Saturday, January 17, 2004

Poor MoDo 

One of the super-aware Iowa voters, after commenting that Dean is "handsome," then says:

''I don't want to date him,'' he says, by way of clarification.

MoDo, on the other hand, does:

I decided to use my five minutes to find out if [Dean] has the sunny side Americans love in their leaders. I'd ask him what he'd want to do for fun on a Saturday night if he could play hooky. I'd ask him the last time he did something goofy and what made him really laugh.

While I was waiting for him to call, I grew more and more afraid that he'd get angry at me for wasting his time with piffle. I cowered by the phone, jumping when it rang.

Calling Dr. Freud on those "bulging" neck muscles MoDo writes of... It's really too transparent, isn't it? And it's a shame....


Caught the last half of last week's game, including the 4th and 26th play—take it like a man, you gaseous pill-popping Pharisaic buffoon—in the lobby of the downtown Marriott, where they'd wheeled out the big TVs. A nice mix of business-people, tourists, students, skateboarders, streetpeople, and the random, all very knowdledgeable about football. Very Philly. Guess I'll be back there tomorrow. Indeed, I hope Jim Capazolla can stay here (especially if we find a way to help him, as Farmer and Leah have already said).

A Friend Of All Of Us Is In Trouble 

What's wrong with this picture?

Andrew Sullivan, among the least generous of writers (in his writing) I can think of, and not a very good one at that, has a pledge month in support of his blog, unpleansantly named The Daily Dish, and raises, so he says, $80,000.

James Capozolla, the generous creator of that elegant, insightful, amusing, and always beautifully written online magazine, The Rittenhouse Review, and its "lighter side" companion, TTR, after a rough patch of some notably rotten luck, finds himself tettering on the brink of having to leave Phildelphia, a city that is home to him now, and which he loves, a dreaded move which will undermine, among other things, his ability to blog to his fullest capacity.

So much is wrong with that picture, one hardly has the time to enumerate, so let's pursue a happier thought.

We can do something about this.

When I first started reading The Rittenhouse Review, Jim had no tip jar; the only solicitations he ever made were on behalf of other worthy bloggers who needed some help when ends refused to meet. Then he had an outside job. Now he doesn't. Then there was no problem for him to offer his magazine to his reader gratis, now there is. Nothing all that complicated here.

(If you are a newcomer to "Rittenhouse," Jim's archives are a garden of delights; just point your mouse, click and enjoy)

Whether you've yet to discover Jim's work, or you are a longtime reader, if your visits to "blogtopia," (thank-you, skippy) have become an important support to your own sanity, if they have enriched your life, you have something to thank Jim for, because he is certainly among those left of center bloggers who have had the most inspiring influence on other bloggers.

Look, when an Alterman, or a Conason, or a Franken write a book, we buy it. A Jim Capazolla gives us years of an on-line magazine, and we're not sure what to do to support it. Jim needs to know if his blogging is feasible. We need to know that Jim will continue to be there, blogging. That seems fairly straightforward to me.

Pay Pal makes it easy; most of us don't have the disposable income to become Peggy Guggenheim type patrons (although, if there are any Peggy wannabes out there, can't imagine a better bet than Jim for future output that'll make you proud, and yes I'm also talking to you secretive MacArthur Foundation people), but that's not what's required to change that picture we drew at the beginning.

If enough of us click on that conveniently positioned icon on Jim's fabulous sidebar (even his sidebar tells you so much about Jim as a man and a writer), even the smallest contribution becomes magnified. Don't not click because you've only got an extra 5 or 10 bucks to contribute. (Do the math: if 1500 readers paid two dollars a month...it all adds up, doesn't it) So don't be shy about reminding friends and family to do their share; for those whom you know who don't yet know about Jim's blog, you'll be giving them a gift.

Susan at the wonderful Suburban Guerrilla, another fine person currently having more than her share of life challenges, has more on the subject.

aWol's moondoggle 

UPI (such as they are) has detail on the Cheney-driven, secret deliberations leading up to Bush's moondoggle announcement. But, for some reason, getting the program underway won't be a cakewalk. Gwyneth Shaw of the Orlando Sentinel:

President Bush's vision for the space program is aimed at stirring inspiration among Americans. But some, in the wake of his speech last week, are asking a more mundane but pressing question: Why?

Why indeed? Let's review. The moondoggle:

  • Gives aWol a bump in the polls; lots of headlines using the words "bold" and "vision"

  • Makes a good theme for the SOTU, especially after last year's lie-filled fiasco

  • Lots of money promised to Texas ('nuff said) and Florida (Jebbie's swing state)

  • Takes the first step in the PNAC's mandate to militarize space

What's not to like?

US throwing money at "moderate" Iraqi sheiks, but using British map from 1918 

Quick! Does Rummy know? The Independent reports:

As the United States scrambles to end a dispute with Shia leaders over plans to elect an interim government in Iraq before July, it has emerged that American commanders are seeking to reach out to tribal leaders by relying on a report devised in 1918 by Britain, the country's then ruler.

Lieutenant-Colonel Alan King, head of the Tribal Affairs Bureau set up by the US-led coalition last month, admitted last week that he had been referring to the pages of the British report to fathom Iraq's network of tribal sheikhs - regardless of the fact that it dates back to the First World War.

The revelation is not likely to improve confidence in the ability of the US to sort out the deepening muddle over how it means to relinquish political power to the Iraqi people by this summer.

"Not likely to improve confidence"—I love that British understatement!

Hey, they fired all the gay translators—maybe the map guys were gay too?

But the program is interesting: we need to know where the sheiks are so we can throw money at them:

For Col King the advantages are clear: he receives reports from them on local affairs, a precious commodity since the Iraqi administration fell into decline after the first Gulf War and almost disappeared with the second. His bureau - the Office of Provincial Outreach - was awarded US$900,000 last week to establish "Tribal Democracy Centres", to provide resources to the sheikhs.

Why would we want to give the sheiks money? Could it have anything to do with the elections? Edward Wong of The Times reports:

As they head into a crucial meeting at the United Nations, American officials are struggling to cobble together an electoral process that will favor Iraqi moderates for the handover of sovereignty just five and a half months away.

Moderates being the sheiks, as opposed to the Shiites, I would think. So the first step is to buy them off. Hey, it worked with the warlords in Afghanistan! Didn't it?

Army lawyers decry Bush's quest for "monarchical" powers 

We know how vicious and vindictive Bush can be. So these men deserve our praise for standing up for principle on behalf of the Guatanamo detainees who are their clients.

Neil Lewis of the Times reports:

Five uniformed military lawyers assigned to defend detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, have filed a brief with the Supreme Court, challenging the basis of President Bush's plan to use military tribunals without civilian court review to try some of the detainees there.

In their 30-page brief, filed late Wednesday, the lawyers assert that President Bush worked to "create a legal black hole" and overstepped his constitutional authority as commander in chief in the way he set up the program for military tribunals.

The government has tried to create a military tribunal system thoroughly insulated from the civilian court system. But in their brief, which civilian and military legal experts consider extraordinary because the defense lawyers are military officers challenging their commander in chief's authority, the lawyers are, in effect, trying to jump over the fence into the civilian system.

"Under this monarchical regime, those who fall into the black hole may not contest the jurisdiction, competency or even the constitutionality of the military tribunals," the defense lawyers wrote. They said they were not taking a position on whether the president may deny habeas corpus to people simply detained at Guantánamo, but once he puts them before a tribunal as the government is contemplating, "he has moved outside his role as commander in chief."

Lt. Cmdr. Charles Swift, who represents one of two detainees who have been assigned lawyers, said in an interview that though the brief was extraordinary, "It was unavoidable as part of our duty to represent the interests of our clients."

The defense lawyers are, of course, upholding the rule of law and our Constitution—exactly the "soft power" Bush is so eagerly trashing. Meanwhile, the SCLM natters on about sweaters...

Dean leaves MoDo hanging 

From the Drudge Report (and whoever would have told him?):

After scheduling a phone interview with Dowd at her hotel in Des Moines, the candidate never called!

Interesting, and if true, I don't like what it says about Dean's staffwork...

Well, we'll see if Maureen can manage to rise above it all—not!

Dave "I'm Writing as Bad as I Can" Brooks still on the learning curve 

Brooks burbles:

Dean's vague about what he's for, but he's venomous toward anyone who disagrees with him. If elected [sic], political discourse would sink to new lows.

If who is elected, Dave? "Political discourse"? You? And doesn't the World's Greatest Newspaper (not!) have editors to take care of this short of thing? Oh well, when you're "still on the learning curve" I guess these little glitches will happen...

The thing is, I didn't think Brooks was still on the learning curve for grammar, but with the Republicans and their MWs, no matter how bad you think it is, it's worse.

Meanwhile, the claim, coming from Brooks, that "political discourse would sink to new lows" is a really good operational definition of chutzpah.

