Friday, January 31, 2003

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

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

State of Shock and Awe

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buckley v. Woelfle-o

Another Buckley whose donations have run afoul of the law.

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

(from MWO.)

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

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

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

Let's go to the videotape:

Sept. 29, 1986

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


July 10, 1991

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


July 2, 1993

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


Nov. 18-23, 1993

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

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

(Thanks to Jim for the heads up.)

Thursday, January 30, 2003

God Must Love The California Democratic Party

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

It doesn't get any better than this.

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

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

Meet Your Liberal Media

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

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

Good boy, George. Now fetch.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

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

I don't know either.

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

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

John Marshall cleans up pretty good.

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

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Drudge rubs Sully's nose in it:

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

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

Where's Johnny?

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

Any ideas as to his whereabouts?

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

Saddam Fools

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

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

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

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

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

She left out bin Laden and al Queda.

Best Commentary, Hands Down

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

with equivication, obfuscation and barefaced lies.

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

because it's no skin off our asses.


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

or at all.

Traitors Day

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

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

Newt vs. Big Pussy

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

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

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

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

Cowards and Victims

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

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

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

Monday, January 27, 2003

Pitt Stains

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

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

Molly Ivins has more.

Ill Will

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Update: More from Peter Dreier.

The Old Snitchin' Post

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

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

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

Sunday, January 26, 2003

Breach of Contract With America

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

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

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

You gotta love the Party of Personal Responsibility.

By the way, Larry Kudlow loves Snow.

Says he could just snort him up with a spoon.

Connect The Dots

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

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

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

Bulk Shit

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

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

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

Saturday, January 25, 2003

V, W

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

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

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

Correction of the Week

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

I'm sure Eric regrets the error.

Grand Old Police Blotter: What A Poindexter Edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, January 24, 2003

Like The Mohs Scale, But Different

Type 1 - separate hard lumps, like nuts.

Type 2 - sausage-like, but lumpy.

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

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

Type 5 - soft blobs with clear-cut edges.

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

Type 7 - watery, no solid pieces.

Not The Shar-Peist Knife In The Drawer

From the Washington Post:

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

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

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

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

Faux News hires The Thinking Man's Dan Quayle.

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

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

Seeing Through It

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

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

Don't Know Much About Science Book

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

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

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

Dick Of The Week

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

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

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

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

He Was Admitted Under A Special Program For Ivy Drug Users

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

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

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

The Professor And Mary Ann

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

What's next, Glenn or Glennda?

Tuesday, January 21, 2003


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

Question: Which movie did he steal this from?

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

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

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

The Case of The Cross-Dressing Conservative?

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

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

(via Atrios.)

The Grand Old Police Blotter: Legalized Beatings Edition

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The End of The Line

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

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

Sunday, January 19, 2003

VCR Alert

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

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

Some Red Meat For The Horse

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

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

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

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

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

Oh wait. He's STILL THERE!

Who Cares What You Think?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Worst ... Chants ... Ever

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

Saturday, January 18, 2003

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

Reminds me of the Roger Waters lyric:

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

Good Questions

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

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

Grand Old Police Blotter: What Would Jimmy Swaggart Do Edition

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

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

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

Mickey Kaus thanks you for all your good work in the Rename Kausfiles contest. It remains to be seen whether he'll actually rename his blog.

Friday, January 17, 2003

Even Dogs Can't Stand Them

[Little Joe diGenova and Vicky Toensing] have filed five complaints since March with the Montgomery County Division of Animal Control and Humane Treatment, contending that Scooby, aka Baby -- an 18-month-old female German shepherd owned by their Bethesda neighbor Donna Drennan -- has repeatedly menaced them, their neighbors and even their limo driver.
DiGenova charged that on March 22, Scooby "lunged at my legs." In July, across-the-street neighbor James May filed a supporting complaint describing a July 7 incident in which the dog "chased [diGenova] up on his front porch," causing diGenova to fall down before escaping into his house. The dog then barked threateningly at May from two feet away, May wrote. On Sept. 20, according to diGenova, the dog "charged" Toensing, who "fell off her bike and fled."
The thuggish, cigar-chomping counsellor and his old ball-and-chain took the dog to court (or an animal control hearing) and lost to the dog.

