The Sideshow

Archive for October 2006

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Tuesday, 31 October 2006

Haunted houses

Josh Marshall: I'm curious why more isn't being made of this. It's being widely reported that on the order of Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki, the US have ended a five day old military blockade of the Sadr City section of Baghdad. But that cordon was in place to help find the recently abducted US soldier. So it sounds a lot like on Maliki's say-so we've essentially called off the search. Is President Bush being asked about this? (Also, a little oopsie from John McCain.)

Next time someone tells you that Air America's money problems have anything to do with it lacking listeners, think again. AAR has plenty of listeners, but that's not where money comes from. An advertising blacklist, on the other hand, could affect a radio network's fortunes seriously.

More creatures to give you the heebie-jeebies: Bush's judges bought their seats, and the weakest man in Washington.

E. J. Dionne: While Republicans scratch their heads over why a seemingly good economy is not helping them nationally in this year's elections, Michigan is where the party once hoped a bad economy would help it seize a governorship. Because the GOP apparently thought that the fact that the country is bleeding jobs was caused by the governor. Chuck Dupree: What the Republic party still doesn't seem to get is that if you've lost your job to outsourcing, a tax cut for millionaires doesn't help you.

A Halloween costume from Steve Clemons.

Biomes Blog has a Halloween post that includes the terrifying map of Church bodies by state, Flying Spaghetti Monster missionaries, and more.

23:49 GMT

Trick or treat

Top story: John Kerry puts his foot down, at last:

If anyone thinks a veteran would criticize the more than 140,000 heroes serving in Iraq and not the president who got us stuck there, they're crazy. This is the classic G.O.P. playbook. I'm sick and tired of these despicable Republican attacks that always seem to come from those who never can be found to serve in war, but love to attack those who did.

I'm not going to be lectured by a stuffed suit White House mouthpiece standing behind a podium, or doughy Rush Limbaugh, who no doubt today will take a break from belittling Michael J. Foxs Parkinsons disease to start lying about me just as they have lied about Iraq. It disgusts me that these Republican hacks, who have never worn the uniform of our country lie and distort so blatantly and carelessly about those who have.

The people who owe our troops an apology are George W. Bush and Dick Cheney who misled America into war and have given us a Katrina foreign policy that has betrayed our ideals, killed and maimed our soldiers, and widened the terrorist threat instead of defeating it. These Republicans are afraid to debate veterans who live and breathe the concerns of our troops, not the empty slogans of an Administration that sent our brave troops to war without body armor.

Bottom line, these Republicans want to debate straw men because they're afraid to debate real men.

That's from his statement. I assume there will be video eventually.

Amnesty International today issued a 'Call to Bloggers', asking them to get online and stand up for freedom of expression on the internet. The organisation says this is a critical time when fundamental rights - particularly freedom of expression and privacy - are under threat from governments that want to control what their citizens say, and what information they can access. (via)

We don't call them "the American Taliban" for nothing - the Retalibans are spending your tax dollars to tell adults not to have sex. And Retaliban supporters view people who are not Retaliban supporters (i.e., most Americans) as "biased". (via)

The WaPo has an article about how Katherine Harris' campaign has gone south, with the exciting news that she is planning to write a tell-all book. My first thought was, "Will they find her dead body somewhere soon?" but then I realized she's already managed to build herself up as such a first-class nut-case that they probably figure no one will believe her even if she just tells the truth about stuff we already know - like how she helped Bush steal the 2000 election. Before he became the first of three campaign managers to quit, Jim Dornan programmed his cellphone to play the theme song from "The Exorcist" when Harris called. Happy Halloween!

PNH says: "It's the War on Some Terror, just like the War on Some Drugs."

Sexual Consent (And very nicely done, too.)

21:40 GMT

Horror stories

Glenn Greenwald on What the Bilal Hussein detention reveals about the Bush administration - I'm glad Glenn is covering the outrageous detention of an AP photographer who is a direct victim of the right-wing hate campaign against journalists.

Via Kevin Drum, a useful discussion of income inequality at, of all places, TNR, thus proving that Chait can still be good when he wants to. The part I like best is the admission that Rubinomics was a wrong turn. What he doesn't really come out and say, though, is that all the fancy, "modern", economic theories, from the Clintonistas to the libertarian right free-marketeers, have been repudiated, and we are back to basics: If you want to keep money moving through the economy, you have to start at the bottom, not the top. We need to go back to all those old laws we had before we got all "modern", and that includes taxes on the rich.

Andrew Sullivan says if you value American freedoms, vote Democratic: If today's GOP wins, they will take it as vindication for their authoritarian streak. And the path we have already embarked upon will only get darker. (via)

Kristen Breitweiser was a Bush supporter, but 9/11 changed everything for her when she lost someone at Ground Zero and found that her president was part of the problem. "Getting to the Root of the Problem by Getting Rid of the Republicans", at The Huffington Post.

Atrios is trying to make me feel better, but I still have to wait 'til November 7th to find out if it's a trick or a treat. Mind, it has to be a good sign when Bush is actually going to Sugarland, TX to campaign.

Fred Clark discovers Left Behind doesn't deliver on its promises, and seems just a damp squib.

Your Republican legislators, as you know, are opposed to doing anything for our veterans. Thomas Nephew has a couple things you can do to help.

Halloween monsters

White House Halloween - discuss.

Visit Pumpkin Guy.

16:46 GMT

Chiller theater

I don't know about you, but the press scares me. You might want to send Jamison Foser's An open letter to the "Gang of 500" to every media whore you can think of.

TPMmuckraker has been hot on the case of the nasty push-polling which they've now found in five states.

Eric Alterman asks: And how about a little noise about Salah Choudhury?
The mainstream media seems to be ignoring the case and leaving it to the right-wingers and Jewish-oriented publications. What's up with that? I am so sick of being sensitive to Muslim and other sensibilities that deny peoples' right to free speech because what you say might offend them. Life is offensive, OK? I'm offended every time George Bush or Dick Cheney opens their respective mouths, but I deal with it. If liberals believe in anything, we believe in the Enlightenment, and tough luck on those who don't. Sign this petition. Send it around.

More from Maha in response to annoying warnings about how the Dems are duplicating the error of opposing the Vietnam war - Don't Blame McGovern II.

"The Big Bad Boogeyman" - Jane Hamsher on the dire warnings about the scary liberals and what they might wreak on an unsuspecting country if the Blue Dogs don't keep them in line, thanks to a dopey LAT article.

Michael Steele explains the logic of opposing embryonic stem cell research.

13:48 GMT

Happy Halloween

Dave Neiwert has a local story from Oregon where they have a Republican legislator who seems to have covered up an incident of child abuse although "she was the lead sponsor on yet another get-tough-on-molesters bill." Among other things.

Roy Edroso reports on the right-wing reaction to Crazy Camille - and they just love her.

I used to get on a high horse about stuff like this, but not anymore. And anyway, I love Halloween.

Dwight Meredith explains what was wrong with the idea of trying to generate funds for the state by taxing punitive damages awards in civil law suits. (And via MBW, ebogjonson answers the important etiquette question, "Should I use blackface on my blog?")

Gary Farber reviews the Constitution's protections, and the Founder's views on religion, as seen by conservatives - and others.

The Teamsters at MyDD, introducing the blogosphere to their agenda, and making common cause.

Tom Schaller disputes the idea that 2004 was such a big victory for the GOP as a whole: Democrats didn't win, to be sure, but should the GOP really be rejoicing given how little they were able to budge the needle?

One thing Ezra and I can agree on is that Bush's Paris Hilton Tax Cut is harmful to charities and a spit in the eye to faith-based charitable organizations that thought they were getting a deal from him.

Brad Will (1970-2006): Final Report - the last moments of a journalist's life, as he filmed civil unrest in Oaxaca.

Muqtada al-Sadr is particularly obsessed with MN-06 (and other races where the Democrats could win).

Thanks to Randolph Fritz for tipping me off to the voting maze at the NYT.

Eric Schwartz sings "Clinton Got a Blowjob" on YouTube.

00:31 GMT

Monday, 30 October 2006

Floating topics

I see Scott and Kevin have joined in to refute Jonah Goldberg's contention that liberals stand for "imposing public policies on democratic majorities that don't want them". But I'd argue with Kevin's assertion that gun control was particularly a liberal idea or an unpopular one when it was introduced. The GOP, with the help of the NRA, has certainly convinced people that that is the case, but gun control was actually pretty popular when it was introduced (as a response to crime - and I think there was an element of racism there), and not just among liberals. In fact, a lot of liberals didn't like it, much. I, of course, think gun control is a red herring and we should really be talking about why we have so much violence in America even when compared with countries that have far less restrictive gun laws.

Clinton left office on September 10th of 2001.

If the terrorists hate us for our freedoms, why aren't they going after countries that are even freer? I wanna know.

C&L has the video and transcripts of O'Reilly on Letterman, and I'm glad Letterman made it clear that he suspects O'Reilly is no more reliable on current events than he is. But I wish someone would tell him that (a) thinking there were WMD in Iraq is why the weapons inspectors were there - and Bush pulled them out, and (b) Saddam did not have control of Northern Iraq.

Olvlzl at Echidne of the Snakes discusses what needs to happen if the Democrats do take back Congress - secure the vote, and take back the media.

Matt Stoller and Chris Bowers are both talking about the NYT article that's already congratulating Blue Dog Democrats and "New Democrats" (DLC) for holding the progressives in contempt and, supposedly, being responsible for the projected Democratic win in November. It's another one of those articles that gives conservative Democrats the opportunity to attack the "leftists" in the party: "I think there's tremendous agreement and awareness that getting the majority and running over the left cliff is what our Republican opponents would dearly love," Ms. Tauscher said, adding that this was something "we've got to fight." The "left cliff" is hardly a threat, but, by the gods, some people still want to pretend we're trying to push the party over it. The right cliff, on the other hand, keeps drawing closer, and something really needs to be done about that. Returning to the subject, Bowers says: The netroots and the progressive movement have as much of an ownership claim to the Democratic Party as anyone else. We follow the rules, and we have provided an absolutely enormous amount of support to the party. As we work to move into the infrastructure of the party, LieberDems and "New Dems" alike do everything they can to distance themselves from they party. Lieberman's actions following the primary, as well as the actions of those Democrats who continue to support him, make it clear that it is in fact the Lieberman-Tauscher-DLC types view the party, its rules, and its members as a convenience to be easily tossed aside when they interfere with a personal path to power. This is our party as much as it is theirs. Hell, by now it is more our party than it is theirs. Lieberman and his supporters have become the new Naderites in our midst.

18:20 GMT

Front-page "news"

This morning's Washington Post has an article about what the results of this election will mean to Karl Rove's reputation. Front page. This is obviously more important than what it will mean for the country. You'd think the fact that a Republican win would be devastating for our nation might be a more important issue - a repudiation of the idea that government should be accountable, that starting unprovoked war is wrong, that torture is wrong, that spilling the nation's treasure in no-bid contracts and non-negotiable insurance deals is wasteful and wrong - you'd think that would be the front-page issue of the day. Will Americans come out to vote for America, or just for Bush? That's a question. But, no, the front page is reserved for the question of how the election will affect the legacy of Karl Rove.

Steve Soto is one of the finer gifts to political analysis that Blogtopia* has given us, but even he doesn't have any complaints about the fact that this is a front-page story, noting that it is a good story. Steve reckons the article demonstrates that Rove is delusional (and so does Swopa), if he thinks the GOP can win this election honestly. But he passes over that last bit rather quickly:

If the GOP somehow holds on to both houses of Congress without vote fraud, then Rove's predictions and claims about district-by-district GOP strength in the face of many experts who say the opposite would make him a legendary political figure.
The GOP voter-suppression strategy is already in full force, with the number of people who have illegally had their names struck from the rolls possibly in the millions by now. Presumably, they will have more challenges at the polls, and we've already seen the usual election season spread of phone calls and fliers telling people in black and Latino neighborhoods to vote on some day other than November 7th, or that they can't vote if they are immigrants, or whatever. And even without all of that, how would we ever know who had legitimately won when we have no way to ensure the integrity of the votes themselves on machines that can be programmed to lie? Some states have even passed laws making it illegal to recount the ballots.

If the Democrats win back one or both houses, despite Rove's confidence and conservatives' belief that Americans don't want Democrats to win, let us at least hope it will spur Republicans to demand a more accountable voting system, at last.

[Update: Digby discusses the fact that Republicans are already using the Democrats-steal-elections meme.]

12:41 GMT

Word to the wise

Commander Vimes' household has just fended off some dwarf assassins in his home, and he's taken the members of his household (including his baby son) to the Watch house, along with a prisoner. A delegation of dwarves comes to speak to him, led by a sort of elder, called a "grag". Vimes is in a very bad mood.

"May I be there when you question him?" said the grag.


"Well, for one thing, it may prevent rumours that he was mistreated."

"Or start them?" said Vimes. Who watches the watchmen? he asked himself. Me!

Bashfullsson gave him a cool look. "It could ... calm the situation, sir."

"I don't habitually beat up prisoners, if that's what you're suggesting," said Vimes.

"And I am sure you would not wish to do so tonight."

Vimes opened his mouth to shout the grag out of the building, and stopped. Because the cheeky little sod had got it right slap bang on the money. Vimes had been on the edge since leaving the house. He'd felt a tingling across his skin and a tightness in his gut and a sharp, nasty little headache. Someone was going to pay for all this ... this ... this thisness, and it didn't need to be a screwed-up bit-player like Helmclever.

And he was not certain, not certain at all, what he'd do if the prisoner gave him any lip or tried to be smart. Beating people up in little rooms ... he knew where that led. And if you did it for a good reason, you'd do it for a bad one. You couldn't say, "we're the good guys" and do bad-guy things. Sometimes the watching watchman inside every copper's head could use an extra pair of eyes.

-- Terry Pratchett, Thud!

10:20 GMT

Sunday, 29 October 2006

Sunday night fever
(Well, really, it's just a cold)

I found this quote from ralphbon in the Sunday talking head thread at FDL: You know, its not that the Democrats don't stand for anything. Its that the Democrats who don't stand for anything are in charge. (Nice photo from Hubble, too.)

Thomas Nephew says there is some worry that liberal Maryland may still elect the right-wing crackpot, with the Democrat running a "stolid" campaign and some slickness emerging from Steele with the help of the Republican war chest. But Oliver Willis says Cardin trounced Steele in the debate.

Mexico: As predicted, the assault on Oaxaca has begun ahead of Calderon's inauguration. Four thousand police and military were positioned to "re-establish order" in Oaxaca.

Doonesbury shows how Dems ought to sound when they appear on talk shows.

"B . . . B . . . But What If He Planted A Nuclear Device???" - it's a stupid question.

"Afghanistan war is 'cuckoo', says Blair's favourite general."

Mike Nesmith and Frank Zappa on "The Monkees"

It's faintly unbelievable that it appeared on the front page at all, but especially when you look at what was hidden on the back page of the NYT.

Another group the GOP are losing is the rural voters.

Digby reminds us not to let Republicans pretend that the problem is with The Bush Crowd and not the failure of conservatism.

The Panda Song

23:37 GMT

Chock full o' links

Jezebel Risque sheer half cup underwired bra

Bra of the Week (Here's an alternative for the brave, brought to our attention by Darryl Pearce (of).)

So now they're worried about voting machines? Sure, it's one thing if the machines are owned by highly-partisan right-wing fruitcakes, but it's another thing entirely if the owners are Venezuelan.

Atheism is the new black: In the wake of one religious sensation, The Da Vinci Code, publishers are scoring a second success with sceptics.

Julia's piece on defining deviancy downward is a couple of weeks old but worth reading (and not very long) - and the end is sharp and to the point.

Just yesterday Roz was here and mentioned that Camille Paglia's schtick had pretty much become obsolete in the face of the rising visibility of Ann Coulter, but perhaps Paglia noticed it, too, because she has raised her head again, and is suggesting all sorts of stupid things. Scott Lemieux says, "This is the problem with discussing politics when you know absolutely nothing about it." And Roxanne points out that Molly Ivins covered this subject a long time ago.

You know why Atrios calls him "Lord Weisberg" when you see him raving about how Obama has changed the rules of politics by sounding... just like the DLC. *sigh*.

In Mother Jones, "Tales of a Push Pollster", complete with a few sample questions, such as, In America when a person dies, the IRS can take up to 55 percent of the inheritance left for family and friends. Do you want Congress to permanently eliminate this unfair tax?" Next, you'll be told that the Democrat running for Congress in your district "voted to keep the death tax in place and refused to vote to make permanent the tax cuts that have caused record economic growth in 2001.

A lot of people pointed out that Mallaby was fantasizing when he said that, "In North Korea and Iran, the United States has tried every diplomatic trick to prevent nuclear proliferation," because he obviously did nothing of the kind. But Dean Baker notes that the article has another idiotic moment: Last week it was David Broder, this time it is Sebastian Mallaby telling us that "every honest politician" knows that we have to cut Social Security. Actually, honest politicians who know arithmetic and can read, know that Social Security is projected to be able to pay all scheduled benefits fro the next 40 years, with no changes whatsover. Why do Washington Post columnists so frequently say things about Social Security that are not true? Because Republicans tell them those things, actually.

Wow, scientist found a new element that explains everything, but I didn't notice it until Mary posted it.

I guess no one is surprised to hear about corruption in Texas, but Charles Kuffner is still keeping tabs on it.

Note to Gordon Liddy: No one knows how big it is if it's buried under a sock, and no one cares how big it is if it's attached to a horse's ass.

In The Nation, Katha Pollitt says, "Show Him the Money" - Identity Politics can be pretty damned tedious and foolish, but getting rid of diversity programs doesn't address class bias and discrimination.

16:05 GMT

What are the civilian applications?

I just watched Bill Scher and Jonah Goldberg debating liberalism, and it's always illuminating to see conservatarians trying again to justify imposing their will on others in the name of stopping liberals from imposing their will on others. You can trace the conservative argument at least from the days when they claimed "states' rights" for slavery when, in fact, what they wanted was to have the federal government impose slave-state laws on states that had banned slavery. In the video, you can see Jonah arguing that liberalism is about shoving things down other people's throats - as an argument against Roe v. Wade. Jonah wants states to be able to shove abortion bans down people's throats, of course, without acknowledging the fact that forcing unwanted pregnancy on women is a lot more of an imposition than merely forbidding states to do so. Bill quite rightly says that it doesn't really matter to the woman whether that imposition is made by the federal government or the state. Bill says he wasn't satisfied with his defense, though, and has written more at LiberalOasis, some of it culled from his book. What he doesn't say is that it is a lie that conservatives don't' want to shove things down people's throats even given their fake support of states' rights - that vast numbers of conservatives want a full federal abortion ban and have no interest at all in letting the states decide. (Bill is always more polite than I am.)

No objection from me, of course, over the fact that Atrios skipped the habitual Friday cat-blogging. On the other hand, he has a couple of videos I can recommend - the Wesley Clark ad for Ned Lamont, and the Faker spot someone made in honor of Rush Limbaugh.

Why Now? says Diebold's incompetence might not necessarily be dishonest - just another example of why these functions shouldn't be privatized in the first place.

Kevin Doran did a brief interview on blogging with Ken MacLeod, but I had to double the text-size to read it.

14:28 GMT

Fall back

I'm jumping the gun a little, but GMT is GMT whether we're using it or not.

