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Real Name: Duncan Black
Age: 34
Location: Philadelphia

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Saturday, May 27, 2006
 
All That And More

Okay, so Slate doesn't believe in fact-checking. Fine. We learned the New York Times wasn't exactly well-staffed in the fact-checking department. So, um, how many mistakes do writers get before you consider giving them a pink slip? Or is it all just part of the fun.

stupid cable modem out all evening

 
Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.


 
Sunday Show Guests

  • Meet the Press hosts Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Washington Post's David Broder, David Ignatius, and Eugene Robinson and National Review's Kate O'Beirne.
    Face the Nation hosts Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
  • This Week hosts Reps. John Murtha (D-PA) and Duncan Hunter (R-CA).
  • Fox News Sunday hosts Senate Maj. Leader Bill Frist and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL).
  • Late Edition hosts Iraqi Deputy PM Barham Salih, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and NBC's Tim Russert.


Apparently Meet the Press isn't even going to try to pretend anymore. Their lineup last week:

  • Meet the Press hosts Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Washington Post's David Broder, David Ignatius, and Eugene Robinson and National Review's Kate O'Beirne.

...argh, that's what happens when you post and your cable modem goes out. My point still stands, I just c&p'd the wrong thing. Here was last week's lineup

  • Meet the Press hosts Sec/State Condoleezza Rice, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-GA).


 
Tester v. Morrison

I really haven't followed the Montana Senate primary enough to really have a strong opinion, but everyone seems to be rallying around John Tester. Howie Klein makes the case.

 
"Ask Mr. Science"

Um, Slate, do you really have such contempt for your readers that you publish Gregg Easterbrook under the title "Ask Mr. Science"?

Gregg Easterbrook, the man who once wrote:

Intelligent design is a sophisticated theory now being argued out in the nation's top universities. And though this idea assumes existence must have some higher component, it is not religious doctrine under the 1986 Supreme Court definition. Intelligent-design thinking does not propound any specific faith or even say that the higher power is divine. It simply holds that there must be an unseen intellect imbedded in the cosmos.

The intelligent design theory may or may not be correct, but it's a rich, absorbing hypothesis--the sort of thing that is fascinating to debate, and might get students excited about biology class to boot. But most kids won't know the idea unless they are taught it, and in the aftermath of the Kansas votes, pro-evolution dogma continues to suggest that any alternative to natural selection must be kept quiet.


Can't you find a "Mr. Science" who doesn't think science="some shit we talked about drunk while I was getting my political science and journalism degrees."

 
ARMs

I tried to warn people, but nobody listens to Atrios...

ATLANTA - In the suburbs of Dallas, Bridget Edwards comes home to uncertainty every day. She and her husband, James, are four months behind on their mortgage.

“It's been just like a roller coaster,” Bridget says. “Our payments have been just up and down.”

Up and down, from $1,300 a month to more than $2,000.

...

The reason?

“We have an adjustable-rate mortgage,” she explains. “I really didn't know it would change like this.”

Today, foreclosure looms over their $129,000 home. That’s a problem facing a growing number of Americans, who are finding themselves one crisis away from financial ruin. RealtyTrac, an industry organization that maintains a nationwide database of foreclosures, says mortgage defaults between January and March of this year numbered 323,102 compared with 188,122 during the same period last year — an increase of 72 percent.



Thanks for the good advice, Greenspan.

 
Yearly Kos

I'll be there. I admit I thought when I first saw this being organized that the organizers must be, well, nuts, but it appears they've put together quite the event.

 
Tribalism

I think some combination of Digby's and Christy's posts really gets the issue quite well. Tribalism in American politics is incredibly important. While I think that most "swing voters" in the presdent day are that way because of a combination of ignorance, apathy, and a desire to imagine themselves to be "independent" (think of them as "Slate readers"), the greater pool of potential swing voters are indeed motivated to a great degree by tribal self-identification.

But that kind of tribalism can't, for the most part, be pandered to by most national politicians. It's long term and it's largely local. Neither George Bush lying about what cheese he puts on his cheese steak nor national Democrats expressing their love for country music (real or not) are going to impact tribal identification long term. Sure nods to tribal identity put pull a few votes back and forth, but long term the goal is get the whole tribe back in your camp.

That's why revitalizing the local party and related institutions at a local tangible level is so important. It also makes it easier to, as Christy points out, actually provide real results to people who need them.

 
Backlash

The first, and probably still best, book I read about how our media regularly constructs and perpetuates utter horeshit was Susan Faludi's Backlash.



While about 16 years old now, I guarantee it isn't dated in the slightest. In fact many members of the wacky cast of characters you're very familiar with today were around back then, and Faludi does a good job eviscerating them and the mainstream media. And, not much has changed since then except maybe the horseshit production factory has gotten more explicitly partisan/political.

One of the major examples of horseshit was an utterly unsupport Newsweek article about the chances for older women to get married which included the claim that after a certain age you had more chance of being killed by a terrorist than getting married. Of coure the chance of getting married was pulled out of their asses. The chance of getting killed by a terrorist was pulled out of their asses. The entire thing was pulled out of their asses.

So, it's nice to see that decades later, Newsweek has finally decided to address the fact that they were, in fact, completely full of shit.

My short reading list, in rough chronological order (of relevance not publication), to have a good sense of what's going on in the media (and its intersection with politics) in this country would be:


On Bended Knee

Backlash

Sound and Fury

Queer in America

Fools for Scandal

Hunting of the President

Blinded by the Right


A Vast Conspiracy


One Scandalous Story

What Liberal Media

Republican Noise Machine

Attack Poodles

Lapdogs


...I added a few after being reminded of them in comments. Also, Joan Didion's Political Fictions has been recommended by just about everyone I tend to trust on these things at one point or another. I've never read it, but add it to the list as well.


Friday, May 26, 2006
 
Short Bus Ride Joe

What a week it's been. Honored by his neocon pals, because they've made all the right decisions over the past couple of years, and now he supports "pro-life" license plates to support pregnancy crisis scam centers.

What a hideous human being.

Please let's try to get him out of the Senate.
This is about Joe, but it's bigger than Joe.

 
Easterbrook

What a wanker.

He really must have pictures of editors with goats for them to continue to pay him to write.

 
The Coming Blogwars

Those of you who have been with me since the dawn of time know that I basically sat out the 2004 primaries and didn't officially take a stand on who the candidate should be. More than that I did my best to not let my discussion of the primary coverage be influenced by my personal preferences. I'm not claiming that I was perfect on that last part, or that I even tried to be (and lacking the Mullet of Objectivity possessed by our Tabloid Press Corps I lack the skills), but still it was something I sorta aimed for.

At the time the reasons were fairly simple. First, I didn't think that the all important Eschaton Endorsement was really going to make a damn bit of difference anyway, so why bother. Second, I didn't want to alienate readers (not because I was worried about traffic for business reasons, at that time the blog was providing beer money if that). Third, I didn't want to spend months fighting with other bloggers. Fourth, while I certainly had my personal preferences about who I'd prefer for president I didn't have any strong sense of who would make the best candidate.

Overall the lefty blogosphere managed to get through 2003 and early 2004 without too much rancor. I think I cried when The Editors got mad at me about something I said about Wes Clark because I was as big an Editors fanboy as he was a Clark fanboy, but aside from that it seemed blogland got through.

Still I worry that it's going to get a wee bit nasty this time. People are going to be understandably passionate about these things and there are certainly those out there who think it's unfair that the "big bloggers" have undue influence. I'm sure I'll be "on the take" of 5 different campaigns (I wish!) as will plenty of others. I'm sure various big bloggers will end up supporting different candidate, so we'll probably end up fighting with each other too. The various blog factions - wonks, netroots - will imagine the other faction is working out of ignorance and bad faith. And on and on.