The Death Of Good Writing

"'The question we all face is what sort of culture we will live in for the rest of our lives and then pass on to the next generation � one that embraces these most basic of lives, or one that thrives because of their absence. [T]his is exactly the point of the cultural war being fought right now, as the Left Elite works to transform our culture into a reflection of its disfigured worldview.'"
"�Tammy Bruce, from her forthcoming book, 'The Death of Right and Wrong'"

Affirmative Action In Action

Anyone know what cosmetology and bartending schools Jenna and Babbs could have gotten into with their test scores, and without their family connections?

Roger's Mailbox

Reader Andrew Frechtling responds to this comment:

You wrote: "There isn't a gun control organization in this country which was founded on the principle of denying guns to African-Americans, and there isn't one which advocates (or which has ever advocated) that gun control laws should apply differently to members of different races." Actually. it is fairly well documented that most early gun control laws were implemented to keep guns away from blacks, Italians, Indians, etc. See link. In that organizations like the Brady Campaign seek to maintain and expand on such laws, one can certainly see more than a little racist taint surrounding their efforts. For example, if the net effect of Brady's opposition to concealed carry reform is to make it impossible for poor people or those not politically connected to obtain a carry permit - as currently the case in New York City - then they certainly favor laws that have a disparate impact on blacks, Hispanics and the poor.

The Limits Of Conservative Tolerance

Yesterday, Atrios reported that "Moonie Times says Nothing Gay Except Sullivan," linking to an article which notes that the Confederacy's Paper routinely rewrites letters to the editor -- without the writer's consent -- to replace the word "gay" with "homosexual." In the article, Andrew Sullivan suggested that he was exempt from the Times' ban on the word gay. "They run excepts from my blog each week, " says Sullivan. "I've not yet seen any changes of that sort. " Sully further stated that "objecting to the term �gay� is bizarre" and that "[t]he key is linguistic honesty and simplicity. "

Well, you're no longer exempt, Sully. The editors at the Moonie Times, apparently fearing criticism that they were using quotas or preferences, have removed the word gay from Sully's column as well. Here's Sully's Weekly Dish column of today's date:
The Family Foundation of America was celebrating this week about the Virginia Senate's decision to keep homosexuals off a list of groups protected by hate crimes laws. The rationale for providing protection for every vulnerable group in society except homosexuals was given as follows in the foundation's "Victory Alert" e-mail: "The Senate committee agreed that these [homosexual] individuals are already protected under the law like everyone else. They clearly understood that Virginia's current law protects classes of individual based on immutable characteristics, like race, color, national origin and religious beliefs." Now that's an interesting theological innovation: religious faith as an "immutable characteristic." So conversion is now impossible? Faith is no longer a choice? Can people born Jewish or atheist never change their religious beliefs? Apparently not. Don't get me wrong: I'm against all hate-crimes laws. But if you're going to have them, they should at least be applied fairly. Carving out an exception for homosexuals makes no logical sense at all � at least along the bizarre lines advocated by the Family Foundation. (Emphasis added.)
Now that paragraph isn't an excerpt from Sully's blog this week, so Sully's already lacking credibility here. But the blog did have a long post on hate crimes laws (and a exception thereto for gay men and lesbians) in which he only used the word gay, and didn't use homosexual. So what are the chances that Sully's original copy for the Weekly Dish didn't use the linguistically honest and simple "gay"?

There's two possibilities: Either the paper is censoring Sully or Sully's censoring himself to stay in the good graces of the Father's editors. Either way, it's hilarious -- A tale of Orwell that ends well.

Deep Theological Thoughts, By Jack Sully

Andrew Sullivan takes the nature vs. nuture debate to a new low:
So conversion is now impossible? Faith is no longer a choice? Can people born Jewish or atheist never change their religious beliefs? Apparently not.
Does that make Catholicism a birth defect, Andy?

Thursday, January 16, 2003

Mickey Kaus sees red when he suspects the New York Times is guilty of cherry picking "average citizens" to back up the paper's supposed liberal bias in its news articles. But he's certainly guilty of the same thing in marshalling support for his endorsement of Charles Pickering. Kaus quotes this Times article titled "Blacks at Home Support a Judge Liberals Assail." Waving the news clipping like a winning Lotto ticket, Mini-Mick crows, "One reason I think the case against Charles Pickering is weak -- on the race issue, anyway -- is the support he's received from African-Americans in his home town."

