Saturday, July 31, 2004
President Bush's re-election campaign insisted on knowing the race of an Arizona Daily Star journalist assigned to photograph Vice President Dick Cheney.Via atrios
The Star refused to provide the information.
Cheney is scheduled to appear at a rally this afternoon at the Pima County Fairgrounds.
A rally organizer for the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign asked Teri Hayt, the Star's managing editor, to disclose the journalist's race on Friday. After Hayt refused, the organizer called back and said the journalist probably would be allowed to photograph the vice president.
"It was such an outrageous request, I was personally insulted," Hayt said later.
Danny Diaz, a spokesman for the president's re-election campaign, said the information was needed for security purposes.
"All the information requested of staff, volunteers and participants for the event has been done so to ensure the safety of all those involved, including the vice president of the United States," he said.
Diaz repeated that answer when asked if it is the practice of the White House to ask for racial information or if the photographer, Mamta Popat, was singled out because of her name. He referred those questions to the U.S. Secret Service, which did not respond to a call from the Star Friday afternoon.
Hayt declined to speculate on whether Popat was racially profiled, but said she is deeply concerned.
"One has to wonder what they were going to do with that information," Hayt said. "Because she has Indian ancestry, were they going to deny her access? I don't know."
Journalists covering the president or vice president must undergo a background check and are required to provide their name, date of birth and Social Security number. The Star provided that information Thursday for Popat and this reporter.
"That's all anybody has been asked to provide," said Hayt, adding that this is the first time in her 26-year career that a journalist's race was made an issue.
Organizer Christine Walton asked for Popat's race in telephone conversations with two other Star editors before she spoke to Hayt. They also refused to provide the information. Walton told Hayt that Popat's race was necessary to allow the Secret Service to distinguish her from someone else who might have the same name.
Thursday, July 29, 2004
Hopefully you have all been watching the Democratic National Convention. For those of you who have not, Professor Obama was incredible last night, he brought tears to the eyes of many. Anyway, Thursday night, right before Senator Kerry accepts the nomination, the former Law School Democrats President, Lisa Ellman, will be appearing onstage as part of the program that night. She will be representing, with seven others, young voters of America.
As of right now she is scheduled to appear between 8:45 and 9:00 p.m. but that
is obviously subject to change. Make sure to watch for her Thursday night.
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
My mom and brother both called after the speech. Both are die-hard Republicans. Both said they would vote for Obama if given the chance. My mom said as she was watching speech she thought "here is our future first black President."I don't know his mom, but his brother owns every Ann Coulter book written, and he even owns some book titled "George and Laura--a Love for the Ages" (or something like that).
Now, it seems everyone loved the speech, and for good reason. Even Bob Dole gave him an "A" for his speech.
The beginning of the speech, the part excerpted in the post below, was the weakest part. Probably for two reasons: (1) he never said that part of the speech before--it was new; (2) he's probably just not as comfortable talking about his upbringing and himself than he is talking about his vision of the country going forward.
But after the autobiographical part, Obama really hit his stride. He loosened up, got fired up, and got everyone else fired up. My favorite part, which I'd heard before as part of his primary stump speech, was this:
A belief that we are connected as one people. If there’s a child on the south side of Chicago who can’t read, that matters to me, even if it’s not my child. If there’s a senior citizen somewhere who can’t pay for her prescription and has to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it’s not my grandmother. If there’s an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties. It’s that fundamental belief—I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sisters’ keeper—that makes this country work. It’s what allows us to pursue our individual dreams, yet still come together as a single American family. “E pluribus unum.” Out of many, one.A true vision for America.
Well, I don't have too much to add. Great speech. Better than I expected.
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
On one hand, it makes me seriously question the wisdom and judgment of John Kerry and every single person at the DNC who is serious about electing John Kerry president. This is a deeply divisive figure, with a history of distorting the truth who, as I have previously argued, is in no small part responsible for Bush winning in 2000. It seems not all that dissimilar to the RNC allowing Ann Coulter to give lap dances to Gerald Ford during Nancy Reagan's speech. (Or, more accurately, to the RNC placing Rush or Hannity or Coulter in any sort of prominent position at their convention.)
