reede, aprill 30, 2004

Ricky Vandal Watch IV: Mincing Heaps of Queer Faggotdom

Hey Roger, you deadly, lying, winking, sniggering, snuggling, chromium plated, scent-impregnated, luminous, quivering, giggling, fruit-flavored, mincing heap of queer faggotdom, check your facts moron. Kerry didn't sleep in the townhouse. That's what he's paid child support for for 18 years. He took a girl with him to the townhouse and she became pregnant. So no he didn't sleep, he was up and busy in the townhouse. The courtpapers are still in existence. The kid used to visit his dad regularly. Everybody in Boston knows that.

From a Roger Ailes comment thread.
Batman and Robin

Why don't things like this ever happen in my town?

“They said, ‘I’m Batman, I’m Robin’ and I said, ‘No, you’re not’ and asked them if they were going to a fancy dress party but they said they were going back to Gotham City.”

Rasputin's Penis

I don't want to know how they got it.

A lot has been written about this already, but I just have one thought.

One of the reasons the Sinclair folks have desperately latched onto to defend their censorship of this tribute is that ABC isn't also reading the names of the 9/11 victims. Well, I suppose there would be two reasons for that. One is that ABC has already done that. More importantly, what the hell do the 9/11 victims have to do with Iraq? We have no evidence Iraq was involved in 9/11. We can't even prove it ever had a connection to al qaeda. But I guess when the people who run our news stations insist on connecting the two anyway, can I really blame people for not knowing that?
Addicted to Amar 5

I think it's possible that Amar is one of those people Bush is talking about when he says his critics are racists who think brown-skinned people can't have a democracy.

This isn't to say that Amar is racist, but that Bush really hit a new low when he decided that anyone who disagrees with him is one.
Addicted to Amar 4

Earlier this week, Amar posted his prediction for the Specter/Toomey race. Despite all available polling, he anticipated a 55-45 victory for Toomey. Now, we all know that wasn't the case. But interestingly, that prediction has disappeared from his site, replaced with a call for term limits for Arlen Specter and Rick Santorum. Santorum's crime, you see, was supporting his fellow incumbent senator.
Ricky Vandal Watch III: There's Something Wrong With Black People

From Ricky's entry on the decline of the Greyhound bus:

New York inner city blacks are a special breed. There's something wrong with them. They are crazy. I don't know whether it is because their moms were using crack when they were pregnant with these guys during the epidemic in the mid eighties and some of the crack residue found its way into their children's brains or not. They are dangerous. Prisons aren't filled with them for nothing.

You ever get the feeling when you read these people that they're actually just elaborate parodies of conservatives created by liberals with too much time on their hands?
The Cuban Threat

Okay, what the hell?

Five times as many agents working on Castro? Yeah, those resources are being well used. Because catching someone slipping some cigars into Florida is really five times as important as following the money trail to the man responsible for the deaths of 3,000 Americans.

It's been almost three years since the September 11 attacks. How are things like this still happening?

neljapäev, aprill 29, 2004


Paul Bremer:

"What they will do is stagger along until there's a major incident and then suddenly say, 'Oh my God, shouldn't we be organized to deal with this,'" Bremer said at a McCormick Tribune Foundation conference on terrorism on Feb. 26, 2001.

You know, given his eerie prophetic powers, you'd have thought Bremer would have been better prepared for the complications that have arisen in Iraq.
Claim v. Fact

New American Progress database: www.claimvfact.org

I haven't checked it out much, but it looks like a fairly comprehensive catalogue of right-wing lies.

kolmapäev, aprill 28, 2004

Your Friends and Neighbors

Jim McDermott did something moderately stupid. My first thought on this is that I'm glad his spokesman pointed out that "under God" was added to the pledge in the 1950s. Most people probably don't know that they were just part of the right's overreaction to "godless" communism.

More significantly, I found this line from Pete Sessions sort of odd:

"He and those like him stand more for the liberal left than they do for our friends and neighbors," Sessions said.

Well, McDermott's from Seattle, so I imagine his friends and neighbors are part of the liberal left, but I get the point. That point being that the liberal left is some manner of disembodied cloud that does not exist in conventional space. Because certainly nobody has liberal friends and neighbors. Nope. They just don't live anywhere.

Can we call this right-wing elitism? Or is it only elitist when Democrats dismiss the thoughts of a portion of the electorate as irrelevant?
For the Last Time, I'm Not Joking

Pro-Bush playing cards.

These ARE NOT satire cards!

These are positive cards that support President Bush and his re-election!!!

If you DO NOT like President Bush get the Anti-Bush Playing Cards.

DISCLAIMER: If you DO NOT like President Bush you will not like these cards! These cards are NOT satire, but real cards that support President Bush.

Now, really, if the idea of having 52 reasons to re-elect Bush seems so preposterous that you need to remind people four times that you're serious, shouldn't that tell you something?
Note to the WSJ Editorial Board

George W. Bush telling Bob Woodward he told his people not to stretch the truth is not the same as a) him actually telling them that or b) them listening to him.

This was December 2002. First of all, that's about four months after Bush started the march to war, so it's a bit late in the game for him to issue that warning. More importantly, it's a bit late for him to finally get around to looking at the WMD evidence and finding it unconvincing. Also, we know that in January 2003 Dick Cheney's office tried to insert evidence into Colin Powell's UN presentation that Powell considered "bullshit." So given that Dick Cheney, who Republicans are quick to point out is soooo deferential to Bush in the book, tried to stretch the truth, what does that say about Bush's claim to have said or meant that in December 2002?