But not so fast. Mac Diva reminds us of a John Nichols column in The Nation from the last Pickering go-round. Nichols sums up his findings as follows:

The Mississippi State Conference of the NAACP is actively opposing Pickering's nomination. So are the state NAACP organizations in Louisiana and Texas -- the other two states that make up the 5th Circuit. "We hope to God that (Pickering) doesn't make it," explains L.A. Warren, chair of the Mississippi NAACP's Legal Redress Committee. "We know his past."
The Magnolia Bar Association, an organization of African-American lawyers in Mississippi, opposes the Pickering nomination. So too does US Rep. Bennie Thompson, the state's only African-American congressman. Thompson has been attacked in Washington and at home in Mississippi by conservative columnists -- especially writers for the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, a newspaper with a record as dubious as Pickering's when it comes to segregation fights. The critics claimed that, in opposing Pickering's nomination, the congressman had exposed himself as a pawn of northern liberals who was out of touch with his African-American constituents. These attacks were merely more of the pro-Pickering political spin, however. Last week, 31 African-American members of the Mississippi legislature signed a letter opposing Pickering's nomination.
And the Times article Mick likes involves a fair amount of cherry-picking itself. Judge Pickering solicited the endorsement of the four African-American City Councilmen who endorsed hiim, and placed "their letters are on file with the Senate Judiciary Committee." Which is not to say that Pickering's local supporters aren't sincere. Pickering obviously has been shrewd enough to cultivate local support, and not broadcast his true views locally. The Times article acknowledges that "[m]any local residents said they were not familiar with [Pickering's controversial] statements."

Ultimately, whether Pickering is popular in his home town simply isn't relevant. The Fifth Circuit bench isn't a constituent-service position and it isn't a popularity contest. It's about "administer[ing] justice without respect to persons, and do[ing] equal right to the poor and to the rich, and ... faithfully and impartially discharg[ing] and perform[ing] all the duties" of a federal judge.
Smarter Andrew Sullivan is taking an indefinite hiatus. Dumber Andrew Sullivan is not.

We wish all the best to the Smart One.

Stars and Barrs Again

Bob Barr, CNN's replacement for Pat Buchanan's uncouth bigot slot on the network, confirms what I argued back in November, namely, that Republican Party is using the Confederate flag to lure Southern racists to the G.O.P.

But when does CNN start issuing Confederate flag lapel pins to its personalities and news readers?

(via Jesse at
Wayne Masden on Moon Shadow.

The Grand Old Police Blotter: One Call to Jay Sekulow Edition

A third-year law student at Regent University, who helped run several successful campaigns for local Republicans, was arrested Jan. 10 and charged with two counts of soliciting sex with a minor over the Internet.
The accused is identified by Regent University ("the nation's premier Christian graduate university") as a member of the Regent Journal of International Law, "a forum for a Judeo-Christian perspective on International Law," and former student at the Robertson School of Government.

What exactly does Pat teach at his School of Government?

p.s. I'm guessing those Regent web pages won't be around for too much longer.
James Capozzola has good hair, and a good heart.

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Thanks to everyone who has contributed so far to the Rename Kausfiles campaign. Nominations will still be accepted until noon, Pacific Standard Time, on Friday. I'll forward all of your suggestions (and mine) to Mickey on Friday night.

(An e-mailer mentioned that the comments section was not functioning for a while. My guess is that's a problem with Haloscan, since I don't turn the comments section off at any time.)
Blogger is allowing posting but not publishing, so today's posts may be stale by the time they are published.

Dick Of The Week

In a breathtaking display of tortured reasoning, Larry Elder explains how the gun control movement is the product of racism:

Not that Moore cares, but it was America's gun-control movement that sprouted from racist soil. Infamous Chief Justice Roger Taney, of Dred Scott fame, wrote that if blacks were "entitled to the privileges and immunities of citizens . . . (i)t would give persons of the (N)egro race, who were recognized as citizens in any one state of the union, the right . . . to keep and carry arms wherever they went. And all of this would be done in the face of the subject race of the same color, both free and slaves, and inevitably producing discontent and insubordination among them, and endangering the peace and safety of the state . . . "
Any fool can see that this is not an argument for gun control, since Taney believes that any American citizen has "the right ... to keep and carry arms whereever they went." Rather, it's an argument to deny American citizenship to black people, on the ground that they are inferior. It has nothing to do with gun control, or the gun control movement. There isn't a gun control organization in this country which was founded on the principle of denying guns to African-Americans, and there isn't one which advocates (or which has ever advocated) that gun control laws should apply differently to members of different races.

Lott Puns Now Doing Double Duty

Here's Tim Lambert, Thomas Spencer and skippy the bush kangaroo on John Lott's Journal of Irreproduceable Results. And here's Mark A.R. Kleiman (who, I just realized, has initials which spell out his first name), who has one of the best comments to date on the matter.

