warnings and many effective means to prevent that success;
  • the Bush administration was actively avoiding virtually any known means of effectively securing the peace in Afghanistan and had let Osama bin Laden escape;
  • the Bush administration was making logically ridiculous, physically impossible, and generally unsupported claims about the technical capabilities and intentions of Saddam Hussein that were contradicted by every legitimate expert (not to mention obvious fact);
  • the Bush administration never once behaved as if it intended to do anything in Iraq other than try to get control of its oil and use it as an area for military basing in the region;
  • George Walker Bush was visibly disoriented and drooling during a 2004 presidential debate with John Kerry (and also had a strange thing on his back).
That mysteriously silent press corps is now going to pass judgment on whether Obama can deal competently with national security issues, and no doubt howl like injured animals at anything the Republicans can create spin about. Just like right now they are whining about Obama's refusal to participate in the broken campaign finance system when they are silent about the fact that McCain is breaking the law on campaign finance.

Because there is absolutely nothing a Republican can do, no matter how dishonest, incompetent, egregious, or downright evil, that will make our current press corps sound the alarm - but no attack on a Democrat is so scurrilous, so ridiculous, so dishonest, so outrageous, that it can be treated with the derision it deserves.

(I was amused that fourmorewars marked his comment "OT", though - how often is anything posted in Eschaton comments not off-topic?)

14:43 BST

Amusement section

Publius at Obsidian Wings nominates the worst op-ed of 2008, another masterpiece from Richard Cohen, about how John McCain is, um, a guy with no integrity who is, unlike Obama, a Man of Integrity. (via)

Roy Edroso reports on another valiant try at media analysis from yet another right-winger who sees the world only through the most narrow of lenses - leadership as defined by The Office, apparently, along with a uniquely filtered understanding of Spider-Man. (Also: Iraq on the endless precipice of time.)

"The Political Machine is a PC strategy game in which players run for President. Players can choose an existing candidate or can design their own from scratch, then choose a map/scenario to campaign in. From there, players must tackle the issues and battle against their ideological opponent for victory on election day." (Thanks to Dominic.)

The Guardian presents: A free, downloadable album of Glastonbury 2008.

Hey, I'm on the map! (via)

I noticed that Iggyspawn favorited a few of my photos on Flickr, so I looked at the whole slideshow of favorites there and found some nice pics (a couple-few of which I believe I've linked in the past). I find the best way to look at groups of people's photos is by running the slideshow function, but I can't remember if I ever tried doing that when I was still on dial-up. Has anyone tried that? Does it work? Does it take the rest of your life?

12:22 BST

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Truth and consequences

Pelosi and Hoyer have now both bragged to the media that they have had a big victory by caving in. Glenzilla explains: "In other words, Democrats achieved a 'significant victory' because -- by giving Republicans everything they demanded -- Republicans are no longer able to criticize Democrats on this issue. What a shrewd strategy: 'if we comply with all their demands, then they can't criticize us for anything.' That's the Democratic Party's plan for winning, according to Hoyer." And there's more from Digby.

Dodd and Feingold say they'll fight it: "We will oppose efforts to end debate on this bill as long as it provides retroactive immunity for the telecommunications companies." Encourage your Senators to join them.

Diane is not impressed that a federal court found against it again in the case of one of the captive Uighurs at Guantanamo, and Ruth is hopeful about a dawn of reason.

The Raw Story: "In a new editorial published by, former CIA officer Ray McGovern states that he believes 'a perfect storm seems to be gathering in late summer or early fall,' when the Bush administration and allies in Israel will launch attacks against Iran."

Froomkin on Battered Congress Syndrome: "President Bush doesn't hesitate to kick Congress around, but Congress just can't bring itself to kick back. During oral arguments yesterday about whether a federal judge should enforce congressional subpoenas against a belligerent White House, representatives of the judicial and executive branches both noted that Congress hasn't exercised its full constitutional powers."

Penn and Teller on what the flag stands for, (via).

21:58 BST

The hunt for blue November

Alterman: "Let's take a moment to sum up: the anti-torture candidate supports torture. The pro-immigration candidate opposes immigration. The candidate who opposes tax cuts for the rich supports them. The pro-campaign finance reform candidate has a campaign that is run almost exclusively by lobbyists, and exploits loopholes in the law to skirt spending limits--even the laws the candidate wrote. The candidate who opposes "agents of intolerance" in the Republican Party embraces them. The candidate with the foreign policy experience frequently confuses Sunnis and Shiites and misreads Iranian influence in the region, but is proposing permanent war. The candidate who claims to be a fiscal conservative wants to bust the budget. The candidate who claims to take global warming seriously does not want to take any serious action to address it." And yet, the media seem to believe he is something better. Hm, that paragraph would work nicely as a little list you can print up on a flier and pass around to your communities.

NTodd notes that Obama is doing very well in the Rassmussen daily tracking poll. On the other hand, shows Obama's polls weakening in Oregon and Colorado, and he's back to being tied in Florida. On the other hand, Arkansas isn't deep red anymore, though it's still pink. He's even pushing close to McCain in Alaska. And he appears to have solidified his lead in Wisconsin.

McCheney is probably what we should be calling him. It seems more people are willing to let Bush off the hook than the Dark Lord, who they see as the even more nasty man, the atheist who moves the pawns on the board. Even Bush polls higher than Cheney. And Darth's own daughter doesn't see much difference: "At the same time, I think on the really important issues that face the country, on issues like the war on terror and the economy, Senator McCain in fact is advocating those policies that those of us who supported President Bush and the Vice President believe are the right ones for this nation."

Any minute now the freepers are going to start insisting that the real reason Obama supposedly isn't releasing his birth certificate is that he was grown in a tank. But right now, they are back to their favorite fantasy "evidence" - yes, it's the return of kerning!

Turkana: "Most Clinton supporters believed themselves pragmatics, while some viewed Obama supporters as fantasists. Anyone now trying to claim that a McCain presidency would be acceptable or tolerable or in any way preferable to an Obama presidency is either more dishonest than the most dishonest Clinton haters, or so blinded by anger as to be irrational. On the issues, there is no comparison. Part of the reason I was so disgusted by the attacks on Hillary Clinton was because she was nearly identical to Obama on most issues, but if you cared about Hillary Clinton's issues, you have to prefer Obama to McCain. It's not about you or your anger or your hurt. It's about the future of our planet. It's about that war in Iraq, and the possibility of a war in Iran. It's about taking steps forward on health care and the economy and education and energy policy and everything else, or taking steps backwards, if at all. It's still about the issues."

There's a nice Carlin tribute at C&L by Mark Groubert, and Barry Crimmins posted some good videos, and also recommends this tribute from Louis C.K. Digby says Carlin was a First Amendment hero. And, of course, Mark Evanier has the personal stories, and also links to the two Playboy interviews.

14:31 BST


Phoenix Woman notes a rather sharp contrast between McCain's and Obama's answer to Fortune magazine's question about "the gravest long-term threat to the U.S. economy." And Charles says that even some people who aren't DFHs are acknowledging that Bob Scheer was right.

Diane says, "Time For A New Mining Law: Today's NY Times had an interesting editorial on getting the General Mining Law of 1872 updated to reflect environmental concerns. The House has already passed a bill dealing with the issue, but the Senate hasn't even proposed one, and there's a really sorry reason for that." And Ruth has a look at ourDisappearing War.

Glenn Greenwald identifies a a deadly disease: "The number one problem facing the Democratic Party is that, as events of the last week demonstrate, it continues to be plagued by The New Republic Syndrome, one of the most fatal political afflictions that exist. In 2002 and 2003, The New Republic was one of the leading crusaders for an attack on Iraq, railing against what it called 'the intellectual incoherence of the liberal war critics.' In a February 2003 Editorial, they decreed that 'the United States must disarm Iraq by force' and declared war opponents guilty of 'abject pacifism.'"

Jonathan Schwarz says Iraqis have every reason to compare the 1930 Anglo-Iraqi Treaty with the one Bush is making with them - because they have all been here before. That treaty wasn't easily available for you to read - until now.

The Raw Story says there's a war crimes tribunal in the offing: "On September 13-14, 2008, Lawrence Velvel, the dean of the Massachusetts School of Law at Andover, plans to convene a 'convention' at the school's facilities; the attendees of which will plan strategies to prosecute members of the Bush administration for war crimes. "This is not intended to be a mere discussion of violations of law that have occurred," stated Velvel in a press release. "It is, rather, intended to be a planning conference at which plans will be laid and necessary organizational structures set up, to pursue the guilty as long as necessary and, if need be, to the ends of the Earth."

Here and here, David Kris guest blogs on a guide to the new FISA bill at Balkinization, and Marty Lederman discusses The Key Questions About the New FISA Bill.

Down in comments, nihil obstet says: "It has become increasingly clear that one of the strategies of the authoritarian take-over of America is to deny citizens access to courts. From calls for "tort reform" where citizens (but not corporations) are limited in filing for punitive damages, to right-wing judges ruling that arbitration clauses remove civil rights to impartial litigation, to more restricted rules on standing to sue, to impossible time limitations for identifying illegal behavior, the right has effectively removed the protection of law from ordinary citizens. Granting immunity from legal action to a whole industry is for them a satisfying advance towards corporate control of the society."

MEC advises* me of the unusual fact that this Newsweek article by Viveca Novak and Justin Bank "dissects McCain's statements on energy policy and shows them to be a pack of lies. The only detail they omitted is that McCain's flip-flops on energy bring him into perfect alignment with the unpopular George W. Bush.

01:29 BST

Monday, 23 June 2008

The life of mushrooms

Someone asked me to explain what the whole FISA thing is about, which surprised me since she's not a low-information sort of person, so here's the simple version:

  • Amendment IV to the United States Constitution:
    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
  • The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act 1978 (FISA) exists to leave a trap-door allowing the government to spy on communications between foreign entities and individuals and at least "one United States party or person" without going through the normal, Constitutionally mandated requirement to first secure a warrant "upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." Under FISA, officials may wait up to 72 hours to present a warrant to a special FISA court which is set up to deal with these warrants which are presumed to deal with confidential security matters. The executive may authorize surveillance without a warrant only if it can reasonably be assumed that no United States party or person is involved. (Note that this is already a significant departure from Amendment IV.)
  • When George Walker Bush and Richard Bruce Cheney got into office, they inveigled, bribed, or coerced several telecommunications companies to conspire with them to break this law and spy wholesale on all of their electronic communications data. Since they all have legal departments, it is reasonable to assume that they were advised this would be illegal. It is unknown what the administration told them to convince them that they would not be held accountable if they were caught. One communications company refused to go along with what they recognized as law-breaking, Denver-based Qwest. They reported that the government invited them to help them spy on Americans in the early months of 2001, well before the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center - at a time when the Bush administration was showing a remarkable lack of interest in terrorism.
  • Americans have begun suing the telecoms for illegally passing their confidential data to the government. In order to defend themselves, the telecoms would have to demonstrate that the government had given them formal assurances within the law. The process of discovery on these cases would probably implicate the executive in law-breaking, and this is what we believe the administration has been trying to prevent. It is also believed that the entire illegal spying program has nothing to do with terrorism and everything to do with spying on Americans who are regarded as political enemies of the administration - exactly what FISA was designed to prevent. Passage of telecom immunity will (a) void those lawsuits and allow the government to get off scott free, and (b) codify in law the idea that if the executive instructs citizens to break the law, it becomes legal. In fact, separate from the clause granting immunity, the new bill explicitly allows the government to do just that.

That money you were planning to send to Obama? Send it here instead to fight retroactive immunity. (Actually, the whole bill stinks, but this may be the best we can get.)

In local news... Last night I watched the entire Color of Magic, which was lots of fun, and it was nice to see Terry doing a bit of acting. It looked to me like that big doorway at the front of the Patrician's Palace was really the one from the Royal Courts of Justice. I was there last week - here's a photo I took at the time. (I love that building, and I usually try to get a few shots whenever I'm down there. I usually see at least one or two other people doing the same.) Today I was back to roses.

17:25 BST

People and things

Huh. I used a Hippy Dippy Weatherman reference for a post title just the other day. They pop up in my head all the time, he's been a part of our lives for so long - long enough that some of you may not remember how unusual George Carlin was at the time. Rest in peace.

Julia on Angry Black Woman watch, says, "you'll be amazed to hear that Cal Thomas was talking about the american media's parlous relationship with the subject of race and said something ignorant," and treats us to a bit of ABW from one of our favorites: "My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total. And I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction, of the Constitution." Let's have more of that!

Steve Soto catches "Dean" David Broder fluffing McCain and trying to hold Obama to a higher standard: "Mr. Broder, who do you think bears responsibility for the fact that only 14% of the country in your paper's own poll thinks the country is on the right track? Who bears responsibility for why 84% of the public feels the country is on the wrong track, the highest number on record? You do Mr. Broder; you and all the bipartisan members of your Beltway crowd that have tut-tutted your way through this country's downward spiral these last eight years into a disaster capitalism economy so detached from Main Street America that 84% reject you and your crowd. And you've been there yourself, cheering along George W. Bush." And paradox notes that nothing's changed.

Brendan worked the phones last week and got outright lies from Steny Hoyer's offices. (via)

I see sysprog has been in my comments reporting on Britain's own Village and its bizarre reaction to David Davis' stand on principle. (Admittedly, Davis is only for certain principles, but at least he's got some real ones.)

Ruth just reminded me of this article about how Mike Barnicle should have been kicked out of the pundit business years ago.

Cheflovesbeer reminds me that the weekend's bra story was about the hiker who was saved by her bra.

12:34 BST

Blogger's notebook

I liked this quote from a comment by RAM on a Newshoggers post:

You've got to hand it to the Dems, though. They've got writing the sternly worded letter down to a science. They've sent some of the most sternly worded letters I've ever read--with the exception of those written by Arlen Specter, who not only writes sternly worded letters but makes sternly worded statements that are marvels of construction.

Now if we could find some politicians in charge of Congressional committees who actually MEANT what is in those sternly worded letters and who weren't terrified of taking real action against "administration" hacks who contemptuously violate the law and the U.S. Constitution, well then we'd really have something, wouldn't we?

On hearing Charlie Gibson whining that it's unfair that Obama can raise more money than McCain (because more people want to give him money), John Amato observes: "McCain's Media begins its march against Obama. I've been saying they will support McCain in the general all along. Listen to the tone of Gibson's voice as he makes a strong statement against Obama's money advantage over the uninspiring John McCain. Something that never seemed to bother the Villagers before. Heck, Bush 41 and the Saudis look really cool as friends. He feels oh so awful about the fact that McCain is getting trounced in the fundraising department by Obama. The poor little guy who makes sure the media has plenty of doughnuts on his campaign bus. I'm sure that if McCain had the online support that Obama has-the story would be something like. "Will John McCain's excellent fundraising advantage lead him straight to the oval office?" They would be amazed at his fundraising prowess. John McCain: The Internet Maverick!" Yep, just like it was so cool that George Walker Bush raised more money than anyone in history back in 2000. (Actually, we started seeing those stories in 1999, didn't we? There was something like a year of that, and this fact alone was supposed to mean he was good enough to be president.)

John also says that MoveOn has written a letter demanding that Obama keep his word on telecom immunity. But folks, the immunity provision isn't the only thing that's wrong with this bill. The parts that Obama says he likes also bite. This is a bill that shouldn't pass at all. (Oh, and now Lou Dobbs wants to impeach Bush.)

