Thursday, September 30, 2004

Problem Solved

"The enemy only has to be right 1 percent of the time."

So we install Bush as the head of Al Qaeda.

I'll be listening to the Presidential debate on the radio, so I won't get to see FOX's shifty camerawork (which will be seen on all channels).

Let me know if anyone puts to good use that giant-ass cigar Jeff Greenfield was waiving around last night ... If you know what I mean.
Coming Attractions from Roger Ailes Productions:

Kelvin 505.78: The Reading On Lionel Chetwynd's Rectal Thermometer

And the liberal New York Times mentions David Bossie and John Corsi without mentioning their crimes against the truth and, in Corsi's case, his vile bigotry. Very fair and balanced of them.

Update (10/1): Link now works.

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Grand Old Police Blotter: Republican Dirty Linnen Edition

A Republican sexual predator gets a slap on the wrist ... not even a pimp-slap ... for exposing himself to women, and keeps his license to practice law.

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- An attorney was sentenced to a year and a half in jail for ambushing dozens of women while nude and taking pictures of their shocked expressions.

But Stephen Linnen, 34, won't lose his law license and will be allowed to leave jail to continue work as a law clerk.

He must start serving his time next week after being sentenced Monday under a plea bargain in Ohio's Franklin County Common Pleas Court. He pleaded guilty earlier this month to 53 misdemeanor counts of public indecency, sexual imposition and criminal trespassing.

Linnen, a former lawyer for the Ohio House Republican caucus, has admitted to photographing women while he was unclothed over nearly two years, gaining the name "the naked photographer." He apologized in court, but none of his victims was there.

Judge Tommy Thompson declined to label Linnen a sexual offender, saying he was not a threat to the community and was unlikely to repeat the offense.

An officer of the court who terrorized more than 50 women for over two years. I guess that's the kind of lawyer Republicans like. Does having the name Tommy Thompson automatically make you an idiot, or is it just a coincidence?

The Runaway Liar

William Safliar has another column which bears no relationship to reality. After providing a fantasy version of the facts of the Plame case -- the criminal leaker was a courageous whistleblower ferreting out nepotism in intelligence community -- Safire goes on to bear false witness against the Plame prosecutor.

After questioning possible government sources right up to the president, the frustrated Fitzgerald went after the press with a vengeance and a blunderbuss. He demanded testimony in breach of confidentiality from Time magazine's Matthew Cooper, The Washington Post's Walter Pincus and Glenn Kessler, NBC's Tim Russert, and presumably Novak, who has been ethically tight-lipped.

Most of the reporters and their corporate counsel, unfortunately, have fallen for the prosecutor's trick. (I'd hate to be counseled by a weak-kneed Time Inc. lawyer.) Fitzgerald has coerced potential government sources into signing waivers of confidentiality, backed up by dutiful "nothing to hide" statements. He tells the journalists: See? You have been released from your pledge - now you have no reason not to tell us who talked to you on deep background.

A trick? What trick? Fitzgerald coerced people to sign waivers. Well, which is it? Did he fool them into is signing the waivers, or did he coerce them?

Actually, neither. Fitzgerald can't force anyone to waive his or her rights, and Safliar presents no evidence that he actually did.

But that is no legitimate "release" at all. Such a source-burning subterfuge sneaks around the First Amendment, which ensures free speech. The potential source has been told: Sign here or get fired or, worse, become more suspect for not signing and get prosecuted. That pressure undermines the Fifth Amendment, which is against self-incrimination.

So Fitzgerald threatened to fire Scooter Pie Libby, Fucking Dick Cheney and the rest of the Administration? Amazing. I didn't realize that employees of the executive branch served at the pleasure of a U.S. Attorney. I didn't realize it ... because I'm sane. The only one who could threaten firing would be Bush. But don't expect Safliar to say that.

And Safliar surely knows that a prosecutor can't suggest to a jury that a defendant's assertion of the Fifth Amendment privilege is evidence of guilt, let alone prosecute based solely on a witness's assertion of a privilege.

Feeling his oats, confident of his power to threaten reporters with jail for contempt, Fitzgerald is harassing The Times's intrepid Judith Miller with a subpoena, reportedly in an unrelated case about her investigation of an Islamic charity aiding terrorists. Unlike most of the other reporters, this principled journalist is risking her freedom and defending us all by fighting the subversive subpoena. The Times has retained Floyd Abrams, no pushover, to argue for her right to protect her sources.

Just as Safliar surely knows that Miller has no constitutional right to disobey a subpeona. Maybe Bill's fantasizing about Miller feeling his oats.

I have not discussed these cases with anybody mentioned herein, many of whom I know well, and am not clearing this with any lawyers. Editorialists everywhere fretting about the appearance of self-interest should awake to the urgency of reminding readers and judges of this generation's gravest threat to our ability to ferret out the news.

Aha. Safire finally admits he doesn't know what the hell he's talking about. He didn't actually interview any of the persons involved, he just chose the "apparent" and "presumed" facts he liked to reach a predetermined conclusion. The gravest threat to journalism is hack columnists who don't bother to learn the facts.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Over at Lawyers, Guns and Money, Scott Lemieux points out that Glenn Reynolds' Big Media bashing is small-time weenie wagging. Reynolds claims that viewership for The CBS Evening News with Satan Incarnate is down, thanks to the wingnutosphere, but the NYT reports that the Evening News's national viewership is actually up since Encyclopedia Clown and his fellow private dicks picked up -- but failed to read -- their copies of Fonts For Dummies.

I guess being the target of hatred by bitter nobodies isn't as debilitating as Glenn had hoped. There's still time to see an OCD specialist, Glenn.

Monday, September 27, 2004

A Thousand Points Of Light, Compassionate Conservatism AND Faith-Based Charity, All Rolled Into One

Why the Republicans will do anything to win in November, Exhibit "A":

The Capital Athletic Foundation's Web site portrays youths at play: shaking hands over a tennis net, learning how to hold a bat, straining for a jump ball. Its text solicits donations for what it describes as "needy and deserving" sportsmanship programs.

