The Sideshow

Archive for November 2006

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Thursday, 30 November 2006


Tom Engelhardt: Sometime last spring, I was on the phone with former federal prosecutor Elizabeth de la Vega talking about books she might someday write, when she suddenly said to me, "You know what I'd like to do?" When I asked what, she replied, "What I've done all my life." So go read the indictment in "Bringing Bush to court".

Al Gore on Leno pumping his DVD of An Inconvenient Truth, claiming the special features will include the censored "Global Warming Gone Wild" section with "hot glacier on glacier action."

Charlie Savage in The Boston Globe, "Hail to the chief: Dick Cheney's mission to expand -- or 'restore' --the powers of the presidency".

The editors at The Nation discuss The Odd Attack on Dean from James Carville, and think it is something from, y'know, the DLC.

Get your Easy Answers to Rhetorical Questions from The Poor Man Institute.

Lance Mannion says "Goodbye, Radar. Farewell, M*A*S*H."

The further Fred gets into Left Behind, the harder it is to believe that people actually can stand to read it.

Maybe Lieberman thinks that if you play violent video games, you might be less willing to fight his wars for him.

15:57 GMT

Counting your vote

My thanks to commenter Chris for alerting me to this item at The Brad Blog, which announces good news that the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which oversees voting standards, is recommending "that the 2007 version of the Voluntary Voting Systems Guidelines (VVSG) decertify direct record electronic (DRE) machines." And VVSG seems to have come around to supporting paper ballots rather than just "paper trails" generated separately by the machines.

In Florida's 13th, the lawyer for Democratic challenger Christine Jennings looks at the result of an audit of the machines and finds it "intriguing". It seems the audit didn't turn out the way anyone expected: "Of the 251 ballots cast" in the audit, "five additional votes were counted for Jennings, including three extra votes in one precinct," according to The Herald Tribune. The Division of Elections says it must have been caused by "human error", so now they are watching videos of the test to see if they can find the problem. And, "On Friday, the second round of the audit will involve similar tests on machines actually used on Election Day." Hm.

13:14 GMT

News and unspinning

George Monbiot notes that Britain is piling lots more money into the defense budget (or "defence" budget) - money they admit they don't need, and which was already allocated for something else: In other words, our "defence" capability is now retained for the purpose of offence. Our armed forces no longer exist to protect us. They exist to go abroad and cause trouble. But it's hard to see how Britain could do that - so it's probably just about the money. Via Spiderweb.

Sounds like when Bush tried to small-talk with Webb about whether his son had gotten killed in Iraq yet, he wasn't just making small talk - he was trying to stick the knife in. (Hard to parse what Chuck Schumer meant, but if anyone outside the Gang of 500 reads it, it's just gonna make Webb look good.)

You know the real reason some members of Big Media have decided to call it "a civil war"? It's because that's the centrist name for it - the one between "democracy" and what it really is: chaos.

Nico Pitney has words and pictures from a remarkably good debunking of a right-wing smear of Nancy Pelosi for her supposed "hypocrisy" in not having union workers in her vineyard. ABC's local affiliate in Pelosi's district not only showed how it was wrong, but got the idiot who made the claim to say that it was not his obligation to find out whether he was talking bollocks. Meanwhile, Glenn Greenwald also does a bit of debunking of the other smear - the one that made it sound like Pelosi was a bad person because she didn't want to keep Jane Harmon in a chairmanship Harmon was required to leave because it is term-limited, and that the only alternative was Alcee Hastings. All just the right-wing trying to gin up more negatives on Pelosi where there weren't any (with, probably, a bit of help from Harmon, who was perhaps trying to get Pelosi to break the rules for her).

The reason the Bushistas have to keep talking about how Gore and Carter are "losers" is because they're trying to make you forget that, unlike Bush, Gore and Carter won the presidency.

03:27 GMT

Captive to their reflection

Atrios picked Instahack as his Wanker of the Day, having been inspired by a wonderful post by Brad at Sadly, No! Best laugh I've had in days. Roy Edroso has more fun. But this is also about Orson Scott Card, who, I'm told, used to write good books.

Me, I've always wondered why the right-wing persists in saying that America deserved to be attacked by the Muslim terrorists because we were too, y'know, American. Oh, sure, they don't admit that's what they're saying, but what else can they mean by their constant harping on the fact that our free-love/birth control/Hollywood-&-harlots culture offends the delicate sensibilities of decent people and Al Qaeda alike? Why, exactly, should we give up our freedoms just to placate the Imams - and the terrorists? I wanna know.

The fright-wingers are all citing the story in the Indy about the teacher who was brutally murdered by the Taliban for teaching girls as evidence of how creepy Muslim terrorists are, but this is pretty rich coming from people who (a) support an administration that was too distracted by the idea of invading Iraq for no reason to finish what they started in Afghanistan, and (b) make common cause with (or are part of) a movement that clearly opposes economic and educational opportunity for girls and women, One is forced to reach the conclusion that their real objection to the anti-human extremes of the Taliban and their ilk is not that they are brutal sexist scum, but that they make their own type of murdering sexist scum look bad. (via)

00:28 GMT

Wednesday, 29 November 2006

Tom Tomorrow was right

The only way to fix this thing is with a time machine.

So, the big news is that Cheney didn't so much visit with the Saudi Arabian bigwigs as go in response to a summons. This guy won't talk to Congress, but he knows who is real boss is, I guess. Saudi Arabia recognizes that America is now a weak power, especially in the region, and that there are things we have to be told, because we don't seem to be doing what they want.

Today in The Washington Post, the security advisor to Saudi Arabia's Ambassador to the US says:

In February 2003, a month before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the Saudi foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, warned President Bush that he would be "solving one problem and creating five more" if he removed Saddam Hussein by force. Had Bush heeded his advice, Iraq would not now be on the brink of full-blown civil war and disintegration.

One hopes he won't make the same mistake again by ignoring the counsel of Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, Prince Turki al-Faisal, who said in a speech last month that "since America came into Iraq uninvited, it should not leave Iraq uninvited." If it does, one of the first consequences will be massive Saudi intervention to stop Iranian-backed Shiite militias from butchering Iraqi Sunnis.

Steve Clemons says:
What Obaid has articulated here is not offered as a threat if the US leaves Iraq, which the US must do in my view. This is the first robust declaration that the Saudis are willing to fill the vacuum left by the United States in the region and knock back some of the unchecked expansion of Iranian influence in the region.
But what the Saudis are doing and what they need to be do is not new -- it has been predicted for quite a while. And this is the consequence of the Bush administration's failure to think strategically. We have now drawn Saudi Arabia into a potential collision that could destabilize that nation and seriously harm our access to vital oil and natural gas supplies.
A lot of people are pretty worried about the fact that (a) we have to leave and (b) if we leave, we will have no way to protect the people in Iraq who have been on our side; anyone who is known to have helped us would be in terrible danger. And there's that threat of the Shiite majority wiping out the Sunnis. And then there's the enemy we created, Moktada al-Sadr, and in Cheney's office they're talking about picking sides, and... my god, it's everyone's worst nightmares. And all because the little boys who think they are "sensible" did not remember the simple rule that starting wars is a bad idea because it makes a mess.

17:04 GMT

What I've been reading

I think Ezra is cute and smart and has his heart in the right place, but I can instantly see the flaws in a health insurance plan that serves only 18-34-year-olds. I'd need to know that it was subsidizing the other demographic, too - the one that really needs more healthcare. And until I know that, it's a non-starter, just another way for insurance companies to get more money without delivering anything. The virtue of a single-payer or NHS-style plan is that everyone pays into it when they can, and then gets to use it when they need it. Without that, you're not really insured.

"I am a member of no organized political party-I am a Democrat." Will Rogers said it, but I'm not ashamed to say the same. We've seen what happens when the country is ruled by a party that refuses to argue it out. But Democrats have always done a better job of running America upward, instead of into the ground. Maybe the fact that we have to argue it out first helps. (No doubt the fact that most of us agree on the idea of good government run for the people helps, too; conservatism is anti-government in an anti-people kind of way.) Steve Conn says that whatever it is, the Republicans can't play well with others or themselves, in reality.

A judge in LA has struck down part of the Bush anti-terrorism order: "This law gave the president unfettered authority to create blacklists, an authority president Bush then used to empower the Secretary of the Treasury to impose guilt by association," said David Cole of the Washington-based Center for Constitutional Rights. "The court's decision confirms that even in fighting terror, unchecked executive authority and trampling on fundamental freedoms is not a permissible option," he said in a statement. (via)

I missed this at the time - God's Ex-Boyfriend took a moment to talk about that one big relationship in his life, after seeing Brokeback Mountain.

The only person I know who writes reviews of cereal for no apparent reason has also produced a guide to all the characters who have been created for cereals (like the ever-popular Snap, Crackle, and Pop): Topher's Breakfast Cereal Character Guide.

Oh, look, it's Hawkwind.

15:50 GMT

Edging toward reality

John Nichols in The Nation:

News Flash: Major Media Begins To Think For Itself

Something important in the overall scheme of the American experiment happened this week.

On Monday morning, MSNBC anchor Contessa Brewer appeared on cable television screens across the United States and announced: "The news from Iraq is becoming grimmer every day.
Now, the battle between Shiites and Sunnis has created a civil war in Iraq. Beginning this morning, MSNBC will refer to the fighting in Iraq as a civil war -- a phrase the White House continues to resist. But after careful thought, MSNBC and NBC News decided over the weekend, the terminology is appropriate, as armed militarized factions fight for their own political agendas. We'll have a lots more on the situation in Iraq and the decision to use the phrase, civil war."
What is important about this development is that, for the first time since the debate about Iraq began, some--though certainly not all--major media outlets in the United States are making their own judgments based on developments in the Middle East. Up until now, major media has, with few exceptions, failed to embrace that most basic of journalistic responsibilities. Rather, it has served as a stenography service for the Bush-Cheney administration.
This in-kind contribution to Republican presidential and congressional campaigns was never appreciated by the White House, which has perfected the art of complaining bitterly about even the most tepid deviations from the official script. But the damage was done--not merely to the Democrats and to the discourse but to the Bush himself.

Nichols' thesis is that Bush has been allowed to tune out of reality because the press has allowed him to, and he optimistically suggests that with the press now departing from a White House meme,
Now, if the president happens to tune in NBC or MSNBC, he will be exposed to the fact that he has placed more than 100,000 young Americans in the middle of a bloody civil war that they cannot resolve.
And that, presumably, it will infect Bush's mind with some awareness of what's going on.

I'm not holding my breath, but let's hope he's right.

14:35 GMT

Room in the fridge

Yes, all the leftovers have been devoured at last.

George Bush decided to make small-talk with Jim Webb. It didn't work out.

Is the monster they call "centrism" really sensible? Sadly, No! And Retardo Montalban is naming names.

A little warning on net neutrality from Art Brodsky at TPM Cafe. Folks should remember that since the GOP had sewn up most every other industry, a lot of Democrats have been trying to cosy up to the telcos, so if you want your legislators to know that you do not want them giving away the store to these people, you'd better write those letters.

It's nice to see Democrats are talking up their upcoming investigations and making it sound like they are being conciliatory about not taking on "contentious" issues, by which it sounds like they are not going to do things Bush wants done.

Bill Scher says Pelosi may have trouble choosing an intelligence committee chair for the simple reason that the choices aren't that rich. (Which is just one more reason why Dick Morris is a sexist pig!)

MadKane: Hack This Limerick

12:12 GMT

News or not

Remember that 88-year-old woman the cops in Atlanta killed in her home last week? Well, it turns out that even their flimsy excuses turned out not to be true. As always, Radley Balko is covering this at The Agitator, as well as other raids, and says:

The apologists say that if the warrant is legal, and the police have the right to be there, you're pretty much screwed. If the police storm in and you -- not being a drug dealer and consequently having no reason to think the police might break into your home -- mistake them for criminal intruders and meet them with a gun, you are at fault. I guess your crime is living in an area where drug dealers could use your porch while you aren't home, or being a too trusting, frail, old woman. Sorry about your luck.

On the other hand, if the police break into your home and they mistake the blue cup, TV remote, the t-shirt you're holding to cover your genitals because they broke in while you were sleeping naked, or the glint off your wristwatch for a gun -- and subsequently shoot you (all of these scenarios have actually happened), well, then no one is to blame. Because, you see, SWAT raids are inherently dangerous and volatile, and it's perfectly understandable how police might mistake an innocent person holding a t-shirt for a violent drug dealer with gun.

In another revolting display of being a fright-winger, Dennis Prager said that Keith Ellison should not be allowed to be sworn-in on the Koran because it would be "doing more damage to the unity of America and to the value system that has formed this country than the terrorists of 9-11." (via)

Newt Gingrich spoke at a Free Speech Awards dinner, and came out against freedom of speech.

Loma Linda Homeowners Association declares peace on Christmas wreath. I think they were starting to worry about being sued.

Amanda Marcotte explains what they mean: Anything less than enthusiasm about hearing how you're a hellbound sinner when you're in a somewhat captive audience at a dinner party demonstrates insufficient tolerance towards Christians. (BTW, Pam's House Blend has a new address.)

01:29 GMT

Tuesday, 28 November 2006

"Throw on more uranium!"

Nir Rosen on Iraq's descent into chaos.

Bush thinks Sunnis and Shia don't like each other because of Al Qaeda.

Our media finally got around to deciding they could call the civil war in Iraq a "civil war". Well, I'm glad that's over with.

A nice post from Dr. Black about Centrism: What's sensible? Anything elite centrist opinionmakers think is sensible! So, the political center is an artificial concept created by people who imagine they're centrists because they know they're sensible and they certainly aren't extreme. The fact that such ideas do not have majority support, or don't really fit on the center of some political axis, is irrelevant. It's the sensible center, as they define it.

WSJ tracking of Bush's approval ratings throughout his time in office.

Lanny Davis really thinks he can call himself a civil libertarian? No, Lanny, not once you've made up fantasies about how the illegal wiretapping program is full of "protections" for our privacy.

Look, face it, Republicans always spend more money.

Music for mergers - with comparison lyrics.

"Paperback Believer" is more fun. (Thanks to PNH for the tip.)

23:04 GMT

Money, money, money

Christopher Hayes in In These Times, "What We Learn When We Learn Economics": When the Chicago School first emerged in the 50s, its zealous support of free markets and critique of government intervention were considered reactionary and extreme. Among elites in economics and politics the consensus was, as John Maynard Keynes had argued, that capitalism could only function with regular and robust government management. Indeed, so total was this consensus that in 1971 Richard Nixon announced a plan to impose wage and price caps in order to curb inflation, declaring, "We are all Keynesians now." Just 25 years later, however, Bill Clinton, the first Democratic president to be re-elected since FDR, announced that the "era of big government is over." He might as well have said, "We are all Chicagoans now."

I heard Hayes being interviewed about that article on Sam Seder's show, and he also mentioned that Dean Baker's The Conservative Nanny State is online and you can read it in HTML or download a .pdf, for a great deal more than just little tidbits like this: Of course, in reality the battle over the estate tax is an issue that is almost exclusively about wealthy people who don't want wealthy children to be taxed on their inheritance. In the spring of 2001 a New York Times reporter called the American Farm Bureau, one of the main groups lobbying for repeal of the estate tax, and asked to speak to a family that had lost its farm due to the estate tax. The Farm Bureau was unable to identify a single family in the entire country who had been through this experience.

17:52 GMT

Bloggy bits

An Average Woman prefers not to have a doctor whose main motivation is money. And thinks rich people should pay taxes. Me, too.

Atrios: A certain segment of our population spends their time touting all of the various "hate America" type things which bubble out of the Arab press. It never occurs to them that people in the Middle East can, you know, find the mirror image in our press, whether its Glenn Reynolds' new favorite saying, "more rubble, less trouble," or Dick Cheney's favorite radio host saying we should blow the place up.

Lambert on "The massive suckitude of centrists: It's all about the Rolodexes."

Jane Hamsher presents The Question - and the answer.

Tristero has a post up on Christianists, Althouse, Greenwald, etc. And says a few things about the provenance of the term. Meanwhile, Digby is all over Jonathan Chait's unserious approach to Iraq.

16:18 GMT

More to read

Michael Bérubé disputes one of the reviewers of his book.

I note with delight that Mike is now including a "Holy Crap" section of his Blog Roundup posts. (Feorag might want to take note.)

The Salvador Option does seem to be working much as expected in Iraq.

Leaving aside the fact that it is kinda funny that the actor who played both Lenny on Laverne & Shirley and David Ivor St. Hubbins in This is Spinal Tap beat Education Secretary Margaret Spellings at Celebrity Jeopardy because the latter couldn't answer simple questions, I also liked the picture Maru used in this post.

Remember Lockerbie? Well, not only is the case still alive, but almost no one who has looked at it believes Libya really did it.

One good thing about The New York Times is that they have Louis Uchitelle writing about the new economic populism in the Democratic Party.

That whole falling dollar thing would be good if only we still made anything that the rest of the world wanted to buy. Outside of the entertainment industry, though, I don't know what that would be.

Even Iran has to clean up after Bush.

A couple of interesting items from Atrios - on the worry Democrats have about having Lieberman on committees when he now has Marshall Whitman, a habitual leaker, on his staff; and post quoting a very good point from Glenn Greenwald disputing the idea that the only reason Pelosi has for not wanting to keep Jane Harmon as a committee chair is that "she hates Harmon" - rather, the fact that she has been wrong on everything is a very good reason not to leave her in a leadership position. "Harman supported the most disastrous strategic decision in our nation's history and repeatedly defended the administration's worst excesses. That ought to be disqualifying on its face."

02:25 GMT

Monday, 27 November 2006

Quick links

"Its as if whatever made Linda Blair's head spin around in The Exorcist had invaded the body of Lou Dobbs and left him with the brain of Dennis Kucinich."

"Righties are Stupid, Episode 3,047" - MahaBarb on people who believe myths about Social Security, and "The Civilian War Footing Act.

The Divisive Issue of Peace

"The gloves come off" in the LAT on the glory and wonder that is Keith Olbermann. Actual liberal blogger (Jane Hamsher) is quoted. (via)

Dolphins sing 'Batman' theme. (via)

23:35 GMT

Awakening to the war we're in

At DKos, xrepub reads an article in the NYT and talks about Class Warfare:

When Ben Stein is quoting Warren Buffett to say something isn't right, well it's worth paying attention.

So...who's winning the class war? The answer is pretty clear but you'd be astounded at by how much the majority is losing.

The section that caught my eye was:

Put simply, the rich pay a lot of taxes as a total percentage of taxes collected, but they don't pay a lot of taxes as a percentage of what they can afford to pay, or as a percentage of what the government needs to close the deficit gap.

Mr. Buffett compiled a data sheet of the men and women who work in his office. He had each of them make a fraction; the numerator was how much they paid in federal income tax and in payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare, and the denominator was their taxable income. The people in his office were mostly secretaries and clerks, though not all.

It turned out that Mr. Buffett, with immense income from dividends and capital gains, paid far, far less as a fraction of his income than the secretaries or the clerks or anyone else in his office. Further, in conversation it came up that Mr. Buffett doesn't use any tax planning at all. He just pays as the Internal Revenue Code requires. "How can this be fair?" he asked of how little he pays relative to his employees. "How can this be right?"

The post by xrepub goes on to make some other good points about the way taxes are organized (and especially estate taxes), but it's worthwhile to read Stein's article to the end as well - he makes some good, liberal points. It's always nice watching an epiphany in progress.

18:00 GMT

More leftovers

I gotta say our Thanksgiving dinner Saturday was gorgeous. I really enjoyed eating that food. Good company, too. I'm gonna need to spend a lot of time walking it off. (I still miss pumpkin pie, though.) And there's still plenty left....

Todd Gitlin says Matt Welch's column on McCain's actual views is a signal to the punditocracy to "look into the mind of the desert angel and see what he thinks." Wouldn't that be nice?

So, Rumsfeld is being replaced by a loony who pushed for bombing Nicaragua. Yeah, he's better than Rumsfeld because...why?

What story will we tell ourselves about Iraq when it's over? (Possibly the same one we tell about Vietnam. But the trouble with that is that, then as now, though most of us recognized the mistake of the war, there are always those who think we just should have "stayed and won", who will come back and try to prove it again.) Steve Clemons: Because of the Bush administration's choices and style of management of America's national interests, the nation is facing NO good options. So much will need to be rebuilt and recrafted by the next President, and the international system will be highly suspect of this nation -- no matter who is elected.

I like the look of this map, because red seats have a good chance of turning to blue.

Look, there is just no magic answer to Iraq. I'm with Arthur on this: Just leave. It's over. It's blown.

Austin Cline has another reminder of things Republicans think are important enough to investigate.

I know it's pretty bad, but it really goes deep when the National Science Teacher's Association refuses to accept 50,000 DVDs of An Inconvenient Truth for students. Their claim was that they were worried about the prospect of having "special interests" asking them to distribute material, but they are already accepting and distributing materials from the oil industry.

Everybody knew.

Norbizness looks forward to January.

Arguing about Hayek and whether he was wrong, or even believed, that the welfare state leads to serfdom.

Roz's review of The Prestige.

Bob Geiger's Saturday Cartoons

15:40 GMT

What the papers say

Hard as it is to believe, the WaPo is really trying to spin the line that fixing the Medicare drug bill will hurt Democrats. How do they know? Because spokespeople for the pharmaceutical companies say it's a bad idea. Needless to say, they are happy to say, um, misleading things (lie) to make that case - and the Post appears to be eating it right up. Jonathan Singer at MyDD has more, and notes that the LAT is saying much the same thing.

