Saturday, May 31, 2003
That Sinking Feeling
In a series beginning today, The Washington Post will examine all nine Democratic presidential candidates: their campaign messages, the roots of their ambition, their ability to connect with voters.
Johnny Asscrack's Glory Grab
From what I've read and heard, a 21-year-old local deputy spotted a man behind a grocery store at 3 in the morning, the man fled, and the deputy apprehended him without knowing who he was. In other words, he would be in custody now regardless of anything the FBI did or didn't do. So why is John Ashcroft claiming credit?
Today, Eric Robert Rudolph, the most notorious American fugitive on the FBI's most wanted list has been captured and will face American justice. American law enforcement's unyielding efforts to capture Eric Robert Rudolph have been rewarded. Working with law enforcement nationwide the FBI always gets their [sic] man.
This sends a clear message that we will never cease in our efforts to hunt down all terrorists, foreign or domestic, and stop them from harming the innocent.
I want to especially congratulate the local authorities in Murphy, N.C., who with the FBI and other local and state law enforcement throughout the country were able to apprehend this suspect.
While it has been a long struggle, they never stopped never yielded and never gave up. The American people, mostly importantly the victims of these terrorist attacks, can rest easier knowing that another alleged killer is no longer a threat.
The F.B.I. put Rudolph on their Most Wanted List (before Ashcroft's term); I haven't seen anythign the Ashcroft Justice Department to actually find the guy. And they didn't play in part in his capture.
The deputy deserves the million dollar reward. And someone should hand Asscrack his Asshat and let the doorknob hit him on the ass on the way out.
Lies Of The Moonie Times
One of the Washington Times' most respected
drunken grab-asses journalists is making a fool of himself in print as well as at parties.
In Friday's web edition of the Moonie rag, reporter Steve Miller had a front-page story headlined
DNC says minorities' firing was a mistake
Reading the article, however, it was clear than no one but Miller was saying the employees were terminated. A more sober report in the Washington Post that DNC officials discussed layoffs but "has not made any decisions on who it might dismiss and when."
On today's date, Miller all but admitted his earlier article was a lie. Today's hed:
DNC layoff plan draws new fire
In that article, Miller admits that no one had been terminated and no layoffs would occur. Miller did not correct his earlier lie that employees had been "fir[ed]" and "terminated."
Miller is lucky he wasn't fired for his drunken antics, and should polish up his own resume. I suggest a one-page marker on cardboard format, reading: "Will peddle G.O.P. lies for beer."
Lie Like Spike
Spikey Isikoff rearranges facts and besmirches the character of his fellow journalists. And he wonders why people dislike him.
"In an article on Sidney Blumenthal's The Clinton Wars, Michael Isikoff referred to James Bennet as a friend of Sidney Blumenthal's. Bennet is not a friend of Blumenthal's." -- Slate magazine, May 30, 2003
"Correction, May 22, 2003: Bennet is not a friend of Blumenthal's" -- Slate magazine
"Correction, May 22, 2003: James Bennet is not a friend of Blumenthal's." -- Slate magazine
On C-SPAN 2 right now, Al Franken and Molly Ivins are on live. Apparently they were also on a panel with Bill O'Reilly which was quite lively. (Presumably, it will be rebroadcast tonight.)
Tomorrow, a three-hour call in with Noam Chomsky.
Update: Coming up, Aaron MacGruder, author of The Boondocks. Not bad.
Update II Per Atrios and The Hamster, the re-run will air at midnight Eastern, nine Pacific.
Morty's Komedy KornerHoward Mortman, former Hotline columnist and self-imagined stand-up comedian, is outraged that Cindy Adams made fun of Dick Cheney. (Here's a sample of Mortman's "humor.") Adams wrote in her column "The White House is now concentrating on the economy. Vice President Dick Cheney has told subordinates: 'The way to lick this recession is to get all those deadbeats out of the soup kitchens.�" Morty grouses that Dick's people are right to be pissed at Adams for making a joke because "she's a columnist for a newspaper," not Jay Leno. Only those on Dick and Morty's approved list may make a joke at Dick's expense.
But the real reason for Morty's outrage is that Adams took on the Cheney rather than a more deserving target. Sniffs Morty, "There are plenty of hysterical D.C.-based premises you could take out for a spin � crack addicts, rape victims, Democrats."
Although Mortman imagines himself a King of Comedy, if you've seen Morty on C-SPAN, you know what a humorless little troll he is. Which is why it's no surprise that Mortman is a producer for Chris Matthews.
Christianity Means Peace
Eric Rudolph, the longtime fugitive charged in the 1996 Olympic Park bombing and in attacks at an abortion clinic and a gay nightclub, was arrested early Saturday in the mountains of North Carolina, a Justice Department official confirmed.
Rudolph, a Florida native who moved to North Carolina in 1981, is believed to adhere to Christian Identity, a white supremacist religion that is anti-gay, anti-Semitic and anti-foreigner. Some of the four bombs Rudolph was charged with planting included messages from the shadowy "Army of God."
Pockets of western North Carolina have had a reputation as a haven for right-wing extremists. Some there mocked the government's inability to find Rudolph with bloodhounds, infrared-equipped helicopters and space-age motion detectors � and some said they would hide him if asked. -- USA Today
Rudolph was arrested by North Carolina sheriff's deputies while dumpster diving. Where were Johnny Asscrack and the Feds?
Friday, May 30, 2003
Lies Of The Times
Katha Pollitt has a brilliant column on the difference between news and trivia:
It's embarrassing to see Times brass flagellating themselves with tiny Blair corrections ("The sister of Corporal Gardner is named Cara, not Kara") while weighty issues of news content go unaddressed. For all their slapdash dishonesty, none of Blair's stories affected the course of any event. That cannot be said of the paper's relentless pushing of Whitewater, which helped stall a presidency but ended without a Clinton indictment, or its unfounded, life-destroying pursuit of Wen Ho Lee.
At the present moment, the question of whether Rick Bragg personally witnessed the "jumping mullet that belly-flop with a sharp clap into steel-gray water" is trivial compared with Judith Miller's credulous reports on Iraq. Here we have a Pulitzer-winning reporter who alleges that an unnamed Iraqi scientist has proof both of WMDs and of Saddam's connections with Al Qaeda and Syria. Miller got this fascinating scoop from her Army handlers--she never questioned him herself; indeed, she never even met him! She allowed the Army to vet her copy and determine the timing of its publication. Result: a front-page story that was trumpeted everywhere as the retroactive justification for war.
With these same words, and without mentioning their names, Pollitt also demonstrates that Kaus, Sully, Kurtz et al. are full of shit.
Wednesday, May 28, 2003
Al Kamen weighs in on journalistic integrity:
Making up events and facts is clearly a no-no for a reporter. [John R.] Lott's greatest fan and defender online, Mary Rosh, would certainly agree. Rosh, a former student of Lott's, has jousted online for three years against Lott's harshest critics, who have bitterly attacked his research and data, which he says show gun ownership deters crime.
Rosh said Lott taught her at the University of Pennsylvania in the early 1990s and was "the best professor that I ever had." She said she and other students "would try to take any class he taught," but "Lott finally had to tell us that it was best for us to try and take classes from other professors" to get a broader education. She posted an effusive review of his book on the Amazon.com Web site, giving it the highest five-star rating. It was signed "Maryrosh."
Imagine our amazement to find that Mary Rosh wasn't real. She's actually John R. Lott Jr. Lott told our colleague Richard Morin, who broke the story in the print press Feb. 1, that he wrote the e-mails under that name, though his wife helped their 13-year-old son write the Amazon review.
Of his inventing a fan, Lott told Morin he "shouldn't have done it."
The Blue And The Yellow
Pimping "his" new novel, Gettysburg, tubby sybarite Newt Gingrich explains the creative process:
"We are all PhDs, all three of us have taught history, and we all have learned that when you reduce history to passive memorization, you lose people," Gingrich said. "So we embrace the concept of an active history: In a particular situation, what would I have done?"
Readers will be sure to enjoy the scenes where the Union Army prevails at Gettysburg because General Robert E. Lee is off attending grad school and getting blown by his colleagues' wives in the back of a wagon.
A Tale of Two Cities
"It is not as bad as I thought [...] Are bad things going on? Yes. But is it out of control? No. Is it getting better? Yes." -- Pentagon Advisor Bernard Kerik on Baghdad, May 27
"Every body's shooting everybody all over the place. It's a f- - - ing mess." -- Pentagon Advisor Bernard Kerik on Baghdad, May 28
Tuesday, May 27, 2003
Mac Diva has a comprehensive report on unqualified Bush judicial nominee Charles Pickering.