In its first four years of operation, the charity has collected nearly $6 million. A gala fundraiser last year at the International Spy Museum at one point attracted the Washington Redskins' owner as its chairman and was to honor the co-founder of America Online.

Records for GOP lobbyist Jack Abramoff's Capital Athletic Foundation show that less than 1 percent of its revenue has been spent on sports-related programs for youths, and federal investigators are looking into how large amounts of money were funneled through the nonprofit group to support Abramoff's interests.

But tax and spending records of the Capital Athletic Foundation obtained by The Washington Post show that less than 1 percent of its revenue has been spent on sports-related programs for youths.

Instead, the documents show that Jack Abramoff, one of Washington's high-powered Republican lobbyists, has repeatedly channeled money from corporate clients into the foundation and spent the overwhelming portion of its money on pet projects having little to do with the advertised sportsmanship programs, including political causes, a short-lived religious school and an overseas golf trip.

The foundation's brief history -- now the subject of a federal investigation -- charts how Abramoff attached himself to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) and, in so doing, became a magnet for large sums of money from business interests. It also demonstrates how easily large amounts of such cash flowed through a nonprofit advocacy group to support the interests of a director.

Internal records state, for example, that Abramoff and his wife, Pam -- who are listed as the foundation's sole directors -- spent more than 70 percent of its revenue from 2001 to 2003, or $4.03 million, on a Jewish school that Abramoff founded in Columbia. The Eshkol Academy operated for two years and schooled two of his sons before closing this spring with unpaid bills, faculty members said.

The co-chair of the gala fundraiser? Tony Snow.

Just remember the new rules: It's okay if you're a Pioneer.

On The Road, by Hack Hairlesshack

Robby Kaus, the Hairless Hack, has been on the road for a month, freeloading off his fellow right-wing Republicans like Tennessee Dim. I'd hate to be the air freshener in that car.

The Hack's hillbilly host thinks that real journalists should emulate Kaus, although its not clear why. The Hack has only written once about his travels, when he bitched about the number of freeway-accessible dirty book stores in the heartland. Undoubtedly Kaus spent more time with racist Lucianne Goldberg and her team of electrolysists than he did with the "real Americans" who've been screwed by Kaus's boy, Bush, and his policies, both foreign and domestic. And being on the road hasn't improved Kaus's subliterate writing style either.

p.s. -- In case anyone's forgotten, Kaus's fake editor gag was "borrowed" from other, funnier writers.

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Keyesmentum Like A River

Poll shows Obama's lead on Keyes has grown to 51 points

Associated Press

CHICAGO - Democratic candidate Barack Obama's lead in the race for U.S. Senate has grown to 51 percentage points over Republican Alan Keyes, a new poll shows.

The Tribune/WGN-TV poll published Sunday found that 68 percent of likely voters favored Obama for senator and 17 percent supported Keyes. Last month, a Tribune/WGN-TV poll showed the gap was 65-24.

The latest poll was conducted Sept. 17-20 by Mt. Prospect-based Market Shares Corp. It surveyed 700 likely voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Who knew there were so many socialist atheist lesbians in the Land of Lincoln?

I hope the Ambassador's Cal City landlord got a security deposit.

I'm thinking of starting a new feature called "Damn, I Wish I Said That."

The beauty of the concept is that it saves me from having to think of something clever. And by admitting that I didn't make the clever remark, I don't become the subject of tedious unsolicited e-mails like those about Harvard Law profs who purportedly don't write their own books. (Quel No Merde, Monsieur Holmes!)

Here's the beta version, with a quote from James Wolcott:

"Meet the Press had a political panel this weekend that looked like a poker game for mummies."

Damn, I wish I had said that!

All I can say is that Kausfiles is to blogs what Sour Grapes is to film.

Other than that, there's no comparison.

The Big Time

In the most exciting development in brand syngery since Time Warner became AOL Time Warner and then stopped being AOL Time Warner, effective October 1, 2004, Roger Ailes will become Roger's Cracker Barrel.

You can read more about the merger here.

Present the previous post at any Cracker Barrel restaurant between now and October 5, and ask for 20 percent off any regular entree. (All fried, chicken and steak-based entrees excluded.)

More reasons -- other than the obvious culinary and health-related ones -- to avoid the Cracker Barrel:

Cracker Barrel's political action committee, Citizens for Political Accountability, has been a major corporate backer of GOP politics at the state and national level. Since 1992, it has given $313,250 to Republican candidates compared with $14,250 to Democrats, according to an analysis of campaign finance records by PoliticalMoneyLine, the online arm of FECInfo, which tracks political financial activity.

The restaurant company also shelled out nearly $200,000 in soft-money donations before the large unregulated corporate contributions were outlawed in 2002. That total included more than $69,000 to the Republican National State Elections Committee, which allegedly steered $190,000 in corporate contributions to seven Texas House candidates in 2002.

Saturday, September 25, 2004

Loyalty Oafs

RNC Propagandist Christine Iverson, last seen as a C.J. (or Crap Jockey) at the Republican National Convention, is spreading the G.O.P. manure to the faithful:

"When the Massachusetts Supreme Court sanctioned same-sex marriage and people in other states realized they could be compelled to recognize those laws, same-sex marriage became an issue," Ms. Iverson said. "These same activist judges also want to remove the words 'under God' from the Pledge of Allegiance."

The same justices?

Is Iverson confusing the Mass. Supreme Court with the Ninth Circuit?

Is she conflating removal of "under God" with the ruling that mandatory recitation is unconsistitutional?

Or -- my suspicion -- is she just demonstrating her party's well-established contempt for the truth?

Friday, September 24, 2004

The World's Smartest Readers

Unlike certain blogging law professors who got their degrees by jimmying the lock on a condom dispenser, Roger readers are Am. Jur. Prize winners.

