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Monday, May 31, 2004

The O.C. 

So, I finally watched a full episode of the "The O.C." (I'd seen parts before of other episodes), and I have a couple of comments:
1. No place, anywhere, at any time, is comprised entirely of beautiful people. (Another question: are there really no minorities at all in Newport, California?). The show doesn't even have like the token "Hollywood ugly" person (read: very cute in any other situation and, at most, a size 4).

2. On the same general topic, I'm not sure if I can think of someone as beautiful and attractive as that Mischa Barton actress, even though she really should gain a few pounds, as she's too skinny even by TV/movie standard, and even though her hair style seems very wrong for her in some scenes. But other than that, wow, is she attractive. And isn't she actually like 17 or 18? Anyway...

3. On this particular episode, the main guy got some girl pregnant. She was going to get an abortion--had the preliminary clinic visit and everything--and then decided not to. Now, no one I've known well enough for that person to confide in me about it has ever had an abortion (although I'm sure that several people I know have had one), but it strikes me that the case presented in this episode is the exact situation that almost always leads to an abortion, and everyone moves on, if not necessarily no worse for the wear, then, well, they still move on. And it also strikes me that on TV shows (even "edgy" ones like the O.C. and that horrible "Sex and the City" show), the writers almost always have their characters choose to not have the abortion and keep the baby. Now, as a TV watcher/critic, that strikes me the cowardly way out for the writers of the show. I mean, I'm sure that, in real life, when a girl in the "O.C", as it were, gets pregnant, it almost always leads to an aborted fetus and not a live born child (I mean, come on, who are we kidding?). So the writers should have the character make that choice. Just something I've noticed. It also should be noted that the girl in "Saved," a movie I saw the other day and was very good and funny, also decided to keep her baby instead of get an abortion, which, again, I think, is the less realistic option.

4. That Peter Gallagher character, besides have some totally kick-ass eyebrows, seems like the least Jewish "Jewish" character ever. Is that a bad thing, or is it a too-be-applauded attempt to break down stereotypes?

5. All the parental characters in general seem to be about 10 years too young (although maybe that's because all of them got pregnant at 18 and similarly decided not to have an abortion).
A worthwhile post, no?
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Sunday, May 30, 2004

Esquire 

Charles Pierce (regular Altercator and the Best Writer in America) has a profile of John F. Kerry in this month's profile. It's long, and as wonderfull as anything Pierce writes, and worth reading. In fact, I may even buy a copy of the magazine. Here's the article.

I found a section I think is worth excerpting, if only so you can get a sense of Pierce's style of prose (read the whole excerpt, as the last paragraph is best). His style has a warmth, a poetic quality rarely found in any nonfiction, let alone journalism.
He'll turn up with a football out on the tarmac, and the surprise is not that he does so but that he throws a perfect spiral, thumb rotating down counterclockwise the way they showed you in the old Johnny Unitas videos. He'll wander back through the plane and talk about sailing or about the right kind of hiking boots, and these are easy moments when you realize that, for all the wonkish camouflage he can throw up, while there may be a few finer minds than Kerry's in politics, there are none more purely discursive. (After all, how many politicians can boast a campaign biography whose index includes both Elmo Zumwalt and Warren Zevon, or has the Paris Peace Talks listed right after the bass player from Mountain?)

He calls people "man" more often than any politician since Adam Clayton Powell, and a handshake with him can be an adventure not unlike meeting a fellow Mason for the first time. Thumb up or thumb down? Straight-ahead grip or soul shake? The guitar comes with him on the plane, which happens to be one that once transported the Rolling Stones, with floor-to-ceiling mirrors in the bathrooms, a wet bar in the center of the cabin, and residue of God alone knows what on the seats.

Kerry ran in those circles once. Back in 1971, he was photographed with John Lennon, which was cool, and spoke to mass demonstrations on the National Mall, which was also cool, and argued against his own war passionately on television. Kerry's face was young and angular then, while his voice was plummy and wise, and he appeared to be a set of handsome yet mismatched parts. He was in that passionate moment, but he also was looking down the road further than were a lot of people who were sharing the great platform with him.

But he's always on the outside of things. The signature image in Douglas Brinkley's hagiographic account of Kerry's early life and service in Vietnam is that of twelve-year-old John Kerry, son of a career diplomat, riding his bicycle through the bombed-out streets of a ruined Germany. Even in the 1970s, he steered by his own star. He was impatient with the revolution-for-the-hell-of-it crowd and with the wilder elements in his own organization, the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. The triviality of the Abbie Hoffman end of the antiwar movement offended his intellect, and to this day, he bites off his words so sharply when he talks about them that it's plain he still considers them largely a waste of time.

Kerry wanted a career in politics, which was decidedly not cool at the time. In fact, the first people ever to call Kerry a political opportunist were members of the antiwar Left. Meanwhile, as the years went by and the passions faded, politics never seemed totally to want him. Occasionally, he even seemed outside his own biography. He was the war hero who fought for peace, the reform liberal who went off to put the bad guys in jail. He dug into policy, and he so developed that cerebral part of him that distrusts the simple solution and the easy answer that his political career became dissonant with its origins—far removed from that simple knife-edge of a question that cut through the domestic fog of a foreign war.

And that's what was killing him last fall, when passion inflamed the campaign. In a sprawling Democratic field, Kerry began the race as a talking résumé in a year that seemed to demand an Old Testament prophet, touched by the kind of fire in which he'd once walked. It turned around for him, spectacularly, in Iowa. He found his way back into his own life again. He gave himself permission to be cool.

"People are looking for leadership that isn't cynical," he says, the hum at the back of the crowded plane growing louder. "They want to talk about great common interests and the kind of leadership that's willing to reach for it."

All right, so he's not there yet. He's been out trying to recapture the poetry of politics—the way he had it that day in the Senate hearing room and the way it lived in him on the National Mall in Washington. It appears now in startling bursts, with groups of small children and in the ferocious loyalty he summons from disparate people—from smooth government lawyers as easily as from the men with whom he fought the war. He chased it all over Iowa when the poetry seemed to belong to other people until it sat there, amazingly, in his hand.
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Thursday, May 27, 2004

I'm Back 

I was out of town Monday through Wednesday, and away from this Interweb thingy, but I'm back now. Don't have much to say, other than I saw that Bush gave a speech on Iraq the other day, so problem solved!
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Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Please, God, Make This Happen 

Please.
Iraqi Governing Council member Ahmad Chalabi (search), once a favored Iraqi exile of the American government, denied accusations Sunday that he passed secrets to Iran -- and challenged CIA director George Tenet to a verbal duel before Congress.
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Sunday, May 23, 2004

Jonah Goldberg is just really, really stupid... 