I'm sure someone has already thought of this, but how reliable is a self-reporting survey of "defensive gun use" in the first place? After all, people who brandish or fire a gun defensively and end up dead at the end of the encounter aren't going to be very cooperative when someone phones to poll them. How do any of these surveys account for that fact? Why aren't these polls called surveys of "survivors of defensive gun use" or "successful defensive gun users"?

Monday, January 13, 2003

Name That Goon

Tiny Mickey Kaus says that about 80 percent of the animus toward New York Times editor Howell Raines would be neutralized if the Times changed its slogan from "All the News That's Fit to Print" to "A Crusading Liberal Newspaper.

The remaining 20 percent would be Mickey's insatiable hatred, of course.

What irks Kaus, you see, "isn't [Raines & Co.'s] liberalism, or their bias, but their insistent pretense that what they are doing isn't liberal or biased but just straightforward objective newspapering the way the Times has always done it." Because the Times never had an agenda or point of view before last year.

But maybe Mick's onto something. I bet if "Kausfiles: A Mostly Political Weblog" was changed to something more accurate, 80 percent of my Kaus-contempt would be replaced with pity.

In that spirit, I am soliciting nominations for the Rename Kausfiles campaign. Please feel free to leave your contributions as a comment, below, or send an e-mail. There are no prizes, but all entries will be forwarded to the bitter little scribe's e-mail address.

Do They Read Der Speigel In The White House?

Yet there are strong advocates inside the administration, including the White House, for appropriating the oil funds as "spoils of war,� according to a source who has been briefed by participants in the dialogue.
"There are people in the White House who take the position that it's all the spoils of war,� said the source, who asked not to be further identified. "We [the United States] take all the oil money until there is a new democratic government [in Iraq].�
The source said the Justice Department has urged caution. "The Justice Department has doubts,� he said. He said department lawyers are unsure "whether any of it [Iraqi oil funds] can be used or has to all be held in trust for the people of Iraq.�
Another source who has worked closely with the office of Vice President Dick Cheney said that a number of officials there too are urging that Iraq's oil funds be used to defray the cost of occupation. -- Newsday, via Mark A.R. Kleiman

Ur Losing Ur Mind, Peg

Peggy Noonan is in fine form today, with a substance-free (the critique, not Noonan) of the Democratic Presidential hopefuls. She offers one paragraph profiles: Dean is "bantamy," Lieberman is an egomaniac, Edwards lacks gravity, blah, blah, zzzz.... Equal parts stupidity and stuporousness. Of John Kerry, Nooner says

He brings his gravity with him; it changes the atmosphere around him. You imagine that in the balloon drop the balloons would come down fast and hard and obscure him at the podium.
Uh, that's not gravity, that's electrostatic magnetism. And drivel.

After realizing she can't get a whole column out of this blige, Nooner returns to Bush. And starts reading his mind. Apparently, there's not much there:

But George W. Bush also thinks a lot about '92. He saw what happened to his father up close and personal. And he knows part of the message of 1992 is that history can turn on a dime.
But he thinks there are other lessons of '92. He thinks history turns for a reason. He thinks not only bad luck but bad decisions and bad operations force history to turn. And he thinks none of that in any case is the Ur Lesson of 1992. To Bush the Ur Lesson of 1992 is: History does not necessarily repeat itself.
Two thousand four is not necessarily 1992; not all Bushes fall hard; new forces and facts yield new outcomes. History is more likely to repeat itself when you ask it to, when you unknowingly push it in certain directions, when you summon bad fortune. He doesn't intend to.
He thinks the Democrats haven't fully absorbed the Ur Lesson. He thinks however, that they'll discover it. And he thinks what they learn may someday be called the lesson of '04.
The other Ur Lesson of 1992: Don't hire an unmedicated psychotic as your chief speechwriter.

GOPean Anti-Semitism Watch

Suzie Fields' "Jews Aren't Cool" campaign is sweeping the Nation... or at least the Republican parts of the Nation. The incoming President of the Ohio Senate, Republican Doug White, used the phrase "we need to Jew them down" in "the context" of a joke told at a G.O.P. fundraiser. White explained his statement by saying that he "grew up in Adams County," thus suggesting that all of his home county's residents are ignorant bigots like himself.

White may earn himself a Moonie Times Noble of the Week Award for this one, or at least mention in a John Leo column decrying political correctness.

