The Sideshow

Archive for May 2008

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Saturday, 31 May 2008

In words and pictures

There used to be a time when it would not have been entirely dishonest to assume that rising profits means higher employment. That's because there used to be a lattice of government regulations (including tariffs and targeted tax breaks) that made it more profitable to create jobs as profits rose. They existed in order to keep the economy healthy. Deregulation meant that the local and national economy ceased to matter, and now we even have tax incentives for removing jobs from America - removing whole companies and industries, in fact. If I were more energetic, I'd do some research on whose bright idea it was to actually make job extraction a priority of our tax policies. Why would any American legislator act to change the law so that it's easier to move whole companies to China? (There's probably an article about this on the web somewhere....)

Glenn Greenwald interviewed Jeff Cohen, who had been the producer, about why Donahue was cancelled despite being MSNBC's top-rated show. (Listen to the .mp3.) Glenn also observes that one of the more startling excuses being offered by the media for their abysmal pre-invasion performance appears to be that it is "impossible" to report on anything unless you were an eye-witness - an unusual definition of how one reports "news". (I say it's unusual, as it always was historically, except that we already noticed this same excuse turning up a few months ago. But of course, most news is not witnessed by reporters, it's witnessed by other people who are interviewed by or release statements to reporters.) As McClatchy's Jonathan Landay and Warren Strobel say, the entire line of rationalization is just pure hogwash, as their own news organization (then Knight Ridder) proved during the same period. And so is the idea that it was the responsibility of the media to give the administration the benefit of the doubt when they were saying things that were manifestly untrue. If Saddam had tested a nuclear device, everyone would have known it - but he hadn't. If Saddam had delivery systems for nukes, we would have known that, too - but even the administration didn't dare make that claim. Yet it was even being claimed that Saddam could launch a nuclear strike by Christmas, or even within 45 minutes. Since it was obvious to everyone that we were being told lies, it should have been taken as read that no, you absolutely can't treat these people as anything other than liars. (More from Digby, and even more from Jamison Foser.)

If you're in the mood for some thoughtful long-form, last week Thomas Nephew did a post full of links to various essays on the things ranging from the peace movement to libertarianism to the secrecy government of Bush and Cheney.

Or, you might want to listen to Rachel Maddow's interview with Richard Clarke about his new book, Your Government Failed You, from last night's show. (Or her interview with Cory Doctorow about Little Brother.)


Hubble pix

13:35 BST

Hand over the chocolate and no one gets hurt

Mark Crispin Miller offers a timely warning about the real threat facing us at the polls in November. (And boy, that Al Qaeda gets everywhere. (via))

Eric Boehlert wonders, "Why did the press ignore Ted Kennedy in 2002? Kennedy delivered a passionate, provocative, and newsworthy speech raising all sorts of doubts about a possible invasion. Unlike today, the political press wasn't very interested in Kennedy or what he had to say about the most pressing issue facing the nation. Back in that media environment, being the voice of American liberals didn't mean much."

Bill Scher says insurance companies make your choices for you: "'Choice' has long been a conservative buzzword (except when it comes to reproductive freedom) but the real policy question is rarely between whether or not we have choices, but whether our policies gives us good choices or bad choices."

Dday is pleased to see that Barack Obama has promised to take care of some important business in his first 100 days - to get rid of all of BushCheney's unconstitutional executive orders, and to get his healthcare plan moving.

So, was Scott McClellan the guy who let Jeff-James Guckert-Gannon into the White House? ("Jeff Gannon" has a post on his blog about their special relationship.)

RIP Harvey Korman. Naturally, Mark Evanier has an anecdote for the occasion. And then you can all take the Pledge to Hedley Lamarr.

01:38 BST

Friday, 30 May 2008

Teachers and preachers will just buy and sell you

"Bad Luck All Around: One phrase is "bahati mbaya" which literally translates as "bad luck." The reason it's memorable is because it was also used to describe completely predictable bad outcomes. If you started drawing a bath, for some reason left the house for a few hours and came back to a flooded living area. bahati mbaya. It is a wonderfully diplomatic way to avoid saying, wow was that stupid. It is in that spirit that I write: This is the bahati mbaya President."

"Iraqis claim Marines are pushing Christianity in Fallujah: At the western entrance to the Iraqi city of Fallujah Tuesday, Muamar Anad handed his residence badge to the U.S. Marines guarding the city. They checked to be sure that he was a city resident, and when they were done, Anad said, a Marine slipped a coin out of his pocket and put it in his hand. Out of fear, he accepted it, Anad said. When he was inside the city, the college student said, he looked at one side of the coin. 'Where will you spend eternity?' it asked. He flipped it over, and on the other side it read, 'For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16.'"

Will Bunch says, "The media itself IS Real News: Often journalists are a huge part of the story, not just in Washington but in any town in America. In most places, the local newspaper and other media are institutions just as powerful as the local zoning board or transit agency or largest employer, the kind of institutions that we aggressively cover, or used to before all the buyouts and layoffs. Inside the Beltway, that is magnified. If the Iraq War had been a botched bank robbery, the Bush administration would have been the triggerman, but the media drove the getaway car. And when the charges come down, those two are equally culpable in the eyes of the law."

"While You Were Watching Dogs and Ponies: It's always fascinating to see what's missed when there's a major event sucking all attention to it as Scott McClellan's Tell-All is doing right now. Don't rush to check if the war is over. Instead, it's the override of the occupied White House veto."

There's something particularly icky about hearing David Gregory urgently insist that the media asked tough questions in advance of the invasion when they obviously didn't - and David Gregory loses all credibility in his just as urgent pleadings to dismiss Scott McClellan's charges against the administration when he shot himself in the foot professionally by dancing with Karl Rove. In any case, if you read me a quote from any television show of the period, in which someone was giving their reasons to oppose the invasion, I wouldn't have to work too hard to guess who it was, because almost no one who had any recognized expertise was allowed to voice such opposition on the air. Hell, you could get fired for having too much of that on your show - as Phil Donahue was. Outside of McClatchy, who lacked the privilege of "access" and therefore had to do real reporting, it was mostly just propaganda fed to journalists by the Pentagon. But Fox needed their occasional liberal foils, so they did allow a little of it - as long as they were entertainers, who they would then shoot down for being entertainers whose opinions therefore didn't matter.

"O Lucky Man!"

20:15 BST

Butch Dems

Ezra Klein on The Politics Of Masculinity:

I've been sort of struggling with whether to write this post, but after Daniel Larison and Matt Stoller both toed around the point while offering their takes on Webb, I guess it's worth doing. Let me start by saying that this isn't really about James Webb. He is who he is, and this post has nothing to do with his positions on the issues. But then, nor does most of the excitement around his candidacy. Rather, Webb represents something of almost transcendent importance to some post-Bush liberals: The opportunity to out-tough the GOP. A candidate who's not only a liberal, but in no way a sissy. He is the daywalker, combining a progressive's positions with a southern militarist's affectations.

But this is not a sustainable approach to politics. Democrats can't out-tough the GOP. It's possible that James Webb can do it. But he's sui generis; a Democrat who can win at politics when played under Republican rules. Democrats love those candidates, because they think of presidential elections as an away game, and they're endlessly hunting for the candidate who plays best under those conditions.

But Democrats can't win at politics when played under Republican rules. Progressivism can't prosper when politics is played under Republican rules. It needs to make its own rules.


Now, studies show that women do not, in fact, perform worse in primaries than men. In fact, in Democratic primaries, the evidence since 1990 is that they do better (see my article in the forthcoming American Prospect for more on this). But they run less often -- for a host of reasons, but one of which is that they think they're more likely to lose. And that idea is inextricably intertwined with a political culture in which progressives and conservatives alike get very excited over hypermasculine candidates. That's not a fight women can win, and nor, according to the election results, is it one they need to win. But perception matters when women are deciding whether to run for office, and the perception that the dudelier you are, the more likely you are to win, is a dangerous one.

13:08 BST

I wanna know what became of the changes

Jews against Lieberman! J Street sure isn't pleased with Traitor Joe's praise for John Hagee, who praised Adolf Hitler's excellent adventure.

MSNBC slammed Democrats and were cheerleaders for the invasion of Iraq, right up until they lucked into the discovery that there was audience to be won by jumping to the other side. Digby still doesn't trust them, even when they seem to be championing a Democratic candidate: "If they help Democrats beat McCain in the fall I won't be crying about it. But I won't be cheering either, since it's only a matter time before the next shiny object is waved in their faces and it's very likely that it will not be something that accrues to our benefit. These people are still bad for our politics."

"Our enemies say that America is weak and decadent, and does not have the stomach for the long fight," said George Walker Bush in his commencement address at Colorado Springs. Of course, America had been cheerfully engaged in the long fight for freedom for more than two centuries, slipping and sliding at times but always coming back to the foundation laid down in our Constitution. Until George Walker Bush and Richard Bruce Cheney got their hands on the levers of power and promptly showed they didn't have the stomach for it after all. The Rude Pundit reports. (And on McClellan and McShame, too.)

David Corn is in MoJo answering the question, "Who's to blame for the biggest financial catastrophe of our time?" Well, sort of: "There are plenty of culprits, but one candidate for lead perp is former Sen. Phil Gramm. Eight years ago, as part of a decades-long anti-regulatory crusade, Gramm pulled a sly legislative maneuver that greased the way to the multibillion-dollar subprime meltdown. [...] Now a well-paid executive at a Swiss bank, Gramm cochairs Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign and advises the Republican candidate on economic matters. He's been mentioned as a possible Treasury secretary should McCain win. That's right: A guy who helped screw up the global financial system could end up in charge of US economic policy. Talk about a market failure."

Cookie Jill has a post full of interesting links on different ways they're killing us off.

"The Pretender", live.

00:38 BST

Thursday, 29 May 2008

Stuff I saw

People keep making up "rules" about the primaries to fit into their own storylines, and now Harold Meyerson is spreading tales about why Clinton's name was on the Michigan ballot and Obama's wasn't. Bob Somerby is on the case: "Sorry, but even Meyerson surely knows that there was no "DNC dictate"-no "national party rule"-requiring Obama, Edwards, Biden and Richardson to remove their names from the Michigan ballot. Duh! They did so voluntarily, at the last minute (as was their right); that's why Clinton, Dodd, Kucinich and Gravel were free to leave their names there. The candidates' decisions were voluntary; indeed, all the requests were made on October 9, the day of the ballot deadline, to considerable uproar in Michigan. (The DNC had condemned the state's primary at least four weeks earlier.) Indeed, in the October 10 Detroit News, party honcho Debbie Dingell said that Obama's campaign "had assured her last week that he would remain on the ballot." We have no idea if that's accurate, but no challenge to her statement was ever published-and it only made sense because there was no requirement that names be removed from the ballot. All the uproar, surprise and confusion occurred because there were no "rules" or "dictates" requiring names to be removed." (And I'm sure it's just a complete coincidence that the current narrative about Hillary Clinton is identical to the "do or say anything to win" story that the GOP fashioned eight years ago for Al Gore. It will be interesting to see if they try to tailor it to fit Obama once he has the nomination. I see he's already a liar because he confused Auschwitz with Buchenwald....)

Why everybody knew what McClellan said already - because liberal bloggers told you.

Lance Mannion attempts a defense of Hillary Clinton's AUMF vote. I'm not sure how convincing it is, but his last point is interesting. (But read on Cannon fodder, a point I've made before, but not at length.)

Take the Bush-McCain Challenge!

Batgirl's protest

14:58 BST

Open Windows

One of my favorite passages in the revealed quotes from Scotty McClellan's book is his complaint that the liberal media wasn't liberal enough and failed to hold the administration to account. My favorite reaction to it is Karl Rove's insight that McClellan sounds like "a left-wing blogger." Jonathan Schwarz says: "In every country on earth, when the governing junta accuses someone of "treason," they are actually accusing them of "telling the truth." So I like to keep track of examples of this. For instance, Hussein Kamel (Iraq), Mohammad al-Khilewi (Saudi Arabia), Anthoy Zinni (United States) and Mordechai Vanunu (Israel) all turned out to be traitors in the standard sense. Details are here. Now McClellan has joined their treasonous company." McClellan couldn't quite bring himself to say Bush was consciously lying to the public, though, so he says Bush lied to himself and then had convinced himself his lies were true by the time he told them to everyone else. He says Bush simply ignored evidence that contradicted what he wanted to hear. But how much of this is an awakening for McClellan from an orgy of projection and self-delusion, and how much is just the result of the fact that he can't get a job and his publisher demanded some real dirt? Lots more here.

I gotta say I'm enjoying seeing long-time creep Phil Gramm being exposed for his activities lobbying for a foreign bank to interfere with foreclosure relief in America while working as part of the McShame campaign. These people really are unprintably ugly.

So, the Dems punted on the Florida and Michigan delegates. I think it would be really constructive if Obama's team pushed to have the full delegations seated, which would make him look magnanimous and still wouldn't give Clinton the edge she'd need to win. I realize it's a lot of fun for people to make this another reason to hate one candidate or the other, but let's remember, as David Johnson points out: "... that in 1972 the Nixon campaign pioneered the strategy of disrupting Democratic primary races. I think it should be clear that much of the conflict in this year's primary is being pushed by the right through the Drudge report, Washington Times, Fox News, etc. but for some reason in this election many Democrats seem willing to pick it up and run with it. This is a mistake."

Meanwhile, for many talk has turned heavily to choosing Obama's VP, and the consensus seems to be that he needs a nice tough war hero with a woman-hating record to "balance" the ticket. Or that's what it sounds like to me. Favorites seem to be Jim Webb and other woman-unfriendly types, including right-wing Republican Chuck Hagel. Y'know, this is the kind of thing that makes a lot of women wonder if this whole anti-Clinton thing really is about a desire to throw women under a bus. Yeah, yeah, I know, it's not "women", it's this woman - I've heard that. And I believe that's true for the people who are just as outraged as I am about the suggestion of people like Bayh and Hagel and Webb for VP. But tell me you want Chuck Hagel on the Democratic ticket and I'm inclined to suspect this is just about conservative Republicans trying to take over what's left of the Democratic Party. (Thanks to D2 route for the help.)

Some Good News, For A Change: "Will wonders never cease: the US Supreme Court handed down two decisions on workplace discrimination yesterday and got both decisions right. Not only that, but the decisions were not 5-4 squeakers. One was decided 7-2 and the other 6-3." Can this be true? Alito left Scalia and Thomas out there on their own? Oh, my.

I'm really looking forward to having Jesse back, but I'm beginning to think people should consult me first before they go live with their new blog design.

04:25 BST

Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Yeah, I got distracted and watched Bend It Like Beckham instead

I think I've run out of words for all the outrages against humanity that have become everyday business in America. I mean, what can you say anymore about, say, preventing a prisoner from even watching CNN or getting mail from his family? There are just so many things to leave me speechless.

The other day John Harris posted an astonishing article in Politico about how he and Jonathan Martin rolled full-steam ahead with an eye on getting lots of links and eyetracks to Politico by writing a story about Hillary Clinton saying something she did not say - a story that started with something that wasn't much of a story at all, but where a quote wrenched from context was transformed into something else altogether that made it a Big Story. (Much like the story of John Edwards' haircuts.) And only after it had been buzzed all over the net did they actually see the video clip of Clinton speaking and realize they'd made headline news out of...nothing. Not that he minds, you understand - this is John Harris, and getting headlines is more important to him than trying not to mislead readers and falsely accuse people of things they didn't do. Harris made his name smearing Democrats for The Washington Post before going on to bigger things. So Drudge carried the story, and then the supposedly more responsible corporate media helped spread it, all without looking at the context to confirm whether Clinton had actually said what she was by then being excoriated for saying. As Glenn Greenwald reminds us, this is exactly the kind of thing that Glenn criticized Harris for last March, with the result that Harris denied doing any such thing and insulted Glenn for raising it. (Via The Left Coaster.)

Meanwhile... I actually still think Edwards/Obama would have been the best ticket, but I sure know that's not gonna happen. Believe it or not, the reverse isn't the next-best thing. I can understand why it is attractive to some and has a certain promise for the autumn, but I'd actually rather see Edwards in a real job, like AG. Or Supreme Court. (Yeah, I know there are people who'd like Obama to offer Clinton the SC seat, but just think about that nomination fight for a minute. As a lawyer, she has very little relevant experience and no judicial experience - and yes, I know, Earl Warren had no judicial experience, either, but at least he'd been a DA and a state AG first. There's also a good reason you don't make your Supreme Court nominations during the presidential campaign, and although it's not unprecedented to say that there will be room for a particular person in your administration, it's a whole 'nother thing to invite a judicial nomination fight to get started during the campaign. Some Clinton-supporters have suggested the SC seat as a way to reach out to them and make them happier with voting for him, but it would be crazy to offer it to her publicly when he hasn't actually won the White House yet. (But Ruth suggests that it's all about Elizabeth taking the VP slot. Actually, she'd be great for that job, if only her health was better. But I believe Ruth is kidding.)

