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Sunday, February 29, 2004

Barack Obama 

Today, the Chicago Sun-Times and the Chicago Tribune both endorsed State Sen. Barack Obama, Democratic Candidate for Senate. This is pretty exciting, if not totally unexpected, news.

And for all you Chicagoland readers, we're hosting a fundraiser for Senator Obama tomorrow at 6:30pm at Sedgwick's Bar and Grill (Sedgwick and Armitage). The candidate and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Studs Terkel will be there.
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Friday, February 27, 2004

The Return of Joementum 

Via Atrios, it seems like Sens. McCain and Lieberman are holding up the highway bill in order to force an extention of the 9/11 commission. Good for them!
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Thursday, February 26, 2004

Blog Update 

I think everything is back to normal. I wish the comments thing were right under the permalink line, but what the hell. This is pretty close.
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Objectively Un-American 

From Kevin Drum, I find this article in the National Review online edition. It basically accuses Kerry of being a KGB toady for protesting Vietnam. Kevin explains how this guy's rhetorical techniques mirror those used by groups like the John Birch Society.

David Niewert should be talking about this, not me, but here it goes: It's profoundly un-American to level such accusations. Of course, NR has every right to do so, but I'm talking about the substance. These people (NR editors, that is) don't understand in the least what America stands for, and what America means.

If anything, it means the right (and duty) to go to your government and say, "How can you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?"

It also means the right, at the same time of strife, so sit on your ass in Texas and snort blow, although there's no sense of duty in that, unlike in what Kerry did.

This stuff pisses me off.

UPDATE: I did my first successful "Trackback" ping on this one! Now, if I could just get those links to go back to the right side of the page and not be way down at the bottom!

UPDATE II: Got the sidebar back :) Lost comments/trackback :(
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I won't link to it, but 

Over at the National Review's "Corner", they're calling Massachusetts (you know, the Bay State) the Gay State. Witty.
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Rush Making a Lot of Sense 

Sad times in this country when Rush Limbaugh is a voice of moderation and reason. On this, I agree with him 5000%.

What is going on? Two events in our pop culture: one: a movie based on medieval plays that have a long history of inspiring violence and oppression against Jews is released. Two: Janet Jackson flashes breast for about one second. One has inspired a massive government response, which has forced companies to suspend popular radio personalities. The other, has been met with approval by the President.

For the record, massive government response would be wrong in either case.
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Wednesday, February 25, 2004

MaxSpeak, we all should listen 

I like Max's take on the substantive/procedural underpinnings of the "federalism" debate. Again, I never will understand why people (esp. lawyers) fetishize federalism. Here's his intro:
A common corruption of discourse in democratic, federalist systems is for advocates to support decentralization or centralization on procedural grounds, depending on where they think they will get a preferred substantive result. So now supporters of gay marriage use decentralist, process arguments to block Federal action against gay marriage. Opponents of gay marriage invoke first principles designed to guard against man-on-dog. In other contexts, conservatives like to uphold states' rights and progressives the need for national action to protect individual rights.
I tend to think that things I like universalized (such as individual rights) are best done at the highest level possible. Others are best done at a more local level. But I'm not about to make a religion of it.
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More Liberal Bias! 

I don't know about hollywood.com, but I've found some liberal bias. I think there's some serious liberal bias in the blogger code, inasmuch as I can't get the damn links to be on the side of the page. I think the elites who work at blogger.com simply can't handle the No-Spin Truth that is propagated on our page.

Who's looking out for you, not Blogger, that's for sure.
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Liberal Bias! (actually pretty bad) 

OK, I found some real liberal bias.

This headline from Hollywood.com:

Experts Say "Passion" is Full of Inaccuracies

The first outrageous example in the article:

"The Jewish texts ridiculed long hair as something Roman or Greek," New York University's Lawrence Schiffman told Reuters, yet Jesus has continually been pictured with long hair, as he is in Passion.

You mean... THEY DIDN'T GET THE HAIR RIGHT!?! BASTARDS!
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Progress Report 

I recommend to all our readers to sign up for the daily email updates from the Center for American Progress. You can sign up here. It's kind of like the Note, but with liberal-biased fact-checking and without the kool kids insidery stuff.
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Tuesday, February 24, 2004

More From Sully 

Andrew Sullivan approvingly posts this e-mail:

"We've witnessed a shift in Republican politics. The Republican establishment used to pay lip service to religious conservative interests while openly courting independent voters with moderate policies because it knew it could get the religious conservative vote regardless (who were they going to vote for, Clinton!?). But now, it seems Bush is paying lip service to independent interests while openly promoting religious conservative policy. Who are we going to vote for, Kerry?

Well, yes."

Sully's been great today - but please. His faux-surprise at this development is pathetic. How in our lifetime have the Republicans only paid "lip service" to religious conservatives? By demanding the appointment of pro-life judges? By appointing Thomas and Scalia to the Supreme Court? (Both find Justices who anyone - including readers of this very blog - would be lucky to clerk for, but certainly darlings of the religious right.) By almost passing a ####### flag burning amendment (thanks Democrats)? By passing the Defense of Marriage Act (thanks Democrats)? By appointing John Ascroft? By having their Presidents never utter the words "gay" or "homosexual" in public - even when a plague is destroying the gay community?

The Republican party has done much more than pay lip service to religious conservatives - indeed, the Republican party needs religious conservatives in order to stay in power. It will give them whatever they want. To act shocked about it now is just sort of weird.

Finally, Sully quotes another heartbreaking e-mail...

"I organized my life around four institutions: my family, the Presbyterian Church, the Boy Scouts and the Republican Party. They summed up what seemed to me a sensible view of life and the world, embodying loyalty, unconditional love, a quiet, thoughtful exercise of faith, a commitment to ethical behavior, and a limited government that did the things it needed for the public good but otherwise left people alone to be all they could become and savor the victory of having done so.
Then I came out, and one by one those four institutions turned their backs on me."

Go to his site and read the whole thing. What's wrong with people?
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O'Reilly Interviews Gibson 

I just watched Mel Gibson enter the No-Spin Zone. It was indeed the hardest-hitting interview I've ever seen - in that at no point did Bill O'Reilly actually fellate Mel Gibson on camera.

Actual exchange during interview (paraphrased... if there is just a God a transcript will be posted):

O'Reilly: I've taken a lot of heat for you, Gibson.

Gibson: I know, I know.

O'Reilly: I'm used to it.

Gibson: You... you're the kind of guy to go down with the ship.

O'Reilly: (laughs) I'm the kind of guy to go down with the ship. Do you feel sorry for me?

Gibson: No.

O'Reilly: I take all this heat for you and you don't feel sorry for me?


And it wasn't entirely clear that O'Reilly was joking when he asked Gibson if he felt sorry him. This truly is No-Spin journalism.
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Dumbest Poll Ever? 

What follows is an actual "Greta Poll" from the Fox News web site. How is this an appropriate question for a poll? How in the name of the seven mad gods who rule the seas will the human quest for knowledge and wisdom be advanced from learning that, say, 16% of Americans are "suspicious that the two men asking for parole are involved"?

The Poll:

As the investigation into the disappearance of the Mississippi family of three continues, what concerns you the most?

