Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Most of this firm's seasonal white-collar employees work only four months of the year.

It Ain't Necessarily So

Seeing The Forest has the story of Steven Williams, the litigious public grade school teacher who claims that his school's administration forbade him from discussing the parts of the Constitution referencing Mr. Williams's personal deity.

Other teachers at the school say Williams is full of it, according to the local television news:

Some of Williams' colleagues say they don't have similar restrictions, and they don't need them.

"I talk about these things in my classroom without problem," said Sarah Beeten, another 5th grade teacher at Stevens Creek. "He does not present it as history. He presents it as personal opinion."

The video at the link shows a second teacher who claims Williams is bearing false witness.

What's next: Jerry Falwell exposed as a lying bigot?

Monday, November 29, 2004

The Wide World Of Putz

My lack of knowledge of professional basketball is rivaled only by my lack of interest in the sport. So I've had nothing worth saying about the Pistons-Pacers fracas until Howie "the Putz" Kurtz began spouting off some foul lines on the subject.

Let's go to the idiotape:

KURTZ: Mike Wise, I happened to be watching the game and was as stunned as everyone else. But if you look at recent years -- Latrell Sprewell chokes his coach, comes back, he's treated like a star. Jayson Williams shoots a limo driver, he's acquitted, he's treated like a star. Kobe beats the rape rap. He's now back to stardom.

Jayson Williams treated like a star? He doesn't have a friggin' contract.

And Williams (who was acquitted of aggravated manslaughter and aggravated assault but will be retried on a count of reckless manslaughter) asserts that the gun discharged accidentally. He's never been found criminally responsible for the man's death. Tell us, Howie, how should Williams be treated? Like accidental killer Laura Bush or accidental shooter Bob Barr?

Howie says Kobe Bryant "beat the rap." Do you have some inside information of Bryant's criminal culpability you'd care to share, Howie?

Haven't the media failed to blow the whistle on some of these thug players?

I seem to have missed the Reliable Sources blowings on Frank Francisco and Todd Berzutti. Or, as Howie would call them, "Who?"

KURTZ: But he is a professional athlete making $6 million a year. It's very different for him to go into the stands than for you and I to get into a street fight.

Less slapping, would be my guess.

KURTZ: Drew Sharp making the point that professional athletes have heard yes their whole life, because they're favorite people, and so it's easy for them to blame everyone else.

Let's pull the camera back a bit, Mike Wise. The tattoos, the fights, the drug busts, the occasional instances of domestic violence. Are the media helping the NBA market this as a kind of an in-your-face, hip-hop sport?

Ah, domestic violence. Where was Howie's outrage when Arnold Schwarzenegger hired a media consultant who was accused of spousal abuse by both of his ex-wives, testifying under oath? Is Howie more concerned about alleged thugs who are hip-hop athletes than those who are G.O.P. operatives?

You make the call.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

How To Impeach Your Own Witness

What does the pitiful Sully have to say about the "important, thorough and debunking" ABC News report on the death of Matthew Shepard after its airing?


Let's look at the important, thorough and debunking "new evidence" in the piece, as set forth in the online version of the ABC report. (I didn't see the program, so if ABC left some important details out of its online version, well, that just shows what a half-assed news organization it is.)

1. The killer who delivered the fatal beating, McKinney, denies the killing was motivated by anti-gay bias. When he said that before, he was just lying, as a trial tactic.

2. A number of people say McKinney and Matthew Shepard were social acquaintances before the crime. McKinney says he never met Shepard before.

3. A limo driver says that McKinney was bisexual, and engaged in a three-way with him and a woman. McKinney says he's never had sex with a man.

There you have it. McKinney is a liar on points 2 and 3, according to all the people interviewed on those points. Therefore, he has enormous credibility on point 1, except for the part where he was, you know, he was lying about it.

To be fair, 20/20 also asserts that Shepard used crystal meth as well. And, of course, you can't be the victim of a bias-motivated crime if you use drugs.

And here's more from David Ehrenstein and Doug Ireland.

p.s. Between this story and the Dick Dasen saga, is there anyone in Montana or Wyoming who's not on crank?

Mistakes in the Washington Post Other Than Howard Kurtz

Headline on washingtonpost.com website:

Students Demand Pay from Pink Floyd

From the linked article:

Rowan said the money would come from a music royalties society and not Pink Floyd. He expected the 23 pupils to receive about 200 pounds each.

Carcajou, Mrs. Robinson

Some enterprising folks have posted the entire text of Lynne Cheney's novel, Sisters, at this site. (I assume it's an accurate reproduction, but can't vouch for it.)

Beyond the historical importance of this semi-autobiographical work, Sisters should provide encouragement to inspiring writers who believe that the publishers do reject manuscripts based on poor quality. From Chapter 1:

"Horror engulfed her, counterpointed instantly by a paroxysm of terror running up her forearms like an electric current, seizing the muscles of her neck, forcing her head up to what she already knew was there. Gleaming animal eyes. Black lip curled back to reveal white fang. Carcajou! Carcajou! Spawn of the devil. Destroyer of life. The animal screamed, and she called out its name: Carcajoooouuu!"

Black lip curled back to reveal white fang. Destroyer of life. You don't suppose this was penned during a rough patch in the Cheney marriage.

(Second link via DU.)

Calendar Churls

Via World O'Crap, we learn that the Clownhall.com member Claire Booth Luce Policy Institute is offering hard-core intellectual pornography for a tax-deductible contribution:

Make a $25 or more secure online donation to the Luce Policy Institute and you'll receive our 2005 Great American Conservative Women Calendar featuring Ann Coulter, Dr. Laura, Michelle Malkin, Condoleezza Rice, Shemane Nugent and many more prominent conservative women. Click here to make your secure and tax-deductible donation today.

So Laura Schlessinger is a doctor, but Condi is not. Some not so subtle bigotry there.

"It is an honor for me to be included in the 2005 Great American Conservative Women Calendar. To be highlighted among women who feel and believe that it is within the context of traditional values that a woman enjoys the most respect, opportunities, and happiness possible." -- Dr. Laura Schlessinger

Unless you're Schlessinger's mother.

Or Shemane Nugent.