So, do I pick a team?

 
Goremania

Al Gore inspires the Rude Pundit to take a break from his typical evening of hookers and blow to go listen to the sweaty lunk at Town Hall.

New Yorkers can get tickets for this evening at:

Lincoln Square

Landmark Sunshine

In SoCal:

Hollywood

Santa Monica

 
Coming Soon to the New York Times

They're apparently going to start taking all of their news cues from tabloids.

 
Trespass

Listen to Little Ricky losing his marbles here.

I really don't understand this, anyway. Back in the good old days when I lived in the suburbs I thought one could walk up the driveway and knock on your neighbor's door without being guilty of criminal trespass. Presumably if the light were right one could easily see if windows had curtains and if there was furniture inside from that vantage point. Have things changed?

 
Character

Ezra's being snarky, but snark aside there is a deep current of "young people need to have their character built by trials-by-fire." It's rather nauseating especially when it comes from people who, you know, didn't sign up to go kill a bunch of people themselves.

More generally I really don't get the "they're children until they're 18 and then, magically, they need to face the cold hard reality of life as adults" attitude which seems to be pervasive in our culture.

 
Cleland in Media, PA

Max Cleland is coming to Media, PA (Philly burb) to support the candidacy of Bryan Lentz for state senator.

Tuesday, May 30th, 2:30 PM.

Location: Iron Hill Brewery
30 East State Street
Media, PA

For those up towards the NE corner of the state Cleland will also be attending a variety of events in support of Chris Carney, who is running for Congess.

 
Reports of Shots Fired in Rayburn House Office Building

From CNN. oy. Hope nothing serious.

Aside from that, it means we get to play a round of blogospheric "was it a right wing nut or a left wing nut" competition even though people who go nuts and start taking shots at the white house/capitol/whatever are usually just... nuts.


...now saying in the garage.

 
Make It Stop

On a CNN piece just now on identity theft/document fraud, the chyron was "falsified documents often used by illegal workers & terrorists."

Jeebus on a cracker, how many terrorists do we have in this country?

 
The Pro-Child Murder Coalition

War is awful, this war is an awful war, and in wars awful things happen. Good people end up doing bad things. Bad people end up doing worse things. While I should never stop being surprised by these things, I was quite shocked when the wankosphere branded Murtha a traitor for discussing the military investigation into what appears to be (and apparently the military believes) was unprovoked slaughter of Iraqi civilians, including women and children. I don't know how these sick people think such behavior is justified or defensible, but apparently the fault is not with the soliders who are accused of killing defenseless children or with the military investigators looking into what happened, but with military veteran John Murtha.

 
Nobody Home At Little Ricky's House

Oh my:

Before every election, the Post-Gazette routinely sends letters to the candidates seeking material for the Voters Guide. Back in March, as part of that process for the primary, the newspaper sent a letter to Rick Santorum at his home address, at least the one that he claims. Back from Penn Hills came the letter with a sticker from the U.S. Postal Service checked as "Not Deliverable As Addressed -- Unable To Forward."

That is all you need to know about the nasty dispute between the Republican Sen. Santorum and his Democratic opponent, Bob Casey Jr., in the November election. The whole thing is rooted in one inconvenient fact for Sen. Santorum: He doesn't live here anymore.

This is not to say that he doesn't visit Penn Hills from time to time. But while he may meet the legal requirements for residency, his home is in Virginia with his wife and children. This is well-known and it has been for quite a while. Indeed, it was at the heart of the objection by some Penn Hills residents to the local school district paying for the senator's children to be enrolled in a cyber charter school. The theory was that -- let us emphasize it again because it is central to the current problem -- he doesn't live here anymore.



Click through and read the whole thing. It's good.

 
Goremania

On Wednesday an inconvenient truth was the #11 movie in the country despite being in only 4 theaters, earning $78,994 ($19,749/theater). The #10 movie was showing at 1,265 theaters, earning 117,000, or $92/theater.

 
emusic

Just a plug for eMusic here. Unlike most (all?) legal download services, emusic has no DRM whatsover. You download the .mp3 and it's yours to do with what you want. It runs on a monthly subscription service - starting at $9.99 for 40 songs/month - though I believe (make sure you check the fine print on this one) there's no commitment period and you can cancel at any time. They don't have most of the latest and greatest from the major labels, but they have some interesting back catalogs and a lot of great indie stuff.

I keep meaning to plug them anyway, but I figured I might as well sign up to the affiliate program and take a cut. Right now they're offering a free trial - 50 free songs in 14 days - so you can check it out. I assume it's one of those if-you-don't-cancel-in-14-days-we-charge-your-credit-card deals but as there's no long commitment involved if you forget to to do that you won't be locked into something forever.

I like the subscription model as I end up trying a bunch of random things when I'm not sure what to download.

Give it a try if you're interested.

 
Morning Thread

Try not to shoot anybody in the face.

 
Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.



Thursday, May 25, 2006
 
CLENIS

I know we went through this 8 years ago with Bill and Monica so I shouldn't be surprised, but Matthews' obsession with the intimate details of the Clinton marriage shows him to be a psychotic pervert.

It's a 3 minute clip in which we learn when the New York Times and David Broder cover it then it ceases to be "gossip" and becomes real news.

Not that Matthews would know this, but Whitewater ran on the front page of the times to and it was 90% bullshit, including information Jeff Gerth knew to be false.


 
Know the State of Their Marriage

Chris Matthew said the other night:

MATTHEWS: Let's talk about the front page of The New York Times today, at the very top of the fold. I mean, it's right up there at the banner, the Clinton marriage, "For the Clintons, delicate dance of married and public lives." This is the most teasing story I've come across in The New York Times in a long time, the paper of record. Let me give you some quotes:

"Mr. Clinton is rarely without company in public, yet the company he keeps rarely includes his wife."

...

MATTHEWS: Well, I hate being away from my wife more than a day or two, but thank you, Michael.


I hope his wife feels the same way, and if so then they might be quite happy. However, it was not always so:

"Before I was married, you had girlfriends you had a fondness for. Old girlfriends. Most people do. You know, it's a nice thing. You bump into them or have lunch with them once in a while or something. You know what I mean?" he asks. "I'm kind of a romantic. I've always thought that I would never hold it against a guy, even one who was married for 20 or 30 years, who fell in love with his secretary. Just honestly it happens, you know? And you feel sad about the consequences and argue about the morality of it, but I would always understand, and I would never like the guy less. I would say, 'I get it.' " He pauses. "I think this isn't like that."

Matthews once got confessional about his own wandering eyes and hands. Last May, in one of his highest-profile bookings, he confided in his guest, George W. Bush, about his reasons for quitting drinking (he's been sober six years). A roomful of the traveling press corps -- as well as a live audience surrounding the two -- could hear their conversation, as Matthews rambled on during a commercial break. "It was one of these parties, Sam Donaldson's daughter's party," he said to Bush, relating three hours of afternoon drinking. "And I am gone at about six or seven at night. I've got my hand on somebody's leg. Where's this going? Who am I kidding?"

Bush nodded and said simply, "Yeah, yeah," remembering the mike was live.

"I don't mind occasional disasters, but I was heading in the wrong direction," Matthews said. Bush assured him he did the right thing by cutting himself off the booze. By occasional disasters, Matthews meant only flirting, he says months later by way of explanation.


ok

 
Clinton

While Garance gets at some of the ways this kind of media coverage will impact Senator Clinton, I think the analysis is missing the broader issue which is that the mainstream media has long had multiple conflicting and inconsistent standards when it comes to the private lives of public figures, especially politicians and members of their own club. More than that it presents yet another mainstream media corrupt habit of making something news for no particular reason and then pretending that the story just appeared out of nowhere, even when in this case there is literally no semi-legitimate hook for it. In this case it's doubly corrupt because it's The Paper of Record, which as we all know is liberal, so that gives additional license for the rest of the corporate press to jump on the story.