He wrote this:
Historically, the Democratic party rarely wins with a majority of the vote, notes the website RasmussenReports.com. "Thirteen of the last 14 Republican Presidential victories before 2000 were won with a majority of the popular vote" — the current president was the exception.
I'm not even sure what this means, but I sure like the idea that 13 of 14 Republican Presidents actually winning the majority of Americans' votes is something that Republicans should brag about.

(There's a whole lot of stupid stuff in this article. Another thing: he argues that Republican Presidents and Candidates tend to flip flop less than Democrats. Then, in comparing recent Presidents, HE DOESN'T MENTION THE FIRST GEORGE BUSH. That's right - the most public and famous example of Presidential flip flopping - "read my lips" - somehow escaped Goldberg's analysis.)
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VDW at NRO 

I don't know why I bother, but here's shorter Victor Davis Hanson on the National Review Online:

Because George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld were asked to and did apologize for US troops torturing Iraqis, Ted Kennedy must apologize for a remark he made on the Senate floor.

No, seriously, that's the argument.
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Kinsley on Brooks 

Read it, and then, ask yourself, as ogged does here, if Brooks can ever write another word again.

This Brooks takedown may rival the O'Reilly column reflected upon, by us, here.
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Gmail 

We are switching our email to google's new Gmail system.

goldbergandguthrie@gmail.com

our old hotmail account is still active and we'll still check it regularly.
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Chris Matthews Show 

The panel* he's got on right now (Tucker C., Gloria Borger, Fineman, Norah O'Donnell) is just destroying Bush.

*The panel may or may not be "blue-ribbon." I'll do some research and get back to you on that one.
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Saturday, May 22, 2004

What happened? What the hell happened? 

That's what Steve McQueen says as he lays, shot and dying, at the end of "The Sand Pebbles." But it's also the only think I can think of in response to the daily drip of information concerning what our government has done, in your name and in my name, in Iraq. Via digby, from Newsweek:
Pummeling and humiliating and photographing Iraqi prisoners, Liang said, was the product of vague guidance, poor discipline, frustration that came with open-ended deployment, and boredom run amok. "I think it was just out of curiosity and boredom and anger," she said. "You're there 12 hours a day, every day, and you're pissed off at everything going on around you. We were told we were going home in September. You want to take out your anger against other people in the unit, but you can't do that. So some people took it out on the prisoners. What they [the MPs] did was wrong, but not everyone realizes that everyone in there attacked the Coalition forces and tried to kill us."

Some abuse photographs lacked context, Liang told NEWSWEEK. Take the widely-published image of a prisoner with his arms pulled behind his back and handcuffed to a bed, women's underwear pulled over his head. He was called "S--tboy," for his habit of smearing excrement on himself and the walls. "People don't know what kind of people were put inside that cellblock," Liang said. "They were crazy people. 'S--tboy' would smear it all over himself. That was the reason he was handcuffed." Liang said he spit on her as she tried to feed him. The underwear? "Just to make a joke," she said, adding that she can't recall who was responsible for it.

Another "crazy" man, in his late 20s, was brought in for allegedly looting. His refusal to eat meant the MPs fed him intravenously. He would babble over and over again: "I refuse to eat! Saddam's going to come back and kill us!" The guards invented nicknames for prisoners based on movie and television characters, Liang said. There was "Gilligan," a tiny, dim guy. There was "The Claw," whose birth defect made one hand resemble a bird claw. There was "Froggy," a man with bulging Marty Feldman eyes. And there was "Mr. Clean," who bathed obsessively. (After Mr. Clean tried to kill a guard with a pistol someone had slipped into his cell, his nickname became "Trigger.")
I'd comment, but I'm going to be sick. Bush says that this is not "what Americans do." Well, guess what, this is what they did. And they didn't just do it because they're a bunch of sick fucks who have been left in the desert too long with every morning bringing the possibility of an IED taking off both their legs. It's because their bosses, officers of the U.S. Army, the institution that, so often, in both peacetime and war, demonstrates the very best this country has to offer, told them to do this. This is what is being done to so that "we are free." Well, today, you and I are not free.

A few months ago I got all worked up about torture by proxy. Those were the days, eh?
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Shaq 

Why was Shaq wearing an "FBI" hat in his pre-game or pre-series (or whatever it was) press conference? Would have been funnier if his hat said "Eagle County D.A.", but whatever.
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Friday, May 21, 2004

The Modern Democratic Party 

Another tour de force from Digby, putting E.J. Dionne in his place. Read it, live it.

This is the same Digby that said the following, refering to this:
Hastert, I believe, once sacrificed the two for one special at IHOP in favor of the RazzleDazzle Waffle Slam so he knows what he's talking about.
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More Obama 

Apparently, Jack Ryan is having a staffer with a video camera follow Obama around ALL DAY - wherever he goes. Classy move. When asked about it, Ryan's campaign manager immediately apologized and explained that this was simply one overzealous staffer taking things too far. Oh, wait, he defended the campaign's decision to follow Obama around with a video camera all day.

I only wish that this race had taken place when Goldberg was in Obama's class - then we could actually SEE Obama giving Goldberg a bad grade. That would have been a treat for us all.
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Barack Obama 

I haven't read it yet, because I like to wait until the issue arrives in the mail, but The New Republic has a profile on Obama in next week's issue.

Here's the link, but it may be subscribers only. If so, I can email you the article if you ask me to.

UPDATE: It seems Jack! has someone to follow Obama into the John!

UPDATE II: The cover of next week's New Republic:

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Thursday, May 20, 2004

DirecTV 

My DirecTV went out b/c of the storm here, and I missed the end of CSI!

Who raped the Palms pit boss? Todd, his brothers, who? And her hair was on Todd's clothes, but the DNA wasn't his! What gives!?!!?

Reception seems back for Without a Trace, but it's kind of in and out. If I can't count on DirecTV to deliver the finest Jerry Bruckheimer-produced shows out there, what can I count on these days?

UPDATE: Without a Trace has vanished...without a trace, as it were. Now, how am I going to know if Anthony LaPaglia actually moves to Chicago with his big-time corporate lawyer wife! Or will he rekindle the old flame with Poppy Montgomery (who's quite attractive, and probably even sexier with her native Aussie accent, even though her raspy American accent ain't bad)? And, tertiarily, will they find the family that vanished off in yacht in New York harbor?
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Well, if McCain Says It... 

Actually, this time he's 100% right - and by the way Dennis Hastert sucks.
Amid nervous laughter, the reporter continued with his question: "Anyway, his observation was never before when we've been at war have we been worrying about cutting taxes and his question was, 'Where's the sacrifice?' "

Hastert: "If you want to see the sacrifice, John McCain ought to visit our young men and women at Walter Reed and Bethesda. There's the sacrifice in this country. We're trying to make sure they have the ability to fight this war, that they have the wherewithal to be able to do it. And, at the same time, we have to react to keep this country strong."