Roger's Blogads

Roger unreservedly recommends, without remuneration, the following fine independent bookseller, located in Blue Ridge, Georgia, and now online:

The Mountain Scholar bookstore

The store specializes in regional, nature/outdoors and Native American titles, but I'm sure you can get The DaVinci Code there, if you really want to.

Check them out for your holiday shopping.

No Sleep 'Til Bethlehem

Hey, Reuben Vollrath of Athens, Georgia. Boy, is your Christmas gonna suck:

To clear space in their S.U.V.'s for more purchases, buyers jettisoned giant cardboard boxes from 27-inch televisions. "I can't believe they'd do that," grumbled one clerk, stacking up the empty boxes. "I think they need these if they want to return them."

Others headed to shops where they could buy a broader range of things. In Athens, Ga., Ruth Vollrath was headed to a Target.

Ms. Vollrath, who has three children and is married to a pastor, said she planned to spend less because the family had had "some financial setbacks" during the year. So she checked out the discount stores' circulars. "I'm excited about the digital cameras there, the Norelco electric shaver for my husband and a luggage set for my 12-year-old son Reuben."

Friday, November 26, 2004

Meet Your Liberal Media: Stinking Animals Edition

MSGOP apologizes -- and does nothing else -- after being caught airing a racist for the past 10 years.

MSNBC, the network that telecasts Don Imus's rollicking radio show, has issued an apology for what it called "unfortunate" recent remarks on the program about Arabs and Muslims. In shows earlier this month, sports anchor Sid Rosenberg referred to Palestinians as "stinking animals" and an unidentified guest doing a George S. Patton parody characterized a dead Iraqi insurgent as "a booby-trapped raghead cadaver." Responding to protests from the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, the network issued a statement this week saying, "We sincerely apologize to anyone who was offended by these remarks."

Regrettably, not only media whores -- Greenfield, Fineman, Pumpkinhead -- but also Democratic politicians -- including Senator John Kerry -- appear on this unfunny bigot's show. Let's hope that stops now.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Kentucky Republican Guilty of Santoruming, Judge Says

Sorry, it's not that.

The fact that Stephenson bought a home in Jeffersonville, Ind., registered and voted there and got an Indiana driver's license meant that she was not a resident of Kentucky, Willett ruled.
Boris Johnson Lookalikes

(Via Private Eye)

I've lost a few posts in the last few days due to Blogger malfunctioning, including my three-part series on my battles with nighttime gastroesophageal reflux disease.

My apologies.

The Who Sell Shout

I've got to feel sorry for the generations before me. Every one of their songs has now either been included in a lame "musical" or used to advertise a discount retailer or a GM car.

(Yes, I'm watching that paradfomerical, brought to you by MSGEGOP News. No balloon-induced fatalities so far.)

Update (11/26): fatalities, not facilities.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Those Who Can't Do

Phoning in another of his boilerplate "Democrats are playing the blacks" columns (macro alt+sowell/elder/armstrong), Walter Williams endeavors to make the case for Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State:

First, let's look at a few of Dr. Rice's credentials. She holds a doctorate from the University of Denver. While senior fellow at the prestigious Hoover Institution, she taught courses in Stanford University's political science department. Later, she served as the university's provost. Dr. Rice is a recognized expert in Soviet and Eastern European countries, and she's fluent in Russian. She landed her job as national security adviser not because President Bush was trying to pay off a black constituency and not because Bush had an affirmative-action policy; her qualifications got her the job.

Notice anything missing?

That's right. Any mention of Rice's government service. In either Bush Administration.

Read the whole column. There's nothing else. Rice's credentials are that she's a bilingual academic/college administrator. And that she was selected by Bush.

Of course, this is not an oversight. Any discussion of Rice's accomplishments would necessarily exclude mention of the last four years.

Williams also mentions the strongest argument against Rice's elevation: She would be fourth in the line of presidential succession. That alone is reason enough to oppose her appointment.

"We Didn't Land On Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock Landed On Us"

Probably not the quote that the Bush Virtue Warriors were thinking of when they named the latest feel-good offensive designed to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, one way or the other.

More than 5,000 US-led forces are sweeping through lawless hotspots in an area south of Baghdad known as Iraq's "triangle of death".

US, Iraqi and British troops have been conducting house-to-house searches and setting up vehicle checkpoints.

Renewed violence has hit Iraq's Sunni Muslim heartland in recent weeks.

The upsurge in attacks follows the large assault on Falluja earlier this month, which aimed to stabilise the country before elections in January.

The joint operation, dubbed "Plymouth Rock", began in the village of Jabella, 80km (50 miles) south of the Iraqi capital on Tuesday, where 32 people were arrested.

I guess Operation Fuck the Fourth Amendment was too sarcastic.

It was brilliant of the Administration to use a symbol of a traditionally Christian holiday to remind us why we're in Iraq. When Bush makes this year's pilgramage to deliver plastic turkeys to the American troops, I'm sure he'll remind non-puppet Prime Minister Allawi what happened to those who opposed colonization after the First Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Drop Kick These Idiots

The punters down at the Air Force Acamedy throw a Hail Mary pass, and get intercepted:

The Air Force Academy's longtime football coach has agreed to remove a Christian banner from the team's locker room after school administrators announced they would do more to fight religious intolerance.

Coach Fisher DeBerry agreed Friday to remove the banner, which displayed the "Competitor's Creed," including the lines "I am a Christian first and last ... I am a member of Team Jesus Christ."

DeBerry put the banner up Wednesday to encourage the team, which has experienced one of its worst seasons in recent years, academy spokesman Lt. Col. Laurent Fox said.

Hey, DeBerry, Jesus called. He wants nothing to do with you, loser. Maybe you could try threatening the squad with a tour in Iraq instead.

Crazy Davy Is The New Reed Irvine

Crazy Davy Horowitz has penned a touching tribute to the late Reed Irvine. Davy fondly recalls the evening in the early 90s when Irvine repeatedly phoned Davy, pestering him to call into Larry King's show and confront "fellow-traveller" King and his guest, Carl Bernstein, the son of a commie. Davy finally phoned in, and got hung up on. Nevertheless, says Davy, "I have no regrets about making the call."

Should've saved that one for the funeral, Davy. That's pure anecdote gold.