On the other hand, it at least shows some sort of attempt to reach out to a large, disaffected part of the Democratic base - some of whom have never forgiven the Democrats for the rightward march of the Clinton administration and some of whom have not forgiven Kerry for beating Howard Dean.
(Does anyone care at all that Nader is highly likely to tip a key swing state or two - again? No? Just me?) (Of course the Democratic party's very liberal response is to try to keep him off of ballots - that's a great message to your base - we won't give you what you want, but we will try to make it so our candidate is the slightly least crappy one available - oh, and here's Michael Moore sitting next to Jimmy Carter... enjoy!)
I am busy and this makes no sense. I actually did enjoy the convention last night - but I still believe there is something deeply and fundamentally wrong with the Democratic party. Why do we worship the man who is MOST responsible for Democrats losing control of Congress and the courts after thirty years? Because he can talk well? Why do we worship the man whose face fucking made it possible for George W. Bush to come into the White House after 8 years of peace and prosperity? (There's a better answer to that... because of the 8 years of peace and prosperity.)
I should be a team player like Dean. Sorry. Go Kerry.
Tonight is a particular honor for me because – let’s face it – my presence on this stage is pretty unlikely. My father was a foreign student, born and raised in a small village in Kenya. He grew up herding goats, went to school in a tin-roof shack; his father -- my grandfather -- was a cook, a domestic servant. But my grandfather had larger dreams for his son. Through hard work and perseverance my father got a scholarship to study in a magical place – America – that stood as a beacon of freedom and opportunity to so many who had come before.
While studying here, my father met my mother. She was born in a town on the other side of the world, in Kansas. Her father worked on oil rigs and farms through most of the Depression. The day after Pearl Harbor he signed up for duty; he joined Patton’s army and marched across Europe. Back home, my grandmother raised their baby and went to work on a bomber assembly line. After the war, they studied on the GI Bill, bought a house through FHA, and moved west, in search of opportunity. And they, too, had big dreams for their daughter.
A common dream, born of two continents. My parents shared not only an improbable love; they shared an abiding faith in the possibilities of this nation. They would give me an African name, Barack, or “blessed,” believing that in a tolerant America your name is no barrier to success. They imagined me going to the best schools in the land, even though they weren’t rich, because in a generous America you don’t have to be rich to achieve your potential.
Maybe he just changed his mind.
Monday, July 26, 2004
“Tonight I speak as a citizen, eager to join you here in Boston as a foot soldier in the fight for our future, as we nominate a true New England patriot for President. The state that gave us John Adams and John Kennedy has now given us John Kerry, a good man, a great Senator, a visionary leader.”
“We Democrats will bring the American people a positive campaign, arguing not who’s good and who’s bad, but what is the best way to build the safe, prosperous world our children deserve.”
“Democrats and Republicans have very different ideas on what choices we should make, rooted in fundamentally different views of how we should meet our common challenges at home and how we should play our roll in the world. Democrats want to build an America of shared responsibilities and shared opportunities….Republicans believe in an America run by the right people, their people.”
Well, The Economist remembers that fundraiser, and still thinks it was pretty bush-league (I'm not saying it wasn't). From an article in the current issue, on Obama (subscription required):
THE ECONOMIST first came across Mr Obama last winter in a basementwhere he was surrounded by law students drinking beer from plastic cups. Now throngs of Chicago's finest queue up to hear him talk about foreign policy, and he is feted at pricey Democratic fund-raising meetings from coast to coast. As if to confirm that he is the next big thing in American politics he has just been asked to give a keynote speech at the Democratic convention.As jk told me earlier today, we apprently set the "shithouse" standard in Obama's "shithouse to penthouse" story.
That said, I agree with Guthrie below; I'm not voting for Obama, because once in high school he may have watched a football game instead of studied for a test.
Democratic leaders say this law school professor has botched little in his professional and political life. But in his personal life, Obama — whose Kenyan father and American mother divorced when he was young — acknowledges an adolescence of rebellion, which included focusing on sports more than school and experimenting with drugs.I, for one, cannot believe that Illinois was this close to electing a Senator who once focused on sports more than school. Thank God Obama has at least had the decency to confess this shortcoming, and we can now beg Jack Ryan to get back into this race and give us the Senator we deserve.
