kolmapäev, juuli 28, 2004


Have you noticed how CNN's conservative political analysts at the convention are directly on RNC script regardless of the events they're responding to, while the liberal analysts are actually, well, analyzing? Victoria Clarke isn't doing the job of a contributor. She's doing RNC PR work. She's spouting pure talking points. Donna Brazile, while biased, is actually reacting to what's happening and providing commentary. The difference is pretty striking.

At some undetermined point tomorrow, I'm going to lose internet access. Over the weekend, I drive back home and I don't know how much I'll be posting from there on in. Check in every couple of days, though. I'll try to keep things going a little longer.


teisipäev, juuli 27, 2004

Moore or Less (ugh)

Heh. Me write witty title.

Anyway, from Atrios, I learn that Drudge is angry because Michael Moore somehow weaseled his way into Jimmy Carter's box at the convention last night. In response to that, I have one thing and only one thing to say: Dick Cheney has appeared as a guest on the Rush Limbaugh Show. And unlike Carter, he's actually a candidate in this year's election.

Something the right should learn from USA Today's dumbass idea to lower the standards of campaign journalism by hiring Michael Moore and Ann Coulter (then Jonah Goldberg) is that Ann Coulter and Jonah Goldberg are just like Michael Moore. As are Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity. Until Republican politicians refuse to appear on either of their shows, they have no right to criticize a Democrat for daring to socialize with Moore. Not that being hypocrites has ever stopped Republicans before, but I'm just saying.


Looking Like Sperm

Today, the esteemed conservative media provides us with two textbook examples of why nobody takes it seriously.

In our first case, the Crazy Cult Leader Gazette, or "Washington Times" as some call it, reminds us of the story of hyper-paranoid Arab-hater Annie Jacobsen. Annie gained quite a bit of noteriety last week for having been on a plane with 14 Syrians who did nothing wrong and in no way threatened her. She was frightened so much by their presence that an air marshall ultimately had to reveal his identity to her to calm her. When the Syrians turned out to be innocent musicians on the way to a show and not terrorists, Annie did what any good American would. She wrote an essay about her terrifying experience on a plane with terrorists. The Washington Times chose to highlight her story in a piece about actual incidents of terrorists probing air security. Since then, DHS officials have said Jacobsen's panic blew the whole thing way out of proportion. Despite that, the Times ran today, on its front page, this story. The gist of it is that 14 men who the government does not believe are terrorists entered the US on expired visas. This is front page news.

Of course, compared to today's New York Post, it's a Watergate level scoop. The cover story of today's Post teaches us that people touring NASA facilities have to put on goofy looking scrubs. Unfortunately, the edition online doesn't show it. The version at my metro station had a picture of Kerry in blue scrubs, which he and all those with him were required to wear in the sensitive environment, and the headline "Boston, We Have a Problem". The little bit of text underneath compared Kerry to one of the sperm in a Woody Allen movie. Apparently, this horribly embarrassing photo of a government official touring a government science facility has completely distracted from the convention story. Which is clear because every other media outlet in the country only devoted their front pages and several interior pages to the convention.

Instead, the version of the Post online chooses to spin Bill Clinton's speech last night as an attack on Kerry.

And these jackasses accuse the New York Times of bias?

Quaker State

I'm really not sure how much of this editorial is meant to be satire:

But Heinz Kerry didn't settle for un-American. She also called her unnamed enemies "un-Pennsylvanian." This went too far. Many of us feel that we are insufficiently Pennsylvanian, but we don't wish to be reminded of this.


Tom Shales is a TV critic I'm generally pretty indifferent to. He's kind of creepy looking and he's not always on target. His piece on media coverage of the Democratic convention contains this gem, though:

People in the crowded hall held up lights or candles or matches. This all made a mockery of Fox anchor Neal Cavuto's imbecilic statement earlier in the day, as he sat in the foreground of the hall, that "there's a lot of hatred in this room behind me." He said the convention would be "predictably partisan." Gosh! Does that mean the Democrats wouldn't give equal time to Republicans? Heaven help us if the November elections are partisan, too.

"Some of the prime-time lineup appears to be very partisan," CNN pretty-boy Bill Hemmer told commentator Jeff Greenfield on the network's morning show. Insights like these are so dazzling you really have to step back from the set to avoid having your eyebrows singed.

It's kind of funny. Shales is critiquing the media while media critic Howard Kurtz is writing the thousandth story of the year about how clever Jon Stewart is.


esmaspäev, juuli 26, 2004

Strength and Wisdom Are Not Opposing Values
That right there is some mighty fine speechifying.


A bizarre new anti-Kerry campaign.

I have to admit, nonsensicality and dishonesty aside, the little cartoon Franken-Kerry is pretty funny.


Two interesting bits of information in the weekly magazines this week:

1) Newsweek: The DOJ probe of Sandy Berger ended in January. And yet it mysteriously leaked last week.  How convenient.

2) US News: Many conservatives are angry that Cheney used profanity and now do not plan to vote at all.


Making America Safer for Non-Sequitors

The latest attack in the Bush administration's war on relevance:

John Kerry: George W. Bush has politicized science and endangered US technological leadership.

Bush campaign: John Kerry voted for higher taxes and didn't vote to support the troops.


In today's Wall Street Journal, Zell Miller writes what may be one of the most unintentionally ironic op-eds I have ever read. In a desperate attempt to pretend he hasn't completely flip-flopped in the last decade, Zell tries to argue that Republicans used to be dishonest and negative back when he spoke at the Democratic convention in 1992 and now the Democrats are the liars and the pessimists and that's why he now opposes the Democrats. He lambasts Democrats for distorting facts, although he doesn't actually cite any examples of that. He then goes on to grossly distort the history of welfare reform and just about every position John Kerry and John Edwards have ever taken on anything. Really. I'm not sure if it's online, but if it is, check it out. It's breathtakingly dishonest.

Then again, Zell Miller is technically a Democrat, so using him as an example, I guess it would be fair to say Democrats are exeedingly dishonest.


pühapäev, juuli 25, 2004


I don't complain much about the Kerry campaign. Relative to the 2000 Gore campaign, they're political geniuses. But I'm looking at the way Kerry is covered and the way Bush is covered and it becomes clear very quickly that they're letting far too many pitches go by. I realize Kerry's trying to avoid going negative too much and there certainly are benefits to that. But he's dealing with an opponent who has no regard whatsoever for facts or reality. And we live in a media environment where both sides are given equal weight by the press despite that.