As reader illson points out in comments, 18 U.S.C. 1341 only prohibits fraudulent schemes designed to deprive persons of property or property rights. So the NYT doesn't have to worry about being prosecuted for using the wires to distribute the bogus arguments of Billy Safliar.



In his defense, Perfesser Yokum was too distracted from cybering with Mickey Kaus and Jeff Jarvis two hot young co-eds to properly research his column. And it's not like he cares about the truth anyway.

Link via Atrios.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Terror Alert Level: Mellow Gold

What's next?

Seals and Crofts in indefinite administrative detention?

Leo Sayer held as a material witness without access to counsel?

England Dan and John Ford Coley sent to Gitmo?

Am I the only one who considers this child abuse?

Over and over, the show loops ["Doctor" Phil's] big line: "There are 14 characteristics of a serial killer. Your son has 9 of the 14. Jeffrey Dahmer had 7."

I don't give a shit if the parents agreed to it. It's still abuse.

And it doesn't make any sense, either.

The Wire

So I was reading Bill Safliar, former paid mouthpiece for the criminal gang of Nixon and Agnew, and he quoted the United States Code (which he calls the criminal code):

"Whoever, having devised any scheme or artifice to defraud transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both. " U.S. Criminal Code, Chapter 63, Section 1343

I thought I had Safire nailed on the crime of quoting without using ellipses, but the print version of the column includes the ellipses.

The full text of 18 U.S.C. 1343 is here. It says:

Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both. If the violation affects a financial institution, such person shall be fined not more than $1,000,000 or imprisoned not more than 30 years, or both.

Safliar wants to use this statute to prosecute the purported forger of the Killian memos. I see several problems with Safliar's theory, including the difficulty of meeting the requirements of: an intent to defraud, the transmission of material in interstate commerce, and the alleged forger's transmission of material via wire, radio or television. (Safliar doesn't even bother to make the case for these requirements.) However, I don't know whether courts have interpreted the law as broadly as Saffy would like, and I'm not getting paid enough to do that research.

I admit I wouldn't mind seeing this novel legal theory tried out on, say, William Safire himself. After all, Safliar's lies are transmitted by wire (the one at the other end of your computer). Perhaps that's why Bill isn't so eager to have the law applied to CBS itself. I doubt he'd enjoy sharing a cell with Drudge.

All this talk of journalistic integrity reminded me of something.

I've just put my finger on it:

...[H]ere's the full statement of retraction from PTC/MRC head honcho L. Brent Bozell,

"Media Research Center (MRC), Parents Television Council (PTC), Dr. Delores Tucker, Mark Honig and I have in the past made statements regarding so-called wrestling deaths -- children killed by other children alleged to be mimicking "professional wrestling" moves they saw on television.

We made such statements to members of MRC and PTC, the media, advertisers on World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) SmackDown! program, retailers that sell WWE-related toys and merchandise, public officials and the public.

MRC and PTC also produced a videotape as part of a fundraising campaign in connection with its "National Campaign to Clean Up TV Now!", which advanced the notion that the murder of Tiffany Eunick was caused by the influence of professional wrestling on Lionel Tate.

The videotape included interviews with Lionel Tate's lawyer advancing the notion that the murder of Tiffany Eunick, the victim, was directly caused by the impact that professional wrestling had on Lionel Tate.

We based our statements on media reports and source information. We now believe, based on extensive investigation and facts which have come to light since making those statements that it was wrong for MRC, PTC, their spokespersons and myself to have said anything that could be construed as blaming WWE or any of its programs for the deaths of the children.

Simply put, it was premature to reach that conclusion when we did, and there is now ample evidence to show that conclusion was incorrect. I now believe that professional wrestling played no role in the murder of Tiffany Eunick, which was a part of our "Clean Up TV Now!" campaign and am equally convinced that it was incorrect and wrong to have blamed WWE or any of its programs for the deaths of the other children.

Because of our statements, PTC, MRC and the WWE have been in litigation since November 2000. WWE vigorously advanced its position that neither it, nor "professional wrestling" led to these deaths.

WWE also contended that MRC, PTC, their spokespersons and I had misrepresented the number of advertisers who withdrew support from WWE's SmackDown! television program after receiving communications from the PTC, some of which regrettably connected the WWE and SmackDown! to the deaths of children.

As such, WWE exercised its right to initiate this litigation, during which facts came to light that prompted me to make this statement.

By this retraction, I want to be clear that WWE was correct in pointing out that various statements made by MRC, PTC and me were inaccurate concerning the identity and number of WWE SmackDown! advertisers who withdrew support from the program. Many of the companies we stated had "withdrawn" or pulled their support had never, in fact, advertised on SmackDown! nor had any plan to advertise on SmackDown!

Again, we regret this error and retract any such misleading statements.

Finally, concerning the statements about child wrestling deaths, it was wrong to have stated or implied that WWE or any of its programs caused these tragic deaths. Specifically concerning the Lionel Tate case, recent developments lead us to believe that others and we were given, and relied upon, false information provided by parties close to the case.

The information that we were given and relied upon may have been designed to make a national example of the Florida murder trial, pinning the blame on WWE.

For example, we were told by a source that Lionel Tate was watching a WWE program when he assaulted Tiffany Eunick. In fact, Lionel Tate was watching the "Flintstones" and a cartoon entitled "Cow and Chicken." We were also told, by a source, that Lionel Tate killed Tiffany Eunick while executing a wrestling move unique to a WWE character called the "Stone Cold Stunner".

We have since learned that this was not true, nor was there any evidence that it was true. It is now well documented that after the Tate trial concluded, the presiding Judge said it was "inconceivable" that Tiffany Eunick's injuries were caused by Lionel Tate mimicking wrestling moves.

Indeed, since the trial ended, Lionel Tate's new lawyers have filed court papers in which they admit that the "wrestling defense" was, in their words, "bogus."