"The British police are the best in the world...." Cops are always claiming they could do a better job if only they had more power, and nothing gives them power like making more innocuous behaviors into crimes so that anyone and everyone can be "legitimately" investigated and arrested. They've been whining for years that there are all these people out there who they can't arrest because they haven't committed any crimes. And nothing excites the passion to arrest more people than child porn laws. The only problem is that child porn has been completely illegal since the mid-seventies. What to do, what to do...? Well, we'll just call more things child porn! (Thanks to Dave Bell for the link.)

They sent her Ringo's clothes, via a linky post from Natasha.

22:20 BST

On the landscape

Firedoglake and others encourage you to sign a letter calling on Congress to investigate the Pentagon's propaganda program.

Julia gives us the Barbecued Veepstakes: McCain Gnaws On His Prospects.

Bruce F. in comments read TomDispatch and says he's still waiting for his peace dividend. We won't be seeing that any time soon.

"Who takes care of the jailed immigrants' children? Born in America, they are Americans. They are often separated from nursing mothers, left wandering the streets, stuck at daycare, abandoned to strangers, lost in the Child Services system."

I really don't want to find out how entertaining McCain's foreign policy would be in practice.

Digby says Scott Horton has a new initiative going on: No Torture. No Exceptions. "All remaining Presidential candidates have publicly opposed torture. We must urge them and both political parties to include Reject Torture planks in their party platforms." (Of course, as we all know, McCain has made a big show of opposing torture, but when he has an opportunity to do something about it, he goes in the other direction.) Digby also discusses the different identity politics in this election cycle.

Make your own solar panels.

We have an entire TV channel called Dave. Every time I turn it on, I see an episode of Top Gear. I'm getting used to it. Here's a clip in which Jeremy finds the car for people who are too old for a motorcycle. And here's Richard Hammond's crash.

13:47 BST

Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Somebody gimme a Ledo's pizza

Republican Lies: Exceptional information from Fred Hiatt today. He knows that the right wing is lying. It must be possible he's begun to read the news section of WaPo and has noticed his pets are losing the public. Wouldn't it be lovely if the war, unconstitutional government, subversion of public interest had made that happen? But no, it's taking money directly out of their pockets that makes the difference." Yes, he debunks every argument against taxing the rich, and then comes out against taxing the rich. It makes no sense at all.

Isaac Chotiner says, MSNBC's over-the-top pro-Obama (or is it anti-Hillary?) stance is hurting Obama's campaign. Ah, yes, the power of the Tweety Effect. (Thanks to sTiVo for the tip.)

Are you on the list? "According to a senior government official who served with high-level security clearances in five administrations, "There exists a database of Americans, who, often for the slightest and most trivial reason, are considered unfriendly, and who, in a time of panic, might be incarcerated. The database can identify and locate perceived 'enemies of the state' almost instantaneously." He and other sources tell Radar that the database is sometimes referred to by the code name Main Core. One knowledgeable source claims that 8 million Americans are now listed in Main Core as potentially suspect. In the event of a national emergency, these people could be subject to everything from heightened surveillance and tracking to direct questioning and possibly even detention."

I'm afraid if I link to Why Now? it will disappear again, as it seems to do every time I do it, but I can't resist from time to time. And I was reading this and I thought, gee, there's a part of me that does want to ask people their age when they comment, so I can tell if they're too young to have personal memories of historical events that I take for granted as life markers. (Or too young to know that for some of us, it's actually not normal to live your entire life hearing the Clintons and Democrats in general constantly being attacked by the media.) But I still think it's nuts not to vote for the Dem in November.

21:30 BST

Small change

I see Gene Robinson has now descended to passing judgment on Hillary's soul. Is it because he's wise? Is it because he's black? Or is it because he's still the same jackass who helped bury Gore eight years ago and told us Bush was the better man?

Lieberman's Jewish problem.

Michael Schwartz at the Asia Times presents his perspective on How the US dream foundered in Iraq (which reminded me that Project for a New American Century hasn't just been silent, lately, but the other day people began to notice that their site has shut down).

Good news: Missouri lawmakers did not pass a proposed voter ID law. Via another linky post from Libby. (And best wishes, hon - hope to see you back in the saddle again soon.)

Last night Atrios was scratching his head over why some people are still supporting Hillary. Well, it could be this, or those electoral maps I referred to in the previous post. (I saw this article linked somewhere by someone who described it as incoherent. Discuss.) A lot of the people who support Hillary, if I read them right, are saying that they believe Hillary will win but Obama will lose. To be honest, if these polls mean anything at all, Hillary's chances do look significantly better. If you honestly believed that Hillary would win and Obama would lose, would you really want the superdelegates not to rescue our chances in November? Personally, I still think Obama can win, but if I didn't, I'd probably join them in fighting tooth and nail against an Obama nomination. [Atrios' domain name seems to be down; if you can't get the link to him above, try this.]

16:00 BST

The blog is darkest before the dawn

Brilliant at Breakfast has accurate language about the way Republicans "support" our troops by refusing to support the new GI Bill. Pity you couldn't use it on television.

Jeez, Israel actually refused to let Norman Finkelstein into the country because he disagrees with their policies. It's so nice to know that freedom is on the march everywhere.

Jane Smiley watched Recount, and came to, I dunno, an odd conclusion. Hm, I wonder if any Democratic candidates watched it....

Did G. Herbert Walker Bush take Moonie communion? "When you lie down with Messiahs, you wake up as their miracle."

Immigration raids: Harbingers of a police state: "It's telling that last week's mass immigration raid in Iowa, during which immigrant workers were rounded up and treated like cattle, was heralded by the whupping of federal helicopters hovering over the town and its meat-processing plant."

Gosh, did Kurtz actually talk to women about The Media and Misogyny on Reliable Sources? Why didn't he ask a bunch of men? Doesn't he know he's on TV?

Is anyone else looking at the maps at Electoral Vote as obsessively as I am? I'm watching them get bluer and bluer in surprising ways over the last week, and I confess to being fascinated. A week ago, this map was making me nervous, and alongside this one was making me wonder, "Cripes, what if Clinton is right?" But McCain's lead has been slipping against both candidates in a few interesting places, and while Clinton still has a much more substantial lead against him than Obama does, the latter is looking more credible by the day. It's still shakey, but if this keeps on, we still have a good shot in November. (That is, assuming Obama's aides don't actually want him to lose. (via))

Hm, I see Jack Cluth has pulled up stakes at The People's Republic of Seabrook and has a new place - What Would Jack Do?

03:33 BST

Monday, 26 May 2008

Late for dinner

The polls don't look good for McCain, so there's only one thing to do! Lie about it.

Every locality has to deal with expensive emergencies from time to time, but apparently the only one Americans are allowed to spend money on anymore is Al Qaeda. (Meanwhile, even The Dallas Morning News is now starting to talk about the need to be thinking about better mass transport in the face of climbing oil prices, and the rest of the world no longer regards us as the land of the free.)

Today's Single-Payer Post highlights reps and candidates in MI who are working for HR 676.

Impeach for Peace.

I was just reading The Clinton Body Count page at Snopes, and it's almost funny. The deceased range from people who had nothing to do with Clinton to people whose connection to him was so tenuous (or so unlikely to threaten him) that no possible motive can be divined, right on up to people who, if anything, Clinton would most likely have wanted to see survive if he'd known anything about them at all (but the Bush family might very well have wanted them dead). Oh, and the people of whom there is no record whatsoever. The deaths themselves are not at all mysterious and are largely misrepresented as "mysterious" when the real causes were as plain as the nose on my face. (via)

19:37 BST

Gotta sing, gotta dance

I really look forward to the day when I don't get up in the morning and find my formerly favorite blogs littered with so many stupid posts attempting to twist statements by Hillary Clinton into Proof of Evil. When the Republicans say stupid things about Obama, everyone is perfectly capable of seeing through it and tearing it apart - in fact, y'all do it so well that I have little to add. Why can't we do that for Hillary? And why is it that when I try to do that, I get attacked as a "Hillary supporter", even though I've made it clear that I can't choose between her and Obama? What's wrong with you people? Do the Republicans spend half their time trying to destroy the reputation of the Reagans, or Gingrich, or any of their standard-bearers? Do you think they would spend five seconds doing this kind of self-immolation? Pull yourselves together - you're just joining in with a favorite Republican sport, and you are not helping clinch the nomination for Obama. The corporate media is always going to attack the Clintons, and they don't actually need your help. [And, for the record, HRC was talking about nominating races that ended in June, as she clearly emphasizes that word in the clip. And she picked the two June races that were most memorable for her. Now, if you can't figure out why the '68 and '92 races were particularly memorable for Hillary Clinton, you should consider the possibility that your prejudices are clouding your judgment.]

I've often pointed out that there is nowhere far enough away that will allow you to escape from America. Yet, it now seems clear that even in America you cannot escape the Tories. (Also: the sexism they're selling.)

Once you give over secret or private information to corporations, there is no security.

Outer Darkness: The Gulag Cancer Grows, State Terror Intensifies: "The United States government is holding some 27,000 human beings in secret prisons around the world. The overwhelming majority of them are being held indefinitely, without charges, without rights, cut off from the outside world, and subject to "harsh interrogation techniques" (to use the prim locution for "torture" used by the Bush Administration and universally adopted by the American media)."

Slacktivist with the Faith Factor Factbox and a useful website that you can send all your relatives to that answers the question: "Is Barack Obama a Muslim?"

One to remember.

Is Joe Lieberman Worse than Zell Miller Yet? - Take the poll!

Love Gods Of The Far Right.

Gene Kelly & The Nicholas Brothers

12:51 BST

Sunday, 25 May 2008

Dance your heart out

MyDD: "Every once in a while, I like to put things in perspective. John McCain has had three months to run unopposed. Since locking up the Republican nomination in February, he's been free to tour the country, pander to his base, and fundraise without much media scrutiny. But as the primary wraps up and the media gets its nose out of the Democratic fight, it's becoming painfully clear McCain hasn't made a lot of the time that was given to him. Since February, John McCain has been doing two main things: making speeches and raising money. He hasn't been particularly good at either of them." (I also note that the MyDD 2008 Poll Watcher at the top of the main page now give Obama Virginia, and has him beating McCain. It still shows Clinton well ahead of McCain at 326-212. Both EV trackers now show Clinton winning Nevada and North Carolina, however.)

Hillary does an op-ed on why she is staying in the race. (via) (And Zuzu defends Hillary over MI and FL.)

I think I may have missed this Bloomberg article on Obama's economic advisors when it was originally posted.

Thanks to Anna for alerting me to exciting developments in the Libertarian Party - with photo!

OK, I'll bite: What could Saddam Hussein have done in 2003 to have "avoided war and conquest"?

"Former RIAA CEO is the Huffington Post's new political director: The Huffington Post just appointed former RIAA CEO Hilary Rosen as its new political director. Rosen presided over the RIAA's total and utter failure to come to grips with the Internet, the period in which the record industry rejected every single overture of money in exchange for licenses to its catalog from venture-backed P2P companies, choosing litigation over cash, and leading to a world in which the majority of music consumption online is illegal and doesn't give a dime to the record industry." (via)

The Nicholas Brothers, in color, and in black and white.

21:14 BST

What a piece of work is man

In The New Yorker, George Packer writes on "The Fall of Conservatism" - This article has a few hilarious moments where conservatives advise their party to work to restore the American Dream. Of course, they can't, because the very essence of their movement is the destruction of the American Dream. (Thers was amused by the wingnut response.)

My thanks to CMike for reminding me of Joseph Califano's 1999 article, "What Was Really Great About The Great Society", debunking GOP lies about the effectiveness of the programs that cut poverty in half in the United States.

James Campbell interviews Gore Vidal: "This country is finished. But, with a new republic like this, if you missed being here at the beginning, the next best thing is to be here at the end."

I see the McCains have learned from the Bush administration the tactic of refusing to release information, then releasing a little information, and by the time they've gotten to the embarrassing parts it's all become old news and no one notices anymore. For example, Cindy's tax returns.

Obama shrugs off Clinton's remark. I think Susie Madrak was right when she suggested the media wants this to be the new Dean Scream. But they've been trying to tell Clinton to drop dead since Iowa, so no changes, there.

Digby noted the other day: "I just heard Chris Cilizza suggest on MSNBC that this charge of sexism is impossible to quantify, but Obama is winning partially because he turned his historic candidacy into a movement, while Clinton failed to turn hers into one. That may be true. But I can't see how she ever could have done it with coverage like this:" - such as the attack on her when she said at Wellesley, "In so many ways this all women's college prepared me to compete in the all-boys club of presidential politics." Of course, she was simply saying something good about what she learned at Wellesley, but the media excoriated her for "playing the victim". The media worked very, very hard to make it impossible for Clinton to highlight the historic nature of her campaign. You'd have thought that after her win in New Hampshire, they'd at least allow a mention of the fact that it was completely unprecedented for a woman to have won a state primary, but no - it devolved into an entirely counterfactual exclamation of surprise that Hillary was not dead yet, and an "explanation" that all those Clinton voters were a bunch of racists who'd lied about how they were going to vote - although, in fact, they hadn't lied at all, and she'd been leading in the polls all year. Bob Somerby points out that John Judis pretty much spilled the beans with: "Obama, too, was, and is, history - the first viable African-American presidential candidate. Yes, Hillary Clinton was the first viable female candidate, but it is still different. [...] And as Clinton began treating Obama as just another politician, they recoiled and threw their support to him." The media likes to pretend they haven't been consumed with Clinton-hatred since 1992. It's precious.

13:14 BST

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Listening to Pet Sounds has a calming influence

Freya Arabella underwired plunge bra for larger cupsBra of the Week

Charles finds The New York Times once again repeating the lie that Al Gore did not win the election. (Charles forgets, though, that the Florida judges would likely have followed Florida law and required that the overvotes be counted, as specified in the state's administrative code.)

And over at The Washington Post, Michael Gerson is Viewing With Alarm a giant strawman he calls "Barack Obama" that says things that Obama never said. But no surprises there....

I meant to link the other day to Glenn Greenwald's article about the gay marriage ruling, because he puts under close scrutiny the fantasy that there is something wrong with judges putting the Constitution over legislation. It's exactly what SCOTUS or a state Supreme Court is supposed to do - rule on whether laws are consistent with the state or US Constitution. Constitutions (and the Bill of Rights) are meant to protect us from mob rule and runaway legislators. And yet we actually have right-wing legal "scholars", lawyers, and judges acting as if constitutions weren't the law and should be waved away by judges the moment some crackpot law gets passed. (And speaking of crackpot laws, read Glenn on How telecoms are attempting to buy amnesty from Congress.)

The Republicans may be freaking out about their electoral chances, but Sean Wilentz thinks we're about to see the unmaking of the Democratic Party. But maybe he spoke too soon - the electoral map now shows Obama ahead of McCain (266-248), although Clinton still has him beat (314-207).

Meanwhile, my esteemed commenters either think I allowed myself to be swayed by media spin to think that Hillary had directly alluded to assassination when she did not (they are correct - see, if even I do it, why should I think no one else is?), or else think that all this proves is that Hillary is still a demon from Hell. (And over here, katiebird points out the significance of the '68 campaign for Hillary - she'd turned 21 that year, and it was her first opportunity to vote.)

But, most importantly: Hitler reacts to Torchwood Series 2 finale.

23:38 BST

If the media is pushing a story, ask yourself why

In comments, Joel in California alerts me to Hillary Clinton's recent comment in which she mentions the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy among the things that make the nomination process unpredictable this early in the race; she says she doesn't understand why people suddenly take so seriously the idea that a candidate for the nomination should drop out so early in process.

Joel asks whether, after this remark, I still think Hillary is no worse than Barack. But that's silly; Hillary's tendency to say stuff that doesn't work is one of the complaints I've had about her all along. I have always hated the fact that the Clintons spend so much time talking publicly (and to the press) about political strategy when they should be talking about issues. I hate the fact that they have their aides talking to the press that way. It made me crazy during the President Bill administration and it's making me crazy now.