Mark Adams gives credit where it's due to David Espo at AP for documenting McCain's atrocities: "Balance? Guilt? Blind squirrels getting lucky? I dunno, but Media Matt points to (but won't quote) an article by AP Special Correspondent, David Espo that follows the remarkable number of goofs, gaffes and fumbles by John McCain just in the last week." Mark carefully paraphrases so he won't have to quote holy words from the Associated Press.

I got this catalog in the mail the other day from a place that does all sorts of sarees and salwar suits and bindis and what-have-you, and I see they have a website.

00:41 BST

Sunday, 22 June 2008

"It takes a train to cry" ... What does that mean?

The CIA hired a narcotics agent with no experience in fighting terrorism or in interrogation to torture people in Poland. Apparently, they had a shortage of "experts" in this speciality.

"IAEA chief threatens to resign over Iran: According to The Jerusalem Post, citing a Reuters report, 'International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Mohamad ElBaradei, will quit his position in the event of a military strike on Iran.'"

Mark Evanier says every time he posts anything political, he gets complaints. So he gets a complaint from a guy who complains that Mark linked to the raving "socialist" rather than the God-fearing "Could it be that you do not live in the reality-based community of your mind and think you can trick Republicans into the same kind of defeatist mindset you favor for Iraq, making us believe we cannot win?" But the God-fearing map looks even better for Obama than the raving lefty map. (Also: The subtitles added in this video of Joe Cocker's Woodstock performance of "A Little Help From My Friends" had me laughing out loud with tears in my eyes. You gotta see it.)

Obama announces VP choice.

Thers on The Ascension of the Russert.

Congratulations to Cory Doctorow and a bunch of our other friends for their Locus Awards. Also at or via Boing Boing, Miniature Paris made of trash, unusual (and sometimes macabre) snow globes, Larry the Cylon explains why DRM is bad, and, um, who needs terrorists when you're washing plutonium into the water supply?

At Last! Slacktivist gets to the final chapter of Left Behind!

14:34 BST

They'll be watching you

Chantelle Africa Sexy half cup braBra of the Week

Glenn Greenwald is scathing towards Obama and others who are inexplicably excusing him for supporting the FISA cave-in, and reminds us that, "Obama's spokesman, Bill Burton, back in September, vowed that Obama would 'support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies.'" Hey, wouldn't it be cool if that was exactly what he had in mind? (Meanwhile, Digby expands on her argument that Obama wanted it like this.)

Darcy Burner, in a tight race for Washington's 8th, is frustrated and disappointed over the retroactive immunity vote, and says, "We need better Democrats."

No standard of evidence: "In Common Law, you have to prove that you have suffered harm caused by illegal or illegitimate actions before you can collect damages. That has been the situation for the past fifteen hundred years since the Saxons were in charge. This week, the Motion Picture Association of America is arguing that since they are incompetent or lazy, they should not need to prove they were harmed. Wired is reporting that the MPAA wants to collect damages on the potential to be harmed and not on any harm which is provable."

Ah, yes, I remember the days when airlines made you stay several days or over the weekend for a round-trip...and now they're starting to do it again. (I don't suppose we could go back to having leg-room in coach as well, could we?)

Critical Mass rides under-dressed. (slideshow)

A typical Guardian reader.

The Alien Abduction Lamp (via)

01:07 BST

Saturday, 21 June 2008

She's the girl of his dreams

A timely reminder from Atrios: "As I've written before, Democrats will regret embracing the expansion of executive power because a President Obama will find his administration undone by an "abuse of power" scandal. All of those powers which were necessary to prevent the instant destruction of the country will instantly become impeachable offenses. If you can't imagine how such a pivot can take place then you haven't been paying attention." (Meanwhile, how's this for a fine example of being pessimistic and still being able to be disappointed?)

A California Cap on Prison Nation? If our prisons are over-filled, maybe it's because we are keeping too many people in jail for too long, but the Republicans prefer to ignore reality and bankrupt a state to build more prisons.

I didn't even know there were protests against health insurers going on. It's not as if they don't deserve it, of course.

Another tasteful Republican moment when Iowa Representative Steve King demonstrates how to question a witness in a Congressional hearing.

"Impeach Every Single Member of the Bush Administration. Now."

Buzzflash has a nice fridge magnet for ya: "Republicans stand for raw, unbridled evil and greed and ignorance smothered in balloons and ribbons." - Frank Zappa

Just a reminder that Rush Limbaugh did not invent the phrase.

On Kusu Island, Singapore, expatbrian had only the camera from his cell phone, but the pics are still kinda nice.

"Everything Works If You Let It"

21:12 BST

Happy Solstice

Yes, it's that time of year again, when I announce that Mr. Sideshow and I are celebrating yet another year of wedded bliss (or a very interesting sitcom, at least), despite the fact that Del and Phyl got married. 23 years and counting....

Pruning Shears has the list of House members who voted for telecom immunity, with links to their websites in case you want to fax or call them. Which you definitely should if you see your rep's name there. But if you don't see it, call your rep and say thanks. (Wampum lists the votes of the Democratic leadership, specifying their positions. A few of them did vote against, I'm happy to say. But not a lot.) Digby reckons we've been Sister Souljah'd again (an Obama party piece that has been annoying me since the beginning of the campaign), though she notes that Jack Balkin thinks Obama was for this because he wants the power, too. Rachel Maddow interviewed Glenn on the subject in the second hour of last night's show.

The science thread at DKos has some really creepy links, such this one: "A science teacher used a high voltage device to burn that cross into an 8th grader's arm, for crying out loud. Not only should he have been fired on the spot, the case should have been referred to the prosecutor's office. ... The complaint also alleges that Freshwater has "code words" that he uses to let his students know when he thinks something in the textbook is false and contrary to the Bible. It further alleges that he offered extra credit to students for homework related to intelligent design."

Diane asks what we can do with the people we've trained to be terrorists at our Jihad University in Guantanamo Bay. I think we should first ask what we do with our own citizens when they have been abused. At first I was thinking that we send them for therapy and support, and maybe we could arrange some comfortable environment for them somewhere... and then I remembered: Oh, that's right - we run them for president!

Jamison Foser on the - no! - media double-standard in which McCain's flip-flopping and law-breaking on campaign finance is ignored while they make a big deal out of how, according to McCain, Obama has broken a promise on accepting public funding.

Bill Moyers' Juneteenth show. We still have a way to round-up black people and keep them powerless in America, of course, but we pretend now that it's not something that can be called "slavery".

Mr. Sideshow writes: "OK, this is new. I don't recall other fantasy works inspiring something like this on this scale: [Link]" Me neither.

15:05 BST

Friday, 20 June 2008

Meet the new boss...

I really don't have the heart. Check out Glenn Greenwald for the complete run-down.

Atrios awarded his Wanker of the Day to Barack Obama after he released a statement parroting the GOP line on the FISA bill.

I guess Taylor Marsh said it best yesterday when she said:

Sorry, but get a clue. Obama is not an ideologue. How many times did I write that over the course of the primary season? He's going to support an incumbent Democrat over anyone else, including a progressive opponent, because Obama believes a sure conservative Democrat in the House beats any conservative Republican, or a long shot.... Obama isn't going to put his weight behind an outsider or into progressive partisan politics. I know people don't like it, but Obama never telegraphed anything other.... He's going to back the guy that already has the power. That some are just waking up to this and bitching about what was foretold seems a bit, well, clueless late to the party.
(Via a Buck Naked Politics.) Is it too late for all the superdelegates to throw their votes to Edwards and cause a floor fight?

23:41 BST

Growing dark

Did I just see the House pass the FISA bill?

Simon Owens at Bloggasm talked to some of the people who are behind the coalition of Strange Bedfellows fighting telecom immunity together, and asked how it all came about.

The majority of Democrats voted against funding the war, but there were enough turncoats to let it pass. If your rep is on the list of those voting against, call and say thanks. If they're not, let them know what you think about that, too.

"A judge working for a weaker judiciary: U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled this week that the White House's Office of Administration (OA) does not have to turn over documents relating to the disappearance of potentially millions of emails. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) had filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and in her decision Kollar-Kotelly wrote 'the Court concludes that OA is not an agency subject to the FOIA'. CREW plans to appeal."

Kos has a good reminder of why campaign finance reform as it is currently practiced is rubbish, and why the so-called reformers seem mysteriously silent on the fact that it's McCain, not Obama, who is breaking the law. (Also at DKos, Your Abbreviated Pundit Round-up on the presidential campaign is amusing.)

Buzzflash has an interview with Robert Wexler on how he's looking forward to questioning Scotty McClellan about White House criminality.

Thomas Nephew interviewed an interrogator: "If you had been ordered to waterboard someone or engage in other cruel/inhumane/degrading detainee mistreatment (e.g.., hypothermia, long time standing), what would you have done?"

17:54 BST

Scattered light

From the Grauniad, as others see us:

Well, for a start, the president doesn't drink.

And his sneering performance this week at his press conference with Gordon Brown in the Locarno Room (which lobby correspondents much prefer visiting for Foreign Office drinks parties) confirmed that he obviously loathes us. And after his surly verbal swipes at journalists, in between such horrendous Bushisms as "white-guy Methodists" (imagine the row if a British politician used a phrase like that), the feeling was mutual.

Well, we didn't come into the lobby to have politicians be rude to us. We came into the lobby to be rude to politicians.


I think what irks many lobby correspondents about American presidents - and Dubya in particular - is that the White Press corps are so sickeningly deferential. I always want to throw up when we're at a British-US press conference and the American scribblers all stand up when the president walks in. (Though I have to report that one or two lobby correspondents do join in. The Sun's George Pascoe-Watson is unrepentant about doing it, for instance.)

The forced-pregnancy people may claim to be "saving babies", but they still hate children.

Watch Paul Rieckhoff tell Lizz Winstead where we are in Iraq. (And if you're in NYC, you can see the show live.)

I just can't imagine why voting reform in Florida is taking so long. (Have any of those non-felons who were taken off the rolls been reinstated yet, by the way?) Plus, Victory in Iraq as Bush arranges to give away Iraq's oil to everyone else. (Hear Rachel's rant on this.)

John Rogers is posting the script to his last Blue Beetle (and here).

Skippy's got some nice Roger Waters for ya.

12:39 BST

Where's Obama?

Down in comments, one gung-ho Obama supporter addresses another:

...I know you, like me, are a big Obama supporter so I hope you have contacted his campaign and demanded that Obama stop this legislation. He is the nominee. He has the power. A phone call from him to Pelosi threatening a real dustup, a real callout, will stop this now. Obama must do more. He must confront. He is no longer a mere equal to those other dem leaders, He is the chief spokesman for the party. The general public knows little and cares less about hoyer but if Obama make this central to his campaign and the pelosicrats understand it, then this backroom nonsense will stop. It is up to us that have been vocal and generous in our support for Obama to make it known to his campaign that FISA is a litmus for continued support. If he doesn't stop this, then, at least for me, no more money and no more internet support.
So, what's Obama doing? He's keeping his mouth shut about FISA, but backing a Bush Dem who's working hand-in-glove with Hoyer and the Republicans. Glennzilla:
What makes this even more amazing is that, as the article notes, Barrow cynically waited until after Obama's sweeping primary victory in Georgia to endorse him. He did so only once he saw that Obama would likely be the nominee and obviously with the hope of having Obama encourage Barrow's sizable African-American constituency to support him. And now Obama turns around and intervenes in a Democratic primary on behalf of one of the worst Bush enablers in Congress -- not in order to help Barrow defeat an even-worse Republican, but to defeat a far better and plainly credible Democratic challenger.
Glenn also says that the capitulation bill has now been released:
It's even worse than expected. When you read it, it's actually hard to believe that the Congress is about to make this into our law. Then again, this is the same Congress that abolished habeas corpus with the Military Commissions Act, and legalized George Bush's warrantless eavesdropping program with the "Protect America Act," so it shouldn't be hard to believe at all. Seeing the words in print, though, adds a new dimension to appreciating just how corrupt and repugnant this is:

The provision granting amnesty to lawbreaking telecoms, Title VIII, has the exact Orwellian title it should have: "Protection of Persons Assisting the Government."


So all the Attorney General has to do is recite those magic words -- the President requested this eavesdropping and did it in order to save us from the Terrorists -- and the minute he utters those words, the courts are required to dismiss the lawsuits against the telecoms, no matter how illegal their behavior was.


It is also worthwhile to continue to call Barack Obama's campaign to demand that he intervene with meaningful action to stop this (though you'd be advised not to hold your breath while waiting for that to happen). As noted earlier today, Obama is conspicuously missing as his party is on the verge of enacting a radical bill to give the President vast new warrantless eavesdropping powers and retroactive amnesty to an entire lawbreaking industry.

Elsewhere... So, uh, picking up chicks by saying you're a blogger? Oh, my.

02:01 BST

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Watching the defectives

Steny Hoyer has apparently switched tactics from pretending he wasn't responsible for the resurgence of the telecom immunity monster to claiming he was "forced" to do so by Blue Dogs. Glenn Greenwald has no patience with this:

This predictable excuse makes no sense whatsoever, for all the reasons which Daily Kos' Kagro, a true expert in Congressional procedure, explains here. House Leaders control what gets to the floor for a vote. Did this ever happen to Tom DeLay and Denny Hastert? Beyond that, the Democratic caucus unified in March to vote in favor of the House bill and refused to provide amnesty. At best for Hoyer, even if he is telling the truth, then it means, as Kagro says, that Hoyer has no control over the caucus he supposedly "leads."

More to the point, even if some "conservative" Democrats were suddenly agitating to vote for amnesty and warrantless eavesdropping, it is completely irrational for Hoyer to then go and engineer a bill which does exactly that. He calls himself the "Democratic Leader" -- if he really believed anything he said back in March, he would speak out against those members of his caucus pushing a bill that he himself said was corrupt, unreasonable and irresponsible. Plainly, Hoyer -- who spent the last week emphatically (and falsely) denying he had negotiated a bill with telecom amnesty -- engineered this bill because he wanted to, and as was indicated here yesterday, now that negotiations are complete and this campaign against him has begun, he's trying to distance himself from it and pretend that it wasn't his doing.

Glenn says they've had a good response to fundraising for the ad campaign and Hoyer will be hit along with two other Bush Dogs on the list. But more money is needed, so go over there and give. These creeps deserve to be hit hard. (Barack Obama did release a statement opposing telecom amnesty, but so far has shown no leadership or desire to use his clout in the party for this. Even the NYT is calling for him to do so. He really should.)

Something I really didn't predict - that some right-wingers are so far gone that they'd actually refuse to marry straight couples if gay marriage is legal: "It never occurred to me that conservatives would actually find a way to make marriages between gay couples affect marriages between straight couples. Kudos to their right-wing, hate-filled creativity!"

Unbelievably, even more KBR corruption - whether it's their disservice to our troops in Iraq or to citizens along the Gulf Coast, the rip-off is virtually guaranteed: "The disgusting part of this is that it's standard Halliburton/KBR. It's hard to think of a single govt contract they've won where the exact same charges weren't made. KBR cuts unacceptable corners because it can - it's protected by our thoroughly corrupt Vice President. The contracts - lucrative, no-bid, no accountability - just keep piling up and KBR keeps turning in indifferent or downright pathetically shoddy work because it saves them $$$ and they know there will still be another contract because Cheney will see to it." (Also: Cyd Charisse - "Oh she had legs like an elevator.")