Walter Reed Army Medical Center and Bethesda National Naval Medical Center are two military hospitals in the Washington area.

McCain, a prisoner of war during Vietnam, later released a written statement, taking issue with the spending habits of Republican lawmakers.

"The Speaker is correct in that nothing we are called upon to do comes close to matching the heroism of our troops," McCain said.

"All we are called upon to do is not spend our nation into bankruptcy while our soldiers risk their lives. I fondly remember a time when real Republicans stood for fiscal responsibility. Apparently those days are long gone for some in our party."


GOLDBERG UPDATE: Digby has more. Read it.
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Nicknames 

Can someone tell my why both General William Boykin and Proconsul/Viceroy L. Paul Bremer (aka Bureaucrat Man) are both nicknamed "Jerry." I guess with the fundie general, it could be his middle name, but that can't be the case for Viceroy Jerry. What gives?
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Most Devastating Critique...EVER 

Here. Final paragraph:
I don't think it's accurate to describe America as polarized between Democrats and Republicans, or between liberals and conservatives. It's polarized between the people who believe George Bush and the people who do not. Thanks to some contested ballots in a state governed by the president's brother, a once-proud country has been delivered into the hands of liars, thugs, bullies, fanatics and thieves. The world pities or despises us, even as it fears us. What this election will test is the power of money and media to fool us, to obscure the truth and alter the obvious, to hide a great crime against the public trust under a blood-soaked flag. The most lavishly funded, most cynical, most sophisticated political campaign in human history will be out trolling for fools. I pray to God it doesn't catch you.
Read it. Via Pandagon.
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Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Who's Winning? 

There's a debate/discussion going on this week in the left side of the blogosphere discussing the question, "Who's winning, liberals or conservatives?" It's an interesting and worthwhile question to ask, and I'd like to go into it more in depth, but don't have the time or, more accurately, the energy, to do so now. So I'll link to some of the posts on this, and you can read them, and maybe add your own comments here. Maybe even Guth could post on his thoughts about this.

Harvard grad Matthew Yglesias got it all started here, saying that the GOP has achieved very little of Barry Goldwater's vision.

Kevin Drum mostly agrees, stating, concerning the GOP's achievements:
Have they eliminated any departments of the federal government? No. Cut back entitlement programs? No. Increased the size of the military? No. Reduced the size of government? No. Outlawed abortion? Restricted gay rights? Brought back prayer in schools? No, no, and no. In fact, just the opposite for most of these things.


Then, Brad DeLong came in with just a devastatingly snarky post that lists several things "National Review-style" conservatives wanted ca. 1964. The list is devastatingly horrendous and immoral, and includes "The continued disenfranchisement of African-Americans."

However, Nathan Newman takes the other side, using labor laws as an example. And he's right: today, it's virtually impossible to organize any place of business if management doesn't want it (and they never do).

The only real thing of substance I want to add is that Nathan is right that liberals forget about labor issues. Well, not all liberals, but most of the ones that make up the "New Democratic" coalition; that is, highly educated professionals and suburbanites. They don't really see what good unions can do on a day-to-day basis for their members, and don't really see why we should have unions anymore. All I can say is that these people are wrong.

But Guth, what do you think about this discussion as a whole?
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Post Turtle 

This came over the transom:
Post Turtle

While suturing a laceration on the hand of a 70-year-old Texas rancher (whose hand had caught in a gate while working cattle), a doctor and the old man were talking about George W. Bush being in the White House.

The old Texan said, "Well, ya know, Bush is a 'post turtle'."

Not knowing what the old man meant, the doctor asked him what a post turtle was. The old man said, "When you're driving down a country road, and you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that's a post turtle."

The old man saw a puzzled look on the doctor's face, so he continued to explain, "You know he didn't get there by himself, he doesn't belong there, he can't get anything done while he's up there, and you just want to help the poor dumb bastard get down."
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Onion 

U.S. to Fight Terror with Terror. Choice snippet:
Rumsfeld refused to comment on the recent abuse of military prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan, other than to characterize those abuses as "nothing compared to what we are capable of."

"It's vital to remember that these terrorists hate freedom," Rumsfeld said. "Well, guess what? From now on, we're going to hate it even more. Do you think terrorists care about due process and fair treatment of prisoners? Of course not. Why should we give them the upper hand? You fight fire with fire."
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Hitch 

I've been waiting for the day in which I could, once and for all, dismiss Christopher Hitchens out of hand. That day has come. Via the non-evil Roger Ailes:
An Oxford Ass
On Scarborough Country, Chris Snitchens just asserted that the Vietnamese did not engage in torture during the Vietnam War.

Senator McCain will be relieved to hear that.
It also should be noted that Steve Earle once said this about the Hitch:
What's happening with Christopher Hitchens, who I think is a brilliant cat, is that his drinking has finally gotten the best of him. When that disease reaches a certain place your behavior becomes antisocial and your judgment is impaired. Christopher Hitchens' judgment is impaired.
I love that.

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"Stay the Course" 

I've been certain for some time now that the line "Stay the course" is as meaningless as any platitude spouted in our national discourse. Andrew Sullivan, on the other hand, has long vested meaning in those words and other similar turns of phrase from our erudite Commander-in-Chief. He seems finally to notice that the Emperor has no clothes:
BUSH'S FAILURE: And the answer cannot be the president's crude and simple rhetorical tropes. What Bush doesn't seem to understand is that in any war, people need to be reminded constantly of what is going on, what is at stake, what our immediate, medium-term and ultimate objectives are. The president has said nothing cogent about Karbala; nothing apposite about al Sadr; nothing specific about what our strategy is in Falluja. Events transpire and are interpreted by critics and the anti-war media and by everyone on the planet but the president. All the president says is a broad and crude reiteration of valid but superfluous boilerplate. This is not war-leadership; it's the abdication of war-leadership. We are at a critical juncture. With some perspective, we have achieved much in Iraq, with relatively low casualties. But it will all go to hell if we lose our nerve now. It's long past time that people can be asked simply to trust the president. After the WMD intelligence debacle and the Abu Ghraib disgrace, he has run out of that capital. He has to tell us how we will win, what we are doing, how it all holds together, why the infrastructure repair is still in disarray, and how a political solution is possible. I'm not sure any more that this president has the skills or competence to pull it off. But I am sure that he has very little time to persuade us he can.
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Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Obamablog!! 

Barack Obama's campaign has started a blog!! Very nice! As you may know, we at G&G have been supporters of his campaign since the beginning, even though he didn't give me an A in Voting Rights Law. That said, I probably didn't even deserve the grade I got. Here's the post about the fundraiser for the State Senator and law professor I and some friends hosted.
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The Bat is Back!! 