But what's so special about this statement? It's not as if a lot of us haven't had this worry all along. Or maybe some of you are too young to remember what it was like to watch one effective progressive voice after another murdered. Maybe you haven't noticed how conveniently people who happen to be interfering with the right-wing agenda just happen to die in time to cancel their prospective successes. It's always on our minds that if they really feel sufficiently threatened by Obama, he's a very obvious target. My God, they've even been pushing Kennedy comparisons of him for weeks, now. Of course we worry about it. And what Hillary is saying is that she's baffled by the fact that everyone is pretending it's not one of the things we have to worry about when it's a legitimate worry. As usual, Hillary is saying aloud something that most of us think about but don't expect the candidate to say in public - one of her annoying qualities. But it's hardly outrageous. Let's see what Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has to say in his statement:

It is clear from the context that Hillary was invoking a familiar political circumstance in order to support her decision to stay in the race through June. I have heard her make this reference before, also citing her husband's 1992 race, both of which were hard fought through June. I understand how highly charged the atmosphere is, but I think it is a mistake for people to take offense.
And he's right. Just like he's right about the fact that we have more important things to be screaming about right now, and getting mired in hating Hillary is just a nasty and destructive distraction.

14:27 BST

You can't use accurate language to describe him on TV

Lieberman's latest salvos on the evil of ordinary diplomacy leads Colin McEnroe to think that maybe Lieberman is not all that bright:

Where to begin? First of all, can anyone imagine a Bush-Cheney-Lieberman response to the Cuban Missile Crisis that would not have produced some kind of inferno? But never mind that. Lieberman disingenuously ignores Kennedy's far more important strategy of engagement with Khruschev. As for Castro himself, evidence has been surfacing in recent years of a Kennedy plan for a two-track policy toward Cuba, the second track being a "carrot" of engagement. Kennedy would have arrived at that place through a series of hard lessons, especially the Bay of Pigs. It's worth noting that Bay of Pigs-style fiascos would be one of the hallmarks of a President Lieberman foreign policy. One of his very few consistent strategies is dumping arms into the hands of any faction that, for the moment, doesn't like somebody we don't like. At the beginning of the Balkan crisis, he proposed arming Bosnian Muslims. He was still speaking to me in those days, and I tried to talk to him about the bitter lesson of Somalia, where our policy of arming one warlord against another in the Soviet pawn game had led to a wildly violent and dangerous landscape that turned bloodily against us. He was unimpressed by my reasoning.


This is the kind of thing Lieberman loves. Sneaky military dealings with the enemies of our enemies. With no acknowledgement that the enemies of our enemies often become our enemies. (Think Osama bin Laden.) And it somehow has not sunk in with him that this doesn't work, that it has produced in fact the very set of conditions he now deplores and now intends to address with more of the same kind of thing.

12:19 BST

Don't let the bed bugs bite

I've been cranky and sleepy all day, so I haven't done much blogging. I tried but I keep stopping to bang my head against a wall. I think I'll just post these few and go to bed.

Crack reporter and sex symbol Michael Bérubé reports, "Liberal Pundits Offer Unprecedented Apology: Alternate Universe Washington, DC (AUP)--An influential group of liberal pundits and political commentators has formed a new organization to apologize for their columns on Ned Lamont's 2006 challenge to Joe Lieberman (R - Forallintentsandpurposes) and to call for their own resignations."

So, what are the chances that Rove will respond to the subpoena as if it had, y'know, the force of law?

James Wolcott has some observations on the shame of Washington University on the awarding of an honorary degree to Phyllis Schlafly.

I see Courtland Milloy is also wondering what people mean when they say race influenced their vote.

Digby on Macho Maverick McNasty vs. Obama and the GI Bill. (And I think the whole absurdity of the Arnold experience is having an effect on Digby.)

I want to thank Spocko for putting my mind at rest about this vexing question.

03:29 BST

Friday, 23 May 2008

Infinite distractions

WaPo buyout: "A number of familiar bylines will leave for good or no longer appear regularly in the paper, including those of military affairs reporter Thomas E. Ricks; feature writers Linton Weeks and Peter Carlson; health reporter Laura Sessions Stepp; science reporter Rick Weiss; the husband-and-wife foreign correspondent team of John Ward Anderson and Molly Moore; critics Stephen Hunter, Desson Thomson and Tim Page; Federal Diary columnist Stephen Barr; Weekend writers Richard Harrington and Eve Zibart; and Metro reporters Sue Anne Pressley Montes and Yolanda Woodlee. Political dean David Broder took the package but will remain on contract; his column will continue to appear in The Post." So they're losing Thomas Ricks, but they're keeping Broder while paying him off? Jeez. (I confess that I don't read Harrington very often, but he was a friend back in the days of The Washington Free Press and Woodwind. It's amazing to me now that someone with those credentials was ever hired by the WaPo in the first place.)

Appease in a pod - everyone's doing it, including Petraeus. (Hey, what was it when Bush pulled US troops out of Saudi Arabia, by the way?)

David Seaton has some interesting questions about how China has managed to do what it's doing. He doesn't have any answers, but the questions are worth consideration. (I find Seaton naive about a lot of things, but I don't find him stupid.)

Bruce Schneier calls our attention to the new Risk and Culture study, which says what might be useful things about how people evaluate risks and how to deal with them. "There is a culture war in America, but it is about facts, not values. There is very little evidence that most Americans care nearly as much about issues that symbolize competing cultural values as they do about the economy, national security, and the safety and health of themselves and their loved ones. There is ample evidence, however, that Americans are sharply divided along cultural lines about what sorts of conditions endanger these interests and what sorts of policies effectively counteract such risks."

No one is allowed to do a real study, of course, but anecdotal evidence suggests that some people's lives are actually being saved by using marijuana to treat their diseases. Except that the US government won't let them have their medicine. It might just be murder.

Looking for work.

19:31 BST

Bloggity blog

Re-reading again this post by Kos from January, it occurs to me that I don't actually know when Markos changed his mind about everyone. Admittedly, I don't read Daily Kos as often as I read some other blogs, so I miss a lot of the back and forth. I remember Kos being angry at the way Obama treated the netroots and the progressive community, and the way Obama kept dog-whistling to Republicans to the detriment of progressive issues. And then at some point when I wasn't actually looking, Daily Kos turned into a very different sort of site that has become somewhat difficult to read. Anyone remember how this happened?

Bill Scher says putting Clinton in the VP slot would be a disastrous idea. I agree with him (although not so much with his alternative choices). I also don't think she wants it. Besides, the Obama campaign went to a lot of trouble to destroy the Clintons, so why would he want Hillary tainting the ticket now?

"Hospital Attempts Deportation of Woman With Inadequate Insurance" - WTF? She's lived in America legally for 17 years, and they want to deport her because they don't like her health insurance?

The Poor Man Institute reports that Israel is like Nazi-appeasers: "John McCain promptly released a statement claiming that Israel's appeasement of terrorists proved that Israel wasn't fit to be President of the United States. Bush added: Israel is the new Chamberlain."

Before you read this, I want you to remember that the first spate of "the Baby-Boomers will break the Social Security system!" alarmism generated a wonderful plan to double-tax Boomers so that while paying into the system to support their parents, they were also paying into the system toward their own future drawings. And that's what Boomers have been doing for the last couple decades. That money came largely from people who make under $100K a year, and that's the money Bush gave away with his "It's your money!" tax cuts. Yes, it was your money, but he gave most of it to someone else.

Hmmm? Okay, ya got me, Maru.

01:36 BST

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Ride the wild surf

"Of guinea pigs, Canadian and American" - American healthcare is like one big Tuskegee experiment, where everyone else gets actual healthcare and the United States just gets maintained on the commercial medical industry disease.

John McCain went to college on the GI Bill, but thinks today's troops should have go back time and again until they're 30 - perhaps he hopes that they'll get killed before they can take advantage of it.

This Week in Tyranny, so-called child-protection laws that allow the police to keep your DNA on file are being used to keep track of protesters (as predicted); a bill has been introduced to put some restrictions on signing statements - but no one knows what that means since signing statements surely don't have the force of law anyway; and other things, including how Obama really is like Chamberlain: tall, black, plays basketball, and excites crowds. (Dan also alerts me that fright-wing bloggers think they've discovered the source of their electoral problems, and it's Tom Cole.)

Pravda asks, "Are US Republicans Sane?" "One has to wonder when listening to George Bush, Mike Huckabee and John McCain, how did these "men" get the positions they have when they are so obviously not in possession of their full mental faculties. Indeed, both Bush and McCain behave like sociopaths." (Thanks to Anna.)

Gene Lyons decided to unscientifically interview a few of those individuals who really, really don't want to vote for Obama, and it made me wonder: When people tell exit-pollsters that "race" influenced their vote, what exactly do they mean?

Thanks to D. for tipping me off to the cover of the latest New Yorker. Yeah, it feels that way sometimes.

16:36 BST

Alterman on liberty

Eric Alterman is in discussion at TPMCafé about his latest book, Why We're Liberals, and responds to three responders. He addresses Brink Lindsey's argument like this:

Well, Brink, as a libertarian, has his theories about the way the world works. But I don't share them and personally, I do not understand the intrinsic connection he draws between what he deems to be the socialistic impulses of the Great Society and its shortcomings. In the first place, the nations of Northern Europe have gone a great deal further in this directions and enjoyed considerable success in building societies that meet the needs of their citizens and manage to protect their individual rights. Second, I don't see American liberalism's mistakes in this context either. The Vietnam War was not the fault of a collectivist mentality; neither was the blaming of the white working class for the problems caused by forced integration. The commitment to identity politics, the abdication of the intellectuals, the unwillingness to stand up and fight their battles in the media and others I mention in the book--these all strike me as entirely credible explanations for the sorry state of affairs in which we've found ourselves in recent decades.

I share the libertarian concern with the growth of bureaucracy and as Brink was kind enough to mention, also locate the core of liberal thought in the experiences and insights of the Enlightenment--and focus on their implications for the rights of the individual. But as John Dewey argued, "liberty" should be imagined not as an abstract principle merely to be admired but as "the effective power to do specific things"--things that could not be done by people enjoying only the theoretical ability to act on their freedoms. No longer could the slogan of political liberals be "Let the government keep its hands off industry and commerce," as the government became necessary to protect the individual's freedom from the growing power of just those forces. "There is no such thing as the liberty or effective power of an individual, group, or class," Dewey explained, "except in relation to the liberties, the effective powers, of other individuals, groups or classes."

I feel that libertarianism, as I understand it, is overly concerned with theoretical liberty at the expense of its actual practice. The freedom to starve, to see one's labor unfairly exploited, to drink polluted water or breath polluted air, are not freedoms I strongly value. And to battle these and others like them, society requires collective institutional action and in many cases, government (or labor union) protection. I'm no fan of "big government" per se--and neither was Dewey. It's merely that powerful forces like global corporations require powerful forces to balance them.

12:03 BST

Behind the buttons

Warren Christopher isn't happy with the way he was portrayed in Danny Strong's movie about the 2000 election in Florida, Recount. He isn't happy because the narrative Strong chose portrays Christopher as "a weak strategist unprepared to stand up to the aggressive tactics of James A. Baker III, the former secretary of state who was the chief Republican adviser." I suspect the film didn't say anything about how the Republicans threatened local lawyers not to help the Gore team. Still, I do wish they'd noticed that the Florida Administrative Code said the overvotes had to be hand-counted to determine the will of the voter....

Larisa Alexandrovna writes: "All the President's Nazis (real and imagined): An Open Letter to Bush".

Jay Ackroyd says: "Al Qaeda Declares Victory in Iraq."

Mick Arran says that the most unpopular president ever is probably also the most successful: "Everywhere you look he got just what he went after, so from whence cometh this fantasy that George is "incompetent"? An incompetent doesn't get everything he wants. Incompetence is an argument for innocence, a sort of "he didn't mean to, he didn't know any better" defense. To allow it is to let him get away with the bloody, insane, psychotic murder of an entire country. More - of the Founders' belief in the possibility of virtuous political man, the essential goodness of plain folk, and the right of the weak to use the law and the society to defend themselves against powerful predators. In fact, of the slaughter of the American Dream itself."

I'm kinda hoping that McSame takes Lieberman as his VP. You know, the guy the Republicans themselves once dubbed "Loserman". I really think trying to censor YouTube will look great on his résumé.

03:21 BST

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Onward and upward

Nick Turse didn't love Iron Man, and calls it a "Pentagon blockbuster" that is part of a long-running pro-war propaganda project that goes back to the Silent Era. (via)

Hey, look, an actual daily newspaper covered the Sun Myung Moon story.

Chris Matthews may have lured Kevin James into a trap by having always given crazy right-wing nonsense a pass on his show, says Brad at Media BloodHound - although it was refreshing to see him refuse to accept such nonsense, just this once: "As a TV journalist, Matthews has always been more a showman than a newsman. Is he growing disenchanted with being seen as merely the former and striving to be accepted as the latter? And is his potential disenchantment inspired by feelings that he was used by the Bush administration to enable its dictatorial agenda? Or was his dressing down of Kevin James, an easy and relatively powerless target, simply a way to raise his journalistic street cred? It's time for Chris Matthews to play hardball. Every day. And not just against the B team."

And another good way to rip everyone off: Medicare Advantage, the high cost of private insurance kickbacks.

Wow, Bush managed to get all the way down to a 23% approval rating! I'm so pleased that Obama seems to be saying Bush's and McCain's names together when he talks about them.

See, Hillary-hating really does make you say stupid things. It made Scott Lemieux say that when Jeff Jacoby claimed that, "Bush was reelected with the highest vote total in American history," this was true. Bush may have had the highest claimed vote total, but there's no evidence that he actually got that many votes - especially since so many of them came from towns that appeared to have more Bush voters than actual inhabitants. (via)

21:06 BST

Turbot is ambitious brill

We chum up to oppressive governments so we can torture people, but we're the good guys. I still can't cope with the dissonance.

How No Child Left Behind works, explained in a way that even a Republican can understand. (Of course, most elected Republicans already do, which is why they support it.)

Local food infrastructure, and why it's hard to have one. But maybe it's do-able.

Can It Get Any Worse? Sure - they still plan to attack Iran. I think at this point it's just so they can show us how much contempt they have for us (and by "us" I mean everyone else). I wonder if by now the Muslim world has worked out that retaliating by attacking Israel isn't a threat to the Christianists, it's the desired outcome.

Bruce Schneier has another small but annoying example of security greed at airports, and also says we need to take back our data.

August J. Pollak's small theory about The New York Times.

Polls make me gnash my teeth but I can't resist them - and Survey USA has one out for North Carolina that suggests that if Clinton is the Democratic nominee, it puts the state in play. (via) (Also: Jack Newfield's 2002 article on Ted Kennedy, "The Senate's Fighting Liberal", (via).)

Watch the trailer and clips for War, Inc..

12:00 BST

Open windows

HuffPo says there's no evidence that Obama ever said he'd negotiate with Ahmadinejad, but The Weakly Standard says they have the video. Nevertheless, Joe Klein, to my astonishment, actually popped the big question: "At a press conference here, I just asked John McCain about why he keeps talking about Obama's alleged willingness to talk to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has no power over Iranian foreign policy, rather than Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who does. He said that Ahmadinejad is the guy who represents Iran in international forums like the United Nations, which is a fair point. When I followed with the observation that the Supreme Leader is, uh, the Supreme Leader, McCain responded that the "average American" thinks Ahmadinejad is the boss. Didn't get a chance to follow up to that, but I would have asked, "But isn't it your job to correct those sorts of mistaken impressions on the part of the American public?" Oh well." So, Joe Klein actually believes the crap Republicans tell him. (via)

How does that joke go? You know a good Republican whine? The thoroughly corrupt and unethical Hans Von Spakovsky is in the WSJ whining about being "smeared" by the ACLU and others who exposed him as corrupt and unethical. Alt Hippo reports, and David Kurtz is hurt that he and TPM didn't get blamed with the other raving lefties.

Driftglass examines the Republicans' dilemma. And though all of the Republicans have been willing contributors to the debacle, they're trying hard to run from their biggest problem - The Crazy Old Man In The Broken-Down House. (Thanks to D.)

After learning of the mass graves in South Korea left from when it was under US control, Dennis Perrin is moved to thoughts about imperial double-standards.

Juan Cole: "Sunni Arab political parties are not accepting the apology of the US military for the actions of an army sergeant who used the Qur'an for target practice. [Since the Pentagon keeps the television turned to the Islamophobic Fox Cable News for the soldiers on bases in Iraq, it is amazing more such incidents don't occur.]"

Listen to Rachel Maddow's interview with Jeff Sharlet about his book The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power. I really do find this stuff chilling.