There's also the little issue of the press's history with the Clintons, where at some point there was no personal detail, no matter how poorly sourced, which was not considered to be legitimate news. One would've liked to have thought that post-Monica Madness this little habit was beaten out of them, that maybe they even had a few regrets, though it's clear again that it's not the case. The Clinton Rules of Journalism never left us.

And, finally, it puts on display the utter vapidity of the press corps we're dealing with. If Dean Broder, who has been covering Washington since 1820, can't sit through a 45 minute speech on energy policy, and the press on Air Force One would rather watch King Kong than the Hayden hearings, while they devote their time and resources to a long 50-source article about how often the Clintons are getting busy, then we have a problem, and it's not something we're going to clear up at a blogger ethics panel.

I'm actually one who thinks that members of the celebrity press (not all the press) are, indeed, celebrities and should have about the same expectation of personal privacy as they, the press, grant to other celebrities. I also think that politicians are public figures who as such should have fairly limited expectations that their personal lives can remain that way, especially to the extent that they conduct their personal lives in public. But our mainstream press has long failed to have any consistent standards for these things, tut-tutting juicy revelations one day while screaming about them the next. And the biggest dodge they use to excuse their behavior is to claim a story is just "out there" when they themselves were the ones to put it out there.

 
Moving Past It

David Broder is such a wanker.

And, as pointed out at Tiny Revolution:

MR. RUSSERT: David Broder, is it possible for official Washington--the president, Democratic leaders, Republican leaders--to arrive at common ground, a consensus position on Iraq?
MR. DAVID BRODER: It's possible, Tim, but they won't get there by arguing about who did what three years ago. And this whole debate about whether there was just a mistake or misrepresentation or so on is, I think, from the public point of view largely irrelevant. The public's moved past that.


And, as pointed out at Tiny Revolution:

Just days after he said this, a New York Times poll found that 80% of Americans felt it was "very" (56%) or "somewhat" (24%) important for Congress to investigate Bush's use of intelligence on Iraq.


In Broder's world: Figuring out how we got into this catastrophic war, not so important. Not only that, he assumes because it isn't important to him it must not be important to anyone. This is called the Pulling It Our Of Your Ass school of punditry, something the Dean has apparently mastered in his old age.

What is important is thinking about how Teh Hot Hillary is in her yellow pantsuit and dreaming about Teh Sex between her and the Clenis.

 
A Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing

The one "good thing" about the Enron scandal/California Energy Crisis was that it provided a nice way to teach about monopoly and interesting supply curves in my economics classes. When the fake energy crisis hit California, at the time FERC could have taken one simple step to fix it and institute hard price caps on wholesale power sales. At the time the Sage Geniuses of the Media, the self-annointed economic geniuses, Knew just Knew that that since California's "problem" was not enough electricity that price caps would simply exacerbate the problem by reducing the amount of electricity supplied by producers. This they gleaned from a week or two of Econ 101 that had imprinted iteslf on the back of their brains.

Of course what was going on in California (part of it anyway, and reducing it to its essence) was that due to imperfections and bottlenecks in the transmission grid, combined with the ridiculously designed deregulation scheme requiring retailers to buy on the spot market at any wholesale price, local power generators had monopoly power at least over local areas. And, when you have a monopoly, price caps somewhat paradoxically actually increase the quantity supplied because the incentive to withhold supply in order to raise the price is removed.

Fun times.

 
Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.


 
GUILTY!

Ken Lay guilty on all counts in Enron trial, and guilty on separate bank fraud charges.


Praise Jeebus. Bye Kenny Boy.

Skilling guilty of conspiracy, fraud...35+ charges I think they said... now saying 20.


...adding that I was in California during the fake "energy crisis" and had to deal with the fucking idiot media during that time getting everything wrong, so this one was personal.

 
Cranky Old Men

I love it when cranky old men start trashing young people. And the average age of O'Reilly's audience climbs a bit higher...

 
First Up Against the Wall

The Note:


A majority of the minority will be in their hearts for higher taxes, universal health care, a heightened emphasis on civiil liberties, and a dramatic and swift reduction of troops from Iraq. They know it, the RNC, NRCC, NRSC, and The Note all know it — the Democrats just have to hope that the American people don't find out until February.

On Iraq, perhaps they should read their own polls:


.

"Which political party -- the Democrats or the Republicans -- do you trust to do a better job handling the situation in Iraq?" Options rotated

.

Democrats 50% Republicans 36%

...


.

"All in all, considering the costs to the United States versus the benefits to the United States, do you think the war with Iraq was worth fighting, or not?"

.

Worth Fighting 37%, Not Worth Fighting 62%

...
"Again thinking about the goals versus the costs of the war, so far in your opinion has there been an acceptable or unacceptable number of U.S. military casualties in Iraq?"

.

Acceptable 22% Unacceptable 76%
...

"Do you think the number of U.S. military forces in Iraq should be increased, decreased, or kept about the same?" Options rotated

.

Increased 15% Decreased 54% Same 27%


On Universal health care. ABC poll from 2003:


Public Preference:
Current System or Universal Coverage?

Current system: 32%
Universal coverage: 62% \

Asked of respondents who answered "universal program":"Would you support or oppose a universal health insurance program if it limited your own choice of doctors?"

Support 57% Oppose 41%

Asked of respondents who answered "universal program":"Would you support or oppose a universal health insurance program if it meant there were waiting lists for some non-emergency treatments?"
Support 62% Oppose 33%



Support for the Massachusetts plan (which I don't like very much but it's still sorta-universal):


ABC News/Washington Post Poll. April 6-9, 2006. N=1,027 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3 (for all adults). Fieldwork by TNS.

.

"As you may know, a new law in Massachusetts would require all residents to have health insurance. Low-income residents would get state subsidies to help pay insurance premiums, but everyone would pay something for health services. The plan would penalize people without any insurance and charge fees to employers who don't provide coverage. . . ."
MASSACHUSETTS RESIDENTS: "Do you support or oppose this plan?"
NON-MASSACHUSETTS RESIDENTS: "Would you support or oppose this plan in your state?"

.

Support 55% Oppose 41%

Idiots.


 
Broder's World

We should thank the Broder for providing us with a full bay window view of the vacuous world where he and the gang of 500 operate. He was the man who laid it all out when he said of Clinton:

He came in here and trashed the place, and its not his place.


Whose place is it? Why it's David Broder's place, where unelected hacks like to think that not only do they run the country, that this is the way it should be. I'm all for a powerful independent press, and perhaps they have to be a bit full of themselves to think they have the stature to take on government, but David Broder isn't interested in taking on government or serious policy issues. Not the Broder, nor the Gang of 500, nor The Note. He's interested in cocktail weanies! He's interested in what people are wearing! He's interested in who is fucking who, when, and how often!

Let's unpack this excerpt from his column:

The two sides of Hillary Rodham Clinton -- the opposites that make her potential presidential candidacy such a gamble -- came into sharp focus Tuesday morning at the National Press Club.

For the better part of an hour, the senator from New York held forth in a disquisition on energy policy that was as overwhelming in its detail as it was ambitious in its reach.

But the buzz in the room was not about her speech -- or her striking appearance in a lemon-yellow pantsuit -- but about the lengthy analysis of the state of her marriage to Bill Clinton that was on the front page of that morning's New York Times.


Now, my readers, I know you aren't as smart as sophisticated as the Broder, so perhaps he's invoking a linguistic construction above our intellectual abilities. But I sat there considering what he termed the "two sides" of Hillary Rodham Clinton, her "opposites." What are they?

Apparently one "side" is her desire to talk about energy policy in a way which is "overwhelming in its detail as it was ambitious in its reach."