The New York Times also has a new article on Pickering, one which omits much of the damning evidence against Pickering. Inexplicably, the "liberal" Times fails to mention that Pickering had full knowledge of Branch's misconduct at the time he approved Branch's plea deal, and that he misrepresented those facts to the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Those facts are discussed in the Washington Post article linked below.)
Pickering, who was defeated previously and then renominated by the Bush/Ashcroft cabal after last November's elections, will appear before the Judiciary Committee in June.
The Snitchens Chronology
Eagle-eye reader Steve Smith points out in the Comments section that Snitch has his facts and timeline all wrong.
Said the Snitchens, in The Atlantic:
"Not long ago in this magazine David Brooks mapped a political sociology elaborating on the notion that the country was in theory divisible between heartland "red" districts and more coastal "blue" ones, the colors showing (rather counterintuitively, perhaps) a respective difference between Republican and Democratic areas. Soon afterward one of Bill Clinton's reliable yes-men, Paul Begala, issued a response, asserting that it was in "red" districts that gay men like Matthew Shepard were lynched, or black men like James Byrd were dragged behind pickup trucks until they died."
In truth, Begala was responding to a commentary by Mike Barnicle on MSNBC. He did so in November 2000. (See this wingnut site for confirmation of both the date and Barnicle references.) The "Red v. Blue" Brooks column to which Begala purportedly "issued a response" was published in The Atlantic a full year later, in the December 2001 issue. So much for fact checking at The Atlantic.
Does this matter? Well, yes and no. Hitch is no doubt proud to be in the company of Peggy Noonan, Jeff Jacoby and Reed Irvine's Accuracy in Media (sic), all of whom repeated Kelly's smear. And if Chris and The Atlantic can't be bothered with facts, there's no reason for anyone to bother with Chris and The Atlantic. But Snitchens himself argues we can't trust someone who gets his facts wrong. Certainly he would insist that he be held to the same standard.
Monday, May 26, 2003
Uggabugga Makes Good
Quiddity Q. has made the big time -- Q.'s Bush Regime Playing Cards have garnered a mention and an indirect link in the Moonie Times' Inside Politics column.
Not surprisingly, the cut-and-paste columnist, Greg Pierce, fails to properly credit Q. Maybe Q. could add The Father as a Joker, with Pierce's lil' pinhead on the jester's staff.
Update (5/27): Added Moonie Times permalink and deleted link to unauthorized website.
A reader also points us to this Jon Carroll column in the S.F. Chronic, wherein Mr. Carroll links to the Uggabugga timeline on George W. Bush's year of failing to fulfill his National Guard duties.
Pickering's Last Charge
The Dems need to sink this dishonest buck-passer once and for good.
Chip Pickering, in a news release, has blamed the Clinton administration for approving Branch's sentence "before determining the history of racial hatred and violence of all three." The senior Pickering told the Judiciary Committee last year he was unaware that Branch had fired a gun into the Polkeys' home "at the time that the plea was taken," and he chastised the government for declining to "prosecute him on that."
But the record makes clear that Pickering approved Branch's sentence on Aug. 24, 1994, three months after Swan's trial aired the allegations against all three men. In addition, the sentencing document -- which bears Pickering's signature -- included Branch's admission of guilt for the shooting.
Lie Like Mike
In his review of Sidney Blumenthal's The Clinton Wars, Chris Hitchens takes a page from the late Michael Kelly's G.O.P. playbook. In the once not-so-bad The Altantic Monthly, Hitch starts a paragraph decrying the misrepresentations of "spin doctors" and ends the same hoisting himself by his own Shit-'n-Spin:
The privatized and privateering class of spin doctors, advisers, consultants, fundraisers, and reputation mongers displays a weird combination of cynicism and naivet�. It knows better than anyone else what the candidates and parties are really like. But it is compelled, when disgust or alarm reaches a certain pitch, to act as if only a member of the "other" faction could stoop so low. This falsity and cheapness has now reached a point where, palpable as it is even to half indifferent readers and viewers, it may have become invisible to the participants themselves. Not long ago in this magazine David Brooks mapped a political sociology elaborating on the notion that the country was in theory divisible between heartland "red" districts and more coastal "blue" ones, the colors showing (rather counterintuitively, perhaps) a respective difference between Republican and Democratic areas. Soon afterward one of Bill Clinton's reliable yes-men, Paul Begala, issued a response, asserting that it was in "red" districts that gay men like Matthew Shepard were lynched, or black men like James Byrd were dragged behind pickup trucks until they died.
Yes, falsity and cheapness in political punditry have reached a point where they may have become invisible to their purveyors, like Snitch himself. Because the last sentence of the previous paragraph relies on a cheap trick that Mike Kelly got busted on long ago.
Joe Conason and Bob Somerby revealed this fraud three years ago, when Kelly selectively quoted the same sentence from Begala. Joe C. explained:
This does violence to what Begala actually wrote, as Kelly must have known when he wrote his dishonest attack. Innocent readers of Kelly's column would have no way of knowing he had left out the sentence that immediately followed that recitation of horrors. "But that's not the whole story either," Begala wrote, adding, "My point is that Middle America is a far more complicated place than even a gifted commentator like Mike Barnicle gives us credit for. It's not all just red and blue�or black and white."
Snitch is just as dishonest as Kelly was when he originally tried this sleazy stunt.
Is the glib Brit just recycling Kelly columns out of laziness, or is he deliberately distorting what Begala said? In other words, is Chris guilty of cynicism or naivet�? And why does Chris feel compelled to "prove" that only a member of the "other" faction would lower himself into Snitch's own gutter?
Grand Old Police Blotter: Chuck and Duck Edition
In Osceola County, Florida, Republican County Commissioner the Honorable Chuck Dunnick discovered the right to privacy early last Saturday morning. The Road to Damascus for Chuck was a small holding cell with a stainless steel commode welded to the floor:
An Osceola County commissioner and his wife, who have a history of domestic violence, both were drinking when they had an argument that resulted in him lifting her from the bed of his pickup and slamming her to the ground, a sheriff's report says.
Chuck Dunnick, 50, spent early Saturday in jail after deputies arrested him on misdemeanor charges of battering his wife, Lee. Dunnick was arrested about 1:45 a.m. He was released at 10 a.m. on $2,000 bail.
As he left the Osceola County Jail, he asked people to pray for his family and respect their privacy.
Lee Dunnick, 55, told investigators she was afraid of her husband because "he can get away with things" because of his position.
According to the sheriff's report, the couple, who have been married nearly 21 years and have two daughters, have a history of domestic violence. In October 1999, Dunnick's stepdaughter called 911 to report the couple were fighting. The Orange-Osceola State Attorney's Office did not prosecute, partly because Lee Dunnick didn't want the case pursued.
On Friday, Lee Dunnick told investigators she got upset when her husband refused to tell her why he failed to meet her as planned. She said she climbed into the bed of his pickup at their home east of St. Cloud about 6 p.m. and dumped beer from a cooler, the report states.
Lee Dunnick told investigators her 5-foot-11, 170-pound husband grabbed her by the neck and shirt, lifted her over the side of the truck and slammed her onto the ground. Two T-shirts she was wearing were torn, and one had blood on the sleeve, the report states. Afterward, she told investigators, they went inside and she threw glasses at him. She didn't require hospitalization and he wasn't hurt, authorities said.
Chuck Dunnick, a commissioner since 1992, told investigators that when he got home, his wife shouted and threw baseballs at him. He said she also threw a mug and an ashtray and dumped a bucket of soapy water on him, according to the report.
Steely-eyed Chuck don't take no sass talk from the little lady.
Meanwhile, the Osceola County Republicans warn us of the dangers of violent criminals and unilateral disarmament:
Republicans believe that the needs of communities and law-abiding citizens must take priority over those of criminals. Liberal Democrats have an extremist record of placing the rights of criminals above all, including freeing violent criminals on legal technicalities.
Republicans believe that the only way to live free from foreign aggression is to maintain peace through strength. Liberal Democrats would unilaterally disarm. They impose their agenda by continually voting to divert defense funds to expand social programs.
So that's the problem. We should be scouring Iraq for beer coolers, ashtrays, baseballs and buckets of soapy water. We can allow our enemies to develop a Barware Gap.
(Main link via David Ehrenstein.)
Sunday, May 25, 2003
Meet Your Liberal Media
The editorial board of the Los Angeles Times is appearing all week as the opening act at the Laugh Factory in El Segundo.
So the war in Iraq (remember that?) went well, which means quickly. But now, weeks after victory, neither plodding United Nations arms inspectors nor eager American weapons hunters can seem to find Saddam Hussein's suspected hidden caches of weapons of mass destruction. The reason is clear as day: You've got men looking for these things.