The best part of Davy's reminiscence:

So unlike a reign of terror was McCarthyism that when Bernstein the younger told Ben Bradlee his editor at the Washington Post about his father's Communist Party membership, Bradlee kept him on the Watergate story and the hunt for President Nixon. As far as the Washington Post was concerned it was okay for the son of a Communist to bring down a sitting American President in the middle of the Cold War.

Bec1ause if McCarthyism had been an actual reign of terror, 20 years after it ended, Bernstein, Bernstein's father, Bradlee and Larry King all would have been swinging from lampposts instead of bringing down Nixon by exposing his Administration's crimes.

Some people say that Irvine passed the torch of drooling lunacy to Horowitz the fateful day when Davy called Larry. I say Davy was a fruitcake long before then.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Mel, 6:5-6

And when ye p.r., ye shall not be as the hypocrites, for they attendeth the synagogues and taketh full pages in the industry sheets. Verily I say unto you, they corrupteth the awards. But thou, when thou p.r., enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, sendeth thou out thy spokesperson with a press release about how ye pander to the Academy in secret, and how ye are therefore morally superior to those who buyeth space in the trades. And the wingnuts, who are gullible dolts one and all, shall prattle on about thy integrity and shall increase thy free press five-fold.

Thus endeth the epistle.

No Justice, No Peace

Brian Linse has the appropriate response to Jeff Jarvis's assertion that Dems should work to unite the country and "heal wounds" by making nice with Bush following the election:

Listen, bro, you know that I think you are one sweet cat, and that you have been one of my blog heroes right from the start, but this "Peace Pledge" thingy that you are on about now is really fucking pathetic.

You also ask your fellow Democrats to acknowledge Bush as "our president" and to "push him", but to use "honey" to do it... or something like that. I'm sure you are getting lots of link- love from the Right for this noble, and no doubt sincere effort. But trust me, Jeff, they are clicking over from the Right and laughing at you. Anyway...

Well, Jeff, to paraphrase Michael Corleone, "My offer is this: nothing."

The country won't heal if Bush continues to exploit, divide, infect and destroy it for the benefit of his benefactors. Opposing Bush is the only way to help the country.

Big Game Hunting

Why are the so-called liberal media in large part ignoring the biggest story of the week? I speak of University of California's resounding thrashing of that dark satanic diploma mill, home school of Condoleezza Rice and the Hoover Institution, Leland Stanford Junior College.

"Bears' tailbacks J.J. Arrington and Marshawn Lynch each rushed for more than 100 yards for the second straight week as Cal beat Stanford for the third time in a row. Cal last won three straight Big Games in 1958-60. It also made Cal coach Jeff Tedford 3-0 in Big Games, and the last Cal coach to win three straight was Pappy Waldorf, who won his first three Big Games in 1947,'48 and '49.

"The crowd of 72,981 represented the first Big Game sellout since 1997. The Bears, whose only remaining game is Dec. 4 at Southern Mississippi, ended up averaging 64,019 in home attendance, a Cal record."

You gotta love it when Blue beats Red.

Lou Dubose has a whole lot more on Tom DeLay's throughly corrupt buddies, Jack Abramoff and Mike Scanlon.

Are there any former Young Republicans who aren't morally bankrupt scumbags?

Update: Link fixed.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Another One Bites The Dust

Finally -- finally! -- an obituary that mentions some of the unpleasant truths about Reed Irvine:

Ideologically, [Accuracy in Media] paved the way for the tide of conservative talk shows, Web sites and news programming that would follow decades later. And while AIM occasionally lived up to its name, it also spent much of its time pursuing conspiracy theories.

In recent years, for example, Mr. Irvine turned his attention to such speculative topics as whether the death in 1993 of Vincent W. Foster Jr., the deputy White House counsel in the Clinton administration, was really a suicide. He also challenged the government's explanation of the crash in 1996 of T.W.A. Flight 800, alleging that it had been caused by a rocket.

Irvine also pimped the theory that the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was the work of al-Qaeda.

Yes, Irvine had no respect for the survivors of tragedy -- or for the truth.

So, ideally, the most fitting tribute to Irvine would be to insinuate that he was killed during an erotic encounter with Dicky Mellon Scaife.

Grand Old Police Blotter: Republicans Lawyered Up Edition

Texan scumbag Tom DeLay's cronies are as scummy as DeLay himself. One of the bugchaser's former staffers, "public relations executive" Tom Scanlon is the subject of grand jury and Senate investigations into influence peddling.

Just imagine how big of a crook you have to be to be the Republican subject of a graft investigation by the Republican-controlled Senate.

The WaPo reports:

A Texas Indian tribe desperate to reopen its shuttered gambling casino paid two Washington insiders $4.2 million to try to persuade Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.) and Rep. Robert W. Ney (R-Ohio) to slip crucial language into a bill, according to documents released at a congressional hearing yesterday.

The language did not end up in the 2002 Election Reform Act, but the tab for doing business in Washington came due anyway for the Tigua tribe of El Paso. The millions went to lobbyist Jack Abramoff and public relations executive Michael Scanlon, who are embroiled in investigations by Congress and a federal grand jury over the $82 million in lobbying and public relations fees they collected from six tribes that operate gambling casinos.


Scanlon, 34, a former aide to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), was subpoenaed to appear before the committee. Like Abramoff, who appeared at a hearing in September, he declined to answer questions on the grounds that they could incriminate him [sic].


The Washington Post previously reported that Abramoff and Scanlon quietly worked with conservative religious activist Ralph Reed to help persuade the state of Texas to shut down the Tigua casino in 2002, then persuaded the tribe to pay the $4.2 million to try to get Congress to reopen it.

... Documents released yesterday show that when the Tiguas were out of money in 2003, Abramoff came up with a plan to provide term life insurance to tribal elders, who would make their beneficiary a Jewish school Abramoff founded in Wheaton. The school would pay Abramoff's lobbying fees at the firm of Greenberg Traurig, from which he was ousted earlier this year.

The tribe also was asked to pay $50,000 for Ney and several others to accompany Abramoff on a golfing trip to St. Andrews, Scotland. According to testimony yesterday, however, two other tribes ultimately paid $50,000 each for that trip. Among those who accompanied Abramoff and Ney was Reed.