Her other side is, apparently, David Broder's obsession with her sex life. Two sides indeed. Heh. As Digby writes:


Yes it was, wasn't it? The press is putting everyone on notice that they are going to keep their noses firmly buried in Hillary Clinton's panty drawer for the next two years. As he gazes upon her "striking appearance in a lemon-yellow pantsuit" old Dave is so aroused he can't concentrate on her serious energy speech. Hillary and Bill are more potent than Viagra to these nasty old geezers in the Washington Press corps

Oooh. What delicious, delicious fun it is for these shriveled old crones. Finally they can write about things they really enjoy instead of all this boooring corruption, war, terrorism and political failure. Damn it's invigorating to be back in the saddle isn't it Dave?!

I am actually kind of impressed with Broder's candor here. He's not mincing any words. He comes right out and admits that the press is laying down the gauntlet: if Hillary runs, the Washington Press Corps is going to treat her like a whore. A frigid whore, of course, but a whore nonetheless. No games, no pretense. They are primed and cocked for a full-on Clenis porn-fest. It's clear they are desperate for it.


And Christy adds:

Ah, yes. Panty sniffing is back in vogue this season. Along with binoculars, a recording device, a quick shutter camera and Linda Tripp’s plastic surgeon.

Good heavens, don’t these people have anything better to do? Is Rudy Guiliani going to get the Mistress in the Mansion treatment? Do they plan on running the McCain divorce for the booze distribution heiress marriage up the flag pole to salute? I could go on, but I’m making myself queasy with the memories of 7th grade note passing. "Will u b my date 2 the dance? Write yes or no." Blergh.

Here’s how it starts: plant a seed in the NYTimes, and then allow Chris Matthews to provide a little rain to get things going on Hardball. The next thing you know, all the kool kidz are talking about it around the corporate media water cooler. Then the Dean of All Things Acceptable in Washington Journalism comes out to watch it blossom as a rumor weed that we can all cherish from now until 2008, spreading its tendrils among the corporate press in print and on the teevee. And thus, the discussion of the Clinton bedding rituals begins, until this malarky is cemented as a given fact for all the world to know — whether or not it’s true, or even worth discussion at all. (See last night’s Rove cartoon.)

Except for one thing: who the hell cares? I mean really, who cares? Except for the inside, gossip queens of the Beltway, how exactly does this put gas in someone’s tank, keep their kid safe on the battlefield, stop their job from being downsized, or help them pay the balloon payment on their already-ballooning mortgage? What in the hell are these people doing calling this crap "reporting?"

 
Eastercrapp

In addition to probably being the second stupidest fucking guy on the face of the planet, Gregg Easterbrook is a big fan of Intelligent Design. He wrote:

Intelligent design is a sophisticated theory now being argued out in the nation's top universities. And though this idea assumes existence must have some higher component, it is not religious doctrine under the 1986 Supreme Court definition. Intelligent-design thinking does not propound any specific faith or even say that the higher power is divine. It simply holds that there must be an unseen intellect imbedded in the cosmos.

The intelligent design theory may or may not be correct, but it's a rich, absorbing hypothesis -- the sort of thing that is fascinating to debate, and might get students excited about biology class to boot. But most kids won't know the idea unless they are taught it, and in the aftermath of the Kansas votes, pro-evolution dogma continues to suggest that any alternative to natural selection must be kept quiet.


Which means we should ignore his blithering idiocy when he writes about anything science-related.

 
Know The State Of Their Marriage

I suppose it's fair to start at the top.
First, from the New York Times:

NEW YORK TIMES (4/11/99): Emma Gilbey, an author and journalist, was married yesterday to Bill Keller, the managing editor of The New York Times. The Rev. Robert J. Kennedy performed the ceremony at the Holy Name of Jesus Roman Catholic Church in Manhattan.

Ms. Gilbey, 38, is keeping her name. She is the author of "The Lady: The Life and Times of Winnie Mandela" (Jonathan Cape, 1993). The bride graduated from King's College of London University.

She is the daughter of Anthony J. Gilbey of Wangford, England, and the late Lenore Gilbey. The bride's father is the chairman of Gilbey Collections, a London company that commissions limited edition commemorative items. Her mother was a journalist.

Mr. Keller, 50, graduated from Pomona College. He is the son of Adelaide and George M. Keller of San Mateo, Calif. The bridegroom's father retired as the chairman and chief executive of the Chevron Corporation in San Francisco.


But the London Times adds:

Gilbey is said to have dumped Kerry for David Gilmour, the Pink Floyd guitarist. In the 1990s she wrote a well-received biography of Winnie Mandela and met Bill Keller, a Pulitzer prize-winning journalist who was then foreign editor of The New York Times.

Their affair caused a frisson in New York as Keller walked out on his respected journalist wife when Gilbey became pregnant. They married in 1999. After the scandal caused by the fabrications of Jayson Blair, a reporter, Keller took over as editor of the newspaper last year.


Oh my.

 
Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.



Wednesday, May 24, 2006
 
We Didn't Do It

Ah, the Broder steps up to write the script:

But for all the delicacy of the treatment, the very fact that the Times had sent a reporter out to interview 50 people about the state of the Clintons' marriage and placed the story on the top of Page One was a clear signal -- if any was needed -- that the drama of the Clintons' personal life would be a hot topic if she runs for president.


A hot topic for whom? Why, the Beltway press! Tomorrow we'll begin our series looking at the status of THEIR marriages. Should be fun! I'll happily consult more than 50 sources if I need to! Feel free to write in.

 
Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.


 
Oh My

We'll miss you Denny:

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dennis Hastert, is under investigation by the FBI, which is seeking to determine his role in an ongoing public corruption probe into members of Congress, ABC News has learned from high level official sources.

Federal officials say the information implicating Hastert was developed from convicted lobbyists who are now cooperating with the government.

Part of the investigation involves a letter Hastert wrote three years ago, urging the Secretary of the Interior to block a casino on an Indian reservation that would have competed with other tribes.

The other tribes were represented by convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff who reportedly has provided details of his dealings with Hastert as part of his plea agreement with the government.

The letter was written shortly after a fund-raiser for Hastert at a restaurant owned by Abramoff. Abramoff and his clients contributed more than $26,000 at the time.


And prediction of the day goes to Lord High Everything Else, Mike Tomasky.

 
Cafferty

While I agree with Yglesias that there are probably constitutional issues here or at the very least the fact that raiding congressional offices is without precedent means we probably lack the appropriate legal precedents, it's also the case that there are wee constitutional issues with tapping phones without warrants and at the very least legal issues with collecting peoples' phone records without warrants. And, therefore, this little rant from Cafferty is more than appropriate.



 
Language Creep

While I'm generally not one to be a language nanny, I've noticed recently around the internets there's a tendency to refer to any "nasty political attack I don't like" as "swift boating." I know I'll lose this one, but could we try to limit the definition to something like "baselessly attacking a person's perfectly honorable military record."

 
Oh. My. God.

Just click the link. Trust me.

I promise no gorilla porn this time.

 
Uh, Ew?

Rick Santorum has got to be jealous that the Washington Post published this hot Frist-on-Gorilla porn.


Just read it.

And then go throw up.

 
Millionaire Candidates

I've actually never had a huge problem with self-funded millionaire candidates - it's a problem with the system not with the candidates themselves. Of course I'd prefer a system where that wouldn't be an advantage, but frankly given the current system we have the "self-funded millionaire" is actually one of the few ways to get around the bigger problem of the power of entrenched incumbency.

In any case it's rather amusing the Lieberman is a WATB about millionaire candidates even though he's supported them wholeheartedly in the past.