__I'm suspicious that there was a domestic problem

__I'm suspicious that the two men asking for parole are involved

__I'm wondering if this was a totally random crime

__Nothing

__I have no idea what happened but I'm very interested in the case



UPDATE: I voted for "I'm wondering if this was a totally random crime."
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Greatest Letter Ever 

From Rep. John Dingell to Greg Mankiw. It's PDF so I can't excerpt it. But trust me, it's awesome.

UPDATE: Recall that Rep. Dingell also wrote this in response the CBS miniseries "The Reagans."
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Blog update 

Well, I fixed the fact that each post was right on top of each other, but I can't seem to get the sidebar back. I checked it against a new blogger template, and couldn't find the problem.
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Andrew Sullivan Quote 

"This president wants our families denied civil protection and civil acknowledgment. He wants us stigmatized not just by a law, not just by his inability even to call us by name, not by his minions on the religious right. He wants us stigmatized in the very founding document of America. There can be no more profound attack on a minority in the United States - or on the promise of freedom that America represents."
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Monday, February 23, 2004

Beyond Parody 

Onion headline on January 28:

Bush 2004 Campaign Pledges To Restore Honor And Dignity To White House

Actual news today:

"Bush cast the upcoming November election as a choice between the 'same old Washington mind-set' and a brighter future in a speech to the Republican Governors Association."
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Common Sense 

Here's an example of a really dumb man sharing his opinion.

It's about The Passion, which I should be posting more about. Apparently, according to Mr. Cavuto, this a case of Hollywood Elites sneering at the values of everyday Americans. But that's not what anyone is saying - they're saying the movie is anti-Semitic. But not once in this article does he discuss whether the movie is anti-Semitic - he doesn't once address this criticism. So, I suppose what he is saying is that everyday Americans hate Jews and/or he is a complete moron.

A quote:

"Far easier is it for Tinseltown to make a mockery of priests than to say anything good about Christianity itself. But this isn't about Christians or priests or Buddhists or Jews. This is about one solitary life. And one horrible death."

This comes right after he notes that Hollywood "rightfully" praised Schindler's List and Philadelphia. What could he be getting at here?

(BTW, I would appreciate it if someone would read this and tell me if he's insinuating the death of Jesus was worse than the Holocaust or AIDS. He may be.)

UPDATE: And by the way, I don't know if this movie is anti-Semitic or not - I try not to judge things I haven't seen or read, unlike Christian Conservatives, for example. (That's an exaggeration: I apologize.) My only point is that he doesn't acknowledge in this article that this is what the criticism is about, and he doesn't acknowledge that if this criticism is accurate, Mel Gibson does deserve to be ostracized, not just by the liberal, Hollywood elite but by any good person.
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The Huh? File 

What, exactly, is Jack Cafferty's job? And why can't he wear a jacket?

On a related note, Anderson Cooper was subbing for Bill Hemmer today, so I got my morning news from a 360 degree persective, unlike the normal 200-225 degrees, so that was nice.
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Sunday, February 22, 2004

Trackback 

Well, I've added trackback, even though I'm not sure how it works. In doing so, I managed to totally screw up the page, as you will see the stuff that should be on the side of the page to the right is now at the bottom. Don't know how to fix it.
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Moore = Nader 

Daily Kos raises the very real possibility that famed lunatic judge Ray Moore will run for President - possibly offsetting the Nader factor. See this article - dated February 2 - where Moore does not rule out this possibility.

This would be good, although I can't really figure out what objections religious conservatives have about Bush. I know there has been some rumblings lately, but what has Bush not done that they want him to do?

UPDATE: Over at Pandagon, there's a post about conservative outrage over the Bush's immigration policy. That might work.
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Bin Laden Surrounded? 

Drudge links to this, probably untrue, article which claims that US Forces have located Bin Laden, are monitoring him by satelite, and are confident that he cannot escape.

But the article says this...

"The special forces are 'absolutely confident' there is no escape for bin Laden, and are awaiting the order to go in and get him.

'The timing of that order will ultimately depend on President Bush,' the paper says. 'Capturing bin Laden will certainly be a huge help for him as he gets ready for the election.'"

If Drudge wants to continue to be a right-wing attack dog, he'd better read the articles he links to. I'm pretty sure that if it's ever revealed that Bush timed the capture of Bin Laden to help his reelection, he will probably be impeached.

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Contempt 

When Terry McAuliffe says this...

"We can't afford to have Ralph Nader in the race... This is about the future of our country. If you care about the environment, if you care about job growth, you've got to support the Democratic nominee. So I'm urging everybody to talk to Ralph Nader."

... what he means is that he thinks the American people are too stupid to select their President on their own. Did it ever occur to Mr. McAuliffe that the people who voted for Nader KNEW that they were voting in a close election and that they chose to give their vote to Mr. Nader even though that might mean that Mr. Bush would eventually win? Democrats want to deny the American people this choice - because, again, they apparently don't trust the people to vote in their own best interest.

I think Mr. Nader put it best when asked about an anti-Nader web site, calling it...

"[A] contemptuous statement against Democracy, against freedom, against more voices and choices for the American people... It is an offense to deny millions of people who may want to vote for our candidacy an opportunity to vote for our candidacy... The liberal intelligentsia... has allowed its party to become a captive of corporate interests."

Why don't the Democrats spend time trying to explain to us why we should vote for Kerry or Edwards instead of Nader, rather than trying (again) to scare their own supporters?

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Nader 

Is it just me, or does Ralph Nader really look like Alan Arkin, circa 1974?
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Saturday, February 21, 2004

Leonard Cohen, etc. 

Listening to "The Songs of Leonard Cohen" for the first time in about a year. What a devastating album (in a good way). Wow.

UPDATE: Well, I'm working from home today (using some contraption called the "Interweb" or "World Wide Net" or something like that--amazing, this technology stuff), and I hooked my computer up to my stereo to listen to my MP3 collection which has sat dormant since graduation. I'm rediscovering some great stuff: "Breakfast in America" by Supertramp; "The Village Green Preservation Society" by The Kinks; some random live shows by Radiohead; "Tracks" by Springsteen, although I have this on CD; some stuff by Crooked Fingers. Just some great music.

UPDATE II: And the original self-titled Weezer album. That album is awesome.
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Friday, February 20, 2004

More on Gay Marriage 

From Tom Tomorrow's site:
It all depends on how you define the word "people"
(Note: this entry posted by Bob Harris)

Here's Bush on gay marriage today:

"I am watching very carefully, but I am troubled by what I've seen," Bush said.
-- snip --

"I am troubled by activist judges who are defining marriage. People need to be involved in this decision," Bush said. "Marriage ought to be defined by the people not by the courts."


This is wrong in so many ways... it's hard to know which specific idiotic idea AWOL had in mind.

For one, what's happening in San Francisco began with a decision by local elected officials, not by "activist judges."

Second, the judicial system has only responded so far by not immediately responding to screaming pleas for oh-my-god-make-it-stop-make-it-stop injunctive measures from freaked-out conservatives, whose cases haven't been thrown out but will simply be heard a little later, possibly by the end of the week. This is the opposite of judicial activism.