Recall those prewar videos of U.N. inspectors poking through unused Iraqi factories as cluttered with meaningless litter and refuse as any teenager's room? They were all men. Did you see any of those men stopping to ask for directions? Of course not! Real men don't ask for directions. Fact is, most men are terrible at finding things, even in their own closets. They stand there helplessly waiting for someone to offer help in spotting a favorite blue tie, which is hanging right in front, and hand it to them. "Oh, there it is," they say with engaging obliviousness.
And men are even worse in front of the refrigerator. Have you noticed? Again, they stand there with the door open, chilling the entire kitchen, looking and looking with those blank faces and silent mouths, apparently unable physically to move even the tiniest jar in their not-so-diligent search. When help arrives, again, the sought-after item is typically right in front.
The Bush Administration lies to the American people to justify its war against Iraq, thousands of people are now dead and wounded, and all the purportedly liberal Times can do is recycle some Dave Barry meets Phyllis Diller meets every stand-up comedian on Comedy Central.
Manufacturing a pretext for invasion is not an outrage. Besides, it's funny because it's true, am I right, ladies?
What's next, Times? The Bush economy is a lot like airline food? John Kerry reminds you of your mother-in-law?
Thank you, and don't forget to tip your waitress.
Saturday, May 24, 2003
"Sometimes I think about sending some terrorists one of my albums to see if it strikes a chord with them and they think, 'What have I been doing with my time, terrorising people?'" -- Pop singer Badly Drawn Boy
Let's see Vijay Singh do this.
What the hell is it with Florida? The guardians of and caregivers for these women should, at a minimum, never be allowed to hold a position of trust ever again. Their facilities should be closed permanently. And they should also face disciplinary and criminal charges.
More On Stossel
The American Broadcasting Corporation's Jayson Blair, John Stossel, says that if you don't swallow his codswallop, you're a member of the "totalitarian Left."
Johnny's bringing the Big Lie theory into the 21st century.
For more on Johnny, check out FAIR's extensive archives.
Update (5/25): Media Transparency is also onto Stossel. Seems the "totalitarian left" has been gunning for Stossel for some time now. (See right hand column.) How does ABC justify promoting someone whose political bias and contempt for viewers are so open?
Crap, The Universal Language
Sure, American Idol is a steaming pile of shit, but you Europeans shouldn't be so smug either.
And we didn't have one of these. (Yeah, we have Ted Nugent, so I guess it's even.)
The early leader in the Washington Post/Clinton Wars review contest is 56k, who doubts the Post will review Sid's tome at all. It appears that Book World has avoided the Blumenthal book again this week.
The section's main non-fiction review is Douglas Brinkley's book on Henry Ford, which is at 542 on Amazon's customer rankings, compared to Blumenthal's 17. Perhaps the Post is so concerned about Blumenthal's take on its own disgraceful role "reporting" on the Clinton presidency that it won't review the book, ever.
Friday, May 23, 2003
Look For The Union Libel
TAPped points out this blog entry from Mr. Danielle Crittenden (nee David Frum):
Good news that nobody was hurt � but this sounds a lot less like Middle Eastern terrorism than good old-fashioned union violence: 2003 was another bad year for labor relations in New Haven.Meanwhile, Frum bravely distances himself from the neo-Confederates (scroll down) by claiming he doesn't find them very interesting. And he comes out against slavery. Don't go out too far on a limb there, Frummy.
Meanwhile, copies of Frum's White House memoir are now priced for ready sale for $5.99 ... per metric ton.
Foreplay, Young Republican Style
The right-wing kids these days aren't reading Ayn Rand, they're reading Mary Rosh. The New York Times Magazine exposes the mating habits of the Rove Youth in an article called "The Young Hipublicans":
The two met and began dating in high school. Chaykun says that she always had a conservative bent (both her parents are registered Republicans), but Mitchell had a big influence in her transformation from privately conservative high-school student to fierce college activist. For instance, until she met Mitchell, she viewed firearms as ''evil.'' But in her senior year of high school, he gave her a copy of John Lott's ''More Guns, Less Crime,'' which argues that allowing law-abiding citizens to carry concealed handguns is an effective deterrent to violent crime. Chaykun was convinced. Last Christmas, she was thrilled when Mitchell gave her a semiautomatic .22 rifle with telescopic sight. Chaykun keeps it in a black nylon bag decorated with Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Care Bears and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles patches. She takes her gun with her to an outdoor shooting range near the campus where Mitchell and other members of the club blast away with .357 Magnums and AK-47 rifles at paper targets printed with the faces of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. (Chaykun shoots at a regular bull's-eye.) ''It's a lot of fun,'' she gushes.
If you can find anything hip about the subjects of the article, you're a better person than I am.
STOCKHOLM (AP) -- A star of MTV's "Jackass" was arrested in Sweden after admitting he swallowed a condom filled with marijuana, police said Friday.
Stephen Glover � known as Steve-O on the now defunct series on the American cable channel � was arrested Thursday after police raided his hotel room in Stockholm. Glover, along with other "Jackass" regulars, had performed their "Don't Try This At Home" show in the Swedish capital Wednesday night.
Prosecutor Gunnar Fjaestad said the raid happened after Glover said he swallowed the condom as a stunt....
Even possession of small amounts of drugs can lead to prison time in Sweden, which has some of the strictest drug laws in Europe. Violators can be given fines or sentenced to prison.
Fjaestad said Glover's alleged violations were especially serious because young people look up to him and other members of the MTV show, which is still aired on MTV Europe.
"Someone in his position should know better," Fjaestad said.Sounds like Gunnar's not a big follower of the show.
Thursday, May 22, 2003
Little Mick is praying for an affirmative action angle to this story.
''Chris Matthews represents Holy Cross in a wonderful way,'' [spokeswoman Katharine Buckley McNamara] said. ''He has a probing intellect, engages in passionate discussions on the most important topics of the day - especially moral issues, and shows a special care for the poor and marginalized in our society. We are proud of our alumnus Chris Matthews.''
I didn't realize the Eucharist was now performed with hallucinogens.
Wednesday, May 21, 2003
Don't Forget Zalman King
British journo Martin Walker, writing from the UPI "Life & Mind Desk" (wtf?), wins the award for most obscure praise of The Clinton Wars:
His book deserves its place alongside some other indispensable insider memoirs, like the diaries of Princess Lieven or Sir John Colville or Count Ciano, because it is steeped in its time and place....
Yeah, that's just what I was thinking.
Yes, it's the last refuge of the unimaginative, a contest.
Or, more accurately, two contests.
The Washington Post is perhaps the last major publication yet to review Sidney Blumenthal's The Clinton Wars. I suspect the
hit piece review has been assigned, and will run in this Sunday's Book World. Who will the Post tap to pan Sid's tome? Jon Turley? Chuck Bakaly? John Fund? Scan Sid's index, then make the call. (Note: Post employees, their family members and their adulterous lovers are ineligible to participate.)
Which Beltway reporter or pundit will make it official this July and assume Ari Fleischer's job as Bush press secretary? (Note: In the event of a tie, the first person to say Howard Fineman will be declared the winner.)
Enter now. There may even be prizes, but I wouldn't really count on it.
Meet Your Liberal Media
A reader has kindly sent me the TV Guide article revealing that ABC plans to promote the truth-impaired John Stossel because of his right-wing views.
John Stossel, one of the most controversial figures in network news, is close to being named Barbara Walters' 20/20 coanchor.
Stossel's 20/20 reports, commentaries and specials have made him a star, but they have also landed him in hot water on occasion. Most notably, a 20/20 segment in 2000 critical of organic produce cited tests that were never conducted. Stossel was force to make an on-air apology.
Stossel, 56, has been labeled everything from contrarian to libertarian to right-wing ideologue. But it's his politically conservative bent that seems to fit into ABC's agenda. "These are conservative times," says an ABC insider. "And the network wants somebody to match the times."
Stossel would replace John Miller who departed 20/20 in January to head the Los Angeles bureau of Homeland Security. -- TV Guide, May 17-23A wingnut replacing a wingnut? (I don't know much about Miller, but the Administration obviously approves of him.) Well, it could be worse -- Stossel in charge of Homeland Security.
I'm sure we'll get two weeks of Howie and Brent Bozell on this affirmative action scandal.
Happily, no one was foreseeably injured.
Tuesday, May 20, 2003
So tell us, Spikey, what exactly was Whitewater all about?
The Talking Penis Tenders His Resignation
When he told his boss the news on Friday, the conversation ended with the president "kissing me on the head," Fleischer said.
The question is: Did he jump or was he castrated?
Monday, May 19, 2003
The Week-Old Dish
Sully may be ahead of the curve on testosterone, but he's a week behind on matters of importance. (Link broken, scroll down to May 12.) Those in the know know where to turn first.