It inspired me to take a look at where Joe's support has come from in the past. In his 1994 election campaign (.pdf) fully 87% of Lieberman's came either from PACs and from large (over $200) donations, with only 8% ($409,504) coming from individual donors giving under $200.


Over the 2000 campaign (admittedly an odd campaign due to the fact that he was also running for VP), only 4.5% of his money came from small donors ($193,562 total).


Opensecrets hasn't broken out the numbers yet for the latest campaign season.


I can't break out Lamonts numbers completely yet, either, but as of the latest filing he's given $371,500 of his own money to the campaign and raised $405,380 otherwise entirely from individual donations.

We also know from his total ActBlue donations that he's raised about half of that through that site, or $205,922, rom 4142 individual donors. That's an average of about $50.

Anyway, the point is WATB Joe has a history of relying on The Big Money to support his campaign, support which is generally only possible to obtain if you are the incumbent. Ned's donated some cash himself, but it seems he's raising money from the little people much more than Joe ever did.

 
Ricky's Eyesore

Doesn't give a shit about his "neighbors" in PA and doesn't bother mowing the lawn.

 
Pelosi to Jefferson: Resign from Ways and Means

He really should resign from Congress, but it's a start. Noises are that the CBC is protecting him. If so, I don't really understand why. Jefferson's long been one of the worst Democrats in Congress.

 
Right Wing Bloggers and Google News

I've long been puzzled by the obsession of right wing bloggers with being on Google News. Sure I imagine it drives a decent amount of traffic, but I find it bizarre that they'd want to go to search Google News and find a bunch of results from blogs. I think it's great if Google includes a bunch of alternative news sources, including ideological and partisan ones, but most bloggers just don't really fit the mold. I've never wanted to be/tried to get this blog on Google News.

 
Petey

I haven't read Beinart's book, though I gather it makes the shocking case that:

  • America has and can do good in the world when it wants to.
  • This is something we should continue to do at times.
A basic view of the world embraced by just about every national political figure in this country except for Pat Buchanan and George W. Bush Year 2000 Version, but I'm glad Petey's there to remind us.

Anyway, the real issue isn't that Petey and his fellow travelers want to tell Democrats what they should do, the real issue is that they want to be the intellectual leaders of whatever they imagine to be "liberal interventionism." As Supreme Overlord of the Universe and Beyond Mike Tomasky puts it, basically, why the hell should we trust these idiots?

If we are to move forward along lines Beinart suggests, we need to know whether Beinart and other liberal hawks will recognize the difference between antitotalitarian liberalism and conservatism, neo- or otherwise, when they see it. Unfortunately, Beinart slips and slides around this question. His chapter on Iraq, which rehearses the administration’s various arguments for war, reads at first blush like a wise and disinterested account of a tragic march to folly. But he writes about this period as if he’d spent it on a mountaintop in Tibet instead of editing an influential magazine and cheering on the administration virtually every step of the way -- and accusing war critics, not all of whom (news flash: not even a majority of whom) are anti-imperialist Chomskyites, of “intellectual incoherence” and “abject pacifism,” as he so unforgettably put matters to The Washington Post in February 2003. I resented those comments at the time personally, I still do, and I know a lot of people who feel similarly.

I share many of Beinart’s goals for the Democratic Party. I’m not entirely sure how he proposes that today’s Democrats make this Niebuhrian case about recognizing America’s potential to do harm; it doesn’t seem like a vote-getter, but, intellectually at least, he’s on to something. And I found his prescriptive chapter a bit thin. His proposals for how liberals should fight the war on terrorism -- a Marshall Plan for the Arab world, greater cooperation with the United Nations (where possible), and NATO -- are rather general (and, for all his huffing and puffing about doughfacery, every one could be endorsed by the very people he reproves in the previous chapter). Even with these limitations, though, his argument that there is much wisdom to be found today in liberal foreign policy of the 1947-1963 period, and that fighting terrorism must occupy a central place in the liberal schema, is sound.

But to give this subject book-length treatment without acknowledging plainly that the war in Iraq stands against the Cold War liberal tradition rather than within it damages, almost fatally, the credibility of the argument. So we’re supposed to sign up with the author’s vision of a revived ’48-ism, even though we know from his own written record that it could lead to another Iraq? I’d love to talk with Beinart about the future and only the future. But not just yet.


 
Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.


 
Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.


 
Open Thread

Yeah, yeah, another stupid open thread.



Tuesday, May 23, 2006
 
Smells Bad Enough

Jefferson is certainly entitled to his legal defense, and he's also certainly entitled to defend himself in the court of public opinion, but since the former is preventing him from doing the latter I agree with Francine Busby that it's time for him to step down.

 
Ned Lamont is ANGRY and CRAZY

Holy Joe's taking his ball and going home, refusing to participate in Move On's online primary after agreeing to do so. My guess is he's doing this because a) he know he'll lose and b) he's gonna take a page from the Republican/media playbook and distance themselves from those ANGRY CRAZY people at Move On.

Marginalizing and alienating committed donors and voters is always a great thing for Democrats to do.

 
Comparing Gore to Goebbels

They never stop.

It's really important to support this stuff with your dollars, not because we need to make Gore rich (the money isn't going to his pocket anyway) but because it proves there's a market and an audience and a political constituency for fact-based reality.

So, reprinting from below:

Get your tickets before they're gone. Some shows sold out on Wednesday for opening night in Hollywood, but Santa Monica is still an option.

New Yorkers can get tix to AMC Loews Lincoln Square or Landmark's Sunshine Cinema. It looks like they just added another screen so it'll be running on three.

The rest of you can find the opening date near you here.


...New Yorkers can also see Gore on Thursday at Town Hall. Commenter AJS says tickets are almost gone.

 
Stabbed in the Back

Let me second BradRocket's recommendation to pick up the latest Harper's to read Kevin Baker's article. I tried to get them to put it online but the response was, sadly, no!

 
Comma

I must be really stupid because after reading it about 15 times I still couldn't figure out how Dvorkin's issue with comma placement, if even valid, actually changed the meaning.

 
Saving It!

A genuinely relevant political article in the New York Times would involve a detailed examination of the sex lives of all non-married members of the Bush administration. Abstinence-only education is a key policy feature of the Bush administration, and it would certainly be legitimate to ask if they are, in fact, saving it.

 
Two Candidates

Patrick Murphy:

Exciting things are happening at Murphy headquarters!

President Bush is coming to town on Wednesday to do a fundraiser for Mike Fitzpatrick and Jim Gerlach (PA-6; he's being challenged by Lois Murphy). In response, our terrific corps of volunteers will hold a Day of Action in which they will participate in community service projects throughout the 8th District. The 2006 budget, which Mike Fitzpatrick voted for, drastically cut funding to a number of programs affecting people and organizations throughout the 8th District.


Mike Fitzpatrick:


WASHINGTON - President Bush is lending some help to two vulnerable House Republicans seeking re-election in the Philadelphia suburbs.

Bush is slated to attend a fundraiser Wednesday night in Philadelphia for Reps. Jim Gerlach and Mike Fitzpatrick. The two-term Gerlach faces a challenge from attorney Lois Murphy, a Democrat who nearly beat him in 2004. Fitzpatrick, a freshman, is running against Iraq War veteran Patrick Murphy.

The fundraiser also will benefit the Pennsylvania Republican State Committee. Tickets for the event are $1,000.


What'd Mike Fitzpatrick say in 2003? (from the 8/7/03 Allentown Morning Call):

A Republican commissioner said the Democrats were charging too much if they expected to involve average families. Fitzpatrick said he would never ask one of his contributors to pay $1,000 for a ticket to a fund-raiser.



Fitzpatrick said his major fund-raising event each year is a party on St. Patrick's Day. This year, he said, he charged $60 for a ticket.