Saturday, July 24, 2004
Set your Tivos.
Friday, July 23, 2004
Having said that, there's plenty of blame on the other side. Here's what the Howler has to say:
Over the last year, Wilson’s presentations have foundered on a simple fact—a fact he has never seemed able to grasp. Here it is: Joe Wilson doesn’t know if Iraq sought uranium in Africa. Two weeks ago, Lord Butler looked at the British intelligence, and he said that the intel was good on this point. What was Wilson supposed to say? He doesn’t even know what is in it!
Furious partisans will shake their fists and insist that none of this really matters. But it does really matter, in one key way. Wilson has overstated so many things that the Republican Party’s current attacks have a measure of truth to them. For example, he has persistently called Bush’s statement a “lie,” although he doesn’t know if the statement is true or false. He seemed to acknowledge that fact in his original piece, but slowly slid into overstatement.
Bush didn’t know if Iraq sought uranium. For that reason, he shouldn’t have said that he did, and he took a load of heat for his 16-word statement. But Wilson doesn’t know if Iraq sought uranium either. He is now starting to take some heat for acting as if he did.
Furious partisans will shake their fists and insist that none of this really matters. And of course, it doesn’t matter—unless you care about the truth, and unless you want Kerry to win.
This is what I love about Republicans now. When Clinton tried to cover up an affair by totally and completely honestly asking what the word "is" meant in a question (and, by the way, the meaning of the word "is" in that question was not at all clear), Republicans acted like the world had come to an end with his parsing of the English language. When Bush left himself linguistic outs as he tried to convince the country to go to war, it's fine.
And this time it takes Stephen Holden and strips him of whatever dignity he once had. The first paragraph of his review of "The Bourne Supremacy":
It may sound odd to call a chilly, paranoid thriller like "The Bourne Supremacy" entertainment comfort food. But in the wake of 9/11, this globe-trotting post-cold-war melodrama full of standard cloak-and-dagger intrigue has the reassuring aroma of a home-cooked meal served while riding the world's smoothest roller coaster.God help us.
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
This is an issue that seems minor to some people, or seems like a close call, but I disagree. I am inclined to think that this issue divides the people who get it from the people who don't. That is, it divides those who have a more-or-less confused or superficial commitment to the principles that underlie the constitution from those who really understand those principles and feel the force of them in their guts.
The flag burning issue is the political equivalent of crucial experiment in science. It's often the case that two incompatible theories make many of the same predictions. To separate the theories, to tell which one is true (or at least remains a candidate for truth) and which one is false, you often have to go to extraordinary lengths. A famous case like this happened in 1919 when Arthur Eddington went to Principe in the Gulf of Guinea to conduct an observation that would pull Newtonian physics apart from General Relativity. You know the story: the two theories make mostly the same predictions under normal conditions on Earth (ignore messy details here please), but General Relativity predicts that light will bend as it passes close to a massive body. So Eddington went off to Principe when and where there would be a total eclipse. Under those conditions, he could determine whether there was any change in the apparent position of stars when their light passed close to the sun. There was. Einstein vindicated.
Somebody who didn't understand what was at stake in that case might ask "Well, who cares whether starlight seems to move a little bit on Principe during an eclipse? That's trivial!" But of course nobody really cares about the change of apparent position per se. What they care about is that this tiny difference indicates which of two radically different theories about the world is true.
Similarly, how one comes down on the flag-burning case--let me suggest--indicates which of two radically different views of America and the idea of liberal government one has. If, like Madison, you think that freedom of conscience is the fundamental right, then you are committed to being more-or-less an absolutist about the freedom of expression, holding that this right is protected even when it involves the desecration of revered symbols. The principle trumps the symbol. And you hold that it's not even a tough case. The alternative seems to be to hold that freedom of conscience and expression can be trumped when the expression involved is sufficiently upsetting to enough people. But that's not minor difference of opinion, that involves a completely different conception of the legitimate powers of government. As in the case of Newtonian physics and General Relativity, these two different conceptions of government entail the same consequences under most conditions. But the flag-burning question is the political analog of starlight passing near the sun--a case that can seem trivial or esoteric, but which has profound implications, indicating which of two radically different views of America someone holds.