00:07 BST

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Here on Earth, they'll wonder

It looks like Steny and the Blue Dogs are trying to arrange a deal to capitulate on telecom immunity, again, reports Howie Klein: "Although the House voted against retroactive immunity, many suspect that Hoyer has promised the Blue Dogs that he will deliver it in the negotiations. He made sure one of the most vile Blue Dogs accepting telecom bribes, Iowa Congressman Leonard Boswell, would be in on the negotiations." Boswell is facing a strong challenger in the Iowa primary from Ed Fallon (website), who you might want to help out - but, in addition, Glenn Greenwald invites you to help to oust another Blue Dog who has jumped on the same gravy train, Chris Carney of Pennsylvania. Blue American has a big ad campaign against Carney on this issue and they could use some cash to keep it running. And there's more.

Naomi Klein says the Chinese police state has turned out to be better than free markets for making capitalism work - and now that American companies have helped them set it up, they are ready to send it back to the "free" world.

Prosecutorial election fraud: "Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's two year, $1.4 million dollar investigation into what he claims is "an epidemic of voter fraud in Texas" to justify his support for voter ID laws, resulted in just 26 cases. It will come as no surprise to anyone who has been following C&L's ongoing coverage of this issue that all of the cases were "against Democrats, and almost all involving blacks or Hispanics." What's more, of the 26, only 8 were actually cases of fraud. "In 18 of the 26 cases, the voters were eligible, votes were properly cast and no vote was changed - but the people who collected the ballots for mailing were prosecuted," yet Abbott refused to investigate a serious case of apparent ballot-box stuffing of "more than 100 ballots - potentially more than in all of Mr. Abbott's other vote-fraud prosecutions combined" - "in Highland Park, one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the country with hundreds of million-dollar homes and where both George W. Bush and Dick Cheney once lived.""

Steve Soto is getting a bit worried about the way Obama is creating his own machine that excludes bloggers and other activist groups. His campaign is discouraging donations to anyone but the Obama campaign and is freezing out progressive influences. For those of you who are going to have to hold your nose already to vote for him in November, let me recommend you put your time and money into down-ticket races and work for candidates in your own locality.

Entertainment: "BBC Wales and BBC Drama has announced that Bafta and Hugo Award winning writer Steven Moffat will succeed Russell T Davies as Lead Writer and Executive Producer of the fifth series of Doctor Who, which will broadcast on BBC One in 2010." Moffat had previously been rejected for the job when he first applied for it at the age of seven.

18:41 BST

Foreign policy stew

There are a number of things wrong with McCain's statement that:

I believe that it's not an accident that our hostages came home from Iran when President Reagan was president of the United States. He didn't sit down in a negotiation with the religious extremists in Iran, he made it very clear that those hostages were coming home.
Grace Kelly mentions a couple of them - that Reagan wasn't president at the time of the negotiations that did happen, that the hostages were freed around the time Reagan was being inaugurated, and that later Reagan did indeed play patty-cake with Iran. (via) But all the evidence says that before that, Reagan's running-mate George H.W. Bush did, in fact, have his own little back-channel, illegal, treasonous bit of negotiating with Iran on behalf of themselves for political gain to keep the hostages from being freed until Reagan was in the White House.

So, obviously, the Republicans would like you to be living in their fantasy with them - so much so that they want to confound any attempt to have factual information available in the first place. Which makes it pretty unsurprising that when Obama makes the indisputable statement that the Soviets posed a greater threat than Iran, McCain would naturally turn around and dispute it. (Alas, Obama also made the far less credible statement that, "Iran is a grave threat," too. *sigh*.)

12:20 BST

Your happenin' world

Froomkin has a look at Bush's fake peacemaking tour in the Middle East, which fooled no one.

Hagee says Hitler was doing God's work - forcing the Jews back to Israel where they belong. Among other rancid things. (via)

Oyster hopes the Secret Service has improved since Kennedy's days in office.

Bush won't give the FBI enough money to fight crime because it's all gone to "fight terrorism" - meaning it's all being wasted.

Monstrous woman, monstrous women.

Charles Dodgson examines the motivations of certain protesters.

How do you collect on insurance against the end of the world? Because some people are betting on it, and it's not who you might think.

Via Jay, more poll analysis, and I see that new polls out today show Dems now likely to pick up New Mexico whether it's Clinton or Obama.

Shut the Freud Up has a new video, "DNC: Fractured Fairy Tales". Um. Look, I know you're pissed off, peeps, but you really, really, really won't like a McCain presidency. Did I mention that millions of lives are at stake? Please, think.

02:50 BST

Monday, 19 May 2008

American landscape

It really is astonishing that such a large proportion of the United States got scooped up into such a paranoid fantasy after 9/11 and it lasted this long. I don't marvel that people were in a state of shock for about six months - even over here, I had complete strangers from all over the world (and all colors and religions) gushing sympathy at me the moment they heard my accent - but this whole idea that their religious extremists would be any more powerful than ours is pretty whacky to begin with. As is, of course, the notion that the brave response to a threat is to completely up-end our way of life to cower in terror and clamp down on our free(ish) society. It's amazing how proud the right-wingers are of their ability to completely give in to terrorism. And they are utterly oblivious to the fact that that's exactly what they've done.

Glenn Greenwald on High Standards at the Washington Post Op-Ed page - still reeling in shock from this new low.

Not superheroes. (I guess that calls for this.)

Gosh, why doesn't anyone like Michelle Malkin?

Skimping at a profit - Or, how to get rich on Uncle Sugar while starving other people.

David Barton inspired Tom DeLay, and now he wants to re-educate your children.

Mark Kernes at Adult Video News believes a US Attorney decided to indict Karen Fletcher because she was a perfect victim - her agoraphobia made her terrified to present herself in court. Which is probably why she pled guilty to an obscenity charge based entirely on text.

Ten years ago when I got my new passport, I was dismayed that the new design was uglier than the old one. This time I think the new design is much classier - the Preamble above your photo instead of just a tacky pattern, the inelegant repeating pattern of the old visa pages replaced by much nicer ones that are all different, etc. It's awfully pretentious, but I actually liked the way old passports were all fussy and pretentious and weighty, like.

18:01 BST

Stuff I saw

Shhh! "The Bush administration has taken another step towards walling government off from the public. This time it's a new designation for information that the government can't justify calling "Secret" but which it doesn't want anyone to know about." I love this new term: "controlled unclassified information enhanced with specified dissemination". 'Cause they just don't want to have to tell you they are Defying Constitutional Government. They really need to arrest Bush and Cheney, you know.

I miss the old Routemasters, but it was pretty obvious that Boris was making promises he can't keep.

Quote: "Tony Blair could be seen as the Neville Chamberlain of his time, except that Blair actively collaborated with Bush instead of trying to talk him to a halt."

The thing about this video is that I just have to marvel over Bill O'Reilly finding a use for Reagan's old hair.

The Real McCain, Pt. 2 - he just can't keep his lies straight these days.

Your next president. More stuff at All Hat No Cattle. (Thanks to Neil.)

NTodd has some nice pix from the giant Obama rally.

12:20 BST

Mushroom pie

It's not really a surprise that the usual idiots are doing the old "the Dem candidate is a limp-wrist" routine, but at the point where merely disagreeing with something stupid McCain said gets you called "hysterical", well, it really is time for the gloves to come off. The whole Republican Party and the White House press corps all constantly sound like they're exposing their various types of massive psychosexual panic and obsession, and it's about time they were called on it. But this seems to be a popular new meme - there is something wrong with anyone who so much as campaigns against the media's chosen saint.

Frank Rich says, "McCain Can Run, but Bush Won't Hide" - 'cause the ever-present stink of Bush-Cheney is on McSame, and it's the kiss of death. But, as Jamison Foser points out, the press is still doing its best to cover for him.

Perrspectives: "Just 48 hours after jumping on the Bush appeasement bandwagon, John McCain is probably regretting his leap. First, it was revealed that the tough-talking Republican presidential nominee was for negotiating with the Hamas government in the Palestinian territories before he was against it. Then Americans learned that in 2003, Mr. Straight Talk favored engagement with the terror-sponsoring state of Syria. Now in his accusations against Democrat Barack Obama, John McCain conveniently forgot Ronald Reagan's dealings with Tehran during the Iran-Contra scandal. Given his defense the Reagan administration at the time, McCain's selective amnesia comes as no surprise."

I just agree with Jim Henley that "When All You Have is Maxwell's Silver Hammer, Everything Looks Like a Head" is a great title for a post about the mind-boggling fact that our current public discourse treats war as something we must do in order to engage with the world - and anything else is [fnord] "isolationist". However, there seems to be some dispute as to whether it is the best post title ever. (via)

What color blindness looks like. (Now tell me what colors you see in this graphic, bearing in mind that in HTML we get cyan and magenta and brown and blue.)

01:23 BST

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Weather report

Click for London City, United Kingdom Forecast

Joe Galloway is not amused at having his name taken in vain in defense of Rumsfeld's illegal propaganda program.

I actually swore aloud when I read the first paragraph of this editorial in the WaPo about extending the period of unemployment benefits. The rest of the editorial approves of the idea, but first they babble nonsense about "balancing" the need to help people against spoiling the unemployed with benefits so luxurious that they wouldn't bother to get jobs, something no one has ever proposed.

Good for them: "In a blatant victory for (wedonttrustvotingcomputers), the administration today announced it will cancel the use of any and all voting computers. Rest in peace." Now, if we could only convince a couple of other countries I could name to take the same approach.

HP in comments: "If I wanted to appease Muslim terrorists, I would turn the largest secular Arab state in history into an Islamic republic." Yep. Well, that and, if I specifically wanted to appease Osama bin Laden, remove the troops from Saudi Arabia, too.

17:36 BST

You could learn about the world in an afternoon

After Ted Kennedy is coptered off to the hospital, Jim Macdonald gives us A Fast Note on Strokes, offering useful advice and a clue to what kind of tests he might be getting.

Thers has unmasked the shadowy conspiracy behind John McSame.

97 Senatorial Prospects On The Wall - Gary Farber notes that, when asked whether they'd want to be the party nominee's vice president, Republicans who are younger than McShame says they are "too old". Democrats had more interesting answers - I rather liked the response from Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA): "No, I'd have Jon Stewart stand in for me. Jon Stewart. That's my guy." (Also: Peggy Nooner strikes again.)

"When Their Mouths are Moving: The effect of saying that appeasin' is the purpose of any attempted diplomacy once again highlights the incapacity of the cretin in chief and his succubi to perform the basic tasks they have taken on. Wars are the only tactic they understand, putting the last thing anyone in his right mind would want ahead of any reasonable action."

Atrios recommended Michelle Cottle's piece full of anonymous sources from the Clinton campaign talking about What Went Wrong. A lot of it rings true, I'm afraid, but I was fascinated by the fact that they didn't mention the devastating memo from the Obama camp before SC.

Man, they could only get 50 protesters against John Yoo? At Berkeley?

Guess which comment on this thread at LGM made me laugh out loud.


12:47 BST

Walkin' a frozen line

Aubade Frisson Chantilly half cup braMuch too expensive Bra of the Week.

More and worser Democrats? The NYT is treating a prospective increase in the Democratic Congressional delegation as bad news for Dems, and maybe they're right. Digby is trying to work it out. I've had a queasy feeling about it all along - I think Dems in red districts can do well if they stick to popular liberal positions on jobs, healthcare, and good government in general; we don't need any more people who'll vote for corporatism and more war. Being pro gun rights is not a big problem, but the issue with Blue Dogs isn't guns, it's much bigger than that - they're not just voting against Dems, they're voting against Americans.

At TomDisPatch, "Kiss American Security Goodbye" - Tom Engelhardt says the rule of some eastern martial arts applies: "Now, jump to September 11, 2001 and its aftermath -- and you know the Tai Chi version of history from there. Think of it as a grim cosmic joke -- that the 9/11 attacks, as apocalyptic as they looked, were anything but. The true disasters followed and the wounds were largely self-inflicted, as the most militarily powerful nation on the planet used its own force to disable itself."

Diane seems to be having similar thoughts about a nation that pretends to acquire security by use of torture prisons and concertina wire - not the America we remember, and not the future we dreamed together.

So, after 35 years, they've got a conviction for the murder of Victor Jara - but is that justice, or just one man standing in for the others who were also responsible? And is it what can be expected in any country - such as our own - when the evil starts at the top?

I used to be on both the Obama and Clinton e-mail lists, but I eventually just stopped getting anything from the Obama team. Periodically I get invited to conference calls for the Clinton team, but I never respond to them because they're at inconvenient times and I'm not even sure it works on SkypeOut. This time I was invited to speak to the senator herself, but again, inconvenient time, and not sure about Skype. I've wondered whether Obama does stuff like this, though I've heard of rumors from reporters that when they do calls with Obama, he doesn't allow the kind of questions Clinton does. Anyway, maybe Obama bloggers can report back on comparisons to this one. You can hear the entire call here.

02:51 BST

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Changing terrain

Water Runs Away: "That ground under your feet may seem pretty solid, but if you're in West Texas, it may already have been taken out from under them. T. Boone Pickens has been planning something. It involves the Ogallala Aquifer, which still has no regulations concerning the use of its water in the state of Texas. By 'capture rights' anyone with rights to the water can take as much as she/he likes."

Bernard Chazelle: "While tens of thousands of Chinese are burying their dead, while parents are clinging to the dead bodies of their single children, while thousands are buried alive under the rubble, waiting to die, the New York Times finds the time just ripe to tell us why the Chinese are so annoyingly inferior. To be fair, we're informed that the Chinese did invent something important: toilet paper. (I guess Americans reinvented it and called it 'The New York Times.')" (And via ATR, I also learn that Hamas uses the Republican playbook. Who knew?)

Here's a bunch of polling data analysis for people who are still geeking on the primaries. Most of it is unsurprising, except for the datum that Clinton tends to win in states where turnout is higher, which would seem to contradict the assumption that it's Obama who is bringing more people to the polls. "The relationship is strong enough that Democratic primary turnout can be predicted using Clinton's share of the vote." (via) The maps at currently show McCain beating Obama 290-237 and Clinton beating McCain 279-242. And I see that Vivian Paige has reduced images of those two pages together if you want to compare them easily by eyeball. Obama plays stronger in the western red states, but with the exception of Colorado, it's not enough to turn them blue. She also links to an article by, of all people, Cokie Roberts, who actually seems worried that the Dems will lose if they choose Obama rather than Hillary. ("Yes, the Clinton camp made strategic blunders that allowed Obama to score heavily in Republican states where few Democrats vote. But the real culprit is the party's stupid, self-destructive nominating system, which has two major flaws.")

23:00 BST

Mostly painless news

Famed anti-voting rights activist Hans von Spakovsky has withdrawn his name from consideration for the FEC. He can now go off to do some serious voter-suppression for the campaign.

Todd Beeton says it's possible that we could actually get that veto-proof majority in the Senate, since there are already three likely pick-ups, two close toss-ups, and four conservative seats where Democratic challengers are polling within single-digits. And there's even a chance to get rid of one more - Susan Collins, who is a major Bush enabler. Tom Allen is slowly gaining on her and is now only about 10 points behind, continuing to pound her failure to hold oversight hearings on Haliburton/KBR's rip-off of troops and taxpayers. The local CBS affiliate is even covering him. If we get all of these seats, Lieberman becomes irrelevant - but like Lieberman in CT in 2006, Collins has still got something like a third of Democrats in Maine fooled with her fake "moderate" credentials. Maybe you'd like to give Tom Allen some help. (Meanwhile, it's good to see Dems challenging even where a win is unlikely, and making a credible showing so far in the polls. Although no one expects to get rid of Roberts, it's hard to forget that no one expected some of our freshman Democrats to win in 2006, either - and that we just won that special election in Mississippi's 1st.)

Downloadable .pdfs (set up for single-sheet) of photographers' rights can be found here for the US and here for the UK. (via)

Congratulations to Cory and to Patrick for getting to #9 on the NYT best-sellers list for kids' books with Little Brother next week.

Trekkin' in Singapore - McRitchie - expatbrian's photos of a walk through some dense forest. (via)

15:18 BST

Hating our freedoms

A British resident is suing the British government "for refusing to provide evidence that may assist in his defence at Guantánamo:

Although he later reported to his lawyer -- Clive Stafford Smith of the legal action charity Reprieve (, which represents 35 prisoners in Guantánamo -- that the British checked out his story, and confirmed that he was a "nobody," the Americans were not convinced, and decided to send him to Morocco, where he could be interrogated by professional torturers who were not bothered about international treaties preventing the use of torture, and who were equally unconcerned about whether evidence of their activities would ever surface.

Speaking of his time in Morocco, where he was held for 18 months, Binyam told Stafford Smith that he was subjected to horrendous torture, which, included, but was not limited to having his penis cut with a razor on a regular basis. In spite of this, the regular beatings and other torture that he did not even want to talk about, Binyam said that his lowest moment of all came when his torturers produced evidence of his life in London, which could only have come from the British intelligence services, and he realized that he had been abandoned and betrayed by his adopted homeland.