"We target our fund-raising efforts at more moderately priced events that families can attend," he said. "You can attract a wider audience and have a more personable event than simply asking someone to pay $1,000 to have their picture taken with the governor."

WANKER

 
The Note

They'll be first up against the wall when the revolution comes.*

*That's a reference to something, not a call for actual violence, for the slow.

 
WATB

I've found the spectacle of whining conservatives upset that no liberals were interesting in seriously taking on "The Party of Death" to be rather hilarious. Aside from the obvious - don't spit in my face in then ask me to seriously consider the aesthetics of the experience - as Ezra points out it isn't as if conservatives generally go out of their way to review more liberal-leaning tomes. More than that, does anyone on our team go around bitching (Ezra aside, but just to make his point) that the National Review isn't taking us seriously?

 
Clintons Dogged By Sex Frequency Questions

Yglesias remembers how it was done in the day:

Frankly, I'd like to know why Healy can't just drop the silly insinuations and faux investigative methods. Both Clintons have official spokespersons, just ask them how often Bill and Hillary have sex. When they don't say, you can run a nice juicy headline like "Clintons Stonewalling on Sex Frequency Issue," or, to repeat a classic Monica-era format, "Clintons Dogged By Sex Frequency Questions," as if these things just come out of nowhere. If you're not going to ask straight-up, or even write clearly what you're talking about, then what's the point of all this?

 
Howie Hearts Assrocket

Boehlert brings us back to when the right wingers were obsessed with another "forged" memo. What he leaves out is that Howie Kurtz had invited Assrocket to come on his show to discuss this theory, though the Pope's death bumped him. Generally Kurtz heavily promoted Assrocket's "theory" in his WaPo column.

 
Slow News Day

Boston's Jon Keller has some good commentary for both the Times and the "prominent Demcorats" still obsessed with the Clenis. I know he's being a bit sarcastic with the "slow news day" description, but to flesh it out a bit long 50-source front page stories about the personal lives of politicians don't bubble up from "slow days." Such stories are assigned by top editors.

 
Sniffing Panties

Say hello to Pat Healy, the Times' resident tabloid journalist. Politely ask him when he plans to do a 50 source story on the personal life of Rudy Giuliani - past, present, and "concerns for the future" - and other prominent politicians. Ask him if he's married, and if so ask if he'd be so kind as to tell us just how many nights he spends with his wife during an average month. Or, if not, we'd appreciate an update on his dating situation.

Most of all try to get him to explain whether the intimate details of all politicians' marriages are fair game, or just those of the Clintons.

 
Citizen Journalism

VOA doesn't have a Baghdad Bureau because it's too dangerous. I'm sure one of the fine members of Pajamas Media could go start their radio careers there.

 
Oh My

I'd never been that optimistic that Libby would be convicted, even aside from the inevitable pardon, but...

WASHINGTON - Two top CIA officials will bolster prosecutors' charge that Vice President Cheney's chief aide lied to them, court papers show.
Prosecutors say disgraced Cheney chief of staff Lewis (Scooter) Libby learned CIA spy Valerie Plame's identity from, among others, agency officials who will be called to testify at his trial for perjury, false statements and obstruction of justice.

The U.S. alleges he learned about Plame from one of the CIA officials when he went after dirt on her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson. Wilson shattered a pillar of President Bush's rationale for war - that Iraq was seeking to build a nuclear weapon.

Both CIA officials - including a top architect of the 2003 Iraq invasion - discussed Plame with Libby a month before columnist Robert Novak blew her cover in July 2003, prosecutors charge.

 
Dixie Chicks on Letterman

Not Ready To Make Nice:



Buy the CD.

Move over Crooks and Liars! ;)


...oh, and once again, since it's become Truth in wingnuttia that Natalie Maines burned a giant puppet of a US soldier in effigy while dry humping an Osama Bin Laden doll on stage, here's what she said:

Just so you know, we're ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas.


That was all.

 
All the Tabloid News Fit to Print

Digby:

No folks, that excerpt isn't from Hello magazine or even Vanity Fair. That's the New York fucking Times and it's on page one. If people aren't thinking about the Clintons in terms of infidelity and betrayal now, New York's newest tabloid rag is going to make damned sure they are reminded of it.

I do not know if Hillary is running for president and I'm not making a case for her candidacy. I do, however, think she has the right to try to earn the nomination without this gossip-at-the-hair salon coverage by the NY Times. And believe me, it won't just be her. Look at the spooky picture of Mark Warner on the cover of New York Times Magazine. He looked like something out of a David Lynch movie. I have no doubt that we are going to be reading many derisive accounts of Al Gore the bearded, earth toned circus freak. It's quite clear that if the Democrats are are coming into power, the Times is going to pick up right where it left off when it was last obsessed with Clinton's crotch and Hillary's cold, cold heart. Or perhaps, more to the point, this piece is just a first notice that they plan to.

Democrats be advised: the press is a bunch of braindead robots who are uninterested in changing their puerile Democratic storyline even in the face of the most disasterous administration in American history.It's shocking. You can love Hillary or hate her, I don't care. But goddamit the intimate state of her marriage to Bill Clinton is nobody's business and it NEVER HAS BEEN. If the gossip rags want to play this game, there's nothing anyone can do. But it is just shameful that the New York Times would go back to their cheap, tabloid coverage of politics when the world is on fire. I'm honestly stunned that this is happening again.


Monday, May 22, 2006
 
State of Candidates' Marriages A Question for Republicans

The article not running in the Times tomorrow.

Washington, DC, May 23 - Republicans say it is inevitable that some voters would be concerned and even distracted by the numerous personal indiscretions of the various candidates likely to seek the office of president, and express concern about whether they would be likely to repeat such behavior while in the White House.

While former New York mayor Rudi Giuliani's popularity increased after the events of September 11, pushing his personal issues into the background, Republicans worry he would bring to the White House the kind of activities which marred his tenure at Gracie Mansion.

Giuiliani's behavior led to a judge barring the presence of Judith Nathan, with whom he began having an affair during his last term as mayor, from the mayoral home. The judge's order also criticized Giuliani for the emotional harm he inflicted on his children.

Twice-married Virginia Senator George Allen faces questions over claimed sadistic treatment of his siblings and his fondness for confederate memorabilia despite his having grown up in California. While divorce alone may not disqualify him from the ballot in Republican voters' eyes - they overlooked it in 1980 when Ronald Reagan became the first, and only, divorced man to be elected president - it is still expected to impact his standing with conservative religious voters. Senator McCain of Arizona is in a similar position.

Thrice-married former Speaker of the House New Gingrich also concerns Republicans as he gears up for a potential presidential run. Gingrich, currently 62, began dating his geometry teacher, and future wife, while he was still in high school. He later served her divorce papers at her hospital bed where she was receiving treatment for cancer. He divorced his second wife after it was revealed that he had been having a long-running affair with a staffer 23 years younger than him during the Clinton impeachment saga.

 
Chicks on Dave

Dixie Chicks on Letterman tonight.

 
Fitzorial Day?

Shuster suggests time between Libby court filings may free up Fitz to take care of the little Rove issue.

 
Squaring the Circle

Uh, maybe because it can't be done?


The U.S. military is already gearing up for this outcome, but not for “victory” any longer. It is consolidating to several “superbases” in hopes that its continued presence will prevent Iraq from succumbing to full-flown civil war and turning into a failed state. Pentagon strategists admit they have not figured out how to move to superbases, as a way of reducing the pressure—and casualties—inflicted on the U.S. Army, while at the same time remaining embedded with Iraqi police and military units. It is a circle no one has squared. But consolidation plans are moving ahead as a default position, and U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad has talked frankly about containing the spillover from Iraq’s chaos in the region.