US Florida Representatie Robert Wexler brings suit on paper trail for electronic voting machines 

Anthony Man and Kathy Bushouse of the Sun-Sentinel report:

Arguing that he's exhausted other options and that time is running out to ensure an accurate 2004 election, U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Boca Raton, turned to the courts Friday in his quest to require paper printouts from electronic voting machines.

In a lawsuit against Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood and Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Theresa LePore, Wexler asked a judge to conclude that both officials are violating their duties to ensure votes are counted accurately.

Wexler's desired fix is a printed duplicate of all ballots cast on electronic voting machines used in Broward, Palm Beach and other Florida counties. He said such a paper trail is the only way to guarantee fair elections because it's the only way to conduct an accurate recount in a close race.

Wexler said he's long been concerned about the lack of a paper record for touch-screen machines, and his fears were confirmed by last week's special election for Florida House District 91 in Broward and Palm Beach counties.

Ellyn Bogdanoff was declared the winner by 12 votes. Voting machines showed that 137 people who went to the polls that day cast no ballot even though it was the day's only election.

The outcome prompted him to go to court because he's been writing letters to Hood and LePore for months and nothing has happened.

"It is mind-boggling to me because there is nothing partisan about this issue. There is nothing Democratic about it, and there is nothing Republican about it. This is as American as apple pie," he said.

I wonder why the Republicans would oppose this?

Help Support the Art of Blogging 

I hope I'm not too late here, but go help out Jim Cappozzola at Rittenhouse Review. Especially anyone with some extra $$$ to fling around. Fling some Cappozzola's way. Send him some money. Donate some funding to someone who really deserves it. Support the Jim Cappozzola for Full Time Philadelphia Blogger Campaign. Keep Jim in Philly. Personally, I can't fully understand why he doesn't want to live in the middle of nowhere. I love the middle of "Rustic" nowhere myself, not necessarily unconditionally, but would reccomend it to anyone who finds value in four cords of firewood and a smelly wet dog and doesn't mind buying their pizzas at a friggin' gas station. But, if Jim wants to live in Philly with a bunch of crazy Pennsylvanians I'm all for it. Plus, buying pizzas at a gas station ain't really all it's puffed up to be. Despite what you hear on the Food Channel. Take my word for that. And Philly has good pizza. Take my word for that too. So, if you can, go help Jim Cappozzola stay in Philadelphia where he can do his thing, eat real pizza, and be happy. The guy is an artist for Christ sake. Support the Arts!

And if you think I'm crazy, and I suspect an un-godly number of you do, forget about what I say. Just go HERE


Flashback Man of the Year - 2003 

Stoopid Hippy Morons!

Gad-dang longhair hippie scarfhead war protestors! Whats that sign mean, "Go USA"? We ain't goin' nowhere. Patriots stay right where they is told to stay. And whats with the songbird t-shirt? Probably part of some kind of vegetarian sprout eating atheist cult of enviro-terrist extremiss liberals. Nuke the songbirds! LOL. I'll bet this guy went out picking up under-age dates at some leftist political love-in soons as he was done hating America. Hey you! Hippy! Yer mustache is on fire! Heh heh.... see that's funny because he's probably a homosexual too. Flaming mustache - homosexual - get it?

Flashback Photo: Hippy War demonstrator. Spring, 2003

reductio ad absurdum


Friday, January 16, 2004

Cheney and Scalia wire up the Energy Task Force Decision while duck hunting together 

David Savage of the LA Times reports:

Vice President Dick Cheney and Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia spent part of last week duck hunting together at a private camp in south Louisiana, just three weeks after the high court agreed to take up the vice president's appeal involving lawsuits over his handling of the administration's energy task force.

While Scalia and Cheney are avid hunters and long-time friends, several experts in legal ethics questioned the timing of their trip.

"The better part of wisdom should have led Justice Scalia to avoid the vice president while this case was pending before the court," said New York University law professor Stephen Gillers.

Federal law says "any justice or judge shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might be questioned."

For nearly three years, Cheney has been fighting demands that he reveal whether he met with energy industry officials, including then-Enron Chairman Kenneth Lay, when he was formulating the president's energy policy.

A lower court ruled that Cheney must turn over documents detailing who met with his task force. However, on Dec. 15, the high court announced that it would hear his appeal. The justices are due to hear arguments in the case in April.

Aux duck pits, citoyens!

Although, to be fair to Scalia, his mind is probably already made up....

Shiites: Timing of Iraqi "elections" transparent Bush election stunt 

Who knew?

Mathew Rosenberg of AP reports:

An aide to Iraq's most prominent Shiite cleric on Friday branded the U.S. formula for transferring power a "hasty agreement" aimed at boosting President Bush's re-election campaign.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani, the country's most influential Shiite Muslim leader, has demanded that members of a new provisional legislature be chosen by voters. The Americans want them selected by regional caucuses.

U.S. officials insist al-Sistani's demand for elections is unfeasible given Iraq's security situation. Many Shiites suspect the Americans simply want to manipulate the caucuses to make sure favored Iraqis win seats.

Bush? Manipulate an election? Say, why don't we give the Iraqis electronic voting machines? Yeah, that's the ticket...

Meanwhile, Bush tries to get the UN to pacify Sistani! Here:

The Bush administration hopes Bremer can persuade Annan to dispatch a U.N. delegation to Iraq to convince Sistani there's no time to organize elections. Annan has expressed such reservations himself. The Shiite cleric may be more open to accepting this view if it comes from the United Nations.

So, it turns out the UN has its uses after all... Now we're in step 2 of the Bush Approach to Diplomacy. Step (1): Piss all over them. Step (2) Demand their help. Sigh....

Predict The Outcome of any Hole! 

From a classified ad which appeared in the Okfuskee County News, Oklahoma, circa 1926.
I can locate oil, gas or salt water - in fact can honestly predict the outcome of any hole before it is drilled. God being with me.
~ F.M. Casey, Route 2, Okemah.

There ya have it. The Bush administration's entire scientific peer review process (and energy policy too), summed up in twenty six words. And not none of them big funny elitist Volvo driving liberal "junk science" college professor type words neither.

Think I'm kidding? Steve Bates at The Yellow Doggerel Democrat has a scary post up concerning the Bush Errands latest "pig in a poke" policy initiative. Specifically, their attemps to turn the scientific review process into something resembling The Wonders of the Invisible World.

Go read what Steve has written. It's important. It should be in the newspaper. Like, someone should send David Brooks off to paddle a leaky canoe down the Neosho and assign Steve's article to the Brooks timeslot instead.

By the way: The Neosho is a Jewish river that flows from Council Grove Kansas southeast into eastern Oklahoma near Narcissa where it empties into a great winding mystery, a fabulous serpentine inland waterway teeming with golden fishes and talking fossils and nightmarish whirlpools of damned liberals. Graceful ships of stone glide by effortlessly and miraculous healing currents of liquid fire flow unseen past Neodesha - a casual Semantic port town - located on the opposite banks of the Lost City. Knowledgeable premillennialist tour guides appointed by an expert team of seraphim archeologists provide "facts" and answer any questions you may have with respect to natural law and the scientific creation designs of the region's bountiful scenic wonders.

Entertainment is provided nightly and the gift shop is open each day except Sunday. Unless you're a Seventh Day Adventist, in which case the gift shop is also closed on Saturday. The entire rolling pageant eventually, one way or another, empties itself into the shimmering Purple Bay of Intransigent Belief and ultimately the Eternal Ocean of Incomprehensible Nonsense. Just take my word for it. You can learn all about it from the National Park Service. See: The Grand Canyon...Science and Faith and ...Promote Religion, Says Watchdog Group

Ok, where was I? Oh yeah. Seriously now, go read Steve Bates's article titled Replacing Science with Politics: Peer Review Endangered

Having limited blogging time enforces a new discipline on me: deciding exactly which one of the dozens of frightening things I find in the course of an evening's surfing is most worth posting about. This one meets the criterion, packed full and running over...


The administration says that policy should be based on scientific truths so well-established as to be beyond question. But there is no scientific truth beyond question; that is the very nature of science. This is not about basing policy on better science; this is about interfering with the decision of what constitutes good science... to the financial advantage of various industries that contribute to Bush's campaign, and to the political advantage of the Bush administration as they throw a bone to their religious "conservative" (read: radical fundamentalist) supporters.

Continue reading Replacing Science with Politics



Excellent post from Pandagon (who rips Jonah Goldberg a new one).

Who gets it? Not WaPo 


Earlier this week, Wesley Clark had some strong words about the state of the nation. "I think we're at risk with our democracy," he said. "I think we're dealing with the most closed, imperialistic, nastiest administration in living memory. They even put Richard Nixon to shame."

In other words, the general gets it: he understands that America is facing what Kevin Phillips, in his remarkable new book, "American Dynasty," calls a "Machiavellian moment." Among other things, this tells us that General Clark and Howard Dean, whatever they may say in the heat of the nomination fight, are on the same side of the great Democratic divide.

Most political reporting on the Democratic race, it seems to me, has gotten it wrong. Some journalists do, of course, insist on trivializing the whole thing: what I dread most, in the event of an upset in Iowa, is the return of reporting about the political significance of John Kerry's hair.

