Saturday, April 30, 2005

No Comment

The Dave Matthews Band has agreed to pay $200,000 (105,000 [pounds]) after their tour bus dumped human waste on a boatload of tourists in Chicago.


The Dick Dasen Trial: Weekend Edition

Yesterday, I twice heard on the radio a commercial for that evening's Entertainment Tonight. According to the spot, the show planned to broadcast segments with Dr. Phil counselling Pat O'Brien: "Pat, whuut the hyell were yew thankin'?" and Mary Kay LeTourneau's advice to her kids: don't have sex before marriage.

I first thought it was a parody.

It wasn't.

Which brings me to the Dick Dasen trial. The commercial made me question whether I was spending too much time on a lurid story with little or no relevance to politics, society in general, or the lives of anyone I know.

But I decided I want to be a real media player and, therefore, I need to expand my Dasen coverage. I'm thinking reenactments -- not just of the trial, but of the events described in testimony; expert commentary from batshit rabid former prosecutors demanding justice for Dasen's alleged victims (referred to on a first-name basis, of course) and current and former crank addicts, johns and 16-year-olds; and multiple Dick-cams, trained 24 hours a day on the entrances to the Flathead County Courthouse and stately Dasen Manor. It could be brillant.

While I work out the funding for my ambitious plans, however, you'll have to settle for cut-and-paste reporting.

On Wednesday, the State opened it case with testimony from a police officer who described how Dasen came to the department's attention. Detective Kevin McCarvel then described how the police set up an encounter between Dasen and one of his intended beneficiaries:

With video and sound surveillance equipment in a room at the Blue and White Motel, officers saw what transpired. McCarvel said the informant was partially dressed when Dasen entered the room. There was discussion about her "financial needs," then Dasen rubbed the woman's feet and he started to get undressed.

When it appeared Dasen was reaching to remove the woman's underwear, McCarvel said, officers entered the hotel [sic] room and arrested Dasen.

Later, some physical evidence was introduced:

Also introduced as evidence were sexual "aids" and toys, about 30 computer disks, and a personal computer tower that were all recovered from Dasen's office on March 3.

Best questioned officer Timothy Falkner, the evidence technician who collected the items from Dasen's office.

He asked who put the sex toys in Dasen's office. When Falkner said he didn't know, Best asked, "Can you tell me whether or not it was a member of your search team?"

Objection. Asked and answered.

More on the physical evidence here. (Search for "disconcerting size")

On Thursday, the prosecution presented the testimony of the aforementioned informant, Leah Marshall. Ms. Marshall offered a tragic account of her life as a drug addict. She first did crystal meth at age 12 and abused drugs with her mother, who also was an addict. Marshall claims that Dasen gave her large sums of money in exchange for sex, although he never articulated the concept of an exchange. Later, she claims, Dasen paid her for recruiting other women for similar transactions.

Dasen's attorney was set to cross-examine Marshall on Friday, but that's not yet online.

Friday, April 29, 2005

The Fifteenth Column

I'm sworn to secrecy about the reasons, but I've been asked -- in my capacity as a blogger -- to identify one to fifteen of my favorite columnists, in order of preference. Since this blog really is all about you -- the Roger Ailes community -- I think you should have the final say in this effort. I'll select my faves, but all votes will be equally weighted.

Here's my list so far:

Peggy Noonan
David Horowitz
Kaye Grogan
el-Brent Bozell
The Virgin Armstrong

What, you were expecting Paul Krugman?

I'll take nominations in comments until 6 p.m. Eastern time on Monday, May 2.

Remember, they have to be regular columnists, not bloggers or plumbers or whatever Mickey Kaus is. You don't have to rank them, since that would make things too complicated for me and I'd just ignore it anyway. Don't vote more than once, although how would I know? And no voting for yourself -- that means you, Dr. Quackhammer and Ms. Malkintent!

Thanks for your help.

Simple Simon

There's a word for this post. Genius. Read it.

Peggy Noonan is running a contest:

"I here invite all readers who work in government to give, in one paragraph, their memory of Most Obnoxious Hissy Fit by or Most Appalling Style of any unnamed government official with whom they have worked, and what they learned from it."

Whatever you do, don't e-mail her paragraph six of this article.

Pest of the Web

James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal isn't the sharpest tool in the jumbo-sized chest of very dull Republican tools. He accuses Max Blumenthal "play[ing] at [sic] the age-old political sport of guilt by association" by reporting that the Family Reseach Council's Tony Perkins paid white supremacist and felon David Duke $82,000 for Duke's mailing list. The guilt is paying a Klansman eighty-two thousand for a mailing list of his fellow racists. That's guilt by action, pure and simple.

Oi, Taranto. What'chu think you're playing at, sunshine?

Thursday, April 28, 2005

James Guckert Gets Pissy

April 29, 2005 -- DISGRACED former White House reporter/male escort Jeff Gannon can't believe no one has invited him to tomorrow's White House Correspondents Dinner. "It seems to me to be odd to exclude the one person who has brought more attention to the White House press corps than anyone else in years," Gannon tells PAGE SIX's Jared Paul Stern. "Probably many who would want to extend such an invitation already assume I will be in attendance." Gannon, whose real name is James Guckert, quit his job with the conservative Talon News earlier this year after his fake name, lack of journalistic qualifications and male escort connections came to light. The dinner usually features several stars and sensational guests such as Paula Jones to liven things up. The sub-par star lineup this year includes Robert Duvall, Burt Reynolds, Randy Quaid, Ron Silver, Patricia Heaton and Anne Hathaway.

If only the Powerline boys had a table and a spare $200.

The Dick Dasen Trial - Opening Statements

Dick Dasen's attorney revealed his theory of the case in his opening statement on Wednesday.

Best told jurors they'd hear about Dasen's good works, his charity that has helped the Flathead Valley's poor pay for housing, medication, food, utilities, day care, "generally every sort of charitable cause."

But, he said, "there's no fool like an old fool. Mr. Dasen was duped and acted foolishly."

Dasen, Best told jurors, "committed adultery, and he did it often."

That lapse, Best said, already has destroyed Dasen's personal life and self-esteem.

But, Best said, there was no crime. Dasen had "affections" for the women, Best said, and "truly felt for all the people with whom he was involved."


Best also questioned whether Dasen was manipulating the girls and women, or whether it was the other way around. "Before it's over," he predicted, "you'll wonder who had control."

Interesting. The women not only forced Dasen to give them money, they forced him to have sex as well. One cannot imagine the depths of his suffering.

This seems an odd strategy. Defense counsel's admitting the sex and the payment of money. (Probably because he has no choice.) Dasen's alleged charitable motive for exchanging money for sex would seem irrelevant to the elements of the crimes. And if he's arguing the absence of a quid pro ho - that giving money and the sex were unrelated transactions -- there's no manipulation or control involved; Dasen and his partners were just friends with benefits.

Best hit several times on the fact that Dasen's personal life is in ruins, hinting, perhaps, that the defendant had already paid the price.

So he's not getting any, anymore.

Thank goodness for the presumption of innocence -- it's about all Dasen has going for him right now.

Justice Thursday

Despite its faults, Florida has some very sound jurists.

Investigators should be able to examine the medical records of conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh, Florida's Supreme Court ruled Thursday.

In a 4-3 vote, the court declined to review Limbaugh's appeal from a lower court, where he argued that a seizure of his medical records violated his privacy rights.

Thursday's decision may bring prosecutors one step closer to charging Limbaugh, if they determine he illegally bought prescription painkillers.

It's nice to see a majority of strict constructionists on the Florida high court.

"This is a quintessential ACLU case," said Howard Simon, executive director of the group's Florida branch. "If you look beyond the central figure, the celebrity of this case, what it boils down to is diminishing the privacy of medical records for everyone in the state of Florida."

"Boils." Heh.

Roy Black, the Miami lawyer who is representing Limbaugh, issued a written statement Thursday afternoon promoting his client's innocence.

"I have said from the start that there was no violation of the . . . statute, but that Rush Limbaugh should not have to give up his right to privacy in order to prove his innocence," Black wrote.

In a separate statement, Black billed Limbaugh a cool thou for the first statement.

Daryn Kagan soon may have some formidible competition for Big Pharma's affections.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Dick Dasen Trial -- Day Two

Actually, jury selection didn't go that slowly.

A jury of five women and seven men will hear opening arguments Wednesday in the case of a prominent Kalispell businessman accused of numerous sex crimes.

Here are the charges:

Dasen faces one felony count each of rape, for engaging in sexual relations with a child not old enough to grant her consent; sexual abuse of children, for photographing sexual encounters with underaged girls; aggravated promotion of prostitution, for compelling at least five underaged girls to become, in effect, his personal prostitutes; and promotion of prostitution, for leading women of all ages into a lifestyle of prostitution.

Dasen also faces one misdemeanor charge of soliciting a prostitute, and nine felony solicitation charges.