In any given story about Kerry, there's a quote from a Bush spokesman desperately trying to distort whatever Kerry's saying to make him seem like a flip-flopper. In articles about Bush, though, there's often no Kerry campaign response or what there is isn't very convincing. And I'm afraid it's just because Kerry's people aren't willing to stoop to Bush's level of complete make-shit-up-ery.

Two recent examples of how the Bush campaign works:

1) No Child Left Behind. Kerry gives a speech expressing his support for NCLB and he promises to fully fund it. The Bush campaign responds that Kerry has flip-flopped and opposes NCLB. This is a direct contradiction of what Kerry said. The media runs the Bush campaign quote and doesn't make its inaccuracy clear.

2) Kerry gives a detailed speech on the many initiatives he is planning to deal with gang violence. There's like ten different specific things he talks about. The Bush campaign responds that Kerry has no plan to deal with gangs.

So what I'm perplexed by is where is the Kerry campaign response to Bush? When he says he's the war president one month and the peace president two months later, there should be a Kerry quote in every single article pointing out the ridiculous contradiction. When a comedian appears at a Bush rally and makes offensive jokes, the Kerry campaign should respond exactly like Bush's responded to the Kerry fundraiser. They need to be all over the media. They need to be swarming over every mistake Bush makes. Otherwise, they're going to be outmatched and they can't afford that. Kerry's got to fight back more. Especially going into August when Bush is theoretically going to start presenting an agenda and Kerry is going to be at a big money disadvantage. He needs to be using the free media to get a message out and launch his attacks. He needs to learn from how Bush uses his surrogates. He hasn't done that effectively and I think that's hurting him.

Dropping the Ball

I will readily admit that things around here have been pretty slow this week. Unfortunately, I think that's a sign of things to come. I'm leaving my current, free time intensive job on Tuesday, losing my high-speed internet connection on Thursday, and moving back home Saturday. Depending on whether I get a job for the month of August, posting is very likely to be infrequent, if not entirely non-existent. And either way, this whole enterprise is probably going to be shutting down when I head off to grad school in September.

It's been a fun few months, but it's going to be time to get off the ride soon. Don't walk away quite yet, though, because I've got enough snark and outrage left to last me a little bit longer.


laupäev, juuli 24, 2004

Republican Lies Endangered National Security

From the 9/11 report: 

 ``The failure of the strikes, the 'wag the dog' slur, the intense partisanship of the period and the nature of the al Shifa evidence likely had a cumulative effect on future decisions about the use of force against bin Laden.''


neljapäev, juuli 22, 2004


The LA Times on Sandy Berger.

The editorial points out what I have found most baffling about the ridiculous, dishonest Republican response. There's no logic to any of the motives they have suggested. As the editorial says, these were copies so he wasn't keeping the originals from the 9/11 commission. Today's Washington Post notes that Kerry probably had clearance to see them himself, so stealing them for him wouldn't make sense either.

You would think they'd just take the easy road and criticize Berger for being so sloppy with classified information and what does this say about his approach to national security and so on. Instead, they make shit up.


Now President Bush is opposing a tax cut. Boy, that guy just can't stop taking both sides of issues.

Seriously, this is pretty disgusting. Let's allow tax cuts to expire just so we can blame Democrats even though the Democrats actually support extending them. Who cares about the middle class families who this will affect? Woohoo! Honor and integrity in the White House! Responsibility! Four more years!


kolmapäev, juuli 21, 2004

Last Friday

Catching up on some news. Last Friday, John Kerry vowed to "fully fund" No Child Left Behind. In response, the Bush campaign criticized Kerry  for having "walked away" from his support for No Child Left Behind.

What the fuck?

Can the media comprehend the idiocy and dishonesty of the Bush campaign? Is it too obvious for them? Why isn't the clear distance between what Bush says and reality more widely reported? He's just making stuff up now.

More Joe Wilson

Further evidence Joe Wilson is not a liar, while Bob Novak, William Safire, and the vast majority of Republican pundits and politicians are.

Yes, All of Us

Yesterday, President Bush made this baffling statement:

"In the campaign, you'll hear, we're going only to tax the rich," he said. "That's what you'll hear. Now, this is from a fellow who has promised about $2 trillion of new spending thus far. And only taxing the rich, first of all, creates a huge tax gap, which means buyer beware. You see, if you can't raise enough by taxing the rich, guess who gets to pay next?"
He answered his own question: "Yes, the not-rich. That's all of us."

George W. Bush. America's most not-rich mutli-millionaire.

How is anyone stupid enough to fall for this crap?

Berger on the Run

I'm reading these disgusting Republican attacks on Sandy Berger that keep insisting that he took documents to hide them from the 9/11 commission. The Wall Street Journal editorial page makes that argument today. Clearly, they're hoping nobody will notice that the documents Berger took were COPIES, not originals. He couldn't have hide them from anyone because the originals are all still sitting in the Archives.


teisipäev, juuli 20, 2004

Daily Froomkin
You know you've hit rockbottom when you need to make shit up to make Castro look bad:
Maura Reynolds writes in the Los Angeles Times: "In a hotel conference room in Tampa, Fla., on Friday, Bush told law enforcement officials that Fidel Castro was brazenly promoting sex tourism to Cuba."
Here's the
text of his speech in which he said: "The dictator welcomes sex tourism. Here's how he bragged about the industry. This is his quote, 'Cuba has the cleanest and most educated prostitutes in the world.' "
Reynolds asked White House officials what their source was for the quote and was led to a paper on the Internet written by Charles Trumbull, then an undergraduate at Dartmouth College. Trumbull told Reynolds he didn't remember the source, and that it was taken out of context anyway.
Lesley Clark, writing in the Miami Herald on Saturday, traced the quote back to comments Castro made in a 1992 address "when he spoke about the country's need for tourism and acknowledged the presence of prostitutes in Cuba, even though prostitution is illegal. His actual words, according to a transcript prepared by the U.S. Foreign Broadcast Information Service, were: 'We can say that they are highly educated hookers and quite healthy, because we are the country with the lowest number of AIDS cases.' "
Tracey Eaton wrote in the Dallas Morning News that the charge has even further enraged Cubans, who already call Bush "Pinnochio."
"Cuba was a bustling sex tourism destination in the early 1990s after its economy collapsed, travel writers say, but police crackdowns have turned that around," Eaton wrote.