And what was he doing in May 2003 when he claimed we found weapons of mass destruction already? Seems to me that's a bit of truth-stretching.

Who's the liar now, bitches?
Ricky Vandal Watch II: Deep in the Heart of Yexas

Hopefully, I'll have time to return to this one later, but for now, I'm just going to drop it out there:

You're missing the point. He threw away the symbols of the war. That's what he said. Why is he wearing them now so proudly? Why? American soldiers in Vietnam were war criminals according to him. What happened? Kerry cares only about Kerry. The guy is a selfish piece of *work*. The guy had no backbone. No morals. But then again, what do you expect from a guy who helps the enemies of his country, the VC win the war against his own country. Kerry is an internationalist. Not a nationalist. He is a universal citizen. He feels no loyalty to America. Bush is an American. From Texas. From rural yexas. He loves the land. He has a farm. If I ever see TV footage of him walking around barefoot on his farm I'm going to officially recommend him to get the title of greatest American president since president Polk. How can an American claim he loves this land if he has never walked around barefoot? You have to feel the soil on your feet to appreciate this country. Bush is of this American soil. Kerry is of the city. He couldn't care less if it was in America or France. As long as he has a nice life. An American president should kiss the ground. Taste the soil with his tongue. Bush I bet does this. I know I do. Liberals don't do stuff like this. That's why Kerry is an American, but not of the American soil. Bush is a good American. I like him.

Ricky Vandal.

Please tell me this isn't how they all think.
Ricky Vandal Watch I: Tell Your Wife "Screw You"

That's right. I've got me a new regular feature (We'll get back to Amar later today). There's a right-wing troll who lurks around Kevin Drum's Washington Monthly blog and Pandagon who runs his own bizarre little blog. I'm not sure I can stomach venturing into that little corner of Bush-land regularly, but I'll come across his comments on entries from time to time. For your benefit, I'm going to be reposting his greatest hits here. For example:

Hey I don't care whether he threw away his ribbons instead of his medals. Say if you tell your wife "screw you" and you throw her out the door, What does that mean? In your liberal mind that mean something else than in my mind and the minds of the majority of Americans. The only way you liberals are going to push there ribbons is not medals through our throats is if you manage to drive us insane. I assure you. We will drive you liberals insane.

It gets better, as you'll see in the next entry.

teisipäev, aprill 27, 2004


If Bush needs to pat this many bald heads for luck, he's in worse trouble than I thought.

I know it's a cheap shot, but it's also damn funny when you see several of these pictures next to each other like that.

(via Atrios)
The Truth About the Wall

John Ashcroft's a liar.

Yes, we already knew that, but this new piece further verifies that Ashcroft misled the 9/11 commission and the American people in an attempt to score some cheap political points.

The key paragraph:

Thus, Ashcroft's claim that a 1995 memorandum issued by then-Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick created the wall that was "the single greatest structural cause for September 11th" is both false and misleading. Separate procedures for law enforcement and intelligence surveillance have been on the books since at least 1978. . What's more, as pointed out by Commission Member Slade Gorton, Ashcroft's Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson affirmed the Reno Justice Department procedures in August, 2001. And few commentators have noticed that the Gorelick memo in fact required information from a then pending terrorism prosecution to be shared with intelligence officials.

One more time:

Ashcroft's claim that a 1995 memorandum issued by then-Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick created the wall that was "the single greatest structural cause for September 11th" is both false and misleading.

Say it again:

both false and misleading.

70 House Republicans have signed an attack on Gorelick. Liars and ditto-head morons all over the internet have been spreading this crap for weeks. It's time for it to stop. All of them are lying about 9/11 in a pathetic attempt to cover John Ashcroft's ass. There's a joke to be made here about Ashcroft covering up body parts instead of fighting terrorism and whatnot, but frankly I'm too sickened by the man to waste my time making it.

One last time:

Ashcroft's claim...is both false and misleading.

Next time the Wall Street Journal editorial board starts whining about partisanship, remember which Bush administration scumbag lied to the commission charged with fixing his mistakes.

How can we get this creep thrown out of office?

esmaspäev, aprill 26, 2004


From TV Guide, a Law and Order viewer has discovered that some episodes bear a slight resemblence to recent news stories. Who'd have guessed?

"As a fan of the Law & Order franchise (my heart belongs to Special Victims Unit), I have been dismayed by the recent spate of episodes touted as having been "ripped from the headlines." I don't think occasionally drawing from reality is terrible. However, I don't look to these shows to rehash the nightly news — I watch to see things I couldn't have read about anywhere else. A recent "ripped" SVU episode followed a millionaire pedophile who was effeminate and lived in a toy-stocked mansion that had a fantasy atmosphere. Yes, I got it. I was also bored to tears by it. Why can't they stick to creating compelling original story lines, and leave the news to Dan Rather? Can you tell me if this is a ratings ploy, and if so, does it work?"
The Enemy

His name is Britton Stein.

He lives in a fantasy world where George W. Bush is "a man, a man's man, a manly man." This, I assume, is based entirely on the fact that Bush owns a ranch and never uses words longer than two syllables.

