Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Roger Ailes is under the weather, but hopes to be above the weather by tomorrow. In the meantime, please enjoy the blogs conveniently listed to your right.

p.s. It isn't the Norwalk virus.

Monday, February 10, 2003

Fractured Fairy Tales

Media Whores Online tells us the tale of Vennochio, the glove puppet who wanted to be a real journalist, but instead made out of a jackass of herself because she couldn't stop lying. The incomparable Bob Somerby demonstrates out that Vennochio was fibbing again in her e-mail to Dan Kennedy, when she claimed that Kerry was not "fully disclosing" his ethnic heritage. Somerby points out that Kerry's heritage was known to Vennochio's Boston Globe colleagues even as Vennochio was claiming that Kerry was hiding facts. (Vennochio argues that Kerry was covering up the facts "locally" while disclosing them on national television shows, apparently relying the little-known fact that television was first introduced to Boston in late 1990s.) As a bonus, Somerby recalls that Vennochio has been lying about Democratic Presidential candidates since at least 2000.

The only thing that could make Vennochio's fairy tales more loathsome is if Roberto Benigni was somehow involved in the whole sordid mess.

Sunday, February 09, 2003

The Mirror Crack'd Andy Sullivan looks into the mirror and sees ... Michael Jackson. And you thought Mickey Kaus had it bad.

Actually, Sully says that Jacko is the "man in our mirror." Speak metaphorically for yourself, Sully. I've never looked in the mirror and seen anything like Michael Jackson, and I don't know a single other person who has.

Oedipus Sully Sully also refers to "paternal-killer Erik Menendez" in a recent post about gay marriage. He's apparently forgotten that Erik and his brother, Lyle, were convicted of killing their mother, Kitty Menedez, as well as their father.

Inaccuracy In Academia

Tompaine.Com writer Alec Dubro details the commitment to accuracy demonstrated by Daniel J. Flynn, executive director of Accuracy in Academia:

I tried to ask Flynn this question, but he was signing furiously and waved me off. So, I searched his book for the evidence, and there it was: "Lindh grew up in Marin County, California, home to Berkeley, site of Angela Davis's flight from the law, and the constituency of the lone congressional voice against an American military response to the terrorist attacks. If simply by osmosis, John Walker Lindh could not help but absorb the trendy anti-Americanism that pervades his community."

A pretty compelling case except that Berkeley is across the Bay from Marin County, Angela Davis fled to New York, and Barbara Lee, who cast the offending vote, represents Alameda County. As for the osmotic effect of trendy pervasive anti-Americanism, it didn't seem to encourage any other Marin resident to join the Taliban. Moreover, according to U.S. News, the hundreds of American jihadists came not from the left, but from across the social and political spectrum.

Of course, dumbass also thinks that surfing and the computer are American inventions, so it's not surprising his geographic knowledge is equally weak.

Babbler O'Reilly Threatens To Tear Guest to Fucking Pieces

Mark Crispin Miller reports that not only did the demented racist, Bill O'Reilly, insult Jeremy M. Glick, the son of a Port Authority Officer killed in the World Trade Center, he also assaulted Glick.

The following day, Bill O'Reilly continued his attacks on Mr. Glick by falsely claiming that Mr. Glick "was out of control and spewing hatred." The transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor" itself shows that these statements are wrong. What Mr. Glick said was "Why would I want to further brutalize and punish the people of Afghanistan�� �The people of Afghanistan � didn�t kill my father,� and the CIA ��that trained a hundred thousand Mujahedeen� bore some responsibility. Mr. Glick remained calm, focused and dignified throughout the entire show. The video shows it was Bill O'Reilly that lost his composure. After the interview he told Mr. Glick to "Get out, get out of my studio before I tear you to f**king pieces!" (Emphasis added.)

O'Reilly's propensity for violence has increased dramatically since he avoided service during the Vietnam War. Then again, Glick wasn't armed.

The perfect gift for that .... er ... unconventional grandchild.

Although you might consider this one, too, Bill.

No-Facts the Hack

Apologists for Bob Novak are always saying Novak is one of the few opinion columnists around who does actual reporting. Yeah, but his "reporting" usually involves reprinting gossip from such worthies as Russian spy and Opus Dei member Robert Hanssen. And how much reporting did Novak do in re-writing a press release into the following item:

Lobbyists and others on a select Washington mailing list have been invited to a two-hour presentation Feb. 26 by one of President Bush's brothers: Marvin Bush, who heads a private investment firm in Alexandria, Va. "You are cordially invited to learn more about methods of managing risk in volatile markets utilizing alternative investment strategies," says the invitation. The event is scheduled at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, with "light refreshments" promised to be served. "Seating is limited to 50 guests," says the invitation, which also sets a financial requirement for guests: "Investor suitability: $5 million of investable assets." Bush is co-founder, president and a partner in Winston Partners, described as a sub-adviser to Brown Brothers Harriman Hedged Partners. Bush promises to discuss hedge funds and how "volatility" is reduced by "alternatives to stocks and bonds."
I rewrite the e-mail that's sent to me, too, and nobody calls me a journalist.

Post Mortem

The Washington Post Book World continues to embarass itself, this time with a substance-free review of Eric Alterman's What Liberal Media? The reviewer, one Jay Rosen of the NYY J-School, begins with a perfunctory summary of Alterman's thesis and then... says nothing significant about it.

Instead, Rosen complains about the subject of the book. Alterman says that the conservative-dominated media is bad for democracy, Rosen claims; but would a liberal-dominated media be any better, Rosen asks? But that's not the book Alterman wrote. If you're interested in that subject, Rosen, you can write a book about it. In the meantime, trying addressing the merits of the book you've been hired to review.

Ultimately, Rosen falls back on the old, old dodge: the right claims the media is biased against it, and so does the left; therefore, they must both be wrong. Rosen's review is like the "civic journalism" of which he is a leading proponent -- it sounds high-minded but is actually hollow, and unwilling and unable to reach a conclusion even though the facts are plain to see.

Saturday, February 08, 2003

Financial Aid and Comfort

It is said that those who oppose war with Iraq are "objectively pro-Saddam." They are "fifth-columnists," giving moral support and comfort to the Iraqi regime. They hate America. They should be prosecuted for treason. The only way these folks could be more traitorous is if they actually gave huge sums of money to Saddam, like, say, the FOX News Channel does:

The networks don�t like to talk about how much they actually spend, but one veteran of the media scene here estimated the cost for a major TV network at about $100,000 a month. Others say that is a low estimate. Almost all of this cash (except a few �tips� here and there) goes directly to the Iraqi government. Once you add up the bill for the TV networks alone, we�re talking perhaps millions of dollars in revenue a month for the government.

....It is particularly ironic that while Rupert Murdoch�s �troops� from FOX News Network rally for the war, dismissing antiwar activists as dupes of the Iraqi regime, the �network America trusts� is paying �Saddam� (as they refer to Iraq) hand over fist tens of thousands of dollars every month. But stroll down the halls of the press center and you�ll see that Rupert�s troops have multiple battalions. He also owns Sky News (the British version of FOX), as well as the Times of London. A bit of research would probably find that Murdoch owns other publications operating here as well.

FOX News reporters (and others as well) like to say �for the benefit of the viewers� that their broadcasts are being monitored by the Iraqi government. Fair enough. But perhaps the Murdoch Empire should begin each of its reports or dispatches from Baghdad by disclosing how much money they paid �Saddam� today.

My hands are clean, Roger, how about yours?

Friday, February 07, 2003

Meet Your Lily White Media

Like a polar bear eating marshmallows in a snow storm.

It bothered me that none of the memorial services for the Columbia astronauts included Hindu prayers or clergy, although Christian and Jewish officiants offered prayers at all of the ceremonies. Kalpana Chawla's religion was mentioned at the National Cathedral service, but no rites were performed. According to an Indian Embassy press secretary, Chawla was a devout Hindu. All of Chawla's colleagues spoke about her with great affection, so I'd like to think it was an oversight rather than due to a lack of respect. Unfortunately, though, that's a hard assumption to make, given the central role of religion in all of the memorial services I saw.

A Neo-Confederacy of Dunces

Infighting is threatening to do to the conservative movement what inbreeding could not. Read and enjoy!

Influential national defense specialist Frank Gaffney and American Conservative Union President David A. Keene yesterday separately accused Mr. Norquist of employing "Stalinist tactics" against those who disagree with Mr. Norquist's role in brokering access to the Bush White House.

Mr. Norquist had accused Mr. Gaffney and some of his allies in the conservative movement of "racism" and religious bigotry....

Nonetheless, Mr. Gaffney says his "concern is that Grover is playing the role of enabler, I assume unwittingly, for the Wahhabist [radical Muslim] agenda and its penetration of our political system � and especially of the Bush White House," Mr. Gaffney said....