Given these facts, WWE was within its rights to be angry at the MRC, PTC, their spokespersons and I for contacting WWE's advertisers to go beyond complaining about WWE content but passing along accusations which we now know were false. Because I feel a simple retraction is not sufficient, I have personally extended my apology to Vince McMahon and the WWE on behalf of MRC, PTC, Dr. Tucker, Mr. Honig and me.

Through this letter, I now make this apology public and specifically directed to the advertising community that has in the past, is currently or may in the future consider advertising or sponsoring WWE programming.

The PTC can have its concern with the content of WWE's television programming - though these concerns have been reduced significantly over the past years as a reflection of WWE's changed standards. But nowhere in that debate, including in the correspondence and statements to the advertising community, should there have been any discussion of "wrestling" deaths.

I regret this happening. It wasn't fair to WWE.

And I say this emphatically: Please disregard what others and we have said in the past about the Florida "wrestling" death. Neither "wrestling" in general, nor WWE specifically, had anything to do with it. Of that I am certain."

I love that story.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Grand Old Police Blotter: Justice DeLayed Edition

Three of the Bugman's bagmen have been indicted for violating Texas law. Let's hope the State can roll these punks and nail the ringleader.

AUSTIN, Sept. 21 -- Three top political aides to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) were indicted Tuesday on charges of illegally raising political funds from corporations in 2002, much of which was funneled into the Republican takeover of the Texas legislature.

Corporate contributions to state legislative candidates are illegal in Texas. A Travis County grand jury indicted DeLay political aide Jim Ellis, fundraiser Warren RoBold and John Colyandro, the executive director of DeLay's political action committee, Texans for a Republican Majority, known as TRMPAC. Eight corporations also were indicted for illegal political contributions.

For those interested in not doing business with DeLay's corporate cronies, the WaPo has identified them as: Sears, Bacardi USA Inc., Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Westar Energy Inc.,Diversified Collection Services Inc., Williams Companies Inc., the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care Corp., and Questerra Corp. You can be sure I'll never buy a Barcardi Breeze or one of those golf tee puzzles.

The Toady Show

Following Bush's speech to the U.N. General Assembly this morning, Pumpkinhead Russert told Matt Lauer that Bush was reaching out to other nations for help in Iraq, but very few others nation would assist "because they're scared." (If anyone has the exact quote, let me know.)

Russert did not back up his assertion with any evidence, knowing he wouldn't be challenged by any of the aminitronic mannequins on the NBC infomercial known as Today.

Howie the Putz, Apologist For Power

Administration apologist Howie "the Putz" Kurtz is bashing United States Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald for his efforts to prosecute suspected criminals:

New York, N.Y.: Can you please help me understand why reporters on the periphery of the investigation into the release of the CIA agent's name have been forced to testify but Bob Novak, the releaser of the name, has not? Haven't the courts ruled that, in cases involving violations of the law, reporters do not have a right to withhold their sources?

Howard Kurtz: We don't even know whether Novak has been subpoenaed, because he won't say. It is distressing, from a First Amendment point of view, to see other journalists who didn't out Valerie Plame as a CIA operative dragged into this, but we seem to have an activist prosecutor who is not taking a last-resort approach to demanding reporters' testimony with the threat of jail if they don't comply.
Where to begin?

"Activist prosecutor?" Fitzgerald was charged by the Justice Department to investigate the Plame leak, after the CIA requested an investigation. Fitzgerald didn't define the scope of his authority, nor has he sought to expand it.

I don't recall the Putz ever using the term activist prosecutor to describe Ken Starr, to whom the term could be properly applied.

"Not taking a last-resort approach"? Howie doesn't (and can't) name a single person with relevant knowledge who Fitzgerald has failed to interview before subpoenaing journalists.

Is the Putz criticizing Fitzgerald for subpoenaing Novak before others? But Howie claims he doesn't know whether Novak has been subpoenaed. Surely the Putz wouldn't accuse Fitzgerald of misconduct without a factual basis for such an assertion. That would run counter to everything he pretends to stand for.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Editor and Publisher Needs An Editor

From September 17:

"PAUL KRUGMAN: 'The biggest email dump I've gotten was about two months ago when I wrote saying, "gee it kinda looks the economic recovery is lulling." It was the least political column I've written in months and I got outraged, angry emails from people that said this doesn't bare any resemblance to anything I've seen on TV, and it's really funny.'"

p.s. to David: Your correspondents are correct.

A Well-Kept Secret

The Washington Post does have a real media critic, and I'm not talking about the right-wing putz. While Getler lets the Post off rather easily for its past crimes on Iraq, he's not going to let the paper slide for its continued distorted reporting:

When Kerry did speak out on Thursday, citing a newly disclosed and pessimistic intelligence report, The Post -- wrongly and unfairly, I thought -- buried the story on Page A20.

Another example of why I'm not optimistic occurred last Monday. The outgoing commander of Marine Corps forces in western Iraq told reporters from The Post, the Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times and CNN that he opposed the assault on militants in the volatile city of Fallujah in April and also disagreed with the subsequent order to halt the attack once underway. "When you order elements of a Marine division to attack a city, you really need to understand what the consequences of that are going to be and not perhaps vacillate in the middle of something like that," said Lt. Gen. James T. Conway.

Several Iraqi cities are controlled or dominated by insurgents, and the battle over Fallujah symbolizes the dilemma faced by U.S. forces, who could undoubtedly overrun the resistance, or at least displace it, in these cities. But they would also surely pay a big price in Iraq and the Arab world. It will be a long time, if ever, before Iraqis will be able to undertake such missions. The Globe put the story on Page One. The Los Angeles Times referred to it on Page One. The Post put it on Page A17 with a one-column headline.

The Desperate Hours

Desperation is the new flypaper:

Also, two car bomb attacks on the highway to Baghdad's international airport killed two American soldiers and wounded 11 on Saturday, the military said.

The first bomb exploded near an overpass on the road linking the capital to the airport as a convoy passed by, wounding three soldiers. Plumes of thick black smoke were seen rising from the scene and a U.S. helicopters clattered overhead.