(Of course, impatience is as much a hallmark of reactionary thought as fear of people who are slightly different and willful insistence on known falsehoods. Combine this with a blinding terror of human sexuality -- that exposed breast is burning my eyes! It burns! It burrrrns! -- and you've got either the modern conservative movement or an emotionally-damaged six-year-old.)

Third, and most importantly, our dumbass-in-chief misses one of the primary purposes of judicial review, established from the very outset of our republic: in a just society, the civil and and constitutional rights of the few cannot be left merely to the whims of the many. Obviously. Jeebus. Bush's position flies in the face of common sense, any basic understanding of American history, and a large body of constitutional law. Maybe Bush was AWOL when they taught Marbury vs. Madison, too.

And finally, even taking Bush's multiple idiocies wrapped in a single statement at face value: um, aren't all those people getting married... people?
I dub this "shrill" and order this poster, and Tom Tomorrow, to sit in the shrill corner with Paul Krugman.
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Nader's In 

Or so Foxnews is reporting.

You know, for all the talk about how unelectable Dean was, at least all of the liberals would have been united.

One good thing about having Nader in the race is that we can be treated to hearing many Democrats like Jonathan Chait talk about how they agree with everything Nader says, but will not vote for him because they feel other people will not vote for him. Much like the way many Democrats talked about Howard Dean. It's always a pleasure to confirm what sheep most people are.
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Public Funds 

Is the fact that John Kerry has opted out of public funds, but John Edwards has not, a reason to support Kerry over Edwards?
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Thursday, February 19, 2004

Hutton Gibson breaks new ground, anti-semetically speaking 

From an article on Mel's dad:
During his lengthy radio interview, Hutton Gibson, 85, said Jews were out to create "one world religion and one world government" and outlined a conspiracy theory involving Jewish bankers, the US Federal Reserve and the Vatican, among others.
I like this fresh new take on Anti-Semitism. To the Gibson pater familias, the "Jewish" conspiracy involves not just those oldie-but-goodies the international bankers and the Federal Reserve, but also the Vatican. As I've been saying for years, it's all the fault of those damn Jews who run that Catholic Church!

That's the new, dynamic thinking that 21st-century paranoid anti-Semitism needs.

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Our Great Mayor--not as dumb as he looks (maybe) 

Richard M. Daley:
Marriage has been undermined by divorce, so don't tell me about marriage. You're not going to lecture me about marriage. People should look at their own life and look in their own mirror. Marriage has been undermined for a number of years if you look at the facts and figures on it. Don't blame the gay and lesbian, transgender and transsexual community. Please don't blame them for it.
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Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Yes! 

A Google search of the term "Hannidate" now brings up only two web sites - Hannity's and ours. Nice.
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Tuesday, February 17, 2004

What my life has come to 

Why am I getting excited about a House race in Kentucky?
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That's a Big Finger 

Based on the picture posted on Druge right now, I'd say John Kerry's finger is bigger than a fully-grown man.
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This Ain't Your Father's Talking Horse 

Looks like Sherman Hemsley of the "The Jeffersons" will be supplying the voice in a Fox remake of Mr. Ed.

This from the CNN article on this important topic:

"'Mister Ed' is a remake of the 1960s talking-horse sitcom. This time around, the equine title character has an urban sensibility."

What does this mean? I mean, I think I know what it means, but good God. Why would a horse have an urban sensibility?
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Good News 

From today's Washington Times:

"In anticipation of the Feb. 25 release of Mel Gibson's controversial movie, "The Passion of the Christ," the poll also found that 80 percent of Americans do not feel that the Jews of today bear responsibility for the death of Jesus Christ, against 8 percent who said they did."

Apparently, this is good news! Only 8% of the people in the alleged greatest society in the history of civilization believe that Dodgers outfielder Shawn Green bears responsibility for the death of a carpenter 2000 years ago! Why that adds up to only slightly less than 25 million people!

But don't believe me that this is good news, see Michael Graham at The Corner...

"Given that the margin of error is +/-4%, concerns about Mel Gibson's movie would appear to be exaggerated."

Of course, I suppose this could mean that up to 12% of the population believes that famed funnyman Mel Brooks killed Jesus.

Incidentally, the same poll indicates that 60% of Americans believe the Bible is "literally" true. I don't even want to think about what that means.

UPDATE: It just occurred to me that it appears that 12% of Americans are undecided as to whether the Jews of today bear responsibility for Christ's death - I suppose, sensibly, that they are waiting for more evidence to come in before they reach a final conclusion as to whether Ruth Bader Ginsburg is guilty of a murder that took place 2000 years ago.
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Ladies and Gentlemen, I Give You Your Moron 

David Brooks today tries to rewrite history, as conservatives are wont to do. Talking about how the dovish faction of the Democratic Party was wrong about Vietnam (this old saw again? Oh yes), he writes:
But most Democrats--and John Kerry was very much a part of this group--saw Vietnam as a refutation of the cold war mentality. These liberals saw the bungling and the lies as symptoms of a deep sickness in the military-industrial complex. So we got movies like "Dr. Strangelove" and "M*A*S*H," which treated military life as insane.
Remember how Al Gore got in trouble by joking about singing union songs at bedtime as a child, but then it came out that the particular song he mentioned wasn't written until the 1970s, and therefore he was a "serial exaggerator?" Well, Mr. Brooks, Dr. Strangelove was made in 1964. Given, M*A*S*H was made in 1970, but it clearly has roots as strong in Catch-22, originally published in 1961, as in Vietnam. I know that we first put troops in SE Asia in the 1950s, but in 1964, I'm pretty sure that the Democratic Party was still pretty unified behind the Kennedy/Johnson plan. Now, Mr. Brooks and his neo-con friends have learned that of the 1960s battles, it's more politically palatable to fight Vietnam all over again that that other seminal battle that some of the morNeanderthalal of his GOP compatriots would like to refight, but that doesn't make it right. And if you're going to do so, get your pop-culture-as-symbolism right, at least from a chronological perspective. Use, maybe Easy Rider or something.

Oh, and he also writes:
Jimmy Carter talked about root causes like hunger and poverty
How dare he! Hunger and poverty? Shut up and bomb someone!
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Monday, February 16, 2004

Hannidate 2004 

This defies all attempts at parody or witty comments. You must see this for yourself.

UPDATE: This is written on the Hannidate page: "Welcome to Hannidate 2004, where you may find your perfect match through Hannity style romance."

What in God's name is Hannity style romance?

Theory: it involves passionately screaming "deliver me from evil, Sean! Deliver me from me from terrorism, despotism and liberalism! Hannitize me!"

UPDATE: Just taking a glance at the people looking for a Hannidate, it looks like most of the guys are more used to spending the evening at home whilst Hannibating over a picture of Ann Coulter.


(How could I have missed that obvious pun before? Apologies to our family readers - relax, I'm sure the FCC will have jurisdiction over this blog soon enough.)

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PC 

Apparently, when Americans are outraged over Janet Jackson flashing a breast and pressure CBS to take action and apologize, it is a sign that Americans are righteously standing up for their values.

However, when Native Americans are outraged over a racist performance and pressure CBS to take action, it is a sign of political correctness run amok.
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Sunday, February 15, 2004

Bush Comments on A-Rod 

The man who traded Sammy Sosa comments on the trade of Alex Rodriguez to the New York Yankees:

"I was just as surprised as the Yankees and Boston Red Sox fans when I opened my paper today," Bush told NBC at Sunday's Daytona 500. "It looks like a big deal, and it looks like it's going to happen. A-Rod's a great player, and the Yanks are going to be a heck of a team with him in the infield."