Mr. Norquist yesterday barred Mr. Gaffney from attending the regular Wednesday morning meetings of conservative Capitol Hill aides and interest-group representatives held in Mr. Norquist's L Street offices. The White House regularly sends a representative to the meetings, at which Mr. Rove has occasionally been the featured speaker.

In disputes with organizers of two recent conservative conferences, Mr. Norquist warned his critics to back off because Mr. Bush and Mr. Rove were on his side.

Will the rift between the racial and religious bigots and the Islamo-Stalinists tear the G.O.P. apart?

And shouldn't David Keene be paying a little more attention to his son, the Beltway Gunman, who is presently incarcerated without bail and awaiting trial?

Not Roger's Mailbag, Thank God

Of all the reasons to be thankful I'm not that Roger Ailes, one of the best is that I don't get his mail. Case in point: This form letter thoughtfully pre-written and digested for the rhetorically-challenged followers of Reed Irvine's Accuracy in Media:

Mr. Roger Ailes
Chairman and CEO
FOX News Channel
1211 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10036

Dear Mr. Ailes:

I have sent a card to Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr. criticizing the Times for running two articles and an editorial attacking you for recommending to Pres. Bush that he take strong measures in response to 9/11. Accuracy in Media has reminded us of the Times' handling of Walter Cronkite's 1990 admission that in 1968 he advised Bobby Kennedy to seek the Democratic nomination for president. The Times printed on its op-ed page excerpts from the talk in which Cronkite made this admission, but it printed no criticism of it. AIM also points out that the media give politicians advice all the time and that one of their worst violations of journalistic ethics is helping politicians they like by suppressing news that would hurt them, such as the cover-up of the evidence that Vincent Foster was murdered and TWA Flight 800 was shot down. Fox News should show its balance by reporting stories like these, showing up the Times.

Imagine people like the ones who would send this letter knowing where you work.

Heh. The accompanying visuals would be pages being torn from a calendar by an unseen hand, time-lapse photography of trees growing and icicles forming on a red pitchfork.
What Liberal Media? is now ranked 38th at Amazon.com. It looks like Eric will soon overtake Michael Weiner's Asshole Nation.

Update: Eric's moved up to number 33 at 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time.

Thursday, February 06, 2003

I earlier cited a New York Times op-ed piece by former CIA Iraq specialist Stephen Pelletiere, who questioned whether a certain chemical warfare attack upon a Kurdish village during the Iran-Iraq war was the work of Saddam Hussein's forces. Reader Leah A. pointed out that Pelletiere was citing a report issued when our government was pro-Iraq (and anti-Iran), and that human rights organizations challenged the conclusions of the report at the time. The New Republic has now published a web-only article by Associate Editor Stephen Ackerman which also challenges Pelletiere's conclusions.

It's beyond me to say who's got the factually stronger case, but it is certainly something I'd like to read more about.

TBogg and The Rittenhouse Review dissect the latest ravings of the anti-Semitic Ann Coulter. Why does anyone take this bigot seriously?
Here's Little Mick's brilliant take on Senator Hillary Clinton's speech concerning homeland security: "There's not a glimmer of humanity or wit in the whole thing."

Just what an anti-terrorism policy speech needs, more witicisms. In case Hillary gives the speech again, I offer the following quip for her use: "The President's homeland security policy is like a toupee on Mickey Kaus, it doesn't help anyone and it doesn't fool anyone."

(Edited, and yet, it's still not very funny.)

Dixie Hicks Get Dicked

I know. You drove to the polls last November in your beat-up pickup truck, with the Confederate battle flag in the back window hanging over your deer rifle and shotgun, to vote for ol' Sonny, who promised, by the next election day or so, to let you vote on changing the Georgia flag. You cast your vote and sure 'nuff, ol' Sonny was elected.... [Para.] You were going to the inauguration to celebrate the election of this new governor who was going to listen to the voice of the people. And when the crowd rose to cheer, you were going to wave that flag with all your might. [Para.] I know. The word soon came down that no flags would be allowed at the inauguration ceremonies, not even the good ol' US of A flag....

You see, there may be some folk there from the liberal press who would take a picture of you and your buddies in shirts covered with the Confederate battle emblem and waving all those Confederate flags. And the word may get out that ol' Sonny actually played the race card to help win the election.

You didn't know, did you? You are not going to get to vote on the new Georgia flag. What you think is going to be a vote on changing the flag has turned out to be what the new governor calls a "non-binding referendum." Those big words mean that the governor is going to take a straw poll. And the results don't mean diddly squat.

You didn't know, did you? The governor ain't going to take the changing of the flag to the Legislature unless he has to. Word has already come down from the governor's office that it will take at least two years to get the issue before the Legislature. That's strange. It only took a few weeks for the former governor to get a vote on the new flag. -- Robert L. Richardson

It's a cryin' shame, isn't it. You can't even trust a Republican race-baiter anymore.

(Thanks to Mac Diva.)

There's an interesting new review of More Guns, Less Crime at the Amazon.com website.

Those of us who have followed gun issues for years have been skeptical of Lott's claims all along. His latest assertion, that he personally conducted a national survey that established a 98 percent reduction of crime rate if a gun was brandished changes that skepticism to disbelief:

"Dr. Lott's accusers suggest that he was unwilling to admit that he had misinterpreted Kleck's study, opting instead to credit a never-before-mentioned national survey of his own for the 98% figure. Wrong as it would have been, one can certainly imagine an author of a 321-page book convincing himself that a small sleight of hand on page 3 would never be questioned." (Ibid.)

Lott offers no evidence for his claimed telephone survey, just his word. Words are cheap. Back to the drawing board on this issue.

I'm guessing Mary Jr. and Mrs. Mary didn't pen this one.

Oh, and Lott's ranked 6,207, compared to "What Liberal Media?"'s rank of 45.

You Get What You Pay For

Is the Bush Administration serious about investigating the government failures that preceded the September 11 attacks? Dwight Meredith does the math.

The Administration has proposed a $3 million budget for the federal government's 9/11 investigation. In contrast:

The Danforth investigation into the Branch Davidian killings cost $11 million. That's $11 million spent pandering to and placating wingnuts, despite that fact that anyone with the intelligence of a 10-year-old knew that Koresh and his followers murdered four ATF agents in cold blood and then set fire to their own compound, killing themselves and their children in the process. (Dwight is much more charitable about the purposes and need for the Danforth investigation.)

The FBI investigation into the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building exceeded $80 million, not including another $13 million paid to Tim McVeigh's defense team.

In order to avoid distractions from his central point, Dwight omitted reference to the Starr "Whitewater" fiasco. But according to the Republican Party, Bill Clinton's losing real estate investment and where he put his cock are thirteen times more important than determining how to prevent future terrorist attacks.

One could make even more pointed comparisons, such as to Reese Withspoon's payday for Legally Blonde 2 ($15 million) or the amount of money George Bush spent per month during the Republican primaries in 2000 ($6.1 million). At least we know where Bush's priorities are.

Who Do You Trust?

During an NPR call-in following Colin Powell's address to the United Nations, a U.S. serviceman who favored going to war against Iraq asked, in essence, "Who do you trust more, Colin Powell and George Bush, or Saddam Hussein?" The correct response to this question is, "Why do I have to choose?" No one I know who opposes war against Iraq believes that Hussein is not a dictator, or that he lies (among all of his other misdeeds). But the fact that Hussein is dishonest does not mean the Bush Administration tells the truth.

Tom Spenser provides an important example from the last war against Iraq. In 1992, Beth Osborne Daponte, a Ph.D candidate at the University of Chicago and an employee of the G.H.W. Bush Commerce Department, was assigned to provide an estimate of the Iraqi population. As Business Week explains:

Daponte ... had been assigned to update an annual world-population survey by Commerce's Census Bureau of Foreign Countries. That required her to estimate how many Iraqis had died from the war and its aftermath, including the rebellion of Shiites in the South and Kurds in the North (an additional 30,000 deaths, she estimated). Daponte used a 1987 Iraqi census and U.N. figures as her base of comparison.

Daponte's conclusion:

In all, 40,000 Iraqi soldiers were killed in the conflict, she concluded, putting total Iraqi losses from the war and its aftermath at 158,000, including 86,194 men, 39,612 women, and 32,195 children.

The Defense Intelligence Agency later estimated that 100,000 Iraqi soliders alone were killed in the Gulf war.

Osborne's problem was that her estimate, though accurate, contradicted the statements of the Secretary of Defense, Dick "Chickenhawk" Cheney. Accordingly, Daponte's report was written to match Cheney's incorrect figures, and Daponte was threatened with the loss of her job. The sad fact is that American Presidents and their administrations lie during war, to suit their own purposes, whether it's Johnson and Nixon or Bushes Sr. and Jr. The current administration has made it a practice to hire liars from the Iran-Contra era.

The choice is not one between Hussein and Bush; it's one between truth and lies.

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Dude! Brian Linse is back.

And Cowboy Kahlil has moved here.