At around 4 p.m., U.S. soldiers traveling to the scene of the first attack were hit by a second car bomb, killing two and wounding eight, the military said.

The treacherous stretch of road is the site of frequent attacks against U.S. troops and their supply convoys. In a travel warning issued Saturday, the U.S. State Department described the airport road as among the country's most dangerous.


The Americans insisted Saturday that the militants' campaign of violence won't succeed.

"The continued targeting of Iraqi security forces shows the desperation of anti-Iraqi forces as they recognize the continued improvement and capability of the Iraqi National Guard and Iraqi Police," said Maj. Neal O'Brien of the Army's 1st Infantry Division.

To be fair, I do catch a very strong whiff of desperation.

With militants roaming unmolested in parts of Baghdad, no one is safe.


The violent reality of life in Iraq stands in contrast to the Bush Administration's sunny assessments of the country's progress toward democracy. A growing chorus of lawmakers, soldiers and U.S. military and intelligence officials warn that the U.S. faces a potential disaster in Iraq. Critics of the Administration pounced on reports saying a National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, which the cia gave to the White House in July, lays out a distressing view of Iraq's future. According to a U.S. official familiar with the estimate, it envisions three possible scenarios for how events might unfold over the next 18 months. The official says the estimate foresees, "at best, a situation that would be, in terms of security, tenuous and, at worst, a trend line that could point in the direction of a civil war."

Officials from the U.S. military and the interim Iraqi government are playing down the significance of the intelligence estimate. "It says what we've been saying for months," a Pentagon civilian says. "There's a 1-in-3 chance of civil war."

Crouching Wingnut, Hidden Salami

I have no idea whether the Reverend Paul Crouch paid out over a year's salary to settle a lawsuit claiming he had sex with an ex-convict male employee because the allegations were true. I also have no idea whether God resurrected his wife's pet chicken. And I have no idea whether Paul and Jan bought a tanning bed out of personal vanity or to spread the Gospel:

They said the tanning bed was used to darken the skin of 25 actors cast in TBN stage productions set in Biblical times.

But I doubt too many of their followers would be offended by a pasty faced Jesus.

Frank Rich in today's NYT:

Once Fox sets the agenda, and its allies in the administration, talk radio and the Internet ride herd, its rivals want to get in on the act, if only out of ratings envy and sheer inertia. Though the best-selling "Unfit for Command" was the work of a longtime Kerry antagonist and a writer best known for his anti-Semitic and anti-Catholic comments on a right-wing Web forum, its facts were challenged on TV at a far slower pace than the books of Seymour Hersh and Kitty Kelley, whose reporting was targeted in advance by administration talking points handed out before the books could even be read.

In this environment, even a beloved right-wing anecdote of flyweight content, like Teresa Heinz Kerry's "shove it!," can overwhelm all other headlines in the 24/7 news ethosphere. Afghanistan, tumbling into chaos, has all but fallen off the TV map. So to some extent has Iraq. How many Americans know just how much of the country has been ceded to the insurgents? Perhaps only Armageddon there or in North Korea can change the subject from George W. Bush's National Guard career, a story that has been known since The Boston Globe first reported it in May 2000, and whose embarrassing outline would remain the same even if "60 Minutes" had never done its piece.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

It's Miller Time

Miller doing time, maybe. Chalabi stenographer Judith Miller has been ordered to testify concerning her chit-chats with her pals in the Administration.

A federal judge, in an order released yesterday, ruled that New York Times reporter Judith Miller cannot avoid a subpoena to testify about her private conversations with news sources before a grand jury investigating whether senior administration officials leaked the identity of a covert CIA officer to the media.

In his Sept. 9 order denying Miller's request to quash the subpoena, U.S. District Chief Judge Thomas F. Hogan said that the reporter's discussions with anonymous sources are not protected, either by the First Amendment or by common- law privilege. Miller's attorney, Floyd Abrams, said the Times would appeal the decision.

Miller is the fifth reporter who has been directed by the court to talk with special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald about conversations they had with administration sources in the summer of 2003. Fitzgerald is investigating whether a government official knowingly disclosed to the media the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame, who is also the wife of former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV.

But will her answers be any more credible than her reporting?

Milles Bornes

When I wasn't watching, this site has its 500,000 visitor since I started counting visitors. Whenever that was.

In honor of this milestone, I am giving every one of my readers a car.

You can work out the arrangements for sharing it.

G.O.P. Frivolous Lawsuit Malicious Prosecution Week Continues

Hmm... The crushing of dissent in the Land of the 'Cracker. I'm sure the make-believe libertarian will slam the State's abuse of individuals exercising their natural rights.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A judge has dismissed charges against a war protester who was arrested during a visit by President Bush last spring.

The disorderly conduct charge against Joe Scott was dismissed after witnesses and a videotape contradicted police testimony about his actions.

Scott, 57, claimed he was being singled out by Nashville police during the May 27 visit. "I'm very relieved," he said Tuesday. "I've not been tried as a criminal before."

During the trial, police testified that they wanted Scott, who was holding a "Fire Bush" sign, to move away from the shoulder of the road because he was creating a safety problem and because the U.S. Secret Service wanted protesters at least 10 feet from the street.

Mounted patrol officer Rita Harden testified that Scott had resisted and had run across the street. A videotape of the confrontation showed that Harden used her horse to bump Scott into the street, but it never showed him running away.

Sounds like Mr. Scott has a nice malicious prosecution case on his hands.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Roger's Venn Diagram

Set A: People who question the authenticity of the Killian memos.

Set B: People who have quoted or linked to Drudge uncritically.

Intersection: People who need to shut the fuck up.

Jones v. Constitution

The G.O.P. frivolous lawsuit follies continue with this tale of a right-wing law firm attempting to "reopen" Roe v. Wade, a case concluded over 30 years ago.

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected Norma McCorvey's attempt Tuesday to reopen the 1973 Roe v. Wade case legalizing abortion.