And why the hell is the White House getting its information from Dartmouth undergraduate papers?


reede, juuli 16, 2004

Leaving town for the weekend. No posting until Tuesday.
So far, only one local station has picked up the Dennis Miller story.

Joe Wilson Strikes Back
Wilson responds to accusations from right-wing jackasses here. Not surprisingly, they're lying.
I reread his NYT op-ed that started all this yesterday and everything he said there was indeed completely accurate. And CIA sources support his claim that his wife didn't recommend him. The last paragraph of the article could be the most important. Many conservatives jumped all over Susan Schmitt's horrible, biased report and its claim that Iraq sought uranium in 1998. Of course, this was a huge mistake on her part because it was Iran that sought it. The paper has quietly corrected it. Conservatives continue to say it.
It's like Whitewater and Love Canal all over again.


neljapäev, juuli 15, 2004

Daily Froomkin

Dan's got a roundup of reports about Bush's Wisconsin trip.

None of them seem to mention Dennis Miller's extremely offensive jokes.

That's some good liberal media there.
Belfast Parking Valet

One can only assume the Republican and media outrage over Dennis Miller's offensive comments introducing Bush at a recent rally will begin any minute now.

Unless, of course, Bush thinks it's okay to suggest that his opponents are gay and that James Carville is Satanic. Since he didn't renounce Miller's jokes, that is clearly the case.

Speaking of celebrity endorsements: Dennis Miller, a big backer of Bush, was in Green Bay, Wis., yesterday to warm up the crowd before the prez spoke. Miller made a glancing reference to Whoopi but promised, "In deference to George W. Bush, I will try not to fall to depths that some would in this case."

Then he went on to imply a homosexual attraction between Kerry and Edwards.

"Those two cannot keep their hands off each other, can they?" Miller said. "I think I have a new idea for a new campaign slogan -- use the bumper sticker 'Hey, Get A Room.' "

The Post's Dana Milbank also reports that Miller riffed on other noted Dems. "Asking Bill Clinton to write an honest book is like asking Britney Spears to sing a capella," he said.

And he called strategist James Carville "a muppet who accidentally was washed on hot" and a "Satanic Chihuahua under a strobe light" who has "more nervous ticks than a Belfast parking valet."

All in good fun, of course. Bush thanked Miller "for joining us" but made no mention of his warm-up act.

Whoopi and Dick

Slim-Fast has fired Whoopi Goldberg for using vulgarity in talking about Bush.

What does it say to you when the makers of Slim-Fast have higher standards for decency and decorum among their representatives than the President of the United States?

kolmapäev, juuli 14, 2004

This is Not a Flap

One former state Democratic party official whining that the junior senator from New York, who herself isn't upset at all, is not scheduled to speak at the Demcratic convention does not constitute a "flap."

And yet the media is all over it. Which is good because it's not like there are real issues to talk about.
Daily Froomkin

Most of us, I would imagine, have worked at places where everybody knew what the boss wanted -- and without necessarily being told, tried to give it to him.

It's a self-preservation reflex at even slightly dysfunctional organizations. (And you sure don't want to be the guy who tells the boss he's wrong.)

So it occurred to me that the CIA analysts who massively flubbed their Iraqi weapons analyses might concievably have felt an oblique sort of pressure if the bosses were out and about telling other people what they wanted to hear -- even if they weren't getting direct orders. In May 2002, the CIA started work on the only comprehensive assessment of Iraq's weaspons of mass destruction released to the public before the war. It was released five months later in October.

So what were Bush and Cheney saying publicly (not to mention privately) while that document was in process?

Follow the link for the quotes. It's pretty good stuff.

A conservative is finally asked all those questions about opposition to gay marriage that you always wanted someone to ask and, not surprisingly, he has no answers at all.

A preview:

My point is that marriage has always and will always, but not in every case, have something to do with children and the relationship between parents, children, and the rest of society.

Has always and will always...but not always.

Says it all, doesn't it?
Note to Gay Marriage Opponents

Some friendly advice. Stop making remarkably dumb statements like this:

"I would argue that the future of our country hangs in the balance because the future of marriage hangs in the balance," said Sen. Rick Santorum, a leader in the fight to approve the measure. "Isn't that the ultimate homeland security, standing up and defending marriage?"

People might possibly start taking you seriously. Maybe.
Divisive III

An interesting article on Bush's hateful and divisive rhetoric against "sophisticates" (because, you know, we should really support the notion that sophistication is undesirable). It does a very good job of highlighting the hypocrisy of Bush's attempts to be a "regular guy" and also delves into the causes of Bush's ridiculous anti-elitist streak.
Let's Rock and Roll with the Korean Train Explosion

Pandagon's got a link to the newly released Fox News memos that are somehow meant to undermine the case presented by Outfoxed. To be fair to Fox, I am curious how these would stack up against internal memos at CNN or MSNBC. Also to be fair, though, the memos make their conservative bias mind-blowingly obvious.

To save you time, although they're amusing enough to read the whole thing, some highlights:

It won't be long before some people start to decry the use of "excessive force." We won't be among that group. . . More than 600 US military dead, attacks on the UN headquarters last year, assassination of Irai officials who work with the coalition, the deaths of Spanish troops last fall, the outrage in Fallujah: whatever happens, it is richly deserved.

Nominees who both sides admit are qualified are being held up because of their POSSIBLE, not demonstrated, views on one issue -- abortion. This should be a trademark issue for FNC today and in the days to come.

Not surprisingly, we're facing resistance from our erstwhile European buddies, the French and Germans.

Heads of state don't leave G-8 meetings early unless they have good reasons. President Bush has two: he has to get to Egypt, and he doesn't like the French. Let's explain to viewers that despite the tepid handshake, Bush and Chirac are far from reconciled, as are the US and Germany. The early departure from Evian should take the sparkle out of the bottled water spa.

No one's in favor of murder or bombing of public places. But feelings in North Carolina may just be more complicated than the NY Times can conceive.

It's a distinctly skeptical crowd that Bush faces. His political courage and tactical cunning are worth noting in our reporting through the day.

Kerry, starting to feel the heat for his flip-flop voting record, is in West Virginia.

The incident is a reminder of the danger our colleagues in Baghdad face, day in and day out. Please offer a prayer of thanks for their safety to whatever God you revere (and let the ACLU stick it where the sun don't shine).

Remember that while there are obvious political implications for Bush, the commission is looking at eight years of the Clinton Administration versus eight months (the time prior to 9/11 that Bush was in office) for the incumbent.