The Death of Slate
Slate's travel column must be some sort subsidized vacation program for washed-up 80s writers and their latest wives. First Michael Lewis and his wife and au pair made Northern California sound boring, and now this.
Here's a high point for internet journalism:
Some of the products or services mentioned here were provided at a discount or free of charge.
Which led to this hard-hitting expose:
Oddly enough, when we began training on our Segways outside our hotel, that is more or less what happened. It took us about 20 minutes to learn the basics from three Segway representatives: Lean forward on the machine and you go forward, lean back to stop, keep leaning back to go backward, and twist the left handlebar to turn right or left. The machine has a zero-turning radius�you can spin on a dime, and it's really fun. There were a few small accidents�Christian unhorsed himself, and I took a stripe of green paint off a building trying to thread a narrow sidewalk�but within half an hour we were all able to navigate even the heavy medieval cobblestones in front of the church of Saint-Germain-des-Pr�s with ease. We were flying along at two or three times pedestrian speed. And we were grinning like school kids. Going where you want to go just by following your own inclination is like having a magic carpet.
I'm at a loss for obscenities.
"The New Yorker's Ken Auletta has discovered why the 'Fox & Friends' morning anchors recently ridiculed CNN's Aaron Brown, saying he looks like a dentist and flashing the caption 'Arrogant Brown.' Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes told them to.
"In the issue out today, Ailes says he ordered the 'dentist' routine to respond to some criticism by Brown because 'somebody gets in my face, I get in their face.' During the high jinks, Ailes says, 'I'm sitting here laughing my [butt] off.'"
Hmm... I wonder what Roger orders Neil Cavuto to say.
Jim Capozzola, via TBogg, reminded me that someone described Steven den Beste as "a beautiful prose stylist."
I have no doubt this piece will be taught in many journalism classes.
Bright Lights, Big Cityroom
You are not the kind of guy who would be at a place like this, if Mickey Kaus had anything to say about it. But here you are, and you cannot say that the terrain is entirely unfamiliar, although the details are made up. You are in a newsroom talking to a girl with a Polish surname. The desk is either Gerth's or Safire's. You might meet your deadline if you could just slip into the bathroom and do a little more Kudlovian Marching Powder. Then again, you could just make shit up. A small voice inside you, from your days at Liberty University, insists that making shit up will make you as famous as Jerry Falwell and The Clinton Chronicles. You know the moment has come and gone, but you are not yet willing to concede that you have crossed the line beyond which all is career suicide and 10,000 word recriminations. Somewhere back there you could have cut your losses, but you rode past that moment on a trail of sniper victims and now you are trying to hang on to the rush. Your brain at this moment is composed of brigades of tiny Kudlovian chickenhawks. They are dressed by a tailor who is not from Saville Row. There are holes in their septums and they are on basic cable. They know how to get away with it. And you know the White House needs your special skills, now that Ari Fleischer is leaving.
The first sentence:
One usually thinks of the paradigmatic soldier is the frontline rifleman, or maybe a guy buttoned up in a tank.
It's all downhill from there.
Sunday, May 18, 2003
You Can't Judge A Fund By His Portfolio Cover
At Mac-a-ro-nies, Mac Diva makes the point that John Fund's gentlemanly demeanor has little bearing on whether he is an abusive man. I doubt Phillip Giordano, ex-mayor of Waterbury, Conn., molested children at his campaign fundraisers. Fund's public respectability isn't proof of either innocence or guilt, and it doesn't reveal how he acts in the privacy of his own home.
The interview with Senator Lieberman should be good.
Saturday, May 17, 2003
Grand Old Police Blotter: W.D.-40 EditionThat's 40 months (plus) in the hole for the former President of the Florida Senate, W.D. Childers.
More Republican election fraud in Florida, this time involving the purchase of an election rather than the theft of one:
Former Florida Senate President W.D. Childers was sentenced to 3� years in prison Friday for bribing a fellow Escambia County commissioner to vote for buying a disused soccer complex in Pensacola.
A jury last month convicted Childers, once one of Florida's most powerful politicians, of bribery and unlawful compensation for an official act. He was ordered to complete 250 hours of community service and 1� years probation after he finishes the sentence....
Childers, 69, was brought to the Okaloosa County Courthouse from the Escambia County Jail in Pensacola, where he has been serving a 60-day sentence since Tuesday for unrelated violations of Florida's open-government ``sunshine'' law. He will begin the prison term after the jail sentence.
Don't forget to send W.'s name to ChoicePoint, Jeb.
Changing The Sheets
The Moonie Times website has gotten a face lift.
It must be the only U.S. newspaper website with a "Civil War" link on its homepage.
Who Do You Trust?
I don't have anything new or intelligent to add about the Eric Alterman column on John "Thumb" Fund and the response to it from Media Whores Online. But, since I can't find anything else to write about, here's my thought.
Over the past few weeks, I've received a set of documents from a close friend of Fund's--now posted on the Internet--that demonstrate to almost any fair-minded person that Fund is probably the victim of a deeply disturbed person.
Fair enough. If the documents are exculpatory to any fair-minded person, and they're on the 'net, why not link to them and let fair-minded people decide for themselves.
I'd also love to see the transcript from the deposition Fund had to give (the one he was bitching about to Brit Hume), just for comparison's sake. If Fund's evidence consists entirely of the accusation that his accuser is not credible, don't we need to examine the credibility of Fund before deciding who to believe? And if Fund's work "would fill a 'how not to' book for journalism schools across the land," as Dr. A. says, why is he any more credible than his ex-girlfriend?
Update (5/20): Eric Alterman, no doubt heeding this site's call for maximum disclosure, provides a link to his source material. Now, does anyone have the transcript of Fund's deposition testimony from the Blumenthal case?
And here's reader reaction to the Alterman column at the Horse.
Roger's Media Notes
Even though the current edition of Vanity Fair has articles by Chris Hitchens and Dominick Dunne and a feature on Drew Barrymore, it's still worth reading, just for James Wolcott's take on the White House press corps and their play-acting during Bush's faux prime time press conference. He smacks O'Reilly hard as well. My suggestion: Check out Vanity Fair at the library and pick up Wolcott's novel, The Catsitters, in paperback with (part) of the money you've saved.
* * *
I slept through the live broadcast of C-SPAN's 3-hour Washington Journal program on blogging, then fell asleep while I watched it on streaming video. From what's on the website, I don't think I missed much. The last thing I remember was someone talking about an Atlanta Braves baseball blog that wasn't actually online right now. The show seemed one-fifth-assed, at best. And I'm guessing no one mentioned how much they love ol' Rogereither.
* * *
TV Guide has a sidebar in this week's issue about an ABC News insider who says the network promoted John Stossel to 20/20 anchor because he's conservative. I can't find the blurb at the online edition of the magazine, and I don't want to buy the magazine either, so you'll just have to trust me.
* * *
The very lucky Susan M. from Suburban Guerrilla broke bread with James Capozzola of The Rittenhouse Review and TRR: The Lighter Side of Rittenhouse this week. (See May 15 entry at Suburban Guerrilla.) If it wasn't for all those damn Red states in the way, I'd be close enough to have dinner with Jim too.
That last one doesn't have anything to do with the media, but if Howie Kurtz can get away with it, so can I.
Thursday, May 15, 2003
Where Are They Now?Jim Capozzola asks "Whatever Happened to Ruth Shalit?
Hey, if Rusty Yates can guest on Today as an expert on killer moms, you'd think someone could get Shalit to voice some opinions on Jayson Blair. There are so many columnists she could steal them from.
Krazy Kounsellor Klayman Rides Again
WASHINGTON - A private conservative group sued the Senate Thursday in federal court in an effort to have the Democratic filibuster of President Bush's judicial nominees declared unconstitutional.
Judicial Watch also wants a U.S. District Court judge to immediately ban the Senate from using filibusters to block other federal judicial nominees.
"The idea is to put an end to the subversion of the Constitution by both political parties when it comes to nominating and confirming judges," said Larry Klayman, the group's chairman.
Krazy Kounsellor K. needs to go back to law school:
The primary legal theory being put forward by right-wing legal scholars and activists to support their claims rests on bad logic, bad law, and bad history. Conservative legal pundit Bruce Fein, scheduled to appear at Tuesday's hearing, is among those arguing that requiring a supermajority to cut off debate on judicial nominations is impermissible. Such an interpretation defies the language of the Constitution and the history of the Senate.
In fact, Article I, Section 5 of the Constitution clearly states that each House of Congress would make its own rules. In some areas, the framers of the Constitution did take some matters out of the hands of Congress by requiring, for example, two-thirds of the Senate to approve international treaties. Requiring a majority vote to approve matters is in essence a parliamentary floor, not a ceiling. Nowhere in the Constitution is there a requirement for a simple majority for votes on nominations.