Say what? (as the Daily Howler would say). I thought our President didn't read the Newspapers.

I assume what the President meant to say was:

"I was just as surprised as the Yankees and Boston Red Sox fans when Andy Card briefed me about the news today."

Incidentally, I'm not sure what the point of being a baseball fan is anymore. Good work, Yankees, Red Sox and Rangers - you have led baseball one step closer to destruction.
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If this were the 1990s 

Josh Marshall on what would be going on what happened under Bush/Cheney happened under Clinton/Gore:
Now, needless to say, if we were still operating under the rules that prevailed in the mid-1990s, James Carville would have been appointed Independent Counsel in the late summer of 2002 to investigate Halliburton. He'd have had the Intel shenanigans, the Plame matter and the Niger documents added to his brief since then. A cowed AG would have given him the Guard matter around the middle of last week. And in a couple days some FBI agents would be showing up on Calhoun's doorstep ready to squeeze him as silly as any freshly sliced wedge of lime in close proximity to a bottle of Corona.
"Calhoun" is "Bill" Calhoun, who clearly lied about being around Bush in TANG (or AANG?).
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Saturday, February 14, 2004

Who's Looking Out for You? 

Not the liberal New York Times, that for sure.
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Friday, February 13, 2004

"The Good Land" 

From the National Journal's Hotline today:
Last Call today:

SHOT . . .

"The name 'Wisconsin' means 'The Gathering of Waters' -- come gather with us this weekend" -- from the Dean blog (2/13).

. . . CHASER

"In fact, it was originally an Algonquin term meaning 'the good land'" -- Alice Cooper, on the meaning of Milwaukee ("Wayne's World").
That one's for you, Greg.
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I love these things 

I love non-correction corrections, second only to non-denial denials (although non-apology apologies are good, they're too cliched these days.

This is an email sent by the wonderful Center for American Progress:
EDITOR’S NOTE: After publishing the Progress Report this morning, Fox News called to protest our description of Ann Coulter as a “Fox News contributor." Fox News said Ann Coulter "is not a contributor to this network" and "has not been a contributor the last couple of years." Though Fox News’ Sean Hannity described Ms. Coulter in December of 2002 as "a Fox News contributor," and despite Coulter appearing 50 times on Fox News since 2002, we regret any confusion this may have caused.
UPDATE: For the record, I beat Ezra to this by 4 minutes.
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Maxspeak, You Listen! 

Noted economist Max Sawicky has linked to us on his site, Maxspeak.

Thanks, Max!

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Why isn't this story HUGE? 

I posted about this once already, but it bears repeating.
WASHINGTON -- The White House stepped back from a high-profile assertion by President Bush, in his January 2002 State of the Union Address, that U.S. forces had uncovered evidence of a potential attack against an American nuclear facility.

In the speech, Mr. Bush warned of a terrorist threat to the nation, saying that the U.S. had found "diagrams of American nuclear power plants" in Afghanistan.

Coming just months after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks -- and as U.S. forces were on the hunt for al Qaeda in Afghanistan -- the statement was offered as evidence of the depth of antipathy among Islamic extremists, and of "the madness of the destruction they design."

"Our discoveries in Afghanistan confirmed our worst fears," Mr. Bush told Congress and the nation in the televised speech. He said "we have found" diagrams of public water facilities, instructions on how to make chemical arms, maps of U.S. cities and descriptions of U.S. landmarks, in addition to the nuclear-plant plans.

Monday night, the White House defended the warnings about Islamic extremist intentions, but said the concerns highlighted by Mr. Bush were based on intelligence developed before and after the Sept. 11 attacks, and that no plant diagrams were actually found in Afghanistan. "There's no additional basis for the language in the speech that we have found," a senior administration official said.
Say what you will about Nigerien yellowcake--at least that story was backed up by faulty British intelligence and phony Italian documents. This, apparently, was made up out of whole cloth!! The above excerpt is from the Wall Street Journal, so it's not like major news organizations don't have the goods. This is about 500x more important that Bush and TANG, and 500000x more important than Kerry being in the same place once as Jane Fonda. What gives?
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Wha!!! 

Apparently, Lou Dobbs has an economics degree from Harvard! As I've been telling you all along, that school will let in anyone! At least your daddy has to be somebody to get into Yale, if you're an idiot.
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Krugman takes out the Trash 

Atrios says that Krugman finally earned his "shrill" reputation today, but in a good way. I agree.
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Thursday, February 12, 2004

What Drudge Does 

Andrew Sullivan has a very good post that, from what I know, is a pretty accurate assessment of the influence Drudge has:
LEWINSKY REDUX: The most fascinating aspect of the current breathless atmosphere in Washington around the Kerry intern sex story is a meta one. How is this filtering through the media? A friend IMed me this morning after seeing the Drudge story and asked, "When is this going mainstream?" I'm like: "Drudge is the mainstream." In terms of readership and meta-media clout, Drudge is more important on the web than the New York Times. Now we have the Congressional Quarterly email Drudge has purloined and posted, which adds further credence to the story, and Lehane seems to be behind it. But if Lehane is behind it, and if Clark voiced the rumor "off the record" (ha!) to reporters earlier this week, why is Clark endorsing an "imploding" candidate? Weirder and weirder. Meanwhile, the campaign blogs are all achatter, and this blog and others are unafraid to write about it. If Lewinsky took days to go mainstream after Drudge, this story might take mere hours. If there's something to it, of course.
It's that "meta-media clout." It's real.
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Wow Again 

Ann Coulter today:
Moreover, if we're going to start delving into exactly who did what back then, maybe Max Cleland should stop allowing Democrats to portray him as a war hero who lost his limbs taking enemy fire on the battlefields of Vietnam.

Cleland lost three limbs in an accident during a routine noncombat mission where he was about to drink beer with friends. He saw a grenade on the ground and picked it up. He could have done that at Fort Dix. In fact, Cleland could have dropped a grenade on his foot as a National Guardsman –- or what Cleland sneeringly calls "weekend warriors." Luckily for Cleland's political career and current pomposity about Bush, he happened to do it while in Vietnam.
Of course, Cleland had received a medal three days before for courage under fire. And, admittedly according to his own representative, he was in the field at the time because he had volunteered to relieve some infantry men. And, speaking of volunteering, he had volunteered to be in Vietnam in the first place.

If Ann Coulter is taken seriously by even one person in this country (and, by all accounts, she is taken seriously by millions), you have to wonder if the Founding Fathers' experiment in Democracy and self-rule has failed.

UPDATE: The Center for American Progress is all over this in their Progresss Report... citing a speech on the Senate Floor by none other than every Republican's favorite Democrat, Zell Miller. Can't find it on their web site yet... I'll post a link when I do. Note that Goldberg and Guthrie was all over this Coulter article first... I guess that's good.
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Wow 

Michael Novak has possibly the most offensive comparison ever on The Corner today...
I was overseas on September 11, 2001, and when I saw the first plane coast quietly into the World Trade Center, I thought it was a freak accident. When the second plane hit, I knew instantly it was war.