There are an incredible number of details in this article worth, well, mocking this man for far more than he really deserves. I'm going to generally refrain from that, more because I have actual work to do than because I don't want to. But let me just point out one thing.

A lot of us on the left often ask ourselves what's wrong with Bush supporters. I mean in terms of, why do they not see what we see? Why don't they understand the problems Bush causes? Why don't they hold him responsible for his mistakes? Usually, the answer comes, admittedly condescendingly, down to them being either stupid, extremely religious, or both. I'm going to push those explanations aside here and just list the news sources Mr. Stein checks regularly:
The Drudge Report
World Net Daily
Free Republic
Soldiers for the Truth
Fox News

Now, to be fair to Mr. Stein, this is quite a bit of information and he's correct that it's more reading than most people do. But when you hold Ann Coulter up as one of your news sources, well, you get what you pay for, I guess. Seriously, I get that a lot of people on the right think the mainstream media is biased. I don't buy into that, but whatever. Do they really think World Net Daily is less biased? I mean, even if the New York Times leans left, it's still a major national news source. They'e not far-left goofballs. But Birtton Stein gets his "news" from the most right-leaning websites on the internet and he considers himself well-informed. He also sees nothing odd about this. He dismisses a CBS poll's results because Dan Rather's liberal? What the hell does that have to do with anything? If you want to be well-informed, and I think Stein really does, wouldn't it make more sense to, say, read the New York Times and World Net Daily so you can look at things from both sides? Is intentionally blinding yourself in one eye really the best way to operate in such a dishonest political culture?

An example. Over the weekend, there was a story about Bush attacking Kerry on offshore drilling. Kerry had made a comment that he supports offshore drilling in the deep waters off Louisiana. Bush goes down to Florida and says Kerry might want to drill in Florida, where it's incredibly unpopular. Now, I read the Washington Post article about this and, being that they're so damn liberal, they don't call Bush a liar, which he is. Instead, they present his claim. Then they present the Kerry campaign's response. I read both and came to the obvious conclusion that Bush is a liar. Odds are, Mr. Stein in his little right-wing bubble only hears one side of that over on the Free Republic message board. Is this not a problem?

What this really means, though, and what's frightening, is that John Kerry can fight Bush as hard as he wants. He can correct every lie. He can shoot down every stupid idea. He can berate Bush 24/7. And every word out of his mouth can be true. But Britton Stein ain't going to hear a word of it.

This is Red America.

This is what we're up against.

And if this is how they think, I really don't see how we're going to beat them.

kolmapäev, aprill 21, 2004

Still Reaching

And the Republicans get even more desperate.

Republican National Committee spokeswoman Christine Iverson said the GOP is not going after the Heinz Co. but "will continue to point out John Kerry's hypocrisy when his record on the issues does not match his rhetoric."

One of these days, someone from the RNC is going to need to sit me down and explain to me how actions taken by a company in which John Kerry has no stake and no influence are somehow part of his "record on the issues." Neither Kerry nor his wife has ever had any control of the company. What the hell are they supposed to do if it outsources? And are Republicans going to now accuse Kerry of supporting Republican candidates? This is absolutely ridiculous.

And yes, it's very different from the Cheney/Halliburton connection. Cheney once ran the company, holds a financial interest in it, and his administration has thrown Halliburton massive amounts of business through no-bid contracts, not to mention overlooking the instances where Halliburton has failed to live up to its end of those contracts. None of those statements are true about Kerry and Heinz.

Unless Kerry has bought millions of dollars worth of ketchup that I don't know about.
More From Woodward

"The president recalled, 'And of course these Brits don't know what cojones are.' He said he would call the Camp David session with Blair 'the cojones meeting.' "

Brits don't know what cojones are?
Damn You, Liberal Media! Damn You!

The Washington Post editorial board on Kerry on Iraq.

Now, yes, Kerry has changed his phrasing of his Iraq position in recent weeks. He has said that stability is a more important short-term goal than democracy. But those damn liberals at the Post chose to ignore the second half of that statement, which is that the ultimate goal is still democracy. It would just be easier to get there if we did it incrementally. This initially struck me as a bad thing for Kerry to be saying, and I still think it's bad politically, but he's right. And I think this is one of those times where he's speaking the unpopular truth and Bush is just saying what people want to hear.

You don't go from zero to democracy in 16 months.

The only reason Bush is rushing things is because he made a political decision to set a deadline to hand over power to a democratic Iraq before the election. This is why we're sitting here, just over two months from the deadline, still not knowing who we're handing power to, with cars still blowing up in the streets of Basra. We're trying to do too much too fast and we're getting burned. Kerry's right that we may need to seek middle ground for a while before pushing on to the ultimate goal.

And yes, there is another option besides democracy and fostering terror. Kuwait and Jordan, for example, manage to maintain order without harboring terrorists or allowing representative democracy. Of course, that's not the ideal situation. But nothing about Iraq has been ideal so far. That's also not what Kerry is promoting. He's still in favor of democracy. The Washington Post just doesn't want you to know that.

Notice how they left in the part where Rumsfeld questions Woodward's honesty and accuracy.


teisipäev, aprill 20, 2004


So Kerry promises to release his military records. Two days later, he does so.

And this is a flip-flop according to the Bush campaign?

I know you guys have a pretty low threshold for honesty, but come on.