Found this item in my inbox, and it brought back many good memories:



Awesome!!!
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Fare the Well, Don Hewitt 

Philip Baker Hall Don Hewitt is leaving 60 Minutes. There is a farewell tribute tonight on CBS about him. He's 81, but of course, he's still not the oldest person working at 60 Minutes. Although, due to the proclivities of some of their on-screen talent to, um, augment nature with science, he does look the oldest of the crew.
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The Wrong Side of History 

Well, I haven't posted in forever, and I am operating on no sleep this wonderful morning, thanks to the awesome world of lawyering. However, I saw these two headlines, on a major news website, together, and I think it pretty much sums up this election for me:

Kerry Criticizes 'Separate and Unequal' Schools

Bush Renews Call to Ban Gay Marriage
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Monday, May 17, 2004

Science Friday Monday 

It pays to have friends with varying interests. The other day I was looking out the window of my apartment, which faces South and West over downtown Chicago. I noticed that the sun was setting towards the Northwest, which puzzled me. I always figured that the sun would remain in the southern half of the sky, as we in Chicago are always north of where the sun's direct rays hit. Confused, and without a globe and flashlight to experiment with, I remembered that The Goat is an astrophysics Ph.D. candidate at Harvard. What follows is my email to him and his barnyard-esque reply.

My email:
When looking at the sunset the other day, why did it look like the sun was setting in the Northwest? I would think that it would stay south of, you know, the east-west line out my window, as the sun is hitting the earth far south of Chicago. So why was it setting towards the north?
Goat's response:
To really understand this you can shine a light on a tilted globe from
different angles and then spin the globe. However here's a brief
explanation:

Recall that the Earth's rotation axis is tilted 23 deg from the axis of
its orbit around the sun, and the Earth spins 360 degrees in a day. So
the Sun takes 12 hours to rotate from due East to due West. On the
equinoxes (Mar and Sep 21) the day is 12 hours long and the Sun rises and
sets exactly east and west.

In the winter, because the northern hemisphere is pointed away from the
Sun, the Earth must rotate farther before the Sun comes into view and the
Sun goes out of view earlier. So, in the winter the day is shorter than
12 hours and the Sun is south of the observer all day long.

However, in the Summer because we're tilted TOWARD the sun, the sun comes into view before it is due East of us, and so it appears toward the north.
The Sun then rotates through due East, takes 12 hours to get from due East
to due West, and then keeps going before it goes out of view. So
yes, during the middle of the day the Sun is south of us, but in early
morning and late evening we are actually looking "over the shoulder" of
the Earth, back toward North, to see the Sun, so it is
north of the East-West line.

You can extrapolate this all the way up to the arctic circle, (above 23
north latitude) where in the middle of summer we can see the Sun go
all the way around to due north without setting.

That make sense?

cheers,
-g.
So there you go.
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Advice 

When buying concert tickets, always buy an extra one.
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Sunday, May 16, 2004

Playing Dirty 

That's the title of an article in this month's Atlantic Monthly (is that a redundant discription?) on the world of opposition research in political campaigns. Great article, with great quotes from some masters of that black art, such as Chris Lehane (D-Asshole) and Barbara Comstock (R-Satan's Concubine). My favorite part was this explanation from Lehane about how you work the media with this stuff:
Campaigns have become highly sophisticated at using such material to maximum effect. "It's a lot like a trial," Comstock explains. "The candidate gives you what you have to work with. You're piecing things together that tell a larger story." Lehane agrees that the first step is choosing a negative storyline to push and laying the groundwork by talking it up to beat reporters and editors. "The second step," he says, "is to catalogue a variety of stories you have that support this. You begin by planting some smaller stories so that you build a foundation or basis for the larger story you're going to want to have hitting in the fall."

Especially in a presidential election "you have to plant a lot of the seeds in the spring and the summer so that you can capitalize on it," Lehane says. "If you have a big story that's going to hit in the middle of September, middle of October, what you really want to do is build several things that come off of the story so that it's not just a one-day hit. If the story runs on the front page of a major paper, you also want to set it up so that it hits some of the television morning shows, and from there you want to have surrogates [friendly talking heads] out the next day, so that you get a second hit. On the third day, ideally, you have some additional information you've been holding back that you can feed into it [to prompt] another round of stories. On the fourth or fifth day you try to hold your candidate back from saying anything, so that eventually, when he does say something about the issue, you get another round of stories. If you do it effectively, you can basically wipe out a guy's entire week—he'll spend the entire week responding to a story that showed up on a Monday." In the heat of the campaign season each week is critical. Not only can a well-orchestrated hit knock an opponent off stride, it can solidify an impression that the many voters just tuning in to the election will carry into the voting booth.

The article does make me like Wesley Clark a bit less than I did beforehand, though. Anyway, the whole thing is very interesting.
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George W. Bush, the Passive Voice President 

I've thought in the past how Bush isn't so much dumb, or out-of-the-loop (although he may be those things), but how he's simply a passive participant in his administration. As Woodward showed, he allowed Cheney to change Iraq policy in August, 2002, without even inquiring to what Cheney was going to say.

And now, with his administration possibly going down in flames over Iraq, Sy Hersch has this wonderful but frightening article in the New Yorker that everyone is talking about. It's worth reading, to be sure. But what struck me as I read it was this sentence, referring to the "Special Access Program" Rumsfeld set up in the Pentagon, which could authorize clandesting action against high-value targets with minimal legal scrutiny:
"Rumsfeld's goal was to get a capability in place to take on a high-value target--a standup group to hit quickly," a former high-level intelligence official told me. "He got all the agencies together--the C.I.A. and the N.S.A.--to get pre-approval in place. Just say the code word and go." The operation had across-the-board approval from Rumsfeld and from Condoleezza Rice, the national-security adviser. President Bush was informed of the existence of the program, the former intelligence official said.
Emphasis added. I think that sums up this President: he "was informed" about what was going on, as if it were a mere formality to tell the President. According the Baltimore Sun, the President was informed by Powell that the Red Cross had concerns about how prisoners were treated in Iraq and the President was advised that it was a serious situation (via TPM).

This seems to be how this terrible, terrible President operates. All policy options are debated (if that's the righoutside outsite the Oval Office, and then the president is told what's going to happen, and then he okay's it. And that's "strong leadership in times of change," apparently.

...also, Blogger spellchecker does not know the word "terrible."
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Friday, May 14, 2004

Goldberg & ? 

Didn't someone else use to do this blog with me? A funny lookin' fella. More than most people, even.
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All You Need To Know... 

About the 2004 Cleveland Indians:
Of the Cleveland Indians' 19 losses this season, 11 have come via bullpen collapses.
It should also be noted that their mascot is terribly racist and should be changed.
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Why Bush Lost 

Nathan Newman has an interesting post about Bush, and ends it with why Bush finally lost the American people with the prison scandal: "The American people can forgive many things, but making us ashamed of ourselves-- that they won't forgive."