12:19 BST

Sleep for peace

I'm not one of those people who thinks Barack making Hillary his VP is a great idea, but when I see stuff like this, it occurs to me that with Hillary as vice president, the wingers would be really unlikely to assassinate President Obama.

A friendly reminder about the future of the Supreme Court and Another reason Jefferson was right.

More pushback on Bush's appeasement statement, from Pelosi, who suggests that Bush is not a "serious" person, and Joe Biden, who uses much stronger language.

David Brooks translated for the non-insane.

Politico notices that John Hagee "supports Israel" by pumping for a giant war that will kill all the Jews - and pretty much everyone else.

The uncut Jon Stewart interview with Doug Feith (stupidest human being in the world), Part 1, Part 2.

Joss Whedon's Dollhouse cast photo and trailer. Thanks to Anna.

They're calling it a "solar bra" - I'd almost forgotten they used to have "longline bras", y'know? Thanks for the tip to MadKane, who has a limerick for the Republicans.

03:00 BST

Friday, 16 May 2008

When coffee is not enough

Found in Eschaton comments:

So scary this decision, since
It forcibly entails
That Christian men in droves will leave
Their wives and put on veils.

And to the alter they will go
And wed their lusty beau,
Which never would have happened if
The law had told them no.
Fly-fornication Moscowitz | 05.16.08 - 9:00 am | #

And congratulations to California from all of us at The Sideshow.

There's been some good pushback on Bush and McCain making false comparisons between Obama and Neville Chamberlain, but nothing was more surprising than Chris Matthews proving that his powers can be used for good (although Anna doesn't think Matthews' motives were lofty). It was fun to watch, anyway.

If you liked Iraq... Attackerman has a good little video from True Majority warning against making war on Iran. Sign the petition. (via)

I wish I could believe that Hillary ending her campaign really would ensure an end to all of this, but it seems to me that some people are just having too much fun behaving like creepy little pricks to stop now. Via Sherry Chandler.

MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU, via Mithras.

18:29 BST

Tryin' to make a dovetail joint, yeah

Last night at the pub someone asked me what I thought Hillary was doing. Oddly enough, I've never actually seriously considered the question - mostly just thought that the theories I keep hearing (like that she wants to be McCain's runningmate!) don't sound right to me. And sure, I do think she's hanging in there just in case something does happen to change the terrain, no matter how slim the chance is, but it occurred to me at that moment that it's more than that. "I think she's running all the bases," I said. "She's the first woman in history to win a state primary, and she's won a lot more. She's running pretty close to the front-runner. It's a major historic moment." And the more I think about it, the more I think it has to be part of what's driving her. There's a bit of climbing the mountain because it's there, and wanting to be able to stand up in the end and say something like, "Never let it be said that a woman can't go the distance." It doesn't matter if someone else breaks the tape, just as long as she finishes the race. (And think how she'd feel if something did happen before Denver to tank Obama and she hadn't.) I've been unhappy with a lot of things about Hillary, but there's a part of me that kind of admires that. Because she wouldn't just be doing that for herself - she's doing it for every little girl who was ever told she can't.

Possibly the stupidest sentence* in my comments yesterday: "Seriously, pretending that the same people who despise Hillary don't hate bush is just laughable." Um, did you forget about the entire segregationist/anti-feminist wing of the Republican Party? They've hated her ever since she failed to change her name when she got married, and they haven't stopped. The 27-percenters still hate Hillary, you dork.

Look, people misremember stuff, just like Al Gore forgot who he went to that fire with. As I understand it, Obama did get slapped around in the media for what he said in Detroit, though maybe some folks did applaud in the audience when he actually said it. Hillary probably remembers being told they were taking a steep landing to avoid sniper fire and conflated it in her mind with being under sniper fire. It's no big deal - or it shouldn't be. It's not quite the same thing as John McCain just conveniently forgetting that he consistently supported Bush's slimy little invasion and told us it'd be a cakewalk.

This is right. People don't group-think on LSD much, they mostly just go off into their own little universes. I never heard anyone say "Drink the Kool-Aid" like that in the context of tripping - and believe me, if they were doing it, I would have heard it.

They came from out of the deep. (Thanks to Ruth.)

11:52 BST

Nightcap with links

Verdict: Wexler Promises To Keep After Rove In Siegelman Case - and they both talked to Dan Abrams about it on his new show, Verdict.

So now everybody agrees that we'll have troops out of Iraq by 2013, except for the troops that are still there.

People just can't wait - even in the deepest of red districts - to get out there and vote against Republicans.

No help: "From an executive branch that is showing increasing irresponsibility comes the threat of a veto to keep homeowners from rescue like that given Bear Stearns, paid for out of those homeowners' taxes. The housing crisis has come about because of the lax regulations, and non-enforcement of regulations, as well as by buyers' unwise choices. Yet it is against the prospect of bailing out a few grifters along with those who were set up by a wildly aggressive loan industry that the worst administration ever has balked."

If I understand Clif at Sadly, No! correctly, Tony Blankley is saying that being a racist isn't bigotry. Just takes your breath away, don't it? But, apparently, racism is downright cool amongst the right-wing "intellectual" set these days. (via)

Dan of Pruning Shears and Glenn Greenwald both respond to Joe Klein's bizarre reaction to being challenged on the reliability of his sources. Yes, at this late date, and after a long history of getting it completely wrong time and again because his sources lied to him, Joke has the temerity to demand, "Tell me where I've been misled by my sources." And it never seems to cross his mind, even now, that the administration really does lie to him.

Tom Hilton is so right.

Oh, my god, I nearly forgot that May is Masterbation Month! Join the Masturbate-a-thon on the 25th. (May not be work-safe.)

01:42 BST

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Getting on with it

There is something sort of wonderful about getting e-mail from Richard Viguerie recommending his new blog post, clicking on the link to get "Page not found," clicking on "Home" and then on the link for the post to find that that link isn't actually the link for the specific post and having to click on yet another link to finally reach it. That's Republican competence for ya. And then there's the post itself, saying, "All Republican leaders must resign" - because they all "have failed - or outright betrayed - the conservative voters who put them in their positions." Well, for the majority of Republican voters, that's true, but then the whole conservative program is a betrayal of those same people, who thought they were voting for good government and a strong economy, while the conservative leadership - including Viguerie - has been all about getting rich and powerful. But he says, as if someone else made them do it, "We must replace the Big Government/Big Business/Establishment Republicans with principled conservatives, most of them young. By 'principled conservatives,' I mean leaders who will stand up to the liberals and fight for freedom and traditional values." Right, the liberals did this. Putz. (For more fun, check out the comments.)

How exciting, there will now be a whole new way to taser you!

Harold Meyerson: "That's not the America, though, that the Republicans refer to in proclaiming their own Americanness. For them, 'American' is a term to be used as a wedge issue, a way to distinguish their more racially and religiously homogeneous party from the historically more polyglot Democrats. Such separation has a long pedigree: Campaigning for GOP presidential nominee Alf Landon in 1936, Republican leader Frank Knox said that the Democratic Party under President Franklin Roosevelt 'has been seized by alien and un-American elements. Next November, you will choose the American way.'" Let's hope it works just as well, eh?

I thought John Edwards was really classy beginning his endorsement speech by praising Clinton. And maybe it was smart of Obama to have Edwards doing that right off the bat (and encouraging the crowd to applaud) as a start to healing the wounds. And it was real fine listening to Edwards talking about the issues that matter to him again. If Barack is smart, he'll put John out there as much as possible, because he's really good at talking about those issues in the kind of detail that reaches the people who stay up at night worrying about them.

It's their war, make 'em pay for it.

Man, Michael Gerson is a slow learner.

13:57 BST

But if I really say it, the radio won't play it

Possibly the most astonishing fact of the last five years is that there are that many people to whom it is impossible to explain that if someone invades your country, tries to steal your resources, maintains a brutal occupation, and announces publicly that one of their goals is to humiliate you, they are going to hate you and want to kick you out, and it has nothing to do with religious extremism. (Or, as Crossed Crocodiles notes in another context, that counterinsurgency you're fighting isn't "Islamic extremism", it's a resistance. (via))

Annie is following up on Priest and Goldstein's article and investigating what those medical personnel are doing to ICE detainees, and under what rules/authority.

Roy Edroso reads Jules Crittenden and discovers his understanding of racism. Also, Barack Obama's Sekrit Agenda (may not be work-safe). If someone tells you they refuse to vote for Obama, maybe you should play this for them and say, "Is that what you're afraid of?" And laugh at them.

About this, I have to say that what really grinds my gears is thinking about how most of those same people watched George Bush murder more than a million people, encourage genocidal hatred toward many more, and destroy our country - and yet they could never display that kind of contempt for him.

Cory Doctorow started a totally fannish thread at Boing Boing, and TNH contributed some lore. (via)

A moment with Darth Vader and son. (Thanks to Dominic for the tip.)

PP&M, having way too much fun to mean it. And here's a bit of irony for ya.

03:03 BST

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Here, there, and everywhere

"Pitter Patter of Cutting Out Your Rights: "The larger suits to establish Federal pre-emption of consumer protection have brought notice to a smaller, quieter campaign against America that the worst administration ever has been conducting. Your rights are being chipped away in wording by revising regulatory bases, or preambles. The new direction taken at executive branch agencies eliminates grounds for lawsuits against the businesses that endanger Americans."

Hendrik Hertzberg has some Drug-War Bulletins in The New Yorker. Just data points in why we can all hope our candidates will have the courage to see sense about this and say it out loud. (I heard someone say on the radio that there's a video of an early Obama speech decrying the War on Some Drugs that the Republicans are bound to use against him. It made me feel much more hopeful about him. It would be so cool if they tried it on and he stood behind it instead of cowering into anti-drug hysteria.) (via)

David Swanson says when he interviewed Lincoln Chafee, Linc called George Walker Bush the worst president in U.S. history. He also claims there's audio, but I couldn't find it.

Oh, great. "Official: Israel to expand West Bank settlements." I really don't think they understand the danger they're courting.

I'm not sure it makes sense to argue that we have to win West Virginia because "no Democrat has won the White House without West Virginia since 1916," but I also don't think it makes sense to write W.VA off, either. We've been seeing a lot of deep-red districts turn blue recently, and there's no reason to think that couldn't happen to West Virginia. Give them a candidate who can convince them they really do understand the problems of ordinary working people and have the will to help them, and they will vote for that candidate. Write them off because "they aren't going to vote for a Democrat anyway," and you could be writing "self-fulfilling prophecy" all over the state. Obama didn't even try this time - maybe before November, a charm offensive is in order. It's amazing how much prejudice you can overcome by letting people actually talk to you. Yeah, maybe a lot of them are too racist to change their minds - but maybe some of them figured that if he didn't want their votes enough to come courtin', he didn't deserve 'em. So it's time to come courtin'.

Pretty stuff

23:28 BST

And the big wheel turn around

The War on Tourism continues: An Italian guy comes to visit his American girlfriend: "But on April 29, when Mr. Salerno, 35, presented his passport at Washington Dulles International Airport, a Customs and Border Protection agent refused to let him into the United States. [...] Ten days after he landed in Washington, Mr. Salerno was still incarcerated, despite efforts by Senator John W. Warner, Republican of Virginia, and two former immigration prosecutors hired by the Coopers." Fortunately, his girlfriend contacted The New York Times, and their enquiries convinced immigration that they might just have a PR disaster on their hands if they didn't let him go home.

But at least he knew somebody who knew somebody and got out. And at least he didn't have cancer that went untreated, or one of dozens of other problems that affect a few hundred thousand people a year who are shuffled into this ungodly system and can't get out. Many of them are people who have broken no laws and certainly pose no threat to us. What kind of people would allow this to happen?

Possibly the same kind of people who would rather make war on Holland than adhere to the basic rules of common decency. Ruth says that In The Beginning, There Was War Crime, but before the beginning there was breaking good law and making bad "law" to make inhumanity "acceptable".

In other news...

Molly Ivors continues to explore the bizarre psychosexual terrain that is Maureen Dowd's landscape.

I don't know what's stranger - that anyone has to even bother to point this out, or that Karl Rove is telling the truth.

One of the nice things about living in the UK is that I missed this fashion craze entirely. How thoughtful of the GOP to bring it back.

Buffy Sainte-Marie, "Little Wheel Spin and Spin"

20:22 BST

Missing the sunshine

Amy Goldstein and Dana Priest have another important story, this time on the treatment of people detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), who are drugging them for transport.

The Rude One on Why the U.N. and the U.S. Should Invade Myanmar and Why We Can't: "What's occurring right now in Myanmar, post-cyclone, is nothing short of the slow-creep beginning of a genocide. When a nation's leaders willfully keep aid provided by humanitarian and relief agencies, governmental and non-governmental, from the desperate, starving, dying people who need it, then that nation's leaders want large numbers of people to die."

More details at Information Clearinghouse on those "Iranian" weapons that weren't from Iran after all.

Red Necks and Red Bandanas: "Union coal miners in southern West Virginia, eastern Kentucky, and western Pennsylvania fostered multiracial solidarity through both their adoption of the nickname "redneck" and their wearing of red bandanas. This image of unified, class-conscious redneck miners contrasts markedly with the traditional image of the politically unorganized, race-conscious redneck farmers."

On a long list of idiotic media exposure of "thought" on Obama's religious position, the NYT publishes "a low-water mark in campaign rhetoric".

"I, Lieutenant Worf, Endorse Barack Obama For President in Your Year 2008." (via)

Sticks and stones - Paul Bremer blames it all on the dictionary. Otherwise, the Iraqis would not have minded being occupied. Also, the grand sacrifice: Bush gives up golfing because of Iraq war.

12:00 BST

Dyin' is easy; comedy's hard

Mick Arran, "Corpo's Get States to Subsidize Low Wages: We've said I dunno how many times that Wal-mart is the leader in scamming taxpayer money, getting city, county, and state govts to pay for things they ought to be paying for themselves. We've pointed out the way Wal-mart goes after tax abatements; gets cities to pay their water, sewage, and electricity bills; has counties or states pay to build the roads leading into and out of WM Superstore parking lots, and so on. We've detailed how their refusal to a) provide reasonable health insurance to their employees, or b) pay them enough to buy reasonable health insurance for themselves. In fact, so many Wal-mart employees are paid so little that it's not uncommon for them to have to go on Welfare or apply for food stamps. Well, WM has successfully taught these scams to the rest of the US corporatocracy." Mick also has a rundown on how the Bush Illusion is coming apart.

"Liberal Fascism: Two Words Next to Each Other."

Charges have been dropped against the alleged "20th hijacker", because his confession came under torture - but they say he can never be freed. (Also: "I have determined that you pose a security threat."

The new Republican campaign slogan.

"Jesus Made Me Puke" - Matt Taibbi Undercover with the Christian Right.

Jimmy Carter says, "Presidents Should Not Be Liars."

Atrios recommended this episode of This American Life, "The Giant Pool of Money". If you still can't make sense of the whole mortgage crisis thing, this is the easy way to work it out.

00:20 BST

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

In this world of toil and sin, your head grows bald, but not your chin

Christy Hardin Smith on The Betrayal Of American Values: "At a time when the top DOD adviser to military commissions has been barred from participation in hearings at Gitmo, questions are being asked -- and ought to be -- about the propriety, legality, and politicization of what should have been a whole host of decisions founded in the rule of law and in pursuit of justice. That this is no longer the first expectation when examining the record is testament to how far we have fallen in the last few years."

Tell the Senate: Stop Big Media. (via)

Tigris Woods Golf and Country Club. Mother of God! (via)

The thing speaks for itself: "Click the Link to listen to Rumsfeld yearn for another 9/11."

"Why could Jimmy Carter and Michael Dukakis carry West Virginia, but Al Gore and John Kerry couldn't?" (via)

I'm gettin' the feelin' that National Review is, like, all wrong.

The Congressman for Kentucky's 3rd, John Yarmuth, is one of the 90 co-sponsors of the Medicare for All legislation, and, DCblogger notes, "He secured $500,000 to address Louisville heath and dental care shortfalls, and $250,000 for eldercare. He got $452,746 for Louisville's emergency food and shelter program. He also has done a bunch of other good stuff not related to healthcare." KY voters in particular might want to look into helping his campaign on the ground (but any American can send bucks).

Do You Remember These? (I'm not old enough to remember all of them.) Thanks to Charles for the tip.