 
EEEEEK

Rox:

So, I guess it doesn't much matter if you're an AT&T customer or not. The government's got access to your internet activity. Without cause or a warrant. But fake Libertarians will still defend the government's action here ...BECAUSE OF THE SCARY!


Jeff Goldstein just wet himself again.


Jeff Goldstein, Artist's Conception

 
Lies and the Lying Liars

And the slime Gore campaign goes on. This is of course ridiculous, as even if they had driven there could have been perfectly good reasons. Being concerned about global climate change doesn't mean you can never use an automobile. And, yes, they've committed to being carbon neutral for the entire project.

Get your tickets before they're gone. Some shows sold out on Wednesday for opening night in Hollywood, but Santa Monica is still an option.

New Yorkers can get tix to AMC Loews Lincoln Square or Landmark's Sunshine Cinema. It looks like they just added another screen so it'll be running on three.

The rest of you can find the opening date near you here.


...New Yorkers can also see Gore on Thursday at Town Hall. Commenter AJS says tickets are almost gone.

 
Onward to Bolivia!

Snark aside, this is serious. It's apparent to me that all the cool kids are gearing up to go meddling in South America for reasons I can't fathom.

 
Hostile Takeover and Fubar

David Sirota's new book is out. I haven't had a chance to take a look at it yet, but here's a good review of it.

And FUBAR by Sam Seder and Stephen Sherrill is out tomorrow. That I have read (well, 3/4 of it so far) and it's quite funny.

 
Out of Touch

Previously we had Saint McCain claiming that to a group of union leaders that they wouldn't pick lettuce for $50/hr.

Now we have Rep. Doolittle (R-WATB) claiming all Americans have health insurance and other wonderful perks.

 
Serious Thinkers

It's really sad that so many in our elite punditocracy believe that hope is a plan, that wishes are ponies, and that the people who shit the bed and those who cheered on the shitting of the bed as it was being shat upon are the best qualified candidates to unshit it.

 
pwn3d!!!

Jean Rohe:

In addition, you make many assumptions about who I am and what I stand for. You assume that the words shouted from the audience reflected at all times my opinions and values. You assume that I have made myself look like an idiot, which, I can tell you, is just not true. You assume I have taken no risks. I'm curious to see which doors have been permanently closed to me in the future, simply because I've spoken up. You assume that I did what I did simply to draw attention to myself for my own personal benefit. I have said in my writing, and I will say it again, I would never have asked for this responsibility in a million years. The entire event was stomach-churning and unpleasant because it was something I didn't want to do, but knew I had to out of an obligation to my own values. You assume that I have no experience making a living. I have been a full-time college student and have worked a job to pay my own rent and my own expenses for the past two years. You assume that I live in an "echo chamber" of liberal head-patting, when, in fact, I live in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, a neighborhood notorious for its cultural diversity and sometimes, conflict. I live in New York City where every human interaction is a test of our willingness to coexist as citizens. And finally, I think it is unfair to assume that I have not considered the hardships of Senator McCain's life. Indeed, one of my first feelings upon seeing him in the flesh was compassion for how much he must have endured in his time as a POW. If there's one thing that I know about myself, it is that I care for people, and in that sense I have a great deal of character. Please don't try to bully me anymore.

 
Wanker of the Day

Joe Klein.

Yes, that's two wankers today, but sadly the world is just filled with them...

 
#1

Dixie Chicks are #1 on Amazon. Officially released tomorrow, though Amazon's been shipping them since Friday.

You can listen to the whole CD here assuming your computer is happy with whatever microsoft is doing.

 
Silence

As Glenn Greenwald points out, it's quite stunning that the Pravdas on the Potomac and Hudson have not said a peep about Abu Gonzales's threats to prosecute journalists.

Hard to stand up for the free press when they won't stand up for themselves.

 
Another Six Monther

AP:

The U.S. ambassador said Sunday that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki will have no honeymoon and will be immediately challenged by al-Qaida and other terrorists.

In an interview with the Associated Press one day after the seating of the new leadership, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad outlined the immediate challenges facing the government of national unity and said the next six months will be "truly critical."

Wake me up when it's 11/22/06.

 
What's Next?

One demonstrably false scary Iran story gets shot down rather quickly, though it of course will remain in circulation in wingnuttia and elsewhere forever. More stories will come which won't be as easy to shoot down. And the problem is, of course, that Iran doesn't have an especially pleasant government so people like me find ourselves in the unfortunate position of appearing to defend people who aren't necessarily great examples of humanity when all we're doing is trying to figure out what the truth is.

And around we go.

 
An Inconvenient Truth

Get your tickets before they're gone. Some shows sold out on Wednesday for opening night in Hollywood, but Santa Monica is still an option.

New Yorkers can get tix to AMC Loews Lincoln Square or Landmark's Sunshine Cinema.

The rest of you can find the opening date near you here.

 
Wanker of the Day

John McCain.

Is there a bigger bunch of whiny ass titty babies than McCain and his people? He got beat bad by a 21-year-old woman and instead of taking his lumps his minions go out to slime her.

 
An Army of Mercenaries

Yes, our country is fucking nuts.

NEW YORK Little known to the American public, there are some 50,000 private contractors in Iraq, providing support for the U.S. military, amongs other activities. So why not go all the way, argues Ted Koppel in a New York Times op-ed on Monday, and form a real "mercenary army"?

Such a move involving what he calls "latter-day Hessians" would represent, he writes, "the inevitable response of a market economy to a host of seemingly intractable public policy and security problems."

It is make necessary by our "over-extended military" and inability of the United Nations to form adequate peace forces. Meanwhile, Americans business interests grow ever more active abroad in dangerous spots.

"Just as the all-volunteer military relieved the government of much of the political pressure that had accompanied the draft, so a rent-a-force, harnessing the privilege of every putative warrior to hire himself out for more than he could ever make in the direct service of Uncle Sam, might relieve us of an array of current political pressures," Koppel explains.


I like how Koppel slips seamlessly from "relieved the government" to "relieve us" in that paragraph.


Sunday, May 21, 2006
 
Radical

A majority of Americans are against this war and the Dixie Chicks are radical.

Like the time when the nation was "sharply divided" over Terry Schaivo.

 
Talk Show Joe

Krugman is very good tomorrow. Behind the wall, I'm sure the internets will provide the rest somehow.

Mr. Lieberman's defenders would have you believe that his increasingly unpopular positions reflect his principles. But his Bushlike inability to face reality on Iraq looks less like a stand on principle than the behavior of a narcissist who can't admit error. And the common theme in Mr. Lieberman's positions seems to be this: In each case he has taken the stand that is most likely to get him on TV.

You see, the talking-head circuit loves centrists. But a centrist, as defined inside the Beltway, doesn't mean someone whose views are actually in the center, as judged by public opinion.

Instead, a Democrat is considered centrist to the extent that he does what Mr. Lieberman does: lends his support to Republican talking points, even if those talking points don't correspond at all to what most of the public wants or believes.

But this "center" cannot hold. And that's the larger lesson of what happened Friday. Mr. Lieberman has been playing to a Washington echo chamber that is increasingly out of touch with the country's real concerns. The nation, which rallied around Mr. Bush after 9/11 simply because he was there, has moved on — and it has left Mr. Lieberman behind.

 
The Six Monthers

We have a big problem. The dominant view among the in crowd in Washington is that the next 6 months is a critical time in Iraq. As it has always been. They're all Tom Friedman now. Maybe they're right this time. From a pure policy perspective I really don't know what to do about Iraq. I don't know how to unshit the bed. Staying in might make more sense if our country wasn't run by emotional 5-year-olds and the stupidest fucking people on the face of the planet. From a purely political perspective I'd have more confidence if the six monthers understood that six months from now is election day. Pre- or post- election day what will they say when yet another six months has passed? Do they even give it any thought? I fear not. They just keep punting the issue downfield. Bush has already said he's leaving it to his successor, which sadly means that anyone who wants to be his successor is by definition even more nuts than presidential candidates usually have to be to want the job.