I'm not sure if that's totally true, but it may be.
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George Bush, weak on terror 

In my mind, this is definitive proof that George W. Bush is weak on terror. Here, he consciously put his own political fortunes over the safety of Americans.
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CNN Presents 

This Sunday, CNN is doing a CNN Presents show on the 50th Anniversary of Brown v. Board. Apparently, part or all of the program will focus on my alma mater, Shaker Heights High School in Shaker Heights, Ohio.

Now, Shaker always seems to get attention whenever the subject is school desegregation, and for good reason (mostly). It's the only school I've ever heard of that's close to 50/50 in terms of percentage of black and white students (actually around 54/46 black/white now, I think, with only small numbers of Asian/Pacific Islanders, Latinos and Native Americans). Of course, its integration had virtually nothing to do with Brown, or school desegragation in general, as far as I know, so I'm not sure if it's a great example of where we've come since Brown.

Anyway, here's how some Shaker Heights PR flack describes the upcoming program:
This Sunday, May 16, CNN will air a special one-hour program looking at integration in Shaker Heights, in connection with the 50th anniversary of the Supreme Court's Brown v Board decision. Crews from the network spent several weeks in Shaker Heights in preparation for the documentary, sitting in on classes and interviewing parents, students, community members, and staff. The program will air at 8 and 11 p.m. this Sunday and again at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. next Saturday, May 22.

Here is how one of the producers characterized Shaker's involvement in the piece:
The program is called CNN PRESENTS - The Gap: 50 Years After The Brown Ruling. It examines several aspects of the achievement gap from the perspective of the 50th anniversary of Brown vs. Board of Education. In addition to profiling Shaker Heights' efforts to close the gap, the program also looks at the benefits of diversity in schools (using a longtime Shaker family's experience and the SGORR students today). The program also focuses on the role of poverty in creating an achievement gap long before kindergarten starts. Also profiles a successful charter school in New York's Chinatown that is attracting parents and children from other ethnic groups.

Shaker Heights was crucial to doing the program because of your long track record of tackling these issues head-on and for making use of outside consultants such as John Ogbu and Ron Ferguson (who is one of the experts we interviewed on camera.) The MAC scholars provided valuable insight into both the problems and showing a way to close the gap.
MAC scholars are African-American juniors and seniors who act as mentors to younger minority students. SGORR is Student Group on Race Relations, which is comprised of HS students who go to 5th and 6th grade classes to teach and talk about race.

It should be noted that Aaron Brown is the host of CNN Presents, and when I was junior in HS, he came to do an ABC special on Shaker Heights and intergration. I was selected as one of the people to be in the interview group, and well, while I never made it on air, I did learn one thing: Aaron Brown is an idiot with idiot producers who don't do their homework. He kept comparing Shaker Heights to Scarsdale, NY, I guess because they're both "good" public school districts, even though Scarsdale is about all white, and, even worse, he kept referring to the 50s and 60s when, he said, Shaker was mostly Jewish. Well, in fact, Shaker had very few Jews at that time. In fact, all property deeds in Shaker at the time had restrictive covenants that prevented sales to Jews and minorities. So, maybe it was his producer's fault, but it seemed like a basic point he could have gotten right.

In any event, watch the program. 8:00pm EDT on CNN (7:00 here in Chicago, duh.)
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Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Overheard in the Hallway at Work 

Secretary 1 to Secretary 2: "[unintelligible] we humiliated prisoners...[unintelligible] didn't cut their heads off...We should cut one of their heads off."

Holy Shit. Question 1 for this moron who is employed by the same company I am employed by: Who are "they"?
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Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Face Time 

I recall that, without exception, every single law firm I interviewed with while in school would make a point that "face time is not important here." Well, here's a firm where it is important, evidenctly.

The firm? Holland & Knight in Washington, DC. This email was sent from a partner to all the associates in the real estate group there. Great, great stuff:
----Original Message-----
> From: xxxxxx@hklaw.com [mailto:xxxxx@hklaw.com]
> Sent: Wednesday, May 05, 2004 12:57 PM
> To: MAR-RealEstateSection-Associate@hklaw.com
> Cc: xxxxx@hklaw.com
> Subject: Billable Hours
>
> Average billable hours for DC real estate associates in the first 4 months of 2004 are disappointing. Most of you are averaging less than 150 hours/month. THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE. If we didn’t have the work in the door, that would be one thing. However, we have lots of work, much of which is being exported to other offices because many of you have indicated that you’re not available to help out when asked.

> I don’t mean to be an ogre, but I need you to pick up the slack. Each of you must try your best to bill AT LEAST 175 hours per month. I want to see people in their offices at night and on weekends. If you are light, call me immediately and I will find you work. If you turn down work, be prepared to explain to me why you did so if your monthly numbers for that month show that you billed less than 200 hours.
>
> I try to treat all of you like adults. However, this is a business, and I need you to help us make money. If you do not wish to perform at the production level we require, please let me know and you can shift over to part-time work. Please call me if you have any questions.
>
>
> XXXXXXXX
> Holland & Knight LLP
> 2099 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
> Suite 100
> Washington, DC 20036
> (202) XXX-XXXX
BWHAAAA!

I blocked out the partner's name who sent it and his direct line phone number, but I'm not sure why. Oh, and emphasis added by me.
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Magnetic Fields 

The Magnetic Fields have a new album out, and the only reason it's not as good as their 1999 opus, 69 Love Songs, is because it lacks that 3-disc set's ambition. It's called "I" and it's brilliant.

Some lyrics:

From "I Don't Believe You":
You tell me I'n not cure
It's truth or falsity if moot
Cause honesty's not your strong suit
And I don't believe you,
I don't believe you
...
I had a dream and you were in it
The blue of your eyes was infinite
You seemed to be
In love with me
Which isn't very realistic
You may sing me "They Were You"
And I start crying halfway through
But nothing else you say is true
So I don't believe you
I don't believe you
From "I'm Tongue-Tied":
I mumble some jumble, you kiss me,
I'm hist'ry
I'm tongue-tied and useless again
This album is even heavier on the, for lack of a better term, gayness (homoerotic would not be the right word) than 69 Love Songs. It has the same wonderful wit and beautifally constructed pop tunes, though. Highly recommended.