Thanks to Lynn Cheney, Jonathan Schwarz has found the courage to stand up to the anti-Jon Schwarz bias of A Tiny Revolution, and thus given me the courage to stand up to the outrageous anti-Avedon Carol bias of The Sideshow.

World Can't Wait is doing a teach-in on 30 October in New York, which you can attend or watch online. Speakers include Larry Everest, author of Oil, Power & Empire: Iraq And The U.S. Global Agenda; Bill Goodman, Legal Director for the Center for Constitutional Rights; Chris Hedges; and Cristina Page, author of How the Pro-Choice Movement Saved America: Freedom, Politics, and the War on Sex.

Catfight city - Michael Stickings on the two Italian MPs - an ex-showgirl and a transsexual - who are having a tiff over where the latter goes to the loo. (And her feud with Mussolini, too.)

Thanks to Cedric Knight for the link to the BBC's Newsnight program on Yahoo's exposure of a blogger in China and the subsequent arrest.

Thanks to Cell Whitman for tipping me off to this Mad Hatters cartoon.

Doctor Vince's latest naked lady drawing.

00:50 GMT

Saturday, 28 October 2006

Easy travel to other planets

Well, at least William F. Buckley has figured out that It Didn't Work.

Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman have a little list of all the nasty tricks Ken Blackwell is using to steal his own election.

Chris Hedges finds out what life is like to those outside the paths of tourists Inside Egypt.

Katrina Vanden Heuvel says the South is becoming even more doubtful about the war than some other parts of the country.

Ron Suskind says, "The president understands more about the mistakes than he lets on. He knows what the most-skilled interrogators know too. He gets briefed, and he was deeply involved in this process from the beginning. The president loves to talk to operators." So... not actually interested in good intel, then?

MahaBarb has started another multi-part series with Facts and Fictions, Part I: Why is it that Republicans get credit for having ideas even though they haven't had a genuinely new idea since the McKinley Administration? Why is it Republicans get credit for having principles even though their words and deeds rarely meet up in the same ball park?

Glenn Greenwald finds Howard Kurtz getting a hernia from trying to "balance" right-wing creepiness with ... nothing, much.

Neil Rest tells me I'm still behind the curve on Jerry Weller, and I can catch up at The Chicago Reader.

Tom Tomorrow on The Independent Thinker and "bipartisanship".

22:50 BST

Dems again

I wonder if there's a way to get across to people that the reason to vote for Dems isn't that they are wonderful and good and pure, but that they aren't the ultra-conservative party. It's true that it's not always easy to tell what they are the party of, and that the Democratic Party certainly does contain people who look an awful lot like Republicans, but the fact is that the people in Congress who actually have the R after their names always vote in ways that help further ultra-conservatism. (Yes, so does Lieberman, but that's why we want to get rid of him, and that's why he's depending on Republican voters to keep him in office. And Lieberman's not the only one, either.) Democrats vote every which way, but Republicans have pretty much been reliable party-line votes for lowering your wages, depriving you of jobs, injecting government busy-bodies into your personal business, starting wars and disturbing wasp's nests in general, and robbing the nation blind on behalf of their corporate (and other rich) friends. Oh, and Social Security, which we should still be talking loudly about (because Bush hasn't given up on privatizing it). Like Howard Zinn said, we're just looking for a ledge to stand on while we try to make things better, and right now we don't even have that.

Ezra makes a point that has been bugging me about the use of the word "populism", a concept that is often derided in the press as if the only kind of populism possible is racism. And, of course, populism certainly has had a tainted history from the Olden Times when the party of working people was also the party of racist people. But the racists have mostly moved over to the GOP, now, and they can be undercut if liberals just have the moxie to press home the point that corporatism is what's killing us. And, yes, that will mean fessing-up to the fact that Clinton, at the very least, got conned by this stuff. (It's true that Clinton entertained the fantasy that he could get all the worker protections added on to NAFTA later, but he was dreamin'. In the end he seems to have gotten sucked into that whole way of thinking and he's never come out and admitted that he hurt America by pushing it on us.) Democrats need to openly repudiate the whole "free trade" meme that has done none but the very rich and greedy any good, and go back to doing business the way we used to back when we were good at doing business.

The last time the right-wing media spent this much time attacking members of the Democratic leadership, those Dems got anthrax in the mail. If I were Nancy Pelosi, I'd be really careful where I went and what I opened. I wouldn't fly, either.

Vote Democratic on November 7th.

17:48 BST

Punctuating the nightmare

What do you think is the most competitive country in the world? It used to be the United States, but that was then, and this is now, and now, according to the new report by the World Economic Forum, the most competitive country is Finland. (I couldn't find the actual rankings, but I think the US came in about seventh.) One reason could be that they still have the tax system we used to have before Reagan, in which the wealthy (who benefit most from the things taxes pay for) pay more in taxes than the rest of us do.

Someone created a video of "Goper's Lament" - perhaps as an apology for having previously voted Republican.

My thanks to commenter KS for tipping me off to David Sirota's analysis of Barack Obama: When I heard this, it all suddenly clicked, as I figured out what is perhaps the fundamental contradiction of Barack Obama - a contradiction that may haunt him as he appears on the national stage. Obama's entire public image can be summed up by the title of his book: The Audacity of Hope. He makes people hope for a better future. And that's great for now. But it's not yet clear Barack Obama himself has the audacity to hope.

I don't know what's most offensive about this story - the fact that when old people tried to deliver donuts to their representative to protest the "donut hole" in the prescription drug "benefit" plan, armed police were sent to get rid of them, or the fact that Melissa Hart (R-Big Pharma) issued a statement afterward saying she couldn't receive these constituents because her office was "a place of business" where she was too busy serving her "constituents" to be bothered with the riff-raff who wanted a redress of grievances.

They have stated outright that they intend to kill us in their religious fervor, and they have committed more terrorist acts in the United States than any other group. They have done so since before 9/11 and have continued to do so since then. They do not pretend to be freedom fighters - they have said they are terrorists. Whenever someone tells you that there has been no domestic terrorism since 9/11, remember them.

13:20 BST

Assorted links

I just saw something to thank Chuck Norris for.

If the so-called "pro-life" gang really was pro-life, they might be moved by arguments like this one. But they're not.

There are no mirrors in Hell, so our right-wingers had a little trouble seeing Battlestar Galactica from more than one side - and now that it's become more explicit, they're upset.

Hey, look BT bought Bruce Schneier. Hey, Bruce, got any spare change? Via Epicycle.

Dominic also passed me a link to the Election Day Bloggers' Legal Guide, for those of you who are planning to record events onsite.

A guy who owns a music store decided to run for local sheriff, so he changed his name to Andy Griffith.

Kevin Drum is having a contest to choose "the most addle-brained thing George Bush said during his sit-down with conservative columnists on Wednesday."

How can the Maryland Senate race be so close? (Now that I think of it, though, virtually every story I've heard about the race is about Steele. Does Cardin have any name recognition?)

I was reminded of eRiposte's Illiberal Conservative Media page from a link in Glenn's post about the Dixie Chicks, and got angry all over again. (And i liked these brief comments on the Chicks story.)

I think whenever the press asks a Democrat questions like these, the Democrat in question should say, "Are they blackmailing you or something? Why are you asking me stuff like that? What do they have on you? Did they kidnap your baby and threaten to kill it unless you pretend it's the Democrats who have made Washington so uncivil?"

01:58 BST

Friday, 27 October 2006

All the news in bits

George Lakoff has an op-ed in this morning's NYT called "Staying the Course Right Over a Cliff: THE Bush administration has finally been caught in its own language trap.

From Jon Swift, "Rush Limbaugh Takes on the Wheelchair Lobby": Rush Limbaugh has always had the courage to fight enemies no one else would dare to take on, but this week he launched his bravest attack yet against a group of people whose power has long gone unchecked: The Disabled.

Yonmei says a few words about Nicaragua's new abortion ban.

Is the cover-up worse than the rape? Justin Rood has more exciting news from Nevada's gubernatorial race.

I see Electoral Vote is back with mapping for this election's polls. The current projection is to take the House, but not the Senate.

Glenn Greenwald says networks, including NBC, are refusing to carry ads for the movie about the Dixie Chicks - that's Shut Up & Sing - because they think the ad is "disparaging" to "our president". I hear it's pretty good. (Trailer at YouTube.) (via)

Video the Vote 2006

19:47 BST

Political cancers

Via Atrios, Digby discusses Michael J. Fox's interview with Katie Couric, which you can watch here. I was struck by Fox's adept handling of the situation and his ability to turn that lemon into lemonade - a facility Democrats used to excel at before someone decided that straightforward honesty was too embarrassing. (I also feel that Atrios is wrong when he says, "The conservative movement is sick, and I don't think there's anyone around willing to try to heal it." The conservative movement isn't a healthy body that has become ill; it's the illness.)

KathyF takes a page from our ultimatum-deliverer-in-chief to say, "if you aren't against mocking the disabled, then you are for it," and then offers a personal testimony of her own on the subject.

The Ostroy Report interviewed Mark Crispin Miller about the potential for another stolen election, and what we can do to try to prevent it: Additionally, and extremely important, Miller said every voter should go to the polls this November armed with the phone number 1-866-OUR-VOTE from Election Incident Reporting System, which records and analyzes information about voting problems before, during, and after elections. He also mentioned the Election Defense Alliance, "which is setting up a citizen's rapid response mechanism to go to places where there are close races--and where Republicans are cheating--to help people gather evidence." Should you witness fraudulent and/or suspicious activity on election day, get on your cell phone and contact these groups immediately.

Seeing the Forest has a voting machine post that notes an article in Ars Technica on How to steal an election by hacking the vote that says: "In the absence of the ability to conduct a meaningful audit, there is no discernable difference between DRE malfunction and deliberate tampering (either for the purpose of disenfranchisement or altering the vote record)." And there's a comment below the post that raises questions I wish everyone would talk about: "How come Diebold ATM machines don't suffer these problems? They seem capable of making a pretty reliable ATM machine, I wonder why election machines are so much more difficult?" One does have to wonder why a company that makes ATMs would go to the trouble of adapting those machines so that they are much less secure and much less reliable than they were originally, in addition to no longer having a paper output - doesn't one? (Oh, and, hey, this really is a great ad!)

Exciting new horrible abortion law passed in Nicaragua banning it in all circumstances. Ortega, who used to be pro-choice, was afraid to alienate the Catholic Church right before an election.

Spencer Ackerman says something about Iraq that should be quoted a lot: There's only one thing that could stop the Sunnis from fighting al-Qaeda: their greater desire to fight us instead. That's right: By being in Iraq, we are stopping the Iraqis from fighting Al Qaeda.

I heard Franken talking about this GOP smear of him and Sherrod Brown on his show yesterday, and I thought he was joking. Imagine my surprise last night on learning (via) it's for real. (I think the body they used for the photo is one of the guys from Powerline or Pajamas Media or something.)

(Note to Atrios: This stuff also really pisses you off even if you don't know the person involved.)

12:30 BST

Some people need to be called to account

I was reading Digby and got into a snit:

To: Susan Estrich
Subject: Calling Michael J. Fox to account

I completely agree that it was outrageous for Michael J. Fox to contract Parkinson's disease just so he could make campaign commercials, and congratulations to you for agreeing with Matt Lauer that he should be "called to account" for it.

My only quibble is that I can't help but wonder why you people didn't think he needed to be called to account for making a similar campaign commercial for Arlen Specter.

It is absolutely unforgivable when citizens speak up publicly about issues that matter to them personally. If this goes on, we could end up living in a democracy.

Thank God for people like you who go on television and demonstrate how meaningless matters of life and death really are.

Gods, I hate TV "liberals".

01:16 BST

Thursday, 26 October 2006

Stops on the Infobahn

Let's see what juicy links my commenters have been leaving. Madison Guy is having deja vu all over again from the rooftop of the U.S. Embassy in Saigon. Republic of Palau has more on Jerry Weller's genocide-tainted family. There's a story on Fox that says "Bush: We Will Consider All Proposals to Help Iraq." Yeah, right. Oh, and sign up now. Do more. (Sam Seder has a list on his blog of a few more useful links. Oh, and since Sam has a new show that wasn't around when I was doing this, I hereby nominate The Sam Seder Show for a Nobel Prize. He was good with Olbermann, too.)

Scorpio didn't link this in comments, but I note that he has a story up about how the Bushes have bought a lot of land in Paraguay - and wonders if they have an extradition treaty with us. And also, there is a question of whether reports of casualties from the explosion on October 10th are true - or just just invisible.

In other links:

"The Welfare Nanny Diaries" by Rinku Sen and Gabriel Thompson at TBC.

MahaBarb suggests that religion isn't what makes us be good. (I heard that.) And also discusses Paul Krugman's advice to investigate. (Yes, please!)

Fred Clark explains why he doesn't want government money to help with religious good works.

I meant to mention that over here, the Law Lords ruled in favor of the anti-war protesters - but, you know, unless the police and other powers-that-be suffer real punishment for doing this stuff, it still has the effect of punishing people for exercising their rights - and allowing the police to breach them.

Charlie Stross on science fiction in the Boing Boing Era.

17:30 BST

Do not remove this tag

I see the WaPo actually has something on voting machines on page A3, and 0h, I missed this little trick entirely: And it points to states such as Colorado and Washington, which have departed from the tradition of polling sites in neighborhood precincts. Hm, I wonder would could have inspired that? (You're all planning to work the polls, right?) Via Blast Off!

Bill Scher interviewed Tom Schaller about his book, Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without The South, (and Tom interviewed Bill about Wait! Don't Move to Canada!), and Tom said some interesting things about how it is apparently okay for Republicans to constantly attack "northern liberals" but not okay for Democrats to attack "southern conservatives", despite the fact that southern conservatives have a genuinely shameful record. ("Lindsey Graham claims he represents one of the most patriotic states, but he won't tell you that many white southerners refused to celebrate the 4th of July until the 1950s. If it were the other way around, do you think Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly would fall silent about the lack of patriotism among northeastern liberals?")

I almost missed the fact that Riverbend is back at Baghdad Burning, and she's talking about the Lancet study: Let's pretend the 600,000+ number is all wrong and that the minimum is the correct number: nearly 400,000. Is that better? Prior to the war, the Bush administration kept claiming that Saddam killed 300,000 Iraqis over 24 years. After this latest report published in The Lancet, 300,000 is looking quite modest and tame. Congratulations Bush et al.

I have some free iTunes vouchers from Coca-Cola UK, which say you can only redeem them if you're a resident located in Great Britain. Who wants 'em?

11:32 BST

Cures for premature baldness
(Yes, I am scraping the bottom of the barrel for post titles.)

Atrios has been taking a walk down Memory Lane with the Wise Old Men of Washington, and Lawyers, Guns and Money has another one (where Teresa has been joining the comment thread).

So just in case no one had yet noticed that the Tennessee Senate race is getting really racial, Corker's ads are playing the drum in the background whenever Ford is mentioned.

How to keep people from voting for Democrats? Keep their names off the ballot because they're "too long" - the too long name being, of all things, "Jim Webb". But Webb's name on the ballot is apparently James "Jim" Webb, and they've actually certified a machine that doesn't have a field that big, although state law requires a minimum field of 25 spaces. Hmm.... (So, how does "George Felix Allen" fit?) Meanwhile, felons own the voting machines.

Ah, it's so nice when conservatives of the libertarian stripe finally blow a cork over what a mess the GOP has turned into, and how pathetic are the people who will defend the Republican Party rather than any principles. David Weigel even admits that the only thing they have any energy for anymore is bashing liberals. But, listen, guys, you never had any ideas. The libertarian principles were never about libertarianism, they were about racism and sexism and excuses for defending those things. It is about hating liberals, in other words. (Via The Poor Man Institute.)

I rather enjoyed watching Bill Maher tell Joe Scraborough that Nancy Pelosi is closer to the mainstream than Tom DeLay.

00:25 BST

Wednesday, 25 October 2006

Little wheel, spin and spin

The Rude one live-blogged Bush's press conference. 'Nuff said.

This is pretty funny - Eric Brewer at BTC News asked Tony Snow about John Yoo's NYT op-ed defending Bush's signing statements, but since Snow didn't know who John Yoo was, and Yoo actually stated flat-out what the statements are for, Snow assumed it was an attack on Bush and tried to spin away from it.

Charles and Phoenix Woman at Mercury Rising have regularly been doing posts about how crazy and corrupt the Republican candidates are (not that the Democrats don't have a few doozies, but the Republicans generally still manage to be both qualitatively and quantitatively worse), and mention that BlogActive is serving up Charlie Crist today, and Josh Marshall found out that Rick Renzi is even worse than he thought.

Now that Spencer Ackerman has left The New Republican, he has a job at a much better publication where he is writing about things like, y'know, Iraq, which apparently TNR didn't want to let him do because he is not completely nuts. (Maybe TNR will hire Brendan Nyhan.)

Also at TAPPED, Charles Pierce notes that the Republicans have come up with a brilliant retort to the Michael J. Fox ad by having people who, um, well, are celebrities. (And Unholy Moses debunks a right-wing talking point about the Michael J. Fox ad by making a phone call.)

Here's something interesting I found in a comment thread at the Majority Report blog: wonkette, who is sort of annoying, hasn't gotten solid proof regarding the Jerry Weller page-scandal that she started reporting on a few days ago... But what is far creepier is that Jerry Weller is married to the daughter of the genocidal dictator Efraín Ríos Montt of Guatemala, and she fully supports her father *and* is a member of the Guatemalan congress in the opposition party. And Weller sits on committees controlling international policy such as CAFTA in the americas, and drug policy. Isn't this worse? 200,000 people were killed in Guatemala in the 80s, which is higher than a lot of incidents we get angry about in the middle east.

19:08 BST

No more news

Don Fitch alerts me to an interesting item at Army Times, "Lawmaker seeks ban on CNN embeds":

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee is calling on the Pentagon to bar CNN from accompanying U.S. military units in Iraq because the cable news network aired a controversial film last week showing insurgent snipers targeting U.S. troops.
Hunter said CNN seems to be treating the war "as a disinterested observer, as if this was a sporting event."

He believes embedded reporters should operate differently.

"When you are embedded, you are part of the family," he said. "It seems to me that CNN doesn't care if we win."

In other words, the news media is required to function only as a propaganda arm of the Republican administration.

15:30 BST

A few things

Make sure everyone you know, especially in Connecticut, and extra-'specially if they are even slightly still leaning away from voting for Ned Lamont on election day, sees this ad and passes it on to their friends. (And, by the way, are they the party of closet cases, or what?. And can Charlie Crist not set off your gaydar? I mean, Mary!)

Lindsay Beyerstein is irritated that Bruce Ackerman and Todd Gitlin were moved to produce a manifesto not because one is called for in these times - or, rather, was called for years ago - but instead "appears to be motivated primarily by spite at Tony Judt's blunt assessment* of America's recent intellectual history." Via Abstract Nonsense, which also explains why low taxes are not a panacea.

I've been meaning to mention: In case you haven't noticed this when you try to play YouTube videos that are embedded in a weblog post and they just hang at "loading", click again and it will send you to the actual YouTube page, which I usually find will load right away when that happens. (Also, the YouTube page is useful because it often contains more information about the video.)

12:33 BST

A little bit of soap

Think Progress reports that the State Department itself sent our troops instructions on how to vote for the Republican running to replace Tom Foley in his Florida seat, without mentioning the other candidates in the race.