If true, Dasen's not just a wealthy john, he's a cretin of astounding proportions.

"I just wonder how this man got himself into such a pickle," one [prospective juror] said as the questions continued Tuesday. "It just seemed from the newspapers that it just got to be a real mess."

Yes, it's quite a pickle.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Tony Perkins, Man of God

Max Blumenthal shines the spotlight on Tony Perkins, Family Research Council President and Friend of Frist. Blumenthal writes in the Nation:

Four years ago, Perkins addressed the Louisiana chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), America's premier white supremacist organization, the successor to the White Citizens Councils, which battled integration in the South. In 1996 Perkins paid former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke $82,000 for his mailing list. At the time, Perkins was the campaign manager for a right-wing Republican candidate for the US Senate in Louisiana. The Federal Election Commission fined the campaign Perkins ran $3,000 for attempting to hide the money paid to Duke.

Would Jesus pay 82K to a Klansman?

Sounds like Perkins has less of a problem with white robes than he does with black ones.

(Link via Buzzflash.)

Dick Dasen Trial: Day 1

Jury selection has begun in the criminal trial of Christian philanthoprist Dick Dasen. It's going slowly.

And here's an interesting tidbit from the local press:

About that same time, at least one witness became shy, saying he was "concerned for his own personal safety." One of Dasen's "girls" had turned up dead in a motel room, strangled with Dasen's semen beneath her naked body.

Police have been careful not to tie Dasen to the murder, but witnesses were hearing rumors about "Dasen 'having things done' to people who threatened him and/or posed a threat to him," the record states.

Armed with that evidence, police asked one of "Dasen's girls" to place a recorded phone call to Dasen. She set up an "appointment" for the first week of February 2004, and police rented two adjacent motel rooms - one for the cops and one for the "appointment."

The sting came off without a hitch; Dasen was arrested wearing only his underwear and socks.

I had thought the murder victim had no connection to Dasen, but just happened to be killed in a motel room Dasen had allegedly previously used.

After his arrest, Dasen provided his attorney, George Best, with the names of 400 females "who he has 'helped,' " the affidavit states.

That's a lot of help.

The Old Stomping Grounds

Northwest Indiana. It's San Diego for ugly people:

Longtime Democratic operatives have only themselves to blame for not cleaning their own house and embracing reform. They could have been heroes. Instead, they are looking sheepish and have alienated the people who will be the party's future. When George Pabey, a Puerto Rican candidate, challenged Mayor Robert Pastrick of East Chicago, the longest-serving head of a political machine in America, Mr. Pabey seemed to have won - until absentee ballots were counted. Hispanics, who make up some 52 percent of the city, were enraged, believing they had been robbed. The state's highest court agreed and nullified Mr. Pastrick's victory. He lost in a rematch and Mr. Pabey became the city's first Hispanic mayor.

Mr. Pastrick himself has not been charged, although several close associates and his son Kevin received prison sentences. But it is unseemly that the former mayor continues to hold sway in the state party. The mayors of Gary, Hammond, East Chicago and Whiting distanced themselves from him and signed on to a good government initiative. One, Scott King, the 10-year mayor of Gary, went further. Citing the Democrats' problems and their lack of real leadership, he quit the party last week. "I haven't lost my mind," he told me. "I'm an Independent. Not a Republican." Still, it is the first time in generations that someone who is not a Democrat has been mayor of Gary. The constituents don't seem upset, Mr. King said.

Just like old times.

New Voices Emerge

I, for one, look forward to Arriana Huffington's new blog.

The "MSM" has for too long silenced the voices of Jann Wenner, Barry Diller, Walter Cronkite and Norman Mailer.

Tony Blankely for too long has been denied a platform to slander George Soros.

Where else could Conrad Black's dogsbody, David Frum, find a space to suck up to his beleaguered master?

Where else would Michael Medved find an wide audience for his completely sane theory that "oil companies are always anti-semitic."

Where would the malnourished John Fund find a buffet that hasn't blacklisted him?

And where but such a blog could Mort Zuckerman publish his thoroughly researched, scholarly papers on tort reform?

I haven't been this excited in ages.

Crazy Davy Gets Out His Crayons

I've got a new post at Horowitz Watch about David's latest version of reality.

For more Horowitzian fun, read his latest at It's got everything: paranoia, paranoid speculation, self-pity, inconsistency and, best of all, really, really bad writing. For example:

In fact to propritiate [sic] the backlash was the only reason the university itself put up a modest honorarium for my speech.

Sometimes a conservative in my audiences will not be able to contain their distress at the presence of a political opponent and let their hostility be seen.

There is only one conservative in Professor Hiller's department, of course, and it was he who was pointing the finger at me.

I try to fathom what kind of teacher would do a thing this to his students?

This is the real mission that drives them not the academic filler.

This man -- I will call him Crazy Davy -- writes like an subliterate twelve year old, yet wonders why he couldn't get a job as a professor.

Monday, April 25, 2005

By the way, if midget Mickey Kaus loathes the Los Angeles Times so much, what was he doing at the Times' Book Festival? (Link to my earlier post; why bother?)

It's not like he's an author. And there's not much evidence that he reads anything besides right-wing blogs and online newspapers linked to by those blogs.

Maybe he was there to beg MoDo to write a book about her ailing mother. Was he there to mooch a twenty from Mike Kinsley? Or was he Hugh Hewitt's waterbearer?

Howie the Unreliable Putz

Speaking of dishonest, overheated rhetoric, Howie the Putz channels el-Brent Bozell and Nooners in an embarassing performance claiming the SCLM has been biased against Benny the Rat.

The Putz announces his bogus premise as follows:

Pummeling the pope. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger gets a hero's welcome in Rome and rough treatment in the press. Are the media giving him a tough time because of his conservative views, or properly scrutinizing the world's newest religious leader? A 1,000-year tradition meets the 21st century media.

Apparently pointing out that the pope has conservative religious views constitutes pummeling.

Fortunately, E.J. Dionne tells Kurtz that he's full of crap:

I am so tired of -- any coverage of somebody who is conservative that is not adulatory, a whole bunch of guys get on television and attack the press for not being adulatory. It's the same story that they are regurgitating about the coverage of Cardinal Ratzinger as Pope Benedict as they would about George Bush.

If you look at the leads of all the stories in the major newspapers, I talked to reporters in Rome who said that their newspapers actually pushed down some of the critical commentary, precisely because they didn't want to come out of the box in the first five paragraphs of their stories saying these critical things. Yet this choice was controversial, that's a fact.

You've been pummelled, Howie.

Shorter John Leo: I've found some right-wingers more dishonest and given to overblown rhetoric than even myself.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

A Happy Anniversary

"Five years ago I returned to my dad," he said. "That was the happiest day of my life."

Nutbag Annie Flies Again

Whackjob Annie Jacobson and her series, Pope John Paul Terror in The Skies XIII, are back with an unbalanced vengeance.

According to the dimwit Jacobsen, the DHS agents who interviewed her were complete blabbermouths, telling her everything she needed to confirm her suspicions:

They continued to ask my husband and me question after question but, in the course of the morning, here are some additional details I gathered -- things that I didn't otherwise know:

-- The Northwest Airlines flight attendants interviewed for the investigation would only speak to federal agents with lawyers from the airline present. (One agent remarked to me, "Northwest Airlines wishes flight 327 never happened.")

-- There were 27 airports between Detroit and Los Angeles where the pilot could have landed flight 327 yet didn't.

-- Because the men were from Syria -- which the State Department lists as a terrorist-sponsoring nation -- each man was interviewed individually by Customs and Border Patrol when he entered the country. Once in the United States, they traveled back and forth across the country several times using one-way tickets, for which they paid cash.

-- Two months prior to the flight, the FBI issued a warning that, based on credible information, terrorist organizations might try to hide their members behind P visas --cultural or sports visas -- to gain entry into the United States.

-- The Syrians entered the United States on P-3 cultural visas, which they overstayed; the visas had expired by the time they boarded flight 327.

-- While being interviewed at Los Angeles Airport (LAX), none of the federal law enforcement agencies involved noticed that the men's visas were expired.

-- At LAX, the FBI interviewed only the two "leaders" of the group; 11 of the Syrians on flight 327 were never asked a single question by law enforcement.

-- The Syrians were allowed to leave even before the FBI interviewed me and my husband.

-- The Federal Air Marshal (FAM) supervisor at LAX took statements from my husband and me on the back of an envelope, later borrowing a notepad from another FAM.

-- Another passenger from flight 327 indicated to the agents that he did not see any musical instruments in the baggage claim area, including the oversized baggage area.

Amazing, isn't it. Super-observant Annie was interviewed by a Federal Air Marshal who was writing on the back of an envelope, yet she didn't know that 'til the FBI told her.

Earlier in the article, Nutbag Annie claimed "[n]aturally, the agents 'were not at liberty' to tell me anything about the 13 Syrian men aboard flight 327." But then she claimed that the agents told her how the men entered the country, what visas they had, when the visas expired and whether the men were interviewed at LAX. So which is it?

