Monday, October 30, 2006

The Shame of Berkeley

In the New York Times, Michiko Kakutani paints accurate portrait of John "Screw" Yoo, the intellectual lightweight who sits, steaming, on the seat cushion of the Edwin Meese Chair for Unconsitutional Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law:

One of his favorite tactics in this book is to create a ridiculous caricature of administration critics' views and then dismiss them. For instance, he writes: "A Geneva Convention POW camp is supposed to look like the World War II camps seen in movies like 'Stalag 17' or 'The Great Escape.' But because Gitmo does not look like this, critics automatically declare that detainees' human rights are being violated."

Uh, that's Ronnie Reagan who confused World War II camps with the movies, not the Administration's critics.

Instead, he has written a book that reads like a combination of White House talking points and a partisan brief on presidential prerogatives -- a book that is strewn with preposterous assertions, contorted reasoning and illogical conclusions. He writes that "because of our aggressive policies post 9/11, al Qaeda is no longer the threat it was." He suggests that might makes right: "At this moment in world history the United States' conduct should bear the most weight in defining the customs of war. Our defense budget is greater than the defense spending of the next fifteen nations combined."

And that's been working so well, too.

Maybe Berkeley can save its next professorships for Mark Levin and Larry Klayman.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Insurance Is Not Pie

The worst non-negative campaign commercial of 2006 belongs to Cruz Bustamante, California Democrat. The following is a close paraphrase of Bustamante's voiceover.


"I was really fat. (Photo of fat Bustamante) I made a promise to my family that I would lose weight. And I lost 70 pounds. (Photo of less fat Bustamante) I always keep my promises. And I promise if I am elected Insurance Commissioner, I will lower your insurance rates."

The spot is much worse than Diane Feinstein's ad with her granddaughter, a victory lap waste of money, since Feinstein's unbeatable. And it's worse than Phil Angelides' "Let Your Love Flow" ad for 100 Mellow Gold Hits. Only the "About Time For 89" rap is a close contender.

If Hollywood is so friggin' liberal, why can't any California Democrat come up with a decent political commercial?

A political campaign highlighting the pol's history as a former fatty isn't going to work for Mike Huckabee, and it's not going to work for Bustamante. I couldn't vote for Bustamante's opponent, anti-consumer phony Steve Poizner, who appears to have a television ad budget ten times Bustamante's. But Bustamante's defeat seems inevitable if the best he can do is talk about his weight.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Charlie Rose: Always Low-Priced

Despite the widely-held belief that I hate everything and everyone, I'm really a nice person. Having said that, Charlie Rose has always rubbed me the wrong way. Like the rest of public broadcasting, Rose is sucking up to one of his country's worst employers, Wal-Mart:

Now, less than three months later, Mr. Rose is honoring [Wal-Mart CEO H. Lee] Scott for his work on behalf of the environment at a private dinner party tonight in Manhattan, paid for by Bob and Harvey Weinstein's production company, the Weinstein Company. Mr. Rose's name appeared as a host, alongside that of Bob Wright, chief executive of NBC Universal; James L. Dolan, chief executive of Cablevision Systems; and a dozen other prominent figures from the New York media and financial industries.

Being honored by Bob Wright for your impact on the environment is like being honored by Pol Pot at the Zero Population Growth Banquet.

Rose's defense of his conduct is one worthy of his fellow ethicist, Pete Rose:

Mr. Rose agreed to be a dinner host, he said, because "Harvey Weinstein, who is a friend of mine, called and asked me to do this as a favor. I said I would do it for him as long as I do not have to do anything."

Here's hoping Harvey will ask Rose to stop doing his show.

Monday, October 23, 2006

You Can't Make This Shit Up

On the local NBC news at 11, they promoed an interview of Bush by Maria Bartiromo. In it, the anchor claimed, Bush said that he never used e-mail because of privacy concerns.

Anyone think that Bartiromo asked a follow-up?

Update (10/24): Dan Froomkin has the quote, which is a little different than the anchor's paraphrase. Bush doesn't use e-mail because of "the different record requests that can happen to a president." Too lazy to delete and shred, like his daddy done. Lawful process bad; unlawful process good.

Froomkin also links to the Google satellite image of Bush's Playskool Ranch, so we can still back and wait for the jihad of the deranged and undermedicated to commence in 3, 2 ....