But even those who refrain from turning political reporting into gossip have used the wrong categories. Again and again, one reads that it's about the left wing of the Democratic party versus the centrists; but Mr. Dean was a very centrist governor, and his policy proposals are not obviously more liberal than those of his rivals.

The real division in the race for the Democratic nomination is between those who are willing to question not just the policies but also the honesty and the motives of the people running our country, and those who aren't.

What makes Mr. Dean seem radical aren't his policy positions but his willingness — shared, we now know, by General Clark — to take a hard line against the Bush administration.

Exhibit A: Whiney Joe. BY contrast, John Harris of WaPo gives the Beltway CW:

The question haunting Dean, raised in various ways by all his main rivals in recent days, is whether he stands any chance of exerting appeal beyond core Democrats who share his strong opposition to the Iraq war and his liberal social views, and who raise their fists in agreement with his biting attacks on Bush.

It's "willingness" that is the key in my mind—as in a 12 Step program, there are Dems who have "become willing" to tell the truth about Bush, and those who have not. Since those who unwilling have no chance of winning—since "lie" is a part of "Bush Lite, after all—we had better go those are willing....

Al Gore states the obvious: Bush administration POTL 

Al Gore quoted by Bob Herbert here:

At one point, he told his audience: "In preparing this series of speeches, I have noticed a troubling pattern that characterizes the Bush-Cheney administration's approach to almost all issues. In almost every policy area, the administration's consistent goal has been to eliminate any constraints on their exercise of raw power, whether by law, regulation, alliance or treaty. And in the process, they have in each case caused America to be seen by the other nations of the world as showing disdain for the international community."

Amid cheers, he made it clear that the broad interests of the American public are consistently betrayed by the policies and practices of President Bush and his administration. "They devise their policies with as much secrecy as possible," he said, "and in close cooperation with the most powerful special interests that have a monetary stake in what happens. In each case, the public interest is not only ignored, but actively undermined. In each case, they devote considerable attention to a clever strategy of deception that appears designed to prevent the American people from discerning what it is they are actually doing.

"Indeed, they often use Orwellian language to disguise their true purposes.
For example, a policy that opens national forests to destructive logging of old-growth trees is labeled Healthy Forest Initiative. A policy that vastly increases the amount of pollution that can be dumped into the air is called the Clear Skies Initiative."

Truly, POTL (People of The Lie.

Balance? This is balanced!

You've Got Fr33p=r M@!L 

Looks like the Moran Family Klan has discovered Margaret Cho. Apparently they've managed to work themeselves into quite a state of agitated spittle-froth over her comments made during the Monday night "MoveOn.org fundraiser, and, to emphasize their territorial dominance, decided to gang squat in her email litter-box.

The cats at American Politics Journal have mangaed to isolate some of the more diseased Freeper scat specimens that have been left behind by these so called FreeRepublic protectors of virtue and patriotism and all things mannered. You can examine a collection of these specimens yourself. Poke at 'em with a stick, whatever. They are currently available for closer inspection via APJ's Cro-Mangan Mail Special feature HERE - Take a look. Don't get any on ya.

Below are a few samples I examined myself, from APJ's page, in order to bring them here to show you what they look like. NOTE: According to APJ, "All obscenities, profanities and naughty words have been $#%@&ed for your safety."

Update: Jan. 17, 2003 - Per request via MargaretCho.com the last names of those displayed below have been redacted, or partially redacted.

Note: I thought it important to publish each letter the way it was received as I didn't want to be accused of fabrication. But now, Margaret has asked me to remove everyone's email address and last name. In addition, we are asking that other sites that have reprinted this info do the same and until that time we're also requesting that people refrain from contacting the authors of these horrible letters. They know Margaret is supported. They know they've hurt many people with their words. Some people have even apologized. It's time for healing and tolerance.

ALSO: PLEASE don't email us any more support. We know you're out there (we've gotten twice as many support letters as hate mail) but our inboxes are full. Thank You.

Here's one from some cluck named "chris xxxxx", even though his email address is named "tobyxxxx":
F$@# you you oriental c$%& . you are not even an american. You are soooo stupid. Go f$@# yourself and go back to Asia you slanted eye whore.

Here's an articulate message from some post-hole named "Mark Hxxxx":
What a f$@#in' fat c$%&

Probably took Mark a whole half an hour to string that one together.

Here's one from some chivalrous conservative gent named "Tom Smxxx":
which way does your p?$$y slant, baby? this is important, since you are certainly quite unfunny.

Here's one from "Mike Smxxx", whose relation to "Tom Smith" is undisclosed. However, it appears that "Mike" is more of a conservative Christian gentlemen than "Tom". Lets get with the program "Tom"!
their daughter is an insecure, arrogant, butt-ugly, obnoxious, potty-mouthed, uneducated, fat liberal who makes fun of God and christians all the time.

(funny how that works, ...God has the power to simply SPEAK the entire world into existence, and idiots all over his creation make fun of him, regardless of what he has in store for those who choose NOT to believe.)

Put the cheeseburger down, pull Clinton's d!ck out of your mouth, and wise up. Because the people who adore you have AIDS for a REASON.

Funny how that works isn't it? After ranting and raving about being "obnoxious," "potty-mouthed," and "liberal," and those who make fun of "God and christians", with a small 'c,' Mike concludes with the instruction, "pull Clinton's dick out of your mouth..." - - Well well, What Would Jesus Do? In any case, thats very nice of Mike to offer such friendly Christian advice. "pull Clinton's dick out of your mouth." Hey, come to think of it, weren't those Jesus's exact words when he......oh, no, never mind, I was probably thinking of something I heard on one of those Right-Wing Christian values radio call in shows.

And speaking of getting with the program, the old Bump Monkey Pox Caps-Lock syndrome makes its usual appearence, and the whole Christian Nation goosestep thing too. This one from some squawk named "Spedxxxxxxxx":

Easy on the methamphetamine for JESUS. "Sped."

Then there's one from some guy who called "David T xxxxx" who blasts off with:
Dear fat g00k:

And from "sjoycexxx":
Just a quick note to let you know that after reading your comments from the move on . org awards I was disgusted. Your comments were totally uncalled for. Why don't you you take your fat slant eyed head and go back to China. F__k You

And then "Sped" is back. Apparently couldn't get enough of hisself, he writes this:
light ring rut here. we grive u new klorian name, u = wan fat ho u arsso Femernazi too. and big blitch [...] SIGNED DENNIS MILLER SAN.

Sped's quite the comedian, eh? I'll bet he becomes famous soon. Maybe the opening act for next years Aryan National Congress. Assuming they can find a campsite they can afford to rent. Apparently "Sped" is also a close friend of Dennis Miller's. Close enough to borrow his name for the evening.

Here's one from some gomer named "SPAULDINGD", in all caps, who apparently believes that his email messages will arrive faster if he yell-mails them.
Thank you for protecting my free speech. I'm sure you had a good time with moveon folks, sucking pimples off the c0ck of Chuck D--like cool. Many babes want that. And, of course, you got to feel the soft d!ck of Al & his pals. There is nothing you could have done to harden them. Keep sucking free air for us.

SPAULDINGD seems to have a thing for sucking. Or, maybe he doesn't!? Heh. Or, maybe SPAULDINGD isn't even a "he"? Gee.

Here's one from "Jim xxxxx", who might like to have a long talk with Rick Santorum. Jim seems to be a little, how shall I say, overly hands-on when it comes animal husbandry. A little to, perhaps, involved, with the social lives of his own pigs. If ya know what I mean.
Gee! Now that it is open season on blogs, how about coming down to my pig farm. You look like some good stock to breed with my pigs. In fact, if I have one that looks exactly like you I can sell more pigs to the Chinatowns across the U.S. It is too bad your such a stupid arrogant idiot who life is full of pampering and stupid left wing ideology. It is just too bad that you give a f$@# less about the people who have been murdered, tortured and raped in Iraq, or the other 100 millions of people that have been killed throughout the last 70 years because of leftist thinkers who support tyrants and dictators like yourself. Too, bad you’re too stupid to understand. What a pity, what a waste of talent.

However, not is all wasted if you come down to my pig farm. In another month it will be breeding season.

Well, there ya have it. There are many more. You can check em out for yourself at the APJ's website feature on the topic, A Very Special Cro-Magnon Mail! or visit Margaret Cho's blog and read her response.
What I can see is that there are really stupid people in this country and then when you point out how stupid they are, they get fucking mad as fuck. ~ Margaret Cho

All of this reminded me of something H.L. Mencken wrote a long time ago.
The caveman is all muscles and mush. Without a woman to rule him and think for him, he is a truly lamentable spectacle: a baby with whiskers, ...a feeble and preposterous caricature of God.
~ HL Mencken, In Defense of Women, 1918

Update: Apparently some of the Freeper cowards out there don't like it when the lights are turned on. Or when they get their own shit tossed right back into their own backyard. Those mean angy liberals!