Finally, Annie claims the DHS agents revealed to her that the men had expired visas, and that none of the federal agencies involved at LAX after the flight were aware of that. Apparently, Annie forget that she knew this back in July 2004. Annie also apparently forgot -- or didn't care to mention -- the fact that "[t]he expiry date indicates the date after which that visa may no longer be used to travel to the U.S" and thus is irrelevant to whether the men were in the country legally and traveling legally.

Not very detail oriented, our Annie.

Whaddya Mean Us, Fat Man?

MR. RUSSERT: Continuity. Father John McCloskey, who was also an Opus Dei with you, was on this program. He has a Web site where he predicted basically in 2030 that the number of Catholics would go from 60 million to 40 million; almost a smaller and purer church. Is that, do you think, the vision of our pope?

He's your pope, Pumpkinhead, not mine. I can think for myself.

The American Express Card - Don't Buy A Bugchaser Without It

The Texan Bugchaser was bought and paid for with plastic:

The airfare to London and Scotland in 2000 for then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) was charged to an American Express card issued to Jack Abramoff, a Washington lobbyist at the center of a federal criminal and tax probe, according to two sources who know Abramoff's credit card account number and to a copy of a travel invoice displaying that number.


The documents obtained by The Washington Post, including receipts for his hotel stays in Scotland and London and billings for his golfing during the trip at the famed St. Andrews course in Scotland, substantiate for the first time that some of DeLay's expenses on the trip were billed to charge cards used by the two lobbyists. The invoice for DeLay's plane fare lists the name of what was then Abramoff's lobbying firm, Preston Gates & Ellis.

Multiple sources, including DeLay's then-chief of staff Susan Hirschmann, have confirmed that DeLay's congressional office was in direct contact with Preston Gates about the trip itinerary before DeLay's departure, to work out details of his travel. These contacts raise questions about DeLay's statement that he had no way of knowing about the financial and logistical support provided by Abramoff and his firm.

It's subpeona time!

And the first one sworn in and grilled should be a wingnut blogger.

Saturday, April 23, 2005

What's Grover Hiding?

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs has subpoenaed ur-scumbag Grover Norquist in connection with its DeLaygate investigation.

WASHINGTON - Senate investigators probing how Indian tribes were fleeced by lobbyists with ties to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay have requested the financial records of two prominent conservatives who got tribal contributions.

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs has asked for records from Ralph Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition, and from Grover Norquist, who heads Americans for Tax Reform. Both men profited from Indian tribes who hired lobbyists Jack Abramoff and Michael Scanlon to push the tribes' gambling interests in Washington.


"As part of the committees oversight function, we are examining instances of potential defrauding of Indian tribes," said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who chairs the committee.

Reed, who is running for lieutenant governor of Georgia, said through a spokeswoman that he would turn over all records to the committee.

Norquist's Americans for Tax Reform said it would not release all the documents requested by the Senate committee, including lists of donors.

"In the past, ATR's donors have been harassed and abused when their names have been made public, and the organization has no intention of allowing this to happen again," said spokesman Christopher Butler. A subpoena was issued for the records that ATR has refused to release, McCain said.

Norquist's ATR received six-figure donations from Abramoff's Indian clients, according to published reports.
If John McCain can pop open that donor list, I'll vote for him in the next presidental race.

Provided his opponent is Joe Lieberman, that is.

Hey, It's More Reliable Than Private Accounts

According to the President's Office of National Drug Control Policy, "pill ladies" is the street term for "female senior citizens who sell OxyContin."

So you can't say the Administration isn't looking out for the elderly.

I Have Arrived

Roger Ailes, the blog, gets a link from Bob Boudelang, Angry American Patriot.

I love that guy.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Reviewing Books I Haven't Read

I admire Representative Nancy Pelosi, but her kid seems sort of worthless. Former NBC News producer Alexandra Pelosi, who was responsible in part for crappy network coverage of Presidential races, now deigns to tell us what's wrong with the media's coverage of Presidential races. For $25 bucks, over 280 large print pages.

Here's Pelosi's publisher, quoting Pelosi from her new book, Sneaking Into The Media Circus:

"Every election cycle journalists defy the theory of evolution, living sequestered on a bus, with no sleep, few showers, and tons of junk food, going town-to-town listening to the same speech over and over. You're stuck in this dysfunctional relationship between the news organization that has you there to do their bidding and the campaign that is trying to co-opt you."


And herein lies Pelosi's driving point: politicians and journalists don't trust each other, and so, in election coverage and in politics in general, the press is utterly hamstrung. Since the candidates never say anything unscripted and the journalists have to make nice in order to maintain access, modern presidential campaigns have become little more than media events. Politicians and journalists alike are going through the motions, and the voters have no idea who the candidates really are.

Boo frickin' hoo. Those nasty news organizations trying to get their employees to do their bidding, and those bastard pols trying to get favorable publicity.

Here's a hint: If you don't want to do the bidding of a news organization and you don't want a candidate to try to co-opt you, don't follow a fucking candidate around on a bus and don't accept employment from a news organization that wants you to follow the fucking candidate. Instead of writing a book rehashing the supposed horrors of the campaign circus, do some reporting and tell your readers all the things about the candidates you think they need to know. If you're not just blowing smoke up our asses, that is.

Maybe it's the three-page chapters, the full-page Britney Spears quotes, and the reference to Congressman "Barnie Frank" on page 3, but I suspect that Pelosi neither knows nor cares who the candidates really are, and doesn't care whether voters do either.

To be fair, the Index indicates that Pelosi spends four pages discussing the Swift Boat Liars and only three pages each on two slightly less important campaign issues, "Abu Ghraib prison" and "Starsky & Hutch premiere party." And she apparently addresses the influence of press baron "Rupert Murdock" on the last election.

I have no doubt this book reveals a great deal about the current state of political journalism -- just not what the Free Press and Pelosi believe it does.

For Further Reading: Greg Beato already has performed a magnificent beatdown on Pelosi's prior work.

The Hitler Discount

This quote is more than a little unclear, but it sounds like Ratzinger was saying he didn't like the Hitler Youth and only joined to avoid paying full tuition.

"When the Hitler Youth was established, my brother was forced to become a member," Cardinal Ratzinger said in an interview in 1997. "I was still too young, but later, when I entered the seminary, I also joined. But as soon as I had left the seminary, I never went to see them again. And this was difficult, because in order to be entitled to get a discount on the tuition fee, which I urgently needed, one had to prove that one was a member of the Hitler Youth."

Not exactly a profile in courage. All it takes for evil to triumph is to offer good men the opportunity to save a few marks.

Benedict? Howie Still Is One

A putz writes:

"Does anyone else find it annoying that this guy has registered the domain names of Benedict XVI and its many variations, along with five other papal names, saying he couldn't resist having 'some skin in the game'?"

No, it's just you. Ever heard of initiative, Howie?

I've got a strong feeling this is why Howie's whining about this.


Some clever wags are calling the new Pontiff B16, in honor of the holiest of Catholic sacraments, bingo. I suspect some dullards, like the Corner's Kathryn Lopez, will run that nickname into the ground before they even get the joke.

I'm still mulling things over, but right now I'm leaning toward Benny the Rat.

Meanwhile, Peggy Noonan gives Benny the Rat a virtual knuckle job:

Those who are pursuing John Paul II's canonization, please note: his first miracle is Benedict XVI.

We are living in a time of supernatural occurrences. The old pope gives us his suffering as a parting gift, says his final goodbye on Easter Sunday; dies on the vigil of Feast of the Divine Mercy, the day that marks the messages received by the Polish nun, now a saint, who had written that a spark out of Poland would light the world and lead the way to the coming of Christ. The mourning period for the old pope ends on the day that celebrates St. Stanislas, hero of Poland, whose name John Paul had thought about taking when he became pope. We learned this week from a former secretary that John Paul I, the good man who was pope just a month, had told everyone the day he was chosen that he wanted to be called John Paul I. You can't be called "the first" until there is a second, he was told. There will be a second soon, he replied.

It is an age of miracles and wonders, of sightings of Mary and warnings, of prophecy, graces and gifts.

Jay-P died on the vigil of Feast of the Divine Mercy. Ooh, that is supernatural. You should send a treatment to Wes Craven, Peggy.

And shouldn't that be "the vigil of the Feast..."? Just axin'.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

A Bony Jayson Blair?

If Mitch Albom's fictional column is big news in the media watch world, this allegation of a columnist writing fiction should be big news too. Either the District Attorney is lying in in this article or Coulter is lying in her column.

Where are all the usual yammering wingnuts who claim to care only about the truth?

(Links via TBogg.)