The NYT on "concern" over voting problems: Voting experts say it is impossible to say how many votes were not counted that should have been. But in Florida alone, the discrepancies reported across Sarasota County and three others amount to more than 60,000 votes. In Colorado, as many as 20,000 people gave up trying to vote, election officials say, as new online systems for verifying voter registrations crashed repeatedly. And in Arkansas, election officials tallied votes three times in one county, and each time the number of ballots cast changed by more than 30,000.

Matt Welch: Sifting through McCain's four bestselling books and nearly three decades of work on Capitol Hill, a distinct approach toward governance begins to emerge. And it's one that the electorate ought to be particularly worried about right now. McCain, it turns out, wants to restore your faith in the U.S. government by any means necessary, even if that requires thousands of more military deaths, national service for civilians and federal micromanaging of innumerable private transactions. He'll kick down the doors of boardroom and bedroom, mixing Democrats' nanny-state regulations with the GOP's red-meat paternalism in a dangerous brew of government activism. And he's trying to accomplish this, in part, for reasons of self-realization. (via)

And Jonathan Chait has a plan to solve the problem with Iraq: Bring Back Saddam Hussein.

01:24 GMT

Sunday, 26 November 2006

"His notes tell me you were right in the middle of insect life."

Charnos Cherub non padded bra

Bra of the Week

Linda Milazzo says: "Americans can't handle another impeachment." So say the supporters of George W. Bush in their anti-impeachment propaganda. The truth is Americans CAN handle another impeachment. They CAN handle the truth. In fact, if Americans don't bring Bush and Cheney to justice after the atrocities they've committed, this nation will never reclaim its moral authority. And the people of this nation will be despised for unleashing these dangerous men on the world.

Suburban Guerrilla notes that the president of Shell Oil is admitting that the greenhouse gas effect is real, and even Exxon Mobil is "considering ending its funding of a think tank that has sought to cast doubts on climate change" and planning to contribute " more than $1.25 million to a European Union study on how to store carbon dioxide in natural gas fields in the Norwegian North Sea, Algeria and Germany."

Greg Sargent calls on The New York Times to stop promoting the all-powerful Lieberman line and start doing some real reporting on whether he'll switch parties or it's all just gas. (I think it's all gas, myself.)

Steve Young says Janis Karpinsky's got the goods on Rumsfeld. Karpinsky, although she had actually been relieved of command at Abu Ghraib so that "civilians" could indulge in militarily "unconventional" practices there, was later made a scapegoat for allowing the "bad apples" to run wild. But the blame goes higher up, and it's well past time for Rumsfeld, at least, to be tried for his crimes.

Frank Schaeffer (son of evangelist Francis Schaeffer) on Jesus and the Monkey Blood--Growing Up Fundamentalist then Joining the Human Race: Kids raised by, say, zealous pacifist mothers or Roman Catholic or Zionist true-believers understand the longing to allow the ordinary good things of life to overrule "theology" and "ideology." It seems we don't want to be overly "chosen." And questions aren't bad. In fact uncertainties are comforting.

Ruth Marcus thinks Bush could change the tone in Washington with just one syllable - by properly pronouncing the name of the Democratic Party. But things were already bad long before Bush started saying "Democrat Party" in public. (via)

Why Now? follows up on why the chickenhawks piss us off. (But, no, you don't have to be a veteran to notice. I noticed.)

Did I mention Ken Silverstein's article in Harper's about Ken Adelman, "A Rat Abandons a Ship of Fools"? People have been talking about it all week. Adelman was a big cheerleader for the war until just about the moment when he noticed it was no longer cool to do so, and now he's suddenly all full of recriminations for Bush. What a guy.

20:06 GMT

Count on it

I've now seen (thanks to Chris in comments) an article about the 2006 exit polls. [Source here; contains a useful graphic.] Isn't it funny how they become less and less "accurate" as each election goes by, lately?

The 2006 Edison-Mitofsky Exit Poll was commissioned by a consortium of major news organizations. Its conclusions were based on the responses of a very large sample, of over ten thousand voters nationwide*, and posted at 7:07 p.m. Election Night, on the CNN website. That Exit Poll showed Democratic House candidates had out-polled Republicans by 55.0 percent to 43.5 percent - an 11.5 percent margin - in the total vote for the US House, sometimes referred to as the "generic" vote.

By contrast, the election results showed Democratic House candidates won 52.7 percent of the vote to 45.1 percent for Republican candidates, producing a 7.6 percent margin in the total vote for the U.S. House ... 3.9 percent less than the Edison-Mitofsky poll. This discrepancy, far beyond the poll's +/- 1 percent margin of error, has less than a one in 10,000 likelihood of occurring by chance.

By Wednesday afternoon the Edison-Mitofsky poll had been adjusted, by a process known as "forcing," to match the reported vote totals for the election. This forcing process is done to supply data for future demographic analysis, the main purpose of the Exit Poll. It involved re-weighting every response so that the sum of those responses matched the reported election results. The final result, posted at 1:00 p.m. November 8, showed the adjusted Democratic vote at 52.6 percent and the Republican vote at 45.0 percent, a 7.6 percent margin exactly mirroring the reported vote totals.

The forcing process in this instance reveals a great deal. The Party affiliation of the respondents in the original 7:07 p.m. election night Exit Poll closely reflected the 2004 Bush-Kerry election margin. After the forcing process, 49-percent of respondents reported voting for Republican George W. Bush in 2004, while only 43-percent reported voting for Democrat John Kerry. This 6-percent gap is more than twice the size of the actual 2004 Bush margin of 2.8 percent, and a clear distortion of the 2006 electorate.

There is a significant over-sampling of Republican voters in the adjusted 2006 Exit Poll. It simply does not reflect the actual turnout on Election Day 2006.

EDA's Simon says, "It required some incredible distortions of the demographic data within the poll to bring about the match with reported vote totals. It not only makes the adjusted Exit Poll inaccurate, it also reveals the corresponding inaccuracy of the reported election returns which it was forced to equal. The Democratic margin of victory in US House races was substantially larger than indicated by the election returns."

"Many will fall into the trap of using this adjusted poll to justify inaccurate official vote counts, and vice versa," adds Bruce O'Dell, EDA's Data Analysis Coordinator, "but that's just arguing in circles. The adjusted exit poll is a statistical illusion. The weighted but unadjusted 7 pm exit poll, which sampled the correct proportion of Kerry and Bush voters and also indicated a much larger Democratic margin, got it right." O'Dell and Simon's paper, detailing their analysis of the exit polls and related data, is now posted on the EDA website.

As the report itself observes:
For many observers, the results on Election Day permitted a great sigh of relief - not because control of Congress shifted from Republicans to Democrats, but because it appeared that the public will had been translated more or less accurately into electoral results, not thwarted as some had feared. There was a relieved rush to conclude that the vote counting process had been fair and that the concerns of election integrity proponents had been overblown.

Unfortunately the evidence forces us to a very different and disturbing conclusion: there was gross vote count manipulation and it had a great impact on the results of E2006, significantly decreasing the magnitude of what would have been, accurately tabulated, a landslide of epic proportions.

This all comports with my speculation immediately after the election that they just didn't cheat enough to overwhelm the will of the voters, this time. It also adds support to my long-held belief that they did cheat enough in 2004.

And, although the authors are obviously uncomfortable with saying so, it underscores the dangers of having "adjusted" totals for exit polls at all. As near as I can tell, this mechanism is overwhelmingly used to obscure the fact that the final voting tallies are false, no matter what rationale is given for using the adjustments.

To recap, then:

  • In 2000, cheating in Florida forced the race to appear close enough to expose the fact that the exit polls had been correct and the ballot count wrong, but the GOP noise machine insisted that the exit polls were wrong.
  • In 2004, the exit polls projected a win for Kerry that was not confirmed by the final ballot tallies, and, despite the fact that all other evidence suggested that the exit polls had been correct, this was taken instead as confirmation - unchecked - that the exit polls and all other indicators had been wrong.
  • In 2006, exit polls were kept remarkably close to the chest and there was virtually no discussion of them in the media, so most people weren't even aware of discrepancies. It is only because Election Defense Alliance members kept running screen-captures of CNN's unheralded exit poll page (since adjusted to match the official vote tallies) that we know about the discrepancy.
I have been expressing concern since 2000 that the entire process and interest in exit polling has been devolving as the GOP meme of inaccurate exit polling has taken greater and greater hold. The argument for the increasing secrecy about exit polling results has been that the "raw" data only confuses people into thinking that whoever most people say they voted for is actually an indicator of who should have won the election. In fact, that's exactly what the unadjusted data do indicate, and that's why we should be more insistent on seeing that data and investigating when the official tallies do not match up with it. No one seemed to have any trouble admitting this when some foreign country's exit polls and voting tallies did not match up and people took to the streets, yet when it happens in America, it's "conspiracy theory" to suggest that maybe the exit polls really do tell us something about who people voted for.

The "remedy" we have been given for the debacle of 2000 is to have votes that can't be verified from machines that can't be inspected, and to ignore every evidence that we have people serving in office who were not chosen by the people.

Yes, this time we managed to surprise them by overwhelming their "adjustments", but they haven't stopped adding new impediments to the process. ($97 for a passport so you can have ID at the polls? Can you say, "Poll tax"?) And the press hasn't stopped shrugging it all off. And too few of our legislators are showing any sense of urgency. And exit polling seems to be disappearing from the scene.

And the next election is only two years away.

17:59 GMT

Sunday morning rant

Now here's a funny thing: Ann Althouse is making a big to-do over the fact that Andrew Sullivan uses the term "Christianist" to refer to people he thinks are the counterparts to "Islamists". She apparently regards it as bigoted to acknowledge that there are people who call themselves "Christian" who are just as odious as some people who call themselves "Muslim".

Glenn Greenwald has called her on it, which generated a lot of childish name-calling from Althouse in response. Like Greenwald, I am disappointed to note that someone who is so inadequate to her arguments is actually a tenured law professor - but then, this isn't much when compared to the disappointment of seeing that people who overtly hate the US Constitution can be appointed to the Supreme Court.

But the truly odd thing is that Andrew Sullivan seems to think he invented the term "Christianist" and neither Althouse nor Greenwald (nor, for that matter, his commenters) seem to have noticed that it isn't so. In fact, a number of us independently started using the word at least as early as the '90s, when it began to gain currency. To my knowledge, the earliest use on the web was in this post by Tristero in 2003, picked up and proliferated by David Neiwert at Orcinus.

It seems obvious to me that an alternative term for those who claim to be Christian but do not appear to be practicing (or advocating) what most of us regard as Christianity was becoming increasingly necessary, and "Christianism" fit the bill neatly, which is why it was coined back there in the '90s. But Tristero is arguing more specifically that:

To oversimplify, Islam is the religion, Islamism is the political movement inspired by the religion. A closer analogy seems to be that Islamism is to Islam as fundamentalism of the Pat Robertson ilk is to Christianity.
I have argued that "fundamentalism" is a misleading term because it implies that it is based on something fundamental to the practice and inspiration of Christianity. The people who call themselves "Christian fundamentalists" certainly want you to think so, but the essence of Christianity (as opposed to monotheism) is not found in the entirety of the Bible, but only in the first four books of the New Testament, known as the Gospels - that is, the teachings of Jesus. Jesus doesn't spend a lot of time telling his followers to dominate their country's governments or men to dominate their wives. He doesn't waste a lot of words on hating homosexuality, and he never once mentions abortion. Yet these seem to be the focus of the Christian Identity movement and the Dominionists who currently have such profound influence on our government (and even our media). At the same time, the Christianist leaders act in ways that seem to directly contradict the essential teachings of Jesus; they deride "welfare" (help to the poor), they laud economic success, and they promote war. Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan, who gave no-strings aid to someone who was not of his tribe or his faith; Christianists want to deny aid to anyone who does not first agree to submit to their teachings. Jesus told people to cast off their material belongings; Christianists promote the acquisition of more wealth by the already wealthy. Jesus told his followers to pray in closets; Christianists make ostentatious display of their "religious" practice.

Most people of my generation learned about Jesus not just in church, but also in school. We had Bible stories read to us and we learned to recite many of the important passages from Jesus' teachings. The Jewish kids I went to school with are probably more familiar with the Gospels than many self-described "Christian evangelicals" today.

And it's where a lot of us got our values - values we love and adhere to long after doubts begin to creep in about whether Jesus was really the Christ, or whether God exists at all. Whether we were ever Christian or whether we have since become atheists, we still find the philosophical content of Jesus' teachings more useful than any amount of ranting at queers and deregulating credit card companies. We like, "Love your neighbor" a lot better than "Impoverish your neighbor and try to get him locked up in prison." We remember the "loaves and fishes" story and don't recall Jesus glorifying the employer of the repo man. We like "Beat your swords into plowshares" but not "Bomb the crap out of the wogs."

The Christianists want their beliefs taught to little children, but that's not the Jesus they want to introduce them to. They prefer this guy.

A read through Glenn's comments is interesting. Most aren't too bad, but it's really just amazing that anyone can live in America and not know that there really are "Christian" groups who do want to impose a theofascist government on us, and even terrorists who help them out. And that their spiritual leader is a guy who doesn't just bomb abortion clinics, but bombs whole other countries, and instructs his minions to torture people as well as kill them. I mean, there's no similarity, is there?

12:58 GMT

Saturday, 25 November 2006

I miss pumpkin pie

You know, I don't remember Thanksgiving weekend being this bad for blogging before. And while I know that November 7th may have given people a feeling that we now have time to breathe and it's not all that urgent, I just can't seem to extend my feelings of celebration quite that far. Even leaving aside the fact that Bush is still in the White House, there's still that little voice in the back of my mind that says, "What if they let us win?" Or, "What if they know they've already done the damage?" And by the time it becomes so obvious that everyone notices, the Democrats will be in power - and get the blame. Could Rove have been looking at the math - the one about our economy?

Natasha and I are on the same page about Hillary Clinton - we don't want her as the Democratic nominee, but we also know that her negatives in the polls are based on lies. If she's even thinking of running, she should be ready to blow those lies out of the water, and her supporters should be ready to help. Of course, the same is true of Al Gore.

And Quiddity and I are on the same page about Iran - that the threat from Iran is overblown. And I'm much more worried about the threat from the Bush administration.

I'm not even going to comment on this, but if you want to talk about Israel, here's your big chance.

Matt Stoller on The lessons we can learn from the Houston janitors: And with the Houston janitors' victory, we see that unions, with the right strategies, can be a vehicle to unite workers and their allies in a real movement for economic and social justice.

MediaBloodhound sees bias in an NBC report on China.

Thanks for the False Memories - time for the third annual Falsies Awards, "sponsored by the Center for Media and Democracy to recognize the people and players responsible for polluting our information environment." Help them choose the most egregious actors in the spin. (Thanks to Neil Rest for the tip.)

14:37 GMT

Cold turkey sandwich

Josh Marshall asks: Is it just me or has George W. Bush checked out of the stumbling national crisis we know as 'Iraq'? Well, it hasn't been lost on us that he's suddenly become a devotee of travel for the first time in his life. But he's useless now for political campaigning and it's pretty clear the rest of his party wants to put a lot of distance between themselves and him, and since the politicking was the only part he and Karl seemed to have any interest in, I can see why he doesn't particularly want to stick around to take his lumps. But once he fired Rumsfeld, he doesn't have much to say; the administration has been projecting a change in course and that leaves Bush with no simple-minded message to deliver, because there ain't a cool, macho-boy way to say, "I screwed up and new we've got to cut our losses."

Chris Floyd directs our attention to Paul William Roberts on America in Retreat, which is full of little surprises. Like: The real power in Teheran is an oligarchy linked to oil and interwoven with senior clerics yet essentially secular in its goals. Your media don’t bother you with this reality, however, for reasons best known to themselves. To retain the status quo, however, the oligarchs must placate the impoverished masses with a myth of spiritual warfare in which Iran fights for God against Satan. God has just awarded one of Iran’s citizens the deeds to Satan’s embassy in Teheran in lieu of a cash payment for the fine imposed by a clerical court for wrongful imprisonment – so the war is going well! At least no one in Teheran’s corridors of power actually believes this yarn, though, while Washington is infested with religious psychopaths who seriously (or rather comically) think they’re up against a guy with horns who has set himself up as the Competition.

Tom Schaller's "Gettysburg, Again" could have been called, "The Northern Strategy", except that it wasn't a strategy. In fact, there is some evidence that the Democrats could have taken a few more southern seats if they'd gone farther to the left down there - Harold Ford's alienation of progressives couldn't have helped him in Tennessee, for example. But if the Southern Strategy worked because the south was switching to the Republicans, it's a wonder no one wanted to work harder on turning solidifying the north in the other direction. It finally appears to be happening, now.

You could almost get the impression that, Labour having dropped the mantel and the LibDems having failed to rise to the take it, David Cameron is trying to make the Conservative Party into the party of the left.

PSoTD writes a letter, and gets a response of sorts.

I thought at first that this was a drawing or painting, but it's a real fish.

11:22 GMT

Op-ed notes

Interestingly, both E.J. Dionne and Paul Krugman chose to write about the mysteriously huge number of people who allegedly didn't vote for a Congressional candidate in Sarasota. To Dionne, it's a warning about the dangers of electronic voting machines - and it is - although he seems to have forgotten the even more mystifying disappearance of 16,000 votes for Al Gore in Volusia County in 2000. Krugman also sees the warning there, but he's not as optimistic as Dionne seems to be: And I have to say that the omens aren't good. I've been shocked at how little national attention the mess in Sarasota has received. Here we have as clear a demonstration as we're ever likely to see that warnings from computer scientists about the dangers of paperless electronic voting are valid - and most Americans probably haven't even heard about it.

I see Crazy Charlie Krauthammer thinks Sacha Baron Cohen lives in hot-bed of anti-Semitism. I know the right-wingers like to pretend that we're having huge outbreaks of this stuff over here, but it ain't so. And Cohen is not from some glitzy "elite" - he's just some middle-class kid who developed a couple of characters and took them out to play. Nor does he only single-out rubes from the American sticks to make fun of - he's also publicly embarrassed upper-class twits of the sort who think they are way too good for us hoi polloi. Oh, and Tony Benn, among others. And who can forget Ali G's appearance on Rosie O'Donnell's show? The guy is an equal-opportunity send-up.

Naturally, David Broder is writing fondly of Milton Friedman. I do not expect ever to do the same, and this column shows you why: At some point he mentioned Social Security, and I asked what he thought of President Bush's effort -- then underway -- to introduce private accounts into the Social Security system. "Ridiculous," he snorted. "He's tinkering around the edges. He should be trying to abolish Social Security and give people incentives to save for their retirement." Moron.

"Well, it all started about 40 thanksgivings ago..." Arlo talks about the draft and The Alice's Restaurant Massacree, via some dirty hippie.

03:26 GMT

Friday, 24 November 2006

People are talking

Buy the T-shirt.

I actually find it hard to imagine the Republicans managing to come up with a viable presidential candidate just now, but maybe that's just me.

Something I missed in all the excitement is the fact that the Senate passed a resolution honoring Paul Wellstone last week.

Eric Boehlert says that CBS owes Ed Bradley an apology for "its shameful decision during the 2004 presidential campaign to pointedly refuse to run a factually solid story of his that chronicled how the Bush administration had misled the country into war.

Via Digby, a remarkably honest article in The American Conservative by Austin W. Bramwell, surveying "the wreckage of contemporary conservatism, and called, of all things, "Good-bye to All That": Until recently, it has been almost impossible for me to speak candidly about the conservative movement, for it was my strange fate to serve as director and later trustee of the movements flagship journal, National Review. Earlier this year, at William F. Buckleys request, I resigned both positions. I can therefore now declare what perhaps has oft been thought but never, at least not often enough, expressed. Notwithstanding conservatives belief that they, in contrast to their partisan opponents, have thought deeply about the challenges facing the United States, it is they who have become unserious. Highly recommended. (Also, Digby on Customer Service, or losing a free society.)

Nobody believes the official story.

The solution to Iraq.

23:55 GMT

Makes ya think

Charles (of) read the articles at TPM Muckraker linked below and offers his conclusion in comments:

I think Justin Rood's article is essentially an exoneration of Hastings. The code article is, to my view, baloney, and it's no surprise it ultimately traces to The WaPo.

The Congressional Black Caucus has witnessed the following over the past ca. 12 months: Cynthia McKinney was accused of assaulting a police officer and publicly pilloried. A Grand Jury that saw the tapes and was invited to indict her declined to do so. William Jefferson was discovered with large amounts of marked cash in his freezer. On the basis of this, he was stripped of committee assignments. Yet, strangely, no indictment has issued. Alcee Hastings, who was acquitted by a jury of wrongdoing and repeatedly elected to Congress by constituents who felt he had been wronged may be shunted aside on the basis of "evidence" that, as Justin Rood shows, was largely concocted by corrupt FBI agents.

The key myth here has to do with "intelligence." Congressional committees do not see raw product, though conceivably staff with appropriate security clearances might. What they see, for the most part, is what the intelligence agencies want to show them. We are at the point where the Congress could learn more by reading the Guardian than the pablum it is given.

Granted, exposure of secrets would be a major political brouhaha-- if committed by a Democrat. Orrin Hatch, for example, exposed secrets without any real consequence. But faced with the near-certainty that African Americans will get terminally p**sed off at the dual standard of justice they have received vs. the chance that Alcee Hastings will sell missile secrets to the Russians, the Democrats would be fools to cave to the Washington Post.

A good linky post from Fact-esque you might want to check out (and this article should be copied to any idiot who tries out the "Arabs are not like us" line, please.)

I have a long list of reasons why modern sex-offender laws are misguided, dangerous, and wrong; and they are also inhumane.

Since Thursday is not a holiday here, we're having our turkey tomorrow. But in other parts of the world, they may feel a certain resentment about Americans feasting while our government is depriving Iraqis of even water. Be that as it may, I'm bloody grateful for the result of our elections and the possibility that we can now hope there's an end in sight.