When I saw Howard Dean suddenly implode on a clear day, I knew it was from dirty tricks, in the usual run of things, plus his babbling mouth. When I see the second tower suddenly implode, John Kerry, I wonder who could be behind these TWO 'assassinations.' Who could be clearing the way for whom?

Suppose it had suddenly become clear that Bush COULD be beaten this year. Who then would want to get into the race, if only the way were not blocked?
Oh, and if you're a normal person who doesn't routinely read such conservative idiocy, you might think he's insinuating that Bush is behind these tricks. After all, that would make some sense, given that Bush is scheduled to run against the Democratic nominee in November. You'd be wrong.

Give it up people - SHE'S NOT GOING TO RUN.

UPDATE: Apparently, the Corner has taken this post down. Well, it shall remain here for posterity's sake. Incidentally, it was titled "Two Towers Fall Again."
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Idiots 

So, the FCC is pushing for the authority to regulate cable as well - not just over the air television. Why? Why, if I pay for a service, should the FCC decide what I watch? How is this in any way even bordering on being Constitutional - outside of banning obscenity and cable shows where people yell fire in a crowded theater?

And who are the people who are paying for a service - cable television - and then demanding that it be censored? You are a moron, if this applies to you. DON'T BUY CABLE if it offends you.

Sorry - busy at work. And note that it's not just Republicans who are doing this - there are plenty of idiots on both sides of the aisle. I just don't understand why anyone feels they can decide what I watch on my own TV.
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Saddam before the War 

The New York Times has a fascinating article about Saddam's plans for defending his regime prior to the invasion. But, a red flag was raised when I read this:
Mr. Hussein believed that a "casualty averse" White House would order a bombing campaign that Iraq could withstand, according to the secret report, prepared for the Pentagon's most senior leadership and dated Jan. 26. And the Iraqi Defense Ministry, in a grand miscalculation, believed that any ground offensive would come across the Jordanian border.
Emphasis added. This makes no sense. I, with absolutely no knowledge of desert warfare outside the ramblings of Walter Sopchak and the Playstation2 Desert Storm game, knew that when choosing between which autocratic dictatorship to launch our attack on a different totalitarian dictatorship, we'd use Kuwait, not Jordan. I mean, Jordan didn't even technically support our invasion, right? Weird. Nevertheless, the article is very interesting.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2004

The Media and Bush 

As people have been noting all over the place, the media, starting about a month ago, has finally found some balls in dealing with Bush. The question is Why? I mean, Guth and I, and all right-thinking people, have pretty much known that Bush (and BushCo) has been a flaming mess of incompetence since, say, January 21, 2001. Take, e.g., the budget Bush submitted last week. This budget is no more full of lies than last year's. However, this year, people are saying so, as if they're surprised. I think it has mainly to do with two things: AWOL and the Suskind*/O'Neill book. These two stories gave the press the excuse to, well, cover those stories. Stay with me now, I swear this will make sense.

You see, everyone covering the WH knew that Bush/Cheney ran things the way O'Neill said. But, without a real, on-the-record source, they couldn't really report on it. But now that O'Neill has said, "hey, the emperor has no clothes"**, the press can say, "Hey! He's right."

The AWOL issue works the same way. Everyone already knew Bush is a liar. After all, he did say: "By Far the Majority Of My Tax Cuts Go To Those At The Bottom." So, now, this gives the press a reason to go into "character" issues. I was emailing a friend earlier, who works at a major news organization, and she wrote the following, which I think probably echoes the feeling of a lot of the major media:
it's not so much that he went to the guard to get out of service, bc he was privileged, but that if he has said he did his service and didn't really do it, esp with making such a big deal about military, flight suit, etc, then what does that say about presidential character?
Like I said, I think this is probably the feeling throughout the media. Does it help inform my view of Bush's character? No, but I already thought he was a lazy ass with little regard for the truth. I mean, how about this whopper in the SOTU from 2002?

So, this AWOL story, in and of itself, may or may not end up being a big deal. Personally, I don't very much care. But, it may mark a turning point by the press. Oh, and also, all the smoke-and-mirror Bush and Scott MacClellan are putting up here suggests the possiblity that, well, being AWOL in the National Guard is not the real story they're covering up. But who knows?

*Suskind, on Bill Maher's show last Friday, said, "It's not that I'm anti-Bush. I'm just pro-fact." I thought this was very funny, as it's a very O'Reilly-esque quote.

**Taken, of course, from the "Emperor's New Clothes," not to be confused with that wonderful law review article, "The Emperor's New Clause."

ADDENDUM: I found this at The Poor Man, from a post about Wes Clark leaving the race:
As a final note, we should take a moment to thank Wes Clark for his fine work in nudging the AWOL story forward. Yes, it lives still, and not just on LoserNet. While one would certainly prefer this sort of attention being lavished on PlameGate, or, God forbid, WhatTheFuckIsUpWithThisIraqBullshitGate or even WhatInTheNameOfAllThatIsHolyAreYouDoingToTheEconomyGate, but there is a certain poetic justice here, with Monica and all. For his part, Bush is again taking the high road, and eschewing all political considerations in his push to have "Oh, PS: God hates fags" appended to the US Constitution. That's honor AND dignity in the White House, people.
I agree with this.
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The Dumbest Thing You'll Read All Week or Your Money Back 

From Instapundit:
ANDREA HARRIS: "I have a question on this WMD thing. So, apparently we are now concluding that Hussein did not, in fact, have a huge stash of nuclear weapons aimed at New York and Washington DC. That’s a good thing, isn’t it? It means that the thing the administration wanted to prevent was, in fact, prevented."

You'd think.
This brings up that great question Bob Somerby (of Daily Howler) once posed: Could it possibly get any stupider?" The answer is "No, none more stupid."
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Kerry--Not Bad 

About his victory speech last night:
Finally Kerry is speaking like we need him to!

During tonight's victory speech, he mentioned Bush and people began booing. He stopped short:

"No no no, we're not going to boo during the course of this campaign. We're going to cheer for what we're going to do in the future."

Yeah baby, that's how to do it!
Via Pandagon
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Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Conservatives 

The following is something I posted elsewhere responding to a post about why academia is dominated by liberals.

I think, yeah, in general, smart conservatives simply want to become CEOs as opposed to, say, social science professors.

The first time I really, really noticed this was when Jack Welch came to my law school to speak (around his book tour time). It was in the law school auditorium, but the audience was mostly B-school students. Welch came out and got an ovation I cannot describe for you. It was, well, creepy. It's the kind of ovation I would expect, say, if MLK or Thomas Jefferson came and gave a speech. Chanting of "Jack, Jack, Jack!" It was crazy. I mean, the guy was very successful, and, yes, is revered in the business world. But the utter lack of perspective was incredible. This guy did not cure cancer or help people, he simply created a lot of wealth for himself (and others, but I think most people were impressed with how much he made himself).

So, if this is the paragon of righteousness that we need to live up to, then it makes sense that we'll try to emulate Welch and not Ghandi.

Of course, movement conservatives aren't really like this--they seem to want power, not money, so there's a bit of a disconnect there. Also, outside some right-wing lawyers (i.e., Ted Olsen is really smart, as is Ken Starr), most movement conservatives really aren't too bright (check out the National Review or FOx News, you know?).
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Ha! 