And two ThinkFast items:

  • 53. America's ranking on Reporters Without Borders's global press freedom index, dropping from 17th place in 2002. "Relations between the media and the Bush administration sharply deteriorated after the president used the pretext of national security' to regard as suspicious any journalist who questioned his war on terrorism.'"
  • "Several governments around the world have tried to rebut criticism of how they handle detainees by claiming they are only following the U.S. example in the war on terror," U.N. anti-torture chief Manfred Nowak said yesterday.
We are also warned to watch out for the coming socialist revolution if the Democrats win.

The lovely James Wolcott

  • wonders why Tony Blair is still at No. 10 Downing Street, and has similar thoughts about those haunting the White House and the Pentagon. ("Cokie Roberts made a cogent point on ABC's This Week--I know, I couldn't believe it either--when she said that all you had to do was look at the photograph of this weekend's high-level pow-wow on Iraq featuring the three principle architects of the Iraq war, Bush, Cheney, and Rumsfeld, and wonder: How much can the policy actually change with those three still in charge--the ones who set the policy to begin with?")
  • takes a little dig at Peggy Noonan's piety and the suggestion that she may just be jealous of Hillary.
  • Has an article in the new Vanity Fair about how all that liberal northeastern libertinism and violence and stuff seems to be more frequently found in the Red State Babylon.

Reading Digby, I think someone should help Chris Matthews - he doesn't seem to know that Lieberman doesn't deliver for Connecticut, and it might be useful for him to be able to say that if he wants to counter the idea that if you care about something beside Iraq, you need to vote for Joe. If you care about anything, you need to not vote for Joe.

Justin Rood says Arlen Specter has gone all high-minded again, this time about earmarks, which he doesn't approve of - unless they're his.

01:53 BST

Tuesday, 24 October 2006

Voting and stuff

Would you believe it? Who could imagine it would happen in, of all places, Florida: But lawmakers were so intent on preventing voter fraud that they may have wound up disenfranchising legitimate voters over simple mistakes on registration forms. Other hot items from Suburban Guerrilla include another reminder of why you shouldn't vote for Republicans (hey, even Republicans agree), and a link to a story at TalkLeft about a Catholic Judge who "chided the Catholic Church for its belated recognition that capital punishment is morally wrong."

But getting back to voting - and also via Susie - Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman have picked up on my old hobby horse of invisible Republican voters: But it never happened. There are no visual reports or other reliable indicators of extraordinary lines or massive late-in-the-day crowds at the polls [in Republican precincts]. Throughout all those election days, it was every bit as quick and easy to vote in rural precincts that gave Bush his miraculous victory as it was impossible to do so in your average black neighborhood. But there was no extraordinary turnout of last-minute Bush voters. No one ever saw the claimed massive Republican turn-out, the hypothesized late Republican voters - they weren't there. So how did the polls change so dramatically at the very last minute? There is no reason to believe that the hot RNC GOTV machine actually exists, other than that people like Ralph Reed have told us it's there. But no one has ever seen those voters turn up at the polls. And the Democratic Party leadership remains hostile to people who want to point this out.

All of the cereal box cartoon characters are gay!!!

Blah3 asks you to do more because John Hall may have a real chance, now.

I think the Sony Bravia ads are a bit dumb as advertising - I mean, your first thought is bound to be, "Yeah, but I'm watching it on my screen." But they are fun to watch, and I like the new one even better than the rubber balls. Wheee!

23:34 BST

Obama and the Dems

Some of my readers appear to agree with my misgivings about Obama. Charles wrote:

Very few of the Democrats seem to understand the stakes here, and Obama is no exception. Nancy Pelosi has given a pledge that the Democrats will not impeach George Bush. Now, this is reckless. Under no circumstances?

All of the nice Democrats should go into lobbying. What is needed is a pack of junkyard dogs who will tear to shreds the idea that it is Constitutional to wiretap without a warrant, imprison without review, or torture Americans-- or anyone else for that matter.

KS wrote:
For as long as I've been around, Americans have been given to sudden enthusiasms for unknown quantities. Instead of taking a good look at legislative records and backing decent, if flawed, candidates, we get crushes on some guy who's "inspiring," "charismatic," or "the kind of guy you'd like to have a beer with." What exactly has Obama done in the Senate that is so inspiring? Beyond providing a pretty canvas on which to project liberal fantasies?
Bruce Baugh wrote:
Actually, I'll take this box to float some ideas I've kicking around in my head lately. What's been growing in me is a sense of the tattered remnants of "vital center" liberalism - the creed of mid-century people like Hofstadter and Schlesinger - as a totalizing system in just the same sort of crisis as (say) that facing a sincere Marxist when the Hitler-Stalin Pact came along, or a Christian fundamentalist whose child is succumbing to a mutated antibiotic-resistant strain of some bacterium. If they accept the evidence in front of them, everything is put at risk. You can't just peel off part of the system and expect the rest to hold together, but once you start shaking it, there's no way to hold it together.

It wasn't until re-reading Hofstadter's essays recently that it dawned on me how much that old-school technocratic, management-by-elites liberalism can serve as a complete world system. It's got the sinful history, the contested present, and the redeemed and damned future possibilities. And this stuff isn't, it seems, open for discussion at the DNC or the Washington Press Club. On some level they must know that they've already fallen into irrelevancy and now they're in exactly the status anxiety that Hofstadter used to chronicle in other community's lives. Lacking power, and lacking any prospect of ever holding meaningful power again if the seriousness of our new rulers is ever admitted, all they've got to fall back on is at least being better than the rest of us - better connected, better informed, better in judgment.

Hence the fervent embrace of anyone who will tell them the sort of thing that fits their model, even when any observer has grounds to say "but you must know it's not true". It's about postponing the day of reckoning, even if just one day more.

One of the things I'm happy about this for illuminating for me is the otherwise weird resistance a lot of pundits seem to have to really thorough investigations. A confident liberal and a confident managerial technocrat would both want to see Bush-Cheney folly and vice out in public so that they could study it and think about both immediate policy and general reforms to the system to make that kind of failing harder in the future. (Obviously they'd disagree as to what the solutions are, but both want the evidence.) It's people who deeply lack the necessary confidence in the viability of their creed who can't face the world. They're stuck, unable to feel confidence about their own outlook but also still too afraid to consider any other.

* * * * *

Monkeyfister wants you to watch The Fog of War: This is Robert McNamara's Mia Culpa. It is VITAL viewing. My older readers will understand immediately... You youngsters... PLEASE spend the time watching this... It will tell you EXACTLY how we ended up where we are today, in Iraq, by showing you how we ended up in the exact same place in Vietnam... THIS is exceedingly important...

If you don't live in the UK and want to see those Torchwood trailers and teasers, some kind person has posted them at YouTube.

19:57 BST

Yesterday's news

Another good one from Keith Olbermann, on fear:

The dictionary definition of the word `terrorize' is simple and not open to misinterpretation: "To fill or overpower with terror; terrify; coerce by intimidation or fear." Note please that the words `violence' and `death' are missing from that definition. For the key to terrorism is not the act-but the fear of the act. That is why bin Laden and his deputies and his imitators are forever putting together videotape statements and releasing virtual infomercials with dire threats and heart-stopping warnings.

But why is the Republican Party imitating them? Bin Laden puts out what amounts to a commercial of fear; the Republicans put out what is unmistakable as a commercial of fear.

The Republicans are paying to have the messages of bin Laden and the others broadcast into your home! Only the Republicans have a bigger bankroll.

Also at C&L, the Republicans are now attacking Clint Eastwood because he made a movie about the treatment of war heroes, and lots of people are disgusted after Rush Limbaugh's attack on Michael J. Fox. (A lot of people don't realize that Limbaugh's charge that Fox was either faking or off his meds is meaningless, because Parkinson's sufferers regularly alternate suffering the effects of Parkinson's with suffering the effects of the meds, each until it becomes too excrutiating - because the meds are pretty awful, too.)


I'm hoping we'll be seeing video of the Lamont-Lieberman debate. FDL has some coverage here, and Matt Stoller says Lieberman was angry. Ned Lamont's campaign blog has the fact-check for Lieberman's usual talking points. (Meanwhile, it's kind of nice seeing Barney Frank expressing his anger about Vichy gay Republicans.)

It really does seem to be the case that New Labour is actually trying to gin up a more intense anti-Muslim feeling in Britain - it's not just Jack Straw. (I didn't know it was being called "Prada-Islam" - I've started to see it in the streets and found it startling, at first. I don't see it every day, yet, but it's certainly noticeable that suddenly there are little bits of color where once there was only drab black or some muddy color, even on the veil itself. And seeing bright colors is fairly shocking to the eye.) (Oh, and Martin says this is what YouTube was made for.)

12:50 BST

Monday, 23 October 2006

Blame Russel T. Davis

Sorry, we've just been very distracted around here. Now it's Torchwood. (I mean, girl-on-girl action and all, yeah?)

Today's exciting headlines:

I should have known that when Obama actually said Bush was a nice person on television, it was the opening play in a run for the presidency. (Some pro and con, here. And here. I've been fairly disgusted with him, myself. He has his moments, but some of them are creepy - and that's not including some of his votes. Alterman seems to like him, though, and some people seem to oppose him what sound like all the wrong reasons.)

Looks like the WaPo is trying to win the award for best example of burying the lede, again, waiting 'til the seventh para to tell us that, "Before North Korea announced it had detonated a nuclear device, some senior officials even said they were quietly rooting for a test, believing that would finally clarify the debate within the administration." Think Progress caught it.

No one in the administration ever said, "Stay the course."

In other news, Sara Robinson joins in to take Amy Sullivan to task for her latest call for secularist* liberals to stop acknowledging that fright-wing religious bigotry is disgusting. However, Tristero, while agreeing, suggests that Sara has gone overboard in saying that "studying fundamentalist theology is almost entirely beside the point."

Go to the Stand Up for freedom page at the ACLU site and watch the moderated (sorta) debate between Rachel Maddow and Tucker Carlson. It must have been gratifying for Rachel to be able to finish a sentence and expand a thought in a way she doesn't get to do when she appears on Tucker's show.

20:37 BST

Things to see

We all know by now that Bush beat Ann Richards in Texas because Karl Rove organized a whisper campaign telling voters that Richards had a gay staff member. And some of us remember Linda Chavez attacking Barbara Mikulski's "San Francisco lifestyle" (but still losing). So it is something of a joke to hear that the conservatives are suddenly deeply offended that some virtually unknown blogger is outing gay Republicans. Especially while an actual Republican candidate (the one and only Ken Blackwell) is working straight from the original RNC playbook of spreading rumors that his opponent is gay. Glenn Greenwald and Radley Balko report.

Michael Johnson and David Vest stole a car and some gas, and one of them killed the guy who sold them the gas. When the police caught up with them, Vest signed a sworn confession to being the shooter, but "Crawford Long, the First Assistant District Attorney of McLennan County, Texas (one of Johnson's trial prosecutors) admits that this confession was suppressed, keep secret from Michael Johnson and his trial attorneys." Vest's charges were reduced from capital murder after he agreed to testify against Johnson, and only Johnson was sentenced to death. He was scheduled to die on Thursday night; however, as Jeralyn reports: Hours earlier, despite 15 minute checks by guards, Johnson slit his own throat and used his blood to write on his cell wall, "I did not shoot him."

Lance Mannion is talking here about some TV shows I don't watch and actors I don't know, but in the middle of it there's a lovely explanation of tomboys.

Jim Macdonald: Georgie needs something, because he can't run on competence. Or family values. Or anything else. But he still has his old family friend Osama. Thats why we're being treated again to all these scary pictures of Osama bin Forgotten. Yeah, yeah. We get it Georgie. Osama made you tear up the Bill of Rights. It wasn't your fault! The only thing we have to fear is lack-of-fear itself!

Do you remember your first time? Help 20 million women who didn't vote in the last election to get on board. Here's how. (More here.)

12:09 BST

Things to see

We all know by now that Bush beat Ann Richards in Texas because Karl Rove organized a whisper campaign telling voters that Richards had a gay staff member. And some of us remember Linda Chavez attacking Barbara Mikulski's "San Francisco lifestyle" (but still losing). So it is something of a joke to hear that the conservatives are suddenly deeply offended that some virtually unknown blogger is outing gay Republicans. Especially while an actual Republican candidate (the one and only Ken Blackwell) is working straight from the original RNC playbook of spreading rumors that his opponent is gay. Glenn Greenwald and Radley Balko report.

Michael Johnson and David Vest stole a car and some gas, and one of them killed the guy who sold them the gas. When the police caught up with them, Vest signed a sworn confession to being the shooter, but "Crawford Long, the First Assistant District Attorney of McLennan County, Texas (one of Johnson's trial prosecutors) admits that this confession was suppressed, keep secret from Michael Johnson and his trial attorneys." Vest's charges were reduced from capital murder after he agreed to testify against Johnson, and only Johnson was sentenced to death. He was scheduled to die on Thursday night; however, as Jeralyn reports: Hours earlier, despite 15 minute checks by guards, Johnson slit his own throat and used his blood to write on his cell wall, "I did not shoot him."

Lance Mannion is talking here about some TV shows I don't watch and actors I don't know, but in the middle of it there's a lovely explanation of tomboys.

Jim Macdonald: Georgie needs something, because he can't run on competence. Or family values. Or anything else. But he still has his old family friend Osama. Thats why we're being treated again to all these scary pictures of Osama bin Forgotten. Yeah, yeah. We get it Georgie. Osama made you tear up the Bill of Rights. It wasn't your fault! The only thing we have to fear is lack-of-fear itself!

Do you remember your first time? Help 20 million women who didn't vote in the last election to get on board. Here's how. (More here.)

12:09 BST

Sunday, 22 October 2006

Stuff I saw

Chuck Todd's column sifting the similarities and differences between the '94 election and this one notes that one thing both have in common is the smell of scandal, although Republicans haven't responded the same way: But an en masse Republican retirement isn't happening now, and the ethics virus infecting Capitol Hill is not nearly as widespread as the House banking and Post Office scandals of '94. It's fascinating to see this comparison made. The banking scandal involved a number of members of Congress being overdrawn on their personal accounts, and the PO scandal was that some people had been using the franking system to send out campaign mail. The latter is a true infraction, although a comparatively minor one; the former was neither unethical nor in violation of any laws or rules. Both of these stories were hyped up by Republicans and given wide play in the press before the election. The pervasive criminality of the Republicans in this cycle, on the other hand, has been so great that they have penetrated the consciousness of some folks even though the Democrats have been hesitant to exploit them and the press mostly has tried to play them down. In both cases, the right-wing talking points still get the greatest play in all media while the liberal refutation is a whimper in the background.

Via Steve Gilliard, Teachervet talks about Returning from Iraq.

I still think it's pretty funny that a former Maryland delegate was anonymously sent copies of Diebold's code: An accompanying letter refers to the State Board of Elections and calls Kagan "the proud recipient of an 'abandoned baby Diebold source code' right from SBE accidentally picked up in this envelope, right in plain view at SBE. ... You have the software because you are a credible person who can save the state from itself. You must alert the media and save democracy." I still wish I knew why Ehrlich suddenly became so hot to ditch the machines after he worked so hard to get them.

It's nice to see someone besides me making the point that right-wing "think tanks" aren't actually think tanks - Bill Maher on neocon pundits' predictions.

Egalia has the sleazy GOP anti-Ford ad, and says, "Apparently, there is no gutter the GOP won't crawl into."

Who loves No Child Left Behind?

One is forced to wonder whether Ken Mehlman knew he was actually saying that Bush cut-and-run in Afghanistan.

Dick Durata's head hurts from all the fantasy "plans" for Iraq - and Dick also directs my attention to the fact that NTodd has posted an alternative bra of the week. (Seems to be a good week for bras, hm?) Oh, and Daniel Ellsberg has a piece in Harper's on The Next War.

22:43 BST

Fun with numbers

CNN story: Diplomat: U.S. arrogant, stupid in Iraq: A senior U.S. State Department diplomat told Arab satellite network Al Jazeera that there is a strong possibility history will show the United States displayed "arrogance" and "stupidity" in its handling of the Iraq war.

Current CNN poll:

Will history show the U.S. displayed "stupidity" in its handling of Iraq war?  
Yes      86%      26597 votes  
No      14%       4479 votes  
Total:            31076 votes
Blah blah not a scientific poll etc., but still.

17:04 BST

Where did the morning go?

 Freya Arabella underwired plunge braBra of the Week

Bartcop gives voice to all your fears:

I was answering an e-mail when I wrote this, and when I read it back I got scared.

What I wrote was, "If we win in November, maybe we'll get some answers."

It scared me because they can't afford to lose their grip on power. If these Fascist bastards are guilty of only half of what we suspect, they're looking at death in prison and they won't do that - they'll commit suicide before they'll go to prison.

And in this Nov 7 elections, if the choices for the GOP are between "winning" and "suicide," I think they're going to pull every trick in the book and ten more we've never heard of.

They CAN'T let the democrats win because if the Democrats investigate the Fascist bastards will be put under oath and when the first guy cracks the wall is going to crash real damn hard.

I'm calling it right now, October 20:
The GOP will retain power in both houses.

Bart thinks people who live in DC and New York might be safer visiting their red-state relatives until the election is over, just in case.

Media Matters: Broadcast and cable news gave GOP free air time for new fearmongering terrorism ad and On Today, Lauer claimed Pelosi is "controversial" -- ignoring conservatives' baseless attacks ("...however, polls do not show that the public views Pelosi as controversial. The notion that Pelosi is "controversial" has been advanced by Republicans and media figures ahead of the midterm elections.") And Eric Boehlert wonders if Peggy Noonan is aware that it's not liberals who have TV shows where they tell guests to "Shut up!".

Good post by Jane Hamsher on the failure of the "centrist Dems" - and a good knock at Steny Hoyer, who really deserves it.

Colbert Dissects Santorum's Comparison Of Lord Of The Rings To Iraq... . (via)

Why Eccleston really quit Doctor Who.

The Retaliban's campaign has inspired MadKane to GOP Terror Ad Haiku.

15:18 BST

Crawlin' the web

Weldon Berger at BTC News has arranged an opportunity to ask a real question to a White House spokesbeing. Join the thread to offer suggestions for what that question should be. (Mine are too pointed - you know, like "What was so bad about Saddam, again?")

Thom Hartmann on Why Air America Matters, why it takes a long time for a new network to make money - and, we can hope, a little something that should convince people to put more money into supporting our liberal media.

Ampersand on Why The Lancet Study Matters: So why does the Lancet study matter? To me, it matters because it reiterates something that too many Americans have forgotten: Starting wars is evil.

Jonathan Schwarz found a couple of dueling quotes from Bush that may or may not illuminate what we are doing in Iraq, discovers whether the administration hires people in spite of, or because of, their incompetence to serve, and supplies a link to yet another funny cartoon from Don Asmussen.

A commenter supplies a link to some bras of the week - and here's the knicker-vicar story that goes with it.

Jesus vs. Santa Clause.

Fox, henhouse, etc. - Anyone remember Richard Stickler, someone so bad that the Senate refused to confirm him? "Once a miner himself, Stickler spent most of his career above ground, much of it as an executive for companies like coal giant Massey Energy. According to the Charleston Gazette, Stickler's mines had accident rates of twice the national average." Naturally, Bush tried to get him confirmed to oversee mine safety, but it didn't happen. Recess appointment, of course. (More here.)