Robert Lipsyte : I remember thinking -- in the years I actively covered Nascar -- that one of the most telling differences between my subjects and me was that they knew more people on active military duty than people in same-sex relationships. That was still true this month, and that's why the Democrats won.

Christmas Vacation in 30 Seconds (in Bun-o-Vision) and a political cartoon at Mia Culpa.

20:08 GMT

Why not?

Over at Paperwight's Fair Shot, the question is raised: "Why Not Impeach Cheney?":

Nobody likes him, nobody's really willing to defend him, and Bush, the Bush Sr. retainers, and big parts of the intelligence community and the military would happily sell him out. Given how deeply Cheney was involved in fixing the Iraq invasion intelligence, and how much his former company (in which he holds current deferred compensation) has been involved in war profiteering, the political theater would be awesome, even (maybe especially) as Cheney just growls at cameras and tells Congress to go fuck themselves instead of cooperating.
All of this may be true, but I still don't see why not impeach both Bush and Cheney. It may be necessary for the Democratic leadership to talk like impeachment is off the table, but since investigations clearly are on the table, there is no reason to think it can't lead to impeachment.

And there is no reason to take for granted that the Republicans in Congress won't ever retreat to a position of partisan self-preservation and allow such an impeachment once it becomes starkly clear to the public that the administration has been a criminal enterprise and that those who support them are just part of the mob. After all, lately they've all been trying to distance themselves from Bush (and I don't think Cheney has many friends left, either), and how better to do that than to completely repudiate this White House in the most spectacular way possible? They may not have any scruples, but they should know a a good PR stunt when they see one.

They've done it before, and they only lost the White House for four years as a result. With the help of their thoroughly corrupt symbiosis with the media, I'm sure they could convince the public once again that it was all just, y'know, a few bad apples, and distract us from noticing that it's actually part of their "governing" philosophy.

In the meantime, I really think that whenever some twerp in the media (or the GOP) suggests that we just need to "move on" rather than disrupt our nice peaceful dismantling of America's economy and Constitution, we should demand to know why we have a criminal justice system at all - after all, by the time someone is convicted, their crimes are months, even years old. Why not just get over it and move on?

12:10 GMT

Trying to figure things out

Reading Alcee Hastings' letter to his Democratic colleagues, I was struck by this paragraph:

Jonathan Alter, who I did not mention above, did return my call. He was doing a piece for Newsweek on me and other potential chairs. His comment to me after a 45 minute conversation was, "gee, I did not know all of that" and, "you need to get that information out there." He did not write anything about me at that time.
I love that; one of the most important journalists in American news periodicals tells someone they have to get a story "out there". How do you do that? You get a journalist to write the story. What do you do when an important journalist thinks the story is important and yet somehow thinks the subject has to get the story out there on his own? How? By magic? Gosh, maybe Alcee Hastings needs to start a blog.

Anyway, TPM Muckraker has been trying to sort through the story of how then-judge Hastings was acquitted in a court of law but impeached in Congress by people who may have known little about the case. I still find it difficult to figure out what happened. Justin Rood seems to think that at least one claim seems bogus, but another may not be.

Also at TPMM, it's looking more and more like something funny happened with the voting in Florida's 13th: The group of nearly 18,000 voters that registered no choice in Sarasota's disputed congressional election solidly backed Democratic candidates in all five of Florida's statewide races, an Orlando Sentinel analysis of ballot data shows. That Congressional race was won by the Republican by only 369 votes, but it sure sounds like that wasn't the voters' intent.

I'm hearing a lot of good things about Emilio Estevez 's film Bobby, some of it from people who were in that room at the Ambassador Hotel on the night. (Trailer.) Estevez himself says he thought they'd made a distinctly American film, but when they've shown it in Europe the response has been intense - people see the America they love, and miss, in that film. I wanna see it. (Elsewhere, Chris Floyd gives what looks to be an honest appraisal of RFK.)

Jessica Alba linked with Oliver Willis! (Via William K. Wolfrum.)

02:15 GMT

Thursday, 23 November 2006

And happy Thanksgiving

Oh, yeah, almost forgot - Monkeyfister has the WKRP Thanksgiving turkey clip up. It's been a long time since I saw that. Still cracks me up.

17:27 GMT

As a public service...

As we well recall, John Kerry messed up a joke recently. My personal interpretation of the incident is that John Kerry is not a comedian and should not re-write jokes on the fly - he should have memorized that joke and made sure he said it right the first time.

Even more recently, a guy whose name so few people are familiar with that he constantly has to be referred to as "the Kramer guy" also blew it on stage, in such a way that it became a big news item.

So, how would someone with actual stand-up comedy experience analyze these events? Lucky for us, there is Kung Fu Monkey.

16:49 GMT

Leftover links

I think Kevin Drum is missing the chickenhawk argument, here - it's not about whether you've served so much as whether you care enough to go there yourself. Maybe that should be the rule: If you support a war, prove it by volunteering and go there. After seeing Richard Cohen frankly (yet blankly) confess that he only opposed the Vietnam war when he realized he might die in it, along with seeing so many pro-invasion Iraq hawks equally frankly suggesting that they are too good to fight in their war but the people who are actually there aren't good enough to care about their lives, well, c'mon, how can I respect you when I know that you know you have no skin in the game?

Epicycle: A novel defence - one of victims in the RIAA's seemingly endless series of file-sharing suits is claming that the legal settlement between the industry and Sharman Networks, the manufacturer of the Kazaa P2P software, exonerates him from paying any damages. The RIAA's claims that Sharman was liable for any copyright infringements made by Kazaa users were upheld, and defendant David Greubel's lawyers say that this means that the recording companies have already been fully compensated for whatever music he may have traded. Greubel is also attempting to cap the damages claimed by the RIAA, insisting that the sum of $750 per song sought is completely excessive in comparison to the 70¢ that they would have received from a legal music download. Both are very reasonable claims, on the face of it, and it will be very interesting to see what a judge and jury make of them.

Why do I get the impression that the 2007 Philadelphia mayoral race may be the one to watch for low comedy?

A neat photo.

Campbell's Soup in Warhol wrappers.

I have a vague recollection of linking the Secret Wars Re-Enactment Society video before, but I can't find it in my archives so maybe I'm wrong. Anyway, I was just reminded of it (via) and it cracked me up again.

A post with links to paperback book covers from "a twilight world of twisted sex".

11:44 GMT

Why nobody loves them

You gotta give Steny Hoyer credit, he comes right out and tells you why he does creepy things. Yes, Steny, you believe in personal responsibility, but not corporate responsibility. Once you're a big, rich corporation that gives away campaign dollars, you get a guarantee that you never have to take any risks - you just put those risks onto everyone else, even if they can't afford it, so you can get really rich and buy yourself a House Majority Leader. Gladys Spellman is still a better legislator than you, Steny, and she's dead.

Via The Raw Story, FCC being sued: Fox, CBS Broadcasting Inc., NBC Universal Inc. and NBC Telemundo License Co. are suing the Federal Communications Commission, challenging the way the agency metes out punishment for airing shows that contain profanity. Fox filed formal arguments in a federal appeals court in New York. Later in the day, CBS and NBC also filed briefs.

The Poor Man: But more seriously, I think I can do Rangels solution one better: introduce a bill to let soldiers get a General Discharge, no strings attached, if they give two weeks notice. Call it "The Take This War And Shove It Act". I think even Antiwar might be able to puzzle that one out.

Progressives and liberals more popular than Rush Limbaugh in red states.

Devin Faraci has An Inconvenient Email Exchange.

Greenleaf, Idaho, prepares to shoot disaster refugees.

02:58 GMT

What for?

I know this seems naive, but an item in the WaPo makes me curious:

Police Agree to Protester Reforms:

The D.C. police department agreed yesterday to pay $685,000 and take steps to protect protesters from police abuse and ensure their rights to settle a lawsuit over the treatment of demonstrators at President Bush's inauguration in 2001.

The lawsuit uncovered evidence that the department had suspended rules limiting the use of force during the protests, had pressed undercover officers to infiltrate protest groups and had sought to provoke protesters and uninvolved bystanders by attacking them with batons and pepper spray.
The Partnership for Civil Justice, a civil liberties advocacy group, and a group of local residents brought the suit five years ago to try to force the police department under Chief Charles H. Ramsey to change what it considered an illegal pattern of treating protesters like suspected criminals.
Several investigations found that Assistant Chief Peter J. Newsham, after conferring with Ramsey, had ordered arrests without warning or evidence of a crime -- including of people who had nothing to do with the protests.

I'd sure like to ask these guys why they were trying to start riots in a city where they were supposed to be keeping the peace.

01:07 GMT

Wednesday, 22 November 2006

Points of interest

Glenn Greenwald: What the failure of Iraq demonstrates is not -- as Kaplan so earnestly suggests today -- that the rosy-eyed, slightly naive but well-intentioned neoconservative idealists just need to be a little more restrained in their desire to do Good in the world. It demonstrates that they are deceitful, radical and untrustworthy warmongers who led this country into the worst strategic disaster in its history and should never be trusted with anything ever again. And it equally demonstrates that starting wars with no justification and with no notion of self-defense is an idea that is as destructive as it is unjust. (Also, I left a comment.)

Earlier this month, Dean Baquet resigned as editor of The Los Angeles Times because of demands from higher-ups that he get rid of news staff; he said this would be too deleterious to the quality of the product and refused to do it. Reporter Terry McDermott has written a letter to Romenesko on Why the Dean Baquets of the world matter, talking about how Baquet had sent him off to do the in-depth profile of Mohammed Atta that no other news organ bothered with, which generated a different story than the one they told us.

Boy is there something wrong when a you blow the whistle on Diebold and, despite your state's whistle-blower protection laws, still end up with a criminal conviction (and losing your right to vote!) for costing Diebold money by making them look bad.

The General suggests the new Republican caucus rules.

Uh oh, does this mean that Maureen Dowd is wrong about why she can't find a mate?

This video that PNH posted pissed me off more than I can possibly articulate. I'm supposed to say, "Hey, at least this time they didn't shoot them," but no. I know we shouldn't be there.

22:40 GMT

People are talking

Yesterday was a good day to be a blogger who wrinkles her nose at Richard Cohen - even Digby got on the case, but Jonathan Alter doesn't get away with his own inside-the-Beltway-ism, either.

More hilarity when two tedious jerks from The Washington Post, John Harris and Jim VandeHei, announce that they are now going to go off to make their fortune with "a new vision of political reporting. It uses every medium on the web - text, video, and interactivity - to pull back the curtain on political stories and narrow the gap between reporters and their audience." Jane Hamsher calls it "Comedy Gold, and she's right. Did anyone else get the impression that people were reading blogs because they just couldn't get enough of the kind of thing Harris has been giving us at Pravda on the Potomac? Yeah. (Oooh, and Jane goes after Cohen the Barbarian, too!)

Janet Reno actually speaks up about the McCain Pro-torture and Incumbent Protection Enabling Act, joining an Amicus brief in the case of Saleh Kahlah al-Marri. US attorneys who served under Reagan and Carter are also contributors to the brief, which says our judicial system already has appropriate process for trying "enemy combatants", and: "The government is essentially asserting the right to hold putative enemy combatants arrested in the United States indefinitely whenever it decides not to prosecute those people criminally -- perhaps because it would be too difficult to obtain a conviction, perhaps because a motion to suppress evidence would raise embarrassing facts about the government's conduct, or perhaps for other reasons."

I cannot be even remotely surprised when Marshall Whitman becomes Lieberman's official spokesman, since he was his unofficial spokesman anyway, but it's still funny. Roger "the good one!" Ailes says more.

15:46 GMT

The grand delusion

Yesterday, the best pundit in America was Duncan Black, who examined yet another one of those questions that you've had all along but no one has articulated, probably because it seemed so obvious: Why wasn't Afghanistan enough? When you look at all the arguments from people who apparently wanted to (a) get some revenge after 9/11 and (b) turn a nasty, repressive Muslim country into a free and friendly democratic oasis while showing off American strength, why the hell did they let themselves get distracted from Afghanistan and pulled into the idea that it had to be Iraq? We know why Cheney and his friends wanted to, but what about all those liberal types at The New Republic, and so on? It just made no sense.

The weird thing is that so many of these people are supporters of Israel - the real kind, the kind who want Israel to be safe, and to continue to be a haven and home country for the world's Jews. And yet, surely, they must have recognized that further destabilizing the region presented a threat did Israel. And did they really not notice the degree to which many of the "Christian Zionists" in America were genuinely hopeful that the entire area would blow up into Armageddon? Didn't they understand that backing Bush was very possibly a fast-track to Israel's destruction? We don't know, now, how close we are, but we're a lot closer to that doomsday scenario than we were in 2000.

Clearly, there is something wrong with Leading Pundits who could never get that connection with other human beings that makes people like me recoil at the very thought of starting a war. When Richard Cohen baldly tells the world that his only reservations about war occurred when his own skin was at risk, we should know that we are not looking at healthy people. Like Bush, he learned the wrong lessons from Vietnam. Perhaps worse, he admits to having made a mistake each time, but he still doesn't understand that his reasons were not excusable. Hilzoy is right when calling for Cohen to resign, but Cohen is surely not the only one.

The fact is, anyone with any sense could have predicted that this would be a disaster - and, in fact, everyone with any sense did. But we've all been disgusted for a long time with being told what no one could have predicted.

10:15 GMT

Tuesday, 21 November 2006

Blogger's notebook

I love it that the evenly-divided Montana legislature just stopped being evenly-divided because one Republican changed parties, saying - yes! - "But I didn't leave them - they left me." Take that, Zell.

A cheaper and better method for desalination of water? Not a moment too soon.

Oliver Willis notes that Ted Koppel did a good job by actually going to Iran and talking to ordinary people. This comment brought a small but select number of wingnuts out of the closet in his comments. I can still be shocked by such people, but I am left speechless by seeing similar looniness in a major newspaper. Robert Farley is more polite than I would have been. (Quiddity really doesn't like the guy, either.)

The NYT says: An Israeli advocacy group, using maps and figures leaked from inside the government, says that 39 percent of the land held by Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank is privately owned by Palestinians. Oops. (Haaretz story; report and photos here.) (via)

I have a problem with this; I can't promise to respect the "conservative" beliefs of someone who wants to overturn our Constitutional rights.

Lego Stargate, via this post full of Stuff. (Another Stargate thing here.) (Also, I wasn't gonna sign up for the AOL thing, but now that I'm told you can see old episodes of Maverick for free, I gotta re-think.)

I wonder what David Bell was trying to say here.

16:13 GMT

Wars and rumors of wars

"The arithmetic: Were thousands from Bush's gulags disappeared?" Thanks to the McCain Pro-torture and Incumbent Protection Enabling Act, informally known as the "Military Commissions Act", we may never know.

Got any spare copies of Nineteen Eighty-Four? The Ministry of Love wants to send copies to everyone who voted for the McCain Pro-torture and Incumbent Protection Enabling Act.

Bill Scher says, "It's Not About Gates" (because Bush is still in the White House, anyway). There is nobody, absolutely nobody, in the White House -- now or in the future -- who should be presumed as a force of reason, and allowed to control the parameters of our foreign policy debate.

Keith Olbermann tells Bush what he should have learned from Vietnam.

11:52 GMT

What I saw

This is a false headline: "House Democrat Wants Draft Reinstated." Charlie Rangel does not, in fact, want the draft reinstated. The last time Rangel introduced this bill, every Democrat voted against it, including Charlie Rangel. What he wants is for people to understand the relationship between starting a war and generating dead bodies that might be related to you. But with war hawks constantly justifying those deaths on the grounds that it's an all-volunteer army and "those people want to be there" (yes, I have heard them say this), perhaps it's time to remind people that death is death and if you keep starting wars, it can happen to you. There is no such thing as all-volunteer casualties. (We will leave aside the fact that all those civilians who keep getting maimed and killed in Iraq did not sign up to be in a war.)

Tom Schaller and Kos have a conversation going today (joined by many others) on the "non-southern" strategy - which is not a strategy that excludes or denigrates the south, but ... well, you need to read what they're saying. But it's always worth it to remind people that we actually picked up a seat by running someone who was "too liberal" in the south, but lost two Senate seats with candidates who were too conservative for progressives to want to vote for. There's a lesson there, and it isn't that we have to pander to conservatism in the south. (Believe me, those southern voters are not voting against Dems because they're not corporatist enough.)

More bunk, unfortunately in the CSM, in which "free trade" is confused with "trade" so we don't notice that there's a difference between good trading relations that don't hurt a nation's working people and what we have now. There are a lot of snake-oil salesmen running around trying to pretend that deregulation is always good and "protectionism" is always bad. But "protectionism" has become one of those things that we're always just told are bad. But what's really so bad about protecting our economy from being plundered (and given away to China)?

I'm trying to keep in mind that Tom Noe got 18 years for his crooked GOP fundraising scams, to make myself feel better about the fact that the Justice Department has declined to prosecute the Maryland GOP campaign for their deceitful campaign tactics.

Mary at Pacific Views on What Bush's Torture Law Means.

Nice dress, George.

If Jack Chick worked at Marvel (via)

02:02 GMT

Monday, 20 November 2006

Food for thought

An important message from your Constitution:

Section 2. The President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States; he may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices, and he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.

Glenn Greenwald warns us about the terrifying Ruler of Iraq, Jose Padilla (who is very, very dark and scary).

One of the more useful phrases Atrios has been bringing us is "the Friedman Unit" - that is, the six months into the future that Thomas Friedman et al. keep telling us will be the time frame for when it all turns around in Iraq. Today he points out that, while it's all very well to indulge such fantasies, saying so in public only serves to put off, again and again, the point at which we stop fooling around and start trying to get out of Iraq. Twice. (So far.)

C&L has the video of Sy Hersh telling Wolf Blitzer that Iran doesn't have a credible nuclear program (and a link to the New Yorker article that goes with it, "The Next Act").

The Poor Man Institute is taking nominations for this year's Annual Golden Winger Awards. Also, don't miss the latest installment of The Keyboard Kommandos.

23:39 GMT

Abandoned by his party

An entertaining bit of news from AmericaBlog about the Joe Lieberman Party:

With Connecticut for Lieberman having achieved its victory earlier this month, Orman made his move. He contacted the secretary of the state, learned the new minor party had no registered members, then visited the registrar in Trumbull, where he lives, to switch from a Democrat to a Connecticut for Lieberman-ite.

"Then I went home and called a meeting of all registered Connecticut for Lieberman members to reflect on our party's victory in the U.S. Senate race (and) organize and submit rules to the secretary of the state," Orman said.

He nominated himself chairman, seconded the nomination, cast his vote for himself and proceeded to establish party rules.

Orman said the "party" is upset that Lieberman has abandoned it and says he is an "Independent Democrat."

John says this is for real. I do hope to see Orman showing up on the talk shows, he sounds like fun.

18:28 GMT

Rumors of Spring

Watching this interview of John Kerry by Chris Wallace really made me wish Kerry would say something like, "It's lucky for George Bush that you've never grilled him about his 'misstatements', isn't it?"

Atrios explains the laws of cause and effect to Kenneth Pollack.

Thomas Nephew on Christopher Dodd's Military Commission Civil Liberties Restoration Act, which he says is discussed in greater detail by Michael Froomkin and Jeralyn Merritt. This bill would restore habeas corpus, provide a more rational and less vague definition of "enemy combatant", allow military judges to exclude hearsay evidence, bar information elicited by coercion, allow court review, limit a president's authority to interpret the Geneva Conventions, and expedite judicial review of the constitutionality of the Military Commissions Act of 2006. Froomkin says Bush's Get Out of Jail Free card, however, can only be overturned by the Supreme Court rather than with legislation.

Andrew Stephen in The New Statesman says that, "Rumours persist here (and I have heard them repeated at a very senior level in the UK, too) that Bush has actually resumed drinking." Via Wolcott, (via).

Monkeyfister has posted the full video of Death Of A President, with a review. (He reckons it will be taken down soon, so this could be your only chance to see it for free if you're in the US.)

"A Process Revolution" - Dana Blankenhorn discusses the way technology has affected our election cycles and why this election was a triumph for the netroots: Richard Viguerie was the Markos Moulitsas of his time.

Note to self: Check out Matt Taibbi on The Vilsack Buzz when you have a mo'.

13:37 GMT

Sunday, 19 November 2006

Dinner and drinks

Just noticed on Teresa's Particles, a link to the Wikipedia entry on Odious debt: Odious debt, in international law, is debt that is incurred by a regime for purposes that do not serve the interest of the state. Such debts are thus considered by this doctrine to be personal debts of the regime that incurred them and not debts of the state. Think about it.

The Class War - Ezra has the video of the attack on the Houston janitors, along with the description of how the protesters were treated by the police, who stated outright that their purpose was political: The guards would tell us: 'This is what you get for protesting.' One of them said, 'Who gives a shit about janitors making 5 dollars an hour? Lots of people make that much.' The other inmates - there were a lot of prostitutes in there - said that they had never seen the jail this bad. The guards told them: 'We're trying to teach the protesters a lesson.' More at Confined Space.

If you want something to make you want to bang your head against the wall, read "Al Qaeda and The Mob: How the FBI Blew It on 9/11" by Peter Lance at the HuffPo.

Folks, the WTO/slavery article was satire, it's The Yes Men. It just didn't happen to be wearing a suit.

Epicycle has a rumination on the prescience of John Brunner's The Shockwave Rider, with new additions we forgot about in the manipulation of elections by governments. (Left out the fact that the novel starts with a nuclear meltdown, as John himself reminded me after Three Mile Island.) (Also, not only has The Prestige been made into a Hollywood movie, but before it was bounced by Borat, it had opened as the top box office earner for the weekend in the US.)