I was wondering what the hell Kerry was waiting for. This was handled pretty sloppily, creating a story for the right wing that really wasn't needed. But he's releasing the records and putting them on his website. That seems like going above and beyond to me. And there still aren't any questions about his service the way there were with Bush, so what's the point?

I'm glad we're focusing on what's really important in this election.
Wacky Idea

I'm reading the analysis of the latest polls (the ones that show Bush ahead; the ones that show Kerry ahead aren't being talked about as much) and there's a lot of discussion of the effect Bush's ads had. This leads me to a fundamental question: why the hell does anybody trust anything a political ad says? They're always full of lies and distortions. Not just Bush's, although his have been particularly dishonest. They're never trustworthy. And yet, people watch them and start complaining that Kerry's going to raise the gas tax.

If it comes from the opposing campaign, we all need to just assume it's a lie until it's proven true. That goes for the media too.
Freedom Loving

Bush yesterday:

Freedom frightens people who are terrorists. The worst thing that can happen to a society, if you're a terrorist, is for the society to be free. And it scares them. Remember, I told you they'll strike us because of our love for freedom. Well, they strike out because a free society is emerging in the heart of a region that is desperate for freedom and democracy.

Please tell me he doesn't really believe this. Please. Freedom frightens terrorists? Oh yeah. Those guys who flew into the World Trade Center seemed real scared of the freedom that enabled them to enter our country, take flying lessons, plot to kill thousands of Americans, board airplanes, and not break a single law until they hijacked them. And of course they killed us because of our love of freedom. Not because of our foreign policy that endorses corruption and oppression as long as its good for us and places the interests of Israel above all others. Or our constant efforts to interject ourselves into their society. Or their belief that we're trying to destroy Islam. Or the fact that they're just crazy. Nope. That's got nothing to do with it. It's all about how much we love freedom and how much they hate it.

Shouldn't it concern conservatives that this is the way Bush views terorrism? That he is so oblivious to reality that he really thinks Osama bin Laden hates the idea of freedom? How can we win the war on terror when that's our starting point? When that's the thesis that underlies our strategy? If a country's free, you can't run an obstacle course to train for terrorist attacks? You can't bring people into your basement and teach them about radical Islam? You can't make somebody want to kill Americans in a free country?

There are a lot of radical Muslims in London who would tell you otherwise. There are a lot of right-wing nutjobs right here in the US who would tell you otherwise. I vaguely recall a guy named Timothy McVeigh who blew up a federal building because he wanted more freedom than our democratic government was providing.

They don't strike out at us because we're free. They strike out at us because of the way we express that freedom. They find our culture offensive, not our freedom. They find our policies offensive, not our freedom. If the Middle East does achieve freedom and democracy, they will continue to find out culture and policies offensive. They'll just be free while doing it. Democracy isn't the silver bullet for terrorism. It's a nice idea and it looks good on a bumper sticker, but eventually, we need someone who can think a little deeper than "freedom good, terror bad."

Again, I ask, are there really people out there who are convinced by this crap?

Also, there's this:

We will never show weakness in the face of these people who have no soul.

What the fuck?
White House Response to Woodward

Everything positive he said is true. Everything negative...well, he's a lying sack of shit.
Tonight on Larry King Live

A complete waste of time.

Seriously, what does Donald Trump have to say that will be of any significance to anyone?
Mmmm...Flip Flop

Hey, look over there! Bush changing a policy for political reasons? But...but...but he means what he says, doesn't he? Doesn't he ignore polls?

Why do people buy into his pseudo-integrity crap? He's a politician, just like John Kerry. Except Kerry wouldn't have supported a stupid, illogical, unfair revision of overtime rules in the first place.

esmaspäev, aprill 19, 2004


A couple of things brought to my attention by Dan Froomkin's Washington Post column today. First, this exchange with Condi Rice:

"Schieffer: So he knew that Bandar was being told?

"Rice: So he -- we -- I certainly knew, and I suspect that Colin would not have been surprised going through the Gulf War experience that one of the allies that you had to be certain understood what might happen if the president decided to go to war was the Saudis."

Now, I saw this in a story last night, but I'm looking at it again and apparently, rather than trust Bob Woodward's long history of honest reporting, extensive notes, and actual recordings of conversations, we're supposed to believe suspicion that Colin Powell wouldn't have been surprised by what was going on as evidence Woodward's lying. Note how she doesn't actually say Powell knew.

Also, this:

At Friday's public session with British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Bush himself didn't exactly deny the Woodward timetable. Did he ask Rumsfeld to draw up war plans against Iraq in November, 2001?

"You know, I can't remember exact dates that far back," Bush said.

Boy, this one just raises a whole slew of questions, don't it? First of all, "November, 2001" isn't an exact date. It's an entire month. Can you remember doing something somewhere in a 30-day range? Apparently, that's too much to expect from this guy. Also, the exact month isn't the point. If it was December or October, it's just as bad. So unless you're having trouble distinguishing between late 2001 and late 2002, you can answer the damn question.

Let's hear it for honesty and integrity in the White House one more time, huh?
Liberal Media, Etc.

This is in a news story in the "liberal" New York Times:

The most awkward moment came after the Vietnam-era videotape, Mr. Kerry's "Meet the Press" debut, with the candidate watching his younger self use grave and graphic words to describe the Vietnam War.