Note to self: Listen to Susie's audio tracks of her shows with her father, Bill Bright, on Amerindian language. My condolences on your loss, Susie.

Amanda decodes certain Republicans' obsession with sex.

If you're not worried about voting machines, really, you're living in a fantasy.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of American (IAVA) have a nifty tool to check how your reps have been voting on veterans' issues.

Take Back The Capital!

03:04 BST

Saturday, 21 October 2006

"If the president does it, it's legal."

As every day goes by, I am less and less certain just what exactly this guy is on trial for.

(I'd completely forgotten that Jeanne covered this territory years ago.)

16:25 BST

On protecting our values

I didn't expect to have to point this out, but the right-wingers have been using a phrase to mean exactly the opposite of what the words in it say, and apparently some people have been falling for it. The phrase is:

The Constitution is not a suicide pact.

By which they mean: "If we actually follow the Constitution, we'll be committing suicide."

And that's meant to override every question about or objection to the idea of throwing away our Constitutional freedoms. A terrorist might be able to abuse the freedoms America holds dear (and used to at least honor in law if not always in full implementation), to hurt people, and therefore we need to give up our freedoms so that terrorists won't have them, too. This is, allegedly, to "protect our way of life," but since our way of life has always been based on the idea that we do have those freedoms, that doesn't actually make any sense.

Nevertheless, I do think it is necessary to respond to the stupid right-wing phrase by saying:

That's right, the Constitution is not a suicide pact.

Because there's nothing about upholding the Constitution that is committing suicide.

Is it possible that terrorists might actually destroy a city with a WMD of some kind? Sure, it's possible - but then, it's even more possible that an administration might deliberately cripple our emergency response facilities to the point that we end up losing an American city - like, say, New Orleans. Such devastation would not necessarily be an improvement just because it was done to us by our own people rather than our self-proclaimed enemies.

So yes, there are risks involved with freedom, just as there were risks - mortal risks - to wresting that freedom from a British government that wished to deprive its subjects of their rights as Englishmen.

Or, as Glenn Greenwald puts it:

Our country is centrally based upon the principle that we are willing to risk death in order to limit government power. Numerous other amendments in the Bill of Rights are identically based on that same principle and, of course, that is the central belief that drove the founders to risk death by waging war against the most powerful empire on earth. We have never been a country that ignores other objectives and asks only, as the President put it, did "Americans take the threat seriously, and did we do what it takes to defeat that threat?" There have always been numerous other values beyond mere protection which are at least as important and that have to be fulfilled in order to be convinced that we acted properly.
This is what being "the land of the free and home of the brave" is supposed to be about - that we are brave enough for freedom. What supporters of the Bush War of Terror and the dissolution of our rights are saying is that we are not brave, and certainly not brave enough to risk being free.
Perfect safety is an illusion, something that is wasteful to pursue, and when pursued to the exclusion of all else, creates a tragically worthless, paralyzed way of life. On a political level, pursuit of "perfect safety" as the paramount goal is precisely what produces tyranny, since one will be motivated by that value system to vest as much power as possible in the government, without limits, in exchange for the promise of maximum protection.
So, the argument we are having is about whether we will save America or whether we will instead cling to the "safety" of an agoraphobic who is afraid to leave the house. Will we stand up for freedom, or will we willingly take on the shackles of a life without it?

It is hard to believe that anyone who would accept "safety" at such a price could ever have loved America.

03:10 BST

Friday, 20 October 2006

Lotsa links

The Festival of Loud Bangs is going full-force. They seem to be making up for last year's sombre understatement - I swear these fireworks are louder than ever.

Digby: Word to the wise: if both Joe Klein and David Brooks give the same piece of advice to Democrats, do the exact opposite. Oh, boy, is that ever true.

Jim Henley asks the real ticking bomb question - and tells you why it even gets asked.

And another thing: nine billion more dollars that you didn't need to spend.

Why Santorum got Tolkein completely wrong (as do the neocons who try this trick). Via PNH..

I think Atrios called this "good campaign coverage" (but I'm too lazy to find it again), however, it's more than that - it's a cracking great piece of writing by Matt Stoller about the debate in Connecticut between the Democrat, the Republican, and the Republican. Much applause, go read.

Atrios is also stating the obvious, because someone really does have to, about war and terrorism. You'd have thought everyone knew...but that was years ago, now.

Nitpicker wants us to read the piece Pat Tillman's brother Kevin wrote over at Truthdig, "After Pats Birthday" - because his birthday is the 6th of November, and the next day is a good time to go the polls and vote against these bastards who got him killed for no good reason. (via)

You'll just never guess who sent out the letter that warned Hispanics that it was illegal for immigrants to vote. Oh, you already did.

I see (via) that Marty Peretz realized they still had someone worth reading left at The New Republic, so they fired him.

Wow, even Armitage is saying we should get out of Iraq. Well, I guess he can say what he wants now that he's lost his stature by taking "credit" for outing Valerie Plame. Anyway, he must be wrong, since (newsflash) Dick Cheney says Saddam was chums with Al Qaeda. No, I mean again.

Charles Pierce discovers Victor Davis Hanson.

Bruce Baugh just happened to notice that lucky people in Australia (or bad, bad people elsewhere), can get a free copy of Sinclair Lewis' "It Can't Happen Here" online.

Looking for work? Queen Elizabeth hunts for royal IT chief. Get those CVs polished up!

22:59 BST

Open windows

I've been meaning to link an article Eric Alterman wrote a couple weeks ago called, "Blaming Success, Upholding Failure" that deconstructs the spin on Clinton's "Agreed Framework" for Korea and how Bush screwed it up. Like so much else in Bush's administration, it follows that pattern in which Bush-Cheney does an abysmal job that leads to disaster and the press papers-over the fact that it's an administration failure while giving plenty of oxygen to the "It's all Clinton's fault" spin that comes out of the White House. The media is a bit better now than they were five years ago, but I think there's still a part of me that is still in shock over the fact that 9/11 happened and, rather than hold Bush to account for an astonishing failure, the press tried to make him into a hero merely for having it happen on his watch.

Bill Scher has a warning to Democrats about waiting for a GOP crack-up to secure a mandate in the event that we do win back Congress. Without having presented a strong and coherent case for our positions, the Dem leadership (which has mostly spent the past few years trying to undermine our positions) can only say it's winning because the Republican leadership was corrupt, rather than that the conservative program has been repudiated. Meanwhile, the conservative machine won't have cracked up so much that they won't still be able to hammer the Dems and continue to promote their memes.

It's not really any surprise that Bush got so much of what he wanted with the Overturning the Constitution Bill that he didn't even bother with a signing statement, but I can't help wondering whether it is lost on the Dem leadership that by failing to present a strong case against the bill to begin with (rather than pretending McCain would do it for them), they just allowed it to happen, got rolled, and look like fools. Never, never believe the Republicans when they talk about "compromise". (Well, or anything, for that matter.)

Is anyone really expecting things to work out on election day? eRobin warns: I've seen this before. If the sky doesn't fall and machines don't come to life and eat small children or burst into flame destroying entire precincts, which is what we're being prepared for, the elections will be called a success with only "minor glitches" which were the result of "human error." Don't fall for it. The fact is that no matter how smoothly the day goes, without a voter-verified paper ballot and a proper audit, you will not know whether your vote was counted and recorded accurately. (And have a link to Coalition for Voting Integrity.)

Linkmeister kindly alerts me to a photo of the billboard mentioned earlier that says, "They voted for torture."

Ever since I did my guest stint at LiberalOasis, there's been another resident right-winger in my comments keeping our house right-winger, Rich, company. Tom seems to completely disbelieve that anyone's rights have been threatened by the Bush administration's interest in depriving people of those rights. Yonmei supplies some links to the case of a US citizen who has already been sentenced to death without a proper trial, thanks to agents of our government. But, of course, only people who have already lost their moorings need to ask whether a victim is a US citizen - the rights referred to in the Constitution are inalienable and have nothing to do with citizenship - the founders insisted that those rights are endowed to all.

15:30 BST

Thursday, 19 October 2006

Freedom, justice, etc.

The Day Habeas Corpus Died - Keith Olbermann on the attack on America by the Bush administration, and an interview with Jonathan Turley, who said, "People have no idea how significant this is. Really a time of shame this is for the American system. The strange thing is that we have become sort of constitutional couch potatoes. The Congress just gave the President despotic powers and you could hear the yawn across the country as people turned to Dancing With the Stars. It's otherworldly..People clearly don't realize what a fundamental change it is about who we are as a country. What happened today changed us. And I'm not too sure we're gonna change back anytime soon." 9/11 had nothing on this.

But don't miss Keith's special comment, in which he says:

This President now has his blank check.

He lied to get it.

He lied as he received it.

Is there any reason to even hope he has not lied about how he intends to use it, nor who he intends to use it against?

(Someone thinks there are reasons to think he intends to use it against me.) If you can't watch it, read the transcript, it's a chilling and passionate call to arms.

I think I may have kvetched before about a nasty habit our legislators have of passing bills that they know the Supreme Court will overturn because they are unconstitutional and usually a mess besides. They pass whole bills as a campaign tactic, knowing they will never become law. They even pass bills they honestly believe are not merely unconstitutional but wrong because they think they can pass the buck to the Supremes. And perhaps fakers like Arlen Specter and John McCain thought that was what they were doing this time, as well. And I really wish I could believe that was true. But Scott Lemieux suspects that this time, they were wrong.

The Massachusetts Legislature's Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security says what is needed is criminal convictions and jail time when companies make decisions that get their workers killed. Justice seems to be a little weird when it comes to prosecuting killers and thieves, depending on who they are - if you're Ken Lay and you destroy the lives of your employees and lose your shareholders billions of bucks, you face a $70,000 fine. But then some other people might face 500 years in the clink if they've been committing (somewhat smaller) crimes as individuals rather than as corporate pirates.

Who is Mark Leibovich and why does he have an article in the NYT talking about how much the Heartland loves Dick Cheney? (via)

I don't know why we didn't get rid of Steny Hoyer years ago, but at the moment there appears to be no way to prevent him from becoming the House Democratic leader after the election. This is a horrible turn of events. Time for a primary challenge, there.

Dave Johnson says the CBS "free speech" segment has pretty well confirmed its place as an unpaid-for partisan political spot.

Linkmeister alerts us to Garry Trudeau's new project, a blog for "comments, anecdotes, and observations from service members currently deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan" called The Sandbox.

Feminism is undermining human evolution! - PZ Myers discovers even more idiocy among the antifeminist male supremacists. (The idea that humans are uniquely monogamous is really pretty funny - 'cause we're not only not unique, but we're not all that monogamous compared to some creatures. I always have the feeling that these conservatives just don't get out much, and don't do much reading, either.)

Good T-shirt.


11:24 BST

Open windows

I've been meaning to link an article Eric Alterman wrote a couple weeks ago called, "Blaming Success, Upholding Failure" that deconstructs the spin on Clinton's "Agreed Framework" for Korea and how Bush screwed it up. Like so much else in Bush's administration, it follows that pattern in which Bush-Cheney does an abysmal job that leads to disaster and the press papers-over the fact that it's an administration failure while giving plenty of oxygen to the "It's all Clinton's fault" spin that comes out of the White House. The media is a bit better now than they were five years ago, but I think there's still a part of me that is still in shock over the fact that 9/11 happened and, rather than hold Bush to account for an astonishing failure, the press tried to make him into a hero merely for having it happen on his watch.

Bill Scher has a warning to Democrats about waiting for a GOP crack-up to secure a mandate in the event that we do win back Congress. Without having presented a strong and coherent case for our positions, the Dem leadership (which has mostly spent the past few years trying to undermine our positions) can only say it's winning because the Republican leadership was corrupt, rather than that the conservative program has been repudiated. Meanwhile, the conservative machine won't have cracked up so much that they won't still be able to hammer the Dems and continue to promote their memes.

It's not really any surprise that Bush got so much of what he wanted with the Overturning the Constitution Bill that he didn't even bother with a signing statement, but I can't help wondering whether it is lost on the Dem leadership that by failing to present a strong case against the bill to begin with (rather than pretending McCain would do it for them), they just allowed it to happen, got rolled, and look like fools. Never, never believe the Republicans when they talk about "compromise". (Well, or anything, for that matter.)

Is anyone really expecting things to work out on election day? eRobin warns: I've seen this before. If the sky doesn't fall and machines don't come to life and eat small children or burst into flame destroying entire precincts, which is what we're being prepared for, the elections will be called a success with only "minor glitches" which were the result of "human error." Don't fall for it. The fact is that no matter how smoothly the day goes, without a voter-verified paper ballot and a proper audit, you will not know whether your vote was counted and recorded accurately. (And have a link to Coalition for Voting Integrity.)

Linkmeister kindly alerts me to a photo of the billboard mentioned earlier that says, "They voted for torture."

Ever since I did my guest stint at LiberalOasis, there's been another resident right-winger in my comments keeping our house right-winger, Rich, company. Tom seems to completely disbelieve that anyone's rights have been threatened by the Bush administration's interest in depriving people of those rights. Yonmei supplies some links to the case of a US citizen who has already been sentenced to death without a proper trial, thanks to agents of our government. But, of course, only people who have already lost their moorings need to ask whether a victim is a US citizen - the rights referred to in the Constitution are inalienable and have nothing to do with citizenship - the founders insisted that those rights are endowed to all.

15:30 BST

Thursday, 19 October 2006

Freedom, justice, etc.

The Day Habeas Corpus Died - Keith Olbermann on the attack on America by the Bush administration, and an interview with Jonathan Turley, who said, "People have no idea how significant this is. Really a time of shame this is for the American system. The strange thing is that we have become sort of constitutional couch potatoes. The Congress just gave the President despotic powers and you could hear the yawn across the country as people turned to Dancing With the Stars. It's otherworldly..People clearly don't realize what a fundamental change it is about who we are as a country. What happened today changed us. And I'm not too sure we're gonna change back anytime soon." 9/11 had nothing on this.

But don't miss Keith's special comment, in which he says:

This President now has his blank check.

He lied to get it.

He lied as he received it.

Is there any reason to even hope he has not lied about how he intends to use it, nor who he intends to use it against?

(Someone thinks there are reasons to think he intends to use it against me.) If you can't watch it, read the transcript, it's a chilling and passionate call to arms.

I think I may have kvetched before about a nasty habit our legislators have of passing bills that they know the Supreme Court will overturn because they are unconstitutional and usually a mess besides. They pass whole bills as a campaign tactic, knowing they will never become law. They even pass bills they honestly believe are not merely unconstitutional but wrong because they think they can pass the buck to the Supremes. And perhaps fakers like Arlen Specter and John McCain thought that was what they were doing this time, as well. And I really wish I could believe that was true. But Scott Lemieux suspects that this time, they were wrong.

The Massachusetts Legislature's Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security says what is needed is criminal convictions and jail time when companies make decisions that get their workers killed. Justice seems to be a little weird when it comes to prosecuting killers and thieves, depending on who they are - if you're Ken Lay and you destroy the lives of your employees and lose your shareholders billions of bucks, you face a $70,000 fine. But then some other people might face 500 years in the clink if they've been committing (somewhat smaller) crimes as individuals rather than as corporate pirates.

Who is Mark Leibovich and why does he have an article in the NYT talking about how much the Heartland loves Dick Cheney? (via)

I don't know why we didn't get rid of Steny Hoyer years ago, but at the moment there appears to be no way to prevent him from becoming the House Democratic leader after the election. This is a horrible turn of events. Time for a primary challenge, there.

Dave Johnson says the CBS "free speech" segment has pretty well confirmed its place as an unpaid-for partisan political spot.

Linkmeister alerts us to Garry Trudeau's new project, a blog for "comments, anecdotes, and observations from service members currently deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan" called The Sandbox.

Feminism is undermining human evolution! - PZ Myers discovers even more idiocy among the antifeminist male supremacists. (The idea that humans are uniquely monogamous is really pretty funny - 'cause we're not only not unique, but we're not all that monogamous compared to some creatures. I always have the feeling that these conservatives just don't get out much, and don't do much reading, either.)

Good T-shirt.


11:24 BST

Wednesday, 18 October 2006

The American Landscape

I looked out my back window and noticed it was autumn.

Now that I have broadband back, all of us Cix users have lost access to our mail. So, if you've been waiting for me to answer yours or use the nifty link you sent me, you'll have to keep waiting for a bit. It's not a great tech week in East London.

ACTION ALERT: Blackwell purged Ohio Voter Rolls Oct 1st.- Vote Early: Then, one insider, probably an extremist, but certainly very close to Mr. Ken Mehlman, abruptly stopped the conversation. He told the table that it was impossible they would lose either house. He also predicts an Ohio GOP sweep. He informed the group that over the last year, in four critical states the GOP needs to hold, huge purges of the voter rolls have just been finished. The insider did not say which four states, but did say Ohio was among them. His claim was a new Diebold voter registry system had been installed over the last year. ... ACTION: Get to your election boards, bring all the documentation you can. Demand a paper absentee ballot. Alert everyone you know in Ohio.

Wow, Rolling Stone gave Matt Taibbi the cover story with this title - "The Worst Congress Ever: How our national legislature has become a stable of thieves and perverts -- in five easy steps: These past six years were more than just the most shameful, corrupt and incompetent period in the history of the American legislative branch. These were the years when the U.S. parliament became a historical punch line, a political obscenity on par with the court of Nero or Caligula -- a stable of thieves and perverts who committed crimes rolling out of bed in the morning and did their very best to turn the mighty American empire into a debt-laden, despotic backwater, a Burkina Faso with cable.

I don't think people realize how little it means that 52% of likely voters say they prefer that Democrats win Congress - that's pretty much always true. What matters is how many Republican voters are prepared to vote out their own current representatives, and I haven't seen those poll numbers, yet. As usual, most people are still saying they are happy with their own reps.

NAACP to monitor elections in 10 states, including Texas: The NAACP said Monday that it will monitor voting in Texas and nine other states next month, sending observers to polling places, taking citizen complaints and notifying the Justice Department of any serious problems.

How is the Military Commissions Act different from the Enabling Act? The Enabling Act was legal, because Hitler needed, and got, a constitutional amendment. Bush needs one, too, but didn't bother to get one (and I don't think he could, either).

I always find it amusing when Republicans try to explain things with media references, and Santorum is always entertaining.

23:50 BST

Bringing democracy to America

Good news and bad news in Ohio:

Ted Strickland, the Democratic nominee, is leading Mr. Blackwell by as much as 28 points, according to one recent poll.
That's a lead that even Blackwell, the Secretary of State from Hell (he even gives Katherine Harris a run for her money), must have trouble believing that a little bit of voter-suppression and machine hacking can disguise in a national election.

And now the bad news:

In their panic, some Blackwell supporters have hit on the idea of trying to prevent the election from occurring. One of them filed a complaint alleging that Mr. Strickland, who is a member of Congress, does not live in the apartment where he is registered to vote. Mr. Strickland owns a condominium in another part of Ohio, and the complaint alleges that he actually lives there. If Mr. Strickland was not a qualified voter, he would be prohibited from running for governor.

The complaint itself is without merit. No one disputes that Mr. Strickland lives in Ohio, or that he is registered. The only issue is which of his two homes he chose to register from, and the law gives voters with multiple homes broad discretion in choosing among them.