But one judge on the three-judge panel, Houston's Edith H. Jones, saw fit to use the ruling to blast the U.S. Supreme Court's landmark abortion ruling -- a development that stirred activists on both sides of the issue.


In June 2003, backed by Parker and his San Antonio-based Justice Foundation, McCorvey filed a motion asking the federal courts to overturn the Roe decision because it is no longer "fair or just." She submitted what she claimed was new evidence showing that abortion destroys a woman's physical and mental health.

The case was unusual in that nobody rose to take the other side. Henry Wade, the legendary Dallas County district attorney who originally opposed McCorvey, is dead. Dallas' current district attorney, Bill Hill, said he had no place in the matter because Texas' criminal law on abortion no longer exists.

In its seven-page ruling, the 5th Circuit ruled that Texas' laws criminalizing abortion, which McCorvey wants reinstated, have been "repealed by implication" and replaced with civil laws and regulations. As a result, the court found, McCorvey did not present a "live case or controversy" and her motion was moot.

The most troubling part is that Reagan-appointed judicial activist Edith Jones cited McCorvey's trumped up (and unopposed) evidence to urge reversal of Roe v. Wade.

[Jones] also authored a strongly worded four-page concurring opinion that called the Roe decision an "exercise of raw judicial power." McCorvey, she wrote, "presented evidence that goes to the heart of the balance Roe struck between the choice of a mother and the life of her unborn child."

Jones, appearing to agree with all of McCorvey's evidence, stated, "If courts were to delve into the facts underlying Roe's balancing scheme with present-day knowledge, they might conclude that the woman's 'choice' is far more risky and less beneficial, and the child's sentience far more advanced, than the Roe Court knew."

Jones used a sham -- and frivolous -- proceeding to attack the results of the original, real and contested litigation.

We can look forward to her nomination to the Supreme Court if Bush wins the election.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Lawsuit Abuse Week Continues

I heard today that G.O.P. congressional leaders have named this "Lawsuit Abuse Week" (or some such) in connection with some b.s. tort reform bill they're pushing at the behest of their benevolent masters. So I think I'll focus on G.O.P. abuses of the judicial system this week.

Conman Connie Black isn't the only wingnut with a frivolous filing this week. Accused hacker Manny Miranda has filed suit against the Justice Department and the Secret Service to stop them from investigating him:

WASHINGTON - A former Senate staffer filed a federal lawsuit Monday to stop an investigation into how Republicans obtained computer memos taken from Democrats' machines.

Manuel Miranda asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to stop a Justice Department and Secret Service investigation into whether a crime was committed when he and another of Sen. Orrin Hatch's former employees got Democratic documents from a computer server shared by both sides. Miranda worked for the Senate Judiciary Committee, of which Hatch, R-Utah, is chairman.

Miranda said in papers filed Monday that the investigation was solely to hide senators' own wrongdoing.

"Senators used all their official power and their influence over the press to disguise their own wrongdoing, by systematically accusing plaintiff of escalating degrees of criminality," the pleading said.

At the same time, it said, "Other senators failed to defend the plaintiff, a loyal staff aide, and failed to address the apparent misconduct of their Senate colleagues, appearing more interested in avoiding criticism to themselves."

Named as defendants were Attorney General John Ashcroft and Ralph Basham, director of the Secret Service.


The court should "issue a preliminary and permanent injunction enjoining defendants, their employees, agents, grand juries and all persons in active concert or participation with any of them from investigating, indicting or prosecuting the plaintiff," Miranda said.

If any court finds merit to this lawsuit, we're all well and truly fucked, Cheney-style.

The interesting question will be whether Asscrack Justice smacks Manny down, as hard as he deserves, or whether it rolls over to protect one of its own.

Tort Reform, Wingnut Style

From the Toronto Star:

Conrad Black has filed a $2.1 million lawsuit against Toronto Life magazine, alleging that a satirical July story depicted the besieged publisher as "so irredeemably evil that he should be consigned to Hell."

Black has demanded $2 million for general and aggravated damages for defamation and $100,000 in punitive damages.

Also named as defendants in the lawsuit are London-based Canadian writer Robert Mason Lee, who wrote the four-page article titled "A Toast to Lord Black on his arrival in Hell," and illustrator Barry Blitt.

Blitt's illustration accompanying the story showed Black arriving in the back of a convertible sedan giving a thumbs-up signal to a host of demons, devils and other underworld ghouls.

(Links added.)

Monday, September 13, 2004

Dog Bites Man

Damn. I must be doing something wrong.

And I thought was the blog featuring drunken exploits.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

I'd like to thank James Wolcott for including Roger Ailes in the blogroll for his self-titled new blog.

My first recollection of Mr. Wolcott's work was his New Republic essay skewering Jay McInerney's Bright Lights, Big City and similar works, which I must have read from the womb. Since that time, I've eagerly read everything he's written.

I'm currently enjoying Wolcott's Attack Poodles And Other Media Mutants, after braving Barnes & Noble's customer "service" to locate it. ("Where's your new non-fiction section?" "I don't think we have one.") The book's surgical strikes on the likes of Mickey Kaus and Robt. Novak are a joy to read.

Wolcott's blogging has already pissed off the already piss-saturated wingnutosphere (and "humorist" Dave Barry) with its objectively pro-hurricane opinions. (No links to those wankers; they're easy enough to find.) Further proof you don't need a sense of humor to use a computer.

At 4 p.m. Eastern, C-SPAN is rebroadcasting last night's speech by Senator Kerry at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Awards Dinner. WARNING: It may start late because the channel is running a live "rally" involving the Swift Boat Liars for Bush immediately before it. Kerry's speech is a damn good speech, in which he lays out exactly what's at stake in this election. The downside is that Kerry's speech will reach very few undecided voters, either in attendance at the dinner or at home in front of the teevee.