There can be no proof more compelling and visual of what Palestinian suicide bombers are all about than the pitiful sight of a teenager frantically cutting away the bomb vest he was wearing in order to save his life. "I don't want to die" he said. Without willing dupes, this barbaric practice can't continue. Let's not overlook that story today, even if the tape has been out there for awhile.

As is often the case, the real news is Iraq is being obscured by temporary tragedy.

Air America, featuring Al Franken and other liberals, got on the air last week, but at what cost? Well, in New York, it took the place of an ethnic show. In LA, it knocked off a Korean program. And in CHicago,a spanish language broadcast was replaced. None of these people are happy.

Do not fall into the easy trap of mourning the loss of US lives and asking out loud why are we there? The US is in Iraq to help a country brutalized for 30 years protect the gains made by Operation Iraqi Freedom and set it on the path to democracy. Some people in Iraq don't want that to happen. That is why American GIs are dying. And what we should remind our viewers.

Condoleeza Rice's testimony will still be picked apart by those looking to blame someone, whether it's Bush or Clinton, for September 11. Let's not forget UBL's share of that blame.

It should be obvious that we are working hard on the oil for food scandal story at the UN. Please be disposed to use stories on this topic, rather than not.

let's rock n roll with the korean train explosion. [not biased, but pretty damn insensitive]

If, as promised, the coalition decides to take Fallujah back by force, it will not be for lack of opportunities for terrorists holed up there to negotiate. Let's not get lost in breast-beating about the sadness of the loss of life. They had a chance.

This is one of the few times we've gotten a count of enemy dead. Let's use that to make the point what happens when terrorists take on the coalition.

On a positve note, I found a few bits of genuine balance:

Let's not overdo the appearances by Kerry's swiftboat mate John O'Neil. While his appearances so far have been OK, he represents one side of the 30 year recollections of what Kerry did, or didn't do, in uniform. Other people have different recollections.

We can do some lives on the service, but as before, be cautious about making his death, though tragic, any more significant than the deaths of non-famous GI casualties.

Another Bush Flip-Flop

I like the Kerry campaign's response to Bush insisting that they released a video of their fundraiser where celebrities criticized (the horror!) him. But it seems like the more obvious response would just be to point out that Bush has held many fundraisers where he didn't even let the media watch the event or see a transcript of his remarks.

Just another example of Bush saying one thing and doing another. He's only been in Washington four years and he's still found time to take both sides of just about every issue.

teisipäev, juuli 13, 2004

Divisive II

More hateful rhetoric from the Divider in Chief:

Noting that Kerry had called the celebrities the "heart and soul of America," Bush told several thousand supporters on Michigan's Upper Peninsula that "I believe the heart and soul of America is in places like right here in Marquette, Michigan."

Yeah. Celebrities in New York can't be the heart of America. Only people in small towns in middle America can be.

So does Bush not think New Yorkers are the heart and soul of America? Why does he hate New Yorkers so much? Why is he so negative about his critics? Isn't he their president too? Can't you represent the heart and soul of America while still criticizing Bush? Apparently not, if he can score cheap points by playing on middle Americans' anti-coastal prejudices.

Of the countless deeply offensive things our "uniter" president says on a daily basis, the one that has most angered me in recent days, and he has repeated it several times, is this:

"You cannot be pro-small business and pro-trial lawyer at the same time.

Why the fuck not?

What a divisive, hateful jerk. Why can't you have fair tort reform that doesn't completely screw lawyers and their clients? Why can't you balance the concerns of business and lawyers? And for that matter, how often do greedy trial lawyers sue small businesses? Don't they usually sue rich corporations? And why is it a good thing to be anti-lawyer? Aren't they Americans, too? Don't they have the same rights as small business owners?

Apparently not in George W. Bush's America.
Daily Froomkin

It's been observed many times before, but it's worth repeating. Bush doesn't make arguments using evidence. He just repeats the conclusion over and over and over again:

It's not hard to tell when President Bush is really, really serious about getting a particular message out.

He repeats it, over and over again.

But it's unusual even for him to say the same thing seven times in one short speech.

That's what he did yesterday, in Oak Ridge, Tenn., asserting that because of his foreign policy initiatives and the war on terror, "the American people are safer." (Here's the text.)

Bush said it so many times that CBS and ABC both spliced a sort of dance mix and inserted it into their reports on the evening news: "The American people are safer. . . . The American people are safer. . . . The American people are safer."

You Have to Be Kidding

Unfortunately, they're probably not.

A Bush spokesman made the following claim about John Kerry without the slightest hint of irony:

"John Kerry one week was in America's heartland saying 'I share your conservative values' and then in New York City at a Hollywood hate-fest where there was vulgar language and actors on stage attacking the president."

Vulgar language! Attacking the president!

Heavens no!

Attacking the president. Can you believe it? During an election campaign! I'm outraged. Almost as much as I am by Bush attacking John Kerry in the same damn article. Are we really supposed to believe there's something wrong with criticizing the president? Are we supposed to be that stupid?

Of course, it's not like anyone on the Bush/Cheney ticket has ever used vulgar language to...um...er...oh, yeah.

When I woke up this morning, this story was headlined "AP Poll: More Voters See Bush as Decisive." Now, it's "AP Poll: More Voters See Bush as Arrogant."

esmaspäev, juuli 12, 2004

Lynne Cheney's Out of the Mainstream

I can't wait to see how the Bush campaign deals with Lynne Cheney's weak, unprincipled, politically opportunistic position on gay marriage. You know, the one that's the same as John Kerry's. It's going to be fun seeing Dick Cheney mocking his own wife's position, not to mention his own until recently (FLIP-FLOP), when he takes on Edwards on this issue in the debate. If the Kerry campaign doesn't start saying "We agree with Lynne Cheney" when reporters ask about the constitutional amendment, I'm going to be very disappointed.

Who knew Lynne Cheney was so liberal and out of touch with America's conservative values?
Daily Froomkin

Wow. Bush truly may be an idiot. Check out his response to a question about his memoirs:

"Q Thank you -- I was wondering, there's a lot of talk right now about memoirs being written with the former President. After you are elected in 2004, what will your memoirs say about you, what will the title be, and what will the main theme say?

"THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate that. (Laughter.) There is a painting on my wall in the Oval -- first of all, I don't know. I'm just speculating now. I really haven't thought about writing a book. My life is too complicated right now trying to do my job. (Laughter.) But if -- there's a painting on the wall in the Oval Office that shows a horseman charging up a steep cliff, and there are at least two other horsemen following. It's a Western scene by a guy named W.H.S. Koerner called 'A Charge to Keep.' It's on loan, by the way, from a guy named Joe O'Neill in Midland, Texas. He was the person, he and his wife Jan, introduced -- reintroduced me and Laura in his backyard in July of 1977. Four months later, we were married. So he's got a -- I'm a decision-maker and I can make good decisions. (Applause.)

"And so we sang this hymn -- this is a long story trying to get to your answer. (Laughter.) This is not a filibuster. (Laughter.) That's a Senate term -- particularly on good judges. (Applause.) The hymn was sung at my first inaugural church service as governor. Laura and I are Methodists. One of the Wesley boys wrote the hymn. The painting is based upon the hymn called, 'A Charge to Keep.' I have. The hymn talks about serving something greater than yourself in life. I -- which I try to do, as best as I possibly can. (Applause.)

"The book -- I guess one way, one thing to think about it is -- one of the themes would be, I was given a charge to keep. And I gave it all my heart, all my energy, based upon principles that did not change once I got into the Oval Office. (Applause.)"

Now that's a rambling response.

And I have to wonder: Did he forget that he already has a memoir called "A Charge to Keep"?

Millionaire Don Rumsfeld

For the first time in a while, a Jodi Wilgoren article I don't really have any complaints about. Seems a bit short for the only coverage the Times gave Kerry and Edwards' first joint interview, but whatever.

The article allows the candidates and their wives several shots to explain the blatant hypocrisy of the weak Republican attacks on their wealth:

"Those very same people never criticized my late husband for his money or his wealth - in fact, they used it," said Mrs. Heinz Kerry, who inherited an estate estimated at $500 million to $1 billion from her first husband, Senator H. John Heinz III, a Pennsylvania Republican who was killed in a plane crash. "His money was just dandy."

In an interview broadcast on Sunday on the CBS News program "60 Minutes," Mrs. Heinz Kerry added, "I find it un-American for people to criticize someone and say they're not deserved for any position, whether because they have too much or too little or because they're black or they're white."

Mr. Kerry, the presumed Democratic presidential nominee, called criticism of the candidates' multimillion-dollar bank accounts "the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard in my life."

He asked: "Is this coming from millionaire George Bush and millionaire Dick Cheney? And millionaire Rumsfeld?"

In the interview, Mr. Edwards's wife, Elizabeth, pointed out that the Democratic candidates "voted against tax cuts that would have benefited them" - tax cuts proposed by the Republicans.

"Isn't that what we want - a leader who looks at the greater good instead of simply what benefits the person himself?" she asked Lesley Stahl, the "60 Minutes" interviewer, in a 20-minute segment.

"It seems to me that's an enormous test of character,'' Mrs. Edwards said, "whether you're willing to step out and do something against your own self-interest."

And yet, somehow, you know the media is going to continue reporting on their wealth as if it matters while completely ignoring Bush and Cheney's money.
That's Comedy

In an otherwise completely substance free front page story on John Kerry, the Washington Post throws in this little anecdote:

About 1 a.m., during a recent cross-county flight, Kerry broke from his game of Hearts with staffers to lead a prank on Rubin.

As Rubin slept, curled up in a chair, Kerry placed next to him "Pepe the Piñata," a large, multicolored papier-mâché dog, and covered them both with a blanket. He summoned the staff photographer and staged a photo that looked like Rubin was cuddling with the dog.

For all the talk about Kerry being stiff and unlikable, come on, you have to admit, that's pretty funny.

The article also sees fit to remind us that John Kerry's bike costs $8,000. Also, intrepid reporter and RNC mouthpiece Nedra Pickler's engaged.
Am I Missing Something?

The Bush administration keeps saying that terrorists may attempt to "disrupt the Democratic process" by attacking around the election. Okay. Yeah, probably. But what's their solution? Look into delaying the election.

Am I the only one who sees a logical flaw in disrupting the Democratic process to prevent terrorists from disrupting the Democratic process?

neljapäev, juuli 08, 2004

Hungarian School Children Compare President Bush to Hitler

In a new poll of Hungarian secondary school children, Bush almost beats out Hitler as the most hated foreigner.

The Bush campaign has called on Senator Kerry to denounce the 34,000 16-18 year olds for their, quote, "wild-eyed" rhetoric.

If Kerry does not do so, they will be featured in an upcoming Bush campaign ad alongside footage of Michael Moore eating kittens.
Daily Froomkin

Details on Bush's "spontaneous" visit to a lemonade stand:

Turns out little lemonade-sellers Heather and Shelby Dew had waved to the presidential motorcade as it sped toward a North Raleigh fundraiser. A little later on, Secret Service agents stopped by to taste the lemonade. Raleigh Police Chief Jane Perlov came over to hang out on the lawn. And then, as the motorcade was on its way back from the fundraiser, it -- surprise! -- pulled over.

"The Dews told Bush the drinks were free for Republicans, but the president paid $10 cash anyway."

Pool reporter Neil A. Lewis of the New York Times informed his colleagues that Bush once against unleashed his hoary "trying to help the local economy" quip, and invited reporters to join him. "Some did. People who were there at the beginning said Mr. Bush paid with cash from his pocket, an unusual occurrence for presidents who often do not carry cash (what for?)."

Well, with all that advance notice, I'm guessing someone slipped him a few bucks.

Also via Froomkin, we find Baltimore's comptroller accusing the mayor of treason.

In case you were wondering, when Democrats say Republicans are questioning their patriotism, this is the kind of thing they're talking about.
Damn that Liberal Media!

The New York Times reports that John Kerry's house is really expensive:

The estate where Mr. Edwards paid the ritual visit to his running mate includes a swimming pool, carriage house and colonial manse whose front is adorned with six white columns and a pair of stone lions flanking the entrance - not the ideal image for two Democratic millionaires beginning their campaign as champions of ordinary Americans.

And again the media immediately accepts GOP spin without question. Somehow being rich and supporting ordinary Americans are supposed to be mutually exclusive. The article observes the rather pathetic detail that the Kerry campaign needed to orchestrate the event in such a way as to hide the expensive house because they knew idiots like the guy who wrote this article would waste their time critiquing it and reminding voters that they're supposed to see a contradiction. Take this on top of the Washington Post story about the logo on the stairway Kerry and Edwards walked down getting off their plane and you've got further evidence that the press is neither liberal nor conservative. Just mind-numbingly stupid.