Sunday, January 12, 2003

Janet Rehnquist and Pennsylvania's Axis of Evil In Bed With Corporate Criminals

Aides to Janet Rehnquist, inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services, said today that she had responded to political pressure by ordering a quick settlement of federal charges against a Pennsylvania hospital accused of filing false claims with Medicare.
As a result, they said, the government recovered several hundred thousand dollars less than it would otherwise have obtained....
Originally, in June 2001, the government asserted that York Hospital, in York, Pa., owed $726,938 for 2,643 false claims. That sum included a civil fine of $134,000.
Ms. Rehnquist, the daughter of Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, took office on Aug. 8, 2001. On Sept. 6, 2001, three Republican members of Congress sent a letter to Tommy G. Thompson, the secretary of health and human services, asserting that the charges against York Hospital were "unwarranted and unfair." On Nov. 26, 2001, the government settled the case for $270,000....
D. McCarty Thornton, who was chief counsel to Ms. Rehnquist at the time, would not describe his conversations with her, citing attorney-client privilege.
But a senior member of the inspector general's staff, who has worked in the office for more than two decades, said Ms. Rehnquist had told Mr. Thornton: "I hate this case. Get rid of it as quickly as possible."...
"If the inspector general advocated a lower settlement amount of a hospital fraud case because of political pressure, that would be unacceptable," [Senator Charles] Grassley said. "Inspectors general offer important checks and balances on federal agencies. They have to be isolated from politics to function effectively."...
The letter to Ms. Rehnquist about York Hospital was signed by Pennsylvania's senators, Arlen Specter and Rick Santorum, and Representative Todd R. Platts, who is from York.
It's subpoena time.

Woody Wins It!

My boy Mick finished seventh.


Matthew Engel, in The Guardian:

Indeed, there is hardly any such thing as the liberal press. Since Watergate, the Post has acquired a virtual monopoly over the Washington newspaper market, grown fat and - frankly - journalistically flabby. Its op-ed page is notable for its turgid prose, its conservative slant, and the apologetic tone of its more liberal contributors.
The rival page in the New York Times has far more spark, and - in the unfortunate absence of political opposition - has provided the only forum for serious national debate over the Iraq issue. But the Times' own editorials over Iraq, possibly reflecting internal tensions, have been uncertain. And the paper feels itself a little beleaguered, even marginalised, by the strategies employed by the Bush White House.

Call Her Unreliable

"According to one reputable online victimization report, "Children are reported missing at the rate of 750,000 per year, 62,500 per month, 14,423 per year or 3 per minute." The trend lines, in short, are a call for action." -- Innumerate Republican Illeana-Ros Lehtinen

Grand Old Police Blotter: The Maltese Defalc-on

Republican mob boss and family-values champion Betty Loren-Maltese will spend the next eight year in the federal pen, far, far away from her beloved loose slots ... er, adopted daughter.

[Former Cicero, IL Mayor] Loren-Maltese, 53, looted the Cicero town coffers of $12 million as part of a mobbed-up insurance firm that siphoned money out of town through overbilling, bogus bills and outright theft, an Internal Revenue Service and FBI investigation showed.
The reputed mob boss of Cicero, Michael Spano Sr., got more than 14 years behind bars while Cicero's crooked police chief, Emil Schullo, got nine years for their involvement in the insurance scheme and another Cicero scam....
The health insurance fraud created true victims.
Cicero town employees suffering cancer or other diseases routinely had to wait and wait to get their medical bills paid, some even being threatened with having their treatment cut off....
The only time Loren-Maltese showed emotion was when she spoke of her 5-year-old daughter, Ashleigh Rose.
The judge said he had "substantial reservations" about the timing of the adoption of the little girl, which came shortly after Loren-Maltese would have learned about the pending federal investigation.
Loren-Maltese, wearing a chocolate pantsuit with a leopard print collar, bristled at the idea she would use her adopted child as a pawn. She had asked for less time in prison because she is a single mother and there is no one to care for her daughter--a request the judge rejected. (From the Chicago Sun-Times)
Loren-Maltese's Republican replacement, Ramiro Gonzalez, intends to rely on his incarcerated predecessor, for advice. "'I hope that she's accessible--I mean, via phone--because she's an encyclopedia of how government runs here,' Gonzalez said."

Liberal Oasis reports that a January 7-9 Ipsos-Reid/Cook Political Report poll puts Bush's job approval rating below 60 percent. Moreover, while other polls have Bush in the low 60s, "the overall trend is downward."