But, see, the county board hears the complaint, and by an amazing coincidence, they split along party lines for a 2-2 tie. And who gets to break the tie?
In the case of a tie vote at the county level, complaints like these get forwarded to the secretary of states office to be resolved. Mr. Blackwell says he has designated his assistant secretary to handle duties that could conflict with his candidacy. But passing these matters on to a subordinate who is a political ally and owes his job to the candidate hardly removes the conflict.
The NYT says the electoral process should not be in partisan hands. We agree.

Being on dial-up for a few days gave me a real appreciation of how much worse the web has become in the last few years - even sites that used to be readable in the first years of this weblog have become inaccessible without broadband. I try to keep it simple around here (and I was at least able to load my own page on dial-up), but The Brad Blog was another story. So for those of you who can't get it, either:

First Bush-Appointed Chair Of U.S. Election Assistance Commission Says 'No Standards' For E-Voting Devices, System 'Ripe For Stealing Elections'!

Former Chair Says He 'Was Deceived', EAC and Federal Efforts for Election Reform 'A Charade', 'Travesty'!

In Stark Contrast to Current EAC Chair, Rev. DeForest Soaries Blasts White House, Congress in Transcript of Unaired Interview from Major Broadcast Network!

The BRAD BLOG has obtained an EXCLUSIVE partial transcript from a recent, unaired interview by a major broadcast network with former U.S. Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) chair Rev. DeForest Soaries.

Soaries was appointed by George W. Bush as the first chair of the commission created by the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) in the wake of the 2000 Presidential Election Debacle. In the interview, available here for the first time, Soaries excoriates both Congress and the White House, referring to their dedication to reforming American election issues as "a charade" and "a travesty," and says the system now in place is "ripe for stealing elections and for fraud."

Having resigned from the commission in April of 2005, Soaries goes on to explain that he believes he was "deceived" by both the White House and Congress, and that neither were ever "really serious about election reform."

How is it these people are so naive that they actually have to be inside the White House before they notice that the administration is not actually interested in democracy?


The worst county for elections in the US, Cuyahoga Co. Ohio has taken another step into the realm of the absurd. The county wants to get their votes tabulated as quickly as possible and they apparently aren't worried as much about accuracy so they are using a new add-on device from Diebold that has never been used in an election and is not even complete with the federal inspection process yet. This device reads the data from the voting machine memory cards, six cards at a time in one minute. The county just has to get the totals out quickly; never mind the accuracy of those totals. / Massachusetts has still not settled on accessible voting machines. Three weeks from election day is too late to bring in new machines and train workers. The state, apparently, is also going to ignore HAVA and not require a new machine at each polling place.
And the Missouri Supreme Court has declared the new state photo ID laws unconstitutional. Again.

Dave Johnson makes a simple prediction: If Republicans lose the House, they are going to accuse Democrats of hacking the voting machines. (Well, then maybe they'll agree to get rid of the machines. Another good reason to vote Democratic.)

15:20 BST

"This nation will call evil by its name."

There has always been something particularly creepy about hearing Bush talk about evil, but as each day goes by, it becomes more and more a bitter thing. Does he wait for the cameras to go off and then make that idiot laugh of his over having used the word to refer to others? Does he even know what he's done?

Well, evil walks with him.

I don't see the meaning of qualifiers about the circumstances under which you can be kidnapped and held and tortured for the rest of your life if you can't challenge your arrest in court. There's no point in having any "if/then" statements in the Torture-and-hide legislation if you eliminate habeas corpus.

They could just as easily say, "If you are Osama bin Laden's best friend, you can be arrested and interrogated and held indefinitely without trial," and it would make no difference.

Since they never have to demonstrate that you are Osama bin Laden's best friend, it's still the same as saying, "Innocent people can be arrested and tortured and held indefinitely without trial for no reason."

Rachel Maddow did a good show on this last night - her "Torture Day" show - which you can stream for the rest of the day from here until after tonight's show airs. Her guest was Anthony Romero of the ACLU.

Rachel also made reference to this story:

WATERBURY -- As early as today, drivers heading east out of Waterbury will be confronted by a billboard image of a bound and exhausted Abu Ghraib prisoner with spittle running down his chin.

A Connecticut-based clergy group opposed to the Iraq war -- Reclaiming the Prophetic Voice -- is sponsoring the billboard, along with a twin billboard unveiled in Stratford on Monday. The message accuses three incumbent Republican members of Congress and Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman of supporting a move by President Bush to legalize torture of terror suspects.

At issue is the Military Commissions Act of 2006, which Bush is expected to sign into law today.

The act suspends the right of "unlawful enemy combatants" to challenge their imprisonment in a public court, and also redefines what constitutes torture. It was crafted to allow the CIA to continue a terrorist interrogation program that was recently made public.

Critics contend the law allows the CIA to engage in forceful interrogation techniques without review in a public court. This, they contend, is eroding the moral standing of the United States that is critical to fighting terror. Along with Lieberman, the billboard advertisements accuse House Representatives Christopher Shays, R-4th; Rob Simmons, R-2nd and Nancy Johnson, R-5th of endorsing torture by voting for the bill.

"We are saying, on this issue, we needed moral leadership in Washington and, in this case, the incumbents failed to provide it," said John Humphries, a Hartford man of Quaker faith and a charter member of the 4-year-old Prophetic Voice. The billboards, he said, are intended to hold these politicians accountable in the Nov. 7 election.
In an e-mail response, Bossi quoted Murphy as saying the bill "presents a false choice between protecting civil liberties and protecting the nation from terrorists."

A billboard like that should go up wherever there's a "representative" who voted for this evil thing.

12:56 BST

Oh, oh, oh...

Did you know it's National Character Counts Week? Jeez. (via).

Oh, my, are they losing the Christianist vote?

Triangulation bites.

OK, conservatives say creepy things about liberals - but you knew that. But if that's their thinking, it's no wonder they're confused. We're not the ones who represent ourselves as being "closer to God," nor "like the very angel of light". We're the ones who think we're people, just like everyone else. (Oh, and Do More Than Vote.)

Oh, man is Mexico looking creepy. Creepy scary.

Steve Gilliard explains to John Tierney why Sam Walton is not a good person to nominate for the Nobel Prize, and critiques Michael Steele's latest campaign move.

Well, Bush signed it, and maybe it'll finally create some jobs.

Take the security test.

So, I endured the tedium that was necessary to find all those links on dial-up, and then I disconnected and went off to do something, and I come back and see that... it's back! ♪

03:14 BST

Tuesday, 17 October 2006

Media &etc.

Nova M Radio: It is with great excitement and optimism that I announce today the formation of a new progressive talk radio network. Myself along with my partners, Anita and Sheldon Drobny; the original cofounders of the Air America Radio Network, want to be the first to tell all you "truth seekers" that the original truth seeker himself Mike Malloy will be born again live on the public airwaves. The planned second coming (barring any apocalypse) is scheduled for October 30, 2006. The Mike Malloy Show will initially broadcast live, from 9PM -12 Midnight (EST) on Nova M Radio affiliate 1480-AM KPHX Phoenix.

Since CBS bumped 60 Minutes back to make room for the football that ran over, the people who were trying to record it for David Kuo's appearance might have missed it (since the put the important stuff on last). But you can find it here.

Al Gore has a new book scheduled to come out next May from Penguin, called The Assault On Reason. According to Political Cortex, "It is reported to be about the difficulty politics has with making decisions based on facts and reason. I am sure it will then go into great detail regarding the Democracy crisis we face on the whole, and the name of the book does sound like something Thomas Jefferson would have written."

The Four Republicans of the Apocalypse.

Scott Lemieux finds that people who try to justify banning abortion, but not prosecuting women who get abortions, essentially fall back on an "explanation" that is, simply, an argument against banning abortion.

Condi Rice just lost the Republican nomination. (Fright-wingers do have their very own legal system, too. "He also notes that Rice's comments defy an existing law on the books protecting traditional marriage." There's a law against commenting on gay marriage? Wow.)

23:14 BST

Quick notes

I saw this flier at MyDD and of course read the big print first, so it says: "Joe Lieberman was a voice of support for Israel. ... America and Israel are worse off for it." And I thought, "Yes, that's true. What's Matt complaining about?"

The real Republican stole the show when Lieberman found himself stuck between Schlesinger and Lamont at the Connecticut debate, and now some people are thinking Schlesinger will take more votes away from Lieberman than expected. And Jane has the video. (Oh, and did you catch that the announcement of the verdict in Saddam's trial will be delayed - until just before the November election.

MahaBarb on why America would be better off if the Democrats take control of the House of Representatives next month.

15:56 BST

Monday, 16 October 2006

Changing colors

Panache Romany underwired balconette bra

I couldn't stand it, I had to run down to the Internet cafe because I couldn't even get a page to load for the Bra of the Week.

Susie Madrak has useful links, as usual, to what looks like a pretty effective anti-George Felix Allen ad, a suggestion for election night, another election project to double-check results, and a question about Arlen Specter's game. (And my condolences.)

And, speaking of elections, Fact-esque has more. I do worry that if the Democrats actually win, it will be only because the Republicans decided they needed to step back and let people forget what they're up to, again. (And, you know, we really need to get rid of these hold your nose and vote Democrats.)

Eric Alterman: There's nothing like "moral clarity" to prevent a nuclear explosion. Despite the fact that the Bush administration withdrew from the Agreed Framework in October 2003, with no policy (save "moral clarity") to replace it, conservatives like McCain can find no better excuse for Bush's inaction than to blame Clinton.

Charles Kuffner now has a transcript available of the interview with computer science professor and electronic voting machine expert Dan Wallach.

An advertisement. (Thanks to Dominic for the tip.)

Here's a little song you can all join in with: Felix Cavalierie & Ringo's All-Starrs doing "People Got To Be Free".

20:03 BST

Slow glass

Want to do something really important? Join up with Pollworkers for Democracy.

Someone in the comments recommended an interesting piece about the distinction between "classical liberal" libertarians and royalist libertarians (who think land-grabbing is "wealth creation" and support phony laissez faire): When the state granted land titles to a fraction of the population, it gave that fraction devices with which to levy, and pocket, tolls on the fruits of the labor of others. Those without land privileges must either buy or rent those privileges from the people who received the grants or from their assignees. Thus the state titles enable large landowners to collect a transfer payment, or "free lunch" from the actual land users.

And in a perhaps related guest post at Think Progress, John Edwards marks the anniversary of the bankruptcy bill by noting the rise in foreclosures and calling for a crackdown on predatory lenders.

Also at TP, since Chris Wallace claims he asked Clinton why he didn't do anything about the USS Cole attack because he got a lot of e-mail about it, Think Progress suggested to readers that they also send some e-mail to Wallace - and so far over 14,000 people have asked Wallace to ask Condi Rice the same question

Reagan Youth - privileged, uneducated, and possibly kinda dumb.

Jeralyn congratulates the NYT for its editorial "blasting Bush and Sen. Lindsay Graham for the military commissions bill that makes you Guilty, Whether Guilty or Not."

Eric Alterman says that the right-wingers are infiltrating AIPAC, just like they have with everything else.

Phillip Blond and Adrian Pabst in the IHT argue that "centrism" in British politics has led to decay - for both leading parties and for the nation.

Glenn Greenwald makes a passionate appeal for passion.

00:35 BST

Sunday, 15 October 2006

From the notebook

How can we make it clearer that our objection to Bush's domestic spying program isn't that it spies on terrorists, but that it wastes significant resources and violates the Constitution by spying on the rest of us?

How do you say it? If Bush is spying on Quakers, that's resources wasted not spying on terrorists. If Bush is spying on peace groups, that's time and money wasted not spying on terrorists. If Bush has someone spying on me, that person is not spying on terrorists. (Via this excellent post by Jamison Foser.)

* * * * *

Big Business is afraid that working conditions in China could be improved, and then they will have moved all their companies there for nothing. Right, slave labor is good enough for them.

Blah3 has a Padilla Update that, well, really doesn't make me feel safer.

Atrios notes that it's official: Lieberman (R-DLC) sends out fliers referring to "the Democrat Party".

If I ever get broadband back, I'll want to listen to Kuffner's interview with Dan Wallack about voting machines. People in comments seem to rate it pretty highly.

In comments, Daryl McCullough (of) tips me off to exciting news from Slate that Battlestar Galactica is not science fiction. Right, because if some ignorant dope in Slate likes it, it can't be that stuff about spaceships and robots.

Wayne Pierce (of) tipped me off to this post on Project Censored at RuminateThis.

(BT restored our phone service but broadband hasn't returned. Dial-up is worse than ever!)

18:13 BST

The crazies

Last night Atrios returned to the exciting subject of how much conservatives really hate America - that is, liberals - and cited James Wolcott's "Good Liberals" post on the conversation Matt Yglesias has been conducting on PNAC Democrats, in the wake of Michael Lind's smackdown of Lieberman-wing neocon apologists who believe that "the real debate [in America] is not whether to have an empire, but what kind." There's a good thread under Matt's post, too, pointing out that a crucial unmentioned factor in the defense of Bush-neocon policies is the magical question, "You and what army?"

That is, where are they going to get the troops? The defenders of the Grand Plan just don't seem to understand that there is really only one place that army can come from, despite the fact that they have previously pronounced a draft anathema to the extent that Kristol et al. have indicted "the greatest generation" for allowing one to be in effect, ever. Well, despite scraping below the bottom of the barrel and using every conceivable fraud they can come up with to try to shoe-horn the worst and the dumbest into our armed services, we still aren't managing to keep our troop numbers up - recycling the enlistees we have until they get permanently mangled in system, either too maimed or too dead to re-use. What happens when they're all gone? Whose going to fight this never-ending war against the rest of the world for them?

Matt and Atrios are right that people have to come right and say, every time these people speak their rubbish, that they can not be taken seriously. It doesn't matter how many Broders and Beinarts treat them like they have "ideas", we can't allow that fantasy to pass without noting that it is mindless, crazy, claptrap from the minds of people who can't get anything right.

12:35 BST

Standing tall

I was just reading this editorial from The New York Times called "The Age of Impunity" which noted that:

It wasn't supposed to be this way. The Iraq war and President Bush's with-us-or-against-us war on terrorism was supposed to frighten the bad guys so much that they wouldn't dare cross the United States. But the opposite has happened. President Bush has squandered so much of America's moral authority - not to mention our military resources - that efforts to shame or bully the right behavior from adversaries (and allies) sound hollow.
Indeed. The NYT blames this on Bush's generally poor performance and little things like "Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo, the secret prisons or the whole mismanaged Iraq war," but the real problem is right there in that little paragraph.

What the neocons don't understand is that we didn't have to act mean and threatening toward other nations to cow them, because they were already cowed. We could smile and be nice and respectful and maintain the charade that we didn't have 'em all by the short hairs - you know, that "diplomacy" thing - and we could all be mostly friendly most of the time. We walked softly and carried a big stick.

They were happy to play along because we were generally rational and not overtly bullying and we actually seemed to want to further some laudable values and goals.

And, instead, we have an overburdened military that can't really take on much more - at least, not if we actually expect to be militarily effective - and we can't even ring that old "freedom and justice" bell much anymore. They used to think our intelligence agencies were competent enough that they couldn't get away with much - see what happened to that?

Sure, we can still nuke anyone who makes us mad, but if we proved one thing with Iraq, it's that there's no point in doing what we say we want since it just doesn't make any difference.

So, while they may be more scared of us than they were before, they are much less likely to want to deal with us - and that's our friends.

See, we had a lot in common with Saddam. Like him, we had the world believing we had the might to defend our interests against all likely enemies, one way or the other, and that helped us maintain a certain level of control. People thought we could spy on them and beat them in a fight any day of the week. But testing that assumption exposed the weaknesses behind that image.

And, yes, Bush has also broken the much more important part of our image, the one where we were the most free and just of all nations and cultures. Turns out we're just another country that lets religious fanatics and snake-oil salesmen take hold of our organs of power to oppress those who are unlike them, or are in their way, or whatever.

It was a lot easier to walk tall when we weren't carrying so much heavy baggage.

01:46 BST

Saturday, 14 October 2006

I've always liked the word "meniscus"

Of course, BT lied to me, so I don't expect to have my phone service back until Monday, and I'm down the road at the handy little communications hut, now that the dinner guests have left. I'll have to go back and finish tidying up after them, I guess, but in the meantime I've been studying on Digby's place, where Republican "morality" is under close scrutiny. There's the reaction to Chris Shays' astonishing description of Abu Ghraib as a "sex ring" (they really are the party that can't tell the difference between consensual sex and rape, which I suppose explains their attitude toward sex), and more on Dennis Prager's unusual views, and even more on conservatives' confusion about torture, which, of course, you should read.

And here are some notes I had left from yesterday:

Sourcebooks sent me a complimentary copy of The 2007 Bush Countdown Calendar. It's actually a pretty good production - nice big wall calendar, big squares to write things in, many reminders of some of those exciting moments of the last few years. Remember Bush in 2001 saying, "My plan reduces the national debt, and fast. So fast...that economists worry that we're going to run out of debt to retire"? Yep, those were the days. And even those quotes from other administration members we may have forgotten, like John Ashcroft's "24/7 - 24 hours a week, seven months a year." And they give you URLs for relevant websites. There's only one thing wrong with it: Every single month, there's a big new picture of Bush.

Matt Taibbi: The whole episode shows just exactly how twisted American politics have become. To even try to take action in protest of Chinese business practices, lawmakers like Graham and Schumer only have an opening to get self-righteous when they perceive that China has committed a crime against capitalism, i.e. manipulating the yuan. Apparently it is not possible any longer to complain that China uses slave labor and ruthlessly represses dissent, which of course also results in a clearly "unfair trade advantage." And since most American politicians are heavily subsidized by campaign contributions from companies who take massive advantage of cheap Chinese labor -- GE alone donated over $1.4 million to federal candidates in the 2006 cycle -- the likelihood of anyone in government taking such action in the future is extremely limited.

"Federal appeals court judges nominated by President Bush are threatening and undermining Americans rights and liberties, and working to reduce congressional authority to protect those rights and liberties, according to a legal analysis published today by People For the American Way Foundation."

Terry Jones welcomes Bush into the pantheon of the world's leading despots: I cannot, however, disguise the fact that we adjudicators were extremely anxious when you announced your intention to remove from office one of our most stalwart members, Mr Saddam Hussein. However, we need not have worried. According to a recent UN report, you have ensured that there are now even more human rights abuses in Iraq than there were under Saddam. No less than 10% of those in custody are being physically or psychologically abused. Well done!

Progressive Minds: According to an article in the New York Times, the American Civil Liberties Union has been able to obtain, under the Freedom of Information Act, documents which detail the extent to which the Defense Department collected information on demonstrators, included Quakers, students, and others opposed to the war in Iraq. (NYT story here.)

The General wasn't feeling well so he just brought to our attention some of the inspiring writing by the anti-gay conspiracy theorists.

Fear of Pelosi, O'Reilly style.

Chris gets a phone call: Rhode Island has an initiative on the ballot to allow a casino in our state and the recorded messages are coming fast and furious in support and against. The phone call I got yesterday--from a local number--said to press one if I intended to vote for the casino on November 10th...

Dr. Strangelove's grandchildren think the holocaust will be no big deal.

Hitchens reacts to news that the administration he loves is taking advice from Kissinger.