John Edwards is a successful self-made man. The woman John Kerry loves happens to be rich. Does the press want an apology or something? What the hell does the press expect them to do to change that?

(Post link via Pandagon)
Nonsensical Novak

In today's Post, Bob Novak produces yet another incoherent and self-contradictory column. In addition to repeating one of the most illogical attacks the right-wing has constructed in quite some time (Edwards clearly won't help Kerry get votes, but regardless, Kerry picked him solely to get votes), Novak manages to simultaneously claim that Kerry didn't consider any moderates and that Kerry considered John McCain. He then adds that Kerry should have picked a moderate like McCain, who Kerry considered, despite Kerry not considering any moderates.

Seriously, the guy's going senile.
Glaring Ommission

Ken Starr's op-ed in today's Wall Street Journal about what Bill Clinton left out of his book is itself a rather stunning example of what he accuses Clinton of. Starr conveniently neglects to mention that, despite all those Whitewater convictions he's so proud of, none of them were of the Clintons. He also doesn't bother to inform readers that the Clintons were exhonerated in a report released fairly early in his little witch hunt.

Ken Starr's full of shit. Who'd have guessed?
Unconfirmed Report Officially Unconfirmed

As I have been suggesting, it does now appear that those unconfirmed reports about Kerry offering McCain the VP slot were false. US News is now reporting that McCain briefly considered staying in the selection process at first, but he took himself off the list very early. He never made the final list. There were, however, other Republicans who were interviewed, but the Kerry campaign won't reveal who.

Point is, we can put Bush's "First Choice" ad up as yet another lie.

kolmapäev, juuli 07, 2004

Pot Kettle Black

George W. Bush, whose primary accomplishments before running for president amounted to owning a failed business, being accused of insider trading, trading Sammy Sosa, and executing a comically large number of prisoners in the least powerful governorship in America, is questioning John Edwards' ability to assume the presidency.

Other than that he's completing "only" his first term in the US Senate (having served several years on the intelligence committee), has anybody actually presented a coherent argument about why exactly Edwards is not capable of serving as president if necessary? I mean, do they have any tangible evidence that he can't handle the responsibility?

More importantly, check out the article. Kerry actually made a funny joke.
Daily Froomkin

Via Dan Froomkin's White House Briefing, we find this LA Times article on the elaborate stagecraft of Bush campaign appearances. Not much new, but interesting. And kind of sad.

But how great would it be to be the guy with this job:

In dry runs, White House planners send to the podium a stand-in who is Bush's height in order to set the lighting and camera angles.

What? Does anybody understand what the hell Christopher Hitchens is trying to say here?

EJ Dionne brings the smackdown on Republican talking points on John Edwards. He starts with possibly the most damaging quote I've seen yet on the experience issue from Orrin Hatch:

"You've been a great governor," Hatch declared of his rival for the Republican presidential nomination. "My only problem with you, governor, is that you've only had four and going into your fifth year of governorship. . . . Frankly, I really believe that you need more experience before you become president of the United States. That's why I'm thinking of you as a vice presidential candidate."

In other words, shut up.

Then EJ makes the very important point that Republicans were going to whine about anyone Kerry chose:

Republicans were in a foul mood because Kerry's choice of Edwards as his running mate muddied up all the story lines they were itching to trot out. To understand why Edwards was the best choice for Kerry, consider what the Republicans (and, yes, the media) would have said if the nod had gone instead to Rep. Richard Gephardt, the clear runner-up in the vice presidential stakes.

Kerry would have been described as "insecure" at the prospect of standing next to the "charismatic" and "populist" Edwards. Fearing being "upstaged" by the equally ambitious Edwards, Kerry would have been accused of making the "obvious," "uninspired" and "comfortable" choice. Gephardt's experience would have been trotted out to turn him into the "tired" face of the "old" Democratic Party. It would also have been said that Kerry, the "elitist Massachusetts liberal," had "written off" the South and rural America.

Absolutely true. And note that I emphasized "the media." I'm reading today's papers and seeing that the Times and the Post have both pretty much adopted GOP talking points without any analysis. John Edwards is liberal and inexperienced. John Kerry chose him for purely political reasons. They're dishonest because they criticized each other during the primaries. Neither paper makes much of an effort to scrutinize these allegations. They've been immediately welcomed as part of the new Kerry/Edwards media storyline. They're stated as fact. And yet, articles also acknowledge that many Republicans are reluctantly admitting anonymously that Edwards was the right choice. Given that, why are they report what the Republicans are saying publicly as anything other than typical political posturing? Why do they give legitimacy to arguments they know are disingenuous? Probably because they're so damn liberal.
At Least It's Not About Hillary

Bill Safire's latest column highlights what seems to be a significant logical flaw in the arguments being presented all over the place (including not one, not two, but three different pieces on today's WSJ editorial page) that John Edwards was a substance-free pick made solely for political purposes. While Safire makes this claim repeatedly, he intercuts it with comments by Lindsey Graham explaining that Edwards will have very little political impact. Safire insists that all Kerry cares about is politics, but then he lets Graham explain how Edwards will not help Kerry win any states. Either Kerry's monumentally stupid and he doesn't know what Graham knows, or there's more to it than that. So if there's no political advantage, why is he a political choice? Because Republicans can't find any other effective avenue for criticism of the guy.

Also, despite currently having two years more experience in national government than George W. Bush, he's too inexperienced to be president.

teisipäev, juuli 06, 2004

Crazy Dick Cheney

Looks like Crazy Dick Cheney is making stuff up again.

No new evidence to back up his claims. Man, they got to keep an eye on that guy over there. I think he's skipping his medication.
Burt Ward

So begins the most bizarre fundraising letter I ever recieved, from the DCCC:

Dear Fellow Democrat:

This July 6th will be a big day for would-be superheroes. Burt Ward, known for his
role as "Boy Wonder" in the Batman TV series, turns 59. Ned Beatty, who played arch
villain Lex Luthor's bumbling sidekick Otis in the Superman movies, will be 67.

On that same day George W. Bush, the GOP's own bumbling wonder, will turn 58 -- with
your help, we can make sure it will be his final birthday in the White House, and
one he won't soon forget.

More Odd Definitions of Flip-Flopping

I'm reading these excerpts and there seems to be a massive logical flaw in the argument presented. Several of these reporters and pundits claim selecting Edwards after McCain reportedly (unconfirmed) rejected the VP slot is somehow a flip-flop. Because Kerry went for McCain, then picked someone else. Seriously, that's what Fred Barnes is saying here.