20:47 BST

Time for more coffee

I read stuff like this and I really want to tell people to stop congratulating themselves on how educated they are. People who are more educated are a bit more likely to be socially liberal on certain "culture" issues, but a candidate who represents himself with anti-gay performers who are invited to make anti-gay speeches at campaign events, who at best ducks reproductive health issues, who claims the fight for racial equality is already 90% won, and who has little to say about the problems with the drug war, is not all that much more progressive than another candidate who is generally no worse on the same issues and doesn't invite anti-gay speeches on her behalf (and at least knows that racism is far from solved). And the golden age of the American educational system was over once Ronald Reagan got into office and started messing it up. Don't assume you're more educated than people who went to school when the Constitution was still being taught in class, and who didn't just read about the civil rights movement (because they were in it). Consider the possibility that some of them might just know something you don't. (They used to teach logic as well, by the way - and it makes no sense to insist on the one hand that it's unthinkable to mention white racism as an issue in the nomination calculus while simultaneously insisting that all those people who don't support Obama are just being racists.) There are low-information voters on both sides of this equation. And if you're so sure that Obama has won the nomination, trust me - now is not the time to be trumpeting your contempt for the other half of Democratic voters. (via)

Meanwhile, please remember that you're not helping if you are planning to sit out November or make some sort of "conscience" vote. Having McCain in the White House is much worse than not having McCain - or any Republican - in the White House. And you still need to get to the polls to vote on those down-ticket races. Don't screw this up, please. The machines will be doing enough of that already.

Christ, even Richard Cohen is starting to notice: "McCain's tax plan is a joke, and his foreign policy is frightening." You got that right.

So, Barney Frank turns out to be the guy who can reach across the aisle - not that it's doing any good on the housing bill, because Republicans don't compromise.

There's an anniversary coming up later this year, and an opportunity to remember why we talk about drinking the Kool-Aid.

This one is cute.

Pretty. Mildly amusing. Texas.

14:20 BST

Monday, 12 May 2008

Distracted by good weather

I hope the Democrats intend to point out, every chance they get, that John McCain is still trying to win the Vietnam war by killing all the gooks. He just wants to do it somewhere else.

Why does God hate Picher, Oklahoma? And we already know that BushCo. hates the troops and hates our freedoms.

Jay Ackroyd, sitting in with the Eschaton keys, links to Joe Klein's response to a question of whether his own sources are those Pentagon sock-puppets who have been feeding the media propaganda. He says no, but can't resist a sneer at people asking the question, and claims he's writing about how journalism works. Jay recommends a good response from PressThink's Jay Rosen, but I liked the one from someone called space, who said: "But Klein seems to completely miss the point that, at root, this story isn't about the journalists. It's about the Pentagon. Good journalists shouldn't be trying to argue that they weren't misled -- despite the existence of a broad conspiracy to mislead journalists and the public. Good journalists should be outraged that the integrity of their stories can now be questioned. Good journalists should be running back to their sources and demanding assurances that they aren't paid shills."

Meanwhile, in comments at the FDL book salon about his The Good Fight, Harry Reid says he will hold hearings about the Pentagon's propaganda program.

Grand Old Police Blotter: Vito-80-Proof Majority Edition: "Vito "One Point Seven" Fossella is a Republican rarity - someone who's both too vile for his fellow Republicans and heterosexual. But he's got his defenders as well."

Just a reminder to those who thought invading Iraq was a good idea: This is your great idea.

Have I Got News For You. (Is it wrong to wish death upon the person who invented the word "webisode"?) (And I just don't know what to make of this.)

21:19 BST

With coffee and cheese

Oh, great, now Missouri wants to prevent Americans from being able to vote.

The Tapeworm Economy and how to fight it. I actually got some work and exercise done listening to this.

Mother's Day - in jail.

Norman MacAfee recaps The Presidency of Al Gore, 2001-2009. (When you get to the last line, you might want to read what Mark Hall has to say about Why Polar Bears Aren't Really White.)

Jim Henley explains that it's hard to have an efficient and "just" war when you're someplace you really shouldn't be. And Thoreau on another place we shouldn't be.

Jonathan Schwarz on foreign visitors who have no business there (and on another spooky religious sect in your government). And Ruben Bolling on Nate The NeoConservative.

13:56 BST

Oh, brave new world

Grave Appearance Problems - Digby on the kangaroo courts the administration has set up for "enemy combatants". (Also: Digby reviews Harry Reid's book.)

TBogg: "Halliburton/KBR is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful corporation I've ever known in my life."

Dave Neiwert on The Passing of the Great White Kvetch: "Just when you think Pat Buchanan's racism -- already evident for some time -- couldn't get any more explicit without him donning the pointy-headed white hat, he's always going out and topping himself."

Saree Makdisi says, "Forget the two-state solution: Israelis and Palestinians must share the land. Equally. There is no longer a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Forget the endless arguments about who offered what and who spurned whom and whether the Oslo peace process died when Yasser Arafat walked away from the bargaining table or whether it was Ariel Sharon's stroll through the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem that did it in. All that matters are the facts on the ground, of which the most important is that -- after four decades of intensive Jewish settlement in the Palestinian territories it occupied during the 1967 war -- Israel has irreversibly cemented its grip on the land on which a Palestinian state might have been created." Via Karmalised.

Thanks to cw in comments for this item on recent activities by the Republicans and their own favorite pastor and owner of their newspaper, The Washington Times: "In the 70s [Moon] was saying that democracy was evil, Americans were lazy, the Koreans are the master race. [In] fact he believes that when he takes over the world, which is his espoused goal, there'll be a theocracy which will rule with himself and other leaders. All other religions will be abolished. The only language spoken will be Korean. I mean this man is a demagogue who doesn't believe in pro family values, that's just a hoax. What he believes is he is the True Parents of mankind and his group and the people who have been - quote "blessed" unquote - by him are now "the family." Everyone else is in Satan's world."

Stephen Fry on a world without God.

Biomes Blog has bears.

Um, I think Roy Edroso sent us all a Mother's Day card.

03:17 BST

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Gotta get better

Last live Seder on Sunday right now - listen here. (Next two Sundays will be book shows with pre-recorded interviews.)

"Top Torture Tactics: The few bad apples the occupied White House claims generated the torture, seen at Abu Ghraib and known to occur at Guantanamo and other prisons, are not those small fry that have been prosecuted for it. While we all know that the torture memos had something to do with it, Phillipe Sands has tracked down and reported on the origins of the torture practice." And, of course, it goes right up to the top. But there are better ways to get information and turn an enemy. They didn't want to try that, even though we have long known which works better.

The other day Al Gore was saying that it's obscene that Bush has overturned George Washington's prohibition on torture. Among other things.

Thom Hartmann interviewed Don Siegelman again, and there's a little bit of news - like that there have suddenly been travel restrictions placed on him.

21:13 BST

A child's garden of worse

I see our friend Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy is doing the Bible study thing. Now there's some geeky entertainment!

Iraqi artists and singers flee amid crackdown on forbidden culture: Iraqi singers, actors and artists are fleeing the country after dozens have been killed by Islamic radicals determined to eradicate all culture associated with the West." Thank dog we liberated them, huh?

Chris Floyd, "Shoot, Kill, Lie, Repeat: America's New Moral Universe [...] It goes without saying that the officers who put these men in this situation -- not to mention the civilian "leaders" in Washington who instigated the mass murder in Iraq -- suffered not the slightest adverse consequence of this crime, for which they bear the primary responsibility. [...] When even the scapegoats escape justice, what possible hope can there be that the perpetrators and abettors of the Nazi-like war crime in Iraq will ever pay the price -- or even suffer the slightest trouble -- for their monstrous outrage?"

Dan Froomkin, "Torture Showdown Coming?: Some of the leading architects of the Bush administration's torture policies have agreed to appear before the House Judiciary Committee. But anyone hoping for an accountability moment may be in for disappointment."

I don't suppose it surprises anyone to know that they've been lying about low inflation, too. Of course they have - it's good for "business"! "California economist John Williams, who runs an organization called Shadow Statistics, contends that if Washington still used the CPI measurements applied back in the 1970s, inflation would be in the 10 percent range. My own analysis, set out in much more detail in an article in the May issue of Harper's, comports with that of the cynical foreign investors. Therein lies the danger. If the current inflation rate is really 6-9 percent instead of the 2-3 percent claimed by government and most U.S. money managers, then Washington's official estimates that the economy still grew at a rate of some 0.6 percent in the first quarter of 2008 become nonsense. Subtracting a 6-9 percent inflation rate from nominal GDP growth would identify an economy that was deteriorating and shrinking, not growing. Concerned foreign dollar-holders would become even more concerned."

I wasn't surprised to realize that many younger women have never heard of Judy Norsigian, but I was surprised to learn that many (even young feminists) had never heard of Our Bodies, Ourselves. At any rate, there is now Our Bodies, Our Blog. (Also: What happens when it's not a missing white woman - or a dog.)

The Thoroughly spoiled Little Brother thread is interesting, but I'm surprised nobody seems to have mentioned that the book's explanation of where "Don't trust anyone over 30" comes from is wrong. It was an answer to the (frequently asked) question of whether the "new left" was being run by the old left - that is, the old commies - and meant that the new left had nothing to do with those people at all.

16:26 BST

Mister, you're a better man than I

Shadow Elites And Religion--Part 1 - Paul Rosenberg on the contradictions of the rationalizers' "faith". Also on conservative hegemony in action. (I just don't know what to make of all the people trying to find ways to feel good about the way the progressive movement is being made irrelevant. I don't think IOZ is articulating it for me - but then, at the moment, I can't either, so try this. For dday it seems to be good news and bad news, but for me that sinking feeling just won't stop sinking.)

Never doubt that they will do anything they can to take your homes away. They won't be happy until you have nothing left.

The United States is now a country that thinks the way to solve problems is to build walls and kill people. But we're only good at half of that. We can still kill people, though.

On the bright side, nobody wants to be a Republican anymore.

How to be president.

Well, blimey, wmr answers my question in comments: "Avedon, the requirement to put your hand over your heart is part of the US Code and "reflects laws passed on Jan. 2, 2006" ." I guess I missed that little bit of insanity in between the torture and killing habeas and a zillion other outrages. But, still.

For the record: Mother's Day was not invented by Hallmark.

Beyond the Beat Generation radio. With stuff you may never have heard! (via)

Live at the Ramshead Tavern, one of my favorite Yardbirds tunes.

13:04 BST

Peel another layer, find out what's inside

Lejaby Violette Coquette full cup braBra of the Week

I always find it amazing that so little is said (by anyone other than Gorenfeld) about the fact that the Republicans have the most gigantic "pastor problem" of all - a guy who says that Jesus was a failure and that he himself is the real Messiah - Sun Myung Moon. Via Cliff, via Mike's Blog Roundup.

The oilocracy would rather spend millions on a PR campaign lying about gas prices than just stop jacking up the prices.

McClatchy did a piece the other day, "Where did the Web rumors about Obama come from?" that debunks those rumors and says the source is, "One practitioner in Virginia, who hates Obama like a dog hates cats, led a reporter through his efforts. Because the man is a retired clandestine CIA officer, identifying him could endanger officers or operations that remain classified, so McClatchy will not reveal his name. n late 2006, convinced that an Obama presidency would be disastrous for America, he decided to start an anti-Obama operation." But it also says that, contrary to the rumors, Obama "generally puts his hand over his heart when he sings the national anthem." I don't get this. Why would you put your hand over your heart for "The Star Spangled Banner"? You do it for the pledge, but that's because you're supposed to be pledging. Do you have to swear that the flag was still there through the rockets red glare and bombs bursting in air? We certainly never put our hands over our hearts in school when we had to sing it. (via)

Man, I hope the right people read Krugman's "Thinking About November" and take it seriously. There are a lot of Democrats feeling terminally dissed and if Obama is going to win the presidency, he's gonna have to mend some fences.

The Republicans were for mothers before they were against them.

John Edwards says he said "'em", not "him". The NYT decides it's finally time to look at Obama's record. And it rained in Lubbock.

Is there anyone who thinks these broad anti-terrorism laws aren't going to be misused? Like in Britain, where just about any official can spy on people under the guise of protecting us from terrorism: "Dog owners who let their pets foul parks, homeowners who may have broken planning rules and drivers who misused disabled badges are among those targeted."

01:33 BST

Saturday, 10 May 2008

The electrical dust is starting to rust

Cory Doctorow's Little Brother is, not surprisingly, a sort of real-life cyberpunk novel that takes George Orwell's warning in Nineteen Eighty-Four seriously, but provides a hopeful recipe for tech-savvy people with energy (i.e., teenagers) to break the locks on our freedom that Homeland Security has been slapping down. It's a post-9/11 world, and your government thinks privacy is too good for you - and has the data-mining capability to keep it from you and turn your every innocent move into something "suspicious". Most cyberpunk novels create not-yet-existent tech to put characters into an all-consuming virtual reality. But Cory uses today's tech to paint a picture of real reality where we type words and code - you're already there. Big Brother is getting into your stuff, too, and it would be nice to think M1k3y will be looking back and blinding him. Maybe the question is whether our teenaged hackers will take the initiative - or it might be whether they already have. This is a great, fast, highly-accessible read - look for it in the YA section of your bookstore.

Republicans are always penny-wise and pound-foolish, but McCain's combination of contempt for the troops and lousy economics regarding the new GI Bill provides a nice, clear example of exactly the kind of "fiscal responsibility" Republicans have perpetually given us - costly, inefficient, and callous. The original GI Bill was not only a morally necessary step, but it helped revitalize America's economy. I think it's fair to suspect that that's something conservatives/corporatists do not want. (Mind you, Democrats have a few questions to answer, too.)

I can still get Eschaton, but for some reason I'm getting this when I try to visit most Blogspot sites. Can anyone figure this out? Patrick says he's having the same problem, and he's an ocean away.

"Plastic Fantastic Lover, live.

17:52 BST

I like being able to see the sky

I went to bed in a much better mood last night because now Arthur is exalting in the beauty of life. Me, too - the roses are blossoming at last.

Olbermann goes after the pulpit bullies. Really, is their god stupid? I mean, he didn't send a tsunami to New York or San Francisco after Stonewall, but he decides to wipe out a (not particularly gay) section of New Orleans because of one routine gay march? That's not exactly making your point clear, is it? He should have taken advice from his son, who left viewers in no doubt about his opinion of usurers. (PS. The World Trade Center wasn't a symbol of queers, licentiousness, abortion, and civil rights groups, either - it was generally viewed as a symbol of the worship of Mammon. How did you miss that meaning? Jealous god, remember?)

It's too late for this to make a difference for Hillary Clinton, but if Susan Faludi is right, it might just mean that she's cut a template for a future woman presidential candidate by having The Fight Stuff: "NOTABLE in the Indiana and North Carolina primary results and in many recent polls are signs of a change in the gender weather: white men are warming to Hillary Clinton - at least enough to vote for her. It's no small shift. These men have historically been her fiercest antagonists. Their conversion may point less to a new kind of male voter than to a new kind of female vote-getter." Imagine how this might work in the hands of someone who doesn't have incredibly stupid advisors.... (via)

Bob Somerby howls about The divine right of pundits who generalize about various groups of Americans they know nothing about. He also provides the context for Hillary's latest outrage-in-a-teapot. (I still wish she'd shut up, if only because there's no way she can even touch on the subject without major outrage eruptions ensuing.)

I am so excited!! The Poor Man has a whole new comic series! It's The Amazing League of Pundits!!!!!

12:55 BST

Friday, 09 May 2008

What did we learn?

Eric Alterman says abstinence-only sex miseducation sure isn't working in Texas, where they get the most funding for such programs and also the highest rates of teenage sex and teenage pregnancy. Maybe that's because it's a pack of lies, starting with the claim that abstaining is "the only method that is 100 percent effective at preventing pregnancy." Actually, no method is 100% effective at preventing pregnancy, because (a), if you get raped, you're more likely to get pregnant than someone who is sexually active and using birth control, and (b) young people often have a tendency to change their "method" at a moment's notice without taking the precaution of acquiring some other method, first.

Multi Medium: "This is not exactly a news flash, but the Bush administration has politicized the classification process in the same way that it has politicized the Justice Department, the EPA, the FEC, the FCC, and, well, pretty much every other government agency you can think of."

In George Bush's war on our armed services, a third of the force in Iraq and Afghanistan are people who are medically non-deployable.

So Obama's strategy of talking to voters like adults actually worked, and Clinton's moves to use right-wing frames seems to have hurt her. Can we hope that the rest of the party will take note of this?

Dana Goldstein: "But I do understand the rationale here. The race between Clinton and Obama has mobilized Democratic voters as never before. Now that we're just a month away from the finish line, there's little reason -- if Clinton can constrain her attacks on Obama -- not to give voters in all 50 states the chance to weigh in. And yes, some women out there, especially older women, desperately want a chance to vote for a female presidential candidate. They may not have another chance in their lifetimes." I wholeheartedly agree with that - but it's a pretty big "if".