They will be playing four shows at the Old Town School of Folk Music in June.
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The Death of Outrage 

This is probably the best thing Tim Noah has ever written. A short excerpt:
In the May 7 National Review Online, Kate O'Beirne was so offended by congressional outrage over Abu Ghraib that she abandoned rational thought altogether. Shame on "the Republican leadership in the House, who never got around to condemning the savage videotaped execution of Daniel Pearl," O'Beirne inveighed. Instead, they passed by "overwhelming approval … a redundant resolution condemning 'the abuse of persons in U.S. custody.' " To state the obvious: Congress did not have oversight authority over the terrorists who killed Pearl. Congress does, however, have oversight authority over the Baghdad occupation. It is therefore morally and diplomatically necessary for Congress to condemn the humiliation and torture of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Chatterbox, who sat beside Pearl for a few years in the Wall Street Journal's Washington bureau, can assure you that Pearl would have been outraged to see his name invoked to silence protest against American war crimes. What decent person wouldn't?
No time to comment, and sorry for the paucity of posts this week. It's a combination of little time and speechlessness, disgust and outrage.
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Friday, May 07, 2004

The Return of Jomentum 

It looks like Jomentum has taken the Connecticut senator right off a moral cliff. From Matthew Yglesias:
Moral Equivalence
"The people who attacked us on September 11 never apologized."
--Sen. Joe Lieberman at the Abu Ghraib hearings.
What kind of fucking jackass is this guy? Seriously, seriously, seriously why is it relevant at all that other people have behaved worse than we have? At all? I'm looking for a goddamn hint of relevance from the moral clarity crowd. Why does this matter? It'll be a heck of a campaign slogan: "Lieberman for Senate -- morally superior to Osama bin Laden." Whoopee.

UPDATE: I should note in the spirit of bipartisanship that Sens. Lindsay Graham and Susan Collins both turned in much better performances than Lieberman. Indeed, Graham's was probably the best of all the ones I saw from either party.
It looks like Josh Marshall has finally seen Lieberman's true colors. Good.

Also, from reader jk:
Yeah, that's pretty freaking bad. I mean, what is there to like about him? [He] believes in censorship, pushes an agenda based on morality and values as long as he agrees with them, was one of the first to criticize Clinton, is an unabashed supporter of the war to this day, and refuses to criticize this administration - he didn't even do a credible job of it when he was running in the primaries. It's like he thinks in order to be a "moderate" you have to bend over and take it up the keister from the GOP while keeping his party affiliation. Can we vote someone out of the party?
I would like to vote him out, yes.

UPDATE: Digby, who, as you know, has been on fire this week, weighs in. Read the whole post (seriously), but here's his take on Lieberman's moral relativism: "Just as long as nobody gets any consensual, unphotographed blow jobs. That would be immoral." I'm beginning to think that, of all the mistakes Al Gore made in 2000, picking Lieberman as veep was his worst.
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"So, uh, any of you ladies watch Fresh Prince Bel-Air?" 

I was, for some reason, watching E! last night, and there was a preview for a show about people and places that famous movies and shows were based on. They will interview, apparently, the guy who Carlton on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air was based on.

How would you like to be this guy? What is it like, having this be your one claim to fame? And would you brag about it at bars? While hitting on women? And how would you try to weave it into the conversation naturally?

"I'll tell you what man, you're a real prince. Speaking of Princes..."

"Hey, lady, you're dressed well tonight... I bet you put as much thought into your wardrobe as Hillary on Fresh Prince. Remember her brother..."

"Man, this is about as fucked up as the time they randomly changed the actress who played Will Smith's mom. That reminds me..."

Or, you could just wait until E! inevitably interviews you.
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Plan of Attack 

I flew home last night, and started reading Plan of Attack on the plane. Remember when Ted Kennedy got in trouble when he said George Bush made up this war in Crawford, Texas. Well, by all accounts, that's exactly what he did.

I should have more thoughts on this next week - but nothing as good as what the Daily Howler has been saying about the book lately. I strongly encourage every American to go through the Howler's archives and in order to understand what a strange, strange book this is. Basically, the non-reported story of the book is that Cheney changed the U.S.'s policy in Iraq in a speech without first telling the President. Or, since this is absurd even for Bush, the whole book is a big fucking lie.

I'm not reading it to find out what really happened. What I am reading it for is to find out what a bunch of people in the administration want me to think happened.
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Tom DeLay--American Asshole 

How does one of the two major political parties in this country allow a man like Tom DeLay to be Majority Leader of the House of Representatives? Link:
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., also sought Rumsfeld's resignation.

"For the good of our country, the safety of our troops and our image around the globe," Harkin said in a statement, "Secretary Rumsfeld should resign. If he does not resign forthwith, the president should fire him."

Republican lawmakers responded at a news conference, with Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, saying that "this morning, in a calculated and craven political stunt, the national Democratic Party declared its surrender in the war on terror.”

Democrats, said Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, "basically are giving aid and comfort to the enemy."
This would be like if Ted Rall and Noam Chomsky had a kid, and that kid was the head of the Democratic Party.

via TBogg
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Thursday, May 06, 2004

Dingbat Kabuki 

Sorry for all the ctrl-c/ctrl-v today, but, hey, it happens.

Brad DeLong explains to us the Dingbat Kabuki Theater that is the Washington Press Corps:
Michael Froomkin is, in his current addled state, confused:
Discourse.net: Privately?: In my current addled state, I’m having a little trouble understanding headlines like Bush Privately Chides Rumsfeld. Erum. “Privately”? Like on the front page of every newspaper on earth? Yes, I understand it’s off-camera, but is that what “privately” means now?
Michael is pretending that he does not understand that he is watching Washington Post reporters Robin Wright and Bradley Graham play a game of Dingbat Kabuki with the "senior administration official" who tells them that "Bush privately chides Rumsfeld." We have no idea whether Bush privately chid Rumsfeld or not. We do know that David Stockman swears that a previous "president chid cabinet member" story--when Reagan supposedly took Stockman "to the woodshed" was a lie, a made up fantasy, a story created because Reagan White House Chief of Staff James Baker thought it would be helpful.

So all we know is that the "senior administration official" wants Wright and Graham to tell the world that "Bush privately chid Rumsfeld." It may be true. It may be false.

But, of course, Wright and Graham don't begin their story with: "Bush aide spreads story that Bush has privately chid Rumsfeld"--which is what they know. That would focus attention on their ignorance and on their value as a conduit for information and misinformation. That would require that they be reporters--or at least vertebrate animals.

They would rather have their story have a headline that is grossly misleading. Bush may have chid Rumsfeld. Bush may not have chid Rumsfeld but some senior official wants the story spread that he did. The only thing we do know is that whatever was done was not done "privately."

Dingbat Kabuki.
Indeed. This particular type of Kabuki was also in mid-season form throughout Ms. Elizabeth Bumiller's "White House Letters" last March. Is it so hard for these reporters to realize that just because Mr. X says Y, that doesn't mean Y is true?

UPDATE: Mark Schmitt has more:
The master practitioner of this art form was Henry Kissinger, the original "high-ranking administration offiical." But this administration, at every level, has mastered the art of using the anonymous quote to deliver pure vacuous spin, with the particular assistance of the Washington Post. Fairly often, for example, one finds sentences such as, "'The president believes our long-term economic outlook is bright and that Congress should make the tax cuts permanent to create jobs,' said an administration official who asked not to be named." Why not? What's the point of that? And why can't a reporter say, "Look, if you're just going to give me a pre-packaged soundbite from the press office -- or if you are the press office -- I'm not going to put your words in unnamed. Either stand behind it, or I'm just going to paraphrase."