The Father and Papa

Veteran Vatican-watchers at the Moonie Times have a unique vantage point from which to observe Catholic politics and policy -- the inside of The Father's ass. Witness the Moonie rag's witless prediction concerning the papal selection, published on April 18, before the Cards' first vote:

The College of Cardinals meets today to pick the 265th pope of the Roman Catholic Church. Because John Paul II was the first non-Italian pope in 455 years, speculation is high that church fathers may break new ground again -- perhaps by picking a non-European, an African or the first Latin American to be pope. The media constantly states that the only certainty is that this supposedly conservative college will pick a conservative pope. This prediction is unlikely because the cardinals are actually very liberal.


... Overall, John Paul II's cardinals are poised to take the Catholic Church leftward.


By the way, what happens what the Reverend Moon kicks the nut-bucket? Beside the world becoming a better place, that is. Do the Unification Church and the Moonie Times deserved die with the felonious Moon? Or is there some ritual whereby Moon's sucessor is chosen by his flunkies and white smoke comes billowing off of Wes Pruden's flaming cross to signal the selection?

(Thanks to a reader for the link.)

A reader e-mails a preceptive comment to a classic bit of Kaus hypocrisy:

"Thursday, April 14, 2005

"The New Phrenology: WaPo's Robin Givhan argues that John Bolton's haircut shows he lacks 'respect for the job' of U.N. ambassador. She does not seem to be joking. ... P.S.: It could have been worse: Bush could have nominated Bill Gates. ... 11:58 P.M."

Uh, didn't we go through an entire election cycle with Kaus complaining about Kerry's hair?

Yes. Yes we did.

I can only add that for someone who's always harping on the LAT's lack of a gossip column, Kaus is mighty humorless about a tongue-in-cheek commentary from a fashion writer. Imagine how much fun Givhan could have analyzing Kaus's soiled sweatsuit.

Mickey Kaus to Homos: Stay Off My Basic Cable

Mickey Kaus purports to describe a "Coming Culture War Over Gay TV," and it's no surprise which side he's on.

Kaus writes that "Viacom plans to launch Logo, a gay-oriented basic cable channel at the end of June" -- his emphasis -- and evisions a "likely" "huge culture-war battle this summer over whether to regulate Logo (and other gay networks)."

While Kaus claims to be an objective observer of the battle, his italicization tips off his point of view -- the idea of programming designed to entertain and inform gays you don't have to pay extra for is just one step too far.

And Kaus really tips his hand with this explanatory comment, added after the original post: "Gay characters and gay Showtime dramas are one thing. An entire network celebrating and validating homosexuality pumped into every home with basic cable service might be too much for many people to tolerate."

Which people might those be, Kaus? Anyone you know? Kaus stamps his tiny feet and cries, "tolerance has gone too far!"

The Today Show is an infomercial.

Doesn't everyone already know that?

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Thoughts on The Oklahoma City Bombing

The 168 murders committed by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols are among the most repugnant crimes committed in recent history. Although I oppose the death penalty in almost all circumstances, I believe the execution of McVeigh was justifed. But the McVeigh and Nichols cases demonstrate why the need for the government-funded defense of indigent persons accused of crimes is necessary for the continued existence of a free country. We should never get to the place where the government doesn't have the highest possible burden in proving criminal guilt in a truly adversarial proceeding. The fact that McVeigh and Nichols recieved the best possible legal representation, at significant public expense, is the only means of ensuring that the constitutional protections afforded criminal defendants have real meaning. Unfortunately in many cases, indigent persons accused of crimes (including capital crimes) do not receive anything approaching the level of representation the terrorists and mass murderers received in Oklahoma City Bombing cases. And the convictions of such persons are far less trustworthy because of it.

McVeigh and Nichols were hate-filled bigots who imagined themselves as warriors opposing a tyrannical federal government. They got far better treatment from that government than they deserved. But not affording them -- and everyone else -- such constitutional protections permits the government to punish and harm the innocent as well as the guilty.

Achtung, Benny

Pardon me if I'm not ready to accept Benedict the Sixteenth's self-serving version of events during WWII. I'm not saying it's false; I'm saying just because he says it doesn't make it so:

Though his family made no public show of opposition -- in fact, one of his great uncles had written a series of crudely anti-Semitic books -- Ratzinger has described his father as opposing Nazism, largely as an outgrowth of his faith. "My father was one who with unfailing clairvoyance saw that a victory of Hitler's would not be a victory for Germany but rather a victory for the Antichrist," he wrote in his 1998 memoir, "Milestones."


Ratzinger entered a seminary in 1939, following in the footsteps of his older brother Georg, who also became a priest. But in 1943 he was conscripted along with his entire class into the antiaircraft corps and sent to defend a factory that made aircraft engines. He told Time magazine in 1993 that a badly infected finger prevented him from ever firing a shot.

Guess he's not ambidexterous.

Since I'm not Catholic and don't believe the Holy Mother Church's mumbo jumbo, it doesn't matter to me if their Pope is a war hero or a war criminal.

As Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center said, "Membership in the Hitler Youth doesn't disqualify someone from being pope." Can't argue with that.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Time Magazine Commemorates The Tenth Anniversary of The Oklahoma City Bombing

"Collateral damage" -- Timothy McVeigh on the children he murdered in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

"My only regret with Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times Building." -- Time magazine heroine Ann Coulter

Update: Atrios has already made this point.

Here's some good news. Mike Barnicle, plagiarist, fantasist and good friend to Republican talking heads Pumpkinhead Russert, Chris Matthews and Don Imus, is being dumped by the Boston Herald. Barnicle is playing the story as if he's taking the ax to save the job of some less deserving -- but more truthful -- employee at the paper. It will soon be revealed that George Carlin made the same claim when his FOX sitcom was cancelled in the 90s.

Talk To The Hind

Meanwhile, Howie's favorite, the Hindlicker, claims to be receiving obscene phone calls from journalists.

John Hinderaker, the conservative Powerline blogger who hammered away at the reporting on the memo, said it was clear "that we were guessing or drawing an inference or expressing an opinion. I questioned whether there was a single Republican staffer dumb enough to have written that memo. Turns out there was. So I was wrong."

He says the mainstream media have a "liberal tilt" and that "when I criticize a news story or a particular journalist . . . I don't think I tend to personalize it." In fact, says Hinderaker, "you talk about shrill -- you should see what they say about us," including "obscene phone calls."

How could we see obscene phone calls? Does John transcribe them?

Junk Science Indeed

Another Jimmy Glassman-style bought and paid for whore emerges on the right.

ExxonMobil has funneled money to 40 organizations that have either challenged scientific evidence on global warming or are linked to skeptical scientists who do so, says the forthcoming issue of Mother Jones.

Take Steven Milloy, who writes columns for, the Washington Times and the New York Sun. ExxonMobil has given $40,000 to the Advancement of Sound Science Center and $50,000 to the Free Enterprise Action Institute, two groups where he is a director and which are registered to his home address in Potomac.

Milloy, who runs the Web site and is a Cato Institute scholar, wrote one column for Fox headlined "Polar Bear Scare on Thin Ice." A 2001 column for USA Today was titled "Does Global Warming Really Matter?"

I guess Cato wants to the be the libertarian version of The Whoritage Foundation.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

The Creative Process

"An artist who randomly vandalised nearly 50 cars for a project said the owners should be happy they were part of his 'creative process'."

"Mark McGowan, 37, will exhibit pictures of himself scratching the vehicles' paintwork in London and Glasgow.

"He said he had 'keyed' 17 cars in Glasgow's West End in March and 30 in Camberwell, south London.

"The Met police said the act was criminal damage and if allegations are made they will be investigated.

"Mr McGowan added: 'I do feel guilty about keying people's cars but if I don't do it, someone else will.

"'They should feel glad that they've been involved in the creative process. I pick the cars randomly."

The man's a genius.

As someone who recently had the windshield wipers on his car bent, randomly, I wouldn't blame any victim who decided to engage Mr. McGowan in his or her own "creative process."

Onward Christian Fraudsters

The G.O.P. is having its own St. Ralph troubles:

"You know that song about the Rhinestone Cowboy, 'There's been a load of compromising on the road to my horizon,' " Mr. Robertson said. "The Bible says you can't serve God and Mammon."

I was thinking Midnight Cowboy, but that works too.

In Georgia, Mr. Reed's rival in the Republican primary is playing up his links with Indian casinos to try to revive longstanding criticism from conservative Christian purists that Mr. Reed has sometimes put his own ambitions ahead of their goals. At the meeting near Atlanta, for example, his opponents were doing their best to sow doubts in the crowd.

"The Christian Coalition, they may have some shady background," said Robert McIntyre, the treasurer of the Spalding County Republican Party, who still wore a Ralph Reed sticker on his lapel. "I was being loyal to Ralph Reed, but since now some things have come up, I need to listen. I am now wavering."

But Ralph's still got some support:

Bill Paxon, a former Congressman turned lobbyist who worked closely with Mr. Reed on Republican Congressional campaigns, said Mr. Reed was a man of many dimensions: a heartfelt Christian, a limited-government conservative and a canny political street fighter. "He was always all of the above," Mr. Paxon said.