It's great to see men of different faiths working together.

As this article indicates, Abramoff and Scanlon are lawyered up with Plato Cacheris and Abbe Lowell, respectively. Did Short Joey DiGs and Brendan Sullivan have conflicts of interest? Pretty soon all of the D.C. criminal bar will be on retainer to G.O.P. operatives.

The key here is ex-Christian Coalition mouthpiece Ralph Reed, last seen working for the Bush-Cheney campaign. It's time to put Reed under oath, and make him squeal. Put your money where your mouth is, McCain.

p.s. As the last link indicates, there's a Grover Norquist connection here too. It sounds like Norquist might have some relevant testimony. At a minimum his cries of "witch hunt" might provide comic relief for the committee.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Sail Away

The Weekly Standard is the latest magazine to sponsor a cruise featuring its lineup of editors and subscription processing clerks as guest speakers. For only $1,675 per person (single occupancy), you can sail the open seas for 7 days and 6 nights with William Kristol, Fred Barnes, Terry Eastland, Claudia Winkler and Victorino Matus.

And Hugh Hewitt's head will be used as the anchor.

Reservations are on a first-come, first to get a refund when the cruise is cancelled due to a lack of interest basis.

A Fool And Her Money

Bob Somerby at the Daily Howler eviscerates Anne Applebaum's unbelievably idiotic column dismissing those who demand a voting machine paper trail as irrational, paranoid, conspiracy-minded kooks. No, seriously. She says that.

Here's her reasoning:

When the ATM asks whether I want a receipt, I usually say no. When a Web site wants my credit card number, I usually say yes. When I pay bills online, there is no paper record of the transaction. In my failure to demand physical evidence when money changes hands, I am not very unusual. Most Americans now conduct at least some of their financial transactions without paper, or at least sleep happily knowing that others do. Yet when it comes to voting -- a far simpler and more straightforward activity than electronic bank transfers -- we suddenly become positively 19th century in our need for a physical record.

Would anybody do business with a bank that didn't offer reciepts for every transaction? Has ATM ever been built which doesn't print receipts? Is there any legitimate online business that doesn't have receipts which can be downloaded and/or printed, except in Applebaum's feeble mind?

Only an upper-class nitwit can afford to be so careless with her money. No one can afford to be so careless with democracy.

Monday, November 15, 2004

M.P.s Behaving Badly

The Conversative Party in Britian has been rocked by a political scandal involving weathly people having sex with each other. Well, not rocked, exactly.

Lady Verushka Wyatt is said to have been incensed by the way [Tory M.P. Boris Johnson] treated her only daughter, Petronella.

Reports that he quibbled over the price of an abortion infuriated her further.

Lady Wyatt leaked news of an abortion which Miss Wyatt underwent after sleeping with the Spectator editor. Father-of-four Mr Johnson last week rubbished reports of an affair but, after Lady Wyatt said the allegations were true, he was fired as the Tory opposition's arts spokesman.

Yesterday, Lady Wyatt, the widow of Tote boss Woodrow Wyatt, said she had no sympathy for the disgraced MP.

Speaking from the $7.2 million London house she shares with Petronella, she said: "I've no views on his dismissal. It's none of my business, really."


Mr Johnson has been married to barrister Marina Johnson for 11 years.

The couple began seeing each other while Mr Johnson was married to socialite Allegra Mostyn-Owen, who he left when his new girlfriend became pregnant.

Add a corpse and you've got a P.D. James novel.

Johnson is a blubbery toff who looks like Darrell Hammond impersonating Tweety Matthews. He was the Tories' Shadow Secretary for the Arts, a position which involves licensing the images of Rodney and Del Boy on tea towels. Or so I'd like to think.

Last week, Johnson called allegations of the affair "an inverted pyramid of piffle." And yet British newspapers describe him as "a wit."

Johnson is also the editor of the Spectator, where Petronella "Petsy" Wyatt is a columnist. Her current column offers some advice for working mums such as Ms. Johnson.

The upshot of all this is that the woman who has nothing to occupy her but family matters can end up in the most distressing of positions: by being a dutiful housewife she eventually loses the love of her family. Women thinking about giving up their careers should think again. It is understandable that they should not wish to work long hours in the City or in a solicitor's office, but even a part-time job can do wonders for their long-term felicity.

Apparently there is no Anglican equivalent of James Dobson.

(Story via SullyWatch and Best of Both Worlds.)

David Brooks, Victim of Oppression

Lazy Davy Brooks identifies the real evil of slavery: Coming up with two ideas a week.

Q. You've been an author, newspaper reporter and magazine writer. Is it different writing a column for the New York Times?

[Brooks:] It's totally different. I always swore that I would never agree to be a columnist because it's like slavery. You've got to come up with an idea every three or four days. So I finish my column on a Monday night, and 15 minutes after I'm done I have to think about the next one. That's a challenge.


Hopefully, the Times will manumit Brooks. That, or beat him to death.

(Link requires registration)

Powell Movement

There won't be a wet eye in the Ailes household when Colin Powell relieves himself of the burden of avoiding responsibility and starts collecting those six-figure speaking fees. General Powell's legacy won't be the "Powell Doctrine," it will be his United Nations Power Point presentation, the one presenting a fictitious case for invading Iraq.

No evidence for the weapons has been found, and Mr. Powell is said to have been dismayed that he made a case for the administration based on faulty information.

Not as dismayed as the Iraqi citizens and American soldiers killed and maimed in Desert Sham, of course. Maybe a little pang of regret when he wakes up in the middle of the night to take a piss.

No, I won't miss Colin, the man who wasn't there. He claimed to have principles but was never seen applying them or standing up for them. His commitment to affirmative action extended only as far as getting his otherwise unemployable son, Michael, a patronage job as America's tit monitor. His devotion to integration of the military was only skin deep. Powell once may have had integrity, but he's long since cut it off and killed it.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Grand Old Police Blotter: Lift Every Face Edition

Republican Linda Schrenko, who in 1994 became the first woman elected to a statewide office in Georgia (!) and advocated the teaching of creationism in Georgia's schools, has been indicted (registration required on most links) on allegations she helped herself to over $500,000 of the people's money.