We love James Garner around here. Just the other day, Mr. Sideshow was suggesting an ensemble TV series with James Garner in an old-folks' home playing a Bilko-like character. It could work. Lance Mannion likes Garner, too. And Malcolm McDowell.

William K. Wolfrum has a little celebratory post for Nancy Pelosi and the 19th Amendment.

20:41 GMT

All politics is local

Panache Venus underwired balconette braBra of the Week (Nice basque in the set, too, and both not terribly expensive for Britain.)

Maru's Asshat of the week is Roy Blunt (R-MO), who, upon being elected Minority Whip, said: "One-hundred-forty-nine Democrats demonstrated yesterday that they are willing to buck Nancy Pelosi. We'll work each day to give those Democrats a viable alternative to her liberal, San Francisco agenda." That's even funnier when you remember that those Democrats "bucked" Pelosi to vote for Steny Hoyer, someone who is more socially liberal than the man Pelosi backed, John Murtha. (And, personally, for all my criticisms of Hoyer, I do feel kinda comfy knowing that the House now has a Speaker from Bal'mar and a Majority Leader from Silver Spring. Aside from being part of my home turf, it's also pretty liberal territory. Neither of them is going to have to tack right just to appease conservative districts when they run for re-election.) (Maru also reminds us that Rep. James Moran (D-VA) once said that if Dems ever control Congress again while he's there, he'd bring up legislation to take the "Ronald Reagan" part off of National Airport. Of course, no one calls it that, anyway.)

And speaking of Maryland politics, Jonathan Singer punctures The Myth of Michael Steele. Meanwhile, Matt Stoller covers Houston's war on the working poor after janitors are trampled by horses and then arrested and held on ludicrously high bail.

John Laesch ran a far more successful campaign than anyone expected for Illinois' 14th district, and though he didn't beat Hastert, he made a lot of friends on the ground, got good name recognition, and learned a lot. It looks like Hastert is sticking around just long enough to confirm his pension and then he's not running again - and Laesch has decided to make another try for that seat. Have a look at his lovely video (YouTube) from the campaign - we may have a winner next time.

Back on the Hill, WaPo edition, Beltway insiders struggle to preserve the value of their Rolodexes by quoting only Republicans about what brought the GOP down. (And I see McConnell is already talking filibuster, which, as you know, is only bad when liberal Democrats do it.)

And Digby (and Sara Robinson) remind you of precisely what caused me to coin the term The Spite Girls to refer to certain members of the Washington Press Corps, and particularly Maureen Dowd, long ago. Well, they still are.

I wasn't able to watch the video of a student being tasered in the UCLA library all the way through, but maybe you can.

The Laura Bush interview

13:17 GMT

Moral clarity

Do you remember that Iraqi nuclear physicist who kept trying to tell people that the Bush administration was lying about Iraq's nuclear program? Well, his name is Imad Khadduri, and he blogs - most recently about someone close to his own family who has been killed in Baghdad. Via A Tiny Revolution, where I also learned that the US government is giving six hundred million dollars to terrorists.

I guess this cartoon I saw on Bob Geiger's Saturday Cartoons fits.

02:41 GMT

Saturday, 18 November 2006

Political meat & veg

The Honorable Albert Gore, Jr. was interviewed by GQ recently, and among other things, he said:

We had several instances when the CIA's alarm bells went off, and what we did when that happened was, we had emergency meetings and called everybody together and made sure that all systems were go and every agency was hitting on all cylinders, and we made them bring more information, and go into the second and third and fourth level of detail. And made suggestions on how we could respond in a more coordinated, more effective way. It is inconceivable to me that Bush would read a warning as stark and as clear [voice angry now] as the one he received on August 6th of 2001, and, according to some of the new histories, he turned to the briefer and said, "Well, you've covered your ass." And never called a follow up meeting. Never made an inquiry. Never asked a single question. To this day, I don't understand it. And, I think it's fair to say that he personally does in fact bear a measure of blame for not doing his job at a time when we really needed him to do his job. And now the Woodward book has this episode that has been confirmed by the record that George Tenet, who was much abused by this administration, went over to the White House for the purpose of calling an emergency meeting and warning as clearly as possible about the extremely dangerous situation with Osama bin Laden, and was brushed off! And I don't know why-honestly-I mean, I understand how horrible this Congressman Foley situation with the instant messaging is, okay? I understand that. But, why didn't these kinds of things produce a similar outrage? And you know, I'm even reluctant to talk about it in these terms because it's so easy for people to hear this or read this as sort of cheap political game-playing. I understand how it could sound that way. [Practically screaming now] But dammit, whatever happened to the concept of accountability for catastrophic failure?
(I liked the jokes, too.)

I got this via Lambert via Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy, both of whom are faunching to see Al run and see hope that he would accept a draft. Of course, I agree (although I would still like to hear a mea culpa for NAFTA).

But see what you think of this analysis of Hillary's chances as a presidential candidate. I agree with Hutchinson's conclusion, But I'm not quite satisfied with how he got there (via). Hutchinson talks about the high disapproval numbers that both Hillary and Gore still get in polls, but I don't know. Once someone becomes the nominee, those things can change. And, for that matter, if the Democrats really wanted to support Gore (a frail hope, I know), a lot could be accomplished simply by emphasizing that Gore was right all along - that Gore was telling the truth while Bush was lying from the beginning - every chance they get.

In other news:

So Tony Blair admitted to David Frost that Iraq has been a disaster. And whose fault is that? Well, according to Blair, "al Qaeda with Sunni insurgents on one hand, Iranian-backed elements with Shia militias on the other." So, like the people who decided to invade a country for no good reason and without a post-invasion plan had nothing to do with it. My, that's taking responsibility.

From Gary Farber, the tip-off on the other new Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, an exemplar of everything the elections just repudiated. Also, the enemies list.

George W. Bush Saves A Baby.

18:46 GMT

Assorted fruit and nuts

I'm looking at yet another article about how awful it is that we will probably have to put up with Robert Gates because it's better than what we have now, and then I think, "Well, why should we? Why not just refuse? Why not refuse and refuse and refuse until he finally appoints someone who is neither incompetent nor a known criminal? Why should we put up with this crap?" Okay, tell me.

Atrios adds to the McCain file with a little nugget explaining that his campaign finance scheme made it really easy for him to shift funds from his Senate races to his presidential runs.

Mommy, why is Mr. TBogg insulting his dog?

Visit an Impeach Bush Blog Post Today.

I have to say I fell in love with the idea of using a tablet the first time I played with one, but then I said, "Wait, I really don't need one of these." And it's true - for me, it would probably be just an over-priced toy. I don't do a lot of writing when I'm away from the house, and in fact my hands tire pretty quickly when I write by hand, nowadays. But if you're writing a novel, maybe it's just what you need.

WTO Announces Formalized Slavery Model for Africa. (via)

Nigerian Spam about Quantum Mechanics

02:10 GMT

Friday, 17 November 2006

Timely news

Atrios says:

Better Late Than Never

Or, not really. 12 years later when they're out of power,'s editorial director decides it's time to tell people the truth about the Republican freaks who have been ruling us.

And the article he cites includes these words:
Politicians in this country get a bad rap. For the most part, they are like any high-achieving group in America, with roughly the same distribution of pathologies and virtues. But the leaders of the GOP House didn't fit the personality profile of American politicians, and they didn't deviate in a good way. It was the Chess Club on steroids.

The iconic figures of this era were Newt Gingrich, Richard Armey and Tom Delay. They were zealous advocates of free markets, low taxes and the pursuit of wealth; they were hawks and often bellicose; they were brutal critics of big government.

Yet none of these guys had success in capitalism. None made any real money before coming to Congress. None of them spent a day in uniform. And they all spent the bulk of their adult careers getting paychecks from the big government they claimed to despise. Two resigned in disgrace.

Having these guys in charge of a radical conservative agenda was like, well, putting Mark Foley in charge of the Missing and Exploited Children Caucus. Indeed, Foley was elected in the Class of '94 and is not an inappropriate symbol of their regime.

So, like, they were genuinely weird, and everyone in the press corps knew it, but they refused to say so. Instead, they acted like it was perfectly normal and sensible for them to spend an entire presidency investigating a crime that they knew had not happened, even extending it to the point of creating a minor crime and impeaching a president over something that hardly anyone thought should have become grist for the media mill in the first place, let alone a federal case of any kind. (Take that, David Broder.)

23:14 GMT


Yes, He Did - Maha has some examples of the bipartisan comity that now reigns in Washington, starting with Bush's attractive new appointee as head of family planning. I bet you can guess just what sort of "family planning" this guy favors. And then of course there's the judges, and Bolton, and the new creature at the Department of Agriculture, and....

Joe Vecchio wants: "That the secret, paper ballot is the official ballot of record; That the ballots should be counted by hand and in full public view at the precincts where they were cast. (that is, no grabbing the ballot box and bringing it somewhere else to be counted); That there is a clear chain of custody for these ballots throughout the entire process." Me, too.

McCain panders some more, and Steve Soto suggests a question the press could ask him: given your views, how much of the last 100 years of jurisprudence do you reject?

Quantum Fetish Mechanics (Found on the comment thread to Teresa's Punditslash post.) Also: Name that war.

18:19 GMT

Open windows

Glenn Greenwald finds a fright-wing blogger calling for the murder of State Department officials. I'm looking forward to the horrified article about conservative bloggers in our leading newspapers. Oh, wait, I'd better not hold my breath. (And check out Glenn Beck's tasteful interview of the first Muslim elected to the US Congress.)

Over at The Black Commentator, Marilyn Clement from Healthcare-NOW discusses A Strategy for Seeking A National Single-Payer Healthcare System That Will Cover Everyone In The United States. (And there's a cartoon, too.)

Alan Williams answered my call in comments for a link about McCain - his ridiculous suggestions on how to handle Iraq. And Terry Karney reminded me of his own two pieces about McCain on torture.

From The Times, a moment of amusement: A LEADING chief constable attacked the Government's "hairy chest" approach to law and order yesterday after Tony Blair announced a series of Home Office measures to tackle crime. Terry Grange criticised the constant introduction of new legislation which, he said, was done without planned thinking and was based largely on the need to respond to critics.

Ursula Le Guin's acceptance speech for the Maxine Cushing Gray Award. (Thanks to Jonathan Schwarz for the tip.)

100 days of the Battle of Baghdad.

I'm not sure what to make of what Shay and The Christian Progressive Liberal are suggesting is another reason Harold Ford may have lost, but then I know jack about Ford's love life. Does he, in fact, date white women, or are people just falling for Corker's ad and reading too much into the fact that that he attended a Playboy party?

14:18 GMT

Sucking up our air

Via Atrios, I see Chris Bowers has a story up about Mitt Romney buying Clear Channel. And, as you may recall, he has just announced that he's running for president (as if we hadn't already guessed). Put your Berlusconi jokes down there in comments.

Now, by an amazing coincidence, I learn from Rachel Maddow that Clear Channel is killing Madison, Wisconsin's sole progressive radio station, The Mic (WXXM-FM 92.1), which has been successful in its market, and replacing it with (apparently local) sports. Rachel also links to a petition aimed at saving the station's current format.

You know why this is happening, don't you? They know very well that Air America has been helping to change the discourse, and that it undoubtedly improved Democrats' chances in this latest election cycle. And they don't like it.

Now, as an individual with probably not a lot of millions of dollars sitting around idle in your account, you can do small things by signing up for Air American Premium, buying their stuff, and so on, to support the network. If you happen to have a business, it probably wouldn't hurt to advertise with them. But again, I have to ask, why aren't rich progressives investing AAR?

Look, Rupert Murdoch threw a helluva lot of money at Fox, for years, before it stopped hemorrhaging cash and started to break even and then, eventually, become profitable. But he had that kind of money already.

Air America, obviously, does not have that kind of money, and if it doesn't get some fresh infusions of cash, is not going to survive. But that shouldn't be happening. Take a minute and send a note to Soros and anyone else you can think of and point out that our lack of media penetration is hurting us. Tell them to support liberal media, because without it, we're cooked.

02:07 GMT

Thursday, 16 November 2006

The Senator-elect

12 May 2005 Democracy Now, Rep. Bernie Sanders on the Importance of Media Reform As A Political Issue:

AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to Congress member Bernie Sanders, who came here to the University of Illinois for a conference on freedom of the press this week and talked about his own experiences with public broadcasting.

REP. BERNIE SANDERS: If you are concerned about the environment, if you are concerned about women's rights, health care, foreign policy, Iraq, the economy, if you are concerned about any of those issues, you must be concerned about the media. And what people like Bob and John Nichols and others have been saying for years, which I fully agree with, is we have got to make corporate control over the media a political issue in the same way that health care and education and Iraq is a political issue. And that means that when somebody runs for office and comes before you and they talk about the issues, you raise your hand and say, what are you going to do about corporate control over the media? And after the candidate recovers after his fall on the ground, he or she will start responding, but we have got to make it a political issue, because it is as important or more important than any other issue that we talk about.

Let me begin by telling you how I first recognized that media was a huge issue. Way back in the 1970s before I became Mayor of Burlington, Vermont, I did a little bit of independent writing. And I did a video, if you like, not quite a film, on the life of Eugene Victor Debs, who some of you know was one of great labor and socialist heroes in America. And I did it because nobody in Vermont, none of the kids, and kids in America today do not know who Debs was, as they do not know the names of many great American heroes. We did the video, and it was not very sophisticated, but it was a fairly -- I thought it was a fairly good video, done for a few thousand dollars. And we took it to our local public television station. And we said, "Here is a video, and we would like you to run it." And they looked at it. One month went by, two months went by, and three months went by, and then they finally wrote back and said, "Sorry, Mr. Sanders, we cannot use your video, because it doesn't tell both sides of the story." Because as you know, on all programming that you see on public television, you always hear the socialist and capitalist point of view, the progressive and conservative. That's the way it is. So they couldn't put it on. Well, that got me a little bit upset.

In case any of our younger readers miss the joke, there has never been a moment in my lifetime when you got the socialist or progressive point of view on television in balance with the ever-present capitalist, conservative point of view. There was a brief period in the seventies when you would occasionally see a scary fruitcake like Ti-Grace Atkinson, or Dotson Rader (a jerk) would say something outrageous about sexual or racial politics on David Susskind's show, but they weren't being presented as even remotely mainstream, and they got hammered for saying creepy things. For the most part, "balance" involved having someone like Jonathan Yardley tell Germaine Greer ("The saucy feminist that even men like" - Life magazine) and Brenda Feigan-Fasteau (who looked like she used to be the head cheerleader), "I am always suspicious of women's liberation movements started by ugly women." I never recall seeing a serious discussion of socialism versus capitalism.

The assumption on television has always been that veering toward socialism is unacceptable and not worthy of discussion. Socialism is indistinguishable from Soviet communism, and thus totalitarianism, and thus no better than fascism. You could move to the right on the subject of economics, but never to the left, even to the extent of seriously talking about national health insurance. The closest we used to get to "balance" was that you couldn't attack the idea of public education. For a while.

But as the idea of corporations having more rights than human beings became more and more a part of our landscape, even public education was on the table. However, single-payer health insurance still was an unmentionable until Al Gore broached the subject after George W. Bush was installed in the White House. A lot of "people" were happy to point to this as evidence that Gore had gone completely off the rails, but apparently it was still unthinkable for anyone to say, "Well, wait a minute - what if he's right?"

Bernie Sanders calls himself a socialist, and yet he has been winning elections for years, and now he's headed for the Senate. Look for the right-wing to hammer him, and to hammer Democrats for making common cause with him - and be prepared to defend the strongest voice we are likely to have in Washington standing up for the rights of the common people.

11:40 GMT

Wednesday, 15 November 2006

I went down to the Chelsea drugstore

If you needed something to wash out your brain after reading about the right-wing agenda, over there at Digby's place, Fred Clark is here to remind you that even St. Paul knew better.

Alterman wants to start a McCain Suck-Up Watch and follows with his own contribution). Me, I'm fishing for more links to evidence that John McCain is a phony with horrible policy views. I don't think we can talk about this too much.

Rebecca Traister offers A special Broadsheet farewell to NYT op-ed libertoonian John Tierney. (via)

A remarkable recommendation: Tom DeLay says Pelosi should be Time Person of the Year - but that's not the remarkable part.

Also remarkable: Democrats applaud...Lieberman. Ick.

John Nichols looks at the progressive caucus in the new Congress (and a big nyaa nyaa nyaa to the Blue Dogs).

So, looks like the Republicans don't want us to forget what their values are. Good - I don't want people to forget Trent Lott, either.

And, of course, the baddest of the bad apples was George W. Bush, Torturer-in-Chief. Impeach.

"My Half-Year of Hell With Christian Fundamentalists": When Polish student Michael Gromek, 19, went to America on a student exchange, he found himself trapped in a host family of Christian fundamentalists. What followed was a six-month hell of dawn church visits and sex education talks as his new family tried to banish the devil from his soul. Here's his story.

Sherrod Brown wrote the book on the evils of "free trade". (via)

18:05 GMT

Hot news and commentary

The Huffington Post found an exciting memo from Fox News advising their people to be on the look-out for evidence that the Iraqi insurgents are delighted with the Democratic Party victory. But it looks like al-Maliki is taking the fear of having the US leave seriously enough that he's pushing to get the violence under control in a way that hadn't seemed so urgent to him before.

The Republicans have always been happy to offer Democrats advice. Now that the tables appear to be turning, Susie Madrak offers the GOP help in the same spirit, and tries to teach them The Ten Commandments.

I have long been sick of "respectable" gay rights organizations that spend more time playing patty-cake with the government and letting themselves get mau-maued into "moderating" their positions than they do fighting for gay rights.

White House scum want Britain to bow down to their scummiest scum so they can screw the National Health Service up just like they have American medicine. You'd have to be stupid to want to emulate American health policies, but as we have seen, it's not stupidity but avarice and hunger for power that allows leaders to advocate for such policies, and we have seen that Tony Blair is easily suckered by such talk.

It is a matter of pride to me that even smallish blogs and humor blogs did a better job of predicting the outcome of the election than our Professional Media Class did.

Bill Scher says that although Feingold's announcement that he's not running for president is a disappointment, it doesn't stop us from articulating our principles so that if a progressive comes along who will stand up for us, the discourse will be one that candidate will fit into. Also: Bush: Bad For Israel.

Tristero recoils in horror at what Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy finds hanging around on the "intellectual" right, and Digby has a look at where the triangulating "moderates" seem to be headed: I am all for having a big tent. But there is no political party on earth that is big enough for me and people who believe that liberalism's great hope is to create policies that encourage women to have 14 children so we can "outbreed" the competition and make sure the wrong people don't come in and ruin the place. That's where I head for the exit.

Note to John Ridley: You can never eradicate the worst of any group of people, and - surprise! - white people also include jerks, losers, and scum. When only the scum of one group drag that group down, while the other group not only continues to succeed despite the presence in that group of scum, but even allows much of their scum to rise to the top, I submit that it's not just the niggas who are dragging you (and the rest of us) down.

jMe in comments apparently wants us to know what a cat's tongue looks like.

14:44 GMT

Media media

Ethel the Blog has suddenly reappeared, and made the mistake of trying to listen to NPR:

Today, superstar insider beltway pundit Cokie Roberts was brought on to dispense her weekly observations about the body politic.
So how did she edify us this week? When asked for her thoughts on the election, she tells us that the biggest lesson we've learned is that the American public is tired of bickering between the parties and within the parties. She apparently intuited this eternal verity without having actually talked to anybody except all of the other Cool Kids at the Cool Kid Parties, otherwise she might have been misled by the voters, who told those who wasted their time actually asking the proles what was important that they were overwhelmingly unhappy with the conduct of the war by the party that controls every branch of the government with an iron hand. Lucky for us that Cokie is one of the privileged few who can actually reach out and feel the American pulse without having to mingle with the huddled masses who would only confuse the certainty of her connection to the American uberpsyche.

No, none of that anti-war crap for her, when it is obvious to anyone with two Mercedes in their garage and vacation homes in Sedona and Aspen that the real problem is that the Democrats have been constantly bickering with the Republicans for the last 6 years, to the detriment of the commonwealth. If only the Democrats would stop bickering about how they've been almost completely excluded from even debating legislation in Congress by the party that equates dissent with treason. If only those Democrats wouldn't be so stubborn and uncompromising when Cheney tells the nation that the results of the election mean nothing to the administrations conduct of the war. If only the Democrats (and shouldn't the Republicans have forced them to change their name to America-Haters when they still had dictatorial power?) would stop unfairly hounding predatory child-molesters like Foley and bribe-taking, amoral lackwits like Cunningham when they're only striving to protect their country from the Islamofascists. If only the Democratics would stop bickering and whining about democracy and the Constitution and realize that a few sacrifices are needed if we are to remain a peaceful, free democracy.

And lets not even get started about the bickering within the Democrat(ic) Party.
Thats right, Cokie, if the election has taught us anything its that the American people don't want the upcoming Democratic majority in Congress to bicker and disagree with the policies of a party that they utterly rejected in the voting booth because of their conduct of the invasion of Iraq. And it will only hurt the country and disappoint those voters that rejected the GOP because of Iraq if the people they elected to replace them bicker and argue with the Iraq policy the administration has explicitly stated will not be changed one iota. That not a single Democratic incumbent lost and that the House, the Senate and many gubernatorial seats and statehouses were returned to the Democratic party should tell us nothing if not that the voters want the Democrats to stay the course and immediately agree with any and all White House demands. Let the history books hundreds of years from now call this election the Referendum on Inter-Party Bickering.

And, to my earlier reference to Amy Sullivan's weird triangulation on abortion, down in comments* Bruce Baugh says:
I was struck this morning by how basically un-Christian Amy Sullivan's political desires are. She's looking to make her favored constituency of somewhat conservative evangelicals feel comfortable. But all Jesus says about comfort is that his disciples won't get it. It's no bad thing for us to sometimes lay awake at night in a cold sweat, recognizing that there were no really good outcomes to a tough decision, and dreading what a righteous God might say to all of us who perpetuate a social and economic order in which that's necessarily true.