The wonkette on The Note:
You know what The Note reminds us of? It's like a personal ad from a guy who says how every other typical American male is interested in your looks, but he's not. He cares about your personality, your sense of humor, your intelligence. . . But please send a picture. No fatties.
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SOTU Lies 

If you thought Uranium from Niger was a lie, read this. At least the uranium claim was backed up by disproven intelligence. This doesn't even have that--someone just made it up. God help us.
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Sunday, February 08, 2004

Media Admits it Screwed Dean 

Now that the one truly establishment-challenging candidate has been all but eliminated from the race, the media admits that it overplayed the infamous "scream" speech.

From the AP story:

"[Dianne] Sawyer reported that Dean was using a special microphone that night that filters out crowd noise to heighten his voice; other videotapes taken illustrate that his 'scream' was barely audible to his live audience.

To Trippi, Sawyer's report felt like a Super Bowl referee admitting -- after the game -- that he blew a call that decided the outcome."

Except, of course, that a referee has a split second to make a call in a Super Bowl - or at best a few minutes to review a replay. The media played this story out over the course of a week.

Also, if a referee blows a call in the Super Bowl, someone loses a football game rather than millions of Americans losing the chance to obtain health insurance.
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Small Business and Bush 

From the Center of American Progress' Progress Report from today, outlining "Claim vs. Fact" in Bush's MTP interview:
CLAIM: "But what the people must understand is that instead of wondering what to do, I acted, and I acted by cutting the taxes on individuals and small businesses, primarily. And that, itself, has led to this recovery."

FACT – BUSH TAX CUTS HAD LITTLE EFFECT ON SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS The Bush tax cuts had little effect on small business owners. Under the first tax cut, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reports, small business owners "would be far more likely to receive no tax reduction whatsoever from the Administration's tax package than to benefit" because only 3.7% of small business owners are affected by the top tax rate cuts that were the bulk of the plan. Under the 2003 tax cut, the Urban Institute-Brookings Tax Policy Center estimates "nearly four out of every five tax filers (79%) with small business income would receive less than the amount" while "52% of people with small business returns would get $500 or less." [Source: CBPP, 5/3/01; CBPP, 1/21/03]
Just a little something for those readers who may be trying to start a small business.
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Lazy Sundays 

I've already watched all of The Great Escape and most of North By Northwest today, and it's only 3pm.

Btw, I also watched Bruce Almighty, which I rented yesterday, and, good God did it suck.

And as for Meet the Press, I only watched about 45 minutes of the hour-long interview, and I don't really have much to add. Bush hemmed and hawed (sp?), but wasn't terrible, and Russert didn't really ask about, say, why the budget didn't include Iraq $$, why the Medicare bill is costing $140B more than originally said, etc. Oh, and as I read somewhere else, gay issues (marriage or otherwise) didn't come up at all. You think Russert will not bring it up when Kerry goes on?
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MTP 

I guess I'm the only person in the world who thought Bush did a pretty good job on Meet the Press this morning. I thought he was very convincing when he talked about the war in Iraq - so much so, that it reminded me why I supported the war in the first place (though torturedly!). Everything was going very well for him, until he was asked "was it worth the lives of 500 Americans to get Saddam out of power"? At first, I thought he was going to knock this out of the park - but then he just started repeating what he had said before.

The rest of the interview was pretty bad - but no worse than anything we'd seen before. People don't seem to care that he just doesn't have a firm understanding of even the major issues facing the country (or, if he does have such an understanding, he is far from able to articulate it). But I think he does understand the war in Iraq, and he also came across as genuinely believing that he did the right thing.

Of course, there were plenty of terrible things about the interview but, as I've said, we've heard it all before and nobody seems to care.
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Saturday, February 07, 2004

Incomparable Pre-MTP Reading 

The Howler has a MUST-READ today. Worth printing out and having in front of you as you watch W on Russert tomorrow. He predicts the three main dodges Bush will use, and outlines what Russert will have to do to avoid getting hustled by the Prez.
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Friday, February 06, 2004

Bush on MTP 

David Korn Corn of The Nation has questions Russert should ask the President. My favorite:
In October 2002, during a speech in Cincinnati, you said that Saddam Hussein had a "massive stockpile" of biological weapons. But the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq did not report there was any "massive stockpile" of bioweapons in Iraq. And this past Thursday, CIA director, George Tenet said, "We said we had no specific information on the types or quantities of [biological] weapons, agent, or stockpiles at Baghdad's disposal." So if the CIA did not say there was a "massive stockpile" of biological weapons in Iraq, what was your basis for asserting a stockpile existed? Did you know something the CIA did not? Did you overstate the intelligence?
This is my favorite because it is most in-tune with Russert's style. The other ones are really just as good, but aren't so Russert-esque.

Brad DeLong (who's site should be everyday reading, for everyone--the guy has officially become on of my heroes) also has questions.

So does Joe Conason, although, truth be told, these aren't that good. But definitely read Korn's and DeLong's. And for God's sake, read everything you can on DeLong's site.
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Rick Levin? 

Rick Levin, President of Yale University, is part of the Iraq Intelligence Commission. Wha?
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Today's Howler 

There's an incomparable Howler up today. Most interesting is the fact that the new spin on GWB's Guard duty seems to be, "Well, yeah he missed some days, but everyone did and it doesn't matter anyway." Wow. Quite a change from "reckless charge", and Ed Gillespie and Scott McClellan calling it a smear. I guess that line is now, as they say, inoperative.
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More on Bush and Kerry and Vietnam 

This is a long excerpt of a transcript from Aaron Brown's CNN show (the "NewsNight 360 Factor Reports"). It's a converation between Mr. Brown (who, btw, is not smart--he came to my highschool to do a report once and I met him) and James Webb, Secretary of the Navy under Reagan. Now, it's pretty clear this Webb guy is a life-long Republican, and it's interesting to hear his take on how veterans view John Kerry, and why. Via Ornicus:
BROWN: Don't you hate when ancient history is in your lifetime? So, how should we think about all of this if indeed we should think about it at all? Is Kerry's service relevant to today? Are his anti-war activities when he came home fair game?

And what about the president, he managed to find one of those coveted spots in the National Guard at a time, different from today, when that was very much a safe haven from Vietnam, does that matter? Does his attendance record, a matter of much debate, matter? Does all of it or any of it matter?

We're joined tonight by James Webb. Mr. Webb served as secretary of the Navy in the Reagan administration, a graduate of the Naval Academy and a decorated Marine. He is also an author of some note. We're pleased to have him with us. Is it fair game all of this stuff, Senator Kerry and the president's time 30 years ago?

JAMES WEBB, FORMER SECRETARY OF THE NAVY: I think it's not only fair game but I think there are considerations that are at play here that because they illuminate larger issues of credibility could really make this kind of nasty in a surprising way.

You have John Kerry who by all accounts served very well when he was in Vietnam. When he came home he, as you mentioned, was involved in the anti-war movement, Vietnam Veterans Against the War, which was a very small group of maybe 7,000 veterans at the most, Vietnam veterans and gained a lot of antipathy from people who served in Vietnam because of his role as a spokesman in what was called the winter soldiers or the winter crimes tribunal, which was involved in laying out a long list of allegations against the people that really hurt, stigmatized the people who served.