"Where did all the dark hair go, Tim?" Mr. Kerry tried, wearing an odd grin. "That's a big question for me."

I'm glad Jodi Willogren can decide for me when a grin is "odd." Kerry made a joke. It wasn't that funny. This isn't news. Politicians tell lame jokes all the time. Kerry then went on to provide an honest explanation for why he said these things at the time, which is really supposed to be the point of this article. But any chance you get to paint Kerry as inhuman and unable to relate to normal people (you know, normal people like Tim Russert), of course those damn liberal journalists need to pick up on it.

There is nothing newsworthy about this moment. Period.

Stupid, stupid reporters.
Someone Stole Kevin Spacey's Phone

Heh. Funny.
Still Beating, Still Dead

Just to return to the Safire for a moment. The article ends on this note:

But outrage that drives coverage is selective, and there is little establishment appetite to pursue this complex scandal. Speaking power to truth, Newsweek headlines "Anti-U.N. Campaign," and reports dark suspicions by U.N. bureaucrats that the scandal was "drummed up" by the doves' Iraqi villain, Ahmad Chalabi.

France's U.S. ambassador writes under "Oil-for-Food Lies" in The Los Angeles Times that "unfounded accusations . . . have been spread by a handful of influential, conservative TV and newspaper journalists in the U.S." He noted that all 15 members of the Security Council approved all the oil-for-food contracts, and "the complete contracts were only circulated to the U.S. and Britain, which had expressly asked to see them. . . ."

What I find odd about this is that Safire acknowledges that the French ambassador is calling him a liar, but he says nothing to defend himself against that accusation. He also very quickly glosses over the suggestion that US firms were also profiting earlier in the article. I'm not saying Safire's necessarily wrong. The program clearly had corruption issues. But the leap from that to "this is why they opposed the war" really needs a clearer defense. Does he have any proof that this isn't a scandal drummed up by Ahmad Chalabi? If he does, he ain't sharing.

But then, why should he? He's William Safire, bastion of truth in a world gone mad.

How's that Hillary indictment you promised us every damn week for eight years going, Bill?
Beating the Dead Horse

Yes, Bill, we understand. The oil-for-food program was corrupt. We've known that for a long time. It's not news. Just forget about it and get back to fantasizing about Hillary Clinton running for president.

pühapäev, aprill 18, 2004

That's It

Jamie Gorelick has recieved bomb threats in her home.

I'm well past my breaking point and I'm calling Republicans out.

Defend this to me. Explain to me why John Ashcroft and his enablers shouldn't be thrown out of office right this second. Explain to me why what he did to this woman was remotely justified. Explain what crime she committed, other than threatening to criticize St. Ashcroft, that makes this appropriate. Explain to me how this is constructive, how it makes our country better, how it helps protect us.

You have my email address. You know where to find me.

Defend this slimeball.

You won't because you can't.

Also, because you're not reading this.
Fuck John Ashcroft


The man is scum. He sat there under oath and misled the American people in a desperate attempt to cover his own ass. And the media ate it up. Anyone paying even an ounce of attention knows accusing Gorelick of creating the wall was complete crap, but Republicans went nuts with it anyway. These worthless creeps calling for her resignation, trying to discredit the commission with lies, really, I can't take shit like this anymore. Ashcroft sat there and accused her of something she didn't do just to deflect blame and Republicans support him.

How are Republicans okay with this? Why aren't they out there calling for Ashcroft's resignation?

I've asked this question before, but seriously, why are these people so intent on discrediting a commission assigned to protect our country? The commission has said nothing untrue, nothing unfair. If you don't want to hear you could have stopped a terrorist attack, stop it. Don't go whining about blame when you're asked to own up to your mistakes.

These disgusting Republicans accusing the commission of partisanship just because it asked Condi Rice some hard questions about why she wasn't doing her job, why does anyone go along with it? Why isn't the story about Republicans making baseless attacks on the commission's credibility? They try to pretend the commission isn't also blaming Clinton, but you don't see Democrats questioning the commission's honesty. Republican commissioners publicly questioning Richard Clarke's motives was the most partisan thing I've seen from the commission. Democrats didn't immediately run out and try to discredit them for it. Because we know their work is important.

Republicans, apparently, just don't care.

It isn't worth wasting civility and patience on these people anymore.

laupäev, aprill 17, 2004


Ever notice that teenagers in TV shows never seem to have screens on their bedroom windows?

reede, aprill 16, 2004

Not Exactly a Lie, But Even More Wrong

According to Al Kamen's "In the Loop" column in today's Washington Post, Bush's comment about mustard gas on a Libyan turkey farm was pretty much entirely false:

Meanwhile, Bush, in his news conference Tuesday, showed he was ready to raise the level of his play in this arena.

Bush found a way to make not one, not two, but three factual errors in a single 15-word sentence, which must be something of a world indoor record. Bush said it is still possible that inspectors will find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

"They could still be there. They could be hidden, like the 50 tons of mustard gas in a turkey farm," he said, referring to Libya's WMD disclosures last month.

The White House, according to Reuters, said the accurate figure was 23.6 metric tons or 26 tons, not 50. The stuff was found at various locations, not at a turkey farm. And there was no mustard gas on the farm at all, but unfilled chemical munitions.

Other than that, the sentence was spot on.

Perfect Analogy

Yes, Andrei. Fighting climate change and protecting the Earth's atmosphere is exactly like slaughtering millions of Jews.