I am gloating. People be trying to beg us to take their email addresses off the site because they have been deluged with hate mail in response to their hate mails to me. I want to say, "You reap what you sow," but now I have all kind of love for the because it is out of my hands. ~ Margaret Cho

I can't wait until they start howling about their email address private property rights being violated. Freepers. They're all puff and piffle. Children playing with firecrackers. And when their own miss-fired handiwork blows their own fingers off they run crying for sympathy from the target of their torments. Freepers. Find me one, that isn't a few fingers short of ten.


Let's all try to help the Times Ombudsman straighten out his paper 

I wrote:

Subject: Jason Blair vs. Whitewater coverage

The first: massive introspection, gloom and doom.

The second: complete silence.

The Times will have as much or as little credibility as the Moonie Times (The Washington Times) until it cleans house on Whitewater too.

They responded:

Thank you for your message.

Given the volume of reader comment; given the need to start with a clean slate; and given the difficulty of evaluating the paper's past deeds and alleged misdeeds, Dan Okrent has decided as a matter of policy not to address issues that arose before his tenure began, except insofar as they relate to the paper's actions from December 1 forward. I am sure you will understand that, were we to do this any other fashion, we would disappear into an endless tunnel.

I do not mean to suggest in any way that I am not interested in your concerns about the paper.

If you see specific instances that concern you in the future please send me a message citing examples.

Arthur Bovino
Office of the Public Editor

Well, we wouldn't want the Times to disappear into an endless tunnel, would we? (Paging Dr. Freud! Paging Dr. Freud!)

Readers: Which Times story would you nominate for Times Misdeed of the Week, and why? Please remember to give the URI. TIA!

Maybe we can try to do this on a weekly basis...

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Atlanta protesters burst Bush's bubble 

Louise Chu of AP reports:

Kathy Nicholas had planned to pay quiet tribute Thursday at the tomb of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

So did President Bush. The combination was anything but quiet.

Nicholas was among about 700 people who booed, chanted and beat drums near the typically placid grave site, angry that Bush was there on what would have been the slain civil rights leader's 75th birthday.

"When I heard Bush was coming here I couldn't believe it. I was outraged and disgusted, and I just think it's a photo op. It's so transparent," said Nicholas, a flight attendant who brought a sign that read: "Mr. Bush, May Dr. King's spirit rise up n welcome you, touch you n speak to you."

The protesters pushed past Secret Service barricades. They pounded on the sides of three city buses parked on the street in front of King's tomb to block them from the president's motorcade.

As Bush arrived, the crowd booed and chanted "Bush go home!" He placed a wreath on King's grave before heading to a $2,000-a-plate fund-raiser in Atlanta.

FinallyI Bush actually has to hear and see a protester. Generally, the Secret Service keeps him in a bubble—and somehow only the people holding pro-Bush signs get to see the "President," while anyone else is relegated to a "free-speech" zone well away from the cameras.

Congratulations, Kathy, for making it clear that anywhere in America should be a free speech zone. And we hope to see you in Manhattan for the Republican National Convention.

Iowa Electronic Markets on the 2004 election 


Republicans: The Other White Meat 

A Senate committee chairman has written senators seeking their support for a troubled government-wide spending bill and pointedly listing the projects the measure includes for each lawmaker's home state.

"The subcommittees have tried to accommodate your priorities and concerns in this bill," read the Jan. 6 letter by Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Ted Stevens, R-Alaska. "Attached you will find a list of projects that may be of particular interest to you."

Sure, pork is what it is, and the Dems aren't exactly Vegans, but aren't the Republicans supposed to be for small government and fiscal responsibility? Fat chance!

Oh year, the "troubled" spending bill is the one the Republicans couldn't manage to pass last October, when the fiscal year began, although they did manage to have a made-for-TV filibuster, and a debate about whether to take FDR's image off the dime. And aren't the Republicans supposed to competent and well-organized?

BushCo, South of the Border 

From Bush seeks friends in Latin America Jan. 14, 2004, the Herald Sun (Australia)

MONTERREY – Latin Americans had a God-given right to freedom, President George W. Bush said yesterday, launching a sharp attack on his rivals in a region where anti-US feeling is rising. [...and...] "Dictatorship has no place in the Americas. We must all work for a rapid, peaceful transition to democracy in Cuba." [...and...] Washington's support for sometimes brutal Latin American governments during the Cold War left many distrusting the US.

Yeah, well, there ya go again. Thats all very reasuring coming from the so called leader of an administration which to this day harbors some of the very same Washington doppelgangers of past "God-given" Cold War brutality that gave Latin America such homicidal lovelies as Augusto Pinochet and the genocidal evangelical lunatic minister/general Rios Montt. You know, Rios Montt, the guy Ronald Reagan pronounced "a man of great personal integrity" and a man who was "getting a bum rap on human rights." Uh-huh. Sure. "Dictatorship has no place in the Americas." I'll bet more than a few "Americans" on both sides of the equator had a good long snicker over that one.

[...and...] He said firm support for democracy "gives hope and strength to those struggling to preserve their God-given rights", and referred to Venezuela and Haiti, which have both clashed with the US.

Bush vs. Gore Presidental debates, Oct 11, 2000
I'll bet this statement below will offer even more "hope and strength to those struggling" for preservation in Latin America. From the Bush vs. Gore debates, Oct 11, 2000. Listen to this beauty: (highlights and bold emphasis below are mine)

MODERATOR: Does that give us -- does our wealth, our good economy, our power, bring with it special obligations to the rest of the world?

BUSH: Yes, it does. Take, for example, Third World debt. I think we ought to be forgiving Third World debt under certain conditions. I think, for example, if we're convinced that a Third World country that's got a lot of debt would reform itself, that the money wouldn't go into the hands of a few but would go to help people, I think it makes sense for us to use our wealth in that way, or to trade debt for valuable rain forest lands, makes that much sense, yes.

Gee. Where do ya start with convoluted gibberish like that? We'll forgive you if you "reform" (whatever exactly that means) yourself - if (?) "that the money wouldn't go into the hands of a few"? Funny hain't it, coming from the guy who has made a quite a name for himself in his own country making sure the money goes into the hands of a few.

But wait. There's always the or factor. As in, we'll squeeze you dry until you agree to "trade" in your natural resources. How's that for a "special" obligation. Hows that for bringing our wealth and power to the rest of the world. Exacting a pound of flesh. Likewise, apparently, those "God-given rights" don't necesssarily include, oh, like say, your countries "God-given" forest lands. Or little stuff like that. What harm is there in a little Third World forest foreclosure when it goes to help, "people."

This woodchuck in the White House isn't a statesman, or a leader, or even a President. He's nothing but a shallow shined up repo-man with a smirk and a sloppy spitter pitch. The entire G.W.Bush&Co operation is nothing more than a well fed puzzle palace inside a Potemkin Village being run by grifters for christ sake. Nothing more than a clan of inbred cheapjack fast talking backdoor preachers and quisling swine.

They need to be run out of town like the rapacious swindlers they are. Before they steal all the goddamned doorknobs and we won't even be able to get into our own house.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Our CEO President 

Mike Allen of WaPo writes:

Bush... sounded tired and bored at the few public appearances during his 28-hour visit [to Latin America]. His remarks had unusually long pauses. Cutaway television shots captured Bush glowering into space as other heads of state talked about "economic growth with equity to reduce poverty," "investing in people" and "democratic governance."

"Economic growth"... Right. I can see how Bush would glower at that.

Ditto "democratic governance."

And Then There's the Difference That Clinton Was Competent... 

Josh Marshall sez of Dean-on-Bosnia:
But I don't think this is much of a contradiction, except possibly on the most superficial level.

No duh, Josh, as the kids would say. You were expecting, maybe, substance? This is your peer group we're talking about. They wouldn't know depth if Nature gave them each 6 eyes.

The Estimable Dr. Alterman 

Today is Eric Alterman's birthday.

I only know because he mentioned it yesterday, at Altercation, as part of an explanation that he'd recently lost a friend from grade school days, who perished with an entire family, including three children, on their way back from a family vacation. Eric wasn't asking for sympathy for himself, or sympathy for people we didn't know, after all. He asked only that we, his readers, honor this devastating loss by standing in for his friend, who will no longer be able to contribute to his own favorite heroes at Doctors Without Borders. In the face of inconsolable loss, prayers are always a good idea, and what better prayer than this?

The address for donations is here. Click on “Make a Donation” and I’ll have a happy birthday.

You can let Eric know you did and that no acknowledgement is required in the message box that appears after the current day's entries.

And if you haven't paid Altercation a visit in a day or two, don't miss the bit he has up from the Daily Show (runner up for quote of the day, scroll down to January 12th); a true classic.

COLBERT: Doesn't matter what I've seen, Jon. It's been widey reported. And that makes it fact-esque.”

In fact, I think "fact-esque" is a contender for the Lexicon. Am I right?