11:51 GMT

Stuff I saw

Eric Boehlert has a good laugh at the Beltway punditocracy's willingness to be hypnotized by Rove's bravado all year despite the fact that his cause was visibly sinking like a stone. It's gratifying, now, to read those pre-election warnings to Dems about how they were going to lose - despite the fact that the many saying all this, Karl Rove, has mostly lost all along.

The whole immigration problem is caused by abortion, which has created a "shortage" of American workers. No, it hasn't, but these are Republicans we're talking about, and they don't seem to have noticed that there are plenty of Americans out there looking for work - at a living wage. (via)

I'm pleased to see that Christine Jennings has asked the court to secure the voting machines in Florida's 13th district. More here on that (even Jeb says investigations are in order) and other still-contested races around the country,

Daily Kos has some lovely maps of the election results.

Cernig is Thinking About Iraq, and I have to say that while I was pessimistic sooner, I have much the same feeling - that there might have been a window for pulling it together, but that time has passed. And Oliver Willis on the same page with us.

Kate Julian says in The New Yorker that there seems to be a rapprochement taking place between fans of Bella Abzug and fans of Betty Freidan, And the magazine briefly notes the passing of their early pop music critic.

01:11 GMT

Tuesday, 14 November 2006

The night time is the right time

Cernig: It may have escaped your notice, but this weekend the sane wing of the Republican party has been trying to stop rightwing extremists from advocating an American coup. Is there any outrage they haven't advocated, yet? (And more from the fruitcakes here.)

NPR - Radio for conservatives.

The Democratic agenda. (Which is why Thomas is right.)

When it really gets down to the cheese, I dislike Steny Hoyer more than I dislike Murtha, and MahaBarb reminds me of why.

Dave Johnson has a warning to remember that our CEO president knows how to run the country (into the ground) like a company, and Democratic control of Congress is a great time to led all the damage show at once. Oh, and it's all about money and corruption.

Now that the latest terrorist has been caught, no one is surprised - least of all David Neiwert - that the right-wing nut who was sending fake anthrax mail to Keith Olbermann and other liberals is a genuine Freeper.

I am more relieved than you know to say that Dispassionate Liberal has moved to a new, faster-loading site.

I don't usually do cat pictures, but this is neat. From Maru.

23:14 GMT

Stuff to read

(Well, that "After the rain" business was just wishful thinking, I guess.)

Bruce Schneier has a couple of new posts about voting machines up, here and here. "Florida 13 is turning out to be a bigger problem than I described," he says, noting that a whopping 13% mysteriously failed to vote in the Congressional race - where the Democrat appears to have lost by only 373 votes. There are some paper ballots, but not enough: There'll be a recount, and with that close a margin it's pretty random who will eventually win. But because so many votes were not recorded -- and I don't see how anyone who has any understanding of statistics can look at this data and not conclude that votes were not recorded -- we'll never know who should really win this district. And then there's that mayoral candidate who received zero votes, although he is quite certain he voted for himself. Really, the machines are a terrible idea, let's ban them all. (I discuss my problems with Vote by Mail here.)

Jonathan Schwarz and Mike Gerber present: "Our Kampf".

Greg Sargent: Many in the lib blogosphere have done a bang-up job in killing off the traditional media's cherished assertion that the results of the election proved that the "center" is ascendant. But there's another emerging take on the elections we've all heard by now that needs to be given a good skewering, and fast: Specifically, the idea that "Dems didn't win the election, Republicans lost it." Greg makes a good case that, in fact, the public was voting for the Democratic agenda. (He also says that that Time cover didn't represent the story within, although you would have expected it to, being as how it was by Joe Klein and all.)

Dean Baker catches the WaPo again representing as "free trade" when in fact they "would be more accurate to describe the agreement as a plan to facilitate the shift of U.S. manufacturing capacity to Mexico and increase profits for producers of intellectual products."

Gary Farber has a reminder of what's not to like about Robert Gates, and also why in Britain, we don't actually run around saying, "It's a free country." (Gracie Allen's bid for the presidency is fun, too.)

In other news: What's good for Hormel is bad for the nation.

17:58 GMT

After the rain

Joe Bageant, unconvinced, and "Pissing in the Liberal Punchbowl Again": Pardon my cynicism, but the view is pretty damned sorry from here in the cheap seats. From down here it looks like every Yankee liberal north of Virginia seems convinced they are now shitting in such tall cotton, that all they need do from here on out is foist Hillary Clinton on the many poor miserable bastards unfortunate enough to be called heartland Democrats because we don't have the balls to become heavily armed libertarians. Nominating Hillary might just drive us to it. And that's all we'll get if we don't ride them to stop kow-towing to the corporate bosses. (Don't forget to remind them that Howard Dean got more money from us than Terry McAauliffe ever got from all his corporate buddies.) (Thanks to Monkeyfister in comments.)

And KS tips me in comments to "a little pessimism from Max Sawicky" over at TPM Cafe, including: There are some hopeful populist signs, particularly in Ohio, which is important. But we've got a long way to go. Remember a raft of Dems voted against NAFTA, but you need more than that to force the Dem leadership to rethink its dogma on so-called free trade. The pops need to form their own trade evaluation study group; they won't get any useful guidance on this issue from the leadership. Emanuel and Hoyer are free-traders, as far as I know. Max isn't thrilled about Murtha in the leadership, either, figuring even Hoyer is better. I dunno, I can't say I'm thrilled with either one.

Lance Mannion: The reason that the Club of the Spectacularly Wrong can be so insistent that they're right to be Right is that there was only one race that truly mattered to them this fall, Joe Lieberman's.

Steve Bates gives us some Yellow Doggerel about John McLame, and Mad Kane has a Haiku For A Former "Genius".

11:37 GMT

In the spin

Scott Lemieux wonders whether Amy Sullivan and folks like her really imagine that pro-choice people want more abortions. I wonder where they are, though, given that 82% of Americans want comprehensive sex education in schools rather than the abstinence-only programs the right-wingers like that create more unwanted pregnancies .

Stephanie Mencimer reminds us, in "The Anti-Plaintiff Lobby", that there's still plenty of work to do: The midterm election returns were barely in before the U.S. Chamber of Commerce started running ads encouraging Democrats to take up where Republicans left off. Their issue wasn't a business staple like lower taxes, smaller government or even illegal immigration. Instead, the nations biggest business lobby was calling on Democrats to fix "Americas lawsuit crisis." The ads promoted the chambers latest poll, which claimed that 85 percent of people who voted in the midterm elections think frivolous lawsuits are a serious problem and want the next Congress to do something about it. Helpfully, the ad suggests Democrats could improve their standing with swing voters by embracing this "bipartisan" issue. Yeah, I remember everyone was crying out for tort deform in this election. I shake my head. Trouble is, we can't trust Dems to resist the lobbyists - it's another thing to put on that list of things you have to write to them about.

Unsurprisingly, Time flubbed the cover test, again. On the other hand, Billmon seems to have enjoyed that Newsweek cover. (Thanks to R.Porrofatto in comments for the tip.)

01:07 GMT

Monday, 13 November 2006

Footnotes to the revolution

I haven't stopped being furious at Bush for making that famous $87bn for Iraq contingent on destroying the civil service. Not only had he appointed people who made life hell for people who really did work for the government - and the people - but he made their jobs, if they didn't toe the line, precarious or obsolete. I'm happy to say that Hecate didn't miss the meaning of that, either. (Also, a further list of people who need to STFU. And some nice pictures, too.)

Nancy Goldstein on one of many ways the modern VA avoids giving vets the medical care they've earned (and we thought we were paying for) in "Mind Game III - Full Metal Lockout: The Myth of Accessible Health Care".

Matt Taibbi (which right now Rolling Stone is spelling with three Bs), watched The Worst Show on Television on election night, and says Lieberman ruined the whole thing for him, and McCain was trying and failing to look unhappy, but Bernie Sanders!

"No soldier would talk like that."

Reaching out to the Terrorcrat Party (via)

20:04 GMT

Fake ID

Sam Seder and Stephen Sherrill said:

Intelligent design is the new smart bomb of the religious right. It may not be science, but it's still brilliant. For a long time, religion and science coexisted pretty well. There was that dustup with Galileo, and the Scopes glitch, but, for the most part, science was science, religion was religion.

The genius of the intelligent-design concept, though, is how it uses the principles of the enlightenment and progressivism to destroy ... enlightenment and progressivism.

And that's because with the new version, Intelligent Design 2.0, all its proponents are asking for is "open-mindedness," to "have a debate," to "consider all sides." Science is hard stuff - that's why you usually need a Ph.D. to be a scientist. But the intelligent-design crowd has been able to turn that into a plus, by conflating complexity with "contradiction." And all they're asking is for schools to "present both sides."

-- Seder and Sherrill, F.U.B.A.R.: America's Right-Wing Nightmare, Harper Collins 2006, Ch. 2, "Open Your Mind".

18:42 GMT

News and analysis

Bob Somerby at The Daily Howler asks, Was Karl Rove ever a "genius?"

This script got its start in Campaign 2000, when Rove's guy lost the popular vote. (Bush led in the polls by 15 points when the genius' campaign started, in June 1999.) Beyond that, it isn't hard to be a "genius" if the mainstream press corps is prepared to accept every BS thing your guy says. One example: Around noon on the day after Bush and Gore's first debate, Bush began lying his keister off about the effects of his tax cut proposal. Earlier that day, on Good Morning, America, Bush had seemed to agree with Gore's claim that 43 percent of his tax cut would go to the top one percent. But around noon, Bush and the campaign began releasing a blizzard of absurd (and contradictory) statistical claims - laughably misleading presentations designed to make it seem that Al Gore had been lying again. Needless to say, the press corps pretended not to notice the sheer absurdity of the Bush camp's presentations. Again: It isn't hard to be a "genius" when the mainstream press is prepared to accept every dumb-ass thing your guy says. For Republican consultants, it wasn't hard to be a genius under the rules of the late Clinton years.
Bob has other questions, too, such as, "Was Michael Steele ever a talented candidate?" He also debunks some spin on who Nancy Pelosi is.

Russ Feingold at Daily Kos, on why he isn't running for president:

Yet, while I've certainly enjoyed the repeated comments or buttons saying, "Run Russ Run", or "Russ in '08", I often felt that if a piece of Wisconsin swiss cheese had taken the same positions I've taken, it would have elicited the same standing ovations. This is because the hunger for progressive change we feel is obviously not about me but about the desire for a genuinely different Democratic Party that is ready to begin to reverse the 25 years of growing extremism we have endured.

I'm sure a campaign for President would have been a great adventure and helpful in advancing a progressive agenda. At this time, however, I believe I can best advance that progressive agenda as a Senator with significant seniority in the new Senate serving on the Foreign Relations, Intelligence, Judiciary and Budget Committees. Although I have given it a lot of thought, I cannot muster the same enthusiasm for a race for President while I am trying simultaneously to advance our agenda in the Senate.

The Stepford Press, of course, has no useful way to interpret any of that, but Glenn Greenwald explains why.

Here's one Republican who knows what the Republicans' problem is - an Iowa Republican Party chairman, who says:

You've heard of IslamaFascists -- I think we now have Christian fascists. What is the definition of a fascist? Not only do they want to beat you, but they want to destroy you in the process."

Salem said "if things keep going the way things are going locally and statewide, it is going to be more and more difficult for Republicans to recruit candidates. We have elements of the party who are moral absolutists, who take the approach that if you don't take my position every step of the way, not only will I not support you, but I will destroy you."

At the HuffPo, RJ Eskow says that Dems got a real mandate, this time.

Eric Alterman wonders, "Time to Abolish the Editorial Page?"

And for our musical interlude, one of my favorite all-time tracks, "Baby I Need Your Lovin'", by the Four Tops.

15:45 GMT

All the news in bits

Rick Klein in The Boston Globe says that the real groundwork for this election was set when Democrats said NO to Bush on Social Security privatization. And that's another one you can chalk up to the blogs, and one blog in particular.

Found in a comment by George Johnston at Atrios' place: Sometimes you have to commit war crimes with the SecDef you have rather than the SecDef you want.

Funniest Newsweek cover ever.

Jeralyn suggests that all this means Bush's judicial nominations might be doomed, and boy do I hope she's right.

I would really like it a lot if the Democrats would please put people on digital issues who are not brainwashed by the MPAA, RIAA, and the telecos.

Joe Lieberman, of course, can be relied upon to parrot the "centrist" spin.

Ten Reasons to Impeach George Bush and Dick Cheney (Thanks to Tom in comments for the tip.)

The Brad Blog notes that Joe Lieberman's Republican challenger in 2000, Phil Giordano, got exactly the same number of votes as Ned Lamont got this time. Seems odd, don't you think? (Brad also reckons that Election Protection Saved the Day.)

PP&M on The Jack Benny Show, here and here.

11:21 GMT

Sunday, 12 November 2006

What they say

The Rude Pundit says it's Time To Arrest Donald Rumsfeld: The point of this comparison is not that Donald Rumsfeld is worse than the Nazis, although, to be sure, his acts are worse than those of some Nazis. The point here is that our collective humanity, our national conscience, our individual sense of ourselves as citizens, demands that we declare criminals to be criminals, and that they be punished accordingly. (via) And it appears the Germans feel the same way.

Jim Henley discusses the flaws in "realist" thinking on foreign policy. (Also: Michael Medved thinks Green Party votes were for Republicans in Virginia.)

Atrios has linked to an article in the NYT in which Nick Confessore repeats a lot of lame Rahmish wisdom about how the netroots' choices all lost and the Rahmbo candidates did better. It's at least the second time Confessore has been quoted as saying dumb things of this Beltway-insider sort, and it worries me. Nick Confessore used to be fairly decent not that long ago when he worked for The American Prospect. Now he's at The New York Times and seems to be writing down to their level of quality.

23:54 GMT

Grab bag

Malzia by La Perla Milady balconette braBra of the Week

If you're hungry for reading matter, don't forget people who routinely do big fat posts full of links. Good Nonsense has 'em. (And, hey, Rahm Emmanuel actually did something admirable.) So does Pacific Views (where I learned that Harry Reid showed respect to bloggers for our efforts with a blogpost at DKos.) (via) And more.

A tribute to Donald Rumsfeld.

Patrick was really upset the other day by another "helpful" post dissing secularists. He may feel better after reading a response from Bill Scher. (And here's Bill on what to expect from "compromise" and "bipartisanship".)

Mary at The Left Coaster says: "This is one reason I'm really glad that Congressman Henry Waxman will be in charge of investigating waste, fraud and abuse."

Linkmeister has Franklin D. Roosevelt's Armistice Day Address.

Some coming out of the closet as lefty over at Echidne of the Snakes, and our top priorities now that we have that little ledge to stand on.

I gave the wrong link below (corrected) for this map, but I hope you all got to enjoy it.

And another great showbiz moment from Mark Evanier.

20:07 GMT


Jamison Foser rounds up the week's Media Matters - especially that stuff about how the Dems won by moving right:

So when media report that Democrats won by embracing "moderate" or "centrist" positions, that's true - but not in the way that they mean it. Democrats have long embraced centrist positions. The suggestion, however, that they won by running towards the right, or towards the center, rather than by continuing to occupy it, is as wrong as it is widespread. As Media Matters detailed this week, the Democrats who won previously-Republican seats did so largely by taking traditional Democratic positions - which is to say, centrist positions.

But when political journalists and pundits use words like "centrist" and "moderate," they aren't talking about Nancy Pelosi and Dick Durbin. They are -- quite bizarrely -- talking about people like the far-right John McCain.

Sirota: But even Rove admits there is a mandate by voters for Congress to really change things and stop the hostile takeover of our government by big money interests.
And Sidney Blumenthal says: Bush's radical presidency was the number one issue in the mid-term elections.

So, the Labour Party obviously knows who was the architect of the Democratic win this round, since they're asking Howard Dean for help. But they could be biting off more than they can chew if they think they can get people-powered politics without shifting their gears away from their "New Labour" program of "modernizing" the country to emulate the worst features of the United States.

13:24 GMT

Late notices

Colbert ended his election-night show saying you have one more chance - don't screw it up. I hope everyone takes that to heart.

Lambert gives well-deserved props to Paul Krugman, who called Bush a liar before he was elected and who was the sole voice in Big Media to complain about the stolen election. He was also reading MWO way back when, and mentioned it in his column, along with what I believe was the first mention in the NYT of an actual liberal blog. "Paul Krugman, you were Shrill when the country needed Shrill." He's got my thanks, too.

A little reminder of one problem we still need to fix.

Work 'til you drop.

Nice T-shirt.

Susie Bright on The Child Porn Journalism Scandal - some bad journalism by Kurt Eichenwald in The New York Times generated a good retort in Salon, but when Eichenwald demanded the story be pulled, they pulled it. And then a lot of other people weighed in.

Mags at Down With Tyranny argues that Bush didn't lie about Rumsfeld, and there's a lot more going on there than people realize. Makes a good case, too.

Steve Gilliard to black Republicans: "You have shamed us." (Via Wolcott.)

Heartbreaking news from Andy Ostroy of The Ostroy Report, whose wife was murdered last week. I'm so sorry, Andy.

00:22 GMT

Saturday, 11 November 2006

Assorted stuff

I heard a poll-worker on the radio saying that the reason they were having a lot of vote-flipping is that the sensitivity was set so that you had to touch the screen exactly right to vote for the Democrat or it switched to a default for the Republican on the rest of the screen.

You know you're thinking about the economy a lot when you think you hear on the news that the authorities are on high alert for "a tax by Al Qaeda".

The hottest topic at Memeorandum is how the Democratic victory means the terrorists are happy. Sheesh.

Just don't get to comfortable.

Encouraging word: It is not unlikely that the Democrats could pick up more Senate legroom in 2008, in which case Joe Lieberman's position will be weaker - in fact, he could become irrelevant. In which case, Lieberman has to ask himself whether he wants to be just another back-bencher in two years' time or whether he can learn to make nice with Democrats.

Bob Cesca says it's time for a lot of people to STFU. (via) Also: Mercury and the Sun.

"Morgan Stanley Urges NYT Shareholders To Unload Their Stock" - This seems to have less to do with money than with people being ticked off at Arthur Sulzberger, Jr. But, hey, if NYT stock is going cheap, it'd be a great time for lots of liberals to buy stock to help command control, right?

"Startling findings in probe of Tillman's death"

"Learning to believe in a place called 'Hope'" - maybe.

For a change, a top fifty list where I've actually read most of them. (However, I've only listened to the original radio show of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and haven't bothered with any other versions.)

16:00 GMT

Winning does not settle it

Something I've found annoying this cycle is that no one has been talking about the exit polls. This seems very odd to me. Don't you want to know? Don't you want to know whether "the exit polls were right" or not? Don't you have any questions about any races? Sure, we won, but don't we still need to know, and don't we realize we still need to use every tool in the box to ensure fair elections? It's important, people.

I'm really unhappy about this. Why are we seeing so little about exit polls? Oh, yes, it's because the networks have been fairly secretive about the numbers this time. Why is that? Why shouldn't we always be able to compare those numbers? Who is it who benefits from keeping those numbers secret? Not the voters, that's for sure.

Now, on the one hand, we note that no one has any complaints about discrepancies between the exit polls and the announced results in most races. That would tend to suggest that we may have evidence that exit polls work. Which calls into question the whole "exit polls don't mean anything" meme we heard after the last few cycles.

On the other, everyone is so euphoric that they're ignoring important stories where there have been problems. Like, what about that Bilbray-Busby race that had so many problems two years ago? Brad reports that Zogby did find a problem:

This just in from attorney Paul Lehto concerning the People's Republic of San Diego, where one of the country's most irresponsible Registrar of Voters, Mikel Haas defied the California Secretary of State by refusing to count paper ballots as "normal ballots" on Election Night.

Lehto says Exit Polling data commissioned from Zogby International shows a '6-Point Distortion' from the "results" as so far announced by Haas' office in the Francine Busby/Brian Bilbray U.S. House election in California's 50th Congressional district.

The complete results of the Zogby polling is available for download here [PDF].

NOTE: Busby (D) has appropriately refused to concede the race against her opponent Bilbray (R) until all votes have been properly counted. As of this moment, the San Diego County Registrar's website shows "100%" of precincts reporting despite thousands of uncounted paper ballots, absentee ballots and provisional ballots. Those "results" show Bilbray leading Busby 53% to 43%.

In fact, however, given Haas' defiance of the California Secretary of State's order to provide an adequate number of paper ballots for all voters who, in California, may vote by paper for any reason if they wish, coupled with his irresponsible - and likely illegal - decision to send all of the county's pre-programmed, election-ready, hackable Diebold touch-screen voting systems home on "sleepovers" with pollworkers for a full three weeks prior to the election, it is literally impossible for there to be any confidence in any of the reported "results" as announced for any election this year in San Diego. The county's elections are now officially and wholly corrupted by Haas' abominable and disgraceful election administration, fed by his apparent loathing of voters and democracy.