15:59 BST

It might be news

House Judiciary subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Rights stood up by stupidest man in the world: "Former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith was scheduled to testify today about his role in vigorously pushing to eliminate the standards of the Geneva Conventions and making the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay a 'Geneva-free zone.' However, at the opening of the hearing, subcommittee chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) declared that Feith 'withdrew from the hearing.'" His reason for blowing them off was that he didn't want to appear along with another scheduled witness, who had once said of him, "Seldom in my life have I met a dumber man."

Kucinich says he's got even more impeachment articles ready if the House doesn't act: "The minute the leadership said 'this is dead on arrival' I said that I hope they believe in life after death; because I'm coming back with it. It's not gonna die. Because I'll come back with more articles. Not 35, but perhaps 60 articles."

Glow-in-the-dark McCain: "If I am elected president, I will set this nation on a course to building 45 new reactors by the year 2030, with the ultimate goal of 100 new plants to power the homes and factories and cities of America."

Rumsfeld doesn't seem to want to endorse McCain - Oddly, though, this isn't likely to hurt McCain with most people - after all, just about everyone by now agrees with what McCain once said about Rummy - that he will "go down as one of the worst secretaries of defense in history."

Chris Bowers says state polling is making the electoral map look mighty good for Obama - especially now that he's finally got a lead in Florida. I'm not entirely sure what he means about waking up in bed with a woman who (a) was born in 1937 and (b) has been dead for months.

David Sirota thinks Obama could be "solid" on trade issues, but not if he thinks he can triangulate on binary issues: "He's trying to make everyone happy - and he seems to think you can simultaneously appease Corporate America and American workers on trade rules that inherently force politicians to take one side or the other. You either have trade rules that are aimed at helping ordinary workers, or trade rules that are aimed at padding corporate profits and enriching a transnational elite. The idea that you can have both - or worse, that the NAFTA model does both - is absurd."

Suddenly, Blackwater likes Sharia Law. Irony is not dead.

12:42 BST

Up too late, again

You know, when William Saletan was complaining that pro-choice people never do anything to promote ways to reduce the need for abortion, I figured he'd just been hit on the head with an Acme anvil and got amnesia about the existence of organizations like Planned Parenthood. However, I see that His Lordship actually thinks it's no big deal if women can't get contraception, so I'm beginning to suspect that, his protestations to the contrary, Lord Saletan is actually a secret supporter of forced pregnancy.

Ruth seems to be having an argument with me, but I've never said the criminals shouldn't be sent to the Hague; I just think they also should be impeached. (Ruth also has a look at what Bernie Sanders' constituents told him.)

You know that loony who's been running around claiming he knew something about sex and drugs and Barack Obama? Well, he decided to have a little meeting at the National Press Club, and I guess he had an interesting day. (via)

I can understand why Howell Raines is jealous of Romenesko. And why he's bitter. Bloggers may have helped relieve him of the most prestigious perch in newspapers, and Romenesko laid the path.

Obama's National Security Working Group, or ""People Who Won't Be in Obama's Cabinet".

The Heartland, where men rob kids' lemonade stands.

03:38 BST

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

The blog that forgot time

AP to negotiate with sham "Media Bloggers Association" - except that this MBA appears to be made up of one right-wing nut. Nevertheless, AP has announced that they will be making deals with him on our behalf. TNH, our favorite expert on fake publishers, is unimpressed. (And PNH is entertained by a campaign ad that starts out looking like a Marlboro commercial and ends up sounding like a beer ad.)

It appears that Michael Gerson believes he is high-toned enough to decide whether Al Franken is too vulgar for the Senate. Susie thinks this is pretty rich coming from a PR flack for the barbarian party.

Murray Waas wants to follow the money that pays Bob Woodward's speaking fees: "If members of Congress and government officials have to fill out financial disclosure statements about where their income derives from, why not the same thing for journalists?"

If your parents think John McCain is an okay guy, sit them in front of The Real McCain site and make them watch all the videos they've got.

Can someone explain to me why all these confidential files keep travelling all over the place so they can be lost?

The web that time forgot: "In 1934, Otlet sketched out plans for a global network of computers (or 'electric telescopes,' as he called them) that would allow people to search and browse through millions of interlinked documents, images, audio and video files. He described how people would use the devices to send messages to one another, share files and even congregate in online social networks. He called the whole thing a 'réseau,' or network."

23:06 BST

A bunch of stuff

Congratulations to Maryland's 4th district for giving the win to Donna Edwards in the special election. I only wish we'd done the same to Steny Hoyer. (via)

The National Press Club actually lets Jeff Gannon have a blog on their site, and he's claiming that Code Pink is a terrorist group.

Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm did a pretty good job rebutting John McCain after he attacked Obama's economic policies. McSame wants us to believe that raising taxes on the richest Americans will hurt jobs - although lowering their taxes certainly did hurt jobs. People who control 80% of America's wealth can create more jobs any time they want to. They don't want to.

When a British journalist tells George Bush that Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib look like "the complete opposite of freedom," Bush accuses him of slander. He also seems to think that the lower court that went along with Bush eliminating habeas is a better authority than the Supreme Court (based, apparently, on which one agreed with him). Also: Apparently, we are supposed to be outraged by MoveOn's latest ad.

Never hesitating to add injury to injury, our government is using the troops as lab rats to test dangerous drugs.

I guess McClatchy's business model wasn't so hot after all. Lucky for them, they've earned a lot of good will on the journalism side.

As you know, I disapprove of using the word as if it was something bad when, in fact, it is the best thing that ever happens to most people. However, I really want to see this video go so viral that not only does John Stewart refer to it constantly, but euphemized references to it even show up on network news and in the newspapers. Er, probably not work-safe.

12:38 BST

Political stew

Glenn Greenwald is Targeting Steny Hoyer for his contempt for the rule of law:

It is now definitively clear that House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer is the driving force behind a bill -- written by GOP Sen. Kit Bond -- to vest the President with vast new warrantless eavesdropping powers and to vest lawbreaking telecoms with amnesty. Even as his office dishonestly denies that he is doing so, still more reports yesterday -- this one from the NYT and this one from Roll Call (sub req'd) -- confirm that a so-called "compromise" is being spearheaded by Hoyer and the House Democratic leadership. The ACLU and EFF are holding a joint call tomorrow to denounce Hoyer's "compromise" as nothing more than disguised guaranteed immunity for telecoms and, further, because "the proposed deal could be used to authorize dragnet surveillance of Americans' communications in violation of the Fourth Amendment."

As a result, there is a major new campaign beginning today aimed at Hoyer and a handful of other key members of Congress who enable telecom immunity and warrantless eavesdropping. In order to raise as much money as possible for this campaign -- far more than the $85,000 raised (and still being spent) in Chris Carney's district as a result of his support for warrantless eavesdropping and telecom amnesty -- we are working to create an alliance with numerous organizations and factions across the ideological spectrum which oppose civil liberties erosions, as well as with as many blogs as possible (modeled vaguely after the ideologically diverse alliance that has arisen in Britain in opposition to the sprawling and lawless surveillance state there).

More on this from Digby.

Jesse Wendel at The Group News Blog really loved Wes Clark's put-down of McLame - at length.

Watch David Sirota talk about his latest book, The Uprising: An Unauthorized Tour of the Populist Revolt Scaring Wall Street and Washington.

Kate Klonick: "Brad Schlozman, the former Justice Department official who left the Department in August 2007 after he openly admitted to "boasting" about his hiring of conservative Republicans, is the focus of a new turn in the DOJ's investigation into the 2006 U.S. attorneys firing scandal."

Greg Anrig says conservatives are giving up on school vouchers, partly because it never really caught fire out in the real world, and also because it has proven not to work. I don't know if that's true - I mean, yes, it's true that no one wants it and it doesn't work, but that's never stopped them before.

The Dickipedia entry on John McCain. I swear I did not write it myself.

03:25 BST

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

American landscape

Dan asks in comments* why George Walker Bush's sudden interest in getting Osama bin Laden hasn't been met with howls of outrage. I'm sure there's a really important reason, such as that it wasn't in the RNC blast-faxes.

Been a full-court press on ANWR lately from the Republicans. McCain wants off-shore drilling, too. You might wonder what the big deal is, since the oil companies already don't bother drilling in the places that are legally open to them. But oil isn't really what this is about - it's about destroying government controls on what corporations can and can't do.

A high-security youth detention facility in Texas that currently houses 150 girls, where girls are regularly locked up in solitary confinement for minor infractions, is called "Freedom Dorm". These people love the English language.

MahaBarb argues here against the so-called Unity Ticket, and I tend to agree with her - I don't really think Hillary Clinton adds that much to the ticket, and I also think she'd be wasted as VP, a position that comes with no real power. There are a number of reasons, I think, why Obama is less popular in some states than Hillary, and I don't think they're all specifically racial, either, and so they are not insurmountable. One thing people don't say much about is that Obama didn't campaign in those states the way Hillary did, didn't even go to some of them, and that could have a lot to do with his lower popularity there. If he wants people to vote for him, he's really gotta ask them. His other problem, though, probably has more to do with class than race, and his tendency to seem like he's too busy courting independents to bother with the lowly working classes may be hurting him. Right now he seems to be moving to the right rather than speaking to those people, and I think that could be a mistake in the long run. (He also needs to go down to Florida and talk about McCain's position on Social Security, which should wake them up right sharp.) Meanwhile, I'm still sticking to my position that we should not be talking about pulling Democrats out of seats where they are working for us - like in the Senate. On the other hand, if we have a bulldog who can campaign well, isn't all that fabulous in office, and can easily be replaced with a better Democrat, I'm all for it.

21:40 BST

Producing the body

John Yoo has an op-ed in the WSJ lying about the Supreme Court decision on habeas, and Glenn Greenwald calls him on it: "Contrary to one of the core falsehoods spouted by people like John Yoo, a huge bulk of our "War on Terror" prisoners, including those at Guantanamo, were not "captured fighting against the U.S." at all. While supporters of unlimited executive power incessantly claim that the War on Terror can't be waged based on the premise that Terrorists are like criminals, many of the detainee apprehensions are identical to how accused criminals are captured, since -- unlike actual wars of the past -- they involve snatching people up while engaged in completely innocent activities and in civilian settings, not on battlefields while engaged in combat." Actually, some of them are more like kidnap victims who have been wrenched from their homes for no reason by criminals.

McCain's ludicrous reaction to the Supremes' decision has even George Will rolling his eyes, as Down With Tyranny reports: "McCain, without reading the 126 pages that make up the decision, immediately smelled blood in the water and, not realizing it was his own, ran-- with asswipes Lieberman and Lindsey Graham-- to his trusted stooges in the media screeching that the ruling was "one of the worst decisions in the history of this country." Will certainly swings right-- often far right-- but he knows a line of desperate malarkey when he hears it. "One of the worst decisions in the history of this country?" He doesn't think so. In fact, he seems to think it was on the scores of lobbyists who persuaded McCain that this was an opportunity to show right-wingers-- knee-jerk dumb ones brainwashed by Hate Talk Radio, not intellectual ones who may actually revere the Constitution and restrained government-- that he'll pick more ideological and extremist judges like Scalia and Clarence Thomas."

Is it possible that The Weekly Standard could make sense of this Nightmare on Gitmo Street? Sadly, no! But Norbizness warns: "I get the strangest sense of déjà vu from this Administration, as if we've had this little 'look, I found a small, in-tact scrap of the shredded Constitution' premature party before. When it comes to our little Cuban bastard-child, however, I fear that we're stuck with this ongoing recruiting pamphlet for terrorist organizations all the way through the rest of the Bush Administration, court decisions notwithstanding."

Meanwhile... Kim McLaren says the only people who call white people "whitey" are white people. (I believe I have heard black actors use the term on TV, however.) (via)

18:24 BST

You heard it here last

Over at one of the NYT blogs, Michael Cohen has a classic example of a whole bunch of stupid media myths about Democrats and John McCain all wrapped up together. High praise for Bill Clinton's embarrassing Sister Souljah Moment, based on the belief that Jesse Jackson, of all people, was some sort of bad guy who Democrats needed to repudiate, and "Welfare Reform" was a really great Clinton policy. (Not to mention John McCain's "once unimpeachable reformist image.") Yes, the Washington press corps, already steeped in Republican propaganda, was thrilled when Bill Clinton dissed Brother Jesse, and loudly trumpeted his willingness to pretend that poor people and blacks were the real problem in our country, instead of the Malefactors of Great Wealth who wanted to suck us dry and treat whole segments of the population like yesterday's garbage. The Republicans were happy to let the press corps think "campaign finance reform" of the sort McCain got behind was a big liberal cause, too - after all, it had the same name as real campaign finance reform, even if it didn't do the same work that real reformers wanted. And thus they enabled the most dangerous special interests in (and out) of America to hollow out the country and weaken us at our core. Up yours, Michael Cohen. Via Atrios.

A new international poll shows that Bush is a little bit more trusted than Musharraf - but no one else.

To no one's surprise, Al Gore endorses the Democratic Party nominee.

Greg Sargent asks the postmortem question, "Was The Media Unfair To Hillary?" The conclusion is yes, but without any answer to whether the media was as unfair to Obama. "As documented above, during multiple high-profile episodes during Campaign 2008, Hillary was subjected to an extraordinary amount of frivolous, crude, unfair, misleading, outright dishonest, and transparently mendacious media coverage that without question had a major impact on this campaign. This should not have been tolerated by any liberals or Democrats, Obama supporters included."

Elsewhere at TPM, Lanny Davis becomes officially what he has looked like for more than a decade already: a Fox News Democrat. Never did like you, Lanny.

The NYT reports that the Army official who was in charge of overseeing KBR expenditure was was removed from his position when he "refused to approve paying more than $1 billion in questionable charges to KBR. [...] Army auditors had determined that KBR lacked credible data or records for more than $1 billion in spending, so Mr. Smith refused to sign off on the payments to the company. 'They had a gigantic amount of costs they couldn't justify,' he said in an interview. 'Ultimately, the money that was going to KBR was money being taken away from the troops, and I wasn't going to do that.'"

Much speculation ensues when Obama hires the chief of staff for his as yet unnamed VP. This is weird to begin with, since this kind of thing is seldom announced beforehand at all, and generally the VP is the one who gets to make the choice. More pointedly, his choice is Patti Solis Doyle, whose entire career previously was as Hillary Clinton's chief of staff. But she was also Hillary's campaign manager until so many people seemed to be screaming for her head that Clinton eventually fired her toward the end of the campaign. Many of Clinton's supporters are interpreting this as giving Hillary a great big finger. Kevin Drum: "If this is true, it's beyond bizarre. Obama has every incentive in the world to make nice with Hillary, and nothing in his past behavior suggests that he's given to gratuitous insults like this. Either the conventional wisdom is wrong, or else there's a much deeper game going on than anyone thinks." (I had the impression that Clinton really didn't want to fire Doyle and did so only under pressure. While I'm now hearing that her dismissal generated acrimony between them, there's always the possibility that Doyle was part of a deal Clinton made with Obama to keep Doyle from being frozen out of a new administration. It's probably going to be a while before anyone knows what's going on.)