In fact, it wasn't until 1917 that there was any way other than unanimous consent to cut off debate on issues, including judicial nominations, and bring them to a vote. In that year the very first cloture rule was adopted -- two thirds of the Senate present and voting required to invoke cloture and force a vote on a measure. For the past 54 years, the Senate has required a super majority of the entire Senate (ranging from 3/5 to 2/3) to bring judicial nominations or legislation to a vote.
The Big Tent
The Moonie Times fires a warning shot across the West Wing:
Top Republicans "flirting" with the agenda of homosexual activists are endangering President Bush's re-election bid next year, social conservatives have told the White House.
One participant at last week's meeting who asked not to be identified said, "Racicot at first was a little hostile, saying, 'You people don't want me to meet with other folks, but I meet with anybody and everybody.' "
Mr. Bauer retorted, "That can't be true, because you surely would not meet with the leaders of the Ku Klux Klan."
When Mr. Wildmon asked the RNC chairman if he would meet with the North American Man-Boy Love Association, Mr. Racicot replied that he had never heard of the notorious pedophile group, Mr. Weyrich said.
The answer is: Three things Peggy Noonan debases with her prose.
Damn, I missed it. Cornfed Kelly Osbourne lookalike Kyle Williams co-hosted Faux & Frauds yesterday:
Kyle Williams, WorldNetDaily teen columnist and author of the newly released book "Seen & Heard," is taking the media by storm this week, co-hosting Fox News Channel's "Fox & Friends" today at 7 a.m. Eastern.
Yesterday, America's youngest pundit shook it up live on the air with Bill Press and Pat Buchanan on MSNBC's "Buchanan & Press," taped a segment for Fox's "The O'Reilly Factor," which will air sometime next week, and was a guest on multiple talk-radio shows.
Did Kyle sit on Steve Doocy's lap at anytime during the proceedings?
DeLay: "I Am The Government"
The dinner was organized by [Ratboy Tom DeLay's] daughter and campaign manager, Danielle DeLay Ferro, as a fundraiser for Armpac, Delay's political action committee, at Ruth's Chris Steak House on Ninth Street NW. But because the restaurant leases space in a building owned by a federal agency -- in this case, the Smithsonian Institution -- the law forbids smoking. The prohibition is posted on numerous signs inside and outside the restaurant.
But after the main course, DeLay went into "hammer" mode, trying to compel manager Tom Khandker to flout federal regulations and lift the ban. We hear the conversation went something like this:
Khandker: "I'm sorry, sir, but this is a federal building, and it's against the law of the federal government."
DeLay: "I am the federal government."....
Yesterday, Khandker declined to comment, and DeLay spokesman Stuart Roy told us that what his boss really said was, "I'm with the federal government."
Now, of course that's a lie. Does DeLay expect anyone to believe that he actually was arguing that a ban on smoking in federal buildings does not apply to federal employees? That's pure bullshit.
Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security has already placed the wiretap and read all of Mr. Khandker's e-mail.
Return To SenderEvery once in a great while, I get an e-mail at my Hotmail account from someone trying to contact the other Roger Ailes. I usually just delete the message. Sometimes I write back, telling the sender to contact Fox News, and then delete it.
Now, how dense do you have to be to think that the head of the Fox News Channel uses a Hotmail account? The channel is owned by a multi-billion dollar corporation. It is part of a media empire. It has it own extensive website. The other Ailes must make millions a year. Why in the unholy name of Rupert Murdoch would the other Roger Ailes use a frickin' free web-based e-mail account?
Come on, people, I know you watch Fox News, but you must have some small sense of reality left.
Slimeball, With Chris Matthews
Clicking on this link at Eschaton, we see that Tweezer is up to his old dishonest tricks, and Dan Abrams is playing along:
MATTHEWS: Dan Abrams is an NBC News chief legal correspondent. He is the chief legal correspondent.
Dan, thanks for joining us.
Is this Mark Geragos up to his old tricks like he did with the Susan McDougal case where he changed the topic from whether she stole money from the Zubin Mehta family or was she being basically persecuted by Ken Starr? ....
ABRAMS: Well, look, I think he did a pretty good job in the McDougal case.
MATTHEWS: By changing the subject from whether she stole the money to whether the Starr team was after her, didn�t he?
ABRAMS: Well, look, in part, that�s what he did.
MATTHEWS: What�s the issue to the jury?
ABRAMS: ... I guess I�m not going to be able to avoid talking Susan McDougal.
OK. Look, you�re-the true legal issue there was not a question of whether Ken Starr had unfairly gone after Susan McDougal, and there�s no question that that issue came up in the case.
Now let's look at a contemporaneous account of the actual proceedings in the McDougal trial (scroll to the bottom):
SANTA MONICA, Calif., Sept 25 (Reuters) - The wife of conductor Zubin Mehta appeared to contradict her own testimony on Friday, conceding that she had ordered Whitewater figure Susan McDougal to make purchases she had earlier called thefts.
Nancy Mehta is the main accuser in McDougal's embezzlement trial, in which she is alleged to have stolen $150,000 from the Mehtas while working for them as a bookkeeper by forging checks and fraudulently using credit cards.
McDougal's attorney, Mark Geragos, attacked the credibility of Mrs. Mehta in Friday's court session, suggesting that she was either mistaken or lying when she accused McDougal of theft and forgery.
Mrs. Mehta, who earlier had testified to a series of purchases that she said McDougal made with her money, conceded that she had directed her to buy some of the items.
Mrs Mehta also acknowledged that, contrary to her earlier testimony, she let several people use her credit cards for a variety of expenses while McDougal worked for her from 1989 to 1992. McDougal faces a possible seven years in prison if convicted of the 12 criminal counts, including grand theft, forgery and failure to file an income tax return.
Mrs. Mehta is a key witness for the prosecution, and spent two days telling jurors about the alleged thefts. Geragos has portrayed Nancy Mehta as a bitter woman who spent her husband's money to keep it from his children born outside the marriage and drummed up accusations against McDougal after their close relationship went sour.
Zubin is a former musical director of the New York Philharmonic and the Los Angeles Philharmonic and is also active in the Israeli Philharmonic.
On Friday, Geragos confronted Mrs. Mehta with a long list of checks that she had called forgeries by McDougal, and pointed out that many of them were purchases made at her direction. He gave jurors a glimpse into the Mehtas' wealthy lifestyle, which included trips around the world and expensive furniture. Geragos suggested to Mrs. Mehta that a series of checks she had questioned were actually used to pay for her cousin's $100,000 wedding.
Mrs. Mehta also said she spent nearly $1,000 to purchase a brand of mattress that she discovered in a hotel in Italy -- a complicated transaction that involved shipping the mattress from its manufacturer in Switzerland.
And, after previously testifying that she was the only one who bought clothes for her daughter, she admitted giving her credit card to a professional buyer to purchase shoes for the girl....
There's no question that McDougal believed Starr encouraged California prosecutors to pursue the case. But as the Reuters article makes clear, Geragos' defense case was focused on Nancy Metha's allegations of theft and forgery, not Ken Starr. Tweezer has no basis to state that Geragos "changed the topic" of the case or, as Tweezer implies, that the jury acquitted Susan McDougal for any reason other than the fact that she was not guilty.
The Slimeball transcript is also worth reading for Nooner's line, "It�s that the American president not only put himself in harm�s way going to see American troopers, but he showed them by coming in on that ship I trust you." Right, Peg. Bush puts himself in harm's way every time he swallows his food.
Wednesday, May 14, 2003
Howie cleverly brings in the media angle -- West Virginia papers have reported the story!
I don't recall Howie squealing about "another Republican who can't keep his zipper zipped" in the cases of, say, Rudy Guiliani or Newt Gingrich.
Here's an column idea for a real media reporter: Who at the Washington Post is fucking someone's spouse or someone other than his/her own spouse?
Tuesday, May 13, 2003
A Report From Roger Ailes' Cairo Bureau Chief
I have made this contact to you with the hope that you can help me out in this my dilemma / problem. I was the personal aide to the Iraqi minister of education and research. Dr Abd Al-khaliq Gafar. That died in the war. Before the war, we had traveled to France to negotiate a contract payment deal on behalf of the Iraqi government on procurement and payment of educational materials and components for the ministry, which entailed him to pay off our customers by cash for onward delivery of the goods via Turkey. Because of international / UN monetary restrictions /sanction on Iraqi. Since our entire operating bank accounts had been frozen.
In gust of this he had cleverly diverted this sum ($28.5m) for himself and secured it properly with a security vault in Spain for safekeeping. As he had kept these documents in hidden and secret with my knowledge. Now that he is Dead and I was able to escape to Egypt for safety on political asylum with this document with me now. Hence I am left with these problems of how to recover and collect this fund for re-invest in a viable venture in your country with your assistance and cooperation. Because of oblivious traveling restricts and sanctions as an Iraqi.