In virtually every case of vote-flipping that we've heard about, it was Democrats whose votes would not register. But wait a minute:
A couple of important points buried fairly deep into my ComputerWorld post-mortem article on the 2006 Electoral Meltdown. So for those too lazy (okay, "busy") to read the whole thing, I'd like to make sure you're aware of a few key points, so far underreported by the corporate mainstream media:
  • Rick Santorum and the Pennsylvania GOP wrote a letter to state officials on Tuesday afternoon demanding touch-screen systems in 27 counties be impounded after reports of votes flipping from Republican to Democrat. I applaud the aggressive, pro-active stance. Even from Santorum. Dems should have done the same long ago with every report of Dem to Rep votes flipping. This is just one of the reasons I mentioned previously, that Santorum shouldn't have conceded.
  • The election in the FL-13 U.S. House race continues to be a mess. With just 368 votes separating the two candidates fighting for Katherine Harris' old seat, some 18,000 votes seem to have completely disappeared on the ES&S touch-screen systems.
  • A full ten U.S. House races are still "too close to call", many of them to come down to attempts to recount votes cast on uncountable electronic voting machines.
Brad's full Computer World article is here. In it, he notes that the media seems to have gone out of its way to down-play voting problems this week. We're all - what? - supposed to decide that everything's okay now and we don't have to worry about those nasty machines after all? Bollocks.

I've heard rumors that there were two states where exit polls showed the Democrat well ahead of the Republican but the vote count was much, much closer - Montana and Virginia. However, I haven't been able to locate the numbers anywhere, so how can I tell?

Meanwhile, Greg Palast says Virginia was "Floridated":

Only 7,000 votes separates the Democratic Senatorial candidate Jim Webb from incumbent Republican George Allen. Leading up to the election, the State of Virginia rejected more than 91,000 names submitted from voter drives, blocking their registrations. The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School says that Virginia's methods of rejecting voters had a notably racial bias. Golly. Put the two numbers together - the 91,000 citizens questionably barred from voting and the teeny-weeny Senate vote margin, and Virginia begins to look a lot like Florida on the Potomac.The blockade of voters at the Virginia polling station doors followed on last year's promise of Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman to mount a, "challenge to voter eligibility" in Virginia. Mehlman vowed, through an attack on the voter rolls, to "do whatever we can" to keep control of Virginia. And he did. Voters blocked (and other purged from voter rolls) received "provisional ballots." The state only counts about 15% of these.
And, of course, in Florida itself, the fight continues over Katherine Harris' old seat.

Also, just a reminder: The Vote-by-Mail ballots are counted by machines with secret code.

12:35 GMT

Leftover links

I don't know, the "sensible" folk are talking "sensible" talk about accepting Gates to replace Rumsfeld - that is, accepting someone with ties to Iran-Contra - because he's so much better than what we've had for the last six years. And, of course, they're right about that, but still, I can't help feeling that something is wrong, here.

As Jane Hamsher reports in "Gasbags of Fury", James Carville has been out in the rain too long. Wotta idjit.

"Jonah: Let Mom Do It" - Even in his disappointment with Bush, Jonah Goldberg still can't escape his fantasies of George Bush's manliness, Arthur Silber discovers.

"Wisconsin and Beyond: Good Things Happen When Students Vote" - They can make the difference in winning a race.

Gloria Steinam and Cecile Richards went out campaigning in Ohio, but the media weren't interested in covering it. Fortunately, we have citizen journalism.

Jon Carroll on what a Democratic Congress can do.

02:50 GMT

Friday, 10 November 2006

News and stuff

I was listening to a progressive caller to the Sam Seder show saying, "We voted to defeat Harold Ford because he voted for the bankruptcy bill," and I thought: Someone tell Rahm.

I enjoyed this map of the Tuesday results, which shows seats that were held by incumbents and seats that flipped. Dark blue and dark red represent gains ' but there is no dark red. Check out the map of gubernatorial races for some fun.

I'm sorry, I'm tired of hearing about how Governor George W. Bush used to work so well with Democrats in Texas. Those were conservative Democrats and he was fine with them as long as they agreed with him. (There is an "old" GWB, but that's the guy who lost his first race in Texas and then swore he would "never be out-dumbed again".)

An interview with Eric M. Freedman, one of the attorneys working with the Center for Constitutional Rights with respect to of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, at The Talking Dog.

Prescient post from Glenn at A Brooklyn Bridge.

Bush wants to push to pass unpopular legislation before his pet Republicans go home for good.

What Atrios said about Lincoln Chafee and what this is all about.

Yep, there is a recount fight for Katherine Harris' old seat. And a move to try Donald Rumsfeld for war crimes.

The GOP is furious at Bush for not dumping Rumsfeld before the election, but the WaPo is covering for Bush as usual.

David Byrne: I sense that the balance of power in the house and senate and the rollback of the neocon agenda is only part of the job ahead, as the country has been inundated with bully culture, the culture of greed, for at least a dozen years. For many young professionals, that's all they know in their working lives - the attitude of winner takes all, bigger smashes smaller and do it if you can get away with it. It might take a while to allow another more humane culture of getting along and nurturing each other and benefiting from each others skills and knowledge to rise from the ashes. At present ashes are pretty much all there is. Social animals know better than this - they seem to instinctively know that there are limits to what the bosses and the alpha males can get away with, and that cooperation within the group is how the group survives. Checks and balances - something that's been missing for a while. (via)

I forget where I saw it now, but I was amused to have it pointed out that the two hold-outs on conceding their Senate races were Burns and Allen.

17:24 GMT


John Nichols says, "For republic's sake, Pelosi must ponder impeachment":

But is impeachment really a political loser? Not if history is a guide. There have been nine attempts since the founding of the republic to move articles of impeachment against a sitting president. In the cases in which impeachment was proposed by members of an opposition party, that party either maintained or improved its position in Congress at the next general election. In seven instances the party that proposed impeachment secured the presidency in the next election.

Pelosi's problem appears to be that she doesn't want to be accused of repeating the partisan misuse of impeachment that Republicans perpetrated in 1998 and 1999. But the misdeeds of Bush and Cheney are precisely the sort of wrongdoing that impeachment was designed to check and balance.

The Republicans do very much want us to think that the American people would see impeachment of Bush-Cheney as being in the same mold as the partisan outrage the Republicans committed against William Jefferson Clinton, but the public was outraged because most people understood that what Clinton had done was not the sort of thing that impeachment was designed for, and that the people who were getting on their high-horse about it were a bunch of hypocrites in any event. They didn't want Clinton's private life made, literally, into a federal case. But they know that what Bush and Cheney have done is another matter, and a public investigation of their high crimes will not expose rabid partisanship on the Democratic side, but more of the same on the Republican side.

The Republicans insisted on assigning an independent counsel to investigate the Clintons even though they knew there was nothing to investigate them for. They kept the investigation open and kept pursuing them long after it was clear that there was no There there. And then they made the fatal mistake of insisting on talking about a president's sex life in front of God and everyone, to the horror of most members of the public. Ken Starr's dirty mind disgusted America far more than Clinton's private missteps could ever do. The more they saw, the more it made them sick.

But it's not the suggestion that this president should be investigated that is sickening to the American public - it's the fact that he keeps doing sickening things and getting away with it. A majority of Americans want him to be investigated and, if he is shown to have lied about his reasons for going to war, impeached. They know that this is what impeachment is for - real, genuine, high crimes that have cost thousands of lives, billions of dollars, and the good opinion of mankind.

And if America is to begin the hard work of restoring what we can of what we were, we have to repudiate these people before the eyes of the world, and renew our nation's search for justice and the rule of law. (via)

11:57 GMT

Ellen Willis

One of the things we often talk about is the damage "he said/she said" journalism does to the public discourse, and the idea that "unbiased" journalism presents truth and lies as if they had equal weight. And it often makes me think of an old 1980 quote from Ellen Willis:

"The male chauvinist bias is that women are inferior to men. The feminist bias is that women are equal to men. The unbiased view is that the truth lies somewhere in between."

Ellen Willis was frequently a source of great little sentences and paragraphs that we would quote because they were so quotable - we've all heard them, and most of us have used one or more of them. She was probably the first of us to wryly poke holes in that often-made false distinction by saying, "What I like is erotica, what you like is pornographic," and in my first book, Bad Girls & Dirty Pictures, Gayle Rubin quotes her in her chapter, "Misguided, Dangerous, and Wrong". In my later book, Nudes, Prudes and Attitudes, I quoted her as saying, "How long will it take oppressed groups to learn that if we give the state enough rope, it will end up around our necks?" It was something the anti-porn women just didn't seem to have grasped, yet.

She was smart and inspiring and now, I learn from Duncan in the comments, she is gone.

I never had a chance to meet Ellen Willis, and of course it never occurred to me to drop her line and say thanks for the gifts she gave us. Now I won't have that chance, and I'm sorry, because she meant a lot to us all.

[Update: Shame on all of you who didn't get that she was attacking the idea that "the unbiased view is that the truth lies somewhere in between." It can't be. It doesn't make sense.]

01:35 GMT

Thursday, 09 November 2006

Tea time

A question from 100 Monkeys Typing: How hard would it be to add (I) Incumbent to the names on the ballot? (And via the same source, "Hanging Judgments": A court has decided Saddam Hussein's fate. Now American voters have to decide what to do about his former collaborators, the Republicans.)

Is Norbizness guilty of Shadenfreude?

Cursor says: Congressional Quarterly has profiles of all the new members of the House and Senate, including the first Muslim elected to Congress, Minnesota's Keith Ellison. And: In asking 'What's Next?' Dave Lindorff warns that "civility and respect are not going to get the job done."

Stephen Colbert with The Word on the election. (Also: vs. Chuck Schumer.)

A musical message for our departing Republicans: "The Hell of It" Love yourself as you loved no other, Be no man's fool and be no man's brother, We're all born to die alone, you know, and that's the hell of it. (lyrics)

17:08 GMT

Open windows

"Still the One": The national Democratic Party had ignored this race for much of the year. The sprawling 19th has traditionally been red, encompassing the well-heeled suburbs of northern Westchester County (once home to Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller), West Point, and the Hudson Valley farm country of Putnam, Rockland, Duchess, and Orange counties. During this fall's primary, old Democratic pols were rattled by Hall's calls for withdrawal of our troops from Iraq and transfer of control to multinational forces, universal health care, and an Apollo-style program for conservation and alternative fuels. Another win for Democrats that flew in the face of the conventional wisdom. (Nice harmonies with Colbert, too.)

Lance Mannion's election night post.

Jerome Armstrong celebrates The People-Powered Victory for the Democratic Party and the end of politics-by-professional-consultant.

Fox News knows all about government. (Also: Bush Admits He Lied About Rumsfeld For Political Purposes.)

Campaign advertisement for a worthy cause in Colorado. (Also: Go, Mums!)

A message from Charles in comments: Owls

And a happy birthday to Mr. Sideshow!

12:55 GMT


Maha has a translation of Bushes remarks into plain English, and while I was reading it I was particularly struck by this:

Will this country continue to strengthen our economy today and over the long run? Will we provide a first-class education for our children? And will we be prepared for the global challenges of the 21st century? Will we build upon the recent progress we've made in addressing our energy dependence by aggressively pursuing new technologies to break our addiction to foreign sources of energy? And most importantly, will this generation of leaders meet our obligation to protect the American people?
So I repeated it in the chatroom, noting that I didn't remember him doing any of that. And Lionii said:
[01:00] we have made no progress
[01:00] but, we have plenty of regress
[01:00] now it is time for redress
[01:01] to help boosh egress
In other news:Dennis Hastert: not even as good as Newt Gingrich. (Also: Let's rubbish Rahm Emmanuel some more.)

I didn't even know Al Gore had made a political ad for this election. And here's the transcript of an interview from the other day.

I just want to say: "Senator Bernie Sanders." Doesn't that sound great?

01:18 GMT

Wednesday, 08 November 2006


I want to emphasize that when I say that no Democratic incumbent lost a seat, I mean anywhere, not just in the House. Republican challengers all failed. And, meanwhile, we took over some state bodies that haven't been Dem since longer than most people can remember. It is indeed a beautiful thing.

Amanda Marcotte points out that the election was About more than the war and corruption, and that we won a lot on that score, too. (She also feels, like I do, that a good candidate could have pulled off what Ford could not.) Amanda also sent along some links about how the anti-choice crowd plays in South Dakota, and Kansas, and the whole country (.pdf), and warns us not to rest on our laurels.

Nigel said: Today I think I'll enjoy visiting right wing blogs and laughing as they wring out their bedsheets and try to make out it was the terrorists or Keith Oberman who emptied several big stinky buckets of wee over them during the night and not the American people, oh no, not them at all. And he did. But he also has a few words for the dopes who voted for Kinky Friedman.

Unusual Senate results, via this thread on stupid election reporting and spin. Pierce debunks some spin, as well. But Ezra says Rumsfeld's resignation cuts that news cycle dead.

Ezra also says that another interesting outcome in this election is that Taxpayer Bill of Rights stuff was defeated in the three states that ran referenda on it.

Terrorists Pitch Shutout.

Note to Tristero: Honey, we already have a Constitutional crisis. Fortunately, the US Constitution has a remedy for it: impeachment. (But thanks for the heads-up on "How Terrible Is It?" - looks like it should be good.)

In other news, Jack Heneghan alerts me to bras against bags.

23:16 GMT

A couple of things

I just heard on the radio that Donald Rumsfeld has just learned from CNN that he has decided to resign. Do you think someone saw the handwriting on the wall, at last?

What does it mean when Rahm Emmanuel sounds a lot like he's trying to make room for fright-wing spin? It means Christy Hardin Smith and Atrios and Rick Perlstein and Ezra and Avedon Carol have better political instincts than the "centrists" and New Democrats do. If there's one thing that's clear from this election, it's that Americans want liberal government - government that works for We The People rather than just for the corporations and the very rich. I mean, it's not like it was Bernie Sanders who had a tough race.

17:59 GMT

One small step, one big party

That's the image that Georgia10 posted just after midnight at Daily Kos, and the mood there is jubilant. I gotta say, I love the picture.

Short form: We took a lotta seats in the House and it's Speaker Pelosi.

No Democratic incumbent was thrown out.

I still can't get a definitive answer about the Senate but it looks possible that the Republicans may have lost that, too. Webb, McCaskill and Tester look to have narrow leads, but there's talk of recount and the GOP says they've got lawyers ready.

Josh Marshall warns:

It looks like Virginia will decide the senate. Karl Rove has turned races like this around before. You don't know the lengths they'll go to. Believe me, you're not being imaginative enough.
But we won the Senate races we knew we'd win (Brown-OH, Casey-PA, Sanders-VT, Nelson-NE, Nelson-FL) and some we weren't so sure about.

We kicked out a couple of "moderate" Republicans, which some people may rue - but if they were so moderate, how did they let Bush and the other members of their party in Congress get away with such radicalism?

I'd hoped we could get rid of Kyl (AZ), and, as long-time readers of The Sideshow know, I really, really wanted to be rid of Lieberman (and I think Lamont deserved it, too), but that's life, and anyway, it costs the Republicans millions of bucks to keep in someone who claims to be a Democrat. Ford lost, but he did remarkably well considering he was a black man running in Tennessee.

What's it mean? Well, we have the House for sure. If all that means is that it's back to business as usual, that's a relief, but let's not forget that even under Democratic control, there's never been real liberalism in the lead on the Hill in my lifetime. And, certainly, judging from Rahm Emmanuel and Chuck Schumer's speeches last night, they are still well behind the country on that score. Still, they've made some promises, and if "oversight" means anything at all, it might be hard for them to hold back on the surge to have real accountability. (I suppose we could always write to these people and tell them we love John Conyers and Louise Slaughter more than we love them.)

But - what about Lieberman being the most important swing vote in the Senate? Well, he's going to have to make a convincing case that he is caucusing with the Democrats and isn't just there to sabotage them. And we never have to shut up about the fact that Democrats in Connecticut overwhelmingly voted for Ned Lamont, and Boltin' Joe cannot speak for the Democratic Party.

"So, Avedon, what does this say about your paranoia about the votes not being fairly counted?"

Why, nothing. We know there was heavy voter-suppression by the Republicans, and we knew there were plenty of voting machines that had a tendency to refuse to register Democratic votes. We also know that it's pretty difficult to find people outside of the lunatic fringe who didn't want Congress to change hands. (We know most of the country wishes the White House could change hands at this point, too. There is a lot of buyer's remorse out there.) For all we know, in real life it wasn't even close, and the desire for change was so overwhelming that even all their cheating was unable to make any difference. When you're going into a race where candidates have double-digit leads (or as many as 20 points in some races), no one is going to believe that the other side somehow pulled it out with a last-minute surge.

In any case, all of this is just the beginning of the beginning - we've been given a shot at trying to do some damage control. Anyone who thinks they can just sit back and breathe a sigh of relief is being stupid. Democracy is hard work, and we have a lot to do. (And have a look at this, please. Even if we did win the Senate, it's not enough.)

But, please, do not underestimate the importance of this race as a signal to the world that the American people are not ready to accept becoming a fascistic rogue state of torturers and world-eaters.

And, on a note closer to home, may I say how delighted I am that we kicked Ehrlich out of the Maryland governorship and kept Sarbanes' seat in Democratic hands, relieving us of the nightmare prospect of having that clown Steele in the Senate.

14:28 GMT

Election stuff

Think Progress has some great stuff on the election, and you should probably bookmark a few items there. Early exit polls don't mean too much, but still, these look promising. So far, the interviews are showing that the top-ranking issue for voters seems to be corruption. And why would fright-wing talker Laura Ingraham advise listeners to jam the voter-protection hotline? Also, the FBI is investigating voter-suppression in Virginia. And there are more reports of voting problems and dirty tricks.

Just FYI, the Vote predictor is projecting a Democratic win in the Senate, 51-49 (although I assume that 51 includes Independent Bernie Sanders, who certainly looks set to win).

Digby has a couple of good posts on GOP spin on how Democrats are (a) making it up about the Republican dirty tricks and (b) at least as guilty of dirty tricks as Republicans.

Via Mike's Blog Roundup, Gore Vidal on "The Most Important Election in My Lifetime".

The Bradblog has been documenting the atrocities, and has this humdinger: just got off the phone with Steve Young, the Democratic candidate in CA-48 (Orange County). He reports that his office is receiving calls from at least 8 precincts of voting machines down with no paper ballots available for voters. All, he says, in strongly Democratic areas of the otherwise conservative Orange County. I believe they use ES&S voting machines down there. Meanwhile, even Pat Buchanan and Joe Scarborough are wondering what Republicans have against paper trails.

Oliver Willis has a big fat election day post with an emphasis on Maryland.

01:16 GMT

Tuesday, 07 November 2006

Secret ballot

Kos has a few posts up touting Vote by Mail. He has a lot of good reasons for liking it, I admit:

  • Vote by Mail eliminates poll problems--there are no long lines, polls to open late or even confusion about where to vote.
  • Vote by Mail eliminates voter roll issues and the need for provisional ballots--ballots are mailed only to registered voters at their official address. Those who do not receive a ballot have ample time to resolve the issue with election officials.
  • Vote by Mail virtually eliminates voter fraud--no vote is processed or counted until a trained election official is satisfied that the signature on the ballot matches the signature on the voter's registration card.
  • Vote by Mail reduces the risk of voter intimidation--a 2003 study of Oregon voters showed that groups--like the elderly--who are most vulnerable to coercion prefer Vote by Mail.
  • Vote by Mail creates a paper trail.
  • Vote by Mail increases voter turnout--by eliminating the need to stand in line at the polling place, voting becomes convenient for hourly wage employees and other working families. Oregon's consistently ranks among the top five states in voter participation.
  • Vote by Mail encourages educated voters--receiving ballots weeks in advance, gives voters an opportunity to research issues and deliberate in a way that is not possible in a voting booth.
  • Vote by Mail saves taxpayer dollars--because there is no longer a need to transport equipment to polling stations and to hire and train poll workers, Oregon has reduced its election-related costs by 30 percent since implementing Vote by Mail.
Sounds great, doesn't it?

So why didn't we always do it?

Because you can't guarantee a secret ballot if you're able to fill it out at home with people looking over your shoulder. Or at the office. Or under any conditions where someone else could demand to see your ballot.

As long as your vote is cast in the privacy of the voting booth, it doesn't matter whether your spouse or your boss tell you who they think you should vote for - they can't check to find out.

But if we start to take for granted the idea that people could vote anywhere, your boss could demand that you bring your ballot to the office and fill it out under management's watchful eye before sealing the envelope. Or your parents or spouse could insist on watching you vote.

No privacy, no freedom to vote your choice.

That's why they used to discourage voting absentee ballot - a crime, even - if you weren't actually going to be out of town on election day.

Understand, I do vote by absentee ballot, what with my being absent and all. But I'm certain that if it came to be standard procedure that everyone voted by mail, sooner or later you'd have orders from the corporate bosses to make sure they could see how their workers were voting - and voting for their own puppets.

So, much as I would like to make it really easy for the old and infirm and poor and very busy people to vote, I'm not really happy with the idea of mail-in voting for all. I still want able-bodied people who are in town to be able to go to their local school or library or wherever and cast a paper ballot in the privacy of that booth, knowing it will be hand-counted in public on the night.

23:54 GMT

Headline news

Top 10 Election Falsehoods, Myths and Talking Points

Bush seen wearing earth tones.

79 members of the Gnome Liberation Front nabbed in French sting operation!

Best airline ever (Thanks, Rich, knew you had to be good for something.)

20:44 GMT

View from a precipice

Kung Fu Monkey has a message for Republicans who are still republicans:

But let's not get distracted. Point is -- questionable hook-ups. We, as ordinary citizens, all know how we get out of this: you stop returning the crazy person's calls. We promise never to bring it up when drinking. Several years from now, when everything's scabbed over the two of us can joke about our mutual lapses in judgement while sharing a fine Rolling Rock beverage.

Don't return their calls on Tuesday.