Not just the people of Georgia's money. That wouldn't be right. In true Republican fashion, Schrenko is accused of redistributing money from the Blue States to her own personal account.

Former Georgia School Superintendent Linda Schrenko, whose groundbreaking political career dissolved into erratic behavior and defeat, was indicted Wednesday on federal charges that she stole more than $500,000 in taxpayer money and spent part of it on cosmetic surgery.

Schrenko, 54; her close friend and chief assistant Merle Temple, 56; and Alpharetta businessman A. Stephan Botes, 47, were named in an 18-count indictment that alleges they were involved in a scheme to steal federal education funds and secretly funnel about half the money to Schrenko's failed 2002 campaign for governor.

In addition, the indictment charges the Republican school superintendent used $9,300 of the money to pay for cosmetic surgery.

Schrenko allegedly filched the funds from programs for deaf students.

The federal funds purportedly were used to purchase computer services for two state schools for the deaf and the Governor's Honors Program, but officials say the services weren't delivered.

I guess we can leave some children behind for the sake of Republican politics and a more youthful appearance. Why waste money on the handicapped?

Fortunately, God is on Schrenko's side.

On Wednesday, Rusty Paul, former chairman of the Georgia Republican Party, said he listened in disbelief to news reports of Schrenko's indictment.


"She had a lot of support from the Christian conservatives in the Republican Party, both in her gubernatorial run and in her tenure as school superintendent," he said.

I'm sure she did.

A former teacher and principal whose only prior campaign was a losing race for school superintendent of Columbia County, Schrenko was first elected to head the $6 billion state Education Department in 1994, running a down-home campaign and with a 100 percent approval rating by the Christian Coalition. Once in office, she put personal friends on the DOE payroll, including her pastor and his wife.

Schrenko was popular with the fundies because she advocated teaching the Bible and creationism in Georgia's public schools.

The government alleges that Schrenko issued eleven Department of Education checks, ranging from $45,000 to $49,900, to companies controlled by Botes -- fifty K being the magic number requiring state Board of Education approval. Botes then allegedly funnelled the money back to Schrenko and her election campaigns, with the company hand-delivering checks to Schrenko's bagman. "In one instance, the government says, Temple met Botes and another company official for breakfast at an Atlanta hotel, and the Schrenko aide left with an envelope filled with $32,000 in cash." After an audit began, the govermnent claims, "the conspirators created backdated contracts to cover more than $500,000 in Department of Education payments made to Botes' companies." Schrenko denies the charges.

Give that woman a Darwin Award!

(Thanks to Roger's Blue Ridge, GA correspondent.)

Iris Chang, author of the Rape of Nanking and other non-fiction history books, died last Tuesday at age 36 under tragic circumstances. (More here.)

Perhaps someone at amazon.com can explain amazon's advertisement on the Google homepage:

"Buy the late Iris Changs' novels at Amazon, big savings!"

Special Pleading

Earlier this week, some commentators ridiculed David Brooks -- and rightly so -- for using his New York Times opinion column to promote his worst-seller, On Remainder Tables On Paradise Drive. At least Brooks was upfront about his shameless -- and probably fruitless -- self-promotion.

Yet, the following day, another Times columnist engaged in some self-interested writing without disclosing his apparent conflict of interest. And he hasn't been called on it.

In a column published on November 10, 2004, Nicky "Pistof" Kristof decried court rulings ordering journalists to identify confidential sources and threatening contempt sanctions for disobedience. He calls these orders "an alarming new pattern of assault on American freedom of the press." The pissy one wrote as follows:

But now similar abuses are about to unfold within the United States, part of an alarming new pattern of assault on American freedom of the press. In the last few months, three different U.S. federal judges, each appointed by President Ronald Reagan, have found a total of eight journalists in contempt of court for refusing to reveal confidential sources, and the first of them may go to prison before the year is out. Some of the rest may be in prison by spring.

Pistof takes up the cases of Judy Miller and (apparently) the New York Times reporters in the matter of Wen Ho Lee.

Then there's Patrick Fitzgerald, the overzealous special prosecutor who is the Inspector Javert of our age. Mr. Fitzgerald hasn't made any progress in punishing the White House officials believed to have leaked the identity of the C.I.A. officer Valerie Plame to Robert Novak. But Mr. Fitzgerald seems determined to imprison two reporters who committed no crime, Judith Miller of The New York Times and Matthew Cooper of Time, because they won't blab about confidential sources.


Then there's a third case, a civil suit between the nuclear scientist Wen Ho Lee and the government. Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson held five reporters who are not even parties to the suit in contempt for refusing to reveal confidential sources.

And Pistof mentions a third case involving the NYT.

In yet another case, the Justice Department is backing a prosecutor's effort to get a record of telephone calls made by two New York Times reporters - uncovering all their confidential sources in the fall of 2001.

Kristof's punchline: "But when reporters face jail for doing their jobs, the ultimate victim is the free flow of information, the circulatory system of any democracy."

Of course any journalist who relies on confidential sources has a self-interest in maintaining the confidentiality of sources. But Pistof may have more of an interest than most.

In July 2004, Pistof was sued by Steven Hatfill for writing columns allegedly insinuating that Hatfill had some connection to the 2001 anthrax mailings. (More here and here.) Kristof's columns were based on the allegations of "authorities" speaking "privately." Kristof doesn't name the authorities, and it's unknown whether Kristof promised them confidentiality (although the word "privately" is a bit of a hint).

Which brings us to this October 22 article in the Baltimore Sun:

Justice Department employees involved in the investigation of biological weapons expert Steven J. Hatfill will be asked to sign a form waiving any confidentiality agreements with reporters, a move proposed by his attorneys to help determine the source of government leaks identifying him as a suspect in the 2001 anthrax attacks.

U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton, who has criticized government officials for leaks about Hatfill, agreed to the unusual request in court yesterday.

"I am not prepared to leave this at a status quo," Walton said. "I believe Dr. Hatfill has a right to his day in court."

Hatfill's attorney, Thomas G. Connolly, would not say how he plans to proceed once the waivers are circulated, except that he hopes to narrow the list of 100 or more Justice Department officials and journalists they might want to interview. He would not say whether he plans to call journalists to testify.