Alterman's recent output has been extraordinary, from his Nation column, to his new position at the Center For American progress, to the books, don't miss the new one, right back to Altercation; I can't be the only person who can't get through Friday without my Charles Pierce pickmeup; better than two Margaritas; you just know we can't be that badly off as long as there's someone around who can handle the uncomedy team of Perle & Frum thusly:

For spectacular misuse of the first-person, it’s hard to beat the comedy team of Perle ‘n Frum, now appearing on a panel show in your neighborhood, flogging their latest work entitled, I’m paraphrasing here, “Let’s Kill Everyone Who Isn’t Us.” Take in this slim-but-potent little vial of vicarious testosterone and you find yourself enmeshed in beauties like this one:

”We have offered concrete recommendations equal to the seriousness of the threat, and the softliners have not, because we have wanted to fight, and they have not.”

If you’re keeping score at home, that “We” stuck in there is the single most indecent word yet typed in the 21st century.


Who in the bloody hell is “We”?

And what on earth would liberal bloggers do without that indispensable formulation, the SCLM?

Fast becoming an institution himself, it's easy to overlook just how sharply original Alterman can be at his best. Take a look at today's, Jan 14th, long discussion of what is really going on with Paul O'Neil; lots of people are commenting, Eric pulls it together and offers a compelling portrait of O'Neil as something of an American hero; having just listened to Terry Gross's full hour conversation with O'Neil and Ron Susskind, which you also shouldn't miss, I'm even more persauded that Eric's got it right.

So, Happy Birthday, and thank-you, Dr. Alterman.

Ignoring The Danes & How To Make An American Quilt * 

I know that Denmark is a small country, and best known for a famously indecisive Prince unable to take action against the something rotten therein, but even so, isn't it interesting to note the differences in reaction to the news on Monday that Danish troops had found mortor rounds that appeared to be "chemical, i.e., blister gass" in nature?

The Danes released the information in a straightforward manner; the possibility was "news," but one could find no hint that whatever the tests showed, it would have much relevance to arguments about American use of pre-war intelligence, especially since even if the rounds showed actual evidence of chemical residue, they would hardly count as WMDs.

In contrast, the Bush administration pretended not even to notice this new "find," in the treasure hunt for Iraqi WMD.

From David Kay's quietest leave-taking in the history of the world (will there even be an annoucement, or will Kay's public image just fade away, like old Generals, or that image of his parents in Marty's snapshots in Back To The Future), to the attempts at refiguring the reason d'etre for the war to Saddam's ties to terrorism and the pure human rights need to free the Iraqi people from Saddam's tyranny, and now this non reaction to the highly credible Danes, isn't it clear that this administration is giving up on the WMD argument?

Good move.

Danish Tests Show Arms Found in Iraq Not Chemical

Anyone embarrassed yet? Not in this administration; they don't "do" embarrasement; to be fair, they do, occasionally, do feigned embarrasement, usually at the outrageous behaviors of other Americans with whom they don't agree.

Perhaps we should start another national quilt-making project, each square immortalizing either an initial headline announcing an initial "find" of evidence of Saddam's clever horading of WMD and/or the matching headline announcing the "turns out not so" followup.

Lest I be accused of "raping dead soldiers,' please note I am not suggesting any of the names be included in the quilt of the young men and women of our Armed Services who have perished, or been wounded in Iraq. Just as every war deserves its own rational, every war deserves it's own memorial, and every American quilt deserves a better creative impulse than that of a preventive war of choice in the face of other options to accomplish the same goals, (which will be the subject of a series of coming posts).

*Just wanted to mention that the book, "How To Make An American Quilt" by Whitney Otto was far superior to the movie; to those who've not yet read it, I recommend the book, to those who didn't manage to miss the movie, I offer my condolences.

New Dunkin' Donuts campaign 

Saw the poster at Suburban Station on the train coming in ... It's for "frothy" coffee ....

Well, at least it's not a frothy mix!

Guess those Dunkin' Donut marketers aren't as hip as I thought they were!

Man bites dog 

and Broder pens a non-attack book on Dean with "no bias I could detect." Of course, the book was written by the Vermont press, but that's probably better than the national press....

Rummy to Bush: "More tongue, sir?" 

Martin Crutsinger of AP reports:

Rumsfeld said the Bush he knew was actively involved in policy debates. "I have just enormous respect for his brain, his engagement, his interest, his probing questions, his constructive and positive approach to issues."

Let me pause to wipe a tear from my eye...

I like the "positive approach to issues" part the best— since everyone knows, from DiIulio, that Bush has no policy shop whatever. Everything goes through Rove, policy having been outsourced to the VRWC.

Republicans to make marriage a wedge issue 

Robert Pear and David D. Kirkpatrick in WaPo write:

For months, administration officials have worked with conservative groups on the proposal, which would provide at least $1.5 billion for training to help couples develop interpersonal skills that sustain "healthy marriages."

I don't suppose that "healthy" is a code-word for "Christian" and not "not gay".... Naah.

Meanwhile, watch Bush straddle the fence, and rather uncomfortably at that, between pandering to the base and outright bigotry:

[BUSH] "If necessary," he said, "I will support a constitutional amendment which would honor marriage between a man and a woman, codify that, and will — the position of this administration is that whatever legal arrangements people want to make, they're allowed to make, so long as it's embraced by the state, or does start at the state level."

So, which is it, George? Marriage is up to the states, so Vermont and Massachusetts civil unions are OK, or religion should be injected into the constitution by codifying a sacrement because gay people are somehow never going to be right with God?

Fronteers of Freedumb 

From General JC Christian I learned about something called the Frontiers of Freedom dot org.

The Frontiers of Freedom (plural) apparently is concerned not so much about the frontiers of spelling as it is about other frontiers-like stuff. They even have a "policy center"! And Ooo-Ooo!, have even managed to spell the word policy correctly. But, hey, they are an "org", so they must be serious. Please see for yourself.

Heres a little bit about Frontiers of Freedom from their own "about" us frontiers guys page.

Leadership means choosing a direction that opens up vast possibilities to bring out the best in others. Our Founding Fathers knew a thing or two about leadership. They knew that the combination of a democratic form of government and a capitalistic economy gave our citizens the opportunity to aim high, chart their own destiny, and realize their version of the American Dream. At a time when our democratic rights and free enterprise system are being chipped away by the proponents of Big Government, Frontiers of Freedom stands tall in our defense of individual liberty and personal responsibility.

Thank the Tall Invisible Hand!

Anyway, the great Founding Fathers of the "FF" have apparently realized part of some sorta version of the American Dream by placing a poll upon their frontier-like webpage of "vast possibilities". So I made a screen print of it and posted it below. It [the poll] includes a Democrat named "Kucinic", and another feller' named "Wesley West". Who as I recall used to be Batman. Didn't he? Apparently? Whatever. We're talking frontiers (plural) of freedom here, so why not?

Here's a pic of the screenshot, which asks - "Which Democrat candidate will drop out of the nomination race first?" (Hee!) Note the frontier TownHall.com link at the bottom.

"Which Democrat candidate will drop out of the nomination race first?" Well. I'm myself am pretty sure it will be that Howard Deen guy. Yes, I'm pretty sure he will give up any day now. Probably cashed in his chips and gassed up the Volvo and headed back to that freak show in Vermont as I wrote this. Although Wesley West is at the bottom of the pile so how much longer can he survive? Nevertheless, I urge everyone to visit the FF webpage and help chart some frontier destinies by informing the FF that you are also pretty sure Howard Deen will fold up like a cheap card table at any moment. Or Dennis Clicinic. Or that Westerly Western guy. Vote as you like. We're talking Frontiers of Freedom afterall.

Also. If you'd like to send the Fronteersmen a nice new saddle or a pint of apple butter or a picture of a hairy Buffalo you can use the information below. They actually live in Fairfax Virginia beside a highway so it shouldn't take too long for the Pony Express to secure the delivery.

Frontiers of Freedom
12011 Lee Jackson Memorial Highway
3rd Floor
Fairfax, Virginia 22033
Ph: (703) 246-0110
Fax: (703) 246-0129
Web Site: http://www.ff.org
E-mail: info@ff.org

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Say, if competition is good, what's wrong with buying prescription drugs from Canada where they're cheaper? 

Just asking ....

Say, what about those campaign finance violations by Ashcroft when he lost to a dead man? 

Just asking ....

Media Gores Dean (surprise!) 

As Tresy points out (below), the dissection of press bias against Dean by Eric Boehlert is excellent in Salon (get the one-day pass).

Nothing new to regular readers of the essential Howler but good to read it now—months after the damage has been done, instead of years.

In a remarkable poll released Monday, the Pew Research Center found that 29 percent of Democrats think campaign coverage is tilted toward the GOP, up from 19 percent in 2000.

Only 29%?!?!??!

Debtor Planet 

How to drown the world in a bathtub of multi-national voodoo economics.

Following Lambert's recent post below, see: And who owns our government plastic? Asia ....