At Slacktivist, what Saddam tells us about Bush:
That's how Saddam thought and apparently how he still thinks. He still can't wrap his mind around the idea that he should be forced to stand trial accused of violating the law. He thinks he is the law, or at least that he was the law. He was the law because he was the strongest, and whoever is the strongest makes the rules. The closest he can come to understanding what's happening to him now, then, is thinking that a new strongman has taken charge and that his trial, conviction and sentence are simply a function of that new strongman setting his own new, arbitrary rules. The idea that his conviction is due to his having broken laws that exist outside of and above the whim of any particular strongman -- the idea, in other words, of the rule of law -- still seems beyond Saddam's grasp.
All of which is why I doubt George W. Bush is 100-percent happy to see this verdict and sentence. Yes, apparently, the announcement of this verdict was rushed in the hopes of influencing tomorrow's U.S. election (the verdict won't actually be ready until Thursday, but they made sure to announce it before the vote anyway), but I still think this verdict likely makes George W. Bush a little bit nervous.

President Bush has argued -- often and explicitly -- that, as president, he is not subject to the rule of law, that it can't be illegal if the president does it. This is the explanation his lawyers, Alberto Gonzales and John Yoo, have repeatedly given for why no American law or treaty can limit the president's options by forbidding warrantless wiretapping or, God help us, even torture. This is the rationale for the 600 or so "signing statements" in which President Bush has repeatedly claimed, even while signing into law legislation that governs everyone else, that he is personally, officially and regally exempt from their authority.

My point here is not simply that Bush is wrong to declare himself and his office above the law (although he is wrong). My point here is that if you think as Mr. Bush thinks, then you cannot afford -- ever -- to allow power to leave your hands. Allow that to happen and you could very well find yourself, like Saddam, standing in the dock and being called to account for violating the law you had declared yourself exempt from. Which means you need to be prepared to do whatever it takes to prevent that from happening.
So Bush is bound to be a little nervous watching what happens when someone formerly supposed to be above the law finds himself caught beneath it. And I am, in turn, a little nervous to consider what might result from Bush's nervousness.

And only a whacky conspiracy theorist would connect this, and Karl Rove's apparent confidence that the polls aren't showing us the "real" story, and the many, many instances of voting machines that refuse to register Democratic votes (not to mention voter-suppression), and think any of these things could be related.

(Will Kos finally call for investigations if we lose this?)

Egalia has a list of Voter Hotlines.

What we need.

15:37 GMT


Video (at YouTube):

You say that Bush has lied to you.
And you don't know what to do.
Your whole world is floating in a slue.
Don't it make your red state blue?
Comix: Battle Action Bush and the Keyboard Kommandos prepare for the future in Night of 1,000 Hitlers, Pt. 2: Hillary Rising!!

10:52 GMT

Sweating it out

We've had a beautiful Harvest Moon the last few nights, but I've never had any luck getting decent pictures of the moon. Johan got a nice one, though. (I rather liked this, too.) (And this from Maia. And these from the Met are nice, too.)

Altercation received this in the mail: "Something I thought you MAY ALSO find slightly interesting...... The army is placing a policy that soldiers can't send emails without using their id card as a signature and to do this they have to order a usb device and pay for it themselves. They just got a 9 day warning and after that they won't be able to use their gov. email to SEND email. (At least the soldiers in Iraq). Isn't that weird --- disturbing???? Ben just sent out a mass email to everyone in his address book explaining it. Thought I'd pass it on." You might also want to see, via Eric, what Nick Turse says about Bush's planetary prison system, as well as Eric on Mark Halperin.

Digby has some links for voting day, and talks about how Karl Rove is losing it, and also supplies a link to Hilzoy on Republican abuse of the telephone lines - the robocalls with push-polls and just harassment calls meant to appear to be from Democratic campaigns. More here. And here and here.

Okay, this is it: NARAL can no longer pretend to be a defender of reproductive choice. So, so sick of careerists stabbing us in the back.

Whine, whine, Mark Steyn, you tedious right-wing hack.

Imagine my surprise on learning that George H.W. Bush was once known as "Rubbers".

Bill Scher has some advice on What To Say On November 8th in the hopes that Democrats aren't caught unprepared the way they were last time around.

Patrick says farewell to the Working Families Party after they refuse to endorse Democrats on the grounds that they think it's still 1979: That's the logic of an era in which there were decent Republicans. That era is over. I'm voting the straight Democratic line. Not because there aren't Democrats who are hypocrites, cowards, idiots, and fools. But because the Republican Party, nationally and locally, is in 2006 nothing more or less than a criminal conspiracy to destroy our democracy and loot our country. Their candidates, for every office, need to be defeated wherever they run. If you don't see that you don't get my vote.

01:38 GMT

Monday, 06 November 2006

Media in their pocket

I can't remember when I first noticed that I was seeing a new kind of advertising on television that didn't seem to be advertising anything ordinary people could buy - for example, ads for entire corporations, most of which did not much cater to a retail clientele. I had to think about it for a minute to figure out what they were doing. They weren't selling anything - they were buying control of content, even on the public broadcasting network. Now all the have to do is withdraw their advertising - or threaten to - in order to prevent even our public broadcasters from airing things they don't like - that is, news, however vital to the public, that might in some way have a negative impact on those advertisers.

That was decades ago, but last week we learned that not only major corporations, but entities that are part of our government, have been actively boycotting Air America. At the HuffPo, Josh Silver and Robert W. McChesney discuss the blacklist:

So what should we learn from this episode?

1) Commercial media are highly concentrated and corporate advertisers have massive budgets, giving their programming decisions profound implications. According to its own Web site, ABC Radio has more than 4,400 affiliate radio stations reaching nearly 105 million people nationwide. Monopoly media power translates into significant political power and that is dangerous. This is a big deal.

2) Media are concentrated in the hands of massive corporations who are only concerned with profits. Anything that reduces or threatens those profits is eliminated: Investigative journalism because it's too expensive; government accountability because it pisses off politicians and regulators who dole out billion-dollar policy favors like media "deregulation"; corporate accountability because it angers corporations like the long list that pulled Air America funding. Good journalism can be bad for business.

3) Note the presence of the U.S. Post Office and U.S. Navy on the list of advertisers who have blackballed Air America. It is an outrage that public monies are being deployed to push the ideological agenda of the Bush Administration, or any other administration for that matter. This is one more example of the corruption of governance in Washington, where big money and political power are picking over the bones of democracy.

What's left?

Silver and McChesney prescribe three things in particular that must be done to turn back the tide: stop further media consolidation, protect net neutrality, and give adequate funding to PBS/NPR and other non-commercial broadcasters. (via)

20:12 GMT

I got the fever, you got the cure

The 2006 U.S. Midterms: Another Stolen Election?

It's worth noting, by way of coda, that these skewed machines were hard at work well before election day. According to a report published in the Miami Herald on October 28th, voting machines in Democratic-leaning Broward and Miami-Dade counties in southern Florida had already during the preceding week been detected flipping the choices of early voters from Democratic candidates to Republicans. The problem, as the corporate press likes to insist, must be understood as one of "glitches" - or, more strangely, of a kind of computer fatigue that supposedly induces the video screen "on heavily used machines to slip out of sync" with "the electronics inside."

Only "conspiracy theorists" or voters rendered "particularly skittish" by "a history of problems at the polls" would want to go so far as to suspect that electronic voting machines made by Republican-leaning corporations might be inclined to behave in this way, not because they're tired or having bad hair days or hissy fits, but because they've been programmed to do so.

(Via True Blue Liberal.)

No one could have predicted that the same government that publishes instructions on the net for building nukes would insist that they can't reveal "sensitive documents" just because they exposed their own incompetence. Oh, yes, they could. Via Epicycle.

How would a patriot talk? Probably just like Al Gore.

Another campaign mailer from the GOP (via). And Josh notes that the Saddam verdict wasn't actually ready for prime time.

When Republicans talk about how scary it is that Nancy Pelosi will be Speaker of the House if the Dems win, this is what they're really afraid of. Now, you might wonder why they don't say so out loud, but it's because to do so they would have to actually talk about impeachment as a real possibility, and that might make people actually talk about it. That's also why, when they do use the word, they do so in an accusatory tone - "You Democrats aren't going to try something like impeachment, are you?" - as a way to frighten Democrats out of talking about it seriously. So far it has worked, alas.

Robert Fisk says of Saddam's conviction This was a guilty verdict on America as well: It couldn't be a more just verdict - nor a more hypocritical one.

George Bush, talking up one of his team members, once said that Condi Rice had taught him everything he knew about Russia. For once, he wasn't lying. Meanwhile, The American Conservative says that a repudiation of the Bush presidency at the ballot box is what's best for America.

Interactive map of early modern London, (via).

Lucy and her camera went to the Milwaukee Art Museum, where she took a few nice shots - and I particularly liked this one. Also, Quaintsville, USA. And this and this.

Our friends found couple of quizzes - here and here.

And here's a different link for that photo of Ms. Cakemix.

17:36 GMT

Some stuff in my head

I was reading this piece while listening to The Young Turks ranting about the Tennessee senate race - Cenk was saying something about how, if a well-known, popular, conservative Democrat loses in Tennessee against a known jerk, you know the reason has to be racism. Certainly, that will be the way the conservative Democrats will interpret it, and I don't doubt for a minute that racism will play its part. But I can think of another reason that probably won't be part of the conventional wisdom: Maybe he's too conservative. No, really. We actually don't need conservatism as an antidote to conservatism, we need progressives who can speak to the people about the meat-and-potatoes stuff that matters, and Ford just doesn't do enough of that. It's true that the populist message used to play on a certain amount of racism in the south, but the rest of the message was about work, jobs, supporting your family, and that made it work for the south and a lot of other places. And one of the most disastrous things "centrist" Democrats have done to our party is to purge the whole of the populist message, so that when the racists left the party, the fact that the Democratic leadership seemed so allergic to populism made it seem like the GOP was the natural place for the people who cared about work, jobs, and supporting your family, too.

The radio keeps playing the clip of Bush saying that Saddam "will continue to receive the due process and the legal rights that he denied the Iraqi people," and I keep thinking, "and you want to deny to ours." But that's just one more irony.

I just clicked on this link over at Eschaton for Krugman's latest, and it worked, despite the fact that I don't have a sub for NYT Select. Let me know whether it works for you. (If not this one will.) I was thinking that when Bush-Cheney are impeached, those signing statements should be treated as written confessions.

Wow, even Peter Hoekstra (R-Loony) admits that the White House shouldn't be putting nuclear secrets on the Internet.

Everybody knew.

Republican humor on the campaign trail.

Get ready. Some things you can do.


Sandinistas on the brink? That's how it looked the last time I checked. Daniel Ortega, the former Marxist revolutionary who last came to power at the head of a guerrilla force in 1979, remained locked in a close race to regain the presidency tonight as election officials predicted it would take them until early Monday to finish tallying the results.

My pal Cherry Cakemix with no clothes. [Different link for the same photo]

I've been meaning to say: In London and the Twin Cities, they gathered to remember Mike Ford, but I wasn't physically there. I wanted to be, at both, but the London event was at short notice on a day when I already had unbreakable plans, and Minneapolis was just too far away. But I was always there, anyway. (via)

14:15 GMT

Sunday, 05 November 2006

Remember, remember

Tristero calls attention to another quote from Richard Perle from that much-linked Vanity Fair article about the neocons

But Perle is also saying that he has learned a bitter lesson from the catastrophe of the Bush/Iraq War. Knowing what he knows now, he wouldn't be so rash to recommend invasion, conquest, and occupation.

I'm going to try to say this as clearly and as forcefully as possible.

War should never be fought to provide anyone with an opportunity to grow in wisdom. Yet that is, as far as anyone can tell, the only thing other than sheer horror and outrageous exploitation that has come from this war. Richard Perle and friends have learned something.

And they all learned...what?

They learned that war is "horrifying." They learned that war is unpredictable and chaotic, and its outcome impossible to discern. They learned that the men who start wars, no matter how brilliant they appear to be before the war, are incompetent. They learned that men who prosecute wars, no matter how stong-willed they might appear to be, cannot control them.

Yes, that is what Perle and his friends learned. That is all.

In other words, this guy - and his little friends - had to get hundreds of thousands of people killed in order to recognize what folks like us already knew. And yet, they are still trying to pretend that they have no responsibility for what they have wrought.

* * * * *

A message from Jim Macdonald on Guy Fawkes Day.

If you were in the armed services, would you trust the privacy of your ballot if you had to vote by e-mail?

Keith Thompson suggests that when you vote on Tuesday, you dye your middle finger purple.

Several good links in this post at 604, but I was particularly interested in the news that Hamas is offering the Israelis hudna. A hudna is offered only to a non-Muslim party that controls its own non-Muslim land. In other using the word "hudna," Hamas leaders are implicitly recognizing the permanent existence of Israel. But for some reason, Israel isn't willing to accept it.

Win 100 bucks. Bet ya can't do it.

23:57 GMT

Penny for the Guy?

Pour Moi? Lyon full cup bra

Bra of the Week

Two from a link-rich post by Elayne: Iddybud has moved. I usually look at it for the words, but I did enjoy the photos. And Norbizness notes that Saddam was sentenced to die for things he did when he was our pal - and he found the video of the famous handshake with Donald Rumsfeld.

Via C&L: The bold plan of a bold president in our new kind of war. And just in case anyone doubted that state Attorney General Phill Kline wanted to invade patient privacy for political gain, Bill O'Reilly makes it explicit.* And John Cole's response to the fake moral superiority from right-wing bloggers about what issues liberals prioritize.* (It's okay, guys, we'd be happy to talk more about how right-wingers actually got Bush to post instructions for building nukes on the internets.) I think I also got this link to a piece about the crummy way Bush exploits, but does not protect or honor, our troops, from C&L, too, but can't remember anymore.

Oliver noted a few statements by Democrats about Bush's publishing instructions for building a nuke on the Internet. And Black Conservatives Embrace The Klan.

Big Tent Democrat argues with Spencer Ackerman's criticism of Obama.

PDB has a sweet quote from Liddy Dole: "For a person to think that voting for a Democrat for the Senate is going to fix the situation in Iraq makes no sense. . . [I]t seems that Democrats are saying they're satisfied or content with losing. . ." And many other good sayings and doings of Republicans who apparently can't get enough of making the election into a circus.

American Stranger finds more lying military recruiters who are clearly not looking for "smart, educated" enlistees. Oh, and a little cruise around Bloghdad (nice term) to see how the right-wing bloggers are reacting to the news that the Military Times Media group will be calling for Rumsfeld's dismissal.

"As Bechtel Goes" - Paul Krugman on how even Bush's mercenaries and profiteers are ready to cut and run: And we're not planning to do anything about it: the U.S.-led reconstruction effort in Iraq is basically over. I don't know whether the administration is afraid to ask U.S. voters for more money, or simply considers the situation hopeless. Either way, the United States has accepted defeat on reconstruction.

"When did it become us versus them?"

I've been meaning to link to it for the last couple of months, but I think it got lost in one of my browser crashes: Liz Marcs on 9/11 and remembering Pearl Harbor. This is the real thing, read it all.

19:15 GMT

Election fever

Well, I've had a night to sleep on it and I'm not less freaked out. All along, I've been taking note of the fact that the one thing (aside from making every other nation our enemy) that Bush administration policy seems most single-mindedly aimed at is restricting travel. Everything they've done since 9/11 seems to be about suppressing tourism and freedom of movement in general. I always wondered whether, when he sounded like he was talking about opposing "tourism", that wasn't actually what he was saying. So it's not a joke anymore that Bush is fighting a war on tourism. But it's also clear that the real enemy Bush is fighting isn't Islam or terrorists or even other countries: It's America.

Just one more reason to vote the bums out. No one thinks the Democrats will be wonderful, but if they don't win, there isn't a hope of stopping these people.

Just in case you were wondering what clever Republican ploy was wiped off of the front pages by Pastor Ted's Marvellous Adventure, it was the "We're Not the Party of Sex Offenders" strategy of rounding up 11,000 sex offenders and others at once. Reading the details of the story, you can't help but wonder what kind of operation just happens to result in a round-up that size all on the same day. Especially since, though the majority of those arrested were sex offenders, the rest were completely unrelated - gang members "and other fugitives" were also nabbed. (And why is the Justice Department calling it a "sting"? Merely arresting people is not a sting, it's a round-up, it's arresting people, but a "sting" means something else.)

What's more important, giving 1,300 people flu shots, or reducing voter turn-out in black and Hispanic neighborhoods? C'mon, you know the answer.

Just in case, though, Republicans in Virginia - which already has plenty of laws in place to make sure no one ever, ever gets to have a gay marriage in their state - have added another anti-gay referendum to the ballot to prevent any kind of gay union, including the heterosexual ones. Yeah.

Meanwhile, just about everyone outside the White House (except Joe Lieberman) wants to distance themselves from the invasion, and even Michael Ledeen is now trying to pretend he always opposed the war on Iraq. Damn, if only Bill Clinton had not insisted on invading Iraq!

And the white powder fairies are at it again - that is, sending envelopes containing (probably fake) anthrax to Democratic Senators. This time it's Chuck Schumer.

If you go by the polls, there's hardly a state left where the Republicans still have a chance. Seems to be the case when you listen to people on the ground, too. Yep, all the signs point to a Democratic victory in the House and in the Senate. Even Broder has noticed. So, my question is: If we are told that the Republicans held both houses of Congress, is anyone prepared to question it? What excuses will we be hearing this time?

A negative campaign ad

13:52 GMT

Sweet land of liberty

You knew the USSR and Cuba were terrible places because they were so hard to leave.

So explain this to me:

If the U.S. government (a.k.a Bush Administration) gets its way, beginning on Jan. 14, 2007, we'll all be on no-fly lists, unless the government gives us permission to leave-or re-enter-the United States.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (HSA) has proposed that all airlines and cruise lines be required to obtain clearance for each passenger they propose taking into or out of the United States.

Someday, when people ask what the difference was between the USSR and the USA, I'm afraid the answer will be that in America, they had far more crushing poverty, and no healthcare for any but the wealthy elite.

So, what happens if I fly home for a visit and then can't get clearance to leave again?

Please, please, please, "Take these lies and make them true somehow."

01:17 GMT

Saturday, 04 November 2006


2,829 more reasons to vote Democratic on Tuesday.

It looks like reality isn't just for bloggers, anymore: "This is not about the midterm elections," continued the editorial, which will appear in the Army Times, Air Force Times, Navy Times, and Marine Corps Times on Monday. "Regardless of which party wins Nov. 7, the time has come, Mr. President, to face the hard bruising truth: Donald Rumsfeld must go."

Remember when Broder & Friends were running around doing "Where is Gore?" articles, even though Gore was all over the place and the media just wasn't covering it? Well, despite the fact that she's been on TV and everything, the right-wing is trying it on again with Nancy Pelosi. It started with Republican e-mails and Matt Drudge, then Fox "News", and now it's worked its way onto MSNBC. We look forward to Broder's column asking "Where is Pelosi?" by Tuesday morning.

We are grateful to Eli for giving us a term for this season's biggest political story (not just Pastor Ted, but all of them): Gaydenfreude. (And: Heh. I'm sure I've been to that party.)

16:12 GMT

But if you try sometime...

I'm wondering about the fact that people have planned protests against the war to be held in the evening Monday-Wednesday, including election night. Folks, people should be ready to go to trouble spots for the election. If you're not standing in line to vote yourself, you should be working the polls or helping others vote, and you should be prepared to stand up if anything hinky is happening with the counts. God only knows what the Republicans will be doing, but if you have the physical capability to do so, you should be trying to counteract them.

Back in October of 2004, Republican Congressman Peter King (NY) said, "It's already over. The election's over. We won. It's all over but the counting, and we'll take care of the counting." (YouTube video here.)

We already have seen that machines are flipping votes - and never in favor of progressives.

Mark Kernes has a list of 100 Reasons To Vote Democratic on Tuesday, and most of them are things like "White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales' torture memo," or signing statements, but one is just a straight positive: "Rep. John "Downing Street Memo" Conyers, Jr. (D-MI) would be head of the House Judiciary Committee." The Republicans have made a big deal of how scary it would be if the Dems held hearings to hold them to account, but for anyone who cares about the country, that's a good thing - so good I worry about Conyers getting on any planes. (And here's one that was probably too late to make Mark's list.) get what you need.

14:14 GMT

Better late than never

Gee, getting physical is starting to be a Thing with them, isn't it? First we have the Allen campaign's physical assault on Mike Stark (Countdown story), and now we have them harassing the Lamont campaign at an old-folks home. What a bunch of lovelies.

This is pretty disgusting: no medical care for babies born in the US if their parents are "illegals". It's just wrong. We're talking about new babies who, by virtue of being born in the US, are citizens. (Also: An Abu Ghraib torturer was scheduled to be sent back to Iraq - but after people made a lot of noise, the plan was scuttled - "not because of concern of what he might do to others. It was because of concern others might try to harm him.")

Patrick Nielsen Hayden is disappointed in a credulous post at Boing Boing that links without criticism to a piece by Declan McCullagh and Anne Broache that rates candidates on their allegedly tech-friendly (or not) voting records, saying, "Shilling for big tech companies =/= being pro-technology."

Jane Hamsher has a nice, snarky little post in which she does not congratulate Rahm Emmanuel on his cleverness in making sure there were progressive candidates running against doomed Republicans - because he didn't.

Keith Olbermann's special comment from the other night, in which he says: "There is no line this President has not crossed - nor will not cross - to keep one political party, in power.."

When Bushistas talk.

02:58 GMT

Friday, 03 November 2006


A Mr. Dominic Thomas writes:

I'm puzzled...

I blogged the "Ron Kind even spent your tax dollars to pay teenage girls to watch pornographic movies with probes connected to their genitalia" advert back in September, but the story I saw it in had two totally different names: Brad Miller was being smeared by Vernon Robinson!

My link is here, under "a smear campaign":

and the story I linked to is here:

Surely they can't both be right...?

So, Paul R. Nelson is recycling Vernon Robinson's campaign commercials, eh? Vernon Robinson! Heh.

In local news: Ah, damn, now I'll never get to eat at this place.