I would really want us to do this deal together if only you can be trusted with this information and project. For more details do reach me via my direct email : [address omitted for security purposes] for further instructions and details. I most remind you that my entire life depends on this fund so please do not relay this top secret to a third party if you are not interested.
I await you immediate response.
Regards [...] El - Mustapha .
Hmmm.... This says the good doctor is still alive. Now I'm going to have to review El - Mustapha's last 400 stories for accuracy.
Little Dick Will Have To Ask Roger For A Raise
Another of Fox News Channel's Finest is in the news. The State of Connecticut says that Dick Morris is a toe-sucking tax delinquent.
20 BEEHOLM RD
W REDDING CT
And that's not including any payroll taxes Morris owes his whores.
(Via The Horse.)
Slate magazine and NPR are co-producing a new radio show. My suggested names for the program:
All Things In Moderation
The Bland Reading The Bland
Georgetown's Village IdiotBob Somerby eloquently lays out the case against Margaret Carlson in yesterday's Howler. Her Slate Diary reflects everything one needs to know about the Washington press corps (many of whom are name-dropped into the column). It's not her partisanship that offends; it's her self-satisfied ignorance about basic facts. Carlson damns herself with her own words. She's more concerned with the permit process for the remodelling of her Georgetown house than she is in getting facts straight. She engages in mutual admiration and promotion of her celebrity "journalist" pals, rather than pointing out their lies and mistatements (thereby ensuring they don't point our hers.)
Well, you might say, the column is supposed to be a diary of Carlson's mindless personal life, not a policy analysis. But that doesn't excuse her from getting things wrong when she does talk about politics. And who really gives a shit about what desserts she eats?
Most offensive are her gratitious, and false, attacks on Hillary Clinton.
"[H]as anyone ever gotten more out of sexual favors she didn't dispense than Sen. Clinton?" Senator Clinton got elected in New York by kicking Rick Lazio's sorry ass. She won despite the negative publicity from the Lewinsky matter, not because of it. And since she got the book deal without agreeing to write about the Lewinsky matter, she certainly didn't earn her advance based on "sexual favors." It's Margret Carlson and her fellow Capitol Gang hacks who made their careers blathering about sexual favors, not Senator Clinton.
Carlson also snidely asks, "How many aliases did Hillary have before that Rodham crept back in?" How many other women has Carlson slammed for choosing to use their married name? And this from someone who has to use George Bush's name in her autobiography just to sell a few copies of her clip-job book.
I just hope Jimmy isn't too embarassed by his sister's idiocy.
Monday, May 12, 2003
A Victory For Diversity
One fact in the Jayson Blair story has been carefully avoided by all the anti-affirmative action scowlers. The front-page story which led to Blair's downfall was plagiarized from Macarena Hernandez, a Mexican-American reporter who was a participant in the same New York Times fellowship program at the same time as Blair.
That's right. Blair stole his story from a highly-qualified non-white reporter who was also a purported "preference beneficiary." He didn't bother stealing the unoriginal ramblings of a bitter, coasting hack or the daily drivel of a pompous ass who hasn't reported a story in his life and couldn't catch a liar right under his own nose.
The moral of the story is obvious: The Times should re-hire Ms. Hernandez immediately. And ignore the flatulent old haters who aren't qualified to fill her job.
Hot or Sot?
The brilliant Susan of Suburban Guerrilla has the ultimate response to the folks with a flightsuit fetish. (Scroll down to May 11.)
Top 10 Reasons Why Bush Is Not A Hottie
10. The brain is the biggest erogenous zone.
9. He still has to ask Cheyney if he can borrow the keys to the F-10.
8. You'd always have to wear flats.
7. He was packing a cucumber in the flight suit.
6. Don't want Peggy Noonan's sloppy seconds.
5. First date is always a kegger.
4. Can't whisper sweet nothings without a teleprompter.
3. Has to fantasize about his mother.
2. His mouth isn't the only thing he shoots off too fast.
1. Once you've had Colin Powell, you'll never go back!
Also read May 11's entry "The Judy Miller Show" and the May 9 entries on the Leung case. Actually, read the whole thing. It's all good.
Friday, May 09, 2003
In the meantime, your topic for discussion is: "Resolved: Magaret Carlson Represents Everything That Is Wrong About The Washington Press Corps."
Also, please visit the fine folks who make up the Roger Ailes Enemies List.
Hot Monkey Love
In the Wall Street Journal, a former flack for Dan Quayle auditions for Peggy Noonan's job by revealing that she and her married friends lust after Curious George in his flight suit.
I decided to run a reality check among the soccer moms I spend my days with. At my daughter's East Side school, my friend Emily, a mother of two and probably a liberal, examined the picture of the president in his fly-boy gear that I just happened to have in my purse. She looked carefully, grinned and said, "He's a hottie. No doubt about it. Really a hottie. Why haven't I noticed this before? He looks so much better than Michael Douglas in that movie we saw," comparing the tired, indifferent megastar of "The American President" to the totally present leader of the free world.
Alexandra, an unmarried event planner in her 30s, e-mailed: "Hot? SO HOT!!!!! THAT UNIFORM!" In a more restrained way, my friend Maggie, a writer/mom, explained: "I think he is actually protecting me and my sons, and I find that attractive in a man." Suzi, who did her mom time and now writes biographies, also began with restraint. I asked, casually, what she thought about President Bush. She answered, carefully, "He's so confident. He is a very credible, trustworthy leader." "Yeah," I pursue, "but do you think he's sexy?" "Oh God, yes," she said. "I mean, that swagger. George Bush in a pair of jeans is a treat to watch." This from a soft-spoken woman inclined to intellectual pursuits. (Emphasis added.)
The comments of the emasculated husbands are not recorded.
Meanwhile, I think it's time for me to become gay.
At Reason Online, Julian Sanchez heralds the triumph of "distributed journalism" in the strange case of John Lott:
But bloggers were more skeptical: Gross turned out to be a gun rights activist himself, with the group Concealed Carry Reform, NOW! Historian Thomas Spencer unearthed a letter to the Minneapolis Star Tribune in which Gross wrote that gun control advocates "dance on the graves of the innocent victims and glory in their spilled blood." Another blogger, the pseudonymous Atrios, found news reports recounting how Gross had taken over the names of several gun control groups that had neglected to renew their corporate status with the state.
Today John Lott, tomorrow George W. Bush!
Moe Syzlak/Chief Wiggum/Comic Book Guy/Dr. Nick Riviera to portray Michael Kelly in fall release.
An Ass Of M And K
Mickey Kaus has it better than the rest of us. He doesn't have to read -- or remember -- what he writes. Witness:
May 8, 2003:
"As Slate's Eric Umansky notes, evidence is now emerging that the New York Times did, in fact, explicitly relax its standards when it hired Jayson Blair. (I'd previously assumed that Blair was no less qualified than dozens of non-minority hires. I seem to have spoken too soon.)"
May 5, 2003:
"The NYT apparently has run a minority internship program that has the effect--since the internships routinely lead to job offers--of hiring minority reporters right out of college, without the customary years of seasoning at smaller papers. Blair seems to have been hired by the Times (after an internship) before he even graduated from college. ... I'm not saying there are no countervailing benefits to race preferences in journalism -- there are even benefits, such as ability to get stories white reporters can't get, that might not exist in other professions. I'm just saying that people should also acknowledge that there are costs, and that one of those costs is almost certainly a) more cases of African-American reporters who screw up, and b) uncertainty about whether a program of no special-preferences might have averted any particular screw-up before it turned into a credibility- and career-damaging incident. ... There's also the distinct possibility that the costs outweigh the benefits even for the intended direct beneficiaries such as Blair. In the long run, the NYT doesn't seem to have done him any favors--not to mention the effect on other African-American reporters who now have to unfairly labor under the sneaking suspicion that they are potential Blairs. ..".Follow that? Kaus now says he "previously assumed" that Blair was no less qualified than "non-minority" reporters the Times hired. In fact, Kaus previously assumed -- and stated -- that Blair was hired through a internship program that hires minority reporters "without the customary years of seasoning" of previous work at smaller papers. He also says that Blair was "the intended direct beneficiary" of a "race preference." And that the Times "doesn't seem to have done" Blair any favors, suggesting that the Times was trying to do Blair a favor. (Not to mention the idiotic Blair as Utah truck analogy.)
So, Kaus not only assumed -- but stated -- that Blair was less qualified than other Times hires and the direct beneficiary of a racial preference.