Maybe it loses something in transaltion.

neljapäev, aprill 15, 2004


So Kerry responds to Bush calling him a liar and a waffler by calling Bush a liar and a waffler and this will somehow open Kerry up to criticism that he is a liar and a waffler.


Is This Irony?

President Bush Tuesday:

“And as to whether or not I make decisions based upon polls, I don't. I just don't make decisions that way.”

President Bush’s adviser today:

Mr. Bush's advisers said that the president had anticipated the line of inquiry at the news conference.

One adviser said the White House had examined polling and focus group studies in determining that it would be a mistake for Mr. Bush to appear to yield.

Why do people still think this man doesn't do things for political reasons? Where does that fiction come from?
Pretending You're Poor Isn't Funny

This is in amazingly bad taste.

Celebrate all you want, but god, there are people out there who won't even be able to afford to eat tonight.

Yeah, that's real funny.

kolmapäev, aprill 14, 2004

Not Exactly a Lie, but Still Wrong

Not that 23.6 isn't a lot, but shouldn't Bush have been better prepared?
Addicted to Amar 3

Take it away, A-Rod:

Once Ron said he would much rather attack a pizza than Iraq, and this makes much more sense to me. I have ordered a deep dish Chicago Classic from Uno's-- unlike the war zone, my pizza is going to produce pleasure, help the economy, and, since it includes ccertain items banned by hard-line Muslims, actually help defeat radical Islam.

I have nothing to add to that.
So Embarrassing

Bob Somerby notes a great little bit from Bush's press conference last night:

Late in the session, for example, ABC's Ann Compton asked this:

COMPTON: Looking forward about keeping the United States safe, a group representing about several thousand FBI agents today wrote to your administration begging you not to split up the law enforcement and the counterterrorism because they say it ties their hands. Yet you mentioned yesterday that you think, perhaps, the time has come for some real intelligence reforms. That can't happen without real leadership from the White House. Will you and how will you?

According to Compton, FBI agents were urging the White House not to split up the law enforcement and the counterterrorism. No, that wasn't exactly coherent, but it was fairly clear that Compton was asking about possible intelligence reform. But by the time Bush concluded his stream-of-consciousness reply, he was praising the American people for feeding the hungry in Asia:

BUSH: And as the greatest power on the face of the earth, we have an obligation to help the spread of freedom. We have an obligation to help feed the hungry. I think the American people find it interesting that we're providing food for the North Korea people who starve. We have an obligation to lead the fight on AIDS, on Africa. And we have an obligation to work toward a more free world. That's our obligation. That is what we have been called to do, as far as I'm concerned.

Sigh. The leader of the free world, ladies and gentlemen. And there are really people out there who think Bush did well last night?
Pat Roberts Smackdown

See, it's kind of like a lietmotif. A very bad one.

Anyway, who could have guessed that Bill Frist was full of shit?

I'm going to make a bold suggestion here, Billy, and forgive me if I'm overstepping my bounds. Next time you accuse a witness of perjury, consider reading their testimony first.
Niall Ferguson Smackdown

Apparently, I'm a historical ignoramous.

Fair enough.

I don't always agree with Ferguson, but he's always interesting. Check it out.

Just a quick thought before I get to work: There's a difference between who you blame for the 9/11 attacks and who you blame for failing to stop them. There's the sin of commission and the sin of omission. If anyone's trying to blame Bush, it's for the latter. So let's stop with the "the terrorists are the only ones responsible" crap. Everyone knows that's not the issue. Somewhere along the line something went wrong in our efforts to prevent terrorist attacks. That's where some responsibility lies and that what we're trying to find out. Getting those answers will help us prevent future attacks. What's wrong with that exactly? I mean, other than that it's bad for Bush politically if some of the blame comes down on him.
Lord of the Peeps


Simply brilliant.

And sort of pathetic. But mostly brilliant.
In the Club

I'm watching Anderson Cooper 360 last night because, you know, I like it when the world comes full circle, and he's doing this weeklong series on indecency. The poll question was about whether graphic violence or graphic sex was a bigger problem. Now, after asking that question, Cooper bumps out to a break with footage of men clubbing seals. I mean you see them walk across the ice, stop at a small seal, raise their clubs, and beat them to death. I'm not easily disturbed, but that ain't right. How the hell does something like that get on the air? And how does a man do that? Look down at a baby seal, which I'm sure are quite cute little creatures, and beat it with a club? That's just so barbaric. And for what? Fur?

Okay, in what way could this not be perceived as an attack on JFK? And on John Kerry?

Even if it wasn't, how is it appropriate for this priest to use the morning prayer to question the faith of Catholic politicians? It seems like that should be the one moment of the day where politics and partisanship should be pushed aside.

I suppose it's also worth asking why there's a morning prayer in the House to begin with.

teisipäev, aprill 13, 2004


So there’s this new comic book—well, I guess there isn’t and that’s the point, but whatever—called American Power. Nice little cover shot of a masked American hero punching out bin Laden with a bunch of other towel-headed terrorists in the background. Originally, a preview of this book was going to be handed out on Free Comic Book Day this summer, with a regular series beginning soon after. Bear with me, I’m going somewhere with this. The book was written by Chuck Dixon, a man who wrote many, many Batman stories in the 90s. The art was by a guy named Greg Land. Both of these men are immensely talented. It was supposed to be released by a publisher called CrossGen, which has been having serious financial problems of late. New investors came in and decided this book was something they don’t want to be associated with.