Dear David: Mandy Merck says Hitchens' fantasy that he "shared a woman with Bill Clinton" is all in his mind.

Everyone has linked to The War of the Words, and I will watch the trailer at my earliest opportunity.

19:49 BST

Friday, 13 October 2006

At least the weather is nice today

We have no phone service so I've dragged my laptop around until I found a place that was willing to let me have an ethernet connection. BT admits there's a fault on the line says they will send someone tomorrow, which is an improvement on last time when they said sometime in the middle of the following week. Anyway, here's some stuff I saw last night.

The big news of the last couple of days is the release of David Kuo's book, Tempting Faith, about the "faith" of this administration, which is really pure snake oil. Think Progress has a brief excerpt. Keith Olbermann is taking the story seriously, and of course C&L has the clips - Part I and Part II.

I'm too depressed about the decision to pretend that just about anyone who isn't on the lowest rung of their place of employment is managerial and therefore can't unionize, so let Nathan do it. (Also: More amusing fractures on the right between the business side and the faith-based side.)

Majikthise has the run-down on the fright-wing blogosphere's massive case of denial over the number of dead in Iraq. (via)

Marty Peretz continues his effort to prove himself the most reprehensible "liberal" in professional journalism with this piece of crap, which also has the added bonus of being a lousy piece of writing, as Charles Pierce notes.

Now that Mark Warner has announced he's not running for president, the Wisdom on the Hill is that the unpopular Evan Bayh, whose betrayals of his father's legacy include voting for the bankruptcy bill, is the new Not Hillary candidate. I never thought Warner had a prayer, and neither does Bayh, who is not only too far to the right but also acts as a second-string Lieberman in his public statements. Some think Obama is the guy. Nope, not him, either.

Dr. B. fails to receive two visitors.

Mikey disagrees with me disagreeing with him. Naturally, I disagree, on the grounds that what the Republicans are doing isn't just some individuals being creeps, but a creepy ideology that is at the foundation of what they are doing.

13:41 BST

Thursday, 12 October 2006

What are libertarians smoking?

Below*, when I said that, "I really don't think these people understand the degree to which unfettered wealth can institute its own privately-run police state," Bruce Baugh responded in comments*:

The libertarian response to concerns about neo-feudal estates seems to involve two steps:

#1. There's no longer a critical mass of the wealthiest interested in doing that. They've learned the benefits of an overall prosperous society with opportunity and mobility for others.

#2. If a serious push toward neo-feudal stratification happened, there'd be more than sufficient counter-push from the rest of society.

(This is of course the response from libertarians of good will who actually don't want a neo-feudal order any more than I do. I set aside the trash who dream of high-tech serfdom.)

The problem is of course that recent history shows that #1 is dead wrong. There is in fact a well-organized group dedicated enough to pursue their shared aim for almost half a century, through setbacks that would have discouraged almost anyone else, and still enthusiastic enough to put their desires into action with truly reckless abandon. And precisely because they are so well-prepared, they've subverted every obvious channel of response and many unobvious ones.

The libertarian society requires people not to be as indecent as Cheney and his circle.

So, like socialism, it's just a dream that once we have the *Perfect System* in place, all the people with access to power will just magically not abuse it. It's a delusion, an acid dream. They think they are being realistic and going by the numbers, but it's like expecting Woodstock Nation in the corporate boardrooms. It's silly, in the worst sense of the word. (And they think we're naive because we like Frank Capra movies.)

In other news:

Frank Rich seems sadly deluded about where our problems with media begin and how to fix them.

Someone please give Mikey the DVD he would kill for. (And, Mikey, you're wrong; the Democrats had power before, and they never, never, never did this stuff.)

15:06 BST

Last night's links

Moose & Squirrel has the latest Gene Lyons column up, for anyone who wants a quick run-down on the Foley-Hastert-etc. story. (Archived here.)

I don't usually recommend Howard Kurtz, but this column has some interesting stuff in it, and outs Dennis Hastert as a bumbling oaf, among other things. It's fascinating seeing Howie do a column that's almost entirely unflattering to Republicans. He does suggest that there really is one Democrat who knew about the Foley e-mails, but it appears to have been an individual thing rather than a party thing, and no one paid attention to him, anyway.

Taylor Marsh has a longer bit from Woodward's book about how not just Carville, but McCurry helped sell-out Kerry on election night 2004.

Billmon presents: "Poetic Justice" and "Hitting the Trifecta".

Ned Lamont's numbers are creeping back up in the wake of Lieberman's support for Republican sexual harassers and general creepiness. Hve u had enuf? (Meanwhile, I can't believe this is still going on!)

Wolcott warns of another concern troll.

The Museum of Scientifically Accurate Fabric Brain Art, via TNH.

The Mullahs are blogging.

Republican candidate had sex with Green Bay Packers

12:12 BST

Wednesday, 11 October 2006

Your happening world

Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog draws our attention to a USAT story on a report from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission refuting the GOP allegations of widespread voter fraud at the polls - a report which itself was suppressed by the GOP. But he also notes that the big story in The New York Times, about voter suppression of whites by blacks in a one-horse town, seems remarkably well-timed to distract readers' attention from the much more significant report showing that the GOP's national voter-suppression program is based on a lie.

"Coming to America: The Disappeared" - Chris Floyd explains why he wants us to read "Torture, Murder, Bush, Kissinger and The Mothers of the Disappeared in Argentina: America on the Brink of Horror". (Chris also has a thoughtful piece on the murder of Anna Politkovskaya.)

Amy Goodman's interview with Sarah Cheyes on Democracy Now. She doesn't think Osama is in Pakistan, and suspects that he actually may have left Afghanistan before 9/11.

So The Lancet publishes this study from Johns Hopkins based on actual death certificates showing that deaths by violence in Iraq as a result of the invasion and occupation is 20 times higher than the administration has been claiming - considerably more than died in the entire 23 years of Saddam's rule (NYT story). And when CNN's Suzanne Malveaux confronts him with it, he just says he doesn't accept it as a credible report. (And then wanders off congratulating the Iraqis for "tolerating" all that violence.) We'll, what else did she expect?

James Wolcott has written a wonderfully angry and acid review of Dinesh D'Souza's reprehensible upcoming book, The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11, and it is a joy to read. (via)

Thanks to James (of) in comments* for alerting me that My Name Is Rachel Corrie is playing in New York at the Minetta Lane Theatre through October - you might like to help fill the house up.

22:27 BST

Good versus Evil!

Hastert's inexplicable decision to give his latest speech in a graveyard makes us that much more aware that we could use a good vampire-slayer around here.

Speaking of which, I was unaware that, despite his claims of urgency on the matter, Bush still hasn't signed his elimination of habeas corpus and presidential get-out-of-jail-free card, until I saw Keith Olbermann ask "Why does habeas corpus hate America?" (And he ends up channelling me!)

The Associated Press actually did a story on Keith's new Murrow-esque performance, and suggests that Americans' dissatisfaction with the administration helps protect him while he's bucking the CW, but Jeff Cohen remembers his own experience with MSNBC on the Donahue show, and wonders, "Is Olbermann on Thin Ice?" (via)

I guess Joe MacGuire wanted to slay a vampire, but he got fired for writing his book.

But, my god, are the vampires coming out in droves! First we get bizarre ideas to reduce gun violence in schools by arming teachers, and then Daryl McCullough noticed Alberto Gonzales announcing plans to toughen up the penalties for illegal gun use, even though we're talking about things like Colombine where the kids who use the guns shoot themselves. And then there's their answer to North Korea, leading Daryl to say: "I think conservatives have gone over the edge. They can't remember from one day to the next whether their goal is to protect the world, or to blow it up."

12:56 BST

Things I read on drugs

(Just pain-killers.)

Barbara O'Brien has a new toy - John Tierney, who bounces higher than The Cabbage, doesn't understand polls, thinks No Child Left Behind is a Democratic program, and believes that getting rid of Social Security is a "new" idea.

Digby does a similar job with Chris Matthews and other lame pundits who still seem to believe that Republicans are "more moral" and that deficits only happen under Democrats. (Two words, Chris: David Stockman.)

Really, CNN has no excuse for the way they've been playing GOP talking points without stating the demonstrated facts about the Foley story.

Maru has a nice little illustration to go with the Republican cannibalism story.

Wow, they managed to get the prices raised on drugs just by telling a publisher a higher price.

Jeez, it sure doesn't take much to get called an antisemite these days.

Gosh, I just can't imagine why there are more male columnists in the newspapers than female. Must be the hormones.

It looks like Susan Estrich has finally done something useful: written a book about Coulter called Soulless.

This is stupid; the only way we protect our liberties is by protecting our liberties. Give them up, and the rest of your excuses don't mean a damn thing. (via)

Cato rounds-up the discussion of Democrats and libertarianism. You know, I really don't think these people understand the degree to which unfettered wealth can institute its own privately-run police state.

02:18 BST

Tuesday, 10 October 2006

Things I saw

Isn't it odd that the right-wingers who are so upset at Muslims because a theater-owner in Germany hesitated to let performance of a potentially offensive version of a Mozart opera go forward are not equally offended that an American theater postponed indefinitely the opening of My Name Is Rachel Corrie under pressure from "(unnamed) Jewish groups"? No, not really.

Marc Parent has Krugman's "The Paranoid Style" and Herbert's "Cash With a Catch".

There are never any Republicans at fault in the Washington Post.

Samhita of Feministing says a version of The Pill for men (or a patch, implant, or injection) may soon be on the way - but some people think men just won't use it.

And via Jessica, the Guardian's piece on Anna Politkovskaya, the Russian version of Sy Hersh, who they've been trying to murder for years and finally got. The people are publicly mourning, but the government has been silent.

Cthulhu Family Circus (Thanks to Darryl Pearce (via) for the tip.)

13:06 BST

What they're saying

I just found this site, so have a click. I was horrified to learn that drug offender registries are the new big thing.

Digby: The simplest way to understand Republicans is to use the quick rule of thumb that whatever they criticize Democrats for is what they are doing. Lynn Cheney and other rightwing "intellectuals" created an entire industry devoted to attacking Democrats for moral and epistemic relativism. It became an article of faith that liberals had no values and believed in nothing --- an image that sticks to us like flypaper, even today. Yet nobody has practiced relativism more successfully than the modern Republican party. The Republican President of the United States believes that truth is fungible and history is debated like a highway bill on the floor of the senate --- so it doesn't really matter what he does. It's a clever way to rationalize ignorance, incompetence and failure but it's an extremely dangerous way for the most powerful nation on earth to conduct itself. I was thinking of that thing about how "whatever they criticize Democrats for is what they are doing" when I noticed that the Republicans have been talking about the vast left-wing conspiracy of moles who are inside the Republican Party orchestrating the Evil Gay Agenda to screw them, and I thought, "Of course they would think that - they've been doing it to us for years. What else is the DLC?"

So, was the Korean nuke test another Bush policy failure, or did they get just what they wanted?

MahaBarb has a good post about the continuing erosion of the wall between church and state. Did I say "wall"? What wall?

Vast Left takes that Time article apart with great vigor.

Pete Guither actually finds a sensible article about giving heroin to addicts in a Connecticut newspaper. The number of heroin addicts in the UK was a lot lower when they used to do this.

03:00 BST

Monday, 09 October 2006

A little bit of linkage

Slacktivist on who the torturers are, and what kind of people do, or order, this Dirty work. And also on Behindsight and bias and a really, really stupid article in the WaPo that suggests that (a) only "antiwar liberals" opposed the invasion of Iraq and (b) none of us ever predicted that it would turn into precisely this kind of mess. Oh, and that we take satisfaction from having been right. God help us all.

There's real terrorism in the UK, but none of these people are being rounded up and deprived of their rights. Sound familiar? (Via Pacem Terra.)

I don't understand what Broder is complaining about - things would have been even worse if the Republicans had passed all that stuff. The less they do, the better.

Via Blue Gals Blog Round Up at C&L: At Shakespeare's Sister, nightshift66 delivers a Reality check on what we can expect if our wildest dreams come true in November. (Well, no, my wildest dreams involve a veto-proof Democratic takeover.) And a good question from BeggersCanBeChoosers: Who Will Direct November Election: Frank Capra--Or David Lynch?

What 'Bout Them Libertarians? (You know me, I can never resist.)

The Nietzsche Family Circus (Thanks to Mark Kernes for the tip.)

23:16 BST

The usual suspect

Robert Legault comments about Paul Berman's review of Watchdog:

I read the I.F. Stone bio in proofs. It's a bit rambling (MacPherson, the author, apparently worked on it for 14 years) but it's very interesting, and it does manage to thoroughly debunk the KGB agent rumor. What Berman doesn't mention anywhere in his review (why?) is that, according to MacPherson, it is quite specifically Ann Coulter who has been blaring the KGB slander far and wide.
And we are not surprised.

18:36 BST

"Boy was I drunk last night!"

A link that's been going around suggests that maybe once in a while there's something to read in Time, like "The Secret Letter From Iraq", originally from a marine to those close to him that eventually made its way into the inboxes of generals: Most Profound Man in Iraq - an unidentified farmer in a fairly remote area who, after being asked by Reconnaissance Marines if he had seen any foreign fighters in the area replied "Yes, you."

And then there's "The End of a Revolution": Every revolution begins with the power of an idea and ends when clinging to power is the only idea left. The epitaph for the movement that started when Newt Gingrich and his forces rose from the back bench of the House chamber in 1994 may well have been written last week in the same medium that incubated it: talk radio. The article says the conservative party has "strayed from its ideals" in an effort to retain power, but they're wrong - these are their ideals. The "Republican revolution" was never about clean government, or small government, or fiscal conservatism, or adherence to the Constitution - it was about power - getting it, keeping it, and keeping it away from the people of the United States. You don't claim that an entire party is "a party of corruption" just because a few members of Congress are overdrawn on their personal bank accounts and then shovel taxpayers' money to Halliburton because you want clean government or small government, you do it because you want to own the government.

I suppose we are seeing only a small portion of the Lavender Bund so far, but BlogActive says that from today, there will be an outing of a gay Republican staff member daily.

John Emerson: Sleazy Christians think of Jesus the way they think of their connection at the county courthouse -- a get-out-of-hell-free card. "I may not seem like a believer, but Jesus is there when I need him", one scuzzbag told me.

Meanwhile, the Republicans continue to create the impression of Dem involvement - and the media lets them (more).

In other news, Battle of the Bands, via Sore Eyes.

15:37 BST

Sunday, 08 October 2006

Catching up

Kalyani Trousseau Balcony Bra

Bra of the Week

Bob Schieffer says the nation has never needed a vigorous free press more than now: "I cannot remember a time when it's been more challenging for journalists," Schieffer, 69, said. ...Government will always cover up its mistakes if it operates in secret, Schieffer said. "Why does the government need a list of my phone calls?" he asked. "And what business does a democracy have running secret prisons? ... Do you believe that anyone would have known about these secret prisons or what was going on in Abu Ghraib if it had been left to the government to announce it? "Some would argue these revelations hurt our cause. I argue just the opposite. Bringing mistakes to the fore is a strength, not a weakness." Schieffer said America's great strength comes from emphasizing the values and principles that separate it from its enemies - "not by adopting their methods and their techniques."

No good service goes unpunished under the Bush regime.

James Carroll in The Boston Globe, "An enemy and war born from ignorance": As he handed my ID back , he looked at me hard and snarled, ``Some damn fool like you is going to start World War III."

Garrison Keillor in the Trib, "Congress' shameful retreat from American values": It's good that Barry Goldwater is dead because this would have killed him. ... None of the men and women who voted for this bill has any right to speak in public about the rule of law anymore, or to take a high moral view of the Third Reich, or to wax poetic about the American Ideal. Mark their names. Any institution of higher learning that grants honorary degrees to these people forfeits its honor.

"The Watchdog" is Paul Berman's review of Myra MacPherson's biography of the man who was the model for the best bloggers, back when it was all on paper, and of The Best Of I. F. Stone (edited by Karl Weber, intro by Peter Osnos). The first chapter of MacPherson's book, "All Governments Lie" - The Life and Times of Rebel Journalist I. F. Stone, was published in the NYT last week, here.

I gotta admit this is pretty funny, but I'm worried about what's going on in Connecticut now, with Lamont no longer catching up to Lieberman. What's happened to all that energy? Since Lieberman is now the Republican candidate, he's got a whole new base. Oh, please, don't leave Lieberman in the Senate!

Julia notes that the NYT isn't impressed with Woodward's new book. They said: The actual journalistic accomplishment in "State of Denial" is less than grand. It took him three books to arrive at a conclusion thousands of basement-bound bloggers suggested years ago: that the Bush administration is composed of people who like war, don't seem to be very good at it and have been known to turn the guns on each other. Such an epiphany doesn't seem to reflect a reporter who had rarefied access. But they're wrong; that access may very well be what blinds the Washington press corps to what the rest of us, from out here on the fringes, can see so clearly.

Johan Hari on The strange, unexplored overlap between homosexuality and fascism, (via).

Reports from Poisonville finds another phony Republican cowboy.

I rather liked this photo from Lucy. And this from Johan.

22:06 BST

The decline and fall

Via Tim Grieve, news from the WaPo that the God Gap is shrinking:

A nationwide poll of 1,500 registered voters released yesterday by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center found that 57 percent of white evangelicals are inclined to vote for Republican congressional candidates in the midterm elections, a 21-point drop in support among this critical part of the GOP base.

Even before the Foley scandal, the portion of white evangelicals with a "favorable" impression of the Republican Party had fallen sharply this year, from 63 percent to 54 percent, according to Pew polls.

In the latest survey, taken in the last 10 days of September and the first four days of October, the percentage of evangelicals who think that Republicans govern "in a more honest and ethical way" than Democrats has plunged to 42 percent, from 55 percent at the start of the year.
Nationally, the Republicans' once formidable hold on churchgoing voters has begun to slip. Among those who say they attend church more than once a week, the GOP still holds a commanding lead. The main shift is among weekly churchgoers, about a quarter of all voters. Two years ago, they favored the GOP by a double-digit margin. But in the new Pew survey, 44 percent leaned toward Republicans and 43 percent toward Democrats, a statistical dead heat.

Dan Froomkin said the other day that Bush is cranking up the lies to try to get a reaction and distract people from the GOP's Congressional problems - but no one is listening anymore.

So, how's things in the oil business? Um.

I see Marc Perkel (of) has a letter in the IHT making a suggestion as to how to investigate the Republican page scandal (scroll to the end).

You know, I really think that, when cops raid the wrong house, they should be treated like anyone else who is guilty of breaking and entering and stealing your belongings. After-the-fact apologies just don't cut it.

(I just think Reed Richards' explanation to Pete for why he's running a high-tech concentration camp makes no sense at all.)

15:10 BST

Rats in the walls

My head exploded when I saw this quoted at C&L:

On page 344, Woodward describes the doings at the White House in the early morning hours of Wednesday, the day after the '04 election.

Apparently, Kerry had decided not to concede. There were 250,000 outstanding ballots in Ohio.

So Kerry decides to fight. In fact, he considers going to Ohio to camp out with his voters until there is a recount. This is the last thing the White House needs, especially after Florida 2000.

So what happened?

James Carville gets on the phone with his wife, Mary Matalin, who is at the White House with Bush.

"Carville told her he had some inside news. The Kerry campaign was going to challenge the provisional ballots in Ohio - perhaps up to 250,000 of them. 'I don't agree with it, Carville said. I'm just telling you that's what they're talking about.'