Maybe there should be some kind of global color coded warning system for this stuff:

The International Monetary Fund published a report warning that the United States' budget and trade deficits threaten to destabilize the entire global economy; Bush Administration officials dismissed the report and said that lots of countries run huge budget deficits. [Harpers]

Elizabeth Becker and Edmund L Andrews [NYTimes] write:

In a paper presented last weekend, Robert E. Rubin, the former secretary of the Treasury, said that the federal budget was "on an unsustainable path" and that the "scale of the nation's projected budgetary imbalance is now so large that the risk of severe adverse consequences must be taken very seriously, although it is impossible to predict when such consequences may occur."

Other economists said they were afraid that this was a replay of the 1980's when the United States went from the world's largest creditor nation to its biggest debtor nation following tax cuts and a large military build-up under President Ronald Reagan.

Full article via Common Dreams: I.M.F. Says Rise in U.S. Debts Is Threat to World's Economy, by Elizabeth Becker and Edmund L Andrews [New York Times]

From Why the WTO Is Going Nowhere, by William Greider - September 4, 2003.

"the flashpoint that sends a wake-up call to world financial markets."

Cassandras (like myself) have argued for some years that America's negative balance sheet--buying more than it produces and borrowing to do so--will eventually force an ugly reckoning. With its ever-swelling trade deficits, the moment of painful adjustment draws closer, but the debt cycle is unlikely to stop until creditor nations conclude that the US debt position is too dangerous and start withholding their capital. Alternately, if China's overheated economy gets mired in financial disorder or inflationary pressures, it might need to bring its capital home--thus pulling the plug on American consumers and the "buyer of last resort" for the global system at large.

Nobody knows when or how this may occur. Morgan Stanley economist Stephen Roach foresees the moment approaching when US gross national savings turns negative, and that could be "the flashpoint that sends a wake-up call to world financial markets." The dollar falls sharply, the US economy sinks into a deep, unambiguous recession and so does the world. [page LINK] [The Nation]


Above all, the governing elites have to abandon the fiction that what's good for US multinationals is good for the US economy. It ain't necessarily so.

American politics is not ready to face the bad news--neither probably are the American people. And the Bush presidency, founded on false triumphalism, is certainly not going to disturb the myth of America as the supreme economic powerhouse. Perhaps the best we can hope for right now is that a few brave voices, maybe among the Democratic candidates, will begin the hard task of truth-telling. Globalization is papered over with so many fallacies that any politician who describes reality risks ridicule. Nevertheless, the country badly needs to hear the truth. Win or lose, a politician who finds the courage to shatter failed myths is admired in the long run, remembered as a true statesman. [page LINK] [The Nation]

Bush Administration officials dismissed the report...

Why does the Army War College hate America? 

That report is here.

This is the abstract:

The author examines three features of the war on terrorism as currently defined and conducted: (1) the administration's postulation of the terrorist threat, (2) the scope and feasibility of U.S. war aims, and (3) the war's political, fiscal, and military sustainability. He believes that the war on terrorism--as opposed to the campaign against al-Qaeda--lacks strategic clarity, embraces unrealistic objectives, and may not be sustainable over the long haul. He calls for downsizing the scope of the war on terrorism to reflect concrete U.S. security interests and the limits of American military power.


Ann Gerhart in WaPo says:

When she was 17, Laura Bush sped through a stop sign at 50 mph and slammed into a car coming, with the right-of-way, in the other direction. The other driver, a boy who was a friend of hers in high school, died instantly. The night sky was bright; the road was dry; the sight lines unobstructed. She was never charged or ticketed in the traffic accident, according to the police report. Those I interviewed in Midland regarded this crash as a tragic mistake, as does Mrs. Bush herself. If there was any consideration ever giving to citing the young Laura Welch in any way, I did not learn of it.

How odd. Why not?

And who owns our government plastic? Asia .... 

Walter Gross opines in WaPo:

[T]he fulcrum of a future creditor-based revolt probably rests in Beijing rather than in New York or Washington.

Because China's monthly trade surplus of $10 billion-plus with the United States implies a $120 billion annual addition to its dollar reserves, there will come a time when its hundreds of billions in holdings of U.S. notes and bonds look a tad too risky. In turn, the hundreds of billions that Japan and other Asian countries have been buying to keep their currencies competitive with the Chinese yuan and the U.S. dollar will be subject to a sanity check as well. At some point our Asian creditors will wake up and smell the coffee. Perhaps there will be dollar or Treasury note sell-offs or a revaluation of the yuan and then the yen. In any event, we pay the price: higher import costs, a cutback in spending on cheap foreign goods, rising inflation, perhaps chaotic financial markets, a lower standard of living.

Pride goeth ...

I guess the Treasury Department should be suing themselves, not O'Neil 

Fred Barbash of WaPo writes

Former Treasury secretary Paul H. O'Neill said today that the documents he turned over to an author, which are now the subject of a Treasury Department inquiry, were sent to him on a compact disc by the department's own general counsel after O'Neill left the administration last year.

Ethical rot in the Mutual Fund industry 

Yawn... More of the same.

The Securities and Exchange Commission said today it has found widespread evidence of mutual funds companies paying brokers additional compensation for steering investors to their fund shares.

Based on their findings, SEC investigators said they are working with the agency's enforcement staff to review the sales practices at dozens of brokers of and mutual funds to see if they had adequately informed customers of the conflicts of interest.

Right... "Working with"... No penalties, no fines, no time served .... Say, is "Kenny Boy" Lay in jail yet? Oh, silly me. I forgot he was Bush's largest contributor!

Memo to Bush's scriptwriter: Block that metaphor! 

Bush burbles on about his Moondoggle:

"The spirit is going to be one of continued exploration ... seeking new horizons and investing in a program that ... meets that objective," Bush told reporters Tuesday during a trip to Mexico.

Uh, George? The horizon is "the apparent junction of earth and sky." There is no horizon in space!

You moron.

Decoding David "Burbling" Brooks 

Last time we looked at David "I'm Writing as Bad as I Can" Brooks, we saw that he wasn't just a purveyor of misinformation—this, we expect—but a transmitter of disinformation. (Last time, his column was about discrediting PNAC critics, just when public exposure of the PNAC's plan to militarize space might have taken some of the bloom of Bush's Moondoggle space plans.)

This time... Well, let's read Brooks with the understanding that he's a fully paid up member of the POTL. Brooks writes:

Yes, the political divides today do look a lot like the ones that split the nation in 2000. But no. When you look beneath the headline data, you see at least one important change. The events of the past three years have brought to the foreground issues that divide Democrats, and pushed to the background issues that divide Republicans.

This is, of course, disinformation. That's what the POTL do. Brooks is saying the Republicans are strong to preempt any attack on them where they are weak. As a fully bought MW and thug operative, his job is to mind-fuck the Democrats, not write commentary.

So if Brooks writes that the Republicans aren't divided, we can assume that not only can they be divided, he's fearful that they might be. And how could the Republicans be divided?

  • Republicans who are fiscally responsible versus the credit-card Bush gang

  • Republicans who care about civil liberties versus the Constitution trashing Bush gang

  • Republicans who care about limited government versus the expansionist Bush gang

  • Republicans who care about their own families, gay members included, versus the appeals to hatred of the Bush gang
  • Republicans who are truly conservative versus the radical, faith-based, Bush gang

We've all read stories about each of these points in the last year. This is not to say that the Democrats will be able to capitalize on these potential splits; I just make the points to show that Brooks is, well, just lying.

As we expect.

UPDATE Pandagon shows how Brooks cherry picks his numbers on Republican dominance. Who knew? Gosh, I'm really losing my faith in The Newspaper of Record (not!), they continue to give this guy space....

Deja Screw All Over Again 

For those who somehow missed it until now, Eric Boehlert has written the definitive takedown of the media's attempted Gore-ing of Dean. Frankly if Dean gets the nomination, I think the cult of the soulless is in for a surprise not seen since Custer rode into Little Big Horn. People are ready for this shit this time.

Franken to go mano-a-mano with the Oxycontin Kid 

Seth Sutel of AP writes:

They haven't got a name or a launch date yet, but the entrepreneurs who dream of launching a liberal radio network have just landed themselves a lead man: Comedian and best-selling author Al Franken.

In an interview, Franken said the format of the show was still evolving, but he said he was certain that it wouldn't be akin to that used by his rival Rush Limbaugh, which Franken described as "non-guested confrontation."

Putting Franken in the midday time slot of noon to 3 p.m. Eastern time is a direct challenge to Limbaugh, whose hugely successful show occupies the same time slot.

Franken, whose earlier book was called "Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot," said he plans to call up his nemesis for advice on his own show since Limbaugh has often said he wonders why new radio hosts don't seek out his counsel.

"I'll ask him advice: how he approaches a show, how he frames an issue. If it doesn't happen it will be - very understandably - because he won't take my call," Franken said.

A big blowout or a slow leak—whatever deflates Limbaugh is good....