...

And then a classic example this morning in the Post, although it is a minor footnote to the almost unbearable stories about torture at Abu Ghraib: "Bush is 'not satisfied' and 'not happy' with the way Rumsfeld informed him about the investigation into abuses by U.S. soldiers ..., according to the official, who refused to be named so he could speak more candidly."

But there's absolutely nothing "more candid" about these quotes. It was the line of the day, in every paper and on every morning news show: Bush was angry at Rumsfeld, and castigated him. I assume it's true, but for all we know it's not. The point is, it's the story that Scott McClellan and Dan Bartlett decided should be in the paper this morning. The official is hardly going to get fired for putting out the line of the day. Under those circumstances, I think there's no reason for the reporter to allow the quote to be anonymous, or for it to bear the subtle editorial endorsement that it is "more candid" because anonymous.
I don't often read the Washington Post, so I don't know if it's worse than other organizations. Oh, and never forget Judith Miller.
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The Bush Administration--They're FRAT-Tastic! 

Seems like Rush may have gotten his ideas from higher-ups. Via TPM, a clip from today's Nelson Report:
We can contribute a second hand anecdote to newspaper stories on rising concern, last year, from Secretary of State Powell and Deputy Secretary Armitage about Administration attitudes and the risks they might entail: according to eye witnesses to debate at the highest levels of the Administration...the highest levels...whenever Powell or Armitage sought to question prisoner treatment issues, they were forced to endure what our source characterizes as "around the table, coarse, vulgar, frat-boy bully remarks about what these tough guys would do if THEY ever got their hands on prisoners...."

-- let's be clear: our source is not alleging "orders" from the White House. Our source is pointing out that, as we said in the Summary, a fish rots from its head. The atmosphere created by Rumsfeld's controversial decisions was apparently aided and abetted by his colleagues in their callous disregard for the implications of the then-developing situation, and by their ridicule of the only combat veterans at the top of this Administration.
Classy guys, huh? I wonder this, though: If Rummy does resign, who would take that job? What Republican would actually want to be put in that situation. Powell; I doubt he'd leave State. Armitage--he's the only one I can think of. You run through the Bush I "realists" in your head--they're all either too old or would never take the job (Jim Baker? He didn't even want to go after Saddam when he was SoS. Scrowcroft--too old. Anyone on Capitol Hill? I can't think of anyone.

Richard Armitage is all I got, and he and the neocons don't get along.
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Digby Speak Again, You Listen Again 

On a roll today:
I just watched the Beltway Boyz have a complete meltdown over the idea that someone would ask Rumsfeld to resign over such minor infractions as torture, abuse and the suspension of 200 years of legal precedent and international treaties. After all, as Mort indignantly cried, "This is not My Lai!" (Fred added that Stalin was much, much worse because he killed millions.) When you look at the great historical sweep of political malfeasance, depravity and corruption it is really the lowest of the low to ask for the resignation of a cabinet secretary over such a silly little thing.

Funny, I seem to remember that the Beltway Boyz and their pals were apoplectic at the alleged criminal behavior of Mike Espy who was forced to resign because he was accused (and acquitted) of taking some free football tickets. Or Henry Cisneros who was chased out of Washington for lying about how much he paid his lying mistress. But then, unlike the stoking of a firestorm of rage from the Arab world, those things were threats to the nation so they deserved to lose their political careers and face jail time and millions of dollars worth of legal fees.
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Digby Speak, You Listen 

LINK

It's about Rush Limbaugh
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Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Abby Normal 

Considering what the tagline of this blog is, I thought it was worth pointing out that last week's ER episode was entitled "Abby Normal." I don't think I was supposed to fall off the couch laughing when I saw that, given the seriousness of the overdubbed music, but that's exactly what I did.
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Tom DeLay Doesn't Think Police Brutality Needs to be Investigated 

Via the non-evil Roger Ailes, we learn this about Tom DeLay:
"But a full-fledged congressional investigation -- that's like saying we need an investigation every time there's police brutality on the street."
Now, it absolutely does not matter to what Mr. DeLay was referring, but FYI, it was whether we need a congressional investigation--as opposed to regular committee investigations--into the abuses of Iraqi prisoners.

I'm sure these so-called victims of police brutality are the same dark-skinned minorities who took Mr. DeLay's spot in Vietnam, anyway.
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Media Misses Story (Again) 

Will Saletan in Slate has a definitive account of the Administrations talk concerning Iraqi rape rooms and torture. It's quite an impressive list, and shows some real skill at the Nexis terminal.

An interesting thing we see is that the media did actually report on this in January:
"Sources have revealed new details from the Army's criminal investigation into reports of abuse of Iraqi detainees, including the location of the suspected crimes and evidence that is being sought. U.S. soldiers reportedly posed for photographs with partially unclothed Iraqi prisoners, a Pentagon official told CNN on Tuesday."—Barbara Starr, CNN, Jan. 21, 2004
However, how many of you had heard about until last week? I'm betting the number is between one and zero.

This is actually a disturbing pattern we see on occasion from our media. It's not that they necessarily miss stories, it's that they'll report a story, assume it's not important, and then move on. I think it comes from the fact that much of the Washington press is too dependent on opposition research. That is, no one from the Kerry campaign or the DNC hooked on to this story to make a stink about it, and therefore the press just moved on. No one really looked into to it any further than Barbara Starr did in the report above. Very few, if any, reporters actually thought to look more closely into this severe violation of the Geneva Conventions by United States troops and contractors. CBS News did finally get the ball rolling, but not after months passed, and only after they got their hands on pictures. Even National Treasure Sy Hersh couldn't get anything in print until last week.

This reminds me of the brou-ha-ha surrounding the August 6, 2001 Presidential Daily Briefing. We all no that Condi Rice stated, under oath, that the August 9 PDB "did not warn of attacks inside the United States. It was historical information based on old reporting. There was no new threat information, and it did not, in fact, warn of any coming attacks inside the United States." Of course, that was a lie, but that's not my point here (even though it is a good point!).

My point is that when Ben-Veniste finally mentioned the title of the briefing (namely, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S."), everyone acted shocked. But, as the incomperable Howler pointed out, that title had been known at least since May of 2002, when Bob Woodward wrote it on the FRONT PAGE OF THE WASHINGTON POST. Reported in May 2002; in April 2004 Cici Connely says it's "new information."

Reported, and forgotten.
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Hearts and Minds 

Another victory in our war for the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. I think it's time for Bush to go on another Charm Offensive.