Thus, it was cancelled.

And there are a lot of people screaming about how the book was cancelled because it presented a conservative viewpoint. What’s wrong with showing heroes beating up terrorists, etc. Much of this is built around the notion that books presenting a liberal viewpoint are acclaimed, well, as much as a comic book can be these days. Dixon himself noted that a book questioning the war in Iraq can be considered bold, while his book is dismissed by many as offensive. Also, some people trot out old 1940s Captain America comics and show how he’s beating on Hitler and the Japanese.

It seems to me there are a few issues here. First of all, art questioning authority will always be considered bolder than art that reinforces it. Subversive work is, generally and I think appropriately, labeled bold. A book that parrots the simple us vs. them dichotomy of the war on terror really isn’t bold. That said, the book will never be published, so I don’t want to assume too much about the contents.

Also, I think part of the point Dixon’s critics are making is that those Captain America comics with their gross stereotyping of America’s enemies are considered pretty offensive today. It was a different time and, for better or worse, the industry’s more PC now. A while back somebody published an independent comic called Civilian Justice that sounded similar to American Power. A kind of knee-jerk take the fight to the terrorists tirade that was generally dismissed as being in poor taste at the time.

But looking at what we can see—essentially just a cover and some solicitation copy—it’s very hard to say for sure that that is where Dixon was going with it. Still, that’s the judgment many have rushed to. It is not clear that the potentially offensive attitude of the book was the reason for its cancellation. Dixon cites only complicated internal politics at CrossGen. I really don’t see the downside in being perceived as producing a comic that’s too patriotic. If people are offended, they won’t read it and that’ll be the end of it. There’s plenty of offensive material on the racks, much more offensive than someone hitting bin Laden. The fear of anti-Muslim stereotyping, however, is a legitimate one, but not one that can be fairly expressed without actually seeing the content.

With regard to liberal comics being praised, I distinctly remember Joe Scarborough ripping apart an issue of JLA on his show because it presented a horribly simplified anti-Bush Iraq allegory. And I don’t recall seeing a single positive response to that story in the mainstream media or even in the comics media. Recent issues of Captain America have been attacked by conservatives, including in the National Review, for being anti-American. That anti-American nature consists mostly of presenting a horrible terrorist villain who tries to justify his actions by blaming the US who is beaten by Cap and told that his excuses are pathetic. The anti-American position is in no way glorified. Comic books have always built stories around government conspiracies because forcing a hero to fight his own government is an interesting conflict. There doesn’t really need to be more to it than that. Yes, there have been some stories that have questioned the government in more interesting, subtle ways, but they’re praised for being good stories, not good politics. Often, they’re criticized for bringing real-world politics into comics, including the liberal ones. If American Power was released and the story was good, it would find the same response. Most people reading comics don’t do so for political reinforcement. A lot of people complained about the post-9/11 Captain America dealing with human terrorism too much. Now, the book’s bringing back the Serpent Society and abandoning the political intrigue. American Power would have been judged on its own merits. If the story was overly simplistic and racist, it would have been panned. If it presented interesting characters in an interesting conflict with interesting terrorists, it would have been praised.

My point is, we’ll never know. And until we know the reason why, there’s not much point in talking about any of this.

So why did I? Shut up.
Cheap Shot

It's a cheap shot, I know, but how silly does Bush look in this picture?

I'm referring to the one in the upper right-hand corner. Enlarge it and bask in Bush's warm glowing warming glow.

Looks like I've got me a new desktop background.

A very good LA Times piece on taxes and the way conservatives try to take advantage of people's ignorance about them.
Even More Lies

A dishonestly placed photo in a brochure promoting logging. Is there anything these people won't lie about?

esmaspäev, aprill 12, 2004

Master of the Obvious in Chief

US intelligence MAY?!?!?!?!? need to be reformed?

9/11...WMD...Ya think?
Time Well Spent

Shouldn't the military have better things to do than train Tiger Woods for no reason?

laupäev, aprill 10, 2004

Abuse of Power


Seriously, how much of this should we be putting up with?

kolmapäev, aprill 07, 2004

Again with the Lying

From Dan Froomkin's column:

Mimi Hall of USA Today writes: "White House spokesman Scott McClellan complained last month that when she testified in private, 'only five members showed up' to hear what she had to say.

"What McClellan didn't tell reporters was that on Nov. 21 -- long before Rice met with the five commissioners in February -- the White House counsel's office had sent the commission a letter saying no more than three commissioners could attend meetings with White House aides of Rice's rank."

This from McClellan's March 9 briefing:: "She was more than happy to visit with the commission. Only five members actually showed up, despite the fact that it was scheduled for the entire commission."

Now, given that McClellan was attacking the bipartisan, independent commission members whose sole purpose is to determine how 9/11 happened for this, doesn't it seem rather grossly offensive that he did so with such dishonesty?