Thursday, May 08, 2003
DeathBlog 2003Blogging is catching on. Why, even a dull-witted tax protestor who claims he's starving himself to death has his own blog. Texan Gene Chapman is on a "death-fast," refusing to eat until someone answers to his satisfaction the question "Where is MY tax liability in the law - specifically?" Apparently, Mr. Chapman is sitting outside an Austin IRS office in his bathrobe for at least an hour a day, and watching Oprah in his motel room during his downtime. And he's blogging his little head off, too.
He's also granting audiences to the press, although so far that snob Tom Brokaw has given him the brush-off.
Chapman's only down to 190, from 230, so it seems he still has some spare pounds to burn.
It's not clear why this genius thinks he doesn't have to pay taxes, although he links to a letter from some chump who claims that only foreign income is taxable. (The chump's full thesis is here. (Note: .pdf file)) Unfortunately for Chapman, the IRS says this argument is rubbish.
I think some of Gene's supporters -- the ones who aren't fasting -- need to get Gene some help rather than encouraging him to kill himself for some wing-nut pipe dream.
Meet Your Liberal Media
Spoiler Alert: Contains Excerpts From Sid Blumenthal's New Book (via Salon)
From Sidney Blumenthal:
The degeneration of politics into personal demonization reflected the growing frenzy of the effort to overthrow the president. On Sunday, September 6, the unveiling of the Starr Report had been prepared for by two conservative panelists on ABC's "This Week." George Will stated, "We have the experience recently of a member of the White House staff, Sidney Blumenthal, calling journalists in an attempt to smear Henry Hyde." Bill Kristol jumped in: "It is a fact that Sidney Blumenthal has called members of the press to try to get them to look into congressmen's private lives."
Though I was unsurprised at being used as a scapegoat, I still registered alarm at hearing false allegations about me on national television. The charge was, of course, completely false. It was not, as Kristol blithely said, "a fact," and neither he nor Will would or could offer any facts. In the curious ambit of Washington, these ideologues with their counterfactual slurs were accorded respect, deference, and, most important, time on television. In their punitive ad hominem style, their insults substituted for facts. They indulged in character assassination while parading as the ones exposing it.
A correspondent at ABC News told me that Dorrance Smith, executive producer of "This Week" and communications director in the previous Bush administration, was pushing the line against me hard.
But, wait, there's more:
If Vlasto was an apolitical scandalmonger at ABC News, Dorrance Smith, producer of "This Week," was ultimately political. Smith had been President Bush's communications director, and his secretary in the White House had been Linda Tripp. "The Washington bureau was like an outpost of the American Spectator," an ABC News correspondent told me. "Dorrance was in constant touch with Tripp. He was calling the shots. He kept opposing views off the air and put views supportive of Starr on the air." (One of the Smith-promoted commentators, Jonathan Turley, a George Washington Law School professor with a specialty in environmental issues, testified before the House in favor of impeachment, and another, Brad Berenson, was to become an associate counsel in George W. Bush's White House. Jeffrey Toobin, the regular ABC News legal analyst, was not permitted to appear on "This Week.")(Buy the book here.)
A Tale of Two TweezersTweezer Matthews has learned well from the Master of Duality, William "Dice" Bennett. Witness:
MATTHEWS: And the women. We�re going to talk about Hillary coming back, and that book, that (UNINTELLIGIBLE). �Which blonde would Bill Clinton rather sleep with� I think is your question, Ann Coulter, you or Hillary. Are you one of the options? When we come back and see what you think when we come back with Ann Coulter on her vying with Hillary for the affections of Mr. Bill in a moment.
BLANKLEY: [Bennett's] made the right call. He recognizes this probably isn�t the best...
CONASON: His wife apparently picked up the rolling pin yesterday, you know.
MATTHEWS: Let�s not get personal about this thing.
Wednesday, May 07, 2003
I'm just saying that people should also acknowledge that there are costs, and that one of those costs is almost certainly a) more cases of African-American reporters who screw up, and b) uncertainty about whether a program of no special-preferences might have averted any particular screw-up before it turned into a credibility- and career-damaging incident. (Emphasis added.)
I'm not saying there are no countervailing benefits to hack preferences in journalism -- there are even benefits, such as ability to get poorly written and unedited pieces that talented reporters wouldn't write... In the long run, Slate doesn't seem to have done Mick any favors -- not to mention the effect on other Slate writers who now have to unfairly labor under the sneaking suspicion that they are potential diminutive, grasping, innnumerate hacks.
And while Mick is writing about Steven Glass, perhaps he can explain how the New Republic, which is not known for preferring, or even hiring, African-American writers, failed to avert the serial credibility and career-damaging screw-ups of Ruth Shalit and Glass.
The Undiscovered Virtue
Is Elayne is the enabler, or is she the co-dependent? Whatever. There must be a cycle/spiral of shame in there somewhere. Dr. Phil and Jerry Springer are vying for the exclusive first interview.
Wife Elayne Bennett, meanwhile, told USA Today that her husband is "not addicted" and has gambled "only three or four times a year" -- an estimate disputed by Newsweek correspondent Jonathan Alter. He and his co-author, the Washington Monthly's Joshua Green, examined leaked casino records. "The documents indicated it has been much more frequently than that," Alter told us.
As for Bennett's no-gambling promise, Baltimore anti-gambling therapist Valerie Lorenz told us: "I think it would be highly unlikely for him to be able to carry out that intent. Here's a man who has apparently gambled for 10 years, and has increasingly engaged in chronic and progressive gambling that has escalated over the years."
Maybe Jimmy Glassman and Lucianne Jr. can explain how lying to your spouse (or, alternatively, lying to the press) is the latest virtue.
And, speaking of Dicks, Big-Time Dick says: "I've got a doc with me 24 hours a day who watches me very carefully" ... "If I ran into problems where I felt I couldn't serve, I'd be the first to say so and step down." Who says you can't get adequate health care in this country?
Tuesday, May 06, 2003
The Blair Witch Hunt ProjectThere are few certainties in life... but surely one of them is that Little Mickey Kaus would use the story Jayson Blair, former reporter for the New York Times to bash affirmative action. Mick's analysis is as follows: He doesn't know if affirmative action had anything to do with Blair's alleged plagiarism, but people will use the Blair story to demagogue against affirmative action even if they can't prove a connection, therefore, affirmative action is bad. Oh, and it's the Times' fault -- for "apparently" practicing affirmative action -- that "other African-American reporters ... now have to unfairly labor under the sneaking suspicion that they are potential Blairs." Read Kaus for yourself; his comment makes no sense.
I wonder if Mick will opine with such eloquence and passion on the story Salt Lake Tribune reporters Michael Vigh and Kevin Cantera, who allegedly admitted to fabricating tales about the family of Elizabeth Smart. Don't count on it, unless there's an anti-affirmative action angle.
In the end, there are three much simpler explanations for Blair's alleged misconduct, ones you'll never read in Kausfiles because they don't fit Mick's worldview:
(1) Mr. Blair was trying to get a job at the New Republic;
(2) Mr. Blair thought he was still working at the Boston Globe, and thought he would only get a slap on the wrist; or(3) Mr. Blair really wanted to become friends with Little Mick, and thought stealing others' work was the easiest way to acheive that result.
Now, one could superficially examine the individuals involved in those three examples -- either individually or collectively -- and make some assumptions to manufacture a particular theory about what facilitated their misconduct. But that would be wrong. For same reason Kaus is wrong.
Just Think How Much Weed You Could Buy With Eight MillionBorn-again virtuecrat Bill Bennett wants (and has wanted for a long time) to send a lot more people to prison:
On Meet the Press, [Bill Bennett] advocated mandatory sentences for "recreational, yuppie" marijuana users, blaming them for "the murder and mayhem in Washington, the fact that we have babies now being born addicted to cocaine. � These people are accessories to all those things, and they need to start paying a price." He told the Wall Street Journal that the "casual user � is driving the whole enterprise." He told USA Today, "For your middle class or your yuppie user, let's do what they do in Phoenix: Weekend in jail, counseling program, and you pay the cost of it." He criticized celebrities who admitted to past drug use, warning that such disclosures gave kids the idea that "you can do drugs and still be rich and successful."
Let's see. Who should we lock up first?
Why is Joe Lieberman even in the Democratic party? He boasted about voting to censure President Clinton and his support for Bush on the Iraq war. In his closing statement, he claimed how he could beat Bush because "Al Gore and I beat him in 2000." But DINO Joe's performance during Electiontheft 2000 was shameful, particularly when he practically begged the Republicans to include illegal overseas ballots in the Florida count. And what the hell was Lieberman doing with that condescending "question" to Carol Moseley Braun?
The second biggest embarassment was George Stephanopolous, the moderator of the debate. He wasted an entire section of the debate on "perception" questions. The perceptions are either the RNC's talking points, or complete nonsense. Lieberman is too nice to be President? Who the hell thinks that? What voter actually thinks that John Kerry is too aloof?