12:37 BST


Since it's been several posts since I mentioned what a terrible idea Sam Nunn is as a VP choice for Obama, this is as good time to mention it again. Republicans love the guy so much that they'll start talking about the Presidential Curse within five minutes of the votes being counted (or "counted").

Digby has a good post on the increasing use of tasers for, oh, every little thing.... (Also: Gosh, I almost wish I could go to California and get gay married just so I could have Ron Dellums officiate at the ceremony. And congratulations again to Phyl and Del.)

Jack K. has a few words about guns and advocates of open-carry.

Mary thinks Obama's Father's Day speech was aimed at a much broader audience than the black community. So do I, but for other reasons.

The CNN Electoral College map (via) is less optimistic than the one at (which, by the way, shows McCain's hold on NV and NC weakening in the latest polls, and a couple of other states that were deep red going pink).

The Talking Dog on the floods: "The choices are to be prepared for these events by spending adequate money to prepare for them, or to back the ideology that wants to "starve the beast" of government and "drown it in a bathtub"... will enough of us realize that "the beast" is us... and the drowning is a tad too literal?" Or maybe we're just a racist nation.

Quiddity finds a bad headline on Yahoo! News, and some wise words from David Letterman.

Our favorite despot at King of Zembla commends to our attention a five-part series by a Mr. Froomkin on the future impact of George Walker Bush and his criminal gang.

Ah, I like Thomas Nephew's new digs for Newsrack much better, in the sense that it loads faster and has an address that's easier to remember. (Need that all-important blogroll, though, Thomas.)

Krugman is one of us. Shoulda known. (Thanks, Anna.)

02:13 BST

Monday, 16 June 2008

We may not be perfect, but heaven knows we try

Pruning Shears: "I'm pleased to not use the title "This Week in Tyranny" because of the Supreme Court's ruling this week striking down (barely) the administration's attempt to create a legal and judicial netherworld in places we control but aren't technically ours. It is an almost palpable relief to see our highest court stand up so emphatically for the Constitution. Instead of issuing a dissent Antonin Scalia threw a temper tantrum; perhaps we should change his nickname from Nino to Niño."

I like the way Atrios puts it when he says, "No Liberals On The Teevee: People are shocked to discover that when you put liberals on the teevee people watch even though on those rare instances when a liberal has been put on the teevee, people watched." I guess we're supposed to have forgotten about Phil Donahue. Or maybe they really have.

Someone in comments said earlier on that it would be interesting to know what Max Sawicky had to say about Furman. Thanks to David W. for alerting me that Max spoke.

I may not be the only person who often suspects that Bush & Co. got their foreign policy from a Randy Newman song.

19:24 BST

Little bits of stuff

IntelVet in comments:

Wes Clark is exactly correct about McCain.

It is excruciating for me to listen to "newspeople" attempt to say, "... but he understands torture, etc." and so on, completely missing the point about torture.

When tortured, the first attitude imposed on you is your loss of control over your life. It is the key component to the process. You are just a passenger along for the ride. We will determine when and how much pain and discomfort you will experience. You have lost all control over your life and in many cases, as well as your bodily functions. "We will teach you to cry on command."

How, exactly, does that translate into "experience"? That is like saying a passenger, after experiencing a terrifying airplane ride, is now qualified to fly a plane, absolutely insane on its face, yet our msm continually plays into that very same meme.

Wexler attacked in the media for wanting hearings - and he responds.

Rob Kall at Op-Ed News sure thinks it's time for impeachment hearings, and suggests that it's the only way to ensure that Obama has coat-tails. But Kathryn Smith wonders whether Congress' refusal to begin hearings comes from their fear of revealing their own complicity in the administration's crimes. (Also: Just How Bad Can Software Screw Up An Election? - more mysterious election results from those wonderful machines.)

Big Tent Democrat says now that the primary is over, we've gone back to Politics As Usual, and even the media is mourning - but he thinks it may in some ways be a good thing.

Keith Olbermann's swipe at Katie Couric for observing that there's been some sexism in the primary coverage has left MadKane wondering, "Is Olbermann Turning Into O'Reilly?"

Lost Titles, Forgotten Rhymes: How to Find a Novel, Short Story, or Poem Without Knowing its Title or Author. (Thanks to Neil for the tip.)

NYT profile on Russell T. Davies, "Who Altered British TV? 'Who' Indeed", complete with clips.

15:06 BST

Lovelier thoughts, Michael

Remember when McCain and Graham used to pretend to care about justice and torture and stuff like that? What a couple of phonies. (And: Hey, did Juan Williams say something I agree with? Williams Calls Hume and Kristol 'Out Of Touch' For Saying McCain's Tax Plan Will Help Working Americans.)

Naomi Klein on "Obama's Chicago Boys" - Is it churlish to wonder why The Nation couldn't be arsed to publish these questions back when it would have made a difference?

The General has written to Senator Inhofe about his geographical ignorance.

Norbizness has a little fun with the latest from the Dolphin Lady, and also presents this video.

Watch Wesley Clark say McCain is a wash on national security. (via)

Dig this amazing picture of a tornado in Iowa that Lori Mehmen took from her porch.

Disasters Around the World

"I'm Flying"

03:54 BST

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Assorted stuff

So, is everybody ready to contact their reps in the morning to ask why the hell this FISA thing is rearing its ugly head, again?

Jim Henley, "Base Meant Japes: Has anyone considered how many residual forces it would take to occupy - oops! that word . . . - "58 permanent bases?" I realize they won't all be Army forts with bunkhouses and palisades chopped from the local timber. But given that some will be really big, and the rest probably home to at least a battalion (300-1200 guys), if only to defend the Airmen, it seems like a reasonable SWAG at the average base size is 1,000 troops. That means a "residual force" pushing 60,000. With no end."

Secrecy - watch the trailer. (via)

You know, it worries me that people will be voting in November on machines that can't do simple arithmetic.

Things John McCain Doesn't Know - pick a subject.

Now we are six: Happy birthday to TalkLeft.

Wingnuts were apparently very disturbed by Judith Warner's article expressing disgust with, well, disgusting manifestations of patriarchy. (via)

Ruth recommends Bill Moyers' latest, discussing our present path back to another Republican depression. (Watch the whole thing here.)

The Irish Republic votes down the Lisbon Treaty because it requires them to "undertake progressively to improve their military capabilities" - that is, waste their money.

Trailer for Hancock. Looks like it could be fun.

21:34 BST

Where it is

Frank Rich says the disarray among Democrats and smooth sailing McCain is just a media narrative that has no basis in fact. They keep pushing the idea that vast numbers of angry old Clinton supporters are splitting the party, although in fact most of Hillary's supporters, including the women, are supporting Obama in the general election. Who does it serve to keep playing out this story? Well, it serves the media, who are still in love with McCain and too bored to discuss the massive gulf between the two candidates on policy issues. But most of all, it serves John McCain, who is still passing himself off as someone who diverges from the radical right-wing agenda. Disturbingly, too many members of the liberal blogosphere are also keeping this story alive. Folks, a word to the wise: Quit railing against the alleged Hillary-to-McCain defectors and devote your energies to educating people about what a stinking pile of crap John McCain really is.

It might be useful to remind people of the difference in priorities you might find between Republicans like Bush and McShame, on the one hand, and Democrats like, say, Obama, on the other, when a city floods. Or, how about that AIDS policy business?

Oh, you might also want to remind them of where McSame stands on Family Planning. (via) Women don't like his policies when they know what they are.

And then there's where the parties - and the candidates - differ on the basic ideology on whether our taxes should be used to do anything good, rather than just sucked out of us to make rich people richer.

And it's not just McCain's wife's family that's all mobbed up, it's McShame's campaign manager, too. Maybe that's who he's listening to instead of actual economists, since he, like Bush, seems to prefer magical policies to the kind that start with understanding how money works.

And the rest of the world will like us better if we elect Obama.

No doubt older people will come around once they get a load of McCain's position on Social Security.

Today's electoral map shows Obama well ahead with 304 electoral votes to McCain's 221. I'd like to see him looking farther ahead in New Mexico and especially Ohio, but he seems to have pulled Michigan in. Still waiting to see Nevada come over. Indiana seems to have slipped over to the McCain side in the most recent poll but there's still hope for Virginia.

14:28 BST

Spiced goat and crispy chicken

Piege Julianna underwired plunge braBra of the Week

Cernig reports that the Associated Press is being stupid about Fair Use and going after bloggers for quotes that certainly fall within the formula. "It's pretty clear AP is just using its status as a big dog to bark at poor bloggers it believes cannot afford litigation costs. Unfortunately, the onus of proof is on the blogger to prove "fair use". Well, that's kind of bullying needs some pushback. Effective immediately, Newshoggers is boycotting AP's content, including that from other sites that syndicate their stuff. We will find other sources - Reuters usually has the same stories and syndicates our BlogBurst feed on its websites without a problem - or we simply will find a different story to blog about. We urge you to join us in boycotting these bullies." Other bloggers are joining the boycott. I think it's a good idea. There's even a blog for it, now - UnAssociated Press, and thingies you can put on your sidebar to link to them. Meanwhile, Libby writes about America's real drug problem - the fact that legal prescription drugs kill more people than illegal drugs do.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden calls our attention to legal slavery in America right now, and Avram Grumer has a good kvetch over Scalia's dissent in the habeas decision.

Digby addresses the fact that a lot of sexist people are congratulating themselves on their lack of sexism, even though their sexism is as plain as the nose on my face; the fact that John McShame has declared the habeas decision "one of the worst decisions in history" - even worse than Plessy v. Fergusen and Dred Scott, apparently; and the deluge of filth being unleashed on Obama in the tabloids and elsewhere.

The management wishes to apologize for recent light posting due to numerous extra, unexpected intrusions of real life..

00:45 BST

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Freedom and the Fourth Estate

The New York Times got it exactly right yesterday with their editorial, "Justice 5, Brutality 4":

It was disturbing that four justices dissented from this eminently reasonable decision. The lead dissent, by Chief Justice John Roberts, dismisses habeas as "most fundamentally a procedural right." Chief Justice Roberts thinks the detainees receive such "generous" protections at their hearings that the majority should not have worried about whether they had habeas rights.

There is an enormous gulf between the substance and tone of the majority opinion, with its rich appreciation of the liberties that the founders wrote into the Constitution, and the what-is-all-the-fuss-about dissent. It is sobering to think that habeas hangs by a single vote in the Supreme Court of the United States - a reminder that the composition of the court could depend on the outcome of this year's presidential election. The ruling is a major victory for civil liberties - but a timely reminder of how fragile they are.

And Rachel Maddow was appropriately energized Thursday night on the subject (here and here), and I found listening to her discussions gratifying.

But listening to her spend the first hour of her show last night rhapsodizing about the awe and majesty of Tim Russert got pretty scary when she seemed to be admiring his ability to declare the end of the Democratic primary, to say what is. She seemed to have not a single doubt that this was a good thing, not the least worry that perhaps no single journalist should be able to make such a decision for us.

He made an even more momentous decision for us eight years ago when, knowing full well that Al Gore in all probably had won the presidential election and it was just a matter of waiting for the votes to be counted, he put his job over truth and his country and did what his boss up in the booth was telling him to do: Call the election for Bush. It made all the difference in the world.

I was going to preface anything I said about Russert with a reminder that I don't see him on my TV every night, he was no one when I left Washington and moved to London and my first inkling that he had become more than just another former Capitol Hill insider was when Media Whores Online began dissecting his more egregious excursions into Republican water-carrying, so for me it's not quite the emotional moment it is for many of you. He's not Walter Cronkite - and I mean that not just in the sense that he's not as good as Walter Cronkite, but in the sense that he just isn't a name of moment to me the way Cronkite was.

But I also wasn't going to say anything about this for another day or two, because some of you do seem to be more caught up in this than I expected. But seeing the way so many people have forgotten just how much blood is on his hands, I feel forced to remind you that this man wore a Bush button behind his lapel while he helped steal the election for Bush in 2000, and this man enthusiastically supported the invasion, suppressed the truth, and encouraged the lies that have led to over a million deaths and the hollowing-out of our nation. Without Tim Russert, it is quite possible that we would not be worrying about what the Supreme Court has to say about whether or not the government of the United States of America is entitled to torture people and dismiss the right of habeas corpus.

14:03 BST

And so it goes

Thanks to everyone who alerted me to the death of Tim Russert. I went over and read all the quotes from people talking about his high standard of journalism, and decided I should just keep my mouth shut for the moment. Then I noticed that on the same page there's a video of Obama being interviewed by John Harwood about his economic views. He talks about how he's a big fan of free trade.

Also in obituary news, you may remember liberal philanthropist Stewart Mott, who also had the honor of being on Nixon's enemies list.

Read the downright inspiring full text of Tory MP David Davis' speech announcing his resignation in order to force a by-election over passage of an extension of the time the government may hold defendants without charge: "I had always viewed membership of this House as a noble endeavour, not least because we and our forebears have for centuries fiercely defended the fundamental freedoms of our citizens. Or we did, up until yesterday."

Gore Vidal thinks Kucinich's articles of impeachment are important, and also says, "Naturally, I do not want to sound hard, but let me point out that even a banana Republican would be distressed to discover how much of our nation's treasury has been siphoned off by our vice president in the interest of his Cosa Nostra company, Halliburton, the lawless gang of mercenaries set loose by this administration in the Middle East."

I should have known the Rude Pundit would have just the right words to describe the right-wing loonies who have gone even farther out of their tiny, fearful and hate-filled little minds over the Supreme Court decision that the United States still has to obey the Constitution. (Thanks to Anna for the heads-up.)

Ovulation caught on film.

Your Name On Toast, via Elayne.

02:49 BST

Friday, 13 June 2008

I tell you three times

It's still hard to believe we've descended to the point where we're relieved when the United States Supreme Court rules in favor of a restraint on the executive that is clearly spelled out in the United States Constitution, rather than marching in the streets to protest the fact that four of its members actually failed to join the majority and instead wrote insane dissents. I say it's a dark day and all four of these monsters, who time and again have failed their oath of office, should be impeached. Steve Soto at The Left Coaster clearly takes my view, and is outraged by the revolting dissent from the Chief Justice and his three reprehensible colleagues who think it's their job to ignore the clear Constitutional instruction that: "The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it."

Eugene Robinson just calls it A Victory for the Rule of the Law:

It shouldn't be necessary for the Supreme Court to tell the president that he can't have people taken into custody, spirited to a remote prison camp and held indefinitely, with no legal right to argue that they've been unjustly imprisoned -- not even on grounds of mistaken identity. But the president in question is, sigh, George W. Bush, who has taken a chainsaw to the rule of law with the same manic gusto he displays while clearing brush at his Texas ranch.

So yesterday, for the third time, the high court made clear that the Decider has no authority to trash the fundamental principles of American jurisprudence. In ruling 5 to 4 that foreigners held at Guantanamo Bay have the right to challenge their detentions in federal court, the court cited the Constitution and the centuries-old concept of habeas corpus. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy's majority opinion seems broad and definitive enough to end the Kafkaesque farce at Guantanamo once and for all.

"The laws and Constitution are designed to survive, and remain in force, in extraordinary times," Kennedy wrote. Again, it's amazing that any president of the United States would need to have such a basic concept spelled out for him.

That reference to "extraordinary times" takes care of a specious argument that Bush and his legal minions have consistently tried to make: that when the nation is at war, as it has been since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the president has extraordinary powers that allow him to do basically anything he wants.