Cut-And-Paste-And-Rewrite

Andrew Sullivan:

"'We are happy that it broke up,' Saddam government employee Abdul Jabbar al-Quraishi said. 'God wants to show that his might is greater than the Americans. They have encroached on our country. God is avenging us,' he said." - Reuters, Saturday.

Reuters, Saturday:

"We are happy that it broke up," government employee Abdul Jabbar al-Quraishi said.

"God wants to show that his might is greater than the Americans. They have encroached on our country. God is avenging us," he said.


Right-Wing Homophobia

"His interview with the monster [Saddam Hussein] will surely rank high up there in the annals of moral obtuseness along with Jimmy Carter's fellatial interactions with various mass murderers."

If you have to click this, you haven't been paying attention.

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

Thanks, Ralph

Those enjoying Ralph Nader's No War For Oil campaign (a press conference for which is being re-broadcast right now on C-SPAN2) should get a kick out of this:

Is there anyone in public life who comes close to representing your views?

[CHRIS HITCHENS:] Most recently, I�d say it would be Jerry Brown or Ralph Nader. One is a crazed, semi-Catholic, and one is a sort of crazed health nut, safety-first fanatic. But both are people of integrity, and they�re in politics because of conviction. And I�m very, very glad that neither of them ever had a chance of becoming President. But I�m glad that they ran. And I�m very glad that Nader stayed in to the end, because he hurt Al Gore�s chances of winning.

(via Atrios.)

Groundblog's Day

Instapundit, J.D., N.A.C.A. has a new post on John-Marie Lott. It's essentially a rewrite, with elaboration, of his January 12 post, which I masterfully deconstructed here.

Reynolds does elaborate on two points. First, he repeats the argument that Lott's conduct is equivalent to Joseph Ellis's. But he then claims that Lott's alleged false statements, like Ellis's, were "not in fact part of his published scholarship." Not true. It was published in Lott's Book, More Guns, Less Crimes. Either Reynolds is completely ignorant about the substance of the controversy, or he is completely disingenuous.

Secondly, Reynolds weakly argues that "the serious charges against Lott" are "unproven" and "a matter of conjecture rather than actual evidence." As a law prof, Reynolds should know that the burden of proof often falls on the party which is best able to meet that burden. Here, all of the evidence of the existence of a survey (if it exists) would be in Lott's possession. Certainly if Lott wants to be taken seriously as a scholar, he should be able to back up his claims with hard evidence. In contrast, Lott's critics have met their burden, by proving that Lott cannot come up with any credible proof of his alleged survey.

Ashcroft Justice

Talk Left has some good coverage of the conviction of Oakland's Ed Rosenthal by the Ashcroft Justice Department. Rosenthal was convicted under federal law for growing medicinal marijuana, even though his activities were legal under California law. The S.F. Chronic reports:

After a two-week trial Friday, a 12-member federal jury unanimously concluded that Rosenthal, a world-renowned marijuana advocate, was growing more than 100 plants, conspired to cultivate marijuana and maintained an Oakland warehouse for a growing operation. He was painted as a major drug manufacturer and put on little, if any, defense.

The jury was not told that Rosenthal was acting as an agent of the city of Oakland's medical marijuana program, which was an outgrowth of a 1996 medical marijuana initiative approved by California's voters.

At least four of the 12 jurors would not have voted to convict if Rosenthal would have been permitted to testify as to those facts.

The next time you hear some Republican talk about federalism or states' rights or smaller government or the Tenth Amendment, please remember that he's just blowing smoke up your ass.

Not Ready For Duty, Sir

Recent events have revealed troubling deficiencies in our war-time resources. It must be said: our basic cable news media lacks the resources to cover a two-front war.

Say that Bush begins bombing Iraq. The physical resources are there, even if the intellectual ones are not. But then Phil Spector enters a not guilty plea and demands a speedy trial. Now what? Does Geraldo interview Gerry Spence and Mark Furhman from the Mideast, or does he fly to L.A.? And what if Laci Peterson's husband is arrested? My God! Connie Chung is only one woman. Can Larry King put Liz, Liza and Ozzy on the same all-star panel as Woody and Condi? And what if Wacko Jacko gives another interview? Do Bill O'Reilly and Greta Van Sustern have the stamina to cover both fronts? And, God forbid, what happens if Larry Kudlow falls off the wagon but the War on Terror has cut off all cocaine imports?

What Liberal Media?

This was going to be my last plug for What Liberal Media? by Dr. E. Alterman. However, it seems that oh so liberal media is afraid to give Eric's book any positive coverage. So I'll continue to plug it as long as the media continues to run from it.

Monday, February 03, 2003

The Most Fun You Can Have With Your Shoes On

"The United States and Britain will invade Iraq within the next month or so. We will win and, likely, win quickly and relatively easily. And then the fun will start." -- Dick Morris, the Happy Warrior

I'm sure the parents of those brave men killed in combat will be glad that their sons died in service of Dick Morris' erection.

You can read all about Morris' own exemplary military career here. Morris turned 18 in 1966.

Roger Ailes welcomes the The Talking Dog, an excellent political blog originating from Brooklyn. Just don't ask him who the greatest baseball player of all time is.
The New York Times gets its McDougal correction completely wrong. Geez, it's like failing an open-book test.
Atrios links to a flame war last year between Mary Rosh and someone named Ed Huntress about a John Lott article in the New York Post. Lott sought to prove an anti-gun bias in the media based on the fact that an AP article didn't mention a campus gunman had been subdued by two fellow law students with guns. Lott omitted the fact that both students were off-duty cops (and that the gunman was out of ammunition when he was captured).

The Post story was one of the last good debates on the Media Whores Online message board before it was shut down. I wonder if Lott ever visited MWO incognito.

It's What Liberal Media? Eve

Wingnuts roasting on an open fire
Goldberg's lies are all exposed
Tiny hacks with their scalps all a-glow
Will find it hard to sleep tonight...

(Okay, last plug... I'm paying retail.)

I'll Be Hack

E! Online has a summary of the Ah-nold article that's got Mickey Kaus's knickers in a twist. Says E!:

Either way, Premiere doesn't paint a pretty picture. Starting with a string of alleged gropings of female TV personalities that occurred last year while Schwarzenegger was in London promoting The 6th Day, Connolly outlines a pattern of behavior that, according to unnamed sources, included unwanted fondling of female crew members and verbal abuse of his coworkers, among other indescretions.

Connolly also quotes a woman who claimed to have walked into Schwarzenegger's trailer during the making of 1996's Eraser and supposedly discovered him giving oral sex to a woman.

Kaus whines not about the article itself, but about an op-ed piece from a Gray Davis campaign aide who recounts faxing the Premiere story to reporters last year, when Arnold was bad-mouthing Davis and making noises about a run for the governorship. One could almost take seriously Kaus's umbrage at gossiping pols, except for Kaus's perverse obsessions with the private lives of certain public figures, including Gary Condit (see 1/28), Bob Greene (same) and of course, President Clinton.

Hey, Mick, did you ever consider that maybe South wanted reporters to know about Ah-nold's "verbal abuse of coworkers," a trait that you found extremely newsworthy in the case of Rep. Bob Matsui (1/27)? What a nice man!

Kaus Takes Journey of Self-Discovery; Finds Vast Wasteland

The diminuitive cheap-shot artist, Mickey Kaus, has again taken up substance-free bashing of Democratic presidential hopeful, John Kerry. Kaus -- who is already on record as finding Kerry "loathsome" -- smirks:

John Kerry's current campaign isn't just a run for the White House. It's "a voyage of self-discovery"!

Of course, the quote isn't from Kerry himself, it's from a Boston Globe article about Kerry. Nothing in the article even remotely suggests that Kerry is running for President to "discover himself." To the contrary, the article states that Kerry has been searching for information about his grandfather for years.

Kaus doesn't explain why Kerry's interest in his family history is a bad thing, he just assumes it's a character flaw. But for Little Mick, any self-knowledge is a dangerous thing.

UPDATE: James Capozzola says it better.

Sunday, February 02, 2003

Who's Hotter: Aguilera or Satyagraha?

"We at Maxim do, in fact, believe in Gandhi's teachings of peace."-- Editor-In-Chief Keith Blanchard

Profiles Of The Fallen Astronauts

From the Washington Post.

Meet Your Liberal Media

From the New York Times:

Corrections

A review in the Book Review last Sunday about "The Woman Who Wouldn't Talk," by Susan McDougal, misstated the crimes of which she was convicted in connection with the failed real estate scheme known as Whitewater. They were four counts of fraud, in May 1996. In April 1999 she was acquitted of obstruction of justice, and a jury did not reach a verdict on two charges of criminal contempt.

Tuesday is What Liberal Media Day

Eric Alterman's expose of the liberal media lie goes on sale nationwide Tuesday.

I boldly predict it will reach Number 1 on the NYT Non-Fiction Bestsellers List without any bogus bulk purchases or fraudulent Amazon reviews by Erica Alterman.

Do Let The Door Hit You On The Ass....