Bill Paxon? Is that the best you can do, Ralph?

Soon after he left the organization in 1997, it nearly imploded as financial problems came to light. Mr. Reed's successors said that the Christian Coalition had exaggerated the size of its grass-roots network, had spent far too much of its income on raising new funds and had fallen $3 million in debt.

Exaggerated? As in fraud, exaggerated?

In Georgia, some conservative Christians were troubled by Mr. Reed's consulting work for Mitch Skandalakis, a losing candidate for lieutenant governor who ran advertisements portraying one rival in racial stereotypes and another as a drug addict. (Mr. Reed said afterward that he opposed racially divisive tactics.)

Some? Not all?

After a Texas court ruled against the Tiguas' casino on Feb. 11, 2002, Mr. Abramoff wrote to Mr. Reed in a celebratory e-mail message: "I wish those moronic Tiguas were smarter in their political contributions. I'd love us to get our mitts on that moolah."

But racially divisive e-mails are hunky dory.

As the Senate committee and a federal task force in Washington investigate Mr. Abramoff's lobbying activities, Mr. Reed has said little publicly about his role in the casino campaign. He recently retained Neil Eggleston, a lawyer for the Clinton White House, to represent him.

Smart move.

In Georgia, Mr. Reed's primary opponent, State Senator Casey Cagle, criticized him last week for inviting at least three lobbyists whose firms have worked for gambling concerns to a Washington fund-raiser tomorrow.

"Ralph has a lot of things he has got to answer for, like this gambling situation," said Joel McElhannon, a consultant to Mr. Cagle's campaign. "It strains believability that somebody hands him $4.2 million and he doesn't know where that money came from."
Miracles do happen.

BREAKING: Drudge Has Full Head Of Hair Under Hat

Good news for the ladies:

"So are you a gay right-wing Republican?" I ask.

"No, I'm not gay. I was nearly married a few years ago."

And he's not bitter either:

"There's a danger of the internet just becoming loud, ugly and boring with a thousand voices screaming for attention." He is no fan of the blogging phenomenon (weblogs linking sites): "I don't read them. I like to create waves and not surf them. And who are these influential bloggers? You can't name one because they don't exist."

"Like my homosexual experiences. Because I'm not gay."

I'm Off To Wafers 'R' Us To Make My Fortune

In response to the sale of a host consecrated by John Paul II, the American Society for the Defense of Tradition Family and Property (TFP) is sending its vehement protests to the Internet auction company eBay which allowed the $2,000.00 sale.


The TFP campaign is asking friends and supporters to email eBay calling on them to never allow such sales again by including this case on its list of Prohibited and Questionable Items policies. In addition, eBay is being asked to suspend the seller who received numerous requests to stop the sale because it was so offensive. However, the seller said he or she would delete all future emails and claimed: "I am not Catholic and do not believe I'm going to hell for selling this collectable (sic!)."

The non-Catholic seller claims on eBay that the host was obtained by going a second time to receive Communion in the hand at a Papal Mass in Florence in 1998. The American TFP is asking the eBay Community Watch Team to take immediate action on this outrage that offends millions of Catholics who venerate Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

Upon hearing of the offer, Bill Osbourne of Cupertino, Calif., raced to buy the Eucharist for $2,000. "Any minute I waited, it could have fallen into the hands of a witch or satanist," said Osbourne, aghast at the auction. "That's Jesus in that Host!" Osbourne, a salesman, attends Our Lady of Peace in Santa Clara and cares for his 92-year-old father.

Those offended by the auction are not without recourse. They can pony up money to the TPF "to aid its efforts in defense of the Holy Mother Church." Donations are tax-deductible!

L. Brent BoBo

David Brooks, in today's New York Times:

You see the febrile young teens in their skintight spaghetti strap tank tops with their acres of exposed pelvic skin. You hear 50 Cent's ode to oral sex, "Candy Shop," throbbing from their iPods. You open the college newspapers and see the bawdy sex columns; at William and Mary last week I read a playful discussion of how to fondle testicles and find G spots.

David, the College of William and Mary Student Executive Appropriations Committee called. They want their speaker's fee back.

And the campus police are on line 2.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

A Feulner and His Money, or The Whoritage Foundation in The Tank

As if you needed any proof that the Heritage Foundation was a den of whores, the Washington Post spells it out:

For years, the Heritage Foundation sharply criticized the autocratic rule of former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, denouncing his anti-Semitism, his jailing of political opponents and his "anti-free market currency controls."

Then, late in the summer of 2001, the conservative nonprofit Washington think tank began to change its assessment: Heritage financed an Aug. 30-Sept. 4, 2001, trip to Malaysia for three House members and their spouses. Heritage put on briefings for the congressional delegation titled "Malaysia: Standing Up for Democracy" and "U.S. and Malaysia: Ways to Cooperate in Order to Influence Peace and Stability in Southeast Asia."

Heritage's new, pro-Malaysian outlook emerged at the same time a Hong Kong consulting firm co-founded by Edwin J. Feulner, Heritage's president, began representing Malaysian business interests. The for-profit firm, called Belle Haven Consultants, retains Feulner's wife, Linda Feulner, as a "senior adviser." And Belle Haven's chief operating officer, Ken Sheffer, is the former head of Heritage's Asia office and is still on Heritage's payroll as a $75,000-a-year consultant.

But what does this all have to do what that corrupt bugchaser, Tom DeLay, you ask. Read on.

On Sept. 27, 2001, Belle Haven hired Alexander Strategy Group, a Washington lobby firm run by Edwin A. Buckham, a former chief of staff to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), to help represent Malaysian clients. Linda Feulner works as a consultant for Alexander Strategy Group as well as for Belle Haven. Experts say that the relationship between one of Washington's most influential conservative think tanks and a network of lobbying firms collecting fees from Malaysian business interests -- well in excess of $1 million over two years -- could pose a problem for Heritage's tax status as a nonprofit group. The fees were disclosed in reports filed with Congress and the Justice Department.

"Buckham and Fuck'em," as Tom DeLay said of the American people.

And there's more.

The close relationships between the think tank and lobbying interests were apparent on the 2001 trip to Malaysia. Heritage paid expenses for DeLay, Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Ander Crenshaw, both Republicans from Florida, and their spouses; Edwin and Linda Feulner, and Sheffer. Joining them on the trip but paying his own way, according to Edwin Feulner, was Buckham, the former DeLay aide and chairman of the Alexander Strategy Group.

But 9/11 -- and at least 999,099 dollars more -- changed everything.

The Heritage statement said 9/11 shifted the foundation's view of Malaysia. The Heritage-financed trip to Malaysia took place before the attacks.

The Heritage Foundation lied. Imagine that.

Update (4/17): More on Feulner, DeLay and their fellow Republican monkeys and troglodytes from

"Face!" Was Their Second Choice

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum follows the lead of other Republican presidential museums and just makes shit up:

Even when the historical record is unambiguous, the museum sometimes improvises. John Wilkes Booth famously declared "sic semper tyrannis" (Latin for "thus always to tyrants") after assassinating Lincoln. That sounded too arcane for modern ears. So in one of the multimedia presentations, the script writers have Booth growling instead: "Vengeance shall be mine."

The Culture of Low-Lifes

Quick. Someone warn Mrs. William Bratton.


Digby has an insightful commentary in/on In These Times on the differences between the left and right blogospheres (or is that hemi-blogospheres?)

He doesn't directly address the wingnutosphere's active contempt for reality, but otherwise it's an excellent piece.

The Culture of Lies

Sad news for Tom DeLay, Sean Hannity, "Brother Paul" and the other lying cretins who smeared or linked to smears of Michael Schiavo:

State investigators in Florida have found no clear evidence that Terri Schiavo was denied rehabilitation, neglected or otherwise abused, according to documents released yesterday by the state's Department of Children and Families.

The agency completed nine reports of abuse accusations made from 2001 to 2004, including neglect of hygiene, denial of dental care, poisoning and physical harm. The accusations, which have been widely reported, focus on Michael Schiavo, the husband of Terri. Ms. Schiavo died on March 31, nearly two weeks after her feeding tube was removed.


Judge George W. Greer of Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court, who has presided over the dispute between Ms. Schiavo's parents and her husband over her care, ordered the agency to make the documents public before Monday.

Update: The Washington Post has more.

Das Book

I was thinking of attending next weekend's Los Angeles Times Festival of Books (because I was hoping to be in L.A. anyway), because any literary event sponsored by Target and HBO Films is well worth my time. But it doesn't look like that will happen.

So I was reviewing the panels and playing "One of these things is not like the others."

11:30 AM - Lies, Deceit, & Cover-ups
Korn Convocation Hall PANEL 1072
Moderator Mr. Larry Beinhart
Mr. Eric Alterman
Mr. John W. Dean
Ms. Maureen Dowd
Dr. Michael Shermer
Mr. Jon Wiener

One of those things is not like the others.