As I've long said Iraq will be as much an issue in 2008 as it was in 2004. Increasingly I'm realizing it will even be more of an issue. I'm not sure how it plays out in the midterms precisely, but it can't be avoided in the presidential election.


All candidates need to lay the foundation for what they're going to say a year from now ("two Friedmans" in the newly established Friedman time scale) when Iraq is as bad or worse of a clusterfuck as it is now (Yes, yes, I hope to be wrong but it sadly hasn't happened yet). I fear again that the Democratic establishment is just wishing the problem away.

It's not going away.

 
Sunday Night's Alright

I'm touched that the nation is up in arms over the fate of a horse wounded in Iraq. Or something. Wasn't quite clear on the details.

 
Ponies

Larry Beinhart:

Get on the stand and regale with tales of success. Of plots thwarted. Of desperate measures intercepted. Of terrorists captured or killed.

Tell us how you’ve located Osama bin Laden.

It’s been over four and a half years. Unlimited budget. Unlimited military might. No visible moral constraints. Tell us how you’ve tracked him down, hung him high and busted up his ring!

Don’t tell merely that there have been no terrorists incidents since 9/11. It’s a lot tougher action to pull off since then, with every eye of every American, with all the airlines and airports and security companies, the local and state police, immigration and customs, all on alert. We don’t have to hear about all kinds of secret stuff you did to stop the next 9/11.

Let’s not bother with that namby-pampy wimpy liberal stuff about civil rights, the constitution and no one being above the law not even you and the president you rode in on. You’re argument is you gotta do what it takes and the ends justify the means and it is security that makes us safe to enjoy whichever liberties we have left that we would like to enjoy in moderation.

So, let’s take it on your terms. We see the horseshit. Show us the ponies.

Or admit that you have failed. Admit that all this effort and show and money, has bought us nought. Let us count the terrorists caught or interdicted. Let us see that it was only through your less than legal programs that we got them.

It can’t be that your success is just too secret to share. I expect that it’s your failures that hide behind the coy veil of national security.

 
Sack Full of Money

If true, lock him up:

A congressman under investigation for bribery was caught on videotape accepting $100,000 in $100 bills from an FBI informant whose conversations with the lawmaker also were recorded, according to a court document released Sunday. Agents later found the cash hidden in his freezer.

At one audiotaped meeting, Rep. William Jefferson, D-La., chuckles about writing in code to keep secret what the government contends was his corrupt role in getting his children a cut of a communications company's deal for work in Africa.

As Jefferson and the informant passed notes about what percentage the lawmaker's family might receive, the congressman "began laughing and said, 'All these damn notes we're writing to each other as if we're talking, as if the FBI is watching,'" according to the affidavit.

Jefferson, who represents New Orleans, has not been charged and denies any wrongdoing.

...

The affidavit says Jefferson is caught on videotape at the Ritz- Carlton as he takes a reddish-brown briefcase from the trunk of the informant's car, slips it into a cloth bag, puts the bag into his 1990 Lincoln Town Car and drives away.

The $100 bills in the suitcase had the same serial numbers as those found in Jefferson's freezer.

While the name of the intended recipient of the $100,000 is blacked out, other details in the affidavit indicate he is Abubakar Atiku, Nigeria's vice president. He owns a home in Potomac, Md., that authorities have searched as part of the Jefferson investigation.

 
Bad

War with Iran would be very bad. All people who have what they believe are genuine concerns about Iran's nuclear program need to remember that right now we live in George Bush's world. The options are not your personal fantasy program of carrot and stick diplomacy backed by a credible threat of military force and agreed to and enforced by our allies or do nothing. The options are whatever the incompetent lunatics who run our country have in mind or do nothing.

 
Know How

I have no idea how intent Iran is on getting nukes, but for the record contra Israeli PM Omert, I doubt Iran is "a few months away from acquiring the technological know- how that will allow it to build an atomic bomb." I'll go a bit further - I imagine broadly speaking Iran already has the technological know-how to build a bomb. But that doesn't get them a bomb. What gets them a bomb is 55 pounds of enriched uranium, and no one serious claims they are within "a few months" of that.

But that "few months away" phrase sure sounds scary.

 
The Six Monthers

Jeebus. DLCer Will Marshall's on CSPAN, inspiring me to pull this out:

America has about six months to break the resistance and give the new Iraqi government a fighting chance to survive. It would help if our leaders stopped casting anxious glances toward the exits.


That was written 28 months ago.

 
They. Can't. Stop. Themselves

This WaPo article about Bush's troubles with Hispanic voters is okay overall, but this jumped out at me:

For decades, Hispanic voters, with the exception of Cubans in Florida, have favored Democrats to Republicans, by as much as 70 percent to 30 percent. President Bush, a former governor of Texas who speaks Spanish, decided in the 2004 campaign to aggressively pursue the Hispanic vote.


Finally I thought they'd decided to kill that one. Scott McClellan:

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the assertion did not ring true to him because, "The president speaks Spanish, but not that well."

"I'm saying that not only was that suggestion absurd, but that he couldn't possibly sing the national anthem in Spanish. He's not that good with his Spanish," McClellan said.

If you don't speak Spanish "that well" you don't speak Spanish.

Bumiller:

When he was the managing partner of the Texas Rangers, he reveled in going into the dugout and joking with the players, many of them Hispanic, in fractured Spanglish.


It's long been a joke that the press has pretended that Bush, who speaks Spanish at the level of someone who remembers a bit from their one year of college Spanish 30 years ago, could speak Spanish. I thought when Bush was playing his "run from the Mexicans" game we'd finally killed that one. Guess not.

 
Lieberman's in Trouble

Indeed he is:

Discomfort turned to pain for the Lieberman campaign when the first town in the 1st Congressional District began the roll call: Barkhamsted cast its two votes for Lamont. The challenger received votes in town after town, sometimes one at a time, sometimes considerably more. When once Lieberman-friendly Windsor cast 13 of its 17 votes for Lamont, a roar of surprise filled the hall. Lamont would sail past the crucial 15 percent threshold before reaching his 4th Congressional District stronghold. Lieberman ought to be grateful it was not a secret ballot. If it had been, some of the 100 missing delegates might have found the backbone to vote.

Delegation leaders revealed more than they may have intended with the tributes to home that preceded the casting of votes. East Haddam reminded the crowd that it's Dodd's hometown and then cast three of its five votes for Lamont. Lebanon announced that it's Dodd's birthplace and tossed three of its four votes for Lamont. If anyone thinks saving the sub base (and one can't fail to mention 30,000 jobs) will rescue Lieberman in southeastern Connecticut, take a look at the roll call. Yes, Groton went for Lieberman 9-4, but neighboring New London stuck the shiv in with six of 11 for Lamont.

The darkest omens for Lieberman came near the end of the night when Southbury, nearly the last to vote, announced it was still waiting for a response to a winter invitation to Lieberman to meet. Until he does, Southbury cast five votes for Lamont, three abstentions and zero for Lieberman. One of the night's loudest cheers rang out.


Will he bolt the party?

 
Sunday Bobbleheads

Your fair and balanced linup:


Meet the Press hosts Sec/State Condoleezza Rice, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-GA).
  • Face the Nation hosts AG Alberto Gonzales, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI).
  • This Week hosts Gonzales, ex-Sen. John Edwards (D-NC) and John Walsh in the voices segment.
  • Fox News Sunday hosts Rice and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).
  • Late Edition hosts Israeli PM Ehud Olmert, Australian PM John Howard, Sens. Chuck Hagel (R-NE) and Ron Wyden (D-OR), and U.S. Amb. to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad.



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