The Family Research Council, which promotes traditional values like abstinence and marriage, recently closed its only California office to concentrate its resources elsewhere.

"Cost-benefit analysis, you know," said Jayd Henricks, the group's congressional liaison.
The group also promotes the traditional value of anti-gay bigotry. Good riddance.

(Via the San Francisco Chronicle.)

War Is Hell

One other thing: you'll have noticed the Book Club in suspension. Until this war subsides again, I'm going to concentrate on the Dish. But the Book Club will return, when I get some more time and mental space. -- Andrew Sullivan, On Sacrifice And Service

Saturday, February 01, 2003

�The world looks marvelous from up here, so peaceful, so wonderful and so fragile," Ramon said. "The atmosphere is so thin and fragile, and I think all of us have to keep it clean and good. It saves our life and gives our life."

After a 2:39 p.m. CST Blue Team wake-up to the sounds of John Lennon singing �Imagine,� McCool and Ramon said their observations from orbit reveal no borders on the Earth below and reiterated in both English and Hebrew their hopes for peace in the world.

Intergenerational Cross-Dressing In The News

Then along came Mary. And then, Mary Junior. The Washington Post reports:

Moreover, the AEI resident scholar [John Lott] acknowledged on Friday that he permitted his 13-year-old son to write an effusive review of "More Guns, Less Crime" and then post it on the Amazon.com Web site. It was signed "Maryrosh."
His son gave the book five stars -- the highest possible rating.

"If you want to learn about what can stop crime or if you want to learn about many of the myths involving crime that endanger people's lives, this is the book to get," the review stated. "It was very interesting reading and Lott writes very well. He explains things in an understandable commonsense way. I have loaned out my copy a dozen times and while it may have taken some effort to get people started on the book, once they read it no one was disappointed."

Lott denied that he was the author of the review, an assertion made on various Web sites that have been tracking the controversy. He said his son wrote it, with some help from his wife. "They told me they had done it. They showed it to me. I wasn't going to tell them not to do it. Should I have?"

Should you tell your 13-year-old son not to lie? Now, there's a poser. Obviously not if you want him to have a future at the American Enterprise Institute.

Brobeck, On The Leading Edge and Right Over The Precipice To The Jagged Rocks Below

Turns out that Larry King Live viewers aren't the types who need legal services to build and grow their business or to protect and defend their assets.

And, ironically, that Brobeck wasn't really the best place to go "when your future is at stake."

Joshua Marshall joins the chorus of right-thinking Americans, led by Roger Ailes reader Jim, who are outraged by Bow-Tie Boy Carlson's willful disregard of the truth as to the reasons for the end of apartheid in South Africa.

Popular opposition to apartheid, not just in the United States, but in the many parts of the world, and in the United Nations, had a positive influence in ending racist rule in South Africa. The United States' decrease of financial support for South Africa's racist regime -- a policy which was opposed by Ronald Reagan, George Bush and Dick Cheney, of course -- also had an impact, of course. But to give the American "government" credit -- particularly when that government was led by apartheid apologists Reagan and Bush -- is pure fantasy.

The Butcher of Bradenton

Dr. Denise Baker of Bradenton sat behind first lady Laura Bush Tuesday night as President Bush asked Congress to limit medical malpractice awards in "frivolous lawsuits."

Baker said lawsuits against her were partially to blame for higher insurance rates that forced her to quit delivering babies. She has settled four malpractice claims since 1998, totaling more than $600,000.

Bradenton resident Bill Bartram and his wife, Phyllis, filed one of those lawsuits.

"Frivolous? (My wife) almost died," said Bartram, 61. He and his 55-year-old wife settled their suit in December 2000.

"My wife has a scar on her stomach as big as a fist," after an operation in 1998 in which her bowel was punctured, Bartram said. Bartram said he saw Baker's picture in the paper Wednesday and was outraged.

Sounds like the system works the way it should. To paraphrase the old adage, no one is safe when Denise Baker is in surgery or Laura Bush is behind the driver's wheel.

(Inspired by a true story at Eschaton.)

Friday, January 31, 2003

Some fat-ass fascists on the right side of the internet have seized on Nelson Mandela's recent remarks about George W. Bush to spew their bile about how Mandela was a terrorist, murderer, etc. (No links; these cretins are not worth the effort, and I'm sure you know who they are.) Mandela was a terrorist like the American colonists were terrorists, and his opponents (at least the ones the cretins identify with) were the kind of worthless scum that populated the Confederacy. As for Mandela's alleged loss of mental capacity, I'd love to see those indolent dullards live 70 years in a racist police state and 26 years in the prisons of a racist government and retain one-tenth of Mandela's mental capacity at age 84.

Given the views Bush Sr. and Dick Cheney toward the apartheid regime, one could ask why Mandela was so charitable toward the current administration.

State of Shock and Awe

Tom Spencer links to this CBS report about Pentagon plans to launch 300 to 400 cruise missles on Iraq on the second day of the war, sometime in March. Guess that comment to the Iraqis that their enemy was not surrounding their country was a bit of a stretcher. Sure, "the day [Saddam] and his regime are removed from power will be the day of your liberation" -- you should only live so long.

As for Bush's claim that Saddam has "already used [the worlds most dangerous weapons] on whole villages, leaving thousands of his own citizens dead, blind or disfigured," former CIA Iraq specialist Stephen Pelletiere has called that allegation into question. Pelletiere claims that the gassing incident occurred during a border battle in the Iran-Iraq war in which both sides used chemical weapons, and that "after the battle the United States Defense Intelligence Agency investigated and produced a classified report" which "asserted that it was Iranian gas that killed the Kurds, not Iraqi gas." This certainly warrants further investigation, particularly given Bush's track record for inaccuracy on many important matters.

Both David Neiwert and Jeralyn Merritt of Talk Left have commented on the alleged connection of Saddam Hussein to the Oklahoma City Bombing and my comments about Frank Gaffney's endorsement of the connection in the Washington Times. Neiwert is a journalist who specializes in domestic terror, and who has investigated the allegation, and Merritt is criminal-defense attorney and expert who is very knowledgeable about the McVeigh and Nichols cases. Both are immensely more qualified to comment on the matter than I am.

And both are right when they disagree with me for characterizing Laurie Mylroie as an "idiot" who lacks credibility. I haven't read Mylroie's writings on the subject and shouldn't have lumped her in with Gaffney and Davis based solely on Gaffney's endorsement of her work. (I have read Gaffney and Davis, after having read an earlier Gaffney column on the subject last October or November.) What I should have said is that the claim that there are ties between the Oklahoma City Bombing and Hussein lacks credibility.

On the other hand, Mylroie's credibility isn't bolstered by this article from Insight magazine. Mylroie's case (as reported by the Moonie mag) doesn't amount to much more than saying Clinton failed to investigate the matter because he was "in deep political trouble," and mocking "Clinton's tremendous capacity to feel everyone's pain." Not very compelling stuff. Mylroie further asserts that "Ramzi Yousef was in the Philippines at the same time as Nichols and visited the same city out of which the Oklahoma City bombing was planned." What's the proof for that assertion? It sure isn't the statements of McVeigh, Nichols or Yousef. (And is Mylroie saying the OKC Boming was planned in the Phillipines?) Mylroie is also quoted as saying "I doubt that Nichols has ever been asked about his connections to Yousef because the government didn't want to know. It wanted to say, 'Here are the perpetrators; we arrested them and we brought them to justice. Case closed.'" More speculation and insinuations of ill motive, but no proof. And maybe the privilege against self-incrimination had something to do with why "the government" hasn't asked Nichols about Yousef.

If Mylroie actually attempts to make a credible case for the connection elsewhere, I'd be happy to read it and comment further.

Buckley v. Woelfle-o

Another Buckley whose donations have run afoul of the law.

I'm sure John Derbyshire will be voicing his disapproval in no uncertain terms.

(from MWO.)

The Bow Tie Is So Tight To Keep The Sawdust From Leaking Out

White-faced circus clown Tucker Carlson made the following statement on Thursday's Crossfire:

CARLSON: Without the American government, apartheid would still be in South Africa, just so we can get that straight.

Let's go to the videotape:

Sept. 29, 1986

U.S. Congress overrides President Ronald Reagan's veto and imposes strict economic sanctions against South Africa.

....

July 10, 1991

President George Bush lifts most U.S. economic sanctions against South Africa.

...

July 2, 1993

A date is confirmed for the country's first universal suffrage elections.

...

Nov. 18-23, 1993

Twenty-one of South Africa's black and white political parties approve a majority-rule constitution that provides fundamental rights to blacks. The document calls for the election of a coalition government that would remain in office for five years after the elections, and for the dissolution of the country's 10 black self-governing homelands. The U.S. repeals sanctions against South Africa.

Sorry, Tucker, you're incorrect, as always.

(Thanks to Jim for the heads up.)