Hatfill, who worked at a biological warfare lab at Fort Detrick in Frederick, has never been charged and has long denied any involvement in the anthrax mailings, which killed five people and paralyzed the Postal Service. He is suing Attorney General John Ashcroft and other government authorities who publicly named him as a "person of interest," saying his career and reputation were ruined. Hatfill also has filed a libel suit against The New York Times related to opinion pieces written by Pulitzer-Prize-winning columnist Nicholas D. Kristof.

Under Walton's order, Hatfill's attorneys will make a list of news stories that they want to question FBI and Justice Department officials about, and the government will then circulate the list among employees associated with the Hatfill case, allowing them to sign the waiver if they wish.

(The NYT reported on these waivers here, in a patently defensive news story.)

So Hatfill's case is proceeding in much the same way the Plame investigation is proceeding. Either the FBI/Justice officials agree to talk about their "private" discussions with journalists such as Kristof, or they refuse to sign the waiver and Hatfill requests an order compelling the journalists to identify their sources. It doesn't take an Oxford education to see where this is heading. Surely Kristof knew when he wrote his column that Hatfill's attorneys are seeking to discover purportedly private communications between authorities and journalists concerning Hatfill. And surely he anticipates that Hatfill's lawyers intend to question him about his sources for his anthrax articles, either in their case against the government or in the defamation action against him. Any rational person in Kristof's place would be concerned about the possibility of being ordered to testify about his "private" conversations, and about being held in contempt for refusing to do so.

Apparently none of these facts darkened Pistof's spotless mind when he penned his stirring tribute to journalistic self-interest and exemption from the rules of law applicable to the rest of us. Otherwise, he surely would have mentioned them. Right?

(As a postscript, I have no opinion on the merits of Hatfill's claims against Pistof, or the case (if any) against Hatfill with respect to the anthrax killings. The point here is Kristof's failure to acknowledge his significant self-interest in his column about the purported "assault" on a free press.)

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Roger's Bad Taste Corner

James Wolcott explains the reality of the cable news nets' Scott Peterson programming.

The good news for the nets is that we still have to wait to find out whether Peterson gets voted off the island.

Withered Organ Music

Call me paranoid, but I have my suspicions that Dick's dicky ticker will be used to elevate Bush's chosen successor to Vice President well in advance of the 2008 election. The Washington Post reports:

If Cheney were to die in office or become incapacitated, Bush would have the right to nominate a new vice president, in accordance with the 25th Amendment, which went into effect in February 1967. The only stipulation is that the president's candidate be confirmed "by a majority vote of both houses of Congress."

Are you ready for Vice President Jeb?

I imagine the conversation going something like this:

"Dick, I'm concerned about your health, and the health of the party, too. I'd like you to consider stepping aside."


"Good. We understand each other then."

Also of interest:

Cheney maintains a diet that emphasizes fish, buffalo and salad, aides said.
And an occasional caribou or grizzly bear steak, to cleanse the arteries.

Crank Yankers

Sully "Grab Ass" Sullivan is fired up in anticipation that ABC News's 20/20 program will speak in mitigation of Matthew Shepard's murderers:

Now ABC News has prepared an important, thorough and debunking review of what happened. I was tangentially involved in the documentary, but wasn't privy to its most closely held findings. I have a feeling it will reveal how dangerous it is to rest an entire political argument on one incident, whose details were always murky and subsequently turned into myth.

Something -- quite a few things -- stink here. Most obviously, it's not clear how Sully knows the "documentary" will be an important, thorough debunking since he doesn't know what ABC's key findings are, and only "has a feeling" what the program might reveal.

The New York Post article to which Sully links claim that Shepard's killers now deny the killing was motivated by bias. Case closed. If you can't take the word of murdering, crank-dealing muggers who are seeking to make themselves look good and who are contradicting their earlier admissions, who can you trust?

As described, this whole project has the whiff of John "Make Shit Up" Stossel and his right-wing agenda. And the fact that Sully claims he was "tangientially involved" in the report makes it sound even more questionable. Sully has no first-hand knowledge of the circumstances of the crime or the participants' motivations. His only purported contribution is his vehement opposition to hate crimes laws (and his willingess to misrepresent them). If the program's focus is "what happened," the question of what the law should be is totally irrelevant. Unless the program is wingnut propaganda passing as news.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Lucky Me, I Hit The Five-fecta

In the past two weeks, I've been mildly sick, suffered an unpleasantness in a personal relationship, been the victim of apparently random vandalism (not related to my politics, fortunately), been hit with an unexpected expense (separate from the vandalism) and, tonight, lost something (not my sanity... I think). And that's not even counting the election. None of these events was/is particularly devastating by itself, but, together, they've been a right kick in the nuts.

As a result, I'm not going to be able to keep my promise to post three items a day, consecutively, for each state Senator Kerry won. I'll still be blogging in between the sulking (which will be done offline), but it will be a little more intermittent than planned.

No need to commiserate, but feel free to share your own tales of woe and despair in comments.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Top Ten Media Failings of 2004

Media Matters for America chooses the top ten media failures of 2004.

Hey, it's only November. The media can still outdo itself.

Handy Andy, The Underpants Noam

Actually, Sully has been fondling his own ass in public for the last three years.

Eric Engberg has an interesting article on the blogging of exit polls. It goes a long way toward explaining why the exit poll numbers didn't coincide with the final reported results.

More fundamentally, bloggers can't replace the mainstream media because they aren't in a position financially to conduct exit polling -- they can only report leaked numbers paid for by the mainstream media.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

The Long Run

[I]n the long run it is the majority who will determine what the constitutional rights of the minority are. -- William Rehnquist, 1953.

Despite his career of Republican election theft and bigotry, I take no pleasure in the fact that Chief Justice Rehnquist is apparently seriously ill with thyroid cancer. I'll also refrain from commenting upon the "cosmic bad luck" which has befallen Rehnquist.

Rehnquist's illness, however, does not excuse any of the choices he made in his life, on the bench and off, over the last 50-plus years. And those are his legacy.

Howard Kurtz Is A Twat

Writes the Putz:

--What if Kerry had shown more of the emotion that we got a glimpse of during his concession speech, rather than his laundry-list recital of issues?