What the hell else is a candidate supposed to do when his first choice (allegedly) turns him down? Not select a VP at all? Of course he moves on to his second choice.


Just a quick thought on Edwards as VP. There are a number of good things about this. First, the obvious contrast with Vice President Fuck Yourself. Second, Edwards communicates a populist message better and more believably than Kerry does. Third, he does have a Southern accent and that sadly does matter. His primary downside is his lack of experience, but he's a hell of a lot more experienced than George W. Bush was in 2000 so I can't really see how that shot will stick. As long as he doesn't make any more mistakes like misunderstanding DOMA in one of the primary debates, he'll be okay. He has about three months to learn more about foreign policy before his debate with Cheney. He's a lawyer, but anyone with strong anti-lawyer feelings is probably already voting for Bush. Or they support Kerry enough that his VP choice won't change their minds.

Now, with regard to the question of whether any of this really matters, a few things. I agree that historically VPs haven't had much effect on elections. I think this year will be different, though. One reason is the extreme prominence of Cheney as a negative figure in the Bush campaign. He calls attention to himself, which will in turn call attention to Edwards. Also, Edwards really does outshine Kerry in the charisma department. I see this as an asset for Kerry, though, because anyone who likes Edwards is going to vote for Kerry. They don't have another choice. Putting them together at joint appearances should allow some of Edwards' charm to brush off on Kerry. They're two heads of the same beast is what I'm saying. Edwards is an unusually compelling figure and Kerry is unusually not compelling, so I do think he will provide a significant boost to the team.

Note how the Bush campaign is making ridiculous predictions of being 15 points behind after the next few weeks. Setting artificially low expectations is never a sign of strength.

One more bit from Tad Devine's Post chat:

Rockville, Md.: During the last discussion with a spokesperson for the Bush campaign, someone asked, "Was this just another flip-flop on Kerry's part? Didn't Edwards and Kerry attack each other all through the primaries? How can he get away with this?"

My question for you is, with the Bush team using John McCain in web ads, is that just another flip-flop on Bush's part? Didn't Bush and McCain attack each other all through the 2000 primaries? How can Bush get away with this?

Tad Devine: That is a great question. What President Bush did to Senator McCain in the South Carolina primary was the worst kind of politics. We are not surprised that a republican senator would endorse a republican president for re-election. Having said that, I think that most Americans would agree that John McCain is a patriot and someone who is honest about the political process and who, unlike the president and vice president, is willing to reach across party lines on behalf of the American people. That's why John McCain worked so closely with John Kerry to find the truth about POWs and MIAs in Vietnam and to restore relations with Vietnam during the Clinton administration. And that is why Senator McCain to this day is standing with John Edwards to support a Patients' Bill of Rights in the United States Senate. Instead of invoking Senator McCain's political support, perhaps the president should support some of John McCain's legislation. That would be good for all Americans.

The "Kerry criticized Edwards and now he's his VP" idiocy is already creeping around. Turning it around and making the connection to Bush's criticism of McCain in 2000 is, frankly, brilliant. I hope that idea becomes part of the Kerry campaign's talking points on this. Also, the McCain-Edwards bill needs to be brought up often, not only because it underscores bipartisanship but because it points back to one of Bush's more flagrant lies in 2000, that he supported a patients' bill of rights in Texas.
There It Is

Kerry campaign spokesman Tad Devine in a Washington Post online chat just nailed his response to Republicans whining that John Edwards is a dirty trial lawyer:

John Edwards has spent twenty-five years fighting for people - for families and children in North Carolina where he represented victims against armies of lawyers on the other side, and for the past 6 years on the floor of the United States Senate and all across America where he championed the cause of ordinary people.

He's the good lawyer fighting against the armies of bad ones. Works for me.

But really, is there actually a single voter out there who was going to vote for Kerry but now won't because his vice president used to be a lawyer?

I mentioned earlier, I think, that McCain's chief of staff denied Kerry offered him the VP slot. I've found the quote.

"Senator McCain categorically states that he has not been offered the vice presidency by any one," said McCain's chief of staff, Mark Salter, who would not confirm the officials' account.

So how can the Bush campaign claim McCain was Kerry's first choice? By lying. Or accusing McCain of lying, which would sort of soften the impact of his endorsement of Bush. So which is it?

Comic book and science fiction writer Warren Ellis in his latest newsletter entry on Kerry picking Edwards:

As an aside, the only good thing about the Dem selection process this time around was that Joe Lieberman was finally shown up as the sickening, ugly, hatepowered hack I always believed him to be, and he should now be finally nailed into his political coffin.

Couldn't have said it better.

Although I also think Kerry-Edwards is the best ticket the Democrats could have put together this year, so I wouldn't say Lieberman's loss of Joementum was the only good thing to come out of it.
second Choices

Man, there's so much wrong with this line of attack, I'm not even sure where to start.

Just weeks earlier, Mr. McCain, of Arizona, had been the subject of widespread reports that Mr. Kerry, a friend and fellow Vietnam veteran, had sounded him out about joining the ticket, reports that Mr. Kerry never publicly confirmed.

Let me repeat that: never publicly confirmed.

Again, there is no confirmed report that John Kerry actually offered the vice presidency to John McCain. None. Period. It may not be true. From the description given at the time by McCain's chief of staff, it sounded exactly like the conversations Kerry has been having with Gephardt and Edwards. Obviously, in the course of those discussions, the question of whether McCain would accept probably came up. But that's in no way indicative of McCain being Kerry's first choice. To claim otherwise is to make a completely unsubstantiated accusation. Which, of course, the Bush team does all the time so it's not really a surprise.

Citing a report by ABC News last week that Mr. Kerry's camp had conducted polls to see how different running mates would play with voters, Ms. Devenish said the Bush campaign would also emphasize that even when it came to picking the person who could succeed him as president, Mr. Kerry was shaped not by conviction but by public opinion. Mr. Kerry's campaign has denied such polling.

Um...again: Mr. Kerry's campaign has denied such polling.

Do these people care at all about facts having evidence supporting them?

Even if it is true, and really, it probably is, does Bush seriously expect us to believe that he did no polling whatsoever in 2000 before picking Cheney? Isn't that pretty much the standard procedure for these things.

Or are we supposed to believe that Bush somehow had the conviction that the CEO of Halliburton must be his vice president, popular or not? Did he look into his eyes and see his soul?
Yes, He Did Say It. Because It's True.