2:00 PM - Brave New World: Monopoly, Media, & the Right to Know
Royce Hall
Moderator Mr. David Shaw
Mr. Ken Auletta
Mr. Hugh Hewitt
Ms. Arianna Huffington
Mr. Geoffrey Stone

One of those things is not like the others.

3:30 PM - On the Front Lines: Covering War
Haines 39 PANEL 1044
Moderator Ms. Marjorie Miller
Mr. Mark Bowden
Mr. Chris Hedges
Mr. Terry McDermott
Mr. P.J. O'Rourke

One of those things is not like the others.

Also of interest: David Ehrenstein is appearing on a panel titled "Hollywood: Behind The Camera" and in a separate conversation with Liz Smith. (Actually, he'd be a lot better than MoDo on the Lies and Cover-Ups panel.)

And James Wolcott is a panel of one on the topic "Godspell: The Fetish of Religion in America Today."

I thought Chris Hitchens, Toni Bentley and Bob the Builder were appearing together, but I must be mistaken.

Update (4/17): "Godspell" link added.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Peggy Plays The Organ

In her latest column, Peggy Noonan reveals the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy of Cardinals. The Cards hate God, ya know.

And she brings up fetal farming again, speaking through one of her stranger personalities, "the old cardinal with a German accent."

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Grand Old Police Blotter: Dickapalooza Special Edition

If there's one event I'd love to liveblog, it would be the Dick Dasen trial. How could you pass up the opportunity to cover the trial of a wealthy old Christian who is accused of spending more than a cool mil to get it on with crank addicts?

Sadly, 10 days from now I won't be in Flathead County, Montana to cover jury selection.

Dick's last attempt to delay the trial, a writ petition to the Montana Supreme Court, was, not surprisingly, denied.

The Montana Supreme Court won't intervene in the prostitution trial of Kalispell businessman Dick Dasen Sr.

Dasen had asked the court to grant motions that Flathead District Judge Stewart Stadler has twice denied.

Dasen wanted dismissal of the 14 criminal charges against him because of a lack of speedy trial. He also wanted most evidence in the case suppressed because of the way search warrants were served.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Supreme Court said no.

Dick hates it when they say "no."

For those looking to get up to speed on Million Dollar Dick, New West has a six-part series detailing his exploits.

The Culture of Life: Death After Life (Sentence) Edition

In an 11-page manifesto handed out by his attorneys, Rudolph said the Olympic bombing was an attempt to embarrass the United States in front of the world for allowing abortion.

"Because I believe that abortion is murder, I also believe that force is justified ... in an attempt to stop it," Rudolph wrote.

Abortion clinics and federal agents are on a heightened state of alert.

"We're making sure our liaisons have kept up with the clinics and to make sure the security clinics have is up to date," said Mike Campbell, spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. "Most of them are very cognizant they can be a target of anybody who doesn't like abortion."

Yeah, Alberto picked a swell guy for his new compassionate conservative death penalty policy. The domestic terrorists now have a new living martyr.

Doctor WTF?

It's nice to see Hollywood's not the only place that's run out of ideas:

"Set in 1869, the episode saw Charles Dickens, played by guest star Simon Callow, team up with the Doctor to fight the undead after a zombie appeared at his theatre performance.

"Scenes included a grandson being strangled by his zombie grandmother, a mob of walking dead cornering the Doctor and his sidekick Rose and a seance with spectres."

Grand Old Police Blotter: No Sanctuary Edition

This is probably more of a Bobo's World than a true G.O.P. Blotter, since I can't find the guy's political affiliation (or anything else), but if this guy's not a Republican, I'll eat a piece of key lime pie made with fresh limes:

LIVINGSTON - A Church of God minister sexually assaulted three young girls here in 1998, according to a multimillion dollar lawsuit filed Tuesday.

The suit accuses Pastor Terence Passmore, now living in Virginia, of fondling the girls' breasts and genitals in the church's parsonage, the sanctuary and during church outings to swimming pools at Big Timber and Chico Hot Springs. Two of the girls were 14 years old and one was 12 years old at the time.

Passmore, reached Tuesday evening in Manassas, Va., referred all questions to his attorney, Mike Milodragovitch of Missoula.


The Church of God's Web site describes it as both Pentecostal and evangelical. It calls on people to dress modestly and avoid "pride, elaborateness or sensuality."

The suit says that Passmore, a native of South Africa, forced one of the girls to the floor of the church sanctuary and penetrated her with his fingers. When she escaped, he chased her to another room and repeated the actions.


Three church officials later conducted a hearing in a motel room in Livingston, forcing one of the girls to testify while sitting on a bed within a few feet of Passmore.

The church's "trial board" then found that the allegations against Passmore were "inconclusive" but recommended counseling for him, to be provided at church expense.


But the finding did say "the Devil is the accuser of the brethren and seeks to devour the righteous," which the parents of two girls took to be "a poorly veiled judgment of them and their children."

Passmore was later appointed to another church out of state.

I'd love to have the millstone concession for that congregation.

Well, at least it wasn't a pie.

Monday, April 11, 2005

No Facts

Bobby "No Facts" Novak, Chicago Sun-Times columnist, April 11, 2005:

Contrary to claims on leftist Web sites, no Republican member has called for the majority leader's resignation.

"DeLay's Ethics Woes Tainting GOP," Lou Kesten, Chicago Sun-Times, April 11, 2005:

WASHINGTON -- Private GOP tensions over Tom DeLay's ethics controversy spilled into public Sunday, as a Senate leader called on DeLay to explain his actions and one House Republican demanded the majority leader's resignation.

"Tom's conduct is hurting the Republican Party, is hurting this Republican majority and it is hurting any Republican who is up for re-election," said Rep. Chris Shays (R-Conn.), calling for DeLay to step down as majority leader.

(Note: While compiling this, I see that Judd Legum beat me to it.)

Another Triumph For The Blogosphere

The Putzpuller Prize for felony arsewipery goes to Little Schmuck:

"The Pulitzer Prize for felony murder goes to The Associated Press," Scott W. Johnson wrote last Monday in a posting on the blog Power Line. But in an interview yesterday, Mr. Johnson said that the A.P.'s explanation of what happened seemed plausible and that he planned to update the blog, with a link to information posted on Tuesday by the A.P. that he said he had not seen. Mr. Johnson is a fellow at the Claremont Institute, a conservative research organization in Claremont, Calif.

Today's must-read. Heh. Read the whole thing.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

The Station of The Cross

Amazing. James Wolcott reports on another CNN photo montage celebrating another one of its news personalities, Robert Novak:

The Capital Gang went full metal Catholic in this week's edition, using the Pope's death as an altar to celebrate Novak's Catholic conversion as the fellow panelists reminisced about the great day he received his first communion. The centerpiece of the show was a segment devoted to Novak's embrace of the cross, tracing his spiritual development through a visual montage that showed a young Jewish boy from the Midwest evolving into a political reporter aging into a smug man in a banker's vest staring thoughtfully at church statuary and appearing on Crossfire with ashes smudged on his angry brow. He was even interviewed by Judy Woodruff (Hunt's wife) about his newfound faith! It was bad enough when pundits started fancying themselves as political players, now we're supposed to take them seriously as religious pilgrims too. (The only portion of the show that rang metaphorically true were the glimpses of Novak walking down the aisle between rows of empty pews, because the arid, conservative, high-horse Catholicism that he and O'Beirne espouse is doomed to play to empty houses.)

I wonder which Bob Seger song this asshole flashback was set to.

The Free Market

According to The Nation, which is raising funds to advertise on cable:

$200 buys one overnight spot on MSNBC
$250 buys one overnight spot on CNN Headline News
$3,700 buys one primetime spot on MSNBC
$8,400 buys a national primetime spot on CNN
$30,745 buys a national spot on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Imagine that. You can buy Maggie Gallagher for less than the cost of a 30-second spot on The Daily Show and still have enough money left for a down payment on Armstrong Williams.

The ad rates are approximately a fin for every 1000 viewers, according to The Nation. Just think what a great buy advertising on Roger Ailes would be -- 2,000 (or fewer) daily readers for a 10 spot, and they've all got disposable income out the wazoo.

Seriously, though, it's good to see most cable viewers getting their information from a source more reliable than Wolf Blitzer and Joe Scarborough combined.

There's only one thing to say about this.

Mazel Tov!

Ye of Little Faith

Speaking of the discredited Republican tool, John Hinderaker looks at a photograph of an American solider praying and sees a beaten, defeated, dispirited and demoralized man.

It's not too late to get help, John.

The World O'Crap Watch

Taking the case of Sandy Berger as an example, World O'Crap reports on how wingnuts -- those in the "mainstream media," those blogging in their soiled Y-fronts, and even the crackpot professors and dinosaurs of the movement -- continue to perpetuate lies even after they've been debunked.