No doubt the Administration will take bold action to reverse the drop in Bush's numbers. One hopes that the combined weight of all the servicemen, coal miners, cops and average families crammed into the House balconies during the State of the Union Address will not cause those balconies to collapse.
Whole Lott Of Fakin' Goin' On?

In between dreaming about bloggers and imagining that bloggers wrote Lord of the Rings, Instapundit (who is not a conservative asshole) has weighed in in on the John Lott controversy. IP(naca) takes a limited damage control position, though he's clearly ready to burn Lott. He makes the following points in Lott's defense:

Point 1: The complaint doesn't run to his published scholarly work, but to public statements he's made about a survey whose results were never published.

Well, no and no. The complaints run to a statement made in a book published by the University of Chicago Press, purporting to be a scholarly work. And the results of that survey were published in that book. Lott and his publisher emphasize the scholarly nature of the book, stating on the back cover "Legal scholar John Lott directly challenges common perceptions about gun control and presents the most rigorous and comprehensive analysis ever done on crime statisics and right-to-carry laws." And the complaints run to more than "a survey whose results were never published," they seek answers as to whether he actually conducted the survey in the first instance.

Point 2: Lott's longtime critics want, rather too obviously, for this to be another Bellesiles affair, though to my mind it is something less than that....

Well, no and no. Instapundit points to no statement in which a Lott critic says he or she wants it to be another Bellesiles affair. Rather too obviously, Instapundit wants it not to be another Bellesiles affair. It is certainly to Instapundit's mind "less than" a Bellesiles affair, but to anyone with common sense, it is the same: both men have been accused of faking research. The only way it would not be the same is if Lott did not fake the research.

Point 3: my mind it is something less than that, perhaps more akin to the Joseph Ellis scandal.

Well, no. Ellis admitted that he lied when he told students served in Vietnam and played football, not that he published false data in a book or faked a study. Ellis's defense has been that his scholarship is accurate.

Point 4: Clayton Cramer has a post on this, too. He reports that Lott has repeated the 1997 study now...

Well, that's the big question, isn't it? Lott could have only repeated the 1997 survey if he performed it in the first instance. And how could he accurately replicate the original survey if there's no record of that survey? Did he perfectly replicate the survey questions from memory, even though he couldn't even remember the name of a single student he used to perform the 1997 survey? Did he use the same CD-ROM list of potential respondents (which he didn't retain and couldn't remember the name of)? Did he allow anyone to observe the survey as it was being conducted to ensure its integrity (and its identicality)?

Should be interesting.

(Updated to add Instapundit link.)

Saturday, January 11, 2003

The Perils of Internet Dating

John Podhoretz, the very conservative and highly un-with-it columnist and former editorial page editor at the New York Post met a woman on and married her.
If you get an e-mail from "jfund1" or "armstrong69," just hit delete.

More Guns, Less Scholarship?

A month ago, Instapundit and the Volokh Conspiracy were musing on the topic of "whether there could be a Bellesiles in the legal-scholarship world." Reynolds -- who answered the question "yes and no" -- described a "good academic fraud" as one which "is meticulous on methodology, but then makes up the data to achieve the desired result."

Reynolds and Volokh may soon find an answer to their question. James Lindgren, a professor at the Northwestern University School of Law has questioned the authenticity of an alleged study by Yale Law School senior research scholar John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime. In that book, Lott reported that national surveys found "98% of defensive gun uses involved brandishing with no shots being fired." A rough summary of the controversy, according to Lindgren, is as follows:

Lott says that over the course of three months in 1997, he conducted a survey with over 2,400 respondents, which resulted in the 98 percent figure. His computer crashed in June 1997, causing him to lose all computer records of the survey. Lott has no paper record of having conducted the survey, for various reasons. He had his students do the calling for the survey, but can't remember who they are, even though he paid them out of his own pocket. Although he had no backup data, Lott nevertheless cited the results in More Guns, Less Crime, which was first published in May 1998. (It was apparently a stroke of good fortune he didn't keep his book draft on the computer which crashed.) However, Lott didn't identify his own survey as the source of the statistic in the first edition of the book. Between the first and second editions of the book, the text was changed from "If national surveys are correct, 98 percent of the time...." to "If a national survey that I conducted is correct, 98 percent of the time...." (At least he's humble enough to treat the accuracy of his own survey with skepticism.)

Of course, More Guns, Less Crime isn't really legal scholarship in the traditional law review article sense. But it will be interesting to see how there two law school professors react to suspected misdeeds by one of their own. And, of course, it will be interesting to see how Mr. Lott responds.