Thursday, January 30, 2003

God Must Love The California Democratic Party

Politics in the Golden State may be about to turn on its head and then some. First, we hear that Michael Reagan, former President Ronald Reagan's son with his first wife, actress Jane Wyman, may be considering a bid for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Democrat Barbara Boxer. In addition to a famous name, Reagan has a large national following thanks to the issue-oriented talk radio program he hosts for three hours every day, Monday through Friday. -- United Press International

It doesn't get any better than this.

LAUGH RIOT: Washington�s Funniest Celebrity? Daschle finished second, Cal Thomas third.

Cal did his Ministry of Silly Goosesteps skit (or did he just read from this column?); Daschle announced his presidential bid.

Meet Your Liberal Media

We already knew about the president's opening quip to the former Bill Clinton aide -- "Welcome back to the White House, George. We'll have to make sure that we count the silverware" -- but Brokaw recounted an even sharper jape. Discussing his upcoming State of the Union address, Bush told the assembled media heavies: "I'm prepared. I'm not the kind of guy who's going to sit in the back of the limo on the way to the Capitol and rewrite my speech. Know what I mean, George?"

Yesterday, Stephanopoulos told us: "If I'm going to go through my rookie hazing, it might as well be from the commander in chief."

Good boy, George. Now fetch.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

What's the difference between Bill O'Reilly and a used mattress?

I don't know either.

David Neiwert of Orcinus points out what a ridiculous assclown Frank Gaffney, Jr. is.

Peddling the shameful theory that Saddam Huessin was responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing, Gaffney can't even get the year of the massacre right. It occurred on April 19, 1995. Gaffney should be ashamed of his gross insult to the victims' families.

John Marshall cleans up pretty good.

The he wipes up the floor with G.O.P.

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Drudge rubs Sully's nose in it:

"RAINES SCORES: New York Times Co. posts 45% profit rise in quarter..."

Actually, Drudge's link points out that it's the NYT corporation which had the profitable fourth quarter, not just the New York Times itself. But circulation and ad revenue at the Times somehow managed to grow over the last year, even though the paper was deprived of Sully's invaluable services.

Where's Johnny?

John Ashcroft was kept away from the Capitol Building during the State of the Union Address, allegedly as a security measure.

Any ideas as to his whereabouts?

Fortified bunker beneath Bob Jones University? Posing for his Museum of the Confederacy portrait? On his knees in prayer with Virginia Thomas?

Saddam Fools

Moonie Times contributing nutbag Frank Gaffney is still trying to peddle the theory that Saddam Hussein is responsible for the Oklahoma City bombing. There's nothing that irritates right-wing haters more than the fact their ideological (not to mention religious and racial) brethern are terrorists. As a result, fools like Gaffney will don any old tin-foil hat rather than acknowledge the simple truth.

In his latest column, Gaffney proposed that Bush link Oklahoma City to Saddam during his State of the Union Address. The Gaffer urged Bush to say:

The case for implicating Saddam and his operatives in the latest and most deadly attack upon us is even more compelling, though, when added to evidence that points to his complicity in earlier terrorist acts � the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and the 1996 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. Tonight, sitting with the first lady, are two intrepid women who have done pioneering work ferreting out and calling attention to this evidence: an internationally recognized specialist on Iraq and best-selling author, Dr. Laurie Mylroie, and television-reporter-turned-independent investigator, Jayna Davis of Oklahoma City. I would ask you to join me in saluting them for pursuing leads that neither the federal government, prosecutors or the media have done enough to date to investigate.

Sorry, Frank. The empty chair had more credibility than you and those other two idiots combined.

Much as I hate to agree with, much less quote, the vastly over-rated and indiscriminate Mo Do, she's dead on with this observation:
The axis of evil has shrunk to Saddam, evil incarnate. Iran and North Korea were put aside with the dismissive comment: "Different threats require different strategies."

She left out bin Laden and al Queda.

Best Commentary, Hands Down

Ignore the whores. Instead, check out David Ehrenstein's masterful refutation of the State of the Union Address:
and we will answer every danger and every enemy that threatens the American people.

with equivication, obfuscation and barefaced lies.

In all these days of promise and days of reckoning, we can be confident.

because it's no skin off our asses.

...

After recession, terrorist attacks, corporate scandals and stock market declines, our economy is recovering. Yet it is not growing fast enough, or strongly enough.

or at all.

Traitors Day

David Ehrenstein has pointed out that January 19 is "Confederate Heroes Day" in Texas. Texas state workers are given a paid holiday to honor traitors who killed Americans in defense of the institution of slavery. Those "heroes" should be burned in effigy, and not just once a year.
Saw the Iraq portion of the State of the Union speech.... platitude, applause, posturing, applause. Were Cheney and Hastert cueing the Republicans' reaction, or was there a rehearsal before? The thing was choreographed within an inch of its life. Afterwards, fucking Pumpkinhead Chickenhawk Russert pulling his war face, counting the days until the bombing begins.

The bright spot was local: During a post-address wrap-up, California Dem Chairman Art Torres kicked the crap out of some former Pete Wilson aide. Torres said Bush was destroying the economy in order to "finish his daddy's war."

Newt vs. Big Pussy

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, in one op-ed column last week in the Los Angeles Times, said "thanks to Tony Soprano, 'Sex and the City' and young pop divas, Hollywood has given us our unflattering image."

Mr. Gingrich labeled "astounding" what Boston University professors Melvin and Margaret DeFleur found when surveying 1,259 teenagers from 12 countries about their attitudes toward Americans.

"Few of those surveyed had any direct contact with Americans � only 12 percent had visited the U.S.," he noted. "But they did have access to American television programs, movies and pop music, and based on that exposure, most of these teens considered Americans to be violent, prone to criminal activity and sexually immoral."

Maybe they've just been reading your deposition transcripts, Newt.

Cowards and Victims

On my way to read Joe C.'s Salon piece blasting the New York Times' fraudulent review of Susan McDougal's book, I came across this aptly-titled "Idiocy of the Week" from Our Man In Islamisbad, Mullah Sully. Sully's latest offering critiques' the paper's opposition to war with Iraq, is subtitled "The New York Times is as incoherent as it is cowardly when it comes to Saddam." Now maybe Sully didn't write the hed, but in this case, it's taken directly from his conclusion: "That's their [sic] position. It is as incoherent as it is cowardly; as weak as it is afraid. And the free citizens of the West will be its victims."

A coward is "one who shows ignoble fear in the face of danger or pain." Being a newspaper, owned by a corporation, the New York Times can face neither danger nor pain. (Its individual employees can face both, from the likes of lunatics such as Ann Coulter and her supporters, but that's another story.) A newspaper can neither engage in combat or flee from it. Thus, when talking whether America should engage in a war, a newspaper cannot display cowardice.

One suspects the real reason for Sully's characterization of the Times as cowardly is Sully's desire to portray himself, by contrast, as courageous. Sully has done nothing and will do nothing in the "war against Iraq" except write self-congratulatory columns and preening blog entries on the subject. Sitting on your ass in front of a computer screen is not an act of courage. For that matter, I'm not aware that Sully has sacrificed anything -- including time or effort -- since September 2001 unless it was forced upon him (such as airport delays). And until Sully starts making such sacrifices, he's as much as coward as the New York Times.

Monday, January 27, 2003

Pitt Stains

Remember Harvey Pitt, the deposed Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) chairman? The onetime lawyer for big accounting firms resigned last November following criticism that his relationship with former clients was keeping him from cracking down on corporate scandal. President Bush appointed a successor, former brokerage and insurance executive William Donaldson. But with Donaldson's nomination not yet approved by the Senate, Pitt is still at the helm � and wielding more power than ever.

In the past two weeks, the SEC has issued a spate of new rules intended to prevent future Enron-style scandals. But under intense lobbying pressure from Wall Street as well as the accounting and legal professions, the commission has watered down or delayed some of these rules. For example, the SEC voted to allow accounting firms to continue to earn fat consulting fees from the companies they audit. And lawyers will be required to report any wrongdoing they witness to senior company executives but not to the SEC � as the SEC had initially proposed.

Molly Ivins has more.

Ill Will

George Fwill is hopping mad about the lack of ideological diversity among students currently attending the University of Michigan. And what's his proof that conservatives are under-represented among the U of M student body? Why, because Ann Arbor "voted for George McGovern in 1972 and Walter Mondale in 1984."

Not only that, George, I hear some fresh Michigan frosh once shouted "Nertz to you, Silent Cal!" from the rumble seat of his flivver, on his way to the big Charleston contest.

Undoubtedly 90 percent of Michigan undergrads weren't old enough to vote Mondale in 1984, and the same percentage weren't even born when McGovern ran for President in 1972. Will doesn't know the ideological makeup of the Michigan campus and he barely bothers to pretend otherwise.

But that's just padding, leading up to the belabored, space-filling gimmick of Will's latest column: A gag questionnaire designed to identify conservatives in order to give them the same alleged preference that the evil university bestows on students of color. Sample question, "Do you wish to enroll in UM's ROTC program?" Answer yes, get 10 bonus points. What a wag!