S.Z. also breaks the news that the Powerline doofuses have dropped their clever screennames, Hindrocket, Four-Eyes and Dumbo, in favor of their given names. Hindrocket's avatar, an elephant grey-colored dildo, remains. Now all they have to do to be taken seriously is stop writing.

More importantly, yours truly won "Honorable Mention" in the World O'Crap name Mary Cheney's book contest, for the entry "Million Dollar Cry Baby."

Bonus Non-World O'Crap Item: Michelle Malkin discusses fingering on her blog. Shouldn't someone be regulating this smut on the internet?

The Culture Of Life: Choose Your Targets Wisely Edition

This bit of news from the Rudolph case is particularly interesting:

Rudolph was a follower of the white supremacist Christian Identity movement, but investigators have never ascribed a motive for the attacks to him.

A group calling itself the Army of God claimed responsibility for the Birmingham blast and the Atlanta bombings that followed the Centennial Olympic Park attack.

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales defended the plea agreement, saying it served "the best interests of justice."

"The many victims of Eric Rudolph's terrorist attacks in Atlanta and Birmingham can rest assured that Rudolph will spend the rest of his life behind bars," Gonzales said in press release.

Two federal law enforcement sources told CNN the catalyst for the agreement was Gonzales' appointment as attorney general.

He reversed predecessor John Ashcroft's insistence that prosecutors seek the death penalty whenever possible.

Christian Identity Movement? Army of God? Gee, I can't imagine any motives for Rudolph's crimes.

But the news here is Alberto Gonzales' purported reversal of Ashcroft's death penalty policy. Gonzales has never showed much concern over application of the death penalty, let alone any interest in the facts of a particular case. Is there really a change of policy, or did Gonzales make an exception for this particular case? As Gonzales acknowledges, this man is a terrorist with the same criminal appetite and belief system as any Islamic terrorist. The only difference is Rudolph's targets.

Robert Sanderson and Alice Hawthorne will derive neither rest nor assurance from Gonzales's words, but I hope the resolution of the case will provide some relief to their surviving families and the other victims.

John Paul The Overrated

On Slate, Marc Fisher provides a much-needed corrective to the Pope-defeated-communism myth being perpetuated by the likes of Peggy Noonan.

In her latest column, Nooners evisions the pontiff as the Holy-Aquaman of an '80s anti-communism Superfriends:

We don't know everything, or even a lot, about the quiet diplomatic moves--what happened in private, what kind of communications the pope had with the other great lions of the 1980s, Reagan and Thatcher. And others, including Bill Casey, the tough old fox of the CIA, and Lech Walesa of Solidarity.
Ronnie was Superman, Maggie was Batwoman, Lech was Robin and Bill Casey was the monkey.

Nooners attributes the disintegration of the Eastern Bloc to a speech John Paul II gave in "the Old City of Warsaw" on July 2, 1979. She seems to be cribbing her entire column from a pro-Pope biography by George Wiegel, and I wouldn't be surprised if Peg has no independent recall of that supposedly historic event. Or much else of 1979.

Peggy also calls for the dismemberment of the papal corpse and distribution of the papal organs:

They say he asked that his heart be removed from his body and buried in Poland. That sounds right, and I hope it's true. They'd better get a big box.

I think FedEx has rules against that sort of thing.

The Party of Stalin

The base of the Republican Party embraces a fellow right-winger at a conference on "Remedies to Judicial Tyranny":

Not to be outdone, lawyer-author Edwin Vieira told the gathering that Kennedy should be impeached because his philosophy, evidenced in his opinion striking down an anti-sodomy statute, "upholds Marxist, Leninist, satanic principles drawn from foreign law."

Ominously, Vieira continued by saying his "bottom line" for dealing with the Supreme Court comes from Joseph Stalin. "He had a slogan, and it worked very well for him, whenever he ran into difficulty: 'no man, no problem,' " Vieira said.

Sic Semper Tyrannis.

Judicial tyranny. Making judges pay. Where have I heard that before? Oh, yeah. From the tiny Texan Bug Chaser.

This was no collection of fringe characters. The two-day program listed two House members; aides to two senators; representatives from the Family Research Council and Concerned Women for America; conservative activists Alan Keyes and Morton C. Blackwell; the lawyer for Terri Schiavo's parents; Alabama's "Ten Commandments" judge, Roy Moore; and DeLay, who canceled to attend the pope's funeral.

Vieira is also one of the income tax is illegal nuts.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Albom Cover Up

From ERIC DEGGANS, columnist/editorial writer, [Poynter's] St. Petersburg Times: So..let's see. A columnist writes a piece on Friday about an event that is to happen Saturday. Because the column will run Sunday, he writes it as if he saw it happen or reported the facts after they happened, both of which are baldfaced lies.

Here is a line from that column: "They sat in the stands, in their MSU clothing, and rooted on their alma mater." How would Albom know on Friday what these guys were planning to wear Saturday?

More importantly, what editor in their right mind would let a columnist write like this? Albom tries to pretend in an "apology" column that all he did was misstate that these guys would be at the game. "It wasn't thorough journalism," he writes.

The truth is, Albom did far more than that.

Here's another quote: "And both made it a point to fly in from wherever they were in their professional schedule just to sit together Saturday. Richardson, who earns millions, flew by private plane. Cleaves, who's on his fourth team in five years, bought a ticket and flew commercial."

Now we see that Albom didn't just lie about the men being there and what they wore, he also cited details about their travel arrangements that turned out not to be true because they never showed up.

Here's the last graph on that column: "You looked around the stands Saturday, and you realized the truth: that you never know how right they are until you're the one saying it."

When Albom wrote that graph he couldn't look around the stands, because the game hadn't happened yet. And in its correction, the Free Press admits that Albom's column ran in a section printed BEFORE THE GAME.

Morrie was/will be rolling over in his grave.

At least I assume so, since I never read that book.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

For The Love of God, Please Go Back to Covering The Pope's Death

My fifteen seconds of lame:

CAL CHAMBERLAIN, CNN BLOG REPORTER: So, if you want to find out a little bit more about who Brian Darling is, you can go over to Roger Ailes blog at Under the title, "Who Is Brian Darling?" he asks, is Brian Darling the designated fall guy for Senator Martinez? And then there's a brief resume for Brian Darling, and he goes on to say at the bottom, "my guess is that Brian Darling will be very, very quiet about his role in circulating the GOP memo and will find himself again in a comfortable position in the right wing lobbying machine very, very soon, if he knows what's good for him."

And then, just under that he has a link back to the "Mel Martinez Wants Your Feedback" site where, if you click it, you can send your comment and concern and give Mel your feedback on exactly how you feel about this.

My parents are just relieved my appearance on CNN didn't involve killing my wife or banging Mary Kay LeTourneau.

Who Is Brian Darling?

Is Brian Darling the designated fall guy for Senator Mel Martinez? Martinez "resigned" his chief counsel, Brian Darling, for authoring the G.O.P. talking points memo on Terri Schiavo that somehow found its way into Martinez's hands without Martinez's knowledge. (Who said miracles don't happen?)

Darling graduated from the New England School of Law in 1996. He was formerly employed as counsel for New Hampshire Senator Bob Smith, the senator who thought the G.O.P. wasn't far enough to the right.

In 2000, Bri and Bob visited little Elian. Bri also worked for the Bush-Cheney recount team.

In 2004, he was a partner in the lobbying firm the Alexander Strategy Group. (See also here and here.)

The Alexander Strategy Group founded by the Texan Bug Chaser's spiritual advisor, Ed Buckham.

This Alexander Strategy Group and this Ed Buckham:

Enron was ASG's biggest client; they received at least $411,000 from Enron between 1999 and 2001. Ed Buckham and ASG were involved with a "secret 'grassroots' campaign -- spearheaded by Enron -- to deregulate energy markets... An outline for the plan was faxed to Tom DeLay's Washington office. It was printed on Alexander Strategy letterhead complete with Ed Buckham's name in print. The only problem was that Alexander Strategy's CEO was still in the employ of the federal government at the time... Alexander Strategy Group was, as Enron promised, awarded the $750,000 contract to drum up support for electric power deregulation -- a goal that Enron believed would open the $300 billion a year electric markets to Enron. The stealth campaign would operate out of an energy consortium dubbed, 'Americans for Affordable Electricity' -- a name that Californians would find bitterly ironic just three years later."

According to Time magazine, Buckham was DeLay's Jack Abramoff connection.

My guess is that Brian Darling will be very, very quiet about his role in the circulating the G.O.P. memo, and will find himself again in a comfortable position in the right-wing lobbying machine very, very soon. If he knows what's good for him.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Mel Martinez Wants Your Feedback

"Please use the following form to contact Senator Mel Martinez with your comments and concerns."

Well, if you insist.


Not only has Dick Morris' wife forgiven Dick his fondness for prostitutes and their bunions, she writes his frickin' columns for him. (Scroll down to the end.) In this case, it's a piece of pure speculation, as Eileen admits.

He must be the envy of his fellow Republicans.