I dunno, it sounds to me like Edwards said: "I just voted for him on Tuesday," but some people are looking for it to say something else.

Available on eBay: Air Guitar owned by JFK! (via)

23:40 BST

Be careful what you wish for

I remember when I thought it was embarrassing that Bush spent so much time on vacation. Now I wish he would just remain incommunicado at his Villa in Crawford for the rest of the year, so we wouldn't have to hear him say stuff like this. (Also: Groceries doing good works. Good will used to be regarded as a valuable thing for a business to have. Wouldn't it be nice to see those days return?)

I managed to bum myself out first thing in the morning by reading Arthur again and thinking it's all probably true and I wish I knew what to do about it. But he links to this article by Margaret Kimberley at Black Agenda Report that might help you understand why Obama makes me so twitchy - it's what's been going on in my head all along. (The Black Commentator's Bill Fletcher at least dislikes the way the truth in Rev. Wright's message has been repudiated and re-marginalized along with electorally difficult features of Wright's recent behavior, but he (and, as far as I can tell, his magazine as a whole) still accepts the over-arching frame that electing Obama is more important than the issues and the message - and the questions about where Obama is taking us.)

So, with everyone leaving the Republican Party in droves, I suppose it's nice to be able to think about impending disaster for the GOP, but I'm not sure that a post-partisan Democratic Party is such a triumph if it's also going to be post-liberal.

Interesting cover at the Economist.

I don't recall the NYT ever mentioning this demographic when discussing what "bloggers" are really like. (Also: happy conservatives.)

I don't think my commenters are going to accept changing Tweety's nickname. I don't think I can get down with this.

If I had too much money and lots of extra room for silly appliances that would be used infrequently, I could see serving up a pile of these to overnight guests just to watch them react. Thanks for the tip to Anna, who found them here.

16:31 BST

Days made of yesterday and tomorrow

The terrorist watch list reaches 755,000, and Stephen Colbert talks to a terrorist. San Diego Republicans run for mayor by running against Blackwater.

The evangelical scam: "A Southern Baptist by birth, and still a self-described evangelical, Wicker decided to investigate conventional wisdom about the numerical strength of America's moral majority. What she found should embarrass the secular media almost as much as it should evangelical leaders. The National Association of Evangelical's claim to represent 30 million souls? Wicker says the actual number is closer to 4.5 million. The Southern Baptist's Convention's estimate of 16 million members? Try a quarter of that number." (via)

Still no evidence that Saddam ever even thought about assassinating G. Herbert Walker Bush, but who needs evidence? (Also, some monkeynomics, or why the superrich may end up with their heads on pikes if they keep this up.)

New Chapter - How the media has covered McCain since Free Ride went to press: "John McCain is now the presumptive presidential nominee of his party, a position that is accompanied by increased scrutiny and skepticism from the nation's political press. Or at least that's what ordinarily happens. But as we know by now, the rules are different for John McCain. Just a few months ago, McCain had cratered in the polls, and few thought he could bounce back. Yet there was one group of people who had not only the desire but the ability to give McCain the boost he needed, just when he needed it."

John McShame is a right-wing hack. But McSame has always been a right-wing hack - his "maverick" positions are always things that are (a) very popular and (b) things that end up not mattering. Not only that, but they exist solely to make him seem cleaner than his corrupt background really is.

I think it's sad that we might have to retire the nickname the late-lamented Media Whores Online popularized for Chris Matthews, now that he's using a non-Tweety hair dye.

CNN discovers Frederic Wertham

"Young Girl Sunday Blues" (just skip to the 1:41 mark).

03:31 BST

Thursday, 08 May 2008

Stalking the web

Ah, watch the WaPo be shameless: "Mr. Obama has been promising, most famously since his 2004 Democratic convention speech, to rise above traditional red state, blue state divisions, but his political program and his legislative record are almost entirely blue. Now he's entering the period when politicians generally move toward the center, no longer needing to appease quite so fervently the special interests of their base." Of course, they mean Obama should move further to the right, but that's not where the center is; those "blue" programs are where most of the country really is.

TRAPping Abortion Providers: "Acronyms are rarely perfect, but when it comes to TRAP, short for Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers, the word says it all."

"Supporting" our troops with offensive nonsense - it's the Republican way.

Secret Government: "Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin) ,the man I wanted to run for President, has an important op-ed piece in today's Los Angeles Times. In that column, he details what many of us have long complained about: the penchant of this administration to govern in secrecy."

Jeralyn discusses the book Snitch: "Snitch (cooperators') testimony is purchased testimony and inherently unreliable. It is testimony the Government purchases with promises of leniency, and freedom is a commodity far more precious than money. The incentive to lie is enormous and the practice has made our criminal justice system morally bankrupt."

Apparently, Tim Russert claims that they only show Rev. Wright and not John McCain's loony preacher because there's no video of Hagee. Use the search function, Tim. John McCain's Top 10 Out-of-Touch Moments - he's such a tough guy.

This obituary is... funny. Perhaps because of the nature of the deceased.

16:46 BST

Assorted items

I don't expect much from The Washington Times, but they're not the only paper that keeps quoting people (or spurious e-mails) as saying Obama is a Muslim without pointing out that he is not.

John Bolton on whether Bush might bomb Iran: "I think so, definitely." And experts agree: The problem with the "ticking time-bomb scenario" is that it never happens (except on TV).

"Who's Protecting U.S. Citizens?: The right wing has made one of its talking points that an 'activist judiciary' threatens the country's health, specifically because it lets women hold sway over their own decisions about their own bodies. That has come back to haunt them as judges appointed by the officials they've elected under that ruse have ruled against the right in instances such as the Medellin case."

Marc Ambinder has 7 Reasons Why Clinton Should Stay In The Race even though she won't be the nominee. Via TalkLeft, where I also learned that executions have resumed in Georgia, and that Radley Balko is covering Tracy Ingle: Another Drug War Outrage where the police got a no-knock warrant for reasons that are still unclear on someone who didn't have any drugs, and they're still persecuting him.

Chinese company outsourcing jobs to America to cut costs. (Thanks to Dominic for the tip.)

Teacher loses job because of wizardry. He did a simple "magic" trick in the classroom - making a toothpick appear and disappear - and next thing he know he gets a call saying there's a problem....

Richard Belzer interviews Greg Palast.

11:49 BST

Wednesday, 07 May 2008


Howard Dean on voter suppression.

Sam Seder's interview with Russ Feingold on secret law hearings.

Froomkin recommends Stephen Colbert's recent Word: "Colbert then addressed the recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll that found that more Americans are concerned about McCain's connection to Bush than Barack Obama's connection to Rev. Jeremiah Wright. "In other words, the biggest political albatross heading into November is George Bush," Colbert said. "That -- that is a shame especially considering everything President Bush has done to ensure the extinction of albatrosses. "And this poll brings us to tonight's word: Collateral friendage.""

Foam City

23:48 BST

After a day of skiving off...

So, Brad DeLong wrote a letter to the Chair of the Academic Senate at Berkeley requesting an investigation of whether John Yoo violated rules and ethics by aiding and abetting Bush administration torture. He received rather a breathtaking response. More here from Charles.

It's not bad enough that Bush has refused to allow votes to fill empty FEC seats unless the corrupt Spakovsky is confirmed along with them - now he wants to kick out another one for failing to be sufficiently corrupt.

It appears that "Operation Chaos" is an abject failure. And Mike's Blog Roundup has a lot of good journamalism links.

It's about time: the WSJ says Obama is going to campaign against McCain. He should have been doing it all along - if he had, I would have felt a lot better about him. I'm sick of excuses that he has to campaign against Clinton because she's campaigning against him. If he'd been campaigning against the Republicans instead of the Clintons, she would have been irrelevant a long time ago. The main thing I've wanted to see is someone who can campaign against conservatism and that crazy man the Republicans are nominating.

The Poor Man Institute answers the question: "Why does a salad cost more than a Big Mac?"

Political .gif

19:15 BST


I was just listening to David Bender on Rachel Maddow's show, and he seems to have a bug up his hiney about how Hillary Clinton should denounce Rush Limbaugh for "Operation Chaos" - his exhortations to his listeners to crossover in their primaries to vote for Clinton - and to declare publicly that she doesn't want their votes.

Now, maybe I'm missing something, here, but exactly what does it accomplish to do that, other than to give Limbaugh a gift? I mean, it's not as if Limbaugh and his minions are going to stop doing something because Hillary Clinton tells them to, is it? If anything, they may just become that much more gleeful about doing it - and it makes the fire-starter seem even more important than he already thinks he is. He'd love the recognition.

So, if Hillary should denounce Republicans who are voting for her even though they intend to vote for the Republican nominee in the fall, does that mean Obama should also denounce the Republicans who, earlier in the race, admitted voting for Obama although they intend to vote for the Republican nominee in November? Or is this really about something else?

In other election news, the Indiana voter ID law prevents massive voter fraud by nuns.

02:57 BST

Quick blogging

Man, it was beautiful in London today.

Biomes Blog has a pouting albino eel, and the Antonin Scalia Quick Quiz.

Another victory in the war on tourism as a couple of tourists turn themselves in after being the subject of a major manhunt for... yes, that's right, taking pictures. And Bush is looking like he's about to punt Gitmo to the next president, but Cernig is less optimistic than Jeralyn about whether we'll have a president who has the guts to do the right thing. And "Aren't we all proud to live in countries willing to allow this historic first?"

Justice System Reviving: In Dallas there has been a wonderful reversal of many years, even decades, of misjudgment. Very instrumental in that arousal of a renewed justice system is the District Attorney Craig Watkins. His achievements were vaunted on '60 Minutes' Sunday night, in a review of the many cases of wrong convictions that have been discovered there. DA Watkins has opened the files to research by the Project Innocence, and many wrongly convicted men have been cleared by the DNA evidence."

McCain speaks to his base, and his base returns the favor.

00:34 BST

Tuesday, 06 May 2008

Reading matter

Why does Harry Reid keep insisting that, "Lieberman votes with us on everything except the war," when it isn't true?

This time it's tristero providing a simple answer to a not-so-simple question. The trouble with intellectual exercises is that you need an intellect first. Trying to answer the question by making stupid experiments in the real world that involve the potential to kill millions of people - well, that's right stupid, y'all. Meanwhile, read Digby on how our military is being turned into an armed church.

The Poor Man Institute says Dan Froomkin is shrill.

Atrios recommends "an interesting read" at the NYT by Libby Copeland, "Middletown, Teetering On the Divide", about the decline in what was once deemed to be the "unexceptional" middle American town, Muncie, Indiana. (Atrios also linked to this - and I remember when I simply couldn't convince all those little libertoonians on Usenet that the anti-choice people did too want to get rid of birth control as well. At this late date, with actual pharmacists refusing to fill scrips, you'd think they'd get it by now.)

Mildred Loving, the plaintiff in the landmark Loving v. Virginia miscegenation case, has died at 68. "Mrs. Loving stopped giving interviews, but last year issued a statement on the 40th anniversary of the announcement of the Supreme Court ruling, urging that gay men and lesbians be allowed to marry."

I wonder if our historians can find parallels to this kind of thing coming from presidents in the past. It's just so embarrassing.

"How To Cite To Blog Posts" - Jack Balkin corrects a sloppy error appearing in law reviews.

17:00 BST

Moving right along....

An informative comment by tedraicer to a thread at Corrente:

One of the stupider myths among progressives (one embraced both by the MSM and Obama fans) is that it was the Clintons' fault the Congress went Republican in 1994.

The reality was exactly the reverse: Congressional Dems decided that they didn't need to support Bill on health care, and that he and not they would suffer the consequences from that failure to deliver. It was the Congressional Dems who betrayed the party, allowed the GOP to take over, and forced Clinton to move right simply in order to survive. (They treated Carter in similar fashion, and suffered almost the same result, proving that it isn't only Goppers who don't learn from their mistakes.)

Via D2, who also may explain the real reason we went after Iraq instead of Al Qaeda.

Cursor: "Mother Jones' Bruce Falconer sums up testimony from 'contractors gone wild,' reports about ignored warnings of flawed wiring point to KBR negligence in the electrocution of U.S soldiers, and investigations of Blackwater killings appear to be exacerbating cultural conflict. Despite all this, the Pentagon is now looking to outsource training of the Iraqi army."

If they Taser you to death, now, they can pretend that it wasn't their fault, because they made up something else to blame it on and a court accepted it.

Thom Hartmann's interview with Larisa Alexandrovna about the Siegelman case.

This actually looks like it might be fun if I had too much money and wouldn't lose my mind.

03:45 BST

Monday, 05 May 2008

Life and politics

Security madness: "News continues to worsen for business travelers carrying sensitive information. In a troubling ruling by the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (download PDF), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) can continue its practice of warrantless searches through computer data held by U.S. citizens and foreigners alike. With no cause or suspicion, the CBP may inspect, copy or seize data devices carried by anyone returning to the U.S." This is in case making you miss your flight while you cool your heels (and confiscating your favorite pen-knife you've had since childhood, or your glasses screwdriver, or your folding scissors, or your lighter, or your expensive perfume) wasn't enough - if they decide they really want to jerk you around, now they can steal your laptop or phone or hand-held devices, too.

The Unsafe Food We Are Buying - China doesn't even try, and they don't have to, either; there's really nothing we can do. See, it's not just that they've been making horrible trade deals, it's also that our massive debt has locked us into an untenable negotiating position. "Put down the fish and back away slowly."

Some polls suggest that Obama's talking-to-people-like-grown-ups ad might just have worked. If that's true, that is genuinely a very big deal.

I am heartbroken to announce that my brother has sold that beautiful house he built with his own hands - and the view from the veranda, too. I'm really gonna miss that place.

18:40 BST

What the papers say

I hardly know what to say about this WaPo editorial that bloodlessly suggests that it's nice that the administration is making "a gingerly move toward comity and accountability" by releasing some torture memos. "If a terrorist plot is averted through the use of harsh techniques, those who sanctioned or carried out the interrogation must nevertheless be held accountable and at the very least required to explain their decisions. The acts may be understandable and at times even forgivable, but they can never be understood from the outset to be legally sacrosanct." Torture may be "understandable and at times even forgivable"? Torture? I might say that about something like, oh, shoplifting - although, come to think of it, The Washington Post probably wouldn't. Taking profits from a business, that's really bad. But people who have murdered over a hundred people by torturing to them to death - well, we just want to see the memos!

If Arlen Specter has an op-ed in the WaPo supporting a journalists' shield law, when can we expect his statement that he is satisfied with something that isn't one?

Krugman's saying that "the worst of the financial crisis is over," but that this means everyone will just assume that no reform is needed. (But the financial crisis isn't over for a lot of people who are still headed over the waterfall.)

Diane says it looks like if they're not careful, Californians may be about to elect a racist crackpot to the judiciary.

Oh, look, you can ask questions of the assistant managing editor of The New York Times.

Cinco de Mayo: "There's more to holiday than margaritas." (Although the NYT seems to think it's about beer.)

12:53 BST


Bill Moyers on Rev. Wright: "Beware the terrible simplifiers." Howard Dean says McCain being out of step is the real issue, so Democrats aren't going to join in with the race-baiting. And Charlie Rangel tells off Wolf Blitzer about Wright and Obama. The only reason this is an issue is because, unlike all the other holier-than-thou bigshots on TV and the Republican leadership, Obama actually sits in the pews. Bush doesn't go to church. Half those pious Republicans are actually atheists (but in a bad way). But Obama actually goes to church.

Matt Taibbi has a book out, The Great Derangement, and I think this may be the first time I've ever seen a book come out with a trailer. (via) [Oh, wait, how could I forget?]

Jamison Foser: "The news media are so far in the tank for John McCain, many reporters don't bother even trying to pretend that the presumptive Republican presidential nominee has faced the level of scrutiny they've given Democrats Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and, when he was in the race, John Edwards. Instead, like teenagers trying to put off homework so they can go to the mall, they insist they'll get around to scrutinizing McCain ... eventually." Someday our media prince will come.... But: "The media aren't ignoring John McCain. They're covering him. They just aren't doing so with a critical eye." Essentially, they're campaigning for him.

Ah, Vince Bugliosi has a new book out, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder. "The title of the book, with photos of American soldiers killed in Iraq, lining the inner jackets, goes where few legal experts will go: indicting George W. Bush for the unnecessary murder of our service men and women."

Election fraud?

Congrats to Charlie on the namecheck. I like those books a lot, too.


03:48 BST

Sunday, 04 May 2008

Things to watch out for

The torture never stops. I really don't know what to say. I shouldn't have to say anything. Everyone knows this is wrong, don't they?