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
I know many Democrats may support it. Apparently, the majority of Americans support it. And God knows Republicans - by and large - support it. All of these people are idiots. If you support the flag burning amendment, you are an idiot. You don't understand anything about democracy. If some of these people are not idiots, they are bad people. If an otherwise smart person supports the flag burning amendment, they are either suffering from a mental disability or they are simply a bad person.
I am embarrassed and ashamed that members of my party will vote for this. I am embarrassed and ashamed that even one American thinks this is a good idea.
That's my contribution to the political discourse today.
Saturday, July 17, 2004
- Prior to the war, Britain claimed that Iraq had ongoing chemical and bio weapons programs. This intelligence formed the basis for a sensational charge that Iraq could deploy such weapons within 45 minutes.
- According to the Butler Report, MI6 withdrew its claims about active chem/bio programs in July 2003 after interviews in Iraq with the supposed sources of the intel showed they were unreliable.
- The Hutton inquiry, which began in August 2003, was not told that this intelligence had been withdrawn. This is despite the fact that Hutton was investigating charges directly related to chem/bio weapons and the 45-minute allegation.
- Hutton isn't the only one who was kept in the dark. Apparently, neither the Prime Minister nor the Intelligence and Security Committee were told until yesterday that this intelligence had been withdrawn.
Now, last week John Edwards said the following, concerning Tony Blair:
So a key piece of evidence was withdrawn a year ago, and Tony Blair says he didn't know about it until last week? Either he's lying or else his control of his own intelligence services is monumentally sloppy. I wonder which?
"Tony Blair didn’t run from the report, he didn’t try to not acknowledge it. Instead, what Tony Blair said was, 'I take full responsibility for the mistakes....'Well, fine, but I don't see how saying you take responsibility is the same as taking responsibility. I think the only way to truly take responsibility over a fiasco this large and tragic is to resign. So I disagree with John Edwards (and Dick Durbin, who said basically the same thing)
"What we need in the White House is somebody who has the strength and courage and leadership to take full responsibility and be accountable – not only for what’s good but for what’s bad. That’s what John Kerry will be."
Oh, you mean that Middle Eastern country with weapons of mass desctruction, a nuclear program in defiance of international law, a deep hatred of America, and operational ties to Al-Qaeda?
What is the Bush Doctrine anyway? "Pre-emptive" military action? States that harbor terrorists will be treated as terrorists? Clearly, it's neither of these things, so what is it, besides manifest incompetence in foreign affairs?
What a f***ing joke.
thanks to Jon Ide.
Friday, July 16, 2004
So, I have a brand-spanking-new copy of Outfoxed at my apartment. I'm thinking of having some sort of screening, but I don't think I'm going have an official MoveOn screening (mainly because I don't want to do it this Sunday nigh). So, for my Chicagoland readers (ie, Guthrie), if any of you want to watch it, either email us (link at the right) or let us now in the comments. Maybe we can put something together.
I watched with interest over the past few days the spirited debate in which the Senate of the United States deliberated the crucial issue of who should be allowed to marry whom, and why that is in any way the business of the federal Constitution, which has had a pretty bad couple of years, poor thing, and should be left alone for a while to heal up, in my opinion.Read the whole thing, because he takes this article places you only dreamed. It's so good I can't even describe it.
But, a few points (and, since I already told Guthrie, the only person who will read this, I guess there's no point to this):
- There are several practical and theoretical reasons why we have not achieved "cold" or controlled fusion, but the fact that we have not mastered how to control four Touring Test-worthy AI-infused mechanical arms is not one of them
- Why do all the bad guys in Spiderman have to be "good guys at heart who get taken over by some sort of machine and then become some sort of man-machine evil hybrid"?
- In the film, the bank forecloses on Aunt
Bee'sMay's house because she's late on her mortgage payments. Now, this is an elderly lady, who most likely lived in that house for 50 years, had to have paid off that mortgage in full, right? Huh.