A Miserable Failure

Because Bush signed a six-year "military service obligation," he was required to attend at least 44 inactive-duty training drills each fiscal year beginning July 1. But Bush's own records show that he fell short of that requirement, attending only 36 drills in the 1972-73 period, and only 12 in the 1973-74 period. The White House has said that Bush's service should be calculated using 12-month periods beginning on his induction date in May 1968. Using this time frame, however, Bush still fails the Air Force obligation standard.

Moreover, White House officials say, Bush should be judged on whether he attended enough drills to count toward retirement. They say he accumulated sufficient points under this grading system. Yet, even using their method, which some military experts say is incorrect, U.S. News 's analysis shows that Bush once again fell short. His military records reveal that he failed to attend enough active-duty training and weekend drills to gain the 50 points necessary to count his final year toward retirement.

The U.S. News analysis also showed that during the final two years of his obligation, Bush did not comply with Air Force regulations that impose a time limit on making up missed drills. What's more, he apparently never made up five months of drills he missed in 1972, contrary to assertions by the administration. White House officials did not respond to the analysis last week but emphasized that Bush had "served honorably."

(Link via John Aravosis's AMERICAblog.)


Hey, Wolf. If you want me to trust CNN, ask Condi about this.

Real questions.

And not from the kneeling position.

Mr. Hersh asserts that a Central Intelligence Agency analyst who visited the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in the late summer of 2002 filed a report of abuses there that drew the attention of Gen. John A. Gordon, a deputy to Condoleezza Rice, the White House national security adviser.

But when General Gordon called the matter to her attention and she discussed it with other senior officials, including Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, no significant change resulted. Mr. Hersh's account is based on anonymous sources, some secondhand, and could not be independently verified.

Although a number of senior officials were briefed on the analyst's findings of abuse, the high-level White House meeting did not "dwell on" that question, but rather focused on whether some of the prisoners should not have been held at all, the book says. A White House official said Saturday that the meeting was held, but said that it was solely focused on whether people at Guantanamo were being improperly held. The official also said the C.I.A. analyst who visited the Guantanamo detention center filed a report that concerned only the question of improper detention, not abuses.

Update: Wolfie was weak as water: Gee, Dr. Rice, you wouldn't do anything like that, wouldja? Not that I can recall, Wolf. Well, that's settled.

Quote Of The Week

"To even base a story on Lott's work at this point in time is to demonstrate a pronounced bias toward right-wing hacks," said Brad DeLong, a liberal-leaning economist at the University of California at Berkeley.

(Link via Atrios.)

Alan Keyes Is Making A Pact With Satan

Q and A with Alan Keyes, September 11, 2004:

Q: Has the fact that you are a Maryland resident and had previously never lived in Illinois been a campaign issue thus far? How do you address that when you're labeled as an "outsider" or a "carpet bagger?"

A: "I have to admit, I think it has been more of an issue with the media than with the people. It is a question that I continually encounter from the media and I don't recall that I have ever encountered it from an individual in Illinois. I think the people of Illinois are willing to judge me on who I am and what I can contribute and what I say instead of looking at extraneous things. I think the people of Illinois will look at me and what I have to offer rather than where I came from."

Chicago Tribune, August 15, 2004:

Keyes, the conservative political figure from Maryland who entered the Senate race last week after GOP nominee Jack Ryan withdrew his candidacy, made his first trip Saturday into the heart of Chicago's black community. Keyes, an African-American, was greeted with a resounding chorus of jeers and boos that bordered on outright hostility.

"Go back to Maryland!" and "Down with Keyes!" were the most common refrains.


Another man briefly grabbed Keyes' arm and advised Keyes, "Take your [expletive] back to Maryland."

It's not a lie, it's a tribute to President Reagan.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

The Invisible Finger

Dick Fucking Cheney to the unemployed and impoverished: "Let them EBay."

Indicators measure the nation's unemployment rate, consumer spending and other economic milestones, but Vice President Dick Cheney says it misses the hundreds of thousands who make money selling on eBay.

"That's a source that didn't even exist 10 years ago," Cheney told an audience in Cincinnati on Thursday. "Four hundred thousand people make some money trading on eBay."

Just think how much higher that figure would be if EBay allowed the sale of porn and human organs.

(Link via Wonkette)

Where the hell have I been?

Here are some possibilities.

  1. Undergoing and recuperating from heart bypass surgery.
  2. Playing amateur typewriter detective on the 'net.
  3. Collecting signatures to get Nader on the ballot in Virginia, at local Republican headquarters.
  4. Having my ass surgically reattached after working it off for the past three weeks.

What, And Give Up Show Business?

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

The Dead Zone

I'm still here, and will be back very soon. Don't delete me from your Favorites yet.

And add me if I'm not already there.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Grand Old Police Blotter: Total Cardio Workout Edition

Here's a couple that might benefit from a visit to a family therapist or a high priestess, shaman, E-Meter technician or the True Parents themselves, on the public's dime.

A state senator has been accused by her estranged husband of striking him, threatening his life and firing a gun, according to court documents.

A Gwinnett County judge has barred Sen. Renee Unterman, 50, from her family's Loganville home and from having contact with her family pending a hearing. Unterman, a Republican, has served one term and is unopposed for re-election in November.

A state senator has been accused by her estranged husband of striking him, threatening his life and firing a gun, according to court documents.

A Gwinnett County judge has barred Sen. Renee Unterman, 50, from her family's Loganville home and from having contact with her family pending a hearing. Unterman, a Republican, has served one term and is unopposed for re-election in November.

Her estranged husband, Dr. Marc Unterman, filed a civil domestic violence petition in Gwinnett County Superior Court on Aug. 23. Dr. Unterman is a Lawrenceville cardiologist.

While saying she preferred to address the allegations in court, Unterman said in a written statement Friday that she is "being treated for depression that was partially brought on by my husband's requesting a divorce."

Careful, Doc. You might become known as Six-Feet Unterman.

(Thanks to a reader for the link.)

Has the other Roger Ailes stopped payment on someone's checks?