He also was one of the architects of the (unintelligible) [probably "rapprochement"] with communist Vietnam which, on the one hand, was good but on the other he gained the anger of a lot of the Vietnamese American community leaders because he never consulted them when he was dealing with the communists, so John...

BROWN: And -- I'm sorry, and the president?

WEBB: And George Bush did none of those things, George W. In fact, he did nothing. I mean he apparently was able to get his father's political influence in order to get him in to the Texas National Guard in 1968 at the height of the war at a time when being in the National Guard virtually guaranteed that you wouldn't have to go into combat.

He later transferred over into the Alabama National Guard. As you mentioned there is some question about his attendance records. The White House has responded in a rather confusing way by saying that these records have been lost.

I can tell you having spent three years as assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs in charge of the guard and the reserve programs it would be very unusual to lose these records.

They are important for monitoring pay, also for the credit that you get for drill that goes against satisfactory performance in the guard and these sorts of things, so there are a lot of questions out there.

And, at the same time, this is taking place against the backdrop of a war that a lot of the people who served in have sons and daughters serving in now and view as unnecessary.

BROWN: Let me -- let me ask the question this way. Whatever each of them did back then or didn't do back then they were a little bit more but not much more than kids. I mean they were, you know, 20, 21, 22, 23 years old. What does that tell us really about who they are today and how they would deal with the issues of today?

WEBB: Well, I think that's a really good question first of all and a valid question because first of all we make decisions all through our lives that we have to live with for the rest of our lives. And, second, the most important question really is who is the least dangerous in terms of the situation that we're in right now?

I say that because there's an enormous amount of concern about what the Bush administration has done in terms of the Iraq War and I personally would never even have thought that large numbers of Vietnam veterans would be moving toward John Kerry because of the anger toward him from before, but you're seeing this happen now largely just because of concern over the management of the Iraq War.

BROWN: Do you think that, you know, some day our kids are going to be sitting around talking about his that this will never go away or is there something about the moment that we're in, this kind of odd moment we're in where this may be the moment where we really do as a country come to terms with Vietnam?

WEBB: Well, you know, first of all I think that all historical events that are major events in a life of a country become assimilated. They don't go away. They become a part of the national dialogue forever and that's going to happen with Vietnam.

I had two ancestors die fighting for the Confederacy in the Civil War. That's something that still resonates through the communities and the families. But the situation now is different, as you said.

The issue of Vietnam when Bill Clinton was running was different because it was sort of intergenerational. He was running against World War II veterans. This issue the last time around with Al Gore I personally think that both sides were sort of holding back heavy artillery.

They didn't want to throw it out there but there is some volatility in both -- on both sides. Both of these people have some negatives that could hurt them and since Kerry's record is already out there, he's got a long record, everybody knows what he did in the anti-war movement and this sort of thing that it's natural for the Kerry campaign strategically to go after what George W. Bush did because their guy's stuff is already out there.
Emphasis added by Ornicus. Note how Webb sees an evolution in the thoughts of a lot of Vietnam vets, from not liking Kerry, to a sort of "time heals all wounds" feeling, to, now, some real affections and respect for the Senator. Interesting.
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Legal Realism 

Another voice from the school of legal realism.... are we sure Mr. Theismann did not go to the University of Chicago?

From an article on the Clarett decision...

""I think it's wrong," said former Redskins quarterback and current ESPN analyst Joe Theismann. "To me it's a little like the courts of the United States not understanding the world that they're ruling in and that they're just going by the letter of the law.""
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Gay Marraige 

This is a letter to the editor in Today's Times:
To the Editor:

Re "Massachusetts Gives New Push to Gay Marriage" (front page, Feb. 5):

My partner and I are happy to be part of a community of gay men and women who are part of long-term relationships.

We have been together for 43 years. Britney Spears was married for 55 hours and had more legal rights than we ever had.

It's about time that the courts recognized that gays can and do love, share and commit their lives to one another; in many cases, these relationships last longer than straight marriages.

DINO GEORGIOU
Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Feb. 5, 2004
This is a pretty good point.
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Thursday, February 05, 2004

Give to Dean 

I suggest that anyone reading this blog who cares about the future of this country go to Dean For America and donate money to the Howard Dean campaign.

Essentially, this is a plea to Goldberg to give more money to Dean. This is quite possibly going to be his last stand - I think we should get it all out of our systems now so that we can support the nominee in a few months. And, there is still the possibility that Dean could win with a victory in Wisconsin.

If we pick our Presidential candidate simply on the basis of beating George Bush, on the basis of fear and anger, then Bush has already won.

(That was fun to say - apologies for the subtle comparison of Bush to terrorists.)

One candidate running for President has the ability to take our country back. Let's help him win.
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First and Last Post Ever on G&G About Scott Peterson 

This is the lede in an article on CNN.com:
A woman who said she saw Laci Peterson alive and well the morning authorities allege she was dead at the hands of her husband has died.
Is this not the worst thing you've ever read?
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Some Plame Developments? 

Possible indictments coming down the pike for Scooter Libby and John Hannah, two of Cheney's top guys?
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Clinton and Bush: More on Vietnam 

It's obvious that what Clinton and Bush did to avoid Vietnam was similar. (Although, Bush had influence to wield because of who his daddy was; Clinton had earned this influence through hard work and accomplishments since he was born into poverty.) The real advantage of having a military man as our nominee is that it lessens the effectiveness of the Republican lie that Democrats "loathe" the military or that we don't care about national security.

I think there's another difference between Clinton and Bush did - a possible difference, anyway. Clinton was genuinely opposed to the war in Vietnam. I have no idea if Bush was - but I have seen no evidence that he ever worked to get our country out of Vietnam.

However, a young Bill Clinton wrote this:

"I worked for two years in a very minor position on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. I did it for the experience and the salary but also for the opportunity, however small, of working every day against a war I opposed and despised with a depth of feeling I had reserved solely for racism in America before Vietnam. I did not take the matter lightly but studied it carefully, and there was a time when not many people had more information about Vietnam at hand than I did. I have written and spoken and marched against the war."

And this:

"From my work I came to believe that the draft system itself is illegitimate. No government really rooted in limited, parliamentary democracy should have the power to make its citizens fight and kill and die in a war they may oppose, a war which even possibly may be wrong, a war which, in any case, does not involve immediately the peace and freedom of the nation.

The draft was justified in World War II because the life of the people collectively was at stake. Individuals had to fight, if the nation was to survive, for the lives of their countrymen and their way of life. Vietnam is no such case. Nor was Korea an example where, in my opinion, certain military action was justified but the draft was not, for the reasons stated above."

And this:

"I am writing too in the hope that my telling this one story will help you to understand more clearly how so many fine people have come to find themselves still loving their country but loathing the military, to which you and other good men have devoted years, lifetimes, of the best service you could give. To many of us, it is no longer clear what is service and what is disservice, or if it is clear, the conclusion is likely to be illegal."

(Note how he never said that he loathed the military - as noted by many before.)

The whole letter is here.