--It must take some kind of cosmic bad luck to learn that you have breast cancer, as Elizabeth Edwards did, on the same day your husband and his running mate concede their race.

It must take a lot of effort to be a loathsome twat, like Kurtz.

(Note: "Twat" as used in British slang.)

We in America live in a country where Karl Rove gets to define what a decent society is:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Bush will renew a quest in his second term for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage as essential to a "hopeful and decent" society, his top political aide said on Sunday.

"If we want to have a hopeful and decent society, we ought to aim for the ideal, and the ideal is that marriage ought to be, and should be, a union of a man and a woman," Bush political aide Karl Rove told "Fox News Sunday."

Don't blame me.

And read the entire article to get the full view of Bush's lies.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Fake Quotes

Even liberal humorist Roy Blount Jnr. (on the Garrison Keillor show, whatever it's called now) is repeating the fabricated Kerry quote, "Who amongst us doesn't love NASCAR," not recognizing it's a fake. (Bob Somerby continues to debunk it here.)

This is small potatoes when large portions of the American public willingly believe Bush Administration lies about Iraq and 9/11, WMDs, Abu Ghraib and al Qaqaa. Maybe it's a waste of time to be so hard on the media whores when all they're doing is catering to a lucrative market segment -- the willfully ignorant.

Ohio, High In The Middle and Fucked On Both Ends

This report by Adam Liptak in the New York Times on the Ohio vote is frustrating for many reasons:

The state relies heavily on punch-card balloting machines of the hanging-chad variety. Voting machines in Ohio failed to register votes for president in 92,000 cases over all this year, a number that includes failure to cast a vote, disallowed double votes and possible counting errors. An electronic voting machine added 3,893 votes to President Bush's tally in a suburban Columbus precinct that has only 800 voters.

Officials in Ohio will be able to reject some of the approximately 155,000 provisional ballots cast there, offered to potential voters whose names could not be located on local election rolls, because of the ambiguity of the standards.

There were also long lines at the polls, and it is unclear how many people grew too dispirited to keep waiting and ended up not voting.

One reason the report is frustrating is that it's nearly unintelligble.

How many of the 92,000 non-votes are failures to vote, how many are double votes and how many are possible counting errors? What does "possible counting errors" mean? And what does "over all this year" mean? Is Liptak referring to the primaries?

What does Liptak mean when he says that an electronic voting machine added 3,893 votes? What was the alleged malfunction -- how did it happen and what investigation has been done to confirm the same thing didn't happen elsewhere?

What is the "the ambiguity in the standards" which will allow provisional ballots to be rejected? And how many of the provisional ballots are subject to challenge in that manner? The article suggests none of these ballots have been counted yet, so how does he know that some of the ballots will be subject to challenge based on the unexplained ambiguity?

Liptak's report raises all of these questions, and explains none of them.

The other reason the report is frustrating is that neither Liptak nor his employer, the Times, appear to take the matter seriously, as evidenced by the half-assed nature of the report. And if the Times is doing nothing, who is doing anything about this?

Nick Pistof Makes Like Dick Morris and Sucks

Nick "Pistof" Kristof takes time out from his regular schtick of posing self-righteously in front of foreign squalor -- on someone else's dime -- to bash Bill Clinton in the guise of offering advice to the Democratic party. James Wolcott effectively eviscerates Kristof's fraudulent advice.

For those who don't want to bother reading Pistof, his advice boils down to: Democrats should be more Christ-like and start executing people if they want to retake the White House.

There's three additional points that need to be made about Pistof's long-lost pal, Ricky Ray Rector.

One: Mr. Rector's mental disability came about after the killings which resulted in his death sentence. After killing his victims, Rector turned his gun on himself and self-lobotomized in an unsuccesful attempt to kill himself. Rector was not a man who, at the time of his criminal acts, lacked the capacity to understand right from wrong.

Two: Bill Clinton did not prosecute Mr. Rector, he did not preside at the trial of Mr. Rector and he was not among the jurors who rendered the verdict against Rector. Clinton could have prevented the execution in his capacity as governor. Clinton also supported the death penalty, like almost every Democrat who wants to be a governor in these United States. That does not mean Clinton executed Rector or "presided over the execution."

Three: Most importantly, the whole Rector story stinks of urban myth. I've been searching for a full account of the matter on the internet, and can't find one. Did Clinton make a special trip to Arkansas, as the story has it, or was he required to return to perform official duties? What's the evidence (as opposed to wishful thinking) that Clinton's trip was calculated for political gain? There's no evidence, and Pistof cites none, that Clinton "won his credibility" among "Heartland" voters, or any voters, by returning to Arkansas on the eve of the execution.

I oppose the death penalty in most cases (I make an exception for people who name-drop Oxford anywhere in the first three paragraphs). I also have no use for phonies who cherry-pick facts to bash Democrats while remaining silent about equal or greater offenses by the Republican Party. And Kristof's writings are as phony as his hair color.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Read Blogs, Get Rogered

Those wacky hip-hop clothiers.

New York transport officials were impressed when the hip-hop clothing label Akademiks announced that it wanted to buy advertisements on the sides of buses in the city, promoting the benefits of literacy. But it turned out that the benefits in question weren't the ones the authorities had in mind.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority vowed yesterday to start removing the adverts after being informed that the slogan plastered over 200 city buses - "Read books, get brain" - refers to a slang term for oral sex.

"To me, and I believe to everyone else, while it was done by a clothing line, it would give the impression that it was also promoting reading and literacy," MTA spokesman Tom Kelly said. "It's easy enough to understand how that would get by based upon someone not knowing the expression."


The adverts were a semi-public private joke between the company and its youth market, [Anthony Harrison of Akademiks] argued - and in any case he doubted the slogan would be taken seriously even by those who understood it.

"I don't think any kid is going to say, 'If I read A Tale of Two Cities, I'm going to get sex,'" he said.

Hey, it worked for Ellen Ternan.

Let The Healing Begin

WITH U.S. FORCES NEAR FALLUJAH, IRAQ - The number of dead and wounded from the expected battle to retake insurgent-controlled Fallujah probably will reach levels not seen since Vietnam, a senior surgeon at the Marine camp outside Fallujah said Thursday.