At Hullabaloo, dday expresses surprise and discusses further the 5-4 decision to obey the Constitution. Digby is disgusted by McShame's reaction and warns: "He is actually our worst enemy on these issues, because his own story leads people to believe he will do the "right" thing. But on this, as with 99% of the rest of the standard GOP agenda, he's right there holding hands and singing along with the president."

At Fact-esque, eRobin collects two reactions and a pre-action to the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision confirming the right of habeas corpus to Guantanamo prisoners.

Statement from Barack Obama: "Today's Supreme Court decision ensures that we can protect our nation and bring terrorists to justice, while also protecting our core values. The Court's decision is a rejection of the Bush Administration's attempt to create a legal black hole at Guantanamo - yet another failed policy supported by John McCain. This is an important step toward reestablishing our credibility as a nation committed to the rule of law, and rejecting a false choice between fighting terrorism and respecting habeas corpus. Our courts have employed habeas corpus with rigor and fairness for more than two centuries, and we must continue to do so as we defend the freedom that violent extremists seek to destroy. We cannot afford to lose any more valuable time in the fight against terrorism to a dangerously flawed legal approach. I voted against the Military Commissions Act because its sloppiness would inevitably lead to the Court, once again, rejecting the Administration's extreme legal position. The fact is, this Administration's position is not tough on terrorism, and it undermines the very values that we are fighting to defend. Bringing these detainees to justice is too important for us to rely on a flawed system that has failed to convict anyone of a terrorist act since the 9-11 attacks, and compromised our core values."

And Jack Balkin says this decision, "is further proof, if any were necessary, that the constitutional revolution proposed by the Bush Administration after September 11, 2001 has failed."

How Appealing has a round-up of what the papers and some other sources had to say on the subject.

17:24 BST

The Retaliban Party

Once again, we join ProfWombat in Eschaton comments:

Meanwhile, Nick Kristof is thinking about Clinton, sexism and responding to it:
In some African countries, a woman has more than a 1-in-10 lifetime risk of dying in childbirth. If men were dying at such a rate for fathering children, the G-8 would be holding emergency summits.

Yet President Bush has actually proposed an 18 percent cut in 2009 in our aid agency's negligible spending for maternal and child care abroad. Family planning, which reduces pregnancies and thus also prevents both abortions and maternal deaths, is perennially starved for funds.

He missed the chance to point out that the Bush administration is ideologically opposed to birth control, and has appointed people opposed to the very idea of contraception to head the HSS family planning operation. Friends, this is actually killing people, mostly women and children, for no goddamned reason at all other than the fuzzy satisfaction a certain kind of fundy wingnut gets looking in the mirror, and the amoral glee with which those who pander to them count their votes. Talkin' 'bout you, McCain.
And now, More reasons to vote Republican!

12:32 BST

You can't eat an air conditioner

Lying Bush admin. FDA scum: "Once again, the Wall Street Journal Health Blog hones in on the duplicitous acts of DHHS Secretary and Bush sycophant, Michael Leavitt and his FDA sidekick Andrew von Eschenbach. [...] This time, Arlen Specter called them out for hemming and hawing for months about FDA funding needs but squawking to the NYTImes attacking Congress for delaying funding, when it was them doing all the delaying." And did you know about Circular A-11, "forbidding government employees from criticizing or disagreeing with the president's budget, and saying so to Congress"?

Cliff Schecter isn't taking McCain's word for it when he says, "I am not for privatizing Social Security. I never have been. I never will be." And not without good reason. Four years ago, Bill Scher found him saying just the opposite.

Donna Edwards, "She got arm!" Donna has to win the special election to fill out the rest of Al Wynne's term and win again in November, so I'm sure she'd be grateful for your help, of whatever kind. (Hey, she'll go to church with you!)

Down in comments, kelley b. asks, "Does anyone doubt the Company's resurrected Operation Mockingbird?"

The legendary FAN-A-WAY Commercial from Putney Swope.

02:58 BST

Thursday, 12 June 2008

You go to war with the media you have

When John McCain said it wasn't too important when the troops come home from Iraq, he was indulging the fantasy that someday the occupation would settle down and become peaceful, and then our troops there wouldn't be in a killing zone anymore. Casualties, he said, were what was important.

And if he really believes the Iraqis are just going to quietly let America run their country (and take all their oil) as per the Bush un-treaty they are refusing to sign (for every good reason), I suppose that comment isn't completely callous toward our troops, although it reveals a callous misunderstanding about how easily people accept having their country invaded by troops who are given carte blanche to kill them - "legally" - with virtually no restraint.

The trouble is that more and more people every day are beginning to realize that the Iraqis really don't want to be occupied, and no amount of American PR is going to change that. Which means that as long as our troops are in Iraq, they will be killed. Which means that when McCain says it's not too important when our troops come home, it effectively means it's not too important that they will continue to be killed. It doesn't actually matter what he really meant, because what he's really telling us is that he will keep this horror going on and on until he achieves an unachievable peace, at which time he apparently plans to keep troops there, anyway. That is, our troops will never leave Iraq, no matter what else happens, and on the way we will just be piling up more and more bodies.

Still, it would be nice if we could have that conversation about what McCain really meant, and what it means to us all, and along with it what everyone means when they talk about "withdrawing troops". Of course, a media that could do that would also have examined more thoroughly what it meant to go into Iraq in the first place. That media, indeed, would have emphasized that there is nothing wrong with counting the ballots in an election, that the Supreme Court has no authority to intervene in Florida's presidential election recounts, and, most importantly, that media conglomeration is a very, very dangerous thing.

14:31 BST

The electrical dust is startin' to rust

Yes, TASER International doesn't like to say much about how their devices kill people, but that doesn't really absolve cops and their departments for massive overuse. The real problem here is that our society has somehow become considerably more tolerant of the idea that it's okay to use excessive force and even kill people for the most minor infractions, and it's all right for cops to get away with murder. Quite honestly, I was stunned at the number of people in the liberal blogosphere who tried to excuse the cops using a taser in the "Don't tase me, bro!" incident, on the grounds that the victim was obnoxious. Tasers are meant to be used in place of guns, not for every little thing that might annoy someone. And cops shouldn't intervene with violence in situations that are merely a little disruptive. We've created an environment where there is no line the police can't cross in breaching the peace in order to supposedly "keep the peace". The road to barbarism is paved with the "requirements" of the War on (Some People Who Use Some) Drugs, which encouraged the police to see themselves as soldiers rather than as our protectors. We're all just potential "enemy combatants", now.

A big story this week was the National Conference for Media Reform but, to no one's surprise, it didn't get a lot of coverage - except that Fox decided it would be fun to attack the liberals, and thus, once O'Reilly was involved, it managed to catch the attention of Keith Olbermann - not because it was important, but because he's having his own personal rivalry with O'Reilly. The print media wasn't much interested, either, except the bits most people don't notice, where it was buried in the business pages, because that's what it's all about.

I hardly no how to deskribe this exkurjun into deep stupidity in wich Fox & Friends worrie about the difficultees of the English language. I've never understood why they are so exercised about how immigrants speak English when they have so much trouble with it themselves.

12:54 BST

What they said

"House votes to send impeachment resolution to Judiciary Committee: The House of Representatives voted Wednesday to send articles of impeachment against President Bush to the Judiciary Committee for review. The impeachment resolution's sponsor, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, requested a recorded vote on the motion around 3 p.m. Wednesday, and 24 Republicans joined nearly all Democrats in voting to send the impeachment measure to the committee. The motion passed 251-166." Wexler signed on, of course. Hey, Nancy, it's what's on the table!

Jerome a Paris: "One of the more interesting things about yesterday's economic news was the very obvious connection between the unemployment number and oil prices. What links the two is debt, the defining feature of what I have called the Anglo Disease, ie the highly unequal economy whereby the rich and the financial sector (almost the same thing these days) capture most of the income but hide it by providing cheap debt to the middle classes so that they can continue to spend."

Greg Anrig: "Why do policies have to be "new and transformative?" If they have proven be effective in the past, doesn't that make them "good" as opposed to "not necessarily bad." The conservative movement pushed for all kinds of new and transformative ideas that led to one disaster after another. Enough with that."

Kevin G. Hall at McClatchy says, "These steps could lower oil prices, but nobody'll take them: "Perhaps the quickest action, the experts said, would be ordering curbs on financial speculation. Financial industry heavyweights have acknowledged in recent testimony before Congress that such speculation is driving oil prices higher. [...] President Bush could order the CFTC to regulate U.S. investments in those markets with a snap of his fingers, said Michael Greenberger, a law professor at the University of Maryland and a former director of trading for the CFTC." Etc.

Steve Soto: "Once the Democrats began talking about oil industry investigations and prosecutions, it didn't take the Bush Administration long to launch one of its patented 'we'll investigate this until we leave office' dodges today."

TChris learns A Lesson in Obscenity: "One of the highest-ranking federal judges in the United States, who is currently presiding over an obscenity trial in Los Angeles, has maintained his own publicly accessible website featuring sexually explicit photos and videos." And Jeralyn says an Ohio judge has ordered that executions use a single barbiturate instead of the three-drug cocktail.

Melissa McEwan found more right-wing nutty lies about Obama. (via)

02:51 BST

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Media soup

The Real McCain - still loathsome. But we're back to 2000, with two radically different candidates, and the media trying to convince us that they're like two peas in a pod.

For some reason I'm unable to get to Whiskey Fire to see if Molly Ivors gave MoDo the treatment again, but paradox at The Left Coaster apparently had the old disgust meter ringing hard.

Well, by my lights, it's at least a recession, and this seems to support that. But if someone tries to tell me that, "This time it's different," I'm inclined to say, "Yes, in the sense that it's going to be a lot harder to dig ourselves out of this one."

Declan McCullagh says Andrew Cuomo has apparently convinced Verizon Communications, Time Warner Cable, and Sprint to conspire with him to shut down Usenet on the grounds that child porn might be there.

Ah, jeez, they let Camille Paglia out of her cage again? Kathy G reports. (Thanks, Anna.)

My friend apikoros alerts me that there is worry about Obama's economic director, Jason Furman, who seems to think Wal-Mart is a good thing that helps the less fortunate, but Paul Krugman says don't sweat it.

23:44 BST

Why do Republicans hate the troops?

The other night Rachel Maddow had an impressive rant about Bush's latest demand that Congress support the troops, which he started like this:

Good morning. Congress will soon vote on legislation to fund our troops serving on the front lines of the war on terror. This is an opportunity for Congress to give our men and women in uniform the tools they need to protect us, and Congress should approve these vital funds immediately.

Congress has had this funding request for more than a year, and there is no reason for further delay. This money is urgently needed to support military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. I put forward some reasonable requirements this bill must meet. First, this bill must give our troops the resources they need to defeat the terrorists and extremists. Second, the bill must not tie the hands of our commanders. Third, the bill must not exceed the reasonable and responsible funding levels I have requested.

Congress has had 16 months to decide how they will meet these requirements, and now the time has come for them to support our troops in harm's way.

The "reasonable and responsible funding levels" that Congress has been exceeding are the ones that stop at the point that they actually support the troops - that is, improved benefits - which is why Bush is still bitching about mean old Congress not giving him what he wants. He wants to stiff the troops.
If Congress does not act, critical accounts at the Department of Defense will soon run dry. At the beginning of next month, civilian employees may face temporary layoffs. The department will have to close down a vital program that is getting potential insurgents off the streets and into jobs. The Pentagon will run out of money it needs to support critical day-to-day operations that help keep our Nation safe. And after July, the department will no longer be able to pay our troops -- including those serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Our men and women in uniform and their families deserve better than this.

They most assuredly do, but it's not Congress that's refusing to do them better, it's George Walker Bush, who is threatening to close down vital supports for them rather than cut costs elsewhere, such as giving all that money to Blackwater. Last night, Rachel returned to this subject with Paul Reickoff of Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America, who stresses that point a lot more firmly, and says the Blue Dogs have jumped in to obstruct the new GI Bill. You probably ought to give all your reps a call to insist that they support it. (Starts at the 19:00 mark.)

Meg White at Buzzflash also reports that Brandon Friedman, vice chairman of, said about Bush's speech: "The first time I read it, I thought, 'This is what bank robbers do. This is what carjackers do.' It's very unbecoming of the commander-in-chief. [...] Insurgents kill Americans. So when the President says that the Pentagon would be forced to "close down" a program that gets "potential insurgents off the streets," he's really saying that he'll deliberately allow the threat to American troops in Iraq increase if he doesn't get his money. He's playing chicken with Congress at the expense of American lives in Iraq."

And it'll be okay with them - and with John McSame - to keep treating them badly for another hundred years.

18:21 BST

Last night's links

Impeach! Crooks and Liars, After Downing Street, and the The Bush/Cheney Impeachment Papers are on the case.

"This is what a union is, fellas."

The end of the internet - no, really.

You bet it's gonna be ugly. We can expect to see a lot of this kind of crap. (via)

I really thought that whole "they're meeting at Hillary's house" thing was pretty hilarious. I just loved the way the whole Village seemed to freak out about this meeting in every way. And they're not even embarrassed.

It comes from the top - John Emerson on the real reason the media is not liberal. He's right. From my experience, you figure out after the first time you ask about writing a story that goes against the grain that this is not a thing you should do. (via)

Democrats terrorize loonies.

If you're sweltering in the heat, you might enjoy looking at the Hypnotic Iceberg, which is definitely cool. Via another linky post from a sweltering Libby.

Get your tickets now: Jonathan Coulton in London on Thursday, October 30th.

13:10 BST

A little bit of soap

Steve Benen with a timely reminder: "I can't understand it, or relate to it on any level, but I realize there are probably a few pro-choice Democrats who supported Hillary Clinton and are looking for some rationalization to justify voting for a conservative Republican who opposes abortion rights and has vowed to overturn Roe v. Wade." This is really, really a bad idea. As Kevin Drum says: "McCain tends to use soothing, nonconfrontational language when he talks about social issues, but his actual record on abortion is about as hardline conservative as you can get. A lot of moderates who like McCain seem to be averting their gaze from this and trying to persuade themselves that it's all just politics and the real McCain is a lot like them: not a big fan of abortion, maybe, but not really extreme about it either. Unfortunately, it ain't so. If McCain gets into office, his record is pretty clear: he'll do everything he can to reduce or eliminate access to abortion, starting with poor women and working his way up."

Kos on Obama's worst decision: "In November 2006, Tim Tagaris wrote a post mortem about what went wrong with the Ned Lamont campaign. [...] So Obama gave Lieberman his priceless endorsement, undercutting Ned Lamont. Then, in the general election, rather than get behind Lamont as the Democratic nominee, he undercut him by refusing anything more than a pitiful email to a pitiful 200+ recipients. In other words, Obama ran interference for Lieberman. Now, Obama reaps what he sowed, with Joe Lieberman transformed into one of John McCain's top attack dogs." (via)

Chuck Dupree looks at The Denial Industry, and Jerome Doolittle presents a little film that speaks for many of us.

The Jarmels, live.

01:13 BST

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Foraging in the fridge for dinner

Progressivism and The Party - eriposte has a long, thoughtful piece addressed to fellow Clinton supporters imploring them to put aside any feelings of hurt, anger, or injustice and work to elect Obama not merely for the sake of "party unity", but for the sake of their progressive values and to help Senator Clinton. But most of all, because in the end, it's not about him, it's about those issues we care about - it's about us. wants you to speak up on whether you want to drill ANWR. Oppose!