Grand Old Police Blotter: The Skilling Kind Edition

Convicted Bush supporter Jeffrey K. Skilling has just become the dumbest guy in the cell. United States District Judge Simeon Lake today sentenced the unrepenitent Republican to 24 years in the penitentiary for securities fraud and conspiracy:

The judge's sentence fell within the 2000 federal sentencing guidelines. Judge Lake rejected the government's call to use stricter 2001 guidelines. But he found several reasons to increase Mr. Skilling's sentence into a range of 292 months to 365 months, or 24 years and 4 months to 30 years and 5 months.

The higher sentence, the judge said, was because he found that Mr. Skilling had lied to the Securities and Exchange Commission about the real reasons for his sales of Enron stock before the company's collapse in December 2001. Mr. Skilling said he sold the stock only because of the impact on the market of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

So 9/11 didn't change everything.

It's a shame Jeff didn't apply his considerable talents where they would have been appreciated -- for the Coalition Provisional Authority.

See you in 2030, Jeff.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Now That's What I Call Eclectic

At Roger Ailes, we pride ourselves on the breadth of our interests. Of the past 100 incoming links recorded by HaloScan Site Meter, web surfers have found Roger Ailes through the following searches:

Philip Bloom GBG Logistics

Dennis Prager and male privilege

gay male toe sucking (safe search on)

mailing address for Nancy Grace

Condi Rice speaks in Houston on Pearl Harbor type event

hookers Houston

Miles and Ailes (sic - aisles) of sexism

Rationale for Captain Underpants

Michael Reagan's military service (sic)
What other liberal blog can claim Neil Bush, Dick Morris and L. Brent Bozell III as readers?

(Idea inspired by James Capozzola.)

Jesus, That's Some Stupid Shit!

In The New Republic, tireless God-botherer Amy Sullivan tries to save the souls of us pagan babies on the left. Her article is titled, "It's Hard To Believe, But Bush Does Disdain Evangelicals."

In a world where Amy Sullivan's opinion is thought to have value, there's nothing that's hard to believe. And Sullivan's article isn't actually about how Bush disdains evangelicals, it's about how liberals are godless intolerant paranoids who suck.

Sullivan takes as her text the Gospel According to David Kuo. First, Sullivan tries to school the Biblical illterates she imagines read the godless TNR:

[Conservatives] charged the traitor, former Deputy Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives David Kuo, with timing the book to do maximum damage in the midterm elections, and they compared him to Judas Iscariot, the disciple who betrayed Jesus. "What David Kuo is saying about the President and his efforts," said David Contreras, Texas director of the Council on Faith in Action, "is nothing more than a cynical attempt to sell books and line his pockets with 30 pieces of silver [a reference to the payment Judas received for turning Jesus over to the Pharisees.]"
Yes, but who is this "Jesus" of which you speak? Slow down, I can't keep up.

The reaction [to the book] from the left has been, to put it mildly, slightly less vigorous. It is in stark contrast to the way in which liberal commentators and bloggers embraced other revelations, such as former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill's memoir or the latest Bob Woodward book. This time, the responses have ranged from total silence to yawns to fears that the book could backfire on the Democratic Party. In general, most liberals have chosen to distance themselves from Kuo and his case.

Or perhaps the contrast could be explained by the fact that O'Neill's book had important revelations, such as confirmation that Bush planned to invade Iraq nearly 10 months before September 11, 2001, whereas Kuo is just whining about the lack of Administration pork for his special interest group. (As for liberal bloggers' reaction to Booby's latest book, the take I saw most was that Woodward was the last dolt in D.C. to realize -- or grudgingly admit -- the War President's incompetence.)

Why don't liberals care about Kuo as much as Sullivan thinks they should?

This could just be smart politics. After all, Republicans are in such a free-fall at the moment that it might be best for liberals to stay out of the way and let conservatives fling recriminations at each other, as has largely been the case with the Mark Foley scandal. But something else is at play, too. Despite the evidence Kuo presents in Tempting Faith, liberals simply don't believe him. They've spent so much time fear-mongering about American theocracy that a book illustrating the opposite simply makes no sense to them. In fact, the real revelation of Kuo's book is not that the Bushies don't care about evangelicals; it's that liberals are too wedded to their views to capitalize on it.