Plantation of Fear 

Via Cursor.org, Jan. 13, 2004
"Other than accumulating a certain amount of money and achieving a measure of what passes for aristocratic social position in this country, the Bushes have achieved nothing of distinction and appear to believe in nothing except their own interests." ~ Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post[Cursor.org]

Melanie at Bump in the Beltway has more on Yardley's review of American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush, by Kevin Phillips.

It is a gloomy, even frightening picture: "global oil ventures, national security, sophisticated investments, arms deals, the Skull and Bones chic of covert operations, and committed support of established business interests," now compounded by the "religious impulses and motivations" that the born-again George W. brings to the mix. It operates not in the free market its rhetoric prattles about, but in "crony capitalism" that gives every advantage to the cronies with enough capital to buy their way into the game. Crony capitalism has turned the funding of American elections into both a joke and a menace, and has made the public's business a matter of private interest. ~ Jonathan Yardley, Washington Post[Bump in the Beltway]

"They have given us into the hand of new unhappy lords, Lords without anger and honour, who dare not carry their swords. They fight by shuffling papers; they have bright dead alien eyes; They look at our labour and laughter as a tired man looks at flies. And the load of their loveless pity is worse than the ancient wrongs, Their doors are shut in the evening; and they know no songs." ~ GK Chesterton - The Secret People

Love Your Neighbor 

Do unto others as you would not do unto yourself.
How to rain kooky unpopular experimental privatization scams on your neighbors while remaining high and dry in the comfy of your own playpen.

Via The Nation. GOP Hypocrisy by Rep. George Miller

What is one to make of politicians who embrace radical changes as important reforms as long as they win exemptions for their own constituents?

Three items from the Harper's Index. Dec. 2003.

Percentage change since 2001 in the number of U.S. families in poverty:
+6 [U.S. Department of Commerce]

Percentage change in the price of a share of Edison Schools stock since February 2001: -95 [Edison Schools (N.Y.C.)]

Date on which Arnold Schwarzenegger met with Enron CEO Kenneth Lay to discuss California’s energy policy: 5/17/01 [The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (Santa Monica, Calif.)]

Oil Patch Boodle Snatch 

"Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts"
Is this some of the "classified" material the White House is squirming over?

O'Neill said that the very first meeting of the National Security Council involved discussions of a "post-Saddam Iraq," peacekeeping troops, and war-crimes tribunals. O'Neill provided the book's author, a former Wall Street Journal reporter, with 19,000 internal documents — one of which, from March 5, 2001, was entitled "Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts" and included a map of Iraqi oil fields listing contractors and countries with interests there. [Harpers, Weekly Review]

More on topic: Via The Nation; Paul Bremer's "shadow ministry", "foreign suitors", and the Iraqi oil "Western Desert" motherlode. See: The Battle for Iraqi Oil, by Aram Roston.

The Western Desert is what one international oil consultant, his voice mockingly falling to a worshipful murmur, called the "Holy Grail" of the oil industry.[The Nation]

+ "The head of the Army Corps of Engineers waived federal contracting requirements for Halliburton's operations in Iraq that would have required the company to submit cost and pricing information on its gasoline imports even though Halliburton was recently accused of overcharging the government $61 million for gasoline." [Harpers]

He Loved Big Brother 

Referring to their abject recantations and redeclarations of fealty, Josh Marshall asks:
And will O'Neill go the way of John DiIulio and Nick Smith?

Silly Josh:
O'Neill told the "Today" show he was guilty of using some "vivid" language during his hundreds of hours of interviews with Suskind for the book. "If I could take it back, I would take it back," he said of the "blind man" quote.

Asked if he plans to vote for Bush in November's presidential election, O'Neill said he "probably" would. "I don't see anyone who is better prepared or more capable," he told NBC....

On the nationally broadcast interview Tuesday, O'Neill said, "It was not my intention to be personally critical of the president of anybody else," but to cooperate with Suskind "on a chronicle of 23 months" in government.

Elsewhere in the news, I hear "Republic of Fear" is scheduled for a new edition....

Monday, January 12, 2004

Plame II 

Now the Republican thugs in the White House are going after O'Neill just like they went after Wilson and Plame. Disgusting.

The Bush dynasty is just like the Bourbons—"They learn nothing, and they forget nothing.

Mutual funds lobby against your interests—with your money! 

Via MSNBC, from WaPo

Mutual fund investors might not be surprised to learn that the companies that manage their funds actively lobby Congress and the states regarding regulation of their industry. But they may be startled to learn that these managers have lobbied hard over the past decade for policies that investor and consumer advocates say often run counter to the interests of average mutual fund shareholders.

Part of the Bush tax!

How could this be? Could it be because Bush has been bought and paid for by the financial industry?

A new study released Thursday shows that employees and political action committees of brokerages, banks and credit companies make up 6 of President Bush's top 10 career contributors, a clear indicator of his increasing support from the financial sector.

Sunday, January 11, 2004


We're waiting for the gracious retraction, Mr. Limbaugh .... .

The spin is Dean loses his temper, but here's what Dean actually said 

Reuters here:

"It's not the time to put up any of this 'love thy neighbor' stuff ... I love my neighbor, but I'll tell you I want THAT neighbor back in Crawford, Texas where he belongs." [Dean said]

... Dean lambasted Bush for trying to cut overtime pay, calling it another reason he had "differed with the gentleman over here so vociferously."

"This is the president of the United States," he said. "I don't think that's being a good neighbor to ordinary working people."

Damn straight.

Anyone who isn't angry isn't paying attention, and doesn't have the temperament to be President.

UPDATE: The Republican with whom Dean differed with so "vociferously"—was it this Dale Ungerer? The creator of:

Pretty cool, actually. Great photo op for Dean.....

Nice line from Harkin on CSPAN 

Harkin says, "If you want to go backward, put it in R. If you want to go forward, put it in D."

From alert reader The Other Sarah.

Excellent transript of Vermont Public Radio Documentary on Dean's as Vermont Governor 


(Englander) "We as physicians are to some extent are trained to be
brusque. We have to be quick, we're making thousands of decisions on a
daily basis. And sometimes we're right, sometimes we're wrong but in
medicine - you know, we see patients on a daily basis and what was the
right decision yesterday, we may decide the next day is the wrong
decision. That's how medicine is, and I think that that would actually
serve him well, rather than sticking to an ideology that doesn't
necessarily serve the nation's interests when all is said and done."

(Dean, 2002) "The purpose of government in this country is to smooth off
the rough edges of capitalism. And so government is essentially a
redistributive body which makes sure that everyone who works hard is
able to at least have some hope of achieving the American dream of
sending their kids to college and so forth."

(Courtney) "He was really very successful and very instrumental in
creating the marriage between conservation and smart growth. He
conserved over half a million acres of wildlands in the state at the
same time he was making visits to Arkansas to talk to the folks at
Wal-Mart about bringing Wal-Mart into the state, but doing it in a
reasonable way: getting small and going downtown."

Interesting stuff. Plenty of fodder for attack ads, but it may be that Dean has already found a way to define himself on the ground, no matter what the air war ends up being. The future lies ahead!

"Howard Dean says something" 

Great post from Flummery::

Howard Dean apparently uttered a string of words that, when put together, can be interpreted by the listener as a phrase expressing a thought or idea. ...

"This is just another stupid, crazy thing Howard Dean has said. Howard Dean is too liberal and too angry to be president. He's unelectable." said Fred Barnes of The Weekly Standard. "When I actually hear what he said, it'll definitely confirm my belief that [George W.] Bush is going to easily win re-election" Barnes continued. ...

Kos to provide actual reportage of Iowa caucuses 


And I plan to have several people on the ground providing real-time blogging of the caucuses. Should be really freakin' fun.

This is (potentially) huge.

Up to know, the blogosphere been very "meta"—we've been dependent (some would say parasitic) on the SCLM for stories to which we then react.

But to cut the ground from under the SCLM, and act, instead of react, we have to do our own reporting and generate our own stories; absent funding, of course that's hard, though Kos seems to have found a way to do it.

Tiny, smart, fast-moving mammals against huge, stupid, and slow-moving dinosaurs .... I like our chances.

Headline: "Iraqis Demanding Jobs Stone British and Iraqi Forces" 


Wonder if the same idea would work over here .... Bush creates 1000 jobs in December? Nationwide? Not so good....

When Losers are Winners - and vice versa 

From Liberal Coalition member Respectful of Otters

Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight

As avowed liberals, we here at Respectful of Otters live lives of wild and irresponsible hedonism. Tonight being the first Wednesday of the month, we're off to

a revamping of the "political love-in" from the '60s, where pot-smoking hippies would use politics as a guise for picking up dates. Now, Dean -- having "liberated" the gays of the state of Vermont by legislating civil unions, much in the same way he might imagine that Lincoln "liberated" the slaves -- is out to "free" every sex-starved, party-deprived Democrat and give them what they really want: a good time.

Seriously, if you folks have never been to boozy sex parties organized by precinct, you should give the Dean Meetups a try. I know there's nothing like letter-writing and phone banking to put me in the mood.

Hey man, far out, where's my old MC5 records! Where's my Spiro Agnew dartboard. Where's my....uh, what was I looking for? Where's my circa 70's power hitter bong.