(Via CalPundit, Extra Ordinary Ideas and Atrios. Oh, and Instapundit too. I realize this repeats a lot of what has already been said, but it's an interesting story which deserves the coverage.)

Letters to Roger Ailes

Mac Diva has sent the following letter. Since I couldn't do it justice with a summary, I am (with permission, see below) printing it in full.

As background, the rifle found in the vehicle of alleged Beltway snipers John Muhammed and John Malvo was traced back to a Tacoma gun store, Bull's Eye Shooter Supply, which neither had records of selling the gun to the alleged shooters (or anyone else) nor any records of having reported it as stolen. This was discussed in an article in the current Washington Monthly entitled "License to Kill: How the GOP helped John Allen Muhammad get a sniper rifle." Instapundit (who is not a conservative asshole) posted two (one, two) comments on the matter.

Mac Diva writes:

I'm concerned about how the facts about how the assault rifle used in the sniper shooting was acquired are being misrepresented online, including on at least one major blog. Frankly, the lack of enforcement powers of the ATF since conservative 'reforms' is scandalous and this is a great story to highlight that. Here is some research I've gathered on the issue:
I believe Glenn Reynolds is wrong about how Republican's opposition to even minimal gun control enforcement impacted the recent snipers case. The conflict of opinion arose in regard to his response this article in the Washington Monthly[.]
The piece, which normally would have been print edition only, was put online because of the InstaPundit's willful mischaracterization of what it said.
But for the hands off posture taken by Justice Department from John Ashcroft on down, a clearly illicit operation such as Bull's Eye, the shop where the assault rifle used in the attacks was likely sold under the table, would not be in business after years of malfeasance. That posture is reflected in both purposeful under-staffing of ATF and reluctance to prosecute cases presented to them by ATF by federal prosecutors in most states, many of them conservative Republicans who may support Ashcroft's odd reading of the Second Amendment.
I think it particularly important that someone oppose Reynolds in this episode because many people go to his site because of its high visibility. Once there, they probably assume he has some objectivity in regard to issues he discusses. When it comes to gun control, among others, he doesn't.
This opinion piece captures the essence of what is wrong:
"Sadly, the Bush administration is bent on watering down, not beefing up, gun laws. It opposes a national ballistics database. Mr. Ashcroft, choosing gun-lobby loyalty over public safety, even insists on keeping gun-sales records away from anti-terrorism investigators. American lives may have to be sacrificed on the altar of an ideological purity that neither the courts nor wide public opinion considers constitutional or even rational. courts nor wide public opinion considers constitutional or even rational."
The Washington Monthly article says it again:
"But there's a reason you won't see anyone investigating ATF: Its failings are the direct result of actions by the Republican politicians who now control both houses of Congress. At the behest of the National Rifle Association (NRA), GOP lawmakers (and some conservative Democrats) have saddled the bureau with so many legal restrictions that it has little practical power to deter sellers from allowing weapons to flow to criminals. ATF could have cracked down harder on Bull's Eye, but its lack of aggressiveness was precisely what GOP lawmakers had intended. Pro-gun-control Democrats could have made an issue last fall of how Muhammad obtained a sniper rifle, but they remained silent in the face of feared retribution at the polls by the NRA. Now, as the minority party, Democrats have little power to investigate anything, even if they wanted to."
The Seattle Times has continually reported the damning facts about Bull's Eye and its owners since the snipers' weapon was identified.
[An excerpt from the article:]
"What actions the ATF here would have taken is unclear, considering the federal government's spotty record in regulating firearms dealers in Western Washington.
Last year, the office that covers Western Washington ranked last among ATF bureaus in the 90 federal judicial districts for gun-case prosecutions, according to Justice Department records.
The U.S. Attorney's office shares the blame.
Federal prosecutors here turned down nearly two-thirds of the 30 cases that the ATF referred for prosecution, putting the Seattle U.S. Attorney's Office 80th out 90 districts in taking such cases. It accepted six of 30 gun-crime cases last year, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, a research center at Syracuse University."

(This letter was published with permission. The URLs were changed to hyperlinks and quoted portions were italicized for clarity, and the Seattle P-I article was excerpted. Letters to Roger Ailes are always welcomed and appreciated.)
Julia at Sisyphus Shrugged has some insightful comments on Rudy Giuliani and the lawsuit filed by three New York City employees -- a policeman and two firemen -- who were fired in 1998 after riding on a racist parade float. New York Times columnist Clyde Haberman also wrote about the incident in Friday's Times.