But there's no inconsistency in holding simultaneously the beliefs that the Bush Administration wants to impose Christian-right beliefs upon the citizenry (through judicial appointments, use of taxes for religious purposes, and the like) and that those in the Administration believe themselves exempt from the laws of God necessary to keep the filthy heathens docile.

Sullivan then goes on to a cherry-pick sample liberal reaction to the book. Or something. First, she goes off on a tangent and bashes Lawrence O'Donnell for characterizing as "insane" the fundie philosophy that all Jews are going to hell. It really rankles her that O'Donnell would piss on one of her most cherished beliefs.

Then, returning to the subject, she writes:

In the blogosphere, the liberal reaction was a bit more temperate than O'Donnell's theological attack, but no more strategically smart. Kuo's book should have prompted the left to think about how to exploit tensions in the GOP or even to reach out to disaffected evangelicals. Instead, the major liberal blogs--after a brief "what's this?" look last week when the "nuts" revelations surfaced--have ignored the story. Street Prophets, a Daily Kos-affiliated site has paid attention, but only to criticize Kuo as naive about politics and wasting his time on old news. Even a website for religious Democrats sniffed that Kuo's allegations were "not particularly newsworthy." Meanwhile, one prominent liberal blogger sent an e-mail warning others that Kuo's book was "total horseshit" and not good news for liberals.

D'oh! We liberals and Dems missed the perfect opportunity to expand our base by supporting the criminalization of sodomy and abortion and the eternal damnation of Marty Peretz.

The problem is that Kuo's book creates cognitive dissonance for liberals. Conspiracy theories about theocracy have haunted liberals for the last few years, and, if you believe that religious conservatives lead Bush around by the nose, evidence to the contrary is impossible to absorb. Everyone on the left "knows" that the faith-based initiative is a slush-fund, a jackpot for religious conservatives. If it turns out instead to be a political sham that produced only 1 percent of the new funds it promised for faith-based organizations, liberals need rethink their theocracy-phobia.

Come on, Sullivan. You're not even trying now. The issue isn't whether the Administration gave the fundies every dollar they wanted, it's that they gave them anything at all. Their motive for doing so -- pure or corrupt -- doesn't matter. Either way, that is theocracy. And the left can't make a counteroffer, or enter into a bidding war for the fundies' favor, without abandoning the core principles which makes it the left.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Am I innumerate or is something wrong with this paragraph?

At a diabetes conference in June, Merck said Januvia lowered blood sugar levels by 0.67 percent in a yearlong trial, or just as much as another, older drug, glipizide. Roughly two-thirds of patients reached the ADA's 7 percent goal.

A Man, A Plan, An Anal Canal: Peretz

When is a plan not a plan? When Marty Peretz starts guzzling the Bush Administration Kool-Aid.

Peretz on the Connecticut Senate debate:

But it [the New York Times] did cite Lamont as saying that Lieberman was a "career politician" -- which in my view means a successful and achieving politician -- "who has no plan for withdrawing American troops from Iraq."

Now, which of the Democratic potentates who Lamont has been toting around the state has such a plan? Hilary [sic] Clinton? Bill Clinton? Does Lamont think that saying he favors a time-certain for American withdrawal is actually such a plan? It is not. And what, by the way, would come after? Perhaps we should ask John Kerry.

So the plan to remove of U.S. troops from Iraq by a date certain is not a plan for withdrawing American troops from Iraq. Is there a force field around Iraq which prevents soldiers from departing? Or is Peretz, a career asshole, just a functional illiterate?

And what does Marty consider a plan? Standing down when the Iraqis stand up? Letting the troops die in Iraq, and not replacing them? Withdrawing the troops is the only plan that could be implemented successfully by the Chucklehead in Chief.

As for what comes after, Marty and his neoclown pals should have asked themselves that before they howled for the deaths of hundreds of thousands in an unjustified war of agression.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Thugs For Rethuglicans

Oreo cookie fabulist Lt. Governor Michael Steele (R-MD) has found the ideal spokesperson for the Republican agenda: Convicted rapist and failed cannibal Mike Tyson:

At the press conference, Tyson posed for photos with fans, signed autographs and campaigned for Maryland U.S. Senate candidate Michael Steele.