"Cuba approves free sex-change operations: The move is the latest in a series of changes implemented by President Raul Castro since he succeeded his elder brother, Fidel, in February. Raul Castro's daughter, Mariela, heads Cuba's National Center for Sex Education, which strongly backs the new policy." (Thanks to Neil for the tip.)

Southern Beale developed a sudden interest in what Norway does with its oil money, and compares it with the American way.

Ripper McCord wants your help compiling 100 Reasons McCain is Unfit to be President, and started the ball rolling with five good ones.

When you mix politics with internet porn, both suffer.

The Poor Man Institute has more on why Fred Hiatt is an idiot.

Auntie Beeb has some impressive and horrifying video of everything being washed away in the Midwest.

18:31 BST

I'm stealing the towels... I'm stealing the room!

ProfWombat offers three strategies in Eschaton comments:

1. Civilian spending is always, always to be preferred over military spending, as it generates more economic activity more sustainably, and doesn't exist mostly to kill people.

2. Thinking about five to ten years down the road is always, always to be preferred over relentless focus on the next quarter, and on short-term gain. Building is better than stripping.

3. All measures which result in a prosperous, confident middle class are to be preferred over those enabling top-tier plutocrats' games. Again, far more economic activity results, as well as social good.

Good prescription. Now, the question is how to browbeat our politicians into following it.

In other news... McSame watches Army Wives because his wife makes him; promises not to do enough for the troops.

John McCain: Putin Is The President Of Germany

Picture this.

Republican Family Values™ Action Figures! (And... Ooops!) Also: Cylon McCain.

15:16 BST

News, views, shoes

This letter to Bartcop jogs the memory and puts things in perspective:

Gas prices are rising every day here in Contra Costa County, California. $4.45 yesterday. It's a good thing that the press is not giving hell to the Bush administration for this. That kind of coverage really hurt Jimmy Carter back in the 70s.

They also gave Carter no end of grief that 17 percent interest rates (imposed by Republican Fed Chair Paul Volcker) meant people had to wait a year to buy a home. But the press now ignores that hundreds of thousands are now losing their homes.


The press used to be a bit more sedate about it, but it was never a liberal media. (Bart also notes that Fred Hiatt is just plain full of it, and also has proof that Obama is a Marxist.)

Chris Floyd: "There is always hope of America becoming better, there is always hope for positive change. But that hope does not reside -- and has never resided -- in a single politician, or party, or faction. It resides in every individual citizen: in what they think and believe, in what they will accept and countenance, in what they will not stand for, in what they will work for. Hope resides in the amount of knowledge and truth and insight that we can all produce and disseminate and act upon. And hope depends on our ability -- and our willingness -- to confront reality as it is, to deal with our leaders and would-be leaders as they are, not as we wish them to be. For how can you change anything if you cannot see it clearly?" Meanwhile, Arthur Silbur is disgusted with us all. (Thanks to Bruce F.)

Scott McClellan will testify that Cheney told him to lie about the Plame case.

Sam Nunn - another bad suggestion for VP.

McShame: Womanizing cheat - and Ross Perot doesn't like him, either.

The Freeway Blogger, "Busted" in San Diego - sorta.

Kucinich presents Bush impeachment articles.

Google in a better world (via)

Okay, I got nothin' about shoes.

12:57 BST

Monday, 09 June 2008

Life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?

Virginians, particularly in the 10th and 11th districts, might want to take note that two progressives with a good chance to beat the Republicans in their respective races will be trying to beat Blue Dogs for that chance tomorrow. Maybe you'd like to help them out.

Via Altercation, TomDispatch says that reports of the death of the Monroe Doctrine are greatly exaggerated, and Bob Bateman discusses why presidents no longer fire generals in Armed Forces Journal.

Pentagon Told Guantanamo Interrogators To Trash Evidence: "The lawyer for Toronto-born Omar Khadr, Lt. Cmdr. William Kuebler, said the instructions were included in an operations manual shown to him by prosecutors and suggest the U.S. deliberately thwarted evidence that could help terror suspects defend themselves at trial." (via)

There's a libertarian running against the Republican for the Staten Island Congressional seat. He claims it's nothing personal, even though the Republican is his father. And he probably needs a better stylist. (Also: The General has a theory, and writes to Joe Lieberman.)

Susie Madrak on the mysterious resurgence of Silvestre Reyes' support for telecom immunity: "There's simply no doubt in my mind that this administration routinely used blackmail as a political strategy. I just don't think there's any sane way to argue otherwise. It is simply not human nature for the GOP to effectively maintain a party line for this extended period of time without coercion (especially in the past few years, when political survival and self-interest would dictate otherwise), and while I do believe we have many craven Democrats, sheer venality doesn't explain support for legislation like this." I've always assumed, given their priorities, that this was about Bush-Cheney wanting to spy on Democrats, and anyone else who might get in their way, so they could bribe or blackmail them into submission. I think that's worked out well for them so far.

I watched this video mainly because I'm a sucker for all that blue and purple lighting.

19:38 BST

Leftover links

Absolutely everyone thought McSame's speech was awful. They understated the case, of course. And another thing - he blinks a lot. (I also liked the completely plastic blond woman who didn't move a muscle.)

Maru also alerts us to more whining (allegedly) from Chris Matthews and Tim Russert about Keith Olbermann's failure to be "non-partisan" (i.e., pro-GOP) like them. Well, they didn't put it that way: "'There's a huge difference between rooting for one side in a Democratic primary, and another one to take sides in a general election and go out and openly root for a candidate. You can't do that,' said the insider. 'You think Russert is going to put up with that? Election night coverage in November with Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann?" Actually, it was shameful that MSNBC was in the tank for Obama in the primary, just as it has been shameful for years that they have been in the tank for Bush and the GOP. What they really mean is, "It's one thing to be anti-Clinton, but another thing to be anti-McCain."

Al Franken's acceptance speech for the Senate nomination. And Bernie Sanders publishes some letters, at Under the LobsterScope.

Digby: "You have to love their chutzpah. They created a deadly, poisonous political swamp for more than two decades and now that people have finally decided they are sick of it, they have the nerve to try to use the public's disgust as a weapon against the Democrats. Shameless."

I have never understood why people assume that if Bush were impeached, Cheney would be president. Wolcott is right, it'd be pretty difficult to impeach one without the other since they were up to their necks together in criminal conspiracy, with Cheney apparently in the driver's seat.

Hecate reviews some posts about the sexism in the campaign. (Just a note: It's worth recalling that Toni Morrison called Bill Clinton "the first Black President" primarily because of, "the way in which President Clinton was being treated, vis-á-vis the sex scandal that was surrounding him. I said he was being treated like a black on the street, already guilty, already a perp.")

London's Lost Rivers (Thanks, Neil.)

12:07 BST

Sunday, 08 June 2008

Media media

Click for The Electoral Vote map comes with little dynamic thingies like this one (or smaller ones) that you can stick on your blog so that you can get the picture at all times. It's an imperfect device, of course, but it may be a useful guide. I think if he sinks enough resources into them, Obama might be able to pull over a couple of those pink states. (There hasn't been a poll in Indiana since April - I wonder how he's doing there now.)

"ACTION ITEM: Coordinated Attack on Net Neutrality is Underway: My point in sounding the alarm about these policies is that until we have solid regulations protecting net neutrality in place, we should view any attempts to cap or meter usage as the trojan horse that will be the 'slow lane', which goes right to the heart of net neutrality. Once these caps and limits are endured by the public long enough, without NN regulation, the broadband providers will be free to allow content providers of their choosing to bypass these caps and meters. It's really not that hard to see the logical conclusion of these telcos actions, absent any legal obligation to remain common carriers."

Check out this nice little bit of table-turning between Bill Moyers and one of Bill O'Reilly's attack dogs. And don't miss Moyers' speech yesterday from the National Conference for Media Reform. "We now know that a neoconservative is an arsonist who sets the house on fire, and six years later boasts that no one can put it out."

At Pacific Views, Mary also has a few words about the decline of media quality in the hands of people who think they can evaluate content like a machine, with a little help from Paul Krugman.

23:20 BST


"Can't Gitmo Dirty - The Penultimate Straw: Doesn't seem that earth shattering at first; however, think through the dynamics to date and the blaring significance sets in. The US has assiduously kept the detainees separated and isolated all this time so that they could not communicate and have structural control from the top down and, then, out of the blue, viola! Right in the middle of the courtroom, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is blithely allowed to huddle them up like Favre does the Packers. When they break huddle, all of them, even the hesitant ones, suddenly want to dismiss their JAG/military lawyers that have been doing such commendable work under impossible conditions. Exactly at the point it is useful to help the US rid themselves of those meddlesome military lawyers that have been beating up their dog and pony shows." Just one big gift for Cheney.

I call for a national unity project to make sure these people pay the price for their crimes.

Take a look at the Obama site today - now that's class. (Also, the Obama campaign statement after Clinton's endorsement.) And here's Obama talking to his staff. I liked the part where he says that if he'd lost, things would okay, because another Democrat would win, but now we can't lose, because that means the bad guys will win. (OK, those are my words, but...)

Natasha Chart finds someone recommending another completely inappropriate conservative to get Obama's VP slot - Blanche Lincoln. No, no, no. Putting an anti-choice woman on the ballot just because she's female would be an incredible insult. And to be honest, I'm not really comfortable with most of this talk about finding some other woman to be on the ticket "instead of" Clinton. Don't turn this into The Minority Ticket, please.

Southern Beale discovers treacherous white people in terrorist scarves.

I think that if the media persists in giving Tom DeLay exposure for more of his rubbish, they should be required to have Maru give the response.

Blogging is good for you, or so it is claimed. I'm not sure about that - there are a lot more long walks I could be taking....

To honor the memory: Steve Gilliard, "I'm a fighting liberal."

17:31 BST


To get the word 'male' in effect out of the constitution cost the women of the country fifty-two years of pauseless campaign thereafter. During that time they were forced to conduct fifty-six campaigns of referenda to male voters; 480 campaigns to urge Legislatures to submit suffrage amendments to voters; 47 campaigns to induce State constitutional conventions to write woman suffrage into State constitutions; 277 campaigns to persuade State party conventions to include woman suffrage planks; 30 campaigns to urge presidential party conventions to adopt woman suffrage planks in party platforms, and 19 campaigns with 19 successive Congresses. Millions of dollars were raised, mainly in small sums, and expended with economic care. Hundreds of women gave the accumulated possibilities of an entire lifetime, thousands gave years of their lives, hundreds of thousands gave constant interest and such aid as they could. It was a continuous, seemingly endless, chain of activity. Young suffragists who helped forge the last links of that chain were not born when it began. Old suffragists who forged the first links were dead when it ended. - Carrie Chapman Catt, 1923
The NYT has complete text and video of Hillary's speech endorsing Barack Obama yesterday. It was a good, progressive, inspiring speech, and worth the time to listen to. I quite liked this bit from the middle:
And that together we will work -- we'll have to work hard to achieve universal health care. But on the day we live in an America where no child, no man, and no woman is without health insurance, we will live in a stronger America. That's why we need to help elect Barack Obama our president.

We'll have to work hard to get back to fiscal responsibility and a strong middle class. But on the day we live in an America whose middle class is thriving and growing again, where all Americans, no matter where they live or where their ancestors came from, can earn a decent living, we will live in a stronger America. And that is why we must help elect Barack Obama our president.

We'll have to work hard to foster the innovation that will make us energy independent and lift the threat of global warming from our children's future. But on the day we live in an America fueled by renewable energy, we will live in a stronger America. And that is why we have to help elect Barack Obama our president.

We'll have to work hard to bring our troops home from Iraq and get them the support they've earned by their service. But on the day we live in an America that's as loyal to our troops as they have been to us, we will live in a stronger America. And that is why we must help elect Barack Obama our president.

Because it contrasts that strong America with the one that the Republicans have given us right now. That's the bit to turn into a flier to distribute at your local eateries and church dinners and leave on your neighbors' doorsteps. But that's not one of the bits that made me cry.

Julia, inspired by Gary Farber's end-of-primary-fight post, has one of her own. Hecate was there, and describes the environment and the little things that made it all pitch-perfect. And Mike has a good idea.

The changes we're working for are changes that we can only accomplish together. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are rights that belong to us as individuals. But our lives, our freedom, our happiness are best enjoyed, best protected, and best advanced when we do work together.

That is what we will do now, as we join forces with Senator Obama and his campaign. We will make history together, as we write the next chapter in America's story. We will stand united for the values we hold dear, for the vision of progress we share, and for the country we love. - Hillary Rodham Clinton, 2008

12:52 BST

Found on the intarweb

Kalyani Be a Sweetie balconette braBra of the Week

I caught a clip from the Harbin Ice Festival on the Beeb, and so it occurred to me there must be more at YouTube - and so it is.

Lis Riba points to the text of J.K. Rowling's commencement address at Harvard, and a photo gallery of Harry Potter's Harvard - and she found some Gay Pride e-cards.

The Poor Man Institute releases another study on John McCreepy and his All-Nuts chorus.

Diarist afew at European Tribune discusses The World According to Monsanto: Spooking people with scare stories of Frankenfoods seems to me counter-productive. However, the more I learn about GM crops, the more concerned I am that adequate testing for possible public health problems has been simply swept aside. And that has largely happened by political choice, in order to set the American biotech industry, and Monsanto in particular, in a dominating global position. It's the usual two-way process: less regulation that businesses don't want (in this case, safety precaution costs), more regulation they do (intellectual property rules). (Thanks to Bruce F for the tip.)

I've always loved the fact that they made a big deal in the media about the wonderful new buildings the intelligence services here had built, and then they couldn't figure out why people were taking pictures of them. Things have only gotten more ridiculous as ordinary street photography is increasingly treated like a criminal act, and there's just no reason for this paranoia.

Modern folktales (Thanks to Dominic.)

00:46 BST

Saturday, 07 June 2008

In one eye

Atrios picked David Broder as the Wanker of the Day after he revealed his double standards on what kind of activity is "honorable" and what kind requires impeachment. Glenn Greenwald reports: "No matter how many times one sees it, it will never cease to amaze that the exact same media mavens who righteously strutted around demanding that Bill Clinton be impeached or forced to resign because the "honor" of our political system demanded that, continue casually to dismiss every crime of the last seven years as nothing more than a garden-variety, good faith "policy dispute" which only shrill rabble want to see "turned into a criminal or impeachable affair." So the Senate issues a report documenting that the President and Vice President repeatedly made false statements to induce the citizenry to support a war against another country that has left hundreds of thousands of people dead for no reason -- added on to the piles of outright lawbreaking under this administration -- and to David Broder, those are just mere "policy disputes" which (unlike Bill Clinton's grave crimes) merit no punishment.'

TChris has some catch-up on the Don Siegelman case. Sounds like prosecutors are backing off of their demands to keep him in jail for another 30 years, at any rate. They should go to jail themselves for having pressed for it in the first place. There's also some interesting misconduct in Baltimore, though I don't think it has anything to do with Karl Rove. (And, hm, I've been thinking all along that having Hillary in the VP slot would be a mistake, but maybe I'm wrong.)

Religious item of the day. I'd love to get one of those for TNH.

I missed the news that Hamas doesn't see any difference between Obama and McCain, " because their policies regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict are the same and are hostile to us".