This situation is clearly spinning out of control. In the words of Chief Clancy Wiggum, "This is going to get worse before it gets better."
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More Rush 

Wonkette with a very funny yet tragic post on Rush's latest outrage.

To its credit, the Corner has linked to this and called it "pretty bad."
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Et Tu, Mickey Mouse? 

NYT front page (below the fold) headline: "Disney is Blocking Distribution of Film that Criticizes Bush". The film (of course!) is by Michael Moore. This is pathetic. Now, you can never be sure, in things like this, that the stated reason is the real reason, but here's what Moore's agent says Eisner's concerns are:
Mr. Emanuel said Mr. Eisner expressed particular concern that it would endanger tax breaks Disney receives for its theme park, hotels and other ventures in Florida, where Mr. Bush's brother, Jeb, is governor.
Disney says that it doesn't have to do with tax breaks, but the fact that "Disney caters to families of all political stripes and believes Mr. Moore's film to be overtly partisan against Mr. Bush."

That's all well and good, but let's look at some previous Miramax films (from here), in no particular order, and let's see if they "cater to families of political stripes:"
1. Kill Bill, Vols. I and II

2. Citizen Ruth--a satire about abortion!

3. The Human Stain (never saw it, but read the book, so I know that "adult" subject matter--great book, btw)

4. Clerks, which has an extended sequence about how many blow jobs a girl can give before she's a slut (or something like that--I really didn't like this movie, in any event)

5. Pulp Fiction

6. Trainspotting
Just a little sampling. So, I think we now can all agree that Disney has an impeccable track record of preventing Miramax from releasing and distributing any and all films that are not appropriate for families of all political stripes.
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Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Rape Rooms 

Now that all of Saddam's rape rooms are gone, it's worth remembering this gem from President George Walker Bush:

"No President has ever done more for human rights than I have."
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Pathetic, Lying Liars: General Richard Myers Department 

Just when you think the lying and obfuscation from the administration couldn't get any worse, via Digby, we have this:
NEW YORK: CBS News delayed reporting for two weeks about US soldiers' alleged abuse of Iraqi prisoners, following a personal request from the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff.

Gen. Richard B. Myers called CBS anchor Dan Rather eight days before the report was to air, asking for extra time, said Jeff Fager, executive producer of the US network's '60 Minutes II' program.

Myers cited the safety of American hostages and tension surrounding the Iraqi city of Fallujah, Fager said, adding that he held off as long as he believed possible given it was a competitive story.

With The New Yorker magazine preparing to run a detailed report on the alleged abuses, CBS finally broadcast its report last Wednesday, including images taken last year allegedly showing Iraqis stripped naked, hooded and being tormented by US captors at the Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad.
Even the uniformed military, when high enough up, can't escape the moral black hole that is this Administration.

Remember, this is the same Gen. Richard Myers who said, just this past Sunday, that he hadn't seen the Taguba report yet. Clearly a lie, clearly pathetic, and it even goes beyond that, as anyone involved or complicit in the Abu Ghraib is severely undermining American efforts in Iraq and throughout the Middle East, to the point where we are basically playing right into OBL's hands.

You want the trust of the Iraqi people (and, you know, the American people)? Build their trust! Don't lie to them about an event so horrible as the Abu Ghraib story. Not so hard a concept, now, is it?

DISCLOSURE: This post has been edited from its original form for clarity and reasonableness and spelling.
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The President Must Speak Clearly 

"The president must speak clearly..." George W. Bush, yesterday, explaining why he is more qualified than John Kerry to be President.

Other George W. Bush Quotes:

"Recession means that people's incomes, at the employer level, are going down, basically, relative to costs, people are getting laid off."—Washington, D.C., Feb. 19, 2004.

"See, one of the interesting things in the Oval Office—I love to bring people into the Oval Office—right around the corner from here—and say, this is where I office, but I want you to know the office is always bigger than the person."—Washington, D.C., Jan. 29, 2004.

"But the true strength of America is found in the hearts and souls of people like Travis, people who are willing to love their neighbor, just like they would like to love themselves."—Springfield, Mo., Feb. 9, 2004.

(All from Bushisms, on Slate.)

New campaign slogan: Vote Bush: Kerry Did Not Serve Honorably in Vietnam, Has Close Ties to Enron, and Cannot Speak Clearly.
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Tillman Editorial 

Good God, Foxnews is STILL running a report on that UMASS student paper editorial on Pat Tillman on its front page. I also saw a story on the same editorial last night. What in the hell is the big deal? One student at UMASS said something dumb in an editorial in a student newspaper. Obviously, by running it over and over again, Fox is trying to suggest that it somehow represents the thought of many people in this country - namely, those on the left, more specifically, Democrats. Of course, it does not.

And yet, Ann Coulter, an open racist, continually writes columns like the one we linked to a few days ago. Ann Coulter does, in fact, represent the view of a large numbers of Americans - namely, Republicans. Why isn't the so-called liberal New York Time running stories on Ann Coulter every day? Why isn't ABC News doing a special on her? Could it be that because when one person expresses an opinion, however outrageous, it really isn't news?
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Torture = Soft Core Porn? 

Over at World O'Crap, they've linked to Rush Limbaugh - a wildly popular Republican talk show host - discussing the pictures of some of our troops torturing Iraqis. Read it.

I am glad, however, to know that Rush will soon be taken off the air by Clear Channel. As we learned following the widespread horror that was Janet Jackson's boob, offensive talk on the radio is very damaging to our society. I trust Clear Channel, under pressure by the FCC, will soon do the right thing and refuse to air this show on its channels. I, and anyone who is capable of human thought and empathy, am deeply offended by these comments - moreso, even, than Howard Stern discussing oral sex with a retarded dwarf.

UPDATE: Here's the link to Rush's site, lest you believe this was made up. He is not a good man.

UPDATE: Oh, Jesus Christ, I just read the whole thing on Rush's site and it's even worse than World O' Crap made it seem. It scares the shit out of me that millions of people - "dittoheads", if you will - listen to this guy. I'm sure as hell glad they're not in my party.
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Monday, May 03, 2004

Draft 

This administration will not even consider rolling back its tax cuts to help pay for the war effort, but will consider forcing young Americans - and, in fact, all Americans under the age of 34, to go to the Middle East and die. George W. Bush really is a terrible President.


CLARIFICATION: I do want to be clear that it's just the head of the Selective Service who threw this idea out there - no evidence that Bush or the White House is actually thinking about it. But we KNOW they won't raise taxes.
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Ted Rall Sucks 

I'm lifting this part and parcel from Max Sawicky, so, yes, it is plagarism:

Ted Rall sucks.

Good Day.
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Very Good 

The new Kerry ads are excellent. I very much prefer the one where he's talking.

On the other hand, why is it OK for Kerry to exploit our nation's tragedy in Vietnam for his own political gain?
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