Mel Martinez, Fraud

From the Moonie Times:

Mr. Nelson's fellow Florida senator, Mel Martinez, a Republican, also has been the focus of some scrutiny in press accounts because passages of the disputed memo appear to have been lifted from a press release posted on his Senate Web site.

He denied any involvement.

"Senator Martinez has never seen the memo and condemns its sentiments," spokeswoman Kerry Feehery said. "No one in our office has seen it, nor had anything to do with its creation."

Who's Been Lying To You, Part I

Big Pharma's dumber brother:

Anklebiters on the Bogus GOP Schiavo Memo

Check out Anklebitingpundits latest post on the "Name That Scandal" contest, in which they pointedly expose the fraud behind the bogus memo allegations.

Posted by David Limbaugh at 04:55 PM |TrackBack (0)

Update: Americablog already has a long list of G.O.P. fraudsters. A rather pathetic bunch.


The Washington Post reports:

The legal counsel to Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.) admitted yesterday that he was the author of a memo citing the political advantage to Republicans of intervening in the case of Terri Schiavo, the senator said in an interview last night.

Brian Darling, a former lobbyist for the Alexander Strategy Group on gun rights and other issues, offered his resignation and it was immediately accepted, Martinez said.

Martinez said he earlier had been assured by aides that his office had nothing to do with producing the memo. "I never did an investigation, as such," he said. "I just took it for granted that we wouldn't be that stupid. It was never my intention to in any way politicize this issue."

Martinez, a freshman who was secretary of housing and urban development for most of President Bush's first term, said he had not read the one-page memo. He said he inadvertently passed it to Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who had worked with him on the issue. After that, other Senate aides gave the memo to reporters for ABC News and The Washington Post.

Harkin said in an interview that Martinez handed him the memo on the Senate floor, in hopes of gaining his support for the bill giving federal courts jurisdiction in the Florida case in an effort to restore the Florida woman's feeding tube. "He said these were talking points -- something that we're working on here," Harkin said.

There's an important lesson to be learned here: Wingnut bloggers are tools with no credibility.

Monday, April 04, 2005

How To Tell A Professional Blogger From An Amateur, Part 1

Exhibit A:


"Ms. Lithwick brains hairless troll doll Mark Levin:

"I use the word 'book' with some hesitation: Certainly it possesses chapters and words and other book-like accoutrements. But Men in Black is 208 large-print pages of mostly block quotes (from court decisions or other legal thinkers) padded with a forward by the eminent legal scholar Rush Limbaugh, and a blurry 10-page 'Appendix' of internal memos to and from congressional Democrats -- stolen during Memogate. The reason it may take you only slightly longer to read Men in Black than it took Levin to write it is that you'll experience an overwhelming urge to shower between chapters."

Exhibit B:

"MEN IN BLACK....This is why I love Dahlia Lithwick. Here is her review of the latest in bird cage liner from Regnery Publishing, Mark Levin's Men in Black:
"I use the word 'book' with some hesitation: Certainly it possesses chapters and words and other book-like accoutrements. But Men in Black is 208 large-print pages of mostly block quotes (from court decisions or other legal thinkers) padded with a forward by the eminent legal scholar Rush Limbaugh, and a blurry 10-page 'Appendix' of internal memos to and from congressional Democrats -- stolen during Memogate. The reason it may take you only slightly longer to read Men in Black than it took Levin to write it is that you'll experience an overwhelming urge to shower between chapters.

"What can you add to that?"

The Putzpuller Prize

For bad writing once again goes to tiny Mickey Kaus, for this literate entry:

"Alert and anguished L.A. reader 'G'--not me! And not Brady Westwater neither! -- writes:"

Well done, Mickey. You can't even reproduce a moronic e-mail without displaying your incompetence.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Dirty Sean-Chez: A Man of Filth and Hate

You've probably already heard the audio clip of Fox News' Sean Hannity demonstrating his deeply-held Christian principles, captured for posterity by Harry Shearer. Here's the transcript:

"Congressman's next. This is the one negative guy. I'm going to pound him too, like this other guy. You ought to be ashamed of yourself, Congressman. Jerk. Jim Moran. I forget where he's from. Where's he from, Finley? He, he wanted to talk about Medicare. Good God. What a jerk. Did you hear that, Frank? Asshole. God I hate these people, you have no idea. It's unbelievable to me. How pissed was Moran? Not that I give a shit. The ... I've ... I always couldn't stand this guy."
(Click "March 27, 2005 (entire program)" here, begins at 29:07.)

My dear friend and life coach Nikita Demosthenes has already e-mailed Sean, pointing out that Hannity's all-consuming hatred is not good for him, and rarely persuasive.

Let's hope for the sake of his family that Sean doesn't bring his poorly-concealed obsessions into the marital bedroom.

Veteran Vatican watchers are keeping a close eye on the Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan, the woman who once gave the late Pope John Paul II a spontaneous knuckle job.

Black smoke will stream from the top of Peggy's head until the cardinals select another doctrinally conservative pontiff. When that happens, Peggy will light up a butt, take a long drag and slowly exhale white smoke.
I wonder if the Vatican was smart enough to consult Mike Deaver on the memorial proceedings?

Anyone looking for Disability Rights Advocates for Terri Schiavo should click this link.

Saturday, April 02, 2005


Ms. Lithwick brains hairless troll doll Mark Levin:

I use the word "book" with some hesitation: Certainly it possesses chapters and words and other book-like accoutrements. But Men in Black is 208 large-print pages of mostly block quotes (from court decisions or other legal thinkers) padded with a forward by the eminent legal scholar Rush Limbaugh, and a blurry 10-page "Appendix" of internal memos to and from congressional Democrats -- stolen during Memogate. The reason it may take you only slightly longer to read Men in Black than it took Levin to write it is that you'll experience an overwhelming urge to shower between chapters.

Fools' Day

There were a lot of great April Fools' Day jokes on the web yesterday, but this one was the most subtle:

A Profile in Timidity

The president's commission on intelligence gathering could have saved the country a lot of time, and considerable paper, by not publishing its report yesterday and just e-mailing everyone the Web addresses for the searching studies already done by the 9/11 commission and the Senate Intelligence Committee. After more than a year's dithering, the panel produced some 600 pages of conventional wisdom about the intelligence failures before the war with Iraq, along with a big dose of political spin that pleased the White House but provided little enlightenment for the public.

We were not optimistic when President Bush was pressured into creating this panel in February 2004. Though bipartisan, its membership lacked stature or independence, and Mr. Bush failed to give the commission a sweeping mandate that would go beyond rehashing the distressing but well-known shortcomings of the intelligence agencies. Still, it seemed worth waiting until after the election for the results because it was hard to imagine that the panel would not ask the vital questions.

Sadly, there is nothing about the central issue - how the Bush administration handled the intelligence reports on Iraq's weapons programs and presented them to the public to win support for the invasion of Iraq. All we get is an excuse: the panel was "not authorized" to look at this question, so it didn't bother. The report says the panel "interviewed a host of current and former policy makers" about the intelligence on Iraq, but did not "review how policy makers subsequently used that information." (We can just see it - an investigator holding up his hand and declaiming: "Stop right there, Mr. Secretary! We're not authorized to know what you did.")

Just compare this job with the work of the 9/11 commission, whose chairman, Thomas Kean, battled the White House over access to documents, fearlessly expanded the inquiry and insisted that policy makers testify in public - and not just about the shortcomings of their subordinates.

The report is right in saying that American claims about Saddam Hussein's weapons programs were "dead wrong" because the intelligence was old or from highly dubious sources, and because the analysis was driven by a predetermined conclusion that Mr. Hussein was a threat. But we knew that.

The panel said timidly that "it is hard to deny the conclusion that intelligence analysts worked in an environment that did not encourage skepticism about the conventional wisdom." But it utterly ignored the way President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his team, and Condoleezza Rice, as national security adviser, created that environment by deciding what the facts were and saying so, repeatedly.

It does not say that these powerful people knew or should have known that there was no new intelligence on Iraq, and that as the intelligence reports were sanitized for the public, the caveats were stripped out. Instead, it loyally maintains the fiction that Mr. Bush was just given bum information by incompetent intelligence agents.

The way the administration hyped the intelligence on Iraq is not just a matter of intellectual curiosity. It is vital that the public know the answers because Americans are now being asked to accept a new set of claims about nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea. A full airing of this issue could help John Negroponte, after his expected confirmation as national intelligence director, ensure that the missteps and misrepresentations are not repeated as the nation grapples with real threats from those and other countries, not imagined threats from Iraq.

As it stands, the report has mainly negative value. It reminds us that the Senate Intelligence Committee has yet to complete and publish its investigation of the handling of the Iraq intelligence. And it shows us what the 9/11 panel's report might have looked like if Mr. Bush had succeeded in making Henry Kissinger chairman.


Profiles in friggin' timidity.

Happy April Fools' Day from the editorial staff of the New York Times.