Eric Boehlert is bemused - "So now the press tells candidates when to quit? History continues to unfold on many levels as the protracted Democratic Party primary race marches on, featuring the first woman and the first African-American with a real shot at winning the White House. Here's another first: the press's unique push to get a competitive White House hopeful to drop out of the race. It's unprecedented."

Stranger wonders, "Can RICO statutes be applied to oil companies?"

No More Mr. Expert War Monger: "There has been welcome light shed on the use of artificial intelligence, a.k.a. "experts" as sources for the misinformation constantly fed to our media. An attempt to locate a presidential library cum think tank at SMU is directly aimed at such a purpose."

Worrying stuff about the Texas caucuses. This is consistent with stuff I've seen about caucuses in other states as well. (via)

They were "the most popular murders ever committed in the United States." Remember.

MahaBarb finds the jokes in the news.

Say thanks to a great one: Send flowers to Helen Thomas.

21:45 BST

In the endless pursuit of coffee

From the Department of Overly Convenient Villains, Swopa remembers why there is something very wrong with the story that Brig. Gen. Qassem Suleimani, commander of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Quds Force, is some kinda source of all evil in Iraq. Sadly, this story comes from McClatchy.

Via Atrios, I see that Don Cazayoux won the Congressional seat in the special election for Louisiana's 6th - a Democrat for what has been a very red district - 49%-46%. His platform is here. He claims to prioritize education and health care, and wants to expand S-CHIP and pass "a prescription drug plan for seniors that really works," but also says, "I believe in a balanced budget and I will support the pay-go polices that the Congress enacted last year. I hope to join a coalition knows as the Blue Dog Democrats, a coalition of fiscal conservative Democrats committed to paying down the debt and passing sound economic policies. I support tax cuts that make sense for working families and small businesses - not tax breaks for huge corporations and millionaires that we end up paying for. I voted for millions in tax relief in the Louisiana legislature and will continue to support tax cuts for middle class families who are struggling to make ends meet and save for their futures." He opposes "amnesty for illegal immigrants", identifies as "pro-life", and says he is "proud to have an A rating from the NRA."

Guam: "Obama finished with 2,264 votes to Sen. Hillary Clinton's 2,257 votes - a 7-point difference. Obama never trailed from the first vote count on." Ahem. Math is hard, Barbie, but a difference of seven votes is not the same as a 7-point difference.

Ron Paul and his supporters are not yet prepared to fall in line - Paul says he will not campaign for McCain, and predicts a President Obama. And Clinton says that if Obama is the nominee, "you better believe I'll work my heart out for him."

The trouble with this metaphor is that Clinton is not a filly.

13:10 BST

Later than I think

Kalyani Vintage balconette braBra of the Week (Although I wouldn't call it underwear.)

Glenn Greenwald knows an incoherent article when he sees one - Fred Hiatt thinks it's good to do things like invade Iraq and occupy it and kill millions of people and displace dog knows how many, because if you just do air strikes you might kill or displace people.

Sign of times: "'Five years ago the split between vegetables and flower seeds was 60:40,' said Tom Sharples, the technical manager of Suttons, which distributes nearly a third of seeds in the UK. 'This had switched by last year to 60:40 in favour of vegetables and now in some places it is at 70:30 vegetables."

I think Jake Tapper needs to be rescued if he's so far gone that he's talking about Hillary Clinton's "plan to give residents of Guam the right to vote in presidential elections." It is astonishing to me that these people can go out in public without everyone pointing and laughing at them.

Daniel Pipes is a raving creep. Man, these people would think you were one of their Islamofascist extremists if you were Bahá'í. (Also: Why some people may not believe you already know that Obama is a politician.)

"Sometimes Paranoia's Just Having all the Facts." Because there are just too many "coincidences" in the Siegelman case.

This is possibly the most bizarre fashion show I've seen yet. It's the fifth photo that caught my attention - it'd be mighty convenient if you want to sit at a table and all they've got is a stool - but you get some oddities along the way. And then if you keep going you learn that the Selfridge's in Brum looks like something out of Doctor Who.

Allison Krause * Jeffrey Miller * Sandy Scheuer * William Shroeder

02:51 BST

Saturday, 03 May 2008

Announcements and advice

I just got this emergency e-mail from Teresa at Making LIght:


If you have any part of Making Light from the last two months open in a window right now, or otherwise resident in your system, please copy it off. If it's elaborate or illustrated, please get the source code and/or the picture file.

Our server has gone down, it was our site that did it, and it looks like they're going to lose the last two months of Making Light. Please grab anything you can.

Damn, I usually do, but I don't think I've got it open just now. Perhaps Mr. Sideshow does....

Update: Patrick says to send people to Abi's blog.

Elizabeth Warren on The Coming Collapse of the Middle Class. And she's got the facts and figures. And charts. Some of this will amaze you. (The intro lasts about five minutes, if you want to skip ahead.)

Thers has a bunch of good stuff up at Whiskey Fire, and he's found a stunning historical re-write of the Reagan-Bush campaign's successful efforts to prevent the release of the American hostages in Iran during Jimmy Carter's term - to suggest that Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are worse than Carter!

Bill Scher looks at both Clinton's and Obama's gas tax ads and says that what Obama has done is a little different this time, and if it works, "it's a big deal."

It's hard to keep track of the number of ways that this administration is supporting our troops. I've often thought it would be really useful if someone were to compile a list of these things and turn them into a neatly-designed flier that could be posted online for everyone to download and print out many copies of to distribute in their neighborhoods, at their churches, and wherever else they could disseminate them.

Orson Scott Card is a misogynistic homophobic wanker. [Update: Note that PNH is not, in fact, Card's editor at Tor.] (Langford has a summary of the lawsuit at the top of the May issue of Ansible. Keep reading for the excerpt from a stupid interview of Patrick Stewart in Newsweek, a bizarre "review" of Battlestar Galactica in the Grauniad, and other lame things. And congrats to Dave on reaching his 250th issue. Wow, has it been that long?)

17:42 BST

Together we could break this trap

Everybody remember Phill Kline, the Kansas AG who is now a DA and who likes to get his hands on patient files from reproductive health clinics so he can spy on everyone's abortions? Well, it turns out he hasn't exactly been handling those files with due competence and concern. Anger ensues.

McCain whines: "But the DNC is hardly backing down. In a statement released to The Huffington Post late Friday, DNC communications director Karen Finney said, 'John McCain should stop whining. We can see why John McCain doesn't want people to see this ad, but its time for him to defend his own words. Clearly John McCain knows that the more people learn about his real record and his willingness to keep our brave troops in Iraq for 100 years, the more they'll see he is not the right choice for America's future.'" But McCain has good reason not to want the ad shown - turns out when people see it, their support for McCain drops significantly.

Bill Moyers with Christopher Cerf and Victor Navasky about their book Mission Accomplished: Or How We Won The War In Iraq. (I like the part where they describe the suggestion that McCain was against the war back then as a terrible attack on his patriotism, since he was completely behind Bush at the time.) And read the Codpiece Day fact-check, as well.

Apparently there is another e-mail going around that blames rising gas prices on Democratic control of Congress. (Note to SB: We're not knee-deep in it, anymore; might be right up to the armpits by now.)

Note to self: Finish checking out all the many links in this densely linky post from Gary.

Thank God! If there's an emergency, Fafnir will help.

Bruce (and some guy I recognize from highschool).

13:27 BST

You are in a twisty maze of passageways, all alike

I forget who it was who seemed surprised to learn that, among their many other sins, two of the justices who voted to interfere in Bush v. Gore had family members directly involved in the case and should have recused themselves. Vince Bugliosi put the SC5 in the dock in his book The Betrayal of America: How the Supreme Court Undermined the Constitution and Chose Our President, which details the ways in which the five justices who stopped the recounts committed a terrible crime. I heartily recommend this book for anyone who has ever wondered why I think those who remain on the Court should still be impeached.

Phoenix Woman has a hilarious story about a "businessman" who decided he didn't want to pay taxes, and how he endeared himself to the judge when caught.

I can hardly believe it - McCain says he now plans to make us independent of oil from the Middle-East so we won't have to have any more oil wars.

Kathy G. does a nice take-down of Mickey Kaus, who for some reason is obsessed with the John Edwards Love Child story, and doesn't understand why the rest of the media isn't. Via Roger Ailes.

When I saw Chris Hedges' "Hope for Corporate America", I realized I'd somehow missed the fact that Hedges seems to be supporting Nader/McKinney.

Susie Madrak sent me a link to a story about a nifty little event that occurred on the diamond: "The ethics that inform how athletes follow the rules haven't changed since the beginning of time: Asking for mercy is out of the question; offering it is not what winners do. But there's something to be said for those athletes who still believe it's not just about whether you win the game, but how you play it."

02:41 BST

Friday, 02 May 2008

Making my head spin

Corrente has been keeping running tabs on posts about single-payer health insurance.

Richard Bruce Cheney shoots whales in the face.

Dumb idea: suing Wikipedia for calling you "dumb": "One thing the Internet has taught us: if you want to see a defamatory/embarrassing/ridiculous claim about yourself or your business cleaned from the tubes, the one thing you don't want to do is file an ill-advised lawsuit against a site like Wikipedia. What once was known only by a few is suddenly known by the world. Barbara Bauer, who runs the Barbara Bauer Literary Agency, looks like she's set to learn that lesson the hard way after suing Wikipedia for an article that called her the "Dumbest of the Twenty Worst" literary agents and said that she had made no book sales at all." And we all know who called her that, don't we? Yes, someone very smart.

In Reasons to Hate This Campaign today: Hillary just likes that gas-tax holiday too much. But Obama can't locate the Great Lakes. And an inaudible 16-year-old video by a Clinton supporter, mooted (by Drudge, at least) to say what it probably doesn't. Atrios calls BS.

How did you celebrate Law Day?

In local news, Gordon Brown is a disaster, just as he promised to be. Did anyone not see this coming?

Roz Kaveny came back in time to vote against Boris. She was also interviewed about her Buffy and sf film and comics books, by Victor Infante. (I particularly enjoyed this for her description of a certain associate of ours.)

19:18 BST

Hear me talk of sin and you know this is it

I can't prove it, but it sure looks to me like Steny Hoyer is still trying to arrange to cave-in on telecom immunity.

Which southern US Senator said this? "The causes of the malady are not entirely clear but its recurrence is one of the uniformities of history: power tends to confuse itself with virtue and a great nation is peculiarly susceptible to the idea that its power is a sign of God's favor, conferring upon it a special responsibility for other nations -- to make them richer and happier and wiser, to remake them, that is, in its own shining image. Power confuses itself with virtue and tends also to take itself for omnipotence." Answer here.

Prosecutors want to try the so-called Liberty City Seven again for terrorism, and The Washington Post fails to call for summary execution instead! Apparently, even Fred Hiatt is capable of suspecting that constantly retrying cases might be going too far.

DC Madam dies, allegedly by suicide: "During several recent appearances on The Alex Jones Show, Palfrey also said that she was at risk of being killed and that authorities would make it look like suicide. She made it clear that she was not suicidal and if she was found dead it would be murder." (Via Sinfonian.)

Dallas County sets the record for highest number of exposed wrongful convictions with the release of the longest-serving exonerated inmate.

Nice campaign video from Eric Massa, "The Cost of War". And Hillary schools Bill O'Reilly on Universal healthcare.

At last! I've been wondering when someone was going to start selling some of these for people like me who wear out the characters on the keys in short order.

The Doors

12:30 BST

In my island of dreams, with impossible schemes

Sara Robinson, "Jeremiah Wright: What (Else) Is Going On" - It's Liberation Theology versus the Prosperity Gospel. "Furthermore, turning Wright into a national demon was a two-fer. They could not only tank the Democrats' front-runner; they'd also take down a serious and persuasive theologian who's been calling them out hard on one of their longest-running and most successful efforts to sell the conservative worldview to the very people who stand to be most harmed by it."

"How sectarian hatred gets started [...] But in real life, most of these conflicts are rather irrelevant unless something more recent brings them to life again." (via)

I'm in a state of shock. Louise Slaughter actually got something good passed by both the House and Senate, and Bush is apparently not planning to veto it. It's GINA, the Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act, which would prohibit employment discrimination based on genetic testing. Tom Coburn (R-OK) had been holding the bill up, but he decided he was okay with it now, and it passed the Senate 95-0. Louise has been trying to get this passed for 13 years. (via)

What Bush really said on Codpiece Day, contrary to what Ms. Perino seems to think.

Orson Scott Card on J.K. Rowling's lawsuit. (Thanks to Dominic for the tip.)

Monkeyfister has a little tribute to Albert Hoffman's bicycle ride.

"Shanghai Noodle Factory"

01:25 BST

Thursday, 01 May 2008

May Day! May Day!

John McCain on the Mission Accomplished in Iraq: "About a month after President George W. Bush stood on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln before a banner proclaiming, 'Mission Accomplished,' Fox News' Neil Cavuto asserted to Senator John McCain that, 'many argue the conflict isn't over' in Iraq. McCain responded, 'Well, then why was there a banner that said mission accomplished on the aircraft carrier?'"

This Happens Every Day - McCain exposes himself as a liar and a phony and an irresponsible jerk. But that's okay, because the media won't tell anyone.

This Week in Tyranny

BTD: "Obama needs to beat Clinton, not have the Superdelegates drive Clinton from the race. It will make him look weak. Andrew's instincts are terrible here.

Digby: "Amy Sullivan, one of the primary proponents of putting religiosity at the center of Democratic politics doesn't seem to know what to make of the problems Wright has caused for Obama. Apparently, she never considered the possible downsides of hewing so closely to religion that people think it's definitional. She and he friends didn't seem to realize that all the blather about secular Democrats was never about religion, but about social conservatism. You get no points for going to the "wrong kind" of church. You'd think they would have figured that out a long time ago."

War Made Easy

Ken MacLeod does a mini-review of Little Brother; Farah Mendlesohn goes short-form and long-form.

20:36 BST

The more I know, the less I understand

Chris Floyd: "But this is indeed a curious and telling episode. If one actually takes the trouble to read Wright's remarks before the Press Club -- which almost no journalist in America did, although they are easily available at the Washington Post's web site -- it is difficult to see what in God's name all the brouhaha is about. Even Wright's most "controversial" remarks -- about AIDS, Louis Farrakhan and, in Obama's words, "equating America's wartime efforts with terrorism" -- are couched in plausible contexts, and are actually more nuanced than the, well, caricature of them that Obama condemned. Most ludicrous of all were Obama's hysterics about the "divisiveness" of Wright's remarks, when the theme of racial and cultural and religious reconciliation was sounded over and over throughout the appearance. At any rate, let's do something really radical here. Let's actually see what Wright actually said." And of course, because what Wright said could be hurting Obama's chances to win the nomination, it is much more important to condemn him than to worry about the boring little fact that even the corporate media over the last few days has been admitting that the administration is ready to attack Iran.

Here's Chris Bowers parodying the idea that there is something holy about being "post-partisan", whatever that's supposed to be. But in real life, there is only one kind of post-partisanship that can have any meaning, certainly in the positive sense, and that is a desire to get done what most Americans want - to restore our economy, to extract ourselves from destructive and costly foreign entanglements, to "promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity," and to retrieve the good opinion of mankind. If the corporate media and the Republican Party are uninterested in that project - and they obviously are - then their views are marginal and should be marginalized. You cannot cross the aisle to make common cause with people who want to treat most Americans, and most of the people in the world, as cattle and cannon fodder to be used and robbed and destroyed. There is no common cause with such people. And Matt Stoller says people should quit acting like babies (and also quit thinking Jim Webb is the bulldog we need in the VP spot, because he's really not prepared to go after McCain like we need).

Weller on Jools.

15:02 BST

A little bit of soap

I realize it's just a stupid online poll, but it shouldn't even be possible to get numbers like these. Someone has been falling down on the job.

It really doesn't look like our economy is going to get much help from our friendly legislators any time soon.

Ruth reckons that when someone inserts a highway project into a bill after it's been passed, we're getting even more taxation without representation than usual.

Driftglass on how John Stossel continues to lie, this time about workplace safety and how OSHA mysteriously appeared out of nowhere for no reason.

Southern Beale on how the "liberal" media has been conservative for a long, long time.

Yeah, I've been wondering about this, myself. Has anyone seen much about reactions in the black community to Obama's latest repudiation of Wright? (Glen Ford at The Black Agenda Report says "Obama's 'Race Neutral' Strategy Unravels of its Own Contradictions.")

Now that Fox News has alerted us to this forgotten moment in history, I can't wait to read the speeches from the Lincoln-Douglass debate.

The Jarmels

03:44 BST

Avedon Carol at The Sideshow, May 2008

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