- Oh, last one...Peter Parker tells MJ that they can't be together because it's too dangerous for her, but considering how, in each of the first two movies, the fact that they weren't together didn't stop the bad guys from putting MJ in grave danger, I don't understand his reasoning on that one.
Oh, and Guth says the movie takes itself too seriously, which is clearly correct. But overall, very good movie.
Thursday, July 15, 2004
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Some background on the speech:
Seymour Hersh says the US government has videotapes of boys being sodomized at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.As Brad Delong said:
"The worst is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking," the reporter told an ACLU convention last week. Hersh says there was "a massive amount of criminal wrongdoing that was covered up at the highest command out there, and higher."
He called the prison scene "a series of massive crimes, criminal activity by the president and the vice president, by this administration anyway…war crimes."
The outrages have cost us the support of moderate Arabs, says Hersh. "They see us as a sexually perverse society."
Hersh describes a Pentagon in crisis. The defense department budget is “in incredible chaos,” he says, with large sums of cash missing, including something like $1 billion that was supposed to be in Iraq.
"The disaffecion inside the Pentagon is extremeley accute," Hersh says. He tells the story of an officer telling Rumsfeld how bad things are, and Rummy turning to a ranking general yes-man who reassured him that things are just fine. Says Hersh, "The Secretary of Defense is simply incapable of hearing what he doesn’t want to hear."
The Iraqi insurgency, he says,was operating in 1-to-3 man cells a year ago, now in 10-15 man cells, and despite the harsh questioning, "we still know nothing about them...we have no tactical information.”
He says the foreign element among insurgents is overstated, and that bogeyman Zarqawi is "a composite figure" hyped by our government.
The war, he says, has escalated to "fullscale, increasingly intense military activity."
Hersh described the folks in charge of US policy as neoconservative cultists" who have taken the government over, and show "how fragile our democracy is."
He ripped the supine US press, pledged to bring home all the facts he could, said he was not sure he could deliver all the daming info he suspects about Bush administration responsibility for Abu Ghraib.
If what it reports is true, then once again it looks like the Bush administration is worse than I had imagined--even though I thought I had taken account of the fact that the Bush administration is always worse than one imagines. Either Seymour Hersh is insane, or we have an administration that needs to be removed from office not later than the close of business today. The scariest part: "[Hersh] said he had seen all the Abu Ghraib pictures. He said, 'You haven't begun to see evil...' then trailed off. He said, 'horrible things done to children of women prisoners, as the cameras run.' He looked frightened."Emphasis added by G&G. Anyone want to put money on Hersh's being crazy? Not I.
LOS ANGELES—Sources close to Bill Maher report that the comedian and host of HBO's Real Time With Bill Maher spent Friday evening arguing with Carolyn Dobson, a prostitute from the London Escorts Agency and a supporter of the Republican Party.Perfect. Read the rest.
Dobson and Maher, who occupied an executive suite at the W Hotel, reportedly argued on subjects ranging from the Bush Administration's financial accounting for the Iraq war to its refusal to release records to the public in accordance with the Freedom Of Information Act. The two also engaged in three consensual sex acts, for which the comedian paid $750.
BOSTON July 14, 2004 — Barack Obama, the Democratic Party's candidate for the Senate in Illinois, will deliver the keynote address at the convention, officials announced Wednesday.
Obama, a law professor and state senator, will speak on July 27, the second night of the convention, with Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass. Obama will talk about the future of America that a Democratic administration would provide, along with the need to make jobs, families and communities top priorities in the lives of Americans.
In any event, the SCLM has dutifully reminded us that prior to being a U.S. Senator, Edwards was engaged in the criminal activity of being an attorney. For poor and disadvantaged people. Cases he won forced changes in medical and industry practice. And worst of all, he made money, which conservatives oppose.There have been several articles, including a straight news article in the Times over the weekend, which kept saying that Edwards formed a "so-called S-corporation" to avoid paying taxes. Well, I guess, but it's no more "so-called" than any other corporate entity (a legal fiction, all, of course). And, well, it's what you do when you have the type of business Edwards had. And they're treating it like it's borderline tax evasion. Ridiculous.