Julia reminds us of Rudy's very troubling ties to racist elements within the New York City Police Department, and of his role as defender and apologist for the NYPD in the Diallo and Louima cases. Too much of that history has been forgotten by too many following St. Rudy's post-9/11 canonization.
Is That Gavel-to-Gavel Coverage In Your Pocket, Or Are You Just Happy to See Me?

C-SPAN, a public service of the cable television industry, has thoughtfully included Naked News, a pay-per-view website with topless Canadian models reading the headlines, in its list of Media Links.
Sully asks: "What do you do with a man who has successfully evaded paying child support to kids from two different relationships?"

How about: Make him Speaker of the House of Representatives and have him promote a Contract With America which calls for "personal responsibility" and stronger "child support enforcement."

Or maybe a Senior Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the Hoover Institution and a Fox News political analyist.

With A Rebel Yell, Mick's A Whore, Whore, Whore

Little Mick's last minute get out the vote campaign for his Whore of the Year candidacy has gone into overdrive. By simply ignoring the mountains of evidence of Charles Pickering's unsuitability for the position of federal appellate judge, Mick concludes "[t]he case against Pickering is weak."

How does Mick reach this conclusion? Dishonestly, of course.

In discussing the case, Mick cites a anti-Pickering article in The New Republic, written by Michael Crowley at the time of the first Pickering nomination. Mick then writes:
I was surprised at how little Crowley has on Pickering -- the piece reads as if he'd been fed tendentious arguments by the camp of Sen. John Edwards, when the Edwards folks were panicked by some respectable criticism of his Judiciary committee cross-examination of Pickering. ...
Crowley completely ignores what Byron York and the WSJ editorial page describe as Pickering's chief complaint in the cross-burning case -- that the government cut a lenient deal with the wrong guy, the ringleader who had the most racial animus. (Unnecessary ellipses by Mick, nothing omitted.)
But that's simply not true, as Mick would know if he had read the WSJ op-ed to which he links. The WSJ explains that all three defendants were offered deals, and the one who went to trial (Daniel Swan) rejected the government's deal.

Mick's "proof" of the lack of evidence against Pickering is the existence of two articles favorable to Pickering. Unfortunately for Mick, the incompetence and/or dishonesty of both York and WSJ editorial page is well-established, so Mick's proof is illusory. But let's leave those facts aside, and look at the defense Mick advances on behalf of Pickering. Mick says that Pickering's concerted efforts to reduce the sentence of one racist terrorist were inspired by the fact that Swan's co-terrorist received a light sentence via a "government deal."

Was Pickering really put out that "the government cut a deal with the wrong guy?" As Al Gore, Sr. said to Strom Thrumond, "Hell, No!" In fact, it was Pickering who approved the plea bargain with the juvenile defendant who Mick calls "the ringleader." Crowley writes that "[Pickering] repeatedly told senators that he had been unaware, when he accepted the two plea bargains, that one of the pleading defendants had previously fired a gun into the Polkeys' home. But the trial transcript shows a discussion of the fact that the defendant's plea itself included an admission of guilt for the shooting." (Emphasis added.)

The simple fact that Kaus, York and the WSJ omit is this: Pickering could have rejected the plea bargain and forced the "wrong guy" to go to trial for his crimes too. But he accepted the plea. (And, according to Crowley, lied to the U.S. Senate about the facts too.)

Once this fact is revealed, Mick's impassioned defense for Pickering collapses. Pickering called the government's demand for a 7 year sentence for Swan the "most egregious instance of disproportionate sentencing recommended by the government in any case pending before this court." But Pickering reached this conclusion by comparing Swan's sentence not to the crime Swan committed, but to the plea agreement he himself approved for the juvenile. If Swan's sentence was "disproportionate," it was because Pickering approved the too-lenient sentence for the juvenile in the first instance. Not much of a principled reason for setting a criminal sentence, and even less a principled criticism of mandatory sentencing laws.

Notwithstanding Mickey Kaus's clowning, Judge Pickering deserves an impartial hearing on the matter. To that end, I implore Judge Pickering to call Daniel Swan as a character witness at his forthcoming confirmation hearing.

Great Minds Update: Read the Horse's "MICKEY "MAUS" KAUS SWOONS OVER A SEG."

Friday, January 10, 2003

Thursday, January 09, 2003

Brent Bozell has started providing detailed summaries of the, um, best parts of t.v. shows, movies and pop music. For the sake of the children, of course.

I'd like to suggest that Brent start reviewing which pornos not to watch.