TV review: I don't know what it is about Not Going Out, but I find that when it comes on the TV, I don't have that instant feeling that I must turn it off.

22:20 GMT

People are talking

Thomas Nephew says the story of Alyssa Peterson, the interrogator who refused to torture and shortly thereafter killed herself, has been removed from the web. There may be questions about her alleged suicide, as well. Whatever happened, this ought to be a bigger story, and KNAU should put the story back up. You can do that by clicking the "Feedback" link at the bottom of the page where the "correct" is now posted.

Will Bunch asks Bush and the 101st Fighting Keyboarders: "Why are you helping Iran to develop a nuclear bomb?" (Hey, don't we all feel safer with the Rebumblecans at the helm?) (via)

Ezra says America is no longer productive. Yeah, if you work on the idea that you can increase productivity merely by firing a lot of people, eventually you run out. And then you discover that you actually don't have the manpower to make anything that people want to buy. That is even assuming you haven't sold off most of your creative endeavors to other countries. "This country is so screwed," says Ezra. Oh, yes. Ezra also supplies a link to Paul Krugman's Remarks at New America Foundation Economic Conference.

Katha Pollitt says,"If people keep making sexist attacks on Hillary Rodham Clinton, I may just have to vote for her." Remember, folks, if you want to criticize, Hillary, there are plenty of non-sexist things you can say!

Thought Theater has gone all serious on Ted Haggard: Another Demon In Deacon's Clothes: I've long argued that most forms of extremism harkens back to one's own psychological issues.

MadKane's Bush and Cheneys Blunderland song.

Harry Stephen Keeler, the Ed Wood of mystery novelists

18:13 GMT

It's all politics

I just can't believe how dumb Glenn Reynolds has become. Look, Glenn, absolutely no one has ever claimed that there was never a time in history when Saddam Hussein had a nuclear weapons program. Never. We all knew he had. The question was, did he still have WMD as of 2002? And the answer, which we knew before we invaded Iraq in 2003, was: No. We knew it. He no longer had any nuclear capability. We had weapons inspectors on the ground - the sole purpose of the Iraq resolution as written was to get them there - and once the inspectors were in and were finding no WMD, we had no legal or rational reason to invade. None. That's it. It has nothing to do with whether he once had WMD programs. It is about whether he had them in 2003.

But Reynolds' response to news that the Bush administration is so driven by politics rather than sensible policies to protect the United States that they actually posted details of Saddam's nuclear programs on the web is to go all Aha! over the fact that this proves that Saddam once had a nuclear program - something everyone already knew. Yes, Glenn, once upon a time, Saddam had a program, but he didn't in 2003 and he was never going to be nuclear-ready as long as the existing containment policies continued. On the other hand the Bush administration posted information on how to make nuclear bombs on the Internet because they are more concerned with their own political fortunes than they are with the fortunes of our country. And the reason you can't see this is because you are a partisan hack, just like they are. Jeez.

Oh, yeah, thank goodness for The New York Times for getting them to take the how-to-build-a-nuke instructions off the Internet.

American Stranger reminds us that this administration always rewards good work: Investigations led by a Republican lawyer named Stuart W. Bowen Jr. in Iraq have sent American occupation officials to jail on bribery and conspiracy charges, exposed disastrously poor construction work by well-connected companies like Halliburton and Parsons, and discovered that the military did not properly track hundreds of thousands of weapons it shipped to Iraqi security forces. And tucked away in a huge military authorization bill that President Bush signed two weeks ago is what some of Mr. Bowens supporters believe is his reward for repeatedly embarrassing the administration: a pink slip.

I think this link gets you to the first segment of Wednesday night's The Daily Show, on "the Kerry gaffe". (Not YouTube.)

Jerome is back at MyDD, and he has a bit more on the Pastor Ted's Closet story (and we are all so grateful to the gay prostitute for knocking the Kerry story off the top of the headlines), and notes that there is video from last night of Pastor Ted "where he makes a point of calling out the Republicans for their fake outrage towards John Kerry-- while he aligns with him 'in process'." He also has a YouTube clip from Jesus Camp. And Phoenix Woman notes that this just gets added to a growing list of things that are alienating Republicans from their party. (She also has another warning about voting shenanigans.)

And here's Matt Stoller on Lieberman and Lamont (but don't bother watching the video at the top, which is just a Lieberman campaign ad).

Robert Parry says this is "America's Point of No Return": In many ways, Election 2006 not only marks the last chance to exact some accountability from those responsible for the disastrous Iraq War and other failures, but it also represents a point of no return for a nation hurtling toward a future of endless warfare abroad and a new-age totalitarianism at home.

What else makes this war like Vietnam? an anti-war movement among the troops.

Agitprop has a few reminders of why we must vote them out. Lou Reed says so, too.

16:18 GMT

Get it while ya can

Top News story: The most important fright-wing religious nut in America in gay shock-horror sex scandal! Yes, it's the same creep you saw in Jesus Camp who talks to Bush every week and runs the biggest flashing-lights megachurch in the country and campaigns vigorously against gays, and he's been paying some guy for sex.

Bill Scher says, "The Midterm Dynamic Remains The Same," but takes away points from some Dems who fell into the Republican trap once again over the Kerry-joke-flap: The GOP Outrage Manufacture Machine is quite powerful, but even it can't milk this story for more than 48 hours. And yet, individual Dem candidates, trying to save themselves from getting caught up in the flap, accepted GOP criticisms, and ended up helping to perpetuate the party's negative stereotype. And that may hurt their individual campaigns by stoking a concern about change in party control of Congress. We should have postcards made to send to any Democrat any time they do this stuff. They could say something like: "Congratulations: You have proved once again that Democrats won't get each other's backs, but would rather stab each other in the back, instead."

Susie has links on voter-suppression in Maryland, and - if you can believe it - an article in Slate by Jacob Weisberg on how the GOP have Poisoned Politics, and it doesn't try to imply that the Democrats are just as bad: In fact, the form, style, and content of the contemporary attack ad are a specifically conservative contribution to American politics. Republicans have developed most of the techniques, vocabulary, and symbolism at work in these spots over the last couple of decades. Will wonders never cease.

Oh, this is too good - Mark Halperin gets the spank from his own co-author, courtesy of Weldon Berger. (via)

Battle-action Bush and the Keyboard Kommandos in Night of 1,000 Hitlers!!!

It's a media-opoly. On the other hand, there is some good news.

AltHippo looks at the Instapundit projections for the election.

The Rude One explains why you really need to vote against the Republicans.

The NYT editorial for January of 2020.

Did I remind you to Do More Than Vote, lately?

02:30 GMT

Thursday, 02 November 2006

In that river in Egypt

The New York Times is still all wet:

This is hardly the first time that Mr. Bush has played the politics of fear, anger and division; if he's ever missed a chance to wave the bloody flag of 9/11, we can't think of when. But Mr. Bush's latest outbursts go way beyond that. They leave us wondering whether this president will ever be willing or able to make room for bipartisanship, compromise and statesmanship in the two years he has left in office.
I am not making this up.

This comedy moment comes to you courtesy of Tristero.

17:26 GMT

Just read the instructions

A warning from Bill Strickland at The Black Commentator, "Boxed-In" - What Do We Do If They Steal This Election Too? While there seems to be a general expectation that Democrats will make significant gains in next week's election, and possibly even capture a majority in the House and Senate, Democratic hopefuls and premature celebrants seem to forget whom they're dealing with.(Also: Remember "Girls say yes to boys who say no"? Well, it's still true.)

I realize these newspapers are strictly partisan, but still, when the Torygraph and the Daily Mail are both decrying the surveillance society, you know something is happening.

Bill Moyers gives us our lesson for America 101: The scariest thing is that this is only the beginning. America's ship of state is floating in a sea of red ink. In an important but largely neglected report in 2002, Kent Smetters and Jagadeesh Gokhale found that our fiscal gap - the difference (in present value) between the government's future receipts and expenditures - assuming the same net tax rates going forward, was a staggering $45 trillion dollars. This is $4 trillion more than the entire capital stock of industry ($25.9 trillion) and total market capitalization ($14.3 trillion) in 2003.

"John Kerry Goes Nucular": But even if Kerry did misspeak and simply botched a joke about President Bush, I think that's reason enough to be glad he wasn't elected President. Can you imagine having a President who mangles the English language the way Kerry does? Think how dangerous it would have been to have someone who doesn't choose his words carefully and makes large numbers of people angry by what he says. Being President requires a person who thinks before he speaks and uses words diplomatically. Imagine if he had accidentally insulted, say, North Korea or Iran, think of what the consequences might have been. And considering how sensitive Muslims are there's no telling what Kerryisms might have set them off. (And congratulations to Jon Swift for having figured out how to negotiate the tricky Sideshow Link Policy.)

Well, who could have predicted that the administration would appoint a former Exxon CEO to act as US Energy Czar?

Steve Young at the HuffPo says, "Bush Believes Country Less Safe With Him In Charge": In an interview with Sean Hannity (how the hell did he get access to POTUS?) on the Fox News Channel's "Hannity & Colmes," President Bush was asked whether the United States will be hit by another terrorist attack. ... What he said was, "I think so, and we've got to do everything we can to stop them."

It's nice to know that the Republicans will take your money no matter who you are.

Diebold isn't the only culprit, remember. After all, With Sequoia EDGE voting machines, you can vote twice. Or as many times as you want!

Charlie Stross' Short Hallowe'en Horror Story might just scare the pants off you.

My thanks to commenter KS for the link to "Cheney: The Fatal Touch" in The New York Review of Books, by Joan Didion: Here was a man with considerable practice in the reversal of his own errors. He was never a star. No one ever called him a natural. He reached public life with every reason to believe that he would continue to both court failure and overcome it, take the lemons he seemed determined to pick for himself and make the lemonade, then spill it, let someone else clean up. Yeah, but let's see him clean this up, huh?

Greg Sargent says it's just lousy that the WaPo did a piece about Kerry's "gaffe" and didn't bother to mention what it was Kerry had intended to say. And he's right.

Max Blumenthal says Santorum's man-on-dog fixation goes deeper than you think.

Wired has a story about Darren Aronofsky making The Fountain without any CGI.

Check out this little find at

16:06 GMT

Truthiness in advertising

Talk about your dirty campaigning! A Republican put forward an add so dishonest and full of sexual references that even the Republicans have asked him to stop doing it - and, of course, the media won't show it. But let's invert the article and start with the factual part:

That vote, according to the non-partisan Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, was on a failed Republican-sponsored amendment in July 2003 to deny funding for five research grants for studies that "had such stated goals as slowing the spread of AIDS, understanding homosexuality and improving the lives of senior citizens as their sexual function declines."

The measure failed 210-212.

As for the teen girls referenced in the ad, "this grant actually proposed to study sexual arousal in 180 lesbian, bisexual and heterosexual 'women' and makes no mention of 'teenage girls' as test subjects as the ad claims," according to the center.

These are subjects on which, as far as the Retalibans are concerned, the less we know, the better, because that way they can say anything they want and who will know what's true and what's not? So how was it represented?
Republican challenger and political newcomer Paul R. Nelson has taken his race against five-term U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-La Crosse) to apparently new territory in Wisconsin politics. Consider his latest video advertisement, which is so far too lewd to find a home on television in western Wisconsin's 3rd Congressional District.

"Ron Kind has no trouble spending your money, he'd just rather spend it on sex. That's right. Instead of spending money on cancer research, Ron Kind voted to spend your money to study the sex lives of Vietnamese prostitutes. Instead of spending money to study heart disease, Ron Kind spent your money to study the masturbation habits of old men," states the 80-second "sex study" ad Nelson has posted on his campaign Web site.

It is an ad, Nelson boasts, that "the mainstream media won't show!"

And for obvious reasons.

"Ron Kind," the ad continues, "even spent your tax dollars to pay teenage girls to watch pornographic movies with probes connected to their genitalia. Ron Kind pays for sex but not for soldiers."

Apparently, it's even a bit to blatant for the state party, despite the fact that, in truth, this kind of thing is SOP for the GOP.

[Update: Scaramouche found the video of the ad.]

12:41 GMT

Tonight, tonight

Ben Adler can tell the difference between the two parties: Now, corporate money plays a horribly outsized role in American politics, to be sure, but it's surely worth distinguishing the party that's a wholly-owned servant of business interests from the one that includes business among a number of countervailing interest groups -- Democrats certainly don't take nearly as high a proportion or total amount of corporate money as Republicans. Second, one can contend that Democrats have allowed manufacturing jobs to dissipate and corporate-friendly free trade deals to proliferate when they've been in power, but clearly, whether you look at who voted for CAFTA (overwhelmingly Republicans) or which statewide and national candidates have made the loss of manufacturing jobs a campaign issue in the last few cycles (John Edwards, Sherrod Brown, and other Democrats), it's not fair to say Democrats as a whole are as content as Republicans to allow these conditions to persist.

Taylor Marsh has been keeping up-to-date on the whole Kerry-calling-Bush-stupid fiasco, and posting some great stuff about how the GOP doesn't want to talk about how stupid they are, and how stupid and useless the Dems are in this kind of fight, stabbing Kerry (and the rest of us) in the back once again. And Digby deconstructs the pattern. Tell me again why we should support Hillary Clinton? It would have been so simple to say, "It's too bad Kerry can't deliver a joke, because he was right about Bush being so stupid that he got us stuck in Iraq." (Where was Peter Daou?) (And, of course, there's one other thing.)

Atrios is reminding us of what kind of a guy Bush chose to be interviewed by when he sat down with Rush Limbaugh. Start here and work your way up.

Robert Parry says, "Al-Qaeda Wants Republicans to Win," and I believe him: George W. Bushs blunt assertion that a Democratic victory in the Nov. 7 elections means "the terrorists win and America loses" misses the point that Osama bin Laden stands to advance his strategic goals much faster with a Republican victory. Indeed, as U.S. intelligence analysts have come to understand, there is a symbiotic relationship between Bushs blunderbuss "war on terror" and bin Ladens ruthless strategy of terrorist violence - one helping the other.

More biased voting machines, this time in Texas.

I'd like to see this ad getting saturation play on television, wouldn't you?

02:33 GMT

Wednesday, 01 November 2006

Bits and pieces

Here's a nice one - the state Republican Party in Colorado sent out a campaign flier attacking the Democratic candidate designed to look like a sex-offender notification.

"Many Americans Not 'Absolutely Certain' Of God" - Just a Harris poll conducted over the Internet, but, it says that 42% did not say they were certain God exists (and only about a third said God was male, 1% said God was female, and the rest went with either both or neither.)

Attacks from the right on Pelosi are something we're getting used to, but you have to laugh even when a fright-winger radio host compares Man-on-Dog Santorum with Churchill. (Not that it made any sense when the wingers were comparing Bush to Churchill, of course....)

Google "news". Hmm.

I think must be something new. A couple of stories: "Diebold demands that HBO cancel documentary on voting machines" in The Seattle Post-Intelligencer. They're claiming it's inaccurate, but: "We stand by the film," said Jeff Cusson, a spokesman for HBO, which is a unit of Time Warner Inc. "We have no intention of withdrawing it from our schedule. It appears that the film Diebold is responding to is not the film HBO is airing." And an NPR piece on Alyssa Peterson, an Arabic-speaking interrogator assigned to the prison at the Tal-afar airbase who killed herself rather than torture.

Don't forget the White House plan for Iraq. And Josh Marshall says this is The Closer.

Oh, and Tony Snow manages to make the press corps laugh at him out loud.

Canadian gothic - the emotional void of Conrad Black.

Many of our readers may appreciate this rubber stamp. (Also: Baby squids.)

Amusing image via Maru.

Uh oh, I missed The Talking Dog's birthday.

Huh, next year's Eastercon has been cancelled.

21:56 GMT

Get the word

Lawrence County, PA, The Newcastle News says, "Our Endorsements: We urge you to vote for Democrats - period": What do Casey and Altmire have going for them? In a word, they are Democrats. Usually, a party label is a minor factor when it comes to our candidate endorsements. But not this time around. Via Biomes Blog (and check out the iguana).

John Powers compares Frank Rich and Izzie Stone, as seen through some recent books. (via)

Charles Pierce has a few words for John Cole, pointing out that the things he objects to in the GOP were there all along.

The Guardian thought they'd ask around to see what it's like to be a Muslim in Britain: Criticised for their beliefs, clothing and attitudes; accused of not being British enough; reviled as the enemy within - not a day passes without Muslims being attacked in the media. So how does it feel to be Muslim in Britain today? Guardian writers asked people around the country - from a rear admiral to an organic farmer, a rapper to a gay rights campaigner, an accountant to a niqab-wearing teacher - to tell us how they spent last Friday.

The link for The Daily Show, since they decided to provide it themselves rather than letting people put it up on YouTube. Via Mark Evanier, who also provides a brief Jack Kirby interview, introduced by Harlan Ellison.

And here's Stephen Colbert's Word on Limbaugh's attack on Michael J. Fox.

18:48 GMT

All the talk

You know, there's something really weird about hearing people talk about how Kerry is always putting his foot in his mouth. I mean, the leader of the Republican Party is George Bush.

John Cole at Balloon Juice is really unhappy with the way things have gone down: I just thought I would go on record stating that the last few weeks and months have really sucked for me. I spent my whole life in the GOP. [...] In short, it really sucks looking around at the wreckage that is my party and realizing that the only decent thing to do is to pull the plug on them (or help). I am not really having any fun attacking my old friends- but I don't know how else to respond when people call decent men like Jim Webb a pervert for no other reason than to win an election. I don't know how to deal with people who think savaging a man with Parkinsons for electoral gain is appropriate election-year discourse. I don't know how to react to people who think that calling anyone who disagrees with them on Iraq a "terrorist-enabler" than to swing back. I don't know how to react to people who think that media reports of party hacks in the administration overruling scientists on issues like global warming, endangered species, intelligent design, prescription drugs, etc., are signs of... liberal media bias. [...] And it makes me mad. I still think of myself as a Republican- but I think the whole party has been hijacked by frauds and religionists and crooks and liars and corporate shills, and it frustrates me to no end to see my former friends enabling them, and I wonder 'Why can't they see what I see?' I don't think I am crazy, I don't think my beliefs have changed radically, and I don't think I have been (as suggested by others) brainwashed by my commentariat.

Eugene Robinson says we shouldn't forget that in his performance last week, Donald Rumsfeld summed up the administration's style of governing in two words when he told people who ask him questions to Back off.

Glenn Greenwald: I honestly didn't think it was possible for Mark Halperin's behavior to become any more craven or cringe-inducing than it was during his three-hour submissive inquisition with Hugh Hewitt last night. But I was so wrong. (If you're clueless about who Halperin is, he's someone who really helps set the stage for how the news will be perceived on any given day. He writes ABC's The Note, where he tells the world what's going on today, what spin to believe, etc. He is the paid media's version of Matt Drudge, and the guy he gets his news slant from every day is... Matt Drudge.)

One of Bartcop's readers picked up this comment on Kristin Breitweiser's article at the HuffPo: I have said on numerous occasions that while I do not believe the Bush administration is actively in league with al Qaeda, if they were I cannot imagine a single thing they would have done differently. Wittingly or unwittingly, Bush has been al Qaeda's Employee of the Month for the last five years straight. (And, my goodness, it really looks like him. Scary! Oh, and these are good.)

Bush Endorses Sexual Assault & Malpractice.

15:40 GMT

Because I overslept

Amanda Marcotte had a look at that little debate between Bill Scher and Jonah Goldberg and says it's about Who counts: Well, I think it all goes right back to my suggestion of what conservatives mean when they say they're for "small" government and liberals are for "big" government-those adjectives describe the size of the number of people that count as worthy of government attention, protection, and assistance in their view. Actually, I'd go farther to say they have an ingrained belief that the law is about protecting the "legitimate" ownership of property, and some people aren't meant to own property, they're meant to be property.

Bruce Schneier says, "Total Information Awareness Is Back" - though we never really thought it left.

Publius muses on what may result from a Democratic win at the polls. (via)

Neil Gaiman's Halloween op-ed in The New York Times.

This Is Waterboarding...

14:18 GMT

And so, to bed

Charlie Rangel Suggests That Cheney Seek Professional Help: Rangel, who has already famously pointed out that Bush shattered the ole meme of white racial superiority, suggested that Cheney seek some kind of "rehab" for "whatever personality deficit he may have suffered. When you have those sorts of problems, you're supposed to seek help."

The Poor Man Institute reports on who is not giving us all the good news about Iraq.

Jerome Doolittle provides us with a little I.F. Stone: The impossible search for "absolute security" is incompatible with a free and healthy society. If this is to be national policy, why should anyone be trusted? There is a momentum here which plays into the hands of those who are prepared to be most unscrupulous and extreme in pandering to a growing paranoia.

"Maybe this time, on Iran, someone will yet decide that it's worth taking the debate to the people." Don't hold your breath.

Hacking Democracy is an HBO show set to play on November 2nd: In the 2000 presidential election, an electronic voting machine recorded minus 16,022 votes for Al Gore in Volusia County, Fla. While fraud was never proven, the faulty tally alerted computer scientists, politicians and everyday citizens to the very real possibility of computer hacking during elections. Meanwhile, the media is also noticing that Florida ballot terminals favor Republicans. This is the kind of thing that should have been covered endlessly six years earlier and a continuous subject until it was fixed...before the 2002 elections. Instead, we're seeing it only a few days before the upcoming elections? What's that about?

Al Sharpton congratulates John Kerry for putting Iraq back in the news. And Kerry sure was right about how the Republicans are the ones who owe our troops an apology.

Send Chevron to Guantanamo. Enemy combatant in the War against the American Taxpayer.

Avery Ant's last rant

Tony Blair covers "Should I Stay Or Should I Go" on YouTube.

03:04 GMT

Avedon Carol at The Sideshow, November 2006

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