But I'll play along. Here are some more questions designed to help create an ideologically-diverse campus:

1. Adultery is: (a) a sin, (b) destructive and harmful to your children, or (c) the only way a four-eyed, chinless pratt like me can feel like a man.

2. The draft is reinstated. Do you, being a militaristic patriot who fervently wishes to "pave over" Iraq: (a) volunteer for the armed services, (b) join the ROTC, (c) hide your sorry ass in divinity school, or (d) c., but also start shopping for bra-and-panty sets in case that doesn't work.

3. Bow ties are: (a) for clowns, (b) beneath even clowns, or (c) erotic.

4. Someone tells you he's stolen property belonging to a competitor. Do you? (a) Report the crime to the police, (b) Tell him to return it, or (c) use it against the competitor and then repeatedly lie about your complicity.

Answer "c" to all four questions and you too can be a failed professor at Michigan...or at least at Michigan State.

Mike Kinsley makes the same point in Time that I made here, only much more eloquently and on AOL/Time-Warner's dime.

Update: More from Peter Dreier.

The Old Snitchin' Post

In today's Slate, Chris Hitchens 'fesses up that he's a-hankerin' to play Maureen O'Hara to Dubya's "Duke" Wayne, McClintock-style.

Deputy Hitch is so taken by the pistol-packin' pretender that he drops his claimed opposition to the death penalty to fantasize about Bush fashioning a frontier gallows. "One could almost see the noose snaking over the limb of the tree," writes Hitch, in the throes of Otto Reich-otic ecstasy.

Chris also blasts those "sissies" at the U.N., just so we'll know he's a real butch Cassidy. If that don't put a Snitch in your giddy-up, nothing will.

Sunday, January 26, 2003

Breach of Contract With America

One of the provisions of the G.O.P.'s Contract With America was enforcement of child support laws. Newt Gingrich, the man who made the Contract famous, and who in turn got rich off of the Contract, was himself a child support deadbeat.

Democratic Underground (via Yahoo) now reports that Bush Treasury Secretary nominee John Snow was sued in 1988 for failure to pay child support. A Maryland court "found Snow failed to pay child support for his son Ian over a 19-month period, and failed to pay Ian's transportation and allowance costs at college." At the time, Snow was President and CEO of CSX Transportation, so he probably couldn't afford to pony up for such luxuries in the midst of the Reagan-Bush recession.

Speaking through the Talking Penis, Ari Fleischer, Snow is now insinuating that he was railroaded (pun intended). I guess he couldn't afford competent counsel to defend the support enforcement action, and couldn't understand his obligations in the first instance, what with only a Ph.D. in economics and a law degree to assist him.

You gotta love the Party of Personal Responsibility.

By the way, Larry Kudlow loves Snow.

Says he could just snort him up with a spoon.

Connect The Dots

In December, President Bush named Thomas Kean, the former Republican governor of New Jersey, chairman of an independent commission examining the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But FORTUNE has learned that Kean appears to have a bizarre link to the very terror network he's investigating--al Qaeda.

Here's how the dots connect: Kean is a director of petroleum giant Amerada Hess, which in 1998 formed a joint venture--known as Delta Hess--with Delta Oil, a Saudi Arabian company, to develop oil fields in Azerbaijan. One of Delta's backers is Khalid bin Mahfouz, a shadowy Saudi patriarch married to one of Osama bin Laden's sisters. Mahfouz, who is suspected of funding charities linked to al Qaeda, is even named as a defendant in a lawsuit filed by families of Sept. 11 victims. True, Hess is hardly the only company to cross paths with Mahfouz: He has shown up in dealings with, among others, ultra-secretive investment firm Carlyle Group and BCCI, the lender toppled by fraud in 1992.

The article says that Amerada Hess has severed ties with Delta Oil. More importantly: have Mahfouz and the Carlyle Group severed ties?

Bulk Shit

Barney Gumble points out that the No. 1 ranking for Michael Weiner's Savage Nation on the New York Times Best Seller list is the product of bulk orders from persons unknown.

On The Media reported on the bulk order scam for inflating sales figures last March. Interestingly, OTM quoted a representative of Weiner's publisher, Thomas Nelson Publishers, who defended the scam: "I believe it is legitimate promotion where an author will arrange for a book store or a book store chain to be in the back of the room selling books to a large convention, quite often a thousands [sic] books or, or more in a single day are sold through that kind of event, but those all end up in the hands of legitimate consumers."

I didn't realize the National Association of Inbred Racist Cretins was convening this week.

Substantial Evidence, My Ass

What we know:

1. David M. Gross is an attorney, a former Minnesota county prosecutor now in private practice. He specializes in firearms law. (See MCCR Hardcore Members section. Note: there is another Minnesota attorney named David Gross, who is an IP attorney and who is not the same person.) Gross is very familiar with law schools and legal scholars, according to an e-mail from him quoted on this site.

2. John Lott says that David Gross told him that "he [Gross] remembers something about Chicago and possibly the student saying that he was from the University of Northwestern." (Emphasis added.)

3. Gross contacted Lott through Joseph Olson, a pro-gun professor of law at Hamline and leader of the MCCR group to which Gross belongs. (See also link No. 1.)

4. According to James Lindgren, "Gross in his post expressed his admiration for the work of Milton Friedman and his contacting Dan Polsby (a former Northwestern professor also known to support gun rights)." In fact, Polsby was the Kirkland & Ellis Professor of Law at Northwestern in 1995.

It's inconceivable that Gross, an attorney who has practiced and lived in the Midwest for almost 30 years, and someone who is familiar with the work of a former Northwestern law professor, would refer to NU as "the University of Northwestern." (NU and its law school have national reputations, they aren't jerkwater diploma mills from the internet or the southern states.) It's equally inconceiveable that Lott, formerly of the University of Chicago, would get the name wrong himself or misquote Gross on such a matter. It still sounds like some smart guys trying to play dumb in order to give themselves credibility, or at least hide the extent of their connections.

Even if Gross is accepted as true, his statements -- and the bookcase that fell on a computer -- are not "substantial evidence" of anything. Hard documentation of a survey project as large as the one Lott describes does not just disappear without any trace except for the unsworn claim of a single supporter.

P.S. to the functionally illiterate: a psuedonym is "[a] fictitious name, especially a pen name." It doesn't include the creation of fictitious academic career, gender, body weight, life history and relationships.

Update: G. Beato responds to Glenn (Not A Conservative Asshole) Reynolds. Reynolds' hostility to transgendered persons seems very unlibertarian. One might also point out that the issue of Lott's feminine side did not arise until after the phony survey allegation because Lott wasn't nailed on that particular act of dishonesty until he was caught using it to defend himself against the original charge.

Update II: David M. Gross also unsuccessfully ran for a seat on the NRA Board of Directors in 1998. He was beaten by, among others, Bob Barr, Lt. Criminal Oliver North, Jim Nicholson and show-biz phonies Chas. Heston, Susan Howard and Ted Nugent. And he lost again in 2000, to a field which included Grover Norquist and David Keene (proud father of David "the Beltway Gunman" Keene).

Saturday, January 25, 2003

V, W

"The Defense Department distributes 100,000 free copies of ...Shakespeare's 'Henry V,'.... The books are ... handed out ... in the lobby of the Pentagon, on missile-carrying frigates, in Bosnia. Soldiers are thrilled, and write e-mail messages to reporters in praise of the program...."

"....The play's plotline, for instance, offers more commentary on our current situation than the Pentagon probably intended: A newly crowned king's claim to the throne is subject to grave constitutional question, since his father usurped it by murdering its previous holder. The king needs to win his people's trust; he also wants to make them forget his youth as a drunk and a bum. He does exactly that by skillfully and courageously prosecuting a war against France, just as his father told him to do: '''Be it thy course to busy giddy minds / With foreign quarrels.''' -- Judith Shulevitz

I hear this Shakespeare is the next Harold Pinter. Will no one speak out against his depraved, hateful, poisonous resentment?

Correction of the Week

p. 42 Jennifer Grossman is the name of the former MSNBC blonde pundette from whom Laura [Ingraham] allegedly borrowed her leopard-skin skirt. Jennifer Fitzgerald is the former long-time aide to ex-President George H.W. Bush who, according to The Washington Post, "served the president in a variety of positions."

I'm sure Eric regrets the error.

Grand Old Police Blotter: What A Poindexter Edition

Why do patriotic Americans oppose programs like the Administration's Total Information Awareness (TIA) scheme? Because they know unpatriotic Republicans will get their hands on private information, and use it, not for the good of the country, but for partisan purposes and to consolidate power.

RICHMOND, Va. - The former executive director of Virginia's Republican Party was indicted Thursday on federal charges he eavesdropped on conference calls among Democratic legislators last year.

Edmund A. Matricardi III, 34, was accused of using a telephone number and access codes to listen in on the teleconferences.