Over the weekend, the NYT reported on yet another wildly dishonest and frankly nonsensical Bush campaign criticism of John Kerry:

Mr. Kerry tried hard to make a personal connection. He told an audience in Independence, gathered in the machine shed of a 300-cow dairy farm, that he had fond memories of time spent on the farm as a boy. Mr. Kerry, the son of a foreign service officer who often lived abroad, noted that he lived for a time on a Massachusetts farm. "I learned my first cuss words sitting on a tractor, from the guy who was driving it," he said.

A spokeswoman said he was referring to time spent with his parents while a small child outside Boston, as well as with an aunt and uncle, the Winthrops, at their home on a dairy farm on Boston's North Shore.

The Bush campaign instantly put out a mocking news release about the idea of Mr. Kerry growing up on a farm. "He said it!" was the headline - and the battle to define Mr. Kerry to small-town America continued.

Note that John Kerry actually did spend time on a farm as a kid and that his statement appears to be 100% accurate and in no way dishonest. The Bush campaign pretends it is. They are liars. And they seem mighty desperate.

laupäev, juuli 03, 2004

The Press Effect

I'm reading this book, The Press Effect, by Katherine Jamieson and Paul Waldman. It's interesting, kind of like reading 200 pages of the Daily Howler. A little obvious in places, but interesting. It covers the irresponsible handling of the 2000 election by the press and in the section on the media recounts, it includes this rather amazingly dismissive quote by ABC's Antonio Mora in a story about how Bush really won:

"The review showed that Al Gore might have won only if he had asked for a statewide recount, a request he did not make."

Then he moves on, as if this doesn't matter. Process that for a second. Al Gore might have won a statewide recount. He recieved more votes than Bush statewide, but it doesn't matter because he didn't as for a statewide recount. What the fuck?

Now, the book's whole point is that the dismissal of any chance that Gore won was a result of the patriotic instincts of media in the months after 9/11 (this was November 2001). I only mention this, first of all because it pissed me off a lot when I read it, but also because Michael Moore claims in Fahrenheit 9/11 that Gore won several of the media recounts. This is true, but some conservatives have pulled out the media headlines that ignored that fact as evidence Moore was lying. This despite the fact that Moore includes a headline confirming it in the movie. The point is, anyone who tells you Bush won every recount scenario is either lying or grossly misinformed.

Punch them in the nuts.

reede, juuli 02, 2004

New Fox News Poll

65% of Americans say they are more patriotic than the average American.
Finally, Some Fairness and Balance

From today's White House Bulletin:

President Bush held a White house event this morning to highlight the positive trends in the US economy. His presentation was long and rambling, though, and Fox News, which was covering the event live, cut away from coverage mid-sentence to run a biography on Marlon Brando.
I Don't Want To Get Off On a Rant Here

But does anyone else think the new Saddam Hussein looks a lot like Dennis Miller?
What the Hell Have They Been Doing for Four Years?

Looks like Florida election officials still haven't fixed the flaw in their computer program that wrongly made thousands of Gore voters ineligible in 2000, quite possibly costing him the election.

How is this so difficult? You have prison records. You have names, social security numbers, fingerprints of all prisoners. You have voter registration cards. How is it so hard just not to give the damn things to the felons? Why can't you just do it based on social security numbers? And why aren't election officials more concerned that they appear to yet again be mistakenly disenfranchising thousands of black voters?
Bizzaro John Kerry

The Campaign Desk on the odd change in the press portrayal of John Kerry between 2000, when he was being considered as Gore's running mate, and today, when all of that charisma they were referring to four years ago appears to have mysteriously disappeared.
Simple Kid

Buy this.

It's that good.

This is all kinds of sketchy:

A Defeat for Victory Committee

Remember that story in the Hindustan Times and other papers in India that the Republicans outsourced fundraising phone banks to New Delhi? The story the Republican National Committee repeatedly denied?

Well, turns out they are both right. Seems the RNC has filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission accusing an outfit called the Republican Victory Committee, which operates out of Irving, Tex., of "impersonat[ing] the Republican Party to fraudulently raise money by phone and by mail."

The Republican Victory Committee then contracted with a telemarketer who outsourced the calls to India, the RNC complaint said. One caller, asked where he was calling from, said, "The Washington, D.C., of Virginia." This aroused some suspicion.

Unclear how much the Texas operation raised. The tax-exempt group's chairman, Jody Novacek, said the RNC's complaint was untrue. "We are Republican-leaning," she told the Associated Press, "and the funds will be used for voter mobilization at the state and local level."

The Republican Victory Committee started raising money in January, she said, but stopped in April when U.S. postal inspectors started investigating.

Crazy Dick Cheney's Off His Medication

There he goes again:

Countering the staff of the commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks, which found no "collaborative relationship" between Hussein's Iraq and al Qaeda, Cheney renewed his accusation that they had "long-established ties." He listed several examples and stated: "In the early 1990s, Saddam had sent a brigadier general in the Iraqi intelligence service to Sudan to train al Qaeda in bombmaking and document forgery."

Senior intelligence officials said yesterday that they had no knowledge of this.

Boy, that vice president sure is nuts.

neljapäev, juuli 01, 2004

Daily Froomkin

Wishful thinking:

Optimistic Fellow

I've never heard Bush be anything but unfailingly optimistic about his reelection bid.

But New York Daily News gossip columnist Lloyd Grove reports today -- let's see, is that sourcing third or fourth hand? -- that Bush recently joked to some visiting fellow members of Yale secret society Skull & Bones: "If you want anything from me, you better ask for it now. I might not be here next year."


Bob Novak is mad.

I can't find his new column online, but in the Washington Post today he complains about "urban legends" of the war on terror. Specifically, he's upset that George Stephanapolous asked Condi Rice about the reports that the Bush administration could have attacked Zarqawi before the war, but didn't. Rice, of course, denied it. Novak then cites several military officials who have said during hearings that they don't know anything about it. He points out that the people quoted in the original story are a friend of Richard Clarke and a Democrat. You would think that where this is all going is that the story isn't true. That's really the only point the column could have. Until you reach the last paragraph, wherein Novak admits that the NBC reporter who broke the story stands by it and that at least one military official has acknowledged that an attack on Zarqawi's camp was considered and rejected.

I have to give Novak credit for including the contradictory evidence, because he usually is pretty willing to ignore facts he doesn't like. But given that the story has been confirmed, what the hell is his point?

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