More importantly, why the hell were they only supposed to allow three members to attend the meeting?
Slow Down Ralph

While I appreciate Ralph's sentiment, things like this concern me. I'm glad to see someone's out there going nuclear on Bush, but that causes new problems of its own. One of the major criticisms of Kerry coming from the left is that he isn't hitting Bush hard enough. A lot of people are very frustrated that he doesn't seem to share their visceral hatred of Bush and that he appears to be another typical weak politician. Now, Nader has said that he can help Democrats by saying things Kerry can't. That's not unreasonable and I think that may really be what he thinks he's doing. The thing is, while at first this seems like a good thing, suddenly he becomes a more attractive candidate to the far left. Maybe I'm giving Nader too much credit, but I don't think that's his intention. But like so many things about his presidential campaign, including its existence at all, Nader doesn't seem to be thinking things through far enough and considering the consequences of his actions. Those consequences being a second Bush term which I know he doesn't want.

This is all kinds of bad news.

It's getting ugly over there.
Speaking of Safire

A letter in the New York Times yestrerday:

To the Editor:

I was surprised to see my name in William Safire's March 29 column about the United Nations oil-for-food program for Iraq.

Mr. Safire would be well advised not to hold his breath for my telephone call ("call me"), as I am neither embittered nor an ex-United Nations type.

Rather, since 1998 I have been serving as director for Inter-Agency Coordination at the United Nations and am not associated in any way with the oil-for-food program.

As Mr. Safire knows, the secretary general has already ordered an independent inquiry that will bring out all the facts pertaining to this matter.

New York, March 29, 2004

Frenchman Contradicts William Safire

So wait. You're telling me that it's possible that William Safire and the WSJ editorial page might be misleading me to advance their own political agendas? I don't know, Mr. French Guy. That's kind of hard to believe. I mean, Bill Safire's never done anything dishonest, like trumpeting discredited links between Iraq and al--oh right. Well, he didn't spend most of the 90s insisting that the first lady was going to be indicted for--oh. Huh. Well, then. Maybe Bill Safire's just a liar.

I'm glad to see France is sticking up for itself. And this is a very strong rebuttal that makes it clear that if anyone was profitting from corruption in the oil-for-food program, it was the US. I also liked the quick jab at Halliburton.

Does anyone really think that the June 30 deadline was ever anything but arbitrary? Do you think Bush sat down, contemplated the situation, did various complex calculations, spoke to numerous experts, then determined that the exact moment the Iraqi people would be ready to handle their own government would be around 10 am on June 30? Of course it's arbitrary. I'd be shocked if anyone could seriously claim it isn't. That said, William Cohen is right that setting some sort of deadline was a good thing and we do now have to stick with it. Otherwise, we will look like we're caving under pressure from the insurgents and we can't control the country. Of course, we can't control the country, but there's a huge risk involved with admitting that. But let's not pretend that June 30 was chosen for any reason other than the hope that it would lead to Iraqi elections before November and it would deflate the buzz around the Democratic convention.

teisipäev, aprill 06, 2004

Dear God

This better be a mistake.

UPDATE: Yes, it was a mistake. Apparently the number's around 18, not 130. That's somewhat relieving, but not really.

God, what the hell is wrong with the world when only 18 Americans being killed is good news?
The Miller Effect

Recently, I've seen some people around the internet try to argue that it's hypocritical to attack Zell Miller for criticizing John Kerry while praising John McCain for saying positive things about him. Today's Daily Howler describes an incident that pretty clearly spells out the difference. Miller on CNN accused Kerry of voting for higher taxes 350 times. Now, as anyone who's trying at all to find honesty in this election season knows, that is far from true. It is in fact blatantly dishonest. But here's Miller on national television repeating it. And Judy Woodruff doesn't say a word, but that's a topic for another day. McCain, meanwhile, says things like John Kerry wants to defend this country. Or dishonest negative attacks should be beneath us. See, the difference is Miller's comments reinforce Bush's spin. McCain's deflate spin and focus on the truth, whether it's good for Kerry or not. What McCain says, however inconvenient for Bush, is true. What Miller says, to the great detriment of his fellow Democrat, if you can even call him that in jest, is not true. The accurate comparison to McCain would be Joe Lieberman. Now, I criticize Lieberman over here because I don't like his positions, not because I consider him a traitor to the party. So I wouldn't call that hypocrisy either.

While we're on the subject of hypocrisy, though, let's hear it for Dick Cheney and higher gas prices.

These people are unbelievable.

Don Evans makes this point a lot:

"You told us that business planning was difficult because the President’s tax relief isn’t permanent."

Okay, now, this is the part I don't get. If Bush's tax cuts aren't permanent, why can't businesses just plan for them to expire as stated in the law? I really don't see where the uncertainty Evans complains about is. Unless this is all about them assuming the cuts will be made permanent, in which case they've really created the uncertainty for themselves. Because there's nothing unclear and unpredictable about the law that was passed. Tax cuts will last until some designated time when they will end. Isn't that just as certain as the tax cuts being permanent would be?

David Brooks is right. Liberals sure are late for things.

esmaspäev, aprill 05, 2004


It's not that Mitch McConnell is wrong when he says that only al qaeda is responsible for 9/11 (although he should probably share that revelation with his fellow right wing Clinton-haters, by which I mean Charles Krauthammer). It's just that Ted Kennedy doesn't appear to have said otherwise. Kennedy accused Bush of ignoring Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban so he could invade Iraq. McConnell responded by saying that only al qaeda was responsible for 9/11.

Setting aside the non sequitur, it seems the obvious follow-up question to that would be, "so we went into Iraq why?"

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