Jamison Foser asks the obvious question: If MSNBC is really "leaning left," why does Chris Matthews keep saying African-Americans aren't "regular people"?

Once again, The Washington Post nearly gets it right about the show trials in Gitmo before ducking the simple fact that our constitutional rights should apply to them, too.

So, what ever happened to Miss Atomic Bomb? and other interesting things at Biomes Blog.

Dave Neiwert on Right-wing sugar daddies, and on How right-wing crap polluted Democrats' political waters.

Dr. Dean notices some sexism (is this worrying him?), and the Obama campaign notices they've pissed a lot of Clinton voters off. Well, the female ones, anyway. (via)

TBogg smacks Malkin for her nitwitted claims about Planned Parenthood.

Tom Watson: "I'd caution the anti-Clinton obsessives to take a real look at Barack Obama, to assess their public voices, to move on from an unhealthy hatred that must undoubtedly impact in negative fashion on their own lives. Hillary Clinton will be just fine. Of course, she'll do the right thing by the Democratic Party - the real question is, will you?" (via)

The murder of Rachel Hoffman - stop the madness.

17:23 BST

Friday, 06 June 2008

Data points

Villagers angry because Obama spoke privately with Hillary. Yeah, they want to follow him into the bathroom, too, I bet. These are the same jerks who didn't seem interested in who was writing our energy policy with Cheney, and now they can't stand it when Obama doesn't want them eavesdropping on private conversations. (Thanks, Anna.)

Dan at Pruning Shears is not optimistic that the culture of fear in Washington will be going away any time soon.

This is our war - and the war always comes home.

Bill Scher says the Democratic Party has kicked out triangulation from our repertoire - but now McCain may be getting into it.

You know, Richard Viguerie is sounding like he doesn't want Republicans to bother to campaign against the Democratic nominee.

People For the American Way has a little movie explaining John McCain's position on Supreme Court judges. (I've seen this done better.)

Lance Mannion says Hillary lost because she gave the Villagers cookies.

Free Rice - Play a word game and do good.

20:31 BST

Criminal lives

Cindy 'Meadow Soprano' McCain: "John McCain derived his wealth from his marriage to Cindy Hensley McCain, whose father started his road to riches as a bootlegger. As a politician, the senator has remained beholden to the liquor industry and the family business. [...] This story examines the roots of the Hensley fortune and John McCain's implacable bond to the liquor industry -- how it has enriched him personally and as a politician, and how those ties have dictated his actions on questions of public policy." Or maybe they should say it's a story of a mobbed-up family, with all the trimmings, and the Senator they own. (Via PNH's Sidelights, where I also learned that Team Obama is looking to hire alpha geeks.)

Larry King Live, transcript, "Should Elian Gonzalez Return to His Father in Cuba?" Aired January 5, 2000 - about halfway down, King starts interviewing John Sidney McCain III on the subject, and McCain pretty much says that kids who live in repressive countries should run away from home and come to America, where we will take them in and give them freedom. Now, there's a guy who thinks through his policies! (Thanks to Ruth for the tip.)

You'll never guess who is One of the "Smartest People" Fareed Zakaria Knows.

David Kurtz's precis of key points from the Phase II report, and the muckraking thread for people who are going through it and finding more revelations.

"Destroying African Agriculture: Biofuel production is certainly one of the culprits in the current global food crisis. But while the diversion of corn from food to biofuel feedstock has been a factor in food prices shooting up, the more primordial problem has been the conversion of economies that are largely food-self-sufficient into chronic food importers. Here the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the World Trade Organization (WTO) figure as much more important villains."

I see Google is celebrating the birthday of Diego Velázquez. Cool.

15:23 BST

What they said

"These men moved the world, and so can we all" - Ted Kennedy's eulogy for his brother Robert. "Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass for all the world." (Audio-only and text here.)

"Revealed: Secret plan to keep Iraq under US control: Bush wants 50 military bases, control of Iraqi airspace and legal immunity for all American soldiers and contractors." Gee, I wonder why they aren't going for a sweet deal like that, eh?

"Phase 2 Report Ends Roberts' Iraq Intel Stonewall: "Four years after Kansas Senator Pat Roberts triumphantly cleared the Bush administration of misusing pre-war Iraq intelligence, the Phase 2 report of the Senate Intelligence Committee he once chaired today reached a much different conclusion."

Melissa McEwan has just discovered Flo Kennedy. Man, I miss that broad.

Via Make Them Accountable:

  • "CBS-CNET: The Fallacy Of Ownership At Work?: James Surowiecki, the influential financial journalist for the New Yorker, has done a simplistic yet interesting deconstruction of the corporate M&A mania, using the CBS-CNET (NSDQ: CNET) deal as an example. He cites data saying that most acquisitions don't work, and much of the "bigger, bolder, and better" synergies can be achieved by just a simple partnership deal, and in CBS's (NYSE: CBS) case, it would have had many of the benefits of merging without the costs. He calls this merger imperative as the fallacy of ownership."
  • "McClellan: Obama reminds him of the Bush he likes: The former Bush press secretary, currently peddling his new book, which charges the White House engaged in a 'propaganda' campaign to sell the Iraq war, told CBS and ABC that he was 'intrigued by Sen. Obama's message.' And, he told CBS' Katie Couric, 'It's a message that is very similar to the one Gov. Bush ran on in 2000, and won on, promising to bring bi-partisanship and honesty and integrity to Washington.'"
  • And Bob Somerby on the media's inability to locate the sources of sexism - particularly at MSNBC. Broderella helps.

13:34 BST

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming

From an e-mail from Senator Hillary Clinton:

On Saturday, I will extend my congratulations to Senator Obama and my support for his candidacy. This has been a long and hard-fought campaign, but as I have always said, my differences with Senator Obama are small compared to the differences we have with Senator McCain and the Republicans.

I have said throughout the campaign that I would strongly support Senator Obama if he were the Democratic Party's nominee, and I intend to deliver on that promise.


I will be speaking on Saturday about how together we can rally the party behind Senator Obama. The stakes are too high and the task before us too important to do otherwise.

And the stakes are too high to ignore the fact that plenty of people will be voting on dishonest machines. Just how willing are you to trust those machines? Me, I'm reasonably certain that the GOP cheated on them last time - they just didn't cheat enough. It's a bit late now to get them out of the picture for this cycle, so keep in mind that we need to get out the vote, and volunteering to be a poll-worker or poll-watcher wouldn't hurt, either. We need a lot of eyes and brains on the case. (Thanks to our favorite Tall Black Woman With One Blond Shoe for the tip.)

The stupid fake study that keeps finding people like John Kerry to be "the most liberal Senator" is back and has been floating around - only this time, to no one's surprise, "the most liberal Senator" is - Barack Obama! How do they get this in a Senate that contains Bernie Sanders? Some would say it's their methodology, but that's being kind, because even using their methodology Obama isn't that liberal. The truth is that they just plain lie.

Hillary's Tuesday night speech: Gary Farber explains.

Watch the trailer for Gonzo, which surprised even me. (Thanks to Dominic for the tip.)

00:24 BST

Thursday, 05 June 2008

Adolph Hitler ruined my plans for the evening

Due to an unexploded WWII bomb found in East London, my section of track is slated to be closed at 21:30, assuming it doesn't go off and destroy Bromley-by-Bow and all the track with it. (See, once Nazis get started, you never get them out of your hair.) That doesn't leave much time for having a drink in town....

Nicole Belle reports, "Silvestre Reyes Indicates He Is Now Fine With GOP Telecom/FISA Bill." I had to look at the date to be sure I hadn't stumbled on an old post. Haven't we been through this before? What is wrong with these people? This guy is supposed to be an important Democrat. Digby: "There just isn't enough money at stake to explain this. Nobody's suing for the money, they are suing for the discovery. Something bad happened here and the Democrats are helping the Republicans cover it up." Dday: "Barack Obama could put an end to this today if he wanted. He could tell his colleagues in the House and the Senate that they should not work so hard to codify into law what his opponent is calling for - the ability for an executive to secretly spy on Americans."

Bubbles - People like me never for a minute believed there wasn't going to be a financial crisis, a housing crisis, a foreclosure crisis. Anyone who was paying attention could have seen all this crap coming a mile away while "experts" were telling us everything was going to be fine. Reagan's deregulation (and numerous other policies) were opening the door to termites in the system, and Bush was kicking the beams to break them up faster. Hell, he's been giving our money away. I don't believe anyone who claims that the worst is behind us. I'm not sure anyone can fix the mess the neocons have made in less than two or three generations. I'll be dead when the dust clears. I'm just hoping the children in my family - and in yours - will survive to see some kind of civilization restored.

Scott Lemieux has always been a great defender of reproductive rights, but he's right when he says that it's not just Roe v. Wade. Conservatives have already found many ways to chip away at Roe that have made abortions virtually unavailable in large parts of the US, and lately they've even gone after contraception, in any case. But even leaving the Supreme Court aside, how an administration enforces the law - and we have seen how conservatives do that, or rather don't - can make all the difference in the world. McCain is perfectly happy with the way the Bush administration has dealt with that, and if we want to root out the rot, we can't leave Republicans in charge of the executive branch. Seriously. This is about everything. No matter how much you distrust Obama, he needs the Democrats in Congress to support him, and we need them to make it clear that he'll only get that support if he starts fixing the mess the elephants have plopped all over everything.

Will Bunch's headline Tuesday: "People died so tonight could happen."

Obama backed Lieberman up against a wall yesterday - literally, in the Senate chamber. (However: "Obama loyalists were quick to express their frustration with Lieberman's decision and warned that if he continues to take a lead role in attacking Obama it could complicate his professional relationship with the Caucus." Oh, could it?)

Found in Eschaton comments:

Obama will be greeted as a liberator at the white house.
opie | 06.05.08 - 8:03 am | #

14:10 BST

These are the times

Cursor: "In an op-ed on American evangelicals and Israel, Labor Party Knesset member, Colette Avital, suggests that Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, 'make an unequivocal announcement that they, too, are cutting ties with Hagee and his ilk.'" And also via Cursor, Thomas Frank says Obama needs a new reading list.

"Before this war is over, I'm going to kill you" - Ripley says we have to turn to face the real fight against the Republicans.

I meant to link Froomkin on McClellan the other day: "No one could have predicted that the Plame case would play such a central role in McClellan's personal conversion to Bush critic. But his eventual recognition that Rove and then-vice presidential chief of staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby had flatly lied to him when they denied any involvement in the leak, along with his sudden realization that Bush and Cheney declassified secrets when it was politically convenient, were evidently two major factors. (A third was his unceremonious firing by Chief of Staff Josh Bolten.)"

Skimble says, "I wish I had a dollar for every GOP crime because then I would be even richer than Igor Olenicoff" - because Olenicoff is a great big tax thief on behalf of UBS, and Phil Gramm (R-TX), a lobbyist for UBS, is also co-chairing John McCain's presidential campaign. "Igor Olenicoff was a generous supporter of Mitt Romney and is #286 on the Forbes 400 list of rich folk, advertising the usual donations to orphanages to cover his larger crimes. Republicans don't like paying taxes, but with Iraq they have proved they love wasting the taxes you pay." (Also: Energy conservation, Texas-style: "How air-conditioned is Houston? Consider this: While highs are in the 90s outdoors, chilled workers smuggle space heaters into their offices.")

I gotta disagree with Atrios about Clinton's speech. I know the media had everyone pumped for a concession speech, but she'd just won an upset victory in SD as well as completing the circuit of the primary season. I don't begrudge her that last chance to act like she won something. She did.

Another reason to prefer paper ballots.

The McSame logo.

02:12 BST

Wednesday, 04 June 2008

Seedless grapes and strong cheddar

NY to Study Wrongful Convictions - The Innocence Project overturns convictions where DNA evidence makes that possible, but as TChris notes, most crimes don't involve DNA evidence, so there's no way to confirm whether someone is innocent. "Kudos, then, to the NY State Bar Association for establishing a task force to "analyze New York cases that led to wrongful convictions and hold hearings." Those states that have not done so should conduct their own studies to suggest means of assuring that their criminal justice systems do not convict the innocent."

At A Tiny Revolution, The Meaning of Shock-and-Awe: "The phrase "Shock-and-Awe" is semantically indistinguishable from the word "terrorism." You could say "Fright-and-Terror" instead. Not quite as euphonic but essentially synonymous. Terrorists usually don't refer to themselves by that name. With Shock-and-Awe, Americans did precisely that." (Thanks to Bruce F for the heads-up.)

Ruth has a proposal for What Ought To Happen: "A business that sells in the U.S. ought to produce a wage base proportionate to the amount it needs in profits, for the sake of our economy. [...] Profits should not exceed by obscene amounts the amount invested in facilities and in non-executive wages."

Madison Guy hails a Truly historic moment and asks, "Now that Mommy and Daddy have stopped fighting, is it safe to come out again?" It better be, because it seems the media creeps who took Daddy's side in that one have gone back to their own original love: John McCain.

All Hail Blackazoid - Yes, Jesse's definitely back, and welcoming the opportunity to be part of the Ruling Elite of our Black Overlords. (But personally, I worry more that Obama won't do anything for blacks than that he will.)

Another country heard from: Roz Kaveney reads what people are saying about the primary and responds, "Oh for Heaven's sake."

21:54 BST

Assorted stuff

I see we still have a few people being nitwits in the comments. Look, this blog, like so many liberal blogs, grew out of the need for counterprogramming against a media culture working in lockstep with the Republican Party. That same media, using that same GOP spin, has orchestrated massive hate for the Clintons for 15 years and didn't stop doing it during this campaign. I've defended the Clintons against unfair attacks during that time, despite the fact that I was not fond of them. Some of you may have decided that Barack Obama gave you an excuse to stop looking critically at the way the media continues to propagate lies about the Clintons, but I didn't. We have a historic moment in which two amazing, unprecedented things have happened - two people who were not white men were the top contenders for the presidential nomination of one of the two major parties and ran hard through a full primary, with a black man, for the first time in history, emerging as the nominee-presumptive. And what are the media talking about? They seem to be obsessed with talking about how the other candidate - the first woman ever to win even a single primary state - is a lunatic because she is determined to finish the race, even though she can't win. (Oh, and what does the woman want?) All the media can talk about is Hillary - and then, to add insult to injury, they insist that it's her fault that people are talking about Hillary rather than talking about the historic nature of Obama's victory. Funnily enough, there are Hillary supporters all over the net who don't have that problem.

Now, down to the real business at hand: We need a Congress that will help us push the coming administration to do the right thing. One of the people we have come to believe will do that is Donna Edwards, who sat down to talk with some of our favorite bloggers about working the progressive agenda.

Robert Scheer asks, "Where Is the Outrage? Are we Americans truly savages or merely tone-deaf in matters of morality, and therefore more guilty of terminal indifference than venality? It's a question demanding an answer in response to the publication of the detailed 370-page report on U.S. complicity in torture, issued last week by the Justice Department's inspector general."

Prison ships: "The United States is operating "floating prisons" to house those arrested in its war on terror, according to human rights lawyers, who claim there has been an attempt to conceal the numbers and whereabouts of detainees."

Ann Telnaes

APOD: The Dark River to Antares

13:47 BST

What you need

Kos: "That dumbass McCain timed his speech so it would be preempted by Obama's victory announcement."

Ian Welsh, "When The Blog Pack Attacks" - It is time to undrink the Kool-Aid, folks.