He was charged with five counts involving the interception of electronic communications. Each count carries up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Matricardi resigned over the scandal but was later hired as operations director of the South Carolina Republican Party. On Thursday, after he was indicted, he resigned that post, too.

If history is any indication, Mr. Matricardi will be the recipient of a Bush pardon in January 2005.

Friday, January 24, 2003

Like The Mohs Scale, But Different

Type 1 - separate hard lumps, like nuts.

Type 2 - sausage-like, but lumpy.

Type 3 - like a sausage but with cracks in the surface.

Type 4 - like a sausage or snake, smooth and soft.

Type 5 - soft blobs with clear-cut edges.

Type 6 - fluffy pieces with ragged edges....

Type 7 - watery, no solid pieces.

Not The Shar-Peist Knife In The Drawer

From the Washington Post:

Debbie Poore told police that her husband of three weeks called her at work about 6 p.m. Thursday to say that their dog, a 2-year-old Chinese Shar-Pei, had bitten him on the hand -- and that he was going to kill it.

She raced to their Winchester, Va., mobile home, she said, and found Raymond Poore, 43, lying in a pool of blood with a gunshot wound to his abdomen and the dog, still alive, with its throat torn open and gashes on its face.

...

Winchester Police Capt. David Sobonya said Raymond "Raven" Poore, a construction worker, apparently was beating the dog on the head with the butt of a rifle-shotgun when it discharged and hit him in the lower abdomen. He said there was dog hair on the butt of the weapon, which has a .22-caliber rifle barrel atop a .410-gauge shotgun barrel and is used to hunt small game.

When man shoots dog, that's not news, but when dog shoots man....

This would be a perfect story for John Lott's next book.

My idea of good reality television is C-SPAN's Road to the White House, so it won't be a surprise I haven't actually seen Joe Millionare. But it seems to me the program's stakes are pretty low. After all, how disappointed could the show's participants be in the end; it's not like they would have been dating a millionare anyway.

My suggestions to raise the stakes: Joe Clean and Sober, Joe Normally-Shaped Testicles or Joe Not A Registered Sex Offender.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Roger Ailes will be on a road trip tomorrow, but will return on Friday.

Tragically, the meager finances and influence of the Ailes empire do not allow for fancy-schmancy A-list-media guest hosts, like some people with their own books about the non-liberal media. No trips to Brussels, for that matter.

In the meantime, please check out the outstanding blogs to your right.
Roger's Headline News

Faux News hires The Thinking Man's Dan Quayle.

New York Times hires non-hack Slate writer, passing over Little Mick once again.

David Talbot yet again announces that Salon "is on the verge of closing a round of financing that will secure not only Salon's survival but our long-term profitability," then pulls the other one.
Larry Elder asks us to remember America's forgotten victims of oppression: John Rocker, Al Campanis, Fuzzy Zoeller and Jimmy "the Greek" Snyder.

Seeing Through It

Thomas Spencer isn't sold on the supposed vindication of John Lott. I'd have to agree.

According to Lott, the guy who said he was surveyed claims he "remembers something about Chicago and possibly the student saying that he was from the University of Northwestern." Yes, that's right: "the University of Northwestern." If that doesn't sound like a smart guy playing dumb, I don't know what does. Everything revealed so far as to what guy knew about the survey was already out of the 'net. And the guy recalls details from one short phone call from 1997, but Lott can remember anyone who worked on the survey? I guess we have to wait to see what the guy told Lindgren, but nothing so far vindicates Lott.

Don't Know Much About Science Book

Lon Solomon, personal pastor to Ken Starr, has a bachelor's degree.... in Science.

Now, I am a preacher. But I earned a bachelor's degree in chemistry, and though I don't have a Nobel Prize, I hope I have enough background to talk about this. What does the Bible say? "In the beginning God." Not in the beginning man or protoplasm or hydrogen. When God "created the heavens and the earth," the Hebrew verb is "bara," which is used only with God. Only God can "bara." People never "bara."

Solomon also states that "the biblical version [of the origin of the universe] makes more sense if you look at it from a strictly scientific point of view." But he never explains how.

Dick Of The Week

Alabama's Chief Justice and Bible-thumping anti-gay bigot, Roy Moore, joins fellow Republicans Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell in concluding that God slaughtered the victims of September 11, 2001:

[Moore] implied a parallel between the attacks and the 40-year legal erosion of religion's public standing, including displays of the Ten Commandments.

He pointed out similarities between the devastation and the biblical words of Isaiah, who had forecast a "day of great slaughter, when the towers fall."

"How many of you remember Americans running to get gas masks because [of] some bearded man in Afghanistan?" Justice Moore asked during his address at Georgetown University. "Fear struck this country. You see, there are consequences when we turn away from our source of our strength."

He Was Admitted Under A Special Program For Ivy Drug Users

According to Bush (and his toadies, like Mickey Kaus), it's wrong to give a college applicant bonus points because of his or her race. Yet, race is the only explanation as to how Bush got into Yale. It wasn't on academic merit, as Joe Conason points out:

"Why was the Andover dean so concerned about Bush's prospects at Yale? Perhaps he glanced at Bush's SAT score of 1206, above average but nowhere near the level needed for acceptance at an Ivy League school. (According to Cecil Adams, who writes the Straight Dope column, Bush's score was almost 200 points lower than the average for Yale freshmen circa 1970.) Bush's middling SAT score, incidentally, is roughly the same as that for most of the black students admitted to selective schools in a major Mellon Foundation study that began in 1976." (Warning: Link is behind the Salon.com Curtain)
So how many non-white students -- and women -- were denied admission to Yale even though they had higher scores than Bush?

And I would propose even more relevant questions: How many non-white students were denied entry to Yale and the University of Texas even though they had higher SAT scores than Barbara and Jenna? And what would Bush say to them?

The Professor And Mary Ann

The struggle for transgender rights in academia has taken a major leap forward with the relevation that Yale scholar John Lott is Mary Rosh. Julian Sanchez has the details. John/Mary displays a bit of schizophrenia with this response to Sanchez's blog (in the comments here): "I had Lott as a professor in the early 1990s and he was always very nice and fair to people." Who would know better? And with Mary's assistance, John was no doubt able to complete that defensive gun use survey in half the time.

What's next, Glenn or Glennda?

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Contest

Bin Laden gave his satellite phone to one of his bodyguards, sent the bodyguard in one direction and then headed in the other direction to escape capture by U.S. forces.

Question: Which movie did he steal this from?

Mick's Tip Shite ... Er ... Sheet

Mickey Kaus's imaginary editor has gotten his own e-mail address, from which he sent himself Mickey a "tip" that "bears watching." What's the valuable inside poop? Little Mick The tipster says that how Senator Clinton votes on the judicial nomination of Michael Chertoff will tell whether she's running for President in 2004. (Chertoff was the mouthpiece for Alphonse "The Bigot" D'Amato's Senate investigation into Whitewater, which, by any rational measure, was a complete failure and waste of tax money.) Kaus's source -- who writes remarkably like Mickey pretending to be Dick Morris -- says that if Hillary Clinton votes for Chertoff, she has a 2004 run in mind, because vote against him would trigger bad publicity in the form of "a new round of headlines recalling the old days."

Could any intelligent person, let alone a "valued" political insider, believe that Hillary Clinton's no vote on a judicial nomination would be a significant issue in a presidential campaign? Of course Rove and his boys would rehash Whitewater every time they got the chance, but they'd do that without the Chertoff angle. Except for voters who already hate Hillary because of the Whitewater smear, no one would possibly care how she voted on the Chertoff nomination. Anyone who knows who Chertoff is and what he did on Whitewater has already made up his or her mind on Hillary. Odds are Kaus knows the "e-mail" is nonsense and is simply quoting it to publish some gratuitous Clinton-bashing. Or maybe he's just a lazy S.O.B.

The Case of The Cross-Dressing Conservative?

Is John Lott defender "Mary Rosh" really a Mrs. Doubt-Firearms? Is Mary packing, even when she's not packing? Is she concealing what she's carrying? Is Rosh a man, depending on your perception?

Julian Sanchez wants to know. Rosh responded to Julian's blog to defend Lott on the missing survey controversy, and Julian discovered that Rosh and Lott share the same IP address. Rosh is a stalwart Lott defender on many Usenet groups. (A comment to Sanchez's post says that fact isn't conclusive that the authors are the same, so don't Rosh to judgment.)

(via Atrios.)