Thursday update: the pictures from Abu Graeb prison are disturbing. They have rightly provoked outrage. Today we have a picture -- aired on Al Arabiya -- of an American hostage being held with a scarf over his eyes, clearly against his will. Who's outraged on his behalf?Oh, this makes me mad to no end. I mean, really, really pissed off. And they have the gall to call themselves "patriotic." They have no idea what that means.
It is important that we keep the Abu Graeb situation in perspective. The story is beginning to live on its own momentum. The facts of the story may develop into the need to do much more in the days ahead. For the moment, however, the focus appears to be changing to finger pointing within the administration and how it plays out as an issue in the presidential campaign.
For everyone's information, the hotel where our Baghdad bureau is housed was hit by some kind of explosive device overnight. ALL FOX PERSONNEL ARE OK. 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).
I don't think the most egregious quotes are the ones making the rounds on the blogs... go read them all for yourself. I wonder, seriously, if Foxnews will make good on its promise to produce similar memos from CNN and MSNBC.
Friday, July 09, 2004|
Thursday, July 08, 2004
Monday, July 05, 2004
1.) First of all, this is the least surprising news since the Bob Huggins heart attack. I note that they can't seem to get the cause of death of right. I have a suggestion - the cause of death should be listed as: "being Marlon Brando."
2.) He really was the greatest actor we will ever see. In his prime, and for brief periods later in his career, he reached a level of pure and raw emotion that was unparalleled before and unmatched today. Many actors achieved a far greater command of their craft, none could even approach the level of talent that he possessed. It simply wasn't that hard for him. This talent was wasted and destroyed - and that's one of the great tragedies of the day. He sort of lived like a rock star - but an actor shouldn't do that. I am sure Goldberg can comment on this - but there is something about rock and roll and music that makes it an art of the young, and so many of the great musicians created something beautiful and either died or faded away. That's not what an actor should do. Brando should have kept getting better - he should have been playing Lear and the like right now. Instead, he faded into a fat joke, and all we have are a few films that capture what he used to be.
From the Newsweek obituary, that I read on the plane home:
In her 2001 biography, Patricia Bosworth quotes an ex-girlfriend who was watching TV with the actor when they came across "Streetcar." "Marlon told me, 'Turn it off,' but I said, 'Please let me watch.' So we did for a while, and then Marlon groaned, "Oh, God, I was beautiful then." Was he ever.
Saturday, July 03, 2004
However, if you're going to have a conspiracy, which has a charge to keep a great secret, you can't have everyone in on it. Now, I'm not done with the book, but it seems as if every historical figure in the Western Canon and half of contemporary Paris is in on this little secret concerning Jesus and Mary Magdalene and all that. If everyone and their mom is in on it, it ain't a secret. That is all.
UPDATE: I finished. I give it a "eh."
ADDENDUM: I just read a sentence that I'm sure will give Dan Brown impeccable credentials to write the forthcoming "Foreshadowing for Dummies"
A miracle Lord. I need a miracle. Silas had no way of knowing that hours from now, he would get one.Emphasis in orignal. Foreshadowing, unoriginal.
Friday, July 02, 2004
Hopefully, I can transfer my blogging to the AM before I go to work, which worked fairly well when I was pretty busy last spring. But there won't be any more 5-post days for me, I'm pretty sure. But we'll see.
Also, I'm wondering if Guthrie will blog on the death of Marlon Brando. I think Guth considers him the best actor ever, or something like that.
Also, also, while I do like a lot of the Kinks (esp. the albums "Village Green Preservation Society" and "Lola vs. Powerman," the album "Misfits" which I found in MP3 format on my computer (I don't remember ever downloading it), seems kind of weak. I better stop blogging about music, or else Guth will kill me. One last thing...my friend, the inestimable Harvard astrophysicist The Goat, has just turned me on to a band called "The Notwist." You can download an awesome song called "The Ones With the Freaks" on their website.
Other that that, have a great holiday weekend, but I'll be around to entertain as much as I can here on G&G (no promises that I'll post, but hopefully I will). And read Krugman today. It's the best thing you've ever read about F9/11.
And pray for no rain for tomorrow night!!