Greg Sargent on Hillary's narrative: "The supreme irony of this race may be that this fact is precisely why her staying in to the end actually benefits Obama more than her getting out early would have. There's no question that the legions of Hillary supporters who see her in these terms would have been far more embittered had her story been brought to an abrupt and premature end -- particularly if that conclusion were perceived, rightly or wrongly, to have been engineered by forces hostile to the historic dimensions of her candidacy." I think this is right. The media's constant drumbeat for Hillary to give it up, which started the moment Obama won in Iowa, has been incredibly destructive, and we should be glad it didn't intimidate her.

AltHippo is one of the bloggers who was actually present at the RBC meeting, and he's written up some Points the Other Bloggers Are Sure to Miss on the DNC RBC.

No deal: "A spokesman for Iraqi prime minister Maliki has said today that status of forces agreements between the US and Iraq won't be concluded by the end of July deadline, citing serious differences in the two nation's positions. Meanwhile, another Iraqi lawmaker says some of the differences are so deep that if the US won't budge then there will be no agreement at all." Also: Boy is it the economy.

My only hope is that this means they are saving Sam Seder to put back in his own slot when they get rid of Lionel any minute now.

Someone finally found a use for door-to-door missionaries. And geeky balloon art.

The Ladybird Book of The Policeman (♪ "The British police are the best in the world, I don't believe none of those stories I've heard..." ♪) Thanks to Dominic for the tip.


04:11 BST

Tuesday, 03 June 2008

The way we were

A gynecologist remembers:

There I saw and treated almost every complication of illegal abortion that one could conjure, done either by the patient herself or by an abortionist - often unknowing, unskilled and probably uncaring. Yet the patient never told us who did the work, or where and under what conditions it was performed. She was in dire need of our help to complete the process or, as frequently was the case, to correct what damage might have been done.

The patient also did not explain why she had attempted the abortion, and we did not ask. This was a decision she made for herself, and the reasons were hers alone. Yet this much was clear: The woman had put herself at total risk, and literally did not know whether she would live or die.

This, too, was clear: Her desperate need to terminate a pregnancy was the driving force behind the selection of any method available.

The familiar symbol of illegal abortion is the infamous "coat hanger" - which may be the symbol, but is in no way a myth. In my years in New York, several women arrived with a hanger still in place. Whoever put it in - perhaps the patient herself - found it trapped in the cervix and could not remove it.

Shortly after the decision in Roe v. Wade, I hung up the phone and turned to see my mother silently stirring spaghetti sauce. "Did I ever tell you I had an abortion?" she said. "No," I said, refraining from adding, "you never tell me anything of substance about your life." And she proceeded to describe some dingy guy in some dingy place in Newark, and her husband - the man who would one day become my father - being worried and saying things felt wrong and trying to convince her to leave. But she preferred risking her life to continuing with a pregnancy that would have derailed all their hopes for the future.

They were lucky; things worked out fine, and eventually they felt secure enough to start a family. But dead women's bodies found in back alleys were a reality of the times. There were always abortions, legal or not. Despite the fact that women often had to find more money than they'd ever seen together in one place in order to get them, and the high risk to their health and lives, women got abortions. The Supreme Court decision meant that there would be significantly fewer risks to those women - it was the only possible truly pro-life decision.

The conservative movement has spent the last 35 years trying to overturn that decision that saved women's lives. Today, we are on the brink of seeing that project come to fruition. What happens in November could make all the difference in the world to stopping them. Please don't let them win.

Thanks to apikoros for the tip. Thanks also to Anna Granfors for supplying the link to the interview referred to below of McClellan's publisher.

23:32 BST

Bloggity blog

Down in comments, eRobin points out that Fact-esque is not overwhelmed with primary coverage, and that Mick Arran is posting up a storm there - and nothing on the front page involves the primaries at all, let alone the relative evils of each of the two Democratic contenders. For example, "Bush to Sanchez: 'Kill! Kill! Kill!' In a weird echo of Arlo Guthrie's Alice's Restaurant, Tom Englehardt has discovered a frightening episode in Gen Ricardo Sanchez's memoir, Wiser in Battle, in which Bush apes Arlo's famous duet with an Army psychiatrist. Only George isn't kidding."

Rorschach has hardly any primary stuff at No Capital, and even includes a couple of Garden Pics.

Duncan at This Is So Gay has been covering the demonstrations in Korea (that's a nice photo at the top, there), and has a few words about Bible translations and interpretations, as well.

At Cab Drollery, of course, it's generally safe to read without any rude awakenings about the primaries - just unpleasant reminders of everything else. Ruth takes a little walk down Memory Lane over the march to war, and Diane talks about Catapulting The Propaganda.

This is just cruel: "The Fresno Bee reports that Arthur Mkoyan, a California high school valedictorian who has lived in the United States since he was two-years old - after his family fled the Soviet Union - faces deportation to Armenia as early as next month. Mkoyan, who earned a 4.0 GPA, had planned to attend the University of California-Davis. Last October, Congress rejected the DREAM Act, which would have allowed students like Mkoyan who were brought here illegally by their parents to remain in the U.S. as legal residents." Anywhere else in the world this kid goes, he's going to be recognized as an American. Except in what should be, for all intents and purposes, his own country.

Jon Stewart's interview of Scott Mclellan, Pt.1 and Pt.2.

13:51 BST

But if you try some time, you just might find...

I was listening to C-Span over the weekend to hear David Corn interview Matt Taibbi, and afterwards there was a brief interview with Scott McClellan's publisher, who explained that McClellan writing the book was a process during which he had to examine what had happened and re-evaluate it in order to figure out what he had to say - and that this is a normal process with these kinds of books, where you come to terms with the events as you work on the book. And that rings true to me, because I've seen how people jump past recognizing what's going on around them until they have had a chance to step away from events, and it often takes years, even decades, to be able to look back and say, "Wait a minute, I had this completely wrong," or, "Why did I ignore what was going on in front of me?" (And I also think McClellan wasn't as good a liar as Ari Fleischer, who seemed to enjoy the job a great deal more.) Anyway, I couldn't find a link to that (maybe you can - update), but it seemed germane to the various discussions going on. And Digby has more thoughts on McClellan and the deep denial in the media.

I gotta admit, I didn't get the "I'll vote for McCain!" thing when it was Obama supporters saying it, and I get it even less now that it's Clinton supporters saying it. I can easily understand the reasons progressives have for particularly disliking Obama or Clinton, but I don't get why they would dislike one of them so much that they'd rather completely forget how much better they still both are than McCain. Yes, they've both done things that are destructive, but jeez. I mean, McCain has no actual progressive policies, and several policies that are even worse than BushCheney's. And we need people to want to go to the polls and vote a straight Democratic ticket in November - not merely because we want a Democratic president, but because we want to win all those down-ticket races - and that just doesn't happen unless people have some enthusiasm for voting for the top of the ticket. Coattails, we need coattails a whole lot. (But if you can't bring yourself to vote for Obama, at least don't vote for McCain or stay home - vote for the other Dems on the ballot, and vote for Cynthia and Matt for pres.)

From The Guantánamo Blog, "Sacking the Judge that isn't following the script: For those of you old enough to remember one of President Nixon's finest hours (and just before impeachment was threatened) ...when he fired the special prosecutor investigating the Nixon administration..." Of course, it's not as if we don't expect as much from Bush. I mean, in a country where protesters are convicted for protesting.

Pandabak get what you need.

03:14 BST

Monday, 02 June 2008

From the notebook

Bo Diddley, 79, dead of heart failure. There's too much to say about the man for whom the term "rock and roll" was coined, so have this clip instead.

McCain, Like Romney and Cheney, Runs Afoul of Iran Divestment Pledge: "Addressing the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) today, Republican presidential nominee John McCain called for a global campaign of divestment from Iran. He might want to start with his own campaign manager, Rick Davis, whose work on behalf of Ukrainian mogul Rinat Akhmetov included business dealings with Tehran."

"Losing Influence: People in the Middle East, even long-time allies such as Israel, have figured out that the US no longer has the ability to assert much influence in that region. Oh, the President can complain and stamp his feet, but the Saudis aren't going to pump more oil, and the Israelis are going to talk to whomever they think they need to in order to shore up the peace process." (Also: More from the war on hemp and other stupid policies.)

Man, it's really hard finding good stuff to link when I go to all my favorite blogs and the only posts are about whether Obama or Clinton are evil. Please, please let this be over tomorrow night.

20:28 BST

Just more grey skies

"Cannabis capitalism: The professional prohibitionists and other naysayers have successfully avoided the scientific evidence and discounted the medical efficacy of marijuana, but there is no way to deny the revenue generating capacity of the cannabis industry."

Guest-posting at Pacific Views, Walter Brasch on The Politics of Humanitarian Aid, in Burma, and in New Orleans - a reminder of two governments with an awful lot in common.

Jurassicpork gets out a good series of mini-rants in "The Ten Things Republicans Should Never Say to Democrats."

Cheeky: "On Tuesday night, Obama is set to kick off the general election with a mega rally at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul Minnesota. What's special about the Xcel Energy Center? Well, it's where the Republicans are holding their convention in early September." Nice one.

I think Digby is right about this. I also don't think bad winners are any more attractive than bad losers - and bad losers at least have the excuse that they lost. There's really no excuse for going out of your way to rub salt in the wounds. (And remember: Obama hasn't really won until he's inaugurated on January 20th.)

Jihad University - it's what they call American prisons in Iraq.

YSL dead at 71. I feel like I ought to have something to say about this, but the only thing I can think of is that my mother once gave me some socks for Christmas that had his monogram on them. I wondered where she got them, since she didn't incline to designer names.

17:27 BST

Flying saucers are just pizzas looking for a fight

It's not just the brand, it's the message: "Even Republican voters prefer the Democratic message."

Ari Berman on Blacks, Jews & Obama - Nothing you didn't already know, but most Jews are gonna vote for the Democrat, same as always.

The Electoral Vote map now shows Obama past the EV threshold of 270.

Here's a nice little DCCC ad attacking the Republicans for not supporting the troops. Also: Nancy Pelosi's finest moment.

Top 10 Conspiracy Theories of the Religious Right (via)

The world's largest prison

03:46 BST

Sunday, 01 June 2008

Silence in the library

"Growing Likelihood the Iraq Occupation Will Become Illegal on January 1: "As I have argued repeatedly, Bush desperately needs a treaty to allow U.S. troops and contractors to remain after the U.N. mandate expires on December 31. But the biggest enemy he faces isn't rejection by the Iraqi government he created, but instead his own lame-duck status. So what will happen on January 1 when the U.N. mandate expires? Will U.S. troops and contractors lose their immunity and be subject to Iraqi criminal and civil law? If so, lawyers for the Pentagon and the contractors will tell their bosses to bring all Americans home, or face the nightmare of seeing Americans locked up in Iraqi jails."

Ellroon has a word for the media about all their stenography for the last several years.

Diane is pleased to see Robert Scheer on the op-ed page of the LAT, as he should have been all along, talking about our over-sized military budget. Meanwhile, Ruth takes the WaPo to task for lightly skipping over the deleterious nature of abstinence policies.

New, improved primary results from Fafblog! (the whole world's only source for Fafblog.)

A McClatchy blog directs us to this slideshow of the work of a variety of photographs taken by some top photographers of the earthquake in China. (I was particularly impressed by photo #41.) Thanks to Bruce F for the tip.

18:49 BST

Reading the entrails

Frank Rich appears to be invigorated by McCain's McClellan Nightmare, which has dragged into the limelight something that Republicans simply do not want to talk about - and since they don't want to talk about it, the media has been trying to pretend that it's of no interest to the public, either: how we were lied into an invasion of Iraq. Only now, despite these protestations, it's become obvious that people do want to talk about it. And McSame's only way of talking about it is to throw up desperate gibberish: "Now Mr. McCain is chastising Mr. Obama for not having visited Iraq since 2006 - a questionable strategy, you'd think, given that Mr. McCain's own propagandistic visit to a "safe" Baghdad market is one of his biggest embarrassments. Then again, in his frantic efforts to explain why he sided with Mr. Bush to oppose an expanded G.I. bill that the Senate passed by 75 to 22, Mr. McCain has attacked Mr. Obama for not enlisting in the military."

Stephen Frug has a good fume over the fact that Knight-Ridder gave everyone all the information they needed as early as October of 2001, while the rest of the media persisted in carrying the administration narrative pretending that the invasion of Iraq wasn't the goal all along.

Duncan takes issue in comments* with Ruth's optimism about a sane policy toward Cuba, and reminds me of this post he wrote after Obama gave his speech in Miami.

Kagro X at Daily Kos departs from the all-rules-favor-Obama fantasy and tells the truth: "I'm wearing armor right now. And Harold Ickes was right." The DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee can rule within the rules, but it can't go outside the rules to create a desired outcome. And there's nothing in the rules that permits them to award uncommitted delegates to a particular candidate - but that's what they did. Turkana: "I want you to show me the rule that says a candidate who was not voted pledged delegates from a state can simply be awarded pledged delegates by the DNC. Because the rules were changed, today, in the middle of the game, but not by Hillary Clinton or her supporters.

In the second hour of his show Friday, Thom Hartmann did a short interview with Ravi Batra (who I always find pretty interesting), but then went on to discuss a dual presentation he arranged by a Clinton supporter and an Obama supporter, with each required to first make a pitch for the other candidate and then for their own. This sounds like a terrific idea that should have been taken out on the road all over the country. Listen to hour two.

Amundn rocks.

14:00 BST

Assorted stuff

Fantasie Sophie underwired bra with side supportBra of the Week

Tony Blair, Prince of Peace.

They didn't see how showing a wounded soldier would support the troops.

Bob Dole is a miserable creature.

I guess it makes sense that the wingers think bloggers are more dangerous than war criminals, since, as we all know, no one is fighting the War on Terror harder than a bunch of people who wouldn't consider putting on a uniform (or, in most cases, doing more than type).

So maybe at least we have a chance at last for a sane policy towards Cuba - if we elect the Democrat in November.

Johann Hari says, "David Cameron is not a progressive, or anything like it. We are sleepwalking to Tory rule." (He also says, "This nostalgia for Mary Whitehouse is grotesque. She was a bullying theocrat." Yes. I have dined with that woman, and while she could be nice when she wanted to, she was also a very nasty piece of work.)

Geraldine Ferraro said something annoying again. Yes, I know - who cares? Well, apparently, D at LGM cared enough to write about it, and Atrios cared enough to link to it, and John Emerson cared enough to comment: "Why does she think that anyone cares what she thinks?" She might think it because everyone keeps paying attention to what she says. And why do they keep doing that?

Tom Watson is another person who watched Recount and got more worried about how, the way this primary is going, it seems like half the party is Whistling Past the Political Graveyard.

I think Mark Adams may be starting to get it. Now fix up the language and we could be done with this thing. (I blame Rachel Maddow for stirring up the hysteria, personally. I'm a big fan of Rachel but I think the hyperventilating on TV every night is really creating more problems than it solves.)

Susie Bright (whose site may not be work-safe) on CGI vs. Porn Stars: Which Is Which? Only the FBI Knows.

Rosanne Cash on truth and songwriting, and creating with Costello and Kristofferson. (via)

01:21 BST

Avedon Carol at The Sideshow, June 2008

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

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

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by

There is a Creative Commons license attached to this image. AttributionNoncommercialShare Alike