The Grand Old Police Blotter: Legalized Beatings Edition

An intrepid former member of the MWO boards points us in the direction of the sordid tale of Gary Freudenthal, from the unfortunately-named Ohio town of Blue Ash:

A judge on Thursday acquitted a middle-aged psychologist of an assault charge for pulling down a 14-year-old girl's pants and spanking her hard enough to cause bruises. [Para.] Gary Freudenthal, 49, of Blue Ash, testified Thursday that he thought he had permission from previous conversations with the girl's grandmother - her legal guardian - to discipline the child, who was a friend of his daughter.
On Aug. 31, Mr. Freudenthal, a single father, said he was upset because the girl was picked up by police the night before on drug and curfew violations when she was supposed to be spending the night at his house after attending a football game with his daughter. [Para.] So, he went to the grandmother's Mason home about 9:30 a.m.walked into the girl's bedroom after asking the grandmother where she was, took the girl out of bed, placed her over his knee and spanked her. [Para.] When the girl laughed, Mr. Freudenthal said he pulled her bikini bottoms down and administered another spanking. A police officer testified that the spanking caused bruising on the girls' upper legs and buttocks.
Freudenthal claimed he thought he had the grandmother's permission to administer the beating; the grandmother testified he did not. (Which is irrelevant, anyway, since he didn't have the victim's permission.)

The learned jurist who acquitted Freudenthal is a Republican. In fact, he's the same man who moaned "[w]e've lost our way in this country" when discussing the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal a few years earlier.

There we have Judge Parker's judicial philosophy in a nutshell: Non-consensual assault and battery and forced disrobing of a minor = good; consensual sex between adults = bad.

The political affiliation is Spanky the Psychologist is not known; however, this quote from him suggests a strong right-wing bias: "Parents should be free to do what is in their best perception to control their children." And, according to Judge Parker, it's not a only a good idea -- it's the law.
Zafar Sobhan of the Logicat Files points us to this Sully post:

ISLAM MEANS PEACE: Oh, and a stun gun, a blank-firing imitation firearm and a CS gas canister, along with dozens of passports, identity cards and credit cards. That's what British cops found in a raid of a radical mosque in north London. If this isn't a fifth column, what is?
Sobhan makes the important point that Sullivan is equating Islam with terrorism and violence based on the materials found in one mosque. I'm sure Sully would never equate Christianity with its terrorist followers.

That said, Sully's (and the London Police's) list of contraband is somewhat underwhelming. A stun gun? "A blank-firing imitation firearm" -- is that a starter's pistol or a cap pistol? David Koresh had more firepower stashed in his underwear drawer; Nancy Reagan had more in her purse.

Passports and identity cards in a mosque attended by immigrants and refugees? Muslims with credit cards? Well, then, no need for a trial. Sounds like guilt by free association to me.
Washington Post Sunday book review editor conducts an adulterous affair with the paper's chief book critic.

Sounds like a Nora Ephron novel I'd never read.

The End of The Line

Al Hirschfeld, one of this country's most gifted artists, passed away Monday at age 99.

He continued to create until the day before his death. Check out the "Interactive Slide Show" link, which includes Mr. Hirschfeld's "Self-Portrait at 98."

Sunday, January 19, 2003

VCR Alert

Susan McDougall will appear on CNN's Crossfire Monday, January 20.

The Scaifettes and Starr Warriors are holding an all-nighter with Bow-Tie Boy tonight.

Some Red Meat For The Horse

If The Horse hated Christopher Caldwell on Karl Rove, they'll loathe James Pinkerton on David Frum in the Washington Post Book Review.

Pinkerton's review combines the bland insipidness of Frum himself with Pinkerton's own bad writing, such as this sentence:

Recalling an impromptu exchange in a hallway with liberal stalwarts Barbra Streisand and Harvey Weinstein, he recounts his ringing vindication of Bush's Kyoto-phobic position on global warming after what he considered their ineffective challenge.
Huh?

In the end, the right-wing hack gives a less than glowing review to the other right-wing hack, possibly because the right-wing hack didn't get his own book deal to write about being a right-wing hack in the White House, and is hacked off about it. The right-wing hack ends his review by quoting the right-wing hack's conclusion, "War had made [Bush], as it had made Roosevelt and Reagan, a crusader after all."

Ah yes. I'd almost forgotten about the historic War Against Grenada.
Dwight Meredith performs a valuable cost-benefit analysis on that fraud known as "tort reform."
"The Republicans rightly disowned Trent Lott." -- Andrew Sullivan

Oh wait. He's STILL THERE!

Who Cares What You Think?

The wingnuts have been watching with horror as Bush's approval ratings fall. But they've quickly come to a satisfying explanation: Americans are idiots.

Writing very poorly in the Moonie Times, Ben Barber rages:

What qualifies those surveyed to have an opinion on Mr. Bush's economic or foreign policies? Is it anything more than subjective conclusions? The poll doesn't say. Indeed, it cannot say.
Damn those unqualified citizens! Expressing opinions about an unelected leader! The nerve! Only the qualified are allowed to have opinions.

Blockheaded Barber continues:
The first question in the Gallup survey asks, "Based on what you have heard or read, please say whether you favor or oppose each of the following economic proposals."
Heard or read? Heard from whom and read in what? Do we know where the respondents are getting their information?
Yes, Barber is outraged that the respondents were asked to base their opinions of Bush's economic policies based on what they "heard or read." Maybe he would prefer that respondents to base their opinions on their dreams, or the effects of subliminal brainwashing.

Barber then demonstrates his ignorance of the word antithetical:
When it comes to his handling of Iraq, the Gallup Poll shows two seemingly antithetical results. The poll says 42 percent of Americans disapprove of the way Mr. Bush is handling foreign affairs, the highest disapproval he has received on this issue. But the poll also shows a majority (51 percent) believe Iraq poses a greater threat to the United States than North Korea, which is what the president has said. Why this double-mindedness? Possibly it is the confusion produced in many minds between reality and the media's perception of reality.
First of all, the numbers don't even overlap. And, of course, one can believe that Iraq is a greater threat to the country than North Korea and quite consistently also believe that Bush's foreign policy -- on Iraq, North Korea and every other country -- is a catastrophe.

Finally, Barber blasts the great unwashed, sneering, "[m]ost Americans pay little attention to economics, except their own." Yes, that's the economy, stupid. And that's why Bush's numbers are in the crapper, and why a growing number are ready to flush.

Americans aren't idiots, Ben. Except the ones who take you seriously.
Where They Found The 53 Percent Who Approve of Bush's Job Performance

"'Kangaroo Jack,' a comedy about two hapless pals trying to retrieve missing mob money from a kangaroo in Australia, edged into first place in its debut weekend, taking in $17.7 million, according to studio estimates Sunday."

Worst ... Chants ... Ever

When the march approached Eighth and I streets SE outside the U.S. Marine Corps barracks, about 50 counter-protesters -- including veterans -- continued their rally, chanting "Swim to Cuba" and "We gave peace a chance; We got 9/11." In return, the protesters shouted, "We don't want your oil war." The march stopped for 10 minutes, and Ramsey walked up and down the lines of officers separating the marchers and the counter-protesters.
Further confirmation that Freepers have no rhythm. Or any grasp of current events.

Saturday, January 18, 2003

And the Sullivan Award for easychair warmongering goes to Andrew Sullivan.

Reminds me of the Roger Waters lyric:

Hey bartender, over here
Two more shots
And two more beers
Sir, turn up the TV sound
The war has started on the ground
Just love those laser guided bombs
They're really great for righting wrongs

Good Questions

"In the world I came into in 1970, when we move to the United States, a Republican was someone who believed in small government and personal liberty. How did we end with a Republican government that blithely develops a massive bureucracy to carry out the biggest internal spying program ever developed? Republicans were the party of fiscal responsibility. How did we end up with a Republican government that announces it has spent the federal surplus and is launching the country into the a protracted era of fiscal deficits?

Scoobie Davis exposes the Christian publisher behind the Savage Nation book. How do the publishers reconcile Savage's racist bile with the teachings of Jesus Christ? The same way as the Klan does, I'm sure.

Grand Old Police Blotter: What Would Jimmy Swaggart Do Edition

From the Moonie Times, under the hed "Dirty Tricks":

Rep. Ken Calvert, California Republican, is not a happy camper. .... Until just a few days ago, the six-term lawmaker was hoping to become chairman of the House Resources Committee. Then a prankster struck.[Para.] An e-mail bearing Mr. Calvert's name � rest assured, it wasn't from the congressman � was recently sent to members of the House Steering Committee: "Welcome to the 108th Congress! As we prepare to go back to work, I thought you would enjoy knowing more about my record, including my work with law enforcement. The two links below demonstrate my work for California." [Para.] The work, the congressman's colleagues were shocked to read, surrounded Mr. Calvert's 1993 curbside encounter with a prostitute in Corona, Calif.
Police Officers Steve Sears and Fred Austin wrote in the report that Mr. Calvert was sitting in his parked car with a woman and when they arrived on the scene the congressman started up his vehicle and attempted to drive away. "I ordered him three times to turn off the vehicle, and he finally stopped and complied," one officer wrote. "I asked [the woman] if she had ever been arrested for anything, and she said, 'Yes, for prostitution and under the influence of heroin.' [She] said she had last 'shot up' approximately one week prior and is currently on methadone."


Calvert was not charged with any crime. Which is fortunate, since he might have ended up in front of one of those "left-wing extremist judges whose actions erode the moral fiber of this great nation."