"Matalin went to Cheney to report...You better tell the President Cheney told her."

Matalin does, advising Bush that "somebody in authority needed to get in touch with J. Kenneth Blackwell, the Republican Secretary of State in Ohio who would be in charge of any challenge to the provisional votes." An SOS goes out to Blackwell.

The rest is history.

Carville gets a lot of questions about his relationship with Matalin and how it might affect his service to Democrats, and he always babbles nonsense about how, you know, in real life, we have too much real stuff to do and we don't spend time talking about politics. But from this it seems he still manages to find time to sabotage Democrats on behalf of Republicans, doesn't he? And there have been other examples, easily seen in his performances on Crossfire, where he persistently avoided any substantive argument.

And, let's face it, no one who has heard the crap that comes out of Matalin's mouth should have any illusions about what her values are. If Carville isn't repelled by those values - if he thinks their shared interest in being campaign strategists is more important than the gulf between the Bush administration's priorities and those of the nation - he's definitely One of Them and not One of Us.

We have to get these careerists away from the Democratic Party. Please don't babble nonsense to me about third parties and restructuring the political process. Those things aren't going to happen. Rebuilding the Democratic Party is the only option, and it has to be done from the ground up. You know, the ground - where the grassroots are.

11:34 BST

Saturday, 07 October 2006


At Pacific Views, Natasha:

In this grim episode, the Republican leadership is revealed as the Very Hungry Caterpillar they have always been. Perpetually open maws entirely lacking in conscience or respect for others. They have failed soldiers and emergency response workers dependent on them for equipment, hurricane victims dependent on them for rescue and everything after, innocent foreigners dependent on them for their lives and bodily integrity, workers dependent on them for a living wage and health care, and, now we learn, minors directly dependent on them for guardianship.

They have no mercy towards those who are in their care. No feeling or compassion for them. No leniency for mistakes lacking in malice. They respect nothing but what feeds the beast, pours the money in for their campaigns and favorite contributors, keeps their power flowing, gives them the advantage, lets them feel dominant.

At Xoverboard, August J. Pollack:
Truth appears to be the one aspect of human life where right-wingers complain about "fairness." Equal pay, equal rights, equal time for editorial opinion- these are all disgusting to conservative punditry. And yet, at any opportunity to present facts, be it in the news, on the internet, or at your college, they vomit forth platitudes to phantoms of an inherent right to dictate reality.

As a great man once said, facts have a liberal agenda. And since they're facts, the only chance for a "counter" from the right is to disseminate the facts with nonsense. Are facts different when the source presenting them is "funded by George Soros?" Do facts have different numbers depending on which way the reporter voted? People like Matt Drudge want you to actually think this, and people who read him, and consider him to be a news source, are people who choose to be stupid because they feel better that way.

And I see, true to form, the Reverend Doctor Dobson, child psychologist, has leapt to the defense of the hapless Republicans who are the victims of unruly pages.

Isn't it funny how Republicans are so worried about voter fraud when it involves, oh, 13 ballots out of a few million, but not when it involves...Republicans?

Who'da thunk it?

(I swear that woman in the NatWest commercial really says "tranny wine bar".)

23:26 BST

From the notebook

An important point from Atrios: We're all a bit annoyed that reporters are unwilling to call a lie a lie, but there's something even worse going on. I've found that reporters are unwilling to believe that they're being lied to, based on an odd belief that their power to fuck over the person who lied to them insulates them from things. There's such a strong presumption of innocence based on their own perceived power. Which they never use. It's weird. Maybe it's time to write to your favorite corporate media outlet and explain this to them, because they really don't seem to get it: They know you won't call them liars so they lie to you all the time. Why shouldn't they? What are you going to do?

Charles Pierce sees worrying signs of Actual Joementum in this poll showing Lieberman with a 10-point lead over Lamont, thanks to support from 69% of the Torture Party. Maybe he should say more about the fact that Boltin' Joe is defending the Republicans for covering-up sexual harassment of pages.

Pat Buchanan says the age of consent is 16 in DC because of the gay rights movement. Leaving aside the fact that this pre-dates the gay rights movement, it's higher than the age of consent was in many southern states at the time. Ages of consent in the US are now 16 or 18 in most states, but used to go as low as 13 in some. Apparently, the evil gay rights movement made us raise the ages of consent.*

Belinda supports Morford for President after reading his IM conversation with Cwboy43.

Have a bunch of photo-art political cartoons.

Boing Boing has a review and links to some more weird fashion. If you actually watch the video of the fashion show, it seems fairly normal except for the weird soundtrack - up to the 8:30 mark, and then there's a model dressed in bubbles, and then there are the animatronic dresses.

16:17 BST

And then there's our shame

It has now been two months since Riverbend's last post, "Summer of Goodbyes...". It worries me. I quoted from it before, but let me quote some more:

I realized how common it had become only in mid-July when M., a childhood friend, came to say goodbye before leaving the country. She walked into the house, complaining of the heat and the roads, her brother following closely behind. It took me to the end of the visit for the peculiarity of the situation to hit me. She was getting ready to leave before the sun set, and she picked up the beige headscarf folded neatly by her side. As she told me about one of her neighbors being shot, she opened up the scarf with a flourish, set it on her head like a pro, and pinned it snuggly under her chin with the precision of a seasoned hijab-wearer. All this without a mirror- like she had done it a hundred times over... Which would be fine, except that M. is Christian.

If M. can wear one quietly- so can I.

I've said goodbye this last month to more people than I can count. Some of the 'goodbyes' were hurried and furtive- the sort you say at night to the neighbor who got a death threat and is leaving at the break of dawn, quietly.

Some of the 'goodbyes' were emotional and long-drawn, to the relatives and friends who can no longer bear to live in a country coming apart at the seams.

Many of the 'goodbyes' were said stoically- almost casually- with a fake smile plastered on the face and the words, "See you soon" ... Only to walk out the door and want to collapse with the burden of parting with yet another loved one.

And now the news:

Think Progress reports that, according to a newly translated letter between them, Al Qaeda wants Bush to stay the course: "Indeed, prolonging the war is in our interest, with God's permission."

And this is on our hands.

03:33 BST

Evening webcrawl

Ezra has a response to Peter Beinart's inexplicable foray into jumping onto the bandwagon of a recent bit of right-wing pseudo-concern over free speech. I seem to recall mentioning earlier that they were up in arms because some opera house in Germany decided not to put on a show that they thought might offend Muslims because they were afraid of violence. Ezra's points are mostly good, but his commenters are even better, and quite a few add information to the stew. And some add a broader context. Someone called maurinsky, for example, said:

I'm trying to follow the incoherence of the right-wing. First, they tell us that we must fight against homosexuality, because that feeds Islamofascist belief that we are a degenerate nation. Now, they tell us we must be outraged that an opera that contains an image that would offend Islamofascists who are deeply offended by any representation of their Messiah is canceled.

Well, which is it? Do we want to offend them or not? Is it good to offend them or not?

(They also tell us we should respect even the most crackpot right-wing "Christians", but if we expect them to be tolerant of people who don't share their religion we're just being intolerant of their crackpot version of Christianity.)

And Seth Edenbaum posted a letter from Tony Judt about how his speaking engagement scheduled to take place at the Polish consulate was cancelled after threats from ADL President Abe Foxman to "smear the charge of Polish collaboration with anti-Israeli antisemites ... all over the front page of every daily paper in the city." Strangely, although this happened right in the US, the right-wing blogosphere did not erupt in outrage at the ADL.

Elsewhere: James Cogan asks, "Will a coup in Iraq follow the US elections?": Another comment has appeared in the American press foreshadowing a move by the Bush administration to remove the Shiite-dominated government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Iraq. In an opinion piece in the October 2 Washington Post, the newspapers deputy editorial editor Jackson Diehl strongly suggested that Washington may dispense with Malikis regime shortly after the November 7 US congressional elections. (The Diehl article is here.)

I get the feeling Michael Moore is really enjoying watching Hastert squirm.

Al Qaeda-Algerian partnership - they really hate the French. So, they're all members of the Republican Party after all.

Just a little reminder of why we shouldn't trust the machines to replace hand-counted paper ballots. (via)

Bill Moyers returns to PBS with a new series on "some of today's most pressing issues." I gather they want some audience participation (and they have some things for using on your weblog.)

01:26 BST

Friday, 06 October 2006

On the landscape

I'm rethinking my position on the sex scandal, in the sense that I no longer consider it trivial. It's emblematic of everything that's wrong with the Republicans, isn't it? Lack of oversight, corruption, cover-ups, you name it. And Phoenix woman has a good point when she says that Masturgate is a distraction: It certainly is -- for the GOP. With this scandal burning a hole in their evangelical support and causing their House leadership to neglect campaigning in favor of CYA and backstabbing, it's going to cost them the Congress unless they can find some way to stop it. So far, they haven't found a way, and every day more of Foley's victims are stepping forward. [...] If you really care about habeas corpus, you should understand that only a Democratic Congress has even a snowball's chance in hell of bringing it back. That's why PredatorGate is more important. (Also: Food Stamp Republican Outed Alleged Foley Accuser.)

Paul Krugman on The War Against Wages: Should we be cheering over the fact that the Dow Jones Industrial Average has finally set a new record? No. The Dow is doing well largely because American employers are waging a successful war against wages. (And a little help from PGL at Angry Bear.)

Cliff Schechter, "How To Talk To A Republican (Because You Absolutely Must)": I have been thanked by countless people over the last week because I went on MSNBC a few times and stood up to these lying charlatans and simply told it like it is. And I am thankful to every one of you who has been kind enough to post comments or contact me. But I promise you I'm not extraordinary. I just won't back down from these pathetic little Sean Hannity imposters.

John Ashcroft, man of integrity, lies like a rug about 9/11 briefing.

Cursor says: With the Nicaraguan elections just a month away, "U.S. officials once again parade about making threats to Nicaraguan voters," and Oliver North once again sounds the alarm that "Ortega's backers in the region have learned to use the 'democratic process' -- elections -- to their advantage."

I don't get this whole discussion about Libertarian Democrats. The political philosophy they're looking for is called "liberalism". What is the point of all this?

Mark Kernes, editor of Adult Video News, responds to another attack media by Morality in Media.

Swarming Car Video, (via), via Copious Free Time, which also provided a link to Not Starring and the information that Sean Connery turned down the role of Gandalf because he "didn't understand it."

20:32 BST

Our National Treasure

I know everyone has linked this already, but there's a reason for that.

At this point, if you're not keeping track of Keith Olberman's special comments, you're missing history. God knows how much longer he'll be allowed to stay on TV, but if you don't have broadband and you don't get MSNBC, you ought to go the library or a local cybercafe and see these things.

If anyone had doubted it before, last night Olberman firmly and forever proved he deserves the right to end his broadcasts with Murrow's sign-off, with this:

And lastly tonight, a Special Comment, about - lying. While the leadership in Congress has self-destructed over the revelations of an unmatched, and unrelieved, march through a cesspool. While the leadership inside the White House has self-destructed over the revelations of a book with a glowing red cover.

The President of the United States - unbowed, undeterred, and unconnected to reality - has continued his extraordinary trek through our country rooting out the enemies of freedom: The Democrats.

Yesterday at a fundraiser for an Arizona Congressman, Mr. Bush claimed, quote, "177 of the opposition party said 'You know, we don't think we ought to be listening to the conversations of terrorists."

The hell they did.

177 Democrats opposed the President's seizure of another part of the Constitution.
Just 25 days ago, on the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, this same man spoke to this nation and insisted, quote, "we must put aside our differences and work together to meet the test that history has given us."

Mr. Bush, this is a test you have already failed.

If your commitment to "put aside differences and work together" is replaced in the span of just three weeks by claiming your political opponents prefer to wait to see this country attacked again, and by spewing fabrications about what they've said, then the questions your critics need to be asking, are no longer about your policies.

They are, instead - solemn and even terrible questions, about your fitness to fulfill the responsibilities of your office.
But the premise of a President who comes across as a compulsive liar - is nothing less than terrifying.

A President who since 9/11 will not listen, is not listening - and thanks to Bob Woodward's most recent account - evidently has never listened.

A President who since 9/11 so hates or fears other Americans, that he accuses them of advocating deliberate inaction in the face of the enemy.

A President who since 9/11 has savaged the very freedoms he claims to be protecting from attack. Attack by terrorists, or by Democrats, or by both - it is now impossible to find a consistent thread of logic as to who Mr. Bush believes the enemy is.

But if we know one thing for certain about Mr. Bush, it is this:

This President - in his bullying of the Senate last month and in his slandering of the Democrats this month - has shown us that he believes whoever the enemies are - they are hiding themselves inside a dangerous cloak, called the Constitution of the United States of America.
It is not the Democrats whose inaction in the face of the enemy you fear, sir.

It is your own - before 9/11 - (and you alone know this), perhaps afterwards.

Please, sir, do not throw this country's principles away because your lies have made it such that you can no longer differentiate between the terrorists and the critics.

Good night, and good luck.

Read the rest, and watch the video of you can.

(C&L's Olberman Archive is here.)

14:21 BST

Media notes

It's that time again as the FCC tries again to eliminate caps on media concentration. Via Cookie Jill at Skippy the Bush Kangaroo.

Jeff Cohen's Journey Through the Cable News Looking Glass: "Imagine if the American right had been represented year after year on TV not by the Buchanans and the Hannittys, but by moderate Republican pundits allied with Christine Todd Whitman and Arlen Spector - moderates dismissive of their party's activists," writes Cohen. "Now imagine that the American left had been represented on TV not by the Kinsleys and Colmeses, but by progressive pundits like Barbara Ehrenreich and Jim Hightower. Neither scenario is easy to imagine, which says a lot about the real biases of TV news. ... Genuflecting to the right was the natural bent of every cable news executive I ever met." (The irony is that Barbara Ehrenreich and Him Hightower are nowhere near as far to the fringe as Hannity and O'Reilly are, let alone Ann Coulter and Jerry Falwell. And neither is Michael Moore, for that matter. No, if cable news were to be as far-left as it is currently far-right, you'd have to have TV shows hosted by people like T-Grace Atkinson and Valerie Solanas, at the very least. Not that we'd want that. But.)

This is almost funny: "Software Being Developed to Monitor Opinions of U.S.," the NYT tells us: A consortium of major universities, using Homeland Security Department money, is developing software that would let the government monitor negative opinions of the United States or its leaders in newspapers and other publications overseas. ... A $2.4 million grant will finance the research over three years. Whereas for a hundred grand or so a year, you could hire a couple-few people to just read the papers. (Gary Farber could cover the entire English-language press by himself.) More from Mediabloodhound.

Feminism Without Clothes, via Theda Vamp.

I haven't mentioned The Drudge Retort lately, so I will now. It looks a lot like that other guy's page, but not enough. Otherwise, it would be pretty funny to send a secret squad of activists to change the homepage of corporate journalists' laptops....

Wedding cakes in Britain aren't light whitecake the way they are in America, they're fruitcake covered with marzipan. Yeah, I know. I needed you to know that before you check out this Discworld wedding cake, via Epicycle, which also links to some security theater at The Onion.

01:45 BST

Thursday, 05 October 2006

A small sampling

Mark Evanier doesn't think much of Phil Angelides' campaign (and also supplies a video of Hitchcock's cameos).

Red State Son: "Isn't it funny how a Repub sex scandal quickly overshadows domestic fascism?" And the link to what Susie Bright says is a gift. Go read.

Steve Bates, "A Different Kind Of Cover-Up": Heads up, everyone: Americans who are not congressional pages are also threatened with being screwed. (via)

Or... ESPN doesn't fake crowd noise for politicians. You be the judge.

Crab Fu (Thanks to Dominic for the tip-off.)

17:42 BST

Telling stories

At Media Matters, Eric Boehlert talks about the political book that the Beltway elite are pushing right now, Mark Halperin's The Way to Win, which advises Democrats to win by not being like Democrats - and describes it as dishonest and depressing. Of course, the Stepford Press, as Bob Somerby has been telling us for years, is never going to admit that their made-up narratives about American politics, and their double-standards for the two major parties, are more responsible than the failures of any individual Democratic candidate for the fact that Republicans have taken over the government. And that way, they can avoid admitting that the real problem with the Democratic Party is not that they are too much like Democrats, but that they aren't enough like Democrats.

Which brings me back to these paragraphs from Bill Scher's Wait! Don't Move to Canada!, which is the book you read if you really want to know what's wrong with the Democratic Party, and the way to win:

Win or lose, the GOP talks about three core principles: less government, lower taxes, and a strong military. It doesn't matter that when in charge, Republican politicians have been known to grow government, raise taxes, and stretch the military too thin. Party leaders have decided that less government, lower taxes, and a strong military is what they stand for and what they run on. That's their story, and they're sticking with it for good reason - because more often than not, it has helped them win.

When they do lose, Republicans don't devolve into making soul-searching spectacles of themselves. There's no debate about whether they still support lower taxes or if they should finally give peace a chance. They have their factions and their squabbles, but the big picture stuff is set in stone. Right after any election, they can get down to the business of dismantling our government at home and provoking conflict abroad.

Not so for Democrats. There is no clear consensus within the Democratic Party on how to address fundamental policy matters such as the role of government, the ideal level of taxation, and the proper direction for our foreign policy, not to mention how to approach hot-button social issues such as abortion and gay rights. And that makes it hard to be defiant in the face of defeat. How can you confidently jump back into the fray if you can't be sure that your buddies have your back? If Democrats clearly and consistently articulated a set of principles, and if they supported those principles in good times and bad, people would know what they were fighting for and be willing to fight that much harder.

The Democratic Party has run from it's ideals rather than defending them. Individual politicians may make the case in their speeches, but without a party to back them up, this doesn't go very far. It's all very well to point out that the Republicans' slogans are incomplete - that they believe in lower taxes for the rich, smaller government services for the public, and a stronger military budget - but until Democrats embrace and fight for liberal government, that's only half a story, and half is not enough.

It is especially not enough, of course, when you have a press corps that is only too willing to tell the Republicans' story for them while ignoring our story - the people's story. The Republicans have their story packaged and ready for the press corps every single day, and the press eats it up. We have to give them our much better story.

And we can't worry about being called "shrill". They called us "shrill" during the civil rights movement, too, but we were much more successful then than we have been with our new, "let's be moderate" strategy. For the last 15 years, the Republicans have been deafeningly shrill, and that's worked pretty well for them. We used to be the fiery liberals, and we used to win. Let's do that again.

13:10 BST

Wednesday, 04 October 2006


Jason Stokes in comments:

Frankly, I don't think anybody believes that this scandal is about sexual harrassment or legal hypocrisy. It's about a 50 year old gay pervert seducting your sons. On the Huffington Post, it's being called "predatorgate" and Mark Foley is being labelled, indifferently, a pedophile.

Now, what Foley did was sleazy and shocking and wrong, but it wasn't pedophila, by social or medical definition. It's only the gay angle that makes such labelling possible. Jerry Seinfeld dated Shoshanna Lonstein when she was 17. He met her in a public park. But the media isn't going to start labelling beloved funnyman Seinfeld a pedophile predator who lurks in public parks.