Just for the historical record, back before college students had powerful personal computers many had personal power hitter bongs. And bongs were a lot easier to operate. So I'm told. But never mind that, so much bong-water under the bridge as they say, what really needs to be emphasized here is that way back in the 60's and early 70's folks also had other "political love-in" options. Not to mention sex-starved parties. I went, I mean I once spoke with someone, who went to a bunch of those hippie sex-parties myself and lemme tell you, Strom "Spawn" Thurmond wasn't at any one of them. Nope. Theres one thing Strom Thurmond wasn't, and that was a sex-starved hippie loser. Nosiree, that guy would fuck anything attached to a cocktail napkin and a beehive hairdo. Strom was never "starved". If you know what I mean. Where do you think the Eagle Forum came from anyway? Sheesh.

And another thing. Will someone on the Right-wing or the SCLM, or whoever, please make up their mind about what decade they'd like to hallucinate in. You know, if Howard Dean is like George McGovern, well. uh, I got news for you, George McGovern was the Dem candidate in 1972. Not the 60's. That was another guy whose name I forgot. Hubert! Yes, that was it, Humbert Hubert Humbert. No wait, that was a sex-starved guy from the "Pre-Feminst" 50's. Ay yi yi.

Anyway, if you're looking for other 60's-70's style "political love-in" party options I have a suggestion. How about this one:

Yeah baby! That guy sure knew how to party. And of course anyone who didn't go to that guy's party was a "loser", man. Like all those McGovernites. What a bunch of "losers".

Thats right, everyone who voted for Tricky Dick Nixon was a winner! And they voted for that winner in droves. Yup, the whole country was a big fucking winner in 1972 because they voted for a liar and a crook and a national disaster. Kind of like voting for an earthquake or something. Hey, wait a minute, that sounds eerily familiar. But nevermind.

Dick Cheney, who worked for the Nixon White House Cost of Living Council and Office of Economic Opportunity, was also a big winner. And now we're all winners because Dick Cheney is a winner again. Ya just can't keep a good winner down. And what other winner worked for Nixon's OEC? Uh-oh...it was Nixon administration winner Don Rumsfeld. Gee, all those repeat winners in one place, its a wonder anyone can be a loser these days.

Except for all those Howard McGovern hippie type throwbacks from some decade or another. Boy are they losers. I'll bet they'll make the mistake in 2004 of voting for a loser again and the entire nation will once again be a winner when they select a silver spoon fed born winner and liar and crook and national disgrace to four more years. But who cares. That'll just make Dick Cheney a three-time winner and all real-Murican patriotic "pre-feminist" Christian sorts love a winner.

Gives a whole groovy new meaning to the charge of loser, now doesn't it?

King Cotton and the Know-Nothings... 

...prepare for their 2004 Tour of Gopher Prairie.

Liberal Coalition memeber Collective Sigh weighs in on another semasiology sales pitch production from the George Windrip Bush 2004 GOP marketing collective. Another sing along with the bouncing ball of bullshit PR stunt number called the "ownership society" twist. Which is probably something like Pre-Feminism and especially useful if you work for the National Review and own a hotel anywhere but Gopher Prairie.

More "Ownership Society", Bush Style

"Born on third base and thinks he hit a triple" comes to mind, also. Those who haven't even had a chance to get into the batter's box stand very little chance of socking away the savings, with or without tax credits.

For more on the topic of the "Ownership Society" (whatever that is), see Lambert's post below. Myth of the ownership society

Snatchin' Nookie at The Bowman Hotel. 

Liberal Coalition member Echidne Of The Snakes gives us Rara Avis, Part III (Laura Schlessinger) A look at witch-doctor Laura Schlessinger's new so called book about how to operate a home based petting zoo for human beings.

+ also from Echidne... No Doesn't Mean No?, including comment on recent babblings from some jawbone named James Bowman at the National Rearview....I mean Review!, the National Review, sorry.

James Bowman (National Review) pines for the old days when: Pre-feminist common sense suggested that a woman who comes alone to a man's hotel room late at night has already consented to sex with him.

Pre-Feminism? When exactly was the age of "Pre-Feminism" anyway? Was that like before or after the age of farthingales? Before the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848? How 'bout this below? Circa 18th to early 19th century.

Following the English common law, the US legal system long assigned women a special and inferior status. Although the Constitution did not use the words "men" and "women" but always "people," "persons," and "citizens," the courts did not interpret these terms to include women. Rather, they classified women with children and imbeciles as incapable of managing their own affairs. Women were denied educations, barred from certain occupations and professions, and excluded from juries and public offices. Married women were virtually the property of their husbands. They were limited in their ability to own property, sign contracts, obtain credit, go nto business, control their earnings, write wills. The law regarded home and family as the special province of women, and it did all it could to confine them there in the belief that this was in the best interests of women themselves and of the society as a whole. ~ from The New American Desk Encylopedia, encyclopedia entry for, "Women's Movement".

Is that what conservatives mean by "Pre-Feminism"? Or is that just some junk-history type stuff written by elitist Volvo driving latte swilling encyclopedia freakshow editors? Probably Feminists theselves. Or is "Pre-Feminism" that glorious age just prior to the age of Dr Laura Schlessinger's cheesecake nudie photos? Would those early nudie photos therefore make Dr. Laura a Neo-Pre-Feminist! And if so, is any criticism of Neo-Pre-Feminist Dr. Laura Schlessinger, or the Pre-Feminist National Review man's hotel room late night playboy guy James Bowman, simply a coded anti-semitic hate speech attack by, by, by, ah-my-gawd! -- Femi-Nazis!?

Good gawd-a-mighty, huh.

And, from LC member edwardpig I larn'd me this:

Just When You Thought it was Safe to Vote in Florida" Katherine Harris, after a single term in Congress, is considering a run for Bob Graham's open Senate seat.

Would that sort of "run" be considered ladylike? Or Pre-Feminist or Neo-Pre-Feminist? Or perhaps even, Neo-Farthingale? And if Harris trys to grab Graham's seat does that mean he can have his way with her in a hotel room? Gosh, I need a drink.

Lone Star Lobotomy Shop 

On Bush's phony education "Miracle", you know, "No Child Left Behind" (out of sight, out of mind), the "Texas Miracle", and all that make-believe,... Molly Ivins summed it up as follows:

As full-time residents of the state that gave you tort reform, H. Ross Perot, and penis-enlargement options on executive health plans, we're obliged to warn you that if Dubya Bush had exported "the Texas Miracle," the country would be in deep shit. In public education there was no Texas miracle. The last Lone Star miracle we know of was the time the face of Jesus appeared on a screen door in Port Neches, and that's been more than thirty years." [from Bushwacked, by Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose]

Liberal Coalition members Trish Wilson and Steve Gillard also discuss the so advertised and much media ballyhooed "miracle".

Via Trish Wilson: No Child Left Behind? More Like "No Child's Behind Left"

And from Steve Gilliard

It was called the “Texas Miracle,” and you may remember it because President Bush wanted everyone to know about it during his presidential campaign.

Also from Steve Gillard, who comments on our Homeland National Security State Apparatus efforts to foil the potentially plausible possible dastardly dirty deeds of potentially plausible possible dastardly dirty deedsters.


Homeland Security officials were terrified of a potential "dirty" bomb attack over the New Year's holiday -- even though they had no intelligence suggesting such an attack.

According to the Washington Post, "the U.S. government last month dispatched scores of casually dressed nuclear scientists with sophisticated radiation detection equipment hidden in briefcases and golf bags to scour five major U.S. cities for radiological, or 'dirty,' bombs."

The attention to a potential dirty bomb, for example, resulted not from specific recent information indicating such an attack but from the belief among officials that al Qaeda is sparing no effort to try to detonate one.

One would hope that they dispatched the golf bags to Orlando and the briefcases to Times Square. But who can say for sure. And unfortunately, no mention of how they casually accessorized for the celebrations in San Francisco.

Special Rights for Constitutional Contortionists 

Liberal Coalition member Mustang Bobby at Bark Bark Woof Woof comments on elitist right wing special interest group efforts to bludgeon anyone or anything they don't like into submission by fiat.

Making Amends

Matthew Yglesias at Tapped looks at the contortions the right wing is going through to get the Federal Marriage Amendment (FMA) into the Constitution.


The word "marriage" is the catch. It's loaded with both religious and secular meaning. Marriage has the same legal impact if it happens in St. Patrick's Cathedral with all the trappings of sacraments and ritual or if the couple goes down to the county clerk's office on their lunch hour and has a judge perform the ceremony with all the formality of a real estate closing. The result is the same - a formal promise and commitment on the part of each person to care for each other. That's it.

+ continue reading: Making Amends

++ For Rich "Dick" Cheney's recent - throw a Religious Right fetch-dog a bone - flip on the matter of same sex unions, and a proposed constitutional amendment to ban such unions, see Lambert's entry below: Cheney to his own daughter: Drop dead!

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