After Vietnam, nothing is ancient history, and Cheney is still drinking. What their records suggest is not only a serious problem with alcoholism, which Bush but not Cheney has acknowledged, but also an even more serious problem of judgment.

What if Bush were to fall off the wagon? Then what? Has America really faced the fact that we have an alcoholic as our president?

Or how about Dead Texans for Truth, highlighting those who served in Vietnam instead of the privileged draft-dodging president, and ended up as names on the wall instead of members of the Air National Guard.

Or maybe it will be Texas National Guardsmen for Truth, who can explain exactly what George W. Bush was doing while John Kerry was putting his life on the line. Perhaps with money on the table, or investigators on their trail, we will learn just what kind of wild and crazy things the president was doing while Kerry was saving a man's life, facing enemy fire and serving his country.

Or could it be George Bush's Former Female Friends for Truth. A forthcoming book by Kitty Kelley raises questions about whether the president has practiced what he preaches on abortion. As Larry Flynt discovered, a million dollars loosens lips. Are there others to be loosened?

(Link via buzzflash.)

Saturday, September 04, 2004

The Nunny State

I missed Senator Sanctum Santorum's speechlette at the Republicon, but apparently Peggy Noonan had him praising big gov'mint:

But Santorum said too many mothers on welfare end up trying to raise their children without a father -- something he said President Bush's faith-based social programs are trying to change.

"We now ask, 'Would you like some help in building that relationship?'" Santorum said. "And if the mother and the father says yes, we pay for marriage counseling with a family therapist or a pastor, rabbi, imam or priest."

If you want healthcare, or day care or a job, you can pound sand. If you want a priest to reveal the secrets of a successful marriage, you're in luck.

Hurricane Porn

Memo to CNN:

If I wanted to watch stupid white men being blown, I would have watched the Republican Convention on FOX.

Friday, September 03, 2004

The Rump Party

Mickey Kaus drove cross-country to attend a wingnut family reunion, according to Little Jim Taranto:

We began the evening with cocktails at the home of William F. Buckley, at a party attended by a who's who of political journalists and commentators, among them Peter Beinart, Brent Bozell, Mona Charen, Rita Cosby, Midge Decter, Franklin Foer, David Frum, Jeff Jacoby, Mickey Kaus, Rich Lowry, Bill McGurn, Kate O'Beirne, Uma Pemmaraju, Norman Podhoretz and Ramesh Ponnuru. Ed Gillespie, chairman of the Republican National Committee, was also on hand.

Whatta bunch of swells!

Kaus then went clubbing with Nooners and Lucianne Sr.

(Link courtesy of P O'Neill.)

Watching Scotty Lie

You've got to hand it to the unnamed author of this msnbc article:

Late Thursday, [Zell] Miller and his wife were removed from the list of dignitaries who would be sitting in the first family's box during the president's acceptance speech later in the evening. Scott Stanzel, a spokesman for the Bush campaign, said Miller was not in the box because the campaign had scheduled him to do too many television interviews.

There was no explanation, however, for why Miller would be giving multiple interviews during Bush's acceptance speech, or what channels would snub the president in favor of Miller. Nor was it made clear why Miller's wife also was not allowed to take her place in the president's box 24 hours after his deeply personal denunciation of his own party's nominee.

Very nicely done.

(Link via TPM.)

Republicans In Love

"I like Zell Miller, and even more I like the idea of Zell Miller.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Deliver Us From Ev-zell

I say give Zell Miller Joe Scarborough and a couple of banjoes, and let him have his duel.

William Saletan writes:

"But the important thing isn't the falsity of the charges, which Republicans continue to repeat despite press reports debunking them. The important thing is that the GOP is trying to quash criticism of the president simply because it's criticism of the president. The election is becoming a referendum on democracy.

In a democracy, the commander in chief works for you. You hire him when you elect him. You watch him do the job. If he makes good decisions and serves your interests, you rehire him. If he doesn't, you fire him by voting for his opponent in the next election.

Not every country works this way. In some countries, the commander in chief builds a propaganda apparatus that equates him with the military and the nation. If you object that he's making bad decisions and disserving the national interest, you're accused of weakening the nation, undermining its security, sabotaging the commander in chief, and serving a foreign power—the very charges Miller leveled tonight against Bush's critics.

Are you prepared to become one of those countries?"

We already are one of those countries. The real question is, Are you prepared to end the occupation?

Can't tell the Swift Boat Liars without a scorecard? Here's an encyclopedic resource identifying the Liars, as well as those who served with Senator Kerry.

The media appear to have become bored with this story, conveniently at the time the Liars have been debunked. But save the link; these bottom-dwellers will surface again in 2008.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

The Scarlet Letter

All that slobbering over Rudy G. and the Predator at The Corner, and not one mention of the A-word.

You don't suppose that the Cornerites are religious hypocrites, do you?

Zell Needs Zoloft

TAPped has the scoop on Zell Miller's mental breakdown.

And TalkLeft has Michael Reagan's revisionist history.

And Tomorrow Is Washed-Up Athletes Night

"A Safer World,
A More Hopeful America
(A Really Bad Episode of Hollywood Squares)
7:45 p.m. to 11:15 p.m. EDT

Convention Call to Order
Representative Henry Bonilla (TX)
Deputy Permanent Co-Chair

Presentation of Colors
New York Port Authority

Pledge of Allegiance
Mary Lou Retton and Kerri Strug
Olympic Gold Medalists

National Anthem
Nicole C. Mullen, Nashville, TN

Bishop Keith Butler, Southfield, MI
Primetime Continued

Lynn Swann
NFL Hall of Famer

Dorothy Hamill
Olympic Gold Medalist

The Honorable Michael Williams (TX)

Donnie McClurkin

Michael W. Smith

Governor George Pataki (NY)

President George W. Bush

Cardinal Egan
I'm sorry, tonight was Bitter Old Whitey Night.

Who Said It?

I bent and covered his thick old knuckles with Chanel No. 23 red raspberry lipstick ... I think I said, "Papa."

(Link; click through for the illustration.)