It's a gay panic. And although the Democrats might ride the wave of this scandal to victory in the midterms, they will always have the knowledge that they pandered to the worst biases of the electorate in order to do it. Bad and shocking though this scandal is, on the grand scheme of things this is the LEAST of the scandals, in reference to torture and warrantless wiretapping and suspension of habeus corpus. But, alas, such abstract issues have little chance of riling the couch dwellers onto their feet, but GAY REPUBLICAN PERVERT SEDUCING YOUR SONS has instant resonance.

I'm afraid this is, to a large extent, true, and a lot of Democrats seem to be playing it that way. (Not just Democrats, but there has to be a reason that the Dems sent a guy who seemed to think it was all about Foley being gay to talk to Rachel Maddow, of all people. I'm not entirely sure they even realize what this story is about. Which, alas, seems to be par for the course with the Dems these days.)

To me the thing Foley did that was wrong was sexual harassment. I don't care about the ephebiphilia - Jason is quite right that there's nothing particularly sick or unusual about finding adolescents attractive. There isn't much difference between a 16-year-old and a 22-year-old, anyway - this is most emphatically not pedophilia.

But pages are in a vulnerable position - they're usually smart kids who are hoping for a career in government, and the last thing they want is to alienate members of Congress. (Especially one of these vindictive Republicans.) This would be as true if they were 30 or 40, rather than highschool age.

The evidence seems fairly strong that Foley behaved like a pushy troll who abused his power over people who were dependent on his good will toward them. The fact that his victims were teenaged boys rather than, say, women with law degrees, does not make what he did more morally reprehensible, but it does make it more politically embarassing. Because the right-wing pushes the idea that gay men are pedophiles anyway, and now the Democrats see a another way to drive a wedge between Republicans and one of their party leaders. That's right, it's not their actual moral degeneracy that makes the Republicans degenerates, it's their gay moral degeneracy!

21:30 BST

People are talkin'

Oh, gosh, the NYT let Noam Chomsky have some of their precious column inches. "Latin America declares independence": The mechanisms of imperial control - violence and economic warfare, hardly a distant memory in Latin America - are losing their effectiveness, a sign of the shift toward independence. Washington is now compelled to tolerate governments that in the past would have drawn intervention or reprisal.

William Rivers Pitt, "In Case I Disappear": In case I disappear, remember this. America is an idea, a dream, and that is all. We have borders and armies and citizens and commerce and industry, but all this merely makes us like every other nation on this Earth. What separates us is the idea, the simple idea, that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are our organizing principles. We can think as we please, speak as we please, write as we please, worship as we please, go where we please. We are protected from the kinds of tyranny that inspired our creation as a nation in the first place. That was the idea. That was the dream. It may all be over now, but once upon a time, it existed. No good idea ever truly dies. The dream was here, and so was I, and so were you. Via Making Light. Additionally, this.

Glenn Greenwald, "Mark Foley and the unmasked Republican Party": In need of moral absolution and support from a respected and admired figure who possesses moral authority among Hastert's morally upstanding Republican base, to whom does Hastert turn? A priest or respected reverend? An older wise political statesman with a reputation for integrity and dignity? No, there is only one person with sufficient moral credibility among the increasingly uncomfortable moralistic Republican base who can give Hastert the blessing he needs: Rush Limbaugh.

Josh Marshall: This deserves more attention. A man walking with his young son goes up to the Vice President at a public appearance and tells him his Iraq policy is "reprehensible." He's later arrested for "assaulting" VP Cheney. Now he's suing. The guy's name is Steve Howard. He's suing, by the way.

Hm, I wonder what this is about: The Toledo Blade pointed out yesterday that buried on page 347 of Bob Woodward's State of Denial is this not so flattering Bush remark about Ken Blackwell, who other Republicans -- including the President's brother -- have touted as a rising GOP star [...]Was sleep deprivation getting to the delicate presidential disposition? Or is there some other Blackwell nuttiness that's a GOP secret, and does it have anything to do with Blackwell's tanking gubernatorial campaign?

Notes to Atrios: Those of us who don't subscribe to NYT Select have no idea what you're talking about. (I won't see that in the IHT until tomorrow, anyway.) Also, check out Mike Ford's paean to Friedman's use of metaphor.

15:33 BST

Never talk about politics or religion

For the last two days, every AAR show I've heard that takes callers has received at least one call from someone demanding to know something like, "What about Gerry Studds and Barney Frank?" They explicitly accuse Frank of running a vice ring. (The short answer is that no, he didn't.) Studds did, indeed, have an affair with a 17-year-old page back in the early '70s. But, whatever some people want to make of it, neither of these men were guilty of sexual harassment. (Comparisons are also made with Clinton, but he did not sexually harass anyone, either.) This one circulated fast, and I'm not sure who to blame, but it had the feel of Free Republic.

The real issues in this case involve both harassment and the refusal of the Republican leadership to deal with it, but also the fact that Foley got a law passed making his online activities illegal. Understand this: If Foley had sex with a 17-year-old in Washington, DC, that wasn't breaking a law, because the age of consent in DC is 16. However, the federal law Foley created made it illegal to have sexual online contact with anyone under 18, and that's the principle criminal issue.

Personally, I object to a law that makes it illegal to talk online about sex when you're old enough to actually engage in sex in the flesh, but since it's his law, he really should have avoided breaking that one. Real sexual harassment, which is clearly at issue, has no justification, regardless of the ages of the people involved. (Rachel has links to the transcripts of the e-mails and IMs if you want to see them. And my thanks to The Poor Man for promoting the term "Masturgate".)

Elsewhere: Eric Alterman asks: Has anyone yet asked Lieberman point blank: "Sir, if elected, will you promise to serve out your term and refuse any appointment offered to you by a Republican president, and thereby open your seat to a Republican appointment by the governor?" If so, please let us know. Eric also says McCain blew it at the Tory conference.

Fred Clark examines a recent re-write of the catechism: Q: Who made you? A: God made me. Q: What else did God make? A: God made me and all things -- except Steve.

The mysterious author of Xymphora can't quite work out which story about Omar Saeed Sheikh is true.

From Think Progress, Bush plans Bolton recess appointment: Online reports, "According to an administration source who requested anonymity, if the Senate does not vote on Bolton before his current recess appointment expires December 18, the President will again name Bolton to the post during Congress post-election recess." (Can no one put a stake in this appointment?) Also, Condoleezza Rice is a liar - but you knew that. (Can she really be as stupid as she seems? And doesn't she mind seeming so stupid?) And I guess I don't look like an American.

03:26 BST

The conversation

David Neiwert on Torture and fascism: Fascists are particularly fond of torture because it represents such a complete expression of the fascist will to power. So when a nation adopts torture as an officially condoned policy -- as the United States has just done -- it immediately raises the specter that, indeed, it may be descending into the fascist abyss.

And (via): President Clinton Jails 938,000 Illegal Enemy Combatants.

Tristero: Poor Chris Hitchens. There isn't enough bourbon in the world to erase the horror and humiliation he must be enduring now that he knows that Henry Kissinger - Henry Kissinger - was a major Bush adviser for the Iraq fiasco. Oh, the humanity!

"Yes! You can love your country without worshipping the state" - like they do in Brazil.

I really love that quote from Condi: Rice angrily rejected those assertions yesterday, saying that it was "incomprehensible" that she would have ignored such explicit intelligence from senior CIA officials and that she received no warning at the meeting of an attack within the United States. Yes indeed, we've been saying that for years.

I have to say I was interested in Bill Frist's desire to appease the Taliban. But I guess that was just the liberal media "taking it out of context".

Whoa, ESPN fakes crowd response for politicians - fake cheers for Bush, fake boos for John Kerry.

How's the economy? Oh, boy.

Sure, the IMF can advise Argentina - and Argentina can laugh in their faces.

TalkLeft reports that detainees are filing suit on the new habeas law: Great news on the military tribunal, torture and habeas restriction bill. A pre-emptive lawsuit to declare it unconstitutional was filed today by 25 prisoners at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan.

You may have noticed, some time ago, my mentioning that the Washington press corps all seem to have Drudge as their home page. That's worth remembering, because in some ways Drudge has replaced the front pages of the NYT and WaPo as driving the news. I'm beginning to wonder whether we shouldn't have someone spitting our own spin at Drudge really fast to see if we can bend his mind. Anyway, it's good to see that more people are now talking about how Drudge leads the news.

"Things I didn't know about the ACLU"

Another timely poster from Tild~.

I decided to post this because it looked kind of spooky.

00:50 BST

Tuesday, 03 October 2006

You know it's true

Osama Laughed:

Osama bin Laden laughed at the absurdity of the statements of those supporting the Military Commissions Act of 2006. At the fact that, with a straight face (for, indeed, what other face does he have?), Senator Mitch McConnell could say, "We are at war against extremists who want to kill our citizens, cripple our economy, and discredit the principles we hold dear--freedom and democracy," even as he voted to gut some of those principles like a river trout before a campfire. McConnell continued, to Osama's great amusement, "This system is exceedingly fair since al-Qaida in no way follows the Geneva Conventions or any other international norm. Al-Qaida respects no law, no authority, no legitimacy but that of its own twisted strain of radical Islam. Al-Qaida grants no procedural rights to Americans they capture." Yes, Osama thinks, one of his great achievements was to bring the great and wide United States into the caves with him. -- The Rude Pundit

23:20 BST

Things to see

I got my copy of Wait! Don't Move to Canada! today, which means I still haven't read it, yet, except for the intro by Sam and Janeane and some of the first chapter, in which Bill quite rightly says that Democrats seem to be portraying themselves as the party of no values. As always, his writing style is wonderfully smooth and transparent. I love that about him. But enough about me - Bill will be interviewed on Rachel's show tonight. It's not like I don't hear him interviewed on Sam's show every week, but I'm looking forward to hearing the interaction between Bill and Rachel. (Meanwhile, Bill wonders if Republicans will decide whether Hastert is worth it.)

The General writes to James Dobson about Mitt Romney.

Lisa English thinks we may be seeing bits of Regional Fascism, and also recommends Danny Schechter on Bill Moyers.

Good post on the Foley scandal from Twistedchick. Taylor Marsh has the GOP response. Mahabarb puts it in context.

Arthur Silber says Paranoia Is the Only Rational Response.

You asked, "What can I do?"

Today's extra-credit blog: Cutting to the Chase.

Another recommendation for Eyes on the Prize from Mikey.

White House Releases Updated Version of the Constitution

I want this. (If you don't know why, click here.)

21:58 BST

An important message

Jim Macdonald says:


You are not required to obey an unlawful order.

You are required to disobey an unlawful order.

You swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions is straightforward and clear. Under Article VI of the Constitution, it forms part of the supreme law of the land.

You personally will be held responsible for all of your actions, in all countries, at all times and places, for the rest of your life. "I was only following orders" is not a defense.

What all this is leading to:

If you are ordered to violate Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, it is your duty to disobey that order. No "clarification," whether passed by Congress or signed by the president, relieves you of that duty.

If you are ordered to violate Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions, this is what to do:

1. Request that your superior put the order in writing.

2. If your superior puts the order in writing, inform your superior that you intend to disobey that order.

3. Request trial by courtmartial.

You will almost certainly face disciplinary action, harassment of various kinds, loss of pay, loss of liberty, discomfort and indignity. America relies on you and your courage to face those challenges.

We, the people, need you to support and defend the Constitution. I am certain that your honor and patriotism are equal to the task.

Read the rest, including the comments - and pass it on.

19:20 BST

Conservatism is a sex crime

How many people really believe that the conservative anti-abortion movement is about saving lives? Well, if you do, you're an idiot. We already know that laws against abortion don't save lives, don't stop abortion, and in fact actually cost lives. We already know that the policies that reduce abortion aren't conservative, they are liberal. We already know that the real foundation of the anti-abortion movement isn't reverence for live but contempt for women. Sex=women=sex=women, and they hate them both. That's what it's all about, and that's the ideology that causes all of the problems they say they are about solving. The more they target sex as a problem, the more sex problems they cause.

Which came first, the chickenhawk or the egg? What is it with the Grand Old Perverts? Well, it's the conservatism, stupid. The social conservatism, the source from which the worst sexual problems flow and, in consequence, a whole lotta sex crime. Like I say, the world's best kept open secret is the fact that sexual repression is the significant factor in the backgrounds of serial rapists, serial killers, child-molesters, and so on. And although today's big headline sex scandal only involves a pederast and his enablers, it's only on the "family values" right that you find people saying it's "less sinful" to rape your own child than it is to look at pornography, or even justifying child battering (sometimes fatally) by claiming Biblical instruction not to spare the rod. In the United States, the consistent factor among child abusers and the sexually-violent generally is a strict, conservative religious background. And that's also the number one reason why, no, I don't respect their "values".

Comic relief: NPR interview with Sasha Baron Cohen, via Cursor.

13:23 BST


Remember when Sam Hamm and Joe Dante did "Homecoming", which anticipated the emergence of a dead soldier's mother asking why her son died, before Cindy Sheehan came along? Well, I've been noticing these stories about guys going into schools and killing the girls - the Pennsylvania shooting at the Amish school apparently makes three in the last week. And my first thought was that Sam and Joe's new one is Alli Sheldon's "The Screwfly Solution".

Republicans Pass Mandatory Child Strip Search Bill: The Student Teacher Safety Act of 2006 (HR 5295) would require any school receiving federal funding--essentially every public school--to adopt policies allowing teachers and school officials to conduct random, warrantless searches of every student, at any time, on the flimsiest of pretexts. Saying they suspect that one student might have drugs could give officials the authority to search every student in the building. (via) So, official child-molesting, then.

Tom Tomorrow knew it in 2003. (Also, you're one of the world's richest people. via)

Are *you* an enemy combatant? (Via Good Nonsense.)

The clueless Dems sent Bart Stupak to discuss the Mark Foley scandal with Rachel Maddow, and he seems to think the issue is that Foley is, well, someone with "a different lifestyle." That is, he seems to think it's about Foley being gay. And he said this stuff to Rachel Maddow. I mean. Really.

Thanks to Hilzoy for directing my attention to this bra, which I admit I would buy in a minute if they had it for under thirty quid. But, boy, they really don't.

(I've been shooting in my garden again - used a tripod this time.)

01:16 BST

Monday, 02 October 2006

Blogger's notebook

Lisa English at RuminateThis recommends this interview with a retired CIA agent who no longer believes the official narrative of 9/11.

Elton Beard has The Ticket.

Let's see what the Evil Corporation is doing today: Word from the retailer now is that Wal-Mart is set on converting its workforce to a heavily part-time, salary capped, labor pool. Oh, great. (Also: What Ahmadinejad Thinks. He's probably right.)

How to tell if you're a Republican

The Psychotic Patriot has been giving out lots of awards.

The Constitution of the United States 2.0. (via)

Bill Scher has more on why Mark Halperin is wrong. (I wonder what Halperin thinks liberal core principles actually are....)

The Society for the Preservation of Mike has set up Against Entropy.

I never expected Moody Bluegrass. (via)

Vince Guerrera has started a blog about his various visual finds. (These are neat.)

A bunch of generators - your princess name, your dress, villainess name, fantasy character, etc. Via Elayne, who also links to the Wartime Catchphrase Generator.

22:04 BST

Scattered showers

Wayne Pearce (of) tips me to Hilzoy's Public Service Announcement that PBS is going to re-broadcast Eyes on the Prize this week, and you should check your local listings to see when you can catch it. This is an awesome series and if you didn't see it the first time, I tell you three times you should see it now.

The HuffPo has American Stranger's Breaking the Law posted - have a look.

Frank Rich, "So You Call This Breaking News?": That the secretary of state would rush to defend the indefensible shows where this administrations priorities are: its now every man and woman in the White House for himself and herself in defending the fictions, even four-year-old fictions, that took us into the war and botched its execution. When they talk about staying the course, what they are really talking about is protecting their spin and their reputations. They'll leave it to the 140,000-plus American troops staying the course in a quagmire to face the facts. (via)

MB Williams finds A slip of the pen marker: As I continue my slog through the Abramoff documents this morning, yet another glaring concern, though one which somehow got past the redactors. Keep an eye on Wampum, because she's using a fine-toothed comb.

16:30 BST wound the autumnal city

Young Attitude Siren shelf bra

Bra of the Week

Just in case you missed 'em, Bob Geiger has the Saturday editorial cartoons.

More Keyboard Kommandos! (via)

Destroy some desks, via Biomes Blog.

Shakespeare's Sister writes a letter to Security Moms.

Today's extra-credit blog to read is Blogenlust.

Ken McLeod found a painfully appropriate quote over at Lenin's Tomb.

Big Tent Democrat says: Mark Halperin, of ABC's The Note fame, actually seems to get it better than just about all Democrats, until he proves he is just as stupid, or cowardly. Ah. Well.

Bill Scher was one of Tucker's guests last week, and he has video posted - and, you know, I still manage to get ticked off and want to shout at the screen when I hear the stuff that comes out of these wingers?

When all your friends hate you, blame the liberals.

Josh says GOP congressional staff was warning pages about Foley five years ago. (And, please note, Foley is a sexual harasser, but not a pedophile.)

The General has decided to let a Frenchman an atheist, Austin Cline, post at his blog on Sundays. This week, he says you could become an enemy combatant, you don't get faith-based protection from sexual predators, and we're redefining good and evil.

02:22 BST

Sunday, 01 October 2006

Let us now review

Here's John Clute's obit for Mike from the Independent (via). When we drove off to Wales yesterday, I'd decided to re-read How Much Just for the Planet? for the trip (yes, that's the funny one), and when I opened it was surprised to see Mike's signature on the title page. He must have signed it when he was here, but I don't recall asking him to. (Not that I trust my memory all that much, but I have better things to remember his presence for.)

Anyway, a bit of catch-up:

Via TalkLeft, a WaPo article that pretty much says that Bush fired Colin Powell, the only member of the administration who was actually popular.

Georgia10 alerts us to an article by Erwin Chemerinsky saying that: With little public attention or even notice, the House of Representatives has passed a bill that undermines enforcement of the First Amendment's separation of church and state. The Public Expression of Religion Act - H.R. 2679 - provides that attorneys who successfully challenge government actions as violating the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment shall not be entitled to recover attorneys fees. The bill has only one purpose: to prevent suits challenging unconstitutional government actions advancing religion. This one has been in the pipeline for a while, but now it's here - passed 244-173. 26 Dems voted for it - was one of them yours? (More from the theofascist week in review here, and just plain Fascism 101.)

Vast Left is unimpressed when we're advised by the "I believe in free speech but" brigade not to speak freely because "people will kill you for dissing their invisible friends." (Of course, given the kinds of bills that are floating around in DC right now, it's not Muslims killing me that I'm worried about.)

Condi Rice covered up a pre-9/11 meeting in which CIA director George Tenet and his counterterrorism chief Cofer Black made clear that there was a real threat - and she brushed it off - in July of 2001. (You remember, Tenet's hair was on fire?) (Also, Denny Hastert claims liberals want to release terrorists, but he covered-up for Foley so he could sexually harass more kids, and Newt Gingrich supplies a stupid defense.)

Lambert says Bush was for human rights before he was against them. Well, he said he was, anyway, but there's no evidence he ever did give a damn. Meanwhile, MJS (with a little help from Juan Cole), knows one reason why Bush wants to torture people into giving false information - so he can justify more stupid military actions. (But I think there's another reason, which is that Bush wants to torture people. He likes it. He wants to. And anyway, it terrorizes people, and he wants to do that, too.)

23:48 BST

Avedon Carol at The Sideshow, October 2006

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