Tyson, wearing a white and blue Steele for U.S. Senate T-shirt, said he used to believe black Republicans were "sellouts." But Tyson said he changed his mind after researching the Maryland lieutenant governor.

"We have to open our eyes more," Tyson said, as he pointed to his T-shirt.

Even better, convicted killer Don King is also a Steele-belted Republican, appearing with the whiny race hustler at various campaign events.

Maybe Steele can heal the Tyson/King rift and have his criminal cronies kick Ben Cardin to death before the election.

(More here.)

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Swift Is Not To The Race

Jon Swift, meatpacker and inventor of the Swift Boat, has a rundown of the top 10 House races to watch.

And look for a cameo by yours truly as an anal-retentive nit picker.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Grand Old Police Blotter: A Currin Affair Edition

It seems as if there's nearly a 100 percent correlation between working for Jesse Helms and criminality.

While I was on vacation this summer (it seems so long ago), Claude "The Fraud" Allen

pleaded guilty to theft on August 4, 2006. He shed tears during his sentencing hearing and apologized to his wife, family, and friends. Noting that Allen had been publicly humiliated by his arrest, and that he accepted responsibility for the crimes without trying to make excuses, the judge sentenced him to 18 months of "probation before judgment", which means that his record will be expunged of any crime if he completes his probation successfully.

But he'll always have a giant red and white target on his ass.

I love the excuse Clod's wife gave for her better half:

"In addition to the demanding household of four young children, we lived out of storage boxes in a friend's basement," Jannese Allen said. "Claude's 14-hour workdays became more demanding after the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina."
So Claude decided to do a little looting of his own. I guess I'm entitled to Allen's Mercedes, given all the medical appointments I've had to go to recently.

I came across Allen's guilty plea while reading about another criminal Helms protogee.

No, not Armstrong "Magic Fingers" Williams, the Bush Administration's other slapheaded whore.

It's spammin' Sammy Currin:

Former U.S. Attorney Sam Currin agreed Wednesday to plead guilty to federal charges that he conspired to launder $1.3 million that a computer spam artist made by inundating e-mail inboxes with stock-picking schemes.

Currin, 57, of Raleigh, used to be the one prosecuting federal crimes in Eastern North Carolina. Now he faces almost nine years in prison for his role in a scheme that prosecutors say netted him more than $240,000. Currin also plans to plead guilty to two counts of obstruction for failing to report $6,000 in income to the IRS and for lying to and failing to surrender documents to a federal grand jury, which was investigating another client's business merger.

Currin, who is well-known in conservative Republican circles, is a former protege of U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms. In 1981, he became Raleigh's top federal prosecutor, a post for which Helms nominated him. Currin held the job until 1987 and then went on to be a state Superior Court judge. In 1990, he left to run a law practice and become a state GOP leader.

As a state GOP leader, Currin's got all the right qualifications.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Doctor, It Hurts When I Do This

Sometimes it's very hard to stop doing something that's not good for you. Sometimes it's not:

"You can see where it would be easy for some people to blame gays for something that might bring down the party in Congress," said Brian Bennett, a gay Republican political consultant. He was a longtime chief of staff to former Representative Robert K. Dornan, Republican of California, who regularly referred to gays as Sodomites.


"You learn to compartmentalize really well," said one Republican strategist who, like many gay Republicans interviewed for this article, would speak only anonymously for fear of adversely affecting his career.

Mr. Fordham's history illustrates the potential tensions between private life and professional rhetoric. After leaving Mr. Foley's office in 2004, he worked as finance director for the campaign of Senator Mel Martinez, Republican of Florida. In that race, a Martinez campaign flier accused a political rival of favoring the "radical homosexual lobby" by supporting hate crimes legislation that included protections for gay men and lesbians.

One of the inevitable facts, said Mr. Bennett, the former Dornan aide, is that "there are just going to be some days when it's hard to be a gay Republican."

Sorry, Brian and anon., but I don't feel your pain.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Reasons To Be Cheerful, Part I

I'm not him.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Path to 9/11, Starring Condi Rice

Thanks, Condi.

At the beginning of today's Meet the Press, Russert displayed a graphic with a mock newspaper headline:


I'm paraphrasing, but one word is quoted verbatim -- "AIDS." The misspelling is NBC's.

Coincidence? Ignorance?

Call me skeptical.