To Bill Clinton's enemies, that letter is self-serving and allowed him to justify avoiding military service and protect his future political career. But it reads to me like a man genuinely torn for so many reasons (including political ambition). Do I have any idea if Bush went through similar torment? No. Was Bush against the war in Vietnam? I don't know. But if he was for the war and if he still avoided military service - that is something worse than what Bill Clinton did. After all, that would mean that he was for the war - as long as rich kids like him got to stay home and poor kids, like Bill Clinton, had to go to Vietnam and die.
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Kerry's Status as War Hero 

I had foolishly thought that this might help Kerry in the general election. However, Ann Coulter has set me straight with a brilliant analysis of voting trends amongst Americans:

"While there is indisputably nothing cooler than having fought for your country, John Kerry's status as a Vietnam veteran is unlikely to change a single vote. Military guys will support Bush, and liberals don't admire bravery."

And then I remembered that, she's right, I don't admire bravery, and neither do any of my liberal friends. Therefore, I'm supporting the candidate who used his political influence to avoid Vietnam by serving in the National Guard.


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Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Bad News for Dems 

I'm sitting here at work, reading about last night, and all I can think about is how unfairly Dean has been treated during this process. And I'm starting to think about how fun it would be to vote for Nader again, just to again give a big "fuck you" to the people who did this to him.

Of course, I will almost certainly vote for the Democratic nominee. (Especially now that Joementum has ended.) However, rest assured if I am thinking this, the true Deaniacs are thinking it as well. And the Democrats cannot win without those of us who actually still believe that the government exists to help people, not just to stop Republicans from hurting them.

Again, I realize this isn't a very rational response, and I'm not really looking to defend it. I'm just saying that I am not the only one feeling this way, and it's a problem for the Democrats.
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Gail Collins needs to read her Hofstadter 

The New York Times has a pretty good lead editorial today outlining the primaries. I pretty much agree with it, as it talks mainly about how both Edwards and Kerry have some solid selling points. And as I am now an undecided voter (assuming Dean doesn't rise up, Phoenix-like), it makes a lot of sense to me. However, the editorial contains this statement:
The most logical alternative at this point appears to be Senator John Edwards, who won the South Carolina primary last night and had a strong finish in Oklahoma. Mr. Edwards is an attractive candidate, heir to the old tradition of turn-of-the-century Southern populism before it became infected with racism.
As I said, Collins, who's written books on the women's movement and therefore should know her history, needs to read some Richard Hofstadter. Populism, of the William Jennings Bryan kind, was always infected with racism. It wasn't necessarily a racist movement, but that element was very much a part of it. Silly New York Times.
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Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Poll 

The results of this CNN/USA Today poll are all very interesting, but this is jaw-dropping:

How do you view the major Parties?

Democrats: 59 Favorable, 34 Unfavorable.

Republicans: 48 Favorable, 45 Unfavorable.

Via Pandagon.

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More Incorrect Primary Predictions 

Edwards win SC, and get delegates (i.e., over 15% of vote) in MO, OK, ND and AZ.

Clark does not win OK, so he may drop out.

Dean gets delegates in AZ, NM, DE, ND, and MO (this is a bold prediction, and therefore probably just not wrong but very wrong). But he does not win anything, not even NM.

Kerry wins everywhere but SC.

I really haven't thought about this enough. Kos has more thorough preditions.
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Monday, February 02, 2004

Slate 

Well, less than 24-hours after kickoff, Slate, steeped in its more-contrarian-than-thou tradition as it is, already has an article telling you that you're wrong: The Superbowl actually sucked.

Of course, the Superbowl did no such thing, as all right-thinking people know. God, this tendency by Slate is just annoying.
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Legitimate Discourse 

Fresh on my post about "decency" and the big to-do about it, I was reading Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback column on CNNSI. Talking about how sweet Tom Brady is in the clutch in playoffs and Superbowl, he writes:
If you seriously think it's premature to compare him to Joe Montana, you are high.
I mean, seriously, is this the best he could come up with? If you don't agree with me, you must be high? I mean this: how is such a sentence considered a legitimate exercise in public discourse?
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Bill O'What in the Hell? 

In my obsessive quest to find funny Bill O'Reilly quotes, I occasionally come across something that makes no sense or, if it does make sense, is just incredibly disturbing and odd. From Bill's web site...

"This is not about a bare breast. If Janet Jackson wants to flash, she can come over to my office anytime. I'll leave the door unlocked."

What?
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Janet Jackson's Boob 

White House may have leaked undercover CIA agent's identity as a way of intimidating its political enemies? Investigation begins several months later.

Janet Jackson's boob exposed for 1 second during halftime show of Super Bowl? Investigation begins next day.
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Decency 

I got today's Nightline email about tonight's show:

TONIGHT'S FOCUS: Decency on TV. Now a lot of people will say that those two terms are mutually exclusive. But the day after the half-time show, everyone seems to be talking about what can and cannot be shown on TV, and perhaps more importantly, what should be shown.
I consider this a nonstory, but let me comment nonetheless. Well, I never will understand why people are so afraid of the word "fuck." I don't see how it really harms anyone to hear that word, or others, including small children. As for a split-second shot of a breast, something I'd not really have seen except for the fact I have TiVo (and my friends made me wind and re-wind the moment), is this worse that ads from 3 companies hawking ED pills (including one warning you to tell a Doc if your erection lasts over 10 hours or something), people getting bit in the crotch by dogs, ads telling you that marijuana use will cause you, inexorably, to get sick and die, etc? Not to mention the subtext of the subjugation of women that was clear throughout the Justin/Janet performance. I mean, would it have been "appropriate" in any sense of the word for there to have been some sort of bra-like thing covering her? The Ah-nold-like acceptance of groping is there, nonetheless.

And in any event, nothing was more offensive in the 10 hour CBS coverage (or however long it was) than Aerosmiths' faux-tribute to the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia. Now THAT was inappropriate.
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Meaningless Stat Alert 

Michael Novak has a column on the National Review defending the war from Iraq.

First, he notes that the media is vastly over-reporting the number of deaths in Iraq, since they are including accidental deaths - which might be happening anyway. I guess this means something. He notes that the actual number of combat deaths is a mere 343 - NOT 500.

Then he points out a stat that supporters of the war like to toss about from time to time....

"During 2003, the number of homicides in Chicago was 599, in New York City 596, in Los Angeles 505, in Detroit 361, in Philadelphia 347, in Baltimore 271, in Houston 276, and in Washington 247. That makes 3,002 murders in only eight cities."

What in God's name is this supposed to mean? Is Chicago a worse place than Iraq? If so, shouldn't the deaths of Iraqi soldiers and civilians be counted- after all, the actual death toll might be in the hundreds of thousands. And if we must judge everything based only on the number of deaths - wasn't this mission a waste of time? Couldn't the money have saved more lives if it was used to, I don't know, give AIDS drugs to every HIV positive person in the world or bring fresh water to everyone in any third world country?

I just don't understand what this stat means or how in anyway it furthers the argument that the war in Iraq was a good idea. It is very reminiscent of another conservative stat - the fact that George W. Bush got more votes in 2000 than Bill Clinton ever received. Of course, Al Gore also got more votes in 2000 than Bill Clinton ever received and, in fact, also got more votes than George W. Bush received in 2000.

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