Dennis Kucinich, Bob Graham and Al Sharpton didn't make too much of an impression. And they all stand as much chance of winning the nomination as Chinless Mitch Daniels has of becoming Governor of Indiana.
Dick Gephart was present, I think.
Carol Moseley Braun showed she was willing to take the RNC head on, identifying Bush as an unelected president and saying the Supreme Court decided the 2000 election.
John Kerry and Howard Dean got sidetracked on the irrelevant issue of their purported mudslinging, without ever answering (or being asked) serious questions about their own agendas.
The whole event was entirely uninformative.
Addendum: Both Carol Moseley Braun and Dennis Kucinich blasted the Patriot Act, which is a major point in their favors. And where was Gary Hart?
Monday, May 05, 2003
Will The Circle Jerk Be Unbroken?
In the comments section of the "Blond Bimbo" post, below, reader Kevin links to this bio of Tweezer Matthews' wife, Kathleen. Kathleen Matthews is a news anchor for the ABC station in Washington D.C., where she "hosts Capital Sunday, a half-hour talk show focusing on current events in the nation's capital." She also sits on the board of the "Best Friends Foundation," the pro-virginity "charity" founded by Elayne "No Dice" Bennett. Tweezer of course is often an obsequious host to Elayne's husband on his Hardball program.
One can only imagine the field day that a media reporter like Howard Kurtz could have with Mrs. Matthews' coverage of Bill Bennett, both past and present. One can only imagine it because it's not something Conflict-of-Interest Kurtz would touch with a ten-foot pole.
p.s. "Blond Bimbo" refers to Tweezer, not his wife.
Sunday, May 04, 2003
When The Whip Comes DownVirginity advocate Elayne Bennett lays down the law:
But expressing annoyance at the attention generated by news about his gambling, she said her husband may have pulled his last slot-machine lever. "He's never going again," she said.
However, if I can catch the debate on C-SPAN today, I will offer some superficial insights which will, no doubt, dash the hopes of some of the hopefuls and inspire others to greatness.
The Old Man In The Mountain has lost his head.
Reportedly, the State of New Hampshire will attempt to restore the natural formation, but since the rubble is indistiguishable from the rest of the landscape, the effort seems impossible. Since the whole point of the formation was that it was a natural phenomenon, why even bother?
And did the Governor really have to take a helicopter to the site? It's only a little over an hour drive, and the rubble isn't going anywhere. Who does he think he is, John Sununu?
(Story via Mac Diva.)
Tomorrow's Transcripts Today
MATTHEWS: Doctor Bennett, I've got to ask you the tough question. Women love a gambler, am I right? What is it with these Democrats, it's like they're too embarrassed to gamble.
WILLIAM J. BENNETT, AUTHOR "WHY WE FIGHT": I think that's right, Chris...
NOONAN: What Doctor Bennett did was huge. It was a gamble. He put his own life on the pass line at the Bellagio.
SEN. JOSEPH LIEBERMAN, D - CONNECTICUT: Chris, if I may, let me just say this. We've had our differences in the past, but I would be proud to have Doctor Bennett as a cabinet secretary in my Administration. As I said to my mother -- or was it Hadassah -- I just won't let him near the Bureau of Printing and Engraving. But, you know ....
Republican Reaction To The Debate
"Meanwhile, protesters outside the party convention waved Confederate flags and signs that read, 'Yankee go home.'"
Saturday, May 03, 2003
More On Tweezer
MATTHEWS: We�re proud of our president. Americans love having a guy as president, a guy who has a little swagger, who�s physical, who�s not a complicated guy like Clinton or even like Dukakis or Mondale, all those guys, McGovern. They want a guy who�s president. Women like a guy who�s president. Check it out. The women like this war. I think we like having a hero as our president. It�s simple. We�re not like the Brits. We don�t want an indoor prime minister type, or the Danes or the Dutch or the Italians, or a Putin. Can you imagine Putin getting elected here? We want a guy as president.
OLBERMANN: Could it have...
MATTHEWS: And by the way, Democrats for years have made fun of Republicans, like Ike, who defeated the Nazis and received the Nazi surrender, and Ronald Reagan, who was probably the most evocative person for the World War II generation, and this guy. They always make fun of them for being simple. And guess what? They always win two terms, and they�re always right.
Has the truth ever mattered so little to anyone?
This Should Be Good
Bob Somerby, in a rare Saturday Howler:
MONDAY: We�ve never discussed this topic before: Basic facts about the �press corps�� coverage of Bush�s military record.
And be sure to read his dissection of Tweezer, Coulter and Caddell in today's bonus edition.
I haven't written a lot recently about blond bimbo Tweezer Matthews. That's mainly due to the fact, as the numbers reported at Eschaton reveal, his audience now consists almost entirely of people who died in front of television while it was tuned to MSNBC. But I came across this offensive statement from Mathews while reading the incomparable Daily Howler:
"Well, why do-why do pretty good-looking blondes-I shouldn�t even say blondes-pretty good-looking women like yourself use their sexuality so explicitly in their book-selling and in their careers, whereas Democratic women seem to be almost embarrassed by being women?"
Perhaps Tweezer has forgotten what a female Democrat looks like because it's been so long since there's been one his program, or on his network. Perhaps Tweezer and his pals B-1 Bob and Pat Caddell have been spent so much time downloading images from Flightsuitporn.net that they've forgotten what any woman looks like. Or perhaps its because Tweezer's ideas of womanhood and beauty are stuck in the 1950s and 60s, when the Catholic Church was imprinting its own twisted vision of gender roles and identity on his tiny brain.
The most interesting thing about Bill Bennett's $8m hobby is that an educated man spends hours and days of his life playing a game which does not require -- and does not reward -- skill, ability or intelligence. Rather, Bennett was playing a game he was guaranteed to lose.
Frank Scoblete, a widely published authority on casino games, said it is unlikely that Bennett could have avoided losing money over time while playing slot machines. These highly popular games are programmed to give the casino an advantage of 2 percent to 15 percent, depending on the machine, and a player's skill cannot narrow the odds.This is a man whose example we are supposed to follow?
More Conservatives Speak Out On William "Dice" BennettConcerned Women of America:
Unfortunately, some casino owners have used these statistics to justify their business, claiming that the small percentage of the population with a gambling disorder indicates that the problem is not significant. Apparently, ruining the lives of just a small number of the population is not cause for concern. These owners also fail to acknowledge the increase in crime, decline in economy, and general lowering of morale in the communities they infiltrate.
Currently, at least twenty-four states have legalized gambling in one form or another. The state governments' reasons stem from increased revenue. However, we are losing a nation to a dangerous addiction. Are the tradeoffs worth it? No! Regardless of state revenue, the social cost is not worth it. Work towards abolishing gambling in your state if it's legal, and protect against allowing any gambling or chance games into your state. Protect your family and your community. Don't scratch off three or go for broke.
Verdict: Bill Bennett, destroyer of families and communities.
Suckers, Phone Home
From a banner ad at the Moonie Times:
After much thought and consideration on how to "level the playing field" so to speak with the amount of money that the liberals spent in different races and how they try to influence legislation and court rulings like to take out "One Nation Under God", from our Pledge of Allegiance, my company, Nationwide Long Distance decided to start a program called CONSERVATIVE TALK LONG DISTANCE as a way to not only offer some of the cheapest long distance rates, but as a way of generating additional revenue for a variety of Conservative causes.
The program is called ConservativeTalkLongDistance.com.
This is how it would work. Those who choose to be part of this long distance company can direct 10% of the company's profits to Conservative Cause that all customers will vote on each September 1st, beginning this year and every year thereafter....
Chuck Muth, Director
Conservative Talk Long Distance
My vote would be for an adult literacy program.
Friday, May 02, 2003
"The White House Was Lying"
As The Associated Press' Jennifer Loven reported in her preview piece early on Thursday, drawing on information provided by the White House:
Bush flew from the White House to California on Air Force One. Then, after exchanging his suit and tie for a flight suit and getting briefed on ejection procedures, he was ferried to the ship, hundreds of miles off the California coast, by a tiny Navy plane.
This Washington Times story amplifies that on Saturday, Bush "will depart on the Marine One presidential helicopter because the ship will then be close enough to shore for a brief chopper ride."
But guess what? The White House was lying.
This article, also from The Associated Press, filed slightly later in the day -- probably by an embedded reporter actually on the Lincoln -- notes that the carrier was only 30 miles from San Diego when Bush landed, which means there was no practical reason whatsoever for the White House to have gone to elaborate effort to land him in a jet.
There's a logical explanation here. Bush was certified to pretend to fly a jet, but not to pretend to fly a helicopter.