Navy Cmdr. Lach Noyes said the camp's hospital is preparing to handle 25 severely injured soldiers a day, not counting walking wounded and the dead.


Grand Old Police Blotter: Republican Family Values Edition

Roger's Blue Ridge, Georgia correspondent sends this dispatch about Republican family values in the land of Johnny Isakson, Saxby Chambliss and Zell Miller.

A Cherokee County commissioner, her boyfriend and her daughter were arrested on drug charges late Thursday at their home near Woodstock.

Ilona Sanders, 48; her daughter, Rhianon Danielle Droneburg, 24; and Sanders' boyfriend, 38-year-old Philip Todd Smith, were released from the Cherokee County Jail on bond Friday morning.

Sanders, a two-term Republican, was defeated by Karen Mahurin in the July primary election for her Post 3 seat on the commission. Sanders and Smith were charged with possession of cocaine and marijuana; Droneburg was charged with possession of methamphetamine, Sheriff Roger Garrison said Friday. Two other people also were arrested, the sheriff said.

Garrison said county probation officers and members of the county multi-agency narcotics squad went to Sanders' home in the Bridge Mill subdivision shortly before 11 p.m. Thursday to check on Droneburg, who is on probation for a methamphetamine offense.

Good old Red State morality in action.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

The Soldiers Speak

The Keyboarders -- and their dolphin-worshipping camp followers (see below) -- will have to start smearing a lot of American soldiers if they want to keep up the pretense that George Bush is not responsible for failing to prevent the looting of al Qaqaa. The Los Angeles Times reports:

According to the four soldiers -- members of the 317th Support Center and the 258th Rear Area Operations Center, an Arizona-based Army National Guard unit -- the looting of Al Qaqaa occurred over several weeks in late April and early May.

The two units were stationed near Al Qaqaa at a base known as Logistics Support Area (LSA) Dogwood. Soldiers with the units said they went to the ammunition facility soon after the departure of combat troops from the 101st Airborne Division.


According to a list of "talking points" circulated by the Pentagon last week, when U.S. military weapons hunters visited Al Qaqaa on May 8, 2003, they found that the facility "had been looted and stripped and vandalized." No IAEA-monitored material was found, the "talking points" stated.

A senior U.S. military intelligence official corroborated some aspects of the four soldiers' accounts. The official who tracked facilities believed to store chemical and biological weapons --none was ever found in Iraq -- said that Al Qaqaa was "one of the top 200" suspect sites at the outset of the war.

Despite the stockpiles at the site, no U.S. forces were specifically assigned to guard Al Qaqaa --known to U.S. forces in Iraq as Objective Elm — after the 101st Airborne left the facility.

Of course, as we've seen in the last ten days, the Keyboarders don't care about the troops one way or another. They only care about protecting their Leader from the truth, and the consequences of the truth.


Thank God Peggy Noonan hasn't lost her lack of a grip on reality:

It was Agincourt. It was the yeomen of King Harry taking down the French aristocracy with new technology and rough guts. God bless the pajama-clad yeomen of America. Some day, when America is hit again, and lines go down, and media are hard to get, these bloggers and site runners and independent Internetters of all sorts will find a way to file, and get their word out, and it will be part of the saving of our country.

You can take the lunatic out of the asylum, but you can't take the asylum out of the lunatic.

Best wishes to Elizabeth Edwards and her family during the long days ahead.

In an interview earlier this year, while Mr. Edwards was still a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination, Elizabeth Edwards said that as a first lady, issues that she would promote would include breast cancer awareness and efforts to press insurance companies to pay for more frequent exams.

"I care about preventive medicine, I care very deeply about it," Mrs. Edwards said then. "I think if a hypothetical insurance company can say we can only pay for mammograms for women over 50 every three years, I would want to use my role to complain to them that this is irresponsible behavior. Women over 50 need an annual mammogram."

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Good News/Bad News

There's other good news out there too. (Not much, but some.) Ken Salazar beat Pete Coors. Barbara Boxer won reelection handily. The odious Phil Crane got his ass kicked by Melissa Bean.

Yes, the G.O.P. retains control of both houses of Congress. But candidates like Obama and Bean show that the Democrats can win by recruiting talented and intelligent young(er) candidates who don't let their opponents (or the whores) misrepresent them.

Let's not ignore the bad news, though. TBogg has the recap. And don't forget the intellectually bankrupt press corps, either.

Here's Your Hate, What's Your Hurry?

Illinois Republicans are paying the ultimate price for nominating Alan Keyes as their senate candidate. Keyes is threatening to stay.

Keyes finally addressed supporters after Obama's televised speech was over, but the Republican did not formally concede. Waving his arms for emphasis, Keyes quoted from a biblical passage which talked of people "wandering off into myths."

"We have not wandered from the way," Keyes said as he launched into a repeat of campaign attacks on Obama for supporting abortion rights and refusing to back a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.

His supporters cheered when he vowed to remain in Illinois and continue to fight to rebuild the Republican Party along conservative ideals.

The final tally: Senator-elect Barack Obama (D): 3,524,702; Lunatic Alan Keyes (R): 1,371,882. Keyes' margin of defeat is a record in the history of Illinois Senate races.

Friendly advice to the Illinois G.O.P.: Cut Keyes off without a dime. If he demands payment to go away, get it in writing before agreeing.

Thank You, Senator Kerry and Senator Edwards

Thank you for your fight. Thank you for fighting for a sane foreign policy. Thank you for fighting for the rights of workers, for those vilified and victimized by the right, and for all Americans. You fought with honor, dignity and honesty. You fought the good fight.

We will continue the fight.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Blogging the Vote

James Capozzola at The Rittenhouse Review and Susan Madrak at Suburban Guerrilla are blogging voters' experiences at the polls today. Send 'em yours, if you're so inclined.

I Voted

6:52 a.m., fourth in line. About 20 people by 7, when the voting started. Uneventful, workers were well-organized. I predict my polling place will not be a hotbed of controversy.

Monday, November 01, 2004

7 A.M.

And don't forget to report future Grand Old Police Blotter headliners to the following voter surpression hotline:


There's also the Common Cause number, 1-866-MYVOTE1, but Common Cause is sharing the information